The Expulsive Power of a New Affection

4 (2)PortrtMay14

Like a tenacious self-adhesive label, it stuck. Like a subcutaneous tattoo, it has never been erased from my consciousness.

The late Dr. Oswald J. Smith, founding pastor of People’s Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, wrote about “The expulsive power of a new affection.” Dr. Smith likely borrowed the term from a detailed sermon (more like a treatise!) on the subject by Thomas Chalmers, an esteemed Scottish nineteenth-century minister and theologian.

I have several of O. J. Smith’s inspiring and challenging books, but don’t remember where and in which one he uses the term.Dr. Oswald J. Smith

From time to time during the decades since I first read it, this statement has helped me gain and regain perspective on what’s important and what should be of less importance to me in life.

It also reminds me of the way God works grace in the hearts of those who receive Christ and desire to “grow in grace and knowledge of Him” (2 Peter 3:18).

The expulsive power of a new affection that comes from God and is directed towards His good purpose for our lives and for His kingdom demonstrates the power of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. This expulsive power represents “the power of God for salvation” in its redemptive work (Romans 1:16-17).

~~+~~

Heart Check:

Does God ever take away something we cherish without giving us something better in its place?

Perhaps you’ve heard testimonies or have read of people who used to have a strong affection for something – a pursuit, or a certain lifestyle that they’d thought was really great, but which came to mean little or nothing to them, because God put an affection in their heart for other things – what they now considered to be better things?

I recall Norm (not his real name) sharing such a story. He’d been a well-schooled, competitive accordionist, winning numerous championship awards and competitions in  North America.

After he came to know Jesus Christ as his Saviour, he experienced a strong sense of need to yield to Christ’s lordship in his life. Norm saw that his instrument and music and the competitive scene held an inordinate, idolatrous place in his life. And so, he quit playing his beloved instrument.

The Lord had given him a higher reason to live – raising his family in the love of the Lord and reaching out to others with the Good News of Jesus, especially men.

‘Norm’ shared with me that he would only take up playing the instrument again, if and when he was sure that playing it would have no negative hold on his life (in other words, no “inordinate affection”).

 ~~+~~

Thought for Today

It has been said that God never takes away something we once delighted in without giving us something better in its place.

 ~~+~~

Ask

~ Can I identify an instance in my life of an old affection’s being displaced by a new affection that I now know was from God?

~ What did I learn about myself and God’s love and grace through that experience?

~ Am I aware of an affection in my life now that ought to be expelled? Is God preparing my heart to replace that affection by displacing it with a new and holy affection that would be pleasing to Him?

From Higher Up

Colossians 3:1-4 (NIV)

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

For further consideration: Philippians 4:8-9.

