CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

February 27, 2010

ANGER!

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

ANGER

Nancy Briskay Cornell Lipsius

     All of the anger is gone. The passionate, unreasoning, unstructured anger no longer exists. And it disturbs me.

     There is growing terror that over the years, anger has been replaced by an acceptance, a compliance.

     The anger at injustice, immoral acts, prejudice, the complacency of others when faced by nuclear armament all seems to have dissipated and it frightens me.

     I see apathy all around me and feel that somehow I myself have fallen into that apathetic state. It is as though a fine gauze curtain has been draped over my mind allowing my eyes to see through a (more…)

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A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 10

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A DAILY ONLINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: DAY 10

Monte Holland

This is the tenth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

https://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/a-daily-online-lenten-study-guide-introduction/

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 09

 Today’s photograph features two signs on the back of a truck traveling a Pennsylvania road. They encourage people to “Start the week off right.” “Attend the church of your choice.” To view click on: http://ligonierliving.blogspot.com/2010/02/daily-online-lenten-study-guide-day-10.html (Photo by Carolyn C. Holland)

The Third Commandment: Exodus 20:7 7Do not misuse my name. [a] I am the LORD your God, and I will punish anyone who misuses my name.

     It is a matter of respect.

     Name-calling is a common playground activity. I don’t know why, but we like to say bad things about people that are different than we are, or that we don’t like for some reason. We often like to say nasty things when somebody or something upsets us. For some reason we feel comfortable bringing God’s name into the fray. The third commandment makes it clear that since God is good, the name of God should not be associated with anything bad or any evil thoughts that we have. God is good, and God’s name should only be spoken when we are thinking good things about God or God’s Creation.

     The Apostle Paul speaks of the positive role of the tongue (Romans 14:11 CEV): “In the Scriptures God says, ‘I swear by my very life that everyone will kneel down and praise my name!’” The role of the tongue is very specific—to praise God in all that is said.

     God rightly demands that since God is purely good, any statement connecting God with evil is totally unacceptable. In the colloquial, “Using God’s name relating to evil things is ‘dissing’ God.” James writes (James 3:6 CEV): “The tongue is like a spark. It is an evil power that dirties the rest of the body and sets a person’s entire life on fire with flames that come from hell itself.”

     Has anyone said to you, “I didn’t mean anything by it” when they used swear words? This in itself is disturbing. Throwing around God words without thinking can be as bad as intentionally using them relating to evil things. GOD’S NAME IS SO SPECIAL THAT IT SHOULD ONLY BE USED WITH GREAT INTENTION AND FOR GOOD!

DO NOT TAKE THE LORD’S NAME IN VAIN. (The Third Commandment tells us to not make disrespectful statements about others or situations by bringing God’s name into it.)

EXERCISES:

Exercise 1. Violating this commandment is almost second nature for us. List (more…)

February 26, 2010

My Spider Plant Lives: A Devotion

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

MY SPIDER PLANT LIVES: A Devotion

SCRIPTURE: Micah 5:7   And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. (KJV)

DEVOTION:  I found my three-foot high planter tipped over on my porch, dirt scattered about and pieces of the lush, green spider plant and its multiple babies rendered lifeless. I swept up the mess, tossing the remaining dirt clump into an empty container, and mourned the loss of the precious plant.     

     The plant was a gift to me almost twenty-five years previously by my good friend and unofficially (more…)

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 09

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A DAILY ONLINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: DAY 09

Monte Holland

This is the ninth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

https://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/a-daily-online-lenten-study-guide-introduction/

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 08

 Today’s photographs feature: St. John United Methodist Church in Rockport, Maine (Monte preached there in the fall of 2003): http://ligonierliving.blogspot.com/2010/02/daily-online-lenten-study-guide-day-09.html

 The Second Commandment: 4Do not make idols that look like anything in the sky or on earth or in the ocean under the earth. 5Don’t bow down and worship idols. I am the LORD your God, and I demand all your love. If you reject me, I will punish your families for three or four generations. 6But if you love me and obey my laws, I will be kind to your families for thousands of generations. Exodus 20:4-6

     We have a natural tendency to like things: a fine piece of jewelry, a neat toy, a cell phone, or a shiny new car! The list goes on and on. In this commandment God reminds us that no “thing” is nearly as valuable as God, who has blessed us with these many nice things. We should never worship them like God. We should never elevate our “things,” making them something we value so much that we will do anything (even evil things) to keep them and protect them.

     Good things are nice, and need to be cared for, but they are made out of earthly materials and they will wear out or decay over time. Houses fall down. Old gravestones wear away. Junkyards are full of worn-out cars. Our computers quit. God is different. God never ages. God never wears out or decays. God lasts forever and thus nothing that is made or is material in nature should be held in as high regard as God.

     The moral, Godly, life never values things a fraction as much as having God in our lives. If the choice is between honoring God and honoring things, God wins hands down.

