My Daddy: His Voyage Has Ended

I rarely post anything this personal, but, the death of a parent is something most of us will face. I’m hoping this will comfort you, as it has me.

My father died in December. I’m still in disbelief about his death. He was never sick and always full of life. He was 85 and could still jump up out of his LazyBoy like he was 16. Just a few weeks before, my husband and I had been commenting to each other about how healthy he looked.

Mama is the one with health issues. Her back has troubled her for years and she constantly suffers with sinus infections. The neuropathy in her feet has gotten worse. She moves slowly. Daddy always waits for her and gets the door to help her inside. So when he was diagnosed with cancer we were stunned. Two months later, we still are.

He was diagnosed 2 weeks before Thanksgiving and died 2 weeks after. There’s a lot to be thankful in that, and we are. Still, I miss him.

I have often thought of the day when I would see my grandparents again. And when Daddy became sick,  I thought how precious it would be for him to see them again,  along with his older brother who died at the age of 9 and his baby sister, who was stillborn. Not to mention his grandparents and great grandparents..all of whom were strong Christians.  They left this world, trusting in Jesus and knowing there were better days ahead, when there’d be no more sorrow. 

There’s no doubt that my daddy wouldn’t have come back to us if he could have. Still, I miss him.

This past week my husband, who loves to read to me, read me this passage from the book “The Best of  T. De Witt Talmage.” He knew it would comforted me. And it did. I have thought about it ever since. 

Mr. Talmage was a great preacher from the 1800’s. This is an excerpt from one of his sermons.  If you’ve lost a loved one, maybe this will comfort you as well. I hope so.

An old writer tells us of a ship coming from India to France. The crew was made up of French sailors who had been long from home; years gone away from their families;  and as the ship came along by the coast of France the men became uncontrollable, and they skipped the deck with glee. and they pointed to the spires of the churches where they had once worshiped and to the hills where they had played in boyhood. But,  the writers says,  that when the ship came into the port, and these sailors saw the father and mother and wife and loved ones on the wharf,  and heard the loved ones call them by their names, they sprang ashore and rushed up the banks into the city and the captain had to get another crew to bring the ship to her moorings.

Thus, heaven, our fatherland,  will after awhile be so fully in sight, we can see its towers and we can see its mansions, and we can see its hills; and as we go into port and our loved ones shall call from that shining shore and speak our names, we will spring to the beach, leaving this old ship of a world to be managed by another crew, our rough voyage of the seas ended forever.

Still, I miss him.

After he died, I posted the above picture of us on Facebook with this caption: One of the last things Daddy asked me was ” Are you leaving?” I said “Daddy, I’m not leaving you….Don’t you leave me.” but just like the photo, he did. 

I’ve always loved that picture of us…never realizing the significance of it until he died. And that’s how I feel, still, to this day. Lost. But comforted at the same time. Because of this blessed hope we have a Christians…that we don’t have to say goodbye to our loved ones forever…just for a little while.

So, Jesus. please take care of my daddy until I can see him again. And tell him, I miss him, still.

How to Please God Every Single Day

how-to-please-god

Did you know there is a simple explanation as to how to please God every day of our life? Seriously.

I read a meme on Facebook yesterday that said something to the effect that if God was good enough to wake me up this morning and let me live another day,  then I would repay Him by being better today, than I was yesterday. 

I’m sure you’ve seen it or something similar. And isn’t that what we all strive to do or at least know we should? The question in all of this is, how can we please God? How do we be a better person today?

Did you know when John baptized Jesus and God spoke from the Heavens “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased” …all Jesus had ever done was to work in his father’s carpenter shop?

He had done no miracles. He had not healed the sick. He certainly had not raised the dead. He just did his job. Wow. He just did his job. That’s something all of us can do. Our job.

Jesus did his best, everyday, with whatever task was set before him. He didn’t try to just get by on the job. He gave it his best.

Apparently, that’s what pleases God Almighty. Our best, everyday. So if you’re wondering what can I possibly do to please God? Take a look around……and ask: what has God placed in my life for me to do today? And whatever it is, (for me this week it was cleaning out closets and cooking for my family.) Next week it will be something else. But the point is that whatever God gives us to do, everyday,  brings Glory to our Heavenly Father and pleases Him. 

