Friday, July 21, 2017

Sour milk on my cereal

How to get through a day

If life gives you sour milk, eat ice cream!

Among the good blessings in life, we discover some surprises aren’t good. Like pouring sour milk on a dish of cereal, we never know when frustrations will seep in to soak up our energy and distract us from our goals.

With gratitude I enjoy breakfast …
  1. Coffee—a staple in my diet
  2. Cereal—variety or combination of rice, wheat, corn, barley and oats
  3. Nuts—pumpkin seeds and sliced almonds
  4. Fruit—fresh or frozen blueberries
  5. Milk—if sour and there’s no fresh milk on hand, ice cream makes a rich and smooth substitute
Sour milk ruin your breakfast cereal? Start fresh and substitute ice cream!
Sour milk ruins cereal, so start fresh and substitute ice cream! To fix the breakfast blunder: strain and pick out cereal to dispose, rinse/save the blueberries/nuts, add fresh cereal and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
VoilĂ —a blessing in disguise!

Words sour, substitute, purpose and accomplish inspired me to take this picture and motivated me to write.  

And then questions came to mind:
  1. “What does your daily routine look like?” a friend asked, knowing I’d made a career change to work from home.
  2. “What do you hope to accomplish in this life before you die?” came up during a class studying a man of integrity, Martin Luther, who translated the Bible so it could be printed for everyone. 
His last written words were, “We are beggars: this is true.” from Holy Ponderings of the Reverend Father Doctor Martin Luther, translated for Project Wittenberg by James Kellerman

I push forward to accomplish purposeful goals and keep an open mind to where the Lord may be leading me. And then I sin.
Sin can be summed up as all the things we say, think, do, and don’t do, that fall outside of God’s holy will for our lives and end up separating us from God. —Lutheran Hour Ministries
All of us should watch out for various ways Satan tries to trick, confuse, pull us into his lies and distasteful ways. Our own and also other people’s sin cause us to suffer all kinds of unpleasant consequences: sad situations, horrible circumstances, harmed or broken relationships.

So, what do we do about the sour moments?

Do not swallow the sour milk. Sin is more than we can handle and fix on our own. To be strong we should quickly pick up our heavy sin and give it to Jesus, saying, “I’m sorry” to Him and also to each person offended. Seek help, change direction, work hard at not repeating mistakes—it’s called repentance which receives God’s mercy.
If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Proverbs 24:10 ESV (whole chapter)
Love others because Christ first loved us. Thrive on every ounce of the Holy Spirit’s fruit to face difficulties caused by darkness coming from another person, poor health, or natural disaster.
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1 ESV (whole chapter)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV (whole chapter)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… Galatians 5:23 (whole chapter)

Like strained sour milk, rinsed fruit and rich ice cream, let the merciful love of God save the day.

The Holy Spirit creates faith and comes to us in the water of Christian Baptism and the Word. Once received, always there—stronger than evil which the Truth of Scripture exposes.

When sin is repented, it is strained completely out through Christ. Jesus, Our Substitute has accomplished what was necessary. God looks into the hearts of believers and sees not our sin, but sees His Son who took away the sin of the world. More about repentance and forgiveness: click here

To top it all off, we are covered by the richness of the Holy Spirit to smooth over our conscience.

Out of thankfulness, we study the Bible with friends regularly in church. To follow God’s perfect recipe, complete with instructions for life: we drink, eat and inwardly digest the Good News which sustains and holds us safe.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7 ESV (whole chapter)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. … Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding… Proverbs 3:5,13 ESV (whole chapter)

Explore God’s purposes for allowing us to experience disappointing hardships.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV (whole chapter)
  1. Our loving Heavenly Father desires all people to be saved.
  2. He expects us to ask questions and examine Scripture for guidance and wisdom. 
  3. Reminder to reconnect if we’ve wandered, procrastinated, or have become arrogant and lazy about faith matters.
  4. Pray The Lord’s Prayer as it may relate.
  5. Find a church and talk with a Pastor.
  6. If you love God with your whole heart; just trust He’s working it for good. 
  7. Reminder to: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. … So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:2,10 (whole chapter)

