Archives September 2022

Listen to the Whole Song

inside photography of church

“Hebrews 6:9  But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus

speak: “

“You cannot fix someone who doesn’t want to be fixed. But you can ruin your life trying.”

And sometimes you can’t fix people who want to be fixed and it’s one of those places where you must come to understand where you are at.

Ecclesiastes “7:13  Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked? 14)  In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; yea, God hath made the one side by side with the other, to the end that man should not find out anything that shall be after him.”

There are so many words of wisdom in the Bible. Ecclesiastes is just one of my favorite books. Indeed, who can make straight that which God has made crooked? That is an intriguing idea, yet it looks like in our world today this is what quite a few people are trying to do.

God doesn’t make people “crooked”. He doesn’t make us sinful. There are those who tell us humans are born sinful, but of course another passage in Ecclesiastes—“7:29  Behold, this only have I found: that God made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” And by inventions, it doesn’t mean light bulbs and electricity, it means sins and sinfulness.

On the other spectrum, as I look and watch out my window/s there are still those times the beauty which God has showered on his creation is so overwhelming. I’m reminded of some of the early painters of the magnificent West.

These well-known artists such as Albert Bierstadt, George Catlin, Thomas Moran, Charles Marion, and Frederick Remington painted such pictures of fantastic beauty. One such artist received $25,000 for one of his paintings, and these were paintings during the late 1800s to early 1900s—times when that amount of money was astronomical.

When I look at the scenes God paints every day, I wonder, where am I and what am I doing? That’s not really the question I ask, but some days…

There is beauty that lights up the world, and I wonder if artists such as the ones mentioned are similar to the scientist, Isaac Newton, who was credited with so many discoveries. Yet, even after all of those discoveries, Newton said he felt like a child walking by the seaside only picking up a few gems along the way, trying to discover God’s wisdom along the seashore.

And even as we see the beautiful works we know that God reproduces these beauties day after day. These things all bear witness of the higher being, as it were a Power greater than ourselves. As Barnabas and Paul told the men of Lycaonia:

“Acts 14:15  and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and bring you good tidings, that ye should turn from these vain things unto a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that in them is: 16)  who in the generations gone by suffered all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17)  And yet He left not himself without witness, in that he did good and gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness.”

It has become fashionable for acapella singers to record a song part by part with one person doing all the different parts, bass, soprano, alto, and tenor. When sung as such, on the whole it is quite an accomplishment. One of my favorite singers is Acapeldridge.

One voice by itself can be inspiring. I remember when I first began attending church most everyone was a new Christian and not familiar with singing the different parts. We all sang and it sounded fine but…

As we’ve learned to sing the different parts through the years, listening to the songs as they were written and meant to be sung, I realize now, as the parts become a whole how much better they sound.

“Hebrews 6:9  But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak: 10)  for God is not unrighteous to forget your work and the love which ye showed toward his name, in that ye ministered unto the saints, and still do minister. 11)  And we desire that each one of you may show the same diligence unto the fulness of hope even to the end:”

Rekeying Life

forest at night

Earlier today Old Fuzzy had to take one of our vehicles to get the key rekeyed. He had to work on the van and when he replaced the item it threw the starter out of the program with the computer.

He had found a wonky way around the problem but it wasn’t a good or permanent solution. Of course, that got me thinking about how easy it is to get away from the program and forget who we are as Christians.

Today was rainy and cool. Even though it wasn’t a perfect autumn day, it wasn’t a bad day either. We’ve needed rain so badly for a couple of years, and having regular rain for the last two weeks is refreshing. Yet, some people get fretful on days without sun.

We have had sunshine and rain intermittently through this rainy time. Enough of both to make almost everyone happy, but there is the rub as Shakespeare would say…

Happiness: “If you see a woman chugging chocolate chips directly from the bag in the grocery aisle, I would advise leaving her alone.”

I wonder about people who don’t like chocolate—what do they use for happiness? Of course, Julie Andrews in Sound of Music encouraged everyone to think of their favorite things. But amongst those favorite things should be something chocolate.

We are told to count our blessings and that’s good advice. Mentally or even on paper listing our blessings can help—focusing on positive things and getting out of wallowing in the negative.

Having friends who look on the bright side of life is also helpful. Thankfully Eeyore had friends that encouraged him in a positive manner. And we need to work at being positive people.

In the words of the song “Living Below in this old world of sin… where can I go but to the Lord?” No matter how good my friends and neighbors are. No matter how loving my family is, the one that is the greatest comfort is God. At times we all need to get in touch with our core.

Ecclesiastes “7:1  A good name is better than precious oil; and the day of death, than the day of one’s birth. 2  It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. 3  Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made glad.”

Pushing Buttons

photo of a lighted candle

Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.

At one time the phrase “You’re pushing my buttons.” Was a clear warning for people to back off. They were getting close to a boiling point.

