2015 - "Three Little Words" by Terry Ferguson
The Fruit of the Spirit
2016 - "Through the Year with Francis of Assisi"
by Murray Bodo
2017 - Thanks-Living

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Worship The Lord

In this little scene, the mice are honoring the Queen of England because of her position over the Realm.  An old definition of worship is "honor given to someone in recognition of their merit."  For me, worshipping God is easy because He merits my respect.  In thinking about it I realize I equate love with respect.  If I can't respect someone, I have a hard time loving them.  In thinking further about that, I realized I don't always give God a reason to respect me, but He continues to love me anyway.  That is because He is a compassionate and merciful God.  The next time I have a hard time loving someone I need to remind myself God has shown me mercy.  I am enabled to love because He loved me first.  His mercy should flow through me to others--that is Love.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Say The Word

Whenever I read Mark 11:23 I am reminded just how small my faith is.  If Jesus says if I believe in my heart that I can say to a mountain, "throw yourself into the sea," such as these in the Blue Ridge, and have them obey my command, I should be able to, right?  Yet, I doubt mightily in my heart that such a thing could happen.  But that does not mean there aren't other things I could pray into being if I truly believe.  Every time I change my mind about something for the better, it is a prayer for change in my life that God will honor.  I think Jesus was merely using the mountain scenario to show us, by comparison, how He was full of the Holy Spirit with all the attending powers, and we aren't because we limit ourselves.  He tells us we will receive the Spirit when He goes to be with the Father, if we believe in Him.  How much we let Him work in and through us will depend on how much we surrender our own will (ego) and let Him live in us fully.  If the disciples had the power to heal the sick and perform miracles, why is it we don't believe we can?  Perhaps God does not need us to perform mighty miracles in this day and age, but that does not mean we should close our hearts to them.  I should always be available to the work of the Holy Spirit in and through me in whatever way He deems fit. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

It Takes Teamwork

The 1 Corinthians passage says that everyone is given the same Spirit, but different ways to use it in ministry.  Everyone in this musical group is playing the guitar, but each is playing a different part of the music.  When they play together, following the notes and timing, they sound beautiful.  But if one of them were to go off on their own riff while the others were playing their parts, it would become immediately discordant.  It takes teamwork to produce a pleasing sound unto the Lord.  There may be a time for each to go solo, but together they provide a fuller, richer sound.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Choose This Day

Why is it so hard to make a decision sometimes when we have a choice?  Both paths look like they might lead to our destination.  Is it because we're afraid of making a mistake?  Whenever I choose the higher road--to serve God--I know I've chosen rightly.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Ask for Wisdom

This statue of Einstein is in Washington, DC.  Einstein is considered to have been a genius.  His greatest regret, however, was signing a letter to President Roosevelt urging that the atomic bomb be built.  Intelligence and wisdom are not always one and the same.

"The wisdom that comes from heaven" is "pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, good fruit, impartial, sincere."  One of the dictionary definitions of wisdom is "good judgment."  It's taking knowledge God has imparted (pure) and applying it (submissive) in a way that all the other attributes the James 3:17 verse lists come to bear (peace-loving, considerate, full of mercy, good fruit, impartial, sincere).  If, when we praying we only ask for wisdom, it would seem we are in the right place to be instruments of God. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Don't Get Drunk

As a child I could not understand why people would want to drink something that made them lose control of themselves and make them less aware of what was happening in and around them. To me life was exciting and scary all at the same time, and I wanted all my faculties about me!  So it's no surprise that I would not date anyone who drank alcohol.  When I met my future husband he was 20 and I was not quite 16, but I knew he was the guy for me. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Stop, Look, Listen

Proverbs 19:20

I learned as a child, even before I had a driver's license, to stop, look, and listen at railroad crossings.  It wasn't so that my fun would be spoiled, but rather my life be spared!  When God tells us to listen to advice and accept discipline it is also for our good.  He sees the train barreling down the track.  If I don't stop, look, and listen, I could be in grave danger. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Peace, Be Still

