Category Archives: Refined by the Word

Not by accident <3

Well… here we are at the middle of the week.

My suit case still has a few items to be unpacked, the house could use a little TLC, and we will be opening our beautiful blue door this evening to welcome some guests for dinner…so miles to go, yet, for this lady who is still in her pj’s.

A quick thought it is for the day and then it’s off to tuck all the paperwork and clutter into a laundry basket, whip up a meal and sprinkle some fall decor here and there.

Thankfully I work best with the pressure of a short deadline and hospitality as the carrot on the stick of my easily distracted mind. 

I am reading in Ezekiel, yet another book that I feel I need to study better to grasp understanding of its complexities, but one thing jumped out today from The Message translation. 

In the opening passages of Chapter 14, God speaks to the people and says they have “installed” idols. Twice He uses that word. In other translations it says “set up”

I always think we just stumble into idolatry.

Unwittingly, one little misstep at a time, we veer away from God and suddenly wake up one day realizing we have turned from Him and have begun to offer our worship and devotion to the “little g” gods of this world. 

But as I read this morning the word “installed” I think of what that means. 

When I have something installed in our home, it is an intentional effort.

I select something, pay for it and either put the muscle into placing it as a somewhat permanent part of our home or spend more money to have someone to do it for us. 

If someone is installed in an office; this too comes with selection and effort and intentionality. 

Setting things up, installation…these are not accidental activities. 

I have to realize that God sees when I stubbornly and willfully choose to place other people, pursuits, practices, desires above Him. Even if I can’t see it in myself.

He sees the time I invest and the effort I put into exalting a substitute for His love, provision, sovereignty, guidance, and care. 

He is aware when I pursue my own selfish desires. 

It is a sobering thought and I understand why I am urged constantly in Scripture to guard my heart and mind, as I can be my own worst enemy in the game of idolatry. 

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.

Give careful though to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.

Do not turn to the right or the left; keep you foot from evil.”

Proverbs 4:23-27
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Entering Autumn with some thoughts on God’s ideas about love <3

Well, the only thing that has changed to make this officially the beginning of Autumn for me is my attitude. 

Today I shall remove the forsythia wreath with the two small metal chameleons that have stood guard all summer in order to discourage the birds from making a nest on our door, and up will go the wreath with colorful leaves and a couple of sunflowers. 

I am also gathering soup recipes and John gave me a good and simple one over the phone last night (yes…John…our son…is giving me recipes. Oh happy day)

I do love a good bowl of soup…and no this is not the one he gave me a recipe for…but closest thing I have in my media library to segue into the recipe.

So here it is:

John’s Chicken Soup

Prepare 4 oz. of whole wheat pasta 

While that’s cooking 

Cube a half pound of chicken and brown in some oil and lemon/pepper seasoning (we like Trader Joe’s)

Brown two celery stalks and a carrot – all diced – in a little oil

Add all to 6 cups of good Chicken broth with salt and pepper to taste. 

He recommended making sure the veggies are nicely browned as they add a little extra crunch. 

So there you go. 

Easy peasy.

Now for a little food for the soul.

I have been collecting some prayers and Scriptures on the notes section of my phone for the month of September and I added these thoughts today from notes I had made in one of my prayer books. 

I diagrammed it to make it easier to remember so will share a picture of that at the end.  I like to put Scriptures and thoughts into pictures as they help me to remember them, so if you are like me (God help you) maybe these will be useful.

Here are the thoughts based on the famous love passage from 1 Corinthians 13:

Loving others with God’s love means loving fully, unconditionally, mercifully, without criticism, and with no judgment.

Love is patient, kind, not envious, doesn’t show off, doesn’t think bad thoughts, doesn’t celebrate sufferings. 

Love is not prideful, rude, selfish, easily annoyed or annoying.

Love seeks the well-being of others. 

Anything else is not love. 

From my journaling of the scriptures in 1 Corinthian 13

Help everyone of us to forsake pride, envy, rudeness, selfishness and criticism. These reveal a lack of love for others. 

Help us all to embrace praying for one another, being patient, being kind, being selfless, encouraging one another and accountability. 

From my journaling of the scriptures in 1 Corinthian 13

None of these things is possible in my own strength so I pray for generous doses of God’s power and love poured into me so I can grow in all of these areas of godly love. 

I hope you have a blessed day and I hope you are finding ways to celebrate the new season that is upon us <3

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Happy Labor Day <3

Happy Labor Day!

I debated posting on a holiday, but when I don’t post…I get an email from the server that says they are so sorry but couldn’t find any new content to send out. This makes me feel sad because we all know…I like to check off those boxes…so here are some thoughts on this American holiday to celebrate those who work all the jobs that keep us up and running. 

For me, Labor Day marks the definitive end of summer…white pants are now being stowed away until Memorial Day…and memories of parades and the time my dad took me to downtown Louisville where we visited booth after booth celebrating those who work trade jobs. 

Both sides of my family came from immigrant stock and worked any jobs that kept food on the table and clothes on the backs of their children. Hard and honest work is wired into us and so I was delighted on this Labor Day morning to read that God also honors that. 

In the book of Jeremiah, the prophet declares God’s thoughts toward a variety of godless nations and here is what was said of Moab:

Moab has always taken it easy – lazy as a dog in the sun, never had to work for a living, never faced any trouble, never had to grow up, never once worked up a sweat. Jeremiah 48:11-12

Often it seems we envy those who don’t seem to have to work. “Born with a silver spoon in his mouth” we might say, with envy. 

But in truth, there is not a better feeling than finishing a job you have put effort into. 

Rest and refreshment are sweeter if they are the icing on the cake and not the entire menu of our daily lives. 

Even as Russ has retired and we are adjusting to a life that is not including ten plus hours of a day “working” – it is important for both of us to continue the discipline of living productive and serving lives. 

So today we thank God for the gift of “work” and we thank Him for those who do all the variety of jobs that make our days go more smoothly. 

God bless and if you are having work on this Labor Day (oh, the irony)…a huge thank you for what you do <3

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