Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Scripture Thursday ~ The Importance of Hymns

 But I will sing of your strength,
   in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
   my refuge in times of trouble.

Psalm 59:16 (NIV)

There are over one thousand scriptures in the Bible which reference music in one form or another.   Hymns were instilled in me from a very young age, they came naturally to me, and I learned very quickly.  The Lord gifted me with an ear for music, and He had future plans for me to use that gift.  

As I’ve mentioned here before, I am the pianist for our church and have played the piano since I was four years old.  The old hymns are near and dear to me.  I can remember an old pump organ in our home that I liked to play.  There was just one problem…. I couldn’t reach the pedals.  My sisters took pity on me and would pump them for me so the sound would come out while I played. 

Missionary and author, Elisabeth Elliot says this about hymns:

One of the things that I think is so important and often neglected nowadays is the learning of hymns, because it’s an easy way to learn theology. My father was not a theologian, but he was a very, very devout Christian and a writer and an editor of a Christian magazine. But we sang a hymn every single morning after breakfast. Because of that, we children learned hymns by heart without any effort whatsoever.

The old hymns are often thought of as old fashioned today and boring.  However, most are timeless pieces of Christian history that were written in times of adversity.  Many of the joyful hymns were written BECAUSE of the adversity.  They provide such comfort and encouragement just when we need it. 

Elizabeth Prentiss

Elizabeth Prentiss, who wrote the hymn  More Love to Thee, O Christ (1856) had this to say about her life.
Much of my experience of life has cost me a great price and I wish to use it for strengthening and comforting other souls. 

Blind hymn writer Fanny Crosby had NO earthly vision.  I know from studying her life and her hymns, what she lacked in physical vision with her eyes, she made up for it with the eyes of her heart.  She wrote thousands of hymns that touched people deeply, still today.

Without the blindness, some of the popular hymns below would never have been heard.

Fanny Crosby

All the way My Savior Leads Me
Blessed Assurance
He Hideth My Soul
Praise Him! Praise Him! 
Saved by Grace
To God Be The Glory

and thousands more

Eliza Hewitt memorialized Fanny's passing with a poem which was read at her funeral.  Here is a portion of it: 

Away to the country of sunshine and song,
Our songbird has taken her flight,
And she who has sung in the darkness so long
Now sings in the beautiful light;
The harp-strings here broken are sweetly restrung
To ring in a chorus sublime;
The hymns that on earth she so trustfully sung
Keep tune with eternity’s chime!

You don’t have to be musical to enjoy the old hymns or appreciate the words.  Old hymn books can often be found in thrift stores or in used book stores.  Sometimes just reading the words will minister to your soul.

Often with the hymns I’m familiar with, I’ll say them rather than sing them and the words take on new meaning with the different approach. 

If you are struggling with a burden, a load, a heavy heart, sing hymns and I guarantee you'll feel your burden lift. 

Compliments of Naomi at Windfalls of Grace

The Lord wants us to sing praises to Him.  If He didn't, he wouldn't have told us to 5 times in these two passages of scripture, as well as countless other places in the Bible. 

Sing praises to God, sing praises!

Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;

Sing praises with understanding.
Psalm 47:6-7 KJV

There are some great resources online for the study of hymns.   I've listed a few below. 

Wordwise Hymns
with Robert Cottill.  He is a wealth of knowledge of many hymns, their history and biblical themes.  I highly recommend a visit.

The Cyber Hymnal
A huge database of hymns and the history behind them.  Searchable in many different ways.  You can even hear the tune to a hymn if you're not familiar with it.

Hymn and Scripture Challenge
with Patter on her blog Triple the Scraps. 

Have a wonderful day.  I hope this post has encouraged you to pursue hymn singing for yourself, or with your children if you don't already. 

