Monday, February 29, 2016

statements on faith

(writings of my Dad)


God created! Life is His Gift.
Victorious believers are His witnesses.
The Son paid our sin-debt with sinless blood.
The Holy Spirit guides and convicts us.
The Father rules supreme.
All nature is His handiwork.
The Scripture is His Word.
The prophets foretold of Him.
The law proved the need of Him.
The apostles lived His message.
The faithful preacher proclaims Him.
The true witness tells of Him.
Angels minister over the believers.
The church trains us.
Christian friends share another’s burdens.
The enemy tests the believers.
The Savior prepares us a place.
The Holy Spirit guides and keeps us.
Ye must be born again or you shall die.

JW Smithwick

Sunday, February 28, 2016

seeking God

(writings of my Dad)


I Sought for God

I sought for God along life’s busy highway
I turned and walked in Nature’s paths of grandeur
I sought for God in a great Cathedral
I prayed within a quiet lonely heart
Oh God I’ve found my burdened heart is free

I watch the throngs rush in a maddening pace
The glorious sunset, fragrant flowers at my feet
With awe, the building beauty filled my eye
The thoughts of earth came and pressed me hard
My sins forgiven, new life within the man

No time to stop and seek their Holy Maker
The pleasant valleys, the woods and mountain peaks
Majestic music strains did fill the air
Oh God forgive my darkest sins forgive
Oh wondrous God such love I do behold

No thought of God in life’s petty little race
I saw His works, but Him I could not meet
The pastor spoke of things beyond the sky
For I believe and hunger for Thee Lord
Touch me, use me in Thy Holy plan

I found him not, and none to help me there
I must find God, but then I knew not where
I worshiped God, but did not loose my care
I found Him then, beheld His countenance fair
I’ve found my God, His message I do declare

JW Smithwick

Saturday, February 27, 2016

eagles's wings

Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40:31 NAS

This is one of my most treasured Bible verses.  I return to it again and again. 

I understand what God is saying, I understand that He alone gives me strength, I understand that strength is divine, I understand that strength is unshakable.  I admit, there are times when I feel totally alone, times that I’m extremely tired, times that I want to crawl under the covers, times that I shake my head and deeply sigh.  

But, I also understand that He is always here.  Always with me.  Always.  It doesn’t matter what it is, devastating or minuscule, I can always and only depend on Him.  I have a note in my Bible that reads:  Let’s call upon, let’s wait upon, let’s depend upon the Lord.  That’s it!

I just need reminding.  And, once again, I return to Isaiah 40:31.

Friday, February 26, 2016

friday funnies



A father was reading Bible stories to his young son. He read, "The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city, but his wife looked back and was turned to salt." His son asked, "What happened to the flea?"

A ten-year-old, under the tutelage of her grandmother, was becoming quite knowledgeable about the Bible. Then one day she floored her grandmother by asking, "Which Virgin was the mother of Jesus: the Virgin Mary or the King James Virgin?"

Six-year-old Angie and her four-year-old brother Joel were sitting together in church. Joel giggled, sang, and talked out loud. Finally, his big sister had had enough. "You're not supposed to talk out loud in church." "Why? Who's going to stop me?" Joel asked. Angie pointed to the back of the church and said, "See those two men standing by the door? They're hushers."

Thursday, February 25, 2016

life unfolds

My Dad loved being outdoors, he loved the dirt and he loved growing things.  So do I. 
(writings of my Dad)

Life Unfolds

Winter snow is gone
It’s Spring the robins say.
The soil is broken well
Morning breaks today.
Good seed is sown
In soil’s hidden worth.
A tiny sprout begins to grow
Unseen within the mellow earth.

The sun will shine
Showers too must fall.
The promised green appears
Answering a sunny call.
Growth unfolds a plant
Be it for days or years.
Once the plant matures
A blossom of promise appears.

Bees kiss the flower
And when the flower is done.
Tiny at first appears
The fruit, the reward begins.
And when the fruit is grown
Full, firm, and sweet.
Behold a seed enclosed
The circle to repeat.