“Do all to the glory of God” was lived out in the life of the person who chiseled this flower. What an awesome reflection of his testimony. Without saying a word,  he left us an inspiring message of his faith. Faith that his life counted for something. His work ethic shows he understood he was placed here for a purpose and had a duty to do his best…first to God, then to others and also to himself.

cathedral-corner

Someone, an unknown man~ lost to history, painstakingly chiseled beautiful flowers on a cathedral,  even though it would remain unseen by the naked eye for centuries. Forever,  for all he knew!

When asked why go to that much trouble carving something no one would ever see,  the craftsmen building the great cathedrals in Europe would say…

“God sees.”

I love this story. It always inspires me to do my best, even when no one is looking. Even if I get no credit for what I do. God knows when I do my best. And He knows when I am just getting by.

It’s called a work ethic. It’s something we instill in our children by our own example, everyday.

That should be our motto and work ethic every single day. Not that anyone else knows, but that God knows and like Jesus said. “Your Father,  who sees what is done in secret,  will reward you.” 

What else had Jesus done? He studied God’s word. He obeyed his parents. He was respectful of God’s requirements. All of which is doable and pleasing to God.

So, what will you be doing this week to please God? I’m going to start on another closet.

 

Pictures of Jesus in Genesis Page 5

pictures of Jesus ad

Last week I re-posted a long ago post from 2013 Pictures of Jesus in Genesis Page 4,  because it was my nephew’s wedding day and my post was about a wedding….I decided to go ahead and take the next few weeks to re-post the whole series…since, after all,  it is my favorite…I hope you are as amazed at God’s detailed plan for our salvation as I always am……bless you.

So far we’ve covered 4 pictures of Jesus in our album!

The first week…one of my favorites…we saw how Jesus was there in the beginning when God created the earth. Skeptical? I don’t mind…read this: Here

Week 2 we read about God’s creation and the first thing he did was to create Light. And we know Jesus said HE is the light of the  world…so we have another glimpse of Jesus right at the beginning of creation. Read this and I’ll fill you in: Here

The next week was the first wedding and how Adams relationship with Eve is a portrait of Christ and the church. The most beautiful wedding photos ever:  Here

And last week, we saw the picture of Eve’s being deceived and her husband lowering himself to her level, in order to save her. Here

Brilliant pictures for us…but maybe not so brilliant for those who had no New Testament to compare them with. Still, they’re there. And as we unfold the dusty pages of our album today, we will see what God did as a result of their sin.

As soon as Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened, they knew they were naked and covered themselves with fig leaves. God had said, In the day you eat of the tree you will surely die.”

Before the day ended, in the cool of the evening, God came to visit them.

What do we know about Eden? We know it was perfect, it was lush, it was a place of complete relaxation, no worries, nothing to fear… a place to live…and it belonged to Adam and Eve. Paradise. That’s the word for it. Their every day was Paradise.

Erawan Waterfall, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

But an intruder came into their perfect life and they both fell into sin. Well, they didn’t fall into anything…they chose to believe a lie. And because of them,  death entered the world.

 

This is a picture of all of us. Banished.

Mariotto Albertinelli: Expulsion of Adam and Eve from paradise

Mariotto Albertinelli: Expulsion of Adam and Eve from paradise

We have choices and we make the wrong ones. We are selfish and demand our own way…and God lets us have it…but out of His eternal love for us, He provides a way for us, to once again return to Him. The first picture we have of God’s eternal plan for the salvation of man is seen right here, in the Garden, with Adam and Eve, on the very day they sinned.

On day one, God showed mankind what they would have to do to approach Him.

 He made garments out of skins and clothed them.    

That’s what it says.

A library full of books could be written on that one line.

Adam and Eve lived in a picture perfect world. They had never seen so much as a leaf fall to the ground and die. But on this day, God made the first sacrifice for sin…a foretelling of an event that was to come. Something had to die in order for their ‘sin’ to be ‘covered.’

Adam and Eve had never seen death. The had never seen anything to compared to this. At once, they understood the gravity of what they had done. Something gave its life so they could live. And this should resonate in the heart of all believers:

                             God himself provided the sacrifice. He ‘covered’ their sin.

It was a picture. As time went on the picture became more and more clear…but it still wasn’t perfectly clear,  even after the death of Jesus. The disciples who walked and talked with him daily,  still had no clue how all of this related to their Messiah. They were confused. After Jesus died they were in utter dismay.  Expecting a King to free them from the tyranny of Rome…they didn’t understand that the Messiah had to die.

