Stop at the Crossroads and Look Around

I’m wondering what comes to your mind when you hear the comment “He is ancient”? What do you mean by ancient? Ancient is old, very old; it’s older than old. It belongs in the past, in the distant past. What did Jeremiah mean when he told the people to ask for the ancient paths?

We can go back in time to the beginning of our world and see how God has connected with people.  The ancient paths that are successful began with God.

Talking about path’s reminds me about an experience that Loren and I had when we climbed Mt. Sinai.  It’s summit is renowned for awe inspiring sunrise views.  Each year hundreds of pilgrims and tourists want to reach the top of Mt. Sinai by sunrise.  Leaving the motel at 2AM we felt it was worth our climb to reach the summit before sunrise.

On the way up I found myself ahead of Loren and between groups of people, it was dark with some light from the stars and moon.  I came to where the path divided, so I took what I thought was the way, but it wasn’t long before it became more difficult with no clear path to follow.  It became scary to me, the vastness of the wilderness, mountains and rocks made me feel lost and small, yet somehow a quiet peace surrounded me.  Even with the quiet strength I felt around me, I was only too happy to return to the fork in the path and take the other path.

Every road or path takes you where you want to go.  So when you come to the fork in the realm of decision making what do you do? Especially if both paths have either positives or negatives.  Every day I find I make lots of decisions, some significant some just a matter of daily routine.

Don’t you feel at times when you stand at your crossroad, life just looks gray?   The outlook of our world and our situations can be the color of gloom.  The option down each path doesn’t offer any promise. There seems to be no answer. Or there might be two options that are awesome.  Then the question comes to my mind, what is around the bend I can’t see, or what are the unintended consequences that I will have to face.

I like the song written by Paul Joseph Balache, “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.”  As we bring our thinking into alignment with God we can open the eyes of our hearts so we can see hope!  So how can the ancient path help you.  We can look a little deeper and are able to find provision and hope.

So often I have found when I pray and I am open to God’s still small voice, I start to get a sense of what God is revealing to me and that path I need to take.  During the “seeking God’s will or guidance time,” I can look at how he has led people in the Bible, how he led me during the previous pivotal points in my life. I have found also there are times when someone will say something, or I will read something which seems to turn an idea on like a light bulb and I can see the decision I need to make.  Over the years Loren and I have found sometimes there are decisions where there is no right or wrong, or if we make a wrong decision the Lord will arrange circumstances which will redirect our focus.  Loren’s favorite text in this regard is Joshua 1:9 (NLT) “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Whatever our decision God honors our freedom of choice even though sometimes he needs to nudge us this way or that so we can see the ancient path he is directing us to.

As you see that ancient path and follow, you will be able to find that peace, happiness and contentment.

Love to you,

Ruth

 

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Love to you,

Ruth

 

 

If you would like to read some chrysanthemum trivia click on the .pdf file below:

Chrysanthemum Trivia

 

 


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I Will Change Your Sadness Into Joy

 

 

You and I can both be overcome with deep sadness.  This sadness can be caused by many things, what is happening to our children, our parents, or even things which we can’t control in our own lives.

God knows what you are going through whatever the cause of your sadness.  He feels your pain.  It does not matter how empty your hands are of your own resources or your own lack of sufficiency, or how bleak things seem, God is involved, in charge, and in control.  He knows how to heal your sadness and bring back joy and gladness to my heart and to your heart.

You probably saw the picture and read the poem of Footprints in the Sand written by Mary Fishback. “Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.” He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you never, ever. During your trials and testings when you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

At times you might be so overwhelmed you can’t feel his presence and you wonder “where is God?”  He is there right beside you.  When Jesus was dying on the cross the darkness around and in him was so dark he cried out to his Father, “Why have you forsaken me?”

When your hands are empty of your own resources and your own sufficiency, He is a faithful provider and will lead you back step by step to experience His joy.

