Monday, July 15, 2024

The Greatest Story Ever Told

 


For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. ~Hebrews 4:12

I can't recall a time in my life when I didn't love words.  All those stories read aloud by my mom at bedtime; classic fairy tales, the lilting cadences of Mother Goose rhymes, and silly stories about Midgie, the mischievous elephant, my dad would make up on the fly for my brother and me.  Certainly, their own love of books and reading had a profound affect on this developmental aspect of both my brain and my heart.

By the time I was ready for first grade (we did not have public kindergarten at the time - yes, I'm old!), I was already reading way above grade level.  I could depend upon words to transport me in time and space to exotic lands and imaginary realms like nothing else could.  A trip to the library for me was like traveling to a coveted amusement park with no end of rides and excitement. 

Writing is the natural fallout for a word lover like me.  Ever since my fourth-grade teacher showed us a picture from a magazine (remember those?) which featured children happily fleeing the school house to embrace a carefree summer, and challenged us to write a short story about how the characters were feeling, I've been hooked!

So, what does any of this have to do with these Jumble puzzle books featured above?  While some people enjoy figuring out giant jig-saw puzzles to stimulate their minds, I prefer unscrambling words to help keep my cognition up to speed.  This not only relaxes me, but also gives me an advantage (I hope) in keeping the dementia wolves at bay as aging often invites these unwanted guests into our latter years, causing chaos and confusion.

This world in which we live is already chaotic and confusing enough, isn't it?  No need to add insult to injury!  When all seems to be spinning out of control, we can lean into our loving God and His eternal Word, as alive and active today as it always has been and ever will be.  We don't need to panic nor fear.  We know our Father is the One at the helm of our lives, and only He will judge the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts.

And when I find myself at my wit's end as I attempt to unscramble a Jumble word, I know I can turn to the answer key for direction.  In our Christian walk, God and His Word are the keys to all the answers we will ever need to live an abundant life, the life Jesus promised, to His honor and glory.

May we all fall in love with God's Word, the greatest story ever told.

Amen!

Monday, July 8, 2024

Our Vision of Hope

 


We don't yet see things clearly.  We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.  But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright!  We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! ~1 Corinthians 13:12 (MSG)

Have you ever experienced fogged windows where you live?  Here in Georgia, we don't just entertain hot summer temperatures, but our humidity can also increase exponentially, making outdoor events unpleasant and downright impossible for many of us to enjoy.  I know my Florida friends can identify with that!

This fog phenomena occurs when the outside glass of a window matches or goes below the dew point temperature of the air.  As a result, the air cannot hold any more water in gas form; it must turn into liquid.  (Thank you, Danny, for explaining this in terms even I can understand!)

So yes, it is July in Kennesaw, and with the blessing of recent rain, we've awakened to misty window panes for two mornings in a row.  Will it happen again tomorrow?  Only if the air continues to be humid, which could most likely be the case.

Clouded windows obscure our usually clear view of the outdoors.  It reminds me of the steam which used to form on a bathroom mirror from a hot shower when the bather forgot to run the exhaust fan.  You certainly cannot see your own reflection unless the moisture is wiped off the glass and allowed time to dry.

In this life, as the apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 13:12, we cannot possibly see the entirety of our existence the way that God can and does.  Nothing can obstruct His always clear vision!  But even through the mist, we can know that God is leading us forward, and closer to Him, with every faltering step we take by faith.  We can rest assured that when we leave this darkened world, the clouds will lift, and we will see the Son shining brightly forever and ever.

May we resolve to fully live each precious day God gives us here on earth, and show others, by our actions in love, how He will help them see clearly one day, too.

He is our vision of hope!

Amen!

Monday, July 1, 2024

Celebrating Freedom

 


It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. ~Galatians 5:1

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.  We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend out sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. ~Ronald Reagan

Happy Independence Day, America!  It's time for parades, picnics, patriotic music, pageantry, and masterful firework displays all over this great nation of ours.  As you plan your activities for this momentous holiday, I hope and pray that you will make special time to celebrate the fact that we were formed as one nation under God by visionary Founding Fathers immersed in the teachings of our deep and lasting Judeo-Christian values.

And unless we teach our children and grandchildren why our Constitution and Declaration of Independence formed a system of government unlike anything this tired, weary world had ever known, how will they be equipped and eager to preserve it for posterity?

