Only One

Illumination of God’s Word by my brother and friend, “Geedub”.

His eye is on the sparrow

Something good this way comes.

Can it be a good thing to live the way we desire while we carry an ever-growing weight embedded in our conscience throughout our earthly existence? What shall we do with the sin we know is within? To deny it’s existence only causes the weight to grow heavier.

God’s grace is not the best answer. It is the only answer.

However, God’s grace requires a price be paid.

God’s grace requires His being justifier of the guilty as He sets them free from guilt before His court of law.

Just and Justifier: To fulfill justice with justification for setting the guilty free.

Can you imagine a loved one has been horribly murdered, the killer being apprehended, brought to trial, and found guilty. The judge says, “Guilty, but set free.” Set free?

Where is the accountability for the criminal? How has his being forgiven by the…

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Love means telling the truth AND attacking the false.

The popular idols of our post-modern era are tolerance, plurality, and relativism. Tolerance and plurality can be excellent guiding principles in some circumstances, but NOT when essential truth is at stake. We have only one authority, God’s Word, and only one Gospel; the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in […]

Love means telling the truth AND attacking the false.

Knee-Deep In Suburbia

Photo that has nothing to do with the blog post

Dandelion don’t care about the time ♪♫

I wrote this for a friend in 2011 who has gone to be with the Lord. Another friend with whom I shared it back then had quoted from it on Farcebook (spelling intentional) and I stumbled across the quote recently. That made me go dig out the whole document. Here:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(A most unconventional meter, I know – 13ish beats to each line, then 11 and 10 for the chorus, with a random bridge that is weak in its content as it doesn’t introduce a new thought but rather points out the obvious – but it’s what it took to get the words out, which seem to make sense to something common in the world, running from something from which maybe we shouldn’t run, or maybe we should; being confused; and trying to convince ourselves of something that seems important.)

Knee Deep In Suburbia

Don’t clutter up our friendship now by falling in love
Underneath the pile of Past I’m trying to find myself

I’m talking just as much here to me as well as you
I’ve got too much on my plate and also on my bookshelf

So what if I think of you nearly every minute
So what if seeing you sends my heart into a flutter
I’m too busy for love – I don’t want to be in it
I’m happy underneath my current pile of clutter

In my seeming disorder there IS order
How dare someone mess up my living mess
Between sane and insane is a fine border
I’m knee-deep in Suburbia, I confess

Digging through my clutter I find memories of this:
Loving way too much and finding little in return
Just to breathe again after being strangled by a kiss
Or pretty words, or something more – you’d think I’d learn

And yes, I’m learning, slowly, how to run away from love
But it’s hard to do when you’re there for me to see (but please don’t go)
I must hide myself beneath my pile of ancient clutter
Suburban paranoia under which to hide me

In my seeming disorder there IS order
How dare someone mess up my living mess
Between sane and insane is a fine border
I’m knee-deep in Suburbia, I confess

I’m not a clairvoyant but I have the clairvoyance to see where this could go

Based on the world I’ve seen – reminders of what could have been that aren’t necessarily so

[pensive acoustic guitar solo]

In my seeming disorder there IS order
How dare someone mess up my living mess [fade out after two repeats]

“I’ve written way too many songs through eyes blurred with tears.” ~me

And right now, on May 25, 2020, I don’t fully know what any of that meant. It probably made sense at the time, nine years ago.

A Synchronous Moment

So many synchronous events have been happening for me lately. Here’s one from today:

My 11-year-old youngest child and I were working on a double puzzle (two different puzzles in one box). Nothing too crazy, just 240 pieces each.

There was one piece we lacked to complete the right side edge. It looked like we weren’t going to be able to find it in the remaining pile we’d sorted, so I said, “I’m going to have to dig through the pieces we put in the bag for the other puzzle and see if I can find it.”

But then I saw this one piece on the table that looked like it might work. I pointed at it and said, “Unless…”

And my daughter, with more excitement, said, “Unless!”

Then we said it together, loudly, “UNLESS!”

And at that exact moment, the TV beside us, on which we had the movie “The Lorax” playing, got to the famous part that says “UNLESS…”

Then we both did a big “Oh, wow, was that ever cool!’ type thing.

I said, “I feel like I should write this out.”

