New Year’s Resolutions

1. “Stay in love with God. Do good and do no harm.” Reuben P. Job
2. Concentrate on virtuous things; they build good character, shape and color attitudes, and influence behavior.
3. Look for and graciously acknowledge the good in others.
4. Walk only the fence grounded in cement, and only to avoid the danger lurking on each side.
5. Do not befriend talebearers; they are not concerned with the common good.
6. When possible, be at peace with everyone.
7. Work hard, relish the comforts afforded, and rest often.
8. Forgive freely and always.
9. Accentuate and embrace the positive.
10. Keep faith in God.

The Value of Mustard Seed Size Faith

A little bit of biblical faith goes a long way (Matthew 17:20. It gives one the courage to stand for what is right, even when such a stand is unpopular (study the lives of the Apostles and other early believers).

Mustard Seed Size Faith

  • frees one to acknowledge his or her shortcomings and to trust God for help in overcoming those weaknesses (Mark 9: 21 – 24)
  • releases one from the paralyzing grips of fear, guilt, and shame (Romans 8:1)
  • is God-centered and concerned about restoring wholeness- physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being (James 2: 14 – 26)
  • cares about the common good, not just personal gain (Colossians 3: 12)
  • helps one remain focused on the power of God, not mired down by the problems of the present (Proverbs 3: 5 – 9)
  • gives hope that there is light at the end of every tunnel (Psalm 30: 5)
  • is a tool used to request deliverance from distress, protection from the powerful, and to uplift broken spirits (James 5: 17)
  • wants justice for all (Micah 6: 8)

Thank God for mustard seed size faith!

 

Time

Time

Time, they say, heals all wounds
That is wrong!
Time may separate the memory from piercing pain
Time does not blot out the stain

Time keeps moving at its pace, unmoved by the human race
Mortals grapple with finding their place in time’s space
Time is enveloping and elusive, it can’t be touched or caught
Time can’t be stopped or bought

Time keeps rolling along
Like a looping melodic background song
Time goes on and on
Time is steady and strong

Time, they say, waits for no one
That is right!
Time keeps moving – morning, noon, and night
Time cannot be visualized or measured by sight

Time: birth-time, life-time, end-time
Little time, more time, no time
Time: anxious-time, happy-time, hopeful-time, sad-time
Then-time, now-time, future-time

Time is everywhere, all the time
What is time?
My time, your time, their time, our time
Time is time

Sunday Morning Reflections-Sacred Things

shield your heart.jpg

This morning’s reflection is inspired by a recent reading of Isiah 58: 13 and 14.

I started reading to prepare a sermon about the importance of keeping the Sabbath sacred.  But as is often the case, the longer I meditated on the passage especially in the context of all Scripture, my thoughts expanded to identifying other sacred things that are important to keep holy. From the musings, three categories emerged: Sacred Places/Spaces, Sacred Times, and Sacred Things (I’m still contemplating a more fitting title for the third category.).

My developing thoughts on the importance of recognizing sacred things and keeping them consecrated are noted on the attached chart.  Double click the link below to view the chart.

Sunday Morning Thoughts, August 25, 2019

A Prayer for the Downhearted

Dear God,

Comfort and remove despair from those submerged in pain.
Let consciousness of your Spirit penetrate and permeate their existence.
Empower them to overcome adversity.
Anoint them to do the right things for the right reasons.
Remove the partition that keeps them from recognizing, acknowledging, and basking in your great love.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer!

 

Amtrak Sleeper Car 1st Experience

I made this video as a keepsake of my first trip in a sleeper car. The crew on Train 49 were professional, courteous, and downright friendly. The roomettes are incredibly tiny, but I saw several in which two and three adults were crunched up. I valued the privacy this car afforded. Also, the bed was relatively comfortable. Next time, God willing, I’ll book early enough to rent a larger room.
Train rides are long, but in my opinion, they are a great alternative to flying. I hate flying and don’t always have the time to drive then relax when I reach my destination before heading back home. So, I’ve made up my mind to travel by train when time permits.

I hope you guys enjoy the video. I’ll get better with practice.

Call Me!

Lord, call me.
Your servant I want to be!
Show me your way!
Send me, I say!

