Winter Wonderland

This was the ONE we have been waiting for!  The snow falling upon us was beautiful, quiet, serene, and calming; covering all the surrounding ugliness, and watering our grandiose land with white powdery flakes of amazingly gorgeous crystals.  



















Such amazing beauty to behold, and imagine our great God loving us enough to grace us with such artistry.  

Now, imagine Him covering all of our ugliness, our blatant, outright, ugly, nasty sins, and see how He does this for us.  He covers and takes away all our shamefulness and washes us "as white as snow."  How wonderful and loving is our God we do serve.

"Says the Lord,
Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool."
Isaiah 1:18

Always Experiencing Him,
Jody

Winter

***Enjoy pics of the previous snow and ice***











"My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!"
Psalm 57:7

Always Experiencing Him,
Jody

What is Real Repentance?

I am reading a devotional from Ann, a friend and I are doing a study together from the book, Idols of the Heart, our church is participating in a book study calling for revival, Refresh, and I am reading devotions from the Mosaic Bible through this time of Lent.  All are filled with scriptures from God's Word.

What somehow still amazes me is how God makes all things work together.  Everything I am reading is more of how to fully surrender to Him.  How to recognize idols, which is anything we put before Him, anything, and how we are called to repent before a Holy God.  Because any time there is something more important than God...any time our hearts are not centered on Him and we search for what we think we need, we are ignoring the One True God and settling for idols.  This is the reason we disobey Him.  



Elyse Fitzpatrick says, "Only God the Heart Knower is also the Heart Changer."  

The Westminster Larger Catechism asks, "What are the duties required in the first commandment?"

"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."

Wow!  Do I love Him that way?  Do I really love the God of heaven and earth that way?  How often I have offended Him.  How often have I disobeyed Him?  My disobedience comes from worshiping other gods, maybe not stone statues, but pride, selfishness, false humility...the list goes on.  

Read the requirements above again, slowly pondering each characteristic.  Not out of legalism, not out of an unhealthy fear, but out of an unadulterated love for God, our Savior, Jesus Christ, who died for me, and who died for you.  Is He not worth all we are?  Is He not worth our total surrender?  Focusing my all on Him is what He desires, and He deserves nothing less.



"I wear the lens of the Word and all the world transfigures into the Beauty of Christ." -Ann.  


Do you see everything through His lens?  As I continue to focus on my one word for 2015, focus, I try to bring everything into a clear view from God's Word.  My perspective must change, and, when I fail, I seek repentance.  I need a Repentance Tower, but I would have to live there.  Michael Catt says, "The lack of repentance weakens the believer and the church."  The church is made of sinners; when have I been so broken in repentance to my God as to shed tears for my disobedient, idolatrous heart?  Thomas Manton said, "Holy tears are the sponge of sin."  What an image!  


When have we seen or heard real confession?  When have I sobbed over confessing my sins before my God?  Our world is in dire need of Truth, and where will they see it?  How will they know it?  They will not see it through our agendas, our programs, our schedules, our buildings, or anything else WE can think up.  I believe they will see it when, as Michael says, 
               "Real repentance produces confession, and forsaking of sin, reconciliation and restitution, separation from the world, submission to the lordship of Christ, and the filling of the Holy Spirit."

They will see it when they see Jesus living through us; when they see we are not like this world.  When we stop pulling the world into the church, and start living a life of difference.  A life where Jesus is at the forefront.  

Vance Havner once said, "When I see a bird that looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, has webbed feet like a duck, paddles in the water like a duck, and prefers the company of ducks, it is hard for me to resist the conclusion that it must be a duck!...When I see a Christian who looks like the world, talks like the world, walks like the world, goes places where the world goes, and prefers the company of the world, it is hard for me to resist the conclusion that they are of the world."

"Our churches are filled with people who do not have a biblical worldview.  They are gray in areas where the Word is black and white."  God says He will vomit the lukewarm out of His mouth.  We cannot afford to be gray, or lukewarm.  We must be strong, stand for what is good and right and true and pure.  Our nation is in a spiritual, ethical and moral state we have not seen before in our time, and if we do not stand and fight, we will go down in history as a generation that has forsaken God.  

Through this first week of Lent, which for some is a part of their spiritual life and practice, and for others it can prepare our hearts for Easter with a time of reflection, repentance, and prayer.

