Tim's Blog
Hopeful, not Hopeless!
February 02, 2021

So, my wife has written another masterpiece - again!  I trust you will be encouraged as I was.  Tim

Sandy here....During these turbulent times, I find it necessary to speak truth to myself. Shortly before the January inauguration, I awoke early one morning with a heavy heart. It helped to put words to my emotions and to evaluate....

Hopeful, not Hopeless Journal – #1 December 29, 2020

I have a sinking feeling today, sadly, one I’ve had a lot lately. It seems that life in our country will likely change dramatically in only a few weeks. Our government may change presidential and other government leadership. For me, it’s not about winners and losers. I truly believe that we ALL will be losers in the end, with regard to our freedoms, our life styles, our safety, our education, our economic status, and our freedom to openly acknowledge and worship the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and His son Jesus Christ…our redeemer…Immanuel…“God with us.”

I believe we all will be losers when our years of hard work and responsible living will be nullified, even vilified. I believe we all will be losers when and if Government leaders erase the footprint of America as we know it, gradually giving it over to foreign powers and those filled with greed who will seek to overcome and destroy. There will be no winners!
Part of my sinking feeling is the helplessness I feel in knowing that there is little or nothing I can do to change this trajectory. I can write letters, sign petitions, or perhaps participate in a demonstration. Yet, will any of that make a difference? Have we as a nation gone too far? It would seem that our government and judicial system are hopelessly infiltrated with those that exhibit hatred and/or disregard for God, embracing moral chaos and all that is in opposition to His Word. They, and much of America and our world, have chosen to celebrate perversion, embrace and enable a plethora of immoral behaviors and addictions, and, delight in lawlessness.

I have to say that I’m not really angry at anyone. Were it not for the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit in me, I would likely be right there with them all, seeking a social justice that will never be attained due to the sinful nature of man, satisfying lustful and perverted desires, rationalizing killing and destroying anyone or thing that is not in agreement with me or convenient. God’s Word says that these people have been taken captive (2 Timothy). The emptiness of their hearts and souls has propelled them into a prison of true hopelessness, along with the debauchery (excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures), anger and aggression that is part of that captivity. I am not angry at them. My heart grieves for them, as well as the repercussions I experience due to their whims.

In reviewing history, from the time of creation through the centuries, there have been many times when God demonstrated that He had “had enough” of man’s disobedience, Genesis 6:5-8 tells us…5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. And, many more instances… Genesis 18-19, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as numerous captivities experienced by Israel through the centuries as a result of disregard for and disobedience to God.

I certainly don’t claim to know the mind of God. But, He has given believers His Word as a means to know about Him, to have a relationship with Him and understand His sovereignty over His creation. Whether we like it or not, or, believe it or not, God is ultimately in control of everything. HE IS SOVEREIGN (The supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power). Again, there will be no winners with regard to our freedoms, our life styles, our safety, our education, our economic status, and our freedom to openly acknowledge and worship the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and His son Jesus Christ…our redeemer…Immanuel…“God with us!”

Why should we expect God, the creator of everything, to sit back and accept the foulness, perversion and deceitfulness of our day? It should not come as any surprise that He may choose to remove His hand of blessing and allow our “government elect’s” desired trajectory to drive our country and our world to the ultimate dysfunction and/or destruction it seems bent on seeking?

And still, amidst my dread and sadness for something possibly lost, I Take Heart! Truly, I do believe I am helpless at this moment to change the path America is on. With that said, I AM NOT HOPELESS! Indeed, I am HOPEFULL! As I review my life, I am increasingly aware of the wonderful blessings God has bestowed on me and my family. My faith in Jesus Christ has determined my trajectory in life, my World View. He has protected me from myself at times. He has forgiven my mess-ups. It’s truly amazing to me! And, I have no reason to doubt that He will continue to do so! His blessings might look different. But, He will continue to bless. I have to admit that I selfishly wish for my easy, blessed life to continue as it is. There is no doubt that my lifestyle may be dramatically affected by the greedy, godless and destructive government leaders who may come into power.

Thankfully, as a child of God, I know that, regardless of what goes on around me, I am His and He is mine. “My Hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but, wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand” (from the hymn Solid Rock). Although I/we may witness and experience many disturbing and inconvenient things around us, I’m soooo glad that I, as well as all followers of Jesus Christ, will be on the solid rock, safe in His arms. One of my favorite songs, “In Christ Alone” says….

“In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song. This Cornerstone, this solid Ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease. My Comforter, my All in All Here in the love of Christ I stand.

And so…I AM HOPEFUL, not hopeless! He is ultimately in charge! And, I look forward, not with dread (daily working on this one J), but, with curious anticipation, to witness His sovereign intervention, whether it be mercy or judgment. I also look forward to experiencing His creative blessings for me and those who stand fast amidst the storm, clinging to the rock!!


Let's Play the Glad Game
March 24, 2020
Sandy here….I once had a pastor instruct that an ungrateful spirit was the root of all sin (disobedience to God’s Word). My immediate response, in my mind, was doubtful that ALL sin had that root cause. Hmm….

As I mulled this thought over in my mind, on the big sins (again, in my mind) …lying, stealing, murder, pride, adultery, gossip etc., it occurred to me that he was right! When we are thankful for our parents, our siblings, our teachers, our co-workers, our daily food, clothes, etc., it is very difficult to treat them unkindly or with disrespect, to steal from them, murder them, lie about them, seek to replace them or brag to them how much better we are than them. While our gratitude is ultimately directed to God, the creator and sustainer o
f all creation, it seems to filter down to all his creation and our responses to them.

