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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Your Dying Spouse 742 - It's OK To Be Scared {Five Minute Friday}

The Bible says don't be afraid 365 times...once for each day of the year (I guess you're allowed to be afraid for one day each leap year, and 2020 is a leap year...but I digress).
My point is that may Christians take this to be injunction and command, rather than encouragement...and when they're afraid, they question themselves, and question their faith.
I'm scared, so I don't really trust Jesus...I'm not good enough...I'm weak...why can't I bring myself to obey..?
And we read passages like Matthew 14:22-31, in which Jesus seems to chide Peter for his fear, and lack of faith:

22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

But there's more to it than this, more than the 'faith casts out fear' mantra we so often hear.

Jesus would soon feel very frightened, and very alone.

He'd sweat blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, and entreat His friends to stay awake with Him...and He was so disappointed...personally disappointed...when they failed Him.

But what, really, did He have to be afraid of? He knew He'd rise from the dead, right? Job jobbed.

Tell yourself that next time you're at the dentist for a root canal.

And perhaps more than the physical pain, He feared the loneliness that would come from assuming all the world's sin...a complete separation from the Father, in payment of that debt.

Father, why hast Thou forsaken me?

But He knew the relationship would be restored!

OK, tell yourself you'll eventually be released, after robbing a bank and being sentenced to ten years'; hard time with your cellmate a 300lb biker named Squeezer.

Jesus knows pain, and He knows lonely...and He knows you, in these hard, hard days.

This life may seem a prison, but you've got Jesus as your cellmate.

You think you should be fearless
(for ain’t that what the Bible said?),
but in these days that seem so cheerless,
it’s OK, my friend, to be afraid.
When Peter stepped out on the wave
and then cried out in sinking dread,
Jesus, yes, called out his faith,
but did not cut the poor man dead,
for He knew that in due time
He (yes!) would meet blood-sweat terror,
but that it would not be a crime,
nor even an unforced error
to ask God, must this be the plan,
the Passion of the Son of Man?

Music from Sister Hazel, with a delightful live performance of All For You.


Thanks to Carol Ashby, Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart is back on Kindle, and will be available in paperback soon.

Friends are everything. I couldn't have done it.

Marley, the canine waif from Afghanistan, whom WE helped save, has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.







Thursday, March 19, 2020

Your Dying Spouse 741 - This Is Why You're A Christian {Five Minute Friday}

Hey guys, it's Stupid Question Time!

Why did Jesus become a Christian?

Now, don't scratch your heads too hard...there is method in my madness (or is it 'madness in my method'..?).

What I mean is, well, a Christian is someone who follows Jesus, and acts like Him right?

So He had to act in a certain way in the beginning...right?

And why did He do that? (Cue the music from Jeopardy...duh di duh do dum di dum...)

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself"

Love God, love they neighbour. There's no division between these; the second is not the lesser, it's supported by the greatness of the first.

Supported, and amplified.

It's not about Halellujah! and God wants you well!

In this time of enforced isolation, and at all other times besides, it's about seeing Christ when you look at that grumpy old guy down the street, or that really hot chick who lives next door (that would be Barbara).

It's about keeping up on emails and Facebook, using FaceTime to chat, waving at the people you see in person and shouting Hello!

It's about having a meal delivered to someone who's sick, and organizing a meal service for a sick family.

It's about cutting the grass and trimming the hedge for someone who just can't do it now, so they don't feel like life is falling down in every way.

It's about making sure that grumpy old guy, even though he's an athiest (GASP!) sees that someone cares, that he's not alone.

You'll note that Jesus didn't say, Love thy Christian neighbour.

Love they neighbour, period.

That's what it's all about. That's the price of admission, and that's the ransom.

Keep your better angels bold,
don’t give the demons what they seek;
protect the very young and old,
and give your food unto the weak.
Shelter those who have not hope
in your prayers, if not your home,
and help your widowed neighbor cope,
for cares should not be borne alone.
Be the lantern-glow at midnight,
be the brave that shuts out fear,
be the one who ends the fight
and then dries the foe’s salt-tears
for it is true, after all,
that together, we surely will not fall.

