This year one of our family goals is to memorize the answers to 52 questions put together by the Redeemer Presbyterian Church and TGC in The New City Catechism flip book from Truth For Life. Using the kid’s answers for simplicity, I’m looking forward to learning these in 2023! #MondayMemorization
My childhood Christmases were some of my fondest childhood memories. We were not well off financially but we always had wonderful Christmases. They were fairly traditional all except for one thing: we had it in the middle of the night! It was not until several years later that I realized that most people don’t have Christmas at 3:00 a.m. 😂
Actually, my dad worked a second job as a musician. He playing guitar 🎸 and got home around 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. So instead of him going straight to bed and having to wake up in a couple of hours, we’d all got up when he got home. By the time we were done opening presents, my mom would fix us a big breakfast and then she’d lay back down for a morning nap while we played with our new toys. Then it was off to my grandma’s for a visit and dinner. She would give each of her grandchildren a small gift or maybe just a dollar bill for Christmas, but the size of the gift didn’t matter to me. I loved my grandma. After a day of food and fun playing with my cousins and siblings, we’d pile back into the car and fall asleep on the ride back home.
When I was old enough to shop for presents on my own, I remember going to Ayr-Way (later bought by Target) and getting all my Christmas shopping done in one day. I loved being able to do this, and really enjoyed buying my family handpicked gifts. It didn’t matter that they were from Ayr-Way. I thought they were perfect gifts and I felt joy in giving gifts that I had bought on my own. In retrospect I believe this is when I first experienced gift giving as a blessing to the giver.
It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35
Now many Christmases later, with grown children and ever growing grandchildren, I still enjoy giving gifts at Christmastime, but more so it’s being together as a family and making memories together that I cherish the most. Our Christmas gatherings have taken on a deeper meaning to this aging wife, mom, and grandmother. Lord willing, I’ll have many more Christmases and many more years here on earth but I know my days are numbered.
Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. James 4:14
As for man, his days are like grass: he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone … But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him. Psalm 103:15-17
One day God will take me home and in turn, I’ll be but a memory to my loved ones, and awaiting to see them again in heaven. In the meantime it’s my hope and prayer that each one of my loved ones will have personally received the most perfect gift ever:
The LORD Jesus Christ.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15
In the early 2000’s, most likely in November around Thanksgiving time, I sat down and wrote out a list of blessings in my life. Of course, my salvation in Christ, my family, and God’s provisions topped the list. But I specifically included personal experiences and events in life which probably wouldn’t seem like a blessing to most people, and quite frankly didn’t initially seem like a blessing to me at the time either. I realized, however, that many of my spiritual blessings and much of my spiritual growth came from relying on God and His word during, and in some cases years after, I’d experienced difficult times in my life. Many of which have become topics in my blog which I began writing in 2016. Romans 8:28 was and still is one of my favorite Bible verses:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Over the years I not only learned that being a Christian does not make any of us immune to life’s trials and tribulations, but that those trials and tribulations very likely have a divine purpose.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” James 1:2-4
Thus my blog posts are generally about my life experiences combined with one or more aspects concerning the gift of faith, our sin nature, repentance, trust, God’s amazing mercy and undeserved saving grace, salvation in Him alone, forgiveness, etc.
Specifically on the topic of forgiveness in relation to thankfulness and blessing, I realize it was not until I received God’s forgiveness that I was able to genuinely forgive others. That forgiveness which I’ve extended to others has in turn blessed me in ways I would have never realized without first being forgiven by Christ. The joy of knowing that God knows the worst of me and loves me anyway, is immeasurable. The blessing of being forgiven by Christ and the freedom of forgiving others also brings a joy to my life that is hard to describe. Words like peace, happiness, gratefulness, thankfulness, blessedness, probably come closest to describing this feeling of joy.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:12
So, twenty years after making that list of blessings, I’m still thankful 🙌🏻 for my salvation in Him, my family, and His provisions. His amazing grace and providence in my life is in fact amazing. I’m once again reminded that sometimes blessings may not initially appear to be a blessing. It is with hope and faith in Him that we look to God for answers, and in His perfect timing. In the meantime, we are to “count your blessings” as Johnson Oatman, Jr reminds us in his hymn:
Count your blessings,
name them one by one;
Count your blessings,
see what God hath done;
Count your blessings,
name them one by one;
Count your many blessings,
see what God hath done.
