God Rest Ye Merry, Gentle People

Here’s wishing each one of you a happy Christmas season, good times with family, and above all, peace in your hearts.

nativity-447767_640
“Once in royal David’s city
stood a lowly cattle shed
where a mother laid her baby
in a manger for his bed.
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little child.”

Cecil F Alexander

Never in history has one birth, or one Person,
so inspired the world of art and music ever after.

Advertisements

Transformation

I
Melt

A
cold,
rigid as
a wax taper,
self-centered
I
is touched one day
by Spirit-guided spark
that transforms its being,
melts arrogant independence
at the foot of old rugged cross.

Pliable now, its life a quiet flow
downward—and ever outward.
Replica of its God-given flame,
the candle uncovers opportunity
to bless by service, to illuminate
the straight and narrow pathway
for others who grope or stumble.

Each day its thanksgiving radiates
in soft pools of light; its little flame,
ever sustained by Spirit’s oil, banishes
evil darkness, unfolds divine revelations
for eyes that long to see.
.

Daily Post prompt word: transformation

Answers to Prayer

Sunday Morning Musings

Apparently someone once asked George Mueller if he spent a lot of time in prayer, to which he replied that he prayed for hours every day.

“I endeavour to live in the spirit of prayer,” he added. “I pray as I walk, when I lie down, and when I rise. And the answers are always coming. Tens of thousands of times have my prayers been answered. The great fault of the children of God is that they don’t continue in prayer… They do not persevere.”

When we consider that George Mueller successfully pastored a church of 1,200 members, housed, fed clothed, taught and evangelized 2,050 orphans annually, supported 187 missionaries, organized a society that distributed vast quantities of Bibles and tracts, and went on lecture tours in his old age, one can believe that he received all those answers to prayer!

Apparently he never accepted a salary, nor mentioned financial needs to others but depended on God to supply their needs. And he never went into debt.

Oh, me of little faith!

When I read this account of George Mueller, I found his life of prayer an inspiration and a reproof. God does answer prayers. It’s not all about maintaining a loud enough, persistent enough wail that God will finally give in and give me what I want, as I see some children do. It’s about having the confidence to ask and the faith to leave the need in His hands. “Not my will, but Thine, O God.”

Of Masks and Mutations

I wrote this in response to today’s WordPress prompt: Masks. Then, since the article naturally divides into two part, I’ve posted them separately for easier reading and commenting.

PART B:  A Simple-Brained Creature Examines Evolution

As I said in Part A, it was thinking about the fantastic variations in the warbler world that lead me into all these musings about genetics, DNA, and evolution.

According to the theory of evolution, as we were taught it in school, the earth was sterile. The basic elements were present, but totally dead. Then one day a cell floating in the ocean came alive.

I can hardly comprehend that a tiny pebble, a drop of water, or any other basic element of earth, would suddenly come alive. And then, not just live but have the capability to reproduce? Did that first cell divide — or did it mate? Mind-boggling. Human cells divide all the time, according to the direction of the DNA. Any living cell —even a one-celled life form — must have DNA.

So where did the DNA come from on this sterile planet?

And then, could this new one-celled being contain in its DNA enough variation to produce a man, a dinosaur, a kangaroo, a mouse, a bird, a butterfly, a reptile, a tree, a flower, a watermelon? According to evolutionists, all these and more eventually evolved from that one cell. I turn this thought over in my mind and come up with another question:

If the DNA to produce such variety were present in this initial one-celled creature, why did it take millions of years (according to the theory) to show up? These days if you have in one couple the DNA for red-hair and black hair, you’ll see this variation in the offspring — and definitely in the grandchildren, where other DNA is mixed in to produce an amazing display.

However, if the DNA to produce all that variation didn’t exist in that first living cell, from where did it come? It must have been added to the mix as time went on — but how? Can DNA that wasn’t initially present in a cell — like the DNA for scales or feathers or fur — somehow come into it? More mind boggling.

Some talk about genetic mutations and we see this happening today. We see mutations such as produce dwarfs, albinos, people with a sixth toe, etc. A child may have a harelip just like great-great-grandpa, but we never see a baby born with a beak, red eyes, a mask, a forked tongue, or talons. The DNA just isn’t there to produce this kind of variation.

According to most religions there is a Creator — God if you will — who designed all the creatures of the earth and gave each the particular genetics of their species, with potential for some variation, as well as the ability to reproduce after their kind. And we see that He gave each species a DNA capable of some variation. And He gave them life.

Now this is easy for me to grasp. Nothing mind-boggling here — if we can accept that God always was, even before the earth was.

It seems like the whole theory of evolution is a mask for “We won’t believe in God.”

(Some folks claim the evolutionary theory’s originator, Charles Darwin, is said to have disclaimed it before he died. However, I don’t have actual proof of this. He classified himself as an agnostic.)

