Savoring Summer #25: Blush Slippers

IMG_2118 edit.jpg“I can testify about them that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” (Romans 10:2)

Yes, it’s quite possible to be zealous for God but be incorrect about it.  He’s referring here to the Jews, who had God’s very law in their hands—and still missed the point.  This was such a good warning to me, to beware lest I ever slide into establishing my own ideas and standards of (seemingly Godly) righteousness instead of always falling back on the truth of His Word and His righteousness!

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

About the photo:  Home-school lesson of the week: an in-person introduction to our state flower.  Haven’t they been wonderful this year?!

Savoring Summer #24: Wood Anemone

IMG_1480 edit“As it also says in Hosea,

I will call Not my People, My People,

and she who is Unloved, Beloved.

And it will be in the place where they were told,

you are not my people,

there they will be called sons of the living God.” (Romans 9:25-26)

For those of us who are not part of God’s chosen people, the Jews, by birth, but believe in our hearts that Jesus is the only Way, the Truth and the Life: this is OUR promise!  God has enlarged His fold, and we, too, are chosen!

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

Savoring Summer #23: City Bush

IMG_1862 edit.jpg“For the Scripture tells Pharaoh, I raised you up for this reason so that I may display my power in you and that my name may be proclaimed in the whole earth.” (Romans 9:17)

Isn’t it a tremendous comfort to recognize that God is in control, that He has a plan, and that His purposes will not be thwarted by the foibles of mankind?  

So, when everything seems out of control in the world or your life, remember that God still is, and always will be in ultimate control.  Don’t give in to fear.

Or when you think YOU have everything under control, or are tempted to put your trust in the power and promises of man, remember that God still is, and always will be in ultimate control.  Don’t give in to false security.

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

About the photo:  This magnificent elderberry bush beautified my lunch break during a trip to town today, proving that the beauty of nature is to be found even in a grocery store parking lot.

Savoring Summer #21: Field of Flowers

IMG_1627 edit

Memory verse: “But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

The third step on the Romans Road is the solution to the problem.

P.S. See this post if you’re unfamiliar with the Romans Road!  Also, see this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

About the photo: I have never seen the fields near our house as completely covered in flowers as they are this year—and other people are saying it, too, so I know I’m not imagining it.

Savoring Summer #19: Deptford Pink

IMG_1743 editIMG_1741 edit“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)

This is the verse you need to keep handy for that hard day…or hard week…or hard month or year.  What infinite grace to know that was is coming for those who love the Lord will, indeed, no matter what you’re going through, “be worth it all”.

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

About the pictures: Just when I start to think that I’ve identified every flowering plant in the area (always a personal project of mine), I find a new one!  Apparently, this variety of dianthus is a non-native introduction that’s considered a “weed”…but it sure is pretty!

Savoring Summer #15: Dogwood

IMG_1449 edit“What then? Should we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Absolutely not!” (Romans 6:15)

When it comes to the topic of good works, people often fall into one extreme or the other.  Either their good works are earning them a place in heaven (legalism), or good works are useless and mean nothing (which gives them license to do as they please “because it’s all covered by grace”).  But neither of these views is accurate!

I love how today’s passage explains so well the proper place that “good works” should have in a Christian’s thinking.  We are not just saved FROM sin, we are also saved TO righteousness.

Sanctification, that big word that basically means “to be set apart to holiness” or “to become pure, free from sin”, is God’s desire for His children, just as our desire is for our children to heed our parental discipline and instruction, learn and mature, and grow up to live happy, healthy and useful lives.

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

Savoring Summer #11: Wild Columbine

IMG_5350 edit“If by the one man [Adam]’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17)

I have occasionally thought that it doesn’t seem quite “fair” that we all, without exception, have to suffer for Great-Grandfather Adam’s bite out of an apple. 

But is it “fair” that God had to send His only begotten Son to buy redemption for Adam and his entire family with His own life?  No, Adam had very “fair” warning (“you shall surely die”), but even after daily in-person face-to-face walks and talks with God (can you even imagine?!), he still chose to disbelieve his Creator. 

What probably would have been “fair” would have been for God to completely abandon Adam’s race to their deliberate and foolish choice and start again with an entirely new race on a different planet.  Why shouldn’t the Master Artist toss out a project that failed due to willfully flawed material and move on to other, better things?

But we all know that He didn’t, and that He chose an epic plan of love and redemption instead.  There’s nothing “fair” about that; it’s sheer mercy.  What wondrous love is this, O my soul?!

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

Savoring Summer #8: Blue-Eyed Grass

IMG_1355 edit“The righteousness of God

is through faith in Jesus Christ,

to all who believe,

since there is no distinction.” (Romans 3:22)

The word that stood out to me was ALL, coupled with “no distinction”.  It reminded me of this verse:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galations 3:28)

(…and you fill in the blank with any number of “opposite” parties.)

There is no room for segregation in the family of God.  In the midst of a world that seems to thrive on sorting people out into many separate groups and categories with all sorts of labels, let us strive instead for God’s view of people, who freely robes in righteousness with only one condition: belief.

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

Savoring Summer #4: Last Remnants of Spring

IMG_0990 edit“A person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart—by the Spirit, not the letter [of the law].  That person’s praise is not from people but from God.” (Romans 2:29)

In other words—“the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

This is tremendously freeing, because I don’t have to worry about what people think of me, or fret over man-made lists of do’s and don’ts.

This is also tremendously sobering, because the all-seeing, all-knowing God is the judge of the state of my heart.  I can’t put on false pretenses or pretend to be something I’m not with Him like I can with people.  Nothing is hidden from Him.

That’s sobering, but it’s not fearsome—because He is a good and loving Father and I am His child!

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!  Also, if you’re reading along, feel free to share your own thoughts from today’s passage in the comments!

On the Last Day of Summer

IMG_0145Farewell to shadows of bluebells on white chicken coop walls…IMG_9119Farewell to pleasant afternoons hanging laundry on the line in the company of friendly toads…IMG_0150Farewell to grasshoppers, and white trumpet vines, and all other such elegant pairings…IMG_9486IMG_0042-1.jpgIMG_9596Farewell to barefoot days at the edge of the lake……IMG_0433-1.jpgFarewell to the haunting serenade of loons…IMG_9160 IMG_1023-1Farewell to daisy bouquets made by small hands, and smoky sunsets, gifts from forests burning far away…IMG_0883Farewell to cumulonimbus, those splendid, tall ships sailing by in the sea of the sky…IMG_0467Farewell to restless, flitting warblers in green, green meadows…IMG_0445IMG_0439IMG_0443Farewell to lush gardens decked in the thousand diamonds of sudden morning showers…IMG_0319Farewell to the brief, warm nights, sparkling with celestial beauty and fireflies, humming with mosquitoes…IMG_9864Farewell to all the sun-ripened berries hiding under the leaves…IMG_9806Farewell to picturesque encounters on whimsical summer evening drives…IMG_9688Farewell to all the babies, now raised and grown…IMG_9426Farewell to dancing swallowtails in ballrooms of flowers…IMG_9611Farewell, sweet summer; welcome, glorious autumn!