Tuesday, February 20, 2018

This is not my Home

This is not my Home

Cabin fever set in weeks ago. My job is 100% remote so my office is right here. I don't get out enough and winter makes it worse.

When we first moved to Central Ohio, it was for a job. The kids were in high school. There was a lot to do, schedule, structure. But then the kids graduated. I also left that job for one where I worked from home some days. And then I left that job for one where I'm at the home office every day.

We made good friends in Ohio, but our current lifestyle leads us to lose touch. I realized a few days ago that I have unconsciously neglected my friends. I keep blaming my busyness on the job, and I AM busy due to work. But I really miss our friends.

It's not just friends that I miss but family too. My sister and her husband live about 5 hours away. Most of the times we have visited, we stayed at a hotel. It just gives us more space. But it's costly. My parents moved to that town. We saw them a few times. Then Mom died. Then Dad remarried. He can't travel as much as he used to, and his new wife can't travel much at all. My parents and my in-laws visited here several times over our tenure here, but that doesn't happen anymore.

This World is not my Home

So I'm feeling like a man without a country. The place is nice. The people are nice. But we've lost touch ... just sitting right here. What happened?

A couple days ago, I remembered my own high school time. I can remember Tim Savage playing guitar and leading us in worship. He had a signature way of singing, "This World is not my Home". I can hear him ...

... And I can't feel at home in this world anymooowwwaaahhhrrr. (anymore)

I love the Buckeyes. I also love Texas and still consider myself a Texan. I'm proud to be an American. Neither Ohio nor Texas nor even the U S of A are ultimately "home". 

Bloom where you're Planted

Suddenly my joy is back! Jeremiah 29:7 comes to mind. Ecclesiastes too. I find myself thanking God for every ray of sunshine.

The work is exciting. God will provide the time to see friends and family. He will provide the airline tickets to get there. The work is hard, but God will provide wisdom and strength to get it done.

Last week (now nine days ago) we visited the Short North campus of Rock City church. It was great! The main pastor was linked across multiple campuses (the Short North pastor was out). His sermon reminded me to value friends. THIS week (now two days ago) we visited McLean Presbyterian. That pastor too preached about friendship, specifically David and Jonathan.

I saw one of the students walking home. Turned out to be Matt across the street. He was cutting across our yard, as they do. I'm happy they cut through. Oddly makes me feel like we're somehow helping out.

-- R; <><

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Small Things

Small Things

The meeting went well.
Actually, there were several meetings and they all went just fine, but one in particular had me worried, and it went great! Praise God!

Most of my meetings are with customers. This worrisome meeting followed a meeting last week that hadn't gone so well. Tech talk had regressed into compaining. No one was happy. The root cause was probably just lack of communication, two sides of the conversation having different understanding of the scope and purpose.

For the follow-up yesterday, I was going to be on-point. Somehow I sensed it was an opportunity. Marilyn and I prayed for the Lord to open doors, give me words and wisdom, and soften hearts. The lead executive from the customer side drove the meeting and did really well. Lots of gotta-do-next but noone was unhappy. Praise God!

I carry the emotion of my own load and that of others. I am so incredibly blessed. There's really nothing to complain about, nothing to worry over, and certainly nothing to fear. (If God is for us, who can be against us?) Yet every day I find the feelings. There's much to do and much still waiting on one thing or another. While I'm largely content, I sometimes get stuck behind circumstances. And there are others who are really discouraged; I feel their pain.

We're supposed to live by faith and not by feelings. Just now, while praying, God reminded me of His victories, what he has done in my life. So I choose to hold onto the small things which remind me of God's hand in all of this. I will focus on fact.

God is good.

-- R; <><

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Natural Vitamin D

Natural Vitamin D

The region where we live is often cloudy. Lack of direct, unclouded sunshine has an effect on people. I worked with a man who had come here from Texas. I too had at that time recently moved from Texas. There is more unobstructed sunlight in Texas than here. (No offense to my dear friends who are native to this area.) My coworker suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Pronounce that acronym; you get the idea. It's a real thing. It's treatable.

In our household, we do herbs, teas, essential oils, and supplements. Not a replacement for nutrition by food, but they all seem to help. (Got a diffuser for Christmas. Thanks honey.)

Today ... oh so cold. High of only 15 Farenheit. (That's minus ten for my friends across the pond.) But sunny. Thank God for the sun. (Thank God for the Son too, we'll discuss later.) Just before its daily approach of the Western horizon, the orb cast a glorious glare through our wonderful den windows onto the kitchen wall. (You know, high ceiling, windows above your main windows, great views.) I just stood there for a few minutes letting the rays hit my face. (Layered up for to shortlyl take the dog walking, that was the only exposed skin available.)

I don't know how much better natural vitamin D impacts us than supplements. I have been told "yeah, it's better". There's certainly the termal difference, meaning the warmth feels nice. (Especially as a narcotic against the seasonal chill.) Anyway, thanks Lord God for the solar supply. Needed that. It made an improvement on my own disorder of this season.

-- R; <><

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Giving Thanks in America

Giving Thanks in America

Our daughter recently took a job (something to be thankful for) in a different town, so now she has her own place away from "the nest". Good. That means holidays like Thanksgiving are all that much more special. She came home for Thanksgiving. We've had a great visit.

It's a uniquely American holiday. There are other festivities which go by the same name. My knowledge is limited; I can't speak about them. I hope those celebrations are as meaningful as ours in the US. Historically, those we call the Pilgrims arrived on these shores, and had a really difficult time at first. After enduring hardship and heartbreak, they made it to a second year. With help from the locals, they began to prosper.