In a quick article describing how many apps you can put on your phone, which I’m sure once added will be there forever, and they gather on your phone until it has so many add-ons it breaks down…

And apparently, there is an app that has the feature to open your car trunk from afar… What happened to the key fob? With so many of these app things, our lives should be a continuous series of entertainment—A continuous sequence of songs and dances.

Bread and circuses—where have we heard that phrase before? While waiting for some responses to queries yesterday I was listening to speakers and on occasion some newscasters. It has been difficult to focus my mind on the tasks at hand with so many people telling us too many things.

“Luke 12:35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;

36) And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.

37) Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching:

Jesus tells us to watch. He tells us to be ready and waiting and we’ll be blessed.

Luke 12:38 “And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

39) And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.

40) Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

I remember reading in one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s later books how one of her neighbors was selling out something—perhaps his whole farm—because of political upheavals and the neighbor was certain the whole world was going to end up in the trash heap.

Not being read up on that time specifically and their happenings I don’t know if that was a good move on the neighbor’s part, but I can only wonder how shocked that person would be to see the world we live in today.

I had a real moment when I read that men could get pregnant. I have a husband and six sons. I guarantee you they are not going to get pregnant. And they are doubly not going to give birth. Someone needs a good dose of reality and it isn’t me.

And that’s the good news. Then there is Santi Klaus. He thinks he wants everything we have and we will be happy about that. I don’t think he understands the word happy. Or reality for that matter.

Each day we are inundated with stupid. From our government doing stupid, to the people trying to tell us our government doing stupid isn’t stupid.

Yet, in the midst of trouble and strife, we can draw comfort from the words of Jesus.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

As well as the words of Paul to the Philippians in chapter 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Someone Cares

statue of jesus christ on mount in evening

To make a difference in someone’s life, you don’t have to be brilliant, 

rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care. But the question is, what does care look like?

On this wonderful new item called social media, I’ve gotten this bleeding heart declaration which I’m supposed to sign on to. The article begins with something like, “If I called you at two o’clock in the morning sobbing and…” It ends with the words or idea, “would you be there for me?”

Of course, if you’re a “friend” you know you ought to answer, “Yes, I’ll be there for you.” I do feel guilty when I get those little ditties because I do want to care, and I hate being so honest at times… but I probably would answer no.

Most of these aren’t sent by my close friends, just casual acquaintances, and why they demand my undying love and devotion I’m wondering. Back in the day when I would do something for one of my children and they would say, “Thanks, mom.” My response always was, sure, no problem. All I ask is your undying love and devotion.

At the time it was meant to be funny, but now that I’m older I realize the value it held. A family tie is different and should not be easily broken. That isn’t a casual acquaintance. I do thank God for my family, friends, and neighbors.

A few years ago Old Fuzzy was taking a load of calves/cattle to a sale barn. Granted it was a small trailer load. He got between towns when the axle started to drop off the rear of the small trailer.

I’ve told this story more than once. He called a neighbor who dropped what he was doing, brought his trailer, and helped Old Fuzzy finish his task. That’s a neighbor indeed. And indeed, there have been several times in our lives when neighbors have stepped in. Sometimes we have been neighbors as well and it works out but…

As the scriptures say, “Matthew 7:12  All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

Most of us in this neighborhood have grown up hearing this admonition. At least the older of us, and we just believe that as truth. When I was looking for an editor for my first book, one of the editors gave me grief about the number of ‘flat tires’ I mentioned in the book. I think in total there were three. One was the saggy tire at the beginning of the book, another one was about the middle of the book and one was just mentioned as happening.

Those of us living and navigating the gravel roads out here aren’t impressed by that number of flat tires, but the editor’s complaint didn’t end with the number of flat tires itself. She also complained about the people who had stopped to help their fellow sufferers.

Most of the people were strangers to one another, yet they willingly went the extra mile to be of help. —No, the editor said, this just doesn’t happen.

My daughter at the time of exchange between the editor and myself laughed and told the story of her recent encounter. She and her kids were driving somewhere and had the misfortune of a flat tire. She got out and was looking at the problem when a man pulled up, got out changed the tire for her, got back in his pickup, and left.

She said, I didn’t know him, I still don’t know him, but what a blessing. No money was exchanged, and it sounded like very little conversation happened, yet whether the man was a believer in God or not, he did a good deed.

We do see evil in this world. It seems to be increasing. I wonder if it isn’t a combination of news broadcasting and an increase in happening. Regardless, we are warned of our being in a spiritual battle.

“Ephesians 6:10  Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. 11)  Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12)  For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

This has been an ongoing battle since the creation of the world. We are told it will continue until the Lord comes back again. “2Timothy 3:13  But evil men and impostors shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

Throughout history, it is shown that even during the darkest hours and during times that had horrendous atrocities occurring, people still did amazingly good things in the ways they could. Even while evil was happening on a large scale there were parts of populations who shielded others, helping them to safety and beyond.

What should be evident is in this world every good thing we have or receive comes from God. Not a god, but Jehovah God. The good that is done, the bravery, the going beyond ourselves everything that is good, comes from God.

