Advent #4 Peace

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Merry Christmas!

      The angels declared to the shepherds “…peace among those with whom he is pleased.”  Yet, those were not peaceful times in Israel. The revolt of the Maccabees had been crushed. Roman invaders had set up their own “parallel” government; and there were weekly executions of rebellious Jews. How could these times ever be considered peaceful? Still, the angels proclaimed PEACE!

      An odd announcement for those times. And ours. Taking the world as a whole, there is not a wide dispersion of peace abounding. Just glance at your news-feed. Scan your own life; peaceful? Yet it was in such times that the Lord God Creator of the universe chose to enter our realm. [“in the fullness of time, God sent forth his son ”] To this day there still remains evidence of His arrival— us. Yes, us. Christ birth, life, and death have done all that is necessary to open the way for us to be restored in a relationship with our Creator. One question we need always ask of ourselves is— Do our lives bear evidence of His coming?

      Another question— Do you think your life would change for the better in a relationship with God? Or, is a relationship with God really matter that much?

      These are not a trick questions; so, here’s another.

      Do you think your life might carry more peace within, in a relationship with God?

      I’ve always felt less-than-fully-human when I move outside my own relationship with the God who made me. Like half of me is missing. Identity crisis.

      In Romans 12:8 we learn that “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live at peace with all.” This peace, between individuals, political factions, and governments, is only possible if it emanates from a heart of peace.

      This Christmas, seek this kind of inward peace that it might flow throughout our world.

Be peace,
Gary
Dr. Gary Davis, President

www.CluelessChristianity.com  

NEXT TIME~ Christ!

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Serenity

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Serenity
Even the word feels good as it rolls off your tongue-  s  e  r  e  n  i  t  y. Like a magic word that calls forth a Genie from a bottle, the word beckons us to come apart to a peaceful place, to find solace, to rest, to be waited upon by a flood of servants! Or merely to be able to close our eyes on a warmed beach under a palm tree, or in a chaise lounge at a mountain retreat.
The serenity I need I find in front of a warm fireplace at the confiscated Lakehouse, deep within the Fall/Winter woods of northern New Hampshire. It is there that I contemplate the deeper questions of life-  like…, why my navel is an inny, or how did I ever wind up with such a wonderful wife. Or why God has honored us with His blessings and the privilege of serving others?
It seems that every now and again I push myself so hard that I border on collapse. Such was October, and September, and the prior Summer en toto. I don’t notice it so much as my wife. When she puts her foot down, “That’s it. You’re about to give way to the pressures of caring for people. You’re LEAVING! Go to the Lakehouse and get some rest!” Thus, I go! Granted, it’s only a day or two, but that’s enough for me, I think.
If you haven’t gotten the point of this emPulse yet, let me make it perfectly clear. Any of us can get caught up in the business of life, and work, and family, and other people, especially on a day when we are excited (or forced) to be around friends and relatives stuffed with turkey, so unsuspectingly, that we forget to take care of ourselves-  our bodies, our emotions, our spirits, our souls. We start to come apart because we have forgotten to come apart to take care of ourselves. Fortunately, I have a wife who knows when I’ve had enough…, even though I am clueless to the actuality. Don’t lose yourself to the importance of life. Remember to view yourself as expendable. Don’t lose yourself to the importance of life. You will be missed when you get away; but you will come back a renewed man, a refreshed woman.
A little serenity goes a long way to clear the mind and restore the soul.
27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
–           John 14:27 Christian Bible
Have a good Thanksgiving.
 
Gary

Lake Reflections

 

relfections on a lake, Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christianity, Christians, Peace, On Golden Pond, Reflection
Image credit- Picture Images, Gary Davis, photographer

The 1979 play On Golden Pond, written by Ernest Thompson, was a call for us to consider the rifts that develop within families and between generations. Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda, and Katherine Hepburn portray a family whose love for one another has been long lost. Together at the lake it is testy, at best; at other times, combative. Slightly hopeful.

 

Lakes can be places of renewal or, as in On Golden Pond, seething tension. It’s all up to the people gathered.

 

Lakes have always brought out my pensive side. My musings run from how to kill those jet-skiers disturbing my peace to the journey of life, brought on by a family of loons sounding their call. I like to think a lot at a lake:  I like to write a lot at a lake, as I am doing now. Lakes draw my soul to the surface and direct my words to wander through the pages of my life.

 

Some of the pages record surprising “Ah-Ha!” moments; other pages, forlorn endings. In recent days I’ve written new pages within the books and articles I enjoy creating so much; other pages record new chapters of my own journey. It takes time to realize that all chapters do end, only to lay the groundwork for ensuing chapters.

 

Taking breaks from writing, I enjoy sailing. Sailing on a lake is invigorating! The wind pushes the boat along as it also moves the heart to soar. But today we missed the wind, sitting dead-calm on the surface. Maybe tomorrow. [Although sitting dead-calm, waiting for the wind to move, brings sailors together, uniting them in comradery, birthing new ideas.] Personally, I prefer cutting through the waves at a 60  list. More chance for error—but oh, the exhilaration!

 

Evenings carry the laughter around a fire-pit, where friend’s burn hamburger and chicken alike; not to mention charred buns and overcooked S’mores as the moon replaces the sun.

 

Finally, the exhilaration of the day gives way to closing thoughts and the body’s exhaustion. Just a bit more, writing, more pondering…, at least until the mind ceases to function.

 

It’s good to have friends with lakehouses who offer them to others for rest, refreshment, and rejuvenation. Find one. Then, maybe you’ll find your soul again.  Like I do— every year.