The power of the Holy Spirit

  • Educates and opens our eyes to realize we need our Savior; then leads us to repent and strive to change
  • Offers relief from fear and comfort for pain
  • Lifts depression—replaces it with contentment and joy
  • Grants freedom to be faithful
  • Makes clear methods to improve self-control
  • Allows us to receive forgiveness, goodness and kindness
  • Equips us to forgive others (even when thy have not admitted guilt); then permits us to be good and kind toward them
  • Strengthens us to patiently, mercifully, bear with the faults and burdens of others
  • Encourages and motivates us to be gentle, peaceful and loving

While I can’t escape sour milk moments, in an average day my routine may include:

  • Sleep about 7–8 hours until I wake for the day
  • Stretch and tone up for about 40 minutes
  • Listen to Worldwide KFUO and other internet radio stations
  • Pray, read and listen to prayers, various devotions and Bible
  • Sing or listen to hymns (a form of prayer) via You Tube or
  • Work creatively in some form such as sketching or writing in this blog
  • Business at FreshRetroGallery Etsy and Handmade-Amazon: plan, design, research, development, product creation, photography, graphics, promotion, purchasing, maintenance, organize, bookkeeping, customer service, print labels, package, take shipments to the Post Office, continue education
  • Home—organize, shop, meals, laundry, clean
  • Exercise—long walks or swim laps; use stepper
  • Socialize in person or online
  • Relax with a novel or Netflix
I expect additions and changes in my daily routine:
  • Family vocations of sister, wife and mother: experiences make life full
  • Crazy mode pre-Christmas business shipping rush
  • Church, theater, concerts, museums, travel, extending/receiving invitations, celebrations, book club, dates, festivals, special organized activities and events
  • Opportunities knock to use God-given talent through volunteer work. I recently formatted language translations of Luther’s Small Catechism for Lutherans In Africa (LIA), serve on a church reformation anniversary committee and participate in a women’s organization
  • Health issues and appointments for myself or to help others

Please click center arrow to play Lutheran Service Book hymn: From God Can Nothing Move Me from Heirs of the Reformation: Treasures of the Singing Church 4-CD Set

Dear Lord, thank You for the love Christ has shown to me through His death and resurrection. May that love motivate me to continue in my Christian faith, even when it’s hard. In Jesus’ name. Amen. — prayer from Mustard Seed Devotions

Friday, May 19, 2017

Free coloring sheet printable: Lutheran Christian faith art for adults and kids

Free coloring sheet for adults and children — Faith Art

Coloring page, free crafts for VBS, Sunday school, church event party favors and activities!

Free downloadable coloring sheet Christian Faith Art
Hey friends, I made this this printable coloring page for adults and children! Free download: just click the art to open a larger jpg image, save to your device, print and color it! You are welcome to share with teachers, students, pastors, parents, friends. See colored seal, get vector PDF format (higher resolution) and other versions at FreshRetroGallery Etsy.

Ideas to use as art, craft, coloring projects for Lutheran/Christian events and occasions

Enjoyment, education, evangelism

Coloring is a trending activity using art to teach lessons, memorization, and share our Savior’s gospel with students, family, and people in your circle.
  • Baptism
  • First Communion
  • Confirmation
  • Party favors
  • Sunday school
  • Vacation Bible school (VBS)
  • Parochial school classroom
  • Adult Bible study class
  • Prayer, devotion, women’s group (LWML) meetings
  • Mother-daughter events
  • Hospital and nursing home visits

What does this mean?

About the Design

Martin Luther personally oversaw the creation of the Luther Rose art recognized for Lutheranism. The seal is a beautiful visual summary of the faith which is common to Christians of every place and time. Luther explained the meaning of his design in a letter to Lazarus Spengler, July 8, 1530 [WA Br 5:445]; tr. P. T. McCain

Taking a fresh look at Luther’s purposeful, enduring art — the symbol he shared in good friendship — I created this rendition with a purple banner that says, “It’s all about Jesus” to emphasize that nothing we do achieves salvation which is only in Christ. Purple paraments are used by liturgical congregations during Lent. The color reminds Christians of their daily need to seek to live a life of humble repentance (as the inerrant Scripture reveals).
“And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him.” Mark 15:17 ESV
Words in the gold ring summarize Lutheran teaching
  1. Grace alone
  2. Faith alone
  3. Word (Scripture) alone
  4. Christ (Truth) alone
Lessons prepared for adults and children are found in the short descriptions of faith on the coloring page drawing.

