Archives November 2020

Philippians 4:1-20

brown book page

1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.
17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.
19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
20 Now unto God and our Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

When I Go Home; Acapeldridge

Wish I May Wish I Might

photography of night sky

One evening as the stars were appearing in the night sky my grandmother saw a shooting star.

“Money, money, money, before the week is out,” she said as the star fell toward the earth and the light disappeared.

Even in our world of abundance we still work for money. Wealth in some countries was and maybe still is measured by the number of cows a person owns. Recently I read a historical account from an American Indian. I don’t remember what tribe he was from, and there were at least three tribes represented in his story.

The story involved him and several other warriors from his tribe. There wasn’t a purpose mentioned in his account of what or why they were out and about. It may have been a ‘scouting’ party, a war party, or something else. On their way back to the main tribe they came across another group of warriors from another tribe. They attacked them and stole their horses, garnering at least two horses apiece for his group—approximately fourteen to twenty horses.

This back and forth activity happened for several days or maybe a week, as they were attacked they lost horses, then they attacked another group who lost horses to them, and so forth.

They killed several opposing warriors, our narrator told of scalping a couple of the other warriors, and eventually, they did bring back to the tribe an increase of animals and scalps.

Fast backward to several years ago as someone explained the different types of government. At one point it came down to a difference between terms such as socialism, anarchy, and capitalism.

I’ve not understood how people can be mesmerized by the idea of socialism. There are samples of that type of government if a person believes they’d like it, why they don’t’ go and become a citizen there? Just try it.

No one could believe they would like anarchy, that’s like a fight for your survival every day. However, anarchy and socialism seem wrapped up in our American Indian’s narration. And it worked back in that day, as the fittest mostly won, but…

Capitalism gets a bum rap. Why is that, you may ask? Well, say I’m a shoemaker and I make the best shoes in the world. You need a pair of shoes and you come to me for a pair of shoes. Capitalism hinges on a trade of goods from one person to another. Say you’re a potter and I trade a pair of my best-made shoes for one of your pots, or if you make clothing, a garment. We both end up with something we need and we can be friendly about it before and after.

Unlike the warrior who kills, steals, and deals in one-upmanship, where there is no fair exchange of goods or services, capitalism is a better way to elevate civilization. It bears the resemblance of ‘love thy neighbor’.

“I wish I may I wish I might have the wish I wish tonight.” What would your wish be tonight? The thing I have come to be aware of is how few people have the ability to reason. Where have we lost that ability?

Too many folks are governed by their feelings. If you ask them what they like or don’t like about a decision it is most likely based on how they feel. This isn’t a good reason to base your life on something. Maybe things haven’t really changed, but I fear as our country has gone from a more agrarian civilization to the citified population things have changed. And not really for the better.

Ecclesiastes 3:

11  He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

12  I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

13  And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

14  I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

15  That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

16  And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.

Our Deadly Fear

mirror fragments on gray surface with the reflection of a person s arm

There are many different fears in this world. Words such as acrophobia, nyctophobia, claustrophobia, cleithrophobia, all deal with fear, and there are many other names and types of fear.

We have been hit this year by one fear after another. I don’t know what the name would be for the fear, or fears, we have endured this year. We have a hyped-up virus that because of the news reports has been made into a gigantic monster.

I don’t make light of something that for some people is deadly. Somehow we lived in a world so long that we believe we can cure and control the force of life and death that we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking we will cheat death.

Stay home, don’t go to church don’t go shopping, don’t have Thanksgiving or Christmas…the list goes on and on. Some states are telling people they must wear masks in their own homes if they have visitors in.

I have been going to a salon to have my hair washed. Starting last week we needed to wear masks according to our governor’s decision. I’ve lived over an average number of years. I’ve astounded even myself that with the number of dumb things I’ve done in those years I’m still here.

In some manner, it should be possible to impress on people that our lives here are short even at the longest. When compared to eternity fifty, one hundred, even two hundred years isn’t long, but we don’t see that. We see that our bodies grow older and eventually they will stop. As it says in Ecclesiastes 3:1 and following, ‘To everything, there is a season’.

So, there you have it. Life and death happen to us all but we pretend it does not and whether we live long or short we believe we have control over it. Eat right, diet, exercise, don’t smoke, don’t eat meat, don’t eat bread, get away from gluten…what a list.

I fear that no matter what you believed yesterday would save you it won’t make a real difference. Life isn’t about what you can’t control because we don’t really control this life. What seems to happen is people abandon the idea of being prepared for the next life thinking they can control the forever of this life. But there isn’t any forever in this life.

There has been a beginning and there will be an end.

The takeaway should be—folks stop. Stop living an aimless life wandering toward the end of your life being afraid to live because you’ve not taken care of the important details and you’re afraid to die.

