Thursday, December 31, 2009

On To 2010!




Is anybody else having trouble believing 2009 is gone? There's really should be laws against Father Time speeding like this. It's amazing to think of all that has happened in this last year. This time 365 days ago, I was in an entirely different state, with very different responsibilities, and slightly whiter weather. So much has changed, so much has happened like the heart attack in April which has changed so much. I'm sure each of you feels the same for your own reasons.

New Years' usually becomes a very self-reflective time for me, evaluating the victories and failings of the previous year, and making plans for the next. And yes, even a couple of New Years resolutions. At some point towards the end of the year, I was looking at areas of my life I wanted to improve in. The mistakes I had made weighed on me, and I found myself wanting to just shut-down the rest of the year, and get a fresh start in 2008. It's silly, I know, but I was overwhelmed with how many ways I had messed-up in the year behind. Expectations of myself I had not lived up to. And it truly grieved me.

Christian singer Carolyn Arends put it this way:
New Year's Day
I buy a lot of diaries
Fill them full of good intentions
Each and every New Year's Eve
I make myself a list
All the things I'm gonna change
Until January 2nd
So this time I'm making one promise

CHORUS:
This will be my resolution
Every day is New Year's Day
This will be my resolution
Every day is New Year's Day

I believe it's possible
I believe in new beginnings
'Cause I believe in Christmas Day
And Easter morning too
And I'm convinced it's doable
'Cause I believe in second chances
Just the way that I believe in you

This will be my resolution
Every day is New Year's Day
This could start a revolution
Every day is...

One more chance to start all over
One more chance to change and grow
One more chance to grab a hold of grace
And never let it go

video:


Every new morning is a new chance to make things right. When we look a thoughts of long-term change, it can be very scary. Yet when we look at each day as a new chance to follow God, to overcome temptation, to make a difference in the lives of others, to love everyone around us with an amazing self-sacrificing love, it becomes a little more manageable. We will mess-up from time to time. But if you are willing to repent and ask forgiveness, each day with God can be a fresh start.

Have a most blessed new year everyone!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Things We Can Learn from a Dog




Things We Can Learn from a Dog


Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
When it's in your best interest, always practice obedience.
Let others know when they've invaded your territory.
Take naps and always stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you are happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
No matter how often you are criticized, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout. Run right back and make friends.

I'm working on it! lol

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Specialization is for insects




An interesting quote ...

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

--Heinlein

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Nativity - Luke



For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:6

The Christmas Story
Luke 2:1-20

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

3 And everyone went to his own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.

5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,

7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ [a] the Lord.

12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,

18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Do you have a nativity scene at your house?

It’s amazing how many of the images of Christmas come from the gospel of Luke. Without Luke we wouldn’t have much of a Christmas visually.

Luke gives us the warm coloring of Christmas. Mary and Joseph coming to Bethlehem, searching for a place and having to settle probably for a drafty cave. Because Jesus was born in a stable, Luke brings us all the animals that we have in a nativity scene, not to mention the shepherds and angels.

Luke is responsible for most of the Christmas carols that we sing—”Angels We Have Heard On High,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “Away in a Manger,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night,” “Silent Night,” etc.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Here are some unusual Christmas trees submitted for your approval!

This one from Neatorama.com is considered one of the Most Expensive Christmas Trees. This one, in Singapore, featured 21,798 diamonds, 3,762 crystal beads, and 456 lights, for a cost of over a million dollars! Good grief!

You can view a slide-show of interesting Christmas tree concepts at the Kunstmagazin website including this Christmas army:

For those with a real sweet tooth ... This Weihnachtsbaum is made out of sugar cubes:


For those going green this year ... Go to Toxel.com to view unusual trees including the Plywood Eco Christmas Tree, the Shelf Christmas Tree, and the Empty Bottles Christmas Trees.


This french fry tree is decorated the European way–with ketchup and mayo! A true kid favorite! Via the Art Das Kunstmagazin website.

A now for my personal favorite ... The brussel Sprout tree! Now this is really cool! Proudly presented from the SeriousEats website:



Have a most blessed Christmas everyone!!!




Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Beannacht




Beannacht (“Blessing”)


On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you. And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight. When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home. May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

~ John O’Donohue ~ (Echoes of Memory)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Meditation~Prayer of a Mum




Jesus, good Shepherd, they are not mine but Yours,
for I am not mine but Yours. I am Yours, Lord, and they are Yours, because by Your wisdom You have created both them and me, and by Your death You have redeemed us. So we are Yours, good Lord, we are Yours, whom You have made with such wisdom and bought so dearly. Then if You commend them to me, Lord, You do not therefore desert me or them. You commend them to me: I commend myself and them to You. Yours is the flock, Lord, and Yours is the shepherd. Be Shepherd of both Your flock and shepherd. You have made an ignorant mother, a blind leader, an erring ruler: teach the mother You have established, guide the leader You have appointed, govern the ruler You have approved. I beg You, teach me what I am to teach, lead me in the way that I am to lead, rule me so that I may rule others. Or rather, teach them, and me through them, lead them, and me with them, rule them, and me among them.

