Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Today's grind: Gevalia's Kona. I rec'd my last package of coffee yesterday: Dark Roast, Espresso Roast, Costa Rica and (my fav) Mocha Java. I have suspended my shipments due to costs. However, I am well stocked and will probably have enough coffee to make it through the winter - unless my boys increase their consumption!

On to more important things:

You may have noticed I added an online Lectionary to the blog. It is located in the upper right hand corner and updates daily for Bible reading. It is so very important to have a consistent reading program of some sort. I am involved in three right now - and am trying to keep up with all of them. I like the lectionary, although I am unsure if it is just out of trying something new, or if I will continue with it for the days to come. I'm sure I'll keep you updated.

Psalm 96 was in the reading today for the Lectionary. I like verse 2 - although it challenged me as well: Sing to the LORD, bless His name, tell of His salvation from day to day (esv). The Psalm is full of instructions on giving praise to God - worshiping the Lord for who He is, what He has done and for what He will do. This phrase of speaking His salvation from day to day struck a chord with me. I don't think it is an evangelistic phrase as some would term "soul-winning", but certainly would correlate with giving an answer for the hope that lies within us! The thought that came across my mind was, "how good am I at doing this on a day to day basis"? While I work in a church office and typically surrounded with Christian people now, I still need to live a life in such a way that the deliverance of the Lord is proclaimed on a daily basis. Whether in evangelistic outreach or discipleship (kind of the same thing actually), I need to continually proclaim the goodness of my Savior! What say ye on this matter?

You'll notice when I quoted the verse it was in the ESV version. I am quite possibly making the switch from NASB to ESV. And today may prove to be the perfect day! Ligonier Ministries is making available to Reformation Study Bible in ESV for only $15.17 - today only. This price is for the hardback edition - but I like hard covers anyway. I have purchased two - one may be a gift... I am looking forward to using it in everyday study and seeing how I like it. I have the ESV in my bible software, but not in any book form. Check out this study bible and get one if you're so inclined! They also have it in leather, etc for those interested.

Monday, October 29, 2007

It truly was colder outside this morning. The digital thermometer read 35* this a.m. and I thought I detected the lingering fingers of frost in the backyard. Those in charge of forecasting the weather stated that we were under a freeze warning and claimed an end to the growing season. Right now as I sit in the living room looking out through the circular window in our front door, I see a somewhat stiff breeze delicately removing the red and yellow maple leaves from one of the trees in our front yard. The city of Warsaw came by earlier today and used their large leaf vac to remove all our leaves by the curb. I think we'll be raking later today when the boys get off of school.

I decided to check out the furnace today - just to make sure everything was running well. It was not. Our furnace is very efficient and does not have a pilot light. It is supposed to automatically light when needed, but for whatever reason it is not. Tomorrow the repairman comes to take a look. He will also replace our very large and effective furnace filter - which costs $46! It is one of the best for those dealing with allergies.

I have just finished reading a book that my oldest son is to read in his English class: Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank. It is a book written in the late 50's and deals with one community's efforts to survive a nuclear strike from Russia. It's hard to believe that in the last 40 years the concerns of society have moved away from fears of total nuclear holocaust to individual terrorist attacks. The book was an interesting read, although there were some un-necessary allusions to improper behavior. All in all, it was a book that could be read in a weekend - and if one just wanted something to read for pure recreation, this would fit the bill.

I have now undertaken reading again Competent to Counsel by Dr. Jay Adams. It pertains to counseling people "nouthetically" - thus, biblically. I respect Dr. Adams immensely and he writes with wisdom. He is a great man of God, a wonderful teacher and I have had the pleasure to sit under his instruction on a couple of occasions. I encourage every Pastor or lay leader...frankly every serious believer to read this timeless work!

As I wrap up some very varied thoughts, I want you to know that again today I am drinking Gevalia's Kona blend. I mixed it very strong this morning, and this afternoon I ground it a little weaker. It is a fine coffee. I am enjoying it tremendously. Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The early morning skies were clear and the air chilly as I heard the automatic brew start on the coffee pot in the kitchen. The aroma of Gevalia's Kona blend was soon wafting through the house. As I began to get around, I realized that the house was very cool - so I turned the fireplace on. Yes, I know, I wish I could build a fire...but our home came with an gas insert, so I just turn it on. I hope to get into November before having to fire up the furnace.

