Welcome

cupboardI’m glad you stopped by my blog.  Make yourself at home.  Start meandering by scrolling down…and you can peek into all my cupboards and closets by clicking the side bar.  I know you’ll find some strengthening articles, encouraging resources, fabulous-but-forgotten hymn texts, and perhaps a heartening smile or two.  Most importantly, I hope you’ll be strengthened in your walk with the Lord for the time you spend here with me.  If you do not yet know Him, please click here for a beautiful invitation.  To learn about how He changed my life, click here, and by clicking here you can find out a few more fun and forgettable snippets about me. :)

If I can do anything to be a further blessing to you, in prayer, or by improving my site, please let me know…or just write to say “Hi”!  Please click here for an email form.

Blessings ~Diane

Daily in the Word: Jesus, and “Just As I Am”

“Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

Remember what we said about the Samaritans and the Jews yesterday? See here. Jesus was welcomed by them. The walls of prejudice were broken down. How? Simply this…grace and truth.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

one-size-fits-allHe did not change His message. It was not watered down, or made “politically correct” for a Samaritan audience. The gospel is one-size-fits-all. He dispensed it faithfully, “speaking the truth in love”. (Eph. 4:15)

Is this what we look like when we attempt to share our faith with “those kind” of people…the ones outside our comfort zone? Do we ask good questions which reveal the truth and expose the needy soul? Or do we take a Pharisaical approach, and give folks a shopping list of all the things they are doing wrong…offering the gospel as a way to do them right?

Let’s humbly welcome more sheep into the fold alongside us, instead of creating a new crop of little Pharisees. Show the love of the Savior, who welcomes us just as we are.

You may think you know the words to this “invitation hymn” below…you may have sung them hundreds of times. But read them today thoughtfully. I challenge you to read them out loud, to get the tune out of your head.Think through them. They are so much more than just a way to close a church service.

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot;
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt;
Fightings within, and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind;
Yes, all I need, in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Weekly “I Want God” Post: Band-Aid Friends…and Will You Still Trust Him?

Weekly “I Want God” post. Pages 54-60. I decided to combine this week’s and next week’s readings because I realized that where we had a page break was right in the middle of a story Lisa was relating.

“In a comfort-driven world, people can easily double for Band-Aids.”

Very true. There is the term “co-dependency”…and I’ve noticed that the worst combination of personalities when it comes to Band-Aid people is when you have someone who has a deeply compassionate heart, paired with a person who is comfort-driven and not Spirit-driven. It is very possibly the most damaging tick/dog situation, spiritually speaking. I’ve seen it happen repeatedly. In our compassion, we must make sure we are tempered with discernment.

“An amazing few friends dive into our mess with us, help us sort it out, and make us feel safe in the process.”

These people are those who walk closely with their God. They know when to speak, and when to keep silent; when to lend a shoulder, and when to speak hard words in love. These friends are supremely valuable. if you have one…or a few…count yourself blessed!

“When obedience to God contradicts what I think will give me pleasure, let me ask myself if I love Him.”

Wise words from the lovely Elisabeth Elliot. She has always had a way of cutting to the chase in direct but patient words. Below is a screen shot of an excerpt from “Facing the Giants” that I think perfectly illustrates this.

stillloveYouLord

“God does not ordain human pursuits if they break down the structure of the home, for that would contradict His Word and character, which He cannot do.”

Very good insight when prioritizing activities and demands. I believe there may be an occasion here or there that may take us out of the home when we’d prefer not…but this would never be God’s choice for the long haul, to put anything, however “good” it may seem, above our calling to be home.

“The truth is, we will not change until we get to the point we are sickened by what our comfort has cost us. It’s cost us God.”

I wonder how we’ll view our lives in eternity. It makes me think of this:

I wonder have I done my best for Jesus,
Who died upon the cruel tree?
To think of His great sacrifice at Calvary!
I know my Lord expects the best from me.

How many are the lost that I have lifted?
How many are the chained I’ve helped to free?
I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
When He has done so much for me?

The hours that I have wasted are so many
The hours I’ve spent for Christ so few;
Because of all my lack of love for Jesus,
I wonder if His heart is breaking too.

I wonder have I cared enough for others,
Or have I let them die alone?
I might have helped a wand’rer to the Saviour,
The seed of precious Life I might have sown.

No longer will I stay within the valley
I’ll climb to mountain heights above;
The world is dying now for want of someone
To tell them of the Saviour’s matchless love.

What It Sounds Like When God Pleads

“Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ ”

I don’t hear these words in a sterile, preachy, pulpit voice. I hear them in a pleading, loving, urgent voice. This message, the gospel message, is almost always out of our scope of vision as we trudge through life…until one day when it breaks forth in blazing glory and the truth is glaring, searing, inescapable, as it was when Paul met the Lord on the road to Damascus. And then, our wakening soul exclaims, “Oh! This is for me!”

