Thursday, April 30, 2009

Blah Charlie Brown!

I suppose some of you are wondering what the deal is with the blog lately -- why I haven't been posting with my usual regularity. Some of it, maybe most of it even has to do with this bronchitis thing, which the new med's seems to be working on ...

I don't know. I'm just feeling blah lately -- think Charlie Brown in A Charlie Brown Christmas, complaining to Lucy that "I know I should be happy, but...." It's hard to think or to write or to get moving. I'm trusting it's just some sort of cyclical ... serotonin ... some kind of phase ...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Finding The Will

The phrase "finding the will of God" is a popular one. But when thinking of it I can't remember any New Testament command to 'find Gods will' or find any instructions to go about it. So the question becomes, does God even have a specific and detailed mysterious at best will for us?

In a few scriptural cases people were directed where to go, who to see. I've had the obvious "sign" every now and again in my life as well. There seems to be no indication at all that the day to day lives of average Christians were directed that way, however. The conclusion I come up with is that its Gods will for us to make Biblically based decisions about the issues we face. Could it be that many Christians are suffering because they are waiting for God to make clear decisions for them. Sincerely believing they are "waiting on God," or "letting go and letting God." Could it be that God expects us to think, research, seek counsel in order to make wise decisions? Maybe we are to take baby steps so we can get ready to run the race.Could it also be that for whatever reason we are just being indecisive while waiting for God to send a thunderbolt or some obvious sign like an answer out of heaven. Taking the risk out of it all. Meanwhile ... a decision is forced on us with the passage of time. Could this be the reason some of us don't have a mate, the job we want, a calling or whatever? And when all this procrastination leaves a sad result we may wonder why God has it in for us. And we are alone or ...

In Colossians Paul tells us that the way to understand God's will is through the gift of wisdom. " ... we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding." (Colossians 1:9) In Colossians 2:3 he gives the source of this wisdom "...Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." In James 3:13 we have, "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom." I take this to mean that wisdom is evidence of Christ living His life in us. In Romans 12:2, "Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good pleasing and perfect will."

Could it be that we ARE Gods will, or a least in His will when we live our lives close to Jesus in our choices in life? Maybe a more mature faith is when we know He is there with us when we do make decisions and takes risks, instead of relying on some sign to come. I think that he wants us to take steps ... in short go for it ... knowing He will be there when we fall. It may be more a matter of finding the will, than waiting on it.

Just some thoughts ...


Monday, April 27, 2009

The Brothers Karamazov/Father Zossima on Love

In The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Father Zossima’s humanity and his simple faith in the healing power of love were stressed. Now, another dimension is added. In these chapters we see that he can easily maintain an intellectual argument. Here is his response to a woman who tells him that she is afraid to die .... What do you think?

Go and Fear no More

"Don't be afraid of anything, ever. And do not grieve. AS long as your repentance does not weaken, God will forgive everything. There is not--there cannot be-- a sin on earth that God will not forgive the truly repentant. Why, a man cannot commit a sin so great as to exhaust the infinite love of God. How could there be a sin that would surpass the love of God? Think only of repentance, all the time, and drive away all fear. Have faith that God loves you more then you can ever imagine. He loves you, sinful as you are and, indeed, because of your sin. It was said long ago that there is more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ten righteous men. Go now, and fear nothing. Do not be offended if people treat you badly. Do not hold it against them. And forgive your departed husband all the harm he did you. Become truly reconciled with him. For if you repent, you love, and if you love, you are with God. Love redeems and saves everything. If I, a sinner like yourself, am moved and feel compassion for you, how infinitely much more will God! Love is such an infinite treasure it can buy the whole world and can redeem not only your sins, but the sins of all people. So go and fear no more."

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Type/ A Jung Thing ...

So I like online tests and quizzes (and I've taken this one before) and thought I'd share the Jung Typology test with everyone.