~Anselm (1033-1099), Archbishop of Canterbury

Friday, December 18, 2009

blue iris




Here is a quote on prayer I would like to share ....


It doesn't have to be

the blue iris, it could be

weeds in a vacant lot, or a few

small stones; just

pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don't try

to make them elaborate, this isn't

a contest but a doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which

another voice may speak.


~Mary Oliver

Thursday, December 17, 2009




There are people who do not want us to be free. They don't want us to be free before God, accepted just as we are by his grace. They don't want us to be free to express our faith originally and creatively in the world. They want to control us; they want to use us for their own purposes. They themselves refuse to live arduously and openly in faith, but huddle together with a few others and try to get a sense of approval by insisting that all look alike, talk alike and act alike, thus validating one another's worth. They try to enlarge their numbers only on the condition that new members act and talk and behave the way they do. These people infiltrate communities of faith "to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus" and not infrequently find ways to control, restrict and reduce the lives of free Christians. Without being aware of it, we become anxious about what others will say about us, obsessively concerned about what others think we should do. We no longer live the good news but anxiously try to memorize and recite the script that someone else has assigned to us. In such a event we may be secure, but we will not be free. We may survive as a religious community, but we will not experience what it means to be human, alive in love and faith, expansive in hope. Conforming and self-congratulatory behavior is not free. But Paul "did not yield in submission even for a moment, that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you." Every free person who benefits from Paul's courage will continue vigilant in the resistance movement he formed.
~Eugene Peterson

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Bible According To Google Earth

This is rather interesting! Scenes from the Bible have been imagined by countless artists over the centuries, but never quite like this! God’s Eye View portrays four key Biblical events as if captured by Google Earth.
The Crucifixion

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Butterfly


Just a cool quote I just came across ...


“What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.”


-Lao Tzu

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Not Perfect ....




Hi again. I think that we all know it hurts when the people we love don't seem to care about us, our feelings or seem oblivious to any pain we might have. It is difficult big time to be in a relationship where one feels unappreciated, be it from family, friends or? Its tough not to get something we expect to receive as it makes one feel they don't care or even think about you. On the other hand the other person may think they are returning your love and care but in different forms you may not recognize. Its hard to discern that ... especially when a person feels hurt. Sometimes it seems really true that women are from Venus and men really are from Mars. And this is what makes us so different and unique from each other, we do not think and feel the same about things. And I think in ways it gets worse the older we get as its harder to love someone with "baggage." And we also may have our own.


We/they may not really understand themselves and the whys, and the ways they react to things. The outburst of anger, or of pain usually involves self, pride, jealousy and other motives less than pure. Ones reaction to that anger usually also involves such, probably not so cool motives as well I think. We all are as Christians "Not perfect, just forgiven," and that sums things up. We are all humans and make bunches of mistakes. I think that maybe we have to learn to give, to love and we are still learning. But while we are here in this life we have a lot to do to ensure that we make the best of things for those we love and ourselves. And its hard to see things from another's point of view sometimes.


Just some thoughts ...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Prayer in the Night




Let nothing, O Lord, disturb the silence of this night.
Let nothing make me afraid.
Here in the dark, remind me that in order to speak to you,
My eternal Father, and to take delight in you,
I have no need to go to heaven or to speak in a loud voice.
However quietly I speak, you are so near that you will hear me.
I need no wings to go in search of you, but have only to understand
That the quiet of this night is a place where I can be alone with you,
And look upon your presence with me.
For if I have you, God,
I will want for nothing.
You alone suffice.

~St. Teresa of Avila



I have been finding this increasingly true recently - I've been waking up after strange, troubling dreams and turning to prayer in the darkness. God is there, almost more palpably than at any other time. His presence, his tangible mercy, are all I could ever need.



Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart,
and bring me out of my distress.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.



Psalm 25.16-18

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wisdom in a Nutshell




Wisdom in a Nutshell

“The best things in life are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.”

~Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What Will We Find There?




"What will we find there?"


Tell me again
why I am standing in a bitter wind
sand flying all over
and around me

trying to fasten a saddle
on this stubborn camel
trying to keep my goods
from being lost to the desert.

