Sunday, March 31, 2013

Resurrection Day!

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.

They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,

but when the entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you while he was still with you in Galilee? "The Son of May must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'" Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, the told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. Bt they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb.

Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
(Luke 24:1-12)

...He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. 
Reach out your hand and put it into my side. 
Stop doubting and believe."
Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
(John 20:27-28)

Photos from Used by permission.

Wishing you the joy of the Resurrection!

Happy Resurrection Day! from Mission Church on Vimeo.

Scripture for Easter Sunday
Matthew 28:1-15
Mark 16:2-14
Luke 24:1-43
John 20:1-25

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holy Week -- Saturday

What must it have been like for Mary to watch her son be crucified and placed in that tomb? Had all her years of pondering brought her to the place where she understood that he had to suffer and die? Way back at the beginning of his ministry, when they were at the wedding feast in Cana and they ran out of wine, Mary told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do. She trusted him to do the right thing. So I rather thank that, as wrenching as it would have been for her, she maintained that underlying trust in her son and in the Father.

But the waiting... the long hours between seeing him placed in the tomb and early Sunday morning, the day after the Sabbath, when they would again be able to visit the tomb. Oh, the waiting.

Sit for a while with Mary, awaiting the first light of Sunday. Sit and be still, as if you don't yet know the reality of the resurrection. And while you sit with her, meditate on the words of the hymn, O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.

Scripture for Saturday of Holy Week
Mathew 27:62-66
Mark: 16:1
Luke 23:56

Friday, March 29, 2013

Holy Week -- Friday

Today is Good Friday -- hard, dark, terrible, agonizing Good Friday. The first video, produced by Christian Fellowship Church in Belfast, Ireland, highlights the events of the day, while the song, My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me? by Scott Brenner, is the first 21 verses of Psalm 22 put to music. It was from this Psalm that Jesus quoted when he called out to God from the cross. (If you want to hear part 2 of Psalm 22, click here.)

CFC Belfast | Good Friday from Christian Fellowship Church on Vimeo.

Scripture for Friday of Holy Week
Matthew 26:47 - 27:61
Mark 14:43 - 15:47
Luke 22:7 - 47-23:56
John 18:2 - 19:42

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy Week -- Thursday

John is the only gospel writer who includes the washing of the disciples' feet at the Last Supper. He leads into the story with these words: Jesus knew that the Father had put al things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and drying them with the towel that as wrapped around him (John 13:3-5).

Jesus knew who he was and what he was about. In Philippians 2:5-11 Paul shows us that this act of servanthood at the Last Supper reflects Jesus' attitude with which he lived life. And it is the attitude we are called to as well.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, 
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself and became obedient to death --
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God theFather.  

Scripture for Thursday of Holy Week
Matthew 26:17-46
Mark 14L12-42
Luke 22:7-46
John 13:1-18:1

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Holy Week -- Wednesday

Wednesday, at a dinner for Jesus, Mary took an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, worth more than a year's wages, broke it, and poured it on Jesus' head. According to Jesus, she was anointing him for burial. Michael Card offers insight into this lavish gift of Mary, and Cheryl Bonner sings about it in the videos below.

Scripture for Wednesday of Holy Week
Matthew 22:41-26:16
Mark 12:35-14:11
Luke 20:41-22:6
Jon 12:2-8

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Holy Week -- Tuesday

On Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week Jesus did a lot of teaching. Max McLean does a wonderful job here presenting the 12th chapter of Mark. Among many other issues he covers, Jesus answers the questions of those who are trying to trap him and he answers the question, What is the greatest commandment?

Jesus' answer seems simple: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27). But this kind of love comes only as we strip away everything we want and everything we believe about God and the world, so that we can come to know God for who he is. Otherwise how can we love him with everything we are? And when we yield ourselves completely to God, we find we want nothing more than to love him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.

And what does it mean to love our neighbor as ourself? Jesus answers that question in the story of the Good Samaritan, who crossed cultural and religious barriers to care for another human being that he had no responsibility, according to society. It cost him greatly, yet he was lavish with his love for this beaten stranger.

