Musing & Wandering

Traveling with Christ

Author: joboni Page 2 of 4

Cosmetic -or- Structural

IMG_5680rs copyHave you ever stopped to consider the most important elements of your home? I hadn’t really before today and now I have a new appreciation for that which is unseen. Let me try to explain.

The part that we see, the decoration or cosmetic, is just to show off the finished house. It adds eye appeal and quite frankly is what sells a house in most cases and what we focus the most on. But underneath all of that is the bones. The wood framing, plumbing, electrical, foundation – you know the structural. That is what makes the house have the ability to stand, hopefully for a good number of years, and provide a home for us to live in. Most of us I suspect would never think much about that beyond asking, is the structure sound, how’s the electrical, and does the plumbing work good? Oh, and how old is the roof? While the cosmetic gets the money, it’s the structural which makes it possible. And let’s face it, we can’t see what’s underneath anyway unless it fails. Without the latter the former isn’t much good and in fact can’t stand on its own.

The same applies to our walk with the Lord. In Romans 8:5 we read, For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (NASB77)

I must admit that most of my adult life has been closer to the things of the flesh than the things of the Spirit. I know that might be a shock to some of you but as I stopped to take a serious look at my life what I’ve discovered isn’t too sound. It’s been the THINGS in life which have garnered most of my attention. Now it’s true  that I’ve given a lot of time and effort to the Lord’s work so surely that should count for something, right? Well that would put me in the middle somewhere then since I garner the Spirit while pursuing the flesh. According to many today that still makes me an okay person and Heavenward bound. Let me just quote the rest of the above passage for you.

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:6-8 NASB77

Maybe you need to read that again. The way I read it is pretty straight forward. There is NO middle ground. If my mind is on the flesh, even a tiny bit (I guess little white lies would be out) then that makes me “hostile toward God” and hence I “cannot [do not] please God.”

If you know me then you’ve mostly known the cosmetic, fleshy, sinful me. While there have been some structural foundation work it keeps getting knocked down whenever I focus back on the cosmetic, or flesh. If I want to have “life and peace” and to “please God” my life must be fully in the (Holy) Spirit which makes my structure sound and pleasing to God allowing the Holy Spirit to work through me for the Glory of God.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven youEphesians 4:29-32 NASB77

Want to start building the structural foundation of a life in the Spirit? These 6 points are found in the passage of scripture above.

  1. Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth.
  2. Build others up.
  3. Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit with your behavior.
  4. Release ALL bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice.
  5. Be kind and tender-hearted to others.
  6. Forgive others even as God in Christ forgave you.

It has taken 70 years for this message to fully sink in for me. I pray and hope that it won’t take that long for you.

I offer no apologies for this message except that I’ve taken so long to write/tell some who are closest to me and now to all who read this message. If you’ve gotten this far then I encourage you to search out how to truly walk a life in the Spirit and ditch the flesh. There is NO middle ground. If you disagree with me that is your right, but I encourage you to check the facts straight from the Word (Holy Bible) and disregard the words of man, the church, the denomination, the religion.

In Christ and with love,
Nick

Note: This blog post was inspired by a sermon given at Salem Evangelical Church by Pastor Randy Butler on 7/17/16. If you desire you can view the sermon by following this link: https://vimeo.com/176360995. The link is for the full service. The sermon starts about 2/3 of the way through at 51:42.

Changes?

thumb_IMG_3303_1024Greetings in the name of Christ Jesus from sunny central California! Some may be saying “you’re supposed to be on the east coast.” Yep, that’s what we planned, but the Lord directed us differently. One thing we do plan with a fair amount of success is to be flexible before the Lord. That way we should never go wrong in the direction we head.

We are privileged to be able to rearrange our schedule as needed. When we set out on this adventure in 2013 we had hopes of seeing a great deal of the United States and being able to visit many family and friends. That has been partially successful from our human viewpoint but we also asked God to direct our steps on this path. He has done very well, not a bit surprisingly. He is very good at that if we just allow Him. It’s so hard sometimes to let go and let God, isn’t it?

My sister has been the caregiver for her husband for many years, and this past year she has had some health issues herself and was scheduled for surgery 3 different times. The first two were rescheduled and now we know why. She lost her husband in March after several months of real struggles with his declining health. Had she had the originally scheduled surgery, it would have been far more difficult for her. Not easy by any means, but now she is able to concentrate on her healing and not be focused on caring for him. Of course, he has a new body and no more health issues; standing in the presence of God. Praise His Holy name! So long story short we have been with her in California since early March and will stay until she’s released by the doctors and no longer needs us to help her out. We have felt blessed being here.

Thus our schedule with RVICS and our planned summer vacation time touring New England will have to wait for another time, and that’s okay. As it stands now we will be on three RVICS projects in the fall putting us close enough to my sister should she need us.

So what else is up? We’ve been refocusing our attention on our service to the Lord. RVICS, of course, continues to be our primary service, but we are also looking to expand the scope of service we do for the Lord. Should it be the Lord’s desire then we will see some big changes starting next year. We’ve also been considering our outreach, or sometimes lack of outreach. We started our blogs in 2013 (well, my Musing & Wandering blog started in 2011). Seems each year we’ve changed the name, the focus, the amount of blogs we post, and it simply hasn’t worked all that well. Last year it was decided I should start my Musing & Wandering blog again and refocus on the original intent. I had every intention of writing occasionally. It was very occasional, almost not at all. In the meantime we also tried to maintain “Our Porch Views” (which was a good idea but not nearly as easy to stick to the topic). During the past two years we’ve also tried Facebook and Twitter as an outreach method. That also didn’t do well. So we decided after prayer that we should drop “Our Porch Views” and turn to “Musing & Wandering” as our only blog with the hope that we will be more timely in posting. It also lends itself better (focus wise) to what we’re really doing. We’ve also dropped our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

What does that mean? If you were subscribed to “Our Porch Views” you will continue to be subscribed to “Musing & Wandering” and no action required. We would love to see you all subscribe to “Musing & Wandering.” How do you do that? Just click on either of the 2 “Follow” buttons (depending on device) at the bottom of the page and follow the prompts. In the meantime we’ll keep you on our mailing list if you would prefer but by subscribing you’ll be notified first of a new blog post.