My results:

Your Type is


You are:
slightly expressed introvert

moderately expressed intuitive personality

moderately expressed feeling personality

slightly expressed perceiving personality

Do I really know what this means? No. Just what the online blurbs tell me, but it was entertaining. Try it out!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Candles in the Wind

Generally we have a candle burning somewhere in the house. I think it may be just a comfort thing, they are romantic and they look cool. However with Pentecost coming up here is another thought presented by Rev. Benjamin Mayes ...

"We've always said that the candles we light represent the light of Christ, and that is true, but I was thinking that as we consider the tongue of fire on the candle, we should be reminded of the tongues of fire that appeared on the heads of the Apostles and the rest of the disciples on that first Pentecost (Acts 2:1-12). And then as we recall that event, we consider that today the Holy Spirit is present, and at work among us, through the Word and Sacraments, and so that tongue of fire on the candle is a symbol of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit."

I thought that was quite a good thought!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

God of Thunder

I shall be going back to 10 hour workdays starting today which makes one a tad grouchy, especially as the week goes on. I was going to write on some positive thing about God, being a Christian or whatever but I'm not in the

God is a God of love, as we all know, but there are other attributes as well. God can also get really ticked off! In Numbers 13-14 God was really torqued at the Israelites because of their unbelief and even threatened to destroy them. Then an amazing thing happened as God "changed His mind" after listening to an appeal of mercy from Moses. This is interesting as does God need mortals like Moses to reason with Him and hold Him to His promises? God obviously CAN be hurt by the people He loves.

What I get from this and other parts of the Bible, especially the Psalms and the Prophets, that He wants to engage our minds AND emotions. He wants us to feel fear, alarm at whats around us, the tension of our will against His. He wants us to sense when things are wrong, and wants us to ask and ask again until we find out where that wrong is. Much of God does seems to have the goal of shocking us to our senses. To get to that awareness where we become eventually contrite and humble before Him (repentance) and with others. This is where mercy is found. Grace received does enable grace to be given...

It doesn't seem to be a matter of being nice to a God who could fry you in an instant but being very real with Him. Its not appeasement per say but struggle that gets us to the place of intimacy... (Kinda reminds me of the story of Jacob.) Our God is also the God of Thunder ... and not just this cheesy, wishy washy, always positive wimp type of god...

Just some thoughts ...

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Church as Thermostat

Something I would like to share ...

"There was a time when the church was very powerful. It was during that period when the early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed in. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Wherever the early Christians entered a town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators". But they went on with the conviction that they were a "colony of heaven," and had to obey God rather than man. They were small in number but big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." They brought to an end such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contest.

Things are different now. The contemporary church is often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the arch supporter of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent and often vocal sanction of things as they are."

the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) in his "Letter from Birmingham Jail"

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Unitarian Jihad Name Generator

This is so strange I just had to throw it out there ...

The first title I got was this: The Howitzer of Courteous Debate but after a bit of searching I found this too:

The Atom Bomb of Forgiveness.

Hmm. Come to think of it ... I rather like it.

How Long We Wait

How Long We Wait

How long we wait,

with minds as quiet as time,

Like sentries on a tower.

How long we watch,

by night,

like the astronomers.

Heaven, when will we hear you sing,

Arising from our grassy hills,

And say: “The dark is done, and Day

Laughs like a Bridegroom in

His tent, the lovely sun,

His tent the sun, His tent the smiling sky!”?

How long we wait with minds as dim as ponds

While stars swim slowly homeward in the water of

our west!

Heaven, when will we hear you sing?

Thomas Merton. Collected Poems.New York: New Directions Press, 1977: 89-90.

I sense a new seriousness, and a new light-heartedness, in what I must do from now on in my life. God has been trying for some time, I think, to get me to prioritize what I do, and don't do. I think he is calling me to concentrate on him, and on what he gives me, rather than on what I think I ought to be doing for him. I've known this, in a kind of a way, for a long time; but I've tried to give lip-service to it, rather than admit my deep need.Hmm. Lots to think about.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Susan Boyle - Britains Got Talent 2009

OK .... I'm sitting here bawling in front of my computer! *sniff* You have GOT to see this video ... it is so amazing! If a person doesn't get watery eyes after see this they might as well be dead. I couldn't believe that voice came from that woman. Wow! I've been quite chastised yet again for judging on appearances! What a fantastic triumph!