#JohnsonOatmanJr 🎶 ✍🏻
Travel has long been one of my favorite things to do, ever since I was a child. And for me, part of the fun of traveling includes the planning, and the thrill of doing it on a budget, especially for leisure travel. For example, several years ago I remember getting a kick out of flying standby round-trip from Dallas to St Louis to my nieces wedding with only a few dollars in my pocket. She picked me up from the airport and I stayed at her house for the weekend. I enjoyed the wedding and visiting with family, no rental car needed, and it cost me zero in travel expenses. I came home with the same few dollars in my pocket!
There’re countless times and places I’ve traveled over the years very inexpensively on leisure trips, thanks to my airline employee/retiree benefits which include free air travel, discounts on hotels, car rentals, and cruises, and all of which I’m very thankful for.
My last leisure trip was to/from Indianapolis this month for my 50th high school reunion. I bought a confirmed ticket there because I wanted to make sure I’d get there the day I planned, but decided to travel standby on the return because I wasn’t sure if I’d be going to Dallas or Tampa, plus getting back on a certain day wasn’t as important as getting there, so standby was a good option for my return. I also booked my hotel using reward points and reserved a rental car with a discount rate. Everything was set. At least I’d thought it was…..
I made a little mistake on my hotel. 😬
Well actually, kind of a big mistake.
So like I said, I get a kick out of traveling as inexpensively as I can. I booked the hotel several months out using my husbands Wyndham Rewards points as I was initially hoping I could convince him to go with me. I put IND in the hotel search bar as I prefer to stay close to the airport, which is this case is on the south (southwest) side of town. The search returned with their south location. I booked it. So far so good.
As I got closer to my travel date, and long after my husband decided he was not going with me, (he didn’t even go to his 50th reunion), I pulled up the address of my high school on my iPhone and noticed that the hotel was actually in Southport. I thought “Great! That’s close to my high school. That’s even better!”
Same hotel name. Wrong hotel.
So on Thursday morning I flew nonstop from DAL Dallas Love Field to IND on WN Southwest Airlines. Got my rental car. Drove to Frankfort to have lunch with my cousin, Jeri. I had a nice visit and then went by my grandparents old house and also their graveyard. Then on to Lebanon where I met my 2nd cousin, Chrissy, for dinner. After a nice visit I put in the address for my hotel on my CarPlay Maps and headed back toward Indianapolis. It was dark, around 10 p.m. when I exited I-465 on to US 31 South and I was shocked when my CarPlay Maps told me to take an immediate right. I thought, “Oh no! Not THAT hotel.”
I remembered THAT hotel from over 50 years ago. It was a very old hotel. It was late. I was tired. I thought maybe, just maybe, they’d updated it and that it would be ok.
As I walked to my room I saw some attempts to update the hotel here and there, but it was still a very old hotel. As I opened the door I saw the carpet was ragged. As I closed the door I saw the hotel policy on the inside door was dirty and halfway peeled off, and the top door lock wasn’t fitted right (it was bent and loose). That made me a little nervous. I went to the bathroom and when I flushed the toilet it didn’t have enough water in the bowl to flush properly. The toilet paper holder was rusted, and underneath the sink area was filthy.
I sat down on the bed and thought about how exhausted I was. Did I mention I’d been up since 3:30 a.m? I closed my eyes and asked the Lord, “What should I do?” 🙏🏻
I called my husband and told him I made a BIG mistake. While on the phone I heard people out in the hall which made me feel even more nervous; unsafe actually. My husband proceeded to tell me that he remembered THAT hotel too and told me a few of the bad things that he remembered about it…😳
I decided then that I’d just look for another hotel online and then in the morning ask my cousin Connie, who I was planning to visit the next day, if I could come stay with her for the two following nights. A couple of months earlier she’d offered for me to come stay with her but I’d already made the hotel reservations and I thought I wouldn’t be a very good guest since I was planning to go to so many places on this trip.
So while I’m on the phone talking with my husband I get a text from Connie! She asked me if I was at my hotel and if everything was ok.
Answered prayer ⬆️ ❤️
I was embarrassed to tell her that I’d made a mistake on the hotel. I didn’t want to come to her house so late and asked if I could come the next day but she insisted she was still up. So at 11:00 p.m. I got to her house and stayed three nights. I was so thankful 🙌🏻 and had such a nice time visiting her.
