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Bless the Lord

. . .and to our dying days, both Jerry and I want to Bless our Lord. May my final moment breathe out His praises.

Our ministries now are limited, our aging and abilities affecting what we can do for Him. But on occasion–as during Easter morning 2019–we lift our voices in praise to our Savior.

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An important post is on God Things, one of my other sites. https://shirleybuxton.wordpress.com/2019/04/16/the-hot-flame-of-calling-and-of-gifts/

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of the holy

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. Romans 1:20

His Name . . .the note in my ear . . .the taste on my tongue . . .of the Holy.

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Beauty from Slag

I’ve had this beautiful piece of glass for many years; so many years that I don’t have a memory of buying it. Many of you will recognize it as being a specimen of slag glass.

Production of slag glass originated in late-19th-century England, where glass manufacturers are thought to have added slag from iron-smelting works to molten glass in order to create a range of effects—from tortoiseshell to marbling. Among other uses, slag glass was a popular material for lampshades. This purple and white is one of the more common colors and swirled design.

Slag. Depending on where you’re from, it may be an insult, a term meaning trash. Slag is typically an iron calcium silicate type material, which is liquid in the furnaces and is poured or siphoned off the top of the molten metal. When it cools it forms a solid glassy looking substance and when added to molten glass creates such beautiful pieces as this one of mine.

When I came to Jesus, I was little more than bits and pieces of humanity–as are we all. My mom and dad told me about giving my life to Him and it seemed right to me, and I knew I wanted to do that. So this scrawny straggle-haired child knelt at an altar in a store-front church and surrendered up, and Jesus took me. He accepted my pitiful offering, scooped up the slag of my life, and added His spirit to what I had handed him. I was transformed. That’s why I can look at my life–now exceeding eighty years–and say, “Thank you sweet Jesus. Thank you for vision, for abundance, for a beautiful life.”

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Animals Christianity/Religion Crestline Devotionals dogs God Life Photography Shih Tzus Weather/Nature

Leash

20150219-untitled (35 of 45)Usually I walk Winston along our street, sometimes going into the woods that is a part of Thousand Pines Christian Conference Center here in Crestline. Yesterday, though, I put him in the car and drove the mile or so down to Lake Gregory, where, in an area near the San Moritz Lodge, we accomplished our morning walk.While he nudged small stones, and snuffled around fallen leaves, trying to sniff out at least one of the myriad animals who prowl about the area, I reveled in the day. Getting on toward the end of February, the weather should be described as storms of snow and rain; instead we’re having Spring, and although I’m wanting the cold weather, I’ve decided (since I can do nothing about the amount of heat or cold that stacks up about me) to enjoy these gorgeous days, and to avoid too much whine about the other stuff.

Winston walks on a leash. A leash that I control. I snap it on him, and take it off him. I’m in charge of Winston, and I tell him where we’re headed, when to go, and when to stop. Sometimes he obeys me. Others times not. Sometimes he doesn’t want to come for the leash and he’ll dance around, and tease, but before we head out for the walk, he is securely tethered by his leash–the leash that is in my hand.

20150218-untitled (2 of 45)I  wear a leash too. Despite, though, how closely you look about my neck or how thoroughly you peer about my shoulders, you will not see my harness. It is invisible, rests easily about me, yet is highly effective. I’ve worn my leash a long time now, and should it slip away, should it be lost, I would suffer. My leash is of The Spirit. My leash is the Holy Ghost. I cherish this restraint, for it guides me through this very treacherous life, along roadways littered with stumbling stones, through neighborhoods of evil report.

With David, I cry:

Prepare my goings in your paths and do not let  evil rule over me. Psalm 119:133 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

And to my Savior, I lift my hands, and extend my body for the leash for He has said:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go. Psalm 32:8

20150218-untitled (3 of 45)We care deeply for Winston, we provide for him, we pamper him. Despite being the smart little rascal he is, without us he would lose his way. One day he would frolic away to the camp or to the lake, not remembering the coyotes that prowl our woods and our streets, nor the occasional huge cat who might very well rest in the limb above his furry little head.

20150219-untitled (40 of 45)Sometimes he’s in danger and has no sense of it at all.

And so Winston wears a leash, as do I. For sometimes I’m in danger, sometimes I head toward the wrong path, sometimes ungodly creatures lie in wait for me, but I’m safe, for I yield to the leash.

My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not stumbled. Psalm 17:5

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Seven Thousand and Counting

It grieved me to hear that a highly respected elder minister of the Gospel felt in good conscience he could no longer attend the church he had pastored for many years. The relative who had followed him as pastor has chosen a “new” gospel. The names lack significance. The message cracks with consequence.

As a counterpoint to the short piece above that I recently posted on Facebook, and which received many affirming comments, I present a young couple. Their names are Anthony and Shauna Allen.