We have been trying to reach out to those around us who serve us at places such as restaurants, stores and just those we come in contact with as we are out and about. If you know us, we could not be considered extroverts. We have asked for help from the Lord to speak boldly. Boo was just asked today how her day was going. Her response, “It’s going great. Jesus woke me up this morning.” The young man paused, and said, “you know, I can say the same thing.” That was a bold step for Boo. God is growing us through the Holy Spirit to draw closer to Him.

We thank you for continuing to have an interest in our service to the Lord and our travels. We have been and continue to be blessed by God’s Holy presence and Christ Jesus walking by our side daily. We pray that your life will be touched by the thoughts we write and sights we see along this journey our Lord is directing for us.

I close with this passage from Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (NKJV). We hold to that passage and claim its truth. We know without a doubt that all we accomplish for God is through Christ Jesus our Lord.

We hope to see you on our journeys, but if not we pray and hope to see you in Heaven some glorious day.

Blessings and love in Christ,

Nick & Boo

Happy New Year

Like many I feel obligated on the first day of a new year to send out a greeting to those who read my blog. Not that I’ve done that but since it has been 4 months and I’m setting here looking at a fairly barren blog I decided to write. So…..

Happy New Year!! 

Now I feel so much better. But since I might have your attention I’ll just continue a bit.

Blessings

We have been truly blessed this year. God has enabled us to visit some new places. Return to some previous projects. Spend time with family. God has touched our sore hurting bodies. Brought us to a new (permanent) home that we can return to when we’re not traveling. See family members returned to health. Provided us with the necessities while helping us to help others in need. Grow our faith in Christ. Establish a stronger walk with God, and much, much more. Yes… we’ve been blessed.

I trust that this new year will bring you nearer to God and that you will establish a closer walk with Him. Trust firmly in our Savior, Jesus Christ, and see how your year turns out.

Strategies to grow closer to our Lord in 2016

  1. Daily reading in the Bible – Individually during the day and  through the Bible at night.
  2. Pray together, pray individually, unceasingly
  3. Ongoing Bible study (no less than weekly, sometimes more)
  4. Reading more classic Christian authors (there are some great authors of the past whose writings still have a strong bearing on our daily walk with Christ – I’ll be glad to share)
  5. Daily devotionals (picked carefully)
  6. Keep the Sabbath Holy. Sunday is our Sabbath and we spend the day attending church, resting, meditating, praying, reading (we don’t shop, eat out, go touring, travel or anything else which would detract from our devotion to God during the day, unless necessary (and that’s rare))

This list we consider essential to maintaining a close walk with God. This is what WE do. Some may do more, some may do less. Some may not feel something as drastic (really?) as keeping the Sabbath Holy is necessary. We do. What we know is that God is the center of what we do and for that we are truly blessed.

My Hope

My hope for you in this coming year is a closer walk with Jesus (or if you’ve not accepted Jesus as your Savior, doing so). I also hope you have a year filled with all the goodness God has to offer.

I would like to end with  the Biblical passage of scripture from Titus 2:11-14 (NKJV):

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Blessings in Christ,
Nick

Reading Through the Bible

BibleFor the first time in my life I read the entire Holy Bible through from Genesis to Revelation. For me that was a huge accomplishment. I can’t begin to say how many attempts I had at that effort. I think that was the problem; it was an effort or I approached it like an effort.

Boo and I talked about reading the Bible through in July 2014. We both had tried unsuccessfully in the past to read the entire Bible but both of us had failed, usually making it no further than Deuteronomy or maybe Leviticus. I’ve even tried reading a combination of Old and New Testament. Again with no success.

Now I will say that I have read certain books of the Bible through completely. In the Old Testament; Genesis many times, as well as Psalms, Proverbs, Ezekiel and Daniel. Perhaps (but I don’t really know) Isaiah and Jeremiah. Now in the New Testament I have probably read most books through entirely but not all together. I did have success at the Gospels once. And I’ve read Revelation several times.

Now the neat part of reading through the whole Bible; I began to see how things fit together. No I didn’t understand but a small fraction I’m sure but with the help of the Holy Spirit I was able to start connecting the dots, so to speak.

Boo and I would discuss what we read and often consulted commentaries. That’s a neat thing about electronic books, they’re all at your fingertips. We use Pocket Bible by Laridian and have several Bible translations, but only 2-3 we regularly use, as well as a wealth of commentaries, dictionaries and Strong’s.

So what does one do after reading the Bible through? Start again. We started reading again before we finished the first time and have already finished 50+ days. We are seeing new things we missed the first time through as well as clarification and discernment on difficult passages we read previously.

We have fallen in love with the Book of Books, the Holy Word of God.

If you have never attempted to read through the Bible in it’s entirety (or have but not been successful) I encourage you to do so. Yes at times it might be difficult. At times you’ll miss a day or two. Some parts are hard to read (we used “YouVersion” in those chapters and listened to the passages read to us). Don’t give up and I promise you the blessings you will get from reading God’s Word will be tremendous.

Paul penned these words in 2 Timothy, 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17, NIV). We have experienced the truth of these words through our reading this past year.

Finally I leave you with these words, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22 NIV) Truly your life will be blessed if you do what it says.

Blessings in Christ Jesus,
Nick

Page 2 of 4

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén