30 October 2010

Thoughts by the Sea (or Lake Michigan)

In the contemplation of Christ, we linger on the shore of a love that is measureless.

We endeavor to tell of this love, and language fails us.

We consider His life on earth, His sacrifice for us, His work in heaven as our advocate, and the mansions He is preparing for those who love Him, and we can only exclaim, O the height and depth of the love of Christ!

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.

In every true disciple, this love, like sacred fire, burns on the alter of the heart.

It was on the earth that the love of God was revealed through Christ. It is on the earth that His children are to reflect this love through blameless lives. Thus sinners will be led to the cross, to behold the Lamb of God.

(White, Ellen G. The Acts of the Aposltes. p. 334.)

09 October 2010

Autumn Sabbath

After a wonderful lunch (how bountifully the Lord provides!) and far, far away from our families, my husband and I thought we would take some pictures of our Michigan autumn for show and tell. And what a beautiful Sabbath day we had for the venture! Well over 70 degrees, the weather gave us the perfect excuse to be out and about.

For us, Sabbath is a wonderful reminder of our Creator, and spending time outside in the fresh air among the beauties He has given reminds us how much He cares for our every need and plans for our happiness things we can hardly imagine. "The eyes of all wait upon Thee," writes the Psalmist, "and Thou givest them their meat in due season."

I hate spiders. But my husband thinks the pattern on this one was beautiful.

Last week, the gulls were all afloat on the water in the cold. Why they decided to absent themselves on this glorious day (which I thought would be far better for a bath), we don't know.

A favorite park swing overlooking the river, from which we can see (kind of) the shores of our favorite mission organization across the water. It's romantic, it's peaceful, it's a wonderful place to pray and meditate--and it's far enough away from the {amazing} children's play area to be satisfactorily solitary.

This little fellow kindly posed long enough near his nut bank for us to take several portraits. He's such an avid climber--fearfully and wonderfully made.

Our river. Ours because it runs very near where we live, and we have the privilege of seeing it every day.

"This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!"

21 July 2010


Some words got me thinking, and I praise God for all the courage and faith He has brought to my mind in all these thoughts! I share a few of them here, and apologize for the lack of pictures....

All afternoon, all evening, even this morning as I lay half sleeping, half waking, words poured into my mind. Some I’ve carried in my heart since childhood, some I’ve grasped only in the last week or two.

My eyes scanned my own experience. That wasn’t God’s fault, I thought. Nothing that has happened to me or to those close to me was ever His fault. An enemy hath done this. (Matthew 13:28)

This war, this carnage we experience daily, didn’t begin here, in isolation from God’s own heart. First there was war in heaven. Where all was perfection, peace, joy, love, service, faith, glory, there was war. We’ve seen the wars on earth, the devastation of all sides fighting to the death. We’ve seen valor and courage face to face with evil and treachery; we’ve read the bloody history of war upon war. But how much more terrible would it be to see out and out war in heaven, where all had been bliss, where both armies had strength beyond our imaginings?

Oh, the grief our Father must know!

Lucifer started out perfect, the sun of the morning. Yet he nursed pride, thinking he could overtake the throne of God, that he could have the power of his Creator, that God wasn’t fair to keep him from his goals. (See Isaiah 14)

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him…And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted…” (Revelation 12:9, 13)

It was all his fault.

He disguised himself, spoke charming words, and before there was even a third human being on earth, the devil had led astray our first parents. They saw the flowers and leaves dying, they saw their son turn murderer, they faced grief beyond what we could bear, Adam living as near to one thousand years as some of us live near to one hundred.

God made them, and us, with minds, with reason, with choice. An enemy drew them in, and they had chosen. Their pain was Satan’s fault, as well as their own. They had no excuses. Adam and Eve made their choice, and it seemed like ours was forever lost in theirs.

But from the first, God had the answer to all our ruined choices, all the persecutions of the enemy. You know the answer; I know it. We know the cross. We know the Truth that sets us free. We find forgiveness at the cross.

We find justice there, too.

Has someone stolen from me? Whether the theft was petty, concrete, emotional, the price of the theft is paid to me in full for my healing by Christ’s death, whether that person repents or not. Have I been abused? Christ restores by His wounds. Have I been cheated? Have I been hurt? Have I been scorned? All the worlds of hurt in my heart are healed because Jesus died to restore to me what was taken, what was lost.

“By His stripes, we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

Jesus knows all our pain. It wasn’t His fault or His doing, but He paid the price for us anyway. Because He was innocent of all guilt in this war between good and evil, God and Satan, His sacrifice pays the price for us. If He had been guilty of any wrong-doing, however small, His death would have paid only the price for His faults, and could not have even begun to pay for ours.
But He was, is, and always will be perfectly holy and pure. Thus the cross is fair. It’s just. It’s merciful. It makes no excuses for sin, but takes sin’s wages from us and puts them on Jesus.

