EXPERIENCING GOD’S PRESENCE (TWO WEEK EXPERIMENT!)

i THINK THIS IS GOING TO BE FUN AND EDIFYING!

THIS WEEK AND MEMORIAL DAY WEEK,

TOGETHER, WE ARE GOING TO ASK GOD TO HELP US EXPERIENCE

HIS PRESENCE, AND REPORT HERE.

HE COMES IN MANY WAYS.

PSALM 19 TELLS US THAT THE HEAVENS DECLARE HIS GLORY,

AND THE FIRMAMENT HIS HANDIWORK.

EVEN “UNBELIEVERS” HAVE A SENSE OF AWE.

IN MY LITTLE VILLAGE THE SUMMER TOURISTS

LINE THE SHORE IN THE HEART OF TOWN

AND CLAP WHEN THE SUN SINKS BELOW THE HORIZON.

THE SEASONS TOO ECHO HIS FAITHFULNESS.

WE HERE IN NORTHERN WISCONSIN WAIT AND WAIT FOR SPRING,

AND MAY BE TEMPTED TO SAY “WHERE IS THE PROMISE OF ITS COMING?”

YET COME SHE ALWAYS DOES, JUST AS HE WILL SURELY COME.

FORGET-ME-NOTS COVER OUR FORESTS,

REMINDING ME NOT TO FORGET HIM.

LIFE WHERE THERE HAD SEEMED TO BE NO LIFE,

THE RESURRECTION REFLECTED IN HIS HANDIWORK

MY LITTLE GARDEN COMES ALIVE,

AND THE TINY TREE I PLANTED TWELVE YEARS AGO,

IN REMEMBRANCE OF STEVE,

IS BIGGER EVERY SPRING, AND FAITHFULLY BURSTS INTO BLOSSOM.

CHARLES SPURGEON SAYS “GOD HAS GIVEN US TWO GREAT BOOKS,

THE BOOK OF NATURE AND OF SCRIPTURE

— AND THEY TALK ABOUT EACH OTHER.”

SO ONE WAY TO EXPERIENCE HIS PRESENCE IS TO GET OUTSIDE

AND MEDITATE ON HOW NATURE SPEAKS OF HIS PROMISES.

CONSIDER THE LILIES OF THE FIELD…

CONSIDER THE FAITHFULNESS OF THE SEASONS…

CONSIDER THAT THE SONS OF ABRAHAM WILL BE MORE

THAN THE STARS IN THE SKY…

BUT THE MOST RELIABLE WAY TO EXPERIENCE HIS PRESENCE

IS THROUGH THE SCRIPTURE.

GEORGE MUELLER SAID:

THE FIRST AND FOREMOST DUTY OF A CHRISTIAN

IS TO GET HIS SOUL HAPPY IN THE LORD.

SO EVERY DAY IN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS,

GET INTO THE WORD, WHEREVER YOU HAPPEN TO BE STUDYING.

AND IF YOU ARE NOT ALREADY IN A PARTICULAR STUDY OR BOOK,

THEN CHOOSE ONE. OR CHOOSE TO MEMORIZE A FAVORITE CHAPTER.

ASK HIM TO MEET YOU, TO KISS YOU!

WALTER WANGERIN SAID,

“FAITH IS HARD WORK, BUT ALONG THE WAY, GOD WILL AMBUSH YOU.”

I AM PRAYING YOU GET “AMBUSHED” A FEW TIMES IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS:

IN HIS WORD, IN UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES OR TIMING, IN ANSWERS TO PRAYER, OR IN COMFORT WHEN YOU NEED IT MOST.

IT MAY COME THROUGH MUSIC OR ART, AS HAPPENED FOR OUR OWN CHRIS WHEN HER DANIEL WAS FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE IN THE HOSPITAL,

THIS PAINTING IN THE WAITING ROOM SPOKE TO CHRIS,

REMINDING HER THAT HE WAS HER SHELTER IN THE STORM.

IT MAY BE THAT YOU WILL EXPERIENCE HIS PRESENCE WHEN YOU ARE

SEEKING TO GLORIFY HIM.

ERIC LIDDELL FAMOUSLY SAID, “WHEN I RUN, I FEEL HIS PLEASURE.”

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE RUNNING IN THE OLYMPICS,

YOU MAY BE CUTTING UP VEGETABLES AND LISTENING TO A CHILD,

AND YOU SENSE GOD’S PLEASURE, AS BROTHER LAWRENCE WROTE ABOUT IN “PRACTICING THE PRESENCE OF GOD.”

LET’S ENDEAVOR TO BEGIN THE DAY GETTING OUR SOUL HAPPY IN THE LORD IN HIS WORD — AND THEN BE ALERT THROUGHOUT THE DAY, AND COME BACK AND REPORT HOW YOU HAVE SENSED HIS PRESENCE.

THERE WILL BE NO BIBLE STUDY OR SERMONS FROM ME —

YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN WITH THE WORD,

WITH CREATION,

WITH PRACTICING HIS PRESENCE.

BE CREATIVE —

NOW THAT OUR LINK WORKS, YOU CAN LINK US TO A PICTURE OR VIDEO

YOU POSTED ON FACEBOOK.

TELL US HOW GOD SPOKE TO YOU THROUGH HIS WORD — WHETHER YOU

WERE ON YOUR OWN, IN CHURCH, OR LISTENING TO A SERMON ONLINE.

TELL US HOWEVER YOU EXPERIENCE HIS PRESENCE.

BE ALERT TO BE AMAZED, AND I HOPE TO SEE REPORTS HERE EACH DAY!

I WILL JOYFULLY PARTICIPATE TOO!

BE CONCISE ENOUGH THAT WE ARE NOT OVERWHELMED,

BUT PLEASE STOP IN DAILY TO SHARE.

WE MAY EVEN HEAR FROM SOME OF OUR SILENT FOLLOWERS!

I CAN HARDLY WAIT TO SEE HOW GOD WILL MEET US.

THEN A NEW SUMMER STUDY WILL BEGIN THE FIRST SUNDAY IN JUNE.

