Archive for the ‘God's Gift’ Category
Posted in American History, Christian Faith, Christian Living, Christmas Joy, Christmas leads to Calvary and the Resurrection, Forgiveness, God hates the enemies of Israel, God's Gift, God's Gift of Salvation, God's chosen people, God's nation of Israel, God's Promises to Israel STAND!, God's Word is literal, Great is Thy Faithfulness!, Growing up in Wisconsin during World War II, He is coming again!, He is Risen!, Hope in Sorrow, Israel's glorious future!, Israel---God's Chosen Nation, Israel--God's chosen people!, Learning from History, Life, Life in the 1930s and 40s, Memories of WW 2, Merry Christmas, Our Lord will return!, Our Messiah Jesus Christ Will Return to Reign in Jerusalem, Pray for revival, Prayers for our nation, Prayers for Revival, The CROSS of Christ, The Cross will prevail! on December 7, 2016| 2 Comments »
Posted in "Old" is Creative!, Amazing Grace, Answered Prayer, Christian Faith, Christian Living, Condo Living, Contentment in the Little Things, Creative Aging, Creative Living, Creative Memories, Family Matters, Family Roots, God's Gift, God's Gift of Salvation, Gracious Living, Great is Thy Faithfulness!, Growing old is a great joy!, He is coming again!, He is Risen!, Hymns, Life, Living abundantly in a condo!, Music, Nostalgic Reflections, Scottish Heritage, Slow lane living in a fast lane culture!, The CROSS of Christ, The Cross will prevail!, The fragrance of Christ, The joy of music, Worship, tagged and salvation in Him, Beautiful Homemaking, Christian Living, Condo Living, Creative Living, Family Matters, Great is Thy Faithfulness!, Hymn singing, Music, Nostalgic Reflections, Reflective Musings, The Gift of Time. Gracious Living, The Lord Jesus Christ, violins on January 13, 2016| 6 Comments »
On the third Sunday in January forty-five years ago, I was catapulted into God’s family by believing in the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ—who was crucified for our sin and resurrected to give to anyone who will believe, His everlasting LIFE!
That January day is etched in my heart and head; never before had the sun been so bright and the snow so pristine white. In the morning I went to a new-to-me church where I heard the Gospel preached. I had heard God’s truth on other occasions, without response. But on that day forty-five years ago, I was ready to believe. It had to be true; there was no other answer to life!
As I walked into the church service on that Sunday, the congregation was singing a hymn—and the sound of that singing shocked me. I’d attended church services in “quiet” Protestant churches all my life. Never before had I heard hymns sung the way that congregation was singing. Suddenly it occurred to me: these people really mean what they are singing!
I believe the hymn singing marked the beginning of my new birth process that day. When the Gospel message was preached, everything clicked. It was true, and I knew it. I was a sinner. I needed salvation, and the Lord Jesus is real. He died and rose for me, and now I belonged to Him. I could sing the hymns, and really mean what I was singing.
How I love the old Gospel hymns. Thankfully, the church where I now attend has not discarded the old favorites, although we do have contemporary praise music as well. But there is nothing like the hymns, because so many of them teach as they sing—reinforcing the truths of Scripture, implanting these truths in our minds, challenging, encouraging, comforting us with every line.
Just a few of my favorites are: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” (Joseph Scriven and Charles C. Converse), “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” (Helen Howarth Lemmel), and of course John Newton’s “Amazing Grace” which, according to my wishes and depending on God’s will, is scheduled to be played by a bagpiper in kilts at my Going Home Celebration; I have my Celtic heritage to thank for that desire.
My paternal grandfather was a Congregational preacher who loved the Lord Jesus with all his might. I know that my grandparents’ witness and prayers were among the many factors which God used to draw me to Himself. Grandpa Longenecker loved hymns. In his last years on earth he played through his hymnbook on his violin, nearly every day.
I can still picture Grandpa fiddling away. Sometimes he would pause, rest his violin on his knee, and preach at me about the coming glory when he would be face to face with the Lord. At the time, I was a clueless teen-ager thinking about the coming high-school dance (or my coming violin recital) rather than the Lord.
But the shine on Grandpa’s face was not lost to me. His face literally glowed when he talked about the Lord—and his snappy, deep brown eyes sparkled. If I’d been into musing beyond dances and recitals in those days, I might have wondered about the shine and the sparkle! To me he was just “Grandpa”. But how I loved him!
