Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thoughts of Heaven

I've written about heaven before, but I think about it often, and every once in awhile a new idea about heaven comes to mind for me.

Sometimes it's influenced by a book ("Farther up and farther in!" ---Chronicles of Narnia), or an author like Randy Alcorn. Remember what Keith Green said about heaven decades ago? (To paraphrase briefly it had to do with practicing heavenly things here on earth or heaven will be pretty foreign to us.) It stuck with me.

Since the Bible refers to hell more than to heaven we really don't know what to expect. I'm inclined to believe some of the "near-death" experiences I read about. There are just too many to refute, and some sound remarkably like what Scripture describes.

Paul himself did not try to describe his vision.

Indescribable.

I've been thinking about all the experiences we must give an account for in heaven. (Romans 14:12). Perhaps it will have only to do with our declaration of faith in Christ Jesus, but there are suggestions of behavioral issues at stake here as well.

Negative things happen to all of us. Each of us struggles with "the flesh." There seems to always be a downside, or under the surface of our actions the dark side of the war in our minds and thoughts. No one can deny this, as it is the human condition.

So what will heaven be like, with this insidious past battling in our memory?

I wonder if we will see the negative with a lens of positive outcomes. We will see the evil as it worked out the good. We will see only the positive of all the pain. We will be free of the dross of bad, and exist in pure light and love of Christ and all that is in Him.

I try to imagine the beauty of any dark thing transformed into light.

I do wonder about my friends who will linger in my memory who never trusted Christ as Savior.

For that I will have to trust the Lord.

And I will continue to pray for their souls.

Wide is the gate that leads to destruction, and many are on its path. Narrow is the gate that lead to life, and few will find it.

Believe! Joyful memories will abound!

(And Corgis? Well, I think that God's good creation will be made new, as Scripture states, and dear Corgis will enjoy being a part of that promise. Animals don't have spirits, but they certainly have emotions! After all, Corgis have to be one of the most happy and joyful of all God's creatures!)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Corrie's Wisdom

"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."---Corrie Ten Boom

You know, no one better could have said that. "The Hiding Place," by Corrie Ten Boom, continues to be one of my all-time favorite books, heart-breaking though it is. It is such a picture of continued trust, and what it means to overcome difficulty, fear, tragedy, and loss with the power of God.

It's beautiful today, but it has been an interesting week.

Cherie started us out on Monday evening with a visit to the Emergency Room at the hospital to treat a broken collar bone.

Our Scout troop meets at a nice little park during the summer months, and she came along to play on the playground.

A simple swing toward the zip line, a maneuver mastered hundreds (if not thousands) of times, was missed and down she went.

I'm glad I didn't see it happen, as I had to drive her (calmly) to the E.R.. She was breathing, walking, and in pain, but not screaming in agony.

"Look at the poster with the faces on the wall there," said the nurse. "Which one describes how you feel?"

Cherie indicated the one that described the next- to severest pain level. She hurt!

Her arm is in a sling, and she must not jar it for four weeks. It was a clean break.

Boring days ahead for her, but we can trust God for healing, and patience.

I finished a "lazy man's" triathlon this morning. This involved swimming 2.5 miles, walking (or running) 26.2 miles, and biking 112 miles. Six weeks were given to complete the race. Tomorrow is the deadline, and I DID IT! I only had to put in two 20 plus mile- biking days during the race, so that helped.

My muscles are sore, but I really am glad to accomplish something I never thought I could! Doing a race like that takes planning, and a few times over the last week I almost gave up.

Time was the biggest factor. I am a slow mover, so everything took twice the time it would take someone more fit.

I am more fit. How could I not be?!

Now, to keep going in the "stay fit" direction! The biking was much more enjoyable than I had hoped it would be. I feel a new intimacy with the neighborhood. You wouldn't believe the wildlife I've met!.

Snipes do exist. I saw the "Common Bittern" twice on my bike rides.

Ed is playing his accordion at the nursing home monthly birthday party this afternoon. I know they will LOVE it!

Blackberry's ear continues to be a problem.  The surgery helped, but the problem is not solved. It continues to swell. Must figure out the next option.

Misty is getting a little fatter this summer. She isn't exactly a triathlon athlete. I'm going to have to get her out to Grandma's house more so she can run free.

Margaret comes home from camp today, and the older boys prepare for a busy weekend of sailing and softball.

Oh, and the cats? Well, they continue to be civil. Predicate cuffed Kiwi's tail the other day and he did not deign to respond. It was humorous. She's a feisty one.

