A few weekends ago, the Lord gave Jessica and me the incredible (and delightful) opportunity to participate with viola and violin in the accompanying orchestra for the Calvary Quartet 20th Anniversary concerts. Under the skilled direction of Dr. Tim Fisher, our humble and hilarious conductor, and surrounded by the hospitable kindness of the Academy of Arts staff (the concerts were held in the Logos Theatre at the Academy’s campus), we thoroughly enjoyed and greatly benefitted from these events. We pray they brought much glory to our Savior and were an encouragement to the hundreds of people that attended over the course of the two evenings.
How grateful we are to have had this experience, as well as for our dear family’s support through the process.
Also, special thanks is due to the Kendall family, who graciously hosted our entire Team for two weekends – plus an extra day for us older ones – so that we could attend the rehearsals and then have a “home base” for the concert days.
A special ladies afternoon on the front porch in the lovely fall weather (complete with cappuccino, zinnias, sweet fellowship, and tons of laughter):
“O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.” Psalm 117
What a joy it was to have the Barnes and Dalrymple ladies here for a couple of days a few weeks ago! We laughingly called our time together the “ladies retreat”… because Dad and the boys went hunting — leaving us home “alone” — and we did what ladies normally do when they get together. We talked, and laughed, and fellowshipped, and had a tea party, and talked, and played games, and took a walk, and talked, and stayed up late, and laughed, and talked…
The fellowship was sweet, and truly refreshing; so precious is the bond we share in Christ. May we never take this for granted.
A few photos:
“Hats” versus “Non-hats” in “Four On a Couch”
Playing “General” in the lovely cool weather
Thank you, ladies, for coming up for this delightful time together. We love you all and look forward to the next time we can do this again!
The Lord will provide. Oh, blessed consolation, precious thought for contemplation. The Lord will provide that which is necessary for my well-fare – and not only this. He will do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think. He will fill my every need beyond my wildest dreams, imaginations, hopes, desires. And it is a part of His character to do so. To give to His children good and perfect gifts from above. Gifts that are given by the Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. This same Father, the God of heaven and earth, is Jehovah Jireh: Provider of everything I could ever need.
To be sure, He does not always see fit to meet the need as soon as it arises. Nor does He always choose to use the means we may have in mind. His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways. He is far higher than we. He is our God. My God. Jehovah Jireh.
“The Lord will provide.” And that, dear reader, is enough.
“Ascribe ye strength unto God; his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds.” Psalm 68:34
When I had awoke last Sunday morning, the sun was out and the day looked beautiful – the sky was bright blue dotted with sporadic puffy, white clouds. Time spent with the Lord was a true joy, as He encouraged my heart with new insights from Psalm 68. The first portion of verse 34 especially stood out to me: Ascribe ye strength unto God. To ascribe is to “attribute something to,” or “to regard a quality as belonging to” someone or something. Here we are told to ascribe strength unto our God… doesn’t that have something to do with our expectations of His abilities and our confidence in His character? In a message given by our pastor several weeks ago, he challenged us to have great expectations of what the Lord can accomplish in our lives. “In Heaven, you will give an account for the level of faith you had in your Father. What are you expecting – are your sights set on wondrous, glorious works of the Lord, thirsting to see His power and glory revealed in your life, your family, your community? To what extent is your faith in the God of the impossible?” Psalm 68:34 reminded me of this message, and caused me to ask myself again what I am expecting my all-mighty Father to do in the next year, the next month, the next week. He is looking to show Himself strong. How faithfully am I seeking Him, depending upon Him?
Anyway, back to the rest of the story. The day started out bright and beautiful. Time with the Lord was sweet and uplifting. We went to church. When we drove home following the service at church, however, the sun had disappeared. As the afternoon wore on, the day became dark, dull, and overcast. Still, it wasn’t raining, so after dinner and a nap, we decided to go ahead and take our customary quiet, family walk and set out to do so.