Now, like Grandpa Longenecker, I play through my hymnal frequently—enjoying my favorites and occasionally trying a selection which is new to me. But unlike Grandpa, I play the hymns on my piano. A broken left arm and dislocated wrist curtailed my violin playing back in the 1990s—after I’d finally begun to retrieve some of the technical skills I’d put in storage for decades of raising a family and doing other things. Meanwhile, I never put music per se in storage; I’d kept right on singing and playing my piano through the years.
Today, at age eighty two, I simply do not sing like I once did—unless you call a one-octave tenor bass range “singing”. At least you can call it a “joyful noise”. But I can play my piano, and play I do. It’s great therapy for the soul, as well as for arthritic fingers. “Great is Thy Faithfulness!”
And often while playing I recall that cold Sunday many years ago, when I first heard hymns sung as if the singers really meant it. The power of the hymn!
Margaret L. Been — January 13, 2016
NOTE: The above sunrise photo was taken in our front yard this very morning. Too beautiful for words. Fortunately I grabbed my I-Pad immediately and took pictures of the sunrise over our park. Five minutes later, the colors had disappeared into normal morning daylight. Lovely, but not so spectacular as those first moments of dawn.
Posted in Amazing Grace, Ancestral Roots, Bird Migrations, Christian Faith, Christmas leads to Calvary and the Resurrection, Condo Living, Contentment in the Little Things, Creative Memories, Family Matters, Family Roots, God's Gift, God's Gift of Salvation, God's Love, Good memories of childhood, Great is Thy Faithfulness!, Ireland, Irish History, Knitting, Living abundantly in a condo!, Music, Praises, Reflective Musings, Rejoice!, Scottish Heritage, Spring Migrations, tagged Campbells of Argyll, Celtic Music, Condo Living, Days are growing longer!, Ethnic Roots, Knitting, Music, New Year, Nostalgic Reflections, Scottish Heritage on December 31, 2015| 2 Comments »
Christmas was beautiful. Nothing on earth can match the Wonder which came from above, took on human flesh, died, was resurrected, and dwells with us in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit—God Himself. Great is Thy Faithfulness.
And now we are moving into what is, for me, an exciting time. Since winter solstice, when we had eight hours and fifty-nine minutes of daylight here in Nashotah, Wisconsin, we have gained THREE MINUTES of daylight. THREE MINUTES. Great is Thy faithfulness, indeed! Every year at this time, I experience a surge which continues to expand in increments as the daylight increases.
I can handle winter, and find the snow (which we have finally received) to be gorgeous—even though I no longer roll in it the way I once did. Our corgi, Dylan, rolls in the snow. Living with the cold is do-able because: a) I love Wisconsin through sickness and health, till death do us part; b) Joe and I are blessed with a cozy, warm home; and c) There is plenty of wool around here in the form of blankets, and also wearable art—the fruit of this woman’s endless knit-omania.
I live with the cold, but find decreased daylight to be a piece of work. Often I wonder if diminished daylight challenges my soul because I was summer-born. Likewise, is the post-Christmas energy surge due to increased moments of daylight creating a chemical reaction in the brain, or do I begin to get hyper because of past experience and my knowledge of seasonal changes?
A 19th century ornithologist, Johann Andreas Naumann, noted that caged migratory birds exhibit migratory restlessness (Zugunruhe) and turn to the direction of migration at appropriate times, in response to circannual rhythms. Can human instincts have remained so finely tuned as those of birds, despite our centuries of civilization and cultural conditioning?
The exercise of pondering moot questions never grows old. As I plug in a CD from our large collection of Celtic music, I wonder if it’s “ethnic memory” that causes my blood to throb and my body to move involuntarily to the music. Irish Celtic, yes. And Scottish Celtic? Well, the shrieking of bagpipes* sends me into orbit like no other sound except that of a train whistle. God willing, “Amazing Grace” will thunder via pipes and a piper in kilts at my Going Home Celebration when the time comes.
Here is my known ethnicity, although most of my people came to this continent so long ago that I might logically be considered “American”. My father’s ancestors were Swiss and Alsatian, and my mothers—Scottish and Northern Irish. The Northern Irish were Scots to begin with, but they were sent by the English Crown from the Scottish Borders to “Protestant-ize” Northern Ireland.**
Now I have loved both of my parents and always will, with equal loyalty. They were, and always will be, great individuals for whom I’m eternally grateful. I am pleased to have received, via the gene pool, some of my Dad’s traits along with some of Mother’s.
