Friday, November 19, 2010

The Autumn of Life

Cooters Pond, Alabama November 19, 2010
The weather and changing colors on the trees have been reminding me lately of death and dying  (maybe it's also that I'm missing my Papa, who died in July).  What do I want the end of my life to be like?  Do I want it to be a beautiful picture of my faith in Christ, or do I want to be ugly, shriveled up and dry?  I thought how the trees and their fall foliage reflect this.  Some trees have such beautiful fall foliage, and others do not.  I want my own personal fall foliage to be bright and shining, like the tree in the center of the above picture.  I want to stand out not for myself, but for Christ!  Wouldn't it be awesome to leave behind such a beautiful picture, a life that reflects Christ?

Another thought -- when the leaves on the tree die in the Fall, the tree itself is not dying.  So it is when we die physically. If we are Christians, we are instantly born into life eternal (II Corinthians 5:8).  As the Bible puts it, to be physically dead is to be alive WITH Christ in heaven.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Images from Lunch, Nov. 17, 2010 - Park in Cloverdale Area, Montgomery, Alabama

Here in central Alabama, it takes a while for the colors of the leaves to change.  What's changing right now are the maples and the crepe myrtles.  We really haven't had any cold weather to speak of yet, either, although it did go from the 90s to the 70s in a week's time!  God has blessed this area of the country with the color green.  Lush trees, grass, hills and valleys.  Unfortunately the last few years we have been going through a dry period, even to the point of drought for a few years.  Very unheard of in this area. 

Sort of like our seasons of life. Sometimes we are verdant and watered by the word of God, and other times we are dried up and cracking with thirst for want of spiritual rain.  It's really up to us, isn't it?

"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever."
Isaiah 40:8

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Who do I represent?

Jeffcoat Engineers & Surveyors, LLC, Montgomery, Alabama

Ambassador:  A diplomatic official of the highest rank appointed and accredited as representative in residence by one government to another. 

Friday afternoon I was out running errands for my employer. I was driving the company pickup truck and started thinking about my actions in the truck such as: I really shouldn't run any traffic lights, and I really shouldn't exceed the speed limit, and I really need to signal properly.  If I did these things, it would get back to my boss.  After all, I was in the company truck, which has the company logo and phone number on it.  I mean, I couldn't kick the truck down a gear and just step on it, could I?  Not that I would...Driving the truck made me think about being a representative of where I work.  I realized I needed to present myself in a manner that would reflect well on the company. 

God used Friday's driving experience as a thinking time.  Thoughts carried over from me being a representative of the company I work for, to me being a representative, an ambassador of God and His kingdom.  Sure, I had heard and reflected on being a witness and ambassador for Christ before, but never had it really hit me like it did when I was driving that white truck.  I was better able to relate to my ambassadorship for Christ when I was actually being an "ambassador" for my company.

How many times have I said the wrong thing, done the wrong thing, not cared about the feelings of others?  When I do those things, I am reflecting poorly on my heavenly Father.  II Corinthians 5:19-21 says "that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

Matthew 5:14-16 puts it very well. "You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

Not only do I need to be a good representative for my employer, but I also need to be very careful that my actions do not turn others away from Christ.  What if I am the only ambassador they meet?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thank you for your prayers!

Thanks to all of you who were praying for my son Ben and his surgery. Surgery was Friday morning, and although it took longer than expected, everything went well.  I know that Tina mentioned making sure he followed through on rehab.  That's going to be tough, but I have some friends and family who I am sure will assist. As it is, my son is in a groin to ankle cast hopefully only for a couple of weeks, but he has to be in a cast for six weeks.  Not going to be cool for a 13 year old guy!  :-) 

It's wonderful meeting all of you special ladies on here (sorry guys, but they are the ones who posted comments)!  Please let me know when and how I can encourage each of you, too.

I Thessalonians 5:18 "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

~ Reese

Book Review -- A Year with God by R.P. Nettelhorst

A Year with God
Make His Thoughts Your Thoughts
Daily Readings and Reflections on God's Own Words

by: R.P. Nettelhorst
Thomas Nelson Publishers
Copyright 2010

Open this book and you will find God speaking to you through His words in the Bible, written out in a daily format and divided into sections such as "Hope and Fear" and "Love and Hate" just to name a few.  Through this book, R.P. Nettelhorst brings God's words into today's daily living.  He asks and answers questions from a Biblical perspective using insight into Biblical times, and causes you to think in a new light about what God is saying to us. 

