I got another question #2

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 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality.”

Right, so I realize that the church was being newly formed and was still pretty well steeped in Jewish thinking at the time this was written. Paul, himself, argued against the “food offered to idols” thing.  It seems the only one that we need to continue to follow is “to abstain from …sexual immorality.”  Despite what may seem obvious, how can we discount the first three and hold to the last one?   Or to put it another way, how would you give an answer to one who would use this passage to say that “since the first three are no longer valid, why should the fourth one still be followed?”

Thoughts from anyone, and specific invites to:

I Love the Psalms

Truth in Palmyra

The Recovering Legalist

Virtual Vitamins

The True Light

Pneumythology

Mustard Seed Budget

Kdmanestreet

Elihu’s Corner

Patrick Hawthorne

And thanks to all who can weigh in.  Appreciate your comments!  (If you haven’t checked out these sites, I recommend you do!)

Acts 15:28,29  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Saddle up!

bikesYesterday, Bob and I went on bike ride.  It was beautiful, out in the country, made friends with a couple of dogs (thanks to the treats I always carry.)  It had been awhile since I had been earnestly into biking, so it’s high time to restart.

This morning, however, my left knee disagrees.  Occasionally, it likes to remind me that I’m 30 years beyond 27, and I need to accommodate my activity as such.  Bah-humbug!

Having a wayward part does make my body a bit more challenging.  If I’m going to work up to a full biking club ride, I’m going to have to do some conditioning, for sure.  Thankfully, I’ve got some good help in the Continue reading “Saddle up!”

Jesus Wept

quill

My husband, Bob, will tell you that I’m all about stories with puppies and butterflies.  In other words, don’t give me drama unless there’s a happy ending.   (Here’s my disclaimer….)  Having said that, it might seem a bit incongruous for me to reblog this beautiful poem, but it continues to amaze me that God–in His sovereign wisdom and unfathomable love–gave us the power to break His heart.  Part of the good news, however, (spoiler alert!) I’ve read the last part of the Book, and we do have a happy ending.

A great offering by Susan Irene Fox, and check out her full site at http://susanirenefox.com/

JESUS WEPT 
Lord Jesus, would You please reply

The world’s in strife, You can’t deny

We turn away from Your commands

And scorn becomes our newest stand; I hear You cry.

 

For those who still in grace believe

We ask Your healing to receive

For who from love will abdicate

Whose nations turn from love to hate; we hear You grieve.

 

Your Body now asunder torn

From accusation now is worn

The ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ denouncing calls

Not grace or love, no light at all; I hear You mourn.

 

It seems majority’s content

To claim their turf, in fact resent

Such talk of love, and grace they shun;

A pity too, because there’s none heed Your lament.

 

In spite of odds, hear Spirit deep

This gift of love and grace to keep

…and as we pray for open hearts

The gap continues, miles apart. And Jesus weeps.

Thank you, Susan, for allowing me to post this on my site!

Tie it down, Lord.

IMG_20150103_172451138

Back in the Dark Ages, you know, like the 1960’s and before (to my middle schoolers’ perspective), childbirth in the typical American hospital was quite sterile and controlled.  Not by the mom, you understand, but by the staff.  My children were all born in the 80’s, and by then strides had been made toward more home-like experiences, so-called “birthing rooms” and all that.  Going back to the old-fashioned was considered quite modern.  Typical.

I didn’t have the regular treatment, gratefully, until Continue reading “Tie it down, Lord.”

Efficiency and beauty–mutually exclusive? (NOT…)

thx! pixabay
thx! pixabay

 

I really like birds.

Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds. Etymologically, the word “ornithology” derives from the ancient Greek ὄρνις ornis (“bird”) and λόγος logos (“rationale” or “explanation”).

Thank you, Wikipedia, but not quite like that.

Then there’s the Audubon Society, “…named in honor of John Continue reading “Efficiency and beauty–mutually exclusive? (NOT…)”

However…

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Acts 1: 6   So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” 7   He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8   But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere— in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” *

I just love these guys.  Here they had walked with Jesus for three years, just witnessed the greatest turning point of human history in the Resurrection, and they’re still hung up on the restoration of Israel when God had something much bigger, broader, and encompassing for them. 

