More than tomatoes

garden lastI was interested in canning a long time ago.  I saw what one of my friends was doing to “put up” fresh tomatoes; talk about a LOT of work!  The boiling and peeling and grinding and washing and timing…

I’m not so much interested in doing it anymore.

But I’m still mightily impressed with the process and commitment of those who do their own food storage.  Back before the days of Walmart Superstores, if you wanted to feed your family, you either canned, or you didn’t eat very well after harvest season was over.  But, oh! what a feast you could provide for your family in the dead of winter with fruit preserves, canned vegetables, dried homemade noodles, and the potatoes snuggled in the nice, cool cellar.

Kind of makes me think of what Paul is trying to get at here with the people in Galatia.  When the apostle was writing this, these folks were under a serious attack in the form of (once again) legalism.  Let’s eat only these things and celebrate these certain days and keep these special regulations to get in good with God, and oh yeah, then there’s the Cross, let’s not forget that…

…except that Paul knew there was no such thing as a Cross-plus gospel.  The Cross plus not wearing makeup.  The Cross plus which day of the week you assemble for church.  The Cross plus not stepping inside a bar or a theatre or listening to that “devil rock music”.

 But we refused to give in to them for a single moment. We wanted to preserve the truth of the gospel message for you.”

The Truth of the Gospel.  THE Gospel.  The only good news that God provides for our acceptance by Him, and purely good new it is: the Cross and Resurrection…period. 

It’s not that I throw behavioral decisions to the wind of culture and narcissistic whims, far from it.  Rather, only in the preserving of (and subsequent feasting on) the true good news of God’s acceptance only through Christ can I have the wisdom to know HOW to behave in the ways that honestly please Him.

Whew!  What a relief.

But here’s the kicker—how crucial (pardon the wordplay) it is that I preserve this truth, not merely for myself, but for those around me!  Like my friend and her tomatoes, it takes skill, knowledge, passion, and persistence.  Thankfully, Paul had plenty of all four, not just for the Galatians, but for me as well.

And, oh, what a feast it provides.

Galatians 2:5  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.

In other words…

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“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.  To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews.  To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.  To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.  To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”

1 Corinthians 9:19-22  Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

RED ALERT!

IMG_20150103_172451138No, that was not a reference to any political affiliation, but any true Trekkie would recognize that phrase as the warning signal on the Starship Enterprise, which might be followed by such notable quotes as “shields at full” or “fire proton torpedoes”. 

However, the term is a good illustration of a deep-seated anxiety plaguing our American society right now, one of many in fact.  The election of 2016 is being touted as one-of-a-kind, and to some degree rightly so.  On the other hand, the angst and rancor are nothing new, but a fine old American tradition dating back at least to Rutherford vs. Tilden of 1876.*

Of course, the political climate is only one example of the generalized apprehension that is so much a part of our culture.  It’s unfortunate that, as a Christian, a purported follower of the Creator of the Universe, I have a tendency to acquiesce to some of the same anxieties.  I say unfortunate because a) I should know better, b) I know WHY I should know better, and c) I have been given sufficient Power to act on that knowledge.

In reality, these fearsome “what ifs” are the 64-color crayon box version of worries, complete with the sharpener on the back, just in case the particular color of the day becomes a bit dull in our Enemy’s hand as he tries to scribble on my world.  And my Enemy is not the government, the boss, or even the neighbor next door. 

There’s the rub, the real point.  The apostle Paul wrote that we “war not against flesh and blood, but against the unseen powers of darkness”, and when it came to supernatural antagonists, if anyone knew what he was talking about, it was Paul.  I have an Enemy far more seditiously subtle than anything I may read or hear on the news.  And if I get wise to one of his colors, he’s got plenty of others to choose from, unless…

As I write this, I am at a nursing conference.  Here is a piece of scientific wisdom from Dr. David Schramm’s session:

reality2

Hmmm…sounds familiar:

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

That doesn’t mean I ignore all the bad news in favor of the good.  But it does matter what I choose to focus and reflect on, since it helps determine what my responses will be to all things, both good and bad…

…no matter what color the next “alert” is.  (And there WILL be more.)

Philippians 4:8 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.

* http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/11/28/im-democrat-heres-how-hillary-and-recount-campaign-leaves-me-feeling.html)

Somebody pass the dill

newgarden
Things are growing in the new garden!

Once again, I was outside conducting my annual experiments that I presumptuously refer to as “gardening”.  This spring I put in a new plot, and dumped in a bunch of store bought dirt, sorta/kinda had a ever-expanding design of what to plant where.  

I love fresh herbs.  Even just watering them releases a beautifully refreshing scent into the air.  One thing that I was wanting to add to my stash, but have had difficulty with in the past, was dill.  So this year I thought I would just sow a short row of seeds (rather than already half-grown plants from the store) right into the fresh dirt, and “see what happens”.  (Such is my typical gardening strategy…)

What happened is this: Continue reading “Somebody pass the dill”

Find me on page 12

wood 2

Billy Graham was probably one of the first evangelists to use that new social media known as television.   I remember watching with a certain sense of awe as hundreds of people left their seats in a huge auditorium, making their way to the stage upon Dr. Graham’s invitation to give their lives over to Jesus Christ, as ‘Just As I Am’ was playing in the background.  Even watching on TV, it was seriously impressive.

Impact: to influence, alter the course of something (or more importantly, someone.)  Yup, that pretty well describes Billy Graham’s ministry.  Funny to think that he touched more lives during his lifetime than Jesus did during His own.  And yet, who had the most impact?

I remember hearing Dr. Graham say (and I paraphrase) that once in Heaven, he expected to pick up the angelic Continue reading “Find me on page 12”

Blogging Blast #6: I like big BUT’s (not a typo…)

animals-985500_1280(So just what is a Blogging Blast??)BLOGGING BLAST #6

“Your mother’s great-uncle-twice-removed named you in his will, but…”

“Everyone gets an extra vacation day this year, but…”

(And one of my personal favorites): “I apologize, but…”

Sometimes we only want to hear the first part of a sentence and go no further, which can cause, dare I say it, “a failure to communicate”. That little word “but” is a conjunction that Dictionary.com defines as “except, on the contrary, otherwise than”.  Alright, so I really did know that; I’ll admit I had to check the same source to remind myself what a “conjunction” is.  I quote: the act of  Continue reading “Blogging Blast #6: I like big BUT’s (not a typo…)”

Pass me the pickles…again.

garden lastDid you know that too much water can kill you?  No, no, I’m not talking about a flood or anything like that.  I mean drinking too much water. Weird, right?  We’re always being told that we don’t drink enough of the stuff, but you can actually die from over-hydration.

While I’m on the subject, and I know I’m still a novice at this gardening thing, but NO ONE TOLD ME that two cucumber plants would be enough to start a small pickle factory!  Good grief!  They’re taking over out there!  Bob finally requested no more cukes in the green smoothies…

So, while dear Mrs. Rose, my former “advanced comp” teacher, might wonder about the preceding two Continue reading “Pass me the pickles…again.”

Saul: the storm before the storm

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As much as I love Old Testament accounts, I would like to fast forward to another man named Saul; this one lived during the time of Jesus’s sojourn on Earth, and had undoubtedly heard about Him, if not having witnessed some of His miracles/speaking engagements firsthand.  Saul is a really interesting character in his own right.  A Roman citizen by birth (which was nothing to sneeze at in those days), he was also on the fast track to the very powerful Continue reading “Saul: the storm before the storm”