The rest of my trip went great; visiting my brother Ron, my parents and brother Eldon’s grave, going to three reunion events reminiscing with friends, and a Sunday visit with my brother and sister-in-law, Dennis and Pam, at their new house in Westfield. We went to church, had brunch, a nice 3 mile walk on the Monon Trail, and a yummy 😋 dinner at home. The next morning I returned my rental car and flew standby on Delta IND x/ATL TPA. It was fun to travel standby on Delta again. It’d been over a little over four years since I last used my travel benefits on Delta.
So my inspiration for naming this blog post came from a Christian financial radio program I used to listen to years ago featuring Larry Burkett. He used to say, “Do your givin’ while your livin’, then you’re knowin’ where it’s goin’.” Good advice with a catchy country twang!
So the point I’d like to make is this. ⬇️
While “knowin’ where I’m goin’,” is good practical advice concerning hotel reservations, it’s of utmost importance concerning our eternal destiny.
While it’s OK to make a mistake with a hotel reservation, it’s not OK to make a mistake with your eternal destination:
⁃ Don’t assume where you’re going.
⁃ Be diligent; verify the location of your reservation.
⁃ Reconfirm your reservation.
I’m not assuming I’m going to heaven because I’m a “good person” or because I joined the church around the age of 12, because I was baptized, “good works” or because I go to church.
I’ve been “knowin’ where I’m goin’” ever since one night in my mid-twenties when I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about all the sin in my life. (I’d heard a clear and biblical gospel presentation a few nights earlier on a Billy Graham TV program.) I cried out to God asking for His forgiveness. I realized that I was a sinner in need of a Savior. Now up until that time I considered myself a Christian but it was not until that night that I turned away from sin and turned toward Christ that my life actually changed. I’ve come to know Him more through the years though His word, talking with Him in prayer, and have “reconfirmed my reservation” with Him many times over since that night my life changed.
And to be clear, it was the Holy Spirit that stirred and convicted me of my sin. It was God’s will and timing, not mine. Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them” (John 6:44) It is God who draws us to Himself.
Jesus not only paid the price for my sins, He paid my sin debt in full. I received Him by faith through His marvelous grace. Salvation is a gift from God, but a gift is of no use unless you receive it.
Ephesians 2:8 underscores this truth: “By grace are you saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God.”
As the hymn writer, C.L. Bancroft (1863) reminds us, we’re not saved by anything we’ve done, we’re saved by a work done for us:
Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free,
For God the just is satisfied,
To look on Him and pardon me.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13
Earlier this month, while searching for a song to use for an updated memorial video for my high school class, I listened to several different songs with the intent of picking only one, but decided instead to go with three different genres: Country, Contemporary Pop HipHop, and Christian. They each have a story to tell.
The Country song, Temporary Home, is beautifully sung 🎶 by Carrie Underwood. Co-written ✍🏻 by Carrie Underwood, Zac Maloy, and Luke Laird in 2009, the lyrics tell three stories about temporary homes; a young boy living in foster care, a young mother and her child living in a halfway house, and an old man in a hospital bed surrounded by his loved ones. The refrain has a Christian themed message:
“This is my temporary home,
it’s not where I belong
Windows and rooms
that I’m passing through.
This was just a stop
on the way to where I’m going
I’m not afraid because I know
This was my temporary home.”
The Bible tells us that this world is not our home and is yet a precursor to the world that is to come. We are literal “strangers, sojourners, and aliens” who are mearly passing through.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Hebrews 11:13-14
The Contemporary Pop/HipHop Mix, “See You Again” is a catchy and very popular tune with a “sentimental, miss my friend” message. Sung 🎶 by Charlie Puth (with Wiz Khalifa) for Furious 7, the seventh movie in the Fast and the Furious franchise movie series, which was released in 2015.
The story behind the lyrics is that Charlie Puth co-wrote ✍🏻 the lyrics, along with Justin Franks in 2014, in memoriam of movie star Paul Walker as a result of his 2013 tragic car crash. The movie, Furious 7, was not yet completed at the time of Paul Walker’s death. Charlie Puth and Justin Franks reportedly co-wrote the lyrics drawing from their own personal emotions from each having had friends die in tragic accidents as well.
The emotional lyrics include much about friendship in contemporary terms, memories made, and a hopeful themed refrain to “see you again,” however the song takes a couple of left turns when the lyrics speak of death in terms of “Damn, who knew,” and “And any road you take will always lead you home.” Two contrary non-Christian themes.