Black Cross

The first should be a black cross in a heart, which retains its natural color, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. For one who believes from the heart will be justified”. Although it is indeed a black cross, which mortifies and which should also cause pain, it leaves the heart in its natural color. It does not corrupt nature, that is, it does not kill but keeps alive. “The just shall live by faith” but by faith in the crucified.

Red Heart

The heart is red because Jesus shed His blood for us so that we may live. He saves us by grace through faith.

White Rose

Such a heart should stand in the middle of a white rose, to show that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace. In other words, it places the believer into a white, joyous rose, for this faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives. That is why the rose should be white and not red, for white is the color of the spirits and the angels.

Blue Background

Such a rose should stand in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in spirit and faith is a beginning of the heavenly future joy, which begins already, but is grasped in hope, not yet revealed.

Gold Circle

Around the blue field is a golden ring, symbolizing that such blessedness in Heaven lasts forever and has no end. Such blessedness is exquisite, beyond all joy and goods, just as gold is the most valuable, most precious and best metal.

Purple Banner

Purple represents repentance as we daily turn from our sin and trust in Christ.

Green Leaves

Five green leaves remind us of God’s wonderful creation! New life through the Spirit of Christ comes to us in Baptism. Trusting His Word, we grow in faith.

Shell/Water and Bible

Baptism art is placed above three lines where a person’s full name can be written. It is one of the miraculous means of grace (another is God’s Word as it is written or spoken), through which God creates and/or strengthens the gift of faith in a person’s heart. Biblical references for the coloring page are Romans 10:10, Romans 1:17, John 14:27, Matthew 28:3, John 20:12, 1 John 3:2, Romans 5:5, Genesis 1:1, John 11:25, and Mark 1:15.

Coloring page created to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

We appreciate the creativity of Luther’s rose design which has lasted so long! God’s hand was in the timing of Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press and Martin Luther’s Bible translation. These events made Scripture accessible to common people throughout Germany and eventually the world!
“Martin Luther was many things: preacher, teacher, orator, translator, theologian, composer, and family man. He came to symbolize everything the Protestant Reformation stood for. But perhaps Luther’s greatest achievement was the German Bible. No other work has had as strong an impact on a nation’s development and heritage as has this Book.” more at Christianity Today (CT)

Learn more history, theology, teaching, worship, media, resources, and how to get involved at the Lutheran Reformation site. Get answers to Lutheran Christian faith questions and read more about my church’s beliefs and practices.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 ESV

Go ahead! 

Please, enjoy using my coloring page as you study its content. Personal and educational use of the coloring sheet does not require further written permission from me, the designer.

© Elizabeth Knaus, FreshRetroGallery

Additional versions of digital files — color, grayscale, black — in high resolution PDF and other formats are available to download for reproduction at FreshRetroGallery

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Chalkboard art ideas and benefits of sketching

Vintage windows repurposed into chalkboard art

Before children, teachers, educators and business people used iPads and computers…

… before markers on whiteboards were popular: in school classrooms and at home, chalkboards or blackboards were commonly used for education and creative, artistic play.

9-pane window found at an estate sale with chalk art
My son Nathan found this 9-pane window at an estate sale. It was repurposed with chalkboard paint by my husband Stan. He asked me to write something on it and hopes to sell it at Mudcreek Antiques in Abilene, Kansas.

Chalk as an art medium on chalkboard is trending decor

  • boutique signage
  • kitchen and family rooms in homes
  • deli, bar and restaurant menus
  • wedding and other events
  • dorm lounge
  • daycare
  • school and church classrooms

chalkboard window panels with Bible verse Ephesians 4:32
I used the bottom 3 panels to do chalk lettering of the Bible verse “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Chalkboard art ideas

Chalkboard art: It is not happy people who are grateful, it is grateful people who are happy
It is not happy people who are grateful, it is grateful people who are happy.

