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As we walked toward the house I called David over to see what was poking through the leaves. “Look! Here’s more!” Like a kid finding Easter eggs I get so excited to see hosta coming up each year. As we rounded the house a few bright tulips nodded approval as we moved pine needles out of the way in search of more hosta. My favorite chartreuse variety springs forth a little later. It’s barely starting to show. Azaleas are full and brightly blooming along with the dogwoods. I thought to myself, “Too bad everything doesn’t look its prettiest all at the same time. What a show that would be!”tulips

David however, being the positive one of us commented. “I’m glad they don’t all bloom at once. Now we have stuff to look forward too, just like life.”Hosta3

Soft white dogwood petals drifted to the ground like snowflakes. Easter has passed so they have permission to let go. Orange breasted robins play in their midst in anticipation of babies to come. Bright green grass fills in the muddy spots where snow used to linger. All of nature joins together in a song of worship as even the rocks cry out, “He lives, people, He lives! Why sit hopeless with your curtains drawn when a soft spring rain falls, sweetly watering all He’s created? For if He dresses us so beautifully and feeds us so well, will He not also take care of you?”dogwood

As we moved indoors I sat by the window watching the rain fall as the birdbath filled to the brim. Dogwood petals continued to float softly downward. Soon my favorite tree will be clothed in the bright green leaves of summer. Daffodils which were the first to announce the coming spring have too quickly wilted. Though they’ll be back next year bringing hope at the end of winter, they too confirm that not even this season will last forever.

Someday we’ll meet the Lord face to face. As beautiful as this earth is, heaven is bound to be breathtaking. That’s probably when everything will finally bloom at once, for the Lord is surely saving the best for last!

We’ve really got a lot to look forward too!

Decent Undies

I take great pride in keeping my home neat. It’s not sparkling clean, but it is kinda tidy. There’s always a bright tablecloth on our little kitchen table, which hides the paint stains accumulated by years of craftiness. Dirty dishes are placed in the portable dishwasher as soon as they’re used. David and I are the only ones here and the house is so tiny that it only takes a minute to make things neat.

However, last Monday we finished a long day and crashed. The tablecloth was dirty so I tossed it on the kitchen floor toward the laundry room. The dishwasher was full and in front of the sink hooked up to run. David wasn’t feeling well so he grabbed an old sheet and quilt then hit the recliner sofa. The week before, he moved to a new office and had pulled books off our shelves, sorting stuff in piles on the floor. Our house was pretty much trashed.

Books were not the only thing to hit the floor that night. About 2am, he got so violently ill that his blood pressure bottomed out. I found him passed out on the bathroom floor and had to call 911.

As I jerked on clothes, described his symptoms to the dispatcher, and prayed my sweetheart wouldn’t die, I ran to turn on the porch light and open the side door. Lickety-split my little upside down house was filled with firemen and paramedics who do not know what a respectable housekeeper I am. Wouldn’t you know it! The one time…

This is where the wise person would tell you that none of that matters now that David is okay.

While that is very true…

The next day I found myself cleaning the house top to bottom, rearranging the bookshelf, adding a fresh clean table cloth, washing all the linens, cleaning the bathroom, disinfecting the floors, and thinking of a reason to invite the emergency guys back for a do-over.

Perhaps if I bake a cake to thank them for their great efficiency and kindness…

This time the 911 call would sound like this:

“911. What’s your emergency?”

“Oh… no emergency. Is the same crew working that worked Monday night?”

“Yes ma’am. Is this the lady with the messy house?”

“They TOLD you that?”

“Yes ma’am. They were appalled. Apparently there was a pink striped sheet on a red sofa. Sounds hideous!”

“Could you please send them back? I have cake!”

“No ma’am. They said if you ever called again to tell you they would not return to such a pigsty.”

“But… but I have cake.”

“No cake in the world would entice them back. They also told us about your bedhead. Said you looked like a woman in a bad wig wearing clothes with yesterday’s coffee stains.”

“Sigh… it’s true. It was bad. Sorry I called…um… have a good night.”

“You too ma’am… because they are not coming back.”

Mama always said to wear decent underwear in case there’s an emergency.

You know… they did not even check our underpants!

Thank the good Lord.

PS:

Neat & Tidy

Neat & Tidy

This article was written right at two years ago but I was reminded of it this week when David got kidney stones again. He’s doing fine now but I’ve been keeping the house tidy just in case.

Correct Eggs

We go through a lot of eggs at our house. Being the delicate flower that I am, eggs are one of the few foods I can eat which do not cause a painful reaction of some sort. Of course I haven’t had my cholesterol checked in a while, but I figure if the blood is still pumping who cares how long it takes it to get from point A to point B and back again. That’s how it works right? Besides… I had bloodwork done ten years ago… or so.  If anything were wrong I would have heard about it then.  No need to go borrowing trouble all willy-nilly. So annyyywayyy… we like eggs.

