21 April 2017

A Glimpse of My Life

This is a partial photograph of my kitchen.  I spend a great portion of my day in this room washing, cleaning, mucking about, and most of all praying a lot.

I have not been blessed with the talent of cooking.  In fact, I actually quite loathe cooking.

I have had many a conversation with the Lord over this subject.  Pleading and sometimes even begging to be blessed with the joy of cooking.

The Lord is patient and kind, so I do not lose hope, however, my poor husband suffers through meatloaves that unexpectedly turn green (true story) and mashed potatoes that transform into rubber, crunchy onions, and mushy squash (all sad, but true).

My darling and saint of a husband offers loving suggestions as he gulps down portions of shoe-leather baked fish served over limp rice.

Weekends are a gift because my husband cooks such wonderful meals, that somehow he makes look easy to prepare.  Not only are they palatable but also nutritious.

Life is funny.  Sometimes you get lemons and all I can do is make sour lemonade.


17 April 2017

A Blessing of an Easter Snow

Friday morning was what seemed a rude awakening.  As the curtains were drawn back to reveal a new day, exasperated sighs of discontent were breathed into the room.

The ground had been blanketed with a new pearly white cover of snow, and it continued to fall to the ground in a hurriedly speed.

No, No!  I said to myself.  This cannot be, for it is now the month of April and we have had a lengthy winter.  Will there be no end in sight of this flurry of a continuous storm.  Please God, enough.  My heart desires the warmth of the sun, the sound of the birds chirping in the air.  Please, a respite of fresh spring air.

This was not to be.  The snow fell all day long, leaving a cascading glow of ice crystals from north to south and east to west.  The skies appearance took on the downy softness of a grey goose.

I groveled in my self-pity of not being blessed with feel of sunshine upon my face.  Bitterly I complained to an empty room, however, nothing would stop this storm of gloom.

The day became evening, and my husband and I went to bed under the snugness of our bed linens.  As we slept, the weather left no clues of the day before.  It was sunny, however, still cold.

My sister and I had made plans to spend some time on Saturday.  While visiting with her I spoke of yesterday's storm.  Oh she said, wasn't that the most beautiful snow storm?  Before I could answer with a resounding, 'NO', she told me of a local news story that she had heard last night.  There is woman reporter who has worked for our city station for decades and while she was preparing for her day, she listened to her favorite Christian radio station.  The station reported about a family here in town who is celebrating Christmas, Easter and their daughter's birthday all in one fell-swoop.  It turns out that their child is about seven years old and she is dying.  The sweet child had made some final wishes, and one of them was for snow since her family was giving her the gift of a last Christmas.

Oh how my heart cried at that very span of time.  There and then, I was conscious of the pain and prayers spoken on behalf of others.  My narrow-minded wall came tumbling down and I now stood in the presence of God's hand at work.  Instead of self-pity, I was granted to share in a miracle made for one of Jesus's precious children.

My sister's heart was filled with sadness for this child and all I could think of was that those who remain, mourn out of the act of relinquishing the life of the one they will miss, and that this child will be celebrated upon returning home to her Lord.  The angels will be singing for her home-coming.

God's goodness is boundless.  He endows us with blessings seen and unseen everyday.  In every snow storm, henceforward, I will try to contemplate the unseen miracles with fresh and kindled eyes.    


14 April 2017

The Only Way

The Lord created a beautiful world and He bequeathed it to His first children as a gift.  The Lord's radiance and perfection surrounded every living element.

And then, sin entered a garden one morning and the world would never be the same.  What had been holy and sacred turned dark and void.

As time continued and sin grew stronger, the Lord's presence became omitted from the hearts of His children.

The pagan gods of self-seeking, self-idolatrous, and prideful conquered mankind.

The Lord knew that His children must be saved from an eternity of destruction, however, the Lord cannot set His eyes upon sin, in consequence He chose to send His Son Emmanuel (God with us).

That hallowed and consecrated Child sent from God came into a defiled and tainted world, brimming with transgressions. Sin was rampant and ungovernable.  The beloved and treasured Son of God spent thirty-three years walking among the lost and bewildered.  He dispensed love, wisdom, kindness and truth to the spiritually and physically debilitated.

