Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Beauty of Christ

John Piper is one of my favorite preachers.  I have read and incorporated many of his sermons into Sunday School lessons I have taught.

John Piper is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org.  He was the founding pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis for 33 years and is an author of more of 50 books.   He recently spoke at the Speaker Panel in Atlanta.

I have been listening to these profound messages on Podcast.

One of his sermons was on "The Beauty of Christ" based on 2 Corinthians 4: 4-6, and he made an interesting statement.

"The greatest gift of God is the gift of the beauty of God Himself in Jesus Christ."

Piper had my attention!
Based on the title of my blog, you will know that I espouse to the belief that it is Christ within us that makes us truly beautiful - BEAUTY WITHOUT WITHIN!
So I was intrigued with this whole line of thought.

 What does that mean?
"The greatest gift of God is the gift of the beauty of God Himself in Jesus Christ."

Piper went on to add,
"The greatest gift of God is the gift of the beauty of God Himself in Jesus Christ, to satisfy my soul forever."

Forever?  How can this truth make a forever difference in my life?

1)  The root of my saving faith is SEEING the beauty of Christ.  I must see His satisfying beauty.

What is this beauty?

It is the "illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, the Messiah, Who is the image and likeness of God." (Amplified v.4)

The Gospel is the "Good News" and the Good News is the Glory of Christ.

It is the beauty of Christ because He is the image of the radiance of God.
2)  Before one is saved they are blind to the beauty because they are blind to God.  We aren't just rebellious and stubborn. 

We are blind!  No sight!  Can't see a thing kind of blind!

Verse 4 tells us that the "god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving" so that we can't see the Light.  We can't see the Gospel.  We can't see the Good News.  We can't see the beauty of Christ.

Satan has blinded us to the beauty of Christ because we have joined him in darkness.  Remember Adam & Eve?

Jesus explained it like this in John 3: 19-20:

"And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed."

Okay, so one day I decide that I'm tired of living in the darkness and I am just going to sing "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus," "walk down the aisle," say a prayer and make it all better?

Hold on, there's more.

3)  We can't decide to see the beauty of Christ without God shining His revealing Light of the beauty of Christ into our heart.  It is a GIFT!

My conversion was a miracle of God's gift of spiritual sight.
Look at this in 2 Cor. 4:6:

"For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the ONE who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."
Piper likened this to an art student being shown a painting that he absolutely hated.  There was nothing appealing about the colors, the composition, the style of the painting.  Nothing!  And yet, the professor insisted that the student love it.  How can the student love something he hates?  Is it enough for him to "decide" that he is going to love it?  Will he ever truly see the beauty of the painting just because he decides he will?
Of course, the answer is a resounding "NO!"

But, isn't that how we try to convert someone?  Make a decision?  The act of free will?  Make up your mind that you want to be saved?  Decide you will love God?

And yet, the scripture is so plain that only God can reveal the Light, the Gospel, the Good News, the beauty of Christ in ones heart.

He reveals Himself to those who did not make a mental decision to seek Him.  God does all the calling, choosing and literally dragging of people to Him.  That is a mystery and seeming paradox.

Nobody decides to save themselves by choosing God.  God alone is in control of salvation and to whom and when it comes.

 God is absolutely sovereign over His creation.

 Verse 7 completes this teaching like this:

"But we have this treasure (Jesus Christ) in earthen vessels (us), that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves."
Christianity is built on the truth that God has acted in the form of man, Jesus Christ.

And, He is the beauty for our everlasting enjoyment.

It is God's revealing Himself to us that we are able to even desire to see Christ's beauty as a reflection of God's image.

No man is capable of this.

That is why Christians sing and rejoice and herald, then sing, rejoice and herald again and again.

I will close with this statement by John Piper:

"The objects of the miracle become the agents of the miracle."

We don't know who God is revealing Himself to, so we must continue being the agents of the miracle of His gift to us.
 
