Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February has 28

The last day of the month, thank God. I'm not completely negative on February, and we had some great times during the last 4 weeks. I am, though, looking forward to the warming and lightening of March. Bring it on!

When I have time these days, when I'm not driving/working, when I'm not doing what needs to be done here at home or enjoying time with family and friends, and when I'm not sleeping or napping, my big occupation has been conversation, mostly online, with friends and acquaintances -- continued conversations like I've written about here before, except that the topic has shifted, now, to the whole "arms control" debate. I like to say I'm learning through the conversations, and I am.

Time to rest a couple minutes before going back to work.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Jesus Holds Me

Jesus holds me. Jesus. Not an unknown God in my heart or in my brain. Jesus, the one who died and is risen from the dead. Jesus the one who holds me now and will hold me forever. Jesus, the Word of God, the Way, the Truth, the Life. Jesus. The one seen and known by witnesses who were filled by God in the Holy Spirit and who spread the news of Jesus love that goes on forever and never gives up on me or on you. Jesus. What a treasure it is to know him and trust him and allow him to guide me. Not in a way that can only be explained by analogies or mythological language, but the One True God who took on flesh and lives now forever. He holds me. And He holds you too, because besides being the one you can know, he's the One who holds all things together, even molecules. Plants, animals and all people depend upon Him for every breath. He is the source of all life and all existence. He was, He is, and He is to come. All Grace. All Love. All Mercy. No one is excluded. Read the stories of Jesus as they are recorded in the Bible. Read about all the wounded and sick and rejected who found a Home in Him. Read how he stood up for the poor and the poor in spirit. Read how he stood against the self-sufficient ones and the religious ones who were threatened by his all-encompassing grace and love. O Jesus. How I long that everyone would know who you are.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

"There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

"The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

"(John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”)

"Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known."

John chapter 1, New International Version Translation

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Imitate Me (?)

Going through our credit card statement, entering receipts, balancing accounts: it shows me how much money I spend on things that I probably wouldn't spend on if I wasn't trying to please others.  

Is that true? In some ways, yes. Thinking back on my life I realize how many times I've avoided spending money until I'm "pushed" by others.

Is that God's work in my life? Is the contentment I often have with how things are, my desire to be frugal... is that a "God thing" or just a part of my (inborn?) temperment?

I know, in many ways (not all!) I live in ways that are driven by my relationship with the Lord, not just doing what others do. Is that pride? Judgmental? Or do I dare give credit to the Lord?

It's good to not judge others, but I often think that it would be better if more people lived like I do.

Did I really say that? Uff da.

And yet, the Apostle Paul was bold to say "Imitate me... as I imitate Christ." Do I dare say the same?

Praying for wisdom.

See this link:

Monday, February 12, 2018

Yesterday's Ride

Yesterday I had the chance to make a bike trek to our church small group gathering in Oakdale. It took me maybe close to an hour and a half in the 10-15 degree weather. I'm glad I did it, even though it was cold and even though my bike's tires were low and I couldn't get the front derailleur into high gear.

I believe it's good to challenge myself. I believe it's good for others to do also, but I can't tell anyone else what to do.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Family Full

It's late on a Saturday evening as I begin this little post, just before midnight on February 10. Toni and I have been busy with family for the last 24+ hours. We celebrated her birthday with her parents and our children and grandchildren last night, then today her parents were here for much of the morning, joined by one of our sons and his wife and children. We had supper with them before they left. Now it's just the two of us upstairs, and our renter and her daughter down.

Much of my time when I'm not at work gets taken up with family stuff. I guess that's pretty normal, and, in many ways, it's part of God's plan. Science and scripture affirm the good plan of God--the plan that one man and one woman would be bound together to beget and bear and raise children. Our daily lives were focused on family especially when our children were young. Then there was an easing of those responsibilities as Naomi, Daniel and Jonathan moved our of our family home and didn't need us every day. Now the focus is back on family -- especially in connection with our very young children and our aging parents.

My dad's sister, who is very strong and independent, called me recently and said she had been going through old family pictures, and that she was choosing what to keep and what to throw away. I went to her condo last weekend and retrieved pictures from my dad's side of the family -- pictures of my grandparents, great grandparents and great great grandparents. That got me interested in my family tree, so, after consulting with a second or third cousin who has done a lot of genealogical research, I went online and started to build my family tree, getting information from that cousin and others. It didn't take long to build what you see below (deliberately modified to protect some identities). My subscription to lasts 6 months. I'll invite other family members to add if they want to.

The fascinating and difficult piece of that is the way that Jesus explodes our purely earthly ideas of "kinship." Though scripture affirms and supports biological family relationships in the Bible, warning us that we should not neglect or family responsibilities, Jesus teaches us, by his words and examples, that our real family isn't bound by blood or DNA. Jesus sacrifice on the cross connects us with every one on earth. That's huge.