August Isn’t for the Faint of Heart

planet earth

Or as I told my cousin: Earth, the trip of a lifetime…

This morning I planned on turning off the air conditioner, throwing the door in my office that opens onto the deck wide open and breathing deeply of the outside air, listening to the birds, the free-roaming chickens (and a lonely turkey), and all of the wonderful sights and smells of au naturel. But it became warm by the time I finished in the kitchen, and…I shut the door to the deck and left the air on…

Life—it does that to us when we least expect it. If I had a dollar—well, figuring for inflation maybe two dollars for everything I thought I would or could do I’d be wealthy beyond counting and like Tigre extraordinaire.

Since I only get a third done of what I want to do, I have decided in order to get more done, this is the plan, I’ll make my to-do list three times longer. It could work.

Our calendar says August, but day by day our weather shimmers between August and September. September days tend toward warm and humid, somewhat lazy, laidback, and languid with cool to cooling nights good for sleeping. August is warm to hot and humid days with not much respite for sleeping at night.

Experts warn that women’s minds are like an interstate highway connected and always buzzing with activity. My mind easily jumps from one idea to another. I’ve wondered at the idea of snowglobes. Little worlds that contain scenery that can be shaken up and we can watch the world in snowtime.

The snowglobes are full of snow, but why is it always snow? Our amazing world has seasons: a season with the snow, a season with the sunshine, a season when the leaves fall. When it’s day on one side of the world it’s night on the other. When it’s summer in one half of the world it’s winter in the other half.

As we hurtle through space at trillions of miles per second, have you ever wondered who is piloting the ship?

Yes, as a fact I do know who is piloting the ship, and I know he has a plan. Like the song says, I know who holds tomorrow

Ecclesiastes 7:

9  Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.

10  Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.

11  Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.

12  For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.

13  Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?

Be A Writer?

assorted color kittens

However, we’ve figured out Miss Kitty is moving her kittens, so some of them aren’t happy.

Today has been a day for chasing. My nose has had issues, I believe I must have allergies I never had before. Some times during a day my nose runs, my eyes run, and if I’ve not been careful enough with my diet don’t get between me and the potty, and they say I don’t get enough exercise.

At least at this stage of life on my forms, I can put retired, instead of primitive artist. Not that I’m not still a primitive artist, but trying to explain primitive artist was as elusive as being one.

But what does running or chasing have to do with writing? The writing I do has a lot of chasing. Even then it doesn’t always come out like I’m wanting, but some days I hit the jackpot. Today I was researching for a half a page scene. Almost all morning I chased Scottish fiddle music, accordions, and of all things washtub bass. I have shared a video at the end. A bit longer than I wanted, maybe, but I did skip through it till he started playing some pieces.

I do learn many things some of which I never wanted to know, some I won’t use but once, and yet most of it makes the writing experience interesting and hopefully the written story better.

I was tempted to begin with the phrase, today has been pleasant, and it has. In spite of the allergies, listening to music and how-to videos is good. The weather has moderated a bit so we’ve been able to turn off the air and open my office door onto the deck.

I can listen to the outside sounds. The birds are trying to feed their babies and scare the resident deck cat away.

She, the cat we named Miss Kitty, had her litter of kittens this week and we know where they are—under the deck. I don’t know how she found a way under there but we may have to work an intervention.

Suddenly one of the kittens began an incessant crying. And that isn’t pleasant. However, we’ve figured out Miss Kitty is moving her kittens, so some of them aren’t happy. Any tomcat around here is on notice, seen in this vicinity its life is forfeit. Tomcats aren’t native to this farm and stray tom cats are only bad news.

It is a strange idea that in four weeks our weather will be transitioning to autumn and falling leaves will be peeking around the corner. Eight weeks will bring even cooler weather nipping at our noses.

At this moment those changes seem like a long time away and the weather today is almost perfect. At times in my life I wish I could have put a border around certain days or happenings.

