Monday, November 18, 2019

Another look at this stuff called dust...

Joni Mitchell sang, "We Are Stardust" and begins with the lyrics, I came upon a child of God....

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7

Dust and God's breath; what a combination! 

Dust is made up of a combination of dead skin cells, pollen, hair, textile fibers, paper fibers, soil minerals, and cosmic dust particles....

Cosmic means relating to the universe--especially as distinct from the earth....

Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars.... He calls them all by name.... Not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:26 ....Almost 99% of our bodies are made up of six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus. Stars are made of 73% hydrogen, 25% helium....

All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Ecclesiastes 3:20

From dust to dust,...

Well, dear child of God, it seems that astrophysics and human biology are connected, and Joni Mitchell was on to something.

Before the mountains were born,
 before you gave birth to the earth and the world, 
from beginning to end,
you are God.
 Psalm 90....

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Silence is Golden?

You may be familiar with the song, Silence is Golden, recorded by the Four Seasons, 1964. Although a song about failed love, the phrase has versions dating back to ancient Egypt. It is part of the proverb, speech is silver, but silence is golden.

Keeping silent in many instances is more difficult that expressing love, anger, happiness, or betrayal. On the other hand, there usually is one, sometimes, keeping silent is easier. No matter how one looks at it, remaining silent has its own energy source: it gets people thinking, releases tensions--or provokes them.

... Life isn't that simple. For example: *Silence is awkward. *Silence is isolating. *Silence expresses disbelief. *Silence shows ignorance.*Silence is nonproductive.

Nonverbal communication is perhaps the most powerful form of communication because it is the type we use the most. Okay, we're talking everything from sweet smiles to eye rolls, from caressing someone's hand to arched eyebrows.

Perhaps we can shed better light on all this if we look at the entire proverbial saying. Speech is silver, but silence is golden may mean that discretion can be more valuable than the most eloquent words.

God wants us to connect.
He wants us to be relational.
He wants us to communicate with Him and others for we are each a part of the Body of Christ.

Being still and knowing, realizing that God is near even when we don't feel it or believe it, asking that the words of our mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to our Creator God, viewing life as sacred-- helps us to know when to speak, what words to say, and when to say nothing at all.

You might find it interesting that God even hears our sighs.... Romans 8:26-27

Friday, October 18, 2019

His Name Was Larry

We sat side by side, strangers, picking at our phones and occasionally looking up to determine what the excitement was about on "Wheel of Fortune." Waiting for test results in a heart clinic would typically not be the high-light of anyone's day.

I'm not sure who spoke first but within minutes, we were animated and conversational. If you spend any amount of time with anyone, there will be a connection. Well, it just so happened that this man's golf partner and good friend had been married to a sister-in-law of mine. Years ago....

There was talk of the love of golf, a history of smoking, states we had lived in, a leg that wasn't working as it should due to improper blood flow, retirement, and family.

Larry was an adopted child, rejected (his term) by his biological mother but chosen (his term) by his adoptive parents and loved. Loved. In spite of this unconditional love, he longed for the family he never knew and wondered why they didn't want him. He had tried contact with discovered sisters and was shunned. Cousins welcomed him, but nothing ever felt right.

"Because of all this, I never married," he said quietly. We sat there, looked at others, and I wondered how this person just happened to sit next to me.

"Who do you suppose I'll be with someday?" His voice was soft, almost a whisper. I thought I knew what he meant, but wasn't sure.

"When it's all over and done, which family will I be with?" he asked. His dark brown eyes surrounded by deep wrinkles twinkled and then glassed over. ..this was not a question that had just occurred to him, I could tell.

"Both of them," I replied and smiled at his tender question. "You'll be surrounded by both families."

"You really think so?" he asked and apologized for the tears.

"Of course. You will be."

I was  called back for test results, but before I left, I asked him, "What's your name?"

"My name is Larry," he answered.

God has His finger on everything. Everything from quiet conversations to what happens eternally.

His name was Larry. He's a part of God's family... as are you, and you and you.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Need Someone to Talk to?

I am blessed with many friends.
I have had time to meet people, get to know others, and wonderfully a few genuine relationships fell into place.
My various friends provide different needs depending on personalities, perspective of life, the dynamics.
Some I laugh with; some I cry with; some tell me their intimate stories; some share their family history.

But, sometimes, because the timing is not right, the circumstances are new, the friend I need is not available; I may feel there is no one to talk to.
This is when I need to be reminded that Jesus is always there, He will always listen, and what I share remains safe with Him.
He's got the number of hairs on my head counted.
He tells me to cast all my cares upon Him.
He tells me not to be anxious.
He provides rest for me, peace for me, strength for me.
And, he knew me before I was born.
I need to talk to him whenever I feel I need to, whenever I'm happy, sad, or angry.
And, then THANK HIM.

He's there for me. He's there for you.
It's a missed opportunity if we don't take it and often.
It's called prayer, and it's not complicated.
Just open your heart; He's already there.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Productivity versus Serenity

Mom was a busy-body, never able to sit long, until in her 80's. When she visited us when the children were little, she would shadow me from room to room, filling me in on the latest news while helping me fold clothes, serve up a meal, etc. Although I appreciated her much-needed help, it was exhausting--the conversations mixed in with the work load. Dad was busy in a different way. He saw a job that needed to be done and started--didn't need to be with anyone else, but if someone was watching (like a grandchild), he'd pull them in and give them a task. Soon, they'd be working as a team.