Love to you,

Ruth

 


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If you would like to read some rose trivia click on the .pdf file below:

Rose Trivia – for June birth flower

 

 

 


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Accomplish Infinitely More

 

So many times I have been overwhelmed when faced with a task or I realize the Lord is impressing me to do something. I feel so inadequate to meet the challenge. Even though you, like me might feel inadequate at times, the Lord’s promise is so powerful. As I open my mind and heart to discover how I am going to proceed, I start getting ideas, or resources open up to me that I can access which help me get answers as I  face what I thought was a blank wall. Ideas come to me  that I had not even thought about.

Knowledge is powerful, so as I learn all I can about the task ahead my confidence grows and I feel maybe I can face what I need to do or what is expected of me for the task.

There are times God has asked me to do something, and I think, “Oh no, how can I do that.” I feel maybe I will look stupid or someone will think “What?” I feel I am out on a limb and the limb is going to be sawed off. One awesome thing I have found over the years is that if I am willing to step out and even willing to feel like a fool in doing it, if it is the Lord asking me to do it, I am astounded at what he does in spite of myself.

Many years ago I went to a hair dresser in our little town. I felt impressed to ask her if she would like to study the Bible. For some reason I felt very awkward asking her, when I finally did she said she would love to have studies, she was struggling in wanting to know God’s will in her life. WOW, and here I was feeling scared and my wanting to study with her is just what she was longing for.

Love to You,

Ruth

 

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If you would like to read some daisy trivia click on the .pdf file below:

Daisy Trivia

 

 

 


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Oh Lord, Who are We That You Should Notice us?

I don’t know about you, but I can think of two ways I can feel small and insignificant.  One of the ways is when someone makes an attack on my self esteem and I wish the floor would open up and swallow my wounded self.

But today I wanted to focus on how I feel when I am confronted with the bigness of God. In Psalm 8:3-4 David is awed by the thought of God and says, “I look at your heavens which you made with your fingers.  I see the moon and stars, which you created.  But why are people important to you? Why do you take care of human beings?”

During several summers when I was in college I would go and help cook for summer camp.  I remember several of us driving up a mountain where there was an old shed.  We climbed a ladder up the roof and sat on its peak.  In silence we sat there taking in the whole vast scene.  The forest spread out below with the vast sky above.  We heard the hoot of an owe which seemed not far away and the howl of coyotes echoing across from one mountain to another.  I felt a small shiver up my spine and was glad I didn’t have to be confronted with the pack.  As I looked up into sky I could see the partially full moon, the stars spread as though on a black blanket sparkling like diamonds with an occasional shooting star.

Wow!  Have you had those moments when you are awed by the greatness of God, realizing that you are but a speck on the earth compared to the vastness of the universe?  As David says, “it is hard to understand that we can be so important to you a mighty God.”  But you and I are important to Him.  No matter what is happening in your life God is interested and wants to be a part of it.  He wants to rejoice with you when you are happy, weep with you when you are sad or going through a tough time.  Most of all he wants you to feel his love for you and know He is there for you.

I love that song that says,

How big is God? How big and wide is His vast domain?
To try to tell these lips can only start
He’s big enough to rule his mighty universe
Yet small enough to live within my heart

I am praying for you that you can experience God’s love and power in your life as you face the challenges of daily living.

Love to you,

Ruth

 


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If you would like to read some calendula trivia, click on the .pdf file below:
Calendula Trivia

 

 

 

 


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Speak Lord, Your Servant is Listening

 

Sometime ago I had a gnawing inside of me, sort of a tug on my emotion, or just a sense of emptiness, even though life was full.  Something seemed to be missing.  As I became more aware of what it was, I had a sense that the gnawing tug was a “Spirit Hunger.”  It is a hunger placed inside of all of us that longs to connect with God.

I have a daily devotion and prayer time, but it seemed I needed more.  I wanted to hear God speaking to me to fill that void.  My inner cup wasn’t full or overflowing.  I think it was because the business and fullness of life was robbing me of something.

