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Posts Tagged ‘God's Gift of Salvation’

Frog daysDahlia

I don’t want to let go.  Our summer has been so ineffably sweet, I will hang on to it forever. 

Beautiful weather.  No need to run the AC—except that we occasionally put it on for Baby Dylan when we have to leave him for a few hours in the closed-up home.  Okay there were a couple of times when at home, that we broke the humidity by turning on the AC for very short spells, but always with the doors and windows wide open to the out-of-doors.  And due to the ubiquitous AC in most every indoor place, our favorite summer restaurant has become a local pub with outdoor seating. 

Leisurely early morning strolls around our park.  Visits with friends.  Plenty of summer knitting, which always brings woolly recollections of being 8 years old and learning to knit on the porch of our family cottage at Lake Winnebago.  Bookish naps on our shady afternoon patio.  And best of all, mellow days with the three generations which have resulted from our marriage of 61 years!

Too too sweet

More pool

Leo again again again again again

Mia Mia 2

musician

Recently Joe and I had the (probably once in a lifetime) experience of having our portraits painted by a friend, Janet Roberts, who is a professional artist.  We didn’t have to sit it out, as Janet works from photographs.  You can check out our portraits (“Joe in Winter Hat” and “Margaret in Summer Hat”) on Janet’s website.  Just GOOGLE “Janet Roberts, Brookfield Wisconsin Artist” and click on “Gallery” from the home page menu,  Voilà!

Our portraits have inspired a lot of mulling and musing.  With all the wonderful photos I have today—hundreds in albums and hundreds more in my computer files—a painted portrait is something unique.  I reflect on how for centuries paintings and sculptures were the only way a person’s image could be captured and preserved.  I think of the court painters such as Holbein, sent out by Henry VIII so he could visualize a future wife.  (I’d sure hate to have been one of those!)  And commodious stairwells lined with ancestors in great houses down through history.  Photography is an amazingly wonderful art, yet there is something ALIVE about paint in the hands of an accomplished artist such as our friend, Janet.

Mellow days, and a summer to remember.  A summer of quiet contentment and simply joys.  A summer of plenty in a world that grows more crazy, more sin ridden and tragically brutal every single day.  A summer in which I feel compelled to share at every possible opportunity, the one and only LIVING HOPE—that hope which is more real than this keyboard on which I type. 

In the midst of a world where an American journalist is decapitated against the background of an American president deeply engrossed in golfing and fund-raising, Our Lord Jesus Christ will return!  As He came to earth 2000 plus years ago to die for our sin and rise victorious over evil, He will return—to gather His own to Himself, and finally to reign for 1000 years in Jerusalem:  KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Margaret L. Been, September 2014 

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The events of Christ’s death and resurrection are as familiar to those of us who know God’s truth as if they had happened only yesterday rather than nearly 2000 years ago.  These events were prophesied many times in the Old Testament, and fulfilled down to the last detail in the Gospels.

How much closer in time, for those of us alive today, are the events of the Lord Jesus’s 2nd advent when the Lord will return to establish peace and justice on earth as He reigns from Jerusalem! 

We sorrow as storm clouds thicken around the world, and we are tempted to despair.  But these very clouds signal the completion of prophecy.  Beyond the storm clouds, a glorious future awaits—when our Passover Lamb will return to reign as KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS!

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. 

“His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew but He Himself.  And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God. 

“And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 

“And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations; and He shall rule them with a rod of iron; and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 

“And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written:  KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”  Revelation 19″11-16

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“For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.

“And the Gentiles shall see thy (Israel’s) righteousness, and all the kings thy glory;  And thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.

“Thou (Israel) shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of God.”  Isaiah 62:1-3

Margaret L. Been, 2011

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We plan, we shop, we wrap, we bake, we greet our guests wreathed in smiles–and all of this is good, providing we are blessed with boundless energy.  But realistically speaking, how many of us have boundless energy?    

Like everything else on this earth, human energy has bounds.  I write a lot about the joy of hospitality and giving, but please note this:  I’ve learned that all my hospitality and giving must be based on my limits–those human limitations ordained by the Lord who made me to be whom I am! 

Before my energy dwindles to crisis level, before my physical health is compromised, my “hospitality and giving” must be suspended.  I must respect my God-ordained limits.  My ears must be closed to the outside voices–those “shoulds” and “pleas” of “will you, would you, can you?”

In view of accepting human limitations of health and energy, my mouth must also be closed:  I must never think I need to apologize.

Easy to say at my time of life, when less is expected of me than in past years!  Not so easy for mothers with young children; I know because I was there.  Forty years passed between the birth of our 1st child and the day when our 6th child went off to college.  Many times during those 40 years, especially at Christmas, I had to say “No more!”  “Enough!”

Even now, in my 7th decade, reverberations linger and expectations (normally imagined rather than actual) threaten to cloud my view of Christmas.  After all, isn’t it more blessed to give than receive? 

The answer is an unequivocable “NO!”  The greatest blessing of all is to receive what only God can give–the gift of salvation through the blood of Christ.  In shedding His blood on Calvary’s cross, our Lord completed the only finished work ever accomplished on earth:  that perfect work of reconciling sinful man to an all-righteous God.

I plan and shop, wrap and bake, and entertain–but am I really finished?  Will I ever be finished?  Can I ever be a boundless giver?  Can I ever outgive God?  Of course not!  I am needy.  We are all needy, only able to produce in proportion to whatever physical and emotional stamina we’ve been given. 

What a freedom, what a “break through” to realize that–in the eternal scheme of things–I can only receive, with joy and thanksgiving, from the One Who has given ALL!

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved

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