Thursday, September 1, 2016

"We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter’s evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them, nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which come always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true." ~ Woodrow Wilson

Good morning and welcome to the first day of the rest of your life and this one happens to coincide with the first day of September in the year of our Lord, 2016. I have worked on attempting to be more concise in my writing. It is a work in progress. I know I still need improvement when my faithful constructive critic responds to one of my blogs with this: L-o-n-g! She usually just says good or makes a comment about what she thought was funny. Yet, there are days when the word count in her reading is the most prominent feature. I don't disagree with that assessment. Not at all. It reminds me that Paw Paw's concern from the time I was a kid was legitimate. When I was telling something he would later say to me, "Son, I was wondering if you would ever come up for air." I suppose being long winded and wordy may have been a part of my DNA. Not really. It's just who I am. Sorry. But, think about it. If I have been polishing this trait since I was a wee lad, well, it's no wonder I get carried away. At times. Often. Perhaps, too often. I remember a lady trying to help me in this area and what she said made sense but it scared the living daylights out of me. She told me that when I finish a paragraph I should go back and take out every word that can be removed without destroying the basic communication I wanted to share. Hello? I've had my work edited before. Professionally. I appreciated all those red marks and lines. However, when it came down to it, that corrected copy was maybe better prose but it wasn't me. I will try to be a little less wordy, however, given my l-o-n-g experience in representing my voice and my personality in my daily episodes, I honestly can't see any major changes coming. I didn't say I wouldn't try. Just giving fair warning. And, thanks to all of those who do take the time to wade through my stuff. I do appreciate it.

I am so thankful for the folks in the Bible study group I have been privileged to teach for so many years. Most, not all, of the class members are retirement age or older. I say not all because we do have a few who come because they enjoy the approach I take to sharing God's Word. I believe in expository teaching. That's a big word but it simply reflects a verse by verse presentation in allowing the Word itself to speak. Us older members have joked for years about how our class is the last stop before graduating to that perfect classroom in our home in heaven. Well, it's not just a joke. Over the past several years we have witnessed the home going of quite a few of our beloved members. One of the largest segments within our class today is made up of widows. I've said to them and want to acknowledge again the demonstrated testimony of these ladies in their faithfulness to God, and to their spouses. It really is amazing. To me, it answers many of the world's questions. Does knowing God through His Son Jesus Christ make a difference in a person's life? Is the 'til death do us part' just a slogan or a life long commitment? And, most importantly: Can love, life, and serving continue after so great a loss? The ladies I am thinking of answer all of those questions unequivocally in the affirmative. They do so by their day by day living. What an inspiration they are to us all! Amen.

If we are able, and if the Lord provides, we will be making some Santa and Mrs. Claus appearances for the upcoming season. We are already receiving requests and I'm in the process of getting our calendar situated. I appreciate the condolence note from my youngest who simply said, "Sorry Santa" along with the photo of those 323 reindeer that were killed by lightning this week in Norway. I suppose it's all about making the connection. I always get a kick out of folks of all ages coming from out of the blue with a "Don't forget me, I've been good this year." And, so it goes. Speaking of connections, this week we are again saying our final farewell in this life to another of our longtime brothers in Christ. Max and his dear wife Patsy are special people. Max always had a somewhat caustic sense of humor and he loved to make fun of the coffee, aka Community, I made each Sunday morning. We had many a laugh together. He received his promotion this past Monday afternoon after a grueling decline in health over the past couple of years. His wife has been a shining example and we thank God for these people and we pray God's comfort for each hurting heart. Max was a character. He will be missed. As the prolific blind songwriter Fanny Crosby said it, he is now 'Safe in the Arms of Jesus'. I told everyone when asked about his condition over the past several months that he was just waiting for his ride. In one way or another, we, as believers, are all waiting on our ride. Waiting for our escort, just like the beggar Lazarus as told to us by our Savior. Read it again, or maybe for the first time in Luke 19, verses 16-31. Until next time, may God bless. Amen. ...More later.

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