“Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings.” Victor Hugo
“We gain a new definition of freedom when we also remember and consider the roles of ordinary people who did extraordinary things at this moment.”
Taken from the book “An Army of Amateurs” written by Philippe De Vomecourt, about his work with the Résistance during World War II.
Extraordinary versus ordinary, and who are those people? On occasion, we see articles about ordinary people, some of them young and some of them old, who are thrown into a situation and without thinking they do the impossible, such as they lift a car off of another person to save their life. And we all marvel at such an occurrence since under normal circumstances they wouldn’t be able to do such a feat.
Mr. De Vomecourt, the author of the above quote, was an interesting subject. He came from a wealthy maybe even considered an aristocratic family and had seen his share of life and adventure when World War Two came around. He had two brothers, and I believe he was the middle child. They three came together and divided France up and each took an area to work and lead in the Resistance.
He saw firsthand the events the ordinary people did throughout France under very difficult times with an ever-present enemy and everywhere present enemy. For five long years, the people of the Resistance suffered without the guarantee that they would ever be free from their enemy.
Our lives are in a sense a piecemeal of works. A hodge-podge if you will of happenings. There is a birthday, then a one-year birthday, and so forth. Maybe there is schooling, graduation. A first job, a first love, marriage a family, and all through the years there are happenings, some notable as family members are added and some subtracted.
And we gain a new definition of living through it all, during the times we were heroes and during the times we weren’t. By heroes, we don’t mean necessarily lifting the car off someone, or rescuing people from burning buildings although that would certainly qualify. But heroes mostly come in simple clothing such as being there at the right time in the right way.
Heroes are more often disguised as common people doing everyday chores. They give encouragement through a smile, a pat on the back, or by offering that boost to help others move over an obstacle.
“Let love of the brethren continue. Forget not to show love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:1-2)
Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself. ~William Martin
“Show me thy ways, O Jehovah; Teach me thy paths. Guide me in thy truth, and teach me; For thou art the God of my salvation; For thee do I wait all the day. Remember, O Jehovah, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindness; For they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: According to thy lovingkindness remember thou me, For thy goodness’ sake, O Jehovah.” (Psalms 25:4-7)
James 4:14 whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
In art, it is said that what remains of a piece of art is the important element of the piece. Many times I find ideas from a snippet of someone else. It may be a long article, or just the thumbnail that catches my attention. And the final product of my idea isn’t always what the original article was about.
I was reading an article that began with this story, as they called it a ‘parable’ that went like this:
“In elementary school my parents told me it didn’t matter what I did when I grew up, so long as it made me happy. ‘Happiness is the whole point of life,’ my father said. ‘But it doesn’t always come easy. Your mother loves to help people in need, so she became a psychiatric nurse. I love reading, writing and poetry, so I became an English teacher. We both find happiness in the hard work we do each day.’
A few years later when I was in junior high, my sixth-grade homeroom teacher put me in detention for ‘being difficult.’ She went around the classroom and asked each student what they wanted to be when they grew up. When she got to me, I told her I wanted to be happy. She told me I was missing the whole point of the question. I told her she was missing the whole point of life.”
That came from a longer article by Marc and Angel /HackLife written by Marc Chernoff
The article is one of encouragement on finding our passion but… it didn’t exactly follow the standard procedure of pursuing what makes you happy. Which, as the above parable suggests, we can find our passion as a reflection in something outside of ourselves.
What is wrong with that view? Many people don’t know what their passion is and they continually wait, looking around for their passion to show up and inspire them. And they wait and wait, and wait some more. Then they reach the end of their life and wonder what happened.
I remember when I was in middle school wondering what I wanted to do when I grew up or at least got out of school. I thought about being a farmer, but back at that time, single women weren’t considered eligible to be farmers. They could be farmer’s wives, but it wasn’t until the seventies that women began to break into the leadership role in farming.
My mother at the end of her life was a waitress, and I thought that might be a possibility. I enjoyed painting and artwork, but what could an untrained person do in a career as an artist? In retrospect, I probably would have ended up in medicine of some sort, but then it isn’t what might have been that matters.
It’s a scientific fact that water takes the path of least resistance. In training a horse we were told the rule was to make it harder for the animal to do anything except for what you want them to do. Humans are often much the same as water and training a horse. The path of least resistance is very often where we go. If we have a fork in our road we take it, as Yogi Berra would say.
Therefore, as we go wending our way through life, we aren’t really thinking we will find happiness just around the bend by pursuing our passion. We are attempting to find the easiest and best solution in our lives. A new step so to speak. Maybe we are looking for ‘where the Lord is leading’, or the path of least resistance.
