All Things New

Watching the snow fall late Friday night, I was reminded of this Scripture in 2 Corinthians 5, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Just as the snow appears to “wash” everything in a beauty of white, Christ’s salvation makes our hearts pure and clean again.

Salvation doesn’t cost us a thing. It is not something we can earn. It is not something that we deserve. Salvation is a gift from our Heavenly Father, and we simply must believe and accept it as our own. Salvation is freely given, and it’s freely received.

When we receive it, we are a new creation in Him. All things are past away. All things are made new. That means our past sins are forgotten and washed away by Him. Never to be remembered again. When we accept Him as our Savior, our Lord, we don’t have to return to those old habits, those old ways and those old lifestyles that brought sorrow, brokenness and eternal death.

We can have a second chance at a whole new outcome.

How about allowing a little bit of that snow to wash over your heart?

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Need A Little Stretching?

Have you ever watched a taffy puller in a candy shop? Or a bread baker kneading the dough? Or maybe a potter molding and shaping the clay at the wheel?

  

None of this happens in an instant. No, not one of these processes happens without a lot of pushing, pulling, poking, and stretching beyond the original state. All of it, friction of some kind, to bring forth a beautiful masterpiece.

Do you know each one of us were created by the greatest Creator of All as a masterpiece? He has designed each and every one of us to be exactly what He desires.

Sometimes, life is going to feel like a huge taffy puller, drawing out the impurities, extracting what doesn’t need to be.  I don’t know about you, but there are times in my life when it feels EXACTLY like this!! I think, “Wow! I don’t know how much more pulling and stretching I can take!” Yet, when I allow Him to, God, in His infinite wisdom, keeps going deeper and deeper to remove those things which shouldn’t be, those fleshly things that get in the way of who He’s called me to be.

He wants all of me, all of us; so, we can hear with definition, see with clarification and speak and act with precision. He keeps stretching and refining; so, we might become a beautiful masterpiece that isn’t just a pretty piece to sit on a shelf, but one He can use against the enemies of His kingdom! Just like taffy or fresh, homemade bread or even beautiful pottery, it takes a process, and it takes perseverance, patience and a purpose-driven obedience to allow Him to finish what He has started.

Esther went through 12 months of preparation to see the king. David waited over 20 years to become king over Israel. Joseph went through 13 years of trials before he became the second in command to Pharaoh. Jesus waited 33 years of His life to fulfill His destiny here on this earth. When we start to get frustrated in the waiting and overwhelmed in the stretching, let us step back and be thankful for the preparation. God is always at work. The friction we feel is simply the formation of His perfect masterpiece!

Proof is All Around

Proof is in the blooming of the trees after a long hard winter when everything seemed to die. It’s in the scurrying of life along the forest floor after the season of hibernation has come to an end. Proof is in the blossoms of Spring when the trunks have been burnt from wildfires. It’s in the new birth of the tiny creatures who find their mother’s care with blinded eyes and tiny mouths.

Can you see it?

Can you see the evidence in the sun rising above the mountains and the same orb setting over the ocean?

Can you feel it in the wind that blows through your hair as the sun shines down and warms your face? Can you sense it in the snow that falls upon the spring flowers?

Proof of a God is all around you if you’ll simply open your eyes and look about to see what is there. Proof is surrounding you if you’ll but open your ears to listen to His voice in the birds that sing and the tide that rolls in from the depths of the sea.

He is beautiful. He is peaceful. He is all powerful.

I pray you will find the proof you need.
I heard this song the other day, and it prompted all these thoughts to flow…

See video of the song on youtube – Faith Mountain Band

Framed Picture Perfect

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Originally blogged October 18, 2014…

I stood on the side of Black Rock Mountain, overlooking the valley, and I took this picture through the trees.

It was as if God had let the trees grow up in such a way that He left a “frame” just for my picture.

It was beautiful.

I could have stood there all day and gazed through my little “window.”