I was reading Luke 2 this morning. The "Christmas" passage. What struck me in an interesting fashion is verse 25: "...And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him..." It was the phrase "looking for the consolation of Israel" that grabbed my attention. This word consolation is the Greek word: paraklesis. Perhaps it doesn't immediately ring familiar in your mind. A closely related word: parakletos might be more familiar. The first is a word that means something along the lines of "a coming to one's aid; an encouragement, an exhortation". The second is a word used of both the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ in the New Testament. It is translated "Helper" of the Holy Spirit in John's gospel and "Advocate" of Jesus Christ in John's first epistle.

Now, back to Luke 2. It was this godly man Simeon who was looking for the consolation, or the One from whom aid would come, to Israel. This word clearly is a reference to Jesus Christ. Jesus was the consolation, the encouragement, the One from whom aid would come! I love the way that Scripture refers to God. I am always seeking out the names of God, as well as, terms that reveal more about Him to me. Terms such as: the God of hope (Romans 15), the God of love and peace (2 Corinthians 13), the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1)... By the way, did you know that the word "comfort" in 2 Corinthians is the same word "consolation" in Luke 2? Isn't Scripture wonderfully consistent?

So, what does it mean to me? Well, to keep the context of the text, Jesus Christ was clearly coming to be the Messiah for His people. He was coming to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It was to these Jews He would come as their Comforter, their Consolation. Upon their rejection He did offer Himself to the Gentiles - for which I am now eternally grateful!!

I have these things as comfort / consolation / encouragement (all the same word) now in my life:
1. Jesus Christ - my Consolation, my Advocate
2. Holy Spirit - my Helper, my Comforter
3. Scripture itself - my Encouragement (Romans 15:4 - "...that through perseverance and encouragement (paraklesis) of the Scriptures we might have hope..."

I don't know what you are facing in life. I pray that you come to realize the comfort that is found only in a wonderful relationship with Jesus Christ as your Lord, Savior and Consolation, the Holy Spirit as your Helper and the Scriptures as your continual Encouragement.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Getting back in the Saddle

So its been a month... over a month... since my last post. Sheesh! I lost the desire to keep this blogging rig moving forward over the last several weeks. Actually, I think over the summer I fell out of the habit of posting and then it just kind of fell apart.

New beginnings: I love them. Seems like life is full of them. Jesus Christ gave me a big one in 1998... and yesterday. Isn't His grace and mercy incredible? How often I fail Him on a daily basis! How often He allows me to "start over" after a humbling and wonderful time of confession and repentance. The righteous man falls 7 times and yet he rises again. No excuses for the falling - but encouragement to keep getting back up!!

I am currently reading The Passionate Preacher: Previously Unpublished Sermons by Robert Murray McCheyne. It is edited by Dr. Michael M. McMullen. I suggest you do some study of McCheyne's life. What an incredible, passionate light for Jesus! Although he lived in the early 1800's, his sermons could still "preach" today. They are incredibly 'relevant' - must be because they are based on Truth. Seriously, pick up a copy or ask me to borrow mine.

Yesterday I raked our front & side yards. Yes, its the beginning of the Fall yard work! I like raking, but I don't really care to get up in the morning and see that that yard is again covered with leaves. Less than 12 hours after I initially raked!! We are experiencing some light rain - which helps with that. The trouble is that wet leaves really stick to the ground and driveway. Oh well, we are enjoying all the maples we have in the yard. God has blessed us in this home and our yard is a rainbow of colors in the Fall. Some maples turn yellow and some red - all drop their leaves at different times... which means lots of opportunities for large piles of leaves to jump into!

Today's java: Gevalia Maragogype - Limited Edition. Good stuff & brewed strong! (Full-bodied Maragogype (Ma-ra-go-hee'-pay) is a smooth, flavorful coffee from Mexico. Literally translated as "giant bean," these plump Arabicas are carefully nurtured in the Chiapas region.) ~ from Gevalia