Sometimes I'm amazed by the things I say or write...more often I'm either embarrassed or ashamed by loudly declaring my sinful humanity instead of my redeemed Christianity. To paraphrase my Saviour, "God forgive us for we so often do not know what we have actually done when we choose to do what we do."
The above picture just about shows what it looks like around these parts since that photo is of Cook Forest which is not far from where I live. The difference is that our snowdrifts are deeper. We had about a foot of snow fall over the last weekend. Below zero wind chills and blizzard like conditions saw many events cancelled including worship on January 20, 2019 at the church where I've been attending. Good Shepherd is only a couple of miles from where I live as opposed to around ten miles into Tionesta where my son lives these days. That's where the closest Presbyterian church is and being a retired minister in that denomination, I try to attend a Presbyterian service as often as possible, but these days with roads being what they are and my doctor having restricted my driving to good roads and weather, I've been worshipping closer to my mobile home. That said, I still write devotionals for the Presbyterian Church in Canada's website Daily Devotions page. They've had some really talented devotional writers published there of late. I look forward to it arriving in my inbox every day. Here's the link to that website... https://presbycan.ca/
Facebook seems to have their act together again these days so I'm now sharing back on that social media platform. As for other news, I've been doing a lot of pre-publication reading for other authors and will review these books when they are available for purchase. One thing that's been a bit of a hassle is that my computer has been acting up. My keyboard sticks from time to time, but only certain keys. Not sure what that's about. I've run virus scans, etc. Some of the keys seem to be working again, but others...well time will tell if I'll be needing to take my laptop in for refurbishing. Been praying about this minor detail Sigh.
On a more serious note, the last two days I've been watching the services for our Forty-First President George H. W. Bush. Sadly, I'm among those who never truly appreciated this honorable man's achievements...probably because he never bragged about them. He just quietly went about the business of running the country in a most amicable fashion. The Eulogies about this great man highlighted what President Bush 41 was loath to share. Likewise, the contrast between his achievements and character as compared with current politicians stands out sharply. I name no names since my mother taught me to say nothing if I can say nothing nice.
Well enough about politics. Now let's consider the upcoming Christmas season, or holidays as so many in the media are calling them. Yes, Hanukkah is also coming up too and we certainly want to honor that festival, but being a Christian, the birth of the Christ has greater personal significance. Without the birth of Jesus of Nazareth in Bethlehem of Judea, this world would be a much more cruel place than it is. I can't lay the blame for all the nastiness at Jesus' feet, no, I lay my own nastiness at the foot of His cross and beg forgiveness. He was only good, kind, loving, self-sacrificing, generous and gentle with those who came to Him. He couldn't help but shine with God's personality since He was God-made-manifest among us, God Incarnate, God become fully human while still emanating holiness. Jesus' eyes positively shine with love.
How blessed are we when we know Him!
Have a joyous Christmas Season, my Christian friends, and a happy Hanukkah celebration to my Jewish friends. Blessings, joy, and peace now and forever, Amen!
ARGH! Facebook hacks are out of control. My presence over on Facebook has been compromised so I have DELETED ALL my Facebook accounts and contacts. Ugh! Hated to do that, but.... after wasting beaucoup time over days trying to sort it out, all that happened was everything got more messed up! I am officially having NOTHING whatsoever to do with Facebook from now on...or at least until they get their act together. Sad since I really enjoyed chatting with my friends over on Facebook, but now... well, it's time to move on. I'm now at Google plus and will post here more. Sigh. Hopefully the nasty folk that messed up Facebook won't proceed to take down all communication here in the USA! Nuff said for now from me. You may go back to your regular scrolling of the internet.
My friends, we can never rely upon ourselves. Only God known through Jesus Christ can transform us into the person He calls us to be. We cannot ever do it ourselves. He must begin the process! That's the lesson Martin Luther learned. It's the lesson many today forget because inside our hearts lives that rebellious two year old who wants desperately to do it themselves. You've heard the two year olds, "Me do it, me-self, Mommy!" Punctuated with the stomp of a foot! It's what St. Paul calls the Old Adam (Old Eve)! Therefore, we must not just "let go and let God so God can'! We must fall to our knees before God and capitulate to His Sovereignty. Calvin was right about that. So was Luther. Modernity thinks we can do it "me-self"! End of rant. Have a blessed day, my friends.
As Mother's Day approaches, I remember that my dear mother used to bemoan her own failings saying that the only perfect Christians were those already in heaven! I'm constantly amazed at how wise my mother becomes the older I get.
For those of us who bemoan our own, or others, personal failings, here's something to consider. Scripture states, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." For sure, being in the church doesn't automatically and immediately transform sinners into saints. "For by grace are Ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man (or woman) should boast." Scripture also states, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." The key is being and remaining "in Christ Jesus." We're all still so very human, but when we repent, that is make every effort to change our ways especially when we fail, forgiveness is ours through Christ Jesus' sacrifice of Himself on Calvary's cross.
Even the saints of old struggled. St. Paul struggled with his "old Adam!" Even St. Peter denied Christ in word and deed. Even Jesus' own mother resorted to manipulation by urging Christ to perform a miracle at the wedding in Canaan. Even Jesus' follow Mary of Magdala was no saint. Martin Luther carried on to excess as a young man, so did St. Augustine. Many who have gone before us, have had rocky beginnings, rough patches in life, and failures that they were ashamed of, yet Jesus Himself said from the cross, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Amen to that! When we're in the throws of succumbing to temptation that statement is so very true. We truly don't know what we are doing! May God be merciful and forgive us granting us grace to live as Jesus' called us to live, one day at a time, seeking to do what is right according to Scripture.
Have a blessed Mother's Day as you revel in being a forgiven child of God through Christ Jesus.