The gardens are in the lily stage, all oranges and mauves. Tomatoes are ripening, pumpkins flowering (I HOPE they mature!), and apples thickening up. The heat has abated for now.

So another week of goals and activities, life experiences (for Cherie) and accomplishments is over.

On to the future!

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Altered States"

Batman Shooting

This article is fascinating to me, since I spent the last week watching the series of DVD's about the dangers of altered states of mind.

The makers of the DVDs are all former witches, pagans, and eastern thought mystics, so they seem hyper sensitive to the dangers in our spiritual world.

I wouldn't know, but I think they are probably right.

The jist of the series is a warning to Christians about contemplative prayer, practices of the "desert fathers," and other medieval traditions brought forward by new theologians advocating altered states of mind to experience God "more fully."

As the night grows deeper we will see Darkness seeming to take over our world.

The Huffington Post had an article this morning decrying the pastor who dared to suggest that the Christian victims went to Heaven and the others didn't.

Basic Biblical teachings, unacceptable.

Get Ready, friends. Our Hope is Jesus, and His Beauty shines brighter every day, as the Prince and Power of this World grows darker in his desperation. Time must be short!

We all know that these evil things are practically unstoppable, since our world is in the grips of Satan.

Battles lost, but the War is already won. Jesus wins.

Dear Believers, watch and pray! Keep your minds sharp and in tune with the Word of God. Don't be beguiled into the mystical siren of the spirit world through anything but the Word. It is the safe and true path.

Encourage each other!

It's Monday. What does this week hold?


Thursday, July 19, 2012

In Memory

In 1996 I lost a baby during pregnancy. In 2000 it happened again, right about this time of year.

Every once in awhile I think of my 15 and 12 year olds, those two that live in heaven now.

They have names: Sera and Jean.

I wonder how they would fit into our family, if our family would have Cherie or Ed now. I don't know, but I think about these things.

And I feel grief.

When you lose a child, even a child lost during pregnancy, you grieve.

My sister-in-law, who has now also passed, gave words of comfort, as she had also miscarried.

"You make a place," she said, "And the place is empty."

It is a felt loss.

"I know that my Redeemer lives," she said as she was dying.

"I will go to him," said King David, at the loss of his infant.

These are words of cheer and hope that comfort me when the past visits my thoughts.

Our children are eternal, and they are the only things we love we can take with us in to eternity, if they too know Christ as Savior.

This is peace.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Report

All's well here in Corgi Hollows!

I spent all of last evening perusing the thousands of photos from Margaret's trip to Ukraine, while hearing snippets of the highlights.

This morning my two travelers are trying to overcome jet lag and quietly readjust to life back home.

The local news has a top story about Delta flights from Amsterdam having needles in the turkey sandwiches. Yes, my two were on Delta from Amsterdam last evening! No problems for them. Thankful for safe journeys.

Ed and I have yet to get all unpacked and cleaned up from our trip too. The days go by so fast and furious!

I know God has a sense of humor and a delight in juxtaposing. I was a driver up to Voyageurs National Park, and the person who climbed into the front passenger side of my van just happened to have a P.H.D. in pipe organ performance.

Ed was not riding in our vehicle, so I couldn't wait to get them introduced when we arrived at our destination!

They had the whole weekend to "talk shop" on pipe organs! 

What are the chances?

Life resumes here at Corgi Hollows with a semblance of  summer activity. It's busy.

It's good!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Namakan

Namakan means sturgeon, and that is a stodgy name for one of the most beautiful places on this blue and green ball we call Earth.

God made a little bit of perfection here on the border between Canada and Minnesota.

Lots of history: a dam built, a paper/timber industry spawned, Voyageurs created.

The skies of the north do tint the water a most reflective lightness. The rocks and white pine give an edge to the beauty, perfectly complimentary to the expanse.

Clear cold water filled with walleye and bass. Bald eagles swoop in for a visit. Really. Gulls chat on rocks, but their population is limited. (Must be the wolves and bear!)

Sky changes, lush green, changing water, beautiful expanse.

I wish I could describe it.

It's nice that two countries can share such a place.

Such beauty should be shared!

Thank the Lord for His ingenious artistry.

Ed and I had a marvelous time on the Scout trip to Voyageurs National Park.

Tomorrow my dear ones will all be home, Lord willing.

*sigh* 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

High Note

This week culminates with a BANG!

Ed and I are headed to the North. We will be doing another scout outing, and I'm looking forward to seeing the sights on the border.

Mish-mash will occur around here with others coming and going, dogs and cats watching each other!!?? No, they have a sitter for the odd hours, yet it will be turbulent over the next few days.

