Encouragements

Something crummy happened yesterday. Today something else crummy happened that is related to what happened yesterday. This morning before I got out of bed – before the second crummy thing happened – I read this in “Night of Weeping, Morning of Joy” by Horatius Bonar:

(Speaking of the return of Jesus and the resurrection of the church) “The deliverance of creation is at hand. The time of “the manifestation of the sons of God” is come. Now, arrayed in light, themselves the sons of light, they shall shine as the brightness of the firmament and as the stars for ever and ever. Now, transformed into the image of the Morning star – themselves stars of morning, they prepare to sing together over the new creation, when its foundations shall be fastened and its cornerstone laid by Him who is to make all things new. Death is now swallowed up of victory; the grave is rifled; the spoiler is spoiled; ashes are exchanged for beauty; the light that was quenched is rekindled; the sorrow passes into joy; and darkness of a brief night ends in the uprising of endless day.”

Well, that helps me with perspective! Then the second crummy thing happened and I was mad enough to spit nails. As I considered my options and sent an email to some friends asking them to pray that I will handle this as I should – and maybe not the way I might at first feel like doing! – I decided I really needed to be at church so I could go worship God and let Him adjust my attitude. This earthly Sabbath is a little tiny taste of a taste of the eternal rest that comes on that endless day. So, time for a bit of God’s earnest – His down payment on what is coming.

Our sermon today was on God’s Providence. This crummy thing was not without meaning or purpose. And we can expect God to care for us during difficult and frustrating circumstances. A quote on the front of our bulletin was also encouraging. Here’s part of it – by John Flavel:

“A great part of the pleasure and delight of the Christian life is gained through meditating on God’s providence. How pleasant it is to our souls to think upon and behold God’s mighty acts. In doing this, we also support and strengthen our faith for future trials. In properly meditating upon God’s providence, our souls are more and more endeared to Jesus Christ, for Christ is the channel of all grace and mercy. All the streams of mercy that flow from God to us, flow through Him. The purchase of all those mercies which providence conveys to us is by the blood of Jesus. As sin forfeited all blessing, so Christ restored all these mercies again to us by His death. Whatever good comes to us from the hand of Providence, comes to us through Christ’s blood. Now this is a most endearing consideration. Did Christ die that these mercies may flow to me? Did He pay His life’s blood to purchase these comforts that I possess? O what transcendent, matchless love is the love of Christ! These sweet mercies that are born of Providence every day are the fruits of the travail of His soul. All our mercies, including our daily bread, as well as our justification and other spiritual blessings, are secured to us through the covenant of grace, ratified in the blood of Christ. Whatever blessings we reap from this covenant, we must thank the Lord Jesus Christ for them. Put all this together, and then think how such contemplation will endear Christ to your souls.”

After reading this, here is what we sang:

“God Moves in a Mysterious Way” by William Cowper, 1774

1. God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.

2. Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill He treasures up His bright designs, and works His sovereign will.

3. Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head.

4. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace; behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

5. His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour; the bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.

6. Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan His work in vain; God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.

I think my friends’ prayers were answered, as were mine. Yeah, what happened isn’t right and I have to speak up. But it feels different now. Where before it was like being stung by a wasp, now it’s like the stinger but with no poison. That seems like an inadequate explanation, but I don’t know how else to describe it. And this is just a tiny taste of a taste of the eternal rest that comes on that endless day.

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Would I Want to Live in Paulville?

I heard about a community that is starting up in Hudspeth County here in Texas. ┬áThis is a bit different from other communities we hear about. This isn’t a retirement community or a religious community; it’s a political community. They are calling it Paulville because the residents will all be libertarians and supporters of Ron Paul. ┬áHudspeth County has no building codes so folks can build their homes however they choose, and can be off grid if they would like, and no one will be dictating all the little details of their life. Well, other than the Federal Government who seems to be obsessive lately about the details of our lives.

