I had a headache all day yesterday and fell asleep last night and forgot to write a blog piece. Sorry.
Monthly Archives: April 2016
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of
righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the
valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
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.
Sometimes we just need to be reminded.
This and That
Well, my visit to the dentist went well. I had some pain once the numbness wore off but not too bad. Also, the tooth looks great. I was expecting an ugly amalgam (silver) filling but he did a composite filling to make it look like there was no filling at all. I wonder how my insurance will react to that. When I looked at my policy, they cover composite fillings only for anterior teeth and this was my far back tooth. He didn’t ask and I didn’t mention it because I’ve never had a dentist do a composite filling on a back tooth before. I trust this dentist knew what he was doing, since I’m sure he deals with my insurance company the most. I do work for the town’s largest employer. I will worry about that when the bill comes.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions about Montreal. While this will be a one day trip, I plan to come up by myself and at least spend the weekend at another time. I’ve been waiting for winter to be over before I did too much traveling.
I’ve gotten better about driving. Since my friend died in an auto accident, I’ve had several panic attacks while driving, but that has slowly gotten better. When I drove to Massachusetts and Connecticut for work, I did just fine, so I’m hoping that’s one side effect of that awful tragedy that is getting better. I think it also helps that I am on an anti-anxiety medication.
Friday night, I have a special dinner to attend. It is one in which I am required to wear a suit and I can’t decide which one I should wear: the gray one or the blue one. I’m leaning more towards the gray, but I also like the blue. Which would you pick?
In July, my mom is bringing my eight year old niece up to visit me. One of the things we wanted to do was to drive up to Montreal for the day. None of us have ever been to Canada and I’d love to be able to take my niece somewhere and let her see something new. I know that I have several people who read this blog that live in Montreal, and I’d like their advice. We will only really be in Montreal for the afternoon and I’d love any suggestions on a place to eat lunch and things we should see.
In other news, finally my dental appointment is today. I don’t think I’ve ever been so ready for a tooth to be fixed. I hate going to the dentist, but I’m tired of the pain and being careful what and how I eat. So, as much discomfort as I feel going to the dentist, I’m glad it will soon be taken care of.
by Maury Yeston
In a very unusual way one time I needed you.
In a very unusual way you were my friend.
Maybe it lasted a day, maybe it lasted an hour.
But, somehow it will never end.
In a very unusual way I think I’m in love with you.
In a very unusual way I want to cry.
Something inside me goes weak,
Something inside me surrenders.
And you’re the reason why,
You’re the reason why
You don’t know what you do to me,
You don’t have a clue.
You can’t tell what its like to be me looking at you.
It scares me so, that I can hardly speak.
In a very unusual way, I owe what I am to you.
Though at times it appears I won’t stay, I never go.
Special to me in my life,
Since the first day that I met you.
How could I ever forget you,
Once you had touched my soul?
In a very unusual way,
You’ve made me whole.
Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/john-barrowman/unusual-way-lyrics/#IowuxcTvFJZ5KEiY.99
I came across this song the other day when listening to John Barrowman songs. The music video below is scenes from the movie “From Beginning To End.” The song itself is from the musical “Nine” by Maury Yeston.
I don’t often post songs for my poetry Tuesday posts, but this song really gripped my heart. It reminded me of the friend of mine that I lost. The first thing I thought when I heard this song was to send it to him, but of course I couldn’t do that. We had an extremely close but somewhat unusual friendship. So much of this song described our friendship. As the song ends:
How could I ever forget you,
Once you had touched my soul?
In a very unusual way,
You’ve made me whole.
I can’t believe this but I am homesick. Well, I guess I can believe it because the main reason that I am homesick is for my kitties. When my old cat Victoria lived with my parents while I was in Mississippi, I got to see her every four months or so, but the way it is now, I won’t get to see my girls but once a year when I go home for Christmas. They will barely know me when I go home. If they remember me at all.
Also, my tooth really has been hurting today. If I was in Alabama, it would already be taken care of. I don’t like having to wait on a dentist like a normal person. I like getting my dental work done when I need it done and not having to wait. I have a close family member that works for a dentist, so I always got in quickly for emergencies, with very little time waiting, if any at all.
Every once in a while, I do get to be just plain old whiny. It’s the kind of mood I am in. Work has been a little awkward lately with some things going on beyond my control but it still makes it awkward at work. When it’s awkward at work, it makes me not even want to go in, and I really love my job. I hope things get back to normal soon. I also dread that one of my coworkers is going to be gone for two weeks. She’s the other southerner at work and the one I can relate the most to.
Anyway, things will get better. To prove it, I posted the picture above. I absolutely love this picture. It came from the blog Another Country, which is one of my favorite blogs for pictures. I use his pictures quite often. If you speak French, and I know some of you do, you’ll get even more out of many of the posts than I do.