What! You’re calling me to love those who hate me?
Wait a minute! Hold on, I have neither the desire nor will to complete that task.
Give me something more pleasant. I ask!

You want me to bless those trying to destroy me?
What you require is too hard for little weak-kneed me!
I don’t want to help my enemies!
The degree of goodness it takes to do that is not rooted in me.

I will do good when it benefits me.
Please don’t ask me to do it anonymously!
For you see, others won’t laud me.
I want to serve you by doing things that gratify me.

I will testify about your goodness to everyone I see.
Just give me the grace to humiliate anyone who dares cross me.
Against such people, I will fight.

I will sing of your power and might.
Just purge my critics and compel them to take flight.
In them, my sin, I see.
Please, God, help me!

Condon me not helping those whom you’ve sent to me.
They are not the ones I choose.
In helping them, there is no glory for me.
I reject them until they are of immediate benefit to me.

Preaching, I will gladly do.
Prison ministry, I will humbly and proudly do that too.
Praying, I will pray loud and long day and night night and day, I shall pray.
Please help me, Lord, is my plea!

Almighty, don’t you see!
I want to serve Thee!
But the things you require are too hard for me!

If I do what you ask, people will see you; not me!
They will criticize, isolate, shun, and vilify me.
That burden is too much for me.
Let them see me in you, not you in me!

But,  call me!

Are Cable Companies in Trouble?

Cable companies charge too much and offer limited programs. They have lost most younger viewers to Netflix, and now they are on the verge of losing baby boomers.

Until recently, I was a baby boomer addicted to cable television.  The television in my bedroom played all day and night, even when I wasn’t watching it. That changed after I picked up the remote and began exploring the APPS on my television.

Initially, it was the joy of seeing and hearing Youtube on a big screen that drew me away from cable. I spent hours relaxing while listening to the Audio Bible unfiltered and listening to a wide range of Gospel music. I even listened to old time radio shows like Nightbeat, Dragnet, Johnny Dollar, and Have Gun Will Travel. I was like a kid turned loose in a candy store.

Then I branched out and tried Netflix (not Netflix originals) followed by Amazon Prime. I was amazed by the BBC content offered by these two services. Once I started watching, I knew my television viewing habits were forever changed. Between the three services, Amazon Prime T.V,  Netflix, and Youtube there is a wealth of good programming. Also, the cost of all three services is cheaper than what I pay for cable.

Cable companies are good at providing news coverage, but their prices are too high and the variety of programming they offer is limited. If cable companies are to survive, they must lower prices and expand the kind of programs they offer. Otherwise, they are going the way of landline telephone service – out of step with the times.

Following is a list of the shows that had me temporarily spellbound.

  • Scott & Baily – This crime television series has a female-led cast with dynamic characters and interesting and believable storylines. The series explores complicated family, workplace, and other intimate relationships. It shows women in the workplace supporting each other and it also highlights sexism in the workplace.
  • Doctor Foster– This series is a soap opera about an aging physician who is forced to cope with the complications associated with a two-timing husband, divorce, and sharing custody of her son. The stories explore the complexity of divorce when young children live at home,  and it amplifies the theme that divorce can adversely affect every area of one’s life.  Good acting makes this show worth watching.
  • Father Brown– ENTERTAINING and interesting!!!! An eclectic bunch of main and recurring characters and their interconnectedness to each other make this show worth watching. Explores a wide range of social topics including immigration, racism, domestic violence, religion, classism, and infidelity. The show is thought-provoking witty.
  • DCI Banks – This is an interesting detective series.
  • Kavanaugh QC– Binge watch well-developed characters and believable plots.
  • Miss Frasier’s Murder Mysteries- The lead character is a strong, independent, compassionate woman who uses both her mind and sexuality to get what she wants. The setting, 1920s Australia, and main character make this series interesting and fun.
  • Unforgotten– Worth watching detective show.
  • Midsomer Murders – Good detective show
  • House of Cards – Unscrupulous politicians, their spouses, and ambitious reporters do anything to get what they want. This show is plot and character driven.
  • Mad Men – Shows there was a time when advertising influenced the markets and changed people’s lives. This show is character and setting driven.