~~+~~

Photo Credit: Dr. Oswald J. Smith – cyberhymnal

The Word Guild Authors BlogSpot   Tenacity   Sunday Stillness

Growing Through God’s Word

~~~   

Christmas Special Extended: Available from the author for $15.00 (list price $19.50) + $5.50 shipping to an address in Canada. (US and overseas, whatever is the mailing cost.) See Contact Form below.

Positive reader feedback continues to come for the book “Raise Your Gaze . . .10498089_1465286213721468_5994231185476006436_o Mindful Musings of  a Grateful Heart.”  Some have purchased second and third copies – and even a fourth – to give to family members and friends.

Ebook version available. Click: Raise Your Gaze … Ebook

Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart is a collection of 52 articles from Black’s P-Pep! column, sprinkled with Words to Bless. Inspirational; some biographical. 190 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3
Also Available from Angel Hope Publishing: Angelhopepublishing@glynisbelec.com www.glynisbelec.com
Amazon.com ; Amazon.ca
Ebook version now available.

Reader reflections of “Raise Your Gaze . . . Mindful Musings . . .” indicate how much they’ve enjoyed its variety as well as the format and structure. They like its warmth, human interest stories and encouraging inspiration.

Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parablescover from the Pond” – a children’s / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing. 39 stories, 232 pp, b/w illustrations. Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. $14.00 (list price $15.99) + mailing cost. Also available through bookstores, the author and at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

The book continues to find a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to senior adults. His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Standard Guide Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. ~~+~~

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Posted in Expulsive power, Inordinate affection, Inspirational, New affection, Opinions, Oswald J. Smith, People's Church, Philippians 4:8-9, Romans 1:16-17, self-adhesive label, tattoo, Thomas Chalmers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sacramental, Eucharistic Service

4 (2)PortrtMay14

A series of hands outstretched in greeting, backed by smiling faces, welcomed us when my wife and I entered the sanctuary. I thrilled at hearing the magnificent organ skilfully played in prelude and wished, as I quite often do, that I’d learned to play organ “properly,” too. Only weeks before this I’d attended a memorial service there, and appreciated the instrument’s gentle throb filling the lofty place.

That sacred space is an auditorium I’ve always liked, since my first visit three decades ago. Gorgeous stained glass windows depicting Christ and His ministry and Christian symbols enrich the visual and spacial experience, and more importantly, inspire spiriHPIM1510tual reflection.

Twenty-four years before this recent visit I’d spoken at a Lenten service in St. Paul’sHPIM1508 United Church. It was good to be back and I felt truly privileged to be guest speaker. Once seated, craning my neck, yet trying hard to not make it obvious, I gazed up for several seconds at the inner and outer rings of lights encircling the large dome.

I mused. Years ago I counted those lights . . . Were there eighty-plus? But there’s also a smaller ring within the dome. [Inner ring of lights, above left] Now, were they included in my count? I wondered. My childlike curiosity would have to wait. The service is getting under way, and I’m a guest here and have to have my wits about me and follow the service order and focus on the worship, so as to not miss my cues.HPIM1511

Sparing you step-by-step details, the focus of the service was about contributing and serving others, using our gifts and playing our part. May and I presented a brief children’s slot, using my accordion and a dollar store harmonica as objects for the lesson.

[Top right facing front; 2nd from top right facing rear.]

We wrapped that up with a duet. Later I was called on to sing a solo. The time came for the sermon and it was my delight to share the life and love and joy of the Lord from the Scriptures (from Romans 12, and Colossians 3) on this great topic.

There are various kinds of service, of course, and we are endowed with varying abilities and skills. The Holy Spirit motivates us in our expression and exercise of them for the benefit of other people.

A point that I was making, based on the Scripture, is that as Christ-followers we are called to offer and provide service from a somewhat different standpoint than that of non-believers or non-followers of Jesus. Even the smallest deed constitutes a sacramental, Eucharistic service, when it arises from a heart of thanksgiving to God.

My Beloved concluded our part by singing, to my piano accompaniment, a song of thanksgiving to God.

Next Sunday we should be back in a country Baptist church, supporting the service musically, lending our humble gifts. Neither St. Paul’s nor that rural church is the fellowship with which I’m ordained, yet they welcome us into their church families and into their fellowships as members of the family of God.

Oct6During this season of retirement from full pastoral responsibilities, we are blessed to have adequate health and strength to be on hand for one of our own families with children, and to serve the wider Christian and general communities.

“The ol’ grey mare of the body ain’t what it used t’ be.” However, our sharing the life, love and joy of our Lord in nursing homes, retirement centres and churches of various denominational affiliations is, by God’s grace, sacramental service. ~~+~~

Thought for Today

For those who love and serve God supremely and with a grateful heart love and serve people effectively, the line between secular and sacred  fades. ~~+~~

From Higher Up

The Lord Jesus said (as “The King” in Matthew 25:40 NIV): “. . . I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

The apostle Paul wrote (in Romans 12:1 NIV): “. . . I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”

And he encouraged (in Colossians 3:17 NIV): “. . . whatever you do , whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

~~+~~

  • Original edition of the above article was published in P-Pep! column in The Standard Guide Advocate, Nov. 26 2015.
  • Sanctuary photos of of St. Paul’s United Church, Tillsonburg, Ontario, by Peter Black.

The Word Guild Authors BlogSpot   Tenacity   Sunday Stillness

Growing Through God’s Word

~~~   

CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: Available from the author for $15.00 (list price $19.50) + $5.50 shipping to an address in Canada. (US and overseas, whatever is the mailing cost.) See Contact Form below.