The Bible clearly teaches that there is only one “road” to heaven and that road is through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
Not only is there just one road to heaven, the gate to that road is narrow.
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14
And death is inevitable, 10 out of 10 people die.
And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment. Hebrews 9:27
For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten. Ecclesiastes 9:5
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news! Mark 1:15
The Christian song is one I first heard back in the mid 1990’s, and has long since been one of my favorite songs. Written ✍🏻 in 1990 by Bruce Carroll and Barbara Kinnamon, and beautifully sung 🎶 by Bruce Carroll, the lyrics speak for themselves, telling the gospel message in it’s entirety. It is aptly titled, The Great Exchange:
Once upon a time,
upon a hill far away
An unfair proposition
before a righteous Man was made
Could’ve changed His situation
but instead chose to obey
At the great exchange.
An eternity He traveled
to be there at that place
The chosen destination
to show mankind God’s grace
His longing to redeem us
could only be explained
At the great exchange.
At the great exchange
Even then, He knew me
and He bore such pain
And He did it all for love
An undeserving servant
who’ll never be the same
Since the great exchange.
I walked that same hillside,
as I knelt down to pray
He showed me all the wrong I’d done
And the price He paid that day
And then I arose forgiven
His loss became my gain
At the great exchange.
Everything that mankind lost,
Jesus has reclaimed
The pathway to eternity
by His death arranged
And all of this, He offers
if you’ll meet Him today
At the great exchange.
At the great exchange
Even then, He knew you
and He bore such pain
And He did it all for love
An undeserving servant,
you’ll never be the same
Since the great exchange.
At the great exchange
Even then, He knew you
and He bore such pain
And He did it all for love
An undeserving servant,
you’ll never be the same
Since the great exchange
Since the great exchange
The great exchange.
https://youtu.be/hX8nD5ltUbI Temporary Home
https://youtu.be/JNg9m5CaUKs See You Again
https://youtu.be/74RdwUVA11o The Great Exchange
My first car was an old clunker. It was a light blue Chrysler and I’m not sure of the year (late 1950’s or early 1960’s) but it was definitely old. It had what I would describe as “wings” on each side at the rear of the car, and a convenient hole in the driver’s side floorboard where I could empty my soft drinks and coffee. Ha!
Strangely, it had an automatic transmission but no “P” for park; I had to put it in “N” for neutral and pull the parking brake. This would have been fine, except for the fact that the parking brake was broke. So, I had to open my door and throw a wood block under the front tire to chalk it in place. The real problem came when I’d miss the tire and have to hurry out of the car, get the block from wherever it landed, and wedge it under the tire before the car rolled too far. Good times! Ha!
Hey, I was 16 years old, it was 1970, and I was happy just to have my own car, even though it was a clunker.
It basically got me from point A to point B, and it had an AM radio, which was always tuned-in to either pop or rock music. 🎶
The problem was my sense of direction; it wasn’t very good. I was always getting lost. I remember crying on more than one occasion because I was lost. This was the point when I first began thinking how cool it would be if my radio could please just tell me where I was, and how to get to where I was going. I was on the edge of brilliance (😂) but somehow fell short of inventing GPS navigation.
In 1972, I got a major upgrade; a brand new 1972 Camaro Rally Sport in Mojave Gold, complete with rear spoiler, an AM/FM stereo radio 🎶 (woo-hoo!), an 8-Track Tape player, lots of pop and rock 8-Track Tapes, and I graduated from high school, all in that order.
Fast forward to today, I drive a 2019 Jeep Grande Cherokee. It has a beautiful Pearl Red exterior color, and my favorite interior feature: Car Play with access to my iPhone apps, media, contacts, maps, and more.
Lots of changes.
Much for the good.
Of all of these changes over the past 50 years I’d have to say that the greatest change has not been in my cars,
but in my heart,
and in that which I choose to feed it.
The change in my heart came in the mid 1980’s when I repented of my sins and surrendered my heart to Jesus. The choice of what to feed it followed in the days after, up to and including today.
“Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.” Psalm 25:4
So these days,
My favorite thing to listen to while driving is Christian talk radio. My favorite station is AFR, a Christian Talk Radio Station based in Tupelo, MS. That station, combined with my favorite iPhone apps, Truth for Life with Alistair Begg, One Passion with Steven Lawson, and Grace to You with John MacArthur; and some of my favorite Christian Podcasters, like Allie Beth Stuckey of Relatable, and Jan Markle of Understanding the Times, have been a godsend in my life. There are many more great pastors, teachers, and Christian leaders I like to listen to, but way too many to mention them all. Suffice it to say that I’m thankful 🙌🏻 for each one of them. They, along with Bible study and prayer, help me keep more “in tune” with God and less “in tune” with the world.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8
So, how cool is it, that my getting lost when I first started driving, and my desperate hope that the radio would tell me where I was and how to get to where I needed to go, has actually come true in my life,
in more ways than one:
Thanks to my Car Play maps and navigation system, I no longer get lost.
Thanks to Christian Talk Radio and my favorite iPhone apps that guide me in my walk with the Lord.
Thanks to the Lord,
“I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.” #JohnNewton
By the grace of God,
I know who I am, (a sinner saved by grace).
Where I am, (in Christ Jesus)
Where I’m going. (In the world but not of the world; on my way to heaven one day in God’s perfect timing.)
“Pray that the LORD your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.” Jeremiah 42:3
And enjoy the ride along the way.
Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s my sister Joyce and I used to go out to the airport to watch the airplanes take off and land, and to walk around the terminal, just for fun. I was in my early teens and this was before the days of increased airport security; back when we day-dreamed of flying somewhere; back when life was simpler, and back when the main airport in Indianapolis was known as Weir Cook.
So, one day while we were walking around at the airport, my sister recognized Bobby Gentry of “Ode to Billie Joe” 🎶 fame, standing near one of the counters. The airline had lost her guitar and my sister talked with her about it. I barely recognized her, even with her signature poofy hair-do, but I was definitely impressed after I realized who she was. I remember thinking it was so cool to actually see someone famous in person. Her song, “Ode to Billie Joe,” was an amazing piece of storytelling about a boy who died jumping off a Mississippi bridge, a girl who secretly loved him, some mysterious circumstances, and her family who spoke of his death with casual indifference while eating dinner.
Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, or talking on the phone with several different “famous” people. I’m sure everyone has a few. Some of mine include,
• Jerry Mathers and Tony Dowell of Leave it to Beaver fame at a dinner theater (Beef and Boards) meet and greet photo-op in Indianapolis.
• Mel Torme (“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”🎶) when he stood right behind me at the America The Beautiful Circle-Vision 360° Movie at Walt Disney World.
• Robert Ulrich (Dan Tanna in the crime drama series Vega$, and Spenser in Spenser for Hire) on a telephone call one day when I booked several flights for him and his family to/from Florida, while working for Delta Air Lines in Tampa.
• Gary Collins on a telephone call discussing his wife’s (Mary Ann Mobley) reservation, while I worked at Delta Air Lines in Los Angeles.
• Ed Begley Jr. (Ghostbuster’s, St. Elsewhere) in a little store onboard a tour of The RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, California.
• Henry Winkler (The Fonz) photo-op with my daughter Megan at a Dallas children’s hospital.
• Yakov Smirnoff (Soviet-Born Comedian famous for the phrase ‘America: What a country!’) photo-op with my daughter Mackenzie and me in Branson, Missouri.
• Thomas Kincaid, “Painter of Light” photo-op with Harold and me after we purchased a Hometown Morning Limited Edition Canvas in Longview, Texas at a Thomas Kincaid Gallery Event.
• Bob Barker when I was a contestant on The Price is Right TV show in Los Angeles.
• Jay Leno photo-op at a Tonight Show taping in Burbank where my daughter Megan and I talked with him before the taping. He called us “The Dove girls.” 🕊
• Ben Affleck at a Tonight Show taping with my daughters Michelle and Megan, where he came over to say, “Hello,” and to shake our hands.
• Robin Thicke photo-op at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, when he came over to speak with me and my daughter Megan after a show taping.
• Robin Roberts photo-op at NYC Times Square at a GMA taping.
• Jason Mraz photo-op in Los Angeles at an American Idol Finale with my daughter, Mackenzie.
• NASCAR drivers, Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr (with my grandson Landon), Danica Patrick, etc. photo-ops at TMS (Texas Motor Speedway)
• Willie Robertson photo-op at TMS.
