Saturday, October 30, 2010

I Am Redeemed!

Do you really know what it means to be redeemed by Jesus?
Sometimes when I'm doing a word study in the Bible, it's meaningful to me to simply look in the dictionary. gives this definition of "redeem":
1. To recover ownership of by paying a specified sum.
2. To pay off.
3. To turn in and receive something in exchange.
4. To fulfill.
5. To convert into cash: redeem stocks.
6. To set free; rescue or ransom.
7. To save from a state of sinfulness and its consequences.
8. To make up for.
9. To restore the honor, worth, or reputation of.
Well, that was enough for me!
Lord Jesus, I thank You that You recovered ownership of my soul from the prince of the power of the air, the enemy of my soul by paying the price of Your death on the cross.
Thank You for paying off my sin debt!
Thank You for turning over Your body and life in exchange for mine!
Thank You for fulfilling me--that You are all I need. Ever.
Thank You, Jesus, for converting me from worthless to something worthwhile through Your indwelling Spirit in me.
Thank You for setting me free, rescuing and ransoming me from the devil!
Thank You for saving me from my sinful state and its consequences, which would have been to be eternally separated from God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and from you.
Thank You for making up the difference for everything in my life. All things are but loss for the excellency of Your power!
Thank You for providing me honour, worth, and reputation by allowing me to just BE IN YOU.
Thank You, Jesus, that I AM REDEEMED!

Note: If you have trouble playing the video, you may need to pause it until it completely loads. Then try playing it. It's worth the wait!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Haven of REST

"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." (Hebrews 4:9)

Most of us are familiar with the old hymn "The Haven of Rest" by Henry L. Gilmour (music by George D. Moore). Yet sometimes we sing these old songs ho-hum with little thought to the powerful words, theology, and doctrine that characterize them.

Consider these words slowly and prayerfully. Was this not each of us prior to salvation?

1. My soul in sad exile was out on life’s sea,
So burdened with sin and distressed,
Till I heard a sweet voice, saying,
“Make Me your choice”;
And I entered the “Haven of Rest”!

I’ve anchored my soul in the “Haven of Rest,”
I’ll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I’m safe evermore.

Yes, in Jesus, I am safe evermore! I never have to question my eternal destiny or whose child I am! No matter what storms come my way, I'm safe!

But now what? Daily cares of life start to crowd my joyous heart. My flesh is still bound by bad habits, wrong reactions, binding emotions! So what do I do? Take a look at verse 2:

2. I yielded myself to His tender embrace,
(He's TENDER with me!)
In faith taking hold of the Word,
(His Word is my only help, and I accept it by faith!)
My fetters fell off, and I anchored my soul;
(Woo hoo! I'm FREE! My soul--mind, will, emotions--is ANCHORED!)
The “Haven of Rest” is my Lord.
(I'm at REST and in PEACE, because I've made Him my LORD. I've yielded to His embrace. I'm not fighting against His loving, tender control anymore.)

This is so powerful! It is THE KEY to the Christian life! Yielding my rights to His control. HE calls the shots; I am RESTING in HIS capable hands, which only act in my life out of PURE LOVE for me!

Now, what does this do to me? How do I now respond to His tender embrace? With anger? With striving? With trying harder? NO! By RESTING, I now feel free to SING the song of my SOUL, which is the OLD STORY, ever new!

3. The song of my soul, since the Lord made me whole,
Has been the old story so blest,
Of Jesus, who’ll save whosoever will have
A home in the “Haven of Rest.”

I want everyone to know this "old story so blest"!
"I am nobody, telling everybody, that Somebody died to save anybody!" (unknown)

4. How precious the thought that we all may recline,
Like John, the belovèd so blest,
On Jesus’ strong arm, where no tempest can harm,
Secure in the “Haven of Rest.”

Wow! We ALL have access to this grace wherein we stand (I Peter 5:12)! It's already available to us who are saved. It's there for the taking. Why, oh why do we struggle along through life, having no power, angry and bitter, or striving to do right on our own, when our REST awaits?

4. O come to the Savior, He patiently waits
To save by His power divine;
Come, anchor your soul in the “Haven of Rest,”
And say, “My Belovèd is mine.”

