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SEEDS

December 17, 2021

This year has not been the best. We lost our dear sister-in-law and our beloved Pastor. We have dealt with a fair amount of death these last two years. My thoughts landed on these fluttering seeds that were filling the air while I was sitting on the porch mourning those gone and those going. Life is so short. It is but a seed. Imagine what we will become when we leave this branch we call earth.

JD Blom

Seeds blown by wind 
Fill the sky 
Meant for a time 
Beyond the branch 

Pods all aligned
their only home
all they have known

A span of time
Short as a spring 
Long as a life 

From a blossom
All fresh and green
Dried by the sun

Time soon to leave
But hanging on
Safe by a stem

Suddenly came  
The dreaded day
Wind torn away

Tired and weakened
Carried away
Branch left behind

Into pure sky
To twirl and soar
Untethered life

Awakened world
Shocking freedom
All so anew

Moved without choice
Not stripped of hope
A will in wind

Carried to where
Seeds are planted
Grow and flourish

Stripped of seed form
Husk left behind
Ready for soil

New creation
A seed transformed
Eternal now

A brief season 
Just enough 
Meant for a time 
Beyond the branch 

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Proverb-ish #2

December 10, 2021

These are my attempt a writing in the genre of proverbs from what I am learning by reading Wisdom In Israel by Gerhard Von Rad. Please see Proverb-ish #1 for all my caveats and excuses.

You will never have peace of mind
while someone else owns a piece of your mind.

Living publicly is living for the public.

Beware of anyone with the audacity to change a definition.

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Ground

December 7, 2021

Do we really need to select an analogy for that on which we place our feet?
It is not a playground.
It is not a battleground.
It is simply ground.

The ground is never the same if you don’t stay in the same place. It can be luxurious like a grassy meadow with maybe even a rainbow. It can be steep and rocky like a mountain side with maybe even some conflict to make you slide. It can be hard and fast like a concrete highway, moving so fast it is hard to focus.

We were not built for a specific type of ground. We were built to move, to progress, to transition, to grow but never to hide. We do not do well when we dwell too long on one type of surface. We cannot sustain the battles of the rocky ground indefinitely. We cease to function if we refuse to leave an oasis’ respite once recovered.

We do not do well when we cling to a type of ground because we have ceased traveling. If we don’t move, we cannot claim to be living. Living is loving the destination, the experience of something new in which to sink our toes, the longing for what is over the next ridge, around the next corner, the knowing that we are not home.

We need not worry about the ground we are on. We are not here to build a residence. We are passing through time. Nothing of the ground will last. We need not worry about the ground we are on, whether urge to flee from an uncomfortable occurrence or linger in the comfort of security. Look up from the ground, this is not your home. Look all around, this is not your town. You are a nomad, flowing through time. You have a residence but it is not on this ground. Be curious about the future, hold fast to the hope that will last. Trust that the ground under your feet will transition into something new, but above all stay on the move and enjoy the journey of true living.

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QUOTE – Tim Keller (12-5-21)

December 5, 2021

Wisdom is developed only in experience. No matter how hard they study, the graduate of medical school, law school, and business school will become truly wise in their fields only out in the open, that is, in real-life experince.

Tim Keller, God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life

This explains well the reason that I have a difficult time listening to the “wisdom” of someone in their twenties and maybe even their thirties. Wisdom comes from experience and experience is hard-earned and expensive.

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Promiscuous Mind

December 2, 2021
This is the time of year that Spotify provides the summary of your listening habits for the year.  I have started to see these posts from friends and family Instagram.  Therefore, the timing was perfect to run across this quote by Epictetus.    

I look at the hours devoted to specific podcasts and muscians and I wonder if we haven’t just handed over our minds. I have not gotten my Spotify summary yet, so I am not judging or confessing. I am making a plan. I know what I will be looking for when my summary comes in.

Have I had a promiscuous mind?

I am not against intellectual inquire, but let’s be honest, that is not what Spotify is primarily about. It is mostly about entertaining, amusing, distracting, and simply filling the time. Consider who you have handed your mind over to? Consider who has become your primary influencer? Before we ever offer the parts of our body to sin, we offer up our minds.

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Proverb-ish #1

December 1, 2021

I have been reading Wisdom In Israel by Gerhard Von Rad and have been inspired to see if I might be able to write something in the same genre. I have learned a couple things.

First, it is a little embarassing to blatantly admit that you’re trying to write something wise. In other writing, you can hide behind the interesting phrase or poetic license. There is no hiding your intentions when putting a pen to a proverb. Your intellect tends to be on display. I have found that disconcerting. My intellect is not the worst, but it is not the best. I land comfortably in the middle of the bell curve. Yet, I am still susceptible to the praise of men and the fear of being considered simple or even stupid. However, I have learned that intellect and wisdom are not the same. Wisdom is the application of knowledge to the real world. Therefore, my attempt is to share what I have learned through the years (knowledge) to my understanding of how the world works. I am more confident with this.

Second, this is hard. The whole point is to write a thought-provoking saying that conveys a world of truth in a few words. That is difficult to do. Good or bad, the process is rewarding. Attempting to write a proverb will force you to write in a concise manner. That is a good excercise for anyone working on the craft of writing. So, I will keep at it. Hopefully, they will improve with time.

I have delayed long enough. My disclaimers are hopefully sufficient. There are a variety of proverb styles. Here are my first attempts at proverb writing, presented as opposites:

Opinion rough hewn, set aside as complete.
Thinking continually crafting, refined through time.