1. How do you feel about this “experiment?” Will you participate for the next two weeks?

2. How did you experience His presence? (Report as often as you like!)

COMMENTS (254) Post a New Comment ↓
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Some gardening musings regarding God in nature:

I have spent a few days between rains trying to weed and prepare my flowerbeds for the season of growth. There has been lots of weeding, which is definitely not my favorite thing to do. I have mostly perennials and shrubs, so I can’t just dig them up and plow the weeds under — mostly it is by hand with muscle and a few small tools. I love the flowers, though. As I was grumbling about the work and wondering if it was worth it, God reminded me that my heart has lots of weeds as well, yet He patiently continues to pull them out, fight the diseases, kill the destroying insects and fertilize so the good plants will be healthy and strong. He does this through his Word, and his Spirit.

I am glad God is more faithful and more effective than my feeble, erratic gardening attempts. I have a honeysuckle vine from my mom’s garden (which I dug up and replanted 10 years ago when she passed away) that contracted a black mould a few years ago. It progressed to the point that it was killing leaves and all the blossoms which the hummingbirds so love. I finally bought some pesticide last year to try to control it and treated it a couple of times last year. (It is almost impossible to eradicate, I hear.) The gardening expert advised me to retreat the vine in early spring before the mould took hold this year. I treated it yesterday, though there is no sign of mould yet. I hope this works to save my precious plant. Is it OK for whisper a prayer for my plant?

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    Diane, you praying for your plant reminded me of the peace lily which I took home from my niece’s funeral. I had it for five years and it was flourishing then it just started turning brown. No matter what I did it was slowly dying. Until that time I would have laughed at the thought of being attached to a plant or praying for it, but there I was doing both.

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    I Think praying to God for plants is much more effective than talking to them! We are sure He hears! :-)

     

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    Diane, I do have honeysuckle — and I didn’t realize that it is even possible for it to die!  I just whack it back every time I get annoyed with it taking over.  I know it will keep coming back — and I only planted it a few years ago.  I’ve cut down a tree’s worth of honeysuckle many times elsewhere when it has seemed too big and scraggly.   If the mold is related to location, it might help to root a cutting and try it in a different location, too.

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      These are both good suggestions regarding my honeysuckle, Renee. I have already tried the whacking it back part, but that didn’t get rid of the mould. The gardening expert at my local nursery said that the mould is probably in the wood, so just treating the leaves is not enough. As to the cutting part, I guess I had not considered that as I thought I would have to take a root section in order for it to restart, but I will try.

        Honeysuckle is my absolutely favorite fragrance and I don’t have any !  At least not any that is fragrant.  I have some bush/tree things that pop up all over that people have called honeysuckle but they don’t smell.  I actually looked up honeysuckle vine after I read this, and discovered that there are many varieties……wonder if they all smell so beautifully?    I do hope you get yours to grow well again Diane.   I love plants with meaning, such as this has for you.

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     “As I was grumbling about the work and wondering if it was worth it, God reminded me that my heart has lots of weeds as well, yet He patiently continues to pull them out, fight the diseases, kill the destroying insects and fertilize so the good plants will be healthy and strong. He does this through his Word, and his Spirit.”

    -This truly resonates with me, Diane.  I feel as though the hospital experience I just finished was a major time of “my heart has lots of weeds as well, He patiently continue to pull them out.”  Just when we think we may have made some headway, something happens that reminds of of just how many weeds are left!

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      Amen, mary e. So good to see you here. You are going through so much tough stuff and you shall come out as “gold”. So sorry that you have had such a rough go at the hospital, but I truly know what you mean when you say, “Just when we think we may have made some headway, something happens that reminds of of just how many weeds are left!” Me too, my friend! Me too!!!

        Amen,too, I can identify with this: the weeds continually pop up and I know that they need to be pulled. thanks for the good analogy as we do our spring gardening!

         

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Just the simple thought “Get happy in the Lord”  hits me first thing now when I wake up (thanks for the reminder) and starts me off focused on what’s most important for the day (it’s usually accompanied by the song Happy by Pharrell Williams which then plays in my head for hours, but that’s another story!).

I have been appreciating the beauty of the sunrise on my commute to work.  I’ve been listening to audiobooks by Wendell Berry on my drive also.  His descriptions of the countryside have a way of helping me notice the details of the beauty that surrounds me every day. It’s peaceful.

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    That’ great Dawn. May have to hear the other story. :-)

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Susan, I love the peony story, I also am finding God’s greatness and faithfulness in my garden.  I even look forward t pulling weeds which to me are synonymous with sin.  As I pull them, I ask God to take any weeds out of my life and I realize that the most difficult weeds are with the deep, long roots!  Some of them don’t come up all at one time as I pray that God will restore what the locusts and weeds have destroyed.  I praise God for every little seedling that comes up in the garden and around my yard and thank Him for the surprises that come with every walk I take.  Abide in Him and He will abide in you.

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    Good gardening prayer, Sandy!

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Warm weather has not yet come to where I live — but Twila is coming over and I have blankets warming up in the dryer so we can sit outside and let them warm us — we’ll pretend we are on a ship. I am thankful to God for a kindred spirit right where I live for we encourage one another in Him. To me, one of His best gifts is friendship — near and far!

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    Blankets warming in the dryer, pretending we are on a ship … what fun! I love it! I have a wonderful friend who lives far away and I am so grateful for her; but I do wish I had a kindred spirit right here.

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      I will pray for that for you Diane — I think pastor’s wives really need kindred spirits right where they are! But you are a sweet kindred spirit here.

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    Friendship is so wonderful you may want to consider authoring a book about it. :D

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    And it makes my heart full when I hear of your love for one another-God has answered over and abundantly my prayer for you when you made that your year around home. :) :)

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Mary E. UPDATE: Mary just got home about an hour ago–it was her worst hospital experience but she is so thankful to be home. Her request: “Please, please thank everyone for their prayers and as a request…please pray the infection stays gone and that the line they put in (called a “midline” – did that instead of a PICC line) remains perfectly functional (not clots) for as long as I need it. Love you so much and everyone on the blog.”

