In Other Words ~ Dead, Not Defeated

"He who has no sense of self-importance 
cannot be 
offended or defeated." 
~ W. Phillip Keller

Due to a combination of circumstances, this weekend found me in a last-minute scurry to put together a scrapbook of photos from our 2011 Family Camp for Sunday night's fellowship at church.  It was one of those things I'd planned to do earlier...MUCH earlier...but it just didn't happen.  Between ordering photos, discussing camp photos at scrapbook night Friday night, putting together the album on Saturday, and the slideshow video (why do I STILL persist in calling it a slideshow when I cannot even begin to remember the last time I actually saw slides in a carousel??) and skit at Sunday night's fellowship, I was immersed in camp memories all weekend.  

LOTS of good memories.  And reminders of things I learned that week...ways God worked in my life that week...that I needed to be reminded of, right now, this very minute.  I did a bit of reviewing along the way of Andy's sermons and Lyndel's teaching in the youth class.  I was reminded of some post-camp blog posts I'd planned but never posted...and renewed my intentions to get those posted SOON.  

Then I got up this morning and saw this week's "In Other Words" quote.  I couldn't help but immediately think of Andy's Wednesday night sermon at camp from Colossians 3:3.  "For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."  After all, dead people have no sense of self-importance.  And we are dead.  Dead, but alive in Christ.  (What an awesome thought!  And what an incredible thing to spend a whole week "chewing" on that thought at camp this year!)  

We're also told in Colossians 3 to seek the things that are above, not earthly things, and to set our minds on things above...as our camp theme said, "Heads Up!"  Our focus is to be on Christ. We are to be seeking God with all of our hearts.  I've spent a lot of time in the last couple of months, both at home with my children, and in Sunday School with my youth girls, discussing how that affects our day-to-day lives.   As one of my favorite old hymns says, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."  (Helen H. Lemmel)  

If you've spent any time on this blog at all, you know that I love to photograph birds, particularly the birds in our backyard.  One of the things I've learned about bird photography (which applies to any photography, but is SO noticeable when trying to capture shots of wildlife) is that it is impossible to look in two directions at once.  I can't begin to describe how many "great shots" I've lost because I was looking at the birdbath when I should have been looking at the small feeder, or because I was focused on the small feeder when I should have been watching the large one.  There is no way for me to have my focused fixed on the small feeder on one side of the yard and at the same time see what the birds on the ground are doing.  It's impossible!

When our focus is on Christ, when our minds and hearts are set on things above, then all the petty stuff on earth falls completely out of our line of sight.  And when we are seeking Him with all our hearts, it's impossible to be self-seeking.  When we are overcome with who God is...His greatness, power, majesty, righteousness, sovereignty, etc....we realize how very minuscule we truly are.  

When we are caught up in following Him...in doing and being what He has called us to do and be...there is no room for self-importance and all the negative things that go along with it.  

Simply put...You can't offend a dead man.  

I have been crucified with Christ. 
It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. 
And the life I now live in the flesh 
I live by faith in the Son of God, 
who loved me and gave Himself for me.
~Colossians 2:20

Thanks to Urailak at Living for God for hosting this week!  Visit her blog to see what others are sharing about this week's quote. 

Multitude Monday ~ Simple Things

Joining with Ann today in remembering the gifts...simple things on this laid-back Labor Day Monday...

~ Cooler weather...not supposed to reach the 90s again for a week!

~ Billy off today...relaxing family time

~ Birds in the backyard...and time and weather to enjoy them again :)

~ Amazing worship, awesome sermon, and wonderful fellowship yesterday (and as Chad said, a "big bone to chew on" from the sermon yesterday morning)

~ Kids creating in preparation for the fair

~ Wildflowers

~ Praying friends, and the privilege of being a praying friend in return

~ Breezes off the lake

~ Picnics

~ Stacks of schoolbooks

~ Drives with no real destination

~ A full calendar, which sometimes doesn't seem like a gift, but which represents family, friends, fellowship, fun, ministry, learning, and enrichment.

~ Bedtime blankets


Bedtime Blessings

Planning to blog more tomorrow about the "big blessings" of the day, but for now, just thought I'd share a few "bedtime blessings" as I head that direction...

* An empty space on the calendar tomorrow...
* No alarm in the morning...
* Billy home tomorrow after working all weekend and late several nights this week...yay!!
* Forecast low tonight: 58 degrees!!!!!  (Yes, that digit in tens place is a "5"!!)
* Forecast high tomorrow: 81 degrees!!!!! (Yes, that digit in tens place is an "8"!!  Praying that the       Summer 2011 Heatwave is officially OVER!!)
* A good book to read as I head off to bed...

Tune in tomorrow for more on the "bigger blessings" of the day!


It's September 3rd Again...

Mother and Daddy would have been married 51 years today.  Hard to believe it's been 7 years since their 44th anniversary...the last one they would spend together.  Daddy's health had just begun a sudden, sharp decline, and we were all realizing that we were more than likely experiencing the beginning of the end.  I keep thinking I'll come up with an original anniversary post, but then I realize that the one I've posted for the last two years pretty much says it all...perhaps it will just become an anniversary blog tradition. :)  Here it is...

Although I obviously wasn't there :), I have many memories of the day...stories I've heard a hundred times such as the wedding having to be moved to First Baptist because Immanuel burned just before their wedding, and how my dad set the date in September because his parents had said that whoever got married first got their piano...and his sister was getting married in December :).

I am thankful today for the gift of Godly parents. Parents who weren't perfect, but who sought to model a genuine walk with Christ in our home, and who demonstrated to me the meaning of unconditional love. Parents who sacrificed much for their children in every area. Parents from whom I "caught" a love for God's Word and His church...who taught faithfulness and dependability and servanthood by their words *and* their actions. Parents who were anything but risk-takers, but who in spite of many uncertainties stepped out in faith to homeschool their children in a time when those were very uncharted (and unpopular!) waters.

I know I've posted this link before, but today seems an appropriate day to post it again. Not only is it just a story I love, told in the way only Mr. James can tell a story...but it is such a good reminder to me about God's sovereignty and perfect timing. Today as I look at situations in our family, and in the lives of others we love that don't make sense, that seem so "wrong" or "unfair", I am reminded again that God is working for our good, always.

An Old Fashioned Love Story