Category Archives: Faith

Thanksgiving: Back to the jail

“God moves in a mysterious way, His mercies to perform. . .” is the title and first line of a hymn written by William Cowper (1731-1800) in 1774. Believers in God’s works, omnipotence, grace, and pure, undeserved mercy apprehend well the truth published in this line.

My husband and I spent a couple of hours in our County’s jail on Thanksgiving, as we did last year, helping to serve a Thanksgiving dinner to more than 50 trusted inmates. Jail inmates prepared part of the meal, and the Prosecutor’s office received funding for the food. My husband, a county public defender, and I were among those serving the well-cooked, attractive meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls, cranberries, etc. The inmates were cheerful and cordial.

Witnessing the inmates’ conviviality gave me pause for gratitude for God’s merciful grace. All mankind errs. God forgives all who repent. Viewing the hard side of error–incarceration–is a sobering thing. It is also a beautiful thing, to see repentance perceptibly fulfilled, and the promise of forgiveness.

Once again, Happy Thanksgiving, especially to all who apprehend and repent of their own sins and the gracious mercy that removes them from our blotters.

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Puritan Wisdom from John Flavel

John Flavel (1627?-1691) was a 17th-century Puritan Presbyterian minister. He accepted a call to a church in Dartmouth, England in 1656. I am currently reading The Method of Grace, a book of 34 of his (long!) sermons, and I find their content substantive and compelling. I am reprinting this brief excerpt because I find it especially so.

First, One that is truly burdened with sin, will not allow himself to live in the secret practice of sin; either your trouble will put an end to your course of sinning, or your sinning will put an end to your troubles. Consult 2 Corinthians 7:11 –John Flavel: The Method of Grace, Sermon No. 9

John Flavel

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A small county murder’s nexus with a Puritan

My husband was  counsel to the defendant in a murder trial this week. The trial ran from Tuesday morning through today (Friday) around noon. The jury convicted the defendant of second-degree murder after deliberating an hour and a half. The slaying occurred a little more than two years ago.

The defendant, who has Parkinson’s Disease, testified that he feared the victim, with whom he was friends, because, he claimed, the victim had walked into his house, and because, he alleged, the victim had once shoved him (“threw me down”) on the stairs. The defendant also testified that the victim had robbed him at various times.

Things evidently didn’t improve, so when friend victim walked in, friend defendant shot him.  The .45 caliber bullet took quite a tour through the victim’s chest, heart, aorta, and arm. A medical autopsy expert testified and showed grizzly slides showing a very great deal of blood. I attended only Thursday morning; my chief interest in the trial was hearing the expert’s testimony.

Sentencing negotiations are underway. The defendant told me yesterday that he looks forward to prison.

I was reading The Bruised Reed by Puritan Richard Sibbes (1577–1635) today, recovering from the rare occasion of sitting in on a trial, even just one day, for just a few hours. I was there because I like the defendant. He thanked me very graciously for a roll I served him at the jail’s Thanksgiving dinner last year. My husband and I were among several people who helped serve the dinner. It was my favorite Thanksgiving of all time. But Sibbes had something serious to say that seemed connected to friend defendant:

“All light that is not spiritual, because it lacks the strength of sanctifying grace, yields to every little temptation, especially when it is fitted and suited to personal inclinations.” (Richard Sibbes: The Bruised Reed)

“Personal inclinations.” They should probably be treated like flashing signs at railroad crossings. Ignore them at terrible, bloody peril.

 

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Rather Suddenly: RAIN!!

Yes! Rain is falling, and westerly winds are blowing! And we are going fishing!

More later. . .for now, we thank and praise our God who hears and loves and cares for His people.

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Effie and blackberries

I took this photo last summer, of Effie slavering over the unripe blackberries she had been checking out. This year she has shown no interest in them at all, even when they were ripe. I think she does really cute things with her tongue.

Her cute look elevated my morale after reading the NOAA wildfire reports and predictions. It was a tad demoralizing to learn that I am not cut out for life on earth, but hey, I’ve had a fair number of decades to prove I am blessed with some kind of knack for survival–aka God’s preserving grace.

I have a wonderful husband, a compatible cat, a pleasant home, and a well-matched church. Smoke happens. I’ve been outdoors only briefly, to run up the hill to get any eggs our hens have laid, and down the hill to pick up our mail. I feel a little cooped up, staying in the house so much, and very ready to get back to fishing in the Snake River again. The fires have kept us from fishing for three whole weeks.

Like most nuisances, smoke doesn’t stay forever.

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Filed under Action & Being, Animals, Nature, Gardens, Cats, Effie, Effieland, Faith, Health, Home Life, News, Photos, Seasons, Weather

Dear Elijah, Wish you were here. . .

In the 9th century B.C., Elijah was a good person to have around. His effectual prayers for rain delayed Ahab, enabling Elijah to arrive ahead of the ungodly king and execute the false prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:41-19:1). Blood, gore, and slaughter notwithstanding, Elijah prayed for rain, and rain arrived, with a “sound of abundance.”

We need rain! Smoke from the lightning fires continues to linger throughout Washington and Northern Idaho. Visibility of the basalt canyon walls less than 10 miles from our home remains compromised, as does the breath of some people with health issues.

Elijah is gone from the world; the format of his prayer, in which “he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees” is not necessary for effectual prayer. Elijah can, however, remind us that however we pray with real need and sincerity, we are heard. Whether or not our prayers are effectual is entirely up to the perfect discretion of God–as is the weather.

My camera has taken up a tourist photo proclivity–the sky directly above has a few streaks suggesting blue, but is predominantly ash-white. The photo also makes the hills much more discernible than they are to the eye. I promise, the smoke is really there!

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Spring is here, and my PTSD is melting

Effie’s sunshine greeting far exceeds the melting point of PTSD.

At last I am gaining perspective. It’s still weak, but I am coming around to believing that an auto accident a year ago in which no one was significantly hurt (except for a torn tendon in my right elbow that hurt for nine months; and Grünhilde, my Audi and a veritable member of the family, who was totaled) is not a sufficient reason to torque my worldview downward.

With the help of God through His Word, and my husband, my pastor and Effie, now on therapy cat duty (as she probably always has been), I am able to concede that every driver on the road is not specifically out to harm me.

Particular noteworthy Bible verses coalesced in my attention sphere this morning.

“It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” Acts 1:7

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

“Behold, I am vile;
What shall I answer You?
I lay my hand over my mouth.” Job 40:4

(All verses above are from the New King James Version (NKJV), © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.)

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