How to use old windows to make chalkboard art

  1. find old window at estate sale or salvage yard
  2. wash it
  3. let it dry
  4. mask frame with tape or remove the panes
  5. lightly sand off chunks and flakes
  6. paint frame or…
  7. leave vintage patina and spray with satin clear
  8. replace broken panes with new glass or…
  9. …cut new material (cement board was used in the image shown)
  10. paint panes with chalkboard spray paint
  11. insert and secure prepared panes (replacements) into window frame
  12. sketch ideas, thumbnail size, with pencil on paper
  13. re-draw thumbnail sketches using chalk on actual panes

chalkboard art 1 Corintinians 16:14
“Let all that you do be done in love”
I Corinthians 16:14

Ideas for organizing and splitting the workload

Families take turns doing certain chores around home. Utilize a chalkboard to mark out whose turn it is to wash dishes, sort socks and fold underwear. Each week jot down important dates such as a parent-teacher conference, dental appointment and wedding anniversary.

Change it weekly and make celebratory notes!
Organize all kinds of things in your household for
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Memorize Bible verses on a chalkboard

Christians strive to grow in faith and share it with others. I’m so thankful my grandma inspired me and blessed many people throughout her entire life. Even after she lost her eye sight, she was always thankful, optimistic and shared her rich knowledge of the scripture she’d memorized.

love bible verse quote on chalkboard
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant”
1 Corinthians 13:4

Keep love fresh and healthy with the help of a chalkboard for Spiritual tips.

I love you and flower sketch on chalkboard
I love you and a flower sketch can brighten a mood like a fresh bouquet, hug and kind voice.

Benefits of sketching

Drawing in a sketchbook or on a chalkboard is well worth the time spent!
  • visual thinking tools
  • temporary, erasable
  • method of expression
  • form of communication
  • promotes discussion
  • extends memory
  • creative and design development
  • share ideas
  • aids problem-solving
  • learn about art and other subjects
  • explore variations
  • enhances concentration
  • generate ideas quickly
  • develop motor skills
  • play games like hangman or tic-tac-toe
  • encourages planning
  • builds ability to organize
  • distracts from difficult situations
  • pleasure — fun pastime

Sketching makes a wide variety of subjects interesting…

The Bible Project provides an illustrated video for every book of the Bible that outlines its structure and design and how it fits into the entire biblical story.

Many people, like me, are more teachable with pictures and demonstrations. We often sketch and take notes during
  • classes
  • seminars
  • symposiums
  • meetings

be awesome today chalkboard quote
Be awesome today is an encouraging statement! Our God is an awesome God! His grace and the power of His Spirit lives within all who believe and trust in Jesus Christ.
Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:5

Thanks for reading my blog. You may always share!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Election, Lutherans, and the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

Voting falls in line with Christian worship, education, and evangelic ministry. 

This election, many Christians will vote to hold onto religious freedom for the good of all people. 

God already knows the outcome of the election. He knows your heart and mine (I’ll be voting Republican). Read more on a Lutheran view of church and state.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6: 10-11
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 ESV
As a Christian businesswoman, wife, and mother, my focus is on important political issues that allow for freedom to be faithful. I believe children in the womb have a right to live and in God’s perfect plan for marriage.
    Don't Be Hating (video) explains the Fifth Commandment. I look to a candidate who will make better choices on Supreme Court Justices.

    Tuesday With Luther (video) discusses the Sixth Commandment. I favor a party who respects my right to live my faith in making business decisions that include when and for whom I do creative and artistic work.

    Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.
    Read more at:

    Please vote and pray for our nation and world.

    First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

    Discernment and forgiveness of sins is for all who humbly confess, repent, turn around and receive Christ’s grace.
    Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! Psalm 40:4
    I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. Isaiah 44:22 ESV 
    On the Last Day the Truth will be known.
    …so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2: 10-11

    Meditating upon our Creator’s masterpiece at the Minnesota North Shore on Lake Superior with my sister and daughter. “Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.” Martin Luther
    Until that Last Day, let’s trust our Sovereign Lord and make every effort to vote for politicians who (and support ministries which) aren’t wooed by activists with itching ears.
    I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
    2 Timothy 4: 1-8 ESV
    Speaking of ministry…

    Lutherans Celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, October 31, 2017 

    Martin Luther stood up for the truths of God’s Word. Read more about the 500th Anniversary of Reformation.