Best robes and turbans
packed and still I wonder
will I really need them
where I am going,

off on some journey
where I am not sure of
what is to be found...
or whom?

There was the dream,
there was the voice that
well, seemed to speak
with such authority,

with such crystal clarity
I could not help myself
but move with purpose
to follow, of all things...

A star, immense,
stunningly bright
the effulgence of which
never have I seen.

Across the open dunes
we wonder, what is beneath
that star...
What will we find there,

some miracle, some treasure
a fortune teller, a prince?
Too early to tell
So we wait...

Wondering...

~Catherine

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Road Ahead



My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
~Thomas Merton


Have a blessed day!

Tim

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

twilight zone in our hearts




There is a twilight zone in our own hearts that we ourselves cannot see. Even when we know quite a lot about ourselves - our gifts and weaknesses, our ambitions and aspirations, our motives and drives - large parts of ourselves remain in the shadow of consciousness. This is a very good thing. We always will remain partially hidden to ourselves. Other people, especially those who love us, can often see our twilight zones better than we ourselves can. The way we are seen and understood by others is different from the way we see and understand ourselves. We will never fully know the significance of our presence in the lives of our friends. That's a grace, a grace that calls us not only to humility but also to a deep trust in those who love us. It is in the twilight zones of our hearts where true friendships are born." ~Henri Nouwen

"Know yourself" is good advice. But to know ourselves doesn't mean to analyze ourselves. Sometimes we want to know ourselves as if we were machines that could be taken apart and put back together at will. At certain critical times in our lives it might be helpful to explore in some detail the events that led us to our crises, but we make a mistake when we think that we can ever completely understand ourselves and explain the full meaning of our lives to others.Solitude, silence, and prayer are often the best ways to self-knowledge. Not because they offer solutions for the complexity of our lives but because they bring us in touch with our sacred center, where God dwells. That sacred center may not be analyzed. It is the place of adoration, thanksgiving, and praise.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Journey But One Day At A Time



A great quote I happened upon ...



There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept from fear and apprehension. One of these days is yesterday with it's mistakes and cares, it's aches and pains, it's faults and blunders. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We can not undo a single act we performed; we can not erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone! The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow. With it's possible adversities, it's burdens, it's large promise... Tomorrow is beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow's sun will rise either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is as yet unborn. That leaves only one day, Today. Any man or woman by the grace of God, can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two other eternities; yesterday and tomorrow that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives man mad; it is the remorse or bitterness for something that happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us, therefore, Journey but One Day At A Time.

~K. Rogerson

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Valley of Vision




Puritans. I know that when I hear that word, I think of "The Crucible" and "The Scarlet Letter", both of which I read at school. Awhile ago I came across a book of prayers from some of the great Puritan leaders called "The Valley of Vision" - many of these prayers have now been made into some absolutely beautiful songs. As an aside, I think it is rather ironic that the Puritans did not approve of what they termed "religious music" and yet now their prayers have been transformed into beautiful spiritual songs. Anyway here is a prayer that particular really struck me. It is the prayer titled "The Valley of Vision."

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from the deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley.
No matter what I might have thought of the Puritan Christians in the past, I can see that they too struggled to live out their lives in glory to God. There is an immense depth to what their prayers speak of, and a depth that I think other believers can learn from! Have a blessed Sonday everyone!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Some reflections on Thanksgiving ...




Some reflections on Thanksgiving ...


This year has brought so many challenges upon us. We have struggled. We have laughed. We have cried. We have embraced. We have rolled our eyes. We have marveled at how bizarre God seems. It has been an incredible journey. It has been an incredibly difficult journey at times. It has been an incredibly rewarding journey--even if we don't yet see the results. We trust by faith that God would not lead us somewhere where His grace and provision would not abound.


And, whether we see it or not. Whether we appreciate it or not. Whether we understand it or not. God has not left us; He has not forsaken us; He is still--very actively, very presently--working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. And that is worth giving thanks for.


I have every right to be Thankful. I have every right to enjoy a moment of reflection. It has been a interesting year for me, and I have survived, even thrived at times. In fact, I think I have survived well.


I have earned my pumpkin pie this year. (Don't tell my Doctor! lol) I plan on enjoying every last bite of it, too ... With lots of whipped cream! I hope you do, also. I hope that your heart is found in a spirit of Thankfulness. May we never forget all that Christ has accomplished for us. May we never cease to give thanks unto Him.


May God bless us with grace and peace, and mercy for those who are less fortunate than us.


Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Have a most blessed day!

Tim

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hidden Rooms



Hidden Rooms

The worn keyhole invites with faith’s bright promise,
But keyless hands have soiled the ancient door.
No admission, despite my pleading words.
Entry denied, against my angry fists.

