Monday, April 26, 2010

Green thumb?

More like black hands!

Steve and I spent the morning running to Lowe's and working on our patio garden. It feels so good to have it all planted!

While we were at Lowe's, Steve lifted this giant bag of potting soil and it split open in the cart! Dirt all over the floor. We flagged down a guy and he said, "Oh! Hahaha! No worries! You're not the first ones!" He was really nice about it and got us a new bag and cleaned up our big mess. Thank you, Mr. Lowe's Guy!

Another thing we discovered at Lowe's was VEGGIE TALES seeds!! So awesome!

Once we got home, we dug right into the fresh soil and Miracle-Gro. We have basil, cilantro, romaine lettuce, sweet sugar snap peas, and five varieties of tomatoes, plus wildflowers, chicks and hens, and... yarrow maybe? I can't remember what the big flowers are. They're from Grandma. We started our own Early Girl tomatoes from seed. Steve's grandma gave us four more tomato plants including Beefsteak, Big Yellow (slicing tomato), Roma, and Yellow Pear. We're so excited!
*Added a few hours later*
As soon as we had the seedlings outside, the rain came and the wind started whipping about. Hope the Lord takes good care of them! I know Steve will take special care of them while I'm gone. He's such an excellent husband and a great handyman!

Packing Day

Crunch time!

Yes, packing day has arrived!


Where did all the time go?

Today is going to be filled with cleaning, laundry, errands, and way too much decision-making.

Thoughts running through our minds:

How are we going to fit everything into two small bags?

Praying God keeps His hand of protection and love on us every step for the next two weeks.

Trying not to think about how much we're going to miss each other.

What are we forgetting?

Won't all the hugs and new memories be so wonderful? How exciting!

Eleven days is a really long time...

There is so much to do today! What am I doing blogging? =)

Thank you for all of your prayers and well wishes as Steve gets ready to send me off to Wisconsin on my own for the first time since we've been married. It's going to be an amazing adventure with a few challenges, but it will all be well worth it in the end.

Tefilat HaDerech
Jewish "Traveler's Prayer"

May it be Your will, LORD, our God and the God of our ancestors, that You lead us toward peace, guide our footsteps toward peace, and make us reach our desired destination for life, gladness, and peace. May You rescue us from the hand of every foe, ambush along the way, and from all manner of punishments that assemble to come to earth. May You send blessing in our handiwork, and grant us grace, kindness, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who see us. May You hear the sound of our humble request because You are God Who hears prayer requests. Blessed are You, Adonai, Who hears prayer.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Family Stories & Fun

Steve and I spent yesterday at Grandpa & Grandma Hornaday's house in Eugene, Oregon for an early birthday celebration for Grandma. They've been helping me find a lot of pictures, stories, and family tree information for my geneology project I've been working on. We had a blast looking at all of the great pictures, and reading some of their stories they had put to paper years ago. I wanted to share the following story with you because it made us laugh so much, but also reminded us of how awesome it is that God has a great plan for each of our lives that will affect so many that come after us. I believe Grandma wrote it in 1998. They've been married nearly 59 years now! Enjoy!

The Day I Noticed My Husband-To-Be
By Jeanette Hornaday

Leo & Jeanette - The Dating Years

Things seem so different now to what they were forty years ago. But one thing has not changed; that is, a good single man is still hard to find. Your friends and family try to help you find just the guy you should marry. My brother Wayne, saw in Leo Hornaday the kind of person he wanted his sister to date and began to set his plan in action. In the spring of 1954, I noticed the young man who was to become my husband two years later. From that time, my life began a process of shaping into what it is today.

It was a beautiful spring day in Arkansas. My brother who is three years older than I said, "Net, How would you like to go on a picnic with me and some friends?"

I said, "Who all is going?"

He listed off a few of his girlfriend's family, some of their cousins, and some good friends. I thought about it and decided that it would be fun and a chance to get out in the spring weather. Little did I know that this was all a plan to get Leo and me together so we could get to know each other. I had met Leo several months before but never paid much attention to him.

We met at the Hornaday house and went by carloads to their fishing cabin at Boiling Pot located on the Ouchata River. (*Cathy made a point of telling us it is pronounced WASH-uh-taw, not OUCH-uh-tah as Steve rebelliously read it the whole story.*) You may have guessed by now that it was arranged that I was to sit in front with Leo. His car was a 1950 Studebaker coupe. It was blue with an airplane nose, smoked a lot, and had lost its hood.