I am so heartened by the stance recently taken by Oklahoma's state legislature.  It passed a law which requires all public schools to display the Ten Commandments, and to equip classrooms with copies of the Bible.  A curriculum is being developed for grades 5 - 12 to instruct them about how both have influenced the rule of law in our judicial system and in our country's exceptional precepts that declare our freedoms are given us by God alone.  I'm not so naive as to think there won't be push-back from entrenched secular forces in our government, and from those who despise Western civilization in general, but let us, as Christians, not allow those forces to poison the minds of our children with disingenuous lies.

I do believe, with all my heart, that our loving Father is giving us another chance as a country to surrender to His will and be renewed by His Holy Spirit; the same Spirit who, despite all unimaginable odds, inspired this fledgling nation to overthrow the burdensome yoke of the British Empire that we might live free.

As former President Reagan so succinctly expressed, "Freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction."  May God grant us the grace and wisdom to understand and appreciate, to the very depths of our beings, how generously He has blessed us.

And with God's help, let us resolve to maintain His blessing for generation to come.

Amen!

Monday, June 24, 2024

A Win-Win

 


Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize. ~1 Corinthians 9:24

Don't forget to enjoy the game. ~Quote from G. H. W. Bush as recalled by his granddaughter, Jenna Bush Hagar.

Danny and I still love playing backgammon every evening while we listen to mostly country or Christian music.  Before all his health issues arise in January, we would keep score on our kitchen whiteboard for an entire week so we could assess that week's winner.  That practice, in and of itself, isn't a bad thing.  We are both extremely competitive players, but while Danny is able to lose gracefully, I find myself too obsessed with winning to simply embrace the game in the moment.

I'm not proud of this aspect of my personality.  To win, no matter what, obstructs the purpose of the game, period.  Just relax and enjoy it!

After all we've endured these last months, I realize that truth more than ever.  Life is not a sprint, but a marathon.  And living well leaves no room for petty tantrums or poor sportsmanship.  Honestly, who wants to play with a sore loser?  I wouldn't want to, yet Danny doesn't give up on me.  He has taught me so much about both patience and perseverance in this challenging game he's so passionate about.

We no longer keep score on the board to remind, usually me, of my pathetic losing streaks.  Now don't get me wrong; I still relish a win here and there, and Danny notices how much better I've become in dealing with the plays the dice give me, but I no longer angst about besting him in any contest.  I'm just so thankful to have him here to play the game at all!

Isn't it amazing how realities can alter, for the better, our perspectives on this game called life?

Yes, if we are honest with ourselves, we all want to be winners, but there are no losers when we accept Jesus' training of us for the long haul.  Knowing He is beside us and before us, trusting in His strength alone, we can run a steady race until we all receive that ultimate crown of victory in God's eternal kingdom.

So, let's resolve to run that race He's set before us, knowing Jesus is the best prize of all, and enjoy the game of abundant life He's given to us along the way.

That's a win-win in my book!

Amen!

Monday, June 17, 2024

How Could We Ask for Anything More?

 


For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. ~Psalm 103:11-12


Daughter, Sarah, her husband, John, their three girls, plus dog, Finn, and their two kitty rescues, Riley and Rocky, move successfully to their new home in North Carolina around the first of June.  The photo above is one Sarah takes from their new bedroom window as the sun begins to peek over the horizon to greet a new day.  Oh, what a great joy to awake to such a splendid view!

God is blessing all of them so richly in every way.  The reason for the move is John's promotion in the company he has been working with for many years.  Sarah is able to secure a job, too, with the grocery store chain that employed her previously, and starts work almost before she can catch her breath.  The girls are excited to live in a neighborhood where they can enjoy a big backyard, something they've never had before, and sidewalks throughout the development.  As the summer progresses, Danny and I are confident that they will all make friends in their new place, and be set for school when it resumes in August.

While this state park they explore recently is not adjacent to their neighborhood, it is only a three-mile drive away.  Sarah and John take the girls there one evening to explore the grounds.  Here are some gorgeous photos Sarah takes while they are there.





Just indulge yourself in this dramatic sunset!


From the beauty of the sunrise to its setting, I'm reminded that God has created all the earth and the heavens to His honor and glory.  We see His majesty and splendor, and we cannot help but be awed by His mighty works and be humbled by His wonders all around us.

Best of all, for us who revere His precious Son, Jesus, our heavenly Father promises to remove all our sins, as far as the east is from the west.

How could we ask for anything more?

Amen!