Positive reader feedback continues to come for the book “Raise Your Gaze . . .10498089_1465286213721468_5994231185476006436_o Mindful Musings of  a Grateful Heart.”  Some have purchased second and third copies – and even a fourth – to give to family members and friends.

Ebook version available. Click: Raise Your Gaze … Ebook

Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart is a collection of 52 articles from Black’s P-Pep! column, sprinkled with Words to Bless. Inspirational; some biographical. 190 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3
Also Available from Angel Hope Publishing: Angelhopepublishing@glynisbelec.com www.glynisbelec.com
Amazon.com ; Amazon.ca
Ebook version now available.

Reader reflections of “Raise Your Gaze . . . Mindful Musings . . .” indicate how much they’ve enjoyed its variety as well as the format and structure. They like its warmth, human interest stories and encouraging inspiration.

Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parablescover from the Pond” – a children’s / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing. 39 stories, 232 pp, b/w illustrations. Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. List price $15.99. Available through bookstores, the author and at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

The book continues to find a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to senior adults. His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Standard Guide Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. ~~+~~

Posted in Cenotaph Service, Honour, Hope, Inspirational, Kindness, Opinions, P-Pep! Column, Prayer for "enemies", Remembrance / Veterans, Return of Christ, WWI, WWII | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Remembering *Their* Pain, Too!

4 (2)PortrtMay14

On Remembrance Day, Wei Chen, host of CBC’s Ontario Morning radio program, invited her listeners to email or call in, telling their stories about whom they would be remembering. Every now and then, she read out responses between news spots, weather forecasts and interviews.

Some simply stated something like this: “I’ll be remembering my great uncle John, who fought in WWI.” For others it was their father or grandfather, from either of the World Wars.

I didn’t hear all the responses, but it’s possible, if not likely, that some widow would have called, speaking out of a wistful heart and feeling a pang of resurrected sorrow, to say she would be remembering her late husband killed in action in WWII or some other conflict. Some respondents related poignant stories of their loved one’s wartime experience.

Although I didn’t call in or correspond, I did so in heart and mind. I called to mind several of my late relatives who were engaged in WWI, WWII and other hostilities. However, I also thought outside that box.

Despite a strong distaste for war, while standing at our community cenotaph I thought: Yes. Regarding WWII, Hitler had to be stopped. Absolutely, he had to be stopped!

And I also remembered, or at least gave some prayerful thought to, those people of “the other side” – ordinary people, citizens who are just like we, who suffered tremendous privations and loss on account of that dreadful dark period and its massive devastation.

I thought of aging German immigrants who not only suffered the loss of homes and loved PBlack11Nov15Aones through Allied bombings, but also their husbands, fathers, or brothers and uncles who were killed, or were horribly wounded. Thought of those armed forces personnel who, like many of the Allied side, were under orders, doing their part for their leader, government and country.

Oh yes, we see now – without having a degree in psychology or psychiatry – that the Fuhrer was a tragically deranged megalomanic psychopath, if ever there was one. Some folks might venture to say that if ever anyone were demon-possessed, he could have been the one.

I further imagined that some of those people from “the other side” ache, not only with haunting memories of devastation and loss, but also of deep, enduring embarrassment at the great misery their country was responsible for bringing upon the world through those two wars.

Do some German folks and those from their nation’s wartime allies suppress their own sorrow rather than risk talking about their suffering and loss with their fellow Canadian neighbours who are not from their countries? Might they fear that to do so may invite negative reaction and ostracism? I wondered.

In war everyone suffers, and victory for some may have a hollow ring, despite all goodwill they can muster. I thought and prayed for these and all who today are suffering from war and conflicts past and present.

