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Friday, November 27, 2020

Planning NOT to Buy Too Much

1 Timothy 6:6-8 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 

This is an interesting video that explains what is called "the Diderot Effect." This is the odd tendency that people have that leads to chain purchase. By that I mean, you buy something and then need something else to go with it, and something else to go with that, and so forth till you've made a whole string of purchases based on that first purchase. The first purchase may actually be needed, but often the following purchases are not. At the end, Becker suggests that instead of trying to impress people with things, you should try to impress them with how you live. I understand why he says that, but in the biblical worldview that isn't what Christians should be trying to do either. We should be living to glorify God. Keeping the excessive and unnecessary consumption and purchase of things under control is one way that we can glorify God. Learning to be content with what God has given us is one way to achieve that.

It seemed especially appropriate to post this now as so many people are focusing on buying at this time of year. Please consider your purchases prayerfully. Truthfully, folks, using Jesus' birth as an excuse to fill your homes (or "stockings") with junk is at the very least tacky. At worst it is dishonoring to the name that you claim to honor. Don't let yourself be caught up in the covetousness and hyper-consumerism of the season.  [For further reading: Spend Less, Don't Buy Stuff, Plan Ahead]

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Thursday, November 26, 2020

A Blessed Thanksgiving!

Psalm 107:21-22 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. 

Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 

How bless├Ęd to enjoy the gift,
To taste of mercy here below;
In humble thankfulness to lift
Our hearts to Him whom now we know.
To know His love, how great it is,
To own and feel that we are His.

T. Kelly

Lord of glory, we adore Thee!
Christ of God, ascended high!
Heart and soul we bow before Thee,
Glorious now beyond the sky:
Thee we worship,
Thee we praise—
Excellent in all Thy ways.

Richard Holden

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Worth Repeating - A Thanksgiving Meditation by Martha Snell Nicholson


Since man apart from God is but an abnormal creature, our greatest joys, our deepest satisfactions, come in our relationship to Him. So I thank Him this Thanksgiving season for sins forgiven, for a great High Priest touched with a feeling of my infirmities, for the privilege of being a tool in His mighty hand, for His guidance, for His ear that hears my prayers, for His arm on which to lean, for His precious Word in which He speaks to us explicitly, and for the blessed, blessed hope of His soon coming!

I thank Him, more than all else, for utter safety. In the past I have known what it was to be afraid, but now I know that I am entirely and perfectly secure. I feel that I have come into a safe harbor. Nothing, absolutely nothing, not my own deeds nor those of others, not the works of devils, not circumstances, not so-called fate -- nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. Pain, sorrow and bereavement can come, shattered nerves and body can be my lot, death can even put my body in the grave; but whatever comes, it passes first through His tender hands, and so I can love it because it comes from Him!

Nothing can keep me out of heaven. I am as safe now as though I were already there. Just these few hard years to live, these few burdens to bear, and then to be forever with Him, our daily portion glory beyond infinite glory! Thankful? My cheeks are wet with happy tears. Why He gives all this to a poor creature like me I do not know -- but I know that I shall need all eternity in which to thank Him for it!

by Martha Snell Nicholson 

Romans 8:35-39  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

First published here Nov. 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Evening Song - I Just Want to Thank You, Lord

Psalm 75:1
Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare. 

Psalm 107:1-2 O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; 

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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Autumn Roses, A Poem, and Some Thoughts on Quietness


Ecclesiastes 9:17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. 

Psalm 4:4-5 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.

Isaiah 30:15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.

Isaiah 32:18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places; 
2 Thessalonians 3:12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. 

1 Timothy 2:1-2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 

Sometimes in a world where there is so much noise, so much talking, so much activity, so much commenting, and so very many opinions it can be hard to find quiet let alone appreciate it. We can become accustomed to the clatter and chatter and forget the value of quiet. Yet, it is spoken of a number of times in scripture as a good thing. I find it curious in these present times that so many people are resentful and angry about having to physically "sit down and be quiet" - so to speak. This is especially disappointing coming from Christians who claim to know the word of God. When we fail to value quietness, we are failing to value something that God likes, that He has spoken well of, and that He has even commanded at times and in places.

Did you ever stop to think that one of the outstanding aspects of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ on this earth and of the new heaven and new earth is that we will dwell quietly? As I consider how many Christians, especially in America, complain and chafe against living a quiet life with less excitements and external activities, I can't help but think how much they are going to have to be changed in the resurrection in order to enjoy the quiet God has in store for us. And I would say that most of us are affected by the allure of activity and the busy life to some degree. But should the thought of a quiet life be so shocking?

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 

What does a godly, quiet, contented life look like? How can we live a quiet life today that glorifies God and rests in His strength? How can we alter our thinking and our expectations so that we can be content with less excitement and entertainment, so that we can appreciate the enforced quietness that we find ourselves in sometimes?

Jesus! I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For, by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

Oh, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea:
Oh, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart,
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings,
Thine is love indeed.

Ever lift Thy face upon me,
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

- Jean Sophia Pigott

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

A Walk Through the Michigan Woods In November

painting by Childe Hassam

Another great walk through the woods in Michigan, this time in November of this year when the colors were gorgeous. [I used a painting illustration because I couldn't share any of her photos. :-) ]

Fall Color at Ottawa County Parks November 2020