Then submission bows and the door opens wide,
As boundless grace reveals the warm refuge.
Love’s obedience guides to calm communion
With God, my brothers and sisters, and self.

More hidden rooms whisper, “My child, come inside”.
As unlocked doors illuminate my soul.

~Chartreuse Ova

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Living With Uncertainity




I found myself time and again passing on the good advice I've had over the years. I don't always give advice though - sometimes I am still learning ... Praise God! I may know the answer from one perspective, that of one's own heart and of clear moral principle. However, I often don't know the answer in terms of getting from the situation someone else is in to a desired situation.


You know, though - I think I may have just listened to some good advice. How do I live with not 'knowing' God's will? How do I live with uncertainty? How do I live my own falling short?


The answer is the same I've given time and time again. You commit it to the Lord and put your heart in His hands. You don't live your life on hold. You embrace all possibilities God may send and commit to be faithful to the best of your ability in any of them.


What does this mean to me today? It means that even though I may have not made the wisest of decisions in all things, God will do what He wills, and I need to take the consequences, and work to bring Him glory in them despite my own failings... I need to work in the impossible situations to bring glory to Him! I need to rejoice in the Lord always, and in my rejoicing, He can bring His glory!


Just some thoughts ...

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Hunger




We hunger to be known and understood. We hunger to be loved. We hunger to be at peace inside our own skins. We hunger not just to be fed these things but, often without realizing it, we hunger to feed others these things because they too are starving for them. We hunger not just to be loved but to love, not just to be forgiven but to forgive, not just to be known and understood for all the good times and bad times that for better for worse have made us who we are, but to know and understand each other to the same point of seeing that, in the last analysis, we all have the same good times, the same bad times, and that for that very reason there is no such thing in all the world as anyone who is really a stranger.


Frederick Buechner from Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wile E. Coyote ~ Plan A




When I was a child, I used to sit for hours and watch Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show. In fact I have a couple DVD's now for the 'kids'! lol Of course I was always curious about why Wile E. Coyote kept trying to catch the Road Runner when he always failed. And of course I always wanted him to get that annoying bird! And I think I may have an answer of why he kept at it ... We live in a plan "B" world!


Plan "A" is what we want; what WE plan; our goals; our desires. Plan "A" is all about us, like the coyote was all about getting the Road Runner. We stress and obsess over our plans, giving not much regard for plan "B" possibilities. Plan "B" is what God's reality is for our lives. True, plan "B" can be painful and it can be unpleasant, but we were never guaranteed an easy ride through this life. Jesus tells us that we WILL have troubles, but don't worry ... He has given us exactly what we need to overcome the trials and troubles.


Now that I'm older I know that sometimes Plan "B" requires that we learn a lesson, sometimes it's just a matter of getting our eyes off of our wants. I also find the greatest joys I have had include (David Crowder Quote) "A Beautiful Collision". That's the point in which God's will for my life and my hearts truest desire collide. God's plan for my life has turned out WAY better than the measly plans I thought up! We worry and stress too much! But we are commanded in Scripture to turn all our anxieties over to God and let Him worry for us (1 Peter 5:6-7). I'm all in favor of "letting go and let God" because I manage to botch things up every time without even trying!


So the moral of this story? Want less stress? Turn it over to God and TURN LOOSE, you're going to need both hands for this adventure ride!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yesterday & Tomorrow ~ A quote to ponder ...




"There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept from fear and apprehension. One of these days is yesterday with it's mistakes and cares, it's aches and pains, it's faults and blunders. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We can not undo a single act we performed; we can not erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone! The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow. With it's possible adversities, it's burdens, it's large promise... Tomorrow is beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow's sun will rise either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is as yet unborn. That leaves only one day, Today. Any man or woman by the grace of God, can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two other eternities; yesterday and tomorrow that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives man mad; it is the remorse or bitterness for something that happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us, therefore, Journey but One Day At A Time."

K. Rogerson

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Life as a House

What kind of house are you? Sure .... Why not?

Click here: What Kind of House would you be? - Quiz Get More Quizzes at Quizilla

My result:


Mansion
You like things big, bold, and flashy. Glamor is a necessity in your life; who doesn't like a little luxury? You enjoy nice things, have an awesome sense of style, and you are probably pretty popular. Your life is pretty great. ;)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Set on Fire!