• Marie Osmond when she and I spoke on the telephone on two scheduled QVC/Nutrisystem TV show call-in’s. She called me “girlfriend” and a “silver fox.” 😂
• Meghan Linsey (from The Voice) at a Nutrisystem photo shoot at a Tampa advertising studio.
So, out of the above list, how many of these people have you heard of or remember?! If you’re around my age, maybe most of them? 🤔 But if you’re young, there’s a good chance you haven’t heard of any of them. Ha! Actually, I think it’s pretty likely that after a generation or two, most people who’re famous for one thing or another, eventually sink into obscurity along with everyone else.
Which brings me to the main point I’d like to make. In reality, we are all just people. Being famous for something doesn’t make a person any more special than anyone else. While a famous person may be a great actor, artist, musician, or athlete, etc., in the eyes of God they are equal to people who cannot act, paint, sing, play an instrument, or play sports, etc. Eventually no matter how famous a person may be during their lifetime, “this too will pass.”
The Bible tells us that,
“God created man in his own image,”(Genesis 1:27) and “there is no partiality with God.” (Romans 2:11)
Yet He is not partial to princes, Nor does He regard the rich more than the poor; For they are all the work of His hands. Job 34:19
The Bible also reminds us that no matter who we are, famous or not, our life on earth is relatively short.
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14
And no matter who we are, all of our days are numbered.
As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. Psalm 103:15-16
Most importantly, the Bible warns us about holding people, places, or things (idols) in higher esteem than God. God is to be honored above all things and to be worshiped in “spirit and truth.” (John 4.23)
Those who regard worthless idols
Forsake their own Mercy. Jonah 2:8
“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3
Ultimately, the most important person we will ever encounter in this life is Jesus Christ. Everyone else pales in comparison.
Jesus Himself reminds us,
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” Revelation 22:13
Have you encountered Him?
I have, and am here to say if you have not yet came into an authentic relationship with Him, through repentance and faith in Christ alone, please do so today, before it’s too late.
And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh;” Genesis 6:3
So while it is fun to meet interesting and famous people along life’s highway, the Bible reminds us that we’re to keep it in proper perspective. Don’t be overly impressed. Celebrities put their “pants 👖 on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us.”
Instead of just thinking of the fun and excitement of encountering someone famous, maybe God is calling us to pray for that person.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
And what if,
God has a specific purpose in mind for you that relates somehow with a particular person or event.
Put on your thinking caps. 🧢
Better still, pray about it. 🙏🏻
And be careful about what impresses you.
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. John 7:24
Interestingly, my sister’s and my early love of going out to the airport all those years ago, led both my sister and me to get involved in the aviation industry. My sister got her private pilot’s license, including a commercial rating, which she held for several years. As for me, I worked for 30 years in various capacities in the airport/airline industry. First at a small airport, Eagle Creek Airpark, and for two airlines, American Trans Air in Indianapolis, and Delta Air Lines in Tampa, Los Angeles, Jacksonville, and Dallas.
I have several quilts and tapestry throws that I hope to pass on to my daughters one day. In the meantime I keep some of them displayed around our home on quilt racks, beds, and couches. Recently, I noticed a food stain on one of the tapestries I keep on our living room couch, so I threw it in the washer along with a load of white towels. Big mistake. I forgot to set the water temperature to cold. My red and white tapestry became my red and pink tapestry. My white towels came out light pink as well. The towels were not a big deal but my tapestry was ruined. I re-washed it in cold water and it helped it a bit but not enough. So I went on an eBay search to replace it using the key words, red, white, and tapestry. While searching, the poem, “My Life is but a Weaving”, by Corrie ten Boom came to mind:
My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.
Corrie reminds us here that while the underside of a tapestry appears to be a knotted and frayed mess of disconnected threads, the finished product is a beautiful weaving which is revealed on the topside. It’s the events in our life which we consider the “messy” or “dark” things, that are actually instruments of God’s providential care for us that leads to His will being done in our life.
Alistair Begg explains it this way: “Satan often wants us to stay focused on such seemingly jumbled and discouraging circumstances, doubting God and His good provision. We so easily forget that what appears to be a mess is just the back view of the tapestry God is weaving. One day, though, when we get the chance to see His handiwork from the front, all of those strange and dark threads will prove to have been part of His glorious pattern. Today, remember that “coincidences” are no such thing, that uncertainties and difficulties are opportunities to trust in God, and that behind all of them He is working out His plans to prosper His people in faith and godliness, and to bring them home.”
