Conduct of God, conduct of man

“Totally love Him, Who gave Himself totally for your love.”
St. Clare of Assisi


(winter shells cast across the surf / Julie Cook/ Rosemary Beach, Fl / 2019)

“Consider not only that God your benefactor is present but also that He acts continuously
in all His creatures.
And for whom is this continual action, this work of God in nature?
For you.
Thus, He lights you by the light of day;
He nourishes you with the productions of the earth;
in a word, He serves you by each one of the creatures that you use;
so that it is true to say that at every moment the bounty,
the wisdom and the power of God are at your service and are exercised in the world for
your wants or pleasures.

This conduct of God toward man should be the model of your conduct toward God.

You see that the presence of God in His creatures is never idle;
it acts incessantly, it preserves, it governs.
Beware, then, of stopping at a sterile contemplation of God present in yourself.
Add action to contemplation; to the sight of the Divine presence add the faithful
accomplishment of the Divine will.”

St. Ignatius, p. 182
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius

The Truth versus that of silence…speak on

“Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you,
remember Christ crucified and be silent.”

St. John of the Cross


(the week’s gathering / Rosemary Beach, FL / Julie Cook / 2018)

“Yet such are the pity and compassion of this Lord of ours,
so desirous is He that we should seek Him and enjoy His company,
that in one way or another He never ceases calling us to Him…
God here speaks to souls through words uttered by pious people,
by sermons or good books, and in many other such ways.

Sometimes He calls souls by means of sickness or troubles,
or by some truth He teaches them during prayer,
for tepid as they may be in seeking Him,
yet God holds them very dear.”

St. Teresa of Avila, p.26
An Excerpt From
Interior Castle

Ok, I admit that I’ve been a bit remiss in my reading here in blogland as of late.
As I’ve been here, there and yon for quite some time—
really, if the truth be told, I’ve been running willy nilly since February
when the ‘wee one’ was born.

And I will be out of pocket once again starting today, on and off throughout the week
and weekend as I scoot back and forth babysitting.

Yet sadly, all good things must come to an end as next week a new routine is to
be established.

With our son’s position and hours soon to change and our daughter-n-law beginning
a new school year teaching in a new school, the ‘wee one’ will be going to a lady
who keeps about 8 kids in her home—two of whom are the ‘wee one’s’ cousins.

So it will be an all in the family sort of home care situation that is the best and
more viable solution.

The other option…

my husband and I sell our house and move…
Not exactly practical but don’t think for a minute that I’ve not entertained the idea.

But I digress…

So back to the issue at hand…
I’ve been noticing a rather alarming and running theme amongst many Christian bloggers.

Frustration.

For there is a growing and rising tide offered by non-believers, nay-sayers and
even from within the ‘family fold’ to silence those who continue to hold true to
the Word of God.

Not some watered down Word.
Not some rewritten Word.
Not some progressive liberalism mishmash of The Word…
Not some uber feminist militant anti-male bashing blatant denial of The Word.

But rather an adherence to the authentic Word…
as in Words that are a couple of thousands of years old, Holy in inspiration, and stated
as is for all of eternity…

As in God said it and therefore, it is.

Be it an Aramaic text, Greek text, Jewish or Latin text…His authority does not change.

I AM remains I AM.

His Words, His tenents, His commands have not changed nor evolved with the times.
We are the ones who are evolving with the times and those various cultural norms and sins…
sins that we continue to claim as new truths…

And no, I’m not talking about the argument of evolution of monkey to man or
anything to do with Darwin…
I’m simply talking about us not being a consistent lot.

We are fickled and we like to have our cake and eat it too while eating everyone else’s as well
or telling others how and what to eat and when they shall eat it.

Now my dear friends, Bishop Gavin Ashenden and Pastor David Roberston, have each been quite
busy as of late posting various observations and articles…as have most of my
dear blogging family…all while I’ve been torn for time.

And one thing I’ve noticed while playing catch-up in my reading of blog posts is the
same theme…that being the theme of frustration—

And I should know….as I’ve had my own share of frustration from those who come
around pretending to want to engage in dialogue when their main objective is to belittle,
malign and obliterate as they are frothing and rabid with atheistic zeal.
So much so that they cannot nor will not rest until they feel as if they can silence
a Believer’s words.

