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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Got drought? Water is free...



"We know not when, we know not where,
We know not what that world will be,
But this we know: it will be fair
To see.

With heart athirst and thirsty face
We know and know not what shall be:--
Christ Jesus bring us of His grace
To see.

Christ Jesus bring us of His grace
Beyond all prayers our hopes can pray,
One day to see Him face to face,--
One day."

Christina Rossetti




Do you know what "a heart athirst and thirsty face" feels like?  Sometimes when this ol'world is faded and wrinkled and somewhat sordid, I am thirsty,  Part of my autoimmune disease is to be thirsty, parched to have a throat that is dry, like gravel down my throat.  My heart is more so. 

"Ho everyone who thirsts, come to the waters..."
Isaiah 55:1
 
 
"As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for Thee, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Psalm 42:1-2

 
 
 
 
 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Oh, the irony...

The White House, our house, was lit up in the colors of the rainbow.  The rainbow was God's promise, "I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.  It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh."  The bow was a symbol of a Covenant that God made with man, to start over because "for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth..." (Genesis 8:21, 9:13-17)  If Christians had wanted the White House to be lit up like that,
it would have literally taken an act of Congress!  Oh the irony, to see our beautiful symbol of the promise of God's faithfulness so displayed.  It is still ours: no one can take it away.


God brought the flood because, "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart." (Genesis 6:5-6)



The Covenant has only been held up on God's side. The rainbow symbol has been accosted by the LBGT community as their symbol, an in-your-face affront to God.  Seeing the White House lit up, not as a symbol of God's grace but as a symbol of disgrace, must grieve God's heart more than it grieves ours.  They are tugging on Superman's cloak.

 
The Grand Canyon was cut into the earth
during the great flood, not by billions of years
of a meandering river as is commonly taught.

God may not flood the whole earth again as promised, but a certain judgment is sure and coming.  What kind of sensuality and immorality is left if we are to accept the stamp of approval the Supreme Court has given?  Bestiality, or just sex outside of any kind of  "marriage"?  That is not the only understanding of immorality given in Scripture.  Who gets to make up the list of immorality now that Scripture's has been thrown out?


"The sky was split apart like a great scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.  Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains, 'Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?'" (Revelation 6:14-17)  ""For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.'  I heard another voice from heaven, saying, 'Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities." (Revelation 18:3-5) 
 


Oh, the irony again, as those have "come out of their closet," we must "come out of her," and not participate in her sins.  What grieves God's heart must grieve ours.


 
No matter how deep the hole we feel we are in,
God's promise can fill it with His glory
and the promise of His Covenant
with His people.

"I know not what the future hath
Of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death
His mercy underlines.

And if my heart and flesh are weak
To bear an untried pain,
That bruised reed He will not break,
But strengthen and sustain.

No offering of my own I have
Nor works my faith to prove,
I can but give the gifts He gave,
And plead His love for love.

And so beside the Silent Sea
I wait the muffled oar;
No harm from Him can come to me,
On ocean or on shore.

I know not where the His island lifts
Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond His love and care."

Whittier


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Soul sung poetry...




"The heart which, like a staff, was one
For mine to lean and rest upon,
The strongest on the longest day
With steadfast love, is caught away--
   And yet my days go on, go on.

Whatever's lost, it first was won;
We will not struggle nor impugn.
Perhaps the cup was broken here
That heaven's new wine might show more clear,
I praise Thee while my days go on.

I praise Thee while my days go on;
I love Thee while my days go on!
Through dark and dearth, through fire and frost,
With emptied arms and treasure lost,
I thank Thee while my days go on."

Mrs. Browning, "Gems of Devotional Poetry"



The past played scenes which were pleasant,
Laughing, loving, and so lovely.
Salient, but sad as they will never come again.

Life goes on and change is certain,
As the past falls behind a curtain,
Longing for one more glimpse, but they will never come again.

The offered gifts passed on,
Spilling like water through slayed fingers ungrasped,
Grieving what's lost that will never come again.

Loosening heart strings, letting go,
Of familial ties and fellowships sweet,
Falling into the unknown, leaving what will never come again.

There is One who waits just beyond,
Waiting to catch the hand that lets go
Of what will never come again for better things yet to be.

Me, 2015


"And the heavens are the works of Thy hands;
They will perish, but Thou remainest;
And they all will become old as a garment,
And as a mantle Thou wilt roll them up;
As a garment they will also be changed,
But Thou art the same,
And Thy years will not come to an end."