Our local cenotaph service unfolded, wreaths were laid, prayers were offered and the F-18markbrayeWpressDotComanthem sung, and moments of silence observed. It was broken suddenly, as with a great rushing sound several military aircraft, including two jets, streaked through the clouds to roar overhead in a low flyover, right on cue at the 11th hour.

And then I remembered the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ, that “as the lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west” so would be His coming “on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory” (ref. Matthew 24:27-30).

The final words and closing prayer of the Biblical Scriptures, from Revelation 22:20b-21 (NIV)

“Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.”

~~+~~

Thought for Today

Humanly it may not be easy to pray from the heart for those who have been or have treated us as their enemy. However, it is possible, through the grace of our Lord Jesus and the love of God our Father, and the indwelling presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit, who enables us.

From Higher Up

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28 (NKJV)

~~+~~

  • F-18 Jet pic Credit: markbraye; WPress.com ; Poppies pic: PaBlack

The Word Guild Authors BlogSpot   Tenacity   Sunday Stillness

Growing Through God’s Word

~~~   

Positive reader feedback continues to come for the book “Raise Your Gaze . . . Mindful Musings of  a Grateful Heart.” Some have purchased second and third copies – and even a fourth – to give to family members and friends.

Available from the author for $17.00 (list price $19.50) + $5.50 shipping to an address in Canada. See Contact Form below.

Ebook version available. Click: Raise Your Gaze … Ebook

Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart is a collection of 52 articles from Black’s P-Pep! column, 10498089_1465286213721468_5994231185476006436_osprinkled with Words to Bless. Inspirational; some biographical. 190 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3
Also Available from Angel Hope Publishing: Angelhopepublishing@glynisbelec.com www.glynisbelec.com
Amazon.com ; Amazon.ca
Ebook version now available.

Reader reflections of “Raise Your Gaze . . . Mindful Musings . . .” indicate how much they’ve enjoyed its variety as well as the format and structure. They like its warmth, human interest stories and encouraging inspiration.

Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children’s / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing. 39 stories, 232 pp, b/w illustrations. Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. List price $15.99. Available through bookstores, the author and at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

The book continues to find a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to coversenior adults. His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Standard Guide Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. ~~+~~

Posted in Cenotaph Service, Honour, Hope, Inspirational, Kindness, Opinions, P-Pep! Column, Prayer for "enemies", Remembrance / Veterans, Return of Christ, WWI, WWII | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Building Project (Guest Post by Peter Cusick)

4 (2)PortrtMay14

My friend Peter Cusick generously gave permission for us to reprint an article* he recently posted online. I like his to-the-point writing style and his engaging, inimitable preaching. (Peter is lead pastor of St. Thomas Pentecostal Church (in St. Thomas, Ontario). He writes:

Let’s have a building contest. Kind of like that program on T.V. called, Canada’s Worst Handyman. The object is to build a back yard shed. There is a huge selection of tools to choose from. You can use any of the tools in the room – your choice. However, only I get to use a tape-measure and a carpenter’s square. You must build your shed – using the finest of tools – but nothing to measure with. No ruler, no square, no tape-measure, no level – just your keen eye.

I will suggest a few things that might help you. Since you have nothing to measure with, there are things you could try. [For example]: your feelings. So, if you feel as if a board is too long – simply cut it. If you think a line isn’t straight – change it. Another thing that might help is listening to other people.

If your husband says – “Wow that looks crooked,” Then take his advice – listen to him. Another idea – listen to culture. Culture says that your shed needs to be tall, wide, covered with board and batten. These are three key things that will help build your shed – what you feel, other’s advice, and culture. Don’t be intimidated with the fact that you do not have a measuring tape – you are beyond that. You have other tools.

Now, I . . . may use the same three things you will use – feelings, other’s advice, and MeasuringToolsPCusickSep15culture – but I also have an external standard of measurement. I have a measuring tape. I have a carpenter’s square. So where there is a potential contradiction with what I feel – I put feelings aside and use my tape measure. When my buddy tells me something is crooked – I take my level and adjust according to an external standard of measurement – not my buddy’s eyes.

I’m going to suggest to you that no matter how talented, patient, or capable you are – my shed will look better. And that is not because I am more talented, patient, or capable! It is because I have an external measuring tool. I have an absolute. I have something that is not affected by my feelings, the opinion of others – nor what culture is or is not saying.

Change the game – let’s talk about life. How do you navigate life without an outside – external standard of morality, ethics, spirituality, knowledge, right or wrong? If you have no outside standard all you have are your feelings, opinions of others, and culture. It’s like navigating without a compass – just what you feel. It’s like writing a test without having taken the class. So, what is your external standard – what do you use? And that is something to think about.

