Spiritual Growth

Telomere Tales, Truly Yours

Telomeres. I’ve run into this term several times recently, and then my doctor wrote about them in an article entitled “Successful Aging.”  Ah. What are these? (I didn’t learn about them in high school or college biology.) There is the science of telomeres, and then there is the theology of them. The latter comes from my pedestrian theology, not my doctor’s spirituality. Yes, if we’re slow enough to consider (and God gave me the gift of slowness), we may see that everything physical reveals corresponding, spiritual realities.

I have read that “the average person” is composed of over 32 trillion cells, each cell containing 23 pairs of chromosomes with each chromosome composed of a very long pair of spiraling, DNA strands.* Selah (that is, “ponder this”)! Now, where do telomeres come in?

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Resurrection Day Resolve and Comfort

I had an article to post last week but didn’t think it was appropriate for the Easter season. Actually, I am several weeks overdue.  I’ve been processing a very deep, wide, and lingering grief.  Yet, no sadness intrudes alone.  God consoles through continuous, “take for granted,” daily provisions. God comforts through His quiet presence. I breathe; therefore, I am thankful.

It is spring time. I love the increased conversation, both private and public during this rejuvenating season, about the life of Christ. So, I was anticipating Resurrection Day – Easter Sunday. While I knew I would not  attempt the Sunrise Service (at 7:00 a.m., long after sunrise), I did expect to attend the breakfast and worship service. Not so. Continue reading

Categories: Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Spiritual Growth | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Joni, Elisabeth, and My Applesauce: How Not to Go Astray

What kind of title is this? ” Joni, Elisabeth, and My Applesauce: How Not to Go Astray.”  It represents a smattering of thoughts that come together in my struggle to walk. To walk in a particular way and in a particular direction, neither of which is natural to me. Have you ever tried to change the way you walk? Self-consciously, you turn your feet forward, not letting them angle out or in or whatever way you really like, but your doctor says is incorrect. It is just not natural for you.

Beyond the literal, “walking” can mean so many things. If you look up walk in an exhaustive Bible concordance, you’ll find hundreds of references. Walk. Walked. Walking. I’m exhausted! And I haven’t even mentioned run, running, and races!

Hmm. So much to talk about! Let’s sit awhile. Would you prefer coffee or tea? Just a few reflective excursions and then we’ll resume our walk. Or, is the seated conversation a part of the walk? Yes. So glad we can rest and walk at the same time. (The world of the Kingdom is ironically different.)

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Simply Resolved

Resolve, resolute, resolution. Verb, adjective, noun. So, I’ve simmered over my resolutions and plans for 2018 and presented the topic to you, appropriately, on New Year’s Day. But I did not offer my “New Year’s Resolutions.” I invited you to share your thoughts, yet only one person has responded, only to ask me what my resolutions are. Well. . . . Continue reading

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God’s Blessings in 2018: Resolved

My Dear Readers,

Today, January 1, 2018, I send you my best thoughts for God’s best for you this year. This will be short! Amazing! Here also is a word from the Word:

Daniel 1:8:  “But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.” (ESV)

Few role models could surpass Daniel as portrayed in the book of Daniel. When people belittle the practice of making New Year’s resolutions, remember Daniel. His resolve was not made at the beginning of a new year, but at the beginning of a new life, a life he did not choose, a life forced upon him, exiled from home. His resolve was made with grace, wisdom, and tenacity. According to Daniel 9: 23, Gabriel commended Daniel : “You are highly esteemed.” God’s esteem is the best kind.

The KJV translates “Daniel resolved” as “Daniel purposed in his heart”. Ahh.

Paul and I are working on some resolves and heart-purposing. I suppose you are too? God bless you with grace, wisdom, and tenacity in your resolves. Maybe I’ll share some of my resolves. I invite you to share some of yours right here on JNC!

Gratefully,

Karen

 

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The Best and Worst This Season

Charles Dickens gave us A Christmas Carol, and among many others, he also gave us  A Tale of Two Cities. I plan to to savor some Christmas literature this season, but first I’d like to consider Dickens’ opening to his latter tale, a fitting interpreter of our current year.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, Continue reading

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Peace, Pursuit, and Andrea del Sarto

I just re-read the last several posts to review where we’ve been going on JNC. I enjoyed the descriptive posts more than the informational post, largely because the descriptions engender peaceful feelings. I need peace. No pursuits. I must be quiet. Right now, physically, I feel awful: my fibromyalgia. I feel like I’m being crushed from the inside out. I had to leave church this morning, unable to stay for the worship service or the Thanksgiving, fellowship dinner following the service.