God is constantly calling out to us whether it is through His Word, through something someone says in a sermon, or in conversation.  The problem is I don’t always listen to what He is saying to me.  Part of the reason why it’s hard to hear him through my hectic life.  I think it could be compared to someone calling out in a loud crowded room making it hard to hear, much less understand.  I am afraid that is often how I try to hear God.  Another comparison could be, when I try to hear him above all the clutter of our lives he ends up sounding more like Charlie Brown’s teacher. . .wah, wah, wah.  Wouldn’t you like to hear, I mean really hear, what God is saying? You can, and I can. It comes from wanting and learning to listen to what he wants to say. One of the reasons I want to learn to hear God’s voice is so that I might come to know him better. As we dialogue with people, we share our thoughts back and forth, which brings understanding and develops a bond between us. That is how it can be with God.

The Bible gives some insight in how God spoke to different individual people.  It doesn’t say whether it was audible, an impression, or words spoken into their mind.  There does seem to four things which are key to hearing God’s voice:

One of the more dramatic ones includes the story of God talking to Samuel.  Of course  God doesn’t always communicate that dramatically.  We do know that he uses many ways to communicate.

 

Another example is Habakkuk 2:1-3 (NLT)

1 I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guard-post. (be still in a special place)

 2There I will wait to see what the LORD says and how he will answer my complaint. (fix your eyes on Jesus).

 3Then the LORD said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. (He will speak to me – write what is saying).

4 This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.(“Record the vision.”- Write the flow of thoughts and pictures that light upon your heart and mind.)

So the question is, are there some elements of my mind, or focus that would help me hear God better?  Wouldn’t you like to hear, I mean really hear, what God is saying? You can. It comes from learning to listen to what you hear Him say.

 

Four keys to hearing God’s voice are:

Stillness: Quiet yourself so you can hear God’s voice. Focus on Jesus and his love for you – Choose a spot away from distractions, the same place every day,

Vision: Look for vision as you pray.  Pictures, or word pictures that come to mind.

Spontaneity: Recognize God’s voice as spontaneous thoughts that light upon your mind.

Journaling: Write down that flow of thoughts and pictures. – not every thought will be coming from God – To separate thoughts test the thoughts –  honesty, purity, if it meets that test, chances it is pretty good.  If you question it, share it with a trusted friend for another’s perspective.

 In the late 1930’s, an Oxford Group pamphlet began circulating in Akron, Ohio. Entitled, How to Listen to God, it helped explain the Group’s practice of Two Way Prayer.  It was originally written for those in recovery, but is a powerful guide for anyone.  If you are serious about taking your relationship with God to a new level, this pamphlet will explain in detail with as little as ten minutes a day how you can transform your relationship with God as few other spiritual practices can.

 

 How to Begin Practicing Your Quiet Time by Fr. Bill W.

Below is an updated version of the How to Listen to God pamphlet

https://static.squarespace.com/static/525f0845e4b0eecfa6738371/t/52c73842e4b05d3ee041aed6/1388787778491/How%20to%20Begin%20Practicing%20Quiet%20Time.pdf

If you would prefer to watch a video instead discover step-by-step guidelines for putting this unique form  of How to Practice Two Way Prayer you will find it here.   http://www.twowayprayer.org/how-to-practice-two-way-prayer

Let’s take this journey together.  A new month, and a new journey.

Love to you,

Ruth

 

 


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If you would like to read some gladiola trivia, click on the .pdf file below:

Gladiola or Glad trivia

 

 

 


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God’s Angel Guard

 

When I was 7 years old we lived in Mokiang (k-pronounced as “j”) China.  The only way to get there was by foot, sedan chair, on horse or mule back.

My Dad enjoyed his work in sharing the gospel in several surrounding villages and wanted to work in the villages beyond Mokiang in an area which was inhabited by savage tribes.  It was just the challenge he had always wanted when he thought of himself as a missionary.  The main compound where we lived had a church, school, and housing for school staff.  We lived in a 2nd story apartment above the church.  I started Chinese school, but after a few months had to quit school to take care of my mom who became sick with what was thought to be tuberculosis.

It was during this time that the Communists started taking over China.  We sent the school children home, closed the school and bolted the compound gates.  Daily we claimed Psa. 34:7 for God’s angel protection.