ImageAnthony Allen is a young minister, and he and his darling wife stand as the antithesis of the relative noted in the paragraph above. On Sunday at the conclusion of their (and his parents) short visit in our home, Jerry spoke a short devotional.

Image

ImageAs I gave a final hug to Shauna, she spoke soft words me: It is such a blessing to be in a home where I feel so strongly the presence of God.

Image Our Sunday morning devotion in our living room ended in this way and I was reminded again that across the world there are innumerable honest, ethical, God-fearing people who are not deviating from the doctrines found in the Bible. Young ones, middle-aged ones, and older ones. I recalled that great prophet Elijah who once got to thinking he was the only one doing right. God rebuked him and cited 7000 who had not bowed their knees to Baal.

I smiled. . . and decided to tell you about it.

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Crestline Devotionals God Photography Weather/Nature

Changelings

Some person has said “The only constant is change.” How true that is, and how much happier we are to embrace that understanding rather than to go kicking around an unexpected curve or resisting the stretching and challenge of maturing. How clever and knowing of us, for indeed change is inevitable, and we might as well know that some of these developments are pleasant, while other restyling of our schedules and even of our relationships may present itself as being a distinct and undesirable task.

After breakfast this morning Jerry and I took a walk into our near woods–about a mile there and back–and on the way, camera on my shoulder, I saw two examples of such change. Inescapable is that summer gives into fall, and that our trees, a few months back having pulled on the green of their spring finery, now have changed their minds. The heat of summer has sucked away the emerald tones and now those once tender, green leaves have gone to red and in short days will crinkle into brown and will fall to the earth.

Just before our path stopped at the road leading into Thousand Pines Camp, I saw this plant and while Jerry turned and headed back, I paused to look and to snap a couple of pictures. Those tan pods used to be purple flowers and that purple one–hanging on to its color now–in a few days will fade as has its comrades.

Only One does not change. James spoke of it in his book in the Bible. Chapter 1, verse 17.

. . . and cometh down from the Father of all lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

The rest of us? Change. Count on it. It’s coming.

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Devotionals Flowers/Gardening God Life Photography Weather/Nature

Knowing God Through Nature

An authentic way of knowing God is to look deep into nature. Consider the pushing into earth a tiny seed or a gnarled bulb with the promise that fruit of a particular form, color, and taste will burst from the emerging plant form. Amazing. Hundreds of times, without even considering the need for faith, with trowel in hand, I have torn open packages with brilliant images on the labels, and into the dirt I have buried seeds and bulbs, or from cube-sized containers have slid into cold earth a plant the size of my finger. And always–without exception–from an allium bulb has come a tall, onion-like plant, at the top of which is an allium globe; from a tomato plant come yellow blossoms, then tiny, green tomatoes which grow bigger and then turn red (and then I salt them and eat them!); from petunia seeds come glorious delicate petunia flowers . . Genesis 1 says it will be so. Verse 11.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth, and it was so.

Great photographers (and amateur ones) of the world lift camera to eye and embed images on their sensors or on their film; images of grand mountains, immense and mysterious; images of crashing rivers and leaping salmon who somehow know to rush upstream to their own spot for their own spawning; images of lavender fields and great seas and birds who fly south and lady bugs and tulips on the bud. Therein we see God.

Great photographers (and amateur ones, too) lift camera to eye and on their sensors or on their film record the curl of a baby’s finger, the soul of a man as it glows in his eyes, the battered boot of a worker, the gnarled hand of a farmer . . . Therein, we see God.

Yesterday, I heard a loud thump just outside our home. “What was that?” I said to Jerry.

“Just an acorn falling onto the deck.”

So, here in the early days of fall, when green colors fade and begin to glow red and gold and brown, when textures change and a crunching sound is heard beneath our feet because leaves have begun their downward drifting, I will continue my quest of knowing God–because of nature, its repetition, its certainty.

Genesis 8:23

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

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i am

Asleep, I lie oblivious, unaware. Dawn opens the curtain of today and I am teased  awake. Now I know. Now i am. . . because of I AM.

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Children Culture Devotionals My Family My Home

Third Day of Ten

During these ten days that five of our grandchildren will be with us, Jerry has decided to conduct a simple devotion with them every morning. He has chosen to read one of the Proverbs–this morning, the 14th, in conjunction with today’s date. “Be honest. Don’t lie,” was one of the admonitions there. Jerry emphasized it a little as they listened carefully.

 

Then after Pappy asked them, both Cole and Brady named a few things they are thankful for today.

The girls were quiet this morning.

It’s a little after noon now, and they’re all out running around with Pappy, except for four-year-old Ella who is home with me. With Pappy, they’re cashing in bottles and cans, buying bird feed, going to the bank, then up to the dump.

The dump? you ask. Yep, up here in the mountains at the dump is a thrift store, where instead of throwing many things away, people take them to the thrift store. It’s a big warehouse kind of building, and the youngsters always want to go to the dump when they come to visit Granny and Pappy!