So excited already for the return of all the travelers.

Absolutely beautiful midsummer evenings, and I've been biking. The rides went well, but what an ACHE since! Maybe a day's rest or so will help me get the kinks worked out.

When you don't ride bike for awhile you forget that the trees breathe rich and fragrant oxygen at you as you pass them. Really.

Sandhill cranes were just south of here this morning. They were nosing around. Huge birds.

Back to packing.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bitterness

I suspect that there is no one who needs to look very far to uncover an incident in his life that brings a sense of bitterness to mind.

It is a deadly stress. (Along with guilt, anger, lust, greed, envy, and fear) 

I was reading about bitterness in several books. They all agree that harboring bitterness affects health, digestion, and the bones. It's ugly.

Why then, do we find it lurking behind a curtain of thoughts? Why wouldn't we purge it from our hearts and minds, never to re-visit the terrible memories?

Why would we knowingly jeopardize our lives with unresolved heartache?

It's one of those things that can only be fought with spiritual grace and power. The human condition, evil, is prone to breed all sorts of bitterness, just as we deal with sin. People without Christ have little spiritual power to fight the bitterness monster within.

They can drown it in addictions. They can wallow in it. They can try to forget----but then it pops up again, the dark grimace fleetingly showing.

Better to deal with it. Better to forgive, to love, to find the source of destruction and give it to God. He may direct you to embarrassing confessions---but what freedom and joy will follow!

Let God work it out of you. Be free of that pain through His might.

Daily choose to forgive. Each new moment of painful memory choose God's power over destructive evil. This is one of those battles that must be fought minute by minute.

And don't let down your guard! When that enemy jumps out at you be ready for it. Choose righteousness.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Retirement

Maybe I've had a taste of retirement the last few days, and I really don't think I'm going to get so much done during that phase of my life as I had thought.

I've been cleaning, sewing, ironing, reading, watching some of Caryl Matrisciana's DVD's, and having fun with friends. (Too much fun!)  I've been picking up sticks in the yard, too, after a powerful storm went through during the night Monday.

Fireworks were great, but they didn't play "What a Wonderful World," or "Funky Town," which we had been accustomed to hearing during the show! (I can't explain it, but hearing those songs once a year in that setting was sort of an Independence Day thing). The fireworks were lovely, and a little mouse ran under our lawn chairs in consternation at the hoards of people invading its territory.

I did take the time to listen to the Pipedreams organ concert (it was online) at the National Cathedral yesterday and it was excellent. I just wish Ed could have seen a duo playing the "Stars and Stripes!" Hope it's recorded, and easy to find.

It's been hot. That's not news to my American readers.

A tornado warning was issued for the region where Ed and Cherie are at camp last night. No news is now good news, and I assume it passed over with out harm. Oh the stories we'll get to hear!

I really can't wait for tomorrow, to fetch them from camp. It just isn't so wonderful when they are away!

Word from the Ukraine is that my children are completely thrilled to be there. I'm thrilled that they get to see a very different country, and have a fantastic life experience!

I signed up for a "Lazy-man's Triathlon" at the YMCA this summer. All I've done so far is walk 2 miles (I need to do 26), swam 1 mile (I need to swim 2.5 miles) and no biking yet (I need to ride 117 miles!!!). There are six weeks to complete it and I am on my third week already.


Hmmmmm. I'd better get in gear.

I'm blaming the heat. And my bike is not exactly in great shape. My wonderfully mechanical husband was going to take a look at it and get it ridable today.

Next week I'll have to show some real discipline.

Perhaps that is what retirement is all about? Practicing discipline! I need to get in practice.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

We'll be a Mystery...

One of the things said by Warren Smith, who was a speaker at the conference last Friday, was that we will be a "mystery" to the world in the last days.

Don't you think you are a mystery to people who seem to espouse beliefs opposite of yours?

Well, that's a good thing!

Today there is an article about Noah's flood in a British newspaper. (Sort of :))  You can read for yourself and decide. Britain's Atlantis.

Here is another article I think is appropriate for our own American situation over the last few days regarding court decisions. Jonah Goldberg.  From what my liberal friends are posting on the net I think there needs to be some sanity and balance injected into the fray.

Being a mystery is okay.  We must be winsome and loving, helpful and serving, compassionate and knowing. Those things may be mysterious to a dark world, but they are also appreciated.

The Mystery is Christ in us. That the Holy Spirit can help us, lead us, and indwell us is the purest mystery.

We, God's creation, can know God!

That is a wonderful mystery.