Sunday, August 30, 2020

Weekend Words

From Pilgrim Ministry website...

Finding Strength in Stillness

Author Name: 

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.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Last week...

It was supposed to be titled  'This Week', but I didn't get it finished, so now it's 'Last Week'.

A trip to the Latrobe/Devonport area on Monday to have my car serviced...
the Mersey River at Latrobe

And some new yarn to crochet a baby blanket...
my bears wanted to get in on the action :)

I bought this Helichrysum/Liquorice plant/Hi Ho Silver last summer in a small pot, planted it on the south/shady side of my house and it has done really well...
it's so pretty

So I took some cutting back in autumn, and although they haven't grow much, they didn't die either and have tiny roots, so I've planted them out in this garden bed in the hope they will grow...
you can see the original plant in the back left of the photo

We've had all sorts of weather this week, and on the wintry days I've been baking...
banana and blueberry muffins

The recipe...
click on photo to enlarge

I used blueberries instead of the choc chips; about 1/3 cup of brown sugar instead of the castor sugar; a combination of flours (white, wholemeal, spelt, buckwheat and almond meal); spices (cardamon, allspice, cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg); and a little extra milk because I'd used heavier flours.

And chicken and vegie macaroni and cheese...
this was my lunch

The recipe.  Sorry it's not very clear, click on it to enlarge...
If you have trouble reading the recipes, let me know and I'll type them out

I didn't have any cauliflower, but added frozen peas, corn and green beans.  I also sauteed some onion and garlic with the chicken and added a bit of turmeric, cumin and curry powder.

I've finished the blanket for Wrap With Love and will mail it off on Monday Wednesday.  They are in the process of packing a container for World Vision so who knows where it might end up...

A close up of the crocheted edge...
just need to stitch the label on


Down at the river...
blue skies and sunshine one day

back to winter the next

The wattle thinks it's spring...

I really need to try and write more often, so my posts don't get so long.

 .  Such a varied and interesting life I lead! 

NOT! :))


Sunday, August 23, 2020

Weekend Words

From Our Daily Bread devotional...

In the Dark and in the Light

Hurricane Dorian pounded the Bahamas with winds of up to 185 miles per hour and left the tropical haven in shambles.  It continued to wreak havoc as it traveled up the eastern coast of the USA.  A hurricane chaser - one familiar with storm patterns - found shelter in a solid concrete school.  He reported that "the winds pounded the building with the force of a thousand sledgehammers."  In spite of what was happening on the outside, he found safety on the inside because the building was trustworthy in a storm.

A number of biblical metaphors point us to the trustworthiness of God as our safe place.  Psalm 18:2 says, "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."  The writer unleashes these words to convey the truth that God can be trusted in times of peril.

Who among us doesn't long for safety as we find ourselves traversing the rough terrain of life?  Ill health and physical discomfort, relational stress and alienation, financial tensions that seem to have no end.  People of faith find help in the knowledge that "the eternal God is [our] refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deuteronomy 33:27).

While it's comforting to know that God is Lord over the storm - it is even better to know that His presence is a reality apart from trouble.  God is not a "superhero" who shows up when life's villains make their occasional appearance.  No, the all-sufficient God is trustworthy at all times and in all situations!

Why are we so inclined to think of needing God just in the midst of dark days, as if He can take a rest when things are well?  Many days are rather uneventful.  If we're not careful, we can be lulled into thinking, "I've got this!"  A beloved hymn reminds us: "I need Thee every hour, in joy or in pain; come quickly and abide or life is vain."

Confident trust in the Lord is conveyed in Psalm 23: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want" (V. 1 KJV).  This declaration of confidence is followed by words that convey God's active presence at all times.

Calm reliance on God can be in play at all stages of life.  In fair weather there's no desperation, but our need to trust God is no less.  Whether there's green grass under our feet or a rocky road that leads to the valley of the shadow of death - we can trust Him.  Your present stage may be the instability or uncertainty of youth or the rocky transition to adulthood.  Separation or divorce may be staring you in the face.  You may be leaving home for the first time or leaving a well-established home to enter a senior-living facility.  Are you welcoming new life into your home through childbirth or adoption?  Or stepping into a new career or a new opportunity for service?  Trust Him!  You may not need God as a storm shelter right now, but you certainly need him as you navigate your new normal and even your ordinary days.

Life's scenery is guaranteed to change; life's Shepherd doesn't.  May you sense His presence afresh and find Him trustworthy at all times. 

Arthur Jackson, Our Daily Bread author

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Weekend Words

From Beside the Still Waters devotional...

Have You Seen God? - Read Psalm 19, John 1:1-18

Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. - John 20:29

"Seeing is believing" is an old adage frequently used to establish the veracity of an unusual claim.  "Have you seen God?" a trucker asked me one morning at the shop where I worked.  My affirmative response was gruffly dismissed as he determined that the conversation would proceed no further.  While my answer certainly is not in harmony with natural man's reasoning, in one sense it is sound and irrefutable.  For example, have you ever seen the wind?  Can you describe its dimensions, its form or its colour?  What is it composed of, and what is its life span?

"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and wither it goeth" (John 3:8)  Although the presence of the wind and its effects in the world are easily manifest, the wind itself eludes the sight of man.  Foolish indeed would be the one who denied its existence because he cannot see it.  So it is with God.  The beautiful natural world that He created gives plain evidence of the existence of the wonderful God whom we see with eyes of faith.