As I see it, we all have messy and dark circumstances in our lives, sorrows and situations we wish did not happen, things we may not understand. But I think the key is found in our perspective; a Christian perspective.
A perspective that trusts that the “messy and the dark,” the “gold and silver” are all a part of God’s plan in our lives.
A perspective that God is the Grand Weaver of our lives and of our story, our story of salvation.
A Romans 8:28 kind of perspective:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
By the way, in my search for a replacement tapestry throw, I found one that I like even more than the one I messed up!
The sun is amazing. It provides light, warmth, energy, and natural vitamin D to support our immune system. All of which are provisions that God has graciously made for us to enjoy and to benefit from. In actuality, without the sun, life as we know it, would cease to exist.
I remember when I was in my early teens back in Indiana, one of my best friends had the prettiest golden tan. I figured I could have a tan just like her if I just laid out in the sun like she did. Right? One day after we had just spent the afternoon in my backyard laying out in the sun together, and as I was just beginning to think I was getting some color, her mom came to pick her up and said to me, “Elaine, you need to get out in the sun more.” 😳
Later that summer, on a Florida family vacation, I stayed out on the beach all day the first day, walking up and down the Daytona Beach coastline. My thought was, I’d surely get a good tan if I did that, right? Wrong! 🤕 I was practically burnt to a crisp, from head to toe. I spent the entire rest of our family vacation sick in bed with sun poisoning. It was the absolute worst sunburn of my entire life. I remember I was so sick to my stomach, I was dizzy for days, and I fainted whenever I tried to stand up. It was awful!
It’s safe to say that I learned early on that too much of a good thing, or something used in the wrong way can and does have consequences. I also realized that I’m fair complected and that fair skin just doesn’t tan as well as other skin types.
So I’ve pretty much avoided overexposure to the sun in one way or another ever since. At first it was mostly seeking some shade whenever outside, and giving up laying out in the sun, but it wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I started thinking about sun damage and started wearing sunscreen daily. In my 40’s I experienced the first of several Basel cell skin cancers that have emerged over the past 25 years or so. In my 50’s I did find some skin care products that lightened some of the brown spots on my face, and I also increased my sunscreen SPF to 50. Now at age 67, and at the suggestion of my dermatologist, I’ve starting wearing a sun 👒 bonnet as well.
Hat or no hat, the long term effects of sun exposure, especially the years of not wearing sun screen when I was young, has taken its toll on my skin. Regardless, I still enjoy the outdoors as much as possible and am thankful for all of God’s provisions, including the sun. I say all of this to make a point of something disturbing that was recently brought to my attention and is actually my main purpose of this writing.
There’s a false theology involving the sun that started many years ago however still exists today, called Astrotheology. It’s best described as the combination of astrolatry (worship of the sun, moon, and stars) and Christianity.
I find it both disturbing and incredible that there are so many false religions and false teachers in the world today. What is it about false religions and false teachers that draws people in? Why believe a lie instead of the truth?
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Romans 1:25
Anyway, to explain Astrotheology in more detail, the following includes excerpts from one of my favorite websites, Got Questions:
Astrotheology attempts to twist Scripture so that Jesus Christ, instead of being God’s SON, is actually God’s SUN. Astrotheology ties the gospel to ancient god myths and mystery religions.
True theology looks up at the stars, moon, and sun; sees proof of God’s glory; and worships Him for what He has made.
The heavens declare the glory of God,and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1
True theology does not worship the creation (which astrolatry does), and it does not view the creation as a symbol of God (which astrotheology does).
The false concept behind Astrotheology is that the story of Jesus Christ is the story of man’s relationship with the sun and the seasons. Early man was afraid of darkness and realized his dependence on the sun, waiting for the sun to come again day after day. Darkness became a symbol of evil (the devil), and God, who gave us the sun for light and warmth and growing food, was good. Eventually, says astrotheology, these ideas were expressed in the Bible as the story of Jesus Christ.
Astrotheology falsely teaches that Bible verses that say Jesus is the light of the world (e.g., John 8:12) are really referring to the physical sun. Additionally they purport that the twelve months of the year are represented by Christ’s twelve apostles, and the four Gospels represent the four seasons.