I felt a bit guilty because I was dating someone else, but my guilt only lasted for awhile because around the Hornaday clan you always have fun. Leo has three brothers and four sisters. (Lavonna, Leo's sister, later married my brother Wayne.) That day, somehow or another, they saw to it that where Leo was, I was. Leo and I were willing to comply with their wishes. When we went for a hike with several couples, he held my hand to help me over the rough places. He even went so far as to let me sit on his knee so I wouldn't get my jeans wet on the river bank.

**Sure!! I'm sure he really went out of his way to let a cute girl sit on his lap! Grandpa! You smooth talker!**

We had a wiener roast for lunch, and who could resist a marshmallow roast over those hot coals? Leo's little brother Jack set his marshmallow on fire. While trying to put it out, he slung it off the stick and hit Leo on the back of the neck. I was his nurse. It wasn't much of a burn, but he made the best of it, and I gave it a lot of attention. We enjoyed each other's company and had a very good time. It rained and Leo put a beach umbrella down by the grill of his car to keep water off the motor. Late in the afternoon, we headed for home. This time it didn't require any arranging. I took the front seat by Leo.

I learned later that Bobby, Leo's older brother, told him, "You two made a nice looking couple, especially when she was sitting on your knee." Leo's only comment was, "She's too young for me."

That day started something for Leo and me. Three months later, we began to date regularly. If I had looked around for months or maybe years, I would not have found another man like him.

What has made our marriage last nearly 42 years? (Now almost 59!!) We have never spent much time trying to figure that out, but we have never had occasion to have to figure it out. Somehow love, trust, understanding, patience, a common faith in God, and three Studebakers - make it four - must have had a lot to do with it.


I believe they've had a few more Studebakers since she wrote that story! =) What a wonderful beginning to such a great life! After they got married, they had five kids.

Left to Right:
Leo, Jeanette, Linda, Robert, Roy, Larry, Wayne.
Robert married Cathy McIntosh and they had Stephen (my amazing husband!), Jonathon, and Michael. I'm not including a full family photo. I saw the following pictures and I couldn't resist posting them though!

Steve was so excited to have a baby brother (Jonathon).

Then he realized all the kid did was cry. Poor big brother.

Friday, April 23, 2010


I admit it. I'm in a blogging slump. I've tried to encourage Steve to write, but he cringes at the thought of transcribing thoughts to paper/type after a long day of tech support over email and phone. I can't blame him. We're both so tired tonight, the only thing I can think of are some blessings from the day.

* Steve getting up on time this morning. He hates mornings.

* Getting a chance to take a nap and relieve some nausea and anxiety.

* A surprise phone call from my dear friend Ricci! That was the total highlight of my day! =) I miss you, Ricci! You are an incredible woman! Again I say: I'm so thankful!

* Beautiful lunch date with Steve at Olive Garden - our first date restaurant.

* Getting to visit the Manns and say hi to Brother Mann whom we haven't seen in so long. In an earlier post about the church remodel, I posted some pictures of the murals he painted in the classrooms.

* Had a blast shopping with my mom-in-law, Cathy! She's so fun!

Right now, I'm almost falling asleep on the keyboard, but I have to (get to) drive to south Salem to pick up Steve from Jon & Kari's. Steve and Jon made a trip to Portland this evening to pick up a motorcycle for Jon. Kari and I are hoping they make it back in one piece! :) I'm not excited about going out since it's cold, dark, and raining. Warm clothes, comforting music, and a great friend at the end of the drive will make this much easier!

Good night!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Nearing The End

I'm nearing the end...

In a very good way, I'm happy to say.

So, here's the deal for those of you who are lost:

I went into the dentist for a routine root canal last Wednesday. I had no pain at all prior to my visit. The dentist said the root of my tooth had died from some previous trauma. When a tooth is hit or moved, it can tear or sever the nerve. The nerve then dies. Some die quickly and are unnoticeable, like my first tooth. Others die slowly and can be extremely painful.

The dentist performed the root canal and said the root had completely decayed and disappeared, and there was a little infection in the canal. He gave me a prescription for antibiotics to start in two days or so if there was any pain or pressure. Then I went home. I was fine that day. I even went to bible study, though my mouth was throbbing a little.

