The Whisper of a Thought

Where Do Our Thoughts Go?

Philip Harrelson Study Bible
Philip Harrelson Study Bible

The past week of travel to a world where the internet is not readily accessible unless you are a resident and pay for the privilege, left me thinking about how my mind works…

Seeing that there was more time for non-technical distractions!

I even found out that too many “games” on my non-connected iPhone required an Internet connection in order to work – there was no offline experience.

I grasped at a new world, which is really an old world less visited. There still exists places that almost look like the world of several decades ago!

My mind was made to function not only as a thinking instrument, but also a recording device. I had a pen to write, but no paper to record.

Less I make this a more laborious thought than necessary, what I realized is that my mind is full of thoughts. Ofttimes fleeting, sometimes lingering, and way too many times thinking, “This would make a good blog thought!”

My blog has become my platform for my thinking mind. Thoughts early in the morning are often the focus of the days writing exercise. The concept of taking the thought and making it part of my morning devotion has opened up ideas that are worth recording and sharing. There are many other thoughts recorded against a future thinking and writing time.

The future thoughts are recorded into various media (Notepad, Word, Evernote, Calendar, etc.), collected, collated and eventually referenced for another blog post.

In my older days of no computing device, my bible would become the log of scripture thoughts as I read or heard from others, but not nearly as intensive as the pictured bible above.

This morning, fresh from a days recovery from travel to a far off place, and while preparing my day,  I had several thoughts plop into my mind, and then just about as quickly they disappeared not easily recalled. Where do these thoughts come from? Where do they go? They seem to come and go faster than I can pick up a pen! Yet, each one seems to be worthy of consideration. How do I slow down my mind and focus on one thing at a time?

For the life of me I cannot remember them!

It’s almost as the words of Job are swimming around my head:

“Now a word was brought to me stealthily; my ear received the whisper of it.
(Job 4:12 ESV)

I leave you with this, one of my favorite chapters of Isaiah… It speaks of a thirst and desire for the things of my heart and soul. I do not have to worry about  my thoughts when God’s word speaks to me.

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee. Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
(Isaiah 55:1-13 KJV)

 

 

Life is good!

 

One of Grandmothers messages to my sister
Glad for the experience… The visit with family… And the trip home.  Why does the world seem to be better as you near home? 

My sister and I cooked one of Grandmother Simmons recipe and shared it on Facebook.  It brought up some memories and thoughts…

I’m thinking about those who have gone on before…. 

  • Is that the lights of home I see?
  • Do I feel a breeze from the crystal sea?
  • Is that the Lord standing high on Heavens balcony?
  • If that’s the lights of home
  • It’s a welcome sight to me.

~Dottie Rambo

Remote Operation

We often think about living Remote…

SOSCut off from society. Away from conveniences. No distractions. A long… way… from… Every Thing….

It has felt somewhat like this during the week I’m spending with my sister in her home town of Dutch Harbor, Alaska….

My cell phone does not connect to the local provider. At all… There is no local WIFI signal that is shared by this far off community. There is no Starbucks or McDonald’s, both who are known to me to provide access to the internet. Nor have I found any easy way to log on to other networks without paying a great sum of money. The local library gives free WIFI, but the competition for band width is huge by all the folks who do not have access.

So, I’ve lived these past few days reconnecting with a non-technical world.

At the same time I’m reading a story about the future where the tech world has crashed and there is nothing technical that works. No lights. No power. No phone. No cell. Nothing.

Whoa… I’m not sure I want to return to the idyllic past!

Just as those from 50 years ago would be confused with life today, I find myself struggling with doing things in an older fashion… Where’s my pen? I need paper. Quick!

So… If you do not hear from me for a few days… Or, if you call and I don’t respond… Or, if you just don’t care… Well, it’s up to you to respond how ever you choose!

The Social Experiment?

WWe are no longer happy…

Social ExperimentWith simply talking across the backyard fence! We want to extend our conversation around the world. At least, that seems to be the gist behind much of the social experience that exists on the internet.

I’ve dallied with various forms of this experience and find there are some aspects of it I enjoy. It cannot be said there is an equal and opposite reaction to my enjoyment, but I have found aspects of this experience that leaves me with nothing to enjoy and serves only to elicit negative feelings.