Mark 4:39

When I think of being still and feeling at peace I'm reminded of what it feels like to be out in a snowfall.  The only thing I can hear is the quiet.  People haven't come out to shovel or plow yet.  No creature is out and about.  All have hunkered down in their burrows for the time being.  And I have it....and God....all to myself.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Live and Learn

Proverbs 1:5

To live and learn in the context of being yoked to Christ is a picture of being guided as we follow along with Christ.  If we stumble, we will not fall, and in the process learn to walk as He walked here on earth.  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

God Answers Prayer

Psalm 102:17

Prayer is just communication with God and God always responds to our conversations with Him.  His answer may not always be what we want to hear, but we can trust that He works all things out for our good.  I did not get the daughter I prayed for, but I did get this delightful granddaughter who will be a part of the rest of my life in a way a daughter could never be.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Just Say No

1 Timothy 6:11

The way that I understand the fruit of Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) is it is the result of not quenching the Holy Spirit living in me.  And the way I do that is to just say no to the things that I know are wrong.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Get to Work

Faith without works is dead by itself.  It's like being able to see a path (faith) through this tangled patch of woods, but then not getting to work to haul away the debris.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Do Not Worry

When I started this Blog at the beginning of the year I committed to using one of my own photographs to illustrate each day's message.  There have been some days that I have no clue what to use.  I'll look through my entire photo library sometimes before I come across a photo that gives me an idea as to what I should write about.  There have been a few days that I must admit I began to worry that I would not find the right photo.  It was then I'd commit this project once again to God and always a photo has popped up as I continued to scroll through my photos.  Now when I can't SEEM to find a photo, I'll chuckle at myself and say, "Lord, I see You're reminding once again to trust You."  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Business Before Pleasure

If you asked anyone what a Terrier's business was they'd say to chase vermin.  My West Highland White Terrier carries out his duty quite well.  If there is a squirrel in the vicinity he'd follow it up a tree if he could climb!  They will follow small animals into their holes without a second thought and were actually bred to strengthen their tails so they could be pulled out of the holes by their tails if they became stuck.  God made humans to follow Him.  Scripture tells me to be about my business of following God and serving Him.  Just like my Westie I will be very happy in doing what I was made for.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Remember Your Past

From the beginning we have erected monuments to help us remember the past like this statue of Civil War Admiral David Glasgow Farragut.  Saint-Gauden's statue was erected in New York's Madison Square Park in 1881.  The above is a replica on the grounds of his home, now a museum in New Hampshire.

God's people are told to look back on what all God has done for them in the past and to remember how He took care of their needs.  We do not need to erect a statue to remember.  We just need to look around us and see all that God has provided.

Monday, March 16, 2015

God Bless You

I bought this House Blessing hanging at the Smithsonian Folk Festival featuring the Hungarian  culture.    Because I am half Hungarian it holds even more meaning for me.  After the blessing in the Numbers passage I think it is one of the best blessings I've ever come across.  All blessings come from God!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Remember the Sabbath

The photo is of the Chapel at Worlds End State Park in Pennsylvania.  There is a babbling brook down the embankment behind the pulpit.  I think it would be an ideal place to observe the Sabbath.  In Old Testament times the Sabbath represented the seventh day on which God rested after creating the world and His people were to observe it by not working on that day.  When Jesus was on earth he observed the Sabbath in spirit rather than in law for he healed the sick on the Sabbath and was called out for it.  Most Christian denominations observe the Sabbath now on the day that Jesus was resurrected--a Sunday--by attending a church service.  But in our modern society the rest of the day often is not spent in rest.  Sundays for Christians should be a reminder that the first day of the week is the day in which God began creating the world as well as the day Jesus was raised from the dead, making it possible for the Spirit of God to live in man.  God is within me and through Him I shall find my rest as I call upon Him.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Never Lose Hope

I was married over 10 years before this little fellow came along.  There was a time I almost gave up hope.  But I didn't.  That was 36 years ago.  Two brothers joined him over the next 9 years.  I was married over 45 years before I became a grandmother.  I almost gave up hope.  But I didn't.  Now I have a granddaughter.  