Lately, I feel as if I’m on a quest reading and looking for something. I do find many items, some of which are worth passing on. I “borrowed” these last lines from a much longer poem from a FaceBook share from a poet, Mário Raul de Morais Andrade. The first line reads, “I counted my years and found that I have less time to live from here on than I have lived up to now.” (In case someone wants to look up and read the entire poem…) The last lines read:
“My goal is to reach the end satisfied (the end of life, of course)
and at peace with my loved ones
and my conscience.
We have two lives.
And the second begins when you realize you only have one.” (the second life begins when…)
~Mário Raul de Morais Andrade (Oct 9, 1893 – Feb 25, 1945)
Brazilian poet, novelist, musicologist, art historian and critic, photographer
The whole poem, which is a thoughtful good poem, is on how little we value the first part of our life, until we realize—as the first part of the poem says—we have less life left to live. At that point, if we are smart we slow down and begin to savor the important things in our lives. And yes, many times our vision changes. We desire peace with our loved ones, and within ourselves, but we should desire especially peace with God.
“(27) And 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. (29) But Abraham saith, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. (30) And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one go to 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, if one rise from the dead. (Luke 16:27-31)
For what doth it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? For what should a man give in exchange for his life? (Mark 8:36-37)
“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner do evil a hundred times, and prolong his days, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, that fear before him:” (Ecclesiastes 8:11-12)
I enjoy watching videos on healthy eating, healthy living and all-around wellbeing, or being well. Oddly enough, I’ve noticed the trend in the last twenty years that more people are becoming exceedingly invested in doing healthy things.
Indeed we’ve thrown out the cigarettes as bad for us and we work at diets, sometimes several diets, always looking for something perfect. Something perfect that will give us the perfect—the perfect look, the perfect feel, the perfect body, we may not know exactly what the perfect thing is we’re looking for but we know it’s perfect.
But we don’t live in a perfect world. We did at one time, but all that we have left of that world are the words “In the beginning God… and God saw it was good.” We can see hints, small reminders scattered here and there like jewels or beautiful roses guarded by thorns.
Calendars often use the most beautiful pictures of our present world. Pictures of sunrises and sunsets, of mountains, oceans, seas, houses or the list goes on of the beauties of this world used to decorate our walls and show us the passage of time.
As I’ve pointed out in numerous examples, time can change quickly making that which we believe will always be into something that once was. A few years back I had Old Fuzzy take some pictures of our local fat squirrel out in our grove of trees.
Squirrely wasn’t real worried about getting his picture taken. Since our faithful pooch passed on, Squirrely would frisk around at his own leisure, in the grass looking for the walnuts he had planted last fall.
That’s the way that went until one year Miss Kitty decided there wasn’t any cat competition here and she made her home under one of our outside buildings. And she had a litter of kittens. That litter didn’t survive, but she got an upgrade with a bit of kitty feed and some homegrown fresh milk.
One or two of the next litter of her kittens survived, and so it went. Some kittens survived here and there, and our stray cat population blossomed. Our Squirrely had to be careful, no longer could he (or she) spend leisurely moments hopping through the yard.
At one point we had fourteen big healthy stray cats hopefully catching mice, eating kitty feed, drinking milk and even on occasion following Old Fuzzy— the cat whisperer—around. Old Fuzzy made a live trap and began feeding the cats in the trap with the door open, and you can see what the goal was.
The first catch was only three cats. They became rehomed to a nice big barn at a neighbor’s farmstead. The next haul was nine cats to be rehomed as well. Today, as best as we can tell we have one Tom cat left and maybe one other kitty, but they are still strays who like to come up to eat, then they are off to wander.
And Squirrely? He is back to his ways of leisure, but he’s got an air of joie de vivre—joy of life—about him these days. The day he discovered there wasn’t a herd of cats stalking him he was doing cartwheels in the lawn.
One of the big differences between humans and animals is that we humans look into the future. We make plans, sometimes only transitory plans, and sometimes we think in terms of years.
Squirrely is thankful for his reprieve and maybe it will be long or short. However, we didn’t have plans to populate our farm with a large number of cats in the first place. So we can make all sorts of plans but only God knows what is in store.
And life always moves on… until it doesn’t and then it moves into forever. Forever is what comes after life on this earth. We also call it “eternity”. Which is more important than what we have here, but we become wrapped up in our todays here and too often don’t prepare for the forever or eternity.
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what shall a man be profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? or what shall a man give in exchange for his life?” (Matthew 16:24-26)
I know of people who look around at the beauties and wonders of this world and get wrapped up in believing that this is all there is. Or on the other hand, people get tied in knots because of the trials and sorrows that beset them.
The uncertainties of this life should remind us that this isn’t our permanent home and we have the promise of something much better. There isn’t an always on this earth, but there is a forever.