    Let’s pray for all Lutherans
    • Thank you, Christ, for keeping faithful Lutherans in pure Biblical doctrine and undiluted theology
    • Thank you, Spirit, for inspiring Bible teachers who don’t distort your Word
    • Thank you, Father, for pastors who lead divine worship, preaching sermons you inspire without veering into unauthorized territory
    • Dear God, close itching ears and redirect activist Lutherans who have lost their way and corrupted your Good News 
    • Oh, Holy Spirit, encourage the apathetic, protect ignorant members, and exhort leaders of the erring Lutheran denomination

    God’s hand was in the timing of Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press and Martin Luther’s Bible translation which lead to the worldwide distribution of God’s Word. Read more.

    To mark the reformation milestone, I created printable art for my Christian (LCMS) friends:

    Faith, Word, Grace, Truth Luther’s Rose, It’s all about Jesus: Lutheran art
    Faith, Word, Grace, Truth Luther’s Rose, It’s all about Jesus: Lutheran art is a fresh look at the historical symbol which Martin Luther shared in good friendship.

    About the Art of Martin Luther’s Seal with my Design Rendition

    Martin Luther personally oversaw the creation of the Luther Rose which is a timeless visual summary of the Christian faith. Luther explained the meaning:
    “First, there is a black cross in a heart that remains its natural color. This is to remind me that it is faith in the Crucified One that saves us. Anyone who believes from the heart will be justified (Romans 10:10). It is a black cross, which mortifies and causes pain, but it leaves the heart its natural color. It doesn’t destroy nature, that is to say, it does not kill us but keeps us alive, for the just shall live by faith in the Crucified One (Romans 1:17). The heart should stand in the middle of a white rose. This is to show that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace—it puts the believer into a white, joyous rose. Faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives (John 14:27). This is why the rose must be white, not red. White is the color of the spirits and angels (cf. Matthew 28:3; John 20:12). This rose should stand in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that a joyful spirit and faith is a beginning of heavenly, future joy, which begins now, but is grasped in hope, not yet fully revealed. Around the field of blue is a golden ring to symbolize that blessedness in heaven lasts forever and has no end. Heavenly blessedness is exquisite, beyond all joy and better than any possessions, just as gold is the most valuable and precious metal.” — Letter from Martin Luther to Lazarus Spengler, July 8, 1530 [WA Br 5:445]; tr. P. T. McCain
    Using Adobe Illustrator, I created my own rendition of Luther’s concept covered by a purple banner, “It's all about Jesus”. This is to emphasize the Biblical doctrine that “nothing we do” achieves salvation which is only in Christ. The traditional role of purple used by liturgical congregations during Lent reminds Christians of their daily need to humbly seek to live a life of repentance. “And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him.”—Mark 15:17 ESV. Four words in the gold ring explain Martin Luther’s teaching. Read more about Grace alone, Faith alone, Scripture (Word) alone, Jesus (Truth) alone.

    My favorite ideas to use the art: Baptism Onesies and Coloring Pages for Sunday School!

    Luther Rose coloring page art
    Line art for printing solid 1-color items and Sunday School coloring pages.

    Lutheran clip art to print various products
    Lutheran clip art to create printed gifts that celebrate Baptism and the Reformation.

    Luther Rose art available in color, grayscale and black and white.
    Luther Rose clip art available in color, grayscale and black and white.

    Thanks for reading my post. Seek the Lord who will bless you in the peace of Christ!

    Saturday, August 6, 2016

    Smiles, surprises and daily blessings

    Funny carrot person is one of the simple things in life that brings joy!

    My gardener husband Stan pulled a surprise out of the ground yesterday. As he washed off the soil, he recognized the funny carrot person shown below! Later, I was putting away the groceries and was delighted to find her relaxing in a bowl of veggies. Comically entertained, I grabbed the camera to share this whimsical moment. I posed her on a zucchini bench by my vintage blender.
    God is in the details. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
    funny carrotman
    Funny carrotman relaxing on zucchini bench at Hamilton Beach

    The electric mixer in the background of this picture reminds me of the day I wandered into a thrift shop during my lunch break. I found this vintage Hamilton Beach® blender which is exactly like the one Mom had! Memories rushed back to me of kitchen time spent with her and my sisters.

