Think On These Things

My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.

Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart.

For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all their flesh.

Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.

Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.

Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.

Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.

Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil. 

~Proverbs 4:20–27

 

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Think On These Things

The LORD Answers Job

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

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“Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed limits for it
and set bars and doors,
and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?

 

 

“Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
and caused the dawn to know its place,
that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
and the wicked be shaken out of it?
It is changed like clay under the seal,
and its features stand out like a garment.
From the wicked their light is withheld,
and their uplifted arm is broken.

“Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
Declare, if you know all this.

~Job 38:1–18

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Throwback Thursday

I got my first real camera almost twenty years ago in 2001 and as best I can tell around 2007 friends started letting me take their pictures. It’s almost embarrassing to look back and see what I am sure, in that moment, I was so proud of. Almost but not really, because it’s really fun to see how I have grown in my skill but what I really love is looking back and seeing the people, my people, that we have walked a lot of life’s road with together. We’ve rejoiced, we’ve grieved, and done all of the mundane in between living alongside one another. Now, that is a blessing.

Not sure yet how my friends will enjoy seeing themselves immortalized through the years but…

This is not only one of my earliest efforts but it is also one of my first secretive sessions. I think I suggested we do it as a Mother’s Day surprise for my friend. The three girls are all grown with multiple children of their own and Jerry graduated from college this year. We should definitely recreate this is everyone if everybody is all home in Florida again!

 

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More sweet friends from that same general time frame. This was right before they moved to Texas. They’re the kind of friends that stay with you when they come to town and it’s like you’ve never been a part.

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Gaaaahhhh, this just makes me smile to consider how much their family has grown since we took family pictures for the first time. They’ve added two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law, and eight grandchildren!

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I didn’t take this picture, obviously, but my dear friend Lori did. We look a bit of a mess but man, I love seeing my babies back when they were little people. Life was simpler then it seems, at least  in retrospect, but I am sure that, Lord willing, if I look back at pictures from today in twenty years I will probably feel the same.

Geez, there’s a crazy thought for you! It will be the year 2039. I cannot imagine that far ahead.

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Think On These Things

You Will Not Abandon My Soul

A Miktam of David.

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”

As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.

The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.

The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

~Psalm 16

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Grow Up, Child Of Mine

We live in a world that extends childhood too far on one end by shirking responsibility and shortens it to much on the other by pushing children into a hyper sexualized behave like an adult world they are not ready for.

The response oftentimes to the too soon extreme is the battle cry, “Let them be children!” and while I certainly do not argue or disagree with that sentiment I want to address it from a slightly different perspective. Usually when we say “just let them be kids” we are only focusing on those things like the overly suggestive clothing, social media usage, and boy/girl relationship issues while still neglecting the teaching of responsibility at the other end of the spectrum.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately mainly because my Claire, the baby of the family, turns thirteen today and it’s weird to have my last one entering into those teenage years. There is a definite sense of the closing of one era in the life of our family.

Here, in no particular order, are some things I have been thinking about with regard to this topic.

Grow up, child of mine.

Give thought to the woman you want to be and practice today becoming her.

Grow up, child of mine.

Set aside silliness and learn what joy and contentment look like. It’s the difference between cotton candy and a four course meal. Only one of those will nourish your soul.

Grow up, child of mine.

Forsake foolishness and pursue wisdom, she is indeed your sister. Wisdom will keep you safe from the damaging effects of bad decisions and foolish choices.

Grow up, child of mine.

Reject the world’s idea of beauty and find out what God says is beautiful and be that. It’s two very different things, one of which fades and becomes less and less and one that becomes more glorious over time.

Grow up, child of mine.

Don’t mistake sarcasm for wit. Let your words be apples of gold in settings of silver. Relying on sarcasm all the time only makes you dull and unkind.

Grow up, child of mine.

Be willing to slow down and wait for the right things at the right time. Your enjoyment and pleasure in good things is directly connected to your maturity and ability to appreciate it.

Grow up, child of mine.

Put aside doing only the easy things and choose the hard things. It will make you strong and able to handle with grace and dignity the difficult things that come to us all in life.

Grow up, child of mine.

Put away laziness. Laziness will ultimately create more work for yourself and will also cause much dissension with those around you who are adversely affected by your idleness.

Grow up, child of mine.

Learn to not take yourself too seriously. It will make you much more pleasant to be around if you are able to laugh at yourself.

Grow up, child of mine.

Value the things and people that have come before you. Nothing that is now existed without the help and assistance of the past.

Grow up, child of mine.