West Texas sounds like next to heaven to me. I’ve wondered if there is a county in Texas without building codes where I could build whatever however I wanted. Seems to be at least one. And I definitely support Ron Paul as well as like-minded folks who are running for political offices. But would I want to live in a community of totally like-minded individuals? If I go to the local coffee shop who is there to discuss politics with? Everyone agrees, so who is there to challenge me on what I believe and why, and who could I challenge? That sounded a bit boring to me.

I was talking with a friend and she pointed out how the government went into Waco and El Dorado when they were after a whole group. She said if we all go there it just makes it easier for them to round us up if it should come to that. Oh. Good point.

A few days ago, I read that we are voting in blocks geographically. The article said it used to not be that way. Liberals and conservatives all lived in the same neighborhoods and knew one another and now we are all neighbors with like-minded people. That keeps us from mingling with one another and it makes it easier for the parties to demonize us to one another. And then after all that – the two parties are so much alike I can hardly tell them apart so I and lots of other folks are looking at how to bring one back to sanity and looking for who to vote for that is running third-party.

Well, it’s an interesting mess. I may move to West Texas one day and find a spot where I can build what I want and how I want, but I don’t think I’ll do the community thing. It sounds peaceful in a way, but I want to mix and mingle, to rub elbows with folks who don’t think like I do.

Random Thoughts

To pick up where I left off last…I was talking with my brother about the floor mopping and possession tossing I’ve been doing and he said he has an acronym for what ought to be done with excess possessions. He said it’s BBB. Backhoe, Big Hole, Burn. I told him I have friends who would like that and he said he’s got 150 acres available if anyone wants to use it in that way to dispose of stuff. He said there’s nothing growing there execpt hay and the cows won’t care.

I realized something this morning. I knew last night that I had done too much and was too tired. I knew if I kept pushing I would be exhausted and get sick. I did my Olympic Mopping (that’s when I have to do it really fast and it works up quite a sweat) this morning so I could pick up my son from work and then get up to the hospital. Mom had surgery yesterday and Dad needed to go home for a shower and stuff. Anyway, while I was taking vitamin C and echinacea (becuase of being over-tired I had congestion and my face hurt) and doing my mopping I was thinking about how it’s really neat to be 51. I have lived in this body long enough to know what it needs in the way of food, water, rest and exercise for maximum efficiency. If you know me at all, you know I am very goal oriented and I like to get as much done in as little time as I can and still enjoy life while doing life. I have also learned how hard I can push my body before it pushes back. That’s real neat to know. We can’t control all the circumstances that cause us to stress and to miss sleep and food sometimes – you know, stuff like surgery and illness and work schedules. But when we can make the choices over what we do control and can make those choices in a way that works with how each of us is hard-wired…well, I just think that’s cool. Glad I lived long enough to figure it out.

There was a headline in a newspaper that I ran across yesterday that caught my attention. It had to do with evacuating for hurricanes. Last time I did that was in ’05. I’ll never do it again. I’m on the edge of the storm surge area and it would take a huge storm at high tide to even get water in my yard. My house is not flat on the ground so I really doubt I’d have any water inside. Anyway, what got me about this article were the comments made by the person in charge of disaster and emergency stuff. He said they had been worried that people wouldn’t leave the coastal areas because of the traffic and now they are adding gas costs to it and they are more worried about people not leaving. He said they have an agreement not to lower the costs of fuel for evacuations so they can’t do anything about that. BUT – this is what got me! He said the people who left last time (in’05) who were not in the storm surge area were “shadow evacuees!” We were clogging up traffic because we were about 1/2 of the cars on the road. Good grief. We only left because we saw what happened in New Orleans and they said “mandatory evacuation”, there won’t be any city services, no cops, no firemen, no hospitals, nothing at all. They even told people to get out who live way further away from any possible surge than I do. And when it was over they told people to leave who had stayed. I really got irritated to hear that when I thought back to what they put us through, then they say this! Then I realized I won’t be having the conversation in my front yard with some emergency worker who’s having an emergency and thinks I should be, too, because a hurricane is coming. I won’t have to tell them that the only place I’m going is to the middle of my house and don’t they have work to do. HA!