JW Smithwick
August 5, 1965

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

how many days 'till spring?

It’s a rainy, dreary day.  Heavy rains from overnight have collected together and formed several small ponds around the side and backyards.  It’s a mess.  I don’t look forward to filling these areas in with dirt and smoothing out the yard, at least enough to fill in the largest holes.  Even the existing drainage ditch needs work. (If this stuff ever dries up.)  No, the sky isn’t falling, the ground is sinking.
 
There is one project I am so looking forward to: expanding the garden pond.  Currently, it’s a preformed, flexible 50 gallon pond, home to three unique goldfish: Gibbs, G, and Pride (names from NCIS characters).  I hope to double the size, replacing the current one with a sheet liner that will conform to the contours of the old and new hole.  I want the new area to have one section at least two feet deep.  It will take much less effort to maintain a larger pond.
 
Garden ponds do require maintenance to be kept clean and balanced. There are additives necessary for a proper water environment: water conditioners, clarifiers, coatings for fish health, beneficial bacteria and enzymes, and pH balance and algae control. 

In the winter, the fish settle to the bottom and dream I guess.  They aren’t fed.  I have a small floating water heater to melt winter ice.  Without it, gasses can build up underneath and kill the fish.  In spring, summer, and fall, I have a fountain with a filter (that requires cleaning).  I also have plants.  Anacharis is an underwater oxygenating plant that typically survives the winter.  In spring, I add water lettuce and water hyacinth, both floating plants. (I can’t make myself pay for an expensive water lily that could die.)
 
Over the years, I have had many fish.  One year, a raccoon (most likely) caught two large goldfish.  One was left on the ground beside the pond and the other was evidently consumed.  The blood caused a pH crash killing about eight babies we didn’t know existed.  That was a sad day.  I actually cried.  The large ones had been there for several years and were at least six inches long.  I pulled out the pond and filled in the hole.  But, I later reinstalled it and started all over again.

Call me crazy.  I don’t care.  But, every single fish we have ever had have been named.  I also have trained them.  A tap to the closest edge lets them know it’s feeding time and they quickly come.  I eventually can (to most) actually drop a piece of food into their mouths.  And, several have allowed me to pet them (rub their backs).

Several years the pond was also home to frogs.  Early on in my pond years, a tiny little frog appeared on a floating plant.  He grew and hung around for that year.  A few years later, a huge monster frog scared me out of my flip flops.  (I wasn’t previously aware of his presence.)   

I’m looking forward to spring.  My favorite time of year.  Sitting outside on my glider.  Listening to the soothing sound of bubbling water.  The fresh breeze and warm sunshine.  Ahhhhh....

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Saturday, February 20, 2016

it's not just your story...

(or, what you're going thru now)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016

the need for reverence

God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.  Psalm 89:7  KJV


AW Tozer
Many persons who have been raised in our churches no longer think in terms of reverence, which seems to indicate that they doubt God’s presence is there. Much of the blame must be placed on the growing acceptance of a worldly secularism that seems much more appealing than any real desire for the spiritual life that is pleasing to God. We secularize God; we secularize the gospel of Christ and we secularize worship. No great and spiritually minded men of God are going to come out of such churches, nor any great spiritual movement of believing prayer and revival. If God is to be honored and revered and truly worshiped, He may have to sweep us away and start somewhere else. Let us confess that there is a necessity for true worship among us. If God is who He says He is and if we are the believing people of God we claim to be, we must worship Him! In my own assessment, for men and women to lose the awareness of God in our midst is a loss too terrible ever to be appraised!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Saturday, February 13, 2016

what matters

The God who created, names, and numbers the stars in the heavens also numbers the hairs of my head.  He pays attention to very big things and to very small ones. What matters to me matters to Him, and that changes my life.
Elisabeth Elliot


What matters supremely is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it the fact that He knows me. I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind.  All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him because He first knew me, and continues to know me.
J. I. Packer