And so I ran to my computer and wrote this. I read it aloud to my daughter for her approval.

Oh, and to give you closure, yes, it was the right piece.

And for more closure, here’s the famous Dr. Seuss quote I mean:

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

It’s a small synchronous event, but, like the puzzle piece (though I could be wrong and maybe it’s just something cool to observe and enjoy) it just might fit into a bigger picture.

(PS: I was just about to publish this when my daughter said, “I got another piece!” She then echoed with “Piece!” To which I responded with “Peace, mon!” And she said, “I was JUST about to say that!” OK, I better get back to the puzzle.)

A similar blog entry: When Similar Stuff Happens

Writing Teachers

I don’t fancy myself the greatest writer in the world. I feel like I am always learning in the craft.

Not all of my teachers have been the kind with university degrees, but one was.

Mr. Norcott is the face that stands out in the cloud of influences who shaped my writing foundation. He was a Viking in 1980s garb, but a kindly one, more like Lyle of Veggie Tales fame. He had a round face framed by bright blonde hair, with a matching golden beard, and eyes waiting to laugh at the slightest provocation. Most often he was smiling.

Kindness, respect, and the sharing of one’s stories have a way of impacting a student much more impressively than does a dry textbook.

Mr. Norcott presented the basics of good writing, as is common for a school teacher to offer people aged 13 to 14 in my country, outlined by his university instruction and the rules of the school board, but he painted with his own unique brush.

Rare do I think of the word “personification” without Mr. Norcott coming to mind. Same with “onomatopoeia”, “hyperbole”, and “metaphor”. These were not just words for me, but they were art being born and raised.

I never set about to become a writer. When asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, I never said “A writer”. I had other ideas, such as becoming a meteorologist or a librarian, but being a writer was what I already was, because I wrote and I still do.

If you are a person who writes books, a blog, or even to a friend, putting your words out there so they are no longer trapped within, whether they be polished or raw, you, too, are a writer. Own that title and enjoy it.

And by virtue of you sharing yourself, you might also unknowingly be a teacher.


Suppressing Emotions vs Suppressing Actions

I don’t know the science behind why, but I do know that I am not willing to suppress my emotions.

If I feel happiness, I let it flow in whatever way it wants to go and hope it infects others.

If I’m sad, I feel the full extent of it but I try to avoid others lest it affect them negatively.

If I’m angry, well, that’s a place where I have to be careful. It’s not that I suppress the feeling, but I have to make a choice as to how I express it, if at all.

The danger lies in hurting someone else when I myself am hurt.

That venomous weapon that draws blood from my heart can too easily be pulled out and thrown with my fingertips or my tongue at someone else. Then we’re both poisoned and bleeding.

Oh yes, I’ve been guilty, and, oh yes, I’ve had to attempt emotional surgical repair. It doesn’t always fix. I prefer to avoid breaking people in the first place.

Given time, thought, prayer, and the application of wisdom from God’s people, the potency of anger diminishes. The desire to lash out fades. Damage has been averted. The consideration for the wellbeing of others – or, love – has won.

I think of the scene in the movie Ratatouille, where Linguini says something to his co-workers that disturbs them. Collette is angered by it. With pain in her face, she raises her hand as though to slap Linguini. But then she makes the decision to bring her hand down and she walks away. Because she loves him.

“If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day. ” (Ephesians 4:26, Good News Translation)

There’s surely more to be said on this. Maybe you have some thoughts to share.

Here’s something someone else wrote: What does the Bible say about anger?

Here’s something I wrote on feeling too much: They Who Feel Too Much

Soon enough, the messed-up emotions and their accompanying temptations toward harmful actions will be a thing of the past, and my cry of “Maranatha” will be exchanged for an eternal “Hallelujah!” I hope you are there with me.

Yes, I’ll Stay Away

I’m following the rules, but I’m not convinced everything is as it seems to be presented to us. How do we know which numbers are truthful? How do we know those are really “bodies” under wraps on the forklifts outside the hospital in Brooklyn? Why are they being loaded in public and not at the usual loading docks away from public walkways? What does hospital management have to say about all this? Where are the answers?

You bet I’m skeptical.

I’m not doubting there’s a contagious illness out there and that people are dying from it. What I am doubting is the media’s portrayal of it. Remember that little phrase “fake news”? How do we know who to believe?