Indeed, Jesus demonstrated this lavish love when he laid down his life for us. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him (Romans 5:7-8, The Message).

May the Lord give us grace to follow these two greatest commandments.

Scripture for Tuesday of Holy Week
Matthew 21:20-22
Mark 11:20-12:34
Luke 20:1-40

Monday, March 25, 2013

Holy Week -- Monday

On Monday of Holy Week Jesus entered the temple where commerce was the order of business. We read in Matthew 21:13, "It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'" And he proceeded to drive out the moneychangers and cleanse the temple.

The leaders did not get it. Jesus was ruining their rituals. But the blind and the lame got it. They were not put off by Jesus' anger. We are told that they came to the temple and he healed them (verse 14). And the children got it. Remembering the joy of the procession the day before, they were still overflowing with praise, and as a result, they were shouting in the temple area, "Hosanna to the Son of David" (verse 15). But the chief priests and the teachers of the law were indignant when they saw this.

If you'd been there (putting aside your knowledge of the coming events of the week) how would you have responded? With indignation, like the leaders? With faith, like the blind and lame who sought Jesus out for healing? With joy, like the children?

The video is from the Days With Jesus website.

Scripture for Monday of Holy Week
Matthew 21:12-19
Mark 11:12-19
Luke 19:45-48
John 12:20-50

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Holy Week -- Palm Sunday

Holy Week, the most significant week in the Christian calendar. Each day this week we will take a look at what was happening on that particular day of Holy Week. I invite you to put yourself at the scene each day, whether joining in the celebration of Palm Sunday or sitting at the table with Jesus at the Last Supper.

Palm Sunday is portrayed in the following video, created by Big Book Media. It was Jesus' victory parade! Of course we know what happened later in the week, so it is easy for us to watch the story unfold in the light of Jesus' condemnation to death just days later. But try to experience what it was like for the people whose joy is reflected on their faces as Jesus enters Jerusalem. Rejoice with them -- Jesus the King has come!

Hosanna! Let our praise resound!

A Day With Jesus, The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem from Days With Jesus on Vimeo.

Hosanna (Palm Sunday) from Centerline New Media on Vimeo.

Scriptures for Palm Sunday
Matthew 21:1-11
Mark 11:1-11
Luke 19:29-44
John 12:12-19

Friday, March 22, 2013

Purple Sunrise

I just had a warm, delicious breakfast, a bowl of Purple Sunrise cereal. It's made by Chris and Barbara Swartz of Camano Island and is just being introduced onto the market this weekend. I heard about it through an article I read yesterday in the Herald.

The idea of a locally produced gluten-free cereal caught my attention. The ingredients, all superfoods, are organic whole grains, and would be a wonderful start to a day. And then I realized that it was Barbara Swartz, a friend from my boys' school days, who created the cereal!

When Barbara's daughter Christy went off to college in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2009, she found it hard to study because of a growing sensitivity to wheat. So her mom began to experiment with grains, nuts, and seeds to find a breakfast that would not only be non-gluten but also give Christy a healthy boost to her morning. It's the gourmet black rice, that turns a lovely purple color when it is cooked, that prompted Barbara and her husband Chris to call the cereal Purple Sunrise.

They turned their TV room into a commercial kitchen and were licensed last October. That's where they mill the grain and make and package their cereal.

It's a busy time for the Swartz family just now. Christy is getting married on March 30, but there is plenty on the family's plate between now and then. This weekend they will be introducing their new product at Seattle's Vegfest. To prepare they packaged (by hand) enough 16oz bags of Purple Sunrise to sell at the festival, plus 2000 3.35oz bags to include in a box for other Vegfest vendors!