I do not use JNC as a platform to detail my personal issues; this is not a place for writer’s therapy.  I try to stay focused on themes that nourish growth in Christ and well-rounded maturity — for all of us! Is not JNC’s motto “Walking with Christ and becoming more like Him”?  It’s an embarrassingly lofty goal, but biblically sound (after all, we, as pedestrian theologians, have the Holy Spirit). The motto reminds me of Robert Browning’s poem, “Andrea del Sarto”. Here are two, often quoted lines from this long work: Continue reading

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Genre, Genre, What are You? (Plus a Gabe update)

Are we there yet?

You mean, at the end of this series? No! It’s taking me a long time to get through it because I do not post every week. So, I’ll see if I can up the pace on this series about being a good reader and a self-discipler.

We’re on point two of six points on The Reader-Navigator’s Map.* Point 1 is Biblical Literacy (both the anchor and rudder) and point 2 is Genre Identity (the ship’s hull). As the ship’s hull, I see an understanding of a book’s (or a writing selection’s) genre as some ballast in my ship (my mind) giving me balance and perspective, essential to reasonable interpretation, analysis, and appreciation.

Don’t you love to learn and to read? I doubt you would read my blog otherwise. Since we must be rather brief (a book I am not writing here), I would like to offer a smattering of quotations from some expert readers along with some commentary to help us consider the impact of genre (categorization of literature) when reading.

I’m sure  you view writing as a craft. Writers are sometimes called wordsmiths. Have you ever thought of reading as a craft? This is not my idea. A fascinating thought! Who said it? Continue reading

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Your Home Library: One Dozen Books to Build Biblical Literacy

I always encourage young people to start their own, personal libraries — to begin with just one shelf in their bedrooms to place books worth keeping for a long time, some for even a lifetime. Whatever our ages are, we can equip ourselves with excellent resources to help us disciple ourselves in Christ and to guide us in whatever we read.

In our last post, I presented six points (guideposts, navigator’s criteria) to guide the Christian reader. You may wonder why my first point would be Biblical Literacy. Employing our ship/ocean metaphor that I set up in the last post, I am identifying Biblical Literacy as the anchor to ground us, the ballast to stabilize us, and the rudder to guide our vessels — as Christ-followers, thinking and interacting with what we read, whatever we may be reading. Therefore, I’d like to offer you a concise bibliography of core books to build your biblical base. You may have a number of these or some similar to them. You may find some here that you may want to add to your wish list. A person growing in biblical literacy and alert thinking will want to use books such as these. Continue reading

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It’s Brief! – One Apology and Six Pithy Points for Readers

Why is it that one Christian describes a book as a blessing from the Lord, another finds it flawed but useful, and a third sees it as dangerous? Listening to differing views has motivated me to do some research and to write a basic list of guiding principles that can help us navigate our reading experiences (religious and secular) in ways that lead us away from the shoals and toward solid Christian growth.

I apologize for the tediously long, recent post that set up this new series! Let me redeem myself, as it were, with a brief post. Here is a preview of the six points (as currently standing) that we’ll be exploring in future posts. Please note that I’ve moved from a guidepost metaphor to a map/voyage metaphor.

Six sailing points on The Reader-Navigator’s Map:

  1.   Biblical Literacy = both anchor and rudder                                                                                                                      2. Genre Identity = the ship’s hull                                                                                                                                    3. Knowledge Soup = the ocean                                                                                                                                          4. Thinking Habits = wind in my sails                                                                                                                              5. Influence and Influenced = Reader-Pilot’s changes/growth                                                                                      6. Impact = From Pilot to other passengers — changes/growth

This is where this series is launched. This is where this post will dock! I’m excited to write about Genre (not gender) Identity!  With these points, I hope you can anticipate where my reasoning is sailing.

God bless you with wisdom and joy in reading,  remembering as Emily Dickinson expressed,                     “There is no Frigate like a Book. . . .”

Comments welcome! Invite a friend to join us!

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