Friday, March 13, 2015

Do Not Covet

Exodus 20:17 was written to me....about this cabin.... which belongs to my neighbor.  I had this wild dream that once my children grew up, I could buy this cabin, move next door, and one of my sons could move into our old house.  Then my grandchildren could just walk through the little woods to my house.  Perfect, right?  Well, my neighbor has no plans to sell and none of my sons are interested in living in the house they grew up in.  In the meantime, it was difficult for me to be a true friend to my neighbor because I felt guilty for coveting her house.  Thankfully, God has brought me to my senses and I no longer covet her house.  This has enabled me to restore our friendship, for which I'm grateful.  Being content with my own house has its own reward!   

Thursday, March 12, 2015

True Love Waits

Cardinals mate for life.  This male cardinal is nearby.  He is waiting to attend to the female on the nest, bringing her food and feeding it to her, ready to protect her from predators.  He kept a close eye on me the whole time I was photographing the nest.  Not all of the animal kingdom works this way, but God did design humans to be monogamous.  He knew the emotional and physical consequences of "mating" outside of marriage and gave us guidelines (marriage) and warnings (consequences) to ensure we'd follow His plan for us.  Since God created us He knows what's best for us.  If I read His word in a prayerful manner and follow it, then I know things will go as planned for me.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I Love You

In June of 2001 I went to New York City's Central Park for the first time.  I came upon this memorial to John Lennon's song, "Imagine."  He was quoted as saying that this song is a prayer for Christian denominations to stop infighting and all just live as one.  This was Jesus' prayer, too.  He said, "Love one another as I have loved you," and prayed that all believers "may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me." (John 17:21)  It is very hard to imagine that all believers will come together as one, but if Jesus asked God to make it so, then I know that it will one day be so.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Do What's Right

This is a view of our nation's Capitol building taken from the Old Post Office Pavilion.  It is where the laws of the land are voted on and passed.  Scripture admonishes us to do what is right and good and just and says that God looks at our heart.  Too many Christians depend on our lawmakers to make laws that make us do what is right and good and just.  They put all their energy into getting a law changed when God says He looks at our hearts.  The changes have to begin there--in our hearts--and that is something I can do right now without Congress.  

Monday, March 9, 2015

Abstain From Evil

Today's Three Little Words was a hard one to illustrate with one of my photographs.  So I looked up the definition of evil to see if it would give me some ideas.  The Christian definition of evil is, "any action, thought or attitude that is contrary to the character or will of God."  This was very sobering to me because it means any unkind thought I have about another is evil.  So I went back to my photo library and found this photo I took of a witch and black cat at a general store in the mountains of Pennsylvania last Fall.  Black cats weren't always considered bad luck.  It was only during the witch hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries that black cats became connected to women who were deemed to be witches.  By association cats were deemed evil.  This is something to think about as Christians.  Who I associate with could affect my reputation, but an even greater concern should be my own thoughts and behavior.  Am I someone others can associate with and keep their good reputations?  

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Hold to Tradition

The Amish are a sect of the Christian faith that believe strongly in tradition.  They were originally part of the Mennonite sect in Europe, but a group led by Jacob Ammann broke away in 1693 because they felt the Mennonites had strayed from the strict austerity of their ancestors.  Eventually the followers of Ammann left Europe because of persecution by the Catholics and Protestants.  They have allowed more modern technology as we've entered the computer age so that their businesses can support their large families.  Land is scarce and many must make their livelihood in manufacturing or handcrafts.  But they hold to many traditions established in the 17th century believing it keeps their communities together and their people dependent on God as their provider.  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Mind Your Manners

