Blended Seasons

November 9, 2017 — Leave a comment

Snow in November. The chill of autumn has come to us late. Slushy mounds grow on the leaves–usually gone by now.

Seasons of life blend together. Aspects of one last longer than expected. Pieces of another filter in sooner than we anticipate. A usually brown season has more color this year. Hardy leaves of orange, yellow, and red hang on, refusing to let go.

Blended seasons bring a chilled summer day or a spring thaw in January.

We yearn to hang on to this season. Or we hope time will pass more quickly so we can get to the next thing–the next piece of fleeting time that will take us to yet another.

Linger today in the chill or the warmth. Let the season that is now remain. It will pass soon enough.

A lesson to myself.


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Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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We see them all the time. More of them in big cities. But some of them around our smaller towns. Sometimes we can make them invisible.

But should we give them our money? If we think they may misuse it, is there still a way to help? Continue Reading…

“If I am to spend my whole life being transformed by the good news of Jesus, I must learn how grand, sweeping truths–doctrine, theology, ecclesiology, Christology–rub against the texture of an average day. How I spend this ordinary day is how I will spend my Christian life.” Tish Harrison Warren

An ordinary day. Do we truly have ordinary days? Or is every day something special? Something God is working through to shape us–to show us His grand, sweeping truths?

That’s the question Warren’s book Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life answers well.

Warren takes us from morning to evening, from waking to going to bed again. She encourages us to make our beds and brush our teeth and not stress over lost keys or too much email sucking away our time. She calls us to guilt-free indulgences of simple pleasures–sipping a cup of tea–delighting in a pastry–rejoicing in a nap–cultivating a friendship.

She invites us to find the extraordinary in an ordinary day and to pursue the wonder of great truths too often lost in mundane activities–making sandwiches and sitting in traffic.

But this book is not a how-to survive modernity in eleven easy steps. It’s worthy of individual or group study, complete with discussion questions at the end.

Our daily lives contain a struggle most of us–all of us?–deal with. The curse of modernity. We live hectic, crazy lives.

Liturgy of the Ordinary is an ointment for weary souls.

 


Photo Credit: Pixabay

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

God in a Quiet Place

October 30, 2017 — Leave a comment

And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. I Kings 19:11b-12

Gusts of wind jostle my windows. Today will be the third day of rain. More expected tomorrow.

News of storms marches toward an outcome. A world filled with tempests of one kind or another–real storms and virtual ones–long, sad gales or short showers. Broken aftermath or sunshine resolution. We struggle against nature and with each other.

What comes after the storm, the personal defeat no one else seems to understand?

“A still, small voice,” says the King James version–“a low whisper,” says the ESV.

Hearing the quiet voice after every kind of storm–the essential to finding peace within and outside ourselves.

We hear this voice if we listen. Maybe when we least expect it. Sometimes, it comes as a word a friend speaks. Sometimes, it comes through a song or the silent touch of another.

A moment of ministry from God Himself.

God in the quiet. The One who walked on water touching me in a quiet place.


Photo Credit: Pixabay

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

 

 

 

My Scar Stories

October 26, 2017 — Leave a comment

A scar as a reminder of God’s faithfulness

Mitch Teemley

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The Final Scar?

To read my previous scar stories, click here.

My two greatest hits are on my neck. Oddly, both remind me of God. I wrote previously about one. The other began with a woman doing her lipstick in her rear view mirror as her car sailed blithely into the back of my sardine tin Samurai.

Several bulging neck discs made their debut that day. The pain level was acceptable (sort of). However, if more trauma were to occur, I was told, I could end up paralyzed. Not acceptable. So a discectomy was scheduled.

The day before surgery, I was laid on a tiltable table and my spine was injected with glow-in-the-dark goo in order to create a scenic map of My Spine, USA. I was fine with that. Of course, I was on Valium, so I’d have been fine with them cutting my toes off and…

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Breaking Chains

October 23, 2017 — 1 Comment

To heal my wounds, I worshiped myself.

I found the path to healing but stumbled on my way.

Self-worship became wounds wrapped in chains.

Scars linger.

Birthmarks for my children,

Who’ve received their own wounds.

We seek our heading on the path,

To heal the wounds,

To break chains.

Christ is that Way,

The Rock on which all chains break,

To make us free.

 


Photo Credit: Pixabay

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Truth Stands Still; We Move

October 19, 2017 — 1 Comment

Leah Libresco Sargeant was an atheist who found the arguments for God too strong to resist.

Since 2012, she has been one of us–a believer.

The question that moved her from disbelief to faith was this one: “How is it we come to know truth?” She couldn’t reconcile the notion of no God with the idea of man-made morality–moral laws originating within people. Moral law transcends people. It comes from outside them, not from within them.

For where did moral law come from if not from God? Continue Reading…

The Highest Good

October 16, 2017 — Leave a comment

The good of man, happiness, is some kind of activity of the soul in conformity with virtue. Aristotle

It was a moment like none I’d ever seen before. I was watching the team some of my high school students and two of my grandsons play for. Our team was ahead–significantly.

Then two players collided. The official blew his whistle. But the player on the other team jumped up. “It was clean,” he shouted.

The game resumed without a penalty.

A smattering of applause arose from fans of both teams.

A few nights later, we attended an away game just an hour away. Several of our team’s best players were banged up and sat on the bench. The rest of the team was out on the field struggling. Losing–significantly. Continue Reading…

I couldn’t figure it out. A number of students were claiming the speaker was evoking emotion to convince his audience.

The speaker didn’t want them to feel. He wanted them to think. To reason. To deduce right from wrong. Feelings had little to do with it. But today, feelings make an argument. Most people don’t discern between feeling and thinking.

In the early days of the abortion debate, those who support abortion would accuse pro-lifers of just being emotional–too emotional–about the unborn.

Pro-lifers asserted that support for unborn life was more than hand-wringing anguish over potential life. It was reasoned protection for innocent human life. All innocent human life. The foundation for protecting such life was religious, moral, and scientific. It was never solely a religious argument. Sometimes, it wasn’t a religious argument at all. (See Dr. Bernard Nathanson.) Continue Reading…

A Better Way of Speaking

October 5, 2017 — 3 Comments

It wasn’t the kind of event that usually brings out protesters. It was a 5K run for a crisis pregnancy clinic, a fundraiser, not an attempt to draw attention to the issues at hand.

But protesters came. A handful of women carrying signs.

One sign caught my friend’s eye: “Good women have abortions.”

My friend approached the group, shook hands and introduced herself to each protester. As she worked her way down the line, she arrived in front of the woman carrying the sign that had drawn her to the group.

“I just want you to know that I think you’re right. Good women do sometimes make that choice to have an abortion,” she said. Continue Reading…