 

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    Thank you so much for the update, Lizzy.  I’ve been concerned about sweet Mary.

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last night our small group met.  So wonderful to share scripture together.  To see it through another’s eyes and to see a light catch in someone from something I share.  It is a taste of heaven, just like the blog, only in person.

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    Mary B — just about my favorite thing!

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After loving the movie Lion I am reading the book that inspired it, The Long Way Home. His remembrance of his first six years of hunger is melting my cold heart, and that, in conjunction with memorizing 1 John — if anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need and shuts up his compassion — I want to do more than I am. That’s one way I experienced His Spirit yesterday.

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    Dee, Thanks for recommending the movie.  I watched it last weekend– SO good.

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    Dee, I watched the trailer of this movie today and I don’t think I can watch the movie! It seems SO SAD! I cried with the trailer 😔.

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      Has a wonderful ending — and I am absolutely loving the book it is based on. Softening my heart toward those in need.

        My sister in law made me watch it last night with her! It was SO GOOD! She had seen a documentary on it last year and wanted to see the actual movie. I recommend it to everyone 😃.

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God has been so faithful to give guidance and strength to me over the last few days preparing for company and my Aunt’s funeral service today.  Today will be a good time sharing with family from far and near.  I will be reading the obituary and sharing a few thoughts  of her life. God was gracious to give me scipture and some meaningful memories to share.

Dee, my aunt was a younger sister of  Lucille Minnick from Kearney.  She had moved back here to Broken Bow to help care for Lucille in her remaining  years. My mom Margaret still resides in Kearney.  I am very blessed with believing family.  I don’t take it for granted.

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    Bev — this is an “I Spy” God for me. For about ten years I called Lucille every morning to make sure she was okay, for she was living alone. One time I even got First Responders to come with me to her house as she didn’t respond. She was out for coffee and had forgotten to alert me! :-)

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      Oh I love this connection between you both!

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Data collection update:
Monday morning, I mowed the lawn during a break in the rain.  I’d been hiring my lawn mowed since kidney failure, but haven’t done it yet this year.  I wasn’t able to finish it the first time I mowed (partly because I was also doing other stuff) so part of the backyard was REALLY long.  This meant I had to use a bag.  After I finished the VERY long/thick part, I saw that the bag was no longer collecting grass clippings — but really didn’t care because that made the lawnmower lighter.  I realized at the end that the mower was clogged — and that was a gift from God.  I mowed the whole lawn for the first time in almost 2 years.

Tues:  Got back into SoS 4.  That kinda cracked me up because it was the passage about hair like a flock of goats, teeth like washed sheep.  Later in the day, I realized that He sees me as he is — beautiful.  That makes me want to spend more time with Him. By gazing on Him, knowing Him more, I do become more like Him.  I’m thankful He loves me even when my hair looks like a flock of dirty goats!

Wednesday night, I had the quick thought that Wednesday was a bust!  But as I reflected on the day, I realized that I saw His beauty reflected in a huge diversity of people.  And God knows how that makes me tick!  I also became aware that I often don’t realize when he is reaching out to me because I don’t pay attention.

Thursday — um, I didn’t pay much attention :(    (Constant rainy weather was getting to me).  Now, I can see His hand in a few situations, including great customer service when I went shopping to get out of the house and a couple of unexpected phone calls and even a wet basement.

Today:  I haven’t completely processed what happened in a meeting this morning yet.  Plus, I expect that God will meet me in a nap :) and then going outside.

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    had no idea you had kidney disease/failure, Renee.  Wow.  And love the comment about Him thinking we are beautiful even when our hair looks like dirty goats!  Felt that way multiple times in the past few days!

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      Mary!! You’re back! How are you feeling?? I’ve been thinking of you and praying for you and your team of doctors. Hugs your way ((  )).

        In some says I think I feel better now than I did in the 2-3 weeks prior to getting started on the IV antibiotics.  I think something was festering for a while before it got bad enough for me to spike a big temp.  Thanks Laura!

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    Renee,

    Thank you for making me smile .   Love so much of what you’ve written here.

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Love your comments Renee.

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I have had a busy week, but I just wanted to share that I have been using “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young as my devotional reading this year and I am really finding it a great resource for focusing on Jesus. She always gives Scripture verses to read on the theme of her brief thought. I always read and ponder the Scripture with it and find the verses so timely. I know that the book is controversial, in a way, because some think that an author should not put words in Jesus’ mouth, but, with that caution in mind, I have found it helpful.

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    I have SO loved that devotional over the years, Diane and I know what you mean about some finding it controversial, but then MANY hymns and Christian songs are written as if it is God or Jesus saying the words (i.e.., “I hear the Savior say, ‘thy strength indeed is small.  Child of weakness watch and pray, find in Me thine all in all.”) that I don’t really have that issue with it, and the Lord has sure used it in my life to glorify Himself and point me to His truths.  I don’t think she is claiming to know the words of Christ but rather just sharing how she feels He is speaking to her through the Scripture, just like those hymn/song writers are doing.

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My takeaway this week is how much I have enjoyed reading all the thoughts of each one here regarding their God-sightings. It has been very encouraging!

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1. How do you feel about this “experiment?” Will you participate for the next two weeks? I love this idea.  Wish I had seen it earlier in the week.

2. How did you experience His presence? (Report as often as you like!)
This has been probably the worse week of my life, thus-far for circumstances/physical condition.  Saturday at 1am I woke with a fever of 102.2, then it climbed to 103.1 with severe chills.  I knew it was probably sepsis due to one the many invasive procedures I’ve had in the few weeks.  Sure enough…just got out of the hospital on Thursday.  It seemed like nearly everything that could go wrong while in there did, like nothing went MY way.  But the Lord has so much been whispering to me for weeks now that it’s not about ME, it’s about Him and His glory.  This whole, big plan, the grand scheme of things is HIS story.  I’m a tiny part of that and I can’t see the whole big thing right now.  By the time I got home on Thursday and things were STILL not going well (long story) I was feeling so alone, like God didn’t care and just going over and over everything that had been done wrong and gone wrong.  As I lay in bed, unable to sleep (ironically, finally in my own bed and couldn’t sleep!) I realized nothing good was going to come of replaying all the debacles.  So I talked to God about what to do and then decided to start with the beginning of my life and work my way through, thanking Him for everything I could think of and before I knew it, peaceful sleep came my way.  Thank you all so my for your prayers on my behalf.  Words definitely don’t express how appreciate they are.