Before I move on to the rest of the story, though, I have to tell you that I am a sunshiny-day kind of a person. The cloudy, dreary, rainy ones have, beauties and blessings of their own, I know, and I really am grateful to the Lord for them (after all, if there was not rain, the lush, green loveliness of summer would not exist)… it is just that is is usually somewhat easier for me to rejoice on days when the sun is shining. (Maybe I am alone in this view, and being a sunshine-lover is just one of my personal idiosyncrasies… I have a sweet friend who forever amazes me by her sincere exclamations that she just LOVES rainy days!)
At any rate, this afternoon – though I don’t think my family guessed it – to be completely open and honest, I was feeling rather discouraged and almost grumpy (a gradually-increasing headache and a distinctly sore mouth from my recent wisdom-tooth extraction were two factors that shouldn’t have changed anything about the scenario, but sadly, did). I had my pocket-sized Bible with me and, as we walked, spent some time meditating on Psalm 68:34 again. In His rich mercy, the Lord showed me the latter portion of the verse from a completely new and very timely perspective. …His strength is in the clouds. Looking up, all I could see was clouds. Dark clouds. His strength is in the clouds. Clouds, because of their natural connection with storms, are many times associated with the trials and difficult times of life. I thought of that, and then it hit me. It is often out of the depressing, seemingly impossible situations with which we are faced that our Father comes and reveals His strength, His ability to provide, His goodness, His love, His faithfulness, His mercy. We do not have to fear or dread the “dark days” – days of trial – because He is looking to show Himself powerful even in the shadows. What joy these thoughts brought to my heart!
So, this week, whatever you are facing, may you be encouraged by these brief insights as much as I have been. You may be walking through days of sunshine; what blessings or powerful demonstrations of your Father’s goodness are you missing because you have not asked Him? You may be walking through days of darkness; remember that it is His strength, power, and love that are overshadowing you, and rest in His plan.
Special thanks to Susanna, my sweet budding-photographer sister, for the use of her beautiful photos!
A visit from a portion of the Dunn family was an added highlight to our summer!
If you have never met this dear family before, we must tell you a little about them.
Joyful. Enthusiastic. Continually attentive to the needs of others. Thoughtful. Kind. Servant-hearted… far above and beyond the call of duty. Bubbly. Energetic! Christ-focused. Loving.
In one simple sentence, they are radiant with the light of our Savior… and thus, He uses them to impact and encourage many.
It was a tremendous blessing to have them in our home… they were truly a delight to host… and we can’t wait for the next time!
A fun little project for dessert one evening… Dirt Dessert!
The Lord has given us a beautiful summer. How quickly has it flown by! The days have been full of projects, birthdays, trips, music, beginning the new school year, sweet visits with company, late nights of work at the office, continued entrepreneurial endeavors, abundant blueberry production, and much more.
Perhaps more than ever before, the Lord has been reminding me of the necessity of making the most of every moment, of treasuring the people and circumstances He has put into my life in this season, of being productive and fruitful, using the here and now to prepare for the future.
I am reminded of the beautiful prayer in Psalm 90:
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom… O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days… Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.
Now is the season for seeking the Lord. For taking Him at His Word and expecting Him to perform wondrous works in our lives. For trusting Him to fulfill His promises. For pressing on with joy, even when the way seems difficult and discouraging. For waking up each morning with a confident trust in His goodness. For enjoying sweet moments together as a family.
Now is the time…
So teach us, oh LORD, to number our days.
What a joy it was to spend some time getting to know the Vaughn family recently! After “officially” meeting Dr. Vaughn and his sweet team at a harp recital this past spring, a broken arm caused us to contact him again for medical advice. So, following our appointment at his office two weekends ago, we accepted their gracious invitation to join them at their lake house for a couple days. The time together talking about things of the Lord, laughing, enjoying delicious meals, and, of course, spending time on and in the water… was truly delightful. We came home physically and spiritually rejuvenated.
With water-play being the main activity, we didn’t come home with multitudinous files of pictures, but here are a few for your enjoyment.
Thank you, Vaughn family, for allowing the love and light of Christ to flow freely through you. We look forward to future times of fellowship together.
Until then, may the rich blessings of the Lord rest upon you, strengthening your hands to labor for His glory and encouraging your hearts through His Word.