Always with a qualifier, like “I’ll always love you, until… the oceans run dry, or the sun no longer shines or… because life happens and we don’t have an all-seeing vision. Likewise, forever needs preparation as someone has said: “People tell you, life is short, you need to enjoy it. I tell you, eternity is long, you need to prepare for it.”
“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare, even so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12)
“And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them.” Ezekiel 36:27
Question, is it better to have something to say, but not to be able to say it; or have nothing to say and say it often, loud and proud?
My son was recounting to me the other week that he’d been listening to a speaker who happened to be of Italian heritage. The man was relating how Italian mothers /grandmothers would tell their offspring, “You never come to visit me. You don’t listen to me. You don’t…” Well, you get the point, we’ve seen those Italian mothers before.
As my son is telling me of the Italian speaker who was sharing his story about his Italian mother, my son said he stopped the video and asked his brother sitting in the room, “When did mom become an Italian mother?”
Young Fuzzy and I both laughed because as he came to the punchline, I was already hitting the words “When did I become…” And the part of ‘you never listen to me’ line is painfully true.
I’ve told Young Fuzzy, “I think my name should have been Cassandra.” We both know that sad story.
So, where are we today? I spent a whole bunch of time on my last post. For those who don’t write, writing is a Spector. Depending on who is writing, it could be a demon, I suppose. But writing has a voice and sometimes the author might be trying to say something but it isn’t coming out right.
And there was my difficulty because, and I don’t know what the because was but it doesn’t need a because, it just would not behave until it did. Much prayer goes into saying a thing for me. Today is better. The sun is shining, and spring is waving at me through my big sliding door/window. I have garden plants growing, and sadly, dirt in my house. Or maybe just rebelliously I have dirt in my house—sigh.
I do have things to say and should say them late today, or early tomorrow, and more plants to start. I have gleaned a few ideas from an article I began reading last week by Donna Ashworth (From To The Women: words to Live by). She had ten points but I’m just partly sharing some of her points in bold print with my comments thereafter.
10 THINGS TIME HAS TAUGHT ME.
1. Most of our life is spent chasing false goals and worshipping false ideals.
And we don’t usually catch on. Many people never understand this, they just spend their lives chasing these things, these other gods as it were. The first commandment of the ten commandments is “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)
2. You really, truly cannot please all of the people all of the time…
If we have put God first and we are truly pleasing him first—not ourselves and not others, we will have a greater chance of finding happiness. “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalms 46:10)
3. Fighting the aging process is like trying to catch the wind.
4. Nobody is perfect and nobody is truly happy with their lot.
I put those together because I think they have much in common. When we are young our bodies are changing and growing. When we reach a certain age the same body is still changing but it is growing older and we notice that not usually in a good way. If we’ve been wise in our youth and taken anywhere close to good choices the aging process should be more kind. Even so, we often have reality checks and our “check engine” lights come on. Perhaps we need to slow down, eat a bit more healthy, and choose our path more carefully. Realizing and receiving our blessings with grateful hearts makes us healthier. “A cheerful heart is a good medicine; But a broken spirit drieth up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)
5. No one really sees what you do right, everyone sees what you do wrong. When that becomes clear to you, you will start doing things for the right reason and you will start having so much more fun.
I copied all of point number five not because I agree with it as written, but… That first part isn’t always correct—the challenge should be to surround ourselves with better friends who will encourage us to do the right things. However, the focus should be on the last part of that statement. “Start doing things for the right reason.” When we start doing things for the right reason most everything else falls into the right place. When we stop trying to impress others, or please others before doing the right thing we are no longer trying to force a square peg into a round hole. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall exalt you.” (James 4:10)
6. You will regret the years you spent berating your looks, the sooner you can make peace with the vessel your soul lives in, the better. Your body is amazing and important but it does not define you.
Again, beginning with the last sentence in the point, the body God has created is one of amazing capabilities. The first part of the point is also true. I know of very few people who have the “perfect vessel”, and of those few, I know of no one who was ever completely satisfied with that vessel.
Cosmetic doctors make fabulous money working with people striving after the god of perfection. That person should not be us. Much of our lives is cosmetic. The world in which we live is very visual and we base much of our lives on what we see and feel.
It is just the way it is—we begin a year and almost immediately find ourselves at the end of the year. Although I don’t feel like we are doing anything, I look up and no matter what I’m doing it is almost done.
The feed on my social media is a conglomeration of log homes, vintage cars, scriptural memes, and historical happenings. The share section on my social media is a hodge podge of facts and information that at some point I want to read, and possibly share… but maybe not, but I don’t want to lose it in case it’s important.
Being caught, and suspended in time until I can peruse information, at that time it becomes part of my information that FaceBook will judge me as a person on. Sigh.