I pray you know
The greatest gift of God is the gift of the beauty of God Himself in Jesus Christ, to satisfy your soul forever.
Linking with Imparting Grace
Tell His Story 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Marching Into the Hodgepodge

Welcome to my Hubby's favorite blog - 
The reason I know it's his favorite is because he answered that in his interview last week.
That blog post can be seen HERE
Now, lets get to it!
1. 'In like a lion, out like a lamb'...does the first part of this saying describing March weather ring true where you live? 

In like a lion as we are due another round of winter precipitation tomorrow night.  It is most unusual for us to see "Winter Storm Advisory" on the Weather.com app on our phones.  But, we've seen it numerous times this year.  Hopefully, this will be the last one.

2. March 4th is National Grammar Day. What common grammatical error bothers you the most? 
 
Your instead of you're.  There are more, but since you made the word "error" singular and not plural, I will answer accordingly.

3. William Arthur Ward says- 'The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.' Which one are you?

I'm a realist.  It is what it is so get over it!  Deal with it!  Make it work! 

4. What's something you need to 'march forth and conquer' this month?

Getting a dress for two weddings.  My granddaughter's wedding is the most demanding though.  I've just got to get serious about finding that just-right one.  I think this whole topic is going to be blog post in near future.  Stay tuned.

5. An ongoing debate around here...do you dust first, then vacuum or vacuum first, then dust? Of the two routine household chores, which do you dislike the least? How's that for wording?
 
In my house we dust first then vacuum.  Of the two I dislike dusting the least.  I can always use that as an excuse for rearranging.  Vacuuming is usually Hubby's job as my back doesn't appreciate that excercise.

6. According to thrilllist.com, the ten most photographed sites in the U.S.A. are- Cinderella's Castle in Orlando, Southernmost House in Key West Florida, The Space Needle in Seattle, The Site of the Boston Massacre in Boston, The Bellagio Lake/fountains in Las Vegas, The Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, Coit Tower in San Fransisco, The Art Institute of Chicago, Niagara Falls, and snagging the number one spot-The Guggenheim Museum in New York City. 
How many on this list have you photographed? Which on the list would you most like to visit and photograph?
 
I have photographed the Lincoln Memorial, The Art Institute of Chicago, Niagara Falls
 and next month will take pictures of The Bellagio Lake/fountains in Las Vegas.  Stay tuned.

7. Fifty years ago Monday (March 2, 1965) The Sound of Music premiered at the Rivoli Theatre in NYC. Have you seen the film? Do you own a copy? On a scale of 1-10 how much do you love it (or not)? Ten=best movie ever. If you're a fan, what's your favorite scene or song from the movie? 

Yes, I have seen this film many times.  I don't own a copy and don't remember when I first saw it.  It would be a 9 for me.  My favorite scene would be the one of the children singing "Good Night" and going up to bed.  Favorite song?  There are so many but "Climb Every Mountain" would have to be my most favorite. I cry every time.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
 
This past Saturday I met my sisters for a bridal shower for my youngest nephew and his bride.
Ben is my youngest sister's youngest son.
 
Sisters and I met for lunch before the shower and had a chance to visit and catch up a bit.
 
 These are the sassy mothers-of-bride and groom.
Is that bride-to-be not the prettiest?  She is a doll for sure.
 I am so grateful for my precious sisters and for what they mean to me.

Monday, March 2, 2015

My Biggest Blog Fan in the Spotlight

Who is your biggest blog fan?
When I thought about this, I realized I don't really have many fans, so narrowing that down is not a huge issue for me.

Therefore, I thought it might be fun to interview my biggest fan and see what he - yes, it is Hubby - really thinks.

I posed a few questions and let him answer for himself without any pressure from me whatsoever.  Unless of course, you count hovering over his shoulder as pressure.

So, here goes:

1.  How often do you read your wife's blog and do you have a favorite post?
     1. I read each one. The Wednesday Blog is probably my favorite.

2.  What is your biggest pet peeve regarding your wife being a blogger?
      2. She is so much more articulate than me.

3.  If Libby found $100 what would she do with it?
      3. The first thing she would do is tell me and then when I inquire what she will do with it she
          would probably say, "I don't know" and then ......

4.  What is your favorite room in the house?
      4. The kitchen.  

5.  What has surprised you most about Libby being a blogger?
      5. The friends she has made.

6.  Does Libby discuss her blog with you, stories from other blogs or friendships with other bloggers?
     6. Yes.  I enjoy the contacts she has made and the stories from other bloggers.