This post is linked to: Word Art Wednesday,   Monday Musings, Deep Roots at Home, Fellowship Fridays ,   Titus Tuesdays, Hearts4Home Whatever you want Wednesday   Wholehearted Home

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It's a Four Prize Giveaway

This is now closed. 
I appreciate all the responses. 
The winner will be announced 2/12/13

People need people and friends need friends,
and we all need LOVE, for a full life depends..
not on vast riches, or great acclaim,
not on success or on worldly fame,
but just in knowing that someone cares
and holds us close in their
thoughts and prayers.

Helen Steiner Rice

It’s a Giveaway
.  I'm so very thankful for my 400+ blog followers,  email followers and all the wonderful online friends I’ve made since I started my blog.

If you’ve spent any time here, you know I love vintage images and regularly give them away, digitally altering many of them with scripture.  It makes me happy to see God’s word portrayed in a lovely way, and I'm thankful to have this blog as a way to share them with all of you.  I also share a weekly devotion based on Scripture, every Thursday. 

I try not to focus on numbers on my blog, but it's kind of hard not to notice the 400+ blog followers, and close to 350 email followers.  I wasn't sure where this blog would take me when I started, but my vision was for it to be a place of Christian encouragement for women.   Little did I know that I would be the one that ended up being encouraged time and time again from all of you.

free vintage postcard

Okay, now for the giveaway details.  I’m giving away four different prizes which will be drawn randomly and given to four different people.   You must be a follower of this blog to enter, either through blogger or email.   Click below if you'd like to follow by email and be notified when I have a new post. 
Little Birdie Blessings by Email

For your chance to win, please leave a comment telling me one of your favorite Scriptures, quotes, or hymns that gives you encouragement.  
If you want more chances to win, you can leave individual comments for each piece of encouragement you want to share, up to 4. 

It's important that you leave an email address for me to contact you if you don't have a blog, or check back here when the winners are announced. 

This giveaway will close Monday, February 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m. EST.  Winners will be chosen randomly and announced here on Tuesday, February 12th. 

These gifts are my way of being thankful for all of you.

Here's what you could win:

Giveaway #4
a set of 8 note-cards picturing Victorian Children

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I appreciate you all.  Can't wait to read what you leave me for comments.  I'm so excited. 

From the fullness of his grace
we have all received one blessing after another.

John 1:16

Monday, January 28, 2013

Everyday is a Gift

This is the day which the Lord hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24

This is a photo of a section of my mantle.  Notice the picture that says:

Everyday is a Gift
A great reminder to be thankful for all that I have,
and to focus on God's gift of TODAY
without dwelling on tomorrow. 

Here is a quote to ponder by Elisabeth Elliot, from her book
Secure in the Everlasting Arms.

“One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there.

Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.”

I hope whatever you're doing, you're able to find pleasure in it, and enjoy God's gift of TODAY. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Beauty of January

I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 13:6

Here on the coast of Maine, it's really cold.  On very cold days when the water temperature is warmer than the air, it creates what is known as "sea smoke".   It's actually very pretty as it billows around the boats.  This is a photo of the sea smoke, I took near my home.

Frost forms on my porch window, causing a beautiful pattern to appear. 

My great-niece turned 3 recently.  When you're 3 years old, and your birthday is in January, you can have a snow princess cake for your birthday.  

Here's a closer look at this work of art. Made by Darci of Sugar Tree, a friend of my niece.   One of Darci's wedding cakes was featured in Martha Stewart Magazine this past summer.  Go Darci!!

So thankful for the beauty of January, and the warmth of my home.   What are  you thankful for this month?  I hope you have a blessed day.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Scripture Thursday ~ Strength Renewed

Compliments of A Haven for Vee

But they that wait upon the LORD
shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

Have you ever longed to be recharged?

We’re promised in God’s word if we're waiting, and trusting in Him; He will renew our strength.

God compares the renewed strength to wings of eagles. The Eagle is one of the strongest birds in the world. They have a wingspan of 5-7 feet, can expand and contract their wings and appear to be flying effortlessly, even in hurricane force winds.

Scripture Graphic ~ Free for Personal Use or Sharing
Click for larger size.