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    Hugs, Mary e. So glad you were able to get some sleep, and even gladder that you were able to thank Him for everything! God loves you so, dear one.

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    Oh Mary E — what a testimony in the midst of such misery. How you shine in the darkness. How thankful we are for you.

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    Thank you, Mary, for these authentic and encouraging words spoken out of such deep suffering.    Mercy and peace to you, Mary.

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    You are so precious, and such an encouragement in your weakness and how God met you and gave His beloved daughter sleep!  Praying for you, sweet sister.

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Living in a remote rural area where the nearest McDonalds and Walmart are an hour away going one way, has it rewards and its setbacks. Compared to living in a big city, there is much more time to spend in prayer (if you wish) because there are less distractions. My word recently has been “Listen” so this event with Dee Brestin has been quite opportune!  Today it is hearing God through the winds that are sweeping through our little town! How powerful is the spirit of God when it comes as a mighty wind!

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    Lovely, Sandy.

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Since I have been  home from the hospital, my Scripture reading has taken me from Easter to now Job.  I’m just through Job 7, but I’m reminded again how little we understand on this side of things.  So many people want to put all these conditions:  If this, then this….  on our lives as they relate to God.  A very old testament thinking that if we just obey… all will be well and good, we won’t get illness or disease, we will prosper financially, etc…and that is just NOT the truth of how God works.  YES there are basic principles He sets forth that, if we follow them, we will save ourselves many heartaches but, at the end of the day, His ways simply are not always discernible to us.  Life would be so neat and tidy if we could package it all up in some simple “if/then’s.”  But when we come to the end of ourselves and are in utter despair, with zero answers and we still turn to Him, rather than away, He eventually comes running to us and we know and experience life and peace (beyond comprehension) despite our circumstances.

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    So good Mary; the whole post is awesome!

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    Amen!  Beautiful post!

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Early Sunday morn, sitting on my deck, water like glass, world awakening. This is my Father’s world and He loves me, in the same way that He loved Jesus! (John 17:23)

Looking foward to another week with this experiment — you are doing wonderfully!

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    And what an amazing, incomprehensible love it is!  I can just picture your morning there, Dee.  It sounds like a little foretaste of heaven.  I recall you and Steve (before Christ) had dreamed of a house on the ocean but you ended up with so much more…Jesus.

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How am I experiencing his presence?

Through many tears right now as my 88 year old dad passed away to that better country a few days ago after a courageous seven year battle with Alzheimers.     Sifting through hundreds of photographs spanning his life-time as my son prepares a slide presentation for his grampa’s  memorial service on June 3rd.   Tears of deep sorrow and deep gratitude.

Finding comfort in my dad’s bible with handwritten inscriptions and underlined verses.   The only verse he hand-wrote in the front of his bible is, “blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Matt. 5:4)   Finding a balm for my soul in songs that he loved.   Reminded once again that our Lord is a Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief.  He understands our disorientation and lament.   He meets me in this dark place.

“I will give you the treasures of darkness,
And the hidden wealth of secret places,
So that you may know that it is I, the Lord,
The God of Israel, Who calls you by your name.”
Isaiah 45:3

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    Nila, I am so sorry for your loss but could not help but to immediately think of the grandfather/granddaughter reunion that has likely already taken place, your dad with your daughter!!!!!!!!!  “Oh death, where is your sting?”  Defeated!

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    Nila, I am so sorry..my heart is heavy for you. It is beautiful to hear of your dad’s delight in God and to see where God led you in his Bible-the verse your dad wrote down-How God came to you in that.  Your dad sounds like a dear, dear man. Big hug.

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Nila, these beautiful memories of your Dad, the handwritten verse in his Bible–what sweet gifts. Love how the Lord is comforting you

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My husband and I spent 3 days in a beautiful State Park last week.  It is named ‘Scenic State Park’ which sounds generic but it truly was!  We got there on Wednesday and there was only one other couple camping in the whole campground, so what a time to feel God’s peace and presence.   Thursday morning, while my husband went fishing, I sat at the picnic table and read Philippians 4:4-9, (which was our suggested reading for the day from our church bulletin.)

I started to break it down into what it said to me right now.  I saw first four commands:

* Don’t be anxious.

*Pray with thanksgiving about everything

*Rejoice in the Lord

and then the 4th one which hit home most to me…..

*Be gentle to everyone….so much that it is evident to ALL

I’m not always gentle with the ones closest to me.  And I’m not always gentle in print with those who irritate me on social media.   Gulp.

The next thing I saw was WHY?    What is the reason to do this?

And it hearkens back to verse 5:  “…...because the Lord is near”     And of course He IS!  For this reason, I can rejoice and not worry.  I can be thankful, prayerful and gentle.

End result:   Transcendent PEACE.  Not explainable.  Passing understanding.

And then, the most beautiful part……that PEACE will guard my heart and mind.   I thought on that a while.  And I drew a diagram of a stick figure woman with thought bubbles and a ‘heart’ bubble emanating worry, anxiety and fear and then a picture of her praying and then one with the thought and heart bubbles changed to PEACE.

And then two more commands:

*don’t think on things that hurt and cause irritation.   think on what is lovely and pure, admirable and praise-worthy.  (in other words….skip the national news more often)

*put into practice what you’ve learned and seen (thought of the great influences in my life of people who have taught me)

Final truth:   the God of PEACE will be with you. 

I thought awhile on the truth that it is PEACE that guards one’s heart and mind.  Proverbs 4:23 has always been a favorite, but for the first time, I linked it with Philippians 4:7 and saw the key to actually having one’s heart guarded.   It is the PEACE of God.