The foreordained was coming into fruition.  Sin would be conquered.  Heaven and Nature would sing:

Joy to the world the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing
Joy to the earth the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat repeat the sounding joy
He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders of His love
Joy to the world the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing

Over two thousand years ago, Emmanuel, God with us, Jesus the King took to the cross and died an agonizing and harrowing death for us, taking on our sins.  There was no other way to triumph over evil.  As our Lord so eloquently stated:  "It is finished".

As believers we know that when the Lord looks upon us, He sees His Son Jesus in our place.



12 April 2017

Dying to Self

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Galatians 5:24

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
Romans 6: 1-23

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

One day shortly before my conversion to Christ as my Lord and Savior, I collapsed to my knees in despair.  My soul and body were dying.  My sin had incapacitated me with daily torture.  I had grown so very tired.  I did not know myself and most certainly no longer wanted to be this wretch of a being who was now clamored on the floor.  

This scapegrace was a stranger before my eyes.  Looking in the mirror portrayed a mystique of a personage.  Sin had brought me to my knees, now I needed Jesus to help lift me up.  With weakness I called upon the name of Christ.  He heard my faint voice and without delay He was by my side.

Within moments, it became apparent that I was not alone in my sin any longer.  There was an eminence of protection surrounding me.  Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to begin my process of healing.

Restored strength was being regained on a steady basis.  As it is today, each moment, spent with the Lord became sweeter and sweeter.  I recognized that the Lord took mercy on me and lifted me from a point of no return.  There was nothing that I could have done by myself to remedy the situation.  

Time with my Lord has become almost visionary.  Where before, I shut the Lord out, now I invite Him in.  Jesus is willing to share so much with us, if we just are willing to ask Him to.  Since that day of redemption, I have heard the Lord tell me that I am to "be modest in body and spirit".  He spoke softly yet with firmness, letting me know that I am not being who He created me to be.  

Gradually, however calmly, I am beginning to die to self.  The old has passed away, behold the new has come.  Parcels of wisdom come slowly yet surely from the Lord.  My hair is no longer colored, nor do I misspend a fortune on a frivolous wardrobe.  My closets have been gleaned of immodest apparel.  My hair is now covered during worship.

My struggles are still there, however, I now have a Master to turn to for help.  He is Jesus, my King and my Lord, and my Savior.


10 April 2017

Morning of Enlightenment

My birth was to be into a family completely unaccustomed with the faith of Christianity.  There would be no articulation, breeding nor cultivation attained at the dinner table of this peripheral dogma.
As my childhood progressed, I had begun to hear the name of Jesus.  At home, it was swiftly disclosed to me that we do not regard Jesus as our Lord.  Therefore, any subject of Jesus and Christianity were swept away with the recycled Daily Herald.

I do not look back on these years with sadness or regret.  In the Lord's graciousness to me, He has revealed that the foregone time had not trained me, neither was I willing to acquiesce myself to Him.

As our little church assembly convened on Sunday morning, I postured myself into my chair for the forthcoming sermon.  Our Pastor spoke about the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey, and the crowds shouted with joy, "Hosanna, Hosanna".  He mentioned that within days, that same group of people cheering our Lord would be the same people shouting, "Crucify, Crucify".  Within minutes of hearkening the words of the Pastor, memories flooded my soul like a dashing wave.  I came to realize that I had also been someone who denied my Lord in the past.  I was guilty of this same sin.  There was a time in my life that I thought that I had known Jesus as Lord and Savior, and then I turned my back to Him.  Looking back, it is apparent that I was not a believer in the Lord.  I was youthful and just passing through another false road to anywhere that would please me.  Christ is not the false road, however, selfishness is.  I was always looking for the self-serving road, not the straight and narrow path home to Jesus.

I often ponder, however, in thankfulness, why Jesus would adopt me.  He tells me that He came for the broken, the sick, the hurting.  This is whom Jesus sits at the table with and shares His meals with. Hence, the title of my blog:  Grateful Moments at the Table.

