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The Power of Our Words

This morning I emptied the dishwasher very quickly. Unexpected tasks had caused me to get a later start on the day than I had intended. While hurriedly gathering the coffee cups from the bottom rack, I dangled each one from a different finger on my left hand.  I then grabbed the blender we had used for breakfast in my right.  I was planning next to add the coffee carafe to my load (however, where I am not sure), because all of the items went into the same cupboard over our coffee pot.  Until, that is, an image of the carafe shattering onto the floor came into my mind.  I might have stubbornly tried to grab it anyway, but I remembered some words spoken to me many years ago.

While attending college as an adult, I was hurrying through the hallways with a stack of books loaded on my arms.  They were piled precariously until their balance reached the tipping point and they tumbled to the floor.  A professor  behind me was walking toward the nearby door.  As I scrambled to pick the books up again I heard him say without missing a step, “That’s what you get for being so lazy”.  As I finished restacking my load I realized he was right.  It would have been better to make two trips.

Those simple words, spoken by a stranger, have stayed with me every since they were spoken.  What power there is in our tongue!  For good or for evil.  Even words casually spoken can have a huge impact on the one who speaks them, or on the one who hears what was said.  Words are so very important that one day we will be accountable to Jesus for every single one that comes out of our mouths.   The ability to speak is both an awesome responsibility and an amazing privilege.

Now, if I may ask?

What is the last thing you said about yourself?  Your husband?  Your wife?  A family member?  Your friend or an acquaintance at work? The checker at the grocery counter?  The computer expert from another country at the other end of the phone line?  Did it bring forth life or death?

It is never too late to determine to set a watch over our tongue.  May The Lord help us to speak words that are pleasing to Him.  May we not be embarrassed by what we have said when one day we stand before Him.

Matthew 12:36-37  (KJV)
36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Colossians 4:6 (KJV)
6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Proverbs 15:28 (KJV)
The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.

Psalm 141:3 (KJV)
Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

 

 

 

 

 

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Earthly Angels

Recently my husband and I took a get away trip to drive the Selkirk Loop which runs through Washington, Canada and Idaho.  A spur of the moment decision taking just over 24 hours to complete; it was beautiful.   It was a much needed break from the responsibilities of everyday life.

One point of interest along The Loop was the Metaline Falls Rest Area.  While Rest Stops are not usually on our list of places to see, a brochure had informed us that just a short hike behind the restrooms there was a waterfall.  Picture taking is part of my excitement on any adventure, so we decided to hike in.

While I had packed insect repellent for the trip, there were no mosquitos at the Rest Area, nor had there been any throughout the trip.   Given those facts, I left our spray container in the vehicle.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had made a terrible mistake!  Not far along the trail I found myself  swarmed by mosquitos as I stopped to capture a picture of the rocks and water with my camera.  As I braved the bites of the hungry little creatures, two ladies who had been walking not far behind us caught up to me.  We visited for a moment about the splendor that surrounded us as I purposefully swatted at my legs.   With a look of concern after noticing my plight, one of the ladies extended a can of repellent towards me.  Usually shy about accepting assistance from people I don’t know, I welcomed her offer.  Relief came quickly as I applied the spray.  I was so very thankful!

A lively and fun conversation followed as I expressed my gratitude before running to catch up with my husband.  I thanked them profusely, calling them angels sent from above.  They laughed, saying some may beg to differ, yet we all knew that our meeting had been a divine encounter.

This week I would like to invite you to remember The Earth Angels that The Lord has sent to you.  It may have been a brief meeting like the one I described above.  It may have been years given in loving care.  Either way, if you are able, please tell them thank you.  Let them know that they were indeed a gift, and a provision from God for you.

As for me, I would like to say my thank you now.  Thank you Sue and Sharon!  Thank you for your beautiful smiles and friendly manner, for your love of people, and for taking time to care for me.  May The Lord Bless you both!  May He send Earth Angels to you in your own times of need.  In fact, it would be lovely if one day we will meet again and that Angel turns out to be me.

