Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Baby Update

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 106:1

Isn’t it amazing how quickly babies change and grow? This time, it had been eight days without seeing Selena (a long time) and she seems like such a big girl now. Well, like a big girl baby. We’ve been noticing this for a while, but especially so yesterday. She’s giving huge smiles, does her own version of “talking”, which she does a LOT, loves to play with her hands and feet, and all of the other neat things that “older” babies do. So our newborn is gone.

I’m so thankful to see her growing, even though something makes me want to grab the reins so that it doesn’t happen too fast. The older she gets, though, the better she can learn about God, so that’s good. And I’m happy to see and hear that she’s already being taught about Him.

And guess what? Not too long ago, we were surprised to find out that Selena and her parents are moving to a new house, which is quite a big thing for them. But that’s not the best part for PopPop and Nanna and Auntie Nee. The nicest part of this surprising news was that they’ll be closer to us. Actually, the distance has been cut just about in half! So with God blessing my hubby and me in these later years with a granddaughter, He is even bringing her to a location that is a good bit easier for us to get to. And it will be easier for her to come see us now.

Our Lord has been so kind these past several months, and I’m rejoicing in his goodness to His undeserving children.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, it’s Thanksgiving Day. Today, I complete my list of blessings. Of course, you know that I would save the best for last. If I had a calculator and would start adding them up, I could name so many more than I have on this list. My home, my health throughout the years, my dog Frodo, certain relatives, all of God’s provisions of food and clothing, and other material possessions, are all things I’m thankful for.

The other day I looked up the word “blessing” in dictionaries in our home. Today I looked it up on (After all, I’m a modern day grandma.) There were six results, and the second and third meanings are the ones that apply here. The second meaning is “a special favor, mercy, or benefit” and the third is “a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.” Nothing fits these descriptions as marvelously and wonderfully as my salvation. Of all that I could stand up and proclaim as blessings from God, none can compare to what He has given me in Christ. My salvation is a special favor, mercy and benefit. It is a gift bestowed by God, which has brought me happiness beyond measure.

Those of you who know and love the Savior, stand up with me today, Thanksgiving Day, and praise the Lord for this, our best blessing. The others that we have will fade away, or die, or disappoint, or leave. Jesus never will do any of these. He’ll never leave us or forsake us—He’s promised us this and He keeps all His promises. So as thankful as I am for the six blessings which I have outlined during these past seven days, I am not resting on them for eternity. I’m only resting on Jesus.

Thank you Lord, for my salvation.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Fairest Lord Jesus,
Ruler of all nature,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Thee will I cherish,
Thee will I honor,
Thou my soul’s glory, joy, and crown.
~Munster Gesangbuch, 1677; tr.1850, 1873

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Blessing Number Six

Lately, I’ve been hearing and reading quite a bit about what it’s like to follow Christ in other countries. I’ve been viewing various PowerPoint presentations and looking at many magazine pictures of Christian people in other lands. Many of these people live under conditions that we can’t even imagine. Some have mud and dirt on them, or bugs, or even worse, they sometimes have marks of dried blood. And what always humbles me is that many of them are smiling.

It often makes me ashamed when I think about how much I take for granted the freedoms and opportunities we have here in this country. These freedoms and opportunities don’t only extend to us as Christians, but also to individuals in a general sense.

I touched on all this in a recent post which was called “It’s My Privilege.” God has been kind enough to allow me to be born here in America. I have a lot of concerns about this nation and I must admit it worries me to see some of the things that are happening, but I still wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. As I discussed in the other post, I’m still proud of my country and I’m grateful that I have the privilege of praying for it.

Thank you Lord, for my country.

My country, ‘tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing:
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From ev’ry mountain side
Let freedom ring!

~Samuel Francis Smith, 1832

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Blessing Number Five

Do you have any friends? I do. Just a few, of course, because you seldom have but so many. Now, I’m not talking about people whom you hang out with and have fun with, though certainly this is something that is often true of friends. I’m talking about much more than that.

I have someone who called me once when she heard I had a potentially serious medical problem and she cried over the phone because it hurt her that I had to go through that trial. Those tears came from a heart of love. Through the years, she has been consistent in her readiness to step in and help if she thinks I have any need of any sort whatsoever. Quietly, in the background. That’s one friend.

I have another person who lets me pour out my heart to her whenever I have something tearing me up inside, even if it’s something dumb. She recently called me at ten in the evening to tell me she loves me and that she’s glad for my friendship. That was all she wanted that night. She’s young enough to be my daughter, by the way, but we usually forget about that. That’s another friend.

