Friday, September 23, 2022

Psalm 10, God Cares

The writer of this Psalm knows God hears when his people call out to him, yet he is willing to cry out with doubts in time of trouble.

 

He talks with the Lord, telling him of the terrible things the wicked are doing to the weak and how the wicked care nothing for God. And, in the end, he knows the Lord will help those who cry out to him.

 

1: Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

2: In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.

3: He boasts about the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.

4: In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

5: His ways are always prosperous; your laws are rejected by him; he sneers at all his enemies.

6: He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.” He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”

7: His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue.

8: He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent. His eyes watch in secret for his victims;

9: like a lion in cover he lies in wait. He lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.

10: His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength.

11: He says to himself, “God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees.”

12: Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.

13: Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”?

14: But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.

15: Break the arm of the wicked man; call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out.

16: The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land.

17: You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,

18: defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.

 

Lord, help me to daily commit myself to you. Thank you that you care about what I care about, that you encourage me, that you are my Father. 

Friday, September 16, 2022

Sweet Memories, Made My Lips Twitch

January 19, 1999: Murray told the kids this morning that he has an interview this week, and Rebecca seemed concerned. She said, "Good." Then she said, "Maybe they'd like you better if you didn't tease so much." Then she thought some more and said, "What are you going to wear? I don't like when people wear a tie with a shirt that doesn't button."

 

January 22, 1999: I was writing on the braille writer the other day, and from upstairs I heard Caleb say excitedly, "Hey, Mom's writing on the braille writer almost as fast as Mrs. H.!" (She is his special teacher for visually impaired kids at school.)

 

The other night Rhoda got outside. Ping-Hwei told Murray, "Baba, Rhoda is in out."

 

February 2, 1999: This morning Sarah told Murray, "Every day I try -- I don't always remember -- but I try to have a long talk with Jesus."

 

Later Sarah was talking about giving prizes to kids in her class, talking in many fast sentences. Murray told her he hoped he got a prize, and in the middle of her explanation she stopped to say, "I'm your prize," then continued.

 

February 6, 1999: Rebecca was looking at her new spelling list last night, which were mostly with prefixes. "They're all perplexes," she told me.

 

February 9, 1999: Last week, Angel (the youngest cat) was licking Ping-Hwei, and he said, "That is tickle!"

 

February 11, 1999: A week or so ago the kids were talking about when Murray had an accident once in Alabama. Caleb told Rebecca that Daddy had accidently pulled out in front of another lady and she'd run into him. Rebecca asked, "Didn't the lady mind?" Caleb said thoughtfully, "Well, I don't think she liked it."

 

The other night Sarah told me and Caleb that there were some kids in her class at school who knew she had blind people in her family, and she said that they didn't think blind people could do anything. Indignantly Caleb asked, "Well, Sarah, did you tell them?"

 

Yesterday Sarah was taking a shower in the morning, and suddenly she called for Murray to come up to her. What did she need? "Daddy I hope you're not mad, but we had a wrapped sucker at school yesterday." (We have a rule that if the kids get wrapped candy at school, they're supposed to bring it home and we will dispense it or eat it ourselves, as we see fit.) Sarah went on: "I forgot the rule, and I ate it." "What color was it?" Murray asked. "Red," she answered. "Oooooh, I hope you enjoyed it!" Murray said, closed the door and left.

 

February 17, 1999: The other night Sarah was waiting in the hall for Murray to carry her to bed. Ping-Hwei went upstairs and said to her, "Sarah, tell me good-night."

 

The other day Rebecca was getting ready to take a shower. She asked me to get her a new towel. "Get me a big furry one," she said. 

Friday, September 9, 2022

Grace and Truth, Jesus Comforts His Disciples, John 14:15-31

Though Jesus knew his time of suffering was coming, he wanted to leave his disciples with hope. Jesus comforted them about when he would no longer be with them physically. The Holy Spirit would be with them and instruct them. In that way, Jesus would still be with those who loved and obeyed him.

 

Verses 15-18: “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

 

Jesus extended this promise to us today as well as to his disciples.

 

Verses 21-27: “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

 

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

 

 “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

 

Father God, I am sure Jesus was afraid then, and he knew his disciples would be going through terrible things. But he offered them peace anyway. Help me to find your peace in my days. 

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Guest Author, Ken Tatum

 

I found this book insightful and interesting.



Devotions With a Friend



Devotions With a Friend contains 21 devotionals on topics ranging from basic Christian doctrines of grace and love to spiritual growth to seeing God through our tools to how we see those people around us.  Each one is connected to specific verses of scripture.  But, since God inspired ALL the Bible, connections are often made to other verses which provide additional insights.  A prayer emphasis concludes each devotional to guide the reader into personal conversation with God.

Many of the thoughts related in these articles came from specific events I have lived through, or from snippets of sermons, lectures, or readings which God has led me through.  They came to me as I was going about daily life, trying to be a good witness to others of God’s work in my life.  Not necessarily because I was doing that so well and deserved special insights from my Lord, but rather because He loves me and wants me to learn from Him and grow in Him.  I know God has spoken to me, not in audible words, but through hundreds, if not thousands, of little experiences.

Earthly family conversations can be brief snippets as we grab a coffee and Danish dashing out the door.  They can be long discussions over the state of the nation and world that extend through the evening.  But often they are discussions of varied topics while eating dinner.  In healthy, vibrant families, those are the conversations that draw people together.  We find out how another person’s day went, hear what their desires are, and share things we have learned from the day’s events.  For me personally, those are the most meaningful times of inter-relating simply because our relationships grow stronger through them.

This book of devotions is intended to be like those casual “meal-time” conversations among friends and family. My suggestion is to read these brief notes sitting at the breakfast table with a favorite coffee or tea beverage in-hand or in the evening in the easy chair while resting from another busy day. Think of them as having a conversation with a close friend or family member who is going through similar experiences.  I hope readers feel like they are talking with a friend.

However, the greater goal is to have the readers talk with their Lord, their Father who loves them deeply and has adopted them into His family.  The writings included herein reveal times in which God has spoken to me, a lowly sinner redeemed by His grace.  I pray that others will allow their Master (and Friend) to speak to them also through these writings, just as He has to me.

Christians need to realize that God will, and wants to, speak to them.  Again, maybe not through audible words, but more likely through any of the millions of activities that they are involved in daily.  We all need to be listening for our Father’s voice.  God IS trying to speak to us!

I did not write this book to give all the answers that other Christians need.  I am sometimes criticized because I ask a lot of questions in my writings and do not provide enough direct statements of what I want understood.  But I do that on purpose; the real answers to our life’s events must come from God, not me.  And to hear those answers we must spend time with Him.  I want these articles to lead people to spend more time with Him.

I chose the book title to emphasize that all Christians are to be family and friends, and we should be able to share with one another in our Christian walk.  But, long after I chose the title, I realized I had created a double entendre.  When we study His Word we are also talking with another Friend: our heavenly Father and Lord!

 

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