Thank you as well to those who loved me those many years ago when I first met Jesus.  He sent you to teach me that I could trust others.  Through you I learned that I could trust Him.  You were heaven sent indeed.

Thank You Lord for Your provision.  May I have eyes to see your goodness, as you lovingly watch over me.  Please send me on assignment to Your other children find themselves in need.  Then Lord, please help me to go willingly with an attitude of joy, to carry that assignment out.

Philippians 1:3 King James Version
3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you

Hebrews 13:16 New King James Version 
But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Hebrews 13:2 King James Version
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

 

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Free

John 8:36 KJV
If the Son therefore shall make you free,
ye shall be free indeed.

Lord may we be free from the lies that we believe.
About ourselves and also about You.
From the binds of unforgiveness that hold us captive.
Help us to give those who hurt us back to You.
May we be free from the shame of sin past and present.
Help us to forgive ourselves as completely as You do.
Set us free from harsh words that others have spoken.
Help us to know the Truth of THE WORD which comes from You.
May we walk in the freedom that You died for us to have.
Lord Jesus, make us free indeed as we walk this life with you!

Have a wonderful 4th of July Week!

Christine and A Little Made Enough.

 

 

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My Feathered Friends

Saturday at The Ranch House was a busy day.  It was filled with catching up on chores.  We turned a tree that had been leaning precariously towards the house in our front yard at home into firewood, and mowed the tall grass that had become seriously overgrown in our absence.  There was also time for a nap and our traditional evening spent watching the setting of the sun.  Joining us in these ventures were many winged and feathered friends.

I had never considered myself to be a bird lover.  In fact, I rarely had time to take notice of them in my younger years.  After having spent time alone at the house during the tractor driving season of my life however, I became quite fond of these wonderful little companions.

There are Bee Martins.  Yellow breasted and ever bickering with one another, they return every year to build a nest in our fir tree.

Evenings that are warm enough to leave the windows open result in a special treat. There is nothing like lying in bed for a few moments before getting up in the morning to listen to the beautiful song of a Meadow Lark.

Some years we have Bluebirds. The picture above is the result of such a time.

A noisy little warbler has her nest hidden in secret somewhere near the house.  She is small yet constantly singing, a happy little thing.

This year we have a Sparrow Hawk.  Typically keeping a fair distance from people, this girl kept landing on a hole a woodpecker has made on the outhouse (darned woodpecker!).  Time and again she would hang on to the side tightly, stopping to peer in.  I thought she was hoping to find an easy meal.  Until, that is, she climbed on inside.  No wonder she visited so frequently.  I think we will be having baby sparrow hawks this year!

We also have Robins.

That afternoon as I was taking a break from wrestling the push mower, a handsome young specimen with dark brown feathers and a brilliant red breast landed not too far from my chair.  Gentle and familiar as we have many Robins at home, I watched as he looked for his afternoon snack.  As I turned my attention and really looked at him, I realized what I had done.  Caught up in the birds that I don’t see every day, I neglected to appreciate the beauty that this Robin possessed.

May I never become so distracted by the uncommon, that I do not see the  beauty that fills my life every day.  May I  value and appreciate the blessings that I have been given.  May I be truly thankful for each one.  May I never take these gifts for granted.    May I have eyes that see.

Psalm 107:1 King James Version (KJV)
107 O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

1 Thessalonians 5:18  King James Version (KJV).                      In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Psalm 50:11-13 King James Version (KJV)
11 I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.

 

 

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Only One

My Dad was a fiercley independent man.  Cantankerous was a common word used to describe him, even by his friends.  He was also one with whom you dare not discuss your faith.  He was born of modest and harsh beginnings, with alcohol being an important part of his life.  One of the losses he experienced because of its presence was his family.  We were estranged for many years.   I was fortunate however, to reconcile with him in his later days after personal tragedy caused his drinking to stop.

