Sunday, October 29, 2023

In the Letting Go

 


There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. ~Ecclesiastes 3:1

Verdant leaf, once was I

One of many countless friends

Who waved and shouted glory

In the presence of the sun

Vibrant, filled with vigor

Waxing, no thought of waning

In the season yet to come

Season here, my color fades

Shining green steeped in brown

There's not strength to carry on

But in the letting go, I live

Because the promise of the One

Knows I have played my part

Amen

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Sing to the Lord!

 


Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. ~Psalm 96:1


Most of you who have been following my blog know that Danny and I have been invited by our church, now known as Shiloh Community Church since we will soon be leaving the UMC, to sing on the first Sunday of each month.  Once a month?  Who can't handle that?  It's a perfect schedule for us as we are easing back into getting reacquainted with the worship songs we knew by heart so many years ago when Danny still led our praise band at our previous church.

Out of the blue, earlier this month, our intrepid lay leader, Sandy, asks us if we could perform the special music for the following Sunday.  We readily agree, knowing that we have a whole luxurious week to practice and prepare for another selection.  Everything goes according to plan, which is the way we both like it.  After all, we are singing not not just for the congregation, but also to the glory of God.

As we are getting ourselves ready for church this past Sunday, we receive an urgent and unexpected text from Sandy:  Can y'all fill in again this week?  I need two songs if at all possible.  I'm just worn out with everything I've had to do in the pumpkin patch this week, the pastor's not here, and I really need your help!

Two songs?  TWO???

Talk about flying by the seat our pants!  Fortunately, Danny has earmarked several possible songs for future Sundays that he's also practiced  But have I practiced?  The answer is a resounding, "NO!"

Miraculously, Danny and I are left with enough time that morning to rehearse each song once.  For me, that's not enough, but it will have to do or we will be late for church.  That's when I begin praying in earnest:  Please, Lord, let us both get through this today; our singing needs to be to Your honor and glory, not ours.  May we represent You well to our congregation today!

Don't let anyone tell you that God doesn't hear your prayers.  He does!  And sometimes, His answer is immediate as it was for me on Sunday.  Both songs rolled easily from our lips and our harmonies could not have been better, even if we had practiced all week.  Wow!

This undergirds one of my basic beliefs:  If you dedicate the gifts God has given you to His service, all will be well with your soul.

Sing to the Lord a new song of praise today!

Amen!

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

A Plentiful Harvest

 


He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."  ~Luke 10:2


The biggest fund raiser our church holds is the annual pumpkin patch in October.  Since Shiloh is located on a busy street in our town of Kennesaw, the presence of the pumpkins is readily noticed by all who pass by.  Thank goodness our church laborers were many when the tractor trailer arrives with box upon box of pumpkins!  Unloading and displaying them on the adjacent grounds is no small task.  Danny and I help as much as we can on Sunday after service, but my continuing issues with balance on uneven ground keeps me from being handy with reaching for and lifting pumpkins from the massive boxes, although I was able to cart the empty boxes away and learn how our purchasing procedures work with the customers who will be parading by in the weeks before Halloween.  Needless to say, I will be doing plenty of volunteer work in the weeks to come.

Danny stops by the pumpkin patch this past Monday to snap some photos.  Enjoy!












Hopefully, those who visit us to buy their Halloween pumpkins and decorations won't leave empty-handed.  We don't want to have any leftovers!

And may we always strive to be God's tireless workers to the honor and glory of His name that others may reap the joy of His love and grace.

Amen!

Monday, October 9, 2023

Jerusalem's Peace

 


Pray for Jerusalem's peace!  Prosperity to all you Jerusalem-lovers!  Friendly insiders, get along!  Hostile outsiders, keep your distance! ~Psalm 122:6-9 (MSG)

We awaken this past Saturday to an unexpected and unprecedented shock.  The country of Israel has suffered an attack on their soil by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  As the news shouts from the television screen, the images are so exceedingly disturbing and heartrending.  I feel like I'm viewing scenes from a horror movie.  But this is no fictional tale.

As the day progresses, questions swirl in my mind.  Where was the Iron Dome?  Why didn't it work?  How did Hamas breech the physical border between Israel and Gaza?  What was the state of intelligence gathering before this heinous event?  Why can't the hostile outsiders learn to keep their distance?

I'm sure all those questions and more will be addressed and answered in the coming weeks.  But for now, I can only watch, listen and grieve for the families who lost loved ones who were either killed or taken as hostages by Hamas.  Just the latter fact will make it all the more difficult to storm Gaza with a barrage of firepower.

War is ugly.  Horrifying.  And in this case, unprovoked.

It is beyond my comprehension that there are people here in America who insist on blaming Israel for this conflict.  When did the Jewish state fire the first shot?  Kill the first Arab?  Declare war against their neighbor?

They didn't.

And now, the United States is not only called upon to engage in some way with this middle-east conflict, but we are also under the obligation to aid our Ukrainian brothers and sisters in their continuing struggle against Russia's power and aggression.

I can't help but conclude that all this chaos is a product of a weak and feckless administration.  No matter what your think, or thought about, President Donald Trump, he governed with the policy of peace through strength, just as President Reagan did in the 1980s.

And it was working.  The middle-east peace treaty enacted through the Abraham accords.  Islamic terrorist leaders taken out, stopped in their steps before creating more havoc and unrest in the region.  And the hope for more peaceful alliances created in that crucial corner of the world in the future.  Think the recent negotiations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

How does God feel when He sees His chosen people under siege?  I'm sure His heart is breaking with the slaughter of innocents.  His heavenly tears falling as He witnesses, once again, man's inhumanity to man on full display.

May we continue to pray for our Jewish brothers and sisters stranded in their war-torn country as they strive to defend their homeland - the Holy Land.  And may God Almighty bless them with triumph and victory over this evil, that Jerusalem may once again know peace.

The peace that passes all understanding.

Amen!

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Hanging by a Thread

 


He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap. ~1 Timothy 3:7


Surprised, suspended between heaven and earth

Tossed about by errant breezes wild

Caught in stray strand of spider's web

Held fast by sticky, stubborn thread of silk

Bane of insects, now the trap for leaf

Where to go?  What to do?  Expecting

Help to arrive with God's grace

Save me from the snares of sin, free me

For the mission You have ordained

That my journey here on earth persists

Until I hear Your call:  Come Home!

Amen



Sing a New Song

  Danny and I in his new music studio Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. ~Psalm 96:1 A new song shall I sing unto...