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Monday, June 18, 2018

Green Is My Valley

     This morning, my daughter, Anna, sent me a verse of scripture – Philippians 4:5, The Voice version - Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us.
    As I read “Green Is My Valley” again, I realize Mom knew God’s presence all through her life, and her faith in Jesus grew throughout ninety-one years.
   I remembered the Wednesday evening, on the way to Bible Study, I stopped at Mom’s small apartment.  She didn’t answer the doorbell.  I opened the door and called, “Mom, Mom?”  I found her in bed hungry and frightened. She had been there most of the day, too weak to call me. I know this poem echoed her thoughts and began to form on that day. “I feared to walk within the valley of pain. I had so much to learn.”
    The words of this poem came with the thought of how intense suffering is a growing time in the Lord.  Anna Daisy suffered ever-growing pain in breathing with the intensity as Pulmonary Fibrosis progressed. Her favorite Psalm 37, contains the words, “Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust Him, and He will help you.” (NLT)
     Empty words? Why do pain and the fear of pain become our teacher and turn our hearts to the Love of God and the power of His Son, Jesus?
     Just as we celebrate completing each year in school, we celebrate each milestone of healing and restoration to health. Our spirit grows in learning to trust our Lord God through illness and stressful times in our lives. We give God the Glory when we see through our difficult times we experience spiritual maturity of love, peace, joy, and patience.  It is not of us, but the gift of God and we give Him the glory!
     Noah saw the first rainbow that appeared in the sky, a promise from God. We are still filled with awe and excitement to glimpse the rainbow confirmation of God’s covenant with all living creatures, that floodwaters will not cover the earth again.  To Noah, who trusted and obeyed God and built a boat no one had ever seen before.  Believing in God creates a gentleness in our lives that speaks eloquently of God’s love.
     When I am discouraged and filled with fear, I remember, I John 4:18-19 - Such love does not doubt because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love.  We love each other because He loved us first.
      When Mother’s time came to meet with her Lord, and I began reading Psalm 37, including these two verses.  The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.” (23-24). 
    Mother loved the phrase, Delight yourself in the Lord. Verse 4 – “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires. As she took her last breath, I knew her heart’s desires, realized, and she was with the Lord. For the Lord endures forever and is faithful.”        
     Psalm 9:1-2 - I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.
     2 Corinthians 13:11 - Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.
     John 1:16-18 - From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.  For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.
      James 1:2-4 - Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Green is My Valley

I feared to walk within the valley
Of pain. I had so much to learn.
The unexpected joys surprised me;
The Lord was there at every turn.

I found a richness in the valley;
My soul was Spirit-fed to grow.
A rainbow arched through blessing showers
Just when my evening lamp burned low.

Maturity came in my valley
Where faith ran like a river deep;
I found a rich contentment
Before I closed my eyes in sleep.

                  Anna Daisy Siemens


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Christmas Forever

  Anna Daisy’s poem – Christmas Forever -Causes me to wonder.  How can I put into a few words the whole of the life of Jesus? Impossible. 
     Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.  John 21:25.
     The word ‘forever’ catches my eye.  Forever – that describes Jesus.  Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever – Psalm 136:1 is so true.
     Gabriel told Mary, her Son will reign over Israel forever and never end - Luke 1:33.  In Romans 16:26-27 - But now as the prophets foretold and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere, so that they too might believe and obey him.  All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen.
     God did not have a planner, and yet every detail of His plan for the coming of Jesus to earth was flawless.  He led people to the places and gave them the vision of His Plan. Why did Caesar Augustus decree all should be taxed when the birth of Jesus was imminent? Why did Angel Gabriel tell Mary that her relative, who had been barren would bare a son named John, the one who preached repentance and baptized Jesus?
     How can we celebrate the birth of Christ on just one day a year?  Jesus guides us through His forever love and does not end on the 26th of December and thrown out like the wrapping paper of the gifts given.  The real Gift is from God when He sent Jesus to earth to teach us how to love. Jesus is the visual representation of God incarnate.
    Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. John 14:9b-10.
    What if we were one of the shepherds who witnessed angels from Heaven announcing the birth of Jesus. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!  And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”  Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
Luke 2:9-14.
     After the angels left, the shepherds didn’t take a nap – they hurried to the village and found the babe and worshiped Him. They returned to their flocks glorifying and praising God for all they had seen.
      The wise men from the eastern lands saw the star rise and traveled to Jerusalem, asking to see the newborn king of the Jews. They carried gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to give to the Baby Jesus. What if they said, that is too far, and where will we stay, and what if some evil attacks us on the way? (Matthew 2). The birth of Jesus is just a beginning.  He only lived for thirty-three years on earth, yet Jesus made an indelible and ‘forever’ mark in men’s hearts and minds during this brief time.
    It is when we listen and study His Word in the Bible, we understand the ‘forever-ness’ of God’s Plan from the beginning of time – and far beyond our short years on earth.  It is the joy of His Resurrection that gives us Hope for all the ‘forever’ we will spend with our Lord and Creator when time is no more.  Yes, Mom, Christmas Forever is our song sounding beyond this life.
    Each day, I celebrate the birth and resurrection of Jesus. I won’t wait for December the 25th.  Thanks, Mom.
Christmas Forever

My Christmas is forever
For since I found the babe
A bright new love has kindled
A fire that will not fade.

My Christmas is forever
I still hear, “Glory! Glory!”
His star shines as bright as ever
In this unending story.

My Christmas is forever
It’s not a day or toy
That soon is lost or broken
But a heartfelt inner joy.

My Christmas is forever
When Christ becomes a part
Of lives that need a Savior

To reign with each heart.
     Anna Daisy Siemens