Jacques Ellul is quite right, it seems to Gary and I, though very bold, when he says, “It is prayer, and prayer alone, which can make history.… To pray is to carry oneself toward the future. It is both to expect it as possible, and to will it as history.”
“But…Jesus knew all men. He did not need anyone to tell Him about man. He knew what was in man.” John 2:24,25
Once again fall is almost here. How did it arrive on my doorstop so quickly? Seems I was just waving goodbye! Even the name Fall describes the activity of the season: falling leaves, falling temperatures, falling sap in the trees and fall-back time change.
One way to fall into Fall, is to change our gardens. Instead of watching your summer annuals die a slow death, remove them and plant colorful and hardy winter pansies that will brighten the cold days of winter. Add a mum or an ornamental cabbage or kale. There are beautiful ornamental grasses and fall perennials that will liven the fall days and come back to greet you next year.
If you are in the Leesburg, Virginia area, I invite you to visit Monroe Technology Center’s annual Fall Plant Sale. Our agriculture students will be happy to help you find a plant that is sure to help beautify your fall. And you will be helping provide scholarships for them. Wednesday, September 17, 10-6pm, Thursday, September 18, 10-6pm, Friday, September 19, 10-4pm.
Patricia Woolard Woodley writes:
I’ve been studying Job this morning…and I tell you, it just brings tears to my eyes….Oh that we would be so faithful….tho not understanding what has happened….why, tho righteous, all these things are happening….the depths of his agony, his wishing he was never even born…..tho I have known this story all my life and read it….I just was drawn to study it this morning….It so teaches us the meaning of this life is to be faithful to God……not to place our happiness in material or even in the people in our lives…..tho He gives us all those things…..and He intends for us to enjoy them…..but if the point comes when they are all vanished from our lives….if we are all alone, seemingly….we still have our faith…we still have our eternal life…our promised peace after we leave this earth….our eternal happiness….if only we remain faithful and still give Him the glory…….Oh I pray that I can always be as faithful as Job……if only we all could….Lord, I pray this in my prayer…..for faithfulness and understanding…..to place you Lord as my centerpiece on my table of importance….for in reality, you, Lord, are our sustenance, the very source of our lives…..please Lord make us thankful….make us truly aware of your greatness….this I pray this morning that you have blessed us with….In Jesus name….Amen…
Rena’s story inspires me to reveal mine.
My story is one older than the hills or even mountains. As a little kid I was cute. [I’ve got pics]. I lived in a home with a loving, church-going family. I was safe and secure and lovingly tended. However, when I started school as a little kid, I had a huge come-uppance. [See? That term dates me, for sure]. From a warm and nurturing home-life to a classroom of pretty and cute boys & girls came this well-fed, chubby little girl with a mop of fuzzy hair and a funny last name. Well! They were not going to put up with that! So they made fun, teased and generally shunned me. One guy, who was older than I was, would hide behind a tree on the way home and when I passed by would chase chubby little me.
I tried to make friends…and because we all went to Catholic school, they pretended to accept me into girlie circles, scouts, etc. But…like the proverb…I was always the last one to be chosen for a team, for a game, for the softball, volley ball, field hockey [remember that?] team. Yep. REJECTION! If I could make this typewriter shiver & shake I would write the word “REJECTION” in blood curdling strokes.
When party plans were made with my “friends” my suggestions were ignored. I’ll never forget that one incident in my preteens when we had planned a party [there were always parties to extend my sufferings.]. I always went expecting a different outcome and the outcome was always the same….some incident of rejection. Sister Grandma created an outfit for me to wear which included a long skirt [instead of cuffed blue jeans & shirt]. She said that I looked nice in that outfit and my “friends’ would think so, too! Hah! They laughed at me, insulted me and scolded me for NOT being like the others. Tears of REJECTION.
I was always striving to be accepted. You know what that means in the world. Trying to please people so that they would like me. Terrible thought, now. One would do most anything [within some reason] to please so I that would be accepted. Though these are just examples of my lot in my youth…[it seemed that it lasted for an eternity] it left an almost indelible wound in my heart. Striving, striving to be loved. Striving to be prettier, smarter, more skilled, more competitive to prove that I was worthy of someone’s…..anyone’s attention, respect, even admiration! I took that into the workplace at school. It was like my mantra. What a burden!
My divorce sort of clinched it. That’s it! Then I became like a wild woman. Lowering my ‘Catholic’ standards that were somewhere etched in my being….but ignored, I reasoned my way into many compromising situations which were more painful to my conscience than the REJECTION I was trying to run from.