There are those happenings when moments were golden. Maybe it was a birthday party, a Sunday lunch, a graduation, or just a one on one special moment.

Childhoods go past much too fast. When people used to ask me why I didn’t send my kids to preschool I told them I only have these children for five years then public school takes over. I’m going to keep them as long as I can…

That was before we won back the right to be in charge of our children’s schooling. The principle was right and even after we began homeschooling our children, we still only have them for a few years before they are gone out into the world.

And that too is gone in a flash. “Well,” Old Fuzzy says to me, “That was thirty years ago.” “No, no that’s not possible. Not thirty years.” I’m in painful denial. It doesn’t seem possible that thirty years can just disappear, not without a trace, but at least in a flash.

 Ecclesiastes 6:

3  If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he.

4  For he cometh in with vanity, and departeth in darkness, and his name shall be covered with darkness.

5  Moreover he hath not seen the sun, nor known any thing: this hath more rest than the other.

6  Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place?

7  All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.

8  For what hath the wise more than the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living?

Digging Ditches

paying with cash

…those rich people need to give us some of their money… pay their fair share.

Fair share—fair share, we hear that cry almost everywhere nowadays. It usually goes with taxes and the ‘rich’. This is an interesting thought that no one really thinks about what they are saying or thinks about what it means.

First off no one ever thinks they are part of the problem, they aren’t part of the rich so it’s always someone else who needs to pony up and pay up.

Those who coined the phrase do know what they are saying. When they say the rich need to pay their fair share, there is an agenda behind it. These people know even though they are part of the rich they aren’t wanting for themselves to pay, only other people.

They point the finger at others in order to draw the attention of others away from their situation.

As an adult and as a parent how many times do we hear children moan that’s not fair? My response as a parent has been life isn’t fair. And it isn’t, but now as adults, we are asked to suspend what we know to be true, and become as little children and cry because life should be fair?

In the words of the ancient and now deceased, Jackie Gleason, what a revolting development this is.

In answer, there are several questions that come to mind. I think that most of us who have an entrepreneurial bent, and that goes for most small business owners, if we apply ourselves and one of our ideas does hit the jackpot and we make our fortune, we have earned our money. We’ve put in the long hours, taken the risk of putting our money in jeopardy, all of these things. Instead of the snake of jealousy raising its ugly head others should be impressed and cheerlead for the winners.

This isn’t what happens though. Instead of being inspired and thinking, wow, I can do that…we have whiners that say things like, they stole that money, life isn’t fair those rich people need to give us some of their money… pay their fair share.

There are some subtle other snakes that wind their way into the lives of current day life. For instance, we are told if a wife works outside the home it is incumbent upon the husband to help her with the housework. I thought this was the fair thing for years until I heard a Christian woman speaker for ladies point out nowhere does scripture allude to such a thing. Women are to be the ‘Keepers at home’ and just because they choose to work outside the home doesn’t change that directive.

I had not thought of that but it is true. There are many nuances with that and I’m not chasing them. However, that was a caveat, not my point.

To a case, I read of wherein the husband and wife agreed to split the household chores and they agreed who would do which chores. The wife became incensed when the husband instead of physically doing the chores himself hired a person to come in and do them for him.

Two questions here, why and why? It wasn’t dishonest of him, so why did she get angry? As long as he could afford it, my thinking is how genius? Second, maybe his wife could hire her half done as well?

At one time it was customary to hire help. It wasn’t unheard of for families to hire a cook to help the wife, and sometimes it wasn’t unheard of to hire other help. And that was before women worked outside the home.

Fair share, fair share, reminds me of the parable of the workers in the vineyard. The workers are hired at different hours, yet at the end of the day, they are all paid the same wage. I know it isn’t speaking to the idea of a fair share in the same light as this writing but in some ways it is. As the householder told the workers, friend, I do thee no wrong…why do we think we are owed something by someone just because they have wealth? It is truly an evil eye when we look at others lusting after what they have. It’s called covetousness. And this is its fruit:

Genesis 4:

5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

Matthew 20:

12  Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.