    Stan and I keep and use some of the old items we find, others are available at Mud Creek Antique Mall in Abilene, Kansas; and I offer some worldwide at FreshRetroGallery.

    Dad and Mom added a couple rooms and remodeled the house the year I was born. Dad built the kitchen cabinets. Their design included a special drawer dedicated to cake; and the mixer was on a spring-loaded retractable shelf that popped up out of a cupboard which hid it when it was’t in use.

    Those were good times together in the farm home in Hegbert Township where I grew up in a family of eight.

    Count 20 of God’s blessings

    1. beauty in nature
    2. humor in imagination
    3. kindness in friendship
    4. accomplishment in work
    5. strength in trials
    6. expertise in professionals
    7. wisdom in elders
    8. unity in family
    9. inspiration in the arts: visual, performing, music
    10. courage in creativity
    11. enjoyment in entertainment
    12. exploration in travel
    13. talent and skill in practice
    14. health in exercise
    15. flavor and nutrition in foods
    16. meditation in quiet times
    17. knowledge in books
    18. rest in sleep
    19. harmony in love
    20. humility to renounce sin; forgiveness and peace in Jesus

    Focusing on positive things allows you to realize the blessing list goes on and on. Shake off sad. Get rid of mad. Be glad for life itself, today and everyday with thanksgiving!

    This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
    This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
    Psalm 118:24

    Thanks for reading this blog post. Have a great day!

    Saturday, March 19, 2016

    What is your favorite season: spring summer, autumn (fall) or winter?

    Blessed by the spring robin and faith in Jesus

    Blessed Spring Robin by Elizabeth Knaus using Adobe Illustrator software.

    The calendar is marked and the climate changes with seasons. God’s creation instinctively knows what to do in order to survive and thrive. 

    He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. Psalm 104:19 ESV
    In one year, four distinctive three-month seasons each bring something different: occasional snow in winter, pleasant temperatures in spring/fall, and intense heat during summer. This fluctuation occurs in Kansas where I live; yet, near the equator temperatures remain steady and seasons are marked by the amount of precipitation that is received.

    We live during the season of grace on earth before Jesus Christ returns on the Last Day.

    “Every generation should expect Christ’s return as they see the signs of the end times. … God wants all people to come to believe and trust in His Son for their salvation and to lead holy lives in service to Him, eagerly awaiting with patience and perseverance His return on the last day.” Excerpt from pdf “What About . . .The New Millenniumby Dr. A.L. Barry, past President of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod
    We know there will be an end, yet in sin we often:
    • slip up on good intentions
    • procrastinate
    • reject opportunities to receive His gifts of Word and Sacrament
    • ignore chances to honor Him through caring and sharing with others
    • worship and praise Him less or not at all
    • become selfish with time, talent and money
    • separate ourselves from Him
    • apathetically, become complacent toward churches who support false teachers that twist His truth or flat-out reject it
    • claim we don’t need Him/His forgiveness (are blind to our own sin)
    • are lazy
    • the list goes on as we think and act in ways that are against His commandments
    There is no getting around it. We sin without even knowing it!
    They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.’ Jeremiah 5:24 ESV
    God loves us and hates sin. The Spirit provides faith, desire and ability to repent and turn away from sin. His command for us is to put Him above all our “small-g” gods and look to His Son whose virgin birth, perfect life, suffering, death and bodily resurrection took away the punishment we deserve. Only in Christ we receive forgiveness. Wisdom, courage and power is ours when we hear and read His Word. Out of thanksgiving, we strive to honor Him by making an effort to do great things and share His love.

    Lovely sights in nature draw me to my Creator. 