The next day my mouth was really hurting. I tried waiting it out. By Friday, I couldn't stand the pain so I got an emergency appointment and saw a different dentist. He suspected that the tooth next to my root canal may be decaying as well and need a root canal. He prescribed Vicodin for the pain and told me to start the antibiotics the other dentist gave me. The pain was so awful that the Vicodin wasn't touching it and I would wind of cradling my jaw and sobbing. Steve was heading toward his wit's end because there really was nothing he could do.

On Saturday I called my regular dentist on his personal cell (he's awesome, by the way), and he did all the footwork to set up an appointment for me, even though he wasn't working that day. I saw another dentist. She said there was no apparent pressure that she would be able to relieve, so she prescribed me more pain killers (ibuprofen - 800mg). I felt so much better after she gave me that. However, it wore off soon.

Sunday came. I made it to the first part of church. By the time we were done with Sunday school, I was lightheaded with pain and Steve had to take me home. I squeezed my jaw the entire way home, feeling every little bump in the road. I got out of the car and held Steve's hand tightly, while the tears started to flow down my cheeks. I made it in the house before I leaned against the wall and started bawling. He guided me to a chair and I stayed there for the next couple of hours while he headed back to church.

Steve was already having an awful weekend trying to get our car fixed. It seemed like a complete Murphy's Law weekend. He and his friend Jon have put in probably a good 20 hours on that dumb car. Sunday night I called Steve, almost screaming in pain, but he couldn't make it home because the car was in pieces. His mom and dad came and sat with me, prayed with me, and did what little they could to help. We called my dentist again, and he prescribed another antibiotic, hoping to speed things along. Robert (father-in-law) picked up the prescription for me.

I started the second antibiotic right away. That night it turned my stomach into a complete wreck and I think I slept about two hours. That was my going average of sleep over the whole weekend. I was barely keeping down any pain meds or antibiotics. So, the healing process had sort of come to a stand still.

I called the dentist's office at about 7am. They scheduled an appointment for noon, then (PRAISE GOD), they called back and told me to be there in an hour. Dr. Yoo (the Friday doctor) saw me and did a battery of tests. He conferred with my regular dentist and they concluded that the pain was coming from the tooth next to the one that had just had the root canal. The infection had spread and was draining puss into the pulp of the tooth next door. Nasty. I know.

Something that was a surprise was that this tooth next door had... lateral nerves? I think that's what the dentist called them. Even after he dug and scraped out the dying nerve of the second tooth, it was still throbbing along my jawline (anesthetic and all) up to my ears. He said that was because I had large canals with lateral nerves that came out the side of the tooth that were throbbing with pain and passing it along down the line. How nice of them to share, huh?

I was at the dentist a total of about 3 hours. Probably three of the most painful hours of my life. I'm thinking child birthing will be a breeze after these past four days. The dentist then packed in some medicine down the new root canal and put in a temporary filling. We made an appointment for June to check on how it all healed. If I have any increasing pain or other problems, I'm supposed to give them a call. I'm SO thankful for the health insurance and the skilled doctors that God brought our way. Thank you, Lord! Also, a huge thank you to those of you who were praying for us and sharing in our pain. We love you heaps. You are such a blessing to us.

I'm laying off of the Vicodin and second antibiotic so my stomach can settle down and I can feel somewhat normal again. I am hungry. ;) My sweet husband bought me some Jamba Juice (fruit smoothie). It's wonderful. I've been catching up on all of my lost sleep too. I slept for six glorious hours after I got home from the dentist with very little pain. I have a whole new appreciation for Paul the Apostle's phrase "thorn in the flesh". Let me know if you have any questions or wondering about something I missed. I'm not quite 100% in the head yet. I told my mom today, "Yeah, the noodles barely hurt since I've been in so much pain anyway" Noodles? Oh... Needles! I also ACCIDENTALLY texted my husband two letters, separately, that should not go together! They should not put the backspace button next to the enter key. Seriously...