Monday, June 10, 2024

Sing a New Song

 

Danny and I in his new music studio

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. ~Psalm 96:1


A new song shall I sing unto the Lord

When I, in doubt, surrender to His might

In fears I've faced, forgiveness love, finds

Me, through Him who will forever fight

For justice, peace, truth, righteousness

Though earth dissolve, faith will not betray

God's Word, His pledge, His presence, promises.

His mercies new at dawn of every day.

Amen!

Monday, June 3, 2024

Our Blessing Beyond Measure

 


"Come now, let us settle the matter," says the Lord.  "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." ~Isaiah 1:18


We love the new decks we have installed at our home in February of 2023, but we soon discover what could be a drawback to the cream color we have chosen for them.  Although this shade is lovely and contrasts perfectly with our cedar red siding, they are easily stained by leaf tannins and foot traffic if we don't tend to them on a routine basis.

Danny always steps up to this task when it's needed.  However, with all we have been through this year health-wise, he cannot keep up his regular regiment.  We really need help to maintain our decks' beauty.  These photos reveal how badly blemished they become without constant tender-loving care.



His son, Nicco, lives close by, and he is willing to give the decks a good pressure washing and brightening afterward with a diluted bleach solution that has worked well for us.  This is not a lightweight task by any stretch of the imagination.  Nicco works diligently on both decks; it takes over six hours of his time and effort, but his work pays off.  Look at the difference!



Restored and shining like new!

~

When we invite Jesus into our hearts, He will be faithful to wash away our sins, and restore us to newness of life.  That is where the process begins, but it doesn't end there.  As we embark on this new journey with Him, we must be vigilant to ask the Lord's help to resist the sins and snares the Liar will set for us along the way.

We are all works in progress in this fallen world.  We are bound to slip and fall from time to time.  But if we acknowledge our failings, repent, and ask for forgiveness, Jesus will once again wash away our sinful stains.  I feel such relief knowing that God is relentless in His pursuit of His children, and will never stop loving us, even when we are sullied and worn.

We must, in turn, seek Him, surrender daily to His will, and give thanks in all things for all that Jesus has done for us.

He is our blessing beyond measure!

Amen!

Monday, May 27, 2024

Fragile Flower


 

The grass withers and flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. ~Isaiah 40:8

Fragile flower torn

From root, plucked too soon, yet

Knows eternal bliss

May we always trust

God's love amidst the chaos

Rest at peace with Him.


May we continue to pray for the victims of the recent outbreaks of horrific storms that have plagued the heartland of out nation, and know God is with us through it all. 

Monday, May 20, 2024

I'll Be There For You

 


Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. ~Revelation 3:20

I'll be there for you (when the rain starts to pour), I'll be there for you (like I've been there before), I'll be there for you ('cause you're there for me, too). ~ Theme song from "Friends"

My daughter, Sarah, sends me this adorable photo of their new kitties who were adopted practically at the same time.  Acquiring two cats was not the original plan, but God has His own ways of seeing to the welfare of all His creatures.

Rocky, the black one, was their first choice.  However, the shelter called before Sarah and her husband, John, could adopt him to give them some sad news.  A virus had broken out there, and it was unclear as to whether or not any of the cats housed there would survive it.  Rocky's chances were looking bleak.

In light of this, Sarah and John visited another animal shelter in the area, and found this beautiful tabby whom they name Riley.  While this new kitty was adjusting to her world with a loving family, lo and behold!  The shelter housing Rocky called to tell them that he had miraculously recovered, and were they still interested in adopting him?

The ending of that story, as you can surmise by this featured photo, is a happy one, indeed!  In their brief time together their "furever" family, Riley and Rocky have become the best of pals.  They play with one another constantly, and simply enjoy each other's company.  As the family is planning a big move to another region of the state, we are all gratified to know that these two feline friends have forged such a solid bond.  Even when the upheaval of moving may cause them anxiety and stress, they will be there for each other, and come out stronger once the dust has settled in their new home.  

All because neither John nor Sarah could ignore that knock on the door of their hearts, these orphans have a home where they are loved and sheltered from the storms.

When you hear Jesus knocking at the door of your heart, do you open it gratefully and invite Him in?  If you do, you can rest assured that He will be the best friend you could ever imagine, in this life and the next.

Jesus will always be there for you!

Amen!


Monday, May 13, 2024

Remember God's Covenant

 


I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.  Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.  Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on earth. ~Genesis 9:15-16

How many of you can view a rainbow and NOT recall it is a powerful and grace-filled symbol of God's eternal covenant with each living being in His creation?  I know I can't.  Yet, even for those people who know nothing of God and His greatness, who of them can argue that seeing a rainbow uplifts weary hearts to lofty heights of hope in the midst of life's storms?

