Sunday, June 12, 2016

Celebration Sunday

Sunday, June 12.16 Happy Birthday, hon!
We're an ocean away from Waldemar on his birthday so we call him from our table in Szechwan Cuisine, Redmond. The food is yummy. The company is good. And we miss him.
Birthday guy
We're also saying goodbye to our youngest son Jonathan, who will move to Texas midweek. He'll join his sister in Austin. My folks, two sons, a daughter-in-law, three grandkids, and a nephew share lunch.

It's been a week of visits. Here are a few. Midweek:
Lunch with parents and son
Grandpa and grandson 
Hospital visit - get that ankle healed up, Terry!
Today, after church and a good meal, we come back to the flat for dessert and conversation.
Tea at Oma's with Auntie Molly's teacup 
Family, just hanging out
Dad and youngest son 
Finding toys hidden by adults - even in the lampshade!
(best place ever, Timothy?)
Helped by Lemuel, Kinsey finds her toy
behind the box
 Via phone, SMS, Hangouts, Facetime, and Facebook, I stay in touch with family and friends. When I look through the pictures of home, I marvel at how beautiful the tropics are. We take them for granted when we're in Indonesia.

It's a privilege:
Long-distance prayers with a dear friend 
Sitting in church beside a lover of Indonesia, Carol Peterson
Spring in Seattle is stunningly beautiful, filled with blossoms from the ground through the treetops. But many days, I shiver away the hours.
On a walk, I look in any direction and there are NO cars or people.
I pass 4 people, 2 dogs, and 3 cars on a 5-mile walk through the neighborhood.
(Well, more cars are parked in driveways.)
Stunning blooms of spring
Spires of flowers
I am grateful that:

  • Family is nearby.
  • Leave food on the table and there will be no ants streaming up the table leg within minutes - or overnight.
  • I can talk to people. About anything. And they know what I'm saying.
  • The shower is hot every time. There's even hot water for the washing machine. And there's a clothes dryer!
  • The library has books and books and books that I understand. There are 4 libraries within a 10-minute drive in normal traffic.
  • When I go to the store, I find the items I need ... and more. Shelves are stocked and restocked.
  • The Roomba vacuum buzzes around the flat every day, cleaning with a quiet buzz before docking automatically to recharge.
  • The tall firs behind the house clear and freshen the air. I walk out the door and inhale oxygen.
  • When driving to an appointment, the location is where it should be, according to continually updated websites and a GPS.
  • I know the appropriate responses in social situations.
  • The internet is blazingly fast ... and reliable.
  • Churches are familiar and welcoming.

Yet I feel homesick. For Indonesia.

Read more: (ESV)
*What god in heaven or on earth can perform deeds and mighty acts like yours! Deuteronomy 3:24

*By the ordinances of the Lord is your servant warned. Psalm 19:11

*Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Let your good spirit lead me on a level path. Psalm 143:10

*Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. Matthew 7:24

*Pay attention to how you listen. Luke 8:18

*We know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. Galatians 2:16

*As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith. Colossians 2:6–7
Moravian Prayer: Gracious God, let our hearts be filled with gratitude, let our voices rise to praise you, and let our hands outstretch to serve you. Let us praise and honor you with our gifts offered freely, for your blessings are bountiful. Forgive us when we fail to walk with you; guide us back to you, and fill us with your love and grace that we might better serve you.
Thank you, God, for your gift of love and grace through your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to live lives rooted deep in faith, acting in love toward all as Jesus taught. Amen.
From C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity:Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your hanging moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway.
That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods ‘where they get off’, you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith.

The first step is to recognise the fact that your moods change. The next is to make sure that, if you have once accepted Christianity, then some of its main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. That is why daily prayers and religious readings and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life.

We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. And as a matter of fact, if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?

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