Archives July 2021

Living in an Upside Down World

red and black bird on red flowers

The more things change the more they stay the same~

Things change as a person grows older. That oxymoron statement will get a person the obvious award of the year. Yet as we think about it change is the way life is.

There is another saying, the more things change the more they stay the same. We expect babies and young people to change, and the change is usually dramatic. We expect to measure their changes in specific ways.

At some point, visible change begins to slow but change is still happening within a person. And as I have reached a sublime age where I have the privilege to not just change but also ponder on change happening to me and happening to others in life in general I’m quite busy.

Today’s project is to finish projects. A year ago I was just barely making it to the goal of getting up and surviving. Yesterday I finished a huge project and today I’m hoping to finish some of the little projects I wanted to finish for Christmas 2020.

I have also in the past made personalized birthday cards for the grandchildren. Last year was a slippery year. I ran out of ink, and energy, so that project got lost. I’m hoping to revive this year.

The sun is shining in my office door. I have rogue swallows who have insisted on making a nest over the front (living room) door just a few feet from my office door.

Four years ago they made a nest on top of the light above the door. I didn’t catch them until it was too late, so that year we left them alone. They make quite a mess and don’t like visitors coming or going. The next year I turned the light on which did discourage them from nest making that year.

The next year they started a nest on the trim of the shelter over the door, and we knocked it down as well as leaving the light on. That worked that year to discourage them. This year we’ve knocked it down three times but they have persisted.

So they made their nest and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them. I know there should be many places for these poor creatures to make their nests other than right above our front door, yet their increased amount of persistence makes me wonder.

I don’t live in la-la land as some people do. Some people believe that nature is loving and all creatures (except humans) are kind and beneficial. That’s not really true.

A few weeks ago I watched out the window as a large raccoon came down out of our apple tree. I was amazed at his size, however, the real point here is there was nothing in that apple tree for him to be after except raiding the bird nests of the baby birds.

We do have a lot of birds here. Sometimes it looks like we have too many birds. They tend to eat much of the fruit from the trees and bushes we’ve planted to feed our family. We haven’t had a lot of natural predators until lately.

We had a stray cat join herself to us several years ago. Then she became fruitful and multiplied. Now we need to figure out how to stop the reproduction amongst cats most of which are strays by choice.

In the shop buildings and in farm machinery there is an abundance of mice and if the cats could catch them, rats. So cats can find an endless supply of feed here including birds. And sadly in opposition to the idea that nature is kind and benevolent, cats have no qualms about what birds they eat. All birds are game birds to them.

That brings me back to my barn swallows becoming house swallows. They have set up their housekeeping nest and are awaiting their hatchlings. I’ve always loved watching them fly and swoop after their insects. And perhaps the swallows know I’ve been likely to take after a lazy kitty looking for a bird and they feel safer here under my porch roof.

At one time Old Fuzzy made a purple martin house, but it has fallen into disrepair. Much time and effort go into those projects. They aren’t simply a birdhouse they are an apartment building and one project like that in a lifetime is usually enough.

Purple Martins and barn swallows help keep mosquitos and similar insect populations down. Although the apartment building/Purple Martin house has gone the way of all the world we do still have our dual-purpose single-dwelling bird feeder.

After the winter bird feeder has done its duty and becomes birdfeed free our wrens come back in the spring and raise at least one brood of hatchlings.

In some way, I can’t believe our year is on the downhill slide. The next thing I will be looking up as September and its last of the year bounty come wafting in.

Psalms 90:

14  O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

15  Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.

16  Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. 17  And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

Would We Live

inside photography of church

If I knew the number of my days were finite, and my days would be short, would I live differently?

Perhaps you’ve read the stories of people who find out from their doctor they have a short time to live and they decide to do as many of the things on their bucket list as they can before…

I wonder how many ask the question if I knew the number of my days were finite and my days were short, would I live differently than I am currently living?

We can read in the Gospel according to Luke 16:19  There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

And also in Luke 16:20  And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

We know how the rich man and Lazarus lived different lives from one another here on this earth. The rich man had a life of ease and Lazarus was a beggar begging for crumbs. We also know how they died and had different experiences after death.

Luke 16:22  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

23)  And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

When the rich man asked for a drop of water to cool his tongue Abraham said not so…Then the rich man had one last request, that Lazarus would go to the rich man’s home and warn his brethren:

Luke16:27  Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:

28)  For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

This is a short story, yet it has been played out many times through the centuries. And Abrahman’s final answer?

Luke 16:29  Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

30)  And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

31)  And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

How many times have we as Christians told people to repent, told people there is a great day coming? Most turn a deaf ear to words of warning. Some even tell us a loving God won’t send anyone to torment.

That may be so, but there are still a vast number who are day by day choosing a place of torment over a home with a loving God… and it’s their choice, not God’s.

This life on earth isn’t a quiz for the next life. Every day we make choices, some are hard choices and some aren’t but they are choices. Remember as the Psalm says:

Psalms 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

The Old and the New

moon surrounded by clouds

Job 32:7  I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.8)  But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. 9)  Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.