The photo above was taken by my husband, Danny, while staying on the 14th floor of the new Piedmont Hospital tower as doctors diagnosed what could be a small stroke in his right eye that occurred during his heart ablation procedure on May 1st.  Yes, it is a view you would expect at a 5-star hotel in downtown Atlanta, but from a hospital window?  The staff referred to this as the penthouse suite, and that's certainly an apt moniker.





Since the end of January this year, we have endured more physical and emotional roller coaster rides than the law allows.  I know that we could not have made it through without our trust and faith that with God, all things are working for His good for all who believe in Him.  These days have not just seen our personal struggles, but people, whom we love dearly, have been facing the same challenges in their health matters, many times worse than we have ever had.  I have found that in praying for others and their needs, it doesn't erase our own, but is certainly brings peace to our situation when we take the focus off ourselves.

We cannot see the whole picture on this side of eternity, but we can rest assure that our Lord does.  When Danny saw this rainbow after a gully-washer of a storm, he was infused with fresh hope that only God can give.  It may not be what his doctor orders, but the medicine our Great Physician prescribes is infinitely greater.

Danny has been home since last Thursday, and we are both so grateful for all your prayers and support, dear friends.  He is improving with every passing day, so we remain strong and resilient, knowing God is there to help through any storm that comes, and renew our hopes.

May our loving Father bless and keep you always!

Amen!

Monday, April 29, 2024

Calling All Prayer Warriors!

 


Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. ~James 5:16


Most of my dedicated readers here at Meditation of My Heart know that my customary posting date for my blog is every Friday.  I am interrupting that pattern because my husband, Danny, and I really need and would so appreciate your powerful and effective prayers.

On the advice of his electro-physiologist, Danny is scheduled to have a heart ablation this Wednesday, May 1st, to reduce and/or eliminate the ventricular tachycardia that would, to be blunt, kill him if it weren't for his pacemaker.  The surgery takes around five hours, and Danny will be kept overnight for observation.  His son, Nicco, has volunteered to drive his dad to the hospital and stay with him until the procedure is concluded.  Of course, Nicco will keep me informed of anything I might need to know or do in the moment.  He has been such a wonderful help to both of us ever since that fateful day in January when Danny's pacemaker went haywire, and he had to have an emergency replacement.  If you missed that post, you can read it here.

If you would all pray for his surgeon, the nurses who will be in attendance, and for successful healing for Danny, know that God hears them all and will act upon those supplications.  I know.  I can attest to encountering the Lord's calm and comfort in countless frightening times, all due to the fervent prayers of others on our behalf.  Feel free to put Danny's name on your church's pray chain.  Since I am not on Facebook, but if you are and feel moved to do so, please share this post so we can reach as many prayer warriors as possible.  The more believers involved in this effort will make an incredible impact, not just for the one prayed for, but for those who offer the prayers.

We know that our loving God is the One in control.  May His will be done!

Amen!

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Our Days Are Numbered

 


Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. ~Psalm 90:12


Have you ever had the good fortune of seeing a Luna Moth?  We discover this one clinging to the cedar siding above our garage doors just last week.  Even though we live with towering trees in abundance, sighting a Luna Moth isn't a guarantee.  Imagine our delight when we see not one, not two, but three of these elegant creatures right in our own backyard!



While in its mature state, the Luna Moth's days are numbered.  Literally, because they cannot eat in their final stage of existence and have only ten days to live.  Its mission?  Find a mate and reproduce as quickly as possible!  Here is the link to the scientific information about this unique life cycle that I reference for this post.  Yes, you can fact check me!

I am, once again, astounded and humbled by the intricacies and details our Father in heaven sees fit and right for His creation.  We humans are not, thankfully, in such a rush to establish the legacy of progeny, but are given that much-needed time to mature and grow in His words and wisdom, that while we have breath, we can do what is possible to ensure God's will is done in our lives; His will that will leave an indelible mark on generations to come.

Will there still be events that prematurely shorten that long life we hope and pray for?  No doubt!  But when we believe in Jesus and the promise of everlasting life through Him, there is no day granted in this life that isn't filled with the purpose He intends.

May we daily give thanks to the saving grace we have in Jesus alone, and embrace whatever life, long or short, we have been given.

