Sunday, December 14, 2014

Warm Tummy











Calvin and Hobbes
by Bill Waterson


You're Always a Role Model to Somebody #17




















My [child], keep my words 
and store up my commands within you.  
Keep my commands and you will live; 
guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.  
Bind them on your fingers; 
write them on the tablet of your heart.  
Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," 
and call understanding your kinsman; "
Proverbs 7:1-5a

*


Bananas in the Gutter

Stopping at the store today we parked near a bunch of bananas which were in the gutter.  They looked like they had been there a day, turning brown in our mild, winter weather. Most probably the bunch were accidentally dropped out of a grocery bag and not even noticed.
Side note:  I can remember when businesses took care of their properties in the past, and that these bananas would have been picked up yesterday as they cleaned up their parking lot….but instead let's talk about…

...the wonderful sermon we had just heard on who Jesus is, why He came, what He did for us.  For me, this bunch of bananas in the gutter brought thoughts of we humans.  Here we are in this fallen world, for thousands of years of humanity and we have lived and struggled.

Even so God gave us hope of a Savior right away,

"I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers;  He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
Genesis 3:15

As time went by the Savior did come and He was our sacrifice so that we would be set free from our sins!

“when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman,”
Galatians 4:4

“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and He was buried, and He was raised on the third day…”  
1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Now we, who have been saved by the Blood of the Lamb (precious!), live in the days where we rely on Him for our strength and comfort as we wait for His imminent return.  We joyfully live our lives for Him in this hope.

“whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the LORD, rather than for men.”
Colossians 3:23

But sometimes this life is really tough, and we feel like an old bunch of bananas forgotten in the gutter.  We feel like we are nothing. No one sees us, no one notices us.  What are we worth?  We feel worthless.

We need to remember! Who God is! 

“For God so love the world (that’s you and me), that He gave (sacrificed!) His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him (accepts Jesus as our sacrifice for our sins) shall not perish (eternal separation from God), but have eternal life (be in His presence forever).  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (we are set free from our sins!)."
John 3:16-17

“God demonstrates His own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.”

1 John 3:1a

Ladies, if you (saved or unsaved) feel like a bunch of old bananas in the gutter, if you feel like you have been forgotten by everyone else, but mostly, you feel forgotten by God, it is time for a reality check.

You are dearly loved by the God of the universe.  Look what He has done for you?!  He did not do this for everyone else, but for you also. Don't put yourself up on a pedestal, but realize how precious you are to the King of Kings!  He adopted you when you chose to accept Jesus' salvation for yourself!

"For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ in accordance with His pleasure and will ---to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding."
Ephesians 1:4-9

As you learn to live in this reality check remember,

"those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons (daughters) of God.  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, "Abba Father." (as a saved daughter of God, you are in a close, precious relationship with God who loves you so)  The Spirit Himself testifies with our sprit that we are God's children. (adopted by the King of Kings!)  Now if we are children, then we are heirs --- heirs of God and so-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory."
Romans 8:14-17

One way to keep our minds in the right place (reality) is to do all things for Him.  This keeps our minds on Him. 

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God."
Colossians 3:1-3

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Ephesians 2:10

Praising the LORD with you!

*

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Prayer

Lord, let me live like a Regular Man,
With Regular friends and true;
Let me play the game on a Regular plan
And play it that way all through;
Let me win or lose with a Regular Smile
And never be know to whine,
For that is a Regular Fellow’s style
And I want to make it mine!

Oh, give me a Regular chance in life,
The same as the rest, I pray,
And give me a Regular girl for a wife
To help me along the way;
Let us know the lot of humanity,
Its regular woes and joys,
And raise a Regular family
Of Regular girls and boys!