Typical.  For all of us.  We get stuck on one mind set, one outcome, maybe even one failure (or series thereof…).  In doing so, we don’t merely put the God of the Universe in a box, but ourselves as well, because in reality, rarely does God use a period; it’s usually a comma.  In all of that, there are just some things that “are not for you to know.  But….”

I like it when God say “but….”

The marriage failed, but……

The job was given to someone else, but….

He died of cancer despite our prayers, but…. 

Not only did the disciples NOT see the restoration of Israel, they actually saw the total destruction of the temple and the dispersion of their beloved country, family, and friends.  Even so, Jesus told them, God’s plan was bigger.  And full of power and plans they had not yet conceived of .  Same with us.  When things go sour, it’s easy to get discouraged.  However, that’s when we r-e-a-l-l-y need to listen to Jesus say–

“But…”

  • Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt) (Kindle Locations 18202-18206). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

The early bird gets the….eewww! Really??

I tend to frequent my garden patio in the early morning.  I appreciate the quiet of my rural, small town setting, and I love to hear the birds wake up and start singing.  My husband and I are true bird-admirers.  Not real bird-watchers, mind you; the true Audubons are the ones that can confidently identify, say, a loggerhead shrike from a Northern shrike…and enjoy it.  But like my more learned comrades, I have fun actually seeing the birds I am hearing, and I’m learning them little by little,(with my color picture book close by), to recognize a few species, including by the music they make.   I have also learned that, generally speaking, to attract birds you must have a bird-attracting environment.  They are all around me, because I can hear them, even if I can’t immediately see them.  But to seriously bring them into view I must entice them with something they want.   

Many of my patio variety songsters are not particularly picky eaters, thankfully.  A fifty-pound bag from the local feed store does nicely, especially for sparrows and junkos and an occasional cowbird or catbird.  However, I have learned that certain species are encouraged to frequent my garden depending on what I choose to put out.  Cardinals like their black-oil sunflower seeds.  Finches love the seeds on my dry coneflowers.  Hummingbirds go for red. Downey woodpeckers prefer the suet in the hanging cage.   And grackles, well, I guess they eat anything, and a whole lot of it! 

What I also find noteworthy is how these fabulous creatures find their way to the food.  It is such a natural, unfeigned, unpretentious process.  The more I set out, the more they come around.  And even if I don’t get around to filling the feeders, and maybe there are only a few kernels just left lying around a pile of empty hulls, they still seem attracted to it, pushing through the junk to find the valuable seeds.  But the converse is also true.  No food, few birds.  For them to stay around in abundance, and close enough for thorough enjoyment and study, they must be welcomed and wanted, and they must be drawn.

With all respect, the Holy Spirit is a bit, just a bit mind you, the same way.  As we provide the proper enticements (like faith), and make Him feel welcome (like humility), He comes more into view, becomes easier to see, and His ways are easier to identify.  And why?  Because what God is interested in most is the environment of my heart:

  • He looks deep within my human soul, the real me, the sometimes (oft times) hidden me, and invites me to come and take a good look with Him, since most of us are not even fully aware of what’s really going on in there anyway. And though He sees the “me” in my entire self, and though He recognizes so much beauty that could be, yet He patiently waits and constrains Himself, for even God must be invited, welcomed and wanted. One of the Old Testament songwriters put it this way, “I sought Your favor with all my heart;
    Be gracious to me according to Your word…”
    (1)
  • Although God is everywhere at once, yet He makes it clear that we get His attention by a humble heart, and a prayer of faith, even if it’s just a little faith mixed with a whole bunch of questions. It’s an easy and common deception to think that we are too far gone, too messed up, or have too little faith for God work His wonderful restorative power in our lives. However, a little faith is still faith, a powerful entity in God’s kingdom, even if it’s mixed with a bunch of empty husks known as doubt and the used up hulls we call fear.  God is just powerful enough to dig through our questions and circumstances to find the little seeds of faith in our prayers and our lives, even when we ourselves aren’t aware of their existence. (2)
  • The proud heart, on the other hand, the one that says it does not need God, that refuses to agree with God’s assessment of the situation and His answer to the problem, (possibly because it refuses to acknowledge that there IS a problem), this heart the Holy Spirit grieves over, since there is nothing to bid Him welcome, nothing to make Him feel wanted. (3)

My early morning “patio compadres” make my garden more than just a quiet place to sip my tea while the rest of the town wakes up.  Not only do I love having them around for their beauty and song, but they are part of the very livelihood of my garden!  So does God’s Holy Spirit infuse His life into the garden of my life.  Every day is another opportunity to invite Him into my world, my mind, and circumstances, and my heart. 

