Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Could it be???!

   Could it be that the warm weather is here to stay? Oh I hope so!

   I am sitting by an open window...the sun is shining and the birds are singing in trees outside my window...the curtain is gently moving with the fresh air coming in...I can smell the light sweet fragrance of the cherry and pear blossoms outside my window.
   The boys are busy doing their school work, they don't need my help much anymore. I'm torn by this thought because I absolutely loved being the hands-on elementary teacher and miss that, but I'm proud of the hard working independent young men they are now.
   This is a precious day at home and I just want it to go slow and soak it all in...I am blessed and I hope as you read this you are blessed too. I hope you have a wonderful day! Take time to listen to the birds sing and walk the sunshine...and see if you can notice the little things...sometimes the tiniest things have the biggest beauty....

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He Has Risen!!!

   Happy Resurrection Day! Death could NOT hold Him, the grave could NOT keep Him...
   He defeated death as he promised! And that same power that allowed him to fully die and rise again, can cleanse each of us. He also promised to come again...are you ready?

   May you know the love of Christ this Glorious Day! Happy Easter everyone!
Love, Allison

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Time of Waiting...Sunday is coming! (pictures and thoughts from A Journey to the Cross)

   Thursday, we took our teen group of girls to "A Journey to the Cross". This was a very moving experience put on by a local church. It is a time of quiet reverence while meditating on key elements of Christ's passion.

   The 1st room focused on the 30 pieces of silver that Judas was payed for betraying Christ. The Son of God was traded away for the common price of a slave...

   In the 2nd room, the focus was on the Spike and the Mallet...Holding the weight of one of these spikes in your hand helps you grasp how cruel Crucifixion was. The Romans knew to put the spike between the wrist bones which not only anchored the arm but hit vital arteries and injured muscle tendons...Holding the mallet reminds me that it was my sin that drove the nails...but we can rejoice that, when Jesus looks at his scars, he does not see our sin-If we have placed our faith in Him he only sees us now fully redeemed.

   The 3rd room was a scene that brings you to your knees...His cross...the altar on which his innocent blood was spilled...for me...for you. This blood soaked cross now offers believers protection from the judgement of God. A shocking reminder that the cross is more than a cool looking symbol to wear on a chain or T-shirt...this was such a humbling experience.

   The 4th room was beautiful. Here, all Christians were invited to take communion. During the Last Supper, Jesus explained that his body would soon be broken and his blood would be shed. He told them to remember often by breaking bread and sharing wine with each other, and that this was a new covenant. Will we choose to remember?

   The 5th room focused on the Temple Curtain...Up until the time of Jesus' death, there had been a large curtain hanging in the temple to separate people from the Holy of Holies, where the presence of God dwelt. At the very time that Jesus gave up his spirit, the curtain was torn from top to bottom as only God's hand could do. We now have direct access to God, because He removed the barrier...we can come in the name of Jesus directly into His presence, no matter how guilty or ashamed we may be...Have you entered into His presence?...


   The 6th room focused on the oil and spices that were used to prepare his body for burial. Just like the precious gifts that were given at his birth, these expensive oils and spices were a sign of love and respect. We are reminded that we do not always bring him our best...his followers paid a high price to bury him so honorably...he paid such a high price with his death, and what does he want in return?...our heart...have you given him yours?

   The 7th room had "our cross" Galatians 2:20 says "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." We are to take up our cross daily, die to ourselves and seek to follow after Jesus. In this room we were encouraged to write a prayer or burden, and then, nail it to this cross as an outward sign of exchanging our ways for His. As people pounded those nails into that cross, others who were going through the tour could hear it. It got louder as you advanced through each room...that sound only deepened the impact of this experience. It was freeing to get to that room and leave your burdens on the cross. What a gift we have been given!

Have you been to the foot of the cross?

We leave this tour at the point of Jesus' death and burial, but we know the rest of the story...Sunday is coming!

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday Thoughts of the Cross...

Have you taken the path to the cross?

  With Easter coming, my thoughts this week are  about how quickly events turned from Palm Sunday...Everyone shouting "Hosanna!" People were thrilled to see Jesus coming into the city. Everyone was hearing about this miracle maker and wonderful teacher claiming to be the Son of God. Everyone wanted a glimpse of this man, maybe even a touch from this man.

