Virtuous Character True

Nun, Cosplay, Cross, Vera, Religion

Виктория Бородинова at Pixabay

Where shall we find forgiveness

For the lives that we live –

The decisions we make

And the excuses that we give?

 

I trust – with full-heart

That the good Lord “above”

Will overlook my failings

Through Jesus’ blood and love

 

But what of the others

In this “here below?”

Will they be so understanding –

Pardon to me show?

 

It is here that I must

Now earnestly resolve

To live a better life

My behaviour to evolve

 

For if I become a person

Of virtuous character true

I hope that I will never need

Require forgiveness from you

 

Padre

 

 

 

 

(The) Devout of Africa

Wool, Cat'S Cradle, Hand Labor, Crochet, Fluffy

Pixabay

“I had some yarn in Africa”*

 

It is amazing what faith and determination can accomplish.

There are many, when misfortune befalls them, that will bemoan their lot and blame the world.  Others will turn to criminality or immorality to “make ends meet.”

This is not the story of one of those, but of a woman of faith.  Her’s was a faith in her God, herself, and in the principles of enterprise and thrift.

She had found herself in the situation of having to provide for her own needs, and those of her three children.  She had practical talents in arts and crafts, but little monetarily.  What she had – she invested; not in speculative ventures, but in real feet-on-the-ground practicality.  She knit, she crocheted, she fabricated slippers.  She above all believed in her principles.

She secured for herself a market place.  While only a stall on the pavement – it produced.  It produced income.  It produced an outlet for her creativity.  It produced an enduring example of what true character can achieve.

Through it all, her devotion remained strong.   Through her servant nature, her children were not only provided for, but believed themselves secure.  And secure they were in her love.

She had some yarn in Africa, but she wove more than mere crochet.

 

Padre

 

*With apologies to Meryl Streep

Beyond Shadows

Trees Sunrise, Shadow, Nature, Landscape, Mood, Forest

Pixabay

“Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” Abraham Lincoln

 

Am I what you think of me?

Just my Facebook image carefully constructed?

Shadows and silhouettes

Of profile-building I’ve conducted?

 

Or is by the deeds I do?

Even those not seen my men?

Of my word kept, and friends helped

And such things as them?

 

Let us not mere shadows be

But true humans – even with our flaws

And as we strive to better be

Let doing right be our true cause

 

Padre

Step Up: A Mirror Cinquain

Red Deer, Capital, Antler, Handsome, Graze

Pixabay

Step up
Stand ever firm
Be ready for the fray 
Courageous for the cause you hold
Never
Never
Flee or from battle runaway
Find your own strength within
Lesser deeds now
Eschew

Padre

 

Colleen’s 2020 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 183, #ThemePrompt

This month’s theme is:

“…In the world’s broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife…”

What You See Is What You Get

Fandango’s latest Provocative Question is, “Are you the same person on your blog as you are in real life? Do you like yourself more in the virtual world than you do in the real world?”  Okay, it’s two questions actually, but the answer is the same, as the “real” me is a person I like, even if I do see and (usually) publicly admit his failings.

In my blog – I preach, teach, and at times pontificate.  Yes, that is me.  My wife used to call me out on it in “real life,” pointing out to me (all too often) that “you are in teacher mode again.”

But my “Sheldon-like pedantic streak is also tempered with some diplomacy, which betrays my actually rather tolerant heart.  While there might be “right answers” to objective questions, I recognise the subjective nature of many issues.

I am unapologetic for my Theism, and I wholeheartedly subscribe to Jesus’ testimony that the two greatest commandments are to love God, and to love my fellow humans.  That love is not judgmental.  I hope that is plain to see in my blog.

One of the readers of my blog recently commented that the viewpoint in some of my recent Covid-19 related posts is pessimistic, but that she could detect an underlying optimism.  Here too, I am what it says on the tin.  I may as a writer express what many might be feeling at the moment, but I am really an optimist.  I really do believe “all things will work together for good . . . . ”

In short, I am the same person in my blog as I am in my “real world” existence, and I get on with that person pretty well.

Padre

 

 

Decisions

Image result for deep in thought

image: freepik

Each day we have choices to face –

Yet, oft we just do what we haft –

But we need to remember

That decisions are more than math

Zero gain balances may sound good

But that ignores what’s wrong or right

It’s not a utilitarian game

Where individuals can be given a slight

What is good or bad is not opinion

What is truth is always true

Ponder this next choice you make

Giving integrity its due

 

Padre

 

 

Standing for God

Image result for daniel lions den

image: Wiki

Brother Adrian Semerene from Cambridge brought us our message this week.  He challenged us to examine the situations we have been called to and to face them with a mind for making a stand for God.  He drew his message initially from Daniel chapter 1.  He began by reading the entire twenty-one verse passage, as it showed a wonderful overview of his theme.  In it we find Daniel and his three companions brought to Babylon as captives or slaves.  They are renamed, and educated in the literature and ways of the Chaldeans. 

Fair enough, they were forced to be in a certain place, and to accept things unfamiliar to Jews, but when it came to issues that mattered, like eating food forbidden in the Law of Moses, they chose to risk punishment rather than conform.   They made a stand for God.

The chief eunuch was concerned by this.  He wanted to uphold his king’s demands, and Daniel found a way.  He asked that they be given only vegetables for ten days, and then to assess whether the diet was harmful.  The result:  Daniel and his friends were found to actually be healthier than those who ate “from the king’s table.”  The experiment complete, they continued on with their “kosher” diet and in the end were found to be blessed by God, and exceeded the accomplishments of all of their contemporaries.  They stood for God, and he in turn stood for them.