Quick retorts, snide remarks, talking points, pass for understanding.
Accurate articulation of an opposing view, true knowledge.

Division and hurt excused by single-minded purpose.
A wake of kindness, people as primary, purposed defined.

Curiousity satisfied by a tweet.
Always more to know, curiousity grows.

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PICK YOUR PAIN

November 30, 2021

“You have to learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.” 

This is a saying in endurance sports. It seems that endurance sport is the rare place where suffering is exalted and even sought.  We praise those athletes that dig deep, feel the burn, and deny themselves to achieve their goal.

Sadly, the endurance sports’ lesson of suffering’s value fails to make it into everyday life.  Mostly, we want our everyday lives to be free from suffering. In fact, we not only want it free from suffering, but we also want it free from discomfort, frustrations, and general annoyance.

Not all pain is the same, but our reaction to pain, intense or minor, is the same.  Our inclination is to flee pain, avoid it, minimize it, remove it.  However, if everything that does not go our way is suffering in a degree, then it is pain on some scale.

Life is pain because life is a struggle with suffering. We struggle with all those disappointments that are not as we want; big and small; painful and annoying; consuming and distracting.

Perfection is the absence of suffering. 

Those who pursue perfection to escape suffering are the ones who suffer the most.  Humans are imperfect.  Society is imperfect.  Nature is imperfect.  If you demand perfection, you will suffer the more than anyone else.

There is only one who is perfect.

Therefore, life is a management of suffering in all its degrees while we await the perfection to come.

We don’t want to suffer the consequences of an immoral life. 
Therefore, we suffer the lesser pain of self-denial.

We don’t want to suffer want and need.
Therefore, we suffer the discomfort of self-discipline.

We don’t want to be crushed by the inevitabilities of life.
Therefore, we serve others and humble ourselves.

We don’t want to suffer eternal punishment for a sinful life.
Therefore, we lose our lives so that we might gain them.

Now, there is a paradox here for those who are in Christ. We are commanded to follow in obedience, to deny ourselves, to pick up our crosses and follow Christ. We are also told that it is God who is at work in us to will and to act in order to fulfill His purposes. This is the paradox that we all live. How does all that work? I am not entirely sure. However, I do know that within this paradox I have enough incentive and encouragement to endure. I have learned that when I embrace the denial of self, the power to preserve always comes through the Spirit, usually a while after I think I need Him, but in His time.

Suffering reveals our weaknesses.  It reveals what we value most.  Suffering is training.  It reveals perfection if we dare to look.  That is the knowledge that every “liver” of life needs to navigate through all the pain.

Suffering cannot be escaped, but we do have a choice in what we learn. 

Pick your pain or your pain will pick you; learn its lessons or pain will be absent of purpose.  So, dig deep, feel the burn, endure the race because perfection will have its day.

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QUOTE (Tim Keller) – Troublemakers

November 23, 2021

I have been listening to Tim Keller’s sermon series on wisdom. He referred to his devotional book during his sermon Knowing God. So, I bought God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life. Yesterday’s devotion struck me as so relevant to today’s issues that I wanted to share it. It is hard to make a case that our culture is getting wiser.

THE TROUBLEMAKER. Another kind of fool is the troublemaker. The mark of this person is constant conflict (Prov. 6:14). This is the opposite of the peacemaker (Matt. 5:9), the bridge builder whose careful, gracious answers (Prov. 15:1) disarm and defuse tensions. The troublemaker instead stirs them up. This is not the person who disturbs the false peace with an insistence on honesty. Rather, this is someone who always feels the need to protest and complain rather than overlooking a slight or wrong (Prov. 19:11). When troublemakers do contend, they do not present the other side fairly. Their corrupt mouths produce deceptive omissions, half-truths, and innuendo. Their body language (winking, signaling) creates a hostile situation rather than one that leads to resolution.

Troublemakers tell themselves and others that they just like to “speak truth to power”. But disaster will overtake the troublemakers (Prov. 6:15). As time goes on, it becomes clear that the troublemakers themselves are a reason that conflict always follows in their wake. They can be permanently discredited by events that expose them for what they are. But the ultimate reason for their downfall is that “the Lord hates…a person who stirs up conflict in the community” (Prov. 6:16, 19).

Tim Keller, God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life, Page 11

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Lost Meaning – Isaiah 1

November 22, 2021

What is this noise in my sanctuary?
This prattle sung in rythmic repetition.
Why these whispers during solemn prayer?
Hushed gossip of trivialities.
Where is My Word in this Sunday TedTalk?
Bells muting divine meaning and knowledge.

Stop bringing all this meaningless worship!

Light-shows manipulate emotions impure.

Your media productions are detestable to me.

Your striving for personal gain, purpose, and self-improvement, I cannot bear.

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

Isaiah 1:18

Where has the meaning in your worship gone?
Come now, return the meaning to your praise and worship.
Let you worship flow from true reality, from sins that have been washed clean.
Let your Sunday morn be a time of meaning in all sincerity;
Worship with meaning is pleasing to Me.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a prophet. I am not claiming to have a word from God. I am always hesitant in writing narrative for God or implying that what I have written is in fact from the mouth of God. The above is my application of the Word of God through an actual prophet, Isaiah. This follows along with the thoughts of DID ANYONE NOTICE.

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Baptism of the Holy Spirit – Mark 1:4-8

November 16, 2021

I had the opportunity to teach on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit . I hope it is helpful in understanding what is going on with the Holy Spirit and the work of the Holy Spirit

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