Hearts and Flowers

Dear Reader,

Thank you for your patience during the recent lull in my blogging. To explain in the fewest possible words,

I met the man of my dreams and fell in love.

There is nothing like meeting your soul-mate at long last to hijack all your attention and derail all your work plans.

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You are not forgotten readers. I intend to get back on track and begin to post regularly once more.

As we roll into February and everyone else talks roses and chocolates I will attempt to temper all my romantic hopes and thoughts with words of rest and reassurance found in Christ.

That is my plan, my mind may be distracted by thoughts of my Beloved and wedding plans, but I will attempt to share words of inspiration and reflection that will be meaningful for those in all relationship statuses.IMG_2739

I will begin by reflecting on the nature of wisdom.

I wrote before about defining success. Wisdom is often viewed as the quality of having good judgement. In James chapter three wisdom is described as being of two kinds. He refers to one kind of “wisdom” as being, earthly, unspiritual and devilish. This is said to come from envy and selfish ambition. He said that this type of wisdom leads to every kind of wickedness.

James is right in pointing out to us that why we are looking for wisdom will often affect what type of wisdom we acquire.

If we merely want to prove a point we look only for the facts that substantiate our opinion. We may not even consider or notice factors that work against our preconceived notions. Our ambitions can easily blind us.

The other type of wisdom that James mentions is A Gentle Wisdom described in James 3:17,

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.”

In my opinion this is the wisdom I value the most. I don’t want to be blinded by an agenda. I do not appreciate ideas that are driven by someone’s ulterior motives.

The quest to find Gentle Wisdom is long and arduous.

The journey has a variety of challenges and the landscape changes and we are refashioned by the adventure. This is the pilgrimage of life. If we are not shaped and refined by the process we are not really engaged in the journey.

When we encounter life fully and skirmish with the truth we learn more of Gentle Wisdom.

In some respects it is only possible to see this wisdom after we are wounded and battle-hardened by the struggle of life. Wisdom is the reward of those who grapple with Truth and Life. Those looking for the easy way inevitably end up seduced by the worldly wisdom that leads to despair. For those who undertake the campaign for Truth the victory is not the cessation of all difficulty, but the blessing of Gentle Wisdom.

Endeavor to hold fast to the Truth and Gentle Wisdom will be the crown that is placed upon the head of the righteous.

If we fight for a crown of our own making we will drive ourselves to defeat. Abide in Christ-the Truth and victory is assured.

Grace and Blessings on you all in 2016!

Brokenness into Beauty

This has been a week of contrasts. It began with Palm Sunday. The day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem hailed as a king. “Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of The Lord!” Acclaimed as a conquering hero, the Messiah, He came riding into town on a donkey. He did not ride the war-horse of a great general or leader but on a young donkey. It wasn’t quite what they had in mind.

My Palm Sunday wasn’t quite what I had anticipated either. I literally had to drag myself out of bed using every bit of self-control and will-power that I possessed, along with a good measure of grace. I did drag myself to Sunday School and Worship followed by a Resurrection Egg Hunt. That was not like me. Sunday morning has alway been one day of the week I can get up without too much trouble. Surprisingly I felt stronger at the end of the long day then I did when it began.

That is what Jesus has done. He turned the darkness into light. He converted our grief into joy. He healed our broken into beautiful. The week progressed along with a series of challenges. I witnessed beauty. I experienced pain. On Monday I spent a couple of hours on a lavish dinner of Coq au Vin, roasted new potatoes and French style green beans served with a cinnamon streusel coffee cake. By Good Friday dinner was a fried egg sandwich.

We endured deep freezes and warm sunny days. Grey days have been followed by a day where the crystalline clearness of the cerulean sky was matched only by the birds singing joyfully in branches high. Apple blossoms made it through the freeze, but the marvelous magnolias did not. Daffodils drooped low and were resurrected with the sun. The violets bloomed and I’ve had my first picked flowers of the season. What a week of contrasts I have witnessed. It is nothing like what Jesus endured. The crowds that cheered Him on Sunday were screaming, “Crucify him” on Friday.
First flowers of the season brought indoors
Daffodils
Good Friday is the day we remember what Jesus did. In taking upon Himself the worst the world could offer and by sacrificing himself he restored our broken world into its rightful place in His divine plan. He took our broken bits, the days that we have hardly climbed out of bed, and turned them into something beautiful. Because He willingly took on all that life and death could deal out, the beautiful, the glorious, the graceful, the ugly, the gruesome and the gory He made us grateful –grateful that He was able to accomplish what we could not do for ourselves.

We can live with gratitude in this beautiful world. He stopped at each step of creation and declared it good. Despite this we are not grateful as we ought to be. Rather, we focus on what we lack. We place our attention on the tragedy and the tantrums rather than the triumphs. The tree that was meant to break Him –He made beautiful. The cross was a symbol of torture, and through Him it became a symbol of strength.

Because of Good Friday we have been freed from the limitations that have been upon us since Adam and Eve first sinned in the garden. God who is infinite climbed into our lives and gave Himself up for us. The Incarnate became man, suffered and died that we might have eternal life! He secured for us a place with The Everlasting. Good Friday is good because in it we have been made into His likeness. On Easter Jesus has turned our brokenness into beauty.
Wild violets
Species tulips