Slaughter the lambs as it were.

There are many in the fold of the Faithful who have also come across these rabid foxes and
wolves…each on a daily basis…

Our dear Oneta over on Sweet Aroma became “embroiled” in my absence with a younger
whippersnapper on FB, who was bashing the social media of her day…
that being handwritten letters and autograph books.

Not one to be on FB, I don’t know the 1, 2, 3 of her tale but I have gleaned that
somehow the conversation turned,
or perhaps it was an entirely different conversation with an altogether different
commenter, but the gist was that Oneta challenged someone for stating that John McCain
was a traitor…she wanted documentation to back up that statement but
somehow it came across that Oneta was echoing that notion of McCain as traitor…
but the thing is, Oneta never said such.
She merely stated some negative observation against the dear senator while also wanting to
see documentation as to his acts of treason.
(see, I have no idea of how it went from social media to traitors)

Oneta responded that she had not labeled Sen. McCain a traitor but rather her
negative observations regarding the good senator could stand as negative without
her words being twisted around that she was now calling the senator a traitor.

I admire McCain as much as the next person for his service to our country and for being
an American war hero, but his time representing the Republican party in a strong positive
light is rapidly spiraling outward and downward as are all of his kith and kin of the
old guard on both sides of the aisle.
And last I checked, we are each entitled to our thoughts on the legendary senator along
with his colleagues…

Oneta is a positive and well-learned person who engages with a wide and diverse audience.
She is a woman of deep faith and conviction.
And one whom I greatly admire for her life lessons, knowledge and the teaching of that very wealth
of knowledge.

I don’t think Oneta would mind my sharing her observation.

“Just called it off with my FB “foe.”
It was fun.
You know I would enjoy that.
The issue was that someone posted that John McCain was a traitor.
I challenged by asking for documentation.
I couldn’t seem to get through to my responder that I was not calling McCain a traitor.
But I did have plenty of negative charges to pass on.
He said he was 56 and a history buff who had read three books about McCain.
I told him I was 84 and I didn’t need history. I lived it.
I would say we parted as almost friends.:D
Have a good rest, dear friend.”

Oneta is 84 and is not new to this world’s rodeo—she’s ridden her fair share of bronking
bucks and has lived to tell about it.

So to be silenced when it comes to God’s Truth and tenants or to be silenced when challenging
the observations of those who turn personal notions into sweeping accusations…
accusations which ring of falsehood…accusations without any sound basis…
well none of that is going to be happening around our tenacious little octagenarian who expects
nothing but the sound Truth…because there is no need to quibble over Truth.

And of course, we next have IB.

Insanity Bytes is a woman around my age who resides in what she likes to claim to be
the 9th circuit of hell…
or so I think it to be the 9th circuit as most of our current ‘circuits” are none too friendly
to certain political leanings nor to that of certain faith leanings these days…
so it’s not surprising that I can easily get my circuits confused.

IB actually seems to stay embroiled whether I’m around to
read about it or not…and she lives not only to tell about it but to actually
laugh about it all…like it or not she finds the last word and her last word is
build on that notion of Truth.

IB mixes it up with those who are unbelievers as well as many who actually confess
to be believers…it’s just that their beliefs are more of that rewritten Word business.

IB knows her stuff and isn’t afraid to say her peace…
a peace I might add that is steeped in that same unrelenting ancient Word of Truth that I was
talking about earlier.

And as for our friend the Wee Flea, Pastor David Roberston, notes in a recent posting on his blog
“Keep silent or speak out?” that…
“As an undershepherd of the Great Shepherd,
it is my job to counter such error and to protect the flock of God.”

Keep Silent….or Speak Out?k

David has been taking a really rough beating by the Scottish press as well as from
those progressive liberals and atheists who troll his blogs, his speaking engagements,
his magazine columns, etc.

And yet he does not waiver…never wavering from the Truth no matter how hard the beating.

Yet David has expressed his frustration and exasperation with what he sees playing out
against the Chruch from both within and without her sacred halls.