    I grew up in Minnesota where a robin sighting marks the beginning of spring. We enjoyed ice skating and building snowmen, but winters started early and were long-lasting. Whoever happened to see the first robin was somewhat of a hero who brought a little joy into the day! After I moved over 500 miles south, I learned that Kansans see robins two months before Minnesotans do and the warmer climate allows us to grow different plants. With the help of God we: confess/repent/recieve forgiveness of sin; watch our diet and exercise to improve our health; keep up property landscape aesthetics. We must clean the yard, prune pampas grass, physically and spiritually clean up our act. Spring is a season to start fresh growth.

    Today I went for a walk and saw the largest flock of robins I’d ever seen; a rough estimate is over 50 of them! Repeatedly, they were taking-off and landing in the grass ditch near the Solomon River. I enjoy observing the mysterious lives of birds and imagining dreamy things like the ability to fly. I’m not alone—the birding hobby soars in popularity across North America. It is an art and science.
    My parents enjoyed watching birds. They kept this pair of antique binoculars by the back door window. The vintage globe sat on the filing cabinet in the room we called den. Now they’re displayed on a stacking bookcase I inherited from my maternal grandmother. The cherished handiwork of my mother, Hardanger embroidery or “Hardangersøm”, was a Christmas gift which must have taken many hours to create. The green vase holds April plant clippings from my back yard including purple iris and viburnum alleghany.

    Dad’s favorite bird species inspired him and Mom to study their patterns. 

    Dad built fancy hotels for purple martins. To track migration patterns, Mom went online at the library to check sighting data which she reported back to Dad. Together, they anticipated the arrival of when their martins would check in. I imagine their bird watching hobby was sparked by their interest in the weather which had been an important aspect of their occupational livelihood as seed crop farmers before retirement.

    In their lives I remember that in everything — the good and hard times — they studied the Word, gave thanks, and trusted His will to be done through Jesus Christ. They had peace.
    “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matthew 6:25-26

    In the seasons of a Christian’s life,

    … we walk by faith, not by sight. … 2 Corinthians 5
    No matter what we face, in God’s Word we can start each day fresh. His forgiveness is always there for us to receive when we pray and remember our baptism in Jesus Christ who suffered for us so by His pure grace we can live. He knows our challenges and pain. He comforts us and celebrates our joys — right here, right now — until the day we die and eternal life with Him is ours.
    For everything there is a season,
    and a time for every matter under heaven: 
    a time to be born, and a time to die;
    a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
    a time to kill, and a time to heal;
    a time to break down, and a time to build up;
    a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
    a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
    a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
    a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
    a time to seek, and a time to lose;
    a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
    a time to tear, and a time to sew;
    a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
    a time to love, and a time to hate;
    a time for war, and a time for peace.
    Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ESV

    Antique binoculars, Ephesians 3:20-21
    Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
    Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV
    If you have heard of the following terms…
    • Ash Wednesday
    • Season of Lent
    • Holy Week
    • Maundy Thursday
    • Good Friday
    • Easter
    …but you don’t know what it’s all about and want more information, please call and ask a pastor at a church near you.

    Wednesday, March 2, 2016

    I have cancer?! How do I tell others? Help me, God. What’s next?

    Life is short or long; nobody knows.


    Physicians and Ministers are intersecting occupations which I honor and respect; they’re arts of science and spirit.

    Dr. Merle Hodges, Sr. delivered my precious baby boy several years ago. Two years later, his son Dr. Merle (Boo) Hodges, Jr. delivered my beautiful baby girl. This very important man in my life, last month, diagnosed me with Grade 1 Endometrial Cancer. I am thankful, not that I wanted cancer—it was tough news for him to deliver, but for his knowledge of it and his advice which led to life-saving action.

    It’s difficult to tell people you have cancer. Suddenly, there’s this sense of sadness as we realize how short life can be; how much we love and will miss each other someday. We connect on a new emotional level. We humbly wonder what the future holds. It’s out of our hands. We pray.

    Within two days of my cancer diagnosis, I met my new gynecologic oncologist Dr. Jed Delmore and he performed a robotic hysterectomy that same week. To God be the glory for skilled physicians and medical teams as well as for modern technology of the healthcare industry in Salina and Wichita, Kansas!

    Through the process I saw God’s hand in everything. 