There’s this other lady who is sure to direct my thoughts to the Lord whenever we talk. But if she sees me step over the line into sinful attitudes or actions, she has been faithful enough to wound me and point it out. That’s one more friend.

There are a couple of more sweet folks who are dear and real, but I don’t want to make this too long.

When my mom was here in our home, dying from cancer, it was the darkest time in my life thus far. The first friend mentioned above came to sit in the room by my mom’s side from time to time. The second friend above sewed beautiful warm nightgowns for my mom to wear while lying in her hospital bed at our house. The third friend mentioned came weekly with her husband to have prayer and sing hymns with my mother. They were all lights in my darkness.

These three people and I have rejoiced together, wept together and prayed together. Time has only strengthened the bond, even if we go weeks without talking. Our ages haven’t mattered, nor has our skin colors. God has given these people to me to make my life richer. Do you have any people like this in your life? I hope so, for your sake.

Thank you Lord, for my friends.

How beautiful the sight
Of brethren who agree
In friendship to unite
And bonds of charity;
“Tis like the precious ointment shed
O’er all his robes, from Aaron’s head.
~James Montgomery, 1771-1854

Monday, November 20, 2006

Blessing Number Four

In our day, I am sad to say, the Church of Christ is characterized by many factions, disagreements, hurt feelings, accusations, fallen leaders, anger, unbiblical practices, bad doctrines, worldliness, and the list goes on and on. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that the Church is by and large in a sad state.

However, scattered about the world are some large, but more often small, pockets of believers who gather together as local congregations seeking to honor their Savior and remain faithful to His Word. They meet together under many external conditions, some of which are hostile, and the worshippers come in a variety of colors and speech. I belong to one of these congregations.

My husband and I have been a part of our local assembly of believers for more than twenty years. It’s one of the small pockets. It’s a group bearing a few scars, which is quite common nowadays. It’s been through some waters, but has emerged without drowning. We’ve walked through a huge fire and some small brush fires, and while scorched a little, have not burned up. We have love one for another, have peace within our walls, have a love for the Word of God and have a yearning to see more souls in God’s kingdom. We have a couple of pastors who are trying to lead us in righteousness, and while I’m sure not perfectly, they are doing their best. I do believe they love us and are trying to keep watch over our souls. The Holy Scriptures and its doctrines are held in high regard. What more could I ask for in a church?

Yesterday, we heard a report from a fellow pastor who has a ministry in Zimbabwe, Africa. One of our young people recently came back from helping this pastor with that work. The people in our congregation are excited about assisting this pastor and his wife in any way we can. As small as we are, that’s the way our church is—always ready to help where there’s a need. I’m just glad to be a part.

Thank you Lord, for my church.

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love:
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

~John Fawcett, 1782

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Blessing Number Three

If you know me, there’s little doubt that you’ve already figured out the third item on my list of blessings. Of course, it’s Selena. What more can I say than what I’ve already said time and again? The birth of our first grandchild occurred on Labor Day and she went home with her daddy and mommy two days later. My entry for that day seems to be appropriate for now and I ask that you go and read it, because it’s still an expression of my heart today. (Home Sweet Home)

Now, two and a half months later, we know her even better and love her even more. I’m sure that our love will continue to grow if, by God’s grace, He gives us more time with her. We consider her to be a gift beyond measure, and I’m praying that early she’ll come to know and love the Good Shepherd.

Thank you Lord, for my granddaughter.

Gracious Saviour, gentle Shepherd,
Our little ones are dear to thee;
Gathered with thine arms and carried
In thy bosom may they be
Sweetly, gently, safely tended,
From all want and danger free.

~Jane E. Lesson, 1842

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Blessing Number Two

One of the dictionaries in our home has a definition for the word “blessing” which I particularly like. In the second sense of the word, it reads: “A means of happiness or welfare; a beneficent gift.” This meaning of the word definitely describes what our children are to us.

We have two chosen daughters. That’s another way of saying that they came to us via adoption. They were “born in our hearts” rather than by physical birth. And to put it in a way that I read on another blog which I frequent, we are linked to them “by law and by love.” I can truly say with gratefulness that they have each been a means of happiness and welfare for both my husband and me. They have brought us much joy and have increased our sense of well-being, especially as our feet have landed on that rich golden soil of our senior years. And one of them is still at home and a teenager!

And I can add that the “beneficent gift” abounded even more two years ago when our older daughter married a young man who has so far proven to be a loving and devoted husband, seeking to lead his family in a way that honors God. So our two children have grown to three!