Of which brings us next to our good friend and rouge Anglican bishop, Gavin Ashenden—
a non-wavering soul who has also been lambasted for his firmly rooted stance within
the Word of God…a stance constantly hounded by the British liberal press.
Bishop Ashenden challenges the powers that be within the Anglican Chruch over their growing
acceptance of all things transgenderism as well as all things of homosexuality and the ever
growing liberal theology…The Chruch of England’s continuing push for the total acceptance
and teachings of all things that run counter to God’s Word.

In a recent offering on the latest edition of Anglican Unscripted, with the sad reporting of
a horrendous incident committed by a once beloved bishop along with the apparent cover-up from
a former Archbishop of Canterbury, the good bishop notes that “there must be a moral independence
of the Chruch such that She is to say to the State (the government at hand) that “you’re getting
it all wrong”—
yet sadly we are reminded that the Chruch of England and the State of the British Government
just happen to walk hand in hand without separation…so rather than holding each other accountable,
there is actually a deeply obvious collusion.

As I paraphrase the good bishop, he goes on to say, ‘if we set ourselves up as saints then
all is lost. But if we admit to being sinful creatures, the Lord can and will pick us up…
and it is in that picking up where Hope actually begins…

There is forgiveness but that forgiveness is predicated upon our asking for it and then admiting that
we must now live with the consequences of our actions…yet we will live with the knowledge of
redemption.

Naked disaster in the Church of England. Anglican Unscripted. IICSA, Carey & Ball.

And so I’ve found a rather interesting book that I’ve just ordered…
“The Cost of Our Silence: Consequences of Christians Taking the Path of Least Resistance”
by David Fiorazo.

This one excerpt grabbed me:
Christian in name only, America has become an epicenter for the culture war as too many of us
keep ducking the issue of sin.
Due to decades of Christians being silent,
failing to preach the gospel and speak the truth in love,
we’ve reached a tipping point in which political correctness refuses
to coexist with religious freedom.
Why do you think Christians who defend God’s Word are often called hateful,
intolerant, or judgmental?
There are consequences in this life and for eternity,
when Christians take the path of least resistance.
We cannot reverse the moral decline, but we can choose to stand for righteousness
as we pray for revival and be the salt and light Jesus called us to be while we’re still here.

Hide the light of Christ and retreat,
or let it shine and expose the darkness; live an inconsequential life,
or bear fruit that will last. If most Christians remain silent,
fewer people will be saved, society will collapse,
and we will continue to be part of the problem.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it best:
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil.
God will not hold us guiltless…”

And so we are slowly learning the cost behind remaining silent in a
world that is so opposed to the Truth…
the cost is much greater than most of us are willing to imagine.
Yet thankfully there are those voices who continue speaking…refusing to be silenced.

And we are all the better for it.

Speak on…

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.
He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears,
and he will tell you what is yet to come.

John 16:13

the old shell of self

God’s means of delivering us from sin is not by making us stronger and stronger,
but by making us weaker and weaker.
That is surely rather a peculiar way of victory, you say;
but it is the divine way. God sets us free from the dominion of sin,
not by strengthening our old man but by crucifying him;
not by helping him to do anything, but by removing him from the scene of action.

Watchman Nee

We must die if we are to live.
There is no spiritual life for you, for me, for any man, except by dying into it.
Have you a fine-spun righteousness of your own?
It must die.
Have you any faith in yourself?
It must die.
The sentence of death must be in yourself, and then you shall enter into life.
The withering power of the Spirit of God must be experienced before his
quickening influence can be known:
“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth:
because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it.”
You must be slain by the sword of the Spirit before you can be made
alive by the breath of the Spirit.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon


(the shells of cicadas discarded on a pine tree / Julie Cook /2017)

Summer, to a young child growing up in the South, meant evenings spent
catching lighting bugs in an old mayonnaise jar or scouring the sides of pine trees
for the crunchy fragile brown leftover shells of cicadas.

These leftover exoskeletons often found on the sides of pine trees or fence posts
are simply the shedding of the old skin of an ever growing and ever changing cicada.
Cicadas being the creatures responsible for the loud raucous screeching heard
throughout the landscape of the waning days of a southern summer.