The Spirit woos us…some over a few short years, while He forbears with others for decades. His message is “Please…please…you MUST be born again…there is no other escape, no other answer, nothing else to finally comfort the hunger that is gnawing at your heart. You don’t understand that you are lost…but trust me when I say you are desperately so. This is your only rescue! Please…you MUST do this if you are to escape the wrath to come. Please, dear one…come buy it “without money”…Please…accept this “free gift”…Please…it is offered to “whosoever will”…Please won’t you be “accepted in the beloved”? Please…won’t you enter into that rest you so deeply crave?”

Do you hear it now?

Hear the voice of Jesus pleading,
With His Father interceding;
Can you still His love unheeding,
Turn from Him who died for you?

O believe Him, O believe Him,
In your heart with joy receive Him;
Oh, how can you slight and grieve Him,
When He gave His life for you?

Come to Jesus, humbly kneeling;
May His voice like music stealing,
Touch within some buried feeling,
While again it pleads for you.

Oh, ye weary, faint and dying,
Who for rest are vainly sighing,
Linger not, the hours are flying;
Look to Him who died for you.

Hear the blessèd proclamation,
Precious words of consolation
Pardon, life and full salvation
Jesus offers now to you. ~Fanny Crosby

PhotoSnack for Your Special Events!

Erin Smile_2

Our beautiful graduate!

I’m a very busy mom this month. Numerous special events coming up at church, out of town visitors coming, our daughter’s graduation to plan, VBS to organize…the list goes on. I want to tell you about my journey to the land of Slide Show Happiness!

I wanted to put together a little slide show for our daughter’s graduation party. I started gathering photos…hunting through Facebook albums, scouring various folders on my computer, editing, formatting, downloading. All very time consuming things. Then came the equally time consuming quest to find a tool to help me put together this slide show…I’d never done one before. **Cue the ominous music.**

I experimented with downloading programs (and then uninstalling them) in what seemed like an endless, disappointing cycle. Why couldn’t I find a tool that was reasonable, had the features I wanted, and didn’t require a manual and an associate’s degree to get it to work?

After the last attempt, I decided to search one more option, called PhotoSnack. I’d never heard of it before, but I liked it immediately. All I had to do was plug in my email address, and I was ready to play with all the tools and options.

I selected a title and description for my project. I found it was super easy to download photos, either by clicking the “Browse” button, or dragging and dropping.

snack2I just had to click and drag photos to rearrange. On the Customize screen, I chose what type of template I wanted…how I wanted the presentation to look when moving from one image to the next. I chose “Simple Fade.”

snack3Next, I selected a color as background (nice patterns and textures are also available). I could include my own background music or choose from those offered on the site. All of this is tweakable, to get it just right.

snack4The free version of the tool allows you to make a presentation with 15 photos, and you can share your final product on Facebook and Twitter.

Here are the packages they offer:

snack1You can check out examples here.  You can “Like” their Facebook page here for special discounts and contests!

In addition to the slide show tool, look at this extensive list of other “Snack Apps” which are available! This is literally your “one stop shop” for online, easy to use apps, for sure!

snackappsI don’t have a lot of time to play with all these wonderful options at present, but I did go explore snackwebsites and “pretend” I was setting up a blog. It was very intuitive, with immediate response time, and I had this set up in less than ten minutes:

snackblogPretty neat! You really need to go explore this site!

My graduation slide presentation was very easy to put together, and it has a nice, personal feel to it. Inside of an hour, I had everything customized the way I wanted it. I showed it to our daughter, and she just sat there, hugging the laptop, grinning from ear to ear. It was an effortless gift of time and thoughtful organization to me…to her, it was a loving journey of her life, capturing precious memories that can be shared with all the special people at her celebration.

Thank you, PhotoSnack!

Weekly “I Want God” post: God and Martha Stewart

We’re reading pages 51-54 today.

Several phrases caught my eye, and grabbed my heart:

“In a moment that looks like Jesus…”

Oh, how I want to have more and more of these! May I be forgotten…may people see Him!

May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.

“…things will never be enough…”

Lisa uses the term “hedonism” in today’s brief reading. Here is the definition:

the ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.

We have a hedonistic society…pay attention to commercials and ads. They speak of all things comfy and convenient, instantly available, plush and luxurious. Self indulgence is encouraged…even admonished as a way of life. After all, we are “worth it”.

paint swatchWomen tend to be security-oriented beings, and I think we need to exercise an extra measure of caution because of this. Many of us like to be “nesters” who like things just so. Here is a post I put down way back in 2009, when I got a complimentary copy of Martha Stewart’s magazine. Would you concur?

“…the fuzzy dice we hang from the rear view mirror of our car…”

And when we look back on our lives, will it be only those “cheap replacements for God” that we see? The possessions that broke or rusted or got lost? The relationships that were too fragile to stand the test of time and trial? The hopes and dreams that were dashed because we never laid them out before Him? The investments of time and money that went sour?

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,Only what’s done for Christ will last.” C. T. Studd

“Comfort is better than You.”

Was there sort of an inward gasp in your spirit when you read that statement? We lie to ourselves all the time in our self talk. If we were this frank in expressing the true motivations in our hearts, if we saw ourselves as He does, perhaps we’d see the glimmer of personal revival on the horizon of our hearts.

It might be a good idea to ask for this today.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:23,24