I talked to Steve a few minutes ago and he said he and Jon finally got the car to the shop just before it closed so they can put on two new tires and align it. Then our car will be able to take me to Portland to get on my flight to see & meet some of the most precious people in this world!! Thank you, Jesus! Please say a very special prayer for Steve. He's had an incredibly rough week. There are also some layoffs happening at his work, which affect everyone in so many different ways. Layoffs are truly a sad thing. He's been extremely stressed at work and then has to come home to a difficult situation at home nursing a sick wife, trying to stay on top of daily stuff, part-time job stuff, and the maddening task of fixing the car. He's very burdened and needs to be encouraged and continually pointed toward Christ and His grace for every moment. He's such an amazing man. We're so thankful to have friends and family that will lift us up in prayer and give so much of themselves to help us out.

Anyway! I'm going to try to catch up on some more sleep and stuff. Emails and messages are more than welcome. I can't guarantee I'll answer my phone. If you really want to, you can call Steve and bug him. :)

13It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken."b]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[b]With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away {funny, right??}, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:13-18

Come, Lord Jesus! Come!

God's Word is perfect. Glory to God.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tooth Pain Tips

Having dealt with extreme tooth pain lately, I thought I would share a few tips I've picked up.

1. Motrin/Ibuprofen. This helps with the inflammation. It's amazing how much pain swelling can cause. I prefer Ibuprofen over Tylenol, and even Vicodin, so far.

2. Hot, Moist Cloth. Applying a hot, moist cloth to the infected area helps to draw the antibiotics toward it. Or so says the dentist. It also helps hold off the throbbing pain until you can take your next pain med dose.

3. Rest. Get as much sleep and rest as you can between bouts of pain and nausea. It helps your body save up energy to fight infection.

That's all I can write for now. I'm going to take my own advice and try to get some sleep.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Treasuring peace

I got back from the dentist with good and bad news. The bad news is that it turns out I have an infection around my two front lower teeth. It was there when my regular dentist did the first root canal and it seems to have been exacerbated by the surgery and spread to a larger area. My teeth didn't hurt at all before this.

The good news is that we know what it is and I'm now on a course of antibiotics and am taking vicadin every six hours. The antibiotics aren't supposed to be effective until two days of treatment. The vicadin is great for an hour or two, but wears off quickly and I have to wait the next four or five hours in pain before I can take it again.

I'm learning to really treasure the peaceful times when the pain is lessened and I can sleep or enjoy what's going on around me. Thanks again for your prayers. I'm really thankful Steve doesn't go back to work until next Tuesday. Yay! He's such a comfort.

Tears & Pain

The Hornaday house has had a rocky past day and night. I had a root canal two days ago. It wasn't too bad the first day, but it's gotten increasingly worse. My whole head throbs and my body is so tense. Steve has been amazing and he's suffering right along with me through the sleeplessness and helpless feelings. I'm so thankful for those who love us and compassionate fellow believers who pray.

I can't stand the thought of more needles or drills, so hopefully I can talk the dentist into some laughing gas if he needs to reexamine it. I'm hoping it's just a few x-rays and a painkiller prescription with some antibiotics. All the ibuprofen and orajel I've been using have made my stomach really upset. Can't wait for this to be over. My mind is so overtaken with pain, and yet this voice keeps saying to me, "Why is God allowing this? There is purpose in suffering." Keep looking to the light. These are light and momentary trials. They will soon be over. Thanks again for your prayers and love.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Great TV

We love watching the show Chuck!

We also really enjoy the new show Human Target.

And finally, Psych is still at the top of our list after four seasons! Woo hoo!

Friday, April 9, 2010


I gave into the urge and stopped at the Willamette Humane Society today. I have two lovely ladies I would like you to meet. I'm thinking of volunteering there in the next couple of weeks/months, as time permits.

When I first met Hailey, she had just come in from running outside and her entire kennel was drenched with water. So was she, and she couldn't have looked happier, unless someone decided to take her home for good. I was so tempted!

Then I met little miss Molley. She's so tiny for being part labrador. She's only nine months old, and she's a bit shy. She does like attention though and would probably love to be outside playing rather than laying around in her kennel. After seeing this little sweety, I am thinking of sponsoring a kennel. Only $30 for a whole year, I believe. Pretty awesome!

One last question:


Can we get a puppy??


I already know I'm in trouble. I might as well milk it for all it's worth. ;)

Baking Day

It's gray and cloudy out. Perfect day for heating up the oven. The following are recipe photos, not my own.

I can't wait to take some of the Orange Cranberry bread to Steve's office. They love treats. ;)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Camera Lens!

The beautiful dogwood tree in our courtyard.