Here is an article from the
Susan Boyle on Britain Got Talent

by dwarthy

Meet the frumpy, unemployed, 47-year-old woman who shocked Simon Cowell.

During auditions for "Britain's Got Talent" this week, Susan Boyle of the village West Lothian walked on to the stage to snickers from the audience and an eye-roll from Cowell. After she unleashed a perfect rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from the musical "Les Miserables," she left with the crowd on its feet.

"Without a doubt, that is the biggest surprise I've had in three years of the show," said one of Cowell's co-judges, Piers Morgan.

Boyle received three perfect scores and is the early favorite to win on the hit reality TV series.

"I know the minute you walked out on that stage that we were going to hear something extraordinary and I was right," quipped Cowell.

In just three days, the clip of Boyle's stunning performance has notched 2,605,000 views on YouTube.

"I've always wanted to play before a large audience," Boyle said before hitting the stage. "I'm going to make that audience watch."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thank God I'm Everything I Never Wanted To Be

This morning I've been thinking about holiness and holy living. What kicked this off was this familiar verse is 1 Peter v. 16 "Ye shall be holy; for I am holy." Therefore our goal in life is not happiness, health or any of these things (these are the things added "unto you") but holiness. Unfortunately I have been less-than-holy so many times! Sheeeeesh!

From childhood I have associated holiness with this long string of do's and don'ts. But seeing holiness as rule keeping really causes some major problems and really limits what Biblical holiness is. OK, the "rules" more likely than not are Biblically based there is this big tendency to obey rules instead of God. And this concern for the letter of the law which cause us to lose its spirit. Then comes this attitude that we can be holy through our own efforts in spite of the fact Paul said that there can be no holiness apart from the Holy Spirit, and its grace that causes us to even want to be holy! Then there are those whose pious efforts at rule keeping, and are even good at it publicly at least. These are the ones who like to point fingers at others, gossip ect. I've been the one who has had the fingers pointed at me and on many occasions. Then it dawned on me "Thank God I'm everything I never wanted to be," you know what I mean? Its obvious I can never live up to it and am totally dependent on grace. I can never make it on following the rules. Rule keeping leads to self righteousness anyways which is the very opposite of true holiness! Its hard to be humble and "esteem our brothers (and sisters) above ourselves" when we are doing it on our own.

This may be a Tim tangent but I think it fits. From Exodus to Revelation we have this imagery of God "pitching His tent" among His people. A truly awesome thought when you think about it for any length of time. In Exodus 29:44-45 "...I will dwell among the Israelites." In John 1:14 "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." And taken to its conclusion, John when describing the new heaven and new earth in Revelation 21:3 "...He shall dwell among them,..." Each time the word "dwell" means to "pitch a tent" in the original language. Now we are getting to what holiness is. God pitching His tent; first in the tabernacle, then in Christ and Christ in us, and then in our future life...

At its base holiness means wholeness. One cannot be whole without a relationship with their Creator. It is living in Gods presence .. He has pitched His tent among us. These are strange verses maybe to quote on this subject from Zechariah 14:20-21. This is a picture of the millennial reign of God. "On that day "Holy to the Lord" will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lords house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judea will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and pans and cook in them." Say what?! Heres what I think its getting at; When God is at the center of your life, then every moment, every commonplace object of your existence is touched by His presence. Visibly true some future day, spiritually true now.

There is this talk of "victory" in the Christian life which I think is kinda skewed. It seems to mean how God will conquer sin for us and is self centered. Sin is not simply the wrong we do to others and/or ourselves. All sin is a root rebellion or offense to God Himself. Its all about Jesus, what we can do to please Him, not what He can do for us. Personal victories may come but is the result, not the object.

