Archive | November 2016

Where Do You Live?

Where do you live – in captivity in Assyria or Egypt?

Or do you find yourself on the road home?

Or have you come home to “the holy mountain”?

Some thoughts to consider:

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Money Matters. Or Does It?

I’d like to share with you a really good experience I had today. After finishing a brief errand at the grocery store, I’d just finished putting a few groceries in the trunk. I was locked in and tucked away behind the steering wheel, when I noticed a very frightened looking woman (probably around age 40) with no coat on (It’s about 35 here today) approaching my car. She was thin, looked very haggard, and was crying. She approached crying and apologizing for even coming up to the car. It seemed safe, so I cracked the window a bit and asked her if I could help her. She kept repeating how sorry she was to ask for help and even for approaching my car. I assured her it was OK.

Her story was that she lives in a small town quite a distance away, and her husband, who works in Chicago (around 90 miles from here) had taken the wallet and checkbook out of her purse without telling her. She didn’t know about it until she started to get a few things at the store (I suspect it was the Goodwill Store right around the corner). She asked if I had a dollar or two, that it would really help. So I looked in my purse and handed her a $10 bill. She was very, very thankful, and still crying. I told her to just take it and do what she needed with it, and it will all be OK. I promised I would pray for her.

Just this morning the Holy Spirit put me in touch with a lot of scriptures about the love of money and how no one can to serve God and mammon. There were other associated scriptures specifically about not being attached to wealth, and the willingness to bless others. The synchronicity was not lost on me. As she walked away and I started the car, my heart just went out to her. I checked the rearview mirror in the direction she had come from. She was nowhere to be seen.

The words of Jesus drifted into my mind: “As much as you have done unto one of the least of these, you’ve done it unto Me!”

Additionally earlier in the morning, when I was browsing through Christmas cards, there was one with a golden retriever on it that said, “It is more blessed to give than to RETRIEVE.” Point taken! God’s sense of humor is clearly top drawer. So it seemed like I was more than given the hints and prepared. Then came the opportunity.

It’s been a very good day!

Although teary eyed and prayerful all the way home from the store, I also felt more elated than I have in a long time to experience the realness of God in this way. Maybe things like this happen to a lot of people, but most of the time I find that must go along on faith, without a lot of obvious occurrences like this one.

I’m not sharing this in order to get points for standing on the street corner with a trumpet, to announce my “almsgiving”, but to share what for me was an event of amazing synchronicity, divinely set up, to be able to share with someone who was really in a pinch. Something that doesn’t happen every day. (Maybe if I’d pay attention better, it would.) Who knows, as we once again approach the “Holly Daze” where so many people go into panic mode, if there will be more opportunities to provide a bit of relief? It always seems more meaningful when the opportunity comes walking up like that than it does when “relief” organizations with a lot of overhead come making their appeal to our guilty consciences.

What if we could just get into the habit of blessing in tangible ways all the time? In fact, such opportunities may be only a practice run for the other things Jesus asks of us, such as, “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” (Luke 6:33-35)

“… freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)

Considering that depth of expressing His love, I have long way to go.

Related Scriptures:

1 Timothy 6:5-10
Psalm 37:16,17
Matthew 6:24-34
Luke 16:14,15
Psalm 49:6,7
Mark 10:24,25
Matthew 19:23,24
Luke 18:18-30
2 Corinthians 6:10
Matthew 8:18,19
Philippians 2:3-8

Light Shining in Darkness

“Black Friday”. Those very words prime the mind with a sort of hypnosis to anticipate darkness. Christ-less. Commercial. Gloomy. Wintery. Pressured. Stressed. Complicated. It is like that for many people. What will it mean for you? Go to link for some ideas:

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You are welcome to participate in our Facebook discussion group:

Radical Mercy

Just winging this one with no preplanning…

First, dear reader, please click on the link above and consider what challenges this brief article by J.C. Ryle presents to you. See if it upsets your comfort zone!

What comes to mind first of all?  What’s your definition of “worldliness”?

I’m struck by a couple of things that have emerged in my spiritual explorations recently. I’ve been pondering the nature of what the “kingdom” is scripturally, so this morning I was drawn to my very old copy of Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God and Peace Essays. Apparently it’s time to review it again. It certainly brought some new insights and ways of reviewing my own stance on things, and unearthing something that I did not perceive before as “worldliness”.

To answer the question posed above, I’d have to conclude – based also upon standard responses as to how “worldliness” is viewed – that it traditionally consists in quite a lot of moralizing along the lines of the 10 Commandments.

I’ve had to conclude that most of us would say that worldliness is something somebody else is doing that I’m not doing.

However, what if we dare to go deeper, in light of Luke 6:27-36 – that part of Jesus’ teaching often disregarded because it is too “radical”? Might worldliness look like the opposite of this?

 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

As I continued reading Tolstoy’s book, and in light of the J. C. Ryle article, combined with the teaching of Jesus on the subject of non- reaction, it became clear to me that there seems to be a great deal of difference between what Christ is really getting across here, and the worldliness of being a “reactionary” on any level.

So to answer the question, according to Jesus’ directives here, worldliness could be defined as being a reactionary living life in an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth mode.

Where am I with this? I must ask this, and then examine myself to see if I am actually in THE faith of Christ Jesus. What is to be my response? How deep and on how many levels does this need to be addressed?

It’s become so easy and so “intoxicating” to become fascinated with world events and the machinations of politics these days. All the drama can easily draw a person into its perpetual conflicts! All one has to do is look at social media to see the extent at which we’re all encouraged to join the party, if you’ll pardon the pun – no matter which party the conflict represents. It’s all conflict and reaction!

There’s plenty of criticism coming from those who do not have ears to hear what Jesus invites us to –  His kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit – as He asks us to come out of the world and be separate, and to be as radically merciful as He is merciful.

Jesus challenges Christians with a question, and it must be honestly addressed, “Why do you call Me Lord, but do not do what I say?”

November Night

“He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters;

He makes the clouds His chariot; He walks upon the wings of the wind;

He makes the winds His messengers, Flaming fire His ministers.

He established the earth upon its foundations,

So that it will not totter forever and ever.”

Psalm 104:3-5

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November Becoming December

A little piece of art combining some poetry and digital design – in praise of our wonderful Creator’s blessings in nature – sunset, treetops, soft colors, a feeling of anticipation in the air, and an unseasonably warm November. Thank You, Heavenly Father!

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Blessings, dear visitors. Thank you for stopping by.