Let me live to a Regular good old age,
With Regular snow-white hair,
Having done my labor and earned my wage
And played my game for fair;
And so at last when the people scan
My face on its peaceful bier,
They’ll say, “Well, he was a Regular Man!”
And drop a Regular tear!


by Berton Braley 
from “The Best Love Poems of the American People”


Self-esteem Calvin's way










Calvin and Hobbes
by Bill Waterson


You're Always a Role Model to Somebody #16

















"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
Proverbs 4:23


"It is not what you have lost, but what you have left that counts."


—-Harold John Russell


*

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

And He has said to me, 
“My grace is sufficient for you, 
for power is perfected in weakness.” 
Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, 
so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, 
with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, 
for Christ’s sake; 
for when I am weak, then I am strong.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"Calm before the whine"










Rose is Rose
by Pat Brady


Give us Men!


Give us men!
Men—from every rank,
Fresh and free and frank;
Men of thought and reading,
Men of light and leading,
Men of loyal breeding,
The nation’s welfare speeding;
Men of faith and not of fiction,
Men of lofty aim in action;
Give us Men—I say again,
Give us Men!

Strong and stalwart ones;
Men whom highest hope inspires,
Men whom purest honor fires,
Men who trample self beneath them,
Men who make their country wreathe them
As her nobel son,
Worthy of their sires;
Men who never shame their mothers,
Men who never fail their brothers,
True, however false are others;
Give us Men — I say again, 
Give us Men!

Give us Men!
Men who, when the tempest gathers,
Grasp the standard of their fathers
In the thickest fight;
Men who strike for home and altar,
(Let the coward cringe and falter), 
God defend the right!
True as truth the lorn and lonely,
Tender, as the brave are only;
Men who tread where saints have trod,
Men for Country, Home—and God:
Give us Men! I say again — again—
Give us Men!


by Josiah Gilbert Holland

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Red Queen

Hmmmm... 

I sure have been writing about manipulation and control lately. Theological and Sociological cults and their devastation and destruction in people's lives. 

Here I am again.  Today I am speaking of The Red Queen.   So have you met her?  

Of course, this is not her real name.  If it was, then we could probably avoid her, run screaming, or find another friend.  But if you are related to her...YIKES!...it is almost impossible to run.

If you do not do what she desires, she may not cut off your head like in Alive in Wonderland, but she sure can mess with your life and those you love.

A song which speaks of "The Red Queen's" danger:

Painting the Roses Red

Painting the roses red
We're painting the roses red
We dare not stop or waste a drop
So let the paint be spread

We're painting the roses red
We're painting the roses red

Painting the roses red
And many a tear we shed
Because we know 
They'll cease to grow
In fact, they'll soon be dead 
And yet we go ahead

Painting the roses red
Painting the roses red
We're painting the roses red 

(then Alice says) 
Oh, pardon me
But mister three
Why must you paint them red? 

Well, the fact is, miss 
We planted the white roses by mistake
And... 

The queen 
She likes them red
If she saw white instead
She'd raise a fuss
And each of us would quickly lose his head
Since this is the thought we dread
We're painting the roses red

(Alice)
Oh, dear, then let me help you 
Painting the roses red 

We're painting the roses red 

Don't tell the queen what you have seen 
Or say that's what we said
But we're painting the roses red 

Yes, painting the roses red 
Not pink 
Not green
Not aquamarine 

We're painting the roses red

From "Alice in Wonderland"
Music and Lyrics by Sammy Fain and Bob Hilliard

*

All kidding aside...in real life it is so very difficult if you know a "Red Queen"--- a cruel, controlling, manipulative woman.  Only what she says makes her happy, and you better do it the way she desires and with a smile.  

She is probably very smooth and calculating in how she speaks with you and how she manipulates you.  She is so good at what she does, and this is why we normal people do not realize  we are being controlled and manipulated by her.  

We can go for years, decades, and not realize the truth of "The Red Queen"

Other times we just know that "something is not right", but we can't figure it out.  

On the other hand, if we do realize what has been happening, we have no control to stop her.  We can only distance ourselves, still being affected by her evil, and sadly, watching all the others follow her in their innocence. 