13  But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?

14  Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.

15  Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

Go to words

architecture building cabin ceiling

My children grew up hearing encouraging words; mostly words my Grandma used…

Words such as—Each to their notion said the little old lady that kissed the cow. Or, You have the world by the tail on a downhill slide. Or Today’s the day they give babies away for half a pound of cheese…there were a number of sayings my granny used and my children have also used…not as often maybe as I used them but still…

We had a distinct place in our hearts for our cows. They provided us with many things. Calves were so cute, and with bovine, most of our cows would stretch out their neck in joy if you scratched them just right under their jaw. I could understand a little old lady appreciating her cow, but as for some of the sayings.

I often questioned the world by the tail and the downhill slide. Was this a good thing or were we just going downhill fast? Would we at some point be able to get free of the world or would it hold on to us forever?

And giving away babies? Shocked here, were we getting babies or giving babies, and either way, were we getting cheese or giving cheese? So many questions.

Several years ago I heard of the plan of our previous landlady to tear down the beautiful old house we had rented from her for years. After we had moved out some of our family moved in and rented the house from her.

She had a farm manager who had badgered her for years. The house (and farm property) had been her husband’s uncle’s and her husband had inherited it. An old house and property that dated back to when the O’Malley’s had done the original survey of the land back in the 1800s.

The farm manager was angry that he didn’t have total control of the property. She rented the house to us cheaply because she wanted someone who would care for it and the manager could have rented it for much more and gotten a share of that money as well.

After twenty years of being badgered and her children not stepping up she had enough. It was a beautiful two-story farmhouse with ten-foot ceilings, a beautiful bay window you could sit in, or with padding lay in, five bedrooms upstairs…it was a beautiful once-in-lifetime home about to be bulldozed.

I wrote to our ex-landlady trying to find options to save the house, and at first thought, I would send some pictures to help sway her children’s minds. The children I call them, but they would have been almost the same age as my husband and me. Nevertheless, that was my plan, to send them some pictures and plead with her to sell the house and have it moved, or sell the house as an acreage, or…

I looked through my stash of pictures, but my pictures had not been stored well and most were ruined, so I didn’t have pictures. So, I went to plan B and that was to plead my cause When You Only Have Words.

She had given our son and his family one month to be moved out and she had told him he could take anything he wanted to save from the house with him. There were French doors, stairs to the second story, the bay window, woodwork throughout the house, the wood beams in the living room, dining room, sitting room, lights, a huge wardrobe…so many things.

He wanted to know if we wanted to come help dismantle the house and save whatever we could. The scene from Walt Disney’s Cinderella came to mind. The one where the jealous sisters tear her dress to shreds.

I told him no, I just couldn’t tear the house to shreds, it would break my heart. Even knowing that otherwise it would be dozed and burned I couldn’t do it.

Well, life happens things change, we all change. The house was one of the first dwellings in the area, a landmark. The local people of the town and community had names for the farm manager and none of them were complimentary.

I don’t know the end of that manager, but I have an off feeling that these scriptures cover the situation:

Ecclesiastes 8:11  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. 12)  Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: 13)  But it shall not be well with the wicked…

It was just a house. It was just a life. It seemed like it was just yesterday.

Isaiah 41:

Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.

10  Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

11  Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.

Every Breath I Take

body of water near plants

Sunday we had the pleasure of friends from our past visiting at church.

They usually visit our humble congregation once a year as they are in the area for family reunion time. We are amazed at how we are all still in the boat paddling down life’s waterway after fifty-plus years.

Old Fuzzy had a great lesson for us on salvation. Marching on into August we have now left July behind. There have been good days, bad days, but almost every day has been interesting.