Where there is beneficence there is a benefactor. Our children are a good gift that we enjoy from the almighty Benefactor, the giver of all that is right and good in this sin corrupted world. It’s not that we deserve it any more than anyone else. But He gave it to us anyway.

Thank you Lord, for my children.

Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom His world rejoices;
Who, from our mothers’ arms,
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.
~ Martin Rinkart, 1636

Friday, November 17, 2006

Blessing Number One

The Lord has been so gracious to my dear husband and me. In June of this year, we celebrated our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. I couldn’t have had a more faithful and dependable man for these years, and in this day and age, from what I keep hearing, this is no small thing.

If it had been left to us, we would have failed long ago. But, thankfully, it is God’s sustaining love that keeps us and has kept us and caused us to learn the lesson that must be learned by all married folks: It’s not our love for each other that keeps our marriage intact, but our commitment to it and to Christ that sustains our love.

Thank you Lord, for my husband.

O perfect Life, be thou their full assurance,
Of tender charity and steadfast faith,
Of patient hope, and quiet, brave endurance,
With childlike trust that fears nor pain nor death.
~~Dorothy F. Gurney, 1883

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Count Your Blessings

Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation! Psalm 68:19

Well, it’s exactly one week before Thanksgiving—it really did sneak up on us! At least it did on me. If I had to pick one single holiday as a favorite, I think it would have to be this one.

What a perfect time to reflect on the goodness of our God. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift. To honor the upcoming holiday, I thought I’d make a post a day of seven things for which I am thankful. Most of us, myself included, certainly have no trouble getting discouraged or concerned about this or that. So, instead, for the next week, let’s just try to praise the Lord together, shall we? If anyone wants to add a thanks in the comments section, feel free. I’m sure everyone who frequents this place knows one thing in particular which (who) will be on my list.

Jesus truly is the fountain of blessings in our lives!

Come, thou Fount of ev’ry blessing,
Tune my heart to sing thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above;
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of God’s unchanging love.

- Robert Robinson, 1758

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It's My Privilege

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.1 Timothy 2:1-2

Yesterday, I exercised one of the greatest privileges that I own as a human being—the right to vote. Today, we all got the results and as is always the case, there were a few of those results that I was pleased to hear about and many that I was not pleased with. I’m not here to talk about politics today, but to speak as an American.

Even amidst much disappointment, I’m still proud of my country. In our homeschool eighth grade, my daughter has a Civics Activity Book that she’s working through. It’s another reminder to me of the government that we have. I am again amazed at the wisdom of some great men who framed it over two hundred years ago. There were no computers then. No airplanes. No telephones, let alone cell phones. No digital cameras. Just great men. Men with some faults and weaknesses and sin, but great men.

So now, two hundred plus years later, there will again be a transfer of power in a major branch of our government, and it will take place without bloodshed. A little bit ago we heard our President speak, not with threatening words, but about liberty and democracy while telling his opposing party that the people of this land expect him and them to “work together.” That’s the way our country is. That’s America.

I may be disappointed about many things, but I’m still proud and thankful to be a citizen of this particular land, even with its shortcomings. And I’ll continue to pray for our leaders, no matter who they are, because the Lord has told me to. Join me won’t you, in praying that our children and grandchildren will still have a great nation to grow up in. Remember, being able to pray this way is another great privilege.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Two Reminders

Your hands have made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. Psalm 119:73

We had a great time at our church this past weekend. We had what we call our Fall Bible Conference, which included our annual Thanksgiving dinner as well. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and enrichment for most of us and it was especially so for me because Selena and her parents came to join with us. It was another first for her--the first time visiting her grandparent’s church, the one in which her mommy grew up. She met quite a few folks who are dear to her PopPop and Nanna (and to her parents).

There was someone there who I have been wanting her to meet from her beginning days. On Saturday, she met a special little baby girl from our church for the first time. Since this little one is a part of our congregation, I see her quite a bit and know her pretty well and I always tell her about my grandbaby. I always talk to her about her “friend.” You see, she preceded Selena into this world by only three days, so because of that, I figure that they are friends. So it was something of a treat for me to see them “together” off and on during that day, in and out of the nursery.

We’ll see what God does with that friendship thing, but both of them are reminders of our Creator God. They are both fearfully and wonderfully made, and have been reminders of that to many of us in their recent days in the womb and then in their births and now in these early days of their lives.

I’ve been praying for the soul of my granddaughter even before she was born and those prayers will continue. I long to see the day when she becomes a child of God. I’ll be praying that He’ll be giving her understanding, and that she’ll be learning His commandments. And I, and I know many others, will be praying the same thing for her little “friend”.