I’ve anchored my soul in the “Haven of Rest,”
I’ll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I’m safe evermore.

"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." (Hebrews 4:1)

If you have never heard this rendition of "The Haven of Rest," sit back and be blessed!

Tranquil garden photo:

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Clutter Clear!" Celebration

Courtney at Women Living Well is hosting an autumn challenge: Making Your Home a Haven. Being in the thick of fall cleaning, I think this week's challenge fits right in! Hope you'll go over and read the challenge along with Courtney's encouraging words.

My clutter challenging spots are:
1. The small room where my deep freezers are. Here a coat rack with a shelf above it is the lucky spot in which our outdoor wear has accumulated, including a row of boots on the floor beneath. It's not time to completely "revamp" this space, but I want to straighten it up and clear out the items not being used.
2. My desk area! I'll be honest, this is a continual problem for me and has been ever since I can remember. As a teen, I always fought the messy desk syndrome in my bedroom. I want to make a more efficient system for the papers on my desk to be filed away quickly and easily so that things do not pile up quite so much.

Comment (or email me) and tell me what areas you're working on decluttering. Clearing clutter feels great! Especially clearing clutter from your heart! Don't forget the inside of you too!

Happy Autumn Organizing!

I'll close with another one of my favourite fall photos of late:

This is my grandbaby Kyla (23 months),
"asking" the kitten to smell her Chinese Lantern flower!
So precious!
Thank You, Lord, for Your blessings!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Becoming a Minimalist

I am becoming a minimalist. I'm simplifying my life.

A few years ago I read a book that made an impact on me: Simplify Your Life by Elaine St. James. Ms. St. James does not claim to be a believer or follower of Jesus, as far as I know, but she has much good to say about "keeping it simple."

It's impossible to implement everything at once, and it's not even logical to try to apply everything on her list into our lives. These are ideas that worked for her and her husband, or people she knows. We are all different. What works for them may or may not work for us. Yet her list will make you evaluate what you do or what you have and also why you do it or have it.

I took notes; here are some things that may help you get started...

Household Simplifying
Reduce clutter
Speed clean
Cut grocery shopping time in half
Buy in bulk
Plant a garden
Run all errands in one place
Cut laundering chore in half (mix and match; basics)
Stop buying dry-clean-only clothes
Leave shoes at the door
Go for patterned carpets
Use food trays
Keep outdoor plants only
Get rid of your lawn
Simplify pets

Lifestyle Simplifying
Move to a smaller house
Drive a simple car
Sell the boat (or other "toy" you rarely or never use)
Build a simple wardrobe (lots of basics that mix and match)
Reduce go-go (going out) entertainment
Rethink your meals with friends (how often do you "hang out" just to "hang out"?)
Turn off the TV
Stop junk mail
Cancel magazines
Stop the newspaper
Drop call waiting
Don't answer the phone all the time
Don't answer the door either!
Get rid of the cell phone
Bow out on some holiday gatherings
Stop sending Christmas cards
Simplify gift giving
Simplify travel (pack only items you will use; don't try to do/see everything!)
Take a vacation at home

Financial Simplifying
Get out of debt
Live on half of what you earn; save the other half
Rethink your buying habits
Change the way you shop
Reduce needs for goods and services
Get rid of all but one or two credit cards
Consolidate chequing accounts
Consolidate investments
Pay off your mortgage
Buy secondhand cars

Job Simplifying
Stop being a slave to your planner
Work where you live, or live where you work
Do what you really want to do (make financial adjustments if you enjoy a lesser paying job)
Turn your hobby into your job
Work less and enjoy it more
Stop the busy work
Include family in your work life

Health Simplifying
Simplify eating habits
Always split a restaurant meal
Fruit/juice fast one day per week
Make water your drink of choice
Eat a muffin
Pack your own lunch
Take a walk
Get up one hour earlier
Be in bed by 9:00 one night per week
Throw out everything but asprin or a multi-vitamin
Create your own rituals (i.e., cup of tea)
Learn to laugh
Slow down to the speed limit