By putting these three scriptures together for Mind Your Manners, Ferguson is pointing out that our good behavior, or manners, is equal to being like God.  He is saying to be holy is to have good manners.  I agree!  One source defines good manners as displaying respect, care and consideration for others.  Isn't that what the Golden Rule is all about....do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  The Amish are very conscientious about their Christian witness.  They do not proselytize, but rather let their lives be their witness.  This list of "eleven tests" was on the wall of a museum depicting an Amish home.  The 1 Thessalonians passage may not seem to fit, but working hard so that you aren't dependent on others is also "good manners."  The Amish excel in this, too, while at the same time being quick to help others in need even outside their own community.  They are famous for helping rebuild a neighbor's barn after a fire, coming together in full force to rebuild it.  The women and children even do their part by preparing food for the workers and helping where needed.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Timing Is Everything

When we first saw this house it was a cold day in February.  Every thing was brown except for the pine trees.  They helped convince us to stretch our budget to buy the house.  After about 20 years the pines began to slowly die so that after 30 years only a few were left standing.  Two years ago we hired a crew to clear out all the dead and fallen trees.  Now seedlings from that once were covered by all the brush piles are starting to appear.  There is an appointed time for everything.  

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Share With Others

Over the years I've collected all of children's book author/illustrator, Tasha Tudor's, books and videos and books about her.  After she passed away in 2008 her family suggested that the Tasha Tudor Museum establish Museum Society chapters.  Last year I volunteered to start one in my state as a way to share all that I have and know about Tasha Tudor.  So I opened my home, made one of Tasha's cake recipes, and served her special blend of tea to the five ladies who saw the announcement.  We have grown to 10 and meet monthly to do crafts or other activities that Tasha was well-known for.  Sharing what I have has brought me new friends and wonderful experiences.  

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Confess Your Sins

That is poison ivy growing up this tree.  It looks harmless but can be deadly to anyone with a sensitivity to its oils because it can cause your airways to well up so badly that you can't breathe. Sin can seem harmless to some.  They have the mindset that what they are doing isn't harming anyone, forgetting that they are harming themselves.  They do not realize that their sin does harm others because no one can say they have no effect on another.  We are all interconnected as part of the human race.  But even more importantly, my sin harms my relationship with God.  This is why I need to confess it so I can be cleansed and my fellowship with God restored.  If I do this daily, I will catch it before it overtakes me like the poison ivy overtook the tree.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Do Not Murder

There is a museum in Washington, DC that has an exhibit on the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in NYC.  Pieces of of the mangled structure are on display.  That day 2, 996 people were listed as killed in the three separate incidents.  Because our country felt it needed to avenge this wrong, it went to war.  It was justified as a means to root out the terrorists.  In the years since more than twice that number of Americans have died in the war.  Many more have been wounded in body and mind.  Jesus said to hate your brother is just as bad as murdering him.  The seeds of killing begin in my heart.  I have a choice to love and trust God, or to hate and take matters into my own hands.  

Monday, March 2, 2015

Lord, Have Mercy

This tree and Ken's efforts to save it reminds me of God's mercy.  Twenty years ago when the boys were little there was a huge branch that grew from the hole that is now at the bottom of the tree.  They used to climb up onto that branch and swing down on a rope that eventually became part of the tree.  One very windy night a few years ago we heard the noise it made breaking away from the trunk.  When we went out the next morning we discovered the fallen branch and the hole in the tree.   Then a couple years ago the right half of the tree twisted in the wind and broke off.  You can see how thick that was from that piece Ken saved standing nearby.  That's when Ken got a ladder and cabling and wrapped it around the trunk just below the split.  It is still a majestic tree, reaching over 50 feet into the sky, and with the help of the cabling has many more useful years ahead, providing shade and shelter for man and beast.  God does this for us through His mercy, saving us and making us useful.  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Keep Your Word

Ken and I celebrated our 46th wedding anniversary last month.  These tulips were on our table at the restaurant we ate at that evening.  When we married we vowed to be faithful to one another until death parts us.  Through thin and thick we have continued to love one another.  God has blessed our marriage with children and many wonderful experiences together.  In the language of flowers, the variegated tulip means "beautiful eyes."  I believe that when we make a vow to God to love someone and see that person through God's beautiful eyes, He will enable us to keep that vow.