“And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. And I will save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the grain, and will multiply it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye may receive no more the reproach of famine among the nations.” (Ezekiel 36:25-30)
Here in the state I live in the wind is a challenge and it’s a presence…
*“Always, always, drink the good champagne and use the things you keep for ‘best’. Tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. Today is a gift that’s why we call it the present. Eat, Drink & Be Merry.” Taken from: Donna Ashworth From To The Women: words to live by
Well, I don’t drink champagne, so there’s that. But the idea is that we often save things we think are special to be used at special times then when all is said and done we don’t use it at all. The special things get broken, or they aren’t special to the one that inherits them, they get sold or worse they are thrown out…
The idea of “eat, drink, and be merry” is found in the scriptures. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul says: “If after the manner of men I fought with beasts at Ephesus, what doth it profit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.” (1 Corinthians 15:32)
Some people were saying that the dead were not raised again and the Apostle Paul’s response was, “What? If we have hope in this life only, our reaction should be let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.” And if this earthly life is all there is he would be right. However what evidence do we have that there is more than this life?
“—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: who in the generations gone by suffered all the nations to walk in their own ways. 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.” (Acts 14:15-17)
We have proof of a higher being, a God, who left his evidence around us everywhere, and even left us his written word. Indeed, even a child can see the beauties of this earth and realize in order for these things to exist there must be a creator. A systematic, orderly, creation demands that there be a creator, a higher power as it were. God has revealed his higher power through the natural world, its beauty, and its order. God has also used his written word as contained in the Bible. Anyone who denies there is a God must play a convoluted game to arrive at that verdict.
*“We are not here for long but if you are living against the wind it can feel like a life-sentence. Life should not feel like a chore, it should feel like an adventure.” (Also from Donna Ashworth From To The Women: words to live by)
—Living against the wind… Here in the state I live in the wind is a challenge and it’s a presence. I’ve used a clothesline to dry our laundry most of my life. After a few years of living in a different state and then returning, I was hanging clothes on the line. Or at least I was pinning them on the line, but as fast as I would pin them up, the wind was blowing them off. Living against the wind can get real out here.
During the 1930s times were desperate for many people exacerbated by what is known as the Dust Bowl. AP reporter, Robert Geiger coined the phrase Dust Bowl as a huge wall of black dust enveloped the world. It blocked out the sun, at times from Texas to the East Coast killing people and animals. That would have been an adventure I wouldn’t want to have. That would have been living against the wind in real-time.
Just as those people, some who paid for their mistakes with their lives, we must be careful we don’t forge our own chains. No one has found a better basis for living a good life than following the Bible’s instructions. The idea is to weigh our decisions and measure them against the Bible, instead of making them with little to no thought. We should live each day we are given and be thankful, to be grateful.
Time moves at its own pace, steadily day by day. Our lives are like a vapor on the face of this earth. We are told in James, “…whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14)
History books and historians record the large-scale events that shape what is remembered on the pages of history books. But seldom do we ever view the small everyday happenings that are important to everyday people. The small things are just as important as the large ones. As the saying goes, “To the world, you may be one person, but to one person you are the world.” Bill Wilson
A true story came across my feed about a wealthy young man of 29, in the prime of his life. He was preparing to go on a skiing vacation when he received a call from a friend who was living in Prague. The young man, Winton, was urged to join his friend for what was a momentous event.
When Winton arrived in Prague he found refugee camps—the year was December 1938—Prague was full of people who had fled from Sunderland, and not just refugees, but hundreds of children, whose needs were not addressed. This became Nicholas Winton’s purpose, to take care of as many Jewish children as he could with the time clock ticking. He was able by the grace of God to get six hundred sixty-nine children safely into England before the border shut down.
Mr. Winton went on with his life, never telling his children or grandchildren, he didn’t even tell his wife about this segment of his life. It wasn’t until 1988, when his wife discovered his journal with names, addresses, and pictures of the children and their adoptive families that his activities in these events came to light.
As can be imagined, as his story became public many things came about in his last years . He received awards and recognition from not just “Winton’s children” as the children he had rescued became known but from heads of countries across the world. He was even knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, before his death in 2015 at one hundred and six years old.
*“Who will remember you and for what, become important factors as you age. Your love and your wisdom will live on far longer than any material thing you can pass down. Tell your stories, they can travel farther than you can imagine.” (Donna Ashworth From To The Women: words to live by)
“Come now, ye that say, To-day or to-morrow we will go into this city, and spend a year there, and trade, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall both live, and do this or that. But now ye glory in your vauntings: all such glorying is evil. To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:13-17)
“And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah…”
“And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, that knew not Jehovah, nor yet the work which he had wrought for Israel.” (Judges 2:10)
Teaching our children is such an important task. In every generation Christian parents seek to pass on to their children the importance of following Christ. Some parents to an onlooker appear to be better and more successful in their job than others. Indeed, we often hear advice as to how to be effective, and how to insure that our children will remain faithful.
