Sunday, May 29, 2022

A Day to Remember



May 30th marks this year's Memorial Day - a day to remember all the American men and women who died defending our country in times of war. The day of remembrance began just after the American Civil War in 1866, as a way to commemorate both Union and Confederate soldiers who had died during the war. It was originally called, "Decoration Day," because the graves of the fallen were decorated on that day. It was later changed to "Memorial Day." The flag pictured above flies over the field in Pennsylvania where the ill-fated Flight 93 was brought down by the American heroes on that flight during a terrorist attack. They too gave their lives for their country.

Gold Star families are those who have lost an immediate family member in the war. On Memorial Day, flags are flown at half-mast in the morning until noon, at which time they are raised to the top of the staff until sunset in honor of the nation's battle heroes. This monument is located behind the state capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas.

As time has passed, Memorial Day has been expanded to be a Day of Remembrance for all of our loved ones who have passed away and to honor all deceased family members. But, it is still first and foremost, a day to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives for our country.

Tears will naturally fall as we remember those we love who are no longer with us, but God has given us a comforting promise in Revelation 21:4.  A time will come when: "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."

We Honor the Memory of the Fallen

Friday, May 20, 2022

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Light at the End of the Tunnel

A couple weeks ago, we spent a lovely day on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, wandering through forest, fields and coastline.  We had driven perhaps a mile through dense, overhanging trees; as we neared the further end, I noticed how far away it was to the tiny light at the end of the tunnel of trees. It reminded me of an anonymous quote I recently read. Although meant to be humorous, there is much truth in this statement:  "Due to budgetary restraints, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.  We apologize if this inconveniences you in any way."

Hmm... Due to the world's incompetence, the light at the end of our tunnel is extinguished and their  response is, "Sorry."  Really??

There are times in our lives when the end of a tunnel of difficulties seems very far away. It's light can even seem to disappear altogether at times - turned off by .... what? Budgetary restraints - or more likely, circumstances beyond our control. That's when hope can dim to darkness and you frantically  search for a flicker of light to guide your way and give you hope.  If there's one thing we need in a dark tunnel, it's a glimmer of light indicating that there IS an end to the darkness and a way out.

The great thing is that Jesus always offers light to shine through your darkness. In the book of John, "Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life," 8:12. What a wonderful promise to hang onto when your tunnel seems so long and the light at its end so dim.

Here are two more exciting promises found in the book of Isaiah, "Arise, shine, for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you," 60:1. And, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.; those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined," 9:2.

Sydney J. Harris, a journalist for the Chicago Daily News, wrote: "The pessimist sees only the tunnel; the optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel; the realist sees the tunnel and the light - and the next tunnel." 

There will always be tunnels cropping up in our lives, but God offers ample light to those who seek Him. We don't have to be afraid of the dark, because God promises to banish that darkness and fill our lives with the light of His love. "Light dawns in the darkness for the upright," Psalm 112:4.


Friday, May 13, 2022

May 14, 1948 - Israel Reborn


     Photo  from All Israel News       

The country of Israel was reborn as a nation in one day on May 14, 1948.  After 1,878 years (since 70 AD), without a country, the Jewish people were back in the land God had promised to them.  it was a miracle that could only be brought about by God Himself.  We celebrate with Israel this momentous event!

Many Old Testament prophecies have been fulfilled as a result of Israel's rebirth and revitalization.  It's exciting to see God's plan unfolding - just as He said it would thousands of years ago.  Let's look at two of these fulfilled prophecies:

       This skeleton from the Apothecary Shop in Williamsburg, Virginia, represents the bones that come together from the Valley of Dry Bones, spoken of in Ezekiel 37:1-14. This is one of my favorite prophecies that God is currently fulfilling.  The scene described by the prophet is quite graphic and utterly supernatural as we watch dry bones that are scattered across the valley floor, rise up and begin attaching themselves to one another until they resemble this picture. It doesn't stop there, however, as they continue to layer on sinew and skin until, "breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army," verse 10. 
       These dry bones changed into an army represents God's people, and God said, "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord..."
        Ever since God brought Israel back together as a nation in 1948, Jewish people have been streaming back into their land. By the end of the year that Israel became a nation in 1948, there were 650,000 Jewish residents, today there are 7 million Jewish residents.  God is bringing His people back to their land, just as He said He would do!

