Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dad's Birthday, Girls Group and More

The past few weeks have been pleasantly full and included celebrating my dear Daddy's birthday, framing the cross-stitches that the girls in girl's group finished and spending an evening with friends.

Dad's Birthday - April 18th Ryan, Leah, Mom and Dad looking at his new dictionary the Noah Webster's 1828 "American Dictionary of the English Language". An excellent addition to our library!

April 18th was my Dad's birthday and through a bountiful home cooked breakfast, singing a special birthday song to him, writing him letters of love, and sharing our love for him through gifts, we sought to bless him on this day. I am truly grateful to God for giving me a father like my Dad. Where would I be without this special man leading and guiding me along the path of Truth? Without his protective covering? Without his desire to be obedient to the Lord no matter what the world says or does to him? I would certainly not be where I am today! And I can joyfully assert "The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places, indeed my heritage is beautiful to me." Psalm 16:6. Thank you, Daddy!

Several weeks ago, Leah and I recognized a need for the girls in our girl's group to have notebooks in which to keep the things that we learn and do during our times together. Things such as their recipe cards, scrapbook pages, teaching notes, articles, their journals, etc. We had an enjoyable time designing covers specifically with each of the girls in mind.

The completed notebooks.

What excitement there was this past Thursday as the girls were able to frame their cross-stitches! They began the cross-stitches in September of 2006 and since then have been working on them for a short period of time just about every week that we meet together. A couple of the girl's cross-stitches were more difficult and thus they completed one project, and a few of the girls were able to complete a couple of cross-stitches. For every girl, cross-stitching was a new experience. Through pricked fingers, missed or wrong stitches, knots and broken threads, they worked cheerfully and diligently and thus reaped the benefits of their labor.

In the above photo, each girl has one of their completed cross-stitches.

Washing the cross-stitches in preparation for framing.

Perseverance and patience has worked its result - beautiful cross-stitches!

Ryan, Leah and I had the opportunity to spend an evening with some friends of ours, and we had an enjoyable time. After the meal, Ryan and the boys went for a walk on their farm and Ellie, Leah and I rode horses. It was a such a pleasant evening to ride as the breeze was blowing gently and it wasn't uncomfortably hot. After we rode, Ellie's younger sisters rode in the barnyard for a bit. I liked this photo of Leah leading them!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Gleanings from My Quiet Time

Today has been a busy day and a few of the things I was able to accomplish were to plan girl's group with Leah for tomorrow, plan our family vegetable garden, and work on cutting out fabric in order to sew two skirts and a jumper for a customer. I am taking a break from sewing in order to type a journal entry and then it will be time to put the potatoes in the oven. (This week is my week to cook and we are having twice-baked potatoes, bread and meatballs tonight.)

In yesterday's journal entry, I shared our girl's group study on 'fears the Lord' (please see that entry to read what Godly fear is). As I was having my time with the Lord this morning several verses stood out to me that directly tied in with the study. Both are found in Ecclesiastes.

"I know that it will be well for those who fear God, who fear Him openly." Ecclesiastes 8:12b

The part that stood out to me here is that our fearing of God is not to take place only in our hearts, but we are to fear Him openly. Both the KJV and the NKJV use "before God" instead of "openly". "Before Him" infers constantly; at all times. Fear Him in private and fear Him when others can see. Not hiding our light under a basket, but instead being like a "city on a hill [that] cannot be hidden" (Matthew 5:14-15). We should proclaim our love for and fear of God through our words, actions, thoughts, etc. This ties in partly with what I also read this morning in Ezra 5:11. When Judah was asked their names by the peoples of the land, their response was, "We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth." They were not ashamed or embarrassed to admit that they served God! They saw their spiritual life and relationship with God as having more significance and importance than their physical life. If Christ is our Lord and Savior, then our whole lives should revolve around Him. He should be our focus; His Word should always be the first thoughts that come to our mind in response to situations. "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth." Colossians 3:2. Praise of our great God should always be on our lips. If our hearts are tuned to Him, we will speak and live His truth. Every aspect of our lives should point to our heavenly Father and our Savior and Redeemer.

"The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments..." Ecclesiastes 12:13a

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

"Fears the Lord . . ."