~~~

It certainly is something to think about.

Our thanks to Peter for permitting our use of this piece. Check out his church site and more of his pithy thought-provoking posts, at http://www.stpa.on.ca/

Thought for Today

We need Divine Wisdom for building – not a mere garden shed or an earthly house, but – a LIFE prepared for an eternal home in the presence of God.

From Higher Up

Jesus said: “. . . everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock” (Mat. 7:24-25 NIV).

~~+~~

(An edition of the above article was published in P-Pep! column in The Standard Guide Advocate.)

~~+~~

The Word Guild Authors BlogSpot   Tenacity   Sunday Stillness

Growing Through God’s Word

~~~   

Positive reader feedback for the book “Raise Your Gaze . . . Mindful Musings of  a Grateful Heart.” Some have purchased second and third copies – and even a fourth – to give to family members and friends.

Available from the author for $17.00 (list price $19.50) + $5.50 shipping to an address in Canada. See Contact Form below.

Ebook version now available. Click: Raise Your Gaze … Ebook

Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart is a collection of 52 articles from Black’s P-Pep! column, 10498089_1465286213721468_5994231185476006436_osprinkled with Words to Bless. Inspirational; some biographical. 190 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3
Also Available from Angel Hope Publishing: Angelhopepublishing@glynisbelec.com www.glynisbelec.com
Amazon.com ; Amazon.ca
Ebook version now available.

Reader reflections of “Raise Your Gaze . . . Mindful Musings . . .” indicate how much they’ve enjoyed its variety as well as the format and structure. They like its warmth, human interest stories and encouraging inspiration.

Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children’s / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing. 39 stories, 232 pp, b/w illustrations. Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. List price $15.99. Available through bookstores, the author and at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

The book continues to find a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to coversenior  adults. His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Standard Guide Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. ~~+~~

Posted in Advice, Building, character formation, Construction, Divine Wisdom, Foundations, Limitations, Matthew 7:24-25, Opinions, P-Pep! Column, Peter Cusick, Quality Tools, STPA | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Writing: Past Joys and Future Hopes

4 (2)PortrtMay14

Burlington and Hamilton rush-hour traffic made for a late return home last Thursday, and so I missed the first fifteen minutes of the writer’s circle meeting in my home town. I waltzed in, apologized and heaved several objects from the bowels of my tote-bag onto the table in time to take my turn in presenting my completed homework assignment.

The assignment: “Choose an object, topic or situation of your own choice. Write about it employing whatever style or genre you wish.” I adopted an anecdotal article style and I invite you to stick around, while I share about the objects and the reading I presented:

They sit, the one on top of the other. These stacks of letter-sized pages, one stack sandwiched between red plastic covers and the other between green, are three-hole-punched and bound with metal straps. Together, they’re quite a hefty tome of four inches thick.

Although my spousal Beloved would like me to shed or shred them I’m not yet ready to let them go. For me, they represent approximately 230 recording sessions at Tillsonburg, Ontario’s CKOT radio station, and about 460 15-minute inspirational programs, and hundreds of hours of preparation, during an almost nine-year period.

The earlier scripts were banged out on my beloved Underwood Five typewriter, until it was laid to rest (i.e. sold for three bucks in a yard sale) when an electronic typewriter came into the office. Eventually, several years later I caught up—somewhat breathlessly—to the computer age, which had more than overtaken me. That advancement is evidenced by the then common dot-matrix printing in the green binder’s latter section. BethlBlssgsScriptsJul15-A

Those stoic stacks and their contents, although hardly consulted for years, represent the past—my past—1985 to ’94. They remind me of people I met at the radio station in those days. There was Doug and the other Doug, and Dave and the other Dave; and also Gerri, Debbie and Joe, as well as Robert and John and their sister, Joan. These occupied various roles, from announcers and DJs and technicians, to copywriter, office staff and business partners. I enjoyed and appreciated each of them.

Another binder—a mere quarter-inch thick—sits on top. It bears the ad hoc title “Raise the Gaze Christmas Collection,” and contains writing samples of original fiction stories and several poems surrounding Christmas and winter.

Although those items were written quite some years ago, they represent the future—hopefully my future. Some of the originals were presented in public readings, while others were printed in Christmas Eve church bulletins, although they’ve never been published in book form; besides, they require reworking and refining.

Perhaps I’m unlikely to be recording or broadcasting on radio again. Even so, I hold on to those program scripts . . . for now, because I may yet have a good look through life’s rear window and flip through the pages to gain fresh inspiration for present and future public endeavours. And, I might also experience some wistful moments, as poignant memories are stirred of enjoyable sessions when, adorned with headphones and a microphone at my face, I chatted with producers through the studio window.

My Christmas Collection WIP (work in progress) may never reach publication; however I have hope, because two hoped-for books already have been brought to birth—since I left those sessions at CKOT behind.

I’m glad I pulled those old binders and their younger, slim companion off the shelf. They remind me that I have a past to recall and a hopeful future to dream and write about and work toward.

That is, as God spares me.

 Thought for Today

Even youth has no guarantees of tomorrow, therefore let us all, whatever our age, raise our gaze and lift up our hearts and live well today.

From Higher Up

. . . you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and vanishes. . . . you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (from James 4:14-15 NIV).

~~+~~

(An edition of the above article was published in P-Pep! column in The Watford Guide-Advocate.)

~~+~~

The Word Guild Authors BlogSpot   He Cares for You  Tenacity  Sunday Stillness