I'll conclude with Jesus' parable of the vine and its branches. (John 15:1-8) Holiness is walking with our creator completing us to be what we are supposed to be. In this passage Jesus explained that we do not PRODUCE fruit through our own efforts but BEAR fruit only by abiding in Him and letting Him work through us. Another thing that comes out of this passage is that what we are called to do or be is IMPOSSIBLE! "Apart from me you can do nothing." To grow in holiness is to grow closer to Jesus, knowing Him more clearly, practicing His presence in even the littlest of things, loving Him more, obeying Him more... Even when we seemingly screw up our lives repeatedly, He cleans up and we are back into holiness with our first step of obedience. We are (not will be but ARE) a Holy Nation 1 Peter 2:9...

Enough rambling in one post. Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Swedish Church Unveils Lego Jesus

It’s been awhile since I have posted a odd but interesting Jesus sighting, but I just could not pass this one up. The good folk of Oensta Gryta Church in Vaesteras, Sweden spent a year and a half constructing a statue of Jesus with Legos. Congregants donated almost 30,000 Lego pieces to construct the 5.8-foot high statue of Jesus, the exterior of which appears completely white, though other colors were used underneath.

The Lego Jesus was based upon the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsens's 19th century statue "Christus," which depicts the resurrection of Jesus.

Unlike most Jesus sightings like the ones in pancakes and so forth, this one is not, so they say, destined for eBay. the statue would remain in the church and that they had no intention of selling it to raise money.

Full story here:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Storm in the Meadow

Storm in the Meadow

Deep gray billowed masses sweep from the sky
Flashing warnings to the darkened day
Tumbling angry poundings of heaven's cry
To earth against a superficial way
Rotted debris is raised aloft to fly
Through judgments piercing double edged ray
Thick torrents strike the ground to purify
Washing away the remnants of decay
Amid the tribulation at its height
Northward a translucent blue appears
Most awesome and paradoxical sight
Promises that a better hour is near

By upheaval is nature's work pursued
And with peace restored, all may be renewed

~Sojourn Online

Phone Booth Confessions

A few years ago there is this movie Phone Booth which pointed out our culture's growing need for confession, even from a secular viewpoint. What's the attraction all about? Is a new "confession-craze" dawning, or do you see something different, something deeper?

There are even online confession sites, eveen Christian ones like mysecret. tv (Warning: Can be "R" rated):

Of course confessing your secret to an impersonal, anonymous medium is not Christian confession. There is this probably unintended drawback; the site is voyeuristic. Free "real" entertainment that makes a daytime drama look tame! The idea of confession is to share your sin with a trusted confidant, friend, pastor, etc., not with thousands of people on an anonymous message board where the stories of sin can be laid out like a banquet for the voyeurs!

But the idea is there ... Repentance is good for the soul, and we cannot be Christians without it. Many a "Christian" believes that if he simply mutters his confession into his pillow at night, that is good enough. God may very well hear and forgive, however the sinner robs himself of absolution through Christ's body, The Church. James says in his epistle, "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another that you may be healed." (James. 5:16) "Private" confession to God is nowhere taught in scripture, and this practice is probably responsible for the millions of dollars spent in this country every year on mental health professionals, dealing with "guilt feelings," instead of dealing with the actual guilt through the sacrament. It is important to understand, that if we have trouble confessing our sins to a priest, a fellow sinner, how can we confess our sins to the righteous and Holy God?

Just some thoughts on a Tuesday.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Three Sisters/ A joke

I had "one of those days" today, but hey ... I have a joke for ya ...

Three sisters ages 92, 94, and 96 live in a house together. One night the 96 year old draws a bath. She puts her foot in and pauses. She yells down the stairs "was I getting in or out of the bath?" The 94 year old yells back "I don't know. I'll come up and see." She starts up the stairs and pauses. Then she yells out "Was I going up the stairs or down?"