Later in the week, I read from a secular biography, a man who was an outdoor adventurer (climbed Everest etc) who wrote these words:   “If God is peace, why do we struggle so hard to understand what has happened to us?”  and that really hit home.  We don’t need to live in constant struggle.  We don’t even need to understand.   We just need to be wrapped in his PEACE.

 

(sorry this is long.  I didn’t know how I could cut any of it.  It’s my one best observation from all of last week.  :)  )

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    This is so good, Wanda.

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    NOT too long, VERY powerful!  I needed to read this RIGHT now!  Thanks Wanda.  I’m going to jot down notes!!! :D

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    Just.. wow..Wanda!! My heart lept.

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    This was so good Wanda, it ties in just so with a Desiring God post from Nancy Guthrie that I shared on FB today called Six Words to Say Though Tears. The words are:
    “I Can Trust God with This”
    I felt ambushed when reading your post.
    I also thought your “*don’t think on things that hurt and cause irritation.   think on what is lovely and pure, admirable and praise-worthy.” fit right in with Mary’s real life example of choosing to replace the thoughts of all that had gone wrong with thoughts of gratitude.

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      Thanks Chris and thanks for the name of another similar article.   Your notice of Mary’s words is spot on as well.

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What a blessing to read and catch up notes of you, my friends! We are at the farm and no internet! A sure reprieve from the hustle and bustle. And a sure evidence that I can survive without my tech toys. :-) just using my data this morning. Yesterdayas my husband and I were driving to the cemetery for a memorial service, we started talking abt our disappointments with how our daughter is living her life. I became forlorn and pessimistic but suddenly from a distance I saw this single cloud the size of a big plate amidst the wide expanse of blue sky! I pointed it to my husband and commented how often I look at the seemingly insurmountable cloud of disappointment instead of the width n breadth of God’s love for us and our daughter. I was humbled by this profound discovery and thanked God for His awesome reminder of His love.

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    Yes, Bing.   We cling to those quiet evidences of God’s hand over our lives…..and the lives of our children for sure.  Take heart my friend.

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Great to be back & read the comments & how the Lord is moving in all your lives. Wonderful to hear that Mary E is home again :)  I just had a blessed 4 days with my daughter Lisa, in Maine & Boston. We hiked in beautiful surroundings at Acadia Nat’l Park. Snuggled together at our hotel in Bar Harbor & watched a movie each night…had some good conversations about past family conflicts. That was hard & painful for me, but so good to hear my daughter’s point of view & get things in the open. How I pray for The Lord’s love & revelation of Himself to her, my 2 boys & my husband. Only He knows how to break through. Needing to get back into the Word but feeling thankful & blessed.

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    Love Bar Harbor! You were my “stomping” grounds on your trip! So done with rainy and 40 degrees though…

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      Are u from Maine Laura? What a great state…I love it! Yep, done with rainy, cold & 40’s but at least it was cloudy & not raining on our hike  :)  I loved Lion too!

        I live in New Hampshire. I’m originally from Florida and I really do miss the south.

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    Sounds so good, Jenny — and like you did some loving listening.

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      Thanks Dee…”loving listening” …Thats’s a great way of putting it & somehow that is very encouraging to me.  :)  I didn’t sense any resolve, but just have to trust my kids in God’s great loving hands.

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    Jenny, isn’t it amazing how stopping from the busy- resting with one another can open doors to restoration. I’m sure what you did for your daughter by listening was another seed of His love planted in her heart-God is on the move. :)

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      Wow, Thanks for that encouragement Rebecca…yes, God is on the move! Yay God!! :)

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I watched the movie “Lion” this last weekend and was truly stirred by its content. I am pondering why it was called this? Lions are fierce, scary, courageous, and the “top dog” of the animal kingdom. I don’t know if that describes the main character or not? Am I missing something in the title Dee? Is this a reference to Christ? I didn’t get the feeling it was a Christian film.  I don’t want to give too much away, since others may want to watch. I do think he had great courage to do what he did. Maybe I should take a leap of faith with something I am facing, as this man did…

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    His name, his real name (he mis-pronounced his name as a 5 year old and didn’t learn his real name til he found his way home) meant LION.

    No Christian meaning, and not a Christian film, yet all truth is from God so you can find truth in secular films — certainly shows what a difference people of compassion can make, and of the great need in the world for we, who know Christ, to not shut up our compassions.

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      I did see that his name meant Lion, I was just confused to understand if there was a Christian component to it (Lion and the Lamb…). Thanks for the clarification.

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    We completely loved that film as well.  Watched it a few months ago and with how quickly I forget movies these days, I’ll be ready to see it again soon!

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I am unable to give details but put it this way…The scene could have turned awful for satan was desiring it to, but instead I saw His Love melt a heart turning it from anger to contrite. It was Him and only Him for the Gospel was mentioned and love extended and His Spirit melted this person. God changed this whole encounter around for His Glory.

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    So glad, Rebecca.

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    This made me smile & praise :)

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This weekend I felt so blessed by a visit from my daughter Sally and her family, with summer finally arriving in Wisconsin, and a storm to put us in awe of our great God. Here’s a picture from my author facebook page (click on the link)

https://www.facebook.com/deebrestin/

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Dee, I said last week at the start of of this “Experiment” that I thought it was a great idea and it has been.

As I read over the comments of the last few days catching up I was greatly blessed to see and hear from mary e. again after her hospital stay.  To hear how God worked in her heart and life. Mary you encourage us all in the privilege of praying  for you.

And Nila so sorry for your loss. We trust God to carry you through this time of grieving wrapped in the wonderful Hope of Heaven all because of Jesus and the Cross.

Wanda posted such a great study of Philippians 4:4-9. Such rich thoughts on God’s peace. Thankyou Wanda!

Many others have shared such good thoughts and  encouragement that my take aways have been many and good.  I don’t have time to share now my own personal God moments of the past few fays but God is so faithful!