The fall colors were just beginning to change;

so, you could see bits of red, yellow and orange shining through all the green.

The temperature was perfect with a little breeze blowing through.

It made my heart long for the day

when the earth will be healed and the land will be made whole.

I love the fall.

I love nature.

I love the mountains, and I love that He created such a land for us to behold.

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“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
    nor will they come to mind.”

Isaiah 65:17

 

Wednesday’s Ode #33

Originally posted April 22, 2015… Now, with a few more pics. 😉

  Today, I’d like to be headed toward what I am going to give tribute: the mountains! Oh, how I love the mountains! We live near the North Georgia Mountains, and every time I get near, every time I get even a glimpse of them, I have to take a couple of really deep breaths and just close my eyes and let everything else simply slip away. 


 I am, specifically, in love with the N.GA mountains and the Smoky Mountain National Park; however, I have been to the Rockies, as well as, several other parks and mountain ranges along the East coast, and I love them all!! 
There is just something about standing at the base of an ancient hill that has withstood the test of time. Those ranges have stood strong amidst rain, blistering heat, earthquakes, snow and mankind. Their strength precedes them. Their peace hovers around them, and it can be felt with more intensity the closer you get. 

  Some fear the mountains, because they are unpredictable and unwavering in the raw elements; however, I have found my time spent hiking, walking, or simply gazing up at the trees, is always refreshing, revitalizing, and it reequips me for the days I have ahead. Some grow frustrated and restless as they draw near to the sheer size of the mound; yet, I find myself longing for moments of solitude in their midst. They are a fortress, a refuge, a high tower upon which I will lean and find rest. They bring me peace, strength, and even, wisdom, as I gaze at their majesty. They are a constant reminder to me of their Creator and mine. 

 I just love, love, love the mountains!! My heart is longing to escape to that fortress even now. …Hmmm, I wonder if I could possibly squeeze in a trip to them today…or at least, over this coming weekend! 🙂  

Their Destiny

When you look at your child, do you ever wonder about his or her destiny? Do you wonder whom he will follow? Who he will become? Or maybe, whom he will encounter along the way? What path will she choose? Will she fight hard against conformity, or will she bend and sway to whomever screams the loudest at the moment?

How do we ensure their safety in this big, dangerous world? How do we protect them and guide them, while also, giving them the freedom to grow and develop their thoughts, their dreams and, even their faith, on their own?

We can only accomplish this, successfully, when we look to the Creator of their souls. He can and will help us, if we will but ask and follow His lead. The Word tells us God has a plan for their lives, good plans, prosperous plans…We find this, specifically, in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” So, we must entrust them to Him at an early age. We must submit our own lives to Him and follow His lead. Our children not only learn from what we say, but they learn most by what we do. If we follow Him, they learn, by example, what and how to do it. If we’re resistant to Him, they will, also, learn how to resist and fight against Him.

I saw this come to fruition the other day, as we came upon a beautiful waterfall on one of our hikes. You see, my husband and I absolutely love waterfalls. We will purposefully go on a hike to find those which we haven’t yet seen. We will revisit many, and even though we’ve seen them countless times, we will remain at them for limitless amounts of time just gazing and listening. It’s as if our souls settle as we stand in front of the gushing streams of water. Our thoughts are purified, our hearts are untangled from the cares of this world.

Twice, in the last week,  we took our boys to a couple of waterfalls. Last week, we went to a very well known waterfall in North Georgia, Amicalola Falls.

We stayed there, admiring the falls, for probably close to 30 minutes, just simply lost in its beauty. As we stood there on the walkway, gazing up at the falls, people were constantly moving in front of us. Some would remark on the heights, on the beauty; many would turn their backs to the falls, take their little selfies, and then walk on pass. Others would simply walk by, glance at the falls and keep on walking, as if the 600+ steps of the hike was their one and only goal, or maybe just being able to say, “I was there,” was their purpose for coming.

