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Musings 27, Praise Him

“Praise him, praise him, all ye little children. God is love. God is love.” The sweet voices of the children remain long after the church service, lingering in my heart. Of course we praise God, but do we all need a dose of praise? Do we give praise to others often enough? Do we offer compliments, the touch-stone of praise, freely?

Mark Twain wrote, “I can live on a good compliment two weeks with nothing else to eat.” He must have been starving for praise, and judiciously offered praise felt – – – well, delicious. He had earned it.

We may not realize we are starved for appreciation, but compliments satisfy our longing to be noticed. Praise feeds us. Catch someone doing the right thing and be free with a compliment, said the teacher of student-teachers. It is better to reach out positively for good behavior, than scold for bad behavior. One’s appearance, his performance and his social behavior can be changed with the reward of praise, reported a Harvard Business School paper.

Offer compliments and praise freely to help your friends and family feel good about themselves. We can’t be stingy with praise. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. God is good, and so are we- – – well, most of the time. He loves us and appreciates us. Can we do more for those around us?

My readers are wonderful – awesome – handsome – smart.

From your Patchwork Writer. Happy Thanksgiving!

(Psalm 100: 4) Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.

(1 Corinthians 13: 6) Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, or boastful, or proud, or rude. (8) Love will last forever.

(Hebrews 12: 28) Let us worship God with holy fear and awe.

A prayer of thanksgiving from Habakkuk 2, 3.  The Lord is in his holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before him. I know of his amazing works. He comes across the desert and across the seas, over the mountains as bright as sunrise. I wait patiently with gratitude for his approach.

 

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Musings 26, High Beams

I do not like to drive at night, but on a dark road I put on my high beams. Suddenly I can see ahead more clearly, and others can see me. Sometimes animals scurry to the side. Other drivers drop their lights as I approach them, and I drop mine so they won’t be blinded, but having a good light to see what is ahead makes me feel safer.

Some people seem to have high beam smiles. Their smiles light up their faces, and when they direct that smile at me, I feel warmer. It would be difficult not to return a high-beam smile. They’re contagious.

There are many reasons to read the Bible, even when the print is small and you need extra light. Jesus is the light of the world, and as we read the New Testament we take in his light and radiate it to those around us. Reading the Bible is like getting our batteries charged. The world is a safer place when we have light – and we smile at the light. We can “pack up our troubles in an old kit bag, and smile, smile, smile” because there is light. Let’s use those high beam smiles to produce more light. Smile and the world smiles with you. (Then we will never cry alone.)

(Matthew 5: 16) Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

(Matthew 5: 14) You are the light of the world. Do not put your light under a basket, but use it to give light to your house.

(Genesis 1: 14-18) (On day one) God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from night. Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth,” and that is what happened.Then God made two great lights – the larger one to govern the day and the smaller one to govern the night. He made the stars. God set these lights in the sky to govern the earth, to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

 

Musings 25, Energized

Who or what needs energy? Everybody and everything that moves and/or operates – agree? The solar lights in the garden require little batteries which seem to need replacement often, the cordless clocks, the smoke alarm, even our cars require batteries to give them energy. Batteries, large and small, have temporary power. Time wears away at the power in a battery, and we need to restore the energy if our stuff is to be of any use.

We could plug that equipment into our electrical outlets, a wonderful a source of energy. Those outlets are stationary, so would require  extension cords to be useful away from them. Problems abound.

On this earth, we need energy, power of all kinds, solar, wind, horse, oxen – name it. Time and age wear away at our power. Samson had his own source of power, his hair, until Delilah found her scissors. Scripture reminds us that we are bombarded with the negative power of sin that would discourage and defeat us. But the power of Jesus goes beyond earthly power.We must reach out to heavenly power to be effective. Heavenly power is available, inexhaustible, and free. When we feel that lack of energy, we need to reach upward for the source of all power. This little light of mine, let it shine, let it shine! Amen?

(Psalm 96: 2, 3) Come before his presence with Thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with song. For the Lord is King above all.

(Ephesians 2: 8, 9) By grace you are saved, not by yourself or your work.

(1 Peter 3: 8) Have compassion, love as brothers, and be courteous to all.

(Revelation 12: 10) Salvation and strength will come, and the accuser will be cast down.

 

Musings 24, The Devil in the Church?

Can a devil enter a church? One did Sunday at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland, Texas. A depraved gunman killed 26 and wounded 20 worshipers. Christians have prayed for them, their families, and the suffering community. This small town never thought this could happen, and prayer is an outreach, an act of compassion everyone can give.