This past week at girl's group we taught the girls how to thoroughly clean a bathroom. (They even had fun doing it! ) We first made a list of all the things that they thought should be done. Our list was very complete by the time we we were ready to begin! I was impressed with how many different specific chores that the girls came up with. Once our bathroom was spotless we had our lesson. We discussed an in-depth topic covering the verse Proverbs 31:30 which reads "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." We discussed, in brief, the first part of the verse and then set our focus on the second part. We had spent much time, prayer and research into preparing for this lesson. Below is the summary of what was taught. Much of it was taken from a book written by Andrew Murray. To read the full chapter on "The Fear of the Lord", please click here. Please remember that this is just an outline to guide the teaching - it is in no way complete.

Fears the Lord

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

Charm: a power of pleasing or attracting as through personality or beauty.

Deceitful: misleading, deceptive

Beauty: as in physical appearance

Vain: without real significance, value, or importance

-There are a couple different kinds of fear. One is a fear that God commands us not to have; (i.e. fear of storms, death, pain, etc.).

-One kind of fear God commands us to have. That is the fear of the Lord.

-This fear has several facets:
1. Reverence and awe before the glorious majesty of God and before His almighty holiness. God is perfect, holy, the Creator, the Savior, etc. This aspect of fear seeks to remember who God is and seeks to honor Him. (Isaiah 6:3; Habakkuk 2:20; Exodus 34:6-7a)
2. Deep Humility. Realizing that we are nothing without Christ. Does not trust in the flesh, but trusts fully on God. Knows its own weaknesses and that our human nature does not want to be obedient to God. But because we fear God we firmly depend on Him for our protection and not ourselves. (James 4:6, 10; 1 Peter 5:6) -Humble means to not be proud or arrogant; modest; recognizing that all that is good in us is from God and not of ourselves.
3. Cautiousness and vigilance; We must seek to know the correct path (by studying Scripture), to watch against the enemy, to watch ourselves to see the areas that we are sinning in and to repent of these – seeking to be obedient to the Lord. (Proverbs 8:13, 16:6)

4. Holy zeal and courage in watching and striving. Having the fear of displeasing the Lord by not conducting ourselves as His servant in all things. True fear of the Lord takes away all other fear. Fear of the Lord causes us to hate anything that displeases or grieves our heavenly Father. (Deut. 6:2; Isaiah 12:2, Proverbs 8:13).
What are the Scriptural reasons why we are to fear God? Duet. 10:17, 20-21; 1 Samuel 12:24; Jeremiah 10:6-7; Revelation 15: 4.

Fear of the Lord comes about from the true heart knowledge of God and His greatness, power, and glory. Beauty and charm are not recognized in God's eyes for He sees the heart; they are also not lasting, but will pass away. Fear of the Lord is obedience to God and will have eternal value.

A Walk

"O LORD, how many are your works! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your possessions... I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being." Psalm 104:24, 33

These are just some of my thoughts as I took a walk on our property today and photographed. As I observe God's creation, it fills me with awe of our Creator. Marvelous are His works and my soul knows it very well!

I just thought I'd share some of the photos that were taken during my walk - some of plants, some of wildlife.

Wild Plum Blossoms - we have so many of these trees and they are absolutely beautiful this time of year!

Several years ago, Mom planted this underneath one of our cedar trees. I believe that it is called 'Periwinkle'. It has spread quite a bit and its little blossoms are so delicate.

Our driveway is fairly long and off of one side of it is a small pond. After photographing the mailbox and daylilies I walked down there and was startled by movement above me. It was a Barred Owl! I'm so glad that I had my camera and was able to take this!

What intricate beauty is in a daffodil!

Today must have been a good day for wildlife as I also saw two deer. They were first on our property and then they jumped the fence and ran across our neighbor's pasture.

By now, I had made almost a full circle of our property and stopped to photograph some of our waterfowl. Last week, I hauled fresh sand to their duck pen (a tiring, but rewarding job!) and the ducks have been enjoying it. As you can see in one of the photos, the ducks also greatly enjoy their occasional treats of corn!

Did I mention that the ducks like corn?! I had set the corn pitcher down on the ground while I was photographing. These two hens decided to investigate and as a result of their efforts tipped over the pitcher and helped themselves to the little bit of corn that was still inside.

Thus concludes my walk! This morning thunderstorms rolled through Missouri and because of the cold front left behind cooler temperatures. For the rest of this week the lows are going to be getting down into the upper 20's so we are going to have to cover some of our plants. Mom's lilac bush is blooming for only its second year and it has at least 12 blooms on it - we will definitely be covering that!