When Old Fuzzy and I were young and our children small it was our prayer that God would guide us in raising our family. We knew we weren’t perfect and would probably make mistakes, but prayerfully not big gaping mistakes that would give cause to our offspring to fall from the faith. We didn’t want to be like the generation in Judges that hadn’t taught their children…
For some reason many from my generation had the idea that the older generation in the Old Testament from Judges on—Those people had failed to teach their children, otherwise this generation that knew not Jehovah wouldn’t have arisen. At least that’s what we assumed.
Yet, if you read carefully through the stories in Judges, for example, you come across instances such as the one at the beginning here where Gideon is threshing the wheat in his family’s winepress when the angel of the Lord greets him.
“And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.
And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” (Judges 6:11-13)
If the accusation that the older generation had not passed down the Israelite heritage as the reason for “the generation that knew not God,” how did Gideon know the stories so well?
There were other instances where throughout the book of Judges the people (the children that knew not God) recited the history of their fathers and coming from Egypt and so forth. Jephthah is another prime example found in Judges 11:15 and following.
Life does have a way of giving us a wake-up call but sometimes either we don’t hear it or we hear it late. The call is that just giving children the information isn’t all there is to another person’s faith.
I would like to remember that we did everything as perfectly as we could have, but that isn’t true. We had our struggles, our ups and downs, and no matter what it may have looked like from the outside we were doing the best we knew how.
I’m not saying we didn’t show our children the way as well as impart wisdom. I’m not saying we didn’t try to love, to give, and to live what the Bible teaches. What I’m saying is the age-old saying, and perhaps a wise saying, “I don’t know what happened,” comes to mind as I sit at my tent door.
I have had people tell me, “But you did everything right!” Not my words, not God’s words, just observer’s words. Those people who watched as we raised our children.
I knew we didn’t do everything right, but we hoped everything would come out right. I find the judgment ironic from people who have seen some of the tumultuous afteryears without seeing the early before years. It reminds me of our assumptions that the people of the Old Testament didn’t teach their children and that was why the generation that knew not God arose.
Yes, it was ironic, yet that doesn’t make anyone feel better, as the younger generation who was going to do things so much better than we did arose. They loved and taught and did all the right things, but…
If you could change the sentence “a generation that knew not God,” and insert into it “a generation that chose not to know God.” Of course, we should not add to scriptures, yet I wonder if there isn’t truth in those words. I have watched those who judged us for the falling away of some of our children, thinking they would be better parents and therefore have better results—sadly they had similar results as we did.
Some of the failures would fall under distracted parenting. Raising children comes at a time when we are trying to pay bills and live our lives. We are growing up, our children are growing up and even the best parent with the best intentions can be pulled in more than one direction at a time.
Sometimes we are sabotaged. My older generation didn’t know that the school that was teaching us had an agenda. The school’s agenda had begun years before, creating the generation gap—The generation gap grew from being taught one thing at school that conflicted with what was taught at home. Even knowing what was causing the generation gap didn’t tell us how to overcome the agenda as my children entered school.
Raising children has never been easy. The last generation didn’t have adults sneaking around behind the parents’ back grooming children in an ungodly manner as they do now. But each generation carries its own challenges. Since the early 1900s, the progressive agenda has had adult authorities placed into positions of influence in the development of the progressive agenda and its accomplishment throughout the culture—they applied precept upon precept.
The cycle of the children of Israel falling away to the gods of the land, being abandoned by Jehovah, becoming enslaved to other countries, and repenting and coming back to the Lord happened many times under the Old Testament.
And, those people knew what the problem was and they knew what the solution was. Under the New Testament, we have had such times of falling away and renewal, usually beginning when the church is in prosperity. It ends with persecution and decline.
Oddly enough, Jesus says “Seek and ye shall find.” Some people are born into families that have been Christians for generations. With some of us, we became believers because we were seeking.
What if as parents we stop beating ourselves up when children we love turn from the faith? We do know the blessings those children are walking away from. We do understand what they are doing, but the acceptance of salvation and its blessings are an individual decision.
It doesn’t mean we are happy to watch them walk away. We may feel as if they have stomped on our hearts. Two scriptures come to mind. The first one describes the slaughter of the babes of Bethlehem by Herod:
“Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, saying, A voice was heard in Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; And she would not be comforted, because they are not.” (Matthew 2:17-18)
The second is when Joseph disguised as the second ruler of Egypt has his brothers in his power and is threatening to keep his brother from returning home. Joseph’s brother Judah has grown up. He isn’t the same brother who helped sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites. He pleads with Joseph, saying:
“For how shall I go up to my father, if the lad be not with me? lest I see the evil that shall come on my father.” (Genesis 44:34)
We know this isn’t the end. We sadly walk along, praying for our loved ones, praying they will return.