The story is told of someone visiting hell and in spite of an abundance of food at the feast, everyone is fighting and starving since they all have long handled eating utensils.

On visiting heaven there is a similar situation with the abundance of food, long-handled knives, forks, and spoons, yet everyone is peacefully feeding others and receiving from others.

But in hell there will be no good thing—there will be no God.

“Revelation 17:14  These shall war against the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they also shall overcome that are with him, called and chosen and faithful.”

Peace I Leave

white tea cup on gray surface

9  The things which ye both learned and received and heard and saw in me, these things do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Coming from here to there… Two things I’ve done so far this morning—No, there have been more than two things, but besides throwing myself out of my cozy warm bed and making my way, moaning and groaning, to the coffee pot and into the office I’m not admitting to anything else.

Being distracted by loud isn’t helpful. We have a lot of loud these days. I’ve noted that in talking to people such as my father-in-law and his generation when I asked about years gone by he could tell me specific information about specific years.

I often can’t remember what happened last year—sometimes last week. I wonder if we are that way because of the increasing loud that’s beating our drums.

Loud, such as a pandemic. Loud such as global weather concerns. Loud such as floods, fires, blackouts, and doom, despair, and agony… in a word drama.

Drama is everywhere, and we are bombarded by it. Life seems to go faster and faster with little to show for our efforts. As an aside, Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world, so they say. Jesus says in Matthew 10:34 “Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”

For a religion of peace that seems wrong, but how do we reconcile the two ideas of peace and a sword? The division comes with being different. Christians are called to be different from the world. As Jesus also says in Mark 9:50 “Salt is good: but if the salt have lost its saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace one with another.”

Christians are called to be not just different, but to be righteous. Being righteous (honestly righteous, not just holier than thou righteous) makes other people look like what they are. That could be good if they are good, but if they aren’t good it shows them to be who they are. Many people don’t like to look bad, so they take after the messenger. Hence the sword.

Christians should be peaceful with one another, and the paradox is that even in the midst of strife a Christian can and should have internal peace. “John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.”

“Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, 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  The things which ye both learned and received and heard and saw in me, these things do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

There is a Price

person holding gold round coins

So this week is almost at a close and I’ve had this piece started since last week. Yes, I am somewhat embarrassed, but not having the time machine, I’m stuck here.

It’s a rainy, almost stormy morning and not entirely unwelcome. We are still experiencing a drought and rain is needed. It’s also cooled off a bit. Being September we are at the point on the calendar where we’re ready for that slightly cooler look.

Maybe not quite the fashion statement, but maybe so.

Of note, the ninety-six-year-old Queen Elizabeth II passed away yesterday. I was sad to see the end of an era, but that too was inevitable. She had lost her husband last year and at that extended age, it was expected.

Still, I kept rooting for her for another day, and another—

The age we are looking at now isn’t pretty. Many things have happened and we’re living in a dream which is more like a nightmare. This is a writer’s page, not a political post page, yet things happen that cause us to ponder.

And rightly so. We should ponder on good and evil, right and wrong, and even moral and immoral. And in reality that is part of our writing. We try to encourage our fellow travelers to make the right choices and live their best life.

We especially, as Christian writers, want to encourage people to believe in God and Jesus, and grab onto eternal life and salvation. And what does that have to do with politics? Or kings and queens, or everyday life?

Satan would like to have us believe that politics, kings, queens, and everyday life doesn’t have anything to do with Christianity. However, that’s not true. We are sent here to make a difference and be a difference.

“Matthew 5:13  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.

14  Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.

15  Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house.

16  Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

We know this is true. We know we are to be salt and light and this is “Our Father’s world.” But we abdicate our authority to “the god of this world.” We allow Satan free range over everything as if we have no power.

Everything has a price. If you really want to buy something, just keep looking for the right price. It isn’t always true in every case, but in many instances it is. I gleaned that jewel of information, if I recall correctly, from Robert Kiyosaki from the Rich Dad lessons.

Everything has a price and everything has consequences. The second half of that is more true than the first half. Some of the consequences may be good and some may be a learning curve, but consequences there will be.

One of the “old wives sayings” or bits of wisdom I remember from when I was in sixth grade was “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn no other way.”

How much are people willing to pay for pleasure? What is the end goal in life? Sometimes the question is what is your soul worth? To you and to God? Most people sell their souls far too cheap. Especially cheap when you compare what they sell their souls for and what God paid to redeem them.

Several newer words of wisdom come to mind. “You die once, but you live every day.” “Life is short; eternity is long.” Think on these things.

“Proverbs 22:3  A prudent man seeth the evil, and hideth himself; But the simple pass on, and suffer for it.

Proverbs 27:12  A prudent man seeth the evil, and hideth himself; But the simple pass on, and suffer for it.”

We can sometimes avoid paying that price for foolishness by observing how it works for others. This ties into the idea of wisdom having a price as well:

“Job 28:12  But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?

Job 28:15 It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.

16 It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.

17 The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.

18 No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.

19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.

20 Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?”

“Proverbs 17:16  Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, Seeing he hath no understanding?”