Archive for January, 2012

 Thirty-eighth in the series Get close to God

In my younger years I went canoeing quite often, usually on the Fox River in Northern Illinois where I grew up.  These pictures are from one of those trips from the early seventies, the one on the right highlighting my sister, Karen, and my dad.  The Fox usually had just enough current flowing to make it an easy ride downstream.  If you wanted to go upstream you had to work at it, but progress could be made if you stuck with it.

Our faith is like that.  It is not static, it’s dynamic, and is directly proportional to our thoughts, actions, and environment.  If we neglect our faith, our environment will take over and we’ll float downstream, blending in with the world.  If we want to make a difference, however, we need to paddle!

Our faith must be nurtured, just like any living thing, and will thrive or die depending on the care it receives.  Our relationship with Christ is only as close as our efforts to stay connected with him.

We should always be asking ourselves, “Is what I’m doing right now glorifying God or dishonoring him?”  The answer sometimes may be “Neither.”  Maybe I’m just ignoring him which is also a bad choice.  I may not be doing it intentionally, but it’s very easy to get so wrapped up in my thoughts and pursuits that I completely crowd out God.  Many of my thoughts and pursuits are perfectly fine to think and do; I just need to learn how to take the Lord along for the ride and to include him in everything I do.  He’s already with me, so it’s about time I acknowledge that!

We  spend a lot of  time taking care of our bodies and outward appearance with proper nutrition, grooming, and what we wear, but God is more concerned with the condition of the inner man, and that’s the one we’re taking to eternity with us.  If you believe the Bible is the Word of God, like I do, then we need to make it a part of our daily diet and commit as much of it as possible to memory.  “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  (Matthew 4:4)  This is food for the soul!

If you want to be good at anything, it takes:

desire, determination, and discipline.

How desperate are you for God?  How badly do you want to know him, to please him?  How passionate is your worship for him? Our walk with Christ is just that-a walk.  We reap what we sow.  I’m not talking about legalism here.  I think those of us in the “grace” camp are so afraid of  “earning our salvation” that we’ve become lazy and not willing to give up much of our time, talent, or treasure.  I don’t work so God will love me, I work because he loves me.  I know I can’t live the Christian life on my own without his help, but that doesn’t mean I should do just enough or give just enough to get by.  When I work with my heavenly Father I grow closer to him, which returns more joy and satisfaction, even while immersed in difficulties and sadness.  In fact, its more often in the hard times that I see him work most for me and for others.  As the hymn says,

“The things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
(Turn your eyes upon Jesus
, Helen H. Lemmel, 1922)

My sister, Deborah, is enjoying the ride in the photo above!

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Posted: January 7, 2012 in Candle Lights

Children’s stories tell of wonderful and magical things that can happen when someone or something is sprinkled with fairy dust.  What child is not intrigued by the thought of dust bunnies under their bed?  My cousin tells me that a covering of dust can hold furniture together.  But the dictionary definition of dust is anything but magical and intriguing.

Dust can be defined as a fine, dry powder consisting of tiny particles of earth or waste matter lying on the ground or on surfaces or carried by the air.  Nothing intriguing about that until we read in Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”  I am dust!  You are dust!  We are dust that lives!  Dust that was given life by the breath of the Lord God Himself!  The breath of life which allows us to love, to be loved, to laugh, to cry, to dance, to be still, to forgive and to be forgiven.

Just as we wipe the dust off the furniture in our homes with a rag, the shroud of death will brush across the shelf of our lives, and the bones and flesh of our bodies (dust) will return to the earth, but our spirit will return to God (Ecclesiastes 12:7).  But, it does not end there for at an appointed time, we dust dwellers will wake up.  Daniel 12:2 tells us that some will awake to “shame and everlasting contempt” and “some to everlasting life”.  As ransomed dust, we will awaken to everlasting life.  We will “Awake and sing” (Isaiah 26:19), and we will “obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35:10)

Imagine that!  Dust that sings!

Diane Padgett


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2011 in Pictures

Posted: January 1, 2012 in Photo Gallery, Videos

2011 was a pretty cool and busy year for us so I thought I would make a 2 minute slide show of the highlights…