We kept our gates firmly bolted, then one night we heard someone pounding on the large wooden front gate and calling our gateman’s name.  We could hear him talking and then the large wooden bars slid open our front gate to the sound of soldiers coming, loud talking, coughing and banging of rifles and back packs hitting the floor in the church below. In the morning Mr. Feng told my dad, “I had to let them in peacefully or they would have fought their way in.”  Come to find out, many of the men from our community had joined the Communist Party.  Later that day the officer in charge told my dad and Mr. Feng that we were under their protection.  It wasn’t long before the school desks became beds for the wounded.  After that our gate was open every day and one of the communist units would often come and practice their songs and marches on the school grounds.

From our living room window we could look down the hill to the valley below where the walled town of Mokiang was located.  For days and nights the battle was on with Communists trying to take the city.  The sounds of guns and boom of the canon along with the screams of people were frightening.  Then when the city started to burn, it was an even more scary time for us, yet we had a peace, knowing God had sent his mighty  angels.

One of the nights I was sure I saw a spark of fire go out as it cleared the top of our wall.  It gave me the assurance that the angels were truly surrounding and caring for us.

A few months later we left with a unit of Communist soldiers to escort and protect us from bandits that roamed the country.

I pray daily for each person that reads what I have written.  I also ask that God will bless you and give you a firewall.  We don’t know what the future holds with things deteriorating in our country and around the world.

Below I have added several promise texts to claim and be assured God is answering your prayer for protection.  I have memorized the 91st Psalm and repeat it every morning as a promise for my family’s physical protection.

I also added a song sung By Bob Stromberg—based on Psalm 121 – From Stream Mountain Music.  That also gives a lot of reasurance of God’s care for us.

Love to you,

Ruth

 

 

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Promise texts for protection

     2 Timothy 4:18   And the Lord will deliver me (our family) from every evil work and         preserve us for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!

Psalm 34:7  The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.

Psalm 91 –Protection promises

 2 Thessalonians 3:3  The Lord is faithful, he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

 Zechariah 2:5 (NLT) Then I, myself, will be a protective wall of fire around Jerusalem,” says the LORD. “And I will be the glory inside the city!”

*************

 

Song: By Bob Stromberg—based on Psalm 121     

From Stream Mountain Music 

Copyright 1994

Photo Copyright

Ruth Fenton @ akranarose.com

 

 

 


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If you would like to read some water lily trivia click on the .pdf file below:

Water Lily trivia – Birth Flower for July

 


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We Are God’s Masterpiece

Down times are a real bummer. and during those times it is hard for me to feel good about myself.  I know you have probably had those times also.  But our self worth is not related to what you or I do or don’t do.  Sometimes we might think it is.

You are very valuable to God, as he does not create junk! There are times he reveals the truth about you, so you can reveal the truth about Him.  If you can just grasp that you are His master piece.  Peter emphasizes that God said you are special to Him, you are chosen by Him to proclaim to all the world what He has done for you. (1 Peter 2:9-10).

When we don’t feel complete in Christ, we compete with others.  You don’t need to live life by other peoples expectations, or what you perceive as someone’s expectation of you.  God created only one of you and God has such a special plan for your life that no one else can fill.

Do you find you do a lot of negative self talk or put yourself down for not meeting yours or someone else’s expectations.  I want to challenge you to turn your negative self talk into positive self talk.  You will continue to doubt your value to God as long as you do negative self talk.  When you consciously do positive self talk, then you will be able to believe what God says when he says you are His masterpiece.

 

The devil can try to destroy you and your life, but he can never erase the fact that you are God’s child and His master piece!

 

Love to you,

 Ruth

*Credit for our picture this month goes to my friend Phyllis Chamberlain


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If you would like to read some hawthorne trivia click on the .pdf file below:

Hawthorn, Trivia for – May’s Birth Flower

 

 

 


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Be strong and courageous!

 

 

 

When you face the unknown you might react in different ways. Perhaps embarking on new adventures you might feel scared or even excited!  The unknown can be very fearful.  Maybe you are you afraid something bad will happen to you or that it will be something you cannot handle, or something which would make you feel stupid or even hurt you.  It is only natural to be fearful when faced with a decision how to make the right choice.