Finding a shell was akin to finding a small treasure…
of which was then joyfully and ceremoniously carried to the start of school,
nestled safely in a small cotton ball lined box,
all for the start of the new school year’s show and tell.

But the shell was always quickly beaten out for the coveted oohs and ahhs
when the shark tooth, that someone else brought in from their summer trip
to the beach,was triumphantly presented…

Science teaches us that there is a wealth of amazing creatures scattered
across this globe…all of which constantly shed their old shells or skins only to
emerge as something new, clean and fresh…

And the fact is… that we, that being you and I, are really no different.

Whereas we may not break out of our skin, leaving the old sloughed off
empty layer littered along the floor, we do however…and we must…
do away with our old selves.

For if we insist on keeping that which is old and bound to this world, refusing to
relinquish worldly flesh, then we are bound to death….
for all that is of the world’s will perish.
There will be no new birth, nothing fresh, nothing clean.

Yet if we are willing to die unto self, surrendering that which is earth bound,
yielding to the desire of the spirit to be reunited from whence it came,
then we will have life eternal…which is the treasure indeed.

So then…
Two choices…
life or death….
that should be an easy choice….
and yet oddly, it is not.

“Many, indeed, cry “Lord, Lord,” and make mention of him,
but honour him not at all.
How so?
They take his work out of his hands,
and ascribe it unto other things;
their repentance, their duties,
shall bear their iniquities.
They do not say so; but they do so.

The computation they make, if they make any, it is with themselves.
All their bartering about sin is in and with their own souls.
The work that Christ came to do in the world, was to “bear our iniquities,”
and lay down his life a ransom for our sins.

The cup he had to drink of was filled with our sins,
as to the punishment due to them.
What greater dishonour then, can be done to the Lord Jesus,
and to ascribe this work to anything else, –
to think to get rid of our sins by any other way or means?”

John Owen

fairness

Life is never fair,
and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.

Oscar Wilde

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(coquina clam shell / Santa Rosa Beach, FL / 2016)

It seems that from the time we’re old enough to talk, we’re complaining about life not being fair.
And we’re right…it isn’t fair.
But that’s just life…

Over the past 10 days or so, I had posted, in addition to my regular daily posts, an imploring of the faithful to please join my family in prayers for our niece Chrissy.
Her husband rushed her to the ER over a week ago in distress….difficulty breathing, vomiting, disoriented. She was immediately put into ICU.
During the next 10 days her body just fell apart.
Nothing could get regulated before something else went awry.
Breathing, potassium, blood…
She just couldn’t hold on any longer and lost her battle at 6:30 Sunday evening.
She was 43.

We had just settled down for our father’s day supper when my brother-n-law called us.
Earlier in the day they told us that she seemed to be doing better. Odd how that is…one minute things seem better and leveling off, then just as quickly it all turns around in an instant.

I have been gratified by the prayerful support—it has been humbling and a wonderful life line for my sister-n-law who was amazed I had asked people to pray.

My father-n-law, Chrissy’s grandfather, passed away exactly two months ago. I worry about my sister-n-law as it is a tremendous amount of loss in such a short time.

Chrissy started reading my blog right after her grandfather died as I’d written a piece in tribute to him. She made me laugh, which she did often… she had to text me when she couldn’t figure out how to read the post because she didn’t know how a blog worked. I told her it wasn’t difficult.
She was always a hoot.

Time is a healing force and I know that that will eventually be the case here as well…it won’t make any of this any easier, but it will help as that is how time is…healing.

The details of “where do we go from here” was all painfully raw last evening as my sister-n-law and Bill, Chrissy’s now devastated husband had to figure out the details of things that, at 43, folks don’t much think about—things such as where will she be buried, what should she wear, what about work, what about Eli’s summer ball…
all the things you don’t think about or simply take for granted as life is simply life…

I do want to express a sea of endless gratitude for all the support, prayers and friendship that you have each offered up on behalf of my family.

God remains in our midsts—this much I know for certain.
There will be sorrow and tears—but there is a confidence and strength as well.