~~~    

Positive reader feedback for the book “Raise Your Gaze . . . Mindful Musings of  a Grateful Heart.” Some have purchased second and third copies – and even a fourth – to give to family members and friends.

Available from the author for $17.00 (list price $19.50) + $5.50 shipping to an address in Canada. See Contact Form below.

Ebook version now available. Click: Raise Your Gaze … Ebook

Now out:  Raise Your Gaze – Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart collection of 52 articles from P-Pep! column, 10498089_1465286213721468_5994231185476006436_osprinkled with Words to Bless. Inspirational; some biographical. 190 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3
Also Available from Angel Hope Publishing: Angelhopepublishing@glynisbelec.com www.glynisbelec.com
Amazon.com ; Amazon.ca
Ebook version now available.

Reader reflections of “Raise Your Gaze . . . Mindful Musings . . .” indicate how much they’ve enjoyed its variety as well as the format and structure. They like its warmth, human interest stories and encouraging inspiration.

Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children’s / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing. 39 stories, 232 pp, b/w illustrations. Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. List price $15.99. Available through bookstores, the author and at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to coversenior  adults. His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. ~~+~~

Posted in 2 Timothy 1:5, Faith, Forward-looking, Giving, Giving in death, Legacy, Trees | 2 Comments

The ‘Living’ Dead — A Legacy of Trees

4 (2)PortrtMay14

Much has been made in popular fiction, film and television industries about “the walking dead“ and “the living dead” – tied to the idea of surviving in a world following a “zombie apocalypse.” (Confession: I haven’t followed the genre, myself.)

Last year when walking local community trails I took specific note of certain trees – hardwoods with gnarled trunks and multi-directional branches, as well as stately evergreens. They impressed me. But why?