The ennobling power of love

When a human heart is set on fire with love, the entire human being is enlightened by its radiance. All extraneous things step back to the background, and a soul can completely, sometimes even ecstatically, plunge into contemplation of the beloved one. Even the most dry and boring people change when they fall in love, their soul softening and becoming bright, as if having wings. For other people a person who is loved by someone does not seem to be any better or more handsome than others, but for the lover he or she is the only one, the incomparable and the irreplaceable. This is the idealization that is so often described in literature. It means that through an external cover, we, in light of love, see the ideal side of the loved one which is hidden from others. It is present in every human being, as an image of God, not noticeable, and very often suppressed by the external shell, by appearance or "character," which is always something secondary, and not representing the "essence."

All the power of love consists in the fact that through love we are as though touching upon the internal beauty of a human being. We cannot leave the person ... we would like to be joined with the loved one forever. A soul that has experienced those feelings even once will preserve memories about their transforming and creative power for the rest of its life.

It is exactly in the rushes of love that a soul experiences a deep need to come out of the boundaries of its own personality in order to be united with a loved one. The need for love witnesses that it is impossible to retire into oneself, all the natural limits of individuality are overcome in love, and its shell is torn apart. That is why in the rushes of love a human being starts to be burdened by himself: to retire into oneself, in the light of love, means to condemn oneself to loneliness, to find oneself in a metaphysical emptiness. That is why our soul is tirelessly looking for somebody to love in order to find a point of rest and a purpose for existence.

The power of poetic imagination that is so characteristic for young love, through which we idealize a loved one, is not some play of fantasy. On the contrary, it reveals a deep thirst for a spiritual and absolute life.

There is so much in these paragraphs that resound deeply within my soul I can't really summarize it!

Tim

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Some Ignatius for a Sunday ...




Pray unceasingly for the rest of men...Meet their angry outbursts with your own gentleness, their boastfulness with your humility, their revilings with your prayers, their error with your constancy in the faith and their harshness with your meekness.


- Ignatius of Antioch

Epistle to the Ephesians

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Gifting of Friends




The Gift Of Friends...

There are days when
bubbling from us comes
the innocent child within,
who giggles at the little things
and wears a silly grin.

There are days when
melancholy comes to
visit for a while;
the mind feels tired, the body weak;
we have no strength to smile.

There are days when
joy abundant
grabs a hold of you and me;
wraps us up in all it's splendor,
lifts us up and sets us free.

There are days when
sorrow wraps us
in its cloak of grief and fear,
'till our hearts ache to the breaking,
'till our eyes can't shed a tear.

There are days when
love bestows us
with its wonderment and light;
with its beauty and its mystery,
its power and its might.

And there are days when
life rewards us
and seems to make amends
by granting us a marvelous gift,
the precious gift of Friends.

by: Karen Schaefer

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bread and Water




COMMONEST THINGS BLESSED

‘Ye shall serve the LORD your God,and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water.’-Exodus 23:25

WHAT a promise is this! To serve God is in itself a high delight. But what an added privilege to have the blessing of the Lord resting upon us in all things! Our commonest things become blessed when we ourselves are consecrated to the Lord. Our Lord Jesus took bread and blessed it; behold, we also eat of blessed bread. Jesus blessed water and made it wine: the water which we drink is far better to us than any of the wine with which men make merry; every drop has a benediction in it. The divine blessing is on the man of God in everything, and it shall abide with him at every time.

What if we have only bread and water! Yet it is blessed bread and water. Bread and water we shall have. That is implied, for it must be there for God to bless it. ‘Thy bread shall be given thee, and thy waters shall be sure.’ With God at our table, we not only ask a blessing, but we have one. It is not only at the altar but at the table that He blesses us. He serves those well who serve Him well. This table-blessing is not of debt, but of grace. Indeed, there is a treble grace; He grants us grace to serve Him, by His grace feeds us with bread, and then in His grace blesses it.

-C.H. Spurgeon ~ Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith, Daily Entry

Have a blessed day everyone!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Isaiah 61 ~ Oaks




I have some time this evening so I thought I would share one of my most favorite passages of scripture ...


Isaiah 61


"The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.

He sent me to preach good news to the poor,

heal the heartbroken,

Announce freedom to all captives,

pardon all prisoners.

God sent me to announce the year of his grace,

a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies,

and to comfort all who mourn,

To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,

give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,

Messages of joy instead of news of doom,

a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.

Rename them "Oaks of Righteousness"

planted by God to display his glory.

will sing for joy in God,

explode in praise from deep in my soul!

He dressed me up in a suit of salvation,

he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness,

As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo

and a bride a jeweled tiara.

For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers,

and as a garden cascades with blossoms,

So the Master, God,

brings righteousness into full bloom

and puts praise on display before the nations.