But the scripture tells us…after the resurrection Jesus met them on the road to Emmaus  and Jesus beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them all the scriptures concerning himself.” Luke 24:27 Jesus began with the very scriptures WE are studying and explained how they were all pictures of Him!

There are two pictures in the Old testament of the coming Messiah. One a conquering King…the other, mostly overlooked…a suffering servant ( Isaiah 53). Jesus came as the servant to suffer and die for the sin of the whole world. And He rose from the dead.

My husband asked me: “Do you know why Jesus rose from the dead?”  Ok, I’ll play along… “No, why?”  “Because the wages of sin is death and Jesus never sinned, so death couldn’t hold him”……wow….. just wow.

God Gives Adam a Glimpse of His Plan

God pronounced the curse on mankind for their disobedience. But before He pronounced the curse…He gave them hope. He gave us another significant picture of something to come in the future…speaking to satan, God said:

” I will put enmity between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will bruise his heel.”

It is significant that God spoke of satan’s seed…..and Eve’s seed. The first indication of a virgin birth. All other places in the Bible,  offspring, are referred to as the seed of man. But THIS particular seed will be the seed of Woman. Eve’s seed, the seed of woman,  will redeem the world of sin. And then God pronounced the curse and they were banished from the garden.

I heard a well known preacher say he didn’t think Adam and Eve were saved. Well, I respectfully disagree. I’ll tell you why next week.

Pictures of Jesus in Genesis Page 4

really old book isolated on white background.

My nephew is getting married later today.  It’s Saturday morning and I stumbled upon this old post I had written three years ago, to the day….about another beautiful wedding……I took it as a sign that I should share it again…This post is part of a series about pictures of Jesus in Genesis, one of my favorite topics.  I hope you enjoy and have a blessed Sunday.

Did you know that Adam laid down his life for his wife?  Sound familiar? Of course it does. We know that Jesus laid down his life for our sin.  And we’re looking for pictures of Jesus in Genesis… [Read more…]

New Creation aka Poppy Lamp

I posted this 3 years ago but thought it worthy of sharing again…..  There’s a powerful lesson here and I needed to read it again…Maybe you do, too.

I hope you have a blessed Sunday!

Behold I make all things new. That is an amazing truth in the Bible. The truth that when a person accepts Jesus Christ as his/her personal savior…all the things we ever did in the past are completely forgiven. And we become a new creation.

The old is passed away and we are a new, totally forgiven person. While some of us….all of us….continue to make mistakes and sin against ourselves, others and God, it’s comforting to know that along with our salvation comes the right to approach God for forgiveness.

I was confronted last week with the realization that I had been less than forgiving of someone I ran into from my past. I hadn’t seen this man for years but I knew back then that he had been horrible to his wife. Abusive. Horribly abusive.   He had done things, that in my opinion,  were absolutley unforgivable and inexcusable!

And when I saw him,  I was visiting a church and he was leading the singing!   Honestly, I just couldn’t believe he had the nerve to even accept such an honorable position! IN A CHURCH no less!  This came to my mind several times over the past few months and I continued to be apalled.

And last week it suddenly hit me. I’ve done things that were wrong. I knew better and yet in moments of weakness gave in to sin. Things I’m ashamed of. And I have asked the Lord to forgive me of my transgressions and I know He has.

And yet, people who know of my sin may not know that I have repented of them and been forgiven. They may even look at me and think who does she think she is?  Just as I was doing this man! Oh my goodness.

That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks. The truth is, that man has obviously repented and here a I am judging him. I’m not privy to his heart nor his most personal life. Just as others are not privy to mine.

The revelation I recieved from all of this is that, we are not to judge others. I know I am stating the obvious, but how easy it is to see someone and think back to what they were back then….when we don’t know what the Lord has brought them through and to.

In fact, to be Christians we are to extend MERCY to others because we ourselves are in such dire need of it.  So, I repented. I asked the Lord to forgive my arrogance and pride.

I understand the apostle Paul’s heartfelt cry when he said he was the chiefest of all sinners! I can so relate. I know I’m in need of his mercy and therfore I must extend it to everyone, even to those whose hearts I know not.

Oh, but this post is about a lamp…my little new creation…. It in no way compares to God’s gift to us when we are saved. But in some small way it shows how we have so much potential to be so much more than the people who ‘knew us before’ could ever have imagined.

