On page 128 in my copy of his classic book of criticism, The Art of Writing, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, a distinguished Englishman of letters, writes: “In studying literature, and still more in studying to write it, distrust all classification! (Exclamation point his.) All classifying of literature intrudes “science” upon an art, and is artificially “scientific” . . .”

Surely, somewhere, someone has written similar words of caution to those who may be attracted to attempts at the classification of the working of the Spirit of God, and thereby to intrude science upon the Divine. Though my observations are at best anecdotal, I am convinced of the truth of this matter: The Divine, the Soulish things, the operation of God the creator of all that exists (and beyond) are beyond our full comprehension, and of a certainty cannot be accurately analyzed by any human scientific method.

With such thoughts already on my mind, I listened yesterday to Pastor Robert Traylor, a missionary, as he related supernatural events in his life that is leading to the establishment of an Apostolic church in St. Petersburg, Russia. According to his own words, this gentleman, a mere 13 years ago, was a drug addict with his face turned completely away from God. Now he is a minister of the Gospel, and during the 2 1/2 years he has been working in Russia has accomplished what seems impossible, including the procuring of resident papers and the owning of property, debt-free, on which he will build a home and a church. Should you have occasion to hear this man, you will be blessed and your faith will be increased.

So, whether you are a believer or yet remain a skeptic, I submit that God’s ways are far above ours, eons beyond scientific lenses, fashioned of the ethereal, extending beyond our grasp, and quite beyond our comprehension. Yet we see enough, we feel enough, we read enough to know we have tapped into Truth, unfathomable, though it may be.

A Touch of the Heavenlies

Sometimes I cry at these moments, for I understand that words alone lack the substance to tell–yes, even to tell my own heart and to tell my own psyche. Lacking in weight and heft are the syllables that come to my tongue, so they merely roll around in my mouth and in my head. In futility they try, but inevitably come up short for the telling.

Yet, I persist, for it is words that must be written if others are to share my pleasure, my observations. For I understand you cannot see my tears, nor feel their warm stream down my face, you cannot know my joy, not reckon with its  effervescence, nor can you connect with my heart and nudge into its crevasses except I tell you with words.

ImageDuring the days of Christmas my grandson Joel preached at Hilltop in San Diego. Among others, on the platform with him were my husband and my son Steve who is Joel’s father. Can anything be better than this?

ImageJoel’s brother, Chris, sat on the first pew just ahead of me, and in acclamation of the great preaching of his brother, he rose in worship.

ImageFather and grandfather stand during the dynamic preaching.

Well before I was conceived by my mom and dad, well before I was born to those humble people, God ordered my life and its excellence and its multiple blessings. How I was selected to encounter such joy, I will never understand. As though a shinning cloak of the heavenly has been thrown over me, is my life. I will enter eternity thankful.

No Hiding

“How sad,” I had noted in the margin, and when I read there again recently, I agreed with myself, for the words noted in the third chapter of Genesis are in reference to Adam and Eve as they hid themselves from God. Pitiful is the thought that I should have the urge to hide from God.

Admittedly, there are times I am ashamed of myself, and it would be with raw embarrassment and with much trembling should I find myself in the visible presence of God, and there be pressed to lift my downcast eyes into the gaze of He who is indeed holy and perfect; holy and perfect to such degree that I strongly suspect I cannot hope to comprehend. Yet,  my pragmatic side fusses and insists on my recalling that I cannot hide from God. Ever. He sits high, looks low, nothing is hidden from Him. Besides that, I really don’t want to hide from God. I can’t imagine–even in my darkest, lowest state of being–that I would want to be away from the presence of God. For it is only in Him that I have hope, and where even a scent of grace and mercy wafts about me.

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Hide from God? No, instead I rush to Him, He who “knows my frame,” and thus understands my underpinnings, my weaknesses, my holy desires, my ambitions, my longing for Him.

Glory in the Future

Let us not glory in our history, golden though it may be, for the past is finished, cast in concrete, unchangeable. (Yet will come the day when such memory is profitable and should be recited, for the analyzing of accomplishment and the knowing of its structure is of value.) Neither let us wallow in failure’s slough where sour scents may disgust us and where dank reflections may mar our vision.

Rather let us circle our hands about this new moment, this new year, these new opportunities–raw, ethereal, and pliable. Edging beside us, beside each of us, is this splendid fresh day, a pristine journal, multiple dangles of hope that shimmer into the future.

The hands of Another cover ours and steadies our tremble. The mind of Another encapsulates our thinking and settles our apprehension. The arm of the Almighty circles our shoulder, pulls us to Him, and turns us so that our face shines with the glimmer of hope, of faith, of opportunity.

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Early this morning, I read some startling facts about myself–and about you–and while the proving of the accuracy of the statement far exceeds my abilities, I do believe the words to be true. But first take a look at the Psalmist’s writing in 139:14, for David’s words make a cool wrap-around what follows.

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

In 1956 neutrinos were discovered by Clyde Cowan and Frederick Reines. This is said about their discovery.