If my own experience is any indication, they should have plenty of sales at Vegfest. After reading the Herald article yesterday and checking out their website -- Barbara is a graphic artist, so both the website and the packaging are high quality -- I called to place an order. When I stopped by True-View Glass and Windows in Stanwood, a local drop-off for Purple Sunrise, there were several orders to be picked up by people who had also heard of them through local media. I'll just bet they enjoyed their breakfast this morning as much as I did.

(I'm already thinking about ways to add a bit of Purple Sunrise to the muffins I'm planing to bake later today!)

If a hearty, healthy breakfast for you and your family is important to you, I suggest you check out Purple Sunrise!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Home Make-Over: Some Practical Tips

We've just spent several months re-decorating our living room. Much of this time was spent in planning, and a lot was spent in waiting for furniture to arrive. Once the big stuff was in place it took time to get things settled and add the finishing touches. In the process, I learned a few things that might help you as you make changes to your own living space.

How to Design a Room -- Measure your room and plot it on a sheet of graph paper. Make your diagram as large as possible, creating as true a picture possible of the floorspace. Now measure the furniture you plan to use and cut out pieces of brown paper bag to scale for the diagram you have of your room. Include tables, bookcases, TV stand, whatever furnishings you expect to use. Move them around, trying out different configurations. You may find that there is too much furniture, or not enough, or that the furniture you want to buy is too large for your room. We found that we needed to move the piano from the living room to the dining room, something I had seriously considered before. We also realized that there would be no room for a recliner. Though it looked impossible that we could arrange the furniture in the style we wanted, we continued to tweak our map and made everything work. This process saved us potential frustration (and money), and I'm really grateful we included this step in the make-over.

Choosing Flooring -- Of course this is an individual choice that will be made according to your budget and your taste. I suggest spending time in the showroom of a carpet store or a wood flooring store and see what they have to offer. We had one kind of carpet in mind when we went into the store, but an hour later, when we left, we had a lot better idea of what was available and the salesperson had helped us work through the process. Most stores will have samples you can take home with you, and they will come to your home to do a free estimate. The big home improvement chain stores offer the same service, but the local stores can be remarkably competitive. We will work with the same company when we change out our kitchen floor and countertops because we liked their work and because they already know our house.

Carpet Care -- Just one thought here. The lovely new carpet feels great on our bare feet, but it's good to be aware that the oil on your feet transfers to the carpet, and dirt can stick to the rug more easily where your bare feet walk most often.

Choosing a Sofa -- Choosing a sofa, one that fits you well and fits into your room well, is the most critical decision you will make. Not every sofa is comfortable for every person, and you need to find the one that is right for you. After all, you don't want to purchase something that looks nice but gives you a headache or is too soft or whatever it is that makes it uncomfortable for you. So don't make any snap decisions about your sofa.

We had to return the first set we purchased (a sofa, a love seat, and a chair) because it did not fit our bodies, even though we had looked at several stores and sat on many sofas before we chose the set we did. It was classy and beautiful and fit our room well, but it did not fit us. Our store was willing to work with us and offered to exchange it for us. After working with them over several visits, we chose a sofa brand that makes sofas to order. I went home and looked the company up on line, then printed out photos and info about each sofa that looked like it might work. I took them to the store and they showed me which styles they had. I sat on each one, but none of them was right for me. My next step was to return to the sofa maker's website and see what area furniture stores sold their sofas. There were about a dozen stores. I collected my printouts about sofas we were interested in and the addresses to the furniture stores and set out. I sat on only sofas made by this one company. I would sit, get up and walk around, and return to the sofa. I sat on a lot of sofas -- you get to test drive a car; you should be able to "test sit" a sofa -- and eventually I narrowed my search down to just two or three styles. Finally I took my parents with me on an outing and in a store miles from home we all decided that one particular style was just what I was looking for.

Finally I returned to our home store with the sofa style number I wanted to order. They showed me the fabric selections and sent me home with samples. After the new sofa was finally ordered we had to wait about six weeks for it to come. But it was worth the wait. The new sofa is made to order!