I hope you get my drift….

This is the lamp I found in an old thrift shop. It’s seen better days and its owners obviously thought it had nothing left of value and it was discarded.

Isn’t that how we are before God steps in and says “I see potential in you.”

lamp before - Copy (2)

I took my daughter with me to see the lamp I had found. I thought it would look great in her den.  She had a hard time seeing any virtue in the old thing.

I said, “You’re just going to have to trust me.”

jennys lamp before - Copy

I primed it, covered all the blemished and made it whiter than snow…..ummm ~ what an interesting concept.

lamp base primed

Her den is green with red sofa and so I decided to paint the back ground green and somehow create poppies in some of the indentions….

Isn’t that the way we are? We can’t see anything but our shortcomings and can’t see past them to what we could be.

If we could just figure out a way to release our potential to someone who could do something with us……hummm… you do see the poppies ~ don’t you?

lamp base painted green

lamp base flowers - Copy (2)

I thought of the lines in Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts’ character “Vivian” gives her friend “Kit” some money because “You’ve got potential” and then later that same friend gives some of the money to her friend because “you got potential.”

That’s what God says about each and everyone of us. He takes us as we are or as we have made ourselves….a plu-perfect mess and feeling worthless and God says “You’ve got potential.”

And even tho we may not want to believe it or we can’t see it, there’s someone who sees the potential in us….after all…This is the Creator who made the world out of nothing…surely he can make something out of you and me.

God says “Trust me, you’ve got potential.”

jennifers lamp

I bought a new shade and  painted a new finial to match.  My husband put a new switch on and rewired it….

My daughter claims she had faith in me all along…. 🙂

Who knew life lessons could be learned from something as mundane as a lamp make-over.?

My lesson for this week….I will look beyond what I can see and find the potential in others…and I will extend mercy to all.  Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy!

So dear reader,  remember that Someone far greater than me has already made it loud and clear He thinks you are more than worth it….In His eyes You have GREAT POTENTIAL! He who makes all things new can make something awesome out of you….just Trust Him.

jennifers poppy lamp makeover

I pray your day and the coming week is blessed and that the Lord himself will show you just how much potential He sees in you….warts and all.

Vintage Lamp Makeover

JRenee signature

 

Palm Sunday

Re-posted from 2014…..

The Triumphal Entry…. Jesus knows what’s coming. He knows how fickle and easily led people are. He knows it’s easier to follow the crowd, than to do what is right. He knows we mean well, but our flesh is weak. He knows not to trust the praises of men. He knows, by the end of the week, these same people will be calling for his death. He knows all of this and loves us anyway.

Jesus on Palm Sunday

What kind of God is this?

It’s a God who had this week planned from before the beginning of time.  Did you know there was a time before Genesis 1:1? My husband recently shared this with me… Of course, I knew these scriptures by heart but I hadn’t thought of the ‘time’ they were referring to.

Jesus knew from before the beginning of time that God would send him to die for the sin of mankind. Did you hear that? Before the beginning of time….in other words…before time as we know time began, God had a plan to save us.

The Word became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

This is saying before time as we know it began “the word” was there.  Jesus is the word. He was there with God before the world was created. And even then,

before we were created, 

before Adam sinned,  

God’s plan for our salvation was in place. 

Just like Jesus knew not to put too much stock in all the praises he would receive on Palm Sunday…. God knew, before time began we would need a way to be redeemed back to Him.

For three years,  the religious leaders had tried to kill him, but on this day,  Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, riding of his own free will, to His death.

This is the most awesome event in the history of the whole world.  Nothing is more important. This week trumps everything else in life. 

So please take time with me to remember.

Triumphal Entry

28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Luke 19:28-38 NIV

See you tomorrow….

“Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.”

 

God is Blessing You

 

Watzmann at sunset with church, Bavaria, Berchtesgaden, Germany Alps

Watzmann at sunset with church, Bavaria, Berchtesgaden, Germany Alps

I hope everyone is enjoying a beautiful Sunday…. May you wrap yourself in the warmth and knowledge that God is blessing you this day!

 

Counting Our Blessings 2015

This morning my husband and I went out to watch the first sunrise of the New Year. It’s a little tradition we have.  We’ve watched the New Year’s sunrise, every New Year’s morning for over a decade.  But this year, the sky was shrouded in clouds.

