Sunday, September 20, 2020

Weekend Words

It's all about focus.  Three of my readings this morning seemed to relate to 'focus'.  Do you think God is trying to tell me something??  So you are getting all three (in the order I read them).  You might want to read in installments :) 


From Our Daily Bread devotional...

In Focus - read Acts 3:2-8, 16

Author Mark Twain suggested that whatever we look at in life - and how we see it - can influence our next steps, even our destiny.  As Twain said, "You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."

Peter too spoke of vision when he replied to a lame beggar, a man whom he and John encountered at the busy temple gate called Beautiful (Acts 3:2).  As the man asked them for money, Peter and John looked directly at the man.  "Then Peter said, 'Look at us!'" (v4).

Why did he say that?  As Christ's ambassador, Peter likely wanted the beggar to stop looking at his own limitations - yes, even to stop looking at his need for money.  As he looked at the apostles, he would see the reality of having faith in God.

As Peter told him, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you.  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk" (v6).  Then Peter "helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong.  He jumped to his feet and began to walk" and give praise (vv7-8).

What happened?  The man had faith in God (v16).  As evangelist Charles Spurgeon urged, "Keep your eye simply on Him."  When we do, we don't see obstacles.  We see God, the One who makes our way clear.

- Patricia Raybon

What are you focused on instead of God?  With refocused faith, what could you see in Him for your life?

Heavenly Father, when my eyes wander from You, focus my gaze on Your unlimited power.



From Hearing from God Each Morning devotional - Joyce Meyer

Spirit Led Persistence

What am I to do?  I will pray with my spirit (by the Holy Spirit that is within me), but I will also pray (intelligently) with my mind and understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15)

I really want to encourage you to pray persistent, persevering prayers by the leading of the Holy Spirit - not mere repetitious prayers that do not come from your heart, but prayers that refuse to give up.  It is possible to use your mouth to speak words of prayer that have no meaning behind them at all, and those prayers are nothing but dead works.  I could quote the entire Lord's Prayer while I am thinking about something else, and that would not bless God or do me any good, but if I am sincere and pray from my heart, God hears and works in my behalf.

Lip service doesn't do anything for God or accomplish anything in our lives, so even when we pray about the same thing over and over again, we need to be careful not to fall into meaningless repetition.  Instead, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in a fresh way, even when we are addressing a subject about which we have prayed for a long time.  Sometimes He will lead us to be diligent and persistent about a matter, but there is a difference between repetition and Spirit-led persitence.

Words spoken in prayer that are not connected to our hearts are words without power.  When we pray we should focus and concentrate on what we are saying.  We should never merely verbalize things we have memorized while our hearts are far from God.  The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available (see James 5:16).

Your heartfelt prayers to God have power and He hears them.




From A Year's Journey with God - Jennifer Rees Larcombe

Prisoners of Hope 

Return to your fortress, O prisoner of hope; come back to the place of safety - Zechariah 9:12

Paul was in prison but he was never a prisoner.  It is not difficult situations that trap us, it is our reactions to them that form the prison bars.  Psalm 107:10-11 and 13 talks about prisoners like that who are chained in the deepest gloom, 'for they had rebelled against the words of God... then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress.  He brought them out of darkness...and broke away their chains' (v14).  Our spirits can be imprisoned when we 'rebel' against God by shaking an angry fist at the circumstances He has allowed.  Fortunately He is always ready to save us when we call to Him for help!

An Old Testament scholar such as Paul would have known Zechariah's phrase 'prisoners of hope' (9;12).  Whenever I read it, I think of the day I went to tea with my friends Jo and Susie.  Their cat had presented them with 5 kittens, which had rapidly turned into teenagers with attitude!  In the centre of the sitting room stood a huge wire cage in which lived a family of gerbils.  The kittens swarmed incessantly all over the cage, spitting, hissing and clawing savagely at the bars.  Far from being traumatised, the gerbils took no notice at all, but happily went on eating, sleeping and playing chase.  A prison holds you on all sides and contains you, so being a prisoner of hope means being surrounded and protected by our unshakeable trust in God's promises and goodness.

You hem me in - behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me... Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence? (Psalm 139:5,7)



See what I mean?  It's all about where our focus is :)



All the Spring flower photos were taken on my walks this past week




"The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come..."

Song of Solomon 2:12

Friday, September 18, 2020

Domesticity

 It's been a week of domestic pursuits...

Sewing...

I hadn't done any for over a year, because I didn't have a table low enough, or a chair high enough...

But the idea occurred to me (I'm a bit slow sometimes) to use my desk.  The pull out part that I normally sit my lap top on.  And it worked a treat!  It does bounce around a bit if I sew too fast, and a bigger table would be better, but... It didn't cost me anything (just a bit of brain work)...


just ignore the mess on the desk

This was a long sleeved button front dress with a collar , but a bit over the top as a dress, and it was also a bit short (I prefer mid calf to ankle length).  I really liked the fabric, so cut it off just under the armholes, removed the elastic in the waist, and sewed another waistband (bias binding and elastic) and viola...a dropped waist skirt!




