Another Exciting Friday Adventure

One of my new favorite events is the Friends of the Library sale at the Brentwood Library that occurs every 4 months or so. Usually, I come away with some incredible finds at bargain prices, all while helping out a worthy cause.

This time, I found the entire series of the BBC classic sitcom Are You Being Served? for $35. I remember it being one of my favorites growing up. It was always on PBS around 10 pm on Saturdays, I think.

That was the highlight of my exciting Friday evening. How crazy can you get, starting off your weekend at the library?

I’ll probably check back on Sunday when everything is 50% off. Do I know how to live or what?

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Ragamuffin Thoughts

“When all Christians surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within; when we submit to the saving truth that we reach life only through death, that we come to light only through darkness; when we acknowledge that the grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die, that Jonah must be buried in the whale’s belly, that the alabaster jar of self must be broken if others are to perceive the sweet fragrance of Christ; when we respond to Jesus’s call of ‘Come to me,’ then the limitless power of the Holy Spirit will be unleashed with astonishing force upon the church and the world” (Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus).

I think what we need is more Christians who are Christlike.

It sounds like a Captain Obvious statement, but so many Christians profess faith and live in such a way that denies that very faith. Your words are meaningless unless you back them up with actions. In other words, faith without good works is dead and useless.

I can say that because too often I’m one of those who say one thing and act another way. Unfortunately, the world is no longer buying our “Do as we say, not as we do” routine any longer.

It isn’t about trying harder or doing better. It’s about surrender. Raising the white flag of “I can’t but You can” and letting that flag fly free.

It’s about dying to your own desires and wishes and ways of doing things so that a new and better life takes root and takes over. That’s nothing less than the power of the resurrected Jesus in you.

That’s my prayer for me and for all of you, that we make a declaration of dependence and bow the knee in surrender once and for all.

 

How to Survive the Snow-pocalypse if You’re a Cat

If you’re a cat, comfort is everything. Especially during wintery weather.

The best possible way to deal with the ice and snow is to avoid it all together by sleeping through as much of it as possible.

It’s like hibernation, only you take the occasional break or two to interact with your human. You want him or her to still feed you and clean out your litter-box, so play nice with your person.

First of all, and most important, is to find the comfiest spot possible. Ideally, you want a soft blanket (with your human underneath if at all possible) or a cushy piece of furniture. Fleece or wool blankets are best, but polyester will do in a pinch.

If worse comes to worse, you can always use your own furry body as your own blanket, but that’s really the last option.

Step two is to begin napping and dream of things like spring and mounds of tuna cans and slow, boneless chicken.

Enjoy!

Snow-pocalypse Part II

Life in Middle Tennessee has ground to a halt. It snowed.

I know I already wrote about Snow-pocalypse 2018, which ended up being more hype than actual snow or ice.

This time it actually snowed. Like maybe a whole inch and a half. Time to buy up all the break, milk, and eggs you can lay your hands on.

Normally, I’m all for building snowmen (or attempting to), gathering snow for snow-cream, and enjoying the wintery scenery.

Today, I lasted 15 minutes. That also happened to be the temperature at the time.

I’m just about convinced that the temperature needs to be above my age for me to go outside and enjoy it. I had plenty of warm clothing on but nothing I’ve found prevents my face from feeling like it’s going to freeze off. Guess I’d better not make any ugly faces while I’m outside.

I’m thankful for snow. I’m thankful for cold weather that makes me appreciate warmer weather.  I’m thankful for gloves and wool hats and flannel and coats that make the cold bearable.

It’s likely that tomorrow will be day two of Snow-pocalypse Part II, so stay tuned.

Remember Me

samson-and-delilah-year-1949-director-cecil-b-demille-victor-mature-A12J7X

“Lord, Eternal One, remember me” (Judges 16:28, The Voice).

I was reading a very familiar passage about Samson and Delilah when I saw something I had never seen before. It almost literally jumped out of the page.

