Birthday Week Favorites

My Birthday celebration started early with a Mexican meal on Tuesday that Dan, Jamie, Addy, Linda, Scott and Rhonda were a part of. It was a good time and Jamie brought a special dessert for each of us in little canning jars, blueberry cobbler. Linda is our DIL Jamie’s mother and Scott is Jamie’s Uncle and Rhonda is Scott’s wife and we are all huge fans of Addy.

On my actual birthday morning our dear daughter-in-law brought Addy by with a bouquet of flowers for me. This was such a sweet surprise and I’m so thankful Jamie took a photo of her at the front door before I opened the door with my robe on and wet hair! Addy wasn’t sure about me with wet hair and my glasses off but warmed up when she realized that scary figure was in fact her Baba!

Besides my morning cup of coffee, on my birthday Dear made me his famous Swedish Pancakes with side eggs in between his work obligations. Perks of working from home.

Phone calls and text messages from kids and family and Facebook good wishes were fun to receive and read through the day.

After Dear’s work was done we went into town to run errands and decided to try Chateau Vin, a new spot to us, for early dinner which is not new to us. It was good and we would take any wine enthusiasts there when they visit. We I have a goal of trying every eatery in our area. We’ve tried most already. It’s not a hard goal since our community and the others around us are small. Many of the establishments are closed on Sunday and Monday. Some are closed on Monday and Tuesday. Only a handful are open every day. The only national chains in our town are McDonald’s, Subway, Taco Bell, and KFC. Local chains are Zip’s, Taco Time, and Westside Pizza.

I’m retired and how to use my daily awake hours are mostly up to my discretion. I’m settling in to really enjoy my morning time reading the Bible and some devotionals and books before I continue on with the busyness of the day. In the recent past I lapsed horribly in this good endeavor. Currently I’m on a 5 day a week plan on reading the Bible through in a year. I read my Spurgeon yearly devotional which I’m happy to reread each year. I’ve added Piper’s Taste and See for the first part of the year. Then my two current books, not devotionals, that I try to read a chapter from each morning are Begg’s, Pathway to Freedom, and MacArthur’s, The Gospel According to Jesus. Dear already read these books so we can discuss what we read. I’ve gained from this discipline in my life for sure and it’s not just a discipline but it is worship and it is good even if I don’t “feel” something at the moment. The Holy Spirit uses what gets into my brain and heart and brings it back to me at interesting times, like 2 a.m. in the morning. The key for me is that I don’t turn on my computer until I’m done with this morning time.

My morning view.

Joining Susanne at Living to Tell the Story for Friday’s Fave Five.

Dear and I are driving south to Spokane today to have a birthday dinner at Churchhill’s Steakhouse. I won’t be around to visit until tomorrow since driving into Spokane is a several hour event for us. Ninety minutes to get there and then we have to shop at some of our favorites that we don’t have in Colville, dinner, and then ninety minutes to get home.

Enjoy your Friday!

Thoughtful Thursday

On Tuesday we met with the pastor and deacons of First Baptist Colville to give our testimonies for consideration for church membership. I rewrote my testimony to share with the deacons.

Nestled close to  Kings Canyon National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada is the Youth Camp that I was able to attend in 1963, 1965 and 1967. I was 12, 14, and 16 during these wilderness adventures.

I was raised in a family who attended church regularly and often, very religious. The church I was raised in gave me the impression that because I was Russian and a member of their church that I had an exclusive connection with God. What I learned at Bible Camp was that the only exclusive connection I could have to God was through Jesus Christ and what He did for me on the cross. Being Russian and being a part of my father’s religion did not give me a direct link to God. In 1963 at Hume Lake while listening to a speaker talk about Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross to save sinners I was moved to step out and become a follower of Jesus. God’s plan of salvation was exclusively through his perfect son Jesus, who is fully God and came to earth to live a perfect life among us and be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. I knew I was one of those sinners and I needed a Savior. This decision began a journey of ups and downs, highs and lows, but a journey forward with my God and Savior. When I began my new life following Jesus I was clothed with His righteousness and reconciled to God. I continue on this walk, never perfectly but with God’s grace I carry on. He will be teaching me by His Holy Spirit all the days of my life. My God and Savior is and will be faithful to see me through all of my life on this earth and I look forward with the Hope of seeing Him face to face in heaven. During this same year, 1963, my father began his journey of following Jesus after hearing Billy Graham at the Los Angeles Coliseum share the truth of Jesus Christ and why He came to earth over 2000 years ago. 1963 was an epic year for me and my family. For my father and me we became part of God’s movement of love and grace through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My mother was a follower of Jesus when she married my father. My two older sisters had started following Jesus before my father and me.