My husband and I leave for Texas tomorrow for our granddaughter’s high school graduation this coming Saturday. It is a 17 hour drive so we stay overnight in the Oklahoma City area which is about half way.  We’ll be in the San Antonio at the kids for  5 nights which is longer than we like but our son is taking off Friday & Monday from work and wanted us to stay. Because of a strained relationship with our daughter-in-law I have asked for prayer for the opportunity to speak love into her life. I feel I can see that she carries a root of bitterness from her own father’s death 7 years ago and from some other circumstances as well.  It is hard to feel patience with her because her life is in no way hard. They live a very affluent life style and have no physical trials. Nothing worthy of any kind of complaint in their lives. She professes the Lord but He has no real place in her life. She is very selfish and materialistic and would want to tell God what He should do. But He doesn’t seem to cooperate. (-:  God give me grace for her!

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    Bev — so good to have you here. Did you see my note about Lucille Minnick?

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      Dee, I did see your post about Aunt Lucille.  It was a delightful reminder.  I did know you had a relationship of friendship and checking on her as someone elderly from your church.  What a gracious thing you did. Thank you for that. Later after she had a stroke her younger sisters moved her here to Broken Bow into a care home where she was for several years before she went home to be with the Lord.

        She was a dear lady. I remember her story of miscarriage after miscarriage — and never having children. How good that she had family to care for her in her time of greatest need — I’m sure nieces were important to her, being childless.

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    Oh Bev…….those strained relationships: so hard.     I am going to pray for you.  Writing it down right now to help me remember.

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      Thank you Wanda. I never take anyone’s prayers for granted.

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    so beautiful, Bev.  Thank you for sharing.

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    Just listened-one of my favorites too. Beautiful how this song is true. This stood out this morning and I think His provision in this stanza is beautiful-it reminds me of The Song and how He turns our pain and trials into our gain-His Glory- for He tends our gardens and makes us beautiful. His mercies are new every morning.

    I can’t remember a trial or a pain 

    He did not recycle to bring me gain
    I can’t remember one single regret 
    In serving God only, and trusting His hand 
    All I have need of, His hand will provide
    He’s always been faithful to me.
    God has been faithful, He will be again 
    His loving compassion, it knows no end 

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      I like your thoughts regarding this song.   I think it is neat how the study of The Song continues to color our lives with it’s beautiful metaphors and applications in our relationship to Him.

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I am finding these 2 weeks to be very eye opening. Nothing seems outwardly significant enough to post or anything that I can readily put into words, but I have been VERY aware of the Lord and my mind has been dwelling on His awesomeness.

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    That is huge, Dawn!

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Last night a college age granddaughter come over to paint my toe nails. It is always an opportunity for good sharing with her. I sensed her need to talk and it turns out she had just broken up with her boyfriend of several years.  God had been prompting her to do it for a while now but she had been resisting. There were tears but it was precious to us to be able to affirm and support her decision with prayer at a hard time in her life. I really believe God will bless her decision. We see God moving and working in her life.  It was an answer to prayer for us.  Oh how He cares for our children. Both the ones who walk with Him and the ones who don’t. Either way prayer is our privilege to exercise for them all.

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    That’s a beautiful moment, Bev.   So sweet that she could come to you with her heartache and have your loving support to hold onto.

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Would you please pray for my mother? She has been in the hospital since the day after Easter. She has a drug resistant infection in both of her knees (she had a double knee replacement in 2008), it is also in her blood .  She had to have one of her replacements removed because the infection was so bad. The other knee was opened and cleaned out.

She was moved to a nursing care facility about a month ago, but she won’t be cleared for her new knee replacement until she has been 2 weeks off her antibiotic drip and shows no sign of infection. She goes to the infection control doctor on Friday to see if she can stop the antibiotic drip.

Right now she is very depressed (which she is prone to anyway) and she feels like she’s never going to get well enough to go home. She’s 74 and there is no reason that she shouldn’t have many more years ahead of her.

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    Dawn-praying right now. I am so sorry. Praying for complete healing, for wisdom for the doctors, for God to comfort her and restore her hope.

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    Dawn, I am so sorry for this very hard thing your mother is suffering through. I pray she will find hope in God through this trial.

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    Oh yes, Dawn — praying.

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    Dawn, your mom is on a long hard road right now….so sorry for all she’s gone through and facing more surgery. I’ll keep her in my prayers both for physical healing and for her depression.

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    Dawn…..I just saw this and will stop and pray now for your mother.   How frightening that must be.  Having to have surgery on her knees again…so painful.

    (Having had a knee replacement, I think a lot more about the devastation that infection can bring.  I am so sorry to hear of her struggle with it.)

     

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    praying now, Dawn!

     

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    Dawn, my heart aches for you. Praying for you and your mother.

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    I will pray.

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One way I sense God caring for me is through two neighbors-friends. One has invited me for coffee to her home, the other is praying for my sons and asks me how is my heart doing. Early this morning she texted again, asking me how I’m doing. I appreciate them reaching out to me.

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    That is huge, Susan.

    I so rarely see my neighbors and almost always feel bad about it.  :(

     

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    What a wonderful answer to our prayers, Susan! They may not be believers, but this is great! Or maybe they are!

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I have a Classics Devotional Bible which has readings; many of them ancient,  placed throughout the text and many of them are very good. While reading through I John this week, I read this one twice.  I really like the message.  I put in italics what spoke most to me.

Saint Anselm of Canterbury (ca. 1033-l109)
I am frightened of living, Lord. My whole life seems sinful and sterile. Any fruits I bear are either false or rotten. Nothing I do seems pleasing to you. I am a barren tree that deserves to be chopped down, cut up and burnt. I bear only the sharp and bitter thorns of sin. If only those thorns could prick me into repentance. Inside me my conscience burns. I dare not show myself, yet I have nowhere to hide. What will happen to me? Who will protect me from your wrath? Where can I find safety? Lord, you are my judge in whose hands I tremble. Yet you also are the one who can save me. Though I fear you, I trust you. Though I want to flee you, I flee towards you. Jesus, Jesus, deal with me according to your love. Jesus, Jesus, forget the sin by which I have provoked you, and see only the misery which invokes you. Most kind Lord, confirm in me all that belongs to you, and cast away all that is alien to you.

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    Oh yes Wanda, I can relate to this.