Reminds me of my mom saying, "Grow where you're planted, Kar!"

If you look closely, you can see a passenger taking a photo! Funny!

This little guy is my favorite. He's so cute!

Reminds me of Jess Squirrel from the book Redwall. =) We've been reading a lot of animal stories lately - the Redwall series. Steve said he saw a squirrel the other day and thought, "You know, I really think he's big enough to carry a mouse after all."

Much Needed Break

Today the topic of Sabbath and rest has been on my mind.

Rest is really a foreign idea to most Americans. We often term it "laziness". Let's start at the beginning: Creation.

"By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done." Genesis 2:2-3

There are two points I want to look at.

Verse 2: God finished the work he had been doing.

He's resting FROM something. We are called to be diligent and thorough in our work, whether at home or at a job - doing it all unto the Lord that we might glorify Him. This is the difference between true rest and laziness. In order to rest, we first need to exert effort.

When the Sabbath is detailed in the bible, it says that absolutely no work is to be done. This extended to cooking and even some forms of playing. I think our modern version of rest is what we call a "vacation". However, we simply vacate one type of work for another. Any time I go on vacation, I often feel I need a few days to rest from it before getting back into the swing of things. This isn't the kind of rest God calls us to. As our Creator, I think he knows what we need. ;)

Verse 2: God BLESSED the seventh day and made it holy.

I believe that there are blessings reserved for those who truly set aside the time to rest from the hectic pace of life and refocus on God. I view Sunday as Sabbath since it is a day of worship for our family, going to church and fellowshipping with other believers. Sunday is also a great time to rest and refocus on the Lord because it helps me start out the work week with a good attitude and refreshment.

This all has me very excited for this coming Sunday. I can't wait to put this to the test and see how God blesses my life.

If you choose to try it out, let me know how it goes!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tolerance or Hardheartedness?

Profanity. Immoral lifestyles. Misuse of God's name.

Do our choices reflect God? Language? TV shows? Movies? Music? Relationships?

Is tolerance really that much different from hardheartedness toward God's commands?

What do you think?

Aprils Showers...

Bring April flowers? They do here!

One Day

It's amazing to me how many emotions pass through one person's mind in a single day.

I woke up this morning feeling rested. I realized it was Tuesday, and felt anxiety rise in my chest at the thought of Steve leaving for work. It seems silly, really, but I hate being alone all day. I made the choice to get up and get my day started. No more thinking. Just do.

I got dressed, and Steve woke to tell me he wasn't feeling good. Empathy and despair. "Lord, please don't let this be another virus! I can't handle any more physical illness right now!" Another choice. Get going and call someone healthy and encouraging: Mom. =) She's my morning coffee. Inspired and energized.

Drive to the pharmacy anticipating a long wait in line, even at 9am. I felt relieved and joyful that I was the third person in line and they called my number before I even had a chance to check out the book stand. Thank you, God!

Run by Goodwill before heading back home to check on Steve and help him get going for the day. Rushed, but excited for the hunt. We love bargain hunting. Found nothing. Disappointment. However, still optimistic about getting to Steve again before he left for work.

Traffic was incredibly light toward the city center. Feeling victorious. Made it home quickly. Steve was still there and ready to go to work. Content. I love helping my husband and was glad I could be there when he needed me.

Talked to mom a big portion of the day. Blessed. So glad I have a wonderful mom who is one of my best friends. Found a great little outfit, shoes included, at Goodwill! This never happens for me! Very happy.

Stopped at the neighbor's to ask about a neighborhood meeting. Feeling engaged. I've always enjoyed talking to people about matters of importance and personal meaning. I always live, but sometimes in small moments I actually experience the word as a verb.

My husband beat me home. Rare. Feeling a little sad. I missed welcoming him home. It's an important part of the day to both of us. However, I felt cherished to know that he was just as excited to welcome me home. He then took me on a dinner date. Feeling super loved & immensely grateful for the love of such an amazing man.

All in all, trivial daily things aside, I live an extraordinary life through the blessings and mercies God bestows on me in each passing moment. Joy is a hard-earned feeling, but with Christ it is possible to live in joy each day. He is my hope and my salvation.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Substituting God

Since my last post, I've been mulling over the concept of "Ebeneezers". It's clear to me that an Ebeneezer (reminder of God's help and presence) can easily become an idol. Check out this definition of the word IDOL from Google:

  • a material effigy that is worshiped
  • someone who is adored blindly and excessively
Blindly and excessively.