Store Policy -- When ordering big things like carpet and furniture, be sure you are working with reputable companies. Check them out through the Better Business Bureau. And if you have any concerns throughout the process you can always call the BBB for guidance. Right at the beginning it is good to get the store policy in writing. Find out what happens if you are not satisfied with the product you purchase through them, or the workmanship. It's always a good business practice.

Lighting -- We complained ever since we moved to this house that the living room was too dark. Even with the lights on it was difficult to read. Then we bought new lampshades. We got them to update our lamps, but we had no idea of the additional benefit we would experience -- a bright room!

The old lampshades were all two layers of cloth, both layers pleated. It was a lot of fabric for the light to pass through. They were also taller than the new shades, brightening a smaller area. Our new drum shades are much shorter, they stand away farther from the bulb, and the material is a single layer and a truer white than the old lampshades. Now, instead of looking for a flashlight when the living room lights are on, we are hunting up our sun glasses!

What I thought would take a few weeks ended up taking four months. But I am more than satisfied with the results. I hope these tips help you when you find yourself on the same journey.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Home Make-Over: Living Room

It all started when the washer gave up the ghost in early November. We had bought it used long ago, and it served us well for many years. But one day it began to make a loud clunking sound and the agitator quit. We ordered a new washer and dryer from Lowe's and, since there was a little extra money in the kitty (and the store gave us some cash back when the appliances went on sale on Veteran's Day!) we were able to get new blinds and paint for the kitchen and dining room/family room too.

We've lived here for over nine years and have been unable to do much upgrading. But by now things were looking pretty dowdy. What did we want to do, and where to start? Our minds were reeling. Perhaps we could change out the floor covering throughout the house and even purchase new living room furniture!

We spent much of December considering our options. And we painted the kitchen. We were overwhelmed with so many possibilities for flooring -- we leaned toward wood floors throughout the downstairs -- but we finally decided on carpet in the living room and new vinyl in the rest of the main floor. We stopped by Remnant King on Rucker in Everett and Midge spent a lot of time with us, sending us home with several samples. John came out to measure and brought along additional samples. He measured the kitchen and dining room floors and the kitchen countertops as well, and he's keeping it on file for a later date.

Now, you don't just go with the first place you find, so we had Lowe's come out too, and we stopped by another carpet store to get an estimate. In the end, the bid from Remnant King was so close to Lowe's bid, and with a higher quality carpet and pad, that we were happy to give them our business.

When we walked into the Home Center in Stanwood we were greeted by a lovely young man named Ryan who was attentive to our needs and a great asset to the store. He's only 20, but he's been working in the showroom for several years, and he also makes deliveries. We ordered a sofa, love seat, chair and three tables from them.

The carpet was installed on December 28 -- so much for Christmas decorating! -- and the furniture came the following day.

We loved our new look! It was a total re-make of our living room. Out with the dingy grey, stained carpet, in with the plush brown flecky one. Out with the blue plaid sofa and the black loveseat with too many pillows and the tables that were way out of style. Move that piano out of the living room to the dining room and bring in a book case and a credenza. Switch the furniture from the outside walls to a cozy conversation area.

But it wasn't too long till we realized that the sofa set did not fit our bodies. And the chemicals in the carpet and furniture were gassing off and causing us to feel ill.

The furniture store was willing to work with us. They let us exchange our sofa set for a new sofa, and we found a great swivel chair that we loved at Hanson's Furniture in Mt Vernon. We sped up the off-gassing process. Just last week we completed our make-over when we purchased new pillows for the sofa and shades to update our lamps.

Through this past five months I've learned quite a lot about what's involved in a make-over. On Wednesday I'll give you some tips that might make the process easier for you. For now, I'm happy to show you how the new living room looks.

Why don't you come in and have a look!

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Apostles Creed -- And in Jesus Christ His Only Son, our Lord

For our 2013 Hymn of the Month we will be exploring the Apostles Creed.
With each post we'll look at one of the statements in the creed,
consider its significance, and share an appropriate hymn.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hades; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick ad the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
What we believe is fundamental to who we are. We live out of our beliefs; they influence our thoughts, our attitudes, and our actions. The paragraph about Jesus in the Apostles Creed is a collection of many things we believe about Him as His followers, but they all flow from the paragraph's first statement, And in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord.

