Archive for the ‘Ponderables’ Category

God Speaks
June 25, 2017

In the Bible we learn that there are many sides to God’s nature. He is kind and gentle, and also strong and powerful. In Psalm 29, King David, with repetition and lyric beauty, tells about the powerful side of God’s nature.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;
the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
Psalm 29:3-9

When was a time when God spoke to you in kindness and gentleness?
When was a time when God spoke to you in power and authority?
With what voice is God speaking to you now?
What causes you to exclaim “Glory!” when you think about God and what God is doing in your life?

Looking beyond Age 70
April 8, 2017

Samuel Zwemer (1867-1952) was an American missionary who came to be known as the Apostle to Islam. He did missions work in Arabia and Egypt and later was professor Princeton Theological Seminary. He retired from the professorship at age 70 but continued traveling, speaking and advocating for world missions after that. He died ten days short of his eighty-fifth birthday.

Zwemer expressed his attitude toward retirement by a message he gave to Princeton’s Warfield Club in his seventieth year. It was titled “Life Begins at Seventy.” He gave seven reasons why:
1. We should have a diploma from the school of experience by that time.
2. We are near to the river that has no bridge.
3. We have passed our apprenticeship in the school of life.
4. At 70, we can look further backward and further forward.
5. By this time, we should know that life consists not in the abundance of the things we possess.
6. The responsibility to witness for God to the next generation.
7. At 70, the Christian must redeem the time and live in more deadly earnestness.

What important life lessons have you learned in your life so far?
Who or what shapes your thinking as you consider aging, retirement and serving God wholeheartedly?

After Christmas
January 11, 2017

Here is a poem for reflection after Christmas and Three Kings Day or Epiphany.

The Work of Christmas
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.

This was written by Howard Thurman, and African American, a Quaker and a preacher, who was active in the civil rights movement in USA.

New Testament Christianity
October 27, 2016

Many people talk about “revival in our nation,” but not everyone thinks deeply and clearly about what this involves.

A. W. Tozer was a pastor, author and magazine editor in The Christian and Missionary Alliance church. He lived from 1897 to 1963. Here are his comments on revival and prayer from this book Keys to the Deeper Life.

“Prayer for revival will prevail when it is accompanied by radical amendment of life; not before. All-night prayer meetings that are not preceded by practical repentance may actually be displeasing to God. “To obey is better than sacrifice.” We must return to New Testament Christianity, not in creed only but in complete manner of life as well. Separation, obedience, humility, simplicity, gravity, self-control, modesty, cross-bearing; these all must again be made a living part of the total Christian concept and be carried out in everyday conduct.”

Will you join those who are returning to real Christianity?

Why we do our work
February 16, 2016

Why do you do the work you do? What is your ultimate motivation?
I found a deep insight into these questions from the writings of Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997).

*****

It is not how much you do but how much love you put into the doing and sharing with others that is important. Try not to judge people. If you judge others, then you are not giving love. Instead, try to help them by seeing their needs and acting to meet them.
We have the following words in a sign outside our chapel at the Mother House. They were written by Father Edward Le Joly after we had talked in 1977 and explain exactly what our work is about:

“We are not here for the work, we are here for Jesus. All we do is for Him. We are first of all religious; we are not social workers, not teachers, not nurses or doctors; we are religious sisters. We serve Jesus in the poor. We nurse Him, feed Him, clothe Him, visit Him, comfort Him in the poor, the abandoned, the sick, the orphans the dying. But all we do, our prayer, our work, our suffering is for Jesus. Our life has no other reason or motivation. This is a point many people do not understand.”

A Simple Path, pages 93-94

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This writing caused me to take a new look at the deeper reasons why I do my work.

A church of mercy and love
February 14, 2016

I just finished reading most of Pope Francis’ book The Church of Mercy. It is rich in spiritual teaching. Except for a few comments about the Virgin Mary the book could have been written by any Brethren in Christ bishop!

Pope Francis deals with fundamental biblical and Anabaptist themes, such as simplicity, radical obedience to God, witness, love, peacemaking, meeting human need, and rejecting the false values of our culture.

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Here are a few comments from page 19 on the subject of Being with Christ:

“Jesus does not say, Go off and do things on your own. No! Jesus says, Go, for I am with you.”

“If we go out to bring his Gospel with love…he goes ahead of us, and he gets there first. As we say in Spanish, nos primerea.”

“This is fundamental for us: God is always ahead of us! When we think about going far away, to an extreme outskirt, we may be a bit afraid, but in fact God is already there. Jesus is waiting for us in the hearts of our brothers and sisters, in their wounded bodies, in their hardships, in their lack of faith.”


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This reality builds peace in us and prepares us for faithful service in every situation.

To my blog readers, have you read any of Pope Francis’ writings? If so, what are your thoughts?

Preparing for Christmas
December 4, 2015

The following is an Advent prayer written by Henri Nouwen, a Dutch Roman Catholic priest, theologian and writer, who lived from 1932 to 1996.

Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.

We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.

We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.

We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.

We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.

We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To you we say, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

 

Inside Out
March 26, 2015

We live in a society that puts an inordinate emphasis on outward appearance. Unlike the Bible, where God repeatedly tells us to pay close attention to our inner self and our relationship with God.

Here is an additional thought on the inner life.

“Image and appearance tell you little. The inside is bigger than the outside when you have the eyes to see.” William Paul Young

What are you seeing?

The most dangerous thing
March 16, 2015

Reality is many-sided, with numerous contrasts and paradoxes.

Here is one:
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
– Jesus

And here is another:
We are to regard existence as a raid or great adventure; it is to be judged, therefore, not by what calamities it encounters, but by what flag it follows and what high town it assaults. The most dangerous thing in the world is to be alive; one is always in danger of one’s life. But anyone who shrinks from that is a traitor to the great scheme and experiment of being. – G.K. Chesterton

What flag are you following?
Where is Jesus leading you these days?
Don’t shrink back. Walk forward bravely.

About Air Travel
March 30, 2014

On a US Airways flight last week I learned a few facts about air travel.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of commercial air travel. The first commercial airplane flight took place on January 14, 1914, from St. Petersburg, FL, to Tampa. There was one paying customer!

Now there are 8 million air travelers every day all over the world.

Enjoy your flight!