Last week I wasn’t feeling well and stayed home and did quite a bit of reading. I read parts of a wide range of books and a couple of magazines that came in the mail. When I read my own books and magazines I underline things that grab my attention. Here are some of the things I underlined.

Commenting on Jesus’ promise in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you,” author John Pavlovitz describes himself “as asker with more questions, a seeker still looking, a knocker approaching new doors” (The Christian Century, 1/12/22, p. 39).

(I can identify with Pavlovitz.)

“There are five key metaphors for the Holy Spirit used in Scripture: the wind or breath of God, the oil of anointing, the flame of God, living or flowing water, and the dove or the hovering bird” (Welcome, Holy Spirit by Gordon T. Smith, pp. 7 and 8).

“The Spirit who came upon Jesus in the form of a dove at his baptism was present at his conception, and superintended the events around Jesus’ birth” (Welcome, Holy Spirit by Gordon T. Smith, p. 30).

“The work of creation was and continues to be the work of all three members of the Trinity” ” (Welcome, Holy Spirit by Gordon T. Smith, p. 64).

“There is a broad consensus in the history of the church that nothing is so foundational, no practice of the Christian life is more pivotal, that the discipline of regular prayer” ” (Welcome, Holy Spirit by Gordon T. Smith, p. 110).

(I’m reminded that I need to pray more regularly.)

“I have never been able to understand why anyone would worship a wooden statue. Or a tree or an Asherah pole, a cow or an elephant, or a god who looks like a frog. . . . But I can understand why people used to worship the sun. The sun shows us something of the primacy, centrality, and sovereignty of God” (Christianity Today, January/February 2022, article by Andrew Wilson, p. 48).

(As important as the sun is, I don’t understand why people would worship the sun.)

“Satisfaction in life cannot be found in the pursuit of folly or the pursuit of pleasure. . . . Only through Christ can we find contentment in something as simple as eating and drinking” (Where Wisdom Is Found by J.V. Fesko, pp. 24 and 25).

“A greedy man is not satisfied even when his coffers are full and his belly is stuffed, for there is always something more to get. Greed is an equal opportunity sin; it is not reserved merely for the wealthy” (Where Wisdom Is Found by J.V. Fesko, p 71).

(An important reminder for all of us.)

“Not only are we forgiven of our sins, but we are also robed in the grandest festival garments of all, the robe of Christ’s righteousness, to await Christ’s return and the resurrection of the dead . . .” (Where Wisdom Is Found by J.V. Fesko, p 117).

“Christ offers us contentment in the present by giving us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comforts us, assures of Christ’s love for us even in the most dire circumstances, and gives us the hope of eternal life” (Where Wisdom Is Found by J.V. Fesko, p 148).

(Comfort for all of us.)

I hope these selections get your attention provoking some thinking that will be challenging, encouraging, and helpful as they did for me.

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This evening we had a New Year’s Eve party for our senior saints and I thought I would share in a post a few challenges I presented.

In the coming year let’s give some consideration to seeing people as God sees them.

I want to pass on something I read this week that I had never realized: Both Jesus’ first and last words to the Apostle Peter were “Follow Me.” Hopefully we’ll continue to move forward in the New Year.

I came across a prayer by Dag Hammarskjold we all might want to pray: “Hallowed be thy name, not mine. Thy kingdom come, not mine. Thy will be done, not mine. Give us peace with you, peace with others, and peace with ourselves.

For more than the past 50 years I have used this poem by Helen Field Fischer entitled A New Leaf on New Year’s Eve:

He came to my desk with a quivering lip—The lesson was done.
“Dear Teacher, I want a new leaf,” he said, —“I have spoiled this one.”
I took the old leaf, stained and blotted, And gave him a new one all unspotted,
—And into his sad eyes smiled, —“Do better, now, my child.”

I went to the throne with a quivering soul—The Old Year was done.
“Dear Father, hast Thou a new leaf for me? —I have spoiled this one.”
He took the old leaf, stained and blotted, And gave me a new one all unspotted,
—And into my sad heart smiled,—“Do better, now, my child.”

Happy New Year; and may 2022 be a year of becoming more and more the kind of person the Lord has called us to be.

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