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I am spending Friday – Sunday looking after my two elementary-aged grandsons who live in the neighbouring province (Nova Scotia). I arrived today at their home. Their Dad (my son) is overseas on military service and their mom is deeply involved in the organizing and participation of a conference on base this weekend. While it is lovely to have some time with them, I would appreciate your prayers that we will have a God-blessed weekend.

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    Diane–praying right now–that God will give you strength & energy and the time will be joy-filled. What sweet memories you are making!

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    I will be praying for you and your family, Diane.

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    Praying Diane, for your time with your grandkids. Your son who is overseas is one I pray for too when he comes to mind. My son has a friend serving overseas too. Prayers are needed for all of our military men and women. Nova Scotia is a place I have always wanted to visit.

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      Nova Scotia is a beautiful province and the Annapolis Valley (where they live) is particularly gorgeous this time of year with apple blossoms, lilac and everything so green; and that is not to mention the awesome coastal scenery that it is surrounded by.

        Sounds so very lovely, Diane.   Eastern Canada is still on my proverbial bucket list.

        Praying for your time with your grands!

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It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood according to Mr. Rogers. I love that guy! Well, it is a beautiful day in our blog neighborhood :-) as I sit down and read your entries. What a blessing to hear of God moments whether in joy or in sorrow or sadness. He is our circumstance and He is always near. Philippians 4:5b

Today, I went to our local elementary school for their after school activity to share about the Filipino culture. With me were 7 high school juniors who are members of the honor society I am privileged to be the adviser of. As we talk about my dialect, sang songs in my native tongue and teach the kids a dance and a game, I was just overcome by a deep sense of gratitude for my heritage. Yes, I am different than all of the kids I was presenting to but Jesus loves me just as I am. It was very sweet when two boys sitting to each other piped up and told me they were half-Filipino! And they said it with a smile on their faces. What a gift today was from the Lord. Oh, I forgot-I made a Filipino sweet and sour pork (tocino) with pineapple and some sweet bread called puto. We rounded it up with some pineapple juice spiked with 7-up and a fruit bowl of banana and mangoes. They all ate it up! :-)

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    Bing, what a delightful experience you had with those kids!

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    What a beautiful thing you did, Bing, to share your life in words, song, dance, games and FOOD! How lovely!

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    You are a treasure in your community, Bing!   I think it is so very important for Christians to be involved in community/school things…..probably more important that overloading our time at church!  So, my hat’s off to you.

     

    By the way……Mr. Rogers is one of my 3 top influences for Children’s Ministry……when I was a Children’s Director, I always meant to hang a framed photo of him and Corrie ten Boom and CS Lewis in my office.  I was way too busy with the job to ever get it accomplished!    You and I have at least a couple of same ‘heroes’ of the faith!!  (with Dr. Collins per facebook.  :)  )

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      Agree with all said above,  Bing! What a joy you are 😘Loved, loved, loved Mr. Rogers as a child! Loved his changing into his sweater, make believe land and the sweet nature of him as a gentle-man. I miss those men in our society now; my dad was one, a renaissance man.  The “new” show is called “Daniel Tigers Neighborhood” using the puppet Daniel Tiger from the original series, but now it’s a cartoon. It is okay, but lacks the charm of the original series. There is catchy music that mimics the songs of the past, and “field trips” to real places. How do I know all this? Because Cooper loves it!

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    Oh Bing, that is so sweet! Yes, Jesus loves us just as we are…He made us that way!  :)

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I haven’t posted too much, because I really haven’t felt God with me this past week. I am struggling with several difficult situations and believe it is just one of those times when He is overseeing but I have to go through the “fire” to see the beauty that develops from ashes. It is hard.

 

I did discuss my class from h-e double hockey sticks last week , and I do think He has pushed me to not give in or give up. I have students who are miserable being in a class where others won’t act mature. In fact, I myself, decided to attend a university and a community college during my 11th and 12th grade years of high school due to students such as these! As the teacher, I enforce the rules and send students to the deans when necessary. Detentions and such don’t matter to these types. They are just awful at times. Yesterday I decided to take another approach (I do this frequently) and pull a couple of the students aside individually and let them know they needed to change or they would be completing the course in another area, not my classroom. I also held small group “meetings” to just chat with them about their summer plans. Because we are tending an experimental garden (taking measurements and such), the discussion was held as we did our gardening. I actually think it may have worked, as I didn’t feel like so had run a marathon after the fact!

 

I have been reading Mark, and it seems to be re-inforcing that Jesus is in control. He feeds people when they are hungry, saves them when they are in trouble, and heals them when they are sick. He is always there. I am trying to remember this as I teach those who are truly unteachable (because they just don’t care). He doesn’t give up on us. He just loves. I won’t give up either; I will love (and know there are 10 days of school left!).

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    Laura, I am so encouraged by you, even if you say you’re struggling, because I see you not giving up! You’re reading Mark and seeing Jesus and learning His ways. You are inspired I suspect by Him to keep coming up with new approaches to handle the tough kids in your class. You refuse to give up on them and that’s huge; maybe others already have. Your idea of the garden is really neat! I read once that boys communicate better when doing things together like working side by side, rather than sitting face to face and talking like girls like to do! I would say you’re a “plucky gal”!

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      Laura — I agree with Susan. Pressing in when you don’t sense Him!

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    Laura, whispering a little prayer for you as you try to teach this difficult class. From my perspective, you are doing amazingly well. Yes, don’t give up. You may never see the benefits of your persistence and love, but God sees and knows what a difference it can make.

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    Laura…….seeing Jesus in the stories in the gospels is a beautiful thing.  Taking those stories simply at face value allows us to have that faith as a child that Jesus used to exemplify trusting Him completely.  You are doing that and that is what counts.

     

    I’m sorry to read of how hard teaching is.  And I know that it is true.  I have other friends who are feeling swallowed by the apathy and/or difficulty of students they have.   The students you write about likely don’t care…….and yet, the question is why?   So many carry such hidden pain…just as teachers and staff carry their own stress and suffering.   I truly love and believe in public schools and it makes me sad to see how real the struggle is in so many classrooms.  10 more days….. (make that 9!)   and I hope that you have some wonderful refreshment this summer ~ you have earned it!