One hundred years from today your present income will be inconsequential.  One hundred years from now it won’t matter if you got that big break....It will greatly matter that you knew God.
David Shibley

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12 NAS

Friday, February 12, 2016

accessible

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful;
for beauty is God’s handwriting—a wayside sacrament.
Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower,
and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


The wonder of our Lord is that He is so accessible to us in the common things of our lives ~ breaking of the bread, the cup of water, fellowship over a meal, giving thanks, and welcoming children into our arms. A simple attitude of caring, listening, and lovingly telling the truth.
Nancie Carmichael

If God is here for us and not elsewhere, then in fact this place is holy and this moment is sacred.
Isabel Anders

Thursday, February 11, 2016

expectant reverence

God is within all things, but not included; outside all things, but not excluded; above all things, but not beyond their reach.
Pope Saint Gregory I

There is a unique kind of transparence about things and events. The world is seen through, and no veil can conceal God completely. So the pious man is ever alert to see behind the appearance of things a trace of the divine, and thus his attitude toward life is one of expectant reverence.
Abraham Joshua Heschel

Because God created the Natural - invented it out of His love and artistry - it demands our reverence.
C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

grace

***    The    Grace    of    God    ***

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Ephesians 2:4-10 NAS

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

giving to others

It’s heartbreaking.  All over the world, there are too many people in need.  Both spiritually and physically.  Too many people living in poverty, without jobs, without food for their families, without a home, without medical care, without heat, without adequate clothing.  Too many people, too little help.  Today, I was thinking how blessed I am.  Blessed to be married to a wonderful man of God.  Blessed to have a loving family.  Blessed that God has provided that we can share with others.

Today, I’d like to share the following article.

Don't Make These 3 Mistakes when Giving
Anne Peterson Poet & Author 

I brought in the plastic bags. Putting them down on the table, I unload them, thankful I got to go to the food pantry today. Thankful I have something different to offer my family.
Opening the Duncan Hines box, I’m looking forward to making a cake. Cake is a luxury item.
Reaching for my large bowl, I feel like singing. Maybe things will be okay. Dumping the mix into the bowl, I smell a hint of vanilla. Breaking an egg, I see it. A small speck of darkness invading the white powdery mix. Looking closer I see another and another. Bugs! This box is full of tiny bugs.
The expiration date shows me this dessert was meant for last year. I empty the contents into the trash. I don’t feel much like singing now.

Feeling poor doesn’t feel good.
I wipe a tear off of my face before my young daughter sees it. I only feel poor on certain days, this is one of them.
“I think I’ll make something else,” I say smiling.
“Why?” she asks.
“I just want to,” I lie.

Thankfulness is sometimes slippery.
Struggling to hold onto thankfulness I wonder. Why do some people give away what they want to get rid of? How would they feel being on the receiving end? Didn’t Jesus say to give as if we were giving to him in Matthew 25:40?
I remember another trip to the food pantry. The volunteer behind the card table takes my information, asking me to take a seat.
When my name is called, I’m led to the first room. It’s set up like a grocery store in two rooms. On the shelves are all kinds of canned goods. In another section I see boxes of cereal, boxes of crackers. Taped to some shelves are little pieces of paper with numbers on them. The tag reads:

3-4 people in the family: 2 cans

As the volunteer watches me, I take two cans. She says,“No, you only get 1 can, you have two people in your family.”
“I have three people in my family,” I whisper.
She starts to argue and then checks my card she is holding. “Oh, you’re right.”
I feel like I’ve been caught stealing, except I haven’t.
We move over to the paper goods area. I get to choose one item, either paper towels, toilet paper, or napkins. I choose toilet paper. I watch as she takes the four-pack and tears it open. She puts one roll on the shelf and hands me the three.
I hardly look up.
I hear only fragments of what she’s telling me. “…all the baked goods you’d like…you can take two packs of gum or two candy bars per child...”
I stuff my feelings down and go through the motions. Thanking her, I push the metal cart out to my car. The noise from the squeaky wheels makes it impossible to slip out quietly. I hope I don’t see anyone I know.
By the time I open my trunk, my tears won’t stop. I don’t ever want to come back here again. Returning the cart I see a friend who works there. “What’s wrong?” she asks, seeing my face.
I relay my experience, letting the tears fall as they may. “I don’t think I can do this anymore. I almost brought the food back in. But I do want you to know, I have appreciated all the food I’ve ever received from here.”
“I’m so sorry,” she says, “Please come back.”

