Thursday, November 28, 2013

A New Thanksgiving!

"Those who call Thanksgiving "Turkey Day," I suppose, take some such view as this: Unless we have Someone to thank something to thank Him for, what's the point of using a name that calls up pictures of religious people in funny hats and Indians bringing corn and squash? Christians, I hope, focus on something other than a roasted bird. We do have Someone to thank and a long list of things to thank Him for, but sometimes we limit our thanksgiving merely to things that look good to us. As our faith in the character of God grows deeper we see that heavenly light is shed on everything - even on suffering - so that we are enabled to thank Him for things we would never have thought of before. The apostle Paul, for example, saw even suffering itself as a happiness (Colossians 1:24, NEB).

I have been thinking of something that stifles Thanksgiving. It is the spirit of greed - the greed of doing, being, and having.

When Satan came to tempt Jesus in the wilderness, his bait was intended to inspire the lust to do more than the Father meant for Him to do - to go farther, demonstrate more power, act more dramatically. So the enemy comes to us in these days of frantic doing. We are ceaselessly summoned to activities: social, political, educational, athletic, and - yes - spiritual. Our "self-image" (deplorable word!) is dependent not on the quiet and hidden "Do this for My sake," but on the list the world hands us of what is "important." It is a long list, and its both foolish and impossible. If we fall for it, we neglect the short list.

Only a few things are really important, and for those we have the promise of diving help: sitting in silence with the Master in order to hear His word and obey it in the ordinary line of duty - for example, in being a good husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, or spiritual father or mother to those nearby who need protection and care - humble work which is never on the world's list because it leads to nothing impressive on one's resume. As Washington Gladden wrote in 1879, "O Master, let me walk with Thee/in lowly paths of service free ..."

Temptation comes also in the from of being. The snake in the garden struck at Eve with the promise of being something which had not been given. If she would eat the fruit forbidden to her, she could "upgrade her lifestyle" and become like God. She inferred that this was her right, and that God meant to cheat her of this. The way to get her rights was to disobey Him.

No new temptation ever comes to any of us. Satan needs no new tricks. The old ones have worked well ever since the Garden of Eden, although sometimes under different guises. When there is a deep restlessness for which we find no explanation, it may be due to the greed of being - what our loving Father never meant us to be. Peace lies in the trusting acceptant of His design, His gifts, His appointment of place, position, capacity. It was thus that the Son of Man came to earth - embracing all that the Father willed Him to be, usurping nothing - no work, not even a word - that the Father had not given Him.

Then there is the greed of having. When "a mixed company of strangers" joined the Israelites, the people began to be greedy for better things (Numbers 11:4, NEB). God had given them exactly what they needed in the wilderness: manna. It was always enough, always fresh, always good (sounds good to me, anyway, "like butter-cakes"). But the people lusted for variety. These strangers put ideas into their heads. "There's more to life than this stuff. Is this all you've got? You can have more. You gotta live a little!"

So the insistence to have it all took hold on God's people and they began to wail, "all of them in their families at the opening of their tents." There is no end to the spending, getting, having. We are insatiable consumers, dead set on competing, upgrading, showing off ("If you've got it, flaunt it"). We simply cannot bear to miss something others deem necessary. So the world ruins the peace and simplicity God would give us. Contentment with what He has chosen for us dissolves, along with godliness, while, instead of giving thanks, we lust and wail, teaching our children to lust and wail too. (Children of the jungle tribe I knew years ago did not complain because they had not been taught to.)

     Lord, we give You thanks for all that You in Your mercy have given to us to be and to do and to have. Deliver us, Lord, from all greed to be and to do and to have anything not in accord with Your holy purposes. Teach us to rest quietly in Your promise to supply, recognizing that if we don't have it we don't need it. Teach us to desire Your will--nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else. For Jesus' sake. Amen."

~by Elisabeth Elliot, from the book Keep A Quiet Heart,  pages 124 - 126

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday night, Nov. 25, 2013

Hello everyone, it's almost time for me to get myself to bed. I've been upstairs doing some things on the computer. I don't watch TV after 7pm, there is nothing on worth watching is the way I feel about it. Not much on the radio either. Although I do listen to John MacArthur, RC Sproul and then Alistair Begg in the morning. I would recommend them to you. They come on at 8am and go through to 9:30 on 1500 AM, WLQV. At night I listen to David Dorn from Inter City Baptist and he comes on at 9pm. If I have time, I try to catch Emory Moss at 6pm, he's quite the man if you have questions about the Bible. He knows it well!