A New, Old Commandment
Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:7-14
In 1 John 2:3-6, the apostle gives a test by which you can know that you truly know Jesus Christ, namely, if you walk in obedience to His word. In 2:6, he states, “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” Then, in 2:7-11, John goes on to apply this test of obedience more specifically to the area of love. If Jesus’ life and especially His death epitomized love, then those who claim to follow Him are obligated to live in love.
In the Upper Room, on the night He was betrayed, Jesus demonstrated His great love for the disciples by taking a towel and a basin of water and washing the disciples’ feet. After that unforgettable object lesson, He drove the point home (John 13:14-15), “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” He was not instituting a ceremonial foot-washing service, where everyone comes with clean feet to be washed! He was saying something much more difficult to practice, that we who follow Jesus must set aside our rights and serve one another out of love.
In that same chapter (John 13:34-35), Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Obviously, those words of Jesus were behind John’s words about the old, new commandment. It may be that the heretics against whom John was writing claimed to have some “new” truths. Using an obvious play on words, John counters them by saying that we don’t need new truth, but rather the old truth that his readers learned early in their Christian experience. On the other hand, if you want “new” truth, John says that the old commandment is the new commandment, which Jesus gave to us. In short,
Loving one another is an essential mark of a true Christian.
John never specifically identifies the old, new commandment in these verses, and he only mentions love once in this entire section (2:10). But his reference to the new commandment makes it obvious that he is referring to Jesus’ command to love one another.
This commandment was old in two senses. First, it was old in that Moses taught it in the Law, “… you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18). Jesus identified this as the second greatest commandment, after the command to love God with all your being (Matt. 22:37-40). So in that sense, this command had been with God’s people for 1,400 years.
But the main sense in which this was an old commandment is that these believers had heard it from the very earliest days of their Christian experience (2:7): “… which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.” John uses the phrase, “from the beginning,” in the same way in 1 John 3:11, “For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”
The “New Commandment”, the Wycliffe Bible Commentary states, “was new in that the love was to be exercised toward others not because they belonged to the same nation, but because they belonged to Christ…and the love of Christ which the disciples had seen…would be a testimony to the world”.
One of the novelties introduced by this commandment – perhaps justifying its designation as New – is that Jesus “introduces himself as a standard for love”. The usual criterion had been “as you love yourself”. However, the New Commandmant goes beyond “as you love yourself” as found in the ethic of reciprocity and states “as I have loved you”, using the Love of Christ for his disciples as the new model.
The First Epistle of John reflects the theme of love being an imitation of Christ, with 1 John 4:19 stating: “We love, because he first loved us.”
John tells his readers that they have had this commandment “from the beginning,” and then identifies it as “the word which you have heard” (2:7). It was part and parcel with the gospel that they had believed at the outset of their Christian experience. When we hear and respond to the good news that Jesus Christ died for sinners, at that point the love of God is “poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5). The first fruit of the Spirit is love (Gal. 5:22). As I mentioned, the entire Bible may be summed up by the two great commandments, to love God and to love one another. So learning how to establish and maintain loving relationships is not “graduate level” Christianity. It is basic, beginning Christianity.
It all begins with how you think about others. Instead of thinking first about yourself, your feelings, your rights, and your needs, you must learn to think first about others. How can I show this difficult person the love of Jesus Christ? How can I serve this person in love? Rather than thinking angry thoughts about how he wronged you and how you’ll get even, you begin to think about how Jesus wants you to think about the one who mistreated you. You begin to pray for this person, that he would come to know Jesus. You look for opportunities to return good instead of evil. I recommend that you write out Paul’s description of love (1 Cor. 13:4-7) on a card and read it over several times each morning, until you have in your mind how a loving person acts.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I have often written about people who profess to know Christ, but their relationships are marked by anger, abusive speech, bitterness, and self-centeredness. Invariably, they don’t have a clue as to why they keep experiencing such hate. While I do not know their hearts (only God does), their lives do not give evidence that they have experienced the love of God in Jesus Christ. Rather, they seem to be in spiritual darkness, blindly colliding from one profession of hate to the next. They do not practice biblical love, which is an essential mark of every true Christian.
Again, none of us loves perfectly. When we fail, we need to repent and ask forgiveness of the one we wronged. It is a lifelong process of being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. But those who have met Him at the cross will be growing in love for others.
Also, note that love for others is a commandment, not a warm, gushy feeling. That should give you hope, because God’s commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3) and God’s Spirit gives us the grace and power to obey His commands, which are for our good. Biblical love is a self-sacrificing, caring commitment that shows itself in seeking the highest good of the one loved. You can obey the commandment to love others!
So if you’re thinking, “But I don’t love my mate any more,” or, “I just don’t like that difficult person,” the Bible is clear: Get to work obeying God’s commandment to love him or her. It’s not optional for the follower of Christ. It’s essential!
I’m looking forward to the weekend and to this work week being over with. It’s been a busy and stressful week, and sadly next week looks like it won’t be any different.