Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Whatsoever things are lovely...

During March, we met with our daughter and family to enjoy the glories of the Arizona desert where we lived for several years. Of course, nothing remains the same and the region has grown far beyond what we could ever imagine. One thing remains constant though – the red rocks of Sedona and the flora and fauna of the area are still as beautiful as ever. God’s creation is still magnificent to behold.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippians 4:8

Two mansions -- one built by man, one built by God. Which do you prefer?
In the Sedona area of Arizona

Indian Springs B & B, a lovely respite in the desert where we have stayed many times

The lone saguaro on the way to Indian springs

The saguaro cactus is native to Arizona and is a large, tree like cactus that can grow up to fifty feet tall. The saguaro blossom is the State Wildflower of Arizona.

Outside the courtyard

Looking through the wrought iron fan to the mountains beyond. So beautiful

The garden wall outside the hacienda at Indian Springs

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Shepherdess Speaks...

Legend of the Phoenix

A mural of the legendary Phoenix adorns a section of wall in the Phoenix airport, and during the years I have traveled in and out of the city, I rarely take note of the mural. This sprawling western city of Phoenix was named for the legendary bird and the mural is a reflection of the name. Since the city appears to rise from the flaming desert floor and continues to thrive in this arid condition, the name is quite appropriate.

Legend says that the brilliantly colored bird builds its own funeral pyre and then throws itself into the flames to die. From the burning pyre, the Phoenix rises from the ashes and flaming embers to live again—reborn after death, now far more beautiful than ever before.

While waiting for my flight, my eyes scanned the mural, recalling the myth and the symbolism of the tale. I, too, like the mythical Phoenix, had thrown myself onto God’s refining fire; dying to my own will, relinquishing myself to God. Still, I believed, trusted, knowing that someday—I would rise from the ashes of my present trial of faith to soar high above the flames, more alive and stronger than before the flames had destroyed my human will with His purifying fire.~

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." Matthew 16:24-25

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." John 12:24-25

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Shepherdess Speaks...

The Road...the Risk

I remember walking this very road, wondering what might lurk in the shadows, or pounce on me when I reached the next bend. And…what might be waiting at the end of the road? It was narrow, not well traveled, and seemed somewhat risky to begin the journey at all. I could see nothing in the distance but winding road, no other person in sight. In fact, it seemed I was traveling by myself.

Like Pilgrim, I began my spiritual journey alone; glad to be rid of the burden on my back and walking away from the city of destruction. I soon met with fellow travelers on this same narrow path. Like me, they chose to take the risk and willingly made themselves vulnerable to whatever perils might befall them, knowing that loving, forgiving, and caring is always risky and often hurtful to an open heart.

But then, I heard footsteps, walking in the shadows; a quiet presence watching over me, guiding me, loving me. I knew this gentle spirit to be my Savior, Jesus, my Shepherd and Sovereign guide.

Still, He is there to lighten the dark places, and I glimpse Him in the sunny fields where flowers bloom. Whenever I encounter unexpected storms, dangers, or malicious enemies, He is there to rescue me with His amazing grace. The journey has been many years now and the road has been perilous and often perplexing, but the joys have far outweighed the sorrows and I would say; it was well worth the risk and I am glad I traveled this way. He is there…I hear His footsteps in the shadows.


I Hear Footsteps, Walking in the Shadows

Talking about the good life

Friends, I've known it,

Had my home to ring with laughter

Heard my children in prayer,

Talking about the bad times

Oh, I’ve been there,

Had my world to crumble down

And only God would care…

You ask me about the mountains

Yes, I've climbed them,

Felt the sunshine on my shoulder

And the warm wind blow,

And you ask me about the valley,

Yes, I've been there

Had my heart to break in two

And felt the tear drops flow…

But I heard footsteps…

Walking in the shadows,

And a hand reaching out to tell me

He was there,

Yes, I heard footsteps

Walking in the shadows,

And a hand reaching out to tell me

He was there.

Yes, He was always there.