    My pastor came to Wesley Medical Center to pray with me and sit by my husband on the day of my surgery. I imagine that God wanted many other people to see a man wearing clerical collar in the hospital, too. My fellow church members prayed for me in a phone-prayer-chain and also in regular worship services. Awesome is the blessing of having family and friends near me who share the faith! I was encouraged with hugs, kind words, cards, Facebook messages, calls and personal visits.

    Surgery removed all of the known cancer!

    No cancer was found in the other “extra parts” and fluids removed during surgery to be tested. It had only been in the endometria which they’d already determined from the initial D&C/hysterscopy. I was happy to get a call from nurse Lindsay with news that pathology testing reported that it was stage 1A, an early diagnosis.

    During my 3-week follow-up the doctor mentioned that Grade-1, Stage-1A was the best possible outcome and, statistically, my chances for this cancer to return somewhere else are 3 to 5% for the first two years after surgery. If I pass two years in good health, the prognosis is lowered; it becomes only one-half of a percent. Well, that allows for some optimism!

    Thankfully, I am in recovery mode now and won’t need further treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy. I know how difficult this is by remembrance of my husband’s journey with esophageal cancer.

    I pray, God-willing, frequent follow-up check-ups during the next couple years will have good results and I may live a long life. I thank the Lord for spiritual care my Minister offers each week in his sermons and worship services that include The Lord’s Supper; plus, the privilege to pray and be in His Word everyday.

    Yet, even if long life is not to be, I have comfort for whenever the Last Day arrives.

    I know God is always by my side and has gone before me. Our Father in Heaven loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to live as God-Man with us. In His birth, perfect life, suffering, death, burial, descent to hell, bodily resurrection, and ascension, Jesus claimed victory over death for everyone! He hears believers repentant prayers, forgives sins, crushes boastful pride, encourages/teaches humility/love; and, finally, He awards heaven as the prize for all who receive the one true faith which the Spirit freely offers (in baptism and the Word). Through Christ, believers trust the promise we will live forever in Paradise when death takes our earthly body.

    Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. Mark 13:31-33 ESV

    God provides food, drink, work skills and everything to enjoy life.

    I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 ESV
    A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. Proverbs 15:13

    Today in my quest for making good use of my time and finding enjoyment, I discovered a tutorial How to Prepare an Old Book for Altering or Art Journaling on Pinterest. Experimenting in creating art journals has been on my bucket list. God has blessed me with a creative spirit. I hope to use this gift more often for enjoyment to the glory of God.
    And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 ESV

    My body was designed with the miraculous ability to become pregnant and give birth. I am Pro-Life; I do not support Pro-Choice-to-End-Life by abortion or human euthanasia.

    I praise the Lord for creating me with a healthy uterus to protect and nurture my unborn children during those months of my youth. I thank Him for blessing me with a faithful daughter and a theologically-devoted son who takes time to read and talk with me and others about God’s Word. Just yesterday we discussed Colossians 3.
    and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?” Matthew 21:16 ESV
    Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3 ESV

    Life is full of wonderful surprises and it also jolts us with shocking challenges we must be prepared to face. 

    Like a cancer diagnosis which leads to death, ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, we’ve been diagnosed with sin which leads to death. Physical symptoms warn us to take medical actions; similarly, the Ten Commandments act like a mirror to help us see our sin. Symptoms of cancer don’t just fade away. Sin doesn’t go away in God’s eyes unless faith washes them away, whiter than snow, by Jesus blood (Psalm 51). This faith points us to want to follow God’s instructions for living and loving in this life He’s given us. Surgery may remove cancer, temporarily saving life on this earth; but, for sure, Jesus saves believers who inherit eternity in Heaven with Him. This is far better than to reject the gift of faith, leading to everlasting-punishment-without-God which is Hell!

    I pray that you seek to read/hear His Word (the Bible) and receive the Spirit’s help so you, also, are confident that nothing will be able to separate you from His love. If you live near me and don’t go to church, please, will you join me at mine (Faith Lutheran Church)? If you live in another area, here’s a link to help you find one that shares my faith. I want you to be blessed by Christian fellowship and grow strong in the gift of faith in Christ which promises peace that passes human understanding.

    Do you have questions? Comments? Please post them below. I review them and it may take up to a day for them to show publicly, so please check back. I will do my best to respond as soon as possible.