Present Rest

by Mary Beth on August 4, 2020

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“You and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found
to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness.” ~C. S. Lewis

Plowmen Dug

Since my youth oppression

Followed after to confine me.

Yet,

Not prevailing; nor victory gained

Yahweh is faithful to cut me free.

*

Over my back plowmen dug

Making their furrows long.

In its place, the Lord will train

That each endeavor is a song.

*

Those who hate will turn back.

From first to last their efforts defaced

To constrain my life and its effectiveness.

Now I’m in a spacious place.

*

Jehovah will contend, and in shame

 Turn them back!

On those who contend with me,

With death in all their attacks.

*

To this day I proclaim your name

And declare your power.

Do not forsake me when I am old and grey

To the next generation, aflame.

Psalms 129, Psalms 71:17,18, Psalms 18:19, Isaiah 49:25

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As a Plan for the Fullness of Time

by Mary Beth on April 3, 2020

Together seagulls celebrate Lady Lake Michigan, in her deep silence and beauty.

“I have had dreams of absolute delight,

Beyond all waking bliss-only of grass,

Flowers, wind, a peak, a limb of marble white;

They dwell with me like things half come to pass,

True prophecies-when I with thee am right,

If I pray, waking, for such a joy of sight,

Thou with the gold, wilt not refuse the brass.”

~George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul.

During this Lent season, which ushered in the concerning Coronavirus pandemic we acutely face, I am currently experiencing a combination of both spiritual reflections and practical home projects. The photo above of seagulls over Lake Michigan was absolute delight for my soul as I walked the beach early one morning. “A joy of sight…”, rings absolutely true from MacDonald’s poem. Further MacDonald writes about a limb of white marble; however, in our home project the past week we have attempted to clean several counters made of marble stone.

Literally hours and hours of attempting to clean our kitchen marble counter tops after engaging online suggestions for remedies, we had no perceivable progress to remove the many little water spots and food stains from fruit, vinaigrette or wine. To name a few: flour and water or baking soda and hydrogen proxcide wrapped in Saran Wrap overnight, or warm soapy water, or an expensive product, or water and a drop of ammonia. None of these concoctions worked, only cleaned the stains, failed to remove them! Did I mention the hours? Our last resort was the option to use 1% steel wool/1000 sandpaper lightly, finally after more hours the sanding removed most of the stains except a few tough ones. When the sun shines though our kitchen, the one or two stubborn stains hopefully are visible only to us. So, the white marble counters look 90% better, sanded and shining from the nourishing polish.

How stubborn stains and chronic sins of my heart are viewed in the sight of the Lord, but thanks be to God, the blood of Christ covers over me; over all my scarlet sins to be white as snow! No reflection of tough stains that remains, or too difficult to remove. By His mercy, deep and hidden sins will surface to be covered, even deeper removed is our guilt when we draw near to God and reason together with Him. How Isaiah’s prophetic words, “…though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow…” hit afresh to the heart. Oh, sufficient grace is offered to cover over our human condition as disabled patients, tainted in sin, and most often spiritually handicapped. As much grace as a soul needs to perfectly remove ALL the stains; for where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.

Praise the Lord our God, almighty and everlasting Father for His steadfast love to those who fear Him! The blood of Jesus is the best detergent in the world. Applied to our sins, mistakes, and failures, it removes the stains completely to place us free before God and others. May we surrender to His kindness and mercy, and be responsible stewards of such costly bought freedom.

We actually enjoy the home projects during our social distancing and the ongoing TV news updates. Simply to daily enjoy God’s creation in His generous and creative faithfulness, power, wisdom, holiness, and goodness is bliss. I can hardly take it all in. Although I feel personally invited into the Ancient of Days grandeur and majesty, try as I may, I cannot fully grasp it all now! Thankfully it leaves me yearning for more, craving for more grace and beauty, for another country where God, “as a plan for the fullness of time” will in His perfect love unite all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth. Eph.1

Be well and take care!

Mary

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Words and Wisdom

by Mary Beth on October 23, 2019

Fearful events there will be-

Various places men, women and children in agony.

Great signs from heaven given,

Great distress blows in words and wisdom.

*

Conflicts, strife, disharmony revealed,

as Jesus had told.

Stand firm to gain life, enter the fold.

The Kingdom of God is near, believe!

Perplexity with the crashing, tossing sea.

*

In anguish, terror on every side,

Nations rise against nation.

Kingdom against kingdom,

Trepidation of a time bomb.

*

A Kingdom on us He confers.

Among us, as One who suffered to serve.

May our faith neither fail nor fall.

To strengthen our brother, love overall.

*

To keep your life, you lose it,

To lose your life, you preserve it.

Remember the call-forget Him not,

Remember the days of Noah, of Lot.

*

Careful observation cannot eternally save from sin,

A great chasm fixed;

His eternal kingdom is within.

Foreigner give praise and come home free,

God’s steadfast love is merciful and gracious in tender mercy.

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    “And Jesus answered them,
“See that no one leads you astray. 
For many will come in my name, saying,
“I am the Christ, and they will lead many astray. 
And you will hear wars and rumors of wars. 
See that you are not alarmed,
for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom,
and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 
All these are but the beginning of the birth pains,
because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 
But the one who endures to the end will be saved. ”  ~Matthew 24
*

Oh soul, repent and put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ,

for He alone is our salvation and hope!

"Or do you presume upon the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, 
not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 
But because of your hard and impenitent heart 
you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath 
when God's righteous judgement will be revealed.  
He will render to each one according to his works: 
to those who by patience in well doing 
seek for glory and honor and immortality, 
he will give eternal life; 
but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, 
but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 
There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, 
the Jew first and also the Greek, 
but glory and honor and peace for everyone 
who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.  
For God shows no partiality." 

Romans 2:4,5
 

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