Gazing with Wonder

https://pattyschell.com/2017/10/19/gazing-with-wonder/

“Beautiful!”

Over and over, my husband and I both used this word as we traveled around the countryside this past summer. We saw mountains to deserts, farmland to forests, and everything in between. But the most impressive sights perhaps were rocky cliffs where colorful bands of stone had been revealed through fractures deep under the surface of the earth.

One such place we visited was Capital Reef, a national park in Utah. This was one of those lucky discoveries. We had not planned to stop in the area but with all campgrounds full of the more popular destinations for the holiday weekend, we took what we could find. We were very happy with the outcome.

Capital Reef has what they refer to as a wrinkle in the earth’s crust. Ha! Wrinkle, indeed. This uplifted landmass soars 7000 feet into the air. An ancient fault beneath the earth’s surface that caused the ground to be thrust upward is the most likely explanation for its creation. Whatever the reason, when we gazed at the outcome, we remarked on its beauty.

God Sighting

Most people, including myself, tend to want their lives to resemble gentle-rolling, grass-covered hills rather than exposed rocky outcrops. We prefer to keep anything negative hidden deep under the surface. Nobody wants their faults on display, but often times, it is God’s work through those faults that bring the most beauty to our lives.

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:6

This verse found in Second Corinthians is a reference to the beginning of time when God created the world. In Genesis 1:3, a world that was formless, dark, and void began a process of change when God brought light to the situation. The focus wasn’t the dark, formless, empty earth, it is what God created out of it that gets our attention.

Even though there were places where the actual fault could be seen, it was not what drew your eye. It was the beauty of the layers of exposed rock that displayed their history in vibrant bands of color. The same can be found in our lives. Rather than our weaknesses, it will be God’s extraordinary work in us that is seen.

For instance, check out what Second Corinthians 4:7-12 has to say about it.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

Not crushed even when hard pressed, not in despair even when perplexed, not abandoned even when persecuted, and not destroyed even when struck down—These show the layers of God’s faithful work in our lives. Where we saw weakness and failure, God’s light reveals something completely the opposite that draws people’s attention. It’s our transformation into the likeness of His Son, Jesus, that is revealed. His strength and majesty on display in our lives will bring hope and life to others. And to this, we must gaze in wonder and remark— “Beautiful!”

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 4:15

 

 

Things You Learn While Wandering

girlonadventure.com

“Not all who wander are lost.”

Gandalf


It’s amazing what you can learn while traveling down the road.

Yes, you will view beautiful scenery and meet interesting people, but one thing I love the most is when my husband discloses something I did not know before. It seems that discovering new places and people have an added effect. It also brings on the recollection of adventures from the past

We have been married for going on forty-five years, and the chance of uncovering something new would seem very slim I suppose. Add our long history together with a man who is reserved with his words, and the odds of learning something new just aren’t good. But the exact opposite has happened. I have learned some details about his life that were previously unknown to me.

During a trip to Big Sur, Paul told me about camping there as a boy. He was friends with the neighbor’s son and they had invited him. He had spent a lot of time with the family at their farm on the central coast of California, helping to pick the crops they raised. Another place reminded him of the time his dad took him to see a car race. Then on a recent road trip through Iowa, he talked of the time he visited his uncle’s farm and he was given permission to ring the dinner bell to let them know it was meal time. He was good at it, except when he rang it at the wrong time. He smiled as he told of the big ruckus he had caused and how much trouble he had been in from his ‘innocent’ mistake.

These tiny glimpses into my husband’s boyhood made me love him even more. I could picture a small bit of this little boy who grew up to be the man I know. It’s a treasure to peek into a time that was previously a mystery to me.

God Sighting

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed it to us by the Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

 When Jesus was giving His last instructions to the disciples, they were disheartened. What would they do without Him? Who would be their Teacher? Jesus told them not to worry. Good things were coming. Then He tells them of someone who would come and be with them forever—the Spirit of Truth

This Advocate or Holy Spirit, as Jesus calls Him, whom God will send “will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26) “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” He says it again in John 16:12-13 “I have so much more to tell you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.

I am so glad that we, too, are recipients of the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13) We will know Him, for he lives with us and will be in us. (John 14:17) It is He who is constantly pointing out new things to me as we travel through the Scriptures. He also reminds me of things I already know in the moment I need them. Whether to apply to my life or to lend to someone else, He whispers, “Remember that verse or story we saw in the Bible? That applies here in this situation, too.

But the best thing about having the Holy Spirit is the constant glimpses of God along the way. The little mysteries He uncovers for me to draw my heart closer and give me a better understanding of the God who has allowed me to walk through life with Him. I cannot be silent about what I discover along the way. I write in the hope that others will embrace this journey with God for themselves. They will never regret what they discover when they go a-wandering with the Holy Spirit


Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.

Jeremiah 33:3

 

Something to Ponder: Glorify God

girlonadventure.com

You cannot glorify God unless you consider His ways and follow them.

Hands Full

http://girlonadventure.com/2017/06/16/hands-full

I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.

 Psalm 119:48 ESV

 

Hands raised in worship.