     These figs I saw in a market in Italy, represent the beautiful fruits and vegetables growing in the nation of Israel.  Israel is brimming with produce and their cows hold the world record for liters of milk per cow. 
      The fields in this country laid desolate and barren for many centuries when the Jewish people were scattered from their homeland.  But, when Jewish rule returned, so did fertility return to the soil.  The prophet Ezekiel wrote, "This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited," 36:35.

These are just two of the wonderful and miraculous aspects of God's fulfilled prophecy in the land of Israel. It's exciting to watch prophecy that was written thousands of years ago, coming to fulfillment before our eyes.  God tells us, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may they prosper who love you," Psalm 122:6.


Thursday, May 5, 2022

Another Williamsburg Wander


      Last week, my husband and I spent a week in Williamsburg. We wandered many a pathway – with brick, dirt, gravel, crushed oyster shells and asphalt under our feet. In spite of occasional twinges in my knee, we enjoyed discovering interesting and beautiful things along our journey. I’d like to share some of those sights and use them to illustrate parts of God’s Word to remind us that He speaks to us through all the bits and pieces of our day. Let’s seek Joy in our Journey!

These beautiful feather-edged tulips show off their beauty in one of the colonial gardens. Jesus said, “Why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies (or tulips) of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these,” Matthew 6:28-29.

This sweet mockingbird perched on a colonial fence post reminds us of the verse just above the one about the tulips: “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they,” verse 26.  Hmm…I’m sensing a message here and it’s spelled out in verse 34, when Jesus says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow…”  Ah, don’t you love how God reminds us of His love and watch-care – if we’ll just stop and listen.

Speaking of listening – we heard a lot of baaa-ing around the colonial capitol. Fields of yellow flowers offered tasty food options for the many sheep – some with heavy wool ringlets like this lady, and others who have recently been shorn for the summer. There were lambs too. I  can’t see sheep without thinking of all the many verses pertaining to them. Here’s one that comes to mind:  "For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand," Psalm 95:7.

A series of paintings titled “Peaceable Kingdom,” by Edward Hicks, in the Abby Aldrich Folk Art Museum were quite interesting. Each depicted a child or several children with dangerous wild animals. Hicks was illustrating that wonderful section in Isaiah 11 when God tells there will be a time when “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion...and a little child shall lead them.” A beautiful picture of the millennium after Jesus returns to earth.

       I love vine and tree tunnels and this long tunnel in the garden of the Governor’s Mansion was made even more special with the many paper stars hanging along its length. At night, the stars are lit and for an extra fee, you can ramble through the garden at night. I’m sure it’s quite lovely Stars are special to me. I love the sound of the Spanish word for star – Estrella (pronounced estraya).
     I also love that the stars sang praises to God when He created them – can you imagine? Listen to what God told Job about the day of creation: “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy,”38:7.
      Not only did the stars and angels sing for joy, but God actually blew the stars into space: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth,” Psalm 33:6.  
       So, you can see why I like stars so much, as the Psalmist said, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him?” Psalm 8:3.                        You just have to smile!! 

       I know this is not an item you’d usually take a picture of – a sharp hatchet or ax whose blade is embedded in a block of wood. We were in the wheelwright barn when I noticed the ax. As I often do, I thought God has a message for us in the sharp blade of this ax. Here’s what God says in Ecclesiastes 10:10, “If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but wisdom brings success.”    
       There’s probably more than one message in that, but I believe one of the things we’re being told is to stay sharp by staying close to the Lord. If we wisely let Him work through us, our burden will be lighter and we’ll be using His strength for His success.

I love this sweet picture of our daughter and granddaughter, who joined us for a couple of days. We are so thankful for family!  

Our world is so full of good things from God. What a joy it is to know that the Creator of the vast universe wants to communicate with little ole you and me – each and every day. Be on the lookout for His messages. They are all around us!



Friday, April 22, 2022

Possums and License Plates


    The only possum in this post is the one hanging from the STOP sign in front of the world's largest Bass Pro Shop, located in downtown Memphis, Tennessee.  Since STOP signs are every bit as important as license plates, I thought this would be a nice touch!

    We'll start with a little quiz:  (1)  What is the most common city/town name in the United States? and (2) What is the least common name - meaning, there is only one city/town with this name in all the world?  It's motto is "The Only One," for obvious reasons.  Answers are at the end of this post.  
     Now, for some clever license plate names:

We actually have a complete sentence with these plates:

This one reminds me of Ernest Hemingway:  TOLE 4U

I especially like the spiritual plates:  I am POSITIV that if you read ROMANS 5 in the Bible, you will be  BLLLLSD




TESLUHH (on unique acqua blue Tesla)


 Here are my top choices for clever plates in this batch:

M8TS4LF       SNOWFL8K      $WELSPNT  (sent by a friend)

And here are the answers for the opening questions - drum roll, please!