Hebrews 1:10-12









Saturday, June 27, 2015



My great grandmother wore long sleeves, high necklines, and long hem lines with lead weights sewn in so that a wind wouldn't blow up and show her ankles.  My favorite picture in the family album is my grandmother in a modest bathing suit sitting by her mother dressed as described above on a beach in sunny Southern California.  Yes, cultures change even in churches.  However, morals do not.  They do not evolve.
 


Does Scripture evolve?  Is what is right and true decided by what is embraced by society?  I believe what is happening in our nation and even in our churches hinges upon whether we believe in the inerrant Word of God.  We left another denomination because it did not stand upon that.  Either we believe in what God has to say to us through His Word, or we believe in societal mores and bend Scripture accordingly apart from 6,000+ years of understanding. 


Just as Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, "Neither do I condemn you.  Go and sin no more."  He called her adultery sin or He would not have said, "Go and sin no more."  We can love the sinner but hate the sin just as Jesus did.  The world now says, "Neither do I condemn you.  What you are doing is not sin really.  In fact I quite commend you in your sin."  Can we not offer hope to those trapped in sin?  That is what the dear homosexual friend, a young man who has tried to commit suicide needs, hope.  He is not despondent over society not accepting him; he is despondent over the effects of sin, suffering from the consequences of his choice to live in sin. Is the church so lukewarm that we believe those who are practicing the homosexual lifestyle suffer no consequences from their sin, no sorrow for sin from which to repent until "God gave them over to a depraved mind." (Romans 1:28)?


 Jesus offers hope through repentance, a changed heart which brings a changed lifestyle.  Jesus said, "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."  (John 3:17)  Saved from what?  Sin.  As one commentator wrote, we must be ready for the sexual revolution refugees.


Do we truly believe that "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come."?  Do we truly believe the truths of Romans 1:18-32?  Today the justices of the Supreme Court "gave hearty approval to those who practice them." (v.32)


We do not lead a person to be saved by saying that they are not living in sin.  We all have sinned.  Yet, some of us have accepted the salvation God offers and are redeemed, are changed in our hearts, and walk according to please Him made possible by His Holy Spirit.  That is our hope. 

 
The most loving attitude we can take towards homosexuality is when opportunity presents itself, offer a better way, the way of holiness.  To do otherwise is to write them off as hell bent sinners.  It is a sad day when lukewarm Christians offer no hope to the lost.  Acceptance cloaked as compassion does not lead to the path of redemption.


"There is a fountain filled with Blood,
Drawn from Emmanuel's veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.

The dying  thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, as vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious Blood
Shall never lose its power,
Till all the ransom'd Church of God
Be saved to sin no more.

E'er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing Wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I'll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave.

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared,
Unworthy though I be,
For me a Blood-bought free reward,
A golden harp for me.

'Tis strung and tuned for endless years,
And formed by power Divine,
To sound in God the Father's ears
No other name but Thine.

 
 

We live in a day that terrorists bent on the destruction of Christianity are attacking.  Christians must recant or be tortured and killed and their wives and daughters given over as sex slaves to the enemy.  What a nation we have become to think that the battlefront is over a rainbow flag. 




Friday, June 26, 2015

Yeah for my twin All Stars!
 
 
The original champions who passed down their skills:
 

They didn't get it from me.  I have passed down my softball skills to some of my less athletic progeny.  I was the one who the P.E. teacher gave chance after chance to try and throw the ball a little farther to qualify for the presidential athletic award: I failed even with personal coaching.  I was the one the teacher bet would never hit a home run: I did, but realized forty years later that the kids in the class probably let the ball roll between their legs in order to win the promised ice cream cones.  Nevertheless, I can cheer just as loudly as the next for my girls in the All Star Playoff Games.

 
Avery is "a-very" amazing pitcher with skills I didn't even know existed for one her age.  Ella is great as a catcher behind the plate or in the outfield where she can catch a ball with ease.  Both can really slug the ball.  I'm one proud Grandma, and even more proud of my son for his coaching with encouragement instead of disheartening words.  As much as he was intense upon winning, he kept the goal of the love of the game in perspective. 


Not even a broken nose from ball practice, not even the police car pulling up with his loud speaker to ask everyone in the stands to check their cell phones to find who ever was repeatedly "butt calling" 911, not even that could distract from the game.  Confusing calls, confusion with the scoreboard, three pickles, and other challenges on the field could not take away from the game.  The stands stayed respectful to the umpire who left the game with a smile on his face and a handshake for each player.  It's as the saying goes, "It's not the game that makes the character, it's the game that reveals the character."