Onward and upward we go….

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3

Intricacy

Part of my journey is to say that the soul of the human being must be a massively intricate, wonderful creation that God has a respect for in ways that we do not and that leaves a huge amount of space to go explore.
William P. Young

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Psalm 139:15

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(a collection of Gulf shells / Julie Cook / 2014-15)

Consider the humble shell.
The exoskeleton of a small soft bodied sea creature consisting of 98% calcium carbonate and 2% protein.
Amazingly symmetrical in both shape and design.
A wonderful natural formation of near perfect dimension.
Intricately formed and polished to perfection by mere sand and water.
The ultimate prize of those who wander the waves.

How many times has a young child reached down, into the damp heavy sand,
digging frantically to retrieve a prized shell?
Excitedly extracting the shell, with or without inhabitant, up from the surf and gently cradling the new found treasure, they scurry triumphantly toward mom and dad proudly proclaiming the finding of the hidden treasure.

How often does an adult do the same? Ambling idly along the surf, mesmerized by the rolling waves, lost in a world of thought, when suddenly looking down, there lies a beautifully glistening shell partially buried in the sand–intact, not broken or chipped–perfect. A sense of wonderment and awe fills the would be treasure hunter as they joyfully reach downward, ready to grasp the prize.

Consider the human body
96.2 % oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen, with almost 70% of that being water.
Amazingly symmetrical in both shape and design.
The ultimate design of all living creatures.
A treasure whose inception is set mysteriously into motion, hidden in the sacred depths of an intimate holiness.

Woven intricately by the Master Creator, each individual is just that—an individual.
Each different from the next
Different from all of those who have been and of all those who are to be.
Unique
One of a kind
Special

Fluids flow
Bones grow and form
Nerves fire
Muscles twitch
Eyes see
Ears hear
Sounds are made
Thoughts are formed. . .
as life begins moving forward. . .

All as a watchful Father looks downward, mesmerized with joy, gently breathing life into the tiny form he cradles in loving hands, knowing that He has just found the prize. . .

Texture: an element of art as seen in Nature

Texture: An Element of Art, as well an Element of Design–is a principle which refers to the way things look or feel–either to the touch (tactile) or the visual impression something portrays as it might feel when touched.
(Elements of Art and Design include: Line, Shape, Form, Value, Color, Texture, Space, Form, Emphasis, Balance, Movement)

Nature is the art of God.
Dante Alighieri

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(spruce cones / Savannah, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014)

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(spanish moss / Savannah, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014)

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(knotted tree / Colonial Park Cemetery / Savannah, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014)

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(wildflowers / Troup County, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014)

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(broken shells in the surf, Destin, Florida / Julie Cook / 2014)

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(reflections in the surf / Destin, Florida / Julie Cook / 2014)

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”
― Anne Frank

Where is your happiness?

“Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.”
― Walt Whitman

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(shells of the coquinas mollusk, otherwise known as butterfly shells, Henderson State Park, Destin, Florida / Julie Cook / 2014)

Where pray tell is your happiness?
Is it hiding today?
Lost and not yet found?
Perhaps you have misplaced it, putting it down in some most obvious spot.
Is that it there?
No no silly, up there?
Oh that must be it, down there, buried underneath all that rubbish?

By all means, please stop whatever it is you’re doing and take a quick look around.
What do you see?
Well?
Anything?
Anything which resembles that missing happiness of yours?
Anything at all?
Do you spy anything of the slightest and smallest which may vaguely resemble that happiness?

Vainly searching far and wide or high and low is simply not the solution.
The missing is never really missing you know.
It’s there in plain sight, right under your very nose.
It’s right where it’s been all along, waiting on you all this very long long time
Oh pity, you still don’t see it do you?

Well, you mustn’t give up, you simply mustn’t
You must carry on the search.
Leave no stone unturned.
For it is there, oh I promise it is there
It is there still waiting, just right where you put it, so very long ago,
and waiting it shall be. . . until you can finally stop all of your mad and endless goose chases
Oh it’s all in plain sight, I really do promise, simply waiting. . . waiting on you.