However, some find the practice of prayer offensive, and take verbal and written shots at it. One wrote, “These people were praying, and it didn’t work.” An actress tweeted, “It seems your direct line to God is not working.” Jay Reed on MSNBC said, “Remember when Jesus of Nazareth came upon thousands of hungry people, and rather than feeding them, thought and prayed.” (Jay, do you remember the loaves and fish?)

The author of WSJ’s Main Street, William McGurn, wrote boldly on Tuesday, November 7, “How Dare the GOP Pray for Texas?” Mr. McGurn dares to show the hypocrisy of those who think banning guns will stop assaults, but prayer won’t.

I urge you to pray. We must pray harder and more often than we have ever prayed before. The door to heaven is wide open, but Christianity is being attacked, not with guns, but with liberal sentiments. Then, ask not what God can do for you … but what you can do to keep the doors of God’s church wide open.

(Matthew 7: 7) Keep on asking, and you will receive what you asked for. Keep on seeking and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.

(Revelation 21: 8) Cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, immoral and all liars, their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.  (really grim!)

(Romans 12: 12) Rejoice in hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them.

Musings 23, Reformation

Five hundred years ago, on October 31, 1517 or thereabouts, an Augustinian monk nailed 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany. Martin Luther did not know he was starting a Reformation of the Holy Catholic Church, nor did he expect wide dissemination of his ideas. His theses were written in Latin, understood only by the cultured elite; but he hoped to instigate a debate about the church’s widespread practice of selling “indulgences” for the forgiveness of sins. Buying your way to heaven was not the way to God, he believed. What happened next must have shocked the monk.

Gutenberg had invented the printing press. Martin Luther’s theses were translated into German and widely disseminated, creating a movement called The Reformation that eventually produced thousands of new kinds of churches, including Lutheran and later Presbyterians and Baptists. The movement produced the concepts of religious tolerance, democracy, and freedom. Martin Luther was excommunicated.

Reformation has happened slowly over the last 500 years, and where it will take us in the future is to be determined. What a great accident! Or was it?

(Read Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World (Viking Press) by Eric Metaxus.)

(James 4: 14) How do you know what your life will be tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.

(James 4: 17) Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do, and then not do it.

(James 17: 4) And Jesus prayed, “I brought glory to you (God) here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”

(John 17: 17) …and he continued, “Make them holy by your truth, teach them your word.

Musings 22, Where’s the Witch?

“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” Exodus 22: 18 tells us. Perhaps witches have been extinguished, for except on Halloween they rarely appear. A clap of thunder, a flash of lightning introduce three witches in Macbeth. 

Act 1, Scene 1, First witch: “When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning, or in rain.”

Second Witch: When the hurly burly’s done. When the battle’s lost and won.

Third Witch: That will be ere the set of sun.

An eye opening beginning for a tragedy. See the pointy hat, the black cloak, a broomstick or a magic wand, for the hurly burly is never done, but witches hide out of sight, except on Halloween. Witches and wizards  have never been acceptable in polite company, except maybe in Harry Potter novels. Where did they go? Perhaps one resides in your neighborhood and you will see her tonight. Scary stuff, but don’t be afraid, for—

Jesus is our refuge, today and forever. Happy Halloween!

(2 Samuel 22: 31) The Lord is a shield for all who look to him for protection.

(Psalm 46: 1) God is our refuge and a very present help in trouble.

(Psalm 62:8) Trust in the Lord at all times. Pour out your heart to him.

Musings 21, Basic Training

Fort Dix, New Jersey, in 1957, provided my husband and I less than fond memories of basic training. Drafted to duty with the army, my husband left me in Chester, Pennsylvania, with a new teaching job and a new driver’s license that I was loathe to use. The Chester ferry must have sported the digs I put into both sides of the wooden boundaries as I crossed the Delaware River in a car that was too big. The DMV had granted my license with the advice to practice further with a skilled driver, but necessity had prevailed.

In this summer of 2017, Grandson 2 takes basic training at the Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Learning new things generally requires a basic training to add to one’s accomplishments. We are proud of his desire to pursue his dreams.

From where do we get our most basic moral training? If we are fortunate, our parents provide it, and submit to a church for emphasis and enrichment. This summer, our church saw to the basic training of more than 300 children who participated in vacation Bible school. Surely they will be enriched by the experience. God is alive and flourishes in this neighborhood, as our children learn and have fun with new experiences. We are blessed.

(John 16: 33) In this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer. Jesus has overcome the world.

(John 4: 4) We are the children of God. Greater is he than we.

(Psalm 145: 18) The Lord is near to all who call on him.

(Numbers 6: 25) May the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.