Tuesday's slice of bread

A weekly post premised on this: Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord (Prov. 16:20)

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Location: Florence, Kentucky, United States

married to my best friend, writer, teacher, avid reader, occasional poet, volunteer

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Undeserved Mercies

Contemplating the undeserved mercies of
My Almighty Father,
I realize that is what mercies are:
Underserved.
Contemplating that,
What can I do but worship Him
With greater gratitude?

Contemplate the meeting of the Triune
Before time began to establish
Who would live,
When they would live,
Where they would live,
And all of the details of
Each life, concerning which we call
Here and now, or, time.

Contemplate the knowledge
Adam and Eve would sin as they did,
And that He would make a way for reconciliation--
Something God was not obligated to do--
The most costly way to God:
The Incarnation.

And all of those years Christ was subject
To temptation, yet
Never gave in, not
In thought nor in word nor in deed.
Yet He went to the cross as if
He were as guilty as those on
His right and His left.

He went, knowing what He would face.
He went, knowing for whom He would die.
He went, silent as a lamb before its shearers.
He went.
He suffered,
He died.
He died--verified.
Dead, He was buried.

Yet, mystery of all mysteries,
He was raised from the dead;
Raised--verified.
He was seen by twos and more--
500 at one time.

Ascended to the Father;
Ascended--verified.
Eyewitnesses to that would
Spread the word, would
Testify, would
Die once their testimonies were
Written.
Wrtten--verfied.
Ascended to the Father,
Christ the Intercessor.

Some day, determined before there was
One day, Christ will return.

Even so, come!
Receive the honor due
To You--
Worship in every language,
From every people,
For all eternity--
To the glory of the Father,
In the perfection of the Spirit.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Transition

We were in California for almost 19 years. Moving to Kentucky meant leaving many dear friends, not knowing as many where we were moving.  But what must have it been for the Lord to make the transition from heaven to earth? Philippians 2:5-11 tells us something about that:

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus who, though he was in the form of God, did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Because of that, this is possible:

"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself" (Philippians 3:20-21).


Tuesday, July 04, 2017

He Who Sits in the Heavens

He who sits in the heavens
Laughs at those who oppose His rule,
Leads those who submit to it,
Loves those who are called His own,
Listens to the prayers of His people.
He who sits in the heavens
Reigns in holiness,
Rules unchanging as Prophet, Priest, King,
Returns yet at a predetermined time.
He who sits in the heavens
Acts tirelessly for
His glory and the good of His people.
He who sits in the heavens
Ought to receive all praise and all glory
For His great goodness and mercy to the sons of men.

See Psalm 2, especially verses 10-12.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Epiphany

According to dictionary.com, this word is a noun having four meanings:
1. (Initial capital letter) a Christian festival, observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day.
2. An appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity.
3. A sudden, intuitive perception or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
4. A literary work or section of a work presenting, especially symbolically, such a moment of revelation or insight.

I had something similar to numbers 3 and 4 back in March 1986 while visiting in Valparaiso, IN, while contemplating my near death experience in Minneapolis, MN, in June 1971 and am posting this today.

EPIPHANY

Repetitive reflexes relax responsibly.
There is something to be said,
But who am I to say it?
Simpler to self-surround
With written sound.
And on the Thursday last,
Sitting at a blonde round table
Which was thoroughly engraved
With collegiate graffiti,
Sitting
Annotating THE DIVINE IMPERATIVE,
Merely being
There
Three months prior to
The fifteenth anniversary of my near death
In Minneapolis General Hospital,
Again the question,
Why do I live again?
But
This time, and from this time,
Answered: Because it is His good pleasure.

46 years on, it still amazes me that He would be so pleased and to Him be the glory, whether I live or I die.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Continuing after my near death experience 46 years ago

Last week I wrote that June 11, 1971, might well have been the last day I lived. Instead, God gave me another 46 years.

The accident took place on a Friday, early afternoon. Someone found my ID and left a note, which I never saw, for my roommates. Someone from the church I was going to at the time called my family, which took some doing given the time of day. Contact made, finally, my family drove prayerfully from their farm in west central Minnesota to the hospital in Minneapolis. Was I dead? If alive, how badly hurt was I? All sorts of questions. Meanwhile, I was out of it.

No one was sure what exactly happened.

I was fortunate, to say the least. I had a badly bruised left foot, but no bones were broken. I had an injury to my left temple. The doctors told my family that a bit more in one direction and I would have been blind in that eye; a little more in another direction, and I would have been dead. Even though my heart had stopped and been restarted, I have no exciting views of heaven to share. When I go finally, I don't expect to be back with a report. I expect to be fully engaged in worshiping my Lord and King, Jesus Christ.

I left the hospital on the Sunday of that same June weekend, on crutches, and went home to the farm to recover. I got to spend some of the summer at a Bible camp, even on crutches. By August I was well enough to go back to the city and resume my job search.

I was able to get employment proofreading microfiche (Does anyone remember those?) Two years after that, I moved on to another employer, where I tried my hand at computer programming, learning Basic and Fortran (Does anyone remember those?) Then a brief stint with another business, until it was downsizing and last hired, first fired. From there, I found employment with the state of Minnesota, taking a variety of positions. By the end of 1984, I was poised to move to Illinois, to enter graduate school.

I expected to complete my degree in 18 months, as that was the time frame my advisor and I had worked out, and then return to my home state.

But the Lord, who had preserved my life in 1971, had other plans.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Thinking back on the 46 years since June 11, 1971

Friday, June 11, 1971, I was sideswiped, as a pedestrian, by a city bus in Minneapolis. I had been on my way to meet a friend for lunch.

One minute, I was standing on the sidewalk, waiting for the light to change; the next minute, or so I thought, I was flat on my back in a hospital ward.

A nurse came over to me, my family in tow. She had one question: Did I know who those people were? I thought that an odd question. "My parents and sister," I replied, and passed out.

I do recall asking my mom, while I was still in the hospital, why my chest hurt so much. Like any mom, she peered down my gown. She saw bruises and went to find out their cause. I slept. Later, she told me that the ambulance people had had to restart my heart by pounding on my chest. That was news to me. I have, thankfully, no memory of the accident or having to be revived that way.

Oh, nothing was broken, though I had a badly bruised left foot, and a mark on my left temple. The doctors told my parents if I had been hit a little more in one direction I would have been blind in that eye, a little more in another direction and I would have been dead.

It was never resolved as to what exactly happened to land me in that hospital ward. I was released on Sunday, June 13, to complete my recovery at the family home.

On crutches for a few weeks, wearing a bread wrapper on my swollen foot, I even got to spend some time serving as a Bible camp counselor. The kids did not take advantage of the situation.

The Lord graciously gave me 46 more years of life that day, years I have begun to reflect on. Future blog posts will expand on this.

As Proverbs 16:9 put it: "The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps."

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Brief Comments on Aspects of Sanctification

Romans 11 ends with this exclamation: "Oh, the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable are His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO HAS BEEN HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen" (vv. 33-36).

Where could Paul go from there? Romans 12 begins: "Therefore [in light of these truths] I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect" (vv. 1-2).

What do we use to renew our minds in line with God's will but God's Word? As Paul wrote to Timothy: "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Scripture teaches us, reproves us, corrects us, trains us in righteousness, and equips us.

As Peter also wrote: "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust" (2 Peter 1:2-5).

What was Peter's further testimony? "For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, 'This is My beloved Son with whom I am well pleased'--and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God" (2 Peter 1:16-21).

How do we decide to dwell on otherwise? "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these thing" (Philippians 4:8).