We stood in amazement at their lack of amazement, as if this was simply some mound of dirt on the side of the path to whatever was more important in their journey right then. Even as I didn’t say a word to our oldest, I watched as my oldest son became livid with these people he didn’t even know. He couldn’t believe their disdain for God’s creation. He said nothing to those around him, but I heard about it for quite awhile as we made it back to our truck.

This past Friday, we went to Horse Trough Falls, again, in the North Georgia Mountains. It is set off the beaten path, and it is simply gorgeous! Joey and JMan stayed for a bit, but JMan wanted to get to the creek to build a dam and cool off from the heat; so, JGrizz and I remained at the waterfall while dad and youngest went back to the creek bed.

JGrizz sat at the man-made platform for a bit, then, ventured past where he could get closer to the falls. He took a few pics; then, he just found a comfortable spot on an old tree that had fallen across the creek, took off his shoes and just enjoyed the sights, smells and feel of the waterfall for a good long while.

As I watched him, I realized, he has become his Daddy’s son. This may sound silly, because, of course, this is obvious to anyone who knows the two of them. Yet, sometimes, I think, as our children grow into adulthood, there are definitive moments, those moments when we actually see the handprint of God on their lives and the tiny part we played in their development. This was one of those moments for me.

I could see his Daddy in his awe of God’s beauty. I could see the settling of his soul as he sat there lost in his surroundings. I could hear his Dad’s blunt (not-meaning-to-be-harsh-only-truthful) voice as he told me he didn’t want me to talk if I sat beside him on that log. I could feel his Dad’s love as he later hugged me, as if to say,” I really wasn’t trying to be rude. Sorry it came out that way.” I could even see his Heavenly Father’s courage, confidence and strength as he walked boldly among those slippery rocks just to get a closer glimpse of its beauty.  My heart was full as I gazed at the man he was becoming.

Then, he said the words that sealed the moment within my heart. We were talking about the little streams of water which break off from the main portion of the waterfall, yet, still find their way to the bottom. JGrizz said, “Those streams are like me, and the rest are like society. I find my own way.” It was as if God was showing me in that moment, he has what it takes to make it. He will reach his destiny.

When we made our way back to the creek bed, I could see the sparkle in JMan’s eyes as he built his dam in the creek, it was the same sparkle his Daddy has. It’s the spark of wonder, adventure and just plain fun! Oh, the wonder of a child. We should never lose it, no matter how old or busy we become.

I saw my husband’s love for life within the lives of our sons, and I saw the love of our Heavenly Father wrapped up in their wonder for His creation. These things come to be as our children follow in our footsteps. They not only hear what we say; they see as we see and act as we act. If we will but submit them until God and allow Him to guide their lives, they will follow Him, and He will help them to reach their destiny.

 ““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

Shimmers Like Gold

       

The lake shimmers like gold.

 

I drove across the lake today. As I looked at the water it seemed to be shimmering, as if it was a pile of diamonds glowing in the sun. It was simply beautiful. 

This moment reminded me that there’s beauty all around us, all the time. We just have to open our eyes and see it. We can get so busy in our everyday drives, in our daily routines, and in our weekly habits that we miss the beauty that God placed right in our midst. Do you ever just stop to actually smell the roses? Do you ever just pause at night and look up at the stars? 

God placed us here amongst His creation to enjoy it and to praise Him for it. Yet too often these days, I think, we are too busy to even see it clearly. Sure we might pause for half a millisecond to watch a bird on a branch, to hear it chirp it’s little song, but then, we have appointments to make, things to do, people to see, and then we leave, missing out on its beautiful praise. 

We must stop. We must get away. We must get alone until we’re not alone anymore. We must seek our Maker, and then, we’ll be able to see and hear what He has for us. His plans, His creation, His ways are so much clearer when we step out from among the chaos of our lives and step into His presence. I think I’d like to see Him today in the shimmering gold on the lake. I’d like to hear Him in the rustling of the leaves. Would you like to join me?

“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.  Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the Lord…”   Psalm 96:11-13a