Faith 2016

We couldn’t see the sun coming up.  I was disappointed, but I knew, in this orderly universe God created, that even though I couldn’t see it rising in the East, I knew that behind those clouds was the sun, shining as brightly as ever.

As I watched the horizon for any trace of sunshine, I was reminded of things I’d prayed and hoped for this past year.  As I thought back over the events of 2015,  I could see that God was moving in our lives …(you know hindsight is 20/20)….even tho at the time I couldn’t see.   Somewhere, behind the clouds of my life,  the God I serve was moving.

I wrote most of this post sitting in the car “watching the sunrise.” (that I couldn’t see)   And on the way home, I handed what I had written to my husband to read….then we started counting our blessings of 2015. The list went on and on….for us, for our children, for our extended family, our jobs, our home,  for our friends.  We were amazed at our list. Wow.

Of course the year had its share of difficulties. Growth doesn’t take place on the mountain top….it’s in the valleys that growth takes place. Although trials are no fun… looking back we could see that by placing our faith in Him, we made it through. That increases our faith.

I’m glad the sun wasn’t shining for us to see this morning…it made me start the new year off by looking back and seeing what God did for us last year. I was encouraged to realize that God was faithful in the big things,  as well as the little things. In the good times and the difficult times.

Were all my prayers answered? No, not at all… But seeing what God has done in the past, increases my faith for the future…that He will continue to work,  as He has promised.  It’s good to know we can be confident in the new year, that whether we see it or not, God is actively involved in things that pertain to us. He has promised that  

“He will accomplish everything He is set forth to do in our lives”. Isaiah 55:11

So for us, looking back and seeing God’s hand in our lives strengthens our faith. And that’s a very good….because…. the more our faith grows,  the more we please Him. 

“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6

So dear reader, I pray you know God is blessing you this year, even when you can’t see it…

I pray you know it’s Him.

Every Good and Perfect gift is from above. James 1:17

And I wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year!

 

In the Midst of a Blessed Life

Olive Trees

 The past 2 months have flown by and I know it seems as if I have forgotten I even have a blog….but, I haven’t. I’ve just been crazy-busy birthing babies, celebrating birthdays,  hosting a wedding in my backyard and getting things in order for these events. Unfortunately, my time was spent and my blogging suffered.

It began with my 8 year old granddaughter wanting the watermelon cake. Then the birth of my 10th grandchild. A girl, Olivia….precious moments.

Then last weekend our niece was married in our backyard…..another precious moment.

And there have been several birthdays… including the watermelon cake birthday and my son turning 40. Big sister Kate’s birthday was a week before her baby sister was born and her mother’s was the week after.  I paint the new mom a chalkboard with a Julia Child quote… Oh, and in the middle somewhere…we celebrated my birthday, too.

So, here are pictures to prove I’m still here,  relishing in the midst of a blessed life.  I’ll post in details soon.

watermelon cake slicing

This little cake was a hit with the kids at the party.

Then Olivia Marie arrived….

 olivias inspection

Big brother Joe and big Sister Kate inspect their new baby sister. Kate was really anxious to make sure Olivia had all her parts: eyes, ears, nose…only issue she discovered was ~ she has no teeth.

olivias inspection2

 

Six more birthdays were celebrated before I found myself  in the middle of wedding preparations. Several major problems had to be overcome,  but we made it though and the family backyard wedding was sweet.

What I loved about this is my granddaughters now say they want to have their weddings in my backyard, too….Thank goodness they are only 7 and 8 yrs old! I have plenty of time to get ready.

backyard my

jacquelyns give away jacquelyn prays

jacquelyn couple

 

 

Saturday, my sister and parents came for lunch and to meet little Olivia for the first time.

olivia marie baby

5 weeks old

And before the children left to Trick or Treat,  I had fed 20 people:                                                                           My children, grandchildren, parents and sister.

Life is busier than ever.  (Why is it, the older I get the busier I get?) But, I do remember I have a blog…. please bear with me….I’m still here….Taking notes and making pictures and enjoying every minute of this Blessed life.   Almost.  Almost every minute.

But that’s another post.

Jesus in Genesis Pg 3 The Bride of Jesus

Bride and groom entering the church (concept for marriage made ??by God to unite a man and a woman in a single body)

Today we turn the page in our dusty old album and find wedding photos.   The day of the first wedding, ever.  Marriage is important to God because reflects a picture of God’s character to the world. Or at least it should!  [Read more…]