Here is one example of a less-than-great “founding father.” (This article was updated this year.)
Psalm 118:1-4 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever. Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
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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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.
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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|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. :-) ]
With the staff that had failed in my need
Where the road had been stony and steep;
With the lamp that was smoking and dim,
Though the darkness was growing more deep;
Weary, too weary to pray
And too heavy-hearted to sing,
Faint with the toils of the way
I came to the court of the King.
There where the fountains fall cool,
Their waters unfailing and pure;
There where the ministering palms
Stand like His promises sure,
Oh! there was peace in its shade,
Oh! there was rest in its calm;
And its sweet silences lay
On my bruised spirit like balm.
Long did I kneel in His court,
And walk in His garden so fair;
All I had lost or had lacked
I found in His treasuries there;
Oil to replenish my lamp,
His kindness a crown for my head,
For the staff that had wounded my hand
The rod of His mercy instead.
A garment of praises I found
For the sullen, dark garb I had worn,
And sandals of peace for the feet
That the rocks and the briers had torn;
Joy for my mourning He gave,
Making my spirit to sing,
And, girded with gladness and strength,
I passed from the court of the King.
Annie Johnson Flint
Psalm 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
painting by Abbott Fuller Graves
John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
John 20:11-18 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
|Peppers grown by my dad in Tennessee.|
Sister in the Mid-west at Simple Inspirations posted a recipe recently for aged or fermented hot pepper sauce. My dad loves this kind of sauce and he recently figured out how to make his own using Tabasco peppers that he grew. I don't know if he has a recipe or not as he tends to "fly by the seat of his pants" when cooking. (Yeah, that's partly where I got it.) This recipe sounds similar to what my dad probably did, so I thought it would be interesting to share it. I'll ask my dad about his recipe later, if I remember. :-)
Psalm 96:1-13 O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
Things have been tense lately as election day approaches in the U.S. Emotions are running high. People have been pressured and even attacked by their family, church family, and friends in ways that feel invasive and lacking in Christian grace. I find it all rather appalling and overwhelming at times.
I was lying in bed thinking about something I had seen myself and just feeling kind of sad and lost in the maze of unkind assertions, when a portion of a verse came to mind.
"the answer of a good conscience toward God"
And something that I already knew in theory struck me more fully, namely this: that my conscience is meant to answer to God, not another Christian. To God. No one else.