 Ecclesiastes 3:

1  To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3  A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4  A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5  A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6  A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7  A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8  A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

9  What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

10  I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. 11  He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

2Timothy 2:

body of water

1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.

7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.

10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Consider Your Life and Where We’re At

man sitting on cliff

How do we feel about where we’re at? In this present climate it depends not only on the day but the hour of day.

If you are standing in front of a brick wall you can deny that the brick wall is there, but without a door of some sort, you can’t walk through the wall. Belief needs to be backed up with reality.

We live in a world that sometimes looks and feels transitory; a world where we can kind of make up our reality as we go. Many people live their lives from day to day, much as my cousin’s findings that 70% of our population live from paycheck to paycheck. We can try to make up a fabricated life that at the end of the day is morally deficient and tell ourselves that everything is all right or be honest.

We hear from a number of religious people that we are living in ‘the last days’ and they are counting on the second coming as coming soon. Whereas we have had ‘wars, and rumors of war (Matthew 24:7 “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8) All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

We do live in the last days. We have been living in the last days since the Resurrection and the day of Pentecost when Peter and the Apostles began to preach the Gospel of Jesus.

We have options. We can continue to live paycheck to paycheck type of lives deficient of moral integrity or listen as we are called by the Gospel to repent and turn to God giving Him our lives.

The practical takeaway is that we are daily presented with the opportunity to become what God wants us to be. We are broken sinners and we need to let God heal us. We need to fill our vessels and be ready for when the bridegroom comes.

Because come He will in the day and hour which we know not and by then it will be too late to trim and fill our lamps.

Matthew 25:

1  Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

2  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

3  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

4  But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

5  While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

6  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

7  Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

8  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

9  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

10  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

11  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

We Never Think

photo of deer on snow

Many things we never think. For some reason I never think winter will come.

There could be a whole host of things here we never think about. Many things we never think. For some reason, I never think winter will come.

There it is out there for the world to know I’m a denier. I live through the cold and snow of the winter in January: Job 37:6  For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength. But I’m looking forward to March. I’m hopeful that March will bring an early spring.

In the past, I would start my garden plants in February because peppers take forever to sprout and emerge. The other plants don’t take so long, but it’s also about knowing myself. I know if I don’t get them started at the same time I just may not get the second batch started at all.

That gets me through February and into March. Even though March could come in and be nice it doesn’t usually happen. We are so close to April by March, and we know that ‘April showers bring May flowers’.

Of course, by May we’ve forgotten the lessons we learned the year before about cold weather and whatnot.

We spend the next few months wrangling with too much or too little rain, babying our plants that survived being started too early in February, hardened off then being thrust into the big world out there.

And through the short summer months and the even shorter autumn, I live like the proverbial grasshopper singing in the sunshine as if October doesn’t have our on the record first killing frost.

One day, I get up, and as my granny used to say, ‘lo and behold’ the ground is white and cold and it’s cold outside, and now I’m like Bambi. “What’s this?” And unlike Bambi and his friends, my friends and I are getting old enough we’re beginning to think maybe we don’t like this cold and snowy and skating across the ice thing.

But this is our home. Since I’ve called anywhere home I’ve called it home, and I always come back to it as if it is home. The winters are getting more difficult, but—I love the seasons. We know when the seasons change here in Iowa. There is a definite difference between spring and summer, autumn, and winter.

Genesis 8:

20  And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

21  And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

22  While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Matthew 19:

jesus christ stained glass artwork

13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Acapeldridge What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Leading vs. Following

ocean water wave photo

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

From time to time it is a good thing to take oneself aside and have a heart to heart conversation. Having the right conversation is necessary for moving forward. However, it is not always apparent as to what the right conversation is.

This conversation can be with yourself or because (as it has been stated) ‘No man is an island.” It may involve others.

In other words, it can be either a self-check or a selves check.

A self-check can help us make sure we are on the right path. We know as it says in Proverbs 16:9  “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” That doesn’t mean that every step I take is directed by the Lord. They should be directed by the Lord if we’re Christians, but…

As I’ve shared before, back in the day I had MY life planned out. After marriage, I was going to wait two years before we began our family. I would then have two children first a boy, then a girl…

There wasn’t anything wrong with those plans. We got married and began on the right foot and.

In a world of ‘Well, that didn’t work out,” that didn’t work out. The first child was a boy—born nine and a half /ten months after we were married. The second child (girl) turned out to be a boy. Well, life is what it is, and that is what it was. Three years later we decided to have a third child, which turned out to be a boy as well.

The point is in Proverbs 16:9 Are we more interested in the course we’ve charted (A man’s heart deviseth his way:) or in following in the steps God has planned for us? (but the LORD directeth his steps.)