In reading the Gospels I am keenly interested in observing the ministry of Jesus Christ, His attitude towards those who were acknowledged, confessed sinners. To the woman that was brought to Him caught in the very act of adultery, He shows great tenderness, understanding and grace. "Woman, where are your accusers?" "Sir, I guess I don't have any." "Well, neither do I condemn thee, go thy way, sin no more." (John 8) Oh, how tender He deals with her. Then there is the woman at the well in Samaria. Now she wasn't the most moral woman around obviously. She had been married to five different men. And then finally decided marriage wasn't for her and so she was just living with a man. And yet Jesus in His dealing with her was so gracious, revealing to her His identity. Oh, the attitude of Christ towards the sinner was always beautiful! He had good news for sinning man and those that confessed and were aware of their sinful state. "Bouquets of roses instead of ashes" indeed!

Have a blessed evening everyone!~

Tim

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Lyrical Commentary on Scandals




These words by James Watkins summarize many of my feelings about the various Christian leadership scandals, but many others in our church universal where individuals are set up for temptation and failure by a system which isolates and flatters them. The church is supposed to be a body–a family–a place of intimacy and accountability. The way that we often do church makes it more like a free market corporation or something like that …. pedestals


Thousands

cheer,
chant,
and clap
as one of their own
is proudly carried toward the
lofty pedestal.
The audience

urges him
up the stairway,
step by step,
higher and higher,
far above the masses
on the prominent platform.
The media is there

with lights,
cameras
and prime-time coverage.
Publishers huddle

around the base,
for they know
pedestal-people
sell well.
The crowds

on satellite hook-ups
hang on
every last word,
for he seems
so close to eternity.
Yet he feels

unsure,
unworthy,
afraid
and very alone . . .
But at that height

no one notices,
no one questions,
no one confronts.
And so,

in a split second,
the trap door swings,
the noose tightens,
the crowd gasps.
Undeterred, the mob moves on

to build more pedestals;
to encourage another
of their own
up the starlit steps.
But mostly

to wonder
why those
at the pinnacle
keep falling
from the heights.
© 1988 James N. Watkins

Thursday, November 5, 2009

invisable, unbelievable and impossible!




"Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible."


~Corrie Ten Boom

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

mystical law of nature




There is a wonderful, mystical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life ...-happiness, freedom, and peace of mind are always attained by giving them to someone else. --


Unknown Author

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I can't thank you enough! Psalm 30



A Psalm I really feel led to share with you all. Have a blessed evening everyone!

Tim

Psalm 30 A David Psalm
1 I give you all the credit, God— you got me out of that mess,
you didn't let my foes gloat.

2-3 God, my God, I yelled for help
and you put me together.
God, you pulled me out of the grave,
gave me another chance at life
when I was down-and-out.

4-5 All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God!
Thank him to his face!
He gets angry once in a while, but across
a lifetime there is only love.
The nights of crying your eyes out
give way to days of laughter.

6-7 When things were going great
I crowed, "I've got it made.
I'm God's favorite.
He made me king of the mountain."
Then you looked the other way
and I fell to pieces.

8-10 I called out to you, God;
I laid my case before you:
"Can you sell me for a profit when I'm dead?
auction me off at a cemetery yard sale?
When I'm 'dust to dust' my songs
and stories of you won't sell.
So listen! and be kind!
Help me out of this!"

11-12 You did it: you changed wild lament
into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
and decked me with wildflowers.
I'm about to burst with song;
I can't keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
I can't thank you enough.

Saturday, October 31, 2009




A couple days ago I did the Halloween shopping at the local stores. As I walked around trying to find something that was not too sketchy or shady, I thought to myself, “Where’s the Halloween section at the local Christian Book Store?” Now I realize that this may be an oxymoron to some; however, I began to wonder what all one might find in the Christian Halloween store. Here’s some of our ponderings . . .

Definitely masks of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and William Carey. It is Reformation Day ya know.

A shepherd outfit, well it would stand out! lol

Probably some OT characters: Moses, David, maybe a prophet or two ... Now this might be scary!

Peanuts characters . . . Linus does quote the Christmas story, remember?

Bob the tomato and Larry the cucumber. I can see walking around as a giant cuke!!!!


Got to have some ladies: Mary, Martha, Ruth, Esther, Rahab (post fall of Jericho perhaps), Hey .... Maybe the Church Lady from Saturday Night Live!

You would also have to have some good accessories . . .

Big Baptist hair wigs

A Preaching Bible (KJV only)
A gigantic staff.

The armor of God (Eph 6) . . . gotta have that sword of the spirit

Offering plate

Anyway, kinda had fun thinking of these things. So now you tell us what things you would expect to find in the Christian Halloween store?