Because Jesus Christ is the Son of God, He is fully divine. It is His divinity that makes it possible for Him to forgive our sins and be made right before God the Father. God requires righteousness and humans, on our own, are incapable of righteousness. But God's divine Son stands between us and God,  having paid the price for us, and secures our righteousness (Isaiah 53:6, John 3:16).

The statements to follow affirm the humanity of Christ.  We see the birth, suffering, death, and resurrection of a man, the man Christ Jesus, who identifies with our sufferings. He became one of us -- fully human -- that He might show us the Father and lead us to Him. But this was only possible because He is also fully divine.

In Jesus' day, the citizens of the Roman Empire called Caesar Lord. So when the early believers began to call Jesus Lord, they were saying that He was above Caesar. In fact, they believed that there is only one Lord, and the title belongs to God alone. This is a cornerstone of the Christian faith: Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live (1 Corinthians 8:6).

As Lord, Jesus has a kingdom and citizens of His kingdom need to know the ways of being within that Kingdom. The teachings of Christ, the parables, the healings, His interactions with people, are all revealed to us in the gospels, which give us insight into what it means to live in Jesus' kingdom, under His lordship. And as we study the book of Acts and read the epistles we see how the early church worked out kingdom life. Through the scripture we learn how to live today under the lordship of Jesus.

Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord. Such a simple statement but packed with powerful truth. This we believe.

With special thanks to Pastor Sam Schaar for his input. To see earlier posts on the Apostles Creed, click here and here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Just in Time

Are you anxious about how you will pay your bills? where you are going to live? whether or not you will get the job you've applied for? when you will ever be through the ordeal that is consuming you?

Be encouraged. God is at work, and will care for you. But it will be in his time. Although he may seem slow, his timing is right. He will not fail you. He may not answer in the way or the time you want or expect, but he is trustworthy. Trust in him, and in his timing.

I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly.
Isaiah 60:22b

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son...
Galatians 4:4

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Nozomi Project

Two years ago today, March 11, 2011, Japan was rocked by the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Tohoku region and affected the entire country. At 2:46 this afternoon the nation observed a moment of silence in memory of this disaster.

Rebuilding has been slow and, according to Voice of America, 300,000 are still in temporary housing. Hope is in short supply.

Yet my friend Roberta Stephens, a missionary for over 30 years in Japan, reports that hope abounds through efforts such as the Nozomi Project. At a recent women's conference she attended she "heard amazing story after story of how God is working. Lots of missionaries have been moving up to NE Japan, and a lot of small cottage industries have begun. One of them employing young women in their 20s and early 30s (most projects involve 50-80 year-olds) has a fantastic jewelry business that has started making necklaces from shards of glass and pottery washed up... We heard some stories of how these women are slowing coming to Christ."

In Japanese, nozomi is the word for hope, and that is what The Nozomi Project is offering these young women, many who lost loved ones during the tsunami. As they teach the women to craft unique jewelry from the broken pieces that resulted in the tsunami, they are helping them bring beauty out of the ashes of their own lives through the sustainable income, community, dignity and hope that results.

Thank you, Roberta, for alerting me to this wonderful project. I have spent quite a bit of time looking over their website and feeling grateful for the chance to share it with others. I encourage you to check it out and, as you do, lift these women and the millions of others who are still feeling the effects of the tsumani. You might even find a piece of jewelry or two that you'd like to purchase.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Kalaloch Trip, Part 2

We didn't know if we'd have decent weather last week while we were at Kalaloch Lodge or if we'd be spending most of our time in the cabin, enjoying the beach from the window. After a storm night on Sunday we woke to sunshine on Monday. So after breakfast we headed out to see some of the other nearby sights.

