Friday, July 8, 2016

Time part 5

“a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” Ecclesiastes 3:4 (NIV)

            God allows us times of sadness—a time to weep. The January 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo and the November 2015 bombings in Paris causes intense emotional times for France, nay the world. The June 2015 merciless shooting of nine people in the church in Charleston South Carolina brought terror and weeping to our nation. The June 2016 terrorist/hate crime in Orlando also comes to mind.

At other times, He gives us special times when we laugh with our family or friends a family joke, a remembrance of something humorous. Even in the times when we mourn.

            God gives us times of mourning. Last Friday, I attended a funeral for one of the men I saw on visitation. He had an illness from which God chose quickly to relieve him. This gentleman wrote stories for his grandchildren. He was 98 years old. On the last time my visitation partner and I made our visits, when we went past the entrance to the retirement home, I felt rather sad because we could not see him but I know he is in heaven. That makes my memory of him a good memory.

            Another gentleman from our church lived there until God took him home. He once told a story about when his wife came to our country from her native England. He has arranged ahead of time for a clergyman in a church near Ellis Island to marry them shortly after she got off the ship. When he told her his plan, she responded with, “NO WAY, I brought bridesmaids dresses.” When he told that story to us, it was like hearing her tell it again. It brought back fond memories of his departed wife for him and for us.

            God does give us a time to weep but He also counters those times with times of laughter. We have times we mourn but we also have times of glee when we almost dance.

Thursday, July 7, 2016


“May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.”
Psalm 25:21 (NIV)

            David pens these words in a very beautiful entreaty to the LORD. Early in the chapter, David speaks of his trust in God.
            He asks for God’s guidance and teaching. The shepherd king requests that the Lord remember His great mercy and love. Then David asks God not to remember his sins from his youth.
            He asks God not to remember his great iniquity for His own sake. He then asks God, “Who then fears the LORD.” (verse 12) His answer to his own question is excellent,” The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to him.”

            Our focus verse tells me what David desires more than anything; integrity and uprightness.

            Integrity means simplicity or sincerity. When a person has integrity, he or she is a person whose word can be trusted. When I attended a 12-step program, I heard someone say, “Say what you mean, and mean what you say.” This was good advice then and is even in these times.
            Sincerity The Middle French thought it meant clean, pure and sound.1 Several years ago, I read that the word sincerity came from a Latin phrase that translated as, “without wax.” 2 However, I have found this to be a disputable meaning. Simply stated, when we are sincere, we are real and not joking around.

            David tells his readers that his hope is in the LORD.

            Where is our hope? In our 21st Century society, we see people whose hope is in things of this world. I remember reading about a professional football player speaking at a banquet and asking, “If things in your life turned around and you lost everything, would Jesus be enough?”
            If our hope is in Him, He would be enough to carry us through our difficulties.


Monday, July 4, 2016

Time part 4


“a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build.” Ecclesiastes 3:3 (NIV)

            I believe the first part of this verse belongs to God’s activity. It is His job to decide whether He heals a person and allows him or her to stay down here or takes that person home to be with Him. I just noticed in this section of the verse what we think is a negative action is mentioned first.
            In the second half, the negative again comes first. Yes, there is a time to tear down. Right across the street from our home sits a Community Garden spot. In March of 2014, the house that stood there caught fire and burned quite a while before anyone noticed it. As the weeks and months passed, it became an eyesore as the property owner went through the decision-making process about the future of the property. A neighbor lady finally received the property after she and her husband established a non-profit organization to oversee the grounds.
This neighbor worked on this project diligently. Last year, she faced serious illness and chose to run for elected office. The overabundance of rain last summer caused all gardens in the area, large and small to be ruined. This year, the community garden looks wonderful.
Our city has a program to raze old abandoned houses due to the danger they pose to the neighborhoods. Sometimes, a park will appear where a house once stood. Habitat for Humanity will receive empty lots and will work with certain families to construct new homes. These families cannot afford the cost of an expensive abode.

            God has the last say in all the options we have. We had what was once a garage removed from our backyard. This one act opened up our yard to some very interesting possibilities. Part of the area has become a flowerbed. Hubby planted wild flower seeds to attract butterflies to our yard. We never know what God can do with what we have to do to improve a circumstance.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...