Saturday, May 30, 2015

Seeing the Authority Of His Lovingkindness

image used under Public Domain license,
photo obtained from commons.wikimedia.org
It's Saturday morning.  For most of us the work week is done. Our thoughts may be about family.  Certainly, as Christians, our thoughts will flow toward those who need to grow in our faith or those who need to discover the reality of who God is.  That's part of being Christian.  We follow Jesus Christ.  At the same time, we take on a leadership role toward others.  I've been doing that in a number of ways, over the years.  I'm now considering adding the foreign mission field to that spiritual resume.  If you'd consider helping that happen, we have a funding page for our first trip, called Send Bill to Costa Rica.

Once again, we turn to the sweet spirit of Todd Parsons for our Saturday devotional thought.  This time, he shares some thoughts on leadership and authority.  As you may have gathered from the title, Todd has a fresh insight that we can glean from.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Without Ceasing

image used under Public Domain license, 
photo from en.wikipedia.org
Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees. -Victor Hugo

Think about that one.  It places the right focus on prayer. It defines prayer.  It places our function in the act of prayer. Prayer is a commitment, an expression of having relationship, a form of conversation.  It's an expression of our place in relationship, a recognition of subservience, a request.  Prayer expresses our need, a recognition of whence that need can be fulfilled.  It speaks of hope and it recognizes the source of that hope.

Our illustration is probably the most famous artwork relating to prayer: Albrecht Durer's "Praying Hands".  It depicts prayer as worship, as an attitude toward God, one of reverence.  Which makes the most recognizable verse on prayer seem so essential.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Our Liberty is Revealed; "Come"

image used under Public Domain license,
photo obtained from commons.wikimedia.org
First, our funding for our short term mission trip to Costa Rica continues to grow.  Admittedly, slower than I'd hoped, but the timing's up to God.  Our job is to be available and ready.  The funding helps with each phase.  If you'd like to be part of all this, you can go to Send Bill to Costa Rica and donate.

The goal isn't really all that large for our exploratory trip.  Any and all help will be appreciated.  Our goal is to be like the Israelite spies, exploring the Promised Land.  Seeking to find out how we can best help "take the land" for God.  We know that God has blessed us and wants to bless the people of Costa Rica with His presence.  We want to be part of that.

Having said all that, nothing is better or more important for meditation than the Word of God.  And Todd Parsons shows us that, today.  We get to follow the verses that were the foundation of one of his recent meditations.  Let God take you where He'd have you go with these.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Just Breathe

As usual with many of my posts, seemingly disparate things come together for something quite different from any of them separately.  So, let's see what God's doing with this one.

Early in 2014 I saw the wallpaper that illustrates this post.  I kind of like the phrase, much  like "chill", "relax", etc. Maybe a little Zen flair to it.  I'm totally unsure where I found the wallpaper, but it works very nicely as an anchor.  But we'll get to that.

March of 2015,  the well known sub sandwich chain, Subway, started an ad campaign for an expanded range of footlong subs, $6 each.  In it a customer starts to get excitedly confused by all the possibilities.  At which point the counter girl advises him, "Breathe. Just breathe.".  If those two aren't enough to get things rolling....


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Today, "Thy Will Be Done" In Us...‏

image used under Public Domain license,
photo obtained from commons.wikimedia.org
It's been a few weeks since we've heard from Todd Parsons. We're overdue.  And, today, Todd takes on an important topic. It's easy to look at others and point to those times when it's obvious they're following their own will rather than God's.  But are we always as diligent in self examination?  Actually, no.  But there's a Godly insight that can allow us to recognize and correct that.  So, let's see what Todd has to say.  And we'll start with his starting verse:

Luke 11:2  Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Perspective Does Make A Difference - Revisit

I Think We're Alone Now
I hope it was a spectacular Mothers' Day weekend for everyone.  Mine was quieter than most. Unfortunately, a bug or flu or allergy or whatever decided to occupy the same space.  Lots of yuck, not much energy or focus.  We seem to be better this morning.  But, alas,  not in time to give you a fresh post.  So, I thought I'd do some minor editing on one of my favorites and let you enjoy it once more.

Our Illustration photograph is titled “I Think We’re Alone Now”, taken by Lotus Carroll at the Hearst Mining building at the University of California, Berkeley.  All rights belong to Ms. Carroll.  I borrowed this from her Flickr site under the provisions allowed there.  I first saw this when she posted it on Google+.  I then reshared it with the comment that created today’s title.

Take a look at the picture.  The lights, the floors, the railings all form straight lines contrasting with the arches on either side and overhead.  Those straight lines compel you to focus on the three doors at the other end of the room.  You just sense that there’s something important behind one or more of those doors.  And what that might be is still a mystery.  That evokes a series of possibilities of stories coming out of that picture.  But suppose Lotus had taken this picture from a different vantage point.  How would that affect how the picture speaks to the viewer?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Random Thoughts, May 2015

image used under Creative Commons license, 
photo by S. J. Pyrotechnic, from Flickr
This is one of those posts of random thoughts, tied to some of our more recent posts.  But, unlike our previous random thoughts posts,  these are more cohesive, connected.  If you've ever given a kitten or cat a ball of yarn and watched what happens, you know what I mean. It's not separate pieces of yarn. Instead, it's one long piece and, after the cat's redirected it a couple of times, that strand of yarn crosses itself several times.  Like the picture at the right.  All kind of connected on some surreal kind of way.

If you read Monday's post, you got an eyeful on the kind of detail that goes into getting onto the mission field.  But I wanted to touch a bit more on the spiritual reasons for wanting to go.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Go And Bring Forth Fruit

image used under Creative Commons license, 
photo by Arturo Sotillo, from Flickr
The title is familiar to many Christians, from John 15:16, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." Or, in principle, Mark 16:15, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.". We recognize it as a call to evangelism, outreach, missions.  And it's a call from Christ to all Christians.


The call often seems stronger in seemingly exotic settings such as the one to the left.  That's a neighborhood in San Jose, Costa Rica in 1993.  Not all that long ago.  In truth, the center of San Jose doesn't look all that different from Baltimore.  There's traffic and mass transit.  And it's still a place I'm thinking of going to.  Including having started a funding campaign, here: http://www.gofundme.com/sxs68c .  Let's take a look at why and what makes up my missions bucket list.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Letter to My Future Son-in-Law

Here's the final part of our non-series on counsel and relationships.  Dwight Clough, having two daughters, addresses some of the things he'd like to see a future son-in-law bring to the marriage, connecting with both wife and God.  Though it's unspoken, there's an underlying understanding that none of us attain sinless perfection.

We began, last Saturday, with Todd Parsons' meditation on counsel.  Then, on Monday, we hit the Good Housekeeping interview with Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard.  They highlighted the benefits of getting counsel, even when we don't think we need it.  Now, let's see what Dwight says to a future son-in-law.