Embrace the truth that while everything is lawful not everything is needful. Just because you can does not mean you should.

Grow up, child of mine.

Own your sin and mistakes. It is not always someone else’s fault. Remember that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Grown up, child of mine.

Be quick to forgive and always assume the best of others. Don’t expect something from others that you are unwilling to give.

Grow up, child of mine.

Choose to love others more than yourself. A self-centered person exhausts those around them rather than being a source of comfort and rest.

Grow up, child of mine.

Seek knowledge more than entertainment. There is untold value in feeding your soul.

Grow up, child of mine.

For in this way you may be an example to others in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.

Grow up, daughter of mine.

For you are called to be a polished corner stone cut for the structure of the palace, made to be a pillar that will support and uplift the house that God is building for His name out of living stones.

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 

~Hebrews 13:20–21

Happy birthday, sweet Claire.

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Seriously

Do you ever feel like no one is really listening to you?

Maybe it’s your kids.

Or just people in general, like you’re talking but nobody is hearing what you’re saying?

I think it is a normal thing to feel this way sometimes in our lives but the other day it went next level on me.

I said, “Hey Siri, call Emmy Grace.”

I kid you not, she literally said, “Hang on a sec.”

Seriously.

My phone was not even listening to me.

Completely unrelated to that story but keeping up with the Throwback Thursday posts…this definitely goes way back. I cannot even remember when I took this of my son and the son of a friend, both named Sam. I just know that I thought I was hilarious for tagging the photo I and II Samuel. Still kind of makes me giggle.

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You Can Do It

I went to bed at 9:30 last night. Rob is getting a bit of a head cold and was feeling tired and we tend to go to bed at that same time. Come to think of it, it’s a rare occurrence for us to not go to bed at the same time.  Sleep has been a  fickle friend the last few weeks so I was surprised at how quickly I drifted off and was even more surprised to not wake up until the alarm went off. (I kept waking up around 4 o’clock and was somewhat hopeful that time change would fix that but oddly enough it did not. Like my sleep pattern was recognizing numerals or something instead of you know, actual hours of sleep.)

IMG_0003.JPGI got up and went to start the coffee and this glow from the pot gave a dull blue light to the kitchen and the thought came to me that I have a lovely home, a good home. It was born out of gratitude for what God has given me and thankfulness that we had taken the time last night to tidy things up well before going to bed.

I’ve been in a bit of a blue fog lately, hormonal and somewhat moody. I’ve felt isolated on the inside with a sort of sadness I guess? It’s hard to explain because I am, by nature, a pretty happy person and not feeling “happy” is weird to me.

Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit but a wise man quietly holds it back.” and whenever I feel myself getting more emotional than normal or moody I try to remember that and live by it. But I also have to be wise and remember that Proverbs 18:1 says, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” If I let my thoughts, informed only by my emotions, be my only counsel then I can wind up in some pretty dangerous places. I had finally reached a point the day before where I could sort that blue fog out enough to talk to Rob about how I was feeling in a way that married both of those verses. I didn’t spew all the frustration or give full vent to everything but I also tempered my words by seeking understanding…needing it for myself but also asking for it from him.

I’ve seen homes crack under the pressure from outside things and become cluttered and messy on the inside when things are left untended. I know a wise woman builds her home and the foolish tears it down with her own hands. But this morning, in the blue glow of the coffee pot I was reminded of how grateful I am that there is a better way and that it is not a secret known to only a few.

In Deuteronomy 30:9–20 we are given the key to unlocking life:

“The LORD your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the LORD will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, when you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Emphasis is mine.)

The exercise now is to think through all the things we ought to be obedient in. Not so that we can have a check list of I do this and I do that. But rather so that we can turn our minds and hearts toward a way of life, a way of being, that declares we are His people and we live according to his way, one that takes our focus off of ourselves.

Be thankful and remember the good God has done.

Be reasonable and not anxious for anything.

Encourage. Help. Rejoice. Pray.

Let God’s word dwell richly in you. Do everything in the name of Jesus.

The list goes on and on…be patient, be kind, be tender hearted.

Repeatedly in the Old Testament the children of Israel were commanded to take God’s word with them everywhere, to bind it on their forehead, tie it to their wrists, write it on the doorposts and gates. He was commanding them to keep His ways at the forefront of their thoughts. It was for their good, to help them navigate their way in the sometimes treacherous journey they were on.

The same holds true for us. It is for our good that we do all that He has commanded.

May we be faithful to do so.

 

 

Think On These Things

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 

~James 1:12–18