Paul said it best. ‘OH wretched woman that I am. Who will deliver me from this burden of sin, pain, rejection? Thank God He will’ However, not so fast, lady. When Christ came into my life it was like a huge burden was lifted….I fell in love with a glorious God/Man Who had taken all my stupid sins and thrown them into the sea of His forgetfulness. And….And…He accepted me!! Oh God! What a concept. And for awhile it was so! My real first, First-Love. JESUS CHRIST. I wrote love songs to Jesus. I consecrated my craft to Him. I wrote songs of praise, songs to the words of the psalms…I wanted to be a ‘VESSEL UNTO HONOR’. My first song to Jesus. I would get up early, early to read the Word of God. I was amazed. As a Catholic we did not read the Bible except for the Gospels and Epistles. But Oh Lord! This was life changing. I remember sitting on the bed and saying out loud to myself….Where did this magnificent treasure come from? It was too good to be true. He was here all the time and I never knew even it. [Gen. 28:16]
But the dregs of the results of sin still remain and so the sin that so easily besets us reared its ugly head and like a “silly woman” that is described in 2Tim. 3:6, still immature in the Lord [excuse] and able to allow myself to be deceived [excuse] I was on the brink of a spiritual calamity, to be sure. It was getting darker and darker and I was in a horrid situation as the plot for my spiritual downfall was progressing rapidly. And I did not know how to get out of it.
But God did. One eventful night during a Bible study in a private home, God sent His prophet to skillfully and tenderly extricate me from this hellish situation. I was carefully drawn away and with teaching and admonition and rebuke and deliverance I finally fled from there.
I thank God for His deliverance from evil. I still must be careful each and every day for I still mess up, sin in word and or deed when I don’t discern the will of God and act on my own even… after all these years and all this teaching and all the prophecies. Thank God He forgives when we confess our sins and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness. But the results still remain. Those cannot be erased but must be accounted for. That’s why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help us NOT do those things for which we will be shamefaced before the Judge of all the earth, Jesus Christ.
If I keep that in mind…that I must stand before the Judge of all the earth Whom I love and will have to face Him and account for all I say and do and THINK, then my story will have a happy ending. That thought must govern my life, in Jesus’ Name.
This morning I was listening to a lecture on BBN Bible Institute on Balaam/Special Bible Characters. As a Sunday School teacher (of young children) I had remembered God’s warning to Balaam and the donkey speaking. In other words I did not remember much. I learned that Balaam was a preacher/a fine one who was a Gentile prophet. Balaam had two major problems that he clung onto and that was a LOVE of MONEY and a HEART of LUST. These were his two LOVES. (The two seem to be with us even today.) The Moab King , Balak, asked him to come preach and forbade him to speak of Israelites or future of the Israelite Nation. He would be given a large sum of MONEY. OMG was Balaam excited. He was determined to adhere to Balak’s demands of what not to preach BUT God would not allow Balaam’s tongue to say anything but what HE wanted to the KING to hear. Balaam felt OMG I’m going to lose the MONEY from Balak because I spoke what he forbade me not too. He thought I can not curse Israel because God forbade it. Balak at this point was madder than hell. Balaam instead of walking away and saying forget the money, I will walk with the Lord, he thought I know how to get the King to corrupt the nation. Balaam didn’t love God or God’s people. He loved the wages of unrighteousness. He did something that was totally against God and showed where his heart was. He suggested to the king if you cannot curse a nation which is blessed by God, then may I suggest they be judged. Sir he said, entangle the men with the women of Moab. Balaam picked up his money. He had sinned willfully after preaching the WORD of God because of his LOVE for the unrighteous. Balaam’s choice led to grave, grave peril – death – eternal life without God – hell.
When we think on this we can ask ourselves are we Balaam’s in the church. Do we speak one thing to others and yet cling to the unrighteousness in our lives LOVE OF MONEY, HEART of Lust, addictions, etc. Is Jesus first in our lives and his way of living first? Is our Father God or is our Father Satan – one or the other. Balaam made his choice long ago. What is our choice today? We still have time. Your friend, Rena
Philippians 4:8 NLT “…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.”
I’m dwelling in the land of magical truth with creative images developing in my mind’s view. Love, joy, peace these are all mine. My head is so full of kindness, hope and helpfulness that my lips look as rosy as the first pick of a Spring Rose. My words spring forth with gaiety of praise for the One that gives life and has the right to take it away.
Job sang a tune of praise, He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!” 1:21 NLT
“Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Did Job get it right?