I have been part of it when a song strikes a chord in my soul. the action of lifting my hands in worship acknowledges a longing for my whole being participate with a heart that is lifted to the throne room of God. You, Lord, have done great things is usually the reason for my hands to reach out in a worship service.

Other images come to mind when considering “lifting up my hands”. Hands over our heads can be a sign of surrender. We raise our right hand and swear we will tell the whole truth, while volunteers show their eagerness to serve with hand stretched high. Hands thrown upward can also be a sign we’ve simply had enough of how something is going.

But when we look at the Hebrew word for hand—kalf— in the Psalm 119 verse above, we see something else. It describes the palm or hollow of the hand. The hollow of the hand is made for scooping, holding, or carrying things. Combined with the word nasa’ I shall lift up—it gives the idea of picking something up and carrying it in your hand.

Now, doesn’t that give us a different picture?

We lift our hands to receive from God who is the Giver of good gifts. His Word certainly qualifies as one of those good gifts. In receiving it, we can move on to touching it and allowing it to touch us.

Let’s not stop there. Our hands can do so much. How about cradling the word as you would do something precious? Grasping it as in never letting go, and sometimes even hanging on for dear life. Feeling it as you would when gliding your hand over something of beauty, feeling its texture. All these actions further expand my view of my hands coming in contact with God’s Word.

I pray that I follow the Psalmist’s actions. . .

and continue to reach out towards the very thing that allows me to know God and His ways. When my hands are full of His words, they are always at my fingertips to be used in my actions or offered to others who seek to know God, too. What better way is there to live than having one’s hands full of God’s precious words?

So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

Psalm 63:4

 


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Something to Ponder: Are You Following?


Picking up you cross? What?! Simply put, have you let go of choosing your own way and embraced God’s? 

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.
Mark 8 ESV

http://bible.com/59/mrk.8.34-35.ESV

Tiny Beginnings

http://wp.me/p2mn4o-GR

“The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

Matthew 13:33

My kitchen has the lovely smell of bread rising.

Flour mixed with yeast gives off the beautiful aroma of the anticipation of something wonderful to come. I can remember my mother’s kitchen smelling the same on days she was baking what we called Light Rolls. They were going to accompany a big pot of white beans and ham that had its own wonderfulness. Without that warm roll with butter melting into the surface of the steamy bread, the beans by themselves would not have been the same.

Oh, man. . .

Before drooling takes over, I want to look at the verse that started this line of thought.

Although most of us equate leavening with sin and its ever-increasing desire to take over, here Jesus uses the concept in a different way. This particular teaching on the kingdom of heaven is a one-liner, found tucked amongst the stories about planting of seeds and finding of treasure. [See Matthew 13] The leavening found in this portion of scripture is intended to give the idea of how a very small thing can make big changes.

The kind of leavening Jesus is referring to is what we know as sour dough. No packets of yeast could be found at the grocery store for his listeners. They were able to picture the concept because virtually every household would make bread in the same way. The starter, as bakers refer to it today, was a little piece of dough reserved from the batch before it. That piece was full of yeast that was alive, and once it was mixed into flour and water, it would also bring life to them.

I love this little bit of scripture and how it points to small beginnings that, at first, cannot be seen from the outside. The woman hides the bit of dough into the flour. This is somewhat like hiding God’s living Word in our hearts. I know in my own case, it started small. A verse here and there, but it grew. The more I incorporated God’s word into my heart, the more I wanted to know. The more I knew, the more I had to share with those around me. It grew and grew, taking over and changing my thoughts and actions.

Now, take the individuals who have infused God’s words into their lives and have grown in the ways of kingdom life, and mix them in a world that is dead. Life will begin to take hold as the effects of God’s Word spreads. The process will generate change, bringing God’s kingdom to our families, our neighborhoods, and our communities.

God’s little bit of leaven hidden in our lives can produce some really great results.

The scent of goodness and life that comes as it grows will alert everyone around us that something wonderful is happening—the kingdom of heaven spreading into all the earth.

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.”

2 Corinthians 2:14-16


A recipe is certainly in order for this post. This one makes a delicious loaf. If you would like to start your own sour dough, save a pinch of unbaked dough in a lidded container for your next batch. When ready to use it, incorporate it into the dough with the water and an additional 1/4 teaspoon instant dry yeast.

Over time, your sour dough will get more sour as the starter develops. This method has worked for me when baking a couple times a week. If you don’t bake that often, just start fresh each time, or check the internet for more info keeping sour dough starter. This method has worked for me when baking a couple times a week. If you don’t bake that often, start fresh each time, or check the internet for more info for keeping sour dough starter.

No-Knead Artisan Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add  water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Add a splash of water if needed for right consistency. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
  2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
  3. Gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Place a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) that has been lightly oiled or lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap or towel, and let rise for 2 hours.
  4. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Place lid on pot, bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove lid and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until bread in golden.
  7. Cool on wire rack.
  8. Eat with plenty of butter. Yum!
  9. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Something to Ponder: God Knows You


“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1 NIV

http://bible.com/111/jer.1.5.NIV

Even in the small things,  God reveals himself to the world through His work in your life.