If you haven't yet surrendered your days to the Lord, I pray you won't waste another moment in making that commitment.  We all know too well that our days here on earth are numbered.

Amen!

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Keep Calm and Pray

 

As they sailed, he fell asleep.  A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.  The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!"  He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.  "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples.  In fear and amazement, they asked one another, "Who is this?  He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him." ~Luke 23:25


Springtime, especially in the Midwest and Southeastern states, too often ushers in bouts of violent weather as masses of warm air clash with the lingering winter cold fronts.  Danny, as some of you might already know, is a self-admitted weather geek, and has over the years, found some reliable meteorologists on YouTube he trusts.  One favorite of his is Ryan Hall at "Ryan Hall - Y'all," to which you can subscribe and stream for free.

When I tell him that my sister-in-Christ and long time "pen pal," K., could be right in the line of fire for these latest round of tornadoes, he advises that she watch Ryan on YouTube.  His steaming updates are extremely timely and accurate; in this last tornado outbreak, there were even storm chasers in Iowa to report the latest.  So exciting to have experts updating us!

Yes, K. signs up for the site, and is so thankful that we suggested she do so.  This is part of her note to us, and I paraphrase:  What meant the most to me was not just the weather information, but that Ryan's voice was so CALM (emphasis hers).  Our local meteorologists on the radio always sound so frantic when severe storms are approaching our area.  Ryan truly made it much easier to keep alert, yet peaceful inside.

Thanks be to God!

I sometimes try to imagine how Jesus' human voice sounded to His disciples, not just in commanding wind and waves to cease, but in moments of traveling through Judea as He healed the sick, both physically and spiritually, and turned those impossibilities to possibilities for those who believed He was the long-awaited Messiah.  No matter the timbre or cadence Jesus' voice had in His human manifestation, my heart tells it could calm the soul as equally as the storm.

And when we seek Him through prayer and worship, no matter what storms we are going through, He will grant us the peace that passes all understanding.  The peace that only our Lord and Savior can bring to this troubled world and our troubled hearts.

The voice of our Lord speaks to us today.  Are we listening?

Amen!

Are you or your loved ones facing a stormy time right now?  If you feel comfortable with sharing your story, please do in the comment section.  We will pray for you!


Thursday, April 11, 2024

Our Grand Grands

 


Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. ~Proverbs 17:6

Every year that our family visits us, the grandchildren, even Virginia, want to have an Easter egg hunt in Gammie and Papa's backyard, as Easter has either just passed or is in the offing, as it is this year.  This year is no different.  Daughter, Sarah, and I fill the sturdy and colorful plastic eggs with cash and candy, counting carefully to make sure that each girl will find an equal amount in their designated search area.  While I keep the girls occupied indoors with a game of Uno, John and Sarah, along with Danny, play the role of the Easter Bunny.



The girls are eager to begin their search and do so with pure delight.







After their successful finds, the girls open their treasures, and all siblings will do, count their money and compare the amount to that of their sisters.  How delighted they are to discover that among their haul of dollar bills, there is that "Golden Egg" with a $5 bill inside.






How we wish the whole crew could have stayed with us through Easter Sunday, but we have to say our good-byes on Holy Saturday as they all have to return to school and work.  Our prayers for their safe travels are answered by a listening and loving God, and we are so grateful to Him for all our blessings!



Did you enjoy a special Easter this year?  Feel free to tell us in the comments!

Amen!

Thursday, April 4, 2024

A Walk in the Park

 


There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. ~Ecclesiastes 3:1


One of the many entertaining activities Sarah, John and the girls have while they are with us, is visiting a nearby park where their dog, Finn, can play with other dogs in the designated, fenced-in area.  Unfortunately, Danny and I have to opt out of going with them as we have to practice songs for Easter Sunday.  We give orders to take plenty of photos, and Sarah and John oblige big time!  I am so grateful that they did so I can share them here with you.

Getting ready to "unleash" Finn into the dog park.





Strolling leisurely on the many paved trails.




Mom, Sarah, with Alexandra and Savannah.





Virginia is no longer a little girl, but a poised, maturing young lady.


We're in the swing of things!  Don't ask me why Savannah and Alexandra thought they needed safety harnesses; I'm guessing they just wanted to try them out.







Mom and Dad, aka Sarah and John.


There are many more photos from our amazing time spent together, so I hope you will stay tuned!  In the meantime, be good to yourselves, get outdoors to relish God's creation all around you, and happily take that walk in the park.

Amen!

The Greatest Story Ever Told

  For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and ...