     This commandment is tricky. We may correctly say that we have never worshipped a golden calf (see Exodus 32:1-6) like the Israelites did while Moses was up on Mount Sinai getting the Ten Commandments. Or have we?

     Listen to what one author said about graven images (which are idols that we worship in place of God) in the book The Storyteller’s Companion to the Bible, Vol. 2 (edited, Michael E. Williams, p. 89): “How unique was Israel to abhor such images, the very stuff of all other religions.—No religion (in Israel’s day or since) thought that the graven image was really divine. Each religion requires something tangible to embody the meeting point between God and believers. Yahweh wishes that the faculty of faith be not the eye but the ear. But the distinction between a graven image or idol and a mere symbol is a tricky one. – Iconoclastic controversies, (e.g. whether to have a cross represented with Jesus on it), have simmered throughout church history. The only image positively appraised in the Bible is the human creature, made ‘in God’s image.’”

DO NOT MAKE ANY EARTHLY IDOLS TO BOW DOWN TO OR TO WORSHIP. (The Second Commandment tells us to make sure that images are never a replacement for God.)

EXERCISES:

Exercise 1: Let us identify a few “idols” that we may worship instead of God (unscramble them):

(yenom) ________________________ (more…)

February 25, 2010

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 08

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A DAILY ONLINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: DAY 08

Monte Holland

This is the eighth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

https://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/a-daily-online-lenten-study-guide-introduction/

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 07

Today’s photographs feature: Iglesia Methodista de Mexico Templo “El Divino Redentor” in Mexico City (Entrad por sus puertas con accion de gracias)

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     The First Commandment:  Exodus 20 :2-3 2I am the LORD your God, the one who brought you out of Egypt where you were slaves.  3Do not worship any god except me.

     God gives a very specific order that the Israelites, who left Egypt when God parted the Red Sea, respect and worship God. To understand this order we need to look a little further into who God is.

     In the first chapter of Genesis we learn that God created everything in the very beginning. God is the Creator. Without God we wouldn’t exist, nor would the earth and people around us exist. God deserves our thanks, our praise, and our worship as our Creator.

     Furthermore, He provides for us each day. He provides the sunlight. He provides the rain (even the 2010 snow). He provides everything we have. A second reason to thank and praise and worship God is that God provides everything we need.

     The First Commandment is pretty much a “slam-dunk:” we believe in only one God—we have that in common with the Jewish and Islamic faiths—and God has put us here and cares for us. Doesn’t it make complete sense that we should thank God—that is, worship God and God alone?

     At the same time, we need to be honest with ourselves. We aren’t very good at thanking people who provide things for us—our parents who give us a home and put food on the table while we grow up; teachers who helped us grow in knowledge; pastors who give us spiritual teaching, and family and neighbors who teach us about life.

     We may need a big-time attitude adjustment about being thankful to even make it through the First Commandment, with its call to continual thanksgiving and praise of God. Yet, this is essential in order to be able to obey the next three commandments.

DO NOT WORSHIP ANY GOD EXCEPT THE LORD GOD. (God’s First Commandment for us.)

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Exercise 1: Here is a little thankfulness test: I watch people who eat out. How thankful are they? Do they thank the (more…)

February 24, 2010

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 07

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A DAILY ONLINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: DAY 07

Monte Holland

This is the seventh in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

https://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/a-daily-online-lenten-study-guide-introduction/

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 06

 Today’s photographs feature Hebron Evangelical Lutheran Church in Blairsville, PA.: http://ligonierliving.blogspot.com/2010/02/daily-online-lenten-study-guide-day-07.html

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Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3 NRSV)

     Our detailed look at the Godly, moral life starts with the Law. The Bible teaches over and over that we should meditate on the Law. Psalm 119, the longest psalm by far (176 verses), has section after section all devoted to the importance of the Law. Psalm 1 states that happy people delight in the Law and meditate on it day and night.

     The most familiar portion of the Law is the Ten Commandments:

The Ten Commandments (Part 1) – Exodus 20:1-11 (NRSV)

(also see Deuteronomy 5:1-15)

     1God said to the people of Israel:

    2I am the LORD your God, the one who brought you out of Egypt where you were slaves.

    3Do not worship any god except me.

    4Do not make idols that look like anything in the sky or on earth or in the ocean under the earth. 5Don’t bow down and worship idols. I am the LORD your God, and I demand all your love. If you reject me, I will punish your families for three or four generations. 6But if you love me and obey my laws, I will be kind to your families for thousands of generations.

    7Do not misuse my name. [a] I am the LORD your God, and I will punish anyone who misuses my name. 8Remember that the Sabbath Day belongs to me. 9You have six days when you can do your work, 10but the seventh day of each week belongs to me, your God. No one is to work on that day–not you, your children, your slaves, your animals, or the foreigners who live in your towns. 11In six days I made the sky, the earth, the oceans, and everything in them, but on the seventh day I rested. That’s why I made the Sabbath a special day that belongs to me.