In the time it takes you to read this, hundreds of billions of neutrinos have passed through your body. Specifically, close to 65 billion neutrinos from the Sun pass through every square centimeter of you that is currently perpendicular to the Sun every single second that passes.

The human is amazing . . . our intellect, our body that is designed to withstand the onslaught of energy from the sun, and our soul.  God, the creator of all that is, the architect of the universe and beyond, is the One who scooped up new dirt and created the first man. How fearfully and wonderfully . .

He calculated our beauty. . .and within little girls He injects a sweet sense of mother and of baby . . .And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.



“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, say, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: . . .” Revelation 19:6-7

Another Sunday has dawned. Let us rejoice. Let us lift hallelujahs. Let us worship our King.

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No Kisses for Baal

We found our seats quickly as the service had already begun, and we wanted to lessen the commotion of our coming in a few minutes late. Those around us smiled and made us welcome. Soon the preacher left the platform, came to Jerry, shook his hand and had a short conversation with him, which I learned later included an invitation not only to sit on the platform, but also to bring the morning message. Jerry hugged the young man, thanked him, and indicated he would just stay where he was.

Because Pastor Claborn was out of town, Brother Brett Bockmann would be preaching this Sunday morning, and when he stepped to the pulpit, he remarked about our being with them in service. “My heart fell when I saw Brother Buxton step through the door,” the young minister said. He went on to profusely welcome us but to explain how inadequate he felt to preach before an elder, a seasoned minister of the Gospel.

His humility touched me deeply. . . and then I was profoundly moved as he began to read from Scripture, and his voice broke significantly. Deeply affected by the Word of God he launched into his message concerning Roots.

God’s Church is in good hands with young men like Brett Bockmann–and there are many of his ilk. Beware, lest because of style changes we may not appreciate, problems in local churches, and in church organizations we become as Elijah who in I Kings complained to God:

“. . .I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left. . .”

…….see that whisper of a smirky smile on the face of God as he patted Elijah on the shoulder, gave him a little vision of the power of God, and said, “Don’t worry about it…got 7000 in Israel who have never bowed to Baal . . . nor kissed his mouth!”

Love it!

Preach on young men! God’s church will prevail!
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Two Kids in the Bible

Thinking about two kids in the Bible this morning: One was little Jesus who played about stacks of boards, and who let sawdust filter through His fingers in His dad’s shop. The other kid handed over his lunch of “sardines and crackers” and that One from the carpenter’s shop, big now, with His own hands, blessed that food and, miraculously, it multiplied. And they sat down and had lunch.

Oh, by the way, there were 5000 of those who munched from that one order. And one more thing: There were 12 baskets full of “sardines and crackers” left over when they were all filled. Amazing. Impossible. True. (Wonder if that little boy took home any of the leftovers? Wonder what his mom said?)

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Toward Perfection

Among knowledgeable and capable persons within the writing and publishing community, there are those who frankly say that “Christian” writing–across the board–fails to meet the standard of excellence that is seen in the general market. Now I do understand there are many undesirable offerings in the untitled (49 of 80)general market, but there also are many things well done.

Whether the premise to which I referred is sound or not, I leave others to decide, but I am definitely of the opinion that everything we Christians do, we should do well–the very best of which we are capable.

A few days ago I read that the prolific author John Irving begins all his books with the last sentence–the one that will conclude the book. He cogitates, thinks of the plot, the characters, the theme of the novel. He ruminates. Long periods pass before he has the last sentence written, and it will not change. Then there is usually a gap of a year–sometimes 18 months–before the first sentence has come to him. I was astounded when I read that. If a secular writer can expend that much thought and time on two sentences in a book, surely we are Christians can equal or surpass his efforts.

When we study to teach a Sunday school class or to write a sermon, we should do so fervently. When we scribe an essay, or a blog post, or a pamphlet, or a novel, we should so care. Our work should glitter and excel, a tribute to our calling.

Jesus Really is the Light

Because of a world full of gross evil and confusion that encroaches on all of us, it is tempting to focus on those negative and admittedly frightening elements. Rather, we should find tranquility as we recall that Jesus really is the light of the world.

I was reminded of this wonderful piece of knowledge early this morning when I arose around 5:30. Rain had begun sometime during the night, I wanted to see it, so after I opened the front drapes I turned on the yard light and the Christmas lights we have draped around the deck railing. I also clicked the switch that turned on the wreath that is hanging on our inside stair wall.

The light that shined now through our front windows was incredible. The shot above was taken through that window, not only revealing the light outside, but a reflection of the wreath–shows in the top part of the photograph. Photographers call all that unfocused light bokeh. I go along with that, but insist on adding that every fragment of light we have is because of God, for Jesus is the light of the world.

I turned then for a inside shot of the wreath on the stair wall, and saw again more light than what is actually there. In the big wreath there are only three large balls. The others are reflections, as are many of the glowing points from the twinkle lights. Neat, huh. Magic. Nature. Laws of science. God.

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:12

I’m wishing you a blessed Christmas season. Relax. Remember that Jesus truly is the light of the world.