   Today, I am thinking about the last supper...Jesus knew that he would die soon, he had the power to prevent that from happening, but he held that back...tonight he would be having dinner with the ones who were closest to him.
   I picture an intimate setting of them all gathered around the table in that "upper room". They were sitting and remembering the things of God, and Jesus gives them the symbolic lesson so many of us are familiar with today...He took the bread, and broke it and passed it and explained how his body would be broken for them...(and for us)... He took the wine and gave them, saying his blood would be a sign of a new covenant...(that promise is for us too). Then he told them to do this in remembrance of him...Jewish culture is wonderful at remembering, taking the time to stop daily living and remember God's provision as if it just happened. ...Jesus was telling them to meet and do this special bread and wine remembrance that we call communion.
   Am I doing a good job at "remembering"? I feel very convicted that during our communion services throughout the year, I probably do not "remember" with the heaviness that I am feeling this Easter week. Tonight I will be going to a "cross walk" with the teen girl group I'm involved with. I'm hoping that the things we see will help us remember all that Christ did for us...
   He suffered in ways that are unspeakable, and died an ugly death on a cruel cross...he had the power to destroy that crowd who earlier in the week sang "Hosanna"  but who was now screaming " Crucify him!"...but he chose to love them instead, and shed his blood for every one of them...and everyone of us. He gave up his will and strength, took on the ugly sins of all time and died. The Son of God died a criminals death and was buried in a borrowed tomb...for me...for you
   But the story does not end there...but there is a period of silent waiting...(see you Sunday ;) )
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Friday, April 15, 2011

I Love Spring!



    I have to say these past couple of days have just been so what I've needed! Bright warm sunshine...a gentle breeze...and time to enjoy it! Yesterday I sat out on the deck just taking it all in...the cherry blossoms seemed to come out overnight, can't wait til their fragrance fills the air! ...This makes me remember how beautiful the cherry trees were last year...and then came all the cherries!...and ice cream topping...and pie! I hope it's another good year :)


I am not the only one enjoying this lovely day, the cats (every farm has cats, and we have plenty) are laying lazily on the sun saturated deck. Spring means kittens, we always are "blessed" with new stray pregnant kitties...here basking in the sun are two. They are so cute when they are tiny, but we do not need more!...but for now, they are my quiet company.

   Looking at everything springing awake from a long winter's nap, I feel I MUST go and get my camera. It's as if I can hear God's beautiful creation call out "Look at me! Look at all the wonderful detail I've been given!" I am looking forward to the day that I can plant the veggie garden that I've been plotting in my head!

   I am so thankful that I live in the country...it's not for everyone I know. Things are a little quieter and slower, and I can seem to hear God's voice a little clearer out here. I am also thankful for my farm boy that I met at the age of  7 and later married, and my three young farm boy sons...ahhh life is good...

There's No Place Like Home!

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cracked Pots, Resolutions, and Spring Fever

   As I sit down to write my reflections from the week, I find myself thinking all these seemingly random thoughts...one of those A.D.D. days...but in my mind these thoughts all go together.

   First of all, this half-spring/half-winter weather has me full swing into spring fever. I have been planning my veggie garden and what annuals I would like to plant....Oh I can't wait to play in the dirt!!! It makes me want to get out the tools and pots and my colorful rubber boots! :)

   Most people make resolutions at the start of a new year, but I find myself watching all of nature "wake up" after winter and thinking "I need to come alive and make some changes in myself". Right now, I am focusing on being more positive, healthier and to really enjoy and learn in the day to day moments.

   There seems to be a theme this week in my quiet times with God. I am part of a wonderful women's Bible study at my church, and we are studying who we are in God's eyes (instead of trying to reach the world's idea of value)...it has been wonderful. Every beautiful woman in that group has a story...joys, heartaches, struggles and strengths. We are all different, but made uniquely by our loving Heavenly Father.

   We are like beautiful clay vessels molded by the Master Potter's hands. All are different shapes and have different purposes, but all are created for a function and loved by their Creator. In our Bible studies, we talked about how the vessels made in Bible times were used for ordinary, everyday jobs like cooking, cleaning, eating, storing. These items had value serving in the purpose they were created for. They were fragile, could crack or even break....We are fragile and sometimes may crack...but we contain an incredible treasure...

   2 Corinthians 4:7-9 says "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us, We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed"....

   Wow! how powerful is that?! We are just fragile clay pots, but if we allow the Potter who created us, fill us with His power and light, We are strong! Oh we may crack here and there, but God will hold us together....And those cracks?...well, that just lets His light shine through :)

   So if you are feeling as though you are cracking under pressures? Stop and make sure that you are full to the brim with the all-surpassing power of God. Good news!...God uses cracked pots!

I hope the following pictures help give you a visual to this idea...

I painted this pot some years ago to hold flowers on my deck...

Oops, I was going to throw it away, but then I had an idea...

I decided to give it a new purpose. The light inside warms the saucer above which has fragrance oil in it. It provides a nice glow and a pleasing scent to the room. I am resolving to do the same with my life :)