Comments on this scripture passage:

     The Bible is the Word of God. This passage records the writing on two stone tablets that Moses received from God on Mt. Sinai. This is literally the Word, coming from God in written form. (The rest of the Bible is a record of spoken word passed down from generation to generation and finally written down by human beings and compiled into what we call the Old and New Testaments.)

     The Old Testament records the Ten Commandments at least twice—once in Exodus and once in Deuteronomy. The Hammurabi Code (1750 BC), which predates the time of the Old Testament Ten Commandments (from maybe 1100-1200 BC), includes similar statements. Thus, we are dealing with teachings that are over 3000 years old, and are still considered supremely important and relevant in today’s world. They have stood the test of time.

     In this second week of daily devotionals we look at the first four Commandments, which deal with our relationship to God. During the past week you have been asked to answer the question: “Who is God?” These commandments help us define who God is, and they tell us what God expects us to do as we relate to Him. (Next week we will study the other six commandments, which speak to our relationships with other people.)

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Exercise 1: Before we look at the Ten Commandments one by one, we should (more…)

February 23, 2010

Dog Fighting & Cock Fighting: Cultural Phenomenon?

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

DOG FIGHTING & COCK FIGHTING:

CULTURAL PHENOMENON?

     On July 17, 2007, Michael Vick was charged with owning and operating an illegal dog-fighting organization, aptly called Bad Newz Kennels, in rural southeastern Virginia. Not only was excessive violence applied to “losing” dogs—allegedly, there was substantial gambling.

     Vick was suspended indefinitely from the National Football League, where he was a quarterback with the Atlanta Falcons. He also lost his lost his contract with Nike and endured the wrath of animal rights groups. The allegations were investigated by local and federal authorities. Vick was defended by a legal defense team consisting of five top-notch lawyers.

     Vick admitted to killing six to eight dogs whose demonstrated poor performance during training sessions. He also admitted to financing the Kennels and bankrolling gambling on the dog fights. When he entered his plea in federal court, he apologized and asked for forgiveness. On December 10, 2007, he was sentenced to 23 months in prison. Approximately fifty persons attended the sentencing hearing, some siding with animal rights activists, some supporting Vick.

     Vick mustered a short speech, apologizing to some people and admitting “I’ve used poor judgment.”    

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    According to Whoopi Goldberg, the problem may be cultural. On the television program, The View, she defended Vick by stating that “from where he comes from” in the South, dogfighting isn’t that unusual.

      “It’s like cockfighting in Puerto Rico,” she said. “There are certain things that are indicative to certain parts of the country.”

     Co-host Joy Behar looked horrified at Goldberg and asked, “How about dog torture and dog murdering?” Goldberg replied that for many people, dogs are sport, and it appeared it took awhile for Vick to realize that he was up against serious charges.

     “I just thought it was interesting, because it seemed like a light went off in his head when he realized this was something that the entire country didn’t appreciate,” she said.

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      According to historical journals, Whoopi has a point. During America’s early days, cock-fighting, was commonplace. A French military man touring the United States between 1780-1783 wrote this about the Americans:

“They have another sport, which is (more…)

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 06

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A DAILY ONLINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: DAY 06 

Monte Holland

This is the sixth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

https://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/a-daily-online-lenten-study-guide-introduction/

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 05

Today’s photograph is Trinity United Methodist Church in Stahlstown, PA. To view click on: http://ligonierliving.blogspot.com/2010/02/daily-online-lenten-study-guide-day-6.html

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 God’s Expectations and Your Expectations

     Today we close out the first week of looking at the Godly, moral life in general terms.  I’d like you to answer three questions as we prepare to move forward to study specific instructions from God: What does God expect of you? What do (more…)

February 22, 2010

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 05

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A DAILY ONLINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: DAY 05

Monte Holland

 This is the fifth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or https://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/a-daily-online-lenten-study-guide-introduction/

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: 04

Today’s photograph is of the cross seen along Route. 30 between Ligonier and Laughlintown (PA). To view, click on: http://ligonierliving.blogspot.com/2010/02/daily-online-lenten-study-guide-day-5.html .

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Getting Started: The Example of Christ

     The Apostle Paul has written one of the most influential statements about Jesus Christ in Philippians 2:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:3-8)

     Is it really possible to be like Jesus? (more…)

February 21, 2010

Tarantula Tales: Arachnophobia

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

TATANTULA TALES: ARACHNOPHOBIA

     Arachnophobic?

     The young man I invited to my high school prom wasn’t. He raised tarantula spiders in the basement of his parent’s corner store. Occasionally when one would escape the store would close until the spider was found.

     Perhaps you are either a spider person, or you are arachnophobic. I’m neither, as long as there is a barrier between where the insect is and where I am. I spent two summers watching a (more…)

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