The fabric is really pretty paisley on a heavier weight brushed cotton...


It was an op shop find for a couple of dollars.  And I've save the rest of the fabric for ?  I might add a couple of pockets.  I like pockets.


Cooking...

corn fritters

Lunch...

 spaghetti bolognaise, broccoli, beetroot/redbeet


And after lunch...
chocolate crunch (aka weetbix slice)

Garden work...


Working on moving the hellebores to the back of the garden bed (closer to the fence) and transplanting lower growing plants towards the front.


But I will leave them massed under the greengage plum tree, and probably move a few more there to fill in the gaps...


And my honeysuckle, that I bought in a small pot last Spring is really taking off...



Crochet...

Still working on the granny squares (2  to go) and still reading (and enjoying) Old Houses, New Home...

not getting as much inside time now that Spring is here and there is much to do in the garden


A quote I read this week...

"There is a magic machine that sucks carbon out of the air.  It costs very little and builds itself.  It's called a tree." 

George Monbiot

this was taken down at the river about this time last year.  It's one of my favourites :)


That's all folks!

Time to get back to work :)

xx

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Weekend Words

 From Our Daily Bread devotional...


Friendly Fin - read Genesis 4:8-16


A marine biologist was swimming near the Cook Islands when a 50,000 pound humpback whale suddenly appeared and tucked her under its fin.  The woman thought her life was over.  But after swimming slowly in circles, the whale let her go.  It's then that the biologist saw a tiger shark leaving the area.  The woman believes the whale had been protecting her - keeping her from danger.


In a world of danger, we're called to watch out for others.  But you might ask yourself, Should I really be expected to be responsible for someone else?  Or in Cain's words: "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9).  The rest of the Old Testament resounds with the thunderous response: Yes!  Just as Adam was to care for the garden, so Cain was to care for Abel, Israel was to keep watch over the vulnerable and care for the needy.  Yet they did the opposite - exploiting the people, oppressing the poor, and abdicating the calling to love their neighbour as themselves. (Isaiah 3:14-15)


Yet, in the Cain and Abel story, God continued to watch over Cain, even after he was sent away (Genesis 4:15-16).  God did for Cain what Cain should have done for Abel.  It's a beautiful foreshadowing of what God in Jesus would come to do for us.  Jesus keeps us in His care, and He empowers us to go and do like wise for others.

- Glenn Packiam


Who has God entrusted to your care?  How have you embraced that responsibility?  How have you tried to evade or avoid it?


Compassionate God, thank you for your care for me.  You keep me and watch over me.  Help me to do the same for others.


Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

- Leo Buscaglia


You cannot do kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson



Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
- Sir James M Barrie


Remember, we all stumble, every one of us.  That's why it's a comfort to go hand in hand.
- Emily Kimbrough

(images and quotes from The Gift of Friendship - Bill Coleman)



Friday, September 11, 2020

Out and About

 Had a day out with Marnie earlier this week. Turners Beach and a quick beach fix...






A stop off at various ports of call (for lunch and shopping) and a short 'walk in the woods'...







I was exhausted by the time I drove home!!

I also bought more yarn to make another blanket for Wrap With Love.  I usually only get one made each year, and the one I mailed off recently (photos in THIS post) should be in a container and on its way to Syria now...
Only $2 a ball and I should get 2 knitted squares from each ball
Need 28 x 10" squares for the blanket

Still working on these crocheted squares.  Unfortunately I can't get any more of the cream yarn at the moment and I think I'm going to run out...


I've started on one of my recently purchased books from the Mennonite bookstore ...
I'm really enjoying it.  Reminiscent of the Little House books

I'll leave you with this early morning shot from the river this week...


"When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop,
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,
How gracious, how benign, is Solitude"

- William Wordsworth


I'm off for some solitary lunch :) 

xx


Sunday, September 6, 2020

Weekend Words

From Beside the Still Waters devotional...


Lord, when I shrink thy place to fill
And think my way is better still,
Please mold and bend and break me 'till
My heart and life are in thy will.

- Elvin Stoltzfus


Meeting God - Read Matthew 25:31-46

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life - John 3:16

Someday we will meet God.  We will stand before the eternal One, who is so incomprehensibly mighty that He spoke everything into existence except mankind.  Man He formed from the dust and breathed into him the breath of life.  Knowing that Adam and Eve would sin, God bared His holy arm before the foundation of the world to bring about man's salvation.  He planned the sacrifice of His only begotten Son to provide the forgiveness of sin.

God also gave man an Instruction Book, and sent His Holy Spirit to shine His divine illumination upon its pages.  He provided the avenue of prayer so that even in our imperfection, we might commune with Him in His holiness.  God left nothing undone, neglected no detail, and spared no effort to reconcile us unworthy mortals to Himself.