I’ll share this verse that Billy Graham proclaims in every interview I’ve ever heard him give. John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

High School scanned4HUME LAKE CHRISTIAN CAMP 1967

Fresh quotes from my reading this week and a quote from Dorothy Sayers that I read on Thistle Cove Farm blog:

“It is not the business of the church to adapt Christ to men, but men to Christ.” ~ Dorothy Sayers

Form Piper, Taste and See:

“We should continually look to the cross and the work of God in Christ because this is where God makes the light of the gospel shine. If we become excessively introspective and analyze our emotions too much, we will sink into hopeless doubts because the self-authenticating light shines not from within us, but from Christ in the gospel. We must look outside ourselves to Christ and his work if we hope to have assurance sustained inside ourselves.”

Second, we should continually pray for God to enlighten the eyes of our hearts.

Third, we should express our trust in Christ by loving each other.”

1 John 3:14 ~ We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren.”

Hope you have time to pause and consider what God has done for you on this Thoughtful Thursday.

Thoughtful Thursday

I’m changing things up and nixing my Quotes of the Week on Friday for posts on Thursday that I’m calling Thoughtful Thursday.

The photo above is a portion of the road we travel to get to town, to our kids’ home, to church. We enjoy the landscape along the way. What you can’t see or smell is the aftermath of someone hitting a skunk. As our dear daughter-in-law’s Granny says, you travel skunk alley to get to town! She is right. In the short time we’ve lived here and traveled this road we’ve seen and smelled over 10 skunks that were not smart enough to stay off the road. Just keeping things real. One more thing about skunks, their fragrance lingers long after they are gone.

This morning we woke up to 4 degrees F. Brrr. So thankful for a furnace that warms up the inside of our home.

In the morning I’ve tried to start a regiment of reading before I turn on my computer while I drink my cup of coffee. I’m reading the Bible, a daily dose of Spurgeon and a devotional I pull off our bookshelf. The devotional with 140 meditations that I’m reading at present is Taste and See by John Piper. In today’s reading he quotes some of his beloved English professor’s resolutions from a talk in 1976. Piper says of Dr. Kilby that he had a pastoral heart and a poet’s eye. He pled with us to stop seeking mental health in the mirror of self-analysis, but instead drink in the remedies of God in nature. He was not naïve. He knew of sin. He knew of the necessity of redemption in Christ. But he would have said that Christ purchased new eyes for us as well as new hearts.

Here are a few of his resolutions I’ll share here. Awakening Amazement at the Strange Glory of Ordinary Things

  1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me.
  2. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence, but just as likely ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.
  3. I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their “divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic” existence.

Staring at this tree…

Looking steadily at the sky.

Psalm 19:1-6

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
    and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
    and its circuit to the end of them,
    and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

Hoping your Thursday is filled with moments of awe and gratefulness.

Taste and See ~ John Piper

I’ve been reading off and on a devotional by John Piper called Taste and See -Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life – 140 Meditations. I’m sharing part of Meditation 50 (How Can Elsie Run? How to Run and Box when You are over 80) I’ve highlighted in bold green print parts that really spoke to me…

…”Are running and boxing only for the fit and hardy?

The answer is that we all must run, whether old or young, whether sick or healthy. And this is possible for the sick and senile because the race is run with the heart, not the legs, and the fight is fought with the heart, not the fists. It is a race and a fight not against other athletes, but against unbelief. It is possible for the aged and weak to win this fight because the fight is a fight against lost hope, not against lost health.

Here’s the biblical evidence for this. In 1 Timothy 6:12 Paul says to Timothy: “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession” The fight is a “fight of faith.” It is not a fight to get out of bed, but to rest in God.

It is not a fight to keep all the powers of youth, but to trust in the power of God. The race is run against temptations that would make us doubt God’s goodness. It is a fight to stay satisfied in God through broken hips and lost sight and failed memory. The race can and may be run flat on your back. In fact, it may be run and fought better by the paralyzed than by the able and seemingly self-sufficient.

…Finishing the race means not giving up the hope of the gospel. It is a race against hopelessness, not against flawlessness.

When we cheer on the diseased or aging runners who run their final laps in hospital beds, what we are really saying is, “Do not throw away your confidence which has a great reward” (Hebrews 10:35) The finish line is crossed in the end, not by a burst of human energy, but by collapsing into the arms of God. And let us not forget: In the Christian race, we do not finish alone. We finish together. It is part of the rules. “Encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called Today, so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13)”

I find this very encouraging and I hope it will encourage someone out there who is having a hard time running. Keep the faith. Keep looking ahead to the Hope we have in Christ. Keep acknowledging God’s goodness to you every day. Blessings on you…