This morning I realize I haven’t written for quite some time. There have been slow changes and I’m still working on the next book. The Lord plainly told me to stop working on my diddly projects and hit the books. That’s what I’ve been focused on.

Today the swallows are still nesting outside our front door. They don’t like the kitties that come to visit our deck. Sometimes the kitties come to visit our deck more often because they are dreaming of a bird dinner, but I couldn’t tell those swallows anything when they persisted to put their nest where they did.

We had our air conditioner on most of last week, but this week has been pleasant without it. I do like to run it when we are running the stove for cooking or canning. So there’s that. I will probably run it around lunchtime.

There was an overwhelming odor of gasoline at the church building Sunday, so we turned off the air conditioner and opened the windows. That took some of us way back to the good old days. Windows open on the church building and prayerful for a breeze, along with hand fans in the pew racks…good old days.

I believe we have the tendency not just to close the windows, but to put church in a Sunday box. Not Christians so much as society. We were having difficulty during the 2016 year and before with government interference in religion. Government insisting for instance that the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns dedicated to ministering to the poor, provide abortifacients.

It was deemed that the Christian religion should and needed to be observed quietly at home, but not in public, and definitely not in a person’s life outside of their homes.

Back in the day when Thomas Jefferson wrote his letter to Danbury Baptists, the issue was not that religion would get into government and society, but that government would get into churches. Religion was expected to be in government and society by the original founding fathers.

Even education was merely for giving children the ability to read, write, and understand scripture for the ability not to be led astray by a ruling class of priests telling them what to do to acquire heaven. They could read the Bible themself, you see.

It appears to have failed in that now we have people who either can’t read, or still don’t know, and even worse, still don’t care, and an education system hijacked by people who are bent to indoctrinate children in their evil ideology.

Many are trying to wrest power away from such an entrenched hierarchy but since the hierarchy has dug itself in it will be a battle to the finish. A struggle that will never really end until the Lord Jesus does return, good versus evil. Yes, we win, but not without…

1Peter 5:

6  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

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.

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.

They Say A Laugh A Day

a family spending time together

And it is written in scripture A Merry Heart Doeth Good Like a Medicine.

I get more items in my inbox than I want, need, or is even fathomable. In short, I don’t know where 90% of it comes from or even why it finds its way to me.

However, I do subscribe to a few things and today’s message from Seth Godin had to do with luck. Luck, he told us was not a strategy. In Mr. Godin’s words about how life happens, for instance in the case of the old fart who smokes, drinks, and lives to one hundred and we think: Perhaps they did x, y, and z, and then got lucky. As storytelling creatures, it’s natural to assume that x, y, or z had something to do with it. But maybe it didn’t, you know, living to one hundred was just short of a miracle for them.

So, luck in the true sense can work both ways. If your sitting in your living room and the airplane above your house jettisons its luggage and it comes down to fall through your roof into your living room…well, that sort of luck isn’t helpful.

On the other hand, if you win a 2 million dollar settlement, insurance patches your house good as new, and no one is hurt that sort of luck could work the other way. But I’ve lived in my house for years and not had that sort of thing happen, nor do I foresee it happening so counting on that as a retirement plan is really a poor strategy.

All strategy aside, my mother had a saying that has more truth to it than I would like, it was simply, figure long, figure wrong. This translates into you can strategy till you’re blue in the face but that doesn’t mean it will be helpful. Things don’t always turn out the way you would expect.

As I’ve shared before I’ve had to resort to plan B (C, D, or more) so many times in my life I know about the phrase Well, that didn’t go the way I’d planned. Yet, as I reflect on my life there are several scriptures that come to mind.

For those who say there is no such thing as luck —

Ecclesiastes 9:11  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 favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

we agree the scriptures call it time and chance

Don’t stress about things you have no power to change. Change what you can and leave the rest to God:

Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Proverbs 17:22  A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Proverbs 15:15  All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. 16  Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.