We all in one way or another can relate to this verse; when you feel like you’re running on empty, when the storms of life hit you and you just can’t go on.

God can become your power to renew, refresh, and recharge you.
Compliments of A Haven For Vee

I have clung to this verse many times throughout my life and am so thankful for this promise. I encourage you to memorize this, hide God’s word in your heart and you’ll take it with you wherever you go.

My friend Vee, who blogs at A Haven For Vee recently had the opportunity to photograph a bald eagle.  You can read about her experience in two of her posts.

Bald Eagle ~ A Haven for Vee

Isaiah 40 ~ A Haven for Vee

Thank you Vee for letting me use your amazing photos in today's Scripture Thursday.  A perfect fit.

Here is a scrapbook page I made some time ago featuring Isaiah 40:31, using stamps from Our Daily Bread Designs

I found some lyrics to a hymn I'd never heard of. 
Written by R. Deane Postlethwaite.   It seems to go well with today's theme. 

The care the eagle gives her young, safe in her lofty nest,
is like the tender love of God for us made manifest.

As when the time to venture comes, she stirs them out to flight,
so we are pressed to boldly try, to strive for daring height.

And if we flutter helplessly, as fledgling eagles fall,
beneath us lift God's mighty wings to bear us, one and all.

Thanks for stopping by today.  I hope this post has been an encouragement to you.  

This post is linked to:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Treasures of the Snow

Living on the coast of Maine, we get to experience all four seasons.  Winter is one of my favorite seasons to get my camera out and photograph God's beautiful creation.  When the snow is fresh and untouched, it’s like millions of tiny diamonds firing light in every direction, almost like they are alive.  I love the stillness that the snow brings, a quiet calm.   

Wilson A. Bentley ~ The Snowflake Man
Wilson A. Bentley (1865-1931) was from a small town in Vermont,  He was given a microscope at the age of 15, and became fascinated with snowflakes.  He attracted world attention with his work in photographing snowflakes, or snow crystals as they are also called.  By attaching a camera to his microscope, he perfected a process of catching flakes on black velvet in such a way that their images could be captured before they melted.   In 1885 he became the first person to photograph a single snow crystal 


He captured more than 5000 snowflakes during his lifetime, not finding any two alike.  Aren't they fascinating? 

"Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated.  ~ Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley 1925

With the more modern equipment of today, here is a more detailed photograph of a snowflake.


WOWZA!  Isn't it beautiful?   Bentley called them, a masterpiece of design, and no one design was ever repeated.  

Truly, God's handiwork is evident here.  God speaks about the "treasures of the snow" to Job.

Have you entered the treasury of snow,
Or have you seen the treasury of hail?
Job 38:22

 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed
by the word of God,
so that the things which are seen were not made
of things which are visible.

Hebrews 11:3

All I have seen, teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803 - 1882 ~

Try using a magnifying glass and investigating a snowflake, or other piece of nature that God has given you.  You may be surprised by what you find. 

Take time to:

Be Still.....

and know......
that I am God....
Psalm 46:10

Free WORDart from Karen at Papercraft Memories was used in the photography at the top of this post. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Little Things & Freebies for You

If you have eased some aching heart today,
Or helped to carry burdens not your own;
If you have spoken kindly by the way,
Or in some darkened household comfort sown,
You need not say this day has been in vain;
But wait for earth's tomorrow with a smile,
For you may carry joy where there is pain:
The little things in life are those worth while.

~ unknown author, on postcard below ~

How can we be kind today?  How can we do a little thing that might encourage someone else? 
 a phone call
a card in the mail
praying for someone and letting them know 
a word of encouragement
a small gift
a meal

What may seem small to you, could be significant to the recipient.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another,
even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:32

Have a wonderful day friends, thanks for stopping by.  Leave me a comment if you would, and let me know how you've been encouraged by others, or ideas for encouraging.   The vintage graphics in this post are free to you.

