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Showing posts from 2017

December Tinsel

I think it was Beth Moore who said that waiting makes time rich. She was talking about Mary and Elizabeth anticipating the birth of their boys. This year the children are anticipating Christmas by running about the house telling one another how it will go. There will be Christmas Eve with the cousins: the Jensens and the Barnes. Then there will be Christmas at home with stockings and breakfast and presents followed by the Taylor Christmas. The next day will be the second Christmas at the Stevens. They jump up and down as they talk about what will happen. And they practice gifting each other their own toys wrapped in their comfort blankets. They are very proud of their Christmas tree, which we purchased late November and has already crisped. They are proud of the ornaments and the stocking that hang on the brass and porcelain knobs of our built-in drawers. Rose practiced filling the stockings with the ornaments from the tree. And for nearly two weeks the bottom half of the tree had to

Why You Matter

The world is currently populated by about 7.4 billion people. Population Estimate Bureau estimates about 108 billion people have been born from the beginning of time until now. And I am only one. One among billions. I'll probably never have my name printed in a history book. It's highly unlikely that I'll be an internet sensation for a week or day or even fifteen minutes. And in 150 years, most of my decedents won't even know my name. Kind of makes one feel insignificant. Doesn't it? In High School, I wrestled with feeling worthless. Why did I matter? And more specifically, why did I matter to God? I knew that God made me and that He died for me, but I didn't understand why. Why make billions of people so small and pathetic and seemingly similar? What's the point of us all? What's my point? Does anything that I do matter? Am I of any consequence to God? And God answered my questions with questions: 1) Do you believe that God is unfathomably co

Demons in the House

“Those who are empty fear the devil as if he had power . . .” ( Shepherd of Hermas , Mandate 12.5 as quoted in Arnold, 110). I recently attempted to read Deliver Us from Evil: A New York City Cop Investigates the Supernatural by Ralph Sarchie and Lisa Collier Cool. I say “attempted” because I got four chapters into it and had to stop because the book was keeping me up at night. So instead I read 3 Crucial Questions about Spiritual Warfare by Clinton E. Arnold, a professor at Talbot Theological Seminary. Here’s what I discovered about the devil and his power. Simple Q & A’s that I learned along the way are located at the end of this article. When we repent and turn our lives over to the Lord, it is like inviting Him into our spiritual house: a rather broken down structure with graffiti on the walls, missing shingles on the roof, bathrooms with missing fixtures, and plenty of closets that we didn’t even know existed. Repairs begin, but not without our consent and ne

Library Finds: Great Books for Children

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs  by Judi Barrett. A book for children 5 and up with oodles of creativity. The story is of a grandfather who tells his grandchildren a tall tell about a town where it rains food. I don't understand why authors tell stories about people telling stories. I think the middle man should be eliminated. (Book Rating: 8) Mustache  by Mac Barnett. An excellent book for an only child or any child with narcissistic tendencies, which I suppose might be anyone. The story is about a very bad king who is very handsome. I chuckled to myself throughout the first reading, and continued to chuckle as Philip read the book to the children again and again. He does great voices. (Book Rating: 9) The Eleventh Hour  by Graeme Base. As always, this author's illustrations are phenomenal: full of detail and hidden pictures. This book is a bit tough for a 5-year-old. Probably perfect for a 7-year-old. A mystery book with clues and extra items to find in the pictures.

What Can Happen When We Forget

If I don’t secure my position before sleeping, by dawn my wounds will continue their seeping.       Then if I shout not for the doctor, I’ll suppose In my weakness that my friends have turned into foes. I’ll make the stars of greatness my competition for beside their glow my value feels threatened. Their authority endangers my elusive control, and their rightness points at my soot-black soul. So, to attest my worth that vanished overnight,   I’ll make their art and religion a slight. I’ll belittle their efforts to stand on their backs.   I’ll spotlight their flaws to hide my ill acts. “How does she manage to get so fat?” “She must be attention-starved to talk like that.” “I’ll submit not to him nor enlarge his huge head.” “Their brand of Christianity what good can be said?” Thus my critiques become self-built certainty that because I’m not like them, I must surely be a person of superiority and surpassing worth   deserving honor an

Eternal Discovery

Scorn not eternity as a monotonous strumming of harps Or an austere chorus endlessly bending the knee. Cast it not aside as dull, unlike the riotous and rowdy hell, Where the mischievous dance like an endless Halloween night. For hell must forever be shrinking into a repetition of uniform insanity,   While Wisdom’s haven swells with the god-men’s inventions and strength. And if that inspires you not, muse with me then the possibilities When Wisdom indwells man and our dreams are birthed in eternity. Consider the untapped power then coursing through our veins,   When God remakes us to rule without blindness or misdeed. Then amidst a thousand dangers that hitherto we’d only feared, We pursue without exhaustion all knowledge, strength, and design. Might we harvest lightning, contrive alloys, and wrinkle time To delve into seas and galaxies much deeper than sci-fi films? Might we learn the languages that birds and reptiles and mammals speak, And astr

Staring at Piles of Trash

The world is full of grime and foulness. Some places more than others. And I cannot help seeing it there on the parking lot asphalt at Vallarta or in the dark on the sidewalk where the cockroaches skitter past my sandaled feet. I caught sight of a bearded man pulling up his pants after squatting in the gutter last night on Beverly Boulevard. I see red-faced men standing in the check-out line with their Modelo boxes, and I see the heavily made-up ladies with their see-through blouses and hot pants pulling their significant others down the grocery store aisles. I see despondency and weariness in the sunken eyes of the security guard. On the drive home from the grocery store, I see the pile of broken furniture, papers, shoes, and glass at the bottom of our alley. That pile continues to grow and spread as people riffle through the debris that some residence left there. It makes our neighborhood feel run down. I was paying for a decaf coffee at the Dunkin’ Donuts drive thru, and Rose f