 Many years ago when our son Ben was about 14.  He had a great fear of the dark.  At that time we lived  west of Spokane in the country.  We had horses, chickens, goats and a calf.  Our back porch light would shine out toward the barn and the goat shed, but the light faded into darkness behind the barn and up the hill into the woods behind our place.  One night he decided he wanted to face that fear.   Feeling like his heart was beating in his throat and filled with fear he headed past the barn into the dark and up the hill beyond—All the time listening and trying to see what might be there.  Finally when his emotions were able to grasp that there was really nothing to fear in the dark he turned and headed back toward the light of our back porch.  There was a joy in his heart, he had conquered what he feared most!

 There might be things you face all the time, and some more fearful as in the unknown of the dark or what might be hiding there.  I am so glad we have an awesome promise in our text today.  You can claim the text and be assured that God is right there with you and he will go with you no matter what you face.  He will lead you step by step and the outcome will be for his glory and your peace of heart. You don’t have to be afraid to face the scary things with him by your side.  You can also know as you face each day whatever the decisions you make, he will be with you.

 Love to You,

 Ruth

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Credit for our picture this month goes to my friend Phyllis Chamberlain


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If you would like to read some daffodil trivia click on the .pdf file below:

Daffidyl Trivia

 

 

 

The Lord Directs Our Steps

 

 

God is a personal God.  In thinking about that concept it might be hard to understand with the universe so huge and we don’t know how many other worlds are out in the universe.  Just think about our own world and the millions of people here, Does it make you feel rather small and insignificant? It does me.

 

On second thought, we don’t need to feel that way.  Look back over your life, I know you can pick out times when you have felt the presence of God in your life, and he has directed circumstances that could have only been His intervention or guidance in what happened.   Thus you can have the assurance that you are not just some speck in the Universe, but that you are a very special and unique person that God loves and cares for very much.

 

I am sure you can recall the verse that says God knows the number of hairs you have on your head.  I’ll bet you don’t even know that!  SMILE  When you feel insignificant or discouraged there are many texts you can hold to your heart and know you are important to God and he is your personal God.

 

In reading our text for this month you might say, I don’t feel very “godly” so what does that mean for me. Try substituting the word “humble”  or “teachable.”  You look at examples in the Bible where you see the Lord working mightily in Moses’, David’s, or Daniel’s lives—I see the word, humble and teachable.  When you and I are humble and teachable it thrills God to watch you thrive and love the life he has given you.  Oh yes, we have our down times, but he is there to hold and carry us through those times.

 

Love to You,

 

Ruth

 

 

 


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If you would like to learn a little about the primrose click here: 02-Feb – Primrose Trivia

 

 

 

A Pathway For A New Year

 

As the new year stretches out before you, are you like other people looking at things you want to change in your life or do differently? I know I do. The thing most talked about is, “What are your resolutions for the new year?” I understand for many people, within a month or two most of the resolutions go by the wayside. 

Maybe there is a different way to look at or focus on what you want to do.  Are you wanting to make a difference in your life or others lives this coming year?

King James version of Proverbs 29:18 tells us “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  Maybe you have discovered that, when there is no end goal in sight, then life loses meaning or what you want for yourself.  By the end of this year what is your goal or vision for yourself?  Where do you want to be at that time, physically, spiritually, or emotionally.  For myself, I have found when I focus on something bigger than myself, it not only brings me joy and purpose for my life but brings about positive changes.  Once you have a goal in mind, then the steps and details to get there can be developed.  The goal has to be specific.  Another positive is to build in accountability in the steps to reaching the vision you have for this year.

 Would love to hear from you to know what your vision is.

 Love to you,

Ruth

Tag line:

“Watch your thoughts, they become your beliefs.

  Watch your beliefs, they become your words.

  Watch your words, they become your actions.

  Watch your actions, they become your habits.

  Watch your habits, they become your character.”

                                                –Vince Lombardi

 


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I you would like to read about carnation trivia, click on the trivia link:  01-Carnation Trivia

 


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