Jesus knows the pain of losing a friend in death. “Jesus wept.” Over Lazarus. Even though He was about to raise him from the dead again.

“Then said the Jews, See how He loved him!” (John 11:35, 36)

He weeps still with us, when today we face loss and discouragement. Could that be why He does not speak instantly, why He seems silent, for all His tears? He will heal, He will raise up, like He did Lazarus. He promises to wipe away all tears from our faces (Revelation 7:17). Joy will come in the morning.

Jesus knows the pain of betrayal, of loss, of ridicule, of shame, of torture. He experienced it not only in His own life and death on earth, but He also experiences it every day, every hour, every moment, with all of us. “I will never leave you, nor forsake you,” He promised, and with His presence, this Gift of all gifts, we can be content. (Hebrews 13:5) He took up the cross for us, and has not laid it down again, but daily walks the road with us, bearing our burdens.

No matter how alone we feel, no matter how grieved, no matter how isolated, we cling to this promise. God does not lie, and His Word cannot fail. This is a God I can trust, though He slay me. (Job 13:15)

He said we would have trouble in this world. It’s because of the enemy, because of our choices, because of choices others make around us.

“But be of good cheer,” He says. “I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

23 March 2010

A Moment Aside

In the midst of wedding planning and the cares of daily life, I was feeling dreadfully overwhelmed. I felt that I was failing at almost everything--remaining calm under pressure, staying sweet when there was too much to do or when I was tired, rembering that others are human too.

"Do you need a date night tomorrow?" asked my {very wonderful} fiance'.

So off we went the next day, to a close and quiet retreat, both of us ready to watch the sunset. Together.

Later, as I prepared for bed, feeling much more relaxed, I read of the apostle Paul, and the sunset of his life.

"His sufficiency was not in himself, but in the presence and agency of the divine Spirit that filled his soul, and brought every thought into subjection to the will of Christ. The prophet declares, 'Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.' The heavenborn peace expressed on Paul's countenance won many a soul to the gospel..."
That's what I need. Perfect peace.

"...Paul carried with him the atmosphere of heaven..."
I'm good at making sure I have my water bottle, purse, chapstick, list of things to conquer. Do I remember to carry the atmosphere of heaven when I get in the car to drive an hour to the next town over? What about when my fiance' or other friends come over to spend the evening?
"...All who associated with him felt the influence of his union with Christ. The fact that his own life exemplified the truth he proclaimed, gave convincing power to his preaching. Here lies the power of truth. The unstudied, unconsious influence of a holy life is the most convincing sermon that can be given in favor of Christianity. Argument, even when unanswerable, may provoke only opposition; but a godly example has a power that it is impossible wholly to resist." (The Acts of the Apostles, 510-511)

The promises are for me, not just for Paul. And I claim them today, not because of anything I have or am, but because of my great need.

15 March 2010

Just a Quick Note

Life has been very busy lately, and although I've had several things I've wanted to post about, it hasn't been happening.

As of February 19, I'm an engaged woman! The wedding is coming up quickly, and my extra time has been devoted to planning and arranging. So fun!

But there's always time to refelct on God's glory. Last night for my evening worship, I was reading in Matthew 17. When I came to verses 6 and 7, the disciples with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration fell on their feet to worship Christ in His glory. He came to them, placed His hand on them, and said, "Don't be afraid."

John, one of these disciples, was privileged to see Christ again in His glory, much later on in his life when he was imprisoned on the isle of Patmos. Even though he had seen this before, he still fell on his face as if he were dead for the awe of the experience.

Can you imagine such glory?

Again, Christ put His right hand upon him, and said, "Fear not."

How thankful I am that He has glory beyond what I can fathom, as well as gentleness in leading His sheep.

04 February 2010

A Birthday Celebration

A small gathering of friends celebrating one of the best things: the life of a friend.

The birthday man prepares to win.

The host (my beau, bottom left), T, and O

Preparing for the attack (on the candles)

21 January 2010

ADRA on the Ground in Haiti

For more than fifty years, ADRA (the Adventist Development and Relief Agency) has had a strong presence around the world.

During the Rwandan genocide in the 1990s, ADRA was the only non-governmental agency to maintain a presence in the country. As a child, I knew the family of a man who stayed in the country as a foreigner and miraculously came out alive.

But ADRA didn't and hasn't stopped its efforts there. It's on the ground in Haiti even today.

To read about
ADRA's immediate response to Haiti's earthquake, or its food and water distribution, visit its web site, where there will also be links to tell you how you can help.