Saturday Soliloquy: Old Year Out

I don’t have anything profound to offer you today. In fact, I’ve been putting off writing this post. I’ve been waiting for some kind of inspiration, some earth-shaking truth that no one else has ever thought of. Of course, that isn’t possible ūüôā

King Solomon knew that, thousands of years before I came along. In Ecclesiastes 1:9, he brooded that there is no new thing under the sun. Nothing that hasn’t existed before. Nothing we can experience that hasn’t been experienced before.

We think of the “new year” because we have, for convenience and order, learned to organize ourselves by seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years. Those things all existed long before we figured out the concept of time. We’ve even learned to identify seasons according to equinox and solstice, which also are not new concepts. God created it to be so for His purposes and our good (Genesis 8:22).

So here’s something I don’t remember thinking about before. In heaven, we know that there will be no night, no illness, no death, no crying. Will there also be no seasons? Those who love winter, will they yearn for snow? Will they wish they had mountains of the stuff for skiing into eternity? Will farmers miss the plowing, planting, and harvesting of the seasons? I don’t know. God has all that under His control, and we’ll learn when we get there that the earthly things we loved will pale in comparison to being with Him!

Will the abilities, talents, gifts that God has given us here go with us there? Will I be able to sing again, with a clear voice and no limits of range? Will there be a heavenly piano for me in my place in heaven where my fingers will fly effortlessly over the heavenly keys and produce music beyond my imagination?

Don’t know. But I will someday, and what I do know is that whatever awaits me in heaven will be just perfect for me. Most of all, to be with Jesus will put everything else on hold ūüôā

Well, you can see that when I start writing without a plan, there is no telling where I’ll end up ūüôā This is probably a good place to stop!

Trust in the Lord

Psalm 37:1-5.

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.

I was 19, a sophomore in college. I was coming out of a relationship that was not right for me, but at the time it really seemed as if my life was over. Heartbroken and confused, I was doing poorly in my classes and just plodding through the darkness of each day, having a hard time caring about whatever came next. I was truly in Anne of Green Gables’ slough of despair.

Back then, we wrote letters. Real ones, with paper and envelopes and stamps. So I wrote to my mom, sharing my pain with her and asking for whatever help she could give me. I shouldn’t have been surprised at all when, a couple of days later, her letter came to me with this passage of scripture. It has been a favorite of mine ever since.

I realized, as I read these verses, that I had been totally focused on the wrong thing. As long as I stayed focused on the lost relationship, I would never be restored to joy. I needed to delight myself in the Lord, not in memories of someone I had believed loved me but whose love turned out to be transitory.

God’s love is not dependent upon circumstances, time, or place. It is constant, unwavering, and reliable.

I had to learn, not for the first time or the last, to place my delight in Him before any other person.

The most amazing thing happened, as I repeated these verses over and over in my mind throughout the following days. My dark valley began to dissipate. I was able to focus on my classes again. I did not spend every waking moment thinking about the one I had thought was my “forever,” and put him in the proper perspective in comparison to the Lord Who would never leave me, or forsake me. He is with me always!

God’s Word, when applied correctly to the heart, mind, and soul, is a healing balm that helps us grow, and helps us to put our faith and trust in Him and not in any earthly relationship.

When we delight ourselves in the Lord, He gives us desires in our hearts that are for our good and His glory.

God’s Mercy and Grace

Psalm 34: 3-6

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.

I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

They looked unto Him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

David. along with several others, was hiding in the cave of Adullam. He had run afoul of Abimelech, also known as Achish, and sought refuge from probable death at Achish’s command. You can read the story in  1 Samuel 21:1022:1.

David’s circumstances were dire, yet he knew he could trust in God for help and protection. In spite of the danger in which he lived, David called the men with him to praise the Lord.