How do you stop a woman like this?  How do you deal with a woman like this?

I have only "escaped" her control, but I have never been able to stop her control.  This does not mean that she hasn't continued to affect my life, my friends, my family, and wreak emotional havoc through and through.

So... "The Red Queen".  Do you know one?  I, unbelievably, know three of them, and each one leaves their evil mark on me and mine. 

LORD, have mercy!

My hope and my strength is in the LORD.  He is my only solution in the devastation.

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly 
beyond all that we ask or think, 
according to the power that works within us, 
to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus 
to all generations forever and ever. Amen"


Ephesians 3:20-21 

*


Calvin at Show and Tell










Calvin and Hobbes
by Bill Waterson


You're Always a Role Model to Somebody #15




















"My children, 
preserve sound judgment and discernment, 
do not let them out of your sight;  
they will be life for you, 
an ornament to grace your neck.  
Then you will go on your way in safety, 
and your foot will not stumble;  
when you lie down, you will not be afraid;  
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.""
Proverbs 3:21-24


Pack up Your Sorrows

No use crying, talking to a stranger
Naming the sorrow you've seen
Too many bad times, too many sad times
Nobody knows what you mean

But if somehow you could pack up your sorrows
And give them all to me
You would lose them, I know how to use them
Give them all to me

No use rambling, walkin’ in the shadows
Trailing a wandering star
No one beside you, no one to guide you
Nobody knows who you are

But if somehow you could pack up your sorrows
And give them all to me
You would lose them, I know how to use them
Give them all to me

No use roaming, going by the roadside
Seeking a satisfied mind
Too many highways, too many byways
And nobody's walking behind

But if somehow you could pack up your sorrows
And give them all to me
You would lose them, I know how to use them
Give them all to me.

And give them all to me
You would lose them, I know how to use them
Give them all to me.

by Pauline Marden Bryan and Richard Farina


Leg wrestling










Rose is Rose
by Pat Brady


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Three Men

In my sphere of relationships I know three men who have allowed there wives to rule over them and their children, controlling and manipulating everything and everyone in their path.  


 Over the decades these men have allowed their wives to leave devastation in their wakes.  



Not only have people’s lives been affected, even destroyed, but all those dominated by these women have been left with wounds deeper than any physical scars.


As a Believer I can rise above the pain, but the scars will remain.  As a child of God I can be in His strength and I can come alongside those who lay wounded in their wake, but their scars will remain.



“Why is she allowed to do this?” was the cry I heard this week from one wounded soul. Her life has been nearly ruined, but by the grace of God, she was given freedom!  What a privilege it was to come alongside her in her woundedness.
 
She asked me, “Do you believe in God?”

“Oh, yes! I do!” was my reply to this frail woman.

I then asked, “Do you believe in God?”

“No!” was her agonizing reply. “How does a good God allow this to happen?”

What a gift from God to give me this bridge to the gospel!  Praise the LORD!  I was able to share openly the truth of the gospel, and she was receptive to hear of His mercy even in such unfair, unjust situations.

She will carry her scars with her, but I am praying for her to be revived by the One who can do more than we can imagine. 


THIS is the LORD working in the aftermath of evil.

Three wimpy men have allowed their women to cruelly control, connive, and manipulate all those around them. 
 

May God's mercy flow freely to  those who choose to hear His calling and may He be glorified in even this.



*
Ephesians 5:22-33
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body.
As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.

“For this reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.”


This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.
In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.


*

Friday, November 21, 2014

The true owner










Rose is Rose
by Pat Brady


The Anvil — God’s Word

Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door,
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
Then, looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.

“How many anvils have you had,” said I,
“To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
“Just one,” said he, and then, with twinkling eye,
“The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”

And so, thought I, the anvil of God’s Word,
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed — the hammers gone.