So how will it be to stand before His throne when life on earth is over?  Will God be a kind of jolly grandfather who laughs and waves us through to glory?  "You messed up a few times, but on the whole, you tried to be a good fellow."  Or will He be a harsh Judge glaring from beneath heavy brows?  "I cannot bear the looks of you, I never have liked you, and I do not want you in Heaven."

No, these images do not match what the Bible reveals about the character of God.  But God is obviously serious about Project Creation.  His holiness will not be compromised;  His justice will not waver.  His authority will not be diminished nor His purposes altered.  We too must be serious about life if we are to hear those all-important words of commendation when we meet God: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant...enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

 - Gary Miller - Pantego, NC



Friday, September 4, 2020

September Yarn Along (et al.)

Spring...


Although not all the days have been as blue sky and sunshiny as this.  We've also had cloud, wind and rain, but who wants a reminder about that!?!

This week has been a mixed bag.  A trip to Sheffield and Latrobe on Tuesday.  Lunch with Marnie and a walk with her past this cute little house...

Which brought to mind a quote I read recently:

"I longed to be transported into that quiet little landscape, to walk up the path, to take a key from my pocket and open the cottage door." - Alan Bradley


While in Latrobe I bought more yarn to continue working on this blanket.  I was originally only going to make a small baby blanket, so only bought one ball of each colour, but enjoyed the 'prettiness' of the colours so much, that I bought another ball of each so I can make a bigger blanket...



I have three books on the go at the moment...


During winter I re-read all the "Little House..." books, and was wondering what to read for Spring/Summer.  I had read some of the Mitford series in years past, but was reminded again recently (thanks Marilyn) of how I enjoyed them.  So have decided they will be my 'light summer read'.

But this second half of the week I've lost a day down and out with a bad headache, so taking it easy today with my Mitford book and my crochet.

And a quote from the book:

“Well, Preacher, you've took a load off my mind, and that's a fact. I've been wrestlin' with this f'r a good while, and now I'm just goin' to set it down in th' road and leave it."

"That's a good plan, Uncle Billy. God asks us not to worry about tomorrow."

"That's a hard one, Preacher."

"It sure is.  And it takes practice.  Just stick with today, is what He recommends.  Of course, it helps to stick with Him, while we're at it.”

― Jan Karon, At Home in Mitford

And here's the Yarn Along link.

xx

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Weekend Words

From Pilgrim Ministry website...

Finding Strength in Stillness

Author Name: 
Category: 


We have a blessed practice in our churches that many likely take for granted. We begin our services in reverence and silence. We enter the sanctuary and sit quietly, stilling our soul as we prepare to worship together. But it is possible that some of us only appear quiet and still on the outside. Inside we may be in turmoil or simply be distracted, entertaining thoughts about things outside our church building—I know what that is like.

We live in such a noisy, distracted world: ungodly music, traffic, televisions, cell phones with all their notifications, social media, news, games, and advertisements. Our world fears silence. Noise is their balm, giving relief to the gnawing emptiness in the soul of the one who does not know his Creator. Noise is the world’s liberator, drowning out the conscience and the still, quiet voice of the Spirit that convicts of sin, and judgment, and righteousness. As long as there is noise, the questions of, Who am I; Why am I here?; What happens when I die?; can be quelled.

Noise and distraction are the Christian’s great enemy, for it also keeps us from hearing the soft voice of the Spirit, Who is our Comforter. John 14:26 says, The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. When we are noisy, we cannot hear the Spirit’s words of teaching. When we are distracted, we do not heed the thoughts He brings to our mind, and we do not have peace. Psalm 46, God says to a people surrounded by trouble and noise, Be still and know that I am God, I will be your refuge, and He still says it to us today. He tells us that our strength and safety lie in stillness.
It takes deliberate effort to be still in our soul, but it is necessary for the growth of our faith. We must cultivate not only quietness but the ability to focus on Christ. Hebrews 12:2 exhorts us, look unto Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith. That word “look” means to consider attentively; concentrate on. It is to turn our eyes away from other things and fix them on something, in this case, Jesus. Colossians 3:1-2 exhorts us to Set your affections on things above. The word “set” means to direct one’s mind to; seek, strive for.

Some of the things that bring noise into our lives may not be bad things in and of themselves. But A.W. Tozer warns, “Whatever keeps me from the Bible is my enemy, however harmless it may appear to be. Whatever engages my attention when I should be meditating on God and things eternal does injury to my soul. Let the cares of life crowd out the Scriptures from my mind, and I have suffered loss where I can least afford it. Let me accept anything else instead of the Scriptures, and I have been cheated and robbed to my eternal confusion.”
At times, the noise can even be Christian service. In Mark 6:31, we hear Jesus telling his disciples, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile; for there were many coming and going, and they had not leisure so much as to eat.

How easy or difficult it is to quiet our souls and concentrate on Jesus on a Sunday morning is probably a good indicator of how we are doing during the week. If we are not disciplining ourselves during the week, we will find it difficult to do on a Sunday morning. Let’s learn to spend some time every day with our soul quiet and our focus on Jesus.