As I wash dishes I pray. 

I pray for a friend whose son had a serious sledding accident, and is having surgery for a severely broken leg.  It took about 3 hours and 3 doctors, 2 plates and several screws to correct, along with a very long recovery period.  I prayed for the mother who is fearful and anxious, but trusting and praying as well.  

I must go, sit, bow my head, and lift up my voice, but my Father hears even when I'm in the midst of chores.  My children and I sit and pray when we get her text, and during our family worship time we take time to pray, among our other requests.  A phone call from a friend asking for prayers for her friend who did not have good news about her pregnancy...we trust, we have faith, we don't understand why, we ask, and we trust more.

"In God I have put my trust,
I shall not be afraid."
Psalm 56:11a

Then, answered prayers, friends who needed a van and God has answered in no uncertain terms.  The dad prayed and God came through ever so clearly.  If only every prayer was answered so quickly and clearly, but His ways are higher than mine, and I trust, and seek Him in all things.

"And again, 
I will put my trust in Him.
And again, 
Behold, I and the children whom God has given me."
Hebrews 2:13

With our recent snow, my door snowman and my colorful, lit snowman were especially appropriate; aren't they so cute?  Yes, the door is a pinterest project, and my projects must be super simple, so anyone can do it, just find a white door, cut out paper and tape, and there you have it!  Actually my daughter started it for me, because she is crafty; I'm not.

My nieces and nephews were over and they wanted to play a bit of Jenga, and when that got old, rather quickly, I set them up as dominoes for my 2 year old nephew with Type 1 diabetes.  He loved it, was an understatement.  I can't tell you how many times I set it up and he knocked it down.  On the other end, his older brother would set more on the floor to make it go even farther.  It was pretty fun, if I do say so myself.  The young one is another prayer request we bring before the Lord, to keep him stable, not too high, not too low, and he does so well being tested and helping.  I haven't learned much yet, but am watching, and praying God will heal that little pancreas of his, but we are so thankful for everything there is to keep him well and healthy.  Yes, God is always good.  

Thank You, Lord, for your faithfulness to those who belong to You.  We praise You, are in awe of You, and lift up Your Name for all to hear.  

"When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.
What can mere men do to me?"
Psalm 56:3-4

Always Experiencing Him,

Our January Snow!

We were not expecting the snow!  We have not been watching any news or keeping up with the weather, so we were pleasantly surprised with the white landscape that eventually covered the outdoors.  Such beauty God provides!  Part of the joys of living in East TN is seeing the many landscape changes we are so greatly blessed with.  

"The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge."

God's glorious creation reveals His existence.  How wonderful!  

What can I do but praise You?
What can I do but give my life to You?

Enjoy some pics from the farm...

The next day was a pure white landscape.  Now, some from the north may say our snow is not much, but for East TN it is a beautiful picture of white; the purest white that washes away my blood-stained self.  I have been made white as snow by the glorious Redemption of His Son.

"Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."
Psalm 51:7

Oh, the beautiful promises of our Savior; how amazing to be able to hold on to His Words.

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  
Cleanse your hands, you sinners; 
and purify your hearts, you double-minded."
James 4:8

"Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds."
Titus 2:13-14

Do you see God's handiwork when you look outdoors?  

Do you meditate, think about God, remember Him, and praise Him in ALL you see, and in all you do?  

If you take the time, you will begin to see Him in everything, in ALL things, the good, the beautiful, the amazing, and the bad, the sad; a cousin just passed away from his cancer.  You can still praise him and give thanks for all things, family, nurses, his mom and sisters, and he did not suffer too long.  God is good.

Take a moment from whatever you are doing and give Him the thanks He deserves, whether you are doing laundry, preparing dinner, at your desk, caring for those precious little ones, sitting down, just say, "Thank You...Thank You...Thank You, Lord."  Of course, let those little ones say it with you, and hear you say it, oh, what joy!  

What Can I Do?
When I see the beauty of a sunset's glory,
Amazing artistry across the evening sky
When I feel the mystery of a distant galaxy
It awes and humbles me to be loved
By a God so high

What can I do but thank You,
What can I do but give my life to You
Hallelujah, hallelujah
What can I do but praise You,
Everyday make everything I do

A hallelujah, a hallelujah, hallelujah

When I hear the story of a God of mercy
Who shared humanity and suffered by our side
Of the cross they nailed You to, that could not hold You
Now You're making all things new by the power
Of Your risen life

Always Experiencing Him,

Draw Near

Are you staying warm on this cold day in January?  Is the cold able to seep through your doors and windows only?  Or, is the cold a matter of your heart?  I must admit at times the cold is as much in my heart as it is outside.  Negativity, a critical spirit, and a broken and contrite heart, I bring before our Father, and in Psalm 51:17, His Words say, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise."  

Oh, what grace He gives to the very least, me, even me, He gives grace.  What promises we have in His Word to encourage us, to uphold us, and to continue on for Him.  His Word holds the promises, the commands; everything we need to know are in His Word, and His Word does not change.  It has not changed from the beginning of time until now, we have changed; we change when we know what's best, when we know the answers, when we fail to listen.  Yes, if only we would continually look to His Word. 