An idol is something we actively create by the misappropriation of our worship to material items. An Ebeneezer, correctly used, is something that directs our worship to God alone! I thought of a few idols that are common in America.

The Virgin Mary and other saints. Many religions appoint idols as their focus of worship. This is seen especially in Catholicism and Buddhism as well as many other Far Eastern religions.

However, I can't ignore how many protestant Christians worship the wooden cross and the crown of thorns, and not Christ and His sacrifice. The cross was simply a means to an end. The cross has no power of its own. It is simply an image. It cannot forgive your sins. It cannot hear your prayers.

America is deeply entrenched in idolatry.

Look to Hollywood. We worship celebrities and dedicate a large amount of our income and time to them - CDs/DVDs/MP3s, apparel, accessories, concerts, movies, cable.

Look to the Silicone Valley. We worship technology. The iPhone/iPad, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360. Many of us line up for days outside of stores waiting for the release of the latest invention, spending hundreds of dollars to acquire these life-changing gadgets. The enjoyment of these things is not wrong, by any means. We have most of the things I mentioned above. =) However, they should not prevent us from worshiping God. If you don't have the self-control to set them aside, then perhaps they have become an idol.

Look to Washington. We worship politicians and our own ideals. We look to mere mortals to solve our problems. "Michelle Obama: The First Lady The World's Been Waiting For". She's fashionable and beautiful. She's a mother. She's a successful African-American woman. Yet what can she possibly do to save the world? Create a few policies. Advocate for education and women's rights. That's great.

When we put the acknowledgment and praise of our own opinions/political parties ahead of Christ's commands and the good of others, our worship is centered on ourselves and not God, even if our "stands" are Godly.

A few questions. Who is looking to Heaven? Who in the world is waiting for Christ? Looking for His second coming? So many of us have substituted these idols for God in our lives. Are we satisfied? Take a look at your finances. Are you satisfied? Does your spending reflect a life focused on God? For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

I read an email devotional today from Living Free Every Day. This line really stuck with me:

"An idol is anything that we depend on for solutions that only God can provide."

There is no substitute for God in our lives. Only God can bring true freedom to our every day lives.

I would love to hear what Ebeneezers encourage you in your walk with the Lord. Please comment or send me a message on Facebook.

These are a few Ebeneezers I cherish in my life.

My parents' marriage. God has brought them through many rough times and dark days, and His faithfulness is so evident to me through them. The joy they share in seeking God and the growth I continue to see in their marriage and their individual lives causes praise to well up in my heart at God's continual love and mercy! Praise God! He is good!

My sister Kris' death.
I'm reminded that God is in control. He is never careless. He is a purposeful Creator.

My husband and my marriage.
God delights in me and loves to bless us, His children, with the very best.

The Bible, The Holy Word of God. God never leaves me nor forsakes me. He was there in the beginning. He is present in my life this very moment. He promises me in His word that He has already prepared a brilliant future for my life - for eternity. I can trust Him, though the world falls around me.

Godly Music. God speaks to me so often through hymns and spiritual songs.

I encourage you to read the lyrics of "Be Still My Soul" and meditate on God, the only One who can fill those unsatisfied areas of your life. Cast away the idols in your life this moment and let this song be an Ebeneezer to you today.

Thanks for reading and for being my fellow seekers and encouragers in Christ.

God bless!

~ Kari ~

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Beautiful Grace of God

The Lord brought a line of a song to my mind this morning. Let me set the scene. I usually have a difficult time waiting for Steve to wake up on Saturday mornings. I'm awake before him, and then wait for an indeterminate number of minutes or hours for my best friend to greet the day so we can have fun together.

I've been asking the Lord to give me a hunger for His word. Sitting here in the quiet dark with the white noise of a fan, the heavy breathing of a sleeping person, and the occasional song of a bird drifting through the window, this beautiful whisper of prose stole subtly into my mind.

Oh to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be...

At first I thought, "Wow, that's not a very positive thought, being constrained or bound daily to something. Then I thought about the grace I receive anew each morning. What an incredible gift! How can being chained to something so generous and preciously good be a bad thing?? Thank you, Lord, for renewing my mind!
By then I was curious what the rest of the song said, since I couldn't remember it off the top of my head. "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" penned by Robert Robinson.