Enjoy? I love connecting with people. Their postings that draw me into a conversation is a wonderful experience. I love to see what people are interested in, that is, until they start a rampage down a path of negativity or selling. I love to see their connections with others and look for strange ways we are all interconnected.

Example: I found a friend who is friend with a friend in states separated by hundreds of miles. I messaged each of them to find out their connection to each other. This gave me a fresh insight, again, on how small this world truly is.

Along these lines I am thrilled when I find that someone in a far off place has read my blog, or retweeted a comment. This shows the power of social media! There are readers in countries that I have had to look up with a Google search in order to know what continent they are on!

Dislike? This is where it gets tricky. It almost seems like there is more to dislike about the social experience than there is to like. For example, there are some friends that I found out the dark secret side of their life that turns me off – they were into bashing one another instead of lifting one another up. I left that social group behind and blocked them from ever adding me again!

I am bothered by the personality of a person who posts seemingly hurtful things and would probably never dream of saying what they post in a face to face conversation – or, if they are like this in person then they fell off my radar a long time ago!

If you start a business and all you do is post your business, then you get hidden from my daily consumption. (If you start a business then I suggest you start a separate social identity for that business and keep the two worlds separate.) If all you do is post posters, and quips, and the same ol’ style of sappy stuff… You too get hidden.

It’s almost like no one sees the power of this social world. You can quickly become “persona non grata” if you become a pest with your requests to support you in games, or “you just gotta see this…it made me laugh so hard…”

To my family, friends, and close associates, I like to post things that are meaningful to just them. Hence, I create lists and post certain things to just certain people. While it is true that I post a lot for the entire world to see, I do try to control what I post to show only the things that someone generically might find interesting.

Can this social experience be salvaged? Perhaps. But the next best thing on the block is always showing up and changing the parameters.

This is perhaps the power of the internet. Something new is always coming along. The more we identify with social media the more information of our identity gets patterned after some developers perspective of sharing. Eventually, you have laid your identity bare to the world… And the real you is still staring at the screen with hand poised on the keyboard just waiting for something else to say.

Unlike talking to a “stranger” on the internet (watch out for scams, spams and other assorted ways of stealing from you!), there is something about talking to people face to face. Several conversations over the past week have shown me, all over again, the power of simply talking to the stranger sitting next to you. If they are open to a chat, compare your experience with them and learn something from a face-to-face social experience that will change your world!

Thinking about you and hoping for your favorable enhancement to this social experience!

If You Could Choose

What would it be?

Choice KeyboardHave you ever decided one direction over another? One choice over another? I am not talking about choices that can easily be un-done if it happens to be the wrong choice. No, I am talking about major life decisions.

Who will you marry? What is your career choice? What neighborhood will you begin to reside in? What college will you go to?

We make choices every day that are approached by simple logic and gut feel. I dare say too many choices are made by emotion. You know, “I always thought I would look good wearing this color!”

A lot of behind the scene thinking often decides these easy choices. What do my taste buds think? What did I have last time? What will satisfy me today? Should I go “this way” or “that way” to work? Should I buy this computer or that computer? Should I order a tossed salad or a Caesar? Steak or chicken? Fried or broiled?

I’ve watched people agonize over the menu at the last moment instead of taking all those empty minutes while waiting for the waiter to appear and make a choice. It almost seems like people like to be pressured into making up their minds. This may be a crucial thought.

Some people cannot choose until they are forced to go one way or another. 

It’s like the children of Israel… After leaving Egypt, they spent 40 years wandering. They were constantly looking over their shoulder at the past, wishing they were “there” instead of “here”. Finally, all the choices were narrowed down to a decision to be made today…

“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:14-15 ESV)

400 years in Egypt. 40 years in the desert. Now. Choose. Today.

How about you? Aren’t you tired of putting off the choices before you? Why do you delay? Are you needing some pressure to make you get up off the couch and make a choice? Here’s one…

I’m getting tired of waiting…

 

Trees and Forests

You’ve heard the old saying…

Forest and Trees“You can’t see the forest for the trees.” When we pay too close attention to the individuality of trees, we miss the entire collective of trees that are “the forest.”

Focusing on the individual and missing the collection.