Tonight I happened to be channel surfing and I came upon TBN and there was Christine Kane (Sp?) speaking on the Fall of Adam and Eve. She asked us the questions God asked them when she brought it forward to this day. As God asked Adam and Eve, "Where are you?" God asks us that question too. "Where are you?" Indeed, where are we when it comes to faith in God? Do we believe, or not? Do we live what we believe, or not? Thought provoking questions. Adam hid from God due to his sudden awareness that he'd fallen when he and Eve took a bite from that forbidden fruit. It's what we do to when we goof up. We run from God, and run to everything else as we seek relief from our shame, or our guilt. To us, God calls through space and time from eternity and says, "My child where are you?" Where are you? We've hidden, but of course, God knows where we are even though he calls, "Where are you?" His call begs our answer. God wants us to acknowledge our wrongheaded direction, our selfishness, our sorrows, and our pain. He wants us to tell him about it. So he asks us, "Where are you? Where's your faith in Me? Where's your trust? Where's your belief in my goodness? Where's your trust in my forgiveness and all-encompassing love?" You see, God does love us. He does want us to come to Him and spill the beans about our messy lives because He came in the person of Jesus Christ to set us free! To forgive us! To heal us! So He calls across the eons, "Where are you?" We can only fall to our knees and say, "Here, Lord, right here where you've found me." He reaches out, tousles our hair, and hugs us. Then He stretches His arms wide on the cross to remind us just how much he loves us. He died for our shame. He died for our guilt. He died for our failures so that we don't have to die eternally and be separated from God if we will just come to the foot of the cross and ask Jesus to live in us. Then we shall be truly free, free indeed. Blessings, my friends, during this Lenten season and may God touch your hearts as He has touched mine. Amen.
Bummer! Light snow deposited about an inch or two exactly when I needed to drive to church. Eye doctor doesn't want me driving when visibility is compromised. Sigh. So I have been playing Gentle Praise and singing along when I know the words while reading in Nehemiah. The lessons from that book of the Old Testament amaze! The harassed Jewish people kept their faith, vigilance and continued to rebuild Jerusalem's walls and temple in spite of all sorts of obstacles and threats.
Seems not much has changed where God's people are concerned. Whether health issues or political issues, the enemy of our souls uses every crack in our soul's defenses to attack. Despite evil doing its worst, God as known through Jesus Christ is good . . . all the time, not just when things are going smoothly, or we're getting our own way, or we're in perfect health, or the weather is blowing a blizzard, or even simply flurries.
Lord God, please bless those who need an encouraging touch from You, and bless all ministers as they preach Your Word, and all the congregants as they worship, listen, and then go and do for others, in Jesus name we pray, Amen.
The word current brings to mind a number of meanings. According to my Miriam-Webster e-Dictionary it can be either a noun or an adjective. As a noun it means-- 1 : the part of a body of fluid moving continuously in a certain direction; also : the swiftest part of a stream 2 : a flow of electric charge; also : the rate of such flow 3 ▶ : a tendency or course of events that is usually the result of an interplay of forces. As an adjective it means -- 1 ▶ : occurring in or belonging to the present 2 : used as a medium of exchange, eg. money. 3 ▶ : generally accepted or practiced.
Yesterday the word current took on an ominous feel when current reports came from New York City. A disaffected man had plowed a rented vehicle into a crowd killing at least eight persons.
This writer cannot imagine the horror that vicious action engendered, the sorrow, the grief, the loss of life, the loss of a future for those people. Eight people, including some Argentinians, stepped out onto a New York City street near the Hudson River not knowing that this would be their last time to take a walk, ride a bicycle, jog, go sightseeing, or feed the ever present pigeons that coo and stroll along the streets begging for tidbits from passersby.
Recent history around the world has seen many such attacks perpetrated by disaffected and radicalized individuals who believe they are doing something great by targeting unknowing, innocent civilians who are merely going about their daily routines. The attackers total objective is to terrorize, maim, kill and destroy in the name of their organization or religion as if God wants people to do such things. NOT! Our God is a God of love who wants the best for all people and does NOT want to see them before it's their natural time to depart this earth. God gave us Ten Commandments. Among them is the command You shall do no murder. Period. So this warped person who carried out this despicable action did NOT do it for God. He did it inspired by God's enemy, Satan ... and that's my brief take on current events.
Woke this morning way early at dark o’clock
nature calls at the oddest hours
rumpled sheets called
soft pillows called
warm blanket called
I slipped beneath the blanket, sheets
and rested my head upon the pillow
closed my eyes
just a few more winks, please.
Woke again with sunshine spilled rays
across my eyes.
The electric clock blinked from 8:15 to 8:16
Time to arise . . .
besides, nature called again.
Shuffled to kitchen
fed cat, dog, warmed coffee
Set out mug, plate
sliced toast & toasted same
Ate breakfast, read Bible passage
about Jehu slaughtering Ahab’s descendants,
a nasty, bloody business.
No uplift there.
Read Daily Devotional
my spirit lifted.
Shuffled to washroom, again
Dressed, too late for church.
So I sit, pondering, scrolling Facebook,
praying for so many needs
martial splits, failing health.
Praising God for a few proud posts
new babies, family reunions, a wedding, or two.
Life, a la Facebook.
Now I’m writing, or rather typing
meandering thoughts and wondering,
then praying according to
Your holy unerring will.
Rejoice with joyful folk
Bless the needy
Positive answers to prayers, please.
Heal the sick, wounded, broken ones
and comfort those who grieve.
above all, praise belongs to You
Who gives life when death threatens
and then eternal life with You.
Thank you, Dear Lord God.
We're asking this in Jesus’ name, Amen.