When the Apostle Paul was writing to the believers in Rome, he was addressing this very issue. Romans 1:21-23…21 “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”

Bottom line… Lots of bad, disgusting things were happening in Rome. Just like the pagan Romans, when we are not thankful to our creator, we have no guideline or motivation for obedience to Him. Our hearts are darkened. Basically, anything goes….sin….disobedience.

Wow! That’s something to think about!!!

There was a fun movie that came out in 1960, Pollyanna. It made quite a life changing impression on me. Although not a “Christian” movie, it did reinforce in my mind the need to sometimes change my thinking when it’s not within my power to change my circumstances. Pollyanna played the “Glad Game.” Here’s a link to a video clip from the movie with her explaining the game to some pretty skeptical people. The child of foreign missionaries, she was left an orphan who had just come to live with her wealthy aunt. Listen, and then let’s talk…..

Such a fun video clip and movie…but….how does this relate to being thankful? In my eight year old mind in 1960, having just taken ownership of my faith and committing to following Jesus Christ only a year before, it was a great example of “renewing my mind,” changing my thinking!

Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

60 years later, I realize that the renewal spoken of here is the changing or transforming of our minds, our thinking, to desire and understand God’s will versus conformity to the world, which in scripture signifies all that goes against God’s Word.


Yet, to a deep thinking eight year old, “being glad” seemed to inspire a thankful spirit in me towards God and man resulting in a desire to approach life with a positive attitude (usually) and obedience to my earthly authorities (parents, teachers, government etc.) as well as my Heavenly authority (God and His Word)!

In a nutshell…. “Being Glad,” or thankful, results in obedience. Lack of thankfulness does ultimately result in disobedience/ sin.

I’ve taught the “Glad Game” to many people over the years, some of them very negative thinkers initially. I have to admit that I’m still working on a few! But, most often, the end result, after mocking and resistance, has been laughter and a more joyful and peaceful spirit. For me personally, even today, it results ultimately in a more thankful spirit, thus, greater Joy and and desire to be an obedient follower of Jesus Christ, who is my Hope!

I challenge you to try it! BE GLAD!!  

Blessings to you!   Keep safe and healthy in this uncertain time!



What's In A Decoration?
January 02, 2020
My wife, Sandy, sat down and put some thoughts out that I thought you should have a chance to read.  Enjoy!

 What’s In a Decoration? 

  

I’m always a bit sad when it’s finally time to take down our Christmas Decorations.  We get them out as early as we can justify, the weekend after Thanksgiving, and usually don’t put them away until the second week of January.  Christmas decorations seem to add such a flavor of cheer, excitement and enthusiasm to wherever one happens to be.  They just make me more light hearted, mindful of people (family, friends and former co-workers) as well as past blessings and events.  What’s in a Decoration?  From the Banner on my front door, to the huge wreath on my wall, to our special Christmas dishes and various “set around” novelties as well as the ornaments on my tree, most represent a memory that is vivid and sweet.

One of my favorites is the small silver/blue plastic bell ornament which hangs almost unnoticeable from my seven foot artificial tree.  It was an ornament that hung on our family Christmas tree when I was a child.  One look at it and memories quickly flood my mind of all those Christmases so many years ago.  I instantly picture my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, all deceased and yet all clearly resurrected in my mind, healthy and happy.  I picture my brothers, the cousins, the memorable gifts, the favorite foods and mostly the laughter and love (ok, and some drama!).  Just think, all of that, from one little plastic bell! 

There is a special Christmas plate that was a wedding gift for our December wedding (lots of memories there!) and various things from my crafty mother-in-law.  A picture of my older brother and myself with Santa when I was in first grade suggests that it was an impromptu meeting, as a button is hanging off my coat and our general dress is a bit messy.  That picture brings back a slew of other memories, of the many naughty capers my brother and I enjoyed together, stressing our mom to her emotional limit, thus the “not quite all-together look.” But….she got us there!! I especially love remembering her and the way she always tried to make things special and fun!

There are homemade ornaments from our four children’s school projects, some more intricate than others.  But, from the star made with cut-up drinking straws on a string to the more impressive ceramic painted star, each one is priceless and, again, stirs sweet memories of our 4 children, now 40+ and 30+ years old and special treasured memories from years ago.

Then, there are the special ornaments my husband and I started exchanging 10 years ago.  The ornaments are meant to represent a special event or general idea about the past year.  We store them in a box separate from our other ornaments.  When we take them out, one by one, we reminisce about the year they represent. Again, our memories are ignited and we laugh, smile and sometimes cringe a little as we remember!

We have recently added a stuffed snowman collection which sits perched on a ledge, overlooking our living room.  Our grandchildren have taken quite a liking to them and I know that each year as I unpack them, the sweet memories of their laughter, their sweet face and time spent together will fill my thoughts. 
 
Some may think that I am overly sentimental.  Actually, I’m quite a pragmatist in my day-to-day life!  I simply believe that our ability to make and recall fond memories is a gift our Heavenly Father designed in man at the time of creation. And, what an amazing gift it is!  The truth is, in our normal busy lives, we often don’t take the time to enjoy that gift!   We often need a catalyst to jog or bring forth those memories, and, perhaps a quieter moment for special focus.  For me, Christmas and our special decorations provide that quieter moment, and special focus.

What’s in a decoration? I look forward to that time every year when I can walk through our house, enjoy our special decorations, reflect on special people and events, and share those memories with family and other guests throughout the season.  As I prepare to put them away in their special storage containers, admittedly a bit sad, I often take another moment to offer a focused general Thank You for the Joy of those many blessings, both people and events!!  In doing so, I am filled with hope, reminded of God’s great provision for me and happily expectant of what He has in store for me in the New Year!
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