This is a beautifully presented book in a daily reading format.  Each page begins with a thought for the day and is followed with a good sized portion of Scripture, followed by thoughts on the Scripture.  To my surprise and delight, Scripture takes up one-third to one-half of each page! 

I personally found this book to be a timely reading source. Words jumped off the pages and into my heart, all of them applicable to what I was going through at the time of the reading.  Because of some of the reflections in this book, I was personally motivated to further study the Scripture.

A Year with God is an attractive, easily read, thought provoking book which would make a very nice addition to anyone's daily reading, as well as a wonderful gift for someone you love. I recommend this book for anyone who wants a closer walk with God, which always begins with a deeper understanding of His words to us.  Personally, I am looking forward to reading this book for many years to come.

 In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Booksneeze.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Heavens Declare God's Glory!

Sunset view from my parent's home in central Alabama
 "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 
Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 
Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.  In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.  His going forth is from the end of heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it:  and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof." 
Psalm 19: 1-6

Yesterday morning as I was driving to work, I chose a different route and was so glad I did!  As I crested a hill and looked towards the east, I saw blankets of fog tucked into the valleys below.  Just ribbons of clouds lying close to the ground.  Above you could see beautiful, clear blue skies.  The scene made me smile, and brought to mind the above portion of  Psalm 19. 

I am a very visual person.  Therefore, I think in terms of color, pattern and texture.  What if we didn't see color?  Was it necessary that we see color?  When you see what has been created, and the variety of colors, styles, smells and textures, can you believe that things just happened?  How about how far we are to the sun, or how close, for that matter?  What about the exact tilt of the earth on it's axis?  What about our placement in the Milky Way, or even in the universe?  How can a person believe that there is no God, no Creator? 

To me, this shows that Someone wanted us to have the privilege and pleasure to enjoy His creation.  God has given us the beauty of the earth to enjoy, to share, and to be used to point the way to the Lord.  Care should be taken, however, not to worship the creation, but to worship the Creator.  All praise and glory should go to Him.

Listen to the first and last verses of this hymn penned by Folliot S. Pierpoint:

For the Beauty of the Earth

For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise,
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For thyself, best Gift Divine,
to the world so freely given,
for that great, great love of thine,
peace on earth, and joy in heaven:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

Truly, "the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork!"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Trust Me -- I am with you

I felt overwhelmed by the news that my youngest son had fractured his knee.  He had a bicycle accident, the paramedics showed up, it was said that if he were their teen son, they would take him home and ice his leg.  I did that. Over the course of the weekend I petted and coddled, and enjoyed spending one on one time with him.  He learned to use crutches (although not very effectively), and even managed to shower and change by himself.  He enjoyed a visit from his aunt.  He enjoyed several visits from his dad.  He took pain medicine and he slept.  Most of the time he was just bored, because his older brother was spending time with their best friend! 

Sunday evening it was decided that he would go stay with his dad and work more on crutches so he would be ready for school.  Monday morning I had a phone call from his dad telling me that my son had fractured his knee!  That he had been taken to the emergency room, and that he was scheduled to see an orthopedic specialist Monday afternoon.  Of course I felt rotten for a while!  Oh, why hadn't I taken him to the doctor?!?  (Second guessing yourself is not fun at all.  I recommend you don't do it, no good can come out of it.)  It turns out my son is now needing surgery.

It seems that my first reaction is always tears and questioning.  However, on the way to the doctor yesterday morning a thought occurred to me.  I had read the night before about God allowing Satan to test Job.  Is this what was happening to me?  Wow.  Buck up, girl!  You are a child of the King and nothing can happen to you except what He allows.  God also says that He will not give me more than I can bear.  In other words, let this be a good Christian testimony.  Don't let Satan win!

Another of the other verses I have read this week, which has helped buoy me up is Genesis 46:3-4 "I am God, the God of your father, He said. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joesph's own hand will close your eyes."  Just the first phrase stops you.  "I AM GOD!"  Then He says He will go down with me, and HE will bring me back up. 

Again in II Chronicles 20:17 He says "You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you."  In other words, He will fight the battle for me. Don't let my discouragement take hold of me.  Get rid of it!  Why should I be discouraged?  I am a child of the King.  Everything is in HIS control, not mine. 

Jeremiah 29:11 says "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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."  Oh, this verse brings tears to my eyes.  It needs no further explanation.  I need to let this verse sink in and write it on my heart.

Every night for the past few nights God has been bringing to me verses of this nature.  I love how He uses Scripture to comfort me!

 Let me just end by saying, "O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: His mercies endureth forever.  O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for His mercy endureth forever." Psalm 136:1 & 26

~ Reese