Archive for September, 2014

Grace and Love

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Today I have been studying the Bible book of First John.  This was one of three letters that he wrote (the other two are much shorter – this one goes on and on for a few pages!).

I have noticed as I am reading, that John seems to be talking a lot about being righteous.  The Greek word (the language the New Testament of the Bible was written in) for practicing righteousness is paired with loving one another (I John 3:10). 

I know that I used to tell my children to always “do what is right”.  Often that just meant, “follow my rules.”  Of course, the implication is that I have a solid foundation in understanding what is right and wrong. 

For many of us, that foundation has been cemented in the idea of doing what our society considers to be the most honorable thing to do (and that is most often codified in our laws).  When societal norms change we adjust our idea of righteousness.

Which is where a Christian finds the most struggle.  The honorable thing for us is not expected to change.  John puts down the foundation that loving one another is righteousness.  Jesus answers the question of the laws that codify the honorable thing to do by saying “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” and “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

Where does that lead?  Of course, that is the big question.  It does not lead to selfishness, accumulation for our own sake, stealing and lying, adultery, slander, malice, and a whole bunch of other behaviours that degrade others, disregarding others as made in the image of God.  I wonder if it also has to do with manners, and chivalry and other proactive approaches to enhancing others’ lives? 

Some of my meandering thoughts for the day!

Journalling

Friday, September 19th, 2014

For many years I have been encouraged to journal my thoughts, with pen and paper!  I have a great example of journalling in my father, who was an avid journal writer, particularly in the latter days of his life.  I began serious journalling in 1994. 

I can hardly believe that 20 years have gone by so quickly.  Seldom do I peak back into the writings.  Somehow the present moment seems to take enough of my time! 

My prompting to return to the journals is often accompanied by a similar situation arising in my life.  For the few occasions on which this has happened, I am amazed at how my current reactions have been rehearsed previously in the journal entries.

In that way, the journal is helpful.  Where the outcome is positive, the affirmation is helpful.  Where there is less than sterling past results, a recalibration may be needed.

Currently I am journalling through a few life transitions that have caused me stress.  My job role is changing, I have remarried after the passing of my first wife two and a half years ago, I have a teen at home after having been an empty nester for eight years.  Those are just a few of the transitions in my life.

I am eager to be two or three years down the road to see what my reactions are/were.  But, for the moment, I need to stop and journal!

Riding

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

As I awake each morning, I attempt to ride my stationary bike – for at least 20 minutes.

Somehow your body awakens.  Much as my early morning time journaling and reading the Bible awakens my spiritual conversation with God, my physical exercise awakens my mind to thinking, my body to action and my heart to a new day.

For all the wonky approaches to exercise, the body “ripping” that people show in videos and pictures, just a bit of activity for the muscles in the body is better than nothing at all.

In fact, maybe we need to start making exercise videos that show the usual daily routine.  I get out of bed because . . . I wander to the room where the bike is because . . . I pedal for a while because . . . and after a time of adjusting to this rhythm the “because” becomes “for the sake of.” 

This can apply to taking a walk, or finding a place where you are rested and can stretch your toes.  I guess it’s not so much what we will look like, but how we will be able to face the day with renewed energy that really counts.

When meets the sun

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

There are days when we meet the sun and the rays examine our day.

Over this past while I have been journalling and seeking to understand each day as a new adventure.  In my journalling, I am finding that loss is a part of my life.  With that in mind, I have been listing my losses and seeking to find a way towards acceptance.

Now, many of these losses have been accepted over time.  The interesting thing of the human brain is that we store many pictures – and when we return to those pictures, we must also return to the context and the follow up that has happened in framing those experiences.

Although I can write of many losses, God has gifted me with each one.  Some have been fully opened and are on display.  But I am finding some that are still wrapped and have somehow been hidden for the last while.  As I open them, I am trusting the giver to shine his light on them.

As the light shines, the dark places will come to light.  That is the promise of a trusted giver.  That doesn’t mean that I am always eager to open the next gift.  A wrapped present means a new and unknown gift.

Again, the giver is the key!  And I lean heavily on past faithfulness and trust for these coming days in the giver’s love for me.

Rain

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Although the forecast “mixed precipitation” did not occur, the use of that term puts a bit of scare into our farming community.  We expect that frost may come, and rain and dew and even a sprinkle of snow may be present – but when they combine and continue the harvest may be in jeopardy!

Which reminds me that God knows and we don’t.

For years my father served, first as a farmer and then as a weather forecaster.  I suppose one could ask how they related.

Both occupations required a look to the skies and a reminder that we are never in control.  We can manage as well as possible, based on past observations and scientific projections – but we cannot create, sustain or tell for sure (and I mean with 100% accuracy) the future.

When you see both careers side by side, you are soon struck with their similarities.  And perhaps a reason for my father’s firm commitment that there was a God!

Week One

Monday, September 8th, 2014

They say a job change is transition in the higher echelons.

Change has become a much discussed item in my head.  And with a number of people around me.  There is no easy description of loss – for to change is to lose something.  There is no easy description of gain – for to change is to gain something.

Whether negative or positive, equilibrium changes.

My first week of work as an associate pastor at the Kindersley Alliance Church was unexpected.  I began with a statutory holiday.  Actually, I began with a recovery day – I had gained a cold that would plague me during the week.  Even a Thursday night meeting was touch and go until the actual meeting time – with a bit of planning on my part to be sure that the hours prior to the meeting I did not slow down and tuck myself in bed.  And Friday morning I declined an outdoor volunteer work time, hoping to not aggravate my cold.  Saturday (my planned day off) ended with a youth BBQ where I enjoyed some football – the point at which I figured perhaps my cold would survive a bit of strenuous exercise.  Sunday morning the residuals of my cold were still present – although I could croak out a few vocals for the worship team I was on.

As I look back, my first week was not full of the stellar days one would hope to carry into a new job.  I wonder what this next week will hold?

When coughs are not enough

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Yes, my cold has been not the best.

What a nice way to say that I have been resting lots, trying not to have to do to much visitation and talking with people, and generally trying to recuperate.

Monday was a no voice day – at least not that I could generate a great squeak or two during the day!  Besides constant coughing.

Last night was good rest and a bit more solid sense of recuperation.  And a few coughs.  That I take as a good sign.

Coughs indeed are not enough.  Best not to have any at all.

Stressors

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

In this past while I have been monitoring the stress in my life. 

Not that life doesn’t always have stress.  In fact, good stress gets the title “eustress” to distinguish it from “distress”.

Yesterday I did a self-evaluation, and talked a bit with my doctor about this.  Thankfully you can call on others to provide support, and I have been making enquiries over the last while from family and friends and others whom I trust.

The scale for acceptable levels of stress was much lower than where my self-evaluation placed me.  I realized this was happening and have maintained some disciplines (prayer, exercise, journaling, retreats, etc.) that probably have kept me in somewhat good order.

But there are days, and I want to explore this further.  So off to find out where to head next!  A good journey begins with checking the map out first to see that the destination is actually somewhere you can reach!  And then finding a few stops along the way that make the next stage of the journey attainable.