The 92 year old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea listening to her sisters. She shakes her head and says "I sure hope I never get that forgetful". She knocks on wood for good measure. She then yells "I'll come up and help both of you as soon as I see who's at the door."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Make Me A Channel of Your Peace

It is shortly after 6am, and the alarm just blared waking me from my slumber on this Resurrection Day. As I laid in bed for a few minutes, praying and mentally preparing for this day, a song popped into my head. “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace,” an adaptation of the Prayer of St. Francis.

Here is a link to the video of this song:

One might wonder why this particular song came into my head today instead of the usual Easter classics – but it was the contrast of the phrase “where there is darkness, only light” that brought it to mind on this Easter morning. Today we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus the Christ – God’s light overcoming darkness, God’s hope overcoming despair, God’s forgiveness overcoming wrong.

I don't want to infringe on copyright laws so I won't share the lyrics of “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace” on this site. However, here is the Prayer of St. Francis from which it originated …

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood, as to understand;

to be loved, as to love;

for it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

As we go forth proclaiming and celebrating the resurrection today, may it be done with this prayer in mind.

OK, better roll here ... Have a most blessed Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

An Irony in the Tapestry of Recession

Last week, on my trip to Coquille, Oregon, I was checking out the TV and a local TV affiliate is broadcasting a commercial for a ministry, one that has a reputation for "deliverance" -- showing scene after scene of unemployment lines, people frustrated over desks of household paperwork, crying people, people holding their head in their hands in total angst. The pitchman exhorts viewers that "There's no problem God can't handle!" and urges us to come to this church and get all our problems solved. Sending in a "seed tithe" would be a major step in the right direction ....Several minutes later I'm watching CSI and on comes the latest commercial of a notoriously ambulance-chasing plaintiffs' law firm. More talk and imagery related to "these tough economic times," more angst, and the suggestion that if life isn't treating us right it may be because we haven't sued someone who deserves it: "Call the offices of ________!"Ironic.

Of course there isn't a problem God can't handle. But perhaps our comfort isn't His #1 concern! From where we stand, we see the underside of the tapestry...and it is a work in progress. The Master Weaver, sees the final pattern, the master plan, and the "right" side of the tapestry as it is woven. What may seem to be a giant flub or cosmic knot to us may truly be an ingenious and lovely design from the view of our Creator.

There have been so many times in my life when I have been creating something, and in the midst of the project wondered, "did I do that right? Doesn't seem to fit there very well, or suit the final project very well." Only to discover that the piece I had cut or the seam I had sewn worked out simply as the ONLY POSSIBLE WAY to achieve the desired end results. Now if I just "sued someone" or passed on the blame elsewhere, the work of art would have never been completed! Our prayer should stem from our hearts ... not our wallet!

Some thoughts on a Saturday ...

Friday, April 10, 2009

“Good Friday”: A Poem by Christina Rossetti

A poem I wish to share on this Good Friday ...

“Good Friday”: A Poem by Christina Rossetti (Published in 1896)

Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy Blood’s slow loss,
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon—
I, only I.

Yet give not o’er
But seek Thy sheep,
true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

This Balkanized World

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

-- from the Book of Jeremiah

How odd that my attention, for some reason, was drawn to this line in the Old Testament lesson.I wonder what would happen, in this Balkanized world, if those of us who for whatever reason feel ourselves in exile, attempted to cultivate this attitude instead.


Another from Henri Nouwen ...

A mosaic consists of thousands of little stones. Some are blue, some are green, some are yellow, some are gold. When we bring our faces close to the mosaic, we can admire the beauty of each stone. But as we step back from it, we can see that all these little stones reveal to us a beautiful picture, telling a story none of these stones can tell by itself. That is what our life in community is about. Each of us is like a little stone, but together we reveal the face of God to the world. Nobody can say: "I make God visible." But others who see us together can say: "They make God visible." Community is where humility and glory touch.

