Throw Back Thursday (TBT): Embracing the Life that's Mine, not the One I Wish were Mine

Throw Back Thursday (TBT): Embracing the Life that's Mine, not the One I Wish were Mine

It made me think of how I was feeling last summer after I returned from a month in Delaware with my daughter and family.  The last place I wanted to be was in back Ohio! But God brought me up short. Here is the blog I wrote shortly thereafter. Maybe you need the reminder periodically, as do I. First posted September 14, 2015.

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A Time to Live & a Time to Die: Reflections on Time & Eternity

A Time to Live & a Time to Die: Reflections on Time & Eternity

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
    A time to be born and a time to die...
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a,4a (NLT)

Time, that fleeting commodity that holds us while on this earth! Yet, we can't hold onto it! And for all of us, time is ticking away. We are closer to the end of our earthly journey every second that we live.

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Peace for a Dying Soul: there is a Shepherd!

Peace for a Dying Soul: there is a Shepherd!

Lord, bring Your Peace into the room as we go.

So I pray as we enter the hospice facility. Jesus can bring peace because He IS Peace! And how much darkness could be ready to rush in when souls are hanging between life and death.

For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I AM there in their midst.
Matthew 18:20 NASB

And so HE is here!

In the room a sweet, familiar voice speaks the eternal Word:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

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Of Haircuts, Bananas, and Traffic Patterns: Is anything too Small for the Lord?

Of Haircuts, Bananas, and Traffic Patterns: Is anything too Small for the Lord?

Is there anything too small for the Lord?

OK, that's not how the verse goes: 

Is there anything too hard for the Lord? (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17; 32:27; Luke 18:27)

But maybe the first is a question we should also ask. Let me share why...

The other day I was taking my daily walk down our hill, through the nature path, alongside the horse farm, through a park area with the baseball fields and grove of trees...then back again. Many times this walk is when I commune with the Lord....listening to praise music, talking with  my Savior and Friend.

And other times, I commune with friends or family via my cell phone. Also lovely and meaningful.

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Secular or Sacred: Is there Really a Difference for a Child of God?

Secular or Sacred: Is there Really a Difference for a Child of God?

If we believers are temples of God (and we are), 
     if we hold the glory of the Lord in the earthen vessel of our body (and we do),
          if we live unto Him as we walk out our lives (and we can), 
then can anything we do ever be "secular"?

All we do and are is sacred, isn't it? 

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Broken Open Glory: Appreciating the Differences (Part 3)

Broken Open Glory: Appreciating the Differences (Part 3)

No two geodes are alike. In fact, to the uneducated among us, it is even hard to tell a geode from an ordinary rock. Some are large, others are small. Some are lighter than others and some "rattle." Some are from "exotic" places like Morroco and Uruguay, others are from Illinois and Arizona and places stateside.  

And no two geodes have been broken in the same way or with the same effect. Each cracked open, broken apart geode is unique, showing forth its unique glory in a unique way

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Broken Open Glory: in All Its Glory! (Part 2)

Broken Open Glory: in All Its Glory! (Part 2)

The Glorious GOD lives in ME, little ole broken me! 

... So can I spell out for us an amazing thought:

the Glorious God of Creation; 
the Arresting God of the Burning Bush; 
the Blinding God of the Desert Mountain; 
the Still, Quiet God of the "behind me" Voice; 
the Gentle God of the Judean Hillside; 
the Truth-filled God of the Living Way; 
the Compassionate God of the Overflowing Well;
the Caring God of the Secure Sheepfold; 
the Life-filling God of the Fruitful Vine; 
the Resurrecting God of my Salvation; 
the Fire-tongued God of the Holy Spirit

... lives in ME! 
and YOU too, my sister and brother, by grace through faith in the glorious Son, our Lord Jesus Christ! 

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Broken Open Glory: Seeing God in Seemingly Unlikely Places (Part 1)

Broken Open Glory: Seeing God in Seemingly Unlikely Places (Part 1)

Things aren't always what they seem to be. Take, for example, an ugly fruit -- all gnarly on the outside, but incredibly luscious and sweet on the inside. Who knew?
Or how about a middle school aged boy, like my grandson Evan -- an ordinary (except to his parents and grandparents, of course) young man, ...
And what about a bush? I imagine the Old Testament patriarch Moses just thought the bushes on the backside of the desert where he tended sheep back in the day were just ordinary bushes. ...
Well, who knew that a particular rock could be more than a rock in Arizona ...

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Walkin' n Talkin' with my Savior

Walkin' n Talkin' with my Savior

Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road...? Luke 24:32

Carter and I have this thing goin' -- walkin' n talkin'...n talkin' n walkin'...n walkin' n talkin' n....on and on and on.