But yodeling? Big in the Swiss Alps, I know—but a yodel simply does nothing whatsoever for my soul, regardless of the skill with which it may be performed. Line a yodel up against Celtic fiddles, Celtic harps, or Scottish bagpipes and I’m sorry but you don’t even have a hint of a contest.
So why do The Irish Rovers, The Chieftans, and others of their ilk throw me over the moon? It cannot be from childhood exposure, as we never had that kind of music in my home of origin. Music was classical (which I continue to love). My mother was a gifted pianist and I was raised on Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert, etc.
For lighter moments we had the comic operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan and some old folk songs such as The Londonderry Air. But the squealing, banging, and thumping of The Chieftains, and the robust, earthy tunes of the Irish Rovers would never have made it to 85 Park Street and other places where I once lived and breathed and had my being. My mother was tremendously delighted with her Campbell of Argyll roots, but I don’t recall her doing cartwheels to bagpipes. So do I squeal, bang, and thump to the Chieftans because of ethnic memory, or is this response simply an acquired taste?
And whether chemically driven or just a matter of understanding how the seasons progress, my passion for lengthening days is far from moot. It’s a tangible reality which inspires a hymn of praise: “Great is Thy faithfulness, oh God our Father.”
Margaret L. Been — December 31st, 2015.
*I love the humorous bit of lore shared by an Irish storyteller at Milwaukee’s Irish Fest: “The Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scots, but the Scots ‘didn’t get it’.”
**Regardless of Northern Irish roots, my sympathies have always been with the long-suffering and now Republic of Ireland.
Posted in God's Gift, God's Gift of Salvation, God's Love, He is coming again!, He is Risen!, Healing, Life, Religion, Resurrection Day, tagged All we like sheep have gone astray!, Calvary, Christian Faith, Christian Living, Eternal Life in Christ, Forgiveness, Great is Thy Faithfulness!, RESURRECTION! on April 3, 2015| 2 Comments »
“Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows . . . . But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53: 4a, 5-6
“But unto you that fear My name, shall the Sun of righteousness rise with healing in His wings . . . .” Malachi 2:3a
“But God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved): And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7
“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:3-4
Have a beautiful Resurrection Day!
Posted in Amazing Grace, Family Matters, Family Roots, God's Gift, God's Love, Grandchildren, Grandmothers, Large Families, Life, Mothers, Mothers and Daughters, New Babies, New Life in Spring!, Nigerian Culture, Precious treasure!, Spring Joy!, Spring!, The Aspects of WOMAN, The importance of names, The Need for Ceremony, The roles of a woman, Women and Creativity, tagged Babies, Family Matters, Spring Joy!, The importance of names, The richness of Nigerian culture on June 6, 2013| 4 Comments »
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words! Here is Grandpa Joe holding our 14th grandchild, Adetokunbo Bridget Josephine Adesokun. Our wee one was 5 hours old when we first met her on 6/4, and she was sleeping off her jet lag while visitors played Pass the Baby. But since yesterday at 24 plus hours old, Adetokunbo Bridget has been eating almost non-stop—or as her mom, our daughter Martina, says: “using me for a pacifier”.
What a treasure! For Joe and me, and undoubtedly all who have met our treasure, it has been love at first sight!
Names are tremendously significant in our son-in-law Sanmi’s Ebira Tribe Nigerian culture. The names are chosen primarily for their meaning, and every person will call a child by which ever of the names he or she prefers. The child grows up knowing that the different names are an important part of her; they signify facets of her personhood. Beautiful!
In a couple of weeks, we’ll share in a Naming Ceremony at our condo community clubhouse where family members and friends will gather to add to the list of our baby’s names, and pray over her. After the ceremony, we’ll gather beside the pool at our daughter Debbie’s home.
Sanmi’s brothers will join us in celebration, from Toronto and Cleveland. How I wish their mom could be with us. She is in Nigeria, and her sons hope to bring her to North America soon. (Bridget, are you reading? WE LOVE YOU!!!)
So now I have added words. But the essence is in the photos: New Life in Spring!!! Precious new life!
Margaret L. Been, ©2013