Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Blahs

Drawing with Paint Shop Pro delights me. Lately, however, I can't seem to get inspired to start a project. I play a little with tutorials, but nothing really jumps out at me. Is this blah stretch healthy?

Sometimes, I have spiritual blah stretches. Those times test my commitment to the Lord. Will I persevere in my walk with Him, even when I don't see how my daily Scripture reading applies to me? Will I keep applying Scripture that has spoken to me recently? What about principles He's taught me a week ago? A year ago? Ten, twenty, thirty years ago?

I don't know how to deal with the Paint Shop Pro blahs, but I'm grateful for the spiritual blahs. I like knowing that my commitment to Jesus goes deeper than feelings or experience!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Miss Potter

We just rented a DVD from Netflix that is too charming not to recommend! We loved it so much, we're going to buy our own copy! I hope this trailer will tempt you. Hollywood needs to see that people want clean movies that tell good stories!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pearls And Lace

I've been adapting more Paint Shop Pro tutorials and experimenting on my own. Yesterday, I decided my lace, which I drew Wednesday while the wheelchair repairman worked on my chair, needed some pearls to embellish it. All the tutorials, however, required plug-ins, which really don't fit our budget at the moment.

So, I read some tutorials on PSP's Balls and Bubbles filter. One of that filter's tools is the Environment Map, which imposes images onto the ball it creates. Not wanting to use someone else's image, I found a peach gradient that I had made a year or so ago. I changed its setting from linear to sunburst, moved its highlight off-center, and flood-filled it to a blank canvas. Then I saved it as an Environmental Map file. When I opened Balls and Bubbles again, there it was!

If you're scratching your head wondering what on earth I'm talking about, just relax and enjoy my results:

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Wheelchair Repair

At church on Easter Sunday, the switch that operates my power wheelchair's tilt mechanism broke. This tilt feature helps redistribute my weight to prevent pressure sores, as well as resting my back and shoulders. When the repairman first came to evauate my chair, he noticed I also needed new batteries and new tires.

We played a four-month shell game with Medicare, during which time my batteries became increasingly less able to manage Boston adventures and I almost developed a pressure sore on my tailbone, but Wednesday (July 9) the repairman returned. I couldn't type this blog post yesterday...because we went to Boston!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

What Would Make America Beautiful?

"America the Beautiful"
by: Katharine Lee Bates

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
This entire hymn is inspiring, and I was blessed to sing it in church today. Perhaps you noticed that I put the refrain to the second verse of Katharine Lee Bates' hymn in boldface. I hope you noiced! As I watch our country turn its back on the God of the Bible, that refrain has become my increasingly passionate prayer! Those lines epitomize the manifestation of national repentance. I yearn for a country that confirms its soul in self-control, and its liberty in law! That will only happen as we accept, and respond to, God's grace through Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Real Point

Since Easter, I’ve been waiting for repairs on my power wheelchair. It’s been frustrating to watch the wheelchair vendor, Medicare and my doctor all play their shell game with the paperwork while I fight pressure sores because the tilt mechanism on my chair (which tilts the chair so that I can redistribute my weight) is broken.

I don’t want to enumerate all the particulars here, lest I distract from the main purpose of this blog post. Suffice it to say that we hit yet another roadblock this past Friday. John and I were both livid…and confused as to why the Lord had allowed so many delays. But I did know that He was Sovereign, and that fixing my wheelchair was secondary to the work He wants to accomplish in my spirit.

Later that morning, I read Colossians 1, praying (as always) for understanding on how to make a correct application. Verse 24 captured my attention.

24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. ~~Colossians 1:24-26 (NKJV)

In context, it’s clear that Paul saw his particular suffering as a vehicle for propagating the Gospel. I cannot make that claim regarding my own trials, since I’m not an evangelist, much less an apostle. But I wondered, looking at verse 24, why Paul said his sufferings would “fill up in [his] flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ.” That verse had always disturbed me.

So I called up the commentaries in my Bible software (the PC Study Bible from Biblesoft). Most of them really didn’t offer any insight. But when I clicked on Barnes’ Notes, the following paragraph popped out at me!

What he says here is based on the leading desire of his soul-the great principle of his life-TO BE JUST LIKE CHRIST; alike in moral character, in suffering, and in destiny; see the notes at Phil 3:10. Having this strong wish, he had been led to pursue a course of life which conducted him through trials strongly resembling those which Christ himself endured; and, as fast as possible, he was filling up that in which he now fell short. He does not mean that there was anything lacking or deficient in the sufferings which Christ endured in making an atonement which was to be supplied by his followers, so that their merits might be added to his in order to secure the salvation of men, as the Romanists seem to suppose; but that there was still much lacking on his part before he should be entirely conformed to the Saviour in his sufferings, and that his present condition was such as rapidly to fill that up. This seems to me to be the fair meaning of this expressions though not the one commonly given. The usual interpretation is, "that which remains to me of affliction to be endured in the cause of Christ." But this seems to me to be cold and tame, and not to suit the genius of Paul.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

As I read Barnes’ exposition of Colossians 1:24, I made a connection back to my wheelchair situation. The Lord could have snapped His fingers and had my chair fixed back in April. Although I live in a fallen world filled with woefully incompetent bureaucracies, He is not confined by their red tape! But maybe He’s using it, as well as other frustrations, to make me more like Christ.

What could be better?


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