I am now quickly approaching my elder years.  Gray hair and withered skin greet me each morning, however, I count these as blessings from the Lord.  Each hoary hair and crease in the skin is a gentle reminder from the Lord that He took a self-absorbed sinner and brought her to an life-everlasting by the side of her King, Lord and Savior.

Thanks be to God!  Glory to God in the Highest!


05 April 2017

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Sometimes I just need to look at a painting and it inspires me to write.  My mind starts to create a story from the figure on the art canvas.  For instance, who was the model, when did she live, what was her relationship with the artist?  What were her heartfelt prayers and dreams for her family and for herself?

The woman in this painting is posed in a deep and meditative invocation of worship to the Lord.

I imagine she sits alone in a sparse, yet humble and modest church,  The building is considerably forward in years.  The paint of this sanctuary, as well as many of its parishioners are seasoned and antiquated.  Many have witnessed fluctuations of peace and war in their little village in Eastern Europe.  The townsfolk are proud of their lineage to the land that they were born on, and most certainly will die on.

The people of this small village live meager and scanty lives, however, they are affluent and plenteous, even over-flowing in their faith and love in the Lord.  They are simple but also festive in their daily attire and they are heedful to the truth that the Lord sustains them year after year.

On this day, this woman in still repose, prays for her children.  There is an immense world beyond their village and she knows that her children seek to cultivate and enrich the vital spark burning in their souls.

She is selfish and she admits and atones for this vexatious trait of hers to God.  She does not want to set her eyes upon this foreseen episode of life.

Although she cannot bridle her children, she can beseech upon the Lord to guide them and lead them, wherever the road of life takes them and to petition that they always remember that they belong to the Lord.


04 April 2017

Down by the River's Edge

Just a bit in the past I wrote a story for a dear Sister in Christ.  Her husband was passing from this world quickly of a terrible disease.  I was powerless to take her pain.  Sometimes the only way I know how to express myself is through my writing.

I wanted to give my dear friend words of healing and comfort.  I sat down at my desk and I prayed to the Lord for gifts of words to share with her. The Lord was willing, and I became His vessel to deliver a sonnet. I now share the words that the Lord chose to give me that day:

Down By The River's Edge

At the end of every autumn, the majestic oak sets her children free.  Her offspring are light, airy and ripened by the caressing touch of the summer sun.  While their mother's arms once cradled them with shade and love, she now stands regal and tall as her children say their goodbyes one by one.  She holds onto her empty nest while her children are to find their place in the world, a journey to lead them to the river's edge.  

As they fall from her protective bosom, they begin to experience a collective feeling of lonliness, yet still comforted by an unquenchable desire to seek their place.  As they tumble down, they will start to go their separate ways.  Some may choose to stay put, withering at the feet of their mother.  Others will be attracted to the false light emanating from the farmer's burning fields and find that their choice only brought them to sorrow.  And, there will be those who hear a voice in the trickling of water calling their names.  At first the sound of the water is faint, however, each step and breath will bring them closer to the source of these living waters.  

The path to the river's edge will not be an easy one.  There will be days filled with muddy walkways and scrapes with thorn thrushed bushes.  However, the sweet call of the living waters is inescapable.  

There will be times of lost hope, however, for the children who decide to make the journey to the river's edge, they will be mightily blessed for their faith and love in that voice which calls from the river.

After their long journey, the now tired and weather ravaged children of the majestic oak, begin to see and hear the cascading waters of the river.  No sound or sight could be more beautiful than where this arduous and toilsome journey has brought them.          

They are older now, maybe even a little wiser.  Their once crisp bodies are now torn and transparent from the elements of time.  They begin to enter the river and skim the sides of the river bed.  They soon notice that they are not alone.  There is a man standing in the middle of the river with out-stretched hands.  His loving face says it all and they know instantly that He is Jesus.  He is there to lead them across the river, to the eternal waters.  

Somehow, upon seeing Him, they know that He was always with them and will always be.



A Glimpse of My Life

This is a partial photograph of my kitchen.  I spend a great portion of my day in this room washing, cleaning, mucking about, and ...