I particularly love v. 6 because it always makes me think of a man named George Mensik. He had been part of Al Capone’s organization in Chicago back in the 1930’s, and suffered dire circumstances of his own making. But someone introduced him to Jesus, and he was saved out of his life of crime. He spoke all across America, sharing his testimony. He came to my dad’s church in Portland, Oregon sometime around 1959 or 1960. I was 12 or 13. He made a strong impression on me, for sure! He loved this verse, and claimed it as his own: “This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”

We moved to southern Minnesota in 1961, where my dad became pastor of a small church. George Mensik came there, and I was excited to see him again. At the dinner table, I clearly remember him pointing his finger at me and saying, in his gruff voice, “You be a good girl!”

You can read his story here: https://www.proclaimanddefend.org/2020/09/30/a-gangster-for-christ/

Blessed Nation?

Psalm 33:12, “Blessed¬†is¬†the nation¬†whose God¬†is¬†the LORD;¬†and¬†the people¬†whom¬†He hath chosen¬†for His own inheritance.”

David, of course, was speaking of Israel and the Israelites, God’s chosen people through whom the Savior of all mankind would come.

However, there is nothing wrong with applying the principle to any nation today. If our God is truly the LORD, then we will be blessed. When we replace Him with any other god, then we will lose the blessing.

Contrary Jones

Psalm 32:9-11,

Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.

Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

Remember that old saying, “Stubborn as a mule”? Someone else has said, “Be determined, not stubborn.”

The stubborn person is resisting just because it’s his nature, Stubbornness is in all of us. We don’t want to go in the direction we are told. We resist, sometimes, just for sheer contrariness’ sake. David says that stubborn animals need to be controlled with bit and bridle or they won’t go where you tell them.

Don’t be like that. Don’t be so intractable that you become known for always going the opposite direction for no discernible reason other than that you just always do the contrary thing.

My kids, years ago, brought home a book from the library that we all enjoyed. The title was “Contrary Jones,” the story of an old man sitting on the top of his mountain as he contradicted everything and everyone who approached him. For example: “Hey, Jones! Nice day we’re havin’ today!” “Hmmph. I seen better. Too many skeeters!”

The final two verses of the Psalm are a simple summary: The wicked will obtain sorrow; the righteous shall shout for joy!

As we approach the new year, some of us will make a resolution or two. If that’s your practice, maybe deciding to not be a mule would be a good place to start ūüôā

The Day Before Christmas

Re-posting blogs from previous Christmases. This one is from 2018.

Linda's Bible Study

Image result for Mary and Joseph walking toward Bethlehem before Jesus' birth

I have often thought about what it must have been like the day before that first Christmas.

Mary must have been exhausted.

She was just hours away from giving birth, and it had been a long trip.

Did she ride the whole way on that little donkey?

Did she walk sometimes, just to ease the ache in her lower back?

How often did they find a place where she could stretch out on the ground, wrapped in her robe, and try to sleep a bit?

When they got to Bethlehem and saw how crowded it was, did Mary sigh with weariness?

Did Joseph wonder if they would have to sleep in the fields with the shepherds?

Did he feel the weight of responsibility for this miracle baby of which the angel had told him?

Was he struggling to believe that Mary was pure, untouched?

What an earnest, godly man he…

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Christmas Break

Re-posting Christmas blogs from previous years. This one is from Dec. 21, 2015.

Linda's Bible Study

The house is full and there’s lots of laughing going on.  Not right at the moment.  Two of my sons and their families took off around 9:30 this morning to spend some time in Philly.  They want their kids to see the Wanamaker organ; they want them to see all the historic sites that they may have been too young to really remember the last time they were here.  It’s a fairly balmy December day, so they should have a great time.

Tonight, they’ll be back for supper, along with my daughter and her family just a half-hour away from us.  Also, a couple we’ve known for over 40 years will be joining us so they can see everyone.

You know, every time we have a gathering like this, we become more keenly aware that it could be the last one before we all get to heaven.  Terry and I…

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Merry Christmas!

  BY GRANONINE

IN CHRISTMA

Re-posting previous Christmas post. This one is from Dec. 24, 2014

This is possibly my most-loved Christmas song.  I think it captures the awe, the wonder, the holiness of the birth of Jesus Christ for all who were involved, from angels to shepherds, wise men to Mary and Joseph.  I’m posting it tonight as my Christmas gift to you.  Merry Christmas, and may God bless you as you remember His most wonderful gift to us.