Sunday, November 27, 2011

REALLY fresh air

8:01 p.m. Today's project was to visit our favorite Christmas Tree Farm, Sandhaven Pines, and do some preliminary perusing of the trees in our newly-lowered size range.

Steve and I had enjoyed a wonderful church service this morning, where our pastor invited the congregation to receive a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit, giving us power to witness, as Jesus commanded the disciples when He appeared to them after His resurrection, Acts 1:4,5,8:

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

We were challenged to tell someone about Jesus today. I love to mention the Lord to people I meet, and testify of Him when I spend enough time for a conversation. Why would I keep the Secret to a victorious, overcoming life of peace from someone who needs to know Him so badly? (And that's every unsaved person)!  I did manage to thank the Lord for untangling some confusion as to my pump number at our gas station stop when talking to the clerk, and she got a big smile on her face. But since I now pump the gasoline for the Jeep even if Steve's there, I had to get back to my car. I also didn't want Steve to have to sit out in the car very long--it got very sunny today!

After lunch and changing clothes--always an issue of great confusion now--we drove off in the brilliant sunshine to the tree farm, 7 miles away. Because I was planning to give the checkout lady  a hand cream sample and the flyer about our Mary Kay "Adopt a Grandparent" Christmas fundraiser, business mileage needed to be documented.

I noticed a large sign reminding everyone to breathe the trees in as we walk through the hilly pine "forests," because trees do take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Respiration, I believe? Made me want to teach a classroom of children a bit of earth science like I used to!

Up on the top of the hill at the end of our climb to the "Reservation" area from the lower "Choose & Cut" section, we reveled in the cool breeze and the panoramic view of  Mead Valley, Woodcrest and some of the Orangecrest area of Riverside. Then very slowly, with me helping Steve over the uneven ground on the road up and even more awkwardly, between the trees and over the watering tubes that didn't always lie flat on the ground, we inspected the sizes and prices. Lowering the height of our next tree will lower our bill by $10 at least!  We'll have Heidi and Pavel to help us next Sunday afternoon, so I decided we'd just head for the choose and cut, get lots of opinions--in other words, like in years past with all of the kids along--and buy the chosen tree on the spot. The more opinions we get each year on our tree selection, the less complaints later about its shape and appearance! Thank you, Lord, for our enjoyment and safety walking up- and downhill, and for a wise plan for our Christmas tree cutting!

Later, at Home Fellowship, we spoke about the qualifications of an elder in the church, (Titus 2:1-2). The Holy Spirit's presence was evident "where two or three are gathered" (Matthew 18:20). Steve was alert and even trying to follow along! We were reminded of the three stages of Christian life:

  1. Justification--salvation in Christ, "just as if I'd never sinned."
  2. Sanctification--working out in this life what Christ has worked in.
  3. Glorification--when we go to be with the Lord at death, or in the Rapture.
Not one of these stages in a believer's life can take place without the fresh breeze of the Holy Spirit! He leads us to conviction and repentance to get saved; guides us with wisdom through the ups and downs and uneven places in this life; and He trains and prepares us for heaven.

Steve and I enjoyed our hilltop experience today, but so much more awaits us as we look towards heaven! The disciples saw Jesus go back up into heaven from Mount Olivet, Acts 1:9-11:

Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, "Men of Galilee, why you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."

Therein lies our blessed hope. Now that's a breath of fresh air!


  1. Our tree with lights on it already is in the attic. But Christmas letters are mailed and most gifts are ready.

    Writing a paper for my seminary counseling class on dying well. Inspired as we are off to a memorial in another state for a friend who died well in Jesus and lived her last years with MD. So glad this life is not all, although had to see our loved ones suffer the effects of the fall.

    Have a good week.

    Mourning with hope,

  2. Carol, I am reminded of our last caregiving class where we talked about grieving, actually PRE-grieving, which is ongoing among Alzheimer's caregivers. But hallelujah, this place is not our home!!
    You are doing great service with your writing!