7.  What do you enjoy most about you and Libby both being retired?
     7.  The freedom to just do what we want to most of the time.

8.  If you could change one room or area of your house without input/permission from Libby, what would you choose and why?
      8. Nothing.

9.  What topics do you enjoy most on your wife's blog?
      9. No particular topics but I enjoy her photography.

10.  What if anything would like to see your wife do differently regarding her blog?
      10. She has a wide variety of interests and I want to encourage her to continue.

11.  Have you ever helped with photography or setting up a vignette for Libby's blog?  If so, is this something you enjoy?  Would you like to participate more or less?
      11. Yes I have helped and will help from time to time if I can be encouraged.

12.  Are you ever worried that she will share too much personal information on the blog?
      12. She is a woman and information is "information".

13.  Do you think Libby's blogs are interesting and encouraging to her readers?
      13.Yes. Bloggers have a way with words and topics of interest that encourage and challenge
            fellow bloggers. 

Well, how about that?  I found it interesting to get his perspective on this thing that has blossomed into a consuming interest and hobby.

Thanks, sweetie.  Love you!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Oh What a Beautiful Morning!

I always look forward to Wednesdays because it is a day of visiting with so many other bloggers who join together to share their thoughts around
So, hop other there and see how we all answer the following questions.
 
1. Did you watch The Oscars? How many of the Best Picture nominees have you seen? (American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, Selma, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash)

Do you think actors should use their acceptance speeches as an opportunity to promote their political and/or social agenda? Does that sort of speech make you more or less inclined to change the channel?
 
No, I didn't watch it at all this year.  We just weren't interested.  I did hear someone remark that hearing the speeches this year was like being at a Democratic convention.  Thanks but no thanks!

2. Speaking of the movies... are you comfortable going to a movie alone? How about dinner in a restaurant (not fast food, but an actual restaurant)? The second half of this question was posed by Carrie who blogs over at It's Not Easy Being Queen. Thanks Carrie! 
 
I have never gone to a movie alone because I have never needed to.  Hubby is more than willing to see anything I am interested in seeing.  I have gone a time or two with a friend, but never alone.  I don't eat alone either as a general rule.  But, there have been times when I've been out of town for meetings that have required my eating all by my lonesome.  I can't say I am particularly uncomfortable as long as I have a book to read or people to watch.  Several years ago I ate alone on the River Walk in San Antonio the night before Halloween.  Now that was interesting!
 
3. What's the last home repair or home improvement project you had to pay someone to complete? In hindsight was this a project you could have done yourself? 

The last was coming home to find a few shingles had blown off the roof of our house.  NO!  We would not have done that ourselves.  The roof is much too high and steep for that.  Hubby found some guys roofing a new house in our subdivision and paid them to come put them back on.  Whew!  He is so resourceful!

4. Have you ever had Indian food? Like it or no? If you're a fan, what's your favorite dish? Have you ever prepared this yourself at home? Is there an Indian restaurant in your current hometown? 

To answer the last question first, yes there are several in our city and we have eaten at a couple.  The most popular is Indigo Indian Bistro.  The food is very authentic I am told.  Indian food is not our favorite so we don't choose it over other choices as a rule.

5. A song that reminds you of your parents? 

"The Girl That I Marry" was my dad's favorite and he loved playing the record album featuring that song.  He loved my mother totally and completely and let us know that he would have chosen her everytime.

I also think about Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oh What a Beautiful Morning."  Mother told us that she awoke on the morning following their wedding night with Dad standing at the hotel window singing that song.  Is that not romantic?  Gotta love my parents.

6. The 26th of February is National Tell A Fairy Tale Day. What's your favorite, or one of your favorite, fairy tales? Do you have any childhood memories associated with a particular fairy tale? 

My mother and grandmother, who lived with us until her death, both read to us every night.  They read both fairy tales and children's poems.  I still have our favorite book of poems.  The stories that I most remember but have no particular memory associated with them are:  Henny Penny (The Sky is Falling), Three Little Pigs, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel & Gretel, The Princess and the Pea, etc.  Let me just say, that although we grew up with stories and loved hearing them read over and over to us, they are basically terrible stories.  Can a children's story get any worse than having your parents desert you and being threatened to bake in an oven?

