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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bale and Boote
Psalm 38

My heart is about to break; I'm burned out,
the light has gone out of my eyes. 
My loved ones and my friends avoid me like the plague,
those who used to be close to me now run away (Psalms 38:11,12 The Message).

The more we need help, the less we attract it. Even our loved ones and friends "avoid (us) like the plague." That's because neediness is off-putting. Hardly anyone likes to be around a deeply troubled soul. Most people have enough trouble of their own. 

There is One, however, who's not put off by our neediness, who never cuts and runs. He understands our sorrow; He hears our sighs (38:9). 

And because He is Himself "a man of sorrows," He is able to sympathize with us and comfort us as no other can.

We should then, "draw near to Him with confidence that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).[1]

"When bale (need) is att hyest, boote (help) is nyest." So goes "The Ballad of Sir Aldingar." And so I pray with David, "Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!" (38:22).

David Roper
2.16.17

[1] It occurs to me that our friends and loved ones can't help us anyway. They can only point us to the One who is our help.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Unseen

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste it’s sweetness on the desert air. —Thomas Gray

There is a lesson in the flowers: they are willing to offer themselves where there is no one to appreciate them.

Am I willing to serve Jesus in some obscure place? Unknown? Unheralded? Unseen? Living in quiet obedience, loving and praying, and little more?

Am I willing to run that risk for Jesus sake?

David Roper
2.13.7


Monday, February 13, 2017

The Good Life
Psalm 34

"What man is there who desires life and loves many days,
that he may see good? Turn away from evil and do good..."—Psalm 34:12,14

The good life is the good life. Put another way, happiness is doing the right thing, a tenet the wise have always known.

The world is constantly telling us, in one way or another, that happiness is doing things our way, but that's a gigantic lie. It only leads to emptiness, anxiety and heartache. (W.H. Auden writes of children "lost in a haunted wood, / Children afraid of the night / Who have never been happy or good.")

Happiness is doing God's thing His way, a fact that can be empirically verified every day. Just try it and you'll see. That's what David means when he says, "taste and see that the Lord is good” (34:8a).

We say, "Seeing is believing." Show me proof and I'll believe it. That's how we know stuff in this world.

God puts it the other way around. "Believing is seeing" ("Taste and then you will see.") Take Jesus at His word, do the very next thing He is asking you to do and you will see. He will give you grace to do the right thing and more: He will give you Himself, the only source of goodness and with it, enduring happiness.

"Oh, the blessedness (happiness) of those who take refuge in Him!" (34:8b)

David Roper

2.13.17

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

From Carolyn...

SUPER BOWL SUNDAY — FEBRUARY 5, 2017

The first thing I saw was the tiger. I was scurrying through a newly renovated grocery store searching for a couple of items I needed. Our Super Bowl party started in a little over an hour and I still had to pick up the pizza.

When I stopped for a minute to consult my list, I glanced up and came nose to nose with the tiger. It was a huge furry stuffed animal with a friendly grin. The big guy carrying it could barely get one arm around the tiger while he juggled his cart with his other hand, which held the strings of some high-flying balloons.

Such an unexpected sight made me smile and I casually said, “Looks like someone’s gonna be pretty happy.” I was expecting a return smile and perhaps a “Yep” as he moved on. That’s not what I got.

This man with his arms full of tiger and balloons stopped, turned to me and in a strong but kindly voice said, “My cousin is a long-haul truck driver. While passing through Boise he had a stroke and has been in the hospital for a week. I’m from Seattle and have come to be with him. I’ve been here the whole week. My cousin is a huge Patriots’ fan so I’m taking these balloons and this big ole stuffed tiger over to the hospital to cheer him up as we watch the Super Bowl together.”

It took me a moment to digest what I heard and to ponder what I would do next. Shoppers were hurrying by as we stood in the middle of Albertsons. I no longer saw the tiger or the balloons. I saw a person who had opened up to me just a bit about a very hurtful situation in the life of someone he carried about. And in his life.   I said, “I am so sorry. This is really hard. May I pray for your cousin and you?” He responded with, “Yes, thank you.” I prayed, we chatted a moment more and then I started pushing my cart again. He bid me good-bye and said as I left, “God bless you Ma’am.”  I turned back and repeated his words, “And God bless you.”

As I was leaving the store a pleasant clerk stopped me and she whispered, “You have your jacket on wrong-side-out.”

I chuckled, rearranged my jacket and took my things through the wind to the car. It was then I noticed how wild my windblown hair looked. I laughed again and started thinking. In the store it had not mattered to the well-groomed man from Seattle who was wearing an Air Force cap, that a person so different from him, an older white woman from Boise with wild hair and her jacket on wrong-side-out, had offered to pray for his cousin and for him. I think he saw someone who listened and cared enough to respond, not to what was in his hand but what was on his heart. I was blessed by our “chance” encounter and I trust he was too.

Super Bowl Sunday was really super for me. I learned two things—

Even when I’m not at my best God can use me to listen and show His compassion to another.
Not everyone carrying a balloon is going to a party.

Warmly, and cheering you on,


Carolyn

P.S. In reflection, I also learned that because of the man in the hospital recovering from a stroke who was a huge Patriots’ fan there was at least one good reason for the Patriots to win the Super Bowl, contrary to the opinion of several at our Super Bowl Party!
 

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Legs of a Man

His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.— Psalms 147:10-11

As most of you know, I have a neurological condition that has put a hitch in my get-along. I'm learning to live with it—more or less.

I started using a cane a couple of years ago. Now I use a three-wheel walker when I'm out and about. [I also have an "off-road" walker for rugged terrain.] No doubt, I'll be in a wheelchair before long and Carolyn be pushing me around. (Please, no remarks from my friends about retributive justice.)

I came across a George MacDonald story a few months back, that encouraged me greatly. Perhaps it will encourage you as well.

“I shall get rid of my lameness there (in Heaven), Margaret, shall I not?” said Euphra, one day, half playfully.

“Yes, dear.” “It will be delightful to walk again without pain. Perhaps you will not get rid of it all at once, though.”

“Why do you think so?” asked Euphra, with some appearance of uneasiness.

“Because, if it is taken from you before you are quite willing to have it as long as God pleases, by and by you will not be able to rest, till you have asked for it back again, that you may bear it for his sake.”

“I am willing, Margaret, I am willing. Only one can’t like it, you know.”

“I know that,” answered Margaret. She spoke no more, and Margaret heard her weeping gently. Half an hour had passed away, when she looked up, and said:

“Margaret, dear, I begin to like my lameness, I think.”

“Why, dear?”

“Why, just because God made it, and bade me bear it. May I not think it is a mark on me from his hand?”

“Yes, I think so.”

“Why do you think it came to me?"

“To walk back to Him with, my dear.”

—George MacDonald, David Elginbrod, Ch 22.

David Roper

1.26.17