Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A "Found" Day

Have you ever been on a walk in the country and come across items you simply had to pick up and take with you...."found" things? An old bird nest...a stone shaped like a heart...a stick stripped clean and bearing the teethmarks of an industrious beaver.  I love found things. I used to keep a small collection of found rocks on the floor of my side of the car. They don't have to be valuable or earthshaking...maybe an empty bird egg, a piece of wood in the shape of an animal, a handful of persimmons kissed by the frost.

Today I declare to be a "Found Day."  

My university published a notice before 8 AM that said "We will be following a normal schedule today."
By 930 AM, the website notice read "We will be closed for the rest of the day."


Ahhh, now it was not just a day that I couldn't get to work but anyone with any fortitude could...No, now it was truly a Found Day.

What does one do with a Found Day?  

A bit of this, a little of that. Some things that need doing all along but aren't priority. A few things that must be done to assuage guilt.  Graded a few papers.
  Took a few pictures because it was just wrong not to.  

Created a new blog post. But not much of anything, really.   


Found Days, when we can enjoy them, are gifts. But then, every day is a gift, isn't it?

This is the day the Lord has made;We will rejoice and be glad in it.    (Psalm 118: 24)

My times are in Your hand,        
(Psalm 31:15)

        

Sunday, February 15, 2015

50 Shades of Love

The middle of February is traditionally a time when our attention focuses on those we love..especially for that one particular day...


That love may cover friendship love, family love, and romantic love. The love may range in intensity from affection to deep and committed intimate love.







This year, the premier of a movie based on a highly popular and controversial book series has caused many people to take another and closer look at what we can classify as authentic love in today's society.


Rather than concentrate on the message of the movie, I'd rather use the old analogy of: "How do you know if something is counterfeit?  You must know the genuine version so well that there can be no doubt as to which is the real thing."

I would like to offer a set of statements against which we can judge alternative definitions or descriptions or depictions of love to help us determine which might be the most authentic, sound and lasting.  I offer the following 50 Shades of Love:




        

                    FIFTY SHADES OF LOVE            


1.      God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.  I John 4:16    
2.      Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.   I Chronicles 16:34
3.      Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,  Nehemiah 1:5
4.      For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.  Psalm 100:5
5.      Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.  Psalm 36:5
6.      The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.   Psalm 33:5
7.      love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.   I John 4:7
8.      The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.  Exodus 34:6-7
9.      We love because he first loved us. I John 4:19
10.   God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
R
omans 5:8
11.   and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,   Revelation 1:5
12.   For he [God] chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship 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. Ephesians 1: 4-6
13.   See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!   I John 3:1
14.   This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  I John 4:9
15.   This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  I John 4: 10  
16.  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.   John 3:16
17.   Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.   John 15:13
18.   [Jesus said] As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  John 15:9
19.   Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  Mark 12: 30  
20.   Love your neighbor as yourself.   Mark 12: 31 
21.   So be very careful to love the Lord your God.   Joshua 23:11
22.   [Jesus said] A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.   John 13:34
23.    [Jesus said]  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
John 13:35
24.   Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.   I Peter 4:8
25.   Do everything in love.   I Corinthians 16:14
26.   Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.   I John 3: 18
27.   Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.   I Peter 1:22
28.   You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh]; rather, serve one another humbly in love.   Galatians 5:13
29.   [Jesus said] But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,   John 5:44
30.   [Jesus said] But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  Luke 6: 27-28
31.    [Jesus said] the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.   John 16:27 
32.   [Jesus said] If you love me, keep my commands.   John 14:15 
33.   Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.   John 14:21 
34.   There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.   I John 4:18
35.   If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.   I Corinthians 13:1
36.   Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  I Corinthians 13:4
37.   [Love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.   I Corinthians 13: 5
38.   Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. I Corinthians 13:6
39.   [Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  I Corinthians 13: 7
40.   Love never fails.   I Corinthians 13: 8
41.   Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.  Song of Solomon 8:7
42.   A friend loves at all times,   Proverbs 17:17
43.   But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.   Galatians 5:22-23
44.   And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.   I Corinthians 13:13
45.   For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.   II Peter 1:5-7
46.   the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.   Psalm 32:10
47.   You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.   Psalm 86:5
48.   Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.   Psalm 23:6
49.   keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.   Jude 1:21
50.   For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   Romans 8: 38-39  


                                                               There's a lesson in that...


                                                        Scripture from New International Version

Sunday, January 11, 2015

So...let it snow, really!


In the children’s learning center at our little church, one of the verses we studied today was:
“He [God] spreads the snow like wool
and scatters the frost like ashes”

(Psalm 147:16) NIV

The Bible is clear about who is in charge of the weather--
despite our wide-ranging feelings about it on any given day.


         His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the
         clouds are the dust of his feet.
(Nahum 1:3b)

         When he established the force of the wind and
         measured out the waters, when he made a decree
         for the rain and a path for the thunderstorm,
         then he looked at wisdom and appraised it; he
         confirmed it and tested it.
  (Job 28:25-27)

         He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
         he sends lightning with the rain and brings out
         the wind from his storehouses.
(Psalms 135:7)

         Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who provides
         rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on
         the mountains.
(Psalms 147:8)

         lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds
         that do his bidding,
(Psalms 148:8)
                              




It may be easy to recognize the comeliness of the earth after a spring rain when He has washed the world clean. In sheer relief we may praise Him for safety after the fury of a hurricane has passed us by.
After all, we are told, “The heavens declare the glory of God;the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).
Declare!
Proclaim!
These are “in your face” indications of our Father’s hand in the weather around us, for those whose eyes are open and who choose to believe the truth in those words.

But an even more astounding message came to my simple heart as I looked at a book we showed the children of greatly magnified pictures of real snowflakes with their varied and magnificent designs and exquisite beauty. God could have produced and then demonstrated any number of dramatic and outward natural manifestations of his creation and glory and then said, “It is good” and stopped at that.   
WA Bentley photographing snowflakes
No, rather He chose to make perfect the tiniest details of his creation...things that can barely be seen or remain unseen to the natural eye...things like cells and their chromosomes, micro-organisms and fragrances, atoms and ...snowflakes. 


Why? Why did He go to such great lengths to show Himself in the things He made? I have, of course, no definitive answers other than--
1. He did it for His glory
2. And, as was said of His Son, “He has done everything well” (Mark 7:37)
There is certainly a lesson in that!

See: Bentley & Humphreys (1962) Snow Crystals New York:Dover.