Unknown

*

For the word of God is living and active 
and sharper than any two-edged sword, 
and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, 
of both joints and marrow,
and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

*

Happy Autumn!


























Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In your own words











Calvin and Hobbes
by Bill Waterson


An Arrow



Thinking of you, 
my precious son, 
and praising the LORD 
for our time with you.






















The LORD has heard the voice of my weeping.  
The LORD has heard my supplication, 
the LORD receives my prayer.
Psalm 6:8b-9


How Did You Die?

Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it,
And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?

You are beaten to earth?  Well, well, what’s that!
Come up with a smiling face.
It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there — that’s disgrace.
The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts;
It’s how did you fight — and why?

And though you be done to the death, what then?
If you battled the best you could;
If you played your part in the world of men, 
Why, the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
And whether he’s slow or spry,
It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,
But only how did you die?



Edmund Vance Cooke
From The Best Loved Poems of the American People


Tell them how I loved Jesus!

Today we attended a funeral in a mainline denomination church, where my Piper played Amazing Grace.   

The 84 year old man had lived a wonderful, productive life.  He had been a beautiful person and did many things in the church during his life.  We heard about his jobs, his hobbies, his failings, and we heard about his fears, but we never heard about his faith, his trusting faith.

How I longed to hear his triumphs in the LORD, but they were never spoken.

I ached over this while we sat there in the funeral.  He was a wonderful person, he attended a church where you can find the gospel, if you search for it, but I do not know if this man was saved by the blood of Jesus.   

After a while I turned to my Beloved and mouthed my plea.  He understood and motioned it for him also.  We both grieved over this man.

*

Now, if I die here on earth, please tell them how I loved Jesus!  Let them hear the gospel!  And let this be the main theme of my service!

Okay, so you can spend a moment on me, but please let that be so short!  

Tell them how I loved the LORD, that I lived for Him!  Tell them that I praised Him in my happy times and even in my sorrows!  When my sorrows overshadowed my days, tell them that I remembered Him and trusted Him even more!  Please let them know that the reason I could smile in my agonies was because of Him in me! 

The joy of the LORD is my strength!

This world is not my home.  I long to see His face and someday, in His time, I will.  And when that time comes...don't waste their time on me...

Tell them how I loved Jesus!

*

Be glad in the LORD and rejoice! 
Shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart!

You, LORD, are my hiding place!  
You preserve me from trouble! 
You surround me with shouts of deliverance!
Psalm 32:11, 7

*

Praise the LORD!!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Life could be worse











Calvin and Hobbes
by Bill Waterson


The Hound of Heaven

by Francis Thompson (1859-1907)
  
I FLED Him, down the nights and down the days;

  I fled Him, down the arches of the years;

I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways

    Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears

I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
        
      Up vistaed hopes I sped;

      And shot, precipitated,

Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,

  From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.

      But with unhurrying chase,
       
      And unperturbèd pace,

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

      They beat—and a Voice beat

      More instant than the Feet—

‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’


          I pleaded, outlaw-wise,

By many a hearted casement, curtained red,

  Trellised with intertwining charities;

(For, though I knew His love Who followèd,

        Yet was I sore adread

Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside).

But, if one little casement parted wide,

  The gust of His approach would clash it to.

  Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.

Across the margent of the world I fled,

  And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,

  Smiting for shelter on their clangèd bars;

        Fretted to dulcet jars

And silvern chatter the pale ports o’ the moon.

I said to Dawn: Be sudden—to Eve: Be soon;

  With thy young skiey blossoms heap me over

        From this tremendous Lover—

Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!

  I tempted all His servitors, but to find

My own betrayal in their constancy,

In faith to Him their fickleness to me,

  Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.

To all swift things for swiftness did I sue;

  Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.

      But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,

    The long savannahs of the blue;

        Or whether, Thunder-driven,

    They clanged his chariot ’thwart a heaven,

Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o’ their feet:—

  Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.