"The tradition of Lent--a forty-day sacrifice--is one way of mourning the death that sin has caused in our lives.  As we see Jesus perfectly withstand Satan's temptation in the wilderness, we admit our own shortcomings, our own inadequate sacrifices.  This period of  "giving up" has a profound way of recalling our desperate need for Jesus Christ."

So, if you choose to give up something to devote yourself wholeheartedly to God and His Word, I will pray for you.  Whether it be a food, a habit, social media, TV, a place, whatever you choose, only do so with the desire to give yourself totally and unabashedly to Him.  If for any other reason, you will only be setting up another idol.

"All God's plans have the mark of the cross on them, and all His plans have death to self in them."  --E.M. Bounds 

How can I pray for you?

Always Experiencing Him,
Jody

A Calf Rescue

After some extremely cold temperatures this week, a lot of ice, snow, and utility companies working around the clock, here is a story of how our community comes together when someone, or even a baby calf is in need.  

Jenny rode with my sister and her children to view some beautiful scenery around the area, and just happened to drive down a road we do not travel as often.  

They saw a calf in a pond swimming in circles trying to keep it's head above the water, when they decided to go and try to get help.  



Another gentleman had arrived right before and my sister decided to call our uncle, a prominent farmer in the area, who they knew would know what to do.  He arrived along with several other men and a lady neighbor as well.  


The story now begins to get exciting, or nerve-wracking, whichever you prefer.  A friend brought his tractor over and my uncle hoisted himself upon the end of the front end loader, where the spear for feeding round bales of hay is.  



Take note of exactly how he is sitting atop the loader with only the spear, which comes to a point on the very end, to hold him when he stands.  A point my aunt was none to happy about, to say the least. :/  I will add here, my uncle will be 71 this year, so she had a little reason to worry.


They now drive off into the pond, and my uncle takes a lariat rope to attempt to lasso the poor calf and pull it to safety before it drowns.  It is still circling the area where it fell through, and by this time is going under every now and then, trying to keep it's head up. 





I must say this is the most impressive move from the entire endeavor!  My uncle only took two tries to lasso the calf!  I do believe that is pretty amazing, with it mostly under water and continuously moving!  He is the true hero of this story!  Yeah, Foster, or as we call him, Uncle Bo!!!



As he is struggling to pull this 200, now 250 lb. or so soaking wet calf out of the water, Clifton must get out of the tractor and climb around to help him pull.  





They finally succeed, but just as they get this calf out of the water, the ice breaks and it goes back in!  Agh!  Poor thing...The men on the bank throw another rope to tie to the first and pull the calf the rest of the way out of the water.  Success, so far...




All this time Jenny has been photographing the entire endeavor, and now, she and my two nieces run over to rub it and try to get it warm.  A lady neighbor had blankets in her car and my sister had one, so they bundled it up and kept on rubbing, as Jenny blew on its nose to keep it from icing over.  What a sweet picture!  It was a little heifer calf, which is a girl, for you non-farmers. :) 



Success!  Only now, during the excitement, the tractor had died in the pond as water was very close to the engine, which could be bad; they enlisted the help of another friend and neighbor who brought his backhoe down to pull the tractor out of the pond.  


Oh, the drama of farm living!  Now, Uncle Bo and Clifton must wait to be pulled out.  My uncle said he was freezing!  It had been in the teens that morning!  Brrrrrrrrrr...



The story has a great ending!  The calf belonged to a friend and now is at the vocational school in a heated stall for the Ag. students to work with and learn from.  The tractor was taken to our local tractor company, but was ok.  A line had collapsed, keeping the water from entering the engine, which would have been devastating financially.  

The lady friend had called our local radio station, and they asked for Jenny to send some pics in.  She did, they put it on their morning fax, somehow Channel 9 news saw it and wanted to interview Jenny, the photographer, and our uncle.  That was exciting!  Everything went great, and they were on the news!  The reporters did a superb job in editing and putting together the story!  It was wonderful! 

A pic has been circulating on facebook and instagram, and all we can say is what an exciting adventure it was, as they went on a drive to view and photograph the beautiful winter scenery and happened to be at the right place at the right time.  

What joy is in the making of another memory!

Always Experiencing Him,
Jody