I was able to go grocery shopping with Fred this morning. And, as usual, we forgot some things so he'll go back tomorrow morning. I do that to him ya know.

Well, I'm going to go and get my shower and then listen to Pastor Dorn and then it's off to sleep-land.
Have a blessed night everyone!

Good nite!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Another forgotten post ... Sept. 4, 2009

So very hot and humid in this part of the world today. Way too hot and humid for me to be outside. It feels like something heavy is sitting on my chest when I venture out in weather like this. Not a good feeling at all.

I'm still dealing with pain and depression and just a feeling of worthlessness. I know the cause ... it's all the health issues I deal with ... asthma, bronchiectasis, fibromyalgia, essential thrombocythemia, IBS, housebound-ness and my often froggy vocal cords tops the list. I've debated seeing the doctor and I know she'll most likely want to prescribe an anti-depressant; however, all those I've read about can cause interference with other med's I'm on and the last thing I need is to feel worse than I already do. The med's I take for the platelet issue make me jittery and my heart races like mad within an hour of taking it. The med's for asthma do much the same thing ... I find myself wondering just how much my heart can handle. Then I realize I can handle more than I think I can.

Some days are just harder than others. And I know that I should be giving thanks, but that's hard to do too. I feel like I could run away, but to where? No 'place' can give me the answer I need; it's found only in a Person and perhaps that's something I need to learn in all this. I must run to Him and trust Him explicitly with every problem I face.

I don't mean to sound like such a downer, but this is simply where I am just now. I've asked God to make me real and I think this is part of the process. This is really where I am and I don't like it. Life is often harder than we'd like to admit. Thankfully this won't last forever.

Uncle Buzz ...May, 2010, Two months before I had the stroke

Some posts I forgot I had:

As some of you know, I made a trip with my Mom that ended up taking us into places we had no idea we would have to travel. Spiritually, mentally and physically it has been very difficult.

We left here the afternoon of May 18, travelled as far as I could safely go and stopped for the night, fully expecting to go on the next morning to Columbia, TN where my uncle was hospitalized. We received the call late that night that he had died. I had to look at my Mom and tell her that her best friend and only whole brother had passed from this life to the next. It wasn't easy.

We then had to plan what to do next and how to do it best. We decided that rather than go on into TN from KY we would have his body prepared and then picked up for a funeral in Indiana. After many phone calls we went to bed. But did we sleep that night? I don't remember.

The next morning we loaded the car and turned around to head north west rather than continue south as we had planned. We had breakfast ( I did make sure we had nourishing food ), then went to buy my uncle's burial clothing. Nothing fancy. He wasn't that type of man. We bought Levi jeans, a white t-shirt with a blue long-sleeved shirt to go over it. He left here as he lived here ... simple with no fuss.

We arrived about 6 hours later at the tiny town in Indiana where his mother and step-father and two half-brothers are buried. Mom was so nervous she wouldn't enter the funeral home until I finished a phone call from my brother. She didn't want to go in alone and I understood that. The funeral directors know Mom because of other family burials and were kind and gracious to us. They had everything waiting for us to choose what type of coffin; the crypt, flowers, songs, and took all the information for the obituary.

We left and then went to the motel that has housed various members of this family for years as they journeyed to their small town to bury a family member. A nice place considering the reason you're there. Very kind people who want to help in times of need. Did we sleep that night? I think so but wouldn't swear to it.

The next day we drove 50 miles round trip so Mom could buy flowers for the graves of her other family members. Remember, I said this is a small town. To drive that far to reach a WalMart proved it. It would have been a lovely drive under other circumstances. Death, unexpected as this one was, seems to mar things. At least for me. I concentrated on the road, not the scenery. I was so tired.

Thankfully later that day my sister Kay and my brother George arrived to be with us. I was so very grateful to see them. They gave strength as they gave hugs and I appreciated their coming early just to be with us.

Endeavor ...

"We should all endeavor and labor for a calmer spirit,
that we may the better serve God in praying to Him
and praising Him; and serve one another in love,
that we may be fitted to do and receive good; that
we may make our passage to heaven more easy and
cheerful, without drooping and hanging the wing.
So much as we are quiet and cheerful upon good
ground, so much we live, and are, as it were, in heaven."
~Richard Sibbes~

Psalm 93

The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O LORD,
The floods have lifted up their voice,
The floods lift up their pounding waves.
More than the sounds of many waters,
Than the mighty breakers of the sea,
The LORD on high is mighty.
Your testimonies are fully confirmed;
Holiness befits Your house,
O LORD, forevermore.

(Psalm 93)