Then I can sit back, and listen for His song.

  • Psalm 119:58
  • See Mark 9:24
  • See Psalm 51:17, James 4:6

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Bring on the birds!

I tend to frequent my garden patio in the early morning, as will become repetitively apparent in subsequent entries.  I appreciate the quiet of my rural, small town setting. I love to hear the birds wake up and start singing.  I also enjoy actually seeing the birds I am hearing.  I’m learning them little by little, with my color picture book close by, to recognize a few species, including by the music they make.  My husband and I are true bird-admirers.  Not real bird-watchers, mind you; the true Audubons are the ones that can confidently identify, say, a loggerhead shrike from a Northern shrike…and enjoy it.   But I do, at least, like to be able to see those who are gracing my morning with their songs.  I have learned that, generally, to attract birds, you must have a bird-attracting environment.  They are all around me, because I can hear them, even if I can’t immediately see them.  But to seriously bring them into view I must entice them with something they want.

Many of my patio variety songsters are not particularly picky eaters, thankfully.  A fifty-pound bag from the local feed store does nicely, especially for sparrows and junkos and an occasional cowbird or catbird.  However, I have learned that certain species are encouraged to frequent my garden depending on what I choose to put out.  Cardinals like their black-oil sunflower seeds.  Finches love the seeds on my dry coneflowers.  Hummingbirds go for red. Downey woodpeckers prefer the suet in the hanging cage.   And grackles, well, I guess they eat anything, and a whole lot of it!

What I also find noteworthy is how these fabulous creatures find their way to the food.  It is such a natural, unfeigned, unpretentious process.  The more I set out, the more they come around.  And even if I don’t get around to filling the feeders, and maybe there are only a few kernels just left lying around a pile of empty hulls, they still seem attracted to it, pushing through the junk to find the valuable seeds.  But the converse is also true.  No food, few birds.  For them to stay around in abundance, and close enough for thorough enjoyment and study, they must be welcomed and wanted, and they must be drawn.

With all respect, the Holy Spirit is a bit, just a bit mind you, the same way.  As we provide the proper enticements (like faith), and make Him feel welcome (like humility), He comes more into view, becomes easier to see, and His ways are easier to identify.  And why?  Because what God is interested in most is the environment of my heart:

  • He looks deep within my human soul, the real me, the sometimes (oft times) hidden me, and invites me to come and take a good look with Him, since most of us are not even fully aware of what’s really going on in there anyway. And though He sees the “me” in my entire self, and though He recognizes so much beauty that could be, yet He patiently waits and constrains Himself, for even God must be invited, welcomed and wanted. One of the Old Testament songwriters put it this way, “I sought Your favor with all my heart;
    Be gracious to me according to Your word…” (1)
  • Although God is everywhere at once, yet He makes it clear that we get His attention by a humble heart, and a prayer of faith, even if it’s just a little faith mixed with a whole bunch of questions. It’s an easy and common deception to think that we are too far gone, too messed up, or have too little faith for God work His wonderful restorative power in our lives. A little faith is still faith, a powerful entity in God’s kingdom, even if it’s mixed with a bunch of empty husks known as doubt and the used up hulls we call fear.  God is just powerful enough to dig through our questions and circumstances to find the little seeds of faith in our prayers and our lives, even when we ourselves aren’t aware of their existence. (2)
  • The proud heart, on the other hand, the one that says it does not need God, that refuses to agree with God’s assessment of the situation and His answer to the problem, (possibly because it refuses to acknowledge that there IS a problem), this heart the Holy Spirit grieves over, since there is nothing to bid Him welcome, nothing to make Him feel wanted. (3)

My early morning “patio compadres” make my garden more than just a quiet place to sip my tea while the rest of the town wakes up.  Not only do I love having them around for their beauty and song, but they are part of the very livelihood of my garden!  So does God’s Holy Spirit infuse His life into the garden of my life.  Every day is another opportunity to invite Him into my world, my mind, and circumstances, and my heart.

Then I can sit back, and listen for His song.

  • Psalm 119:58
  • See Mark 9:24
  • See Psalm 51:17, James 4:6

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.