One month later...
It’s that time again. Do I go to the food pantry? I play the different scenarios in my mind, but eventually I decide to try it one more time.
Something is different. No one opens the package of toilet paper to keep a roll. No one challenges me when I take my two cans of soup. I felt heard.
It’s hard to be a person in need.

It’s sad we live in a world where some people determine another person’s worth by what he/she has. Their philosophy might be, “If you have little, you are worth little.” But God doesn’t determine our worth like that. We are valuable because we are God's.

A missionary couple living overseas received a care package from one of their church supporters. They felt excited as they went through each item in the box. Until they opened a small container tucked in the bottom. The contents? Slivers of soap. Next to it was a small tin filled with used tea bags.
Needless to say, this couple was discouraged by the time they got to the bottom of the box.
It’s easy to make mistakes when we give. To get the mindset that the person should be satisfied with whatever he or she gets. Make sure when you give that you avoid these three no-no’s:


1. Don't Give What You Ought to Toss Out
Sometimes we need to ask ourselves, “Would I want to receive this for my family?” If not, toss it.
Remember, we’re to give as if we were giving it to the Lord.

2. Don't Have Strings Attached to What You Give
When we give freely, we have no expectations. God’s salvation is a gift. God gave, even though some will reject his gift. Read John 3:16.
If we are disappointed with how others receive our gifts, perhaps we should check to see if there are any strings attached.

3. Don't Give Only When Others Know It
If we cannot give anonymously at times, maybe our motives aren’t right. God tells us in Matthew 6:3, to not even let our other hand know what we are giving. You see, giving is not a spectator sport.
Receiving a gift can make a person feel loved. It can make a person feel as if they are special. Maybe if we learn now to give as our Father gives, people will feel his love. And isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

my wish

(from Godvine) This story caught my attention and made me consider how I fit into today's technology...
      

We all know someone who seems to be attached to their cell phone. No matter where they are or what they are doing, they just can't seem to put their phone down. These folks are easy to spot, right?  (Yes, I admit my guilt.)
Well, one heartbreaking note a teacher received from a student proves it may not be as easy to spot this problem as we think...
A teacher was at home, and after dinner she started checking the homework done by her students. Her husband was strolling around with his smart phone, playing his favorite game ‘Candy Crush Saga’.
When reading the last note, tears rolled silently down the wife's face.
Her husband saw this and asked, 'Why are you crying dear? What happened?  She answered, 'Yesterday I gave homework to my first grade students, to write something on the topic of 'My Wish'.'

'OK, but why are you crying?'

She replied, 'Today, the last note made me cry.'
Her husband asked curiously, 'What’s written in the note that makes you cry?'
**************************************************
My Wish

My wish is to become a smart phone.  My parents love their smart phones very much.

They care about their smart phones so much that sometimes they forget to care about me. When my father comes home from the office tired, he has time for his smart phone, but not for me.

When my parents are doing some important work and the smart phone starts ringing, within a single ring they answer the phone. But not me...even if I am crying.

They play games on their smart phones, not with me. When they are talking to someone on their smart phones, they never listen to me, even if I am telling them something important.

So, my wish is to become a smart phone.

**************************************************
After listening to the note, the husband got emotional and asked his wife, 'Who wrote this?'
She said, 'Our son.'