I noticed this morning as I emptied yet another carton that my usual happy message was missing. The brand we normally buy, Goldhen, has a sweet little reminder that “This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” from Psalm 118:24.

The message on the Sunny Meadow carton proclaimed with pride that the egg container was made with 40% recycled polystyrene. I wondered what exactly that means… because apparently it was important enough to include on the egg carton. Is polystyrene our friend so this is a way of bragging on good behavior for using the polystyrene? Or perhaps this is a sly trick to make us feel better about purchasing something which does not naturally break down? Should the company be commended for recycling at least 40% of a bad thing or rejected for the creation of 60% more of the non-biodegradable substance?

Hmmm… quite the conundrum.

One company ignored the fear of being rejected for expressing faith. Another covered the fear of public opinion for using a questionable product by sounding environmentally sound. Goldhen stepped out and used an actual word of encouragement while Sunny Meadow tossed out a few words of political correctness.

The carton with the Bible verse actually IS completely recyclable and does not even brag about it while the one making “green friendly” claims will still be in landfills for years to come.

Actually I don’t care all that much. There are always more important things to get worked up about. If I could get fresh eggs to hungry children in any carton I would be so thrilled. I certainly wouldn’t turn down that opportunity for lack of a recyclable container. However the lesson at breakfast was clear. I just hate that David had to leave before hearing my wise observations. [Often we are like the Sonic guys as we debate the weightier things of life whilst we dine.]

There are many things to love about N.C. one of which is the state motto: “To be rather than to seem.”

Are we really doing well or just maintaining an image? All of us have influence. How will we use it? Do we allow fear or public opinion to dilute our message?

“This is the day which the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!” Of course if I got busy doing that instead of being all critical of the polystyrene container company, I might be a little better off as well.

However… I do tend to wonder if their meadows are really all that sunny.

Good Eggs

Good Eggs

Correct Eggs

Correct Eggs

What’s your default setting? Where do you go when nothing makes sense? Do you have a happy place that re-boots your psyche? Christianese would say, “Run to Jesus.” So how do you do that when the bills pile up, the pain is great and prayers seem to go unanswered?

A good friend of mine who struggles with depression will watch a funny movie. Another friend finds great solace in his deer stand. He can sit in the forest on a cold, frosty morning for hours. David will take a long ride on his motorcycle through the quiet countryside. He calls it therapy. Me? Take me to the beach. Give me a day watching the waves and suddenly I’m good for another couple months.

The sweetest story is recorded in the last chapter of John. Seven guys were together after witnessing the horrible death of their friend. Even though they had seen Him alive, and realized that God had raised Him from the dead, their future was very uncertain. Unmet expectations, fear of the unknown and the lingering question of “What now?” made way for hurt and doubt.

Peter reveals his default setting with “I’m going fishing.”

His friends joined him. But after fishing all night their nets were as empty as their souls. With dawn breaking a stranger called out to them the ageless question.

“Catching anything?”

“We’ve got nothing,” was their reply.

“Throw your nets on the other side,” came the familiar suggestion.

With nets suddenly full, memories of provision and care filled their weary souls. Once they hauled in the bounty, they made their way to the shore where Jesus was waiting. There He had a hot breakfast ready for them. Can He get any sweeter?

Here is the Lord of glory, Who has just conquered death, Who understands their fear and emptiness, cooking breakfast on the sea shore for His weary friends.

He’s kind like that. It wasn’t enough to call out a greeting; or to fill their boat with fish; or even just appear to them again in order to let them know everything would be okay. Nope. He cooked breakfast.

That is a picture of our Savior: Grace heaped upon grace.

Just when we cannot take another thing, He sends what we need to fill our empty souls.

Hold on my friend. He will be calling to you shortly. Don’t feel bad if you have to look to Him and reply, “I’ve got nothing.” He already knows. He’s cooking up something special that will be just what you need.

photo credit: Seabert Pittman, my sweet daddy

photo credit: Seabert Pittman, my sweet daddy

Our very talented worship leader created a new backdrop at church. Square white plates attached to black walls reflect the light and make an interesting design. We asked him if a buffet line somewhere was missing some dishes.

Interrupting my deep spiritual thoughts about food David whispered, “It’s up there, to the left. Can you see it?

“Nope” I replied. Normally I am the “Spotter.” He’s usually the one peering over his desk saying, “Honey, have you seen my good pen?” or into the freezer, “I thought we had some more ice cream.”

This time no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t see what he was pointing out. I looked away for a time, then decided to give it another glance. There it was plain as day… the cross.The Cross

Similarly for the longest time I tried to see and understand the cross of Calvary. Should I give myself as a martyr or commit my life to good deeds thereby earning a place in Heaven? I worked hard to measure up to the standards of God knowing I could not. I remember reading the classic sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards in a high school English class. Written with such passion and fervor, it confirmed my great sinfulness. Much like the spider he described hanging by a thread over a raging fire, I too was dangling close to the flames of Hell. I dreaded meeting my Maker as I was well aware of my own shortcomings. Then one day, there it was, plain as day.