This didn’t mean they had life easy, however.  Further stands for God by the four led to three being cast into a burning furnace, and Daniel himself into a lions’ den.  Again, they made a stand, and God preserved them.

Making a stand for God, involves an active decision to follow His commands.  When Jesus was asked about these commandments in Matthew’s account of the Good News, He said the matter was straight forward.   To love the Lord your God with all of your soul, heart, mind, and strength.

Brother Adrian noted that this all inclusive list applies to all of God’s people.  It is also not a pick and mix, but an expectation for all to follow all.  Some might find serving God with all their mind a blessing.  They might love to study the Word, etc.  But to others that might be an arduous task.  For others it might be opening yourself up emotionally (the heart) that provides either the blessing or the trial.

We need to be prepared to surrender whatever it takes, not just embrace the bits we like.  Daniel may or may not have been a contented Vegan, but he surrendered to God.

But for those of us who are wonderfully God-centred misanthropes, Jesus challenged us as well.  He said the second command spins off of the first.  “Love your neighbour as yourself.”  Not just the neighbours who love you.  Not just the agreeable ones.  But to love all of the children of God.  Now there is a stand to take.

Are you prepared to stand for God today?

Padre

 

 

Taking a Stand – Coward of the County

This week Jim Adams’ lyrics challenge called for us to write about a song in which Lean/Sit/Stand feature.  Kenny Rogers’ Coward of the County is about making a stand.  While that may well be a metaphor, there is a a comment that Tommy never stood to prove people wrong, and later not a single Gatlin brother being left standing.

Lyrics:

Everyone considered him the coward of the county
He’d never stood one single time to prove the county wrong
His mama named him Tommy, but folks just called him yellow
Something always told me they were reading Tommy wrong
He was only ten years old when his daddy died in prison
I looked after Tommy, ’cause he was my brother’s son
I still recall the final words my brother said to Tommy
“Son, my life is over, but yours has just begun”
“Promise me, son, not to do the things I’ve done
Walk away from trouble if you can
It won’t mean you’re weak if you turn the other cheek
I hope you’re old enough to understand
Son, you don’t have to fight to be a man”
There’s someone for everyone, and Tommy’s love was Becky
In her arms, he didn’t have to prove he was a man
One day while he was working, the Gatlin boys came calling
They took turns at Becky, n’there was three of them
Tommy opened up the door, and saw his Becky crying
The torn dress, the shattered look was more than he could stand
He reached above the fireplace, and took down his daddy’s picture
As the tears fell on his daddy’s face, he heard these words again
“Promise me, son, not to do the things I’ve done
Walk away from trouble if you can
Now, it won’t mean you’re weak if you turn the other cheek
I hope you’re old enough to understand
Son, you don’t have to fight to be a man”
The Gatlin boys just laughed at him when he walked into the barroom
One of them got up and met him halfway ‘cross the floor
When Tommy turned around they said, “hey look, old yeller’s leaving”
But you could’ve heard a pin drop when Tommy stopped and locked the door
Twenty years of crawling was bottled up inside him
He wasn’t holding nothin’ back, he let ’em have it all
When Tommy left the barroom, not a Gatlin boy was standing
He said, “this one’s for Becky, as he watched the last one fall
“I promised you, Dad, not to do the things you’ve done
I walk away from trouble when I can
Now please don’t think I’m weak, I didn’t turn the other cheek
And papa, I sure hope you understand
Sometimes you gotta fight when you’re a man”
Everyone considered him the coward of the county
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Billy Ed Wheeler / Roger Dale Bowling
Coward Of The County lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group
Padre

Who Knows The Hour?

Capture

Jesus told a parable of a rich man who had an abundant crop, and seeing that it provided so much promise, tore down his old barns and had bigger ones built (Luke 12:16-21).  The rich man was looking forward to putting Solomon’s maxim from Ecclesiastes 8:15 into practice.  He was going to “to eat and drink and be glad.”  What the man failed to remember was his own mortality, and as Robert Burns so aptly put it, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men Gang aft agley (or more simply plans go awry).  Jesus states this clearly when He relates – “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’(vs 20).”

Almost exactly a year before her passing, my wife Dianne, posted the following reflection on her blog:

The last few days i have written about some of the problems of my situation, but i have discovered there are some unexpected blessings too.

Having a time limit makes my relationship with God more real. I cant afford to be lax with my conscience, put things off, bury my anger etc. I have an approaching appointment with my Lord when accounts will be closed and i have to stand before him and answer for my achievements, my mistakes, my decisions and the level of sin in my life. I cannot afford to harbour resentments, or allow myself to ignore any sin or hurt.

This is a good thing, it keeps me close to God, constantly on guard of my tongue and my actions. Really where we all should be daily.

Perhaps we could all benefit from remembering that none of us know when we could be keeping that appointment, and live as if it is fast approaching, keeping ourselves close.

Ecc 9:12 moreover no one knows when their hour will come.

 

What a great reminder to each of us to be diligent in our walk with God and our relationships with our fellows!  Jesus said that the two great commandments were to love God, and love our neighbours.  To do so, isn’t about “us” but “them.”  We need to avoid the eat, drink and be merry attitude and work on those important relationships.  We need to seek integrity in all things, and give thanks and praise daily for what we have been blessed with.

Remember the only “hour” we have to for sure to do this in is NOW.

Padre