                      "Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."  Heb. 4:1

Elyse Fitzpatrick in Idols of the Heart: Learning to Long for God Alone, says, The worship of idols is the reason we're discontented, and it's why we disobey God.  Idolatry lies at the heart of every besetting sin we struggle with.  
Honoring God means that the Lord's pleasure and glory come first.  
Trusting God means having confidence in Him and obeying His commands, no matter what the cost."

Do we obey no matter the cost?  Do I obey no matter the cost?  When I read His Words, and know what He says, can I obey when the culture around me says the opposite?  Does it mean I stand alone?  Sometimes, yes.  Does our family stand alone?  Sometimes, yes.  Do we strive to live out fully His Words and what He has said to do and to be?  I pray our answer is yes, but so many times we fall prey to this world we live in, this earthly world that has no regard for the Christ who died for us, who came to give a life of eternal glory, who sacrificed His all for me, for us.

"We can rest today knowing that as we, by His grace, respond to our heavenly Father's command to surrender our idols, He'll bury them under a tree, the one at Golgotha's mount."  Idols of the Heart

The 1st commandment in Ex 20:3 says,
             "You shall have no other gods before me."

The Westminster Catechism gives the full intent of this commandment here:
"The duties required in the first commandment are, the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God and our God; and to worship and glorify Him accordingly, by thinking, meditating, remembering, highly esteeming, honoring, adoring, choosing, loving, desiring, fearing of Him; believing him; trusting, hoping, delighting, rejoicing in Him; being zealous for Him; calling upon Him, giving all praise and thanks, and yielding all obedience and submission to Him with the whole man; being careful in all things to please Him, and sorrowful when in anything He is offended; and walking humbly with Him."

Thinking about God.  Do I think of God continually or only infrequently?
Meditating on God.  Do I meditate on His character--His holiness, His goodness, His love?
Remembering God.  Do I remember Him in everything I do and say?
Esteeming God.  Am I highly esteeming Him, or do I highly esteem or value other things?
Idols of the Heart

As you meditate on the Lord this day, search your heart to see if there is anything you are setting before the Lord our God, Jesus Christ, Jehovah, Messiah, Yahweh.  All you do should first be for Him, and everything that follows comes from your love and obedience to Him.  SEEK Christ this day, and let Him search your heart, soul, and mind for any idols you are placing before Him.

Always Experiencing Him,

Needing Grace and One Word

The 5th day of a new year and I have already failed Him...over and over again.   Why is it so terribly hard to obey the One who gave me life, the One who gives me grace for all my failures, the One who loves me even when I fail Him?  Grace, I need grace, and forgiveness, and He gives it, just as He showers us with the rain, He showers me with all I need.  Why can't I simply remember that?  Seek, I must seek Him at all times, I must draw near, draw closer to Him as I seek to live my life in obedience.

When the shadows appear and fear takes hold, remember God's Light.  Jesus always dispels the darkness.  During our family worship time Steve reminded us of the definition of darkness - the absence of light, even a candle in a dark place brings light, and Jesus is Light.  He dispels all darkness even where shadows appear.  As I seek Him in this year of 2014, I strive to have His Light shine through me.

Behind on our advent readings, we finally completed our advent tree, and experienced the Coming of the Christ.  What an exciting event and experience as we read through the lineage of Jesus and excitedly awaited His coming.  To seek Him as the shepherds and the magi did is a picture of how we should continually be looking forward to His returning.  He came once and He is coming again! 

God gives gifts in so many ways.  One for us is His gift of wild animals on our farm.  The turkeys have been all over our fields, with our chickens and our horse.  We love watching as they scratch and walk or fly over.

"Grow in the grace and knowledge of our 
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
2 Peter 3:18

Charles Spurgeon says, "Grow in the grace --not in one grace only, but in all grace.  Grow in that root-grace,  faith.  Believe the promises more firmly than you have done.  Grow also in love.  Ask that your love may become extended, more intense, more practical, influencing every thought, word, and deed.  Grow in humility.  Seek to lie very low, and know more of your own nothingness.  As you grow downward in humility, seek also to grow upward--growing closer to God in prayer and having intimate fellowship with Christ. "

"Seek to know more of Him in His divine nature, in His human relationship, in His finished work, in His death, in His resurrection, in His present glorious intercession, and in His future royal return."

"An increase of love for Christ, and a more perfect apprehension of His love for us is one of the best tests of growth in grace."
Morning By Morning by Charles H. Spurgeon -- January 4

SEEK is my One Word for this year of 2014.  

To SEEK Him, to lie low, to grow upward, to know more of Him in His divine nature.

"Seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all you heart and all your soul."  Deut. 4:29

To pray and Seek His face. 

To Seek His will and His ways, His direction and His guide my steps each and every day.

Have you One Word to live through this year, a reminder to draw you ever so nearer to the cross?

What are some books you are reading to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord?

I have failed miserably, and I accept His grace and forgiveness, how are you doing on this 1st week of 2014?  I will pray for you...

Always Experiencing Him,