Have a blessed day everyone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

For every heart ...

This is a beautiful song by Twila Paris, this one is called, "Every Heart That is Breaking" and I hope you will have opportunity to hear it.

For the young abandoned husband

Left alone without a reason

For the pilgrim in the city

Where there is no home

For the son without a father

For his solitary mother

I have a message

He sees you, He knows you

He loves you, He loves you

Every heart that is breaking, tonight

Is the heart of a child that he holds in his sight.

And, oh, how He longs to hold in his arms

Every heart that is breaking, tonight

Every heart that is breaking, tonight

For every heart

For the precious fallen daughter

For her devastated father

For the prodigal whos dieing in a strange new way

For the child whos always hungry

For the patriot with no country

I have a message

He sees you, He knows you

He loves you, Jesus loves you

Every heart that is breaking, tonight

Is the heart of a child that he holds in his sight.

And, oh, how He longs to hold in his arms

Every heart that is breaking, tonight

Every heart that is breaking, tonight

Every heart that is breaking, tonight

For every heart ...

I have been thinking a lot about a thread where we discussed the heartbreak and loneliness that most of us have had at one time or another, though some have had to endure much more tragic experiences than others. Paul said in 1 Cor 9:3-6, "This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. Don't we have the right to food and drink? Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers, and Cephas? Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living?" He finishes his defense with an illustration of a runner in strict training, and stating how he also subjugated his body to attain the crown that will last forever. Sometimes I read into this an inkling of "I wish it (bachelorhood) weren't the plan, yet I will embrace God's will for me", and wonder if he had his moments of Gethsemane, praying for that cup to be taken away. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

St. Silouan the Athon

An interesting quote on prayer I came across ....

When the soul prays for the world, she knows better without newspapers how the whole earth is afflicted. She knows what people's needs are and feels pity for them... Newspapers don't write about people but about events, and then not the truth. They confuse the mind and, whatever you do, you won't get the truth by reading them; whereas prayer cleanses the mind and gives it a better vision of all things.

~St Silouan the Athon

The Art of Being Accused

I think that we have all been falsely accused at one time or another. There is just no way to avoid it! Check out this verse in Corinthians ...

2 Corinthians 6: 3, "Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed ..."

The thing is Paul's ministry was blamed and discredited by the Corinthian Christians! What Paul means is that our lives or our ministry may not be rightly be blamed. Paul, like the rest of us, could not do anything about false accusations; except live in such a way that any fair-minded person would see such accusations as false. So what are we supposed to do when falsely accused? Psalm 109:21 gives a good example echoed elsewhere in scripture.

But thou, O God my Lord, deal on my behalf for thy name's sake; because thy steadfast love is good, deliver me!

Well, what David does here is beautiful. He commits the whole matter to the Lord in prayer. But so often how we as people naturally want to respond is in kind. I remember back in the day of seeing two children fighting, one of whom happened to be my own! I broke up the fuss and asked of them, "Who started this?" The boy (my son) said, "She did! She hit me back!" How true that is to our nature. We love to blame the other. We accuse others of the very things for which we are guilty!

Let me close with this quote:

"We make a mistake in trying always to clear ourselves. We should be wiser to go straight on, humbly doing the next thing, and leaving God to vindicate us. "He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noon day." There may come hours in our lives when we shall be misunderstood, slandered, falsely accused. At such times it is very difficult not to act on the policy of the men around us in the world. They at once appeal to law and force and public opinion. But the believer takes his case into a higher court and lays it before his God." ~F. B. Meyer

For he stands at the right hand of the needy, to save him from those who condemn him to death. {Psalm 109:31)

It is God who stands at the right hand of the needy, God who makes their cause his own, God who knows a thousand ways to work it all out without violence, without the perpetuation of hatred, without the destruction of lives; to bring truth to light and to establish the facts in such a way that even the accusers will be ashamed of themselves that they ever attempted such a thing. How much better it is to commit our cause to God in times like this!