(1) What is the most common city/town name in the United States?
          Washington comes in at 88, with Springfield half-as much with 41, and Franklin with 35.
(2) And what is the only city/town with this name in the whole world?  Ahoskie, which happens to be in North Carolina. The name is derived from the Wyanoke Indians.

I'd love to hear what you guessed for the questions (:

Thursday, April 14, 2022

The Thief


      This magnificent stain glass is one of the windows we saw in St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland. The artist shows the thief on Jesus' right leaning toward the Lord, perhaps speaking to Him those important words that would save his soul for eternity. The other thief is looking away, angry and unbelieving. This scene, portraying the crucifixion of our Savior, was the most important moments in the history of the world.  One small - and telling - part of that was the interaction between the thief and Jesus. 

    Mark 15:27 tells us:  “With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left. So the scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’”
    Luke 23:39-40:  “Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us’”
     “But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.”
     “Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when you come into Your kingdom.”
     “And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

      Jesus gave up His Spirit before either of the thieves died.  John 19:32-33 describes how the soldiers broke the legs of both criminals to hasten their deaths because it was evening and the Sabbath day was nearing, but when the soldiers approached to do the same with Jesus, His body was already dead.     

    Therefore, King Jesus was already in heaven when His recently redeemed child, the thief, breathed his last and stepped into Paradise to be greeted by the Savior whose body he had just seen hanging on the cross.  Can you imagine such an amazing scene!

      Only a short time before, this man had seen Jesus hanging on a cruel cross, crying out, “It is finished!”

     Now, here that same Jesus stood, not even resembling the bloodied, suffering man on the cross.  He was now resplendent in the glorious robes of a king, crowned with glory and honor, worshipped by choirs of angels – and Jesus was smiling and welcoming the thief who had just died on earth and stepped into heaven.  “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,” 2 Corinthians 5:8.

      What a beautiful picture - and what a beautiful promise of what will happen for every believer some day!


Friday, April 1, 2022

Travel Treasures


     Here are a few of my favorite "artistic" pictures from our recent trip to six states in the midwest. The one above was taken beside a church across the street from the State Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi. I failed to get the name of the church, but I think this blooming tree is quite lovely. I love to illustrate pictures with the Word of God, which is alive and relevant to all of life. "He has made everything beautiful in its time," Ecclesiastes 3:11

In contrast to the delicate pink flower, we have these hulking steers with horns that could skewer a person! These beasts march down the main street of Fort Worth, Texas twice a day, showing their stuff for the excited crowd of people, marveling at the size of their horns and eagerly snapping pictures. God tells us in His Word, "For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills," Psalm 50:10.

The day we drove from Oklahoma City to Dallas, the sky was full to overflowing with these amazing clouds. Cloud upon cloud crowded into one another all across the vast expanse. Our God is such an extraordinary artist! His work is so beautiful! "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork," Psalm 19:1

I don't know what kind of plant this is, but the leaves are beautiful with their rich green and lovely design. The plants were part of a display at the very upscale North Park Mall in Dallas. "And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good," Genesis 1:12.

I just love cowboy and cowgirl boots. There is something about them that is so cool! Boots are on display for sale all over Oklahoma and Texas. I do tend to want to sing that once popular tune, "These boots are made for walking and that's just what they'll do..." I'll stop it there because I don't want to walk all over anyone!  However, I do think these boots are beautiful! "Stand therefore,...having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace," Ephesians 6:15.

This is a sign in one of the bathrooms at the University of Oklahoma. It may seem strange to share a sign from a bathroom and consider it an artistic favorite, but the message in the sign touched me and I think it holds an important truth that many people need to be reminded of.  Sure, we're all familiar with knowing not to flush paper towels, wipes, etc. Not so much the goldfish and frogs - although I think I may have flushed a dead goldfish in my younger days, but what touched me was the reminder not to flush your hopes and dreams. Too often in life, these important elements are discarded and life is the poorer for it. You might want to bury the goldfish and frog, but never bury your hopes and dreams. Hold onto to them until your last breath. God is the author of your hopes and dreams. Thank you!

"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," Jeremiah 29:11