During one of my later years visits, I boldly told my Dad about ALME and gave him the link to the site.   I know he read in it because he complained about one of the pages.  I didn’t argue or dispute or counter his point, but quietly rejoiced because he had gone in and looked around.  After that one conversation, we never discussed ALME again.  I find great comfort in knowing that Holy Spirit would have led my Dad to Opening The Door, which describes the sacrifice of Jesus and His invitation of eternal life to us all.

Authoring ALME is indeed a tremendous privilege, for which I am grateful.  Sometimes, however, the time required and responsibility involved seem very great. Opposition comes in many forms.  More than once I have wondered; “Lord what in the world was I thinking?”.  Then I remember my Dad.  If he were the only one who had ever looked at ALME, or read a Daily Scripture, or said the prayer of salvation on Opening The Door, it would be worth it.  Jesus would have asked me to write those pages, if they were written only for him.

If there is an area in your life where you feel discouraged, I want you to know that The Lord sees your efforts and He is pleased.  He is watching as you choose to love someone who is not loveable.  He is there as you forgive them yet one more time.  He smiles as you wipe those little faces and enforce loving discipline.  He knows when you are true to His word even though it would be easier to just give up.   He reads that note of encouragement you have written on your Facebook page.  What you are doing is important to Jesus.  Whether for many or for only one.

Galatians 6:9 (KJV) 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Mathew 18:12 (KJV)  How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

Mathew 25:23 (KJV)  His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

 

 

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“Squiggles”

I am not famous for holding a straight line when operating moving machinery. Somehow, I usually manage to “squiggle”.  When I was driving tractor, my squiggly lines were visibly evident.  It could prove to be downright embarrassing as I drove the road after working in a field to see the marks I had left behind. While I did my best, and improved with time, perfectly straight lines were not my leave.  This week when it was time to mow the lawn I decided it was going to be different.  Sliding onto the lawn tractor seat, I determined that I was going to minimize the squiggles that I left in our grass.

I  learned early on while driving the fields that if you pick a point off in the distance and drive straight to it, you end up with an unswerving, (or lessy swervy) line.   Today that was going to be my tactic.  From the top of one corner of the yard, I chose a fencepost at the far opposite end.   As I purposefully kept my eyes fixed on my target, a thought came to mind.  As it is helpful to look forward when mowing the lawn, operating our car, or driving tractor, it is beneficial in life as well.

In both instances we need to glance back from time to time, to make sure we are getting the results we desire.   Yet, we don’t want to stop completely or look back for too long.  Keeping our eyes fixed behind us can prevent us from successfully moving ahead.  It may even cause us to drive out of the yard and into the gravel and rocks and weeds!

We also need to be aware of what is directly in front of us.  Like most yards, our lawn has natural hazards.  Low spots and flower beds need to be avoided.  I have found that if in my caution, my eyes become too downward focused,  I start “squiggling” even more. It reminds me of looking at our feet when we are walking.  Yes, we must choose where we place our steps, but staring at our shoes and never looking up can cause us to end up in a different place than we had intended.  We may even find ourselves bumping our head into a tree!

For today the lawn is finished.  It actually looks better than it usually does!  There are still a few small squiggles, but the task is completed to my satisfaction.  Next week will require that I mow once again.  Until then:

*I will remember to look where I am headed, my eyes on Jesus because of His great love. His Way can be trusted.  He is the author and finisher of my faith.

*I will make mindful choices as I walk through each day.  God’s Word will be my light when trouble tries to block my way.

*I will remember my past but not live there. I will consider it but not allow it to hold me back.  I will continue to move forward with purpose, that I may fulfill God’s plan for my life.

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Philippians 3:13 but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
**
Note from Christine- forgetting the past doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.  It means it no longer holds you there.

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Blue Sky and Muddy Roads

The road to the field that I drove to work on is five miles long and dead ends at the barn. It is unpaved and isolated, with periodic steep canyons on either side.  The drive is beautiful and peaceful, unless you get caught in a rain storm.  It can then be quite treacherous as the dirt becomes saturated and transforms into mud.  An enjoyable drive can turn into a race to reach pavement so that you don’t slide off or get stuck on your way out.