Here's Missalette performing an uptempo version of They Will Know We Are Christians.


Thanks to Carol Ashby, Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart is back on Kindle, and will be available in paperback soon.

Friends are everything. I couldn't have done it.

Marley, the canine waif from Afghanistan, whom WE helped save, has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.







Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Your Dying Spouse 740 - Quarantine

A dodgy internet connexion has reall played hob with my regular schedule of three posts per week, and I apologise.

Personally, I'm not affected by the coronavirus thing. I'm already quarantined; I can't ride in a vehicle without extreme pain, and going out shopping or to Starbucks simply isn't on.

It's not a bad way to live. You just have to stay focused, and not weep over that which you cannot have.

The sonnet below first appeared as a comment on Michelle Ule's blog.

Cancer's got me quarantined,
and it's really not so bad.
Not, perhaps, livin' the dream
but there's fun yet to be had,
and life is still productive,
though it take some motivation
to avoid the self-destructive
aspects of the situation.
Take care to dress well every day
(don't lounge in an old dressing-gown),
alternate your work and play,
and be aware you have a crown
that awaits you with the Father;
do your best, today, to live the honour.

Music from Bobby McFerrin, with Don't Worry Be Happy.


Thanks to Carol Ashby, Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart is back on Kindle, and will be available in paperback soon.

Friends are everything. I couldn't have done it.

Marley, the canine waif from Afghanistan, whom WE helped save, has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.







Thursday, March 12, 2020

Your Dying Spouse 739 - Face The Fear {Five Minute Friday}

And so, coronavirus.

Being in the top part of the high-risk group, I guess I should be scared. There is a nontrivial chance of death for people like me.

Except, I'm not scared.

COVID-19, to give it its proper name, is a respiratory virus in the same family as many others, including the common cold. It's a bit more lethal, not much, but it's not an unknown quantity. The World Health Organiation says that over 80% of those infected will experience only mild symptoms, and the vast majority will recover quickly.

Its spread has peaked in China, and the rate of infection (even given massive screening) is slowing in the US.

It's not, as the media likes to call it, a 'killer virus'. It's nasty, but it will eventually go away, like H1N1, SARS, MERS, Swine Flu, and a host of others we can't even recall.

It's not a judgment on a sinful world, and while it's certainly no boon, there are blessings contained within the dreadful...

...like the bodies we are given, which have the ability to fight a broad range of infections...

...like the leaders who are willing to step up and implement policy that will protect us, and preserve our economic health from panic...

...like the health-care professionals willing to step into harm's way to care for the sick and comfort the dying...

...like the scientists who have already developed potential vaccines against COVID-19, which are now in testing. (The 'architecture' of COVID-19 is similar to MERS, and has lent itself to a genetically-engineered vaccine similar to that which proved successful for MERS.)

So I'm optimistic...this is not the harbinger of the End. It's a tooth-jarring pothole, to be sure, but our road goes on.

And beyond that, and more fundamentally, I'm at peace. I take every precaution I can, and so does Barb, but if I get the thing, I get it.

If I die, I die.

One thing cancer has taught me is that if I base my joy on the permanence of this earthly life, I'm hitching my wagon to a soap-bubble star.

Happiness can't go far, with that kind of transportation.

I may die, but I won't be gone.

I'll just be starting over, in a brand new, grand new game.

They say doom is upon us,
and we can do nowt but cry;
fortitude's tossed beneath the bus,
and we're all going to die.
They say that we are helpless,
and God won't show His face
to a people now so feckless,
so government is grace.
They say...oh, this is stupid,
and shall not wreck my day,
for they aren't even lucid,
and who are 'they', anyway?
Half full, not empty, is my glass,
and I know this, too, shall pass.

Music from Casting Crowns, with a cool live performance of The Voice of Truth.


Thanks to Carol Ashby, Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart is back on Kindle, and will be available in paperback soon.

Friends are everything. I couldn't have done it.

Marley, the canine waif from Afghanistan, whom WE helped save, has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.