7. What's a problem you solved yesterday? 

Which magazines to throw away.  No, not earth shattering, but I tend to be a magazine hoarder and getting rid of any of them is hard for me.  I don't even look at all of them but enjoy having them around in case I decide to.  Such an inconsequential decision when one considers the state of the world, but some days that's the life of a retiree.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Grandson Jackson will be
20
on Saturday! 
 We love you Big Boy and are so proud of the man you are becoming.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
 

Monday, February 23, 2015

It's a Hello Monday Morning!

Lea at
has given me permission to join her today for

I hope you will jump over there and see what Lea is greeting on this cold
Hello Monday morning.

Hello Teavana
My precious Daughter-in-Love gave me a set of Teavana Tea Essentials for Christmas.
She selected some of the most delicious flavors.
It brews so quickly and easily and is perfect for those little cups of hot herbal tea.
I have set it up on my beverage counter and everything I need is right there.
Thank you, Michelle.

Hello Words with Friends
Some of my grandkids got me started with this fun app at Christmas and we keep the airwaves busy going back and forth.  Now, one of my sisters and I are playing a couple games together.

It is fun and challenging and I must say, my granddaughter is winning most of our games.  Hubby and son are also enjoying some very competitive games.  Did I say competitive!

Hello Early Signs of Spring
I took my camera out one day this week when weather allowed to capture some signs of spring.
We are expecting sleet and ice early this morning in the south so I needed to know that in deed spring is going to happen.
There is nothing to remind us of God's renewing of our earth and our spirits like new shoots from the cold, dry earth.
And nothing like new buds to remind us that God's Hand of protection and provision is always faithful in our lives.
Thank you, Lea for letting me join you today. 
 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Loved, Liked & Learned

LOVED
 I love that the income tax box got taken to the CPA yesterday.  Yippee!

I love that God's Word never ceases to speak to me.  For instance: The 3rd Chapter of the little obscure Book of Zephaniah 3:17.
"The Lord your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy."

Earlier, He gives a wonderful future promise to the Gentiles that all who call upon Him, He will save and in the millennial age we will worship Him only.
Hallelujah
 
Granddaughter #1 posted this on Facebook this week:
"The best valentine I could ever imagine. Thanks for treating me like a princess and being the man God has intended to be my life partner. I am so blessed by you."

I love that God has given her someone who loves and cherishes her according to His design.  Thank you Brad! They will be married on May 30.
 
LIKED
I have liked seeing all the Mardi Gras decorations on the houses in my neighborhood.  In Louisiana, Mardi Gras is a very big thing in the month of February and folks love to use that theme in decorating the outside of their homes.  Of course, some take it a bit further than others.
 
 Yard flags.

LEARNED
I am being reminded that the longer I go without picking up a paint brush and painting something on a blank canvas, the harder it is to do it.

I am learning that I have to practice, yes, be willing to make a mess with the paints in order to hopefully create something that is pleasing.

I learned that there are not a lot of pretty champagne colored, long dresses out there suitable for 
grandmothers of the bride.

And finally, I learned about this neat DIY idea called an "Encouragement Hanging" from Magnolia Homes and it can be found
HERE!
Be on the lookout for what you Love, Like and Learn this next week and join me here on Friday.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Government to Bed Making Today


1. When did you last have to interact, either by phone or in person, with someone in a government run agency? On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the experience? (10 being fabulous and 1 being pass the Tylenol)

PASS THE TYLENOL!  It was early 2013 and the Social Security office determined that I had been overpaid almost $10,000 and demanded repayment immediately.  Pay up now or else!  No recourse!  Not good and still doesn't make any sense.  I'm just glad I saved every SS check I ever got.

2. The current governor of Wisconsin is considering a run for President next time around. Walker attended Marquette University, but never graduated. In terms of any candidate running for the office of President (not asking here if you agree or disagree with Scott Walker's politics) would the lack of a college degree influence your vote or no? Would that be a factor in your support of any candidate running for public office, even a role less weighty than President?
 