Some of the fields where I was preparing the soil for seeding were located near the end of that five mile road. Once I reached the tractor and parked the pickup, the furthest away point to be worked was another mile beyond.  Driving the tractor back to your vehicle can take awhile when you are on the far end of the field.  Because of this, on cloudy days, I always kept a watchful eye on the sky.   In farming you don’t quit unless you have to, or the work will never get done.

I have to admit, I am more cautious than most when it comes to shutting down because of rain.  Anxiety would come upon me when the clouds darkened.  Thoughts of becoming stranded would lurk in the back of my mind. Until, that is, Our Lord had pity on me.  One day when I was pondering leaving the field because the sky was threatening, I saw a small piece of blue in the middle of the cloudy sky.  God’s peace came over me, and I knew that it was safe to stay.  From that time forward, as long as there was a sign of blue sky, I would continue to work the field.  A time or two there were even raindrops on my windshield.  Yet, if the sky became dark with no evidence of a break, I would turn around and head back to the house.  I am so thankful that God chose to speak to me in that way.

The Lord always wants to communicate with us in a way we are best able to understand.   This week I would like to invite you to pay particular attention to how Jesus speaks to you.  Through Scripture, nature, the radio, a gentle impression upon your spirit when you are talking to Him, or even through other people.   There are  many and varied ways the Lord is speaking.  It delights His heart to have conversation with us.  May we be sensitive in our hearing as we walk with Him through each and every day.

Psalm 85:8 I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.

2 Timothy 3:16  (KJV)  16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Psalm 19:1,2 NKJV
19 The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament[a] shows [b]His handiwork.
2 Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.

1 Kings 19:12 KJV  12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice(italics mine).

Matthew 28:20 … lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

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Our True Home

I will be helping a family member move this week.  It will be fun to assist with the settling in process.   Moving is an exciting time, filled with good byes and hellos and new adventures.

Anticipating lining shelves and placing dishes in the cupboards, I remembered  the many homes in which I have lived.  Air Force Base housing, which changed every year or two when we moved as I was growing up.  My grandparent’s farm.  Raising our children in the house where my husband grew up.  A one bedroom apartment with three twin beds, one bathroom and one closet shared by my Mom and my sister and I.  College apartments.  A 830 square foot condo in the Washington DC area.  Finally, here, in our comfortable home of 17 years.  It is alot of work, but such a blessing. However, one day I will leave here as well.

It is not in our homes or our possessions that we will find happiness.  If that is our expectation, our lives will lack meaning.  Our “things” will become more important to us than God.  Our pursuit of possessions will gradually  become more important than the people in our lives.  It can easily and unexpectedly happen if we don’t stay on guard and remember to give thanks to The Lord.

God has given us so many blessings.  May we hold them loosely, not clutching them to ourselves.  May we use all that we have been given, to point to the goodness of our Lord.

Lord, please help us to remember to put You first in our lives.  That our true home is in heaven with You. May we know deeply in our spirit that all we have is really a gift from Your Hand”.

Hebrews 13:14 For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.

Proverbs 4:23  KJV  Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Mathew 6:24. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon

Psalm 89:11 NKJV11  The heavens are Yours, the earth also isYours; The world and all its fullness, You have founded them.

Haggai 2:8 KJV  The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts..

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You Are Not Alone, Too

This week I am following up on last week’s post regarding the Ladies’ Conference I attended.  It was amazing!  Full of music and dance, with one of my very favorite singers leading the worship. (I chuckle when I remember hiding in the bathroom many years ago because I was uncomfortable with so many songs!) There was time spent with other women who like to give hugs.  There was wisdom and  nuggets, and deep truths upon which to ponder.  There was even chocolate at the door!  I was privileged to share our cards, photography and creations that are meant to inspire and encourage, so there was an ALME table out in the hall.
It was a wonderful and refreshing time.