I saw a story on 700 Club News this morning about children and cholesterol drugs. Seems the drug companies have saturated (this is my opinion) the market of adults and can’t get us holdouts to take their pills so now they are going after children. Some doctors are advocating testing children as young as TWO! Can you imagine? A two year old with “high” cholesterol and a family history of heart trouble being given statin drugs! That just blows me away.

At the hospital when a baby is born we get to hear a bit of a lullaby over the loudspeakers. And every so often they also play a bit of The Byrd’s “Turn, Turn, Turn” …”there is a season, turn, turn turn”. I figured out the lullaby was announcing a baby just born – arrivals – but I didn’t know the meaning of “Turn, Turn, Turn.” I mean I know it’s from the Bible (Ecclesiastes) but why were they playing it? I thought surely not to announce that someone died – departures? So, I asked and, no. It’s not to announce departures. It’s to remind nurses to turn patients who can’t turn themselves. The lady I asked said it’s the “turn” part of the song and I said, “Oh, not the season part.” I told her I figured folks would complain if they announced departures like that.

Well, I’ve got peas to pick so I better go now. Hope the mosquitos aren’t too bad.

Stuff….Things….Possessions….JUNK!

I have a cat who has ringworm. Fun. So he sheds spores (it’s a fungus) constantly and I clean the house every day. And you know what? If you have to dust your stuff every single day it becomes junk. I am also sweeping and mopping. Every day. (Well, technically, 5-7 days per week….that’s about all my body will hold up to.) And the more I have to sweep and mop around stuff the more I want to get rid of. So, I am. And THAT has me jazzed!

I am also going through cabinets and other storage and guess what? Of course….I’m getting rid of more stuff. I figure if one day God lets me move to West Texas and I don’t want to tote something clear across Texas then I don’t really want it. I am really really having fun with this. At the end of each day I have gathered up stuff that I will have cleaned for the last time and I am thinking of more that I will get rid of the next day! And I’m not a shopper….I have no idea how on earth I accumulated all this stuff. Shoot, I’d rather hike a trail any day than go anywhere near a store!

When Henry David Thoreau lived in the cabin on Walden Pond he said he could get up early in the morning, carry out all the furniture (a bed, a chair, a small table and a chest, if I remember correctly), sweep out his house, carry sand and water from the pond and scrub the floor, rinse it, let it dry and bring his stuff back in and be done with the day’s work by the time the rest of the world was just getting started. I wish I could have known him.

I have been thinking the past few weeks of what I might want to keep if I only lived in one room and had one other room as a studio with art and craft and sewing supplies. I’ve enjoyed reading what different people do to motivate themselves. Yesterday I read about a fellow, Dave Bruno, who has been working on this challenge he gave himself. He wants to get down to only owning 100 things. He calls it the 100 Thing Challenge and he blogs about it. Someone who commented on Dave’s blog said he puts a plastic storage box in the middle of the room and puts stuff from the room into the box. When he’s done he puts the top on and sticks it in his closet for two months. During this time he is adding things from the whole house to the box. Then after two months he goes and opens it up and takes out 1/2 the stuff and gets rid of it.

I heard someone on TV either this morning or yesterday morning say that Americans always want to get out of the house on holidays but with gas prices being what they are more people are staying home. I thought about what one of the declutter gurus said about people buying stuff because they are trying to buy an emotion and create an atmosphere in their homes and it ends up being clutter. So, Americans fill the house with stuff and then run out the door on holidays? Are we nuts?

Thoreau said if someone was walking down the street carrying all he owned in a pack on his back people would say they felt sorry for him because that was all he owned. He said he felt sorry for the guy because he owned ALL THAT. If he had to dust it every day I feel sorry for him, too.

Addendum, 2009: The cat did NOT have ringworm. It was a misdiagnosis. He was sensitive to fleas. I had a ‘crazy clean’ house though.