Some thoughts on a Tuesday ...Tim

Monday, April 6, 2009

Anything With Nothing

A quote to share ....

"We, the unwilling, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have been doing so much with so little for so long that we are now qualified to do anything with nothing."

- Mother Teresa

Makes sense!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

This morning I came across these verses .... I just found it interesting ... and very cool ...

Isaiah 61: 1-3 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the years of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

And this story... At the Royal Palace of Tehran in Iran, you can see one of the most beautiful mosaics in the world. The ceilings and the walls flash like diamonds in multifaceted reflections.

Originally, when the palace was designed, the artist specified huge sheets of mirrors on the walls. When the first shipment arrived from Paris, they found to their horror that the mirrors were shattered. The contractor threw them in the trash and brought the sad news to the architect.

Amazingly, the architect ordered all the broken pieces collected, then smashed them into tiny pieces and glued into the walls to become a mosaic of silvery, shimmering, and mirrored bits of glass.

Broken to become beautiful. It's possible to turn your scars into stars. It is possible to be better because of the brokenness.

If human hands can create something breathtaking, even in the midst of disappointment and brokenness, how much more can God, the Creator and Restorer?

This is a super overwhelming thought, don’t you think?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Facebook Haggadah

How the Exodus looks on Facebook .....

"The Passover Seder, the oldest continuously observed religious ceremony in the world, tells the story of the Jews' Exodus from Egypt. Jewish tradition says that people of each generation must imagine that they personally had departed from Egypt, and the sages say that each generation must tell the story in its own terms.The sages probably did not intend this."

Click here: Moses is Departing Egypt: A Facebook Haggadah

Wow! I agree! "The Sages probably did not intend this!"lol Looking forward to the Twitter edition next year!

Mel ~ King of Salem

Just a few thoughts on a kinda obscure subject.

Not much is really known about Melchizedek although he is a major figure in the history of Israel and the church. Hebrews devotes a lot of chapter 7 to him. He is first met in the Bible when Abraham is returning after battle, exhausted, and extremely aware that he ticked off four of the most powerful kings of his day. And the story goes as Abraham was returning, "Melchizedek, King of Salem, brings out bread and wine and blesses him." Hebrews 7:7 says, "Without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater."

But who is this guy you know? He is the King of Salem (ancient Jerusalem) and a "priest of God most high," who fed and blessed Abraham. Non Biblical sources say he was anything from an angel to just a man so righteous he was made a priest. In Psalm 110 David saw Mel as a type of the promised Messiah who would establish a new order of King priests. Hebrews 7 takes it farther says that Mel was like Jesus, whose title is "king of righteousness" and "king of peace," who appears in scripture without beginning or end to life and remains a "priest forever." So Melchizedek was a picture of Jesus, but probably also just a man ...

I want to focus on what Mel did with Abraham for a minute though. This priest was out and about, not holed away somewhere. He went out looking for those who have been through some stuff, tired, weary, maybe disillusioned ... Instead of trying to "fix" the problem, and he probably really wanted to, he cared for Abraham and Co., and listened to them. He came out with bread, wine and a blessing. The bread offers endurance and strength. The wine gladdens the heart, i.e., cheers them up. The blessing ... A definition of "to bless" is: "to bestow something that promotes or contributes to another's well being, happiness and prosperity." Interestedly the root of the Hebrew word is "to kneel."

We cannot undo the circumstances of another's journey, or take away its pain. But we can help them out in real ways and point them to the One who is the source of all blessings. We may not be able to show another the way, but we can reflect and show them Jesus. And bless them good ...


Numbers 6:

22-23 God spoke to Moses: "Tell Aaron and his sons, This is how you are to bless the People of Israel. Say to them,

24 God bless you and keep you,

25 God smile on you and gift you,

26 God look you full in the face and make you prosper. 27 In so doing, they will place my name on the People of Israel— I will confirm it by blessing them."