It's a fundamentally Christian holiday. These people gave credit to the Creator for all of it: food, family, and friends. They planned and prepared a meal to formally thank God for their blessings, and invited their new friends to join the party. Enshrinement of Thanksgiving by US federal and state government is obligated to be "non-sectarian", but the roots remain.

They were Puritans and their legacy became a major pillar in what would become the United States.

Give Thanks to God

Not to belabor the point about faith, if you're not a Beliiever, to whom are you giving thanks? Go ahead and have fun with family, make it a nice turkey day, but think about this.The natives were not (at least originally) Christian. Those early thanks-givers didn't beat their new neighbors over the head with the Bible. They simply invited everyone to come along. And so it is with us.

I'm not talking about a random diety of choice. What would be the point? See James chapter 1 verses 17 and 18.

I thank God for salvation, my wife, children, parents, in-laws, extended family. I also thank him for my job, which is truly amazing. (I should elaborate on God's hand in the job. That would make another blog post.) I thank God that I live in the US of A, where I can thank God without someone lopping off my head.

The day after Thanksgiving, we put up the outdoor nativity scene.
I thank Jesus for taking on flesh, living among us, and enduring the Cross.

-- R; <><

Thursday, November 2, 2017

God's Perspective

God's Perspective

I woke up early. Couldn't sleep, so I got up. As I stepped out of the bedroom I saw a neighbor's car drive past outside. It was about 6:30, so this was nothing unusual.

Something happened as a result of my carelessness which affected a number of people, one friend in particular. There is also stuff at work and stuff with family. I found myself anxious about those and other things. As I stepped onto the landing, I wondered why I was up so early, then realized that things can be seen at this hour which one doesn't usually see. God reminded me that I need to see things from HIS perspective, which I don't usually see.

It struck me that the Lord is patiently nudging His children to see things from His perspective, to look at things as He does, to see others as He sees them.

-- R; <><

I Sam 16:7, John 4:35 and 36, I Cor 2:9

Friday, September 8, 2017

Conservative != Christian

Conservative != Christian

I was talking with a friend about some "liberal" ideals he holds. The man grew up as a Christian. How did he come to such a position? But I realized, as I have for a long time, that "conservative" is not what we as Christians are called to be.

More important than your political view is your life in view of Christ. Life is precious. Yes, the life of the unborn is precious, and you do well as a Christian to value that, to defend that. And yes, "pro-life" is the conservative stance, but the politics don't matter as much as the people. Jesus died for the "pro-choice" employee at the abortion clinic no less than He died for you.

Straight != Hate

Several months ago, I learned about the child of a friend making a dramatic lifestyle change. The kid was raised as a Believer but wants to change from one gender to the other. I cannot imagine how the parents feel. It hurts. (But why does it hurt? I'm not affected. Or am I?) I haven't seen these people for years and live hundreds of miles away, so what difference should it make? But everything we do has an impact on other people. I feel angst over this.

Anger is a struggle. It's easier to rage against the imorality, even shut such a person out of your life. But James says that the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. This is an impossible position. How can you love the sinner unless you accept their sin? (Matt 19:24-26)

Salvation vs Celebrity

I heard about a famous actress who came to faith in Christ. Wow! Great! For anyone to get saved is cause for celebration. (Luke 15:8-10) People on the screen or on stage or in the news become significant to us. It's weird, but real. And this woman's story is intriguing. She was known to be in-your-face offensive to many while a hero to others. We presumed she'd change her public posture, take on only "family friendly" roles, perhaps denounce previous misdeeds. Not necessarily.

I hope this lady is surrounded by Believers who continue to accept her as God does, in spite of her past, forgiving her failings, and not laying legalistic burdens on her. She doesn't have to prove anything to us. Our job is to know Christ, to love Him, obey Him, follow Him, not dictate the direction of His other children.


There has been a lot of public protest both for and against the removal of confederate symbols throughout the US. (It's September of 2017 as I write this.) I have not resolved the matter, don't know quite what to say or endorse. There was a terrible war and a lot of twisted argument more than 100 years ago. In the end, the right side won. But hearts are not changed by military might.

The "left" and "right" are a jumble. Monuments were set-up to honor men who's most prominent actions offend me. Yet our judgement escalates to Numemberg status which offends me even more. How should I respond? Everything we do has an impact on other people, and I know that these monuments and memories have caused pain for people I will never meet. 

Dear God, please change my heart. Let me be known as a Christian whether I'm labeled conservative or liberal. 

-- R; <><

Monday, September 19, 2016

Dallas Sunset

Dallas [ish] Sunset
I turned the blinds in the bedroom for more light. Was looking for something after a long day. Sunset flooded in. 
The further I get from my formative years the more I treasure them. This sunset reminds me of Dallas. These days Dallas is for me where IBM runs a computer we use, where my brother-in-law and his wife live, where several friends are. But it's no longer home. 
Dallas sunsets when I was in high school were warm. Climaticly, sure, but I mean figuratively. They heralded closure for the day without diminishing hope for tomorrow. 
I opened the blinds even further to let this particular sunset bathe the far wall. it felt good to take advantage of this end-of-day show God has provided, to drink in every ray of it. 
On the dresser, we have pictures of the kids when they were very young. The light shown on a photo of my son. My daughter's picture is there too. 
And then it angles down (or up, depending on your stance) and the sun drops below the horizon, looping around for another day. It's only 7:30! I was supposed to cut the grass. Shucks. 
click FF on the remote, time goes by
That was a week ago already. I left this in "Drafts". (Gotta quit doing that!) 
Certain recent news from Dallas reminds me to take advantage of these cycles. Each sunet in this life is followed by a sunrise, and that means a do-over. If the day was good, take note and rejoice. If it wasn't so good, just start over. God has given you an allotment of these do-overs. Use them well. 
I finally got the grass cut. 
-- R; <><