Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of my friends and family. This has been quite a year for us and the adventure seems that it will continue.

Just over a year ago Jeannie and I moved into our newly acquired 5th wheel trailer. We stayed for a couple of months near Medford so we could get used to the whole RV lifestyle a little at a time. There were some pretty serious adjustments right off the bat. Jeannie had filled a 3 bedroom house with furniture and, well, stuff. We got rid of a lot of the aforementioned stuff, etc. I also had a shed that was pretty full of stuff. Much of that had to go as well. What didn’t fit in the 5th wheel went to storage. That was a shock for both of us.

Moving into the RV precipitated a very different life style. In cold weather, frequent trips to buy propane, emptying black water weekly or more often, and completely rearranging our ideas about shopping for groceries; Our food storage is about 1/3 what it was before. Just a lot of stuff and we were really thankful to be so close to Walmart.

In February we hooked up and moved to a little/big town in western Arizona. Quartzsite is a snowbird town ranging from under 20,000 in the summer to over 300,000 between October and April. There are lots of temporary shops there and just about every craft imaginable. We had a very pleasant time there and Jeannie found that she enjoys making jewelry. Check out her pendants at dramamamajewelry on etsy.com.

In May we hooked up again and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Our youngest daughter Bethel and her family live there. For the last several years Jeannie has been going there to do child care during the summer. Our granddaughter turned 12 this year so this will be our last year for that. But we enjoyed time with them and we got reconnected with a dear friend from college. We also had a nice visit with Jeannie’s cousin and his wife.

Then late in August it was time to move again. This time to Springfield Ohio, my home town. I have a lot of family there but mostly our son and his family live not too far away in Cincinnati. They have a fairly new son that we haven’t seen nearly enough of. We have gone down there or they have come up nearly every week and we have really enjoyed being together with them. We also have family and friends in and around Springfield that we have really enjoyed seeing again.
There are many others here that I would have loved to see if I had just managed our time better, but alas it is about time to pack up again and roll back to Arizona. We did have a lovely Christmas time with our son and his family and our kids from Oklahoma came up and we had a very pleasant 4 days all together.

After a hopefully restful time in Arizona we hope to head back to Oregon for a long stay, after they get pretty well done with winter.

The first year of our Roamin’ adventure has been pretty enjoyable all around. After my being on the road and gone for most of 12 years we are learning to get along again. A 5th wheel as a lovely way to travel and a nice way to live although sometimes it’s a little extra cozy. We are getting a little better at it each day.

At the beginning of the year I had some grand ideas about how I might encourage some people and be a blessing to many. I hope I have been an encouragement to some. Discipleship is something that I was hoping to encourage many to become active in. I even completed the first of a series (I think) of discipleship studies. I believe I am supposed to continue working on that because my calling is to be a disciple. I have been able to write several articles for my blog and it seems like some are looking at it so I am encouraged to continue.

I am sure that the blessings of God are absolute and I pray that you will consider them as you step into the New Year.
·         Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
·         Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
·         Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
·         Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
·         Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
·         Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called the Sons of God.

Be among the blessed.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

To See What Jesus Sees

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
I never cease to be amazed at how I can read a verse that I’ve read many times and all of a sudden I see something that I’ve never seen before. This week I was reading in Mark 4, where we have the story of the woman with the alabaster box. She was reprimanded for wasting so much money on costly perfume, but Jesus commended her and said that what she had done would be told wherever the Gospel was preached.

What the critics were saying was correct. That money could have been used to feed the poor. But instead of agreeing with the critics Jesus saw the good thing that the woman had done. For myself I see that this is a place where I need to work. I am often like the critics who are quick to point out what is wrong with this or that.

In the second chapter of Mark there is another story, which I may have mentioned at another time. Jesus is teaching in a house and some people come carrying a crippled man on a bed to Jesus, but when they get to him there is no way to get into the house where he is. So they climb up on the roof with their friend on his bed and break through the roof to let him down on his bed through the hole that they have made.

In verse 5 it says an amazing thing “When Jesus saw their faith…”; Now try to imagine that this was your house and a bunch of guys have just broken through your roof to let someone down on a bed. What would you see? I would probably not see faith. But that is what God desires that we see.
As I was looking at this and seeing how I need to grow much more I thought about the verse in Galatians 5:24;

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

As I was looking around there I saw the list of the works of the flesh and I noticed that in the midst of things that nearly everyone would agree on are things like hostility, quarreling, outbursts of anger, dissensions and divisions. As I thought about these things it dawned on me how easily I become angry and raise my voice because I am irritated. I saw how I want to separate from others because they don’t see things as clearly or correctly as I do.

And so I see once again that there is work for me to do. I must work to have the exhortation of Philippians 4:8 living in my mind until it becomes living in my life. Whenever I see where I fall short I rejoice because God has shown me confidence to open more of the way of salvation to me so that I can be conformed to the image of Jesus.


Let us each learn more faithfulness.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Two Houses

Two men went into a neighborhood to find houses to resell. They each found a house and they were very near to the other. The houses were very similar since they had been built around the same time by the same builder.

The first man, Charley Makepeace went through the house he bought and said let’s get this house looking good so that we can resell it for a nice profit. So they fixed the cracks in the plaster and caulked where the siding had splits. In the living room the ceiling light didn’t work so they plastered over the switch and removed the fixture and plastered over that hole. The kitchen floor was recovered by putting down a thin sheet of plywood and then putting down new vinyl. After all the cracks were filled and everything looked straight they painted the whole house and put it back on the market listed for a nice profit.

Tom Straight went in and found the problems with the house and then set about to fix them. Some of the siding had to be replaced and all of the electric had to be redone so it would be safe. Some of the drains were replaced so the water would flow better. In the bathroom the floor was taken up and some of the structural pieces replaced and then the floor was put back down with new vinyl. The house was repainted inside and out. He then had the house inspected and an appraisal made. The house was certified safe and put on the market at a price pretty close to Mr. Makepeace’s house, for a smaller profit.

If you went into that neighborhood to buy a house, which of these two houses would you prefer to buy?

A lot of people believe in a God who accepts you just the way you are and is only interested in external improvements. They call this Grace. While other people believe in a God who wants to go through their life and change them from the inside out into people who genuinely resemble their Lord. This second group know that sometimes this process is painful and unpleasant but the result is genuine and therefore worth it. This second group calls this Grace.

It’s something to think about.
Matthew 7:24-27