I’m using these scriptures in the writer’s vernacular of writing, outline, critiques, and editing. God’s plan is his outline.

I read a woman’s story of how ‘she rose above the mean-spiritedness of some other women’ who told her she should not wear short shorts when she came in to worship. Those women were mean and hurt her feelings…

Maybe the woman who was unkind in telling her to wear something more modest should have been more tactful and kind. I don’t know, but there was a day when people could figure out for themselves that a woman wearing two pasty spots on their bosom and a tutu for the bottom wasn’t enough outside of their home.

Critique, we all need to endure critiques. Sometimes the criticism is valid, sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it does hurt our feelings but weigh the advice. As a writer/critiquer, the advice goes: if one person questions a passage (in your writing), think it over. If two critique partners question it— seriously reconsider what you’ve written, but if there are three or more, just throw it out.

There are many people who want to give you free advice. Weigh it carefully. Free advice can be worth exactly what it costs.

 Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

If you’re a follower of Christ, God wants the best for your life. He wants to transform you to be more like Jesus. But that requires each one of us to let him lead. Back when I had my life all figured out, I didn’t have anything figured out.

I had become a Christian, yes, but I thought I was still in control. Our fourth child (unplanned, but very much loved) was a girl, but by then I could see how my prayers for ‘wisdom and patience’ were being answered. I knew I had enough wisdom and patience.

God added two more children for good measure, and then we asked for one more.

Psalms 139:

1  …O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.

2  Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

3  Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

4  For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

5  Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

7  Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

8  If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

10  Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

Being Smart

light sea dawn landscape

12)  So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

There are certain milestones that for some reason we believe once we reach them we will have arrived.

The big milestone when I was young was graduating from high school. In my ignorance, I thought I would be an adult. I would be grown up. I can’t remember what benefit that would give me but on that side of the ledger, it was a milestone in my life.

During high school, my mother had wanted me to become proficient in secretarial skills but that skill sorrowfully didn’t fit me. To add insult to injury, I didn’t drive a car or have access to transportation. But graduate I did anyhow.

Other people saw graduation as a milestone just as I did because at graduation people gave the graduates gifts. A blessing indeed, and a surprise to me. I had already planned on leaving Ohio to go back to my (kind of) adopted/home state of Iowa.

With the graduation money, I bought a one-way Greyhound bus ticket back home. I would stay with a girlfriend for a visit. After that? Well, I had no plan after that, but the first step was to get there.

The second step happened when I went to live at my aunt and uncle’s. Obtaining a job and someplace to live were the final challenges. My Aunt helped me find a sleeping room with a bathroom in a nearby small town, and a job that I could walk to in that same small town.

Milestones—graduation was a milestone but when I reached it it wasn’t exactly the milestone I had expected. In looking back I wonder at the boldness and/ or stupidity of youth. I left my mother’s with less than a hundred dollars and a suitcase that contained most of everything I owned.

Some people like to think they’ve lived their life like the Frank Sinatra song, “My Way.” I’ve never found that song appealing. I find it arrogant. For them to think they chose their path, and how good and laudable it was—on this side of eternity we really can’t know how good it was.

Milestones—when I think about life I marvel at how quickly it goes; how quickly it passes. As someone wrote just lately, I knew I would get old, but I’m sure surprised by how fast it happened.

Psalms 90:

9  For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.

10  The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

11  Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.

12  So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Philippians 2:

1  If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

2  Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

4  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Good Advice

flower tree park landscape

You can find good advice almost everywhere. You can find bad advice almost everywhere. And…

You can find situations that good advice becomes bad advice and situations where bad advice becomes good advice.

If that seems a bunch of gobble-de- gook, it can be that as well. A few months ago I was congratulated by someone I didn’t give advice to because I didn’t give them advice against marrying the person they wanted to marry.

I did feel grateful that they felt grateful, but I had a nagging question. Will they still feel that way if it goes sideways? Like a young man wrote oodles of years ago when he was looking at his picture in his high school yearbook when he said, “Look at how long my hair was, and no one warned me I would look back at this picture thinking how dumb I looked.”

Someone may have reminded the boy with the graduation picture/long hair that he had been warned, but… So, I was feeling accomplished, not because I didn’t agree with some of the naysayers, or could have agreed with them. I felt accomplished because after seven kids I absolutely knew that nothing I said would make a difference.

And the second thing I know is even if the odds of naysayers and/ or me being right were on one side, only God knows how things will really turn out. How many times do old people witness that—Everyone told us it wouldn’t work, but here we are fifty years later.

And there we must leave it in the end, at the foot of the throne.

Philippians 1:

20  According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

21  For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

22  But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.

23  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

24  Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

25  And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;

26  That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

27  Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

28  And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.

29  For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

30  Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.