Considering we have elected someone TWICE who's birth, elementary, high school, and college records have been completely sealed and whose background is beyond questionable, I find accepting a non-college grad candidate whose record is proven as a no-brainer.  That being said, I do think the standard for all elected officials should be extremely high educationally, morally, ethically, as well as possessing proven expertise in the field.

3. When did you last visit a place or site named for George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, and what was that place or site?

We haven't stopped but have driven through various areas of Illinois associated with Lincoln on our way to and from our family in Indiana.

4. February 16th was President's Day in the US, but did you know it was also National Almond Day? I didn't think so : ) Do you like almonds? If so, what's a food/dish/recipe you enjoy that contains almonds?
 
Oh yes, I do like almonds. a. lot!  Tops on my list would have to be an Almond Joy candy bar(s).  I eat almonds in my cereal, in stir-fry dishes, green beans, tenderloin, baked fish, and just about any other dish where adding almonds can be gotten away with.

5.The television program Saturday Night Live celebrated it's 40th anniversary this past weekend. Were/are you a fan of the show? If so what has been your favorite (or one of your favorite) skits, sayings, or characters that came out of the program?

Am not and have never been a fan.

6. Anything purple within ten feet of you? What is it?

 Clothes:  tops, jackets, wool coat

7. Back in December I asked you to submit a question for a future HP as part of a giveaway I was hosting. I grabbed this one from those entries, submitted by Zoanna who blogs over at Penchant for Pens. Thanks Zoanna!

She asks, "How often do you make your bed, and how do you like to make it-pull the covers all the way up over the pillows, tuck the covers in around the pillows, or place all the pillows on top of the covers?"
  Hubby and I make up the bed together every morning.  This is easy because we get up together and just do it immediately.  One fluid motion.  I am very particular how my bed is made.  I don't like any wrinkles and the sheets, blanket and spread must be even on both sides.  The sheet header must be folded evenly over the top of the blanket. I stand bed pillows up on top of the covers against the headboard and then the decorative pillows are neatly arranged in front.  Told you I'm picky and have my mom to blame for that.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
 
Not many random thoughts today for some reason and then again, maybe they are all too random to be worth much.
I did see this room in a magazine with a surround landscape of NYC, and was just speechless.  How would you like seeing this vista every morning and night?  I will admit that it is truly breathtaking, but I can't imagine the ride to get there knowing I had to go back down.
Incidentally,this apartment sold for a record-breaking $100 million.
I think I will remain content with my little one-story Garden Home.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Beauty From Head to Toe

I want to share with you one of the prettiest Beauty Salons in town.
And it happens to be where I go.

Twelve Oaks has been our home for eight years and we can't imagine living anywhere else.  We especially like that the developer saw fit to provide space for unique businesses just outside the gates.
Last year, John Morell decided to move his business, Alexander Salon & Spa to our subdivision.
Let me introduce you to John and Alexander & Company Salon & Spa.
 John has been a hair stylist in Shreveport for 25 years and is an expert colorist.  After extensive consultation, he and each of his stylists create signature styles and colors that fit the look and lifestyle of each individual client. I can personally testify to that!
 Additional to offering precision cuts, multidimensional coloring, they also have make-up services and elegant evening looks, to meet any need for any occasion.

 From the moment one steps into this bright, colorful space with abundant natural light, you know it's not just any beauty salon.

John was particular with every detail making this a place of avant-garde of hair design and art.  From the diverse yet complimentary wall colors, to the furniture, accessories, and the design of the stations, John accomplished his goal.
 John actually painted most of the art work which make such bold colorful statements.
The nail-care spa area is another example of John's eye for detail, design and color.
 The Salon-Spa also features the notable services of a licensed massage therapist who offers Swedish massage, sports massage, deep tissue massage and hot stone massage.

Welcoming smiles and friendly professionals are a major appeal of this salon.
 Every day there are fresh flowers adding beauty of fragrance of nature.
 Are these not fun light fixtures?
  As you can see, nothing was left to chance.  And I love that John pays equal attention to my hair!