The story may or may not be familiar. Samson was a Nazirite and a Judge over the people of Israel. Basically, a Nazirite was someone dedicated to God from birth who had certain restrictions, like no alcohol, no haircuts, no touching dead bodies. As a judge, he essentially ruled over the Israelites. He had extraordinary strength and could not be bound by any ropes or chains.

Most of the time, he was ruled by his appetites. He saw what he liked and went after it, no matter what the consequences. Even though God said for His people to have nothing to do with the Philistines, Samson continually wooed their women and spent time in their cities.

Then Delilah showed up. She agreed to betray Samson into the hands of the Philistine rulers for a hefty sum, or a king’s ransom, you might say. Of course, Samson fell in love with her.

She asked three times how he could be bound. Three times he fibbed. You would have thought he’d catch on to her motives but apparently his love blinded him to her wiles.

Finally, she nagged him to the point where he gave in. You can probably figure out that she got her reward and Samson got captured. He ended up with his eyes gouged out, working at the grindstone as a slave, reduced to a joke.

Samson’s very last actions were his best ones. The Philistines brought him out to taunt and mock him in a celebration to their god, Dagon. He ended up between the two main pillars of the temple. He prayed one last prayer for strength and pushed out the pillars, toppling the temple and killing everyone inside, himself included.

I’d never paid much attention to his last prayer. “Remember me.” Suddenly, it dawned on me. I remembered someone else in the Bible whose last words were the same. It was the  thief on the cross next to Jesus who said, “Remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.”

Such a beautiful prayer that says so much in so few words. It’s not so much that God has forgotten who we are but that we’ve forgotten who He is.

It’s a declaration of dependence, an acknowledgement of great need. It says to God, “I’m unworthy to ask but still I know you are a gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love. Come to my aid and save me.”

The Bible is still living and active. God still speaks through His word to those with ears to hear. Speak, Lord, for your servants are listening.

 

A Celtic Prayer

“O God
In my deeds,
In my words,
In my wishes,
In my reason,
And in the fulfilling of my desires,
In my sleep,
In my dreams,
In my repose,
In my thoughts,
In my heart and soul always

A Dhia, ann mo ghniamh
Ann mo ghniamh,
Ann mo bhriathar,
Ann mo mhiann,
Ann mo chiall,
Ann an riarachd mo chail,
Ann mo shuain,
Ann mo bhruail,
Ann mo chluain,
Ann mo smuain,
Ann mo chridh agus m’anam a ghnath”

I think this prayer captures the heart of the Apostle Paul’s injunction that we “pray without ceasing.” I also can’t help but think of an Alison Krauss song that speaks of making my life a living prayer to God.

I want this to be my prayer in 2018, to live in an ever mindful awareness of God’s nearness in all my waking moments. To have every single thought, word, and act be an offering of worship and a declaration of thanksgiving.

I realize that I’m very much human and I have distracting thoughts and desires all through the day. I’m sure that I will have to remind myself of this prayer at least once a day to recenter my attention away from everything else back to God.

I’m very much with the Apostle Paul in that I very often do what I know is wrong and don’t do what I know is right. I very often stray and take my eyes of Jesus. Maybe this little prayer will help get my eyes back to where they belong.

May this also be your prayer in 2018.

 

My Brilliant Idea

I had the most brilliant idea recently. Or at least it seemed brilliant to me.

You know how all these classic gaming consoles have been hitting the market lately? The most popular example is the Nintendo Classic and the Super Nintendo Classic, but I’ve also seen editions for Atari and Sega Genesis.

How about one for all the Commodore 64 games? I had quite a few back in the day, and I can’t tell you how many hours I spent in front of my computer back in the day.

I think the console could look like a C64 keyboard, but be much smaller, kind of like the NES and SNES classics. Or maybe it could look like the old floppy disk drives that took up half my desk and weighed a ton.

Of course, I have nowhere close to the tech savvy to pull this off myself, but I thought since I came up with the idea that I could get some of the riches that will inevitably roll in once this gem of an idea is realized.

Whoever finally makes this happen, I want first dibs on the final product. And I should get a discount for having the idea in the first place. Just sayin’.