Friday, February 5, 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016

i didn't know

When I see dogs in fenced backyards, where no one takes time to play, it makes me sad.
When I see dogs never taken for a walk, where they never see past their own yard, it makes me sad.
When I see dogs tied up with chains, where they are ignored every single day, it makes me angry!  It makes me ask why, why do they want a dog in the first place?  Just chain them up, give them water and food, then let them be.  A solitary existence, looking around with sad eyes, just wanting to be saved.  I believe chains are animal abuse. I believe owners should be held liable for making a dog have such a miserable life.

This story says it all...(and yes, it made me cry)

"I Didn't Know"

I am a dog, a companion, a friend
I lived in a yard, but my chain had an end
I barked for attention, but it came to naught
I didn't know it was not my fault

The kids ran the yard, all I wanted was play
They ignored my pleas, not even looking my way
A dog was a token, something to be had
I didn't know how to say I was sad

The two legged ones had taught me mistrust
The chain felt so harsh and their rules were unjust
Their touch was like knives, as were the words that were spoken
I didn't know that my spirit was broken

One stormy night I broke loose from the chain
I ran far and wide to get out of the rain
I hid from the others in fear of attack
I didn't know how to find my way back

I just thought this is how it was
To be all alone, roaming ‘round because
I had to keep moving no matter the cost
I didn't know that I was lost

I knew I was tired and hungry as well
I hurt inside, but no one could tell
My matted fur hid the fleas and the ticks
I didn't know that I was sick

Some time passed, how long hard to gauge
I was caught, and then I was caged
Some new people came and they took me away
I didn't know I was saved that day

They gave me medicine, a toy and a bed
They taught me manners and would pet my head
The love was free and the food, it was good
I didn't know I could be so understood

We drove to a home, to a man tall and slim
I wore a leash and they gave it to him
They told me they loved me many times that day
I didn't know why they drove away

There were kids in the yard and they asked me to play
My whole life began right there on that day
They belong to me, and I belong to them
I am a dog, a companion, a friend."

~Riddick

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

i trust in Jesus, so i’ll follow Him down that road


When I’m struggling, hurting, or suffering, life can be hard.  It can be a battle.  Everyone walks down that road.  It can be hard.  We all fail at something.  We’re human.  

When I’m faced with struggles and all the other battles, I can’t figure it out on my own.  (Whatever ‘it’ is.)  I have questions but don’t know the answers.  I don’t know which way to go.  Walking down that road, with endless crossroads and hills and valleys and tunnels and bridges, it can be daunting. (Stop thinking that way.)  

But, I’m not alone.  Thru it all, I have Jesus!  He saved me! He loves me!  He’s the only one I can turn to.  He’ll guide me and comfort me and restore me and teach me and strengthen me and heal me and calm me and protect me and lead me and direct me.  I trust in Jesus, so I’ll follow Him down that road.  Wherever He leads I’ll go.

I found this copied in one of my journals (fitting for this post):
 
It’s like this.  Jesus wants us to give not only our struggles, but everything to Him. Think about a very heavy box you’re carrying. It’s next to impossible to carry it by yourself and you end up dropping it.  So, you ask someone to help you.

Let the box represent your struggles.  Don’t even try to carry them by yourself.  Remember, you’ll end up dropping them.  Ask God for help.  And, don’t forget that each struggle is just a small chapter of the story He is writing for your life.

*********************************************************************

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.
Romans 5:3-5 NLT

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.
Romans 8:18 NLT

The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.  Those who know Your name trust in You, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for You.
Psalm 9:9-10 NLT

In His kindness, God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.
1 Peter 5:10 NLT

Monday, February 1, 2016

2016 ~ National ‘Awareness’ Days, Weeks, and Months

February 2016

Day
February 1, 2016  National Freedom Day
February 4, 2016  World Cancer Day
February 5, 2016  National Wear Red Day
February 15, 2016  International Childhood Cancer Day
February 17, 2016  Random Acts of Kindness Day

Week
February 14 – February 20, 2016  Random Acts of Kindness Week
February 21 – February 27, 2016  National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Month
Children’s Dental Health Month
Ethnic Equality Month
National Cancer Prevention Month
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month