13

The Dead Among the Living.

They were dead.

Dead. And yet, I saw beauty in them.

I saw life in the midst of their state of death.

Left standing till fallen in the woodland, they continued giving.

Other trees, while obviously dying, still lived.

My wife and I were informed that some years ago lightning twice struck the grand old maple in our backyard, severely damaging it. A barkless section of dead wood, peppered with insect holes, reaches from the ground right up to the branch level on one side. Limbs had fallen, while others were cut off to help it survive. It is dying a slow death. However, nature sometimes compensates, as often happens after someone has suffered stroke or some significant debilitation.

Dead, stark and perhaps unshapely, but not unattractive to me.

Dead, stark and perhaps unshapely, but not unattractive to me.

And so, life surges up the healthy side of our tree each spring and it still buds and seeds, and produces enough foliage to help shade the deck and house from the searing sun. We’ve witnessed that cycle now for the four spring seasons we’ve lived here.

~~~

Tree in Foreground: Host and food pantry to thousands of insects.

Dead Tree in Foreground: Host and food pantry to thousands of insects and borrowing creatures. It has since fallen, but still gives!

These dead and dying stalwarts of nature’s benevolence drew my gaze upward, both literally and figuratively.

I realized that, once dead and left to the processes of nature, many trees keep on giving. They continue to afford shelter and food for thousands of mites and insects and burrowing creatures, and serve as hosts to fungi, and generally support life.

On a more recent walk I noted that many of those trees were still standing beautiful, stark and serene, years after their death. Others had finally fallen, having succumbed to post-death rot and the ravages of the elements. I was moved as I mused and later returned to take snapshots of them.

~~~

Trees are true givers. Many, during their lifetime of decades or a hundred and more years, provide blossoms for nectar and honey production. Trees that produce fruit or nuts or seeds of some kind provide food for humans and animals, and perpetuate their own species.

They also provide shade and shelter for a great variety of creatures and are “the lungs of the planet,” by re-oxygenating the atmosphere. And where would we be without the vast array of products manufactured from wood!

Generally-speaking, whenever we enter our homes or sit on a wooden chair, we continue to benefit from the gift legacy of a tree once living, now dead.

Yes, giving — in death.

Will the issues of my life and yours continue to feed more than the little creatures that help to return our mortal remains to the dust? Will a legacy of giving continue after we’re gone, through positive, wholesome investments and impacts in the lives of others, made during our earthly lives?

Paul, the Apostle, commended his team-mate Timothy’s mother and grandmother, for providing him a great legacy of faith:

“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5 NIV2011).

May our testimony to God’s grace continue to stand, once our tree of life has fallen.