They were both purposeful. Mom's having the appearance of busy productivity; Dad have the feeling of a more serene type of purposefulness. Like most of us, I took after both of my parents.

During those years of raising children, working, and keeping a household intact (whatever that meant during that particular period of time), I yearned for serenity. It seemed that if I could just have time to gather it, life could be more tranquil. I would be more at peace, settled. While I may have given the outward appearance of serenity, pandemonium sometimes reigned--my insides in turmoil. I wondered how some others could be laid-back, self-assured, or even unconcerned about things that mattered. However, I understood that my state of mind would take its toll.

I have always tried to find time to spend in God's Word.
It was never-wasted time but often it was rushed time.
Now, that I have a little more time on my hands, I don't have to have Bible study and devotions just in the morning after my breakfast. I can do it in the afternoon; I can open up the Good Book in the evening.

Time spent with Jesus is never purposeless.
It is always productive.
It's the best kind of team-work imaginable.
It will provide a serenity that is out-of-this-world.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

A Cup of Coffee

I left the house with a slice of apple pie on a paper plate and took the twenty steps or so to my neighbor's garage door. An August day, my armpits prickled from the heat, and the grass underfoot crackled and scratched my bare feet.

The garage was empty. He had sold his Pontiac after losing his license and shared that it was the worst thing that had happened to him after his wife died. Unable to get groceries on his own, unable to get to doctor's appointments independently, he often felt isolated and alone. I noted the few belongings left on dusty, warped shelves: partially filled paint cans, an oilcan, a clutter of tools, and a few rags. A 1975 faded calendar hung crookedly from a nail, stuck on March, the month and year his wife passed.

I knocked on the screen door. The "Price is Right" blared from the living room. I yelled out his name, "Lloyd, it's Kathy; I have apple pie for you."

The television chatter stopped; I heard a groan as he pulled himself out of his recliner. With a cane at his side, he hobbled up to me to take a closer look--his eyes clouded by cataracts.

"It's me, Kathy," I stated loudly, pushed my face towards his, and wondered when he had last taken a shower.

"Oh, yeah, please sit down." He motioned to a kitchen chair. "Have coffee with me."

I looked around. The kitchen counter was greasy, the floor needed sweeping. A cold tin pot stood on the stove top.

"Hmm, I really should get back home," I murmured.

"Have a chair," he insisted. "Won't take long." I placed the pie on the counter top and pulled out a vinyl-covered chair with wheels attached as he poured two cups of coffee. Seeing he needed help, I carried the cups back to the sticky table.

"The weather. What's it doin' outside?" he asked.

"Hot," I replied. "It's August you know, gotta expect it."

"Suppose so," he answered and took a sip.

"Need milk or sugar?" he asked.

"No. No thank you," I answered and thought about what I needed to fix for lunch at home. Starting to take a drink, I noticed white flakes floating in my cup. Realizing it was only lime chips, it still churned my stomach. I wasn't a coffee snob, but I couldn't drink this.

I pretended to sip as he rambled about missing his wife, the lack of visitors, and having no transportation.

Morning devotions had reminded me that, "We're at our best when we encourage others with our words, with our actions, with our presence." My intentions had been good. I thought the pie would do it. Lloyd had barely noted the pie; he wanted my attention.

I considered the people Jesus hung out with as I sat with my elderly neighbor. They were not the cleanest, most healthy, most with-it individuals. They were human beings, created in His image; however, each (as we are) with imperfections.

I relaxed, sat back on the squeaky vinyl chair, and looked out his kitchen window to the place his own eyes seem to take him. The leaves moved lazily on the trees--tired of summer--just like me.

"What do you see?" I asked.

"Change," he murmured . "Everything changes. Nothing stays the same...."

We sat for a while, sipping our coffee. Some times, words aren't needed.

Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.
          Romans 15:2

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

An Impact Lasting An Eternity

And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Those of us who believe in the power of prayer and others who find themselves on their knees because desperation of some kind has crept inside, ask or plead for a variety of things.

I'm sick; make me better; the sooner the better.
My child has crammed all night for this test; he needs an A, or at least a B.
The car is broken down, again....
Grandma's heart is failing her; we don't know how to pray.
I've been trying to lose weight for years and doing all the right things. What's wrong with me?
I thought this marriage would work, but I can't really do it any more....

WHAT IF, after giving our Creator/Redeemer King the glory, after confessing our own sins, after giving thanks for his on-going grace and unconditional love for us... that then we express our needs?

And, WHAT IF, when doing this,
 we pray that however he chooses to answer our supplications, 
we ask that it impacts eternity....
Sound too big?
Sound too much to ask for?

Ecclesiastes 3:11 reads  He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one an fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 

With an eternal perspective, we can view life quite differently.
Immediate gratification is out the window...
It's seeing beyond what is right in front of us.

Art Katz writes, We may"believe" in eternity, but to what extent have we actually agreed with the world that eternity is not relevant until after this life? Eternity is not merely a time frame that is endless; it is profoundly and foremost a qualitative thing that is available now. When we begin to see all our moments set in the context of eternity, we will bring to those moments a seriousness [perspective] that we would not otherwise have had. 

 It's quite possible that we can bring a little bit of heaven down to earth by living in the joy of being the hands and feet of Jesus, now, right here where we are. 
Just think: You may be impacting eternity!