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      Thanks everyone! I will make it! I appreciate your support 😘

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    Good for you Laura…not giving up & for sticking with reading Mark. Yes, thank God He never gives up on us! May He give you fresh grace & energy & creativity for the difficult kids.

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I was so moved by the book A Long Way Home — from which the movie Lion was based. True story that helped me think more about what I could do about the hungry and unloved children in this world!

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    Thanks for that, Dee.  I loved the movie.  I hope to read the book someday too, per your recommendation.

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I am slowly reading and pondering Ann Voskamp’s “The Broken Way”. She is so amazingly perspective. This morning I read her chapter called “The Miracle in Your Pocket That Breaks Stress”. Two quick quotes from this chapter: “Three gifts a day keeps stress away.” (meaning three acts of kindness, the best way to deal with stress is to do three small acts of generosity for someone else); and from Ignatius, “There are very few men who realize what God would make of them if they abandoned themselves into His hands and let themselves be formed by His Grace.”

A further thought of my own: I’m thinking sometimes as moms and grandmothers we think we are doing acts of kindness for others all the time. But are we really?… or are we expecting to be approved of or are we doing things begrudgingly, or are we really serving our own agenda, our self interests??? What if we could do three small kindnesses just for kindness sake; not because we thought we had to?

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    OH,  Diane.    You just hit the nail on the head in your last paragraph.   I can see myself in both scenarios, but I must admit I am ‘guilty as charged’ in terms of often doing what ‘I have to’.    The good thing is that God DOES redeem those efforts at times and creates in me the desire to do things out of kindness.  But surely some of it is out of duty or seeking approval.  :(

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Thinking on the past two weeks, I have to say that I often feel closest to God outdoors.  And I don’t have to go any further than my yard for that.  I absolutely love the steadfast predictable parts of nature; such as the birds returning almost exactly to the date year after year, even though some of them migrate tens of thousands of miles.  I can’t wrap my head around that.  But since I am an avid bird watcher/photographer, I keep close tabs.  I also compare notes with my friends and the time of their arrivals, almost never varies by more than a day of two.  (and that could just be when I happen to see them).   The same is true of perennial flowers and other seasonal changes.    This gives me such a sense of the order and the sovereignty of the Creator.  However else could I possibly explain how phenomena like migration happen year after year….century after century.

 

When we were camping last week, I noted two extremely different aspects of God.  The awesome power that created the majestic virgin white pine that I just adore whenever we are in the north woods.  And the equally powerful; but tenderness that created the abundant stretches of of wildflowers of such great variety.  And what I noted and photographed was just a handful of a handful of a handful of what is in even just a small portion of one forest in one season in one county in one state in one country of this beautiful planet we call Earth.   I even noted a flower so teeny tiny that it could barely be seen by someone who would easily walk right over it….but when I picked it up and examined it, the blossom looked exactly like a miniature pansy……a pansy that is about a quarter of the size of my pinkie fingernail.  I tried to save the flower so I could photograph it, but it was growing in the dirt at the station where we had our tire blow out changed and my camera was tucked away in the RV which was not accessible to me.  I picked one to photograph later, but it didn’t survive the wait.  I have never seen something so tiny!

 

Also, last night when I was watering my iris at home, I happened upon a hummingbird hawk moth which I have never seen before!  What an amazing little creature with such an amazingly busy life as his wings beat thousands of time while he extracts nectar (as a hummingbird would do.)  (google it if you’ve never seen.  a fascinating sight)   How can one not be in awe of a Creator who gave us all things to richly enjoy?   and how can we not do everything we possibly can to be good stewards of His wonderful gifts?

 

I love the thought:   “All I have seen of the Creator teaches me to trust Him in all that I cannot see.”  

 

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    I agree with you, Wanda. I simply love the seasons, the wildflowers and the birds. I love camping and spending time outside, though I am not crazy about biting bugs and such. Getting out in nature sure does remind me that we have an awesome Creator worth trusting at times when I do not understand what he is doing.

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    oh yes Wanda, I absolutely feel closest to the Lord when outdoors with His creation too. The order & beauty of the seasons & all His creation just thrill & delight my soul, over & over again! :)

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I have been using an app called Hoopla which allows you to download 4 books (audiobooks, kindle books, music, etc) a month for free if you have a library card. I just downloaded A Long Way Home. I just finished The Gift of Being Yourself by David Benner. I really have enjoyed listening to books on my daily commute.

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    I looked into Hoopla a bit and it looks like it is available in Canada as well as the US. Thanks so much for the recommendation, Dawn. It would be cool if I could download it to my cellphone for audio books while I exercise!

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      So I downloaded Hoopla on my device but now I see that you can’t download anything unless you are a card holding member of a particular library that is part of the system; and there were no libraries in my province on the system. Too bad!!!

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I am definitely looking into Hoopla! Thanks, Dawn!

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I’ve a friend here who has really been up and down with her faith but recently experienced God’s great mercy with her 3rd round of breast cancer and seems different now. She came over and we talked and prayed — sensed God truly moving in her life, but pray it stays when things are not so wonderful! But I did sense God’s presence.

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    That’s wonderful Dee. I also have a neighbor friend who is very broken & can be very negative. The Lord has given me such a love for her, & she always lets me pray for her before we part.

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I’ve had a truly blessed week. Work was really busy but I was off Thurs, & went to a quiet spot at Lake Michigan ( northern suburb of Chicago). I had a couple of uninterrupted hours there to reflect & read & talk & cry with the Lord. He always meets me in such tenderness. I read the story in Luke, where Jesus healed a woman who had been “bent over for 18yrs”. I felt Him telling me that past hurts had bent me over , but that He had set me free, so I could “stand up straight & praise God”! I was so touched & lifted up. If the Son sets us free, we are free indeed!

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    That is a really good application, Jenny.   ‘past hurts bending us over’   That puts such a personal meaning to that story of Jesus’ healing touch.

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