~~+~~

The Word Guild Authors BlogSpot   He Cares for You  Tenacity  Sunday Stillness

~~~    

Positive reader feedback for the book “Raise Your Gaze . . . Mindful Musings of  a Grateful Heart.” Some have purchased second and third copies – and even a fourth – to give to family members and friends.

Available from author for $17.00 (list price $19.50) + $5.50 shipping to an address in Canada. See Contact Form below.

Ebook version now available. Click: Raise Your Gaze … Ebook

Now out:  Raise Your Gaze – Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart collection of 52 articles from P-Pep! column, 10498089_1465286213721468_5994231185476006436_osprinkled with Words to Bless. Inspirational; some biographical. 190 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3
Available from Angel Hope Publishing: Angelhopepublishing@glynisbelec.com www.glynisbelec.com
Amazon.com ; Amazon.ca
Ebook version now available.

Reader reflections of “Raise Your Gaze . . . Mindful Musings . . .” indicate how much they’ve enjoyed its variety as well as the format and structure. They like its warmth, human interest stories and encouraging inspiration.

Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children’s / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing. 39 stories, 232 pp, b/w illustrations. Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. List price $15.99. Available through bookstores, the author and at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to coversenior  adults. His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. ~~+~~

Posted in 2 Timothy 1:5, Faith, Forward-looking, Giving, Giving in death, Legacy, Trees | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Limitations Unlimited

4 (2)PortrtMay14

We’ve seen them—many of them young, bold and vibrant . . . Some of them glowing, their faces registering the joy of achievement.

The Special Olympics and similar sporting events, among other activities, geared to and convened for people willing to push themselves beyond either physical or developmental limitation—or both, often raise my gaze.

The first time I walked into my late friend Ken’s office in New Jersey I was amazed to see him in his wheelchair, mouth-stick protruding from between his lips tapping out a message on his computer. Two printers, one on either side of the computer, rattled away simultaneously.

A quadriplegic, Ken found great purpose in life in sharing with others—whether or not they had physical or developmental challenges—the message of hope that he had found in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Hmm, it’s hard to believe my visit was well over two decades ago, and that he has since passed away to be with the Lord He came to love and serve.)

Ken sustained his catastrophic injury when he slammed his car into a tree. He was an entrepreneur in his early twenties, with his own business up and running at the time.

John, a Special Olympics swimmer I met a few years back, has only one arm, yet he enthusiastically set himself to buying an electronic organ with bass pedals. He’d make the most of his one hand, five fingers and two feet.

Recently I was honoured to be included in a volunteer appreciation lunch at a retirement residence in my community. Most of the volunteers are senior citizens, as I also am, although I’m among the younger.

Some of them are in their eighties and yet sufficiently well and active to give of their time to bring cheer, provide music, or Bible study, assist with crafts and share life with the residents. They truly are to be commended. I lead a worship service each month in that place and also present instrumental music and song.

I’d like to mention Kelvin,* a young man whom I guess to be about twenty. He’s confined to a wheelchair. His bright, cheerful and respectful air has endeared him to the residents, and they just love it when he comes in to make the bingo calls.

Julie,* a young lady about Kelvin’s age, also helps out. An element of developmental challenge doesn’t at all get in the way of the joy she brings. Her pretty face and smile and bouncy curls add to the rays of sunshine she brings.

With signs of memory fading at the edges, as well as dodgy recall, and old injuries bringing a measure of physical limitation that I experience nowadays, I’m encouraged when I witness the gung-ho joie de vivre of these people and others like them.

They shame me for my grousing about, “I can’t do what I used to do.”

Many more such individuals come to mind (hmm, memory and recall’s working fine now that the pump’s primed). However, what do these folks I’ve shared about today have in common?

~They are others-centred.

~Most are people of Christian faith.

~All care about other challenged folks, and do something to help.

~They are forward-looking, regardless of age and challenges.

~They refuse to be limited by their limitations or limited to them.

It brings into focus the missionary apostle Paul’s words:

“I can do everything through him [Christ] who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13  NIV).

~~~

*Names changed to protect privacy.

~~+~~

The Word Guild Authors BlogSpot   He Cares for You  Tenacity  Sunday Stillness

~~~    

Positive reader feedback for the book “Raise Your Gaze . . . Mindful Musings of  a Grateful Heart.” Some have purchased second and third copies – and even a fourth – to give to family members and friends.

Available from author for $17.00 (list price $19.50) + $5.50 shipping to an address in Canada. See Contact Form below.

Ebook version now available. Click: Raise Your Gaze … Ebook

Now out:  Raise Your Gaze – Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart collection of 52 articles from P-Pep! column, 10498089_1465286213721468_5994231185476006436_osprinkled with Words to Bless. Inspirational; some biographical. 190 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3
Available from Angel Hope Publishing: Angelhopepublishing@glynisbelec.com www.glynisbelec.com
Amazon.com ; Amazon.ca
Ebook version now available.

Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children’s / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing. 39 stories, 232 pp, b/w illustrations. Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. List price $15.99. Available through bookstores, the author and at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to coversenior  adults. His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. ~~+~~

Posted in Developmentally challenged, Faith, Forward-looking, Limitations, others-centred, Philippians 4:13, Physically challenged, Special Olympics, Volunteerism | Tagged , , | Leave a comment