Linked to: Sharing the Shelter
Free Pretty Things for You
Monday's Musings

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Faith ~ Family ~ and Freebies

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

~ Thomas Chisholm 1923 ~

Lamentations 3:22-23 ~ Free for personal use or sharing

This is a picture I took a couple winters ago of the view across from my home.  Winter mornings bring the most magnificent sunrises and no two are ever the same.  It reminds of the hymn above, Great is Thy Faithfulness, which is based on the verse in this photo, Lamentations 3:22-23. 

Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

This past weekend we had a family Christmas with our kids, their spouses and all our grandchildren.  Since some live a couple of hours away, it's a treat to have everyone together.  The cousins loved playing together, and of course all the littles love to see their Grandpa. 

Here is a picture of my sweet family, we're missing baby Katherine as she was napping.

Our Christmas card with our grandchildren.

Here are a few free images for you.  A tatted butterfly that I scanned, and a lovely floral vintage New Year card.  You could crop the New Year greeting off if you wanted to use it without the greeting. 

free tatted butterfly

free floral New Year card

I'm gearing up for a giveaway, so stay tuned.  That's all for today.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  Thanks for stopping by. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Scripture Thursday ~ Buried in the Deepest Sea

As far as the east is from the west,
so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12

In the United States, my home state of Maine is the farthest point East, and California is the farthest point West. 

If you consider the universe, no one knows:
the distance between East and West. 

 It is as far as we can imagine
 and the points never meet.
I don't know about you, but that promise sure makes me feel good.

free for personal use or sharing

God wants us to confess our sins as he tells us in I John 1:9

 If we confess our sins,
he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I John 1:9

This next verse is one of my absolute favorites about sin.  Living near the ocean, I can visualize this in a mighty way.

He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.
Micah 7:19 (NKJV)

God casts our sins into the depths of the sea

There's a song we sing in Sunday School that goes like this:
Gone, gone, gone, gone,
Yes my sins are gone.
Now my soul is free and in my hearts a song.
Buried in the deepest sea
Yes, that's good enough for me
I shall live eternally
Praise God! My sins are g-o-n-e, gone!

Jesus took the punishment for your sins and mine when He died on the cross.  Salvation is a free gift for those who accept it by faith.  For more information about knowing Jesus, you can visit Proverbs 31 ministries here:
Do You Know Jesus?

Have a wonderful week my friends.  Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks to The Graphics Fairy for some of the graphics used in this post. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Scripture Thursday ~ Thoughts for the New Year

Happy New Year to you my friends.  God's Word, the Bible, is filled with promises, assurances, and wisdom for us.  It's God's way of speaking to us, a guidebook for our life.  We aren't going to know him better and know His will for our life unless we read it, and spend time with Him in prayer.

I've pulled some of Karen's beautiful WORDart from Papercraft Memories and added them to my vintage images/photography.   A compilation of a few scriptures to think on as we begin another year.  

The verse above is from Psalm 118:8 ~ Oh, how much better to trust in the Lord, than man.  God will NEVER let us down and He ALWAYS keeps His word.

This next scripture graphic features John 16:33 and reminds us that God knows we have trials and tribulation.  He hasn't forgotten us in times of despair. 

In Psalm 3:3, God promises to be a shield for us, a protector. 
He'll lift our head when we can't do it in our own strength.

In Revelation 21:5, God promises to make things NEW. 

And... in 2 Corinthians 5:17, God promises to those who put their trust in Him,
a new life, eternal life.  The former things behind, forgiveness of sin.  A joy like we've never known, contentment, peace, eternal security.

Please join me as we begin 2013 and renew and/or begin your commitment to God by spending daily time in THE book (the Bible) and time in prayer.   I can't promise you a trouble free life, but I can promise you the troubles will be easier to face.  

The graphics in this post today were made using my vintage images/photograpy and Karen's WORDart.  They are free to you to use for personal use or sharing.  Click on each image, right click, and save to your computer.  You can visit her here:
Karen ~ Papercraft Memories