“One day all that is left is what you have given from your heart.” Copied from Joseph R. Lange
In the year of our Lord, 2023 many people would like for “normal” to return.
“And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:35-38)
In the year of our Lord, 2023 many people would like for “normal” to return. Yet we seem to be living in the year(s) of the storms. After our world was turned upside down with the lockdowns and all sorts of jabs at our physical and mental acuity I’m not sure anyone remembers exactly what normal was or is.
Here it is the third month of a new year and where are we? Like the meme of the pigs saying “What do we want, and when do we want it,” we are looking for the impossible dream to be fulfilled.
There are as many answers to the question of what do you want as there are respondents. One of my favorites is “to be thinner” with the answer to when being “by Friday.” Or what do you want? A million dollars… when? By Friday.
It is the impossible dream offered first and the impossible time frame offered second. And surely no one believes it could happen.
The sunshine today makes it look normal in a day-to-day way, but for some reason the words “Going where no man has ever gone before.” is the reality of where we are today.
The quote by Selma Lagerlof—“Nothing on earth can make up for the loss of one who has loved you.” seems to fit the times we are living in, even though I haven’t technically lost anyone lately. And even though we are doing normal things in what looks like the same world if I were a science fiction writer I might describe it as a shiver as if there is a shift in time or space.
For years the worst thing a person could be was a believer in something called conspiracy theories. These were unnamed theories mostly just whispered or laughed at with a wink and a nod.
In the last few years, people have grown more bold until there were written lists, and weirdos were called conspiracy theory believers. As often happens the conspiracy theories came true, the weirdos were right and now we need new conspiracy theories.
So, what or who have we lost this year? Many people have perished—Most of them not close to me, but some of the “loved ones” I have lost weren’t people—they were things that I cherished. Ideals that left my sphere that I can’t seem to retrieve.
“The world will ask you who you are, and if you do not know it will tell you.” Carl Jung
Humans are the only beings on this earth that ask the question, who am I, and what is my purpose here? Animals have an idea of purpose although WE may not understand what their purpose is.
We had an Arabian filly once. She did not like a work harness, and if she were ridden past her liking point she would lie down, saddle, rider and all, but she could run like the wind when allowed to do so. We had a Morgan horse that would do almost anything asked of him… well, he didn’t sing and dance but maybe that was our fault.
Animals just know their purpose. Chickens scratch in the dirt looking for sustenance, laying eggs, and reproducing chicks. Cows graze in the grass and raise their calves. Yesterday was the first day of spring and summer birds are arriving to make their summer homes and raise their babies.
Cats are sure they are royalty. Their duty is to lay around, producing litters of kittens, catching mice and such like, and harassing our bird population. A propensity I would like to ping them for, but alas they are beyond my range of pinging.
One of our favorite dogs was a model for the cartoon interaction of the dog and in our case squirrel episodes. Our pooch would lay in my flower bed until we drove in from church of a Sunday then he would suddenly jump to his feet and run off looking for squirrels to chase, pretending he’d been on duty all morning—and not really laying in my flower bed. He understood his purpose.
There’s a famous line from the movie Secondhand Lions from the speech that one of the old uncles tells all young men entering into adult manhood. The line starts with “Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most.”
The uncle’s speech is inspiring and he hits several nails on the head. But there are several things we must keep in mind. God’s Word is truth. What God has revealed is true and that word and his law are what civilization needs and what we need to believe in the most. What we have today is a group of people who want to reshape truth into their own image.
As the storm rages around us there are many people who want to sit this dance out. I don’t know what most of us can do, but I would like to be similar to the summer birds—Making our summer homes, raising our little people, or in Old Fuzzy and my world watching good things happen…
“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
I have believed for many years that we Christians are supposed to work as if all depends on us but to pray, knowing that the battle belongs to the Lord. And so we must watch and pray…
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore…” (Ephesians 6:10-14)
We all came from somewhere and we are going somewhere.
“My house must be haunted. When I try to look in the mirror some old woman steps in front of me so I can’t see myself.”
Change—Life is made up of change. The growth of a baby is marked daily, weekly, and monthly for the first few years of their life. Then it slows or appears to slow.
Most of the changes from birth to old age have a time frame that people fit into. As a child they learn to roll over, walk, talk, run and so forth. The teenage years and beyond are reached with all the challenges, feelings, and nuances. There comes the finding a job, friends, and a life partner, all a learning experience.
Change can be quite a frightening thing. Scriptures tell us, “And such were some of you…” We all came from somewhere and we are going somewhere. Recently I reviewed some of the clips from My Fair Lady. Professor Henry Higgins is wagering with Colonel Pickering that he can change Eliza Dolittle from a common flower girl into someone who could pass for royalty.
