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"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." Matthew 5:14-15

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45-46

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rainy Day

It's a rainy and cool day here in PA. I actually like this kind of weather. It is good for sleeping in if you have the opportunity, which I did this morning. It also is the kind of day where you think about hot apple cider, or a warm bowl of soup, baking cookies or curling up with a good book.

The house is quiet. One of my boys is off working today and the other is meeting with his Barnabas mentor. I cherish those rare times when I get some time alone. It does not happen very frequently, but I realize it won't be long before the house will consistently be quiet. So I also cherish those 'noisy' times as well.

It has been an up and down week for me with highs and lows. Right now we are in a situation where we feel the need to be still and wait and rely on God. Not something I do that well. I want to have a plan. I pray that I can apply Psalm 46:10 to my life each day, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." My tendency is to be a planner. Being still isn't always easy. Often we fell the need to 'do' something while waiting, but there are times when we need to just be still and rest.

This reminds me of when the boys were young and would fight falling off to sleep. They would be in constant motion, trying to stay awake. It wasn't until they stilled their bodies that they could fall into a peaceful rest. At times we fight against God or whatever situation we are in, when all we need to do is crawl in our Daddy's lap and just rest in Him.

Are you fighting or resting today?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fall Musings

The crunch of fallen leaves beneath your feet, the distant honk of geese making their way south, the cool crisp temperatures, the colorful array of leaves as they carpet the path you are walking, and the beauty of the frost outlining a beautiful Fall leaf. Apples, pumpkins, colorful leaves, apple cider, pumpkin pie and apple and pumpkin desserts are just a few of the things I love about Fall. I eagerly anticipate the arrival of Fall.

This year it has crept up on my suddenly. This weekend my husband and I enjoyed a trip to the local orchard for apples. We even picked up some pears, honey and salsa as well. We have been eating ever since! :) Fall gets me in the mood for baking - apple pie, apple crisp, pumpkin pie, cookies, etc. It also is a time that I enjoy starting a soup in the Crockpot and bread in the bread machine.

Yesterday we invited some dear friends to our home following the evening church service. Before they came we spent a couple hours getting the house presentable for company. As I cleared off our dining room table I decided to go ahead and pull out the Fall decorations as well. We don't have much, some leaves, pumpkins, fall place mats and table cloth as well as a door hanging. We don't celebrate Halloween, but I have always decorated for Fall.

When I was pregnant with my youngest son we started an annual tradition of going on a Fall hike. The mountains are fairly close to us, so each year we travel up them to a spot where we can walk through the woods. We usually have a picnic supper together and trek along the path looking for the most colorful leaves. We each have bags to collect leaves. Many times we have returned home and used those leaves to make a place mat for the season. This will be our last year to go as a family before my oldest heads off to college in Florida next Fall. Sigh.

Fall can be a time of new beginnings. A time to decide to change and be different. Is there something new that you feel God is leading you to do, or perhaps you can use these next couple months as a time to draw closer to your Heavenly Father. May you enjoy this first day of Fall as well as the season.

Blessings,
Pearls

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Running the Race

I have never been a runner, not do I plan to become one. Walking is more my speed. So I was surprised this summer when my seventeen year old son decided to go out for cross country this Fall. He has been running anywhere from five to ten miles at practice each day.

Last week was a busy week for him. He had a meet on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The Tuesday meet went fairly well with him finishing in the top ten. Thursday meet didn't go as well. It was a rough course and he stumbled when he stepped in a hole and lost a lot of time. By Saturday he was still feeling sore and this would be an invitational meet with a lot of high schools participating. Because he had not done as well on the Thursday meet he was moved to the Junior Varsity race.

We were surprised when he got off the bus and walked towards us with a medal around his neck. He had received fifth place in his race which had many kids participating. His time qualified him as the second fastest runner on our team. If he had participated in the Varsity race he would not have placed any higher than at least the 40's.

While he was running the race he told me that he felt like quitting because he was hurting from Thursday, but the more he ran, he was surprised to see that he was passing more and more runners. By the end he was glad that he hadn't given up, but kept pursuing his goal.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:24

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

What race are you running right now? Make sure you run with perseverance, even when the future may seem unsure.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

How Deep Are Your Roots?

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord." James 1:5-7

"Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown." Mark 4:13-20

The Lord brought these verses to mind today as I was on my morning walk and time with the Him. I have been thinking about the 'waiting' time that my husband and I are in right now. I was praying that through this time of unknowns I will remain faithful. I know that we have been constantly praying for wisdom for the situation we are in as well as our future and where God is leading us. James 1:5-7 says that when we ask for wisdom we will receive it. It also says that we need to believe and not doubt.

I must admit that when my husband came home on Tuesday with the 'wait' answer, I started doubting. "Maybe we didn't hear right from God." "Maybe I was wrong...... Maybe......" The list can go on and on. I realized that the more I doubted and questioned, the more I was like the wave of the sea that is affected by the wind.

Forgive me Lord for doubting. Help me to be like the seed that fell on good soil. Help my roots to be deep, sturdy and strong. Even if the answer turns out to be different than I had hoped, may my roots and plant remain healthy and strong.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sometimes

Sometimes the answers aren't easy when we pray. Typically the answers are 'yes', 'no', or 'wait'. We have had an ongoing situation in our household for a while now. Last week after an appointment we knew that the answer was 'no' for that possibility. Yesterday presented another opening, one that we have been hoping, praying, and feeling would be 'yes'. But the answer we received was 'wait'.