It's pure delight for both of us, because Carter is 3-1/2**...and I'm Carter's Babci (Polish for Grandma).  I know it won't last forever -- he'll grow up and become interested in many other things.  But for right now, we have each other and walkin' n talkin' n talkin' n walkin'!

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Are You Guarding an Empty Tomb?*

Are You Guarding an Empty Tomb?*

It is Finished!

There were soldiers that guarded Christ's tomb. And for them this was not just "another day at the office," because this time the death of the "Criminal" presented new problems: would the followers come to steal His body? Would He actually do what He said and come back to life? (I'm not so sure the officials really worried about this last possibility, do you?)

So the stone ... and so the guards! Until...

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Holy Week: 7 Sayings of Christ with B.C. 2001

Holy Week: 7 Sayings of Christ with B.C. 2001

A few years ago, I came across an inspiring cartoon in my "Easter" file (See enlarged image below).  I think my husband John, who had been the family reader of the Sunday funnies in years gone by, cut it out and gave it to me back in April 2001.  So there in my file, this little treasure has been tucked away for all these years.

For those of you who have been following the Lenten Meditations on a branch in the Vine, this piece serves as a fitting climax during Holy Week.

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Lenten Meditation: Q & A for Holy Week

Lenten Meditation: Q & A for Holy Week

Question: "What is Palm Sunday?"

Answer:Palm Sunday is the day we celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, exactly one week before His resurrection (Matthew 21:1–11)....

 

Question: "What is Passion Week / Holy Week?"

Answer: Passion Week (also known as Holy Week) is the time from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday). Also included within Passion Week are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday...

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Lenten Meditation: a Word of Reunion

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Reunion

Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.

So goes a traditional nighttime prayer taught by American moms to their children for generations. It may seem odd to us today that there would be the mention of death in a child's prayer.  But scientists say that sleep is the closest we come to death while still alive.  The Greeks even had a proverb,

Sleep and death are brothers.

However, in the first century, Jewish moms taught their children a different bedtime prayer...quoting Psalm 31:

Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit.

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Lenten Meditation: a Word of Completion

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Completion

Tetelestai!* It is finished! The death of Christ on the Cross is the HINGE of human history...and nowbefore He breathes His last breath... a cry of victory,It is finished!

What's finished? It must be something BIG,...look at what happened when Jesus died:

At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead.

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Kiss Me...I Might Be Irish

Kiss Me...I Might Be Irish

That was the saying on a balloon I saw at Kroger.  And it was also the sentiment in the elementary school we kids went to in New Jersey.  St Matthew’s was an Irish parish (maybe because the founding pastor was Irish, Fr Duffey), so our sports teams were the “Fighting Irish.”  Anyway, the sentiment was that everyone was Irish on St Patrick’s Day. I remember us Renner girls (mom’s maiden name = Galuszka; so you do the “ethnic” math ) spraying our hair green, putting on our already green uniforms, and heading next door to school.  (Yes, we lived next to the church and school!).  We FELT Irish…even if we were really German & Polish!

Everyone was indeed “Irish” at St Matthews on St Patrick’s Day, except for the few rebellious students and even teachers who wore orange instead of green.

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"Where is the Holy Spirit in all of this?"

"Where is the Holy Spirit in all of this?"

A mature young Christian woman goes to her regular adult Bible study class. The teachers of the class  are experts in Biblical counseling. Week by week they share from the Scriptures answers to common problems faced by individuals and families in today's culture. One Sunday after learning the "formula" for solving a particular problem biblically, our mature young woman asks, "But where is the Holy Spirit in all of this?

A member of a sound evangelical church is a student in a class on Christian church history.  He reads some articles ... 

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Lenten Meditation: a Word of Personal Need

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Personal Need

Thirst is a primal need in all of us humans…more demanding even than hunger!  We can go quite awhile without eating, but a very short time without drinking.

Jesus on the Cross had refrained up to this point from satisfying His thirst.  Instead He drank theFather’s cup to the very last drop! He became sin for us…the Sinless One!  Jesus took our place, and the Father turned His back.  The punishment for sin had been accomplished…spiritual separation from God….for US!

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Lenten Meditation: a Word of Abandonment

Lenten Meditation:  a Word of Abandonment

Abandoned!  Left on the "doorstep of Life"...but with no Rescuer in sight! What happens next in the unfolding drama of the crucifixion of our Lord is incomprehensible!

It's an abandonment so profoundly mysterious that it boggles the mind...but ravishes the believing heart! Let's watch it unfold...

It is noon. By this time, Jesus has already forgiven ... 

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