I can relate to the trials and travails brought about by the effort to affect change in a human being. Eliza goes into the process wanting to better her station in life. “I want to be a lady at the flower shop… but they won’t take me unless I can talk more genteel…”
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
And such we some of you… I know there are some folks out there that think they are perfect, but as most of us who must deal with those people can tell you, those perfect people are not perfect. And the rest of us peons down here in the trenches are working to overcome ourselves and our shortcomings.
But change we must as children of God and followers of Christ. Christ didn’t call us to be washed gutter snipes as the professor refers to the original Eliza. She had to change and we must too.
A recent question came to a group about the bona fides of preachers and if they needed a ‘degree’ hooked to their name to be ‘enough’ for people. One person said the degree didn’t matter to them but…
But they said the preacher “should not step on toes.” They drive too many people away when they do. There is a phrase from My Fair Lady that doesn’t really match with this comment but still comes to my mind. “But if you’re naughty the angels in heaven will weep for you, Eliza.”
I may have mushed two different speeches into one, but “the angels will weep for you…” and in this case they should weep at the comment. The preacher is admonished in the scriptures to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:2)
The scriptures don’t tell us not to step on toes, but it does mention ears: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4: 3-4)
As I pointed out in my answer to the comment, Stepping on toes is what it’s all about. Preachers are supposed to be helping people who want to get to heaven. The goal is salvation, the goal is heaven. Changing what needs changed and encouraging good things we need to keep or learn to do—Toes be hanged.
Pictures from the past—There was a time when those who are older were young. In some instances I wonder who the people were and what their life became. The moments I find most startling are when I look at pictures and realize some of those are of the person I used to be. I wonder where that person went and was that really me? I don’t feel lots different, but change has come and prayerfully most changes have been for the better.
I am slower, but I take time that I didn’t always take before. Not to smell the roses, but to contemplate on things.
“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.” (Philippians 4:8)
Yet all through life change is a reality. Sometimes it comes easily such as a baby’s first steps and at other times it comes with risk and work such as in climbing Mount Everest. Our struggles as we grow older are different. Instead of keeping track of children we’re keeping track of ourselves.
But struggle is part of life. Parents with children still at home have their work cut out for them. When the child grows up and leaves the home the child may be gone from the home, but they are not gone from the heart.
As we age we learn many lessons. As anonymous says “Life humbles you as you age. You realize how much time you spent on nonsense.”
Or I identify with: “I’m beginning to suspect the second half of life is about learning to let go of everything I feverishly collected over the first half that wasn’t loving or human.” MichaelXavier
I’ve gotten to the stage where I’m not (consciously) taking on any new projects and am attempting to finish up all of the half-finished things I’ve begun—or that I’ve inherited that someone else didn’t have time to finish. I have almost given up getting rid of the things I’ve feverishly collected.
At one time my Adorable Cousin encouraged me to clean house and declutter. It was a vision of glory, but I’ve come to the understanding…
I’ve come to the understanding that if my dear children cared if I had gotten my life and house decluttered (so they don’t have to go through all of this stuff) they would have been here helping me clean up. As I’ve learned (sometimes sadly)—There are times when it’s just flat too late.
As it is I’m afraid they will get what they get. Some real jewels and some new clutter for their stash—Or maybe just souvenirs.
I have a Pinterest account and I gather pictures of lovely houses, rooms (clean, neat rooms) lawns and such like in order to build the worlds that are written in the novels that I write. It is like building my world with other people’s flowers.
Flowers that are groomed on lawns that are clipped and landscaped, surrounding houses that are perfect inhabited by people—people that aren’t perfect. All stories must have conflict of course and that comes from struggles without and within.
“But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:5-8)
At six thirty I was mad. I hadn’t slept well, so I was Big Lots tired, but…
—as happens at that juncture I didn’t want to go back to sleep and I didn’t want to get up either one.
I wasn’t honestly sure what mind I had left. Although I was very sure if there was a mind in my head no one would have any inclination for it.
And still, Big Lots stuck with me as an idea.
“Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria. Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he (Elisha) said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.”
(2 Kings 7:1-2)
This is a story from the Old Testament about the Prophet Elisha’s prediction of the end to a siege caused famine. The Kingly city of Samaria (Northern kingdom) was in siege and the circumstances were very bad. The king himself was so distraught he came after the Prophet, to take off his head. But Elisha was ready for him before he arrived, and Elisha had good news. —But the old soldier on whom the King leaned was astounded at the news.
The man actually said: Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?
The man’s idea was God would need to open the windows of heaven in order for God’s prediction to take place—Windows of heaven? That’s a big lots.
For the rest of the story and how God provided read the rest of the account of 2 Kings 7:3- 20 (beginning with the four leprous men deciding to throw themselves on the mercy of the besieging Syrian army. We’re gonna die if we remain like this anyway… they could die just as easy one place as another.