Suddenly I was no longer like Thomas the doubter, or Peter the denier. Finally I saw what John, who described himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved, understood. I rested my head on His shoulder like a child completely trusting. Rather than a furious angry God Who could justly drop me into a fiery furnace, He revealed Himself as the One who would enter the flames, walk with me and rescue me so thoroughly that my clothes would not have the faintest scent of smoke. For now I would be covered with the garments of His righteousness! No longer trusting in the filthy rags of my own making, like John I am loved.

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? No one- for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn us? No one- for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or… No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours though Christ, Who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.” –Romans 8:31-39

The cross would be mine to bear if I were to satisfy a righteous God on my own. Instead He sent His beloved Son to take it for me! He rose from the dead to give us right standing with the Father. Finally I can see it! The way of the cross is plain! Can you see it?

Now I find myself loved, forgiven, and accepted in Christ! A sinner yes! But a sinner in the hands of an amazing God!

There Is Hope!

A couple of friends talked over the events of the last few days as they walked along. Sadness was written across their faces as they admitted, “We had hoped…”

Hoped, past tense… as in, we used to hope, but not anymore. Now we know better than to think things will ever change.

Have you been there? Have you gone through something so hard that your soul is crushed beyond repair? Someone you love has suddenly been taken… and way too soon. The spouse you trusted tossed you aside like an old shoe. Something you planned and even dared to dream about died, leaving you…

Hopeless.

That’s the feeling of the friends who traveled down the road together. Having witnessed the horrible death of the Person they had closely followed, their hopes were just as dead.

Where do we go from here? How will we ever recover? Is all we’ve believed in been wrong?

A few miles later, they realized they were in the very presence of the risen Lord!

That first Easter morning changed everything.

The powerful Son of God stepped from the grave to prove the hopeless wrong. Since death cannot defeat Him, how could anything else? What could separate us from the love of God?

Our fears?

Our loss?

Our worries?

Things changed in an instant! The moment He was raised from the dead, hope was forever restored! Do we dare to trust Him?

“O death where is thy victory?! O grave where is thy sting?”

Thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ!

All creation shouts with joy on Easter Sunday morning! Our Creator lives, and reigns with power over any circumstance that brings suffering to His beloved ones. With the strong arms of a Shepherd, He reaches out to pull us close to His heart as He gently leads us home. Not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love as we walk in the presence of the risen Lord!

Praise His sweet holy Name! Our conquering King lives!

And there is hope!

 

This beautiful sunrise is brought to you by the Lord. Picture by my sweet daddy, Seabert Pittman.

This beautiful sunrise is brought to you by the Lord. The picture was taken by my sweet daddy, Seabert Pittman.

 

More hope found here:

You can read about the friends traveling to Emmaus when Jesus suddenly appeared and walked with them in Luke 24:13-34. Romans 8:1 helps us understand that we are no longer condemned by God when we trust His Son as our sacrifice for sin. There’s more about His great love for you personally in Romans 8:23-39.

Easter means nothing at all if you’ve never trusted Him. Call out to Him. He’s waiting for the time when you and He can walk the broken road of life together. This wonderful God of all creation longs to adopt you as His very own.

The Happiest Easter

Jesus told many stories in order to illustrate eternal truths. How beautiful and colorful His word pictures were. One of those seemed less illustrative and more like the telling of something He sadly witnessed firsthand.

He told of a rich man who died and went to a place of torment. The man was so thirsty that he begged Abraham to send someone to him with just a drop of water to cool his tongue. When Abraham explained that there was a great gulf fixed between the place of torment and paradise, the rich man begged that someone would go to his brothers, who were still living, and warn them.

He pleaded: “If someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.”

Jesus continued the story with this sad ending:

“If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.”

Isn’t it interesting that while telling that story, Jesus knew that He would soon do that very thing? That even though He chose to pay for sin by giving His life and rising from the dead, there would be many who would not listen, who would not believe until it was too late.

If you’re reading this, you are of course on this side of the grave. You still have a choice. How sad it would be to spend eternity in torment when at this very moment you could call on the Lord Jesus Christ to save you.

He’s already done the hard part.

Will you listen?

Easter is a very special time for me. During Easter of my junior year in high school, I understood for the first time, that Jesus was not waiting on me to clean up my life. He knew when He created me that He already loved me enough. He invited me to trust Him, and I listened.

The verse that sealed the deal for me was 1 John 5:13. “I have written this to you who believe on the Name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

Yes! We can KNOW! Because it’s not about us! It’s all about Him.

Now go get yourself a cold drink of water while you still can. Call on Him to save you while you still have breath. And have the happiest Easter of your life!water

The story about the rich man is in Luke 16:19-31. More about salvation is revealed in John 3:1-21 when Nic came to Jesus at night to ask. Ephesians 2:1-10 makes it even clearer. May the Lord sweetly and wonderfully strengthen you with the wisdom to choose Him!

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