      Still with unhurrying chase,

      And unperturbèd pace,

    Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

      Came on the following Feet,

      And a Voice above their beat—

    ‘Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me.’


I sought no more that after which I strayed

  In face of man or maid;

But still within the little children’s eyes

  Seems something, something that replies,

They at least are for me, surely for me!

I turned me to them very wistfully;

But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair

  With dawning answers there,

Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.

‘Come then, ye other children, Nature’s—share

With me’ (said I) ‘your delicate fellowship;

  Let me greet you lip to lip,

  Let me twine with you caresses,

    Wantoning

  With our Lady-Mother’s vagrant tresses,

    Banqueting

  With her in her wind-walled palace,

  Underneath her azured daïs,

  Quaffing, as your taintless way is,

    From a chalice

Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring.’

    So it was done:

I in their delicate fellowship was one—

Drew the bolt of Nature’s secrecies.

  I knew all the swift importings

  On the wilful face of skies;

  I knew how the clouds arise

  Spumèd of the wild sea-snortings;

    All that’s born or dies

  Rose and drooped with; made them shapers

Of mine own moods, or wailful or divine;

  With them joyed and was bereaven.

  I was heavy with the even,

  When she lit her glimmering tapers

  Round the day’s dead sanctities.

  I laughed in the morning’s eyes.

I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,

  Heaven and I wept together,

And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine;

Against the red throb of its sunset-heart

    I laid my own to beat,

    And share commingling heat;

But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.

In vain my tears were wet on Heaven’s grey cheek.

For ah! we know not what each other says,

  These things and I; in sound I speak—

Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.

Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;

  Let her, if she would owe me,

Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me

  The breasts o’ her tenderness:

Never did any milk of hers once bless

    My thirsting mouth.

    Nigh and nigh draws the chase,

    With unperturbèd pace,

  Deliberate speed, majestic instancy;

    And past those noisèd Feet

    A voice comes yet more fleet—

  ‘Lo! naught contents thee, who content’st not Me!’

Naked I wait Thy love’s uplifted stroke!

My harness piece by piece Thou hast hewn from me,

    And smitten me to my knee;

  I am defenceless utterly.

  I slept, methinks, and woke,
  
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.

In the rash lustihead of my young powers,

  I shook the pillaring hours

And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,

I stand amid the dust o’ the mounded years—
  
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.

My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,

Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.

  Yea, faileth now even dream

The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist;

Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist

I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,

Are yielding; cords of all too weak account

For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.

  Ah! is Thy love indeed

A weed, albeit an amaranthine weed,

Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?

  Ah! must—

  Designer infinite!—

Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it?

My freshness spent its wavering shower i’ the dust;

And now my heart is as a broken fount,

Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever

  From the dank thoughts that shiver

Upon the sighful branches of my mind.

  Such is; what is to be?

The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?

I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds;

Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds

From the hid battlements of Eternity;

Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then

Round the half-glimpsèd turrets slowly wash again.

  But not ere him who summoneth

  I first have seen, enwound

With glooming robes purpureal, cypress-crowned;

His name I know, and what his trumpet saith.

Whether man’s heart or life it be which yields

 Thee harvest, must Thy harvest-fields

  Be dunged with rotten death?


      Now of that long pursuit
      
    Comes on at hand the bruit;

  That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:

    ‘And is thy earth so marred,

    Shattered in shard on shard?

  Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!

  Strange, piteous, futile thing!

Wherefore should any set thee love apart?

Seeing none but I makes much of naught’ (He said),

‘And human love needs human meriting:

  How hast thou merited—

Of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest clot?

  Alack, thou knowest not

How little worthy of any love thou art!

Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,

  Save Me, save only Me?

All which I took from thee I did but take,

  Not for thy harms,

But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.

  All which thy child’s mistake

Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:

  Rise, clasp My hand, and come!’

  Halts by me that footfall:

  Is my gloom, after all,

Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?

  ‘Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,

  I am He Whom thou seekest!

Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.’