I don't know about you, but that is not something I do well. Just ask my husband. He has always said that he is more patient than I am. Which is probably true...at least for a lot of situations. :) Perhaps it is because I am a planner. I want to know what is coming up so I can get it on the calendar and know what I am facing. I guess I need to keep in mind the following verses.

"A man's steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?" Proverbs 20:24

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9

"Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." Psalm 27:14

"We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield." Psalm 33:20

" I wait for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God." Psalm 38:15

"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!" Isaiah 30:18

"Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:30-31 (KJV)

Perhaps God has you in a situation right now where you are waiting for an answer. I pray that through this time you and I will be faithful in seeking His face and relying upon Him for daily strength. May we come through our trials victorious.

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Cup Is Overflowing....

...And I hadn't realized before now that it had been sadly empty. Have you ever felt that way before? You have been just struggling to hang on by your fingernails because of the tumult of life. Perhaps like me, you have been in that situation so long that you didn't even realize that your cup was empty. You do all that you can just to make it through each day. I honestly think that is why I have had such a fuzzy brain lately. I have been so beaten down by a situation that we are facing that it is hard to even think clearly.

But then sometimes God surprises you when you least expect it. He surprised us with new friends when we needed it the most. They have come alongside and bolstered and supported us. I am amazed when I look back at the short time that we have known each other, but yet there is a familiarity there as if we have been friends all of our lives. I know that blessing is from the Lord.

As we returned home last evening from an outing together as families, I realized that I was overflowing with joy. It made me stop and realize how long it has been since I have felt joy. I was reminded of Galatians 6:2, " Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Our friends have come alongside us and helped to carry the load and because of that and the fellowship we have shared, I have experienced overflowing joy. I think of Philemon 1:7, " Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints."

Is there someone today that you know that could use some encouragement? Sometimes all it takes is a note or phone call, and definitely a prayer. Let's see who we can bless today.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Upright in the Sight of God

"In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." Luke 1:5-6

As I was reading my Bible this morning I came upon these two verses, especially by the phrase "Both of them were upright in the sight of God." That is my prayer - to be upright in God's eyes, to be the woman of God that He desires for me to be. I want to be blameless at following His commandments.

Do I meet those standards? Sadly, I often fall far short of the goal. But my heart's desire is to strive to be more like my Daddy. I pray that each time I fail I will be one step closer to recognizing my wrongs, before they occur.

I have not blogged a lot this summer, or even followed blogs as much because my husband and I have been undergoing an incredibly stressful time. My natural reaction when in such a situation is to withdraw and close in on myself. I had written months ago about my best friend moving to Georgia and how hard it has been for me. Since she left I had been praying for new friends but didn't have a lot of faith that it was going to happen for quite a while.

Recently my life has been blessed with the renewal of a dear friendship from college as well as getting to know a former acquaintance from college. My life has been richly blessed by both of these women. God brought us all together when I least expected and also needed it the most. I have been realizing how important it is to have other friends-dear women to come alongside us and carry our burdens. We need friends in our lives that spur us on to a deeper relationship with the Lord. I pray that we can do that for each other. I pray that together we can become upright and blameless in the sight of God.

Who can you ask to join you in this journey as well?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New Beginnings

Fall can be a time of fresh beginnings,
New paths to follow and learn.
But most importantly in each endeavor,
Is to fully lean on God Almighty.

A new school year
And perhaps new friends as well.
Trepidation about the unknown future,
But fully trusting and taking God's hand.

Struggles and burdens may spring afresh,
But on Jesus I choose to rest.
With His help, He will guide the way,
As I follow Him day by day.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Blogging Friends Forever Award








Anne at http://acupofteawithanne.blogspot.com/
gave me this wonderful award. I am blessed to receive it and more so that you frequent my blog. I have enjoyed getting in touch with you again through your blog.

The Blogging Friends Forever Rules are:

1. Only five people allowed.

2. Four have to be dedicated followers of your blog.

3. One has to be someone new, or recently new to your blog, or live in another part of the world.

4. You must link back to whoever gave you the 'Blogging Friends Forever' award.

http://momsministryandmore.blogspot.com/
Heidi lives in Asia.

http://marilyn-nogreaterjoy.blogspot.com/
Marilyn is faithful at reading and encouraging me.

http://lynncowell.blogspot.com/
Lynn is a new reader to my blog.

http://sharon00045.blogspot.com/
Sharon encourages me with her comments.

http://www.miccacampbell.com/
Even though Micca is a busy woman she often has uplifted me with her comments when I have needed them. Thanks Micca.

Anticipation

Have you ever been eagerly awaiting an answer from God? Perhaps you have undergone a rough time and finally see a glimmer that better things are just around the next bend in the road. You have just a glimpse and promise that your situation will improve, but you aren't sure how long the wait will be. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

After a summer of facing a very rough situation and tremendous stress, I feel like we are finally on the verge of that anticipation of something good being just around the corner. I am excited but also a little fearful. Afraid to hope that the answer is before us. Afraid that the answer will be no...and yet, I can't help but feel that God has orchestrated everything up until this moment. The good as well as the bad, I know has been filtered through His hands. I know too that even if the answer is no, He still has our good in mind and that I can trust Him.

What difficulties are you facing today? Perhaps God has brought you to the point where you need to hope and believe and know that you can trust Him with your future. What an assurance that He has our lives in His hands when we choose to follow Him. How are you doing at trusting Him today?