Upon completion of His masterpiece of creation, "God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31).  The universal and invariable laws of gravity, of thermodynamics, and of entropy reveal a God of perfect order.  A new born baby and a repentant sinner clearly reveal a merciful and loving God, the Author of both physical and spiritual life.  And even though "no man hath seen God at any time" (John 1:18), He has been "declared" by His Son - the clearest revelation of God ever given.  Now can you see God?
Pete Lewis - Halsey, OR

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. - 1 Peter 1:8

Each time you look up in the sky
Or watch the fluffy clouds drift by,
Or feel the sunshine
warm and bright,
Or watch the dark night
turn into light,
Or hear a bluebird sweetly sing,
Or see the winter turn into spring,
Or touch a leaf or see a tree.
It’s all God whispering,
“This is Me…”

Helen Steiner Rice

Friday, August 14, 2020

Winter pursuits

The row of trees in the sheep paddock at the back of my house have been lopped off and I now have a nice view of the Ben Lomond mountain range from my kitchen window...
it's not this close, I zoomed in :)

I've finally got the blanket squares sewn together and can get it up off the lounge room floor.  All that colour was getting a bit much for me :)...
crocheting an edge around it now

My little foray into the world of thriller/crime books has come to an end.  I read two David Baldacci books and although I enjoyed them, I'm happy to be back to my 'calm' reads.  I picked this one off my bookshelf A Lantern in Her Hand.  I've had it for a couple of years and not read it, but it is proving to be very interesting.  Shades of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder...
I might check out the library for more of her books

We've had all sorts of weather this week.  Cold frosty nights and early mornings, and calm, clear, days...  
late afternoon by the river

Clouds and fog...

And the swans are back...

I'm doing come rearranging.  Moving all the books from my lounge room shelves to book shelves in my spare room.  I'll set up a little 'library corner' in there.  Although I love books, they were making my lounge room feel cluttered.  And I DO NOT like clutter.  Or too much colour :))
Maybe I'll have some photos to show you next week.

It's lunchtime and I'm getting hungry.  Chicken and cashew stir fry with rice.  But I still have to cook it!


Sunday, August 9, 2020

Weekend Words

From Beside the Still Waters devotional...

A Leap into the Unknown - Read: Genesis 12:1-5, Luke 14:25-35

For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. - 1 Corinthians 13:12

I partially buried a tub in the pasture to water the geese I had purchased.  The brim was about six inches above ground level.  One morning I found two toads swimming in the tub.  They were trapped; the water level was too low for them to escape.  They had taken a leap into the tub with no thought of how they would get out.  Don't we humans sometimes do the same, and then call on God to rescue us?  With a water hose I soon filled the tub to overflowing, and the toads hopped to safety.

In today's first Bible reading, God directed Abram to leave his home country and travel to a land that God would show him.  This was not a blind leap into the unknown.  Abram went in faith, trusting the words and the leading of God.  We likewise do not know what the future has in store for us.  The path may seem untraveled and very rugged.  We stumble and our feet get sore; the muscles ache and the body grows weary; but the faithful hand of God continues to guide us if we reach for it.

In today's second Bible reading, Jesus showed the importance of thinking seriously before we leap.  What will be the cost?  Do we have enough faith and commitment to take us through to the end?  Elsewhere Jesus spoke of those who gladly received the Word but endured only for a time, because "when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended" (Mark 4:17).  Indeed we do not know what is coming or even what we ourselves will do in the future.  But if we trust God and remain faithful one day at a time, we need not fear the unknown before us.

Harold Zimmerman - Myerstown, PA

Faith is letting down our nets into nontransparent depths at the divine command, not knowing what we shall take.

Friday, August 7, 2020

August Yarn Along

August Yarn Along time already?  Where is this year going ?!?

Finished the cardigan I was knitting for Hazel and got it in the mail to her in time for her 2nd birthday...

And finally finished knitting all 28 squares for the Wrap with Love blanket...
sewing them up now and will then crochet an edge around it

On to my second Baldacci book (Walk the Wire)...
And pulled Falling Free of my bookshelves 

There are signs of Spring...
over my back fence

and in my garden

But it can still feel wintry on my river walks...

And a quote I read recently...

"What you surround yourself with should bring you peace of mind and peace of spirit."

- Stacy London


Sunday, August 2, 2020

Weekend Words

From Beside the Still Waters devotional...

A Reason to Hope - Read Psalm 42-43

This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope.  It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. - Lamentations 3:21-22

The other day at work, a few lines from the song "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" were going through my head.  "Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!"  I came to realize that in those few words, we are promised all that we need to be at peace even in the midst of difficult circumstances.

God promises "strength for today."  Do we find our troubles overwhelming?  Are we discouraged, confused, and just plain weary?  We need to turn our eyes away from the storm of problems around us, and gaze upward instead.  If we live one day at a time, we will find that God's mercies are "new every morning" (Lamentations 3:23).  God walks beside us every step of the way, and He gives us strength to face each trial as it comes - not before.

Even when the future looks dark and foreboding, we can still have "bright hope for tomorrow" if we trust in our almighty God.  He has promised that no matter what happens to us, it is part of His plan for our good.  Can we lay down our worries and simply trust Him?  As Christians we should really be the most joyful people in the world, because we can take refuge in Him who is greater than the storms of life.

In John 16:22 Jesus spoke these reassuring words to His disciples: "Your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you."  How could He say this just hours before their hopes were shattered by His crucifixion?  It was because nothing can take away joy that is rooted in God.  How great our God is, and how great is His love and faithfulness towards us!  He is great enough to be trusted with everything.

Jeremiah Stoll - Gravel Switch, KY

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me! - Thomas O. Chisholm