Additionally, Astrotheology falsely teaches that the mythologies of ancient gods such as Osiris, Horus, Adonis, and Mithras were based on seasonal cycles, and that the story of Jesus Christ is just a retelling of those ancient tales. Several books and two recent films, The God Who Wasn’t There and Zeitgeist, are making these claims popular.
The problem with such claims is twofold: 1) astrotheology and similar beliefs dismiss the evidence for the historical Jesus Christ, and 2) the so-called parallels between the Gospels and the mythical religions are invalid, as honest research will show. The claims made by the historical Jesus are unique and do not match the stories of the pagan gods.
Any attempt to allegorize the Word of God, pervert its plain sense, or deny Jesus Christ is abominable. The Bible warns us against “ignorant and unstable people” who distort Scripture “to their own destruction. . . .
Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position” (2 Peter 3:16–17).
Don’t be led astray.
Instead of being led astray by the claims of astrotheology, we should “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Instead, grow in the grace of God.
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:16-17
What fun it was to watch Gilligan’s Island 🏝 when I was a kid! I was 10 years old in 1964 when it came out, and it ran for 3 seasons. I suspect it’s been in re-run syndication ever since, and is available on all sorts of media venues. As I’ve mentioned before in some of my earlier writings, I spent a lot of time watching TV 📺 when I was young; probably way too much. It kept me “busy,” a bit distracted from reality, but for the most part it entertained the little lost girl that I was.
🎼 “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, that started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship. The mate was a mighty sailor man, the skipper brave and sure. Five passengers set sail that day for a three-hour tour. A three-hour tour.” 🎶
In case you’re too young to remember, the show was about a group of seven people who were stranded on a deserted island, who’s activities and antics we’re primarily centered around getting off the island. They also entertained themselves with crazy skits and just plain silliness, however the irony and endlessly frustrating thread throughout the majority of the episodes was the fact that somehow other people came to the island and somehow always managed to get off. Whereas the seven castaways always somehow failed each time to get off of the island. And, invariably, it was Gilligan who sabotaged all of their attempts to escape the island.
Recently, while listening to a radio talk show, I learned that the show’s creator, Sherwood Schwartz, admitted that each of the “Gilligan’s Island” characters represented one of the Seven Deadly Sins (per Roman Catholic theology).
1. The Professor was guilty of pride.
2. Mary Ann was envious of Ginger.
3. Ginger was lustful.
4. The Skipper was a glutton.
5. Mrs. Howell was angry often.
6. Mr. Howell was wealthy and greedy.
7. And last, but not least, Gilligan was the sloth.
Interestingly, while researching this topic, I also found some articles that both changed and deepened the plot. The plot twists claim that Mrs. Howell was actually the sloth, that the Skipper had two sins, gluttony and anger, and that Gilligan represented the devil. Their primary reasoning was that Gilligan wore a red shirt, and sabotaged every attempt to get off the island, aka “hell.” Interesting theory. 🤔
I prefer the first theory over the second, but who knows? I could be wrong.
Gilligan was such a likable guy, but maybe he was the devil and only portrayed himself to be a likable guy. The Bible does warn us that Satan sometimes disguises himself as an angel of light. Maybe Gilligan’s sabotages were ultimately to keep them all there in their private hell, forever bound in their sin…. 🤔
Wait, it was just a TV show.
Anyway, I find it interesting that the inspiration behind the creator of Gilligan’s Island was based upon the theology of the Seven Deadly Sins. While I’m not a Catholic, I do agree that sin is deadly, But more so, I believe that sin is deadly but primarily to the point of unbelief.
When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we’re made free in that faith. More so, it is in the gift of faith, the conviction of sin, repentance, and trust in Jesus alone, that we are freed from the penalty of sin. It’s the Great Exchange.
The bad news is that we’re all sinners, (Romans 3:23.) Furthermore, Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death, but the good news is this: the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So the moral of the story is this:
If you stay in your sin and never come to an authentic faith and relationship with Jesus; you’ll “never get off that island” and will spend eternity separated from Him.
Don’t “castaway” your life for the fleeting pleasures of sin. Sin is a snare of the devil. Don’t be fooled. Turn to Jesus today in repentance and faith; place your trust in His sacrificial death for your sins. Keeping in mind, being a Christian doesn’t make you sinless, but as you grow in Christ, you’ll sin less as God changes you from the inside out.
Christians not only make it “off that island” but have eternal life beginning here on earth and lasting into eternity with Jesus. ❤️