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Archive for March, 2022

I have been privileged to work on various types of projects since I began Decks And Such (see https://www.facebook.com/decksandsuch). Friends at church asked me to repair the porch on their house that was built in 1875. They built houses differently back then. Likely, the beams and boards were milled on the property. The beams in the porch were treated with tar that smelled like creosote. I can imagine a crew of workers cutting, milling, cooking tar and applying it, building the foundation and floor joists all from materials found close about. Check out the progression of my repair work at This Old Porch

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Wow, time flies whether you are having fun or not. So many challenges and unknowns have come our way in the last 3 months, but God is faithful and His providential care and guidance is unerring even when we can’t see it. We are thankful that our house sold, but we don’t know where we are going next. Houses are hard to get in this rarefied real estate market, and direction for where we should be is even harder at the moment. I am by no means a control freak, but I like a little predictability and consistency in my life, and that is all out the window at the moment. My climbing partner said just today that I seem to handle uncertainty (“the unknowns” as we called it) pretty well. I testified to God’s work in my life to make that so. If I say that I trust God, then I need to prove it by not fretting and by waiting for His guidance.

Having said all of that, I am also thankful for decompression times like hiking hard on an approach to a cliff and climbing hard on climbs that are very challenging for me. That was today. Last week was more chill (or was it?) on a bright sunny day and friends trying hard at the boulder field. Check out a few pictures of that trip at Bouldering with Friends.

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Bless you little girl

Girls are becoming more common in the Francis Clan. Our 10th grandchild was born on 2/23/22. We met her on the Greenway the other day, all bundled up and sleeping as we strolled along. As I held her, I said, “God bless you little girl.” And, as is my custom, I wrote a poem intended for the purpose of saying a blessing over this young one who are our posterity.

May God bless you little girl
With early knowledge of Him
Seek out the greatly priced Pearl
In this evil world that’s grim

Heidi be of noble kin
Who serve God, a priestly race
Quell temptation, quiet din
In the home with love and grace

Louise a famed warrior be
This world is no friend to you
Pray hard and live righteously
Know and teach the Word as true

May God grant that you live free
All your children’s children hold
All following God you see
None to unbelief may fold

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As I stood praying with several brothers and sisters after service, a young sister prayed with fervor and striking wisdom for one so young. The latter is largely the result of her good Christian heritage, parents and grandparents. The former is because she “owned her faith”, as her grandmother said. It was not just her parents’ faith, it is hers.

Suddenly, an analogy flashed across my mind.

Young Christians (specifically, I mean young in Christ, young in the faith) are like Igneous rocks, newly formed and fiery, that is, passionate about their faith and progress in it.

Mature Christians are more to be likened to Metamorphic rocks, who through heat and pressure of this life are become purifying factors making the believer hardened and weather resistant to the wiles of the devil, the world, and the flesh.

Carnal and Disobedient Christians are similar to Sedimentary rocks, who once were living stones, but now have retreated to being mere history lessons of past events recorded in layers of deposition or fossils of mineralized bones of past failures of belief.

The analogy can quickly breakdown (erode) if pushed too far, particularly with inclusion of rock cycle transition. However, I think one transition in the rock cycle that should encourage us in this analogy is that even Sedimentary rocks can be metamorphised into more stable forms, just as Carnal and Disobedient Christians may repent and pursue maturity. Then the history lesson of their sediments is both a precautionary tale and a picture of God’s grace in bringing us to completion.

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As I listened to the pastor preaching on the parable of the Lamp in Luke 8, my heart was stirred to further consider the truths of the passage. In the Gospels, Jesus is constantly urging His listeners to hear Him or else affirming the value of doing so. Following are two examples where He does the latter, revealing the relationship to God and blessing that comes from listening to His Word.

“But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” Luke 8:21

“But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” Luke 11:28

What does Jesus mean by hearing? Certainly He does not mean merely receiving vibrations of air into one’s ears or even registering their reception or even focus on the communication. Jesus warns against this type of hearing in the preceding parable in Luke 8. “His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant. And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, ‘so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. [Isaiah 6:9]'”” (Luke 8:9-10) Jesus is defining ‘hearing’ as understanding and acting on what you understand. In the continuation of Isaiah call in chapter 6 of that book, God continues with what Jesus has quoted above (v.10):

“Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull, and their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.”

‘Return’ is an action of faith. Jesus makes a hard connection between hearing and heeding in the Word, His Word, God’s Word. You “hear…and do it” (Luke 8:21) and you “hear… and observe it.” (Luke 11:28) When you hear and heed, then you will highlight the goodness and power of God to change your life. You will be His “mother” and “brother” and “by this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) In John 15:7-9, Jesus calls this hearing, heeding “abid[ing”, which then results in highlighting the Father (glorified by this”) by “bear[ing] much fruit”.

Of course, this brings much blessing (Proverbs 4:4, John 14:21) to the one who truly hears, faithfully heeds, and graciously highlights the goodness of God.

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Soon after my last blog entry (Transitions), I had a realization about my thinking processes. See if this assertion rings true for you. I frequently think more clearly and find more insight into a subject if I am not directly focused on it. It seems that when I set to determine a course of action, develop and idea or conviction, or gain deeper understanding, I get bogged down in my thinking processes or research when I concentrate on it. If I, instead, look at it as if with peripheral vision, listening to others discuss the idea, having previously considered the subject, allowing rather than pushing my mental wheels to spin and weave a coherent answer or summary, I think and formulate more clearly. If you carefully read, I do not mean haphazardly blab opinionated platitudes, but rather having previously considered the subject and raised it to the light of Scripture. In fact, it is at the moment of so raising it by myself or others to the light of Scripture that I seem to make connections. And connections are the stuff of analysis leading to synthesis.

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Overflows from the Heart

"But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart…" Matthew 15:18

CreatorWorship

Pointing to the One who made, saved, and sustains