Hands

 

Hands working 2

My knuckles are big.
They hurt when I do the mending.
I can’t grow my fingernails long.
They click when I play the piano.
Continue reading

Advertisements

Rachel Finished Well

waterfall

 

Rachel’s story begins with Jacob. He went back to the land of his grandfather Abraham to find a wife from among his own people. When he arrived in town, he went to the well where some shepherds had gathered with their sheep and were waiting to water them. He talked to them to find out if they knew the family of Laban, and indeed they did. While they were talking, Laban’s daughter Rachel came to the well with her father’s sheep. When you read the passage below, you will see that it was love at first sight with Jacob. Continue reading

Be Thou My Vision

 

 

4x6 04 Cascade 04translated by Mary E. Byrne
versified by Eleanor H. Hull

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Nought be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
Thou ever with me, and I with Thee, Lord;
Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my Breastplate, my Sword for the fight;
Thou my whole Armor, be Thou my true Might;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, be Thou my strong Tow’r,
Raise me to heaven, great Pow’r of my pow’r.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise;
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heav’n’s Sun,
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

℘      ℘      ℘

Mary Elizabeth Byrne (1880-1931) was born in Ireland. She translated this 8th-Century Gaelic poem in 1905 while working as a researcher and writer for the Board of Intermediate Education in Dublin. Years later, Eleanor Hull, a writer of English history and literature, put Ms. Byrne’s prose translation into verse form and included it in her book of poems, The Poem Book of the Gael. The melody is a traditional Irish tune.

Are you as thankful as I am for the work that these women did to make this beautiful hymn accessible to us? It has also been translated into other languages as well as English. The truths taught about our great God in these few lines are timeless.

The older I get, the more I realize the Christ is all. He literally fills more and more of my vision, just as the songwriter spoke of. This is not something that happens automatically, but is a consequence of daily walking with Him, getting to know Him, letting Him change me and conform me into His image. Every morning I must die to self so that I may live for Him. I’m not talking about some strange ritual or morbid habit, but just a denying of my own stubborn will. Am I always successful? No. But God is always forgiving. When I fall, He picks me up, brushes the dirt off my knees, and helps me start again.

Christ is all. He is sufficient for everything, for every need in every situation. Period.

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.

Credits:

Information from hymnary.org

Osbeck, Kenneth W. Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions. Kregel Publications: Grand Rapids, 1990. p. 90.

Photo taken at Narrows Falls, Sapphire Valley, North Carolina, 2013

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Pedestrian

Today I learned a new word—or rather, a new use for an old word—pedestrian. This just happens to be the current photo prompt of the week, and so it has captured my attention for a moment. Prior to inquiring about the prompt, I only knew pedestrian as a noun, “a person who moves about on foot.” But when used as an adjective, this same word means “lacking inspiration or excitement; dull.” Imagine that! Synonyms for pedestrian as an adjective are boring, tedious, monotonous, unremarkable, commonplace, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, plain-vanilla. As you can see, I’m having fun with this. But now it’s time to add some photos.

James River Foot Bridge

James River Foot Bridge, Virginia, 2008

This was this photo that immediately came to mind when I saw the prompt. Back in 2008, my children and I spent four days traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway, staying in primitive campgrounds, hiking trails, stopping at overlooks, and observing God’s creatures big and small. There were certain specific destinations that I had in mind, and the James River Foot Bridge was one of them. This bridge, located in Snowden, Virginia, is a part of the Appalachian Trail, and allows trekkers to cross the James River while avoiding the traffic of US 501. It was built on abandoned train tresses when the train track was rerouted and opened for hikers in 2000. While it is designed for pedestrians, the bridge is actually named after the man who spearheaded its conversion, Appalachian Trail enthusiast Bill Foot. This bridge, and the story behind it, are anything but pedestrian!

In fact, I’ve been hard pressed to think of anything I’ve already photographed that fits the description of dull, boring, and tedious. Perhaps that’s because I’m so easily impressed. I tend to be fascinated by little things and often want to stop the car to take a picture of this, that, or the other thing. So I think I’ll just stick with the noun form of the word pedestrian and show you a few more foot bridges that I’ve seen over the years.

Massanutten Storybook Trail Bridge 1

Massanutten Storybook Trail Bridge, Virginia, 2014

Waller Mill Park (2)

Waller Mill Park Bridge, Williamsburg, Virginia, 2014

Waller Mill Park (3)

Waller Mill Park Bridge, another view, 2014

A bridge is a passage from one side to another, crossing a body of water or some other substance that would otherwise be difficult if not impossible to cross. Sometimes there are other ways. You could swim, take a boat, or fly. But none of those options are as convenient as walking across a bridge.

There is another bridge across another chasm. This one is the ONLY way across. I’m talking about the way to heaven, and the bridge is the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said,

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me (John 14:6).

If there were any other way to come to God, then He would not have made His Son suffer the shame of the cross. But He did suffer that shame. He came to this earth, lived with us for thirty-three years, then paid the debt of our sins, though He Himself never committed any sin. And three days later He did what no one else ever did—He rose up from the dead of His own power. He is the victor over sin and death. That is how He can offer eternal life to you and me, because He already claimed it!

Then once you have come to the cross and your sins have been forgiven, then God shows you the way that you should go.

I am a pedestrian, slowly traveling through this world on my way to the next, and God directs every step.

Psalm 143:8 Cause me to hear Your loving-kindness in the morning; for in You do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto You.

Jeremiah 6:16 Stand in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk in it, and you shall find rest for your souls.

Isaiah 30:21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

 

Rebekah Started Well

 

trevor-cole-385268

The story of how Rebekah came to be Isaac’s wife is truly remarkable, especially to me, since I do not come from a culture where arranged marriages are common. Isaac’s father, Abraham, had come to dwell in a land far away from his people, in a land where he was a stranger. Isaac was of an age to be married, and Abraham wanted to choose a wife from among his own people for his son. So he sent his oldest and most trusted servant back to his hometown in the land of Mesopotamia to find a bride for Isaac. The servant was given strict instructions to bring her to him, for Isaac must not return to the fatherland. God had called them to a new place, and they would stay where God had led them. The servant swore to Abraham to obey all that he had commanded, and he took ten camels laden with provisions and gifts and went on his way to seek a bride for Isaac.  Continue reading

Sometimes Life Happens

It’s time for my weekly study about Women in the Bible, and I’m not ready because life got in the way. I am a home school mom of a young lady who wants to graduate this year but hasn’t quite finish all her eleventh grade studies, and I’m trying hard to see if we can make it happen. I can do the planning, but most of the execution is going to be on her. On the bright side, if she can keep up with the pace, she’ll be all the more prepared for college come September 2018. Wow! Did I just say that? It’s hard to believe that I’m almost finished home schooling. This last year, with only one student, is definitely proving to be the hardest.

So while you wait for my study on Rebekah to be ready, I thought I’d share a memory from exactly three years ago today. My number 2 son, Bobby, was off to a rough start for the new school year, and he clearly needed a break for a couple days. Part of the beauty of home schooling is spontaneity. So he and I took a spur-of-the-moment trip to the Shenandoah mountains, just a 3-hour drive from our house, for a long-weekend getaway. Actually, it did us both a world of good.

Continue reading