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith..."  Hebrews 12:1-2


We don't understand everything about that cloud, the witnesses surrounding us, but somehow it makes me want to try a little harder and feel a little prouder of enduring the hardships of running the race set before me as if they are cheering me on.  I might have a parent or two, a grandparent or two, a great-grandparent or so in that crowd.  One thing is certain is that they too endured and made it across the finish line as an example set before me.  I doubt many of them were the best athletes, but they were intent on following after our Savior "who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."  Hebrews 12:2
Save me a seat in the stands!

Thursday, June 25, 2015



From a teetotaller who doesn't drink tea... 



They looked up to you.  Now they come to me with questions.  They are upset.  They once wanted to be more like you.  Now they don't understand the blurred lines from the black and white way they have been raised.  I'm not saying you are not a Christian, just that you have damaged your Christian witness.

 
 

They've already lost a precious one who joined her friends for a drink, and one thing led to another.  They've already lost their bio-parents for being under the influence.  Now they've lost respect for you.  It is an arrogant Christian (is there such a thing?) who flaunts a drink in front of my vulnerable sons.  We refuse to tell my sons that this is okay.  . 


Is there such a thing as...
social smoking?
social toking?
social porn?
social drinking?
I don't think so.
 


Alcohol is imbibed for an effect, not just as a beverage.  A godly man is under the influence of the Holy Spirit, not alcohol.  Whose influence are you under?  Does it matter how much you are under if you are under it at all?  You do not have to be legally drunk to be under the influence.


A wise man once said, "Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to him whose life is bitter.  Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his trouble no more."  Prov. 31:6-7

For those who drink according to these Biblical guidelines,
you have my sympathy for your poor, sick, and bitter soul.  Happy hour?


 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Lust for wander?  A few travel tips...
 

1.  Use a map to plot your adventure to go off into the unknown!  You don't have to go far in order to be where people around the globe wish they could be.  Attitude is the key.  Great if you are a globe trotter, but just a few hours from home can satiate wanderlust for a while.


2.  Use the internet to find your hotel or camping spot.  Gone are the days when one would drive, drive and keep driving looking for the lit up "Vacancy" sign. 

 
Does that bring back memories from the '64 Galaxy 500 backseat days or for some of you luckies, the stationwagon days?



3.  Look for the grocery stores which are set up with a bbq outside, and tables with umbrellas.  In Fort Bragg, the best meal we had was at Harvest Market, with gluten free buns and all; it was so much better than the money we sunk at Captain Flint's on the waterfront, seafood at its worst.  A grocery store deli is not hard to find.  In Healdsburg, the smorgie lunch in a grocery store was gourmet!



4.  Take a bucket or jar for your treasures.  Even grown ups need beach pails. 


5.  Go ahead and take your four footed friend, especially on the coast where it is cooler.  It was very dog-friendly.  We met a nice weimararaner, a springer, pugs, and a border collie, all with loyal owners.  Dogs were only $2/day extra at the campground.

 
Just a caution, young puppies first shots might not protect them yet from exposure to dog diseases such as parvo when very little.


6.  If you are camping, don't wait to get your firewood at the campground.  It costs a lot more there.
Don't scrimp on the wood either.  Nothing says camping better than a fire.


7.  If you do a last minute escape, don't forget the kettle for hot chocolate, the forks for hot dogs or marshmallows, and to bring towels.  At least we remembered the forks.  And never, ever be without a book in your hand.



8.  Be friendly.  A casual conversation with campground neighbors revealed they were all from our area, one even knew our oldest son.  They can even tell your man which radio station he can get the Giants game on.

9.  Don't be afraid of being a cheater camper, one who goes into town for coffee and food.  There are times for bringing along everything including the kitchen sink, but other times for keeping it simple.


10.  Don't have RV envy.  We don't want to haul a house around on wheels, especially going around curvy roads with cliffs off the side.  We were nearly run off the road by one who wanted to take up more than his share of the asphalt crossing over the line.  Fine for those who want to spend their money on such, but we prefer a simpler lifestyle.  I'd rather spend that money in a four star hotel than on one of those: it'd probably be much cheaper.

 
We've had maps with pins like these, have you?
 

  Do you have any happy trails advice?  

 
"Thou hast taken account of my wanderings..."
Psalm 56:8