Well, Sister, It’s Like This…

Another “Crescent Park Days” Tale

One day while we were living in Moose Jaw I was walking home with my five year-old daughter. We were coming either from Crescent Park or from downtown. At that time we were living with my husband’s parents on Athabasca St, an easy walk to the library, the park, and Main Street.

As we came along the block towards our gate I noticed a middle-aged man — maybe mid-fifties and somewhat stocky — standing at the bus stop at the end of the block, a few houses down from our house. I didn’t recognize him at all, nor did I give a lot of thought to his presence. He was just an ordinary fellow waiting for the city bus.

A few minutes after we were inside the house there was a knock at our door. I opened it— and here was this man. He politely inquired as to my church affiliation. “I guessed by your appearance that you may belong to the Mennonite faith,” he said.

“Yes, I am,” I answered.

“Well, sister. It’s like this,” he started out. “It so happens that I came to town from BC, planning to visit my friends. I was going to stay with them, but when I got here I learned that they’ve left town for awhile. So I have no place to stay and I need some money for food. I’ve tried to pick up a bit of work; I was just down to the employment agency this morning, in fact, and they say they have no short term work that I can do to earn a bit. So I was wondering if you could help me out with a loan of $10.”

Needless to say, I was surprised … and a little suspicious. Not quite the trusting soul anymore, you may say.

“I can prove who I am,” he went on, pulling out his wallet. “I’m a member of Such-and-Such Mennonite Church in BC.” He waved some ID at me, including a membership card from some church, and I glanced at them. But I saw nothing official, nothing that would positively identify him, like a driver’s licence, social insurance, or health care card.

I looked up at him again and he assured me, “I’m telling you the truth, sister. I wouldn’t lie to you, because I know that there’s a Judgement Day coming for all of us and the Bible warns us that all liars have their place in the lake of fire.”

I think he said a few other religious phrases as well, all said so sincerely. But he seemed so smooth, like he wasn’t really concerned if he got anything or not. He didn’t seem particularly stressed about being totally stranded and broke in a strange city. The thought crossed my mind that he could have planned his arrival better.

This was back in the days before debit cards. He couldn’t claim to have lost his wallet when he was showing it to me right then. So I did wonder how he happened to come to town without enough money to do anything once he got here. Or without phoning ahead to make sure his friends would be here. After all, he’d come about 1500 miles from home— if he lived where he said he did.

When I was a teen my Mom & Dad owned a café just off the Trans-Canada highway, so they dealt now and then with people who showed up broke asking for money and/or material help. And my Mom had a policy: If you want money, you’ll have to work for it. Down & out folks — or those who drifted in on a summer day claiming unforeseen expenses that depleted their wallet — were put to work peeling potatoes or doing odd jobs around the café or the yard.

Right at this moment, facing this man and wondering about his story, I could see the wisdom in that policy. My parents weren’t born yesterday; they’d lived through the Dirty thirties themselves and knew what desperation was all about. They knew a sob story when they heard one. If the traveller’s hard-luck tale was true, he’d be glad to do a bit of honest work to earn some cash. But if people weren’t minded to help themselves, my parents could hardly afford the quick fixes the drifter was asking for.

At the time this traveller stood at my door, I was working part-time at a senior’s residence with a big yard. My boss could always use a hand and I was pretty sure he wouldn’t be adverse to giving someone a few hours of work. So I took a chance.

Listen, I told him, “I don’t have $10 to lend you, but I work at a Retirement home with thirty residents. Let me call my boss; I’m sure he could find some work for you so you could earn a bit of cash.”

Just as smoothly as before, he said ever so suavely, “Well, if that’s the case, sister, let’s just leave it in the hands of the Lord. Thanks anyway.” And off he went. No sweat.

Was he telling the truth or wasn’t he? I guess I’ll just leave that in the hands of the Lord.

Today’s Word press prompt: Fake

He Knew We’d Need A Smile

Learn to Smile

by Edgar Guest

The good Lord understood us when He taught us how to smile;
He knew we couldn’t stand it to be solemn all the while.
He knew He’d have to shape us so that when our hearts were gay
we could let our neighbors know it in a quick and easy way.

So He touched the lips of Adam and he touched the lips of Eve
and He said, “Let these be solemn when your sorrows make you grieve,
but when all is well in Eden and your life seems worth the while,
let your faces wear the glory and the sunshine of a smile.

“Teach the symbol to your children; pass it down through all the years.
Though they know their share of sadness and shall weep their share of tears,
through the ages men and women shall prove their faith in Me
by the smile upon their faces when their hearts are trouble-free.”

The good Lord understood us when He sent us down to earth;
He knew our need for laughter and for happy signs of mirth;
He knew we couldn’t stand it to be solemn all the while,
but must share our joy with others — so He taught us how to smile.

From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest,
©1934 by the Reilly & Lee Co

smile-421163_640