~The Message

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Prayer of Clement XI

Pope Clement XI is probably best known for reforming the religious calendar and established a set method to determine the date for Easter. Of course this "set method" continues to defy me and I think Easter comes at a strange day every year. Be that as it may ... Here I offer a prayer attributed to him that I think is wonderful and I can only give a hearty Amen to!

A Universal Prayer

(attributed to Clement XI)

Lord, I believe in you — increase my faith.

I trust in you — strengthen my trust.

I love you — let me love you more and more.

I am sorry for my sins — deepen my sorrow.

I worship you as my first beginning,

I long for you as my last end,

I praise you as my constant helper,

and call on you as my loving protector.

Guide me by your wisdom,

correct me with your justice,

comfort me with your mercy,

protect me with your power.

I offer you, Lord, my thoughts — to be fixed on you;

my words — to have you for their theme;

my actions — to reflect my love for you;

my sufferings — to be endured for your greater glory.

I want to do what you ask of me

— in the way you ask,

— for as long as you ask,

— because you ask it.

Lord, enlighten my understanding,

strengthen my will,

purify my heart,

and make me holy.

Help me to repent of my past sins

and to resist temptation in the future.

Help me rise above my human weaknesses

and to grow stronger as a Christian.

Let me love you,

my Lord and my God, a

nd see myself as I really am — a pilgrim in this world,

a Christian called to respect and to love all whose lives I touch,

those in authority over me or those under my authority,

my friends and my enemies.

Help me to conquer anger with gentleness,

greed with generosity,

apathy by fervor.

Help me to forget myself

and reach out to others.

Make me prudent in planning,

courageous in taking risks.

Make me patient in suffering,

unassuming in prosperity.

Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer,

temperate in food and drink,

diligent in my work,

firm in my good intentions.

Let my conscience be clear,

my conduct without fault,

my speech blameless,

and my life well-ordered.

Teach me to realize that this world is passing,

that my true future is the happiness of heaven,

that life on earth is short,

and the life to come eternal.

Help me prepare for death with a proper fear of judgment,

and a greater trust in your goodness.

Lead me safely through death to the endless joy of heaven.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.


Have a blessed day everyone!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Difficult to be Simple

“How difficult it is to be simple”

~ Vincent Van Gogh

Wow! How true is that!?

a strange toast indeed!

Ruth 4:11-12 "... We are witnesses! May the Lord make the woman who is now coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, from whom all the nation of Israel descended! ...And may the Lord give you descendants by this young woman who will be like our ancestor Perez, the son of Tamar and Jacob."

What a really strange thing to say when one looks at it! Did the Elder really want Ruth to be barren like Rachel, or unloved like Leah was? Then in v12, it gets more bizarre, for did the Elder want Ruth to do a Tamar number and disguise Herself as a prostitute and bear a child by her father-in-law? This seems like at first glance like its saying, "I was your marriage was messed up so that you can do the good that only comes through hard times."

So why would this toast possibly be thought of as good? There can be a big obstacle to relating to God. There seems to be no higher goal really than feeling better now ~ the Bible calls this "the flesh." But the problem is that a lot of the times "Gods best" looks far different from we want it to. Could it be that the Elders prayer is for brokenness, the power to trust God no matter what? We pray often for God to maker things better, I know I do, and then things often stay the same ... then we take things into our own hands... We want things to improve! Fixed! Like now ...!

I think it goes like this ... Its like the Elder told Boaz, "You married a lovely, beautiful woman, and I want the best. But if the unthinkable happens and Ruth turns out to be conniving as Rachel or insecure as Leah, God will still being at work to bring about the good He intended." This is a very freeing thing to ponder upon! I know for myself that having ones dreams smashed around a bit may be God's best after all. The broken dreams are actually just pieces in a bigger puzzle to help us get to the bigger dreams, not really dreamed up yet. The desire for feeling good now may be a limit on us to really fly later!

Just some thoughts ...