Driving to the ranch house when the conference was over, I reflected on what had taken place.  Words spoken by one woman kept playing over and over in my mind.  “You have felt like you have been left on your own, but you are not alone.”   In the midst of the multitude of blessings, the wonderful people and interactions, what touched me the most was the reminder.  I am not alone!

This complicated world can leave us feeling isolated and abandoned, but that simply is not true. This week I would like for you to remember; you are not alone too.

When you are driving in the car, Jesus is with you, no matter where you are going.

When you are arguing with your spouse or children or parents or friends, He is there watching.   He loves each one of you, no matter who is wrong or who is right.

When you feel all alone in a crowded room, He is standing beside you, covering you with His peace.

When you are doing things that you would rather keep hidden, He does not leave you. He stands ready to help.  He  loves you just the same.

Jesus will not leave us alone in our deepest sorrows, nor in our greatest joy. He is watching over us when we struggle. He is cheering us on to our victory. He is with us when we remember Him. He is ever so close when we do not. He is true to His Word in the Bible.  He will be with  us until the end of the age.

Mathew 28:20 … lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

Hebrews 13:5 … for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Deuteronomy 31:8 – And the LORD, he [it is] that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Isaiah 43:2 – When thou passest through the waters, I [will be] with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Little Is Enough

Today I am finishing up the preparations necessary for a Women’s Conference I will be attending this weekend.  I am excited to have been invited to take ALME’s greeting cards and pictures, along with a couple of new items, to be made available for purchase throughout the conference.  It is a good reason to get things in order for the on-line store we are planning to open before Christmas of this year.  Sales will help ALME to continue with our Mission and Vision.

It is amazing to think that ALME has been in existence 9 years.  It came about when my son-in-law offered to create a web site for my writings when my husband and I had moved to Washington DC.   I knew no one there, intentionally determining to take a rest, and had decided not to work in town so that I could manage farm business and be available to assist our elderly Mothers should the need arise.  At that time, our son-in-law had a 9-5 job and no children.  He is a VERY energetic, patient man, who likes to get up early to accomplish special projects.  I am thankful that ALME was the project that he chose at that time.  Without he and his idea, ALME would not be.

Things have changed since ALME’s inception.  Our son-in-law now has a job that keeps him very busy, as well as a family and home responsibilities.  Still, he makes himself available when there needs to be an emergency fix.  He is currently creating the store.  Our daughter is my faithful proof reader in spite of her very busy life, and our son takes time every week to phone me from Seattle to make sure I stay focused and accomplish my goals.  I am so thankful for them.   May The Lord bless each one.

As for myself, I have been able to write and work on ALME in varying degrees throughout the years.  Sometimes I have had just a little time, other times I have had more.   No matter the amount of time, The Lord always seems to make it enough to accomplish what it is He is asking me to do in that season.  I have often asked myself,  “what the heck  do you think you are doing anyway?”.   But Jesus has not said to lay ALME down, so I am obedient and continue on, trusting Him to take my offering and use it to encourage others who He brings to the site.

As I was pricing and packing and preparing, never imagining that my small dreams of a website 9 years ago would lead to photographs and greeting cards and Daily Scriptures and Weekly Posts,  I was reminded of “What is Luke 9:10-17”.  It is one of the very first articles written on ALME, the story of how Jesus fed the 5000 with five fishes and two loaves given to Him by the disciples.  Had they not given Jesus what was available, the people would not have been able to eat and would have had to leave The Lord.  Had the disciples tried to feed the people with this meager offering on their own,  the people would have gone hungry. Yet they brought what they had to Jesus.  You have gifts that others need as well.

Just as my son-in-law gave a snippet of an idea here, and a bit of time there, The Lord has given you ideas and pieces of time too.  As my daughter and son are sacrificing to bring their expertise to help make ALME better, you have expertise in areas that Jesus can use.   As I had a desire to encourage others in their faith, Jesus has given you desires for your life and for the lives of others.  So I dare you.  Stop and think about the needs of those around you.  Take a few moments to reflect on your hopes and your dreams and your gifts.   Go ahead and give Jesus your little.  He will make it enough.

What is Luke 9:10-17