Reading through Job and the banter with his three friends you do find some wisdom and truth. Even amongst the words of Job’s three friends, there was wisdom, yet their words didn’t specifically apply to Job.

God tells Satan at the beginning of the book that Job is a righteous man who fears God and there is no other like him on the face of the earth. Satan sets out to prove God’s estimation of his servant Job false, yet in the end, he proves God right.

I don’t know what the relationship the last man to speak to Job was. He isn’t grouped with the older friends and his counsel isn’t of the same tenure as the other three. Indeed, God doesn’t condemn Elihu as he does the other three.

Job 32:2  Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God. 3  Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.

So, then, there is much in Elihu’s speech that speaks volumes. Great men are not always wise; neither do the aged understand judgment. It seems that lately we have been allowed to witness the folly of many who have dressed themselves in the garments of greatness.

Some of these people that should have been wise some are even aged and have been in politics, some in entertainment, some in journalism, maybe even in the halls of education or judgment. Yet their outward visage is like the cardboard cut out that people can stick their own face into the face hole and all look pretty much the same.

They are neither wise nor are able to teach wisdom. Like my children when small these people open their mouths and stuff comes out. And not good stuff, but foolish clamorous gobble-de-gook.

So, what am I doing today? In my heart what is going on? I’m in turmoil on the inside. I don’t understand how good people are suffering punishment while idiots are running free. It does remind me of when Aslan in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is being sacrificed to the evil mob. But where is the deliverance that came the morning after? Will we ever see the deliverance, or will we be waiting until the second coming?

Many have said they are looking for Jesus’ appearance in the clouds at any moment. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised. Well, maybe partly surprised, but things have gotten ugly down here.

Yet, we press on preaching the Word, the Good news of the Gospel. I’m working on my next book, and on sewing projects as well as prayer and supplication. With that, I’ll leave you with this prayer for a good day, a good week, and a good forever blessing in Christ Jesus.

1 John 5:

19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Where’s Your Head?

blossoming flowers against river and ridge in summertime

We are about 6 weeks from autumn, so not quite at the headless horseman stage. Yet it is applicable any time of the year:

This is an excerpt taken From Edie Melson and The Write Connection: It deals with feelings and the heart and how the feelings don’t have to be connected to truth. We are about 6 weeks from autumn, so not quite at the headless horseman stage. Yet it is applicable any time of the year:

The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

Now that fall is fully upon us, everywhere we look evidence of the season jumps out at us. The trees have donned their colorful best and pumpkins are sprouting grins on every front porch. Halloween candy is littering the aisles at the grocery store and kiddos are planning costumes. Along with this, some classics have also come back to haunt us—from It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

It’s that classic book by Washington Irving which has caught my mind’s eye this year—or more specifically a character within the book. As I was watching a rerun of Disney’s version, I was struck by how I resemble the Headless Horseman when it comes to faith. 

The truth is, sustaining faith is based on facts NOT feelings. And when I follow what feels right, I lose touch with the head of my faith.

End of Edie’s excerpt.

Keeping in touch with our head. What a subject. How do we keep a firm grasp on Christ (our head) and His will for us? How easy is it to be marching along thinking we’re working with the Master only to find we’ve left Him behind and he’s nowhere in the picture?

Daily reading our Bible is a start, daily prayer, and daily study all are part and parcel of keeping in touch.

Don’t study just to prove yourself right. Many Bible scholars have come to a different knowledge through their years of study. Thomas and Alexander Campbell come to my mind but several other Bible preachers living on the east coast at the same time as the Campbells changed their understanding through study as well.

There are quite a few things people have come to accept that are not scriptural. I’ve had a few people who, after visiting our congregation offered to help us get a piano for our services.

While this is generous of them it isn’t necessary, nor do we want to add a musical instrument to our worship service. The scriptures in Ephesians says: 5:19  Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

So that is what we are commanded to do, not to pound on the keys, drums, or whatever, but to sing and make melody in our hearts.

We can no more use a musical instrument to worship God than follow His command and add an instrument to pray: Ephesians 5:20  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

The interesting thing is many denominations don’t know their own history on this matter. Any number of major beginners of denominations as well as John Wesley of the Methodist denomination, Charles Spurgeon of the Baptist denomination, all rejected the idea of instruments in worship. I believe it was Spurgeon who said, I have no problem with a piano in the church building as long as it is neither seen nor heard.

Musical instruments are one place the scriptures differ from many denominations. It confuses my mind when I try to understand why? Why do we humans believe we can or even should try to change what God has said?

A common jest amongst my family members is, Why didn’t God create woman first? Answer? He didn’t want advice.

We all laugh at that because it’s so accurate. One of my favorite sayings is, I think we should do it this way, or why don’t we do it that way?

But God doesn’t need my advice—or anyone else’s advice for that matter.

We would all do much better if we remember that tidbit. God doesn’t need our advice, and in the words of a recent song, let it go (and let God handle it).

Psalms 86:

11 Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
12 I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.
13 For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.