What Treat Should You Give Out For Halloween?

We bought several bags of candy (minus the Runts my wife snagged from our stash) in anticipation of the trick or treaters due this evening ...



You Should Give Out Gummy Bears

You are a very sensitive soul, and you want to give a big bear hug to everyone you're close to.
People love you because you are so soft and squishy. You are naturally cuddly.

The only downside to your personality is that you get hurt easily. It's not hard for someone to break your spirit.
And while you can be crushed from time to time, you always bounce back. You're extremely resilient.
Gee ... We overlooked the Gummy Bears ... We loaded up on the chocolates instead!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

In Awe of Wonder




Here is a cool quote from Joshua Abraham Heschel.


"Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder. Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of your universe. Delight me to see how Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his, to the Father through features in men's faces. each day enrapture me with your marvelous things without number. I do not ask to see the reason for it all; I ask only to share the wonder of it all." Sometimes I think we spend to much time isolated in our living rooms, not to hot, not to cold and we lose the awesomeness, or wonder of the world around us.We lose the wonder in the little things, the seasons, a deer in the meadow, a child licking an ice cream cone ... Even in the mudane things He is there. (Something I tend to forget.) There is a tendency to live practical lives and miss the awe, reverence and wonder all around us. God intends for us to discover His presence in the world, and the people He loves around us.


Have a blessed day everyone! Tim

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

All Pharisees Were Hypocrites???


A person said this to me and it stopped me in my tracks! Let me quote it for you ...


"We, as Christians, need to step back from digging too deeply into the Word... from becoming Pharisees ourselves, and take the Scriptures for what they are.... our guidebook .."


Maybe this has happened to you too ... You are making a point about what God is leading you about a certain point, and you quote scripture, immediately there is a charge of you being a Pharisee! Sheesh!


However ... Not all Pharisees were hypocrites for sure! Many of the parables of Jesus are actually old Pharisaic stories -- sometimes with different endings. The Pharisees were not in trouble because they knew to much scripture its because they added to it and at times even changed what it said. Unlike the Pharisees, Jesus did not allow Jewish tradition to be elevated to the same level as Scripture. He was quick to discard any traditions that contradicted the Word of God. He placed compassion above the stringencies of tradition, and He rebuked hypocrisy and pretense whenever He saw it. But He did all of this from within traditional Judaism and as a part of traditional Judaism.

"Step back and not dig to deeply in the Word? How can anyone possibly love God and not dig into scripture, re dig and dig again! How could someone dig to deeply? I would say most don't dig enough! Being a Christian and not knowing Scripture would be like my 15 year old in a car ...If not now, it will soon be a disaster. A young unlearned young man behind the wheel of a car is a danger to himself as well to you who share the road with him. He is liable to crash injuring if not killing himself and just might take some others with him. This is how an unlearned Christian can be. He is a danger to himself and to those around him. Not because he seeks to destroy or hurt anyone, but because he doesn't have the experience and knowledge. The danger for misinterpretations would obviously be greater. When it comes to the knowing and living the Word of God, the spiritual payoff is enormous ... and freeing! Also scripture leads us to spiritual maturity.

Let me quote here from Hebrews 5:13-14.

13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Mature believers are the one who can eat solid food and maturity comes when you can take the Word we are feeding on and use it to meet the various challenges, circumstances, issues and decisions of life. What renders a person mature? Being able to make responsible decisions on our own. Like with kids, when you don't have to tell them every little thing they are maturing. When they decide to do it on their own maturity is setting in!


Some thoughts on a Wednesday ...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Journey To Freedom




A poem to share ... Have a blessed day everyone!


Journey To Freedom

Rejection, hurt, and pain
They've left such a stain
You suddenly feel like you'll never love again
You gave it your all
You tried to stand tall
But then there it was, the inevitable fall
Your heart is so torn; your mind is so worn
From the thoughts of despair that are continuously born
So many feelings of doubt you just have to shout,
“Where are you, my Lord? Please, bring me out!”
My child I am here I told you never to fear
‘Cause I'll dry every tear
As for your hurt and your pain, your rejection stain
The feelings you have that you'll never love again
Reveal them to Me, the One who died on Calvary
Caused the blind man to see
Cured an advanced case of leprosy
See, “when you cast all your cares upon Me”
That alone will set you free
Those feelings of hurt and pain
Are turned into victories gained
And now you're ready to walk in the light
Although it’s still midnight
But remember, “these light afflictions are but for a moment”
It’s an opportunity for your atonement
‘Cause I already own it, your problem that is
Now your deliverance has come
Your victory’s been won
Your head is up high; your tears are all dry
Your pains and your stains can now be proclaimed
As broken bondage chains!
For I reign as the Lord God
“Thy staff and thy rod”; “Who preparest a table”
For I alone am able
To do the divine for those whom I call mine!
When I called you out of darkness
I told you, “I got this!”
So go and be free
Tell the world about me
Tell of how I brought you out and gave you a victorious shout
Now that’s somethin’ to talk about!