Our first stop was Ruby Beach, just ten minutes north of Kalaloch. I guess you could say it's Washington State's version of Oregon's Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, only more dramatic. The beach isn't large, but there is plenty to see. The family in the colorful jackets were enjoying themselves, climbing on the driftwood and looking for treasures on the beach. We asked the mom to take our picture. She got four great shots, so good, in fact, that I'm including two! As she was focusing on us she said, "There's a squall coming in behind you." She handed us back the camera and she and her family disappeared. By the time we got back to the parking lot we were experiencing pea-sized hail, and just a half-mile down the from the park the road was covered in hail!

We followed the signs to the Hoh Tribal Center and drove to the beach where we saw lots of driftwood and men seine fishing. And then we went to the Hoh Rain Forest, which receives 140-170 inches of rain per year (12-14 feet of rain!). "The Hoh is one of the finest remaining examples of temperate rainforest in the United States and is one of the  [Olympic National Park's] most popular destinations" (From the National Park Service's website).

We traveled home along Highway 101, the Olympic Peninsula Loop, through Forks, Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend, passing through places like Sol Duc Hot Springs and La Push, filled with childhood memories, and along Lake Crescent, where my family spent our very best vacation of all. One day maybe we can go back and do more exploring, but probably not in February! (Whose idea was it to get married in February, anyway?)

I hope you enjoy the photos.

Beautiful Ruby Beach

Where the Hoh River meets the Pacific Ocean 

Entering the Hoh Rain Forest

Huge trees abound in the Rain Forest. 

Stick around the Rain Forest for long and you start
to grow moss!

Lake Crescent

Of course a trip like this demands a shot
of a tumbling waterfall along the highway

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Run to Jesus

I read The Practice of the Presence of God when I was in my early 20s. It was written by Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth-century monk for whom the presence of God in his life was his goal and his joy.

It was Brother Lawrence's desire to live his entire life out of his love for God. He made it a habit to consciously bring his mind back to the Lord several times an hour, until his awareness of being in God's presence was second nature to him. This impressed me, and I began to incorporate this practice into my own life. I can't say I ever conquered it, but I was learning to be more conscious of living in the presence of Jesus, and it was very sweet.

Then life got in the way. Although I continued to grow in my walk with Christ, I did not keep the practice of calling myself back to the presence of Christ as I had in my younger days.

But over the past several years I have been reminded that I am always in the presence of God if I love Him and am walking with Him. And I have sensed Him calling me more and more into a place of recognizing His presence in every part of my life. One tool He is using to remind me is Sarah Young's book, Jesus Calling. Daily I am reminded to rest in Him, to trust Him, to recognize trials as opportunities to let Him work in my life. It is a precious experience to hear Him through the words of scripture and through this devotional book and to respond.

When we love the Lord and desire to walk with Him there are times we wander off -- we try to do things on our own, we are filled with worry, we seek our own glory and not His (and so many other things). I find it easy to think of myself as the rebellious child who is picked up by the scruff of the neck, kicking and screaming as she is delivered to her father, shaking his head as if to say, "Will you never learn?"

But that is not how it really is. We convince ourselves that we are bad, but to the Lord we are simply out of contact with Him. And it is His love for us that draws us back. We need not fear His judgment; if we are sincerely walking with Him, we can expect only love and grace from Him as we turn back.

And He will receive us as a child who, on a walk with her daddy, has gotten separated from him. She runs to him and hugs him and says, "Oh, Daddy, I didn't know where you were!" He takes her hand and says, "I've been here waiting for you. Shall we go on now?" And there is great love and joy in the reunion.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Tiny House Tour

Our little cabin at the beach was small, maybe 400 or 500 square feet. The living area and the bathroom were quite comfortable, but the cooking area was really tricky to get along in. Well, of course it was fine for a couple of days, but I don't think I could make it work for longer than that.

But the house in this video is less than 100 square feet! It's very efficient and seems to work well for him.

What about you? Could you manage in a place this small?