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise his Name, I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Come. An invitation for Christ to come into our hearts.

Thou fount of every blessing. A neverending supply of good things! (James 1:16-18)

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace. As evidenced before, my heart definitely needs tuning!

Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Calls for song of loudest praise. God, you are worthy!

Teach me some melodious sonnet, Sung by flaming tongues above. God gives us the ability to please Him with our praise and worship. Without His Holy Spirit dwelling in us & the sacrifice of Christ, our best gift of praise or worship is unfit.

Praise His name, I'm fixed upon it, Mount of Thy redeeming love. The proper place for our life's perspective to be: focused on Christ & His perfect providence for our every need.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I'll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit, Till released from flesh and sin. Not an excuse for a pity party, but an honest longing for the perfection of our heavenly bodies and the wondrous lightness of a world without the dark heaviness of sin and all of its consequences!

Yet from what I do inherit, Here Thy praises I'll begin. Now is the time to enjoy the benefits of our salvation and eternal life! Praise God for our adoption into His family and the unfathomable inheritance he has already bestowed on us.

Here I raise my Ebenezer; Here by Thy great help I've come. I thought the same thing. What in the world is an Ebenezer?

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen.
He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far has the LORD helped us.”
– 1 Samuel 7:12

Great little article by Dr. Gregory S Neal. I love how he summarized it:

Literally speaking, an Ebenezer is a "stone of help," or a reminder of God’s Real, Holy Presence and Divine aid. Spiritually and theologically speaking, an Ebenezer can be nearly anything that reminds us of God’s presence and help: the Bible, the Sacramental Elements, a cross, a picture, a fellow believer, a hymn – those things which serve as reminders of God’s love, God’s Real Presence, and God’s assistance are "Ebenezers."
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home. God does delight in us and it is His desire for us to be home with Him in heaven!

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Skipping down a line:
Let Thy Goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering hearth to Thee. Let us fix our eyes on God's goodness so we aren't drawn away by the empty promises of Satan's lies.

We are such weak and imperfect creatures, doing what we hate and know not to do.

Here's my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above. A prayer of acceptance of Christ's sacrifice for sin for the unsaved. A rededication of our heart's affection for those already adopted. Once saved, always saved with no need to repeatedly ask for redemption. God has already sealed our hearts with His Holy Spirit, if we have surrendered to Him.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

O that day. Do we daily treasure that hope of Christ's second coming? Is that where our hope is based?

When freed from sinning. Though forgiven, we are still imperfect and sin as a result, but we are covered by Christ's blood.

I shall see Thy lovely face. Wow! From time to time, I imagine what it would be like to hear God's voice. To think I will see His face?!? I can faintly grasp the power of how men in ages past were brought to their knees with their faces turned to the ground when God appeared in any form. To be able to look God in the face... To be that pure and sinless, justified and sanctified by His blood. What a miracle!

Clothed then in blood washed linen, How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace; Praise God! He has washed us white as snow! I bet those heavenly robes will feel amazing! I love singing to God now. How exciting to be able to sing forever, without losing our voices and without missing a note! I can't wait!

Come, my Lord, no longer tarry, Take my ransomed soul away; Can you wait any longer? I have moments where I think, "But Lord, I want to experience the joy of having children. The wonder of watching them grow. There are so many things I want to see in this lifetime." It's then that I realize I have no grasp on how good being in God's presence really is.

Send thine angels now to carry Me to realms of endless day. Since joining Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, I have witnessed two elderly men who have felt the pain and misery of their earthly bodies and voiced their desire for God to take them home now - even today. God did take one of them home already, but only after many years of suffering with diabetes and other health ailments. Being sick a lot lately, I can only slightly comprehend the darkness of suffering and the many long nights these men endured. I admit that I struggle badly with anxiety lately and it always seems to worsen when the sun sets. In those pits of despair and worry, I learn the joy of a place of endless day. Bodies that are never sick and that never tire. This hope causes me to cry out, "COME, LORD JESUS, COME!!"

I know this post is long, but thank you for reading this far and sharing these thoughts with me. I trust God will bless you and renew your mind as you meditate on His word and His praises.

Have an amazing Easter weekend as you celebrate and experience the beautiful grace of God!

Thank you, Lord!