Here’s another tidbit from the book of II Kings:
“Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp. And the man of God (prophet Elisha again) sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down. And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice. Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel? And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber…”
(2 Kings 6:8-12)
The account of this big lots is funny to me. There are a number of lessons one of which is the long-suffering and patience of God and that God had not cast off his Northern kingdom yet. This narrative tells—again—of Elisha sending messages to the King of Samaria to watch out for the Syrians. But the ending of the affair always tickles me. The opposing king decides he’s going to capture Elisha and here he sets out to do so…
“And when the servant of the man of God (Elisha’s servant) was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he (Elisha)answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them…”
(2 Kings 6:15-16)
To finish the story of that ‘big lots’ go to 2 Kings 6:16-23 and read it there.
There are so many big lots types of windows of heaven. But this next one is awesome. It is so amazing when a sinner such as myself, even tries to comprehend it, it’s like the term, “gobsmacked”. Without the courage of Christ who came to earth, to live, and suffer the agony of the cross we would still be condemned to eternal punishment.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light…” (John 1:1-8)
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried… And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (John 1:14-18)
That’s a whole dimension of Big Lots.
“The other disciples therefore said unto him,(Thomas) We have seen the Lord. But he (again, Thomas) said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe… “
(This time Thomas is with them when Jesus comes:) “then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him,
37) And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”
“32) But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
33) Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
34) For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
35) Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
36) Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
37) And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”
Newsflash—I just read on Facebook, so it must be true…
“People who worship celebrities tend to be less intelligent—say scientists.” I remember when the Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan Show and the girls were screaming with delight and emotion. I wondered at the time what those girls had for brains. But through the ages we see the same thing more or less with celebrities. I still wonder why such a response?
Another question is what does that make people who don’t follow other people at all? Yet, the idea of choosing what to follow is good. In today’s society, big brother wants everyone to follow him. We see this as people of public recognition, be it a famous doctor or a renowned speaker, or a combination of the two, such as Jordan Peterson, are sanctioned or stifled.
The Canadian government has attempted to squelch Peterson for quite some time. Now they are trying to sanction him and send him to a reeducation camp. One can only wonder what they hope to accomplish. And as Peterson himself would say, “Good luck with that.”
Some days are all about your hopes, dreams, and visions for the future. But there are some days when life is about putting one foot in front of the other—and that’s okay.
Most of us have those days when putting one foot in front of the other is all that we can do. I’m often of the mindset where God and I have conversations. It frequently looks like a one-sided speech, but I know God hears me. My most repeated phrase is, “Lord, you know how I’m feeling. I’m tired, overwhelmed, and I can’t do anymore. I’m done. Lord, you’re going to have to pick me up and throw me, ’cause I can’t do this.”
“O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations… : for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.” (Daniel 9:18)
God has been faithful even though I can’t even pretend that I deserve his blessings or that I am at all righteous.
Copied:—“If someone is falling behind in life you don’t have to remind them, they already know…” Brianna Wiest
There was more to the above “falling behind” quote, however, this was the sum. How many times when someone fails do the detractors point out their failure? And there are folks who not only point out the failure but have advice as to how to fix the problem. That advice is usually worth what the person pays for it.
“If you are going down a road and don’t like what’s in front of you, and look behind you and don’t like what you see, get off the road. Create a new path.” Maya Angelou
If you’ve followed any of my posts you know I’m working on a new novel dealing with the Depression era, an orphan, and WWII. There is never a time when I feel as if I’ve researched enough for historical novels. Between day-to-day living, customs, and different countries, no amount of research covers the whole spectrum of a given time frame no matter how much you read and study.
Recently, while reading a more modern spy story the writer commented, “if perfect childhood were a necessity for being well-adjusted adults we would all need some kind of therapy.”
I think on that statement with a sigh. A very long sigh, and many thoughts filter through my mind. I have never known a perfect human being. My own mother on occasion was known to say, “There has only been one perfect person, and they crucified him.”
Jesus transformed my life and marriage. I’ve written that before… and told others as well. My family would have been skid row if they had followed the pattern I was set to pursue. Compared to some of the stories I’ve read of families and children of the 1930s through the 1940s and forward, I’m amazed any of us have been able to live and raise even semi-normal children.
One account of a French girl-child, tells that she was sent to live for perhaps five years in a French village with a kind-hearted stranger. The kind-hearted stranger was good to her. The girl called her Maman, (and the husband she called Pere).
When the war was over the young girl returned to Paris to live with her mother, step-father, and step-siblings. Yet years later her (grown) children admitted, “The war was never over for Maman.”
Indeed, a very long sigh…
“5:7) Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
8) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9) Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
10) But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11) To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”