Personal life Simplifying
Clean up your relationships: learn to communicate
Just be yourself as God made you
Trust your intuition (better: trust the Holy Spirit living in you)
If it's not easy, don't do it (Be careful here; not everything God asks us to do is easy!)
Stop trying to change (let God change you)
Spend one day per month in solitude
Teach your kids the joy of solitude
Do a retreat once a year
Keep a journal
Do one thing at a time
Do nothing
Take time to watch the sunset (or sunrise)
Just say no
Learn to reinterpret the past (let it go!)
Change your expectations
Review your life regularly to keep it simple

Special Issues on Simplifying
Ten minutes to drop-dead gorgeous (simplify your primp time!)
Take off plastic nails and throw out nail polish
Reduce size of purse
Minimize accessories

Hard Core Simplifying
Rent instead of own
Get rid of cars
Get rid of phone
Stop making the bed (Wow! I'm not sure if I can do this, but there are days I skip it, in order to simplify.)
Get rid of all extras
Build a very simple wardrobe (everything mixes and matches)

An area in which I personally am simplifying is choosing to display fewer knick-knacks and "things" that I have to clean or dust. Less is more. You'd be surprised how big your sigh of relief is when you just clear off your coffee table completely! Just let it be bare for a few days! Dusting becomes a breeze! Same thing in the bathroom: hair dryer, curling iron, bottles, hairsprays, etc. all hide in drawers or cupboards. Nothing is out on the countertop except the soap dispenser. Nothing is on the back of the toilet except a basket of washcloths and a can of Febreze. It's an amazing feeling to look into such a simple washroom!

The most important way I'm simplifying is by a continual choosing to turn things over to God's control. Someone did not do something I wanted them to do? Can I trust God has a reason for this happening in my life? Or do I get myself all mad and stressed out?

More and more I am seeking to remind myself that it's better to live one day at a time. Does this mean that I make no future plans? Absolutely not; but my future plans are to be made in the framework of yieldedness to His plans.

I don't know about tomorrow, I just live from day to day;
I don't borrow from its sunshine, for its skies may turn to gray;
I don't worry o'er the future, for I know what Jesus said;
And with His loving hand to guide me, I won't fear what lies ahead.
Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand,
But I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand!

A word of caution concerning the "simplifying"

When you decide to simplify, there is a strong tendency to flipflop to the other ditch and completely live for yourself. One can become very self-absorbed. Be sure to pray about each change you implement, and be sure it is something that God will be pleased with, that will help you live for Him, and that your spouse is happy with as well. Don't adopt the philosophy: If it feels good, do it; if it doesn't feel good, don't. This slogan is only another of the enemy's lies.

Note: to watch the video, you'll first need to scroll down to the blue playlist at the bottom of the blog and pause that music. Then scroll back up and press play on this video.
If you have trouble loading it, you can view the song here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Gratefulness List

This is not--and can never be--an exhaustive list! In fact, I plan to add to it as time goes on.

Today we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada, so I was reminded once again to cultivate a heart of gratefulness, and to express it!
So here goes. I am grateful for...

1. My Jesus who saved me and called me with a holy calling, and loves to walk with me "in the garden."

2. My wonderful husband who loves me unconditionally and is always honest with me.

3. That God setteth the solitary in families... that He has given me a family to love.
4. Music that encourages, inspires, and refreshes me spiritually and emotionally

5. Beauty all around me in God's world, and simple little joys such as a warm, soft blanket

Grateful to Be Back!

I'm back in the blogging world! I apologize for the gap between my blog entries. There were issues that, as it turned out, related to my use of Firefox. Now that I have attempted an entry in Internet Explorer, I'm seeing success!

I will post soon... Today though... Thanksgiving dinner with our kids and grandbaby!

With a Grateful Heart,

Here's the song that played as I came down the boardwalk at our beach wedding...

We are so blessed, with the gifts from Your hand,
I just can't understand why You love us so much!
We are so blessed, we just can't find a way--
Or the words that can say, Thank You, Lord, for Your touch!

When we're empty, You fill us till we overflow!
When we're hungry, You feed us, and cause us to know,

We are so blessed, take what we have to bring,
Take it all, everything, Lord, we love You so much!
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