Sometimes the individual needs more attention than the whole, and we often lose sight of the bigger picture when we focus only on the one.

The One often needs individualized attention, and yet the attention required detracts from the whole. It would be like watering a single tree and not taking care of the whole forest when you job is the entire forest by handling all the individual trees!

The job is often bigger than the ability of the one person’s responsibility. And that is why you divide the job into segments of responsibilities, place someone in charge and manage the manager. This way, you are directing the efforts to many through the work of a few.

Scripture is full of examples, but consider two for the moment.

First, look at Moses after they began to live in the wilderness between deliverance and promise. Moses took on the responsibility of settling disputes, handling problems, and directing the lives of the millions.

The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?” And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God; when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.”  (Exodus 18:13-16 ESV)

Why do you sit alone? Because they need me. This is how managers and pastors and company owners feel. “I’m the only one who can do it. Someone needs to do it. SO, if it is to be it is up to me.”

Jethro (Moses’s father-in-law), said… “You cannot do this alone… There is a better way!”

Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you.  (Exodus 18:19-22 ESV)

Divide and conquer … That’s the better way. Manage fewer and let those that are capable manage the others. You are still in charge of everything, but work one on one with the fewer. You are more effective.

Second, consider the role of the disciples surrounding Jesus. They were handpicked. They were trained and given areas of responsibilities. There were three that were the inner circle (Peter, James, John), the holder of the purse strings (Judas), and though it does not appear specific duties were distributed to the others they were all in training to continue the work of Jesus.

And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. (Matthew 10:1-4 ESV)

If you read the remainder of this chapter you will see that Jesus gave them instructions for their immediate action, but also the plan for what their future lives would be like. Preach. Teach. Pray. Heal. Cleanse. Cast out demons.

Important tasks. But notice the closing words of the chapter.

“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.
(Matthew 10:40 ESV)

Whoever receives you, receives me… The reverse flow of dominoes. Accepting the lowest of leaders means you are accepting the leadership up the chain.

Accept the one, and you buy into the forest.

This tells me that the one has the power to represent the whole. Think about it for a moment. You, as an individual, represent the whole of who you are a part of. What trickles down from the owner, or leader above, also flows up and outward. It’s simply a pyramid of connectivity that goes both way.

Dead BranchesYou are not standing alone, lost in the sea of trees. You are part of the forest and yet your individuality stands out as a representative of the whole!

And when you are not equal to the task, you do stand out….

It reveals itself in the midst of whole and healthy trees which represents the forest.

Believe me, you may hide yourself in the crowd… But you do stand out to those who know how to look for healthy trees and forests.\

 

 

Weary and Tired… But…

I’m doing good!

Weary and TiredI’ve enjoyed listening to John Denver for decades. This song has been rumbling in the background of my mind for a few days. It’s slow and gives pause to the brain to think through things as the words unfold.

I’m weary and tired, I’ve done my day’s riding, nighttime is rolling my way.
The sky’s all on fire and light’s slowly fading, peaceful and still ends the day.
Out on the trail, night birds are calling, singing their wild melody.
Down in the canyon, cottonwood whispers a song of Wyoming for me.

I stepped outside last night after taking care of the animals and enjoying some walking time. Simply standing on the porch I felt like this song. Weary. Tired. But enjoying the surroundings!

Scriptures often describe the results of being weary as something related to people and events. Tired of moaning, crying and complaining of others, or tired of the constant battle that is snipping at your heals.

I’ve always believed in making my homestead a peaceful place and a harbor in the midst of storms. It should be a place to go to when the battle of the world gets to be too much. This is not a place of fighting, but a place of shelter, must like the prophet writes.

“Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.” (Isaiah 32:2 ESV)

While its true that we will often fight battles at home, they should be internal struggles, and not the struggles of the world. My home is my escape from the world around me! I want the home experience to revitalize… Much like Jeremiah writes:

For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” (Jeremiah 31:25 ESV)

This is also something I believe happens at many church services. We bring our battles to the altar and lay them down for something much better… We obeyed Jesus.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

Yesterday was one of those refreshing days! I am Energized from the work that went into making yesterday a perfect day for God!

Thank you First Church of Lacey! Yesterday was Paul’s scripture in action!

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:9-10 ESV)