Nakia Hill

Saturday, October 24, 2009

John Pipers Prayer For the Church



O Lord, by the truth of your Word, and the power of your Spirit and the ministry of your body, build men and women at Bethlehem . . .

Who don't love the world more than God,
who don't care if they make much money,
who don't care if they own a house,
who don't care if they have a new car or two cars,
who don't need recent styles,
who don't care if they get famous,
who don't miss steak or fancy fare,
who don't expect that life should be comfortable and easy,
who don't feed their minds on TV each night,
who don't measure truth with their finger in the wind,
who don't get paralyzed by others’ disapproval,
who don't return evil for evil,
who don't hold grudges,
who don't gossip,
who don't twist the truth,
who don't brag or boast,
who don't whine or use body language to get pity,
who don't criticize more than praise,
who don't hang out in cliques,
who don't eat too much or exercise too little;

But

who are ablaze for God,
who are utterly God-besotted,
who are filled with the Holy Spirit,
who strive to know the height and depth of Christ’s love,
who are crucified to the world and dead to sin,
who are purified by the Word and addicted to righteousness,
who are mighty in memorizing and using the Scriptures,
who keep the Lord’s Day holy and refreshing,
who are broken by the consciousness of sin,
who are thrilled by the wonder of free grace,
who are stunned into humble silence by the riches of God’s glory,
who are persevering constantly in prayer,
who are ruthless in self-denial,
who are fearless in public witness to Christ’s Lordship,
who are able to unmask error and blow away doctrinal haze,
who are tough in standing for the truth,
who are tender in touching hurting people,
who are passionate about reaching the peoples who have no church,
who are pro-life for the sake of babies and moms and dads and the glory of God,
who are keepers of all their promises, including marriage vows,
who are content with what they have and trusting the promises of God,
who are patient and kind and meek when life is hard.

Pressing for all there is in Christ,

Pastor John Piper

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ever Have One Of Those days?




You know, the ones where…

The driver in front of you feels a steady 16-17 miles per hour will get them where they want to in plenty of time for the New Year’s celebration?

The people standing in line in front of you aren’t really sure why they are in line, but imagine they’ll figure it out, once they get to the front.

In the drive-through behind someone who just ordered lunch for their 32 co-workers, then has to change 9 of them at the second window?

Ah …. Today is a new day ….

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I said a silent prayer in the middle of the night ...




I said a silent prayer in the middle of the night
I needed to know if you could hear me,
I needed to stand within your light.
I need rest within your arms
to feel tranquility and hope
I need you, Lord, within my life
to aid my struggle and help me cope
I would like to know if you can hear me
when I'm praying in the night
Sometimes I feel so alone
and want to give up the fight
I need to know if you can hear me
in the middle of the night
To know if you can hear my prayers
to rest within your loving light
And when I feel all is lost
and am tempted to give it up
I feel your loving sweet caress
I feel you holding me up
You pick me up and dust me off
and wipe my tears away
You tell me not to fear a thing;
You're with me throughout the day.
I know you have surrounded me
with your angels, saints and light
and because you have surrounded me
I can endure the lonely night
I know sometimes my faith may slip
and I begin to doubt
But then I feel your sweet caress
and your love washes my fear right out
When I say a silent prayer
in the darkness of the night
I know that you can hear me
and I can rest within your light.

~Patrick Stalinski

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Baloon Boy: Aftermath




I have to admit I was all taken in on the balloon boy thing. What a story .... With the happy ending we all love to see! I believed in Balloon Boy. Or, rather, I believed that his parents believed that he was in the balloon. And I hoped that they were wrong, that he was hiding under the bed, or in a box. And I was happy - genuinely happy - when I learned that, in fact, he was. Alas ....

IT WAS A HOAX!!!!!!

How naive could I have been? Undoubtedly, my own fond childhood memories coupled with a pretty good set of parents has mislead my thinking on the aims of other families. Did I actually think that lil Falcon Heene was throwing up for no reason on the morning show? (Just nervous I suppose ...) However ... The lies and scam that his parents perpetrated would make anyone vomit. It makes me sick thinking about it. So much for the piety of parenthood. Fame, money and the lure of reality television trumps holding a regular job any day of the week.

Heaven help us. But most of all, help Falcon Heene and his brothers.