Through It All: Fruit

Prostrated by the summer’s heat, we cannot always see the fruit that is being produced on a vine. Just so, cast down by our sufferings, it’s hard to see the fruit God is producing in us. Even so, Lord God, we pray, let it all be to your glory! Amen.

Summer Berries

[Christ Jesus said:] “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”

John 15: 1-6
Continue reading “Through It All: Fruit”

Coaster to Coaster

Getting my coasters all lined up for a reading break.

Yesterday I was privileged to read Candace Owens’s Blackout and was impressed by this young woman’s sagacity and determination to break out of the collective mold she had been forced into by virtue of the color of her skin through the demagoguery of political leaders and educators. Her personal story was well worth reading in and of itself, apart from the views she now holds as to how best her fellow black Americans can advance their communities and enhance their lives individually.

Today, back to British historian Tom Holland’s Dominion, his most recent offering, much more of a slow read given the breadth of his subject but now that I’m more than half-way through, enjoying his take on the world-changing nature of Judaeo-Christian values which have raised the conditions of the marginalized, the poor and the helpless to a status they would never have enjoyed otherwise. By dint of his being an agnostic, Holland’s objectivity is especially impressive for its unfiltered look at the now universally-touted values of individuality, freedom, civil rights and tolerance that Christians helped advance throughout the world by their belief in the dignity of every human being made in the image of God.

All this by way of saying I’ll be on a blogging break for an indefinite time but will catch y’all back here as soon as may be.

Take care, my friends.

Joyful Dependance on God

Some of you have noticed the tagline to my site title “This Jolly Beggar”: “In Absolute Joyful, Dependance on the Grace and Love of God.” The story behind that is on my “C. S. Lewis on Jolly Beggars” page.

These Blue Stars, these Jolly Beggars

So when I saw these tiny sparkling blue flowers in an out-of-the-way patch of dirt down an alley, I recognized in them this quality of joyful dependance on God. Nothing dimmed their sparkle. And eyes that were open to their presence were blessed beyond all reason. Why? Because languishing here in this little patch where no one noticed them, these little stalks of blue stars, these jolly beggars boldly testified to God’s faithfulness.

Today I read of another “jolly beggar,” Rika Theron, who lives in South Africa. As the author of the article on Rika writes:

This. This is a life of suffering. And this is a life of breathtaking beauty. . . . .

In a world that worships fame and productivity, indulgences and self-sufficiency, Rika’s life may seem unbearably difficult. She has not enjoyed the fleeting pleasures afforded to most people and has spent her life in relative seclusion, in pain and dependent on others. Yet watching Rika live in joyful dependence on God, touching the seen and unseen world, I realize she’s changing the universe as she fights her daily battles – perhaps having a greater impact on the kingdom of God than celebrities with large ministries. In heaven, the people who have suffered alone, in a small corner of the world, will shine more brightly than we can imagine.

Vaneetha Risner, “A Remarkable Life”

Rika knows that she is seen and known and loved by God. Do you have this same knowledge and joyful dependance on the God who suffered and has offered Himself for you?

Bear pain for one moment at a time; there is patience enough in Jesus for the next moment. You cannot exhaust God; and your work is to be, not in your might or power, but by his Spirit.  — F. B. Meyer

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10: 13
Photo for Cee's Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge. Be sure to visit Cee's Photo Challenges for amazing photography and fun photo challenges.

Here is Love

Dyma gariad fel y moroedd (Here is love vast as the ocean)

Welsh hymn by William Rees; Translator, William Edwards

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our ransom,
shed for us his precious blood.
Who his love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing his praise?
He can never be forgotten,
throughout heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion,
fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
poured incessant from above,
And heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
kissed a guilty world in love.

Mirror and Light

Are You not the Light, O Lord, and we but the mirror? Disperse the clouds that obstruct Thy light and be Thou our vision. Amen.

Mirrorl and Light

“Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.”

Psalm 127:1-2 (ESV) A Song of Ascents

Jesus. King of Angels

Beautiful bedtime song from Fernando Ortega: “Jesus, King of Angels.”

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus be with you tonight and give you a good night’s sleep free from all anxiety to greet the new day with fresh hope.

Jesus, King of angles, Heaven’s light
Shine your face upon this house tonight.
Let no evil come into my dreams,
Light of Heaven, keep me in your peace.

Remind me how you made dark spirits flee,
And spoke your power to the raging sea,
And spoke your mercy to a sinful man –
Remind me, Jesus, for this is what I am.

The universe is vast beyond the stars
But Your are mindful when a sparrow falls
And mindful of the anxious thoughts
That find me, surround me, and bind me

With all my heart I love you,
Sovereign Lord.
Tomorrow, let me love you even more,
And rise to speak
The goodness of Your name
Until I close my eyes in sleep again.

The universe is vast beyond the stars
But you are mindful when a sparrow falls
And mindful of the anxious thoughts
That find me, surround me, and bind me

Jesus, King of angels, Heaven’s light
Hold my hand,
And keep me through this night

Day 25 – Film That Inspired

In response to SandmanJazz’s 30 Day Film Challenge today, to wit, a film that inspired you, I like his repartee to the prompt: “Inspired me to what?🤣”

Exactly.

Inspired me to what?

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And that made me think of a movie I saw just in the last month on Amazon Prime: Healing River (2020), written & directed by Mitch Teemley. It’s a religious drama borne out of sudden tragedy. I hesitate to call it “religious” because that brings to mind the Hallmark pablum variety. This is more of a drama in the vein of Mike Nichols’s directorial debut, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966). Although it’s no black comedy, Healing River socks it to you with its fluid cinematography, character psychology, acerbic, no-holds barred dialogue and – here’s where the inspiration comes from – brutal honesty about what it means to be a Christian.

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On Easter

Easter steals between the clouds
To waken weary hearts
From the sorrows of the night
Into glorious morn.

The light falls pale on frozen time
That on a graveside dwells;
The warmth it casts cannot be felt
Until the stillness breaks.

Death quakes to hear the voice of One
Who forever broke its chains
Rising o’er the sleeping world
And one whose heart is torn.

Eternal light throws back the shroud
And grief gives way to joy
As turning we greet the risen King
And hope where there was none.

Rebuilding with You

rain

Things can fall apart so fast
Entropy is the law of the land
But when you come and pick me up
I know I can rebuild.

Bits of life flake away
As I go through each day
Little deaths along the way
But with you, I can rebuild.

Eternal God, you never leave
Though willfully I’ve torn apart
The life that you have given me
In Christ you help me to rebuild.

Now with thankful hope I pray
And think upon that glorious day
When in heaven I’ll rejoice and say
O God, you helped me to rebuild.


DailyPostPrompt: Rebuild

 

Countless, but Counting Anyway

In Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground, we are told rightly that “if [man] is not stupid, he is monstrously ungrateful! Phenomenally ungrateful. In fact, I believe that the best definition of man is the ungrateful biped.”

True, sadly. It’s the reason we allow life to overwhelm us at times. But what if we learned to be more grateful to God, to count the countless blessings He has given us?

Our joy and peace in Him would overflow. I guarantee we would all be less stressed, more ready to give back to God from all that He has given us.

When my children were little I used to teach them a little song about counting our blessings and naming them “one by one.” I hoped to make this a habit not only to lead to a habit of living life in praise to God and trusting in Him to provide, but also to live life with joy as He intended.

Continue reading “Countless, but Counting Anyway”