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll still keep my distance from people, to play by the rules. Hey, some angry citizen might cough on me otherwise, or try to steal my toilet paper.

Have you seen the rage on social media? People are freaking out.

Just chill, Widsten!

And for those who are reading and wondering what I meant by that last line, it’s from the end of my favorite Volkswagen ad. Watch this, mon:

What’m I, Chopped Beef?

There’s an idiom people sometimes use in a lighthearted way to remind their friends they’re there. Years ago, I forgot the correct wording for it and said, “What am I? Chopped beef?”

I tilted my head and added, “Wait a second… That didn’t sound right.”

Then I remembered it’s actually the lesser-appreciated chopped liver in the idiom, and not the largely-beloved beef. (Here’s a bit about its meaning.) I still say it the silly way to this day, but nobody seems to notice. Either that, or they are being kind and don’t want to correct me.

In yesterday’s blog post (here), I mentioned how paranoid I’ve become concerning new friends, alluding to many having let me down. My sister read it, and, via our ensuing conversation, I was reminded that she is one I can trust.

That got me thinking about the handful of other trusted people in my life, so this is a post that acknowledges the fact that I do have friends, and for them I am grateful.

Maybe I myself have inadvertently let friends down. Maybe I could have done more for them. Maybe I still can. Who knows?

I do know, though, that Jesus is the friend of sinners (Luke 7:34), and I’m a sinner, as is everyone but Him.

And I know that Jesus will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5)

My prayer is that all who read these words also know Jesus as their friend who will never leave them nor forsake them.

On Living In Fear

When someone who is supposed to be trusted freaks out at you because they didn’t take the medication that makes them not become so crazy – not just once but two days in a row – what can you do but hide and pray and cry?

Some things I wish I could tell someone, but who to tell that can be trusted, and who to tell that can help?

All I can do is pray to God for peace, but does peace stand any chance in this ruined world?

PTSD locks me in fearful immobility.

If anyone reads this, please pray for me. I am not safe. I don’t know if I will survive the night.

This World Is Not My Home

Although Gonzo’s got a violin here and not a mandolin, they’re both strung the same way. I feel like I’m strung the same way as this strange character from The Muppets – not of this world.

“Oh, Lord, You know I have no Friend like You.
If heaven’s not my home, then Lord what will I do?”

This world is so not my home.

I used to be too trusting of people. Over time, though, with bad experiences, the more people I met, the more I learned not to trust them.

It got to where I’d ask myself, when getting to know a new friend, “I wonder if this person will turn on me.”

That progressed to, “WHEN will this person turn on me?”

To whom can I turn who will not turn on me?

To whom can I tell the things that trouble me?

Why, to Jesus, of course!

I believe Jesus already knows my troubles, but at the same time, I take comfort in knowing He’s cool with me telling Him the same stories over and over again, as well as the ones that are new to me. He understands my situation of being human and “not all there”.

Without Jesus, I would surely feel alone in this shadowy valley of death through which I walk.

A thing about valleys, though, is that there are higher places around them. And it is to the ultimate higher place that I will one day ascend, far beyond this present darkness, where I will see the Light of God Himself.

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.  (Matthew 5:8)

That makes me ask, “Am I pure in heart?”

And my answer is, “I don’t think so.”

I did a little searching and found someone’s thoughts that help illuminate this situation: “Blessed Are The Pure In Heart” commentary

Well, I know I’m far from pure as a human. But the one in Whom my faith is established – the Lord Jesus Christ, who not only gave His life for me but also returned to life after all that – is pure. Pure and perfect and precious.

And so, with the purity of Christ covering me, I look forward to seeing God.

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

I welcome discussion on this topic, to know your thoughts on what the Lord has shown you in His Word. I surely don’t know it all.

But back to the first lines in this blog post, from the song “This World Is Not My Home”. A few days ago, I looked for it on YouTube. I had mostly only heard it while singing it with friends, back in the days when I used to meet with a local Christian assembly. Lo and behold, there it was being sung by a musician whose music I adore, AND he was also playing my favourite instrument – the mandolin, which I’m currently learning to play.

Here, have a listen to “This World Is Not My Home” as recorded by Ricky Skaggs. Maybe you can relate, too.

PS: A related post that refers back to this: What’m I, Chopped Beef?