 

And thank you, dear friends, for lakehouses and so much more.

 

  Gary

 

Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and goodwill toward all men

The Judean hills surrounding Bethlehem grew cold at night. The gentle breeze of the day turned into a bone-chilling breeze that penetrated the clothing of those night-watch shepherds guarding their sheep. And it was dark, darker than any dark we might imagine in our night sky today, with all the ambient light rising from our cities and towns. [The Bedouin of the Negev know the darkest nights.]

Imagine those shepherds being startled by a blindingly bright being in their midst, first proclaiming, “Do not be afraid!” The shepherds’ extreme fear only mildly tempered by “For behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people!” (Breathe! Breathe!) “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Now try to imagine this event happening in this early 21st century. In developed nations the shepherds would first “dial” #911; first their blood alcohol levels would be tested; then they would be sent to counseling for delusional behavior. They most assuredly lose their jobs; unless, of course, they lived within the great expanse of the Arab world. For God, and Christ, is appearing to groups and individuals there, in these days, on a regular basis. There can be but one explanation.

What if…, what if, that sole the angel were joined by a flock of angels, equally blindingly bright and magnificent, suspended in the cold night air, singing.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRsBfBvYEBk ]

In any era, even with special FX, this would be astonishing! Most likely you would be somewhat motivated to check out the angels’ admonition and head to Bethlehem. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling rags, lying in a manger.”

This Christmas season, with all the last minute preparations and shopping to be finished, take a moment to be captivated by a simple, newborn baby, surrounded by horses, cattle, chickens, and whatnot, with sheep-smelling shepherds, all crowded into a small stable. For it is there you will find the Lord God of the Universe, lying on hay, in the comfort of a wooden feeding trough.

May you know the Peace of Christ and the Glory of His incarnation throughout this Christmas Season. And you don’t even have to go to Bethlehem to find Him.

Merry Christmas,

Gary

Serenity

Even the word feels good as it rolls off your tongue— s e r e n i t y. Like a magic word that calls forth a Genie from a bottle, the word beckons us to come apart to a peaceful place, to find solace, to rest, to be waited upon by a flood of servants! Or merely to be able to close our eyes on a warmed beach under a palm tree, or in a chaise lounge at a mountain retreat.
The serenity I need I find in front of a warm fireplace at the conficated Lakehouse of Alan & Diane Galbraith, deep within the Fall/Winter woods of northern New Hampshire. It is there that I contemplate the deeper questions of life— like…, why my navel is an inny, or how did I ever wind up with such a wonderful wife as Starr, or why couldn’t we have our own children (Josh & Beth are adopted; from this planet, we think), or why God has honored us with His blessings and the privilege of serving others? This emPulse comes to you from my laptop, in front of that roaring fireplace, as I write in deep contemplation and peace.
It seems that every now and again I push myself so hard that I border on collapse. Such was October, and September, and the prior Summer en toto. I didn’t notice it so much as did Starr. Saturday eve, as we climbed into bed, she put her foot down, “That’s it. You’re about to give way to the pressures of caring for people. You’e LEAVING! Go to the Lakehouse and get some rest!” Thus, I are here! Granted, it’s only three days…, but that’s enough for me, I think.
If you haven’t gotten the point of this emPulse yet, let me make it perfectly clear. Any of us can get caught up in the business of life, and work, and family, and other people, so unsuspectingly, that we forget to take care of ourselves— our bodies, our emotions, our spirits, our souls. We start to come apart because we have forgotten to come apart to take care of ourselves. Fortunately, I have a wife who knows when I’ve had enough…, even though I am clueless to the actuality. Don’t lose yourself to the importance of life. Remember to view yourself as expendable. Don’t lose yourself to the importance of life. You will be missed when you get away; but you will come back a renewed man, a refreshed woman.
A little serenity goes a long way to clear the mind and restore the soul.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
– John 14:27 Christian Bible

Dr. Gary Davis

Tuning Forks

Zephyris

Experiences With Tuning Forks— High school Physics Class, a tuning fork in water, vibrating the water every which-way; the tuning of a grand piano; tuning a guitar with a set of mini forks, quartz watches. Then, tuning forks used in healing resonance on the head, feet, joints, & heart. Finally, electronic tuning forks in weapons of debilitating sound aimed at the enemy.

Tuning forks, invented in 1711, vibrate at various pitches producing perfect, consistent resonation. They help keep sounds in harmony, in sync with one another. Their vibration remains constant, certain, level; they keep things harmonious.

What is also for certain is that the human life-cycle, like musical instruments, needs a periodic tuning-up. Changes in life circumstance upset the rhythm of our life-music. We get out-of-sync with ourselves and the world around us. Sometimes we are thrown into the conundrum of already & not-yet; so we use a camouflage to cover-up the seething foment of internal fluctuations. We lose that cohesiveness necessary to function healthfully, integrating our inner and outer selves with the world around us.

There are some signs that reveal this discord. Our schedules get all out of whack. We forget what needs to be done next…, or, was that last?!? We respond to the moment more frequently than not. We forget the context for our goals, both immediate and life-long. Some of us even snap at others, isolating ourselves, shutting down. We become immobilized, directionless, indecisive.

It is precisely in these times we need to STOP! Take a breath…, and slow our heart-rate enough to regain some degree of composure. Why? Because we need deep perspective and peace more than at normal times of our lives. We need to cry out to the God who made us for strength…, and then accept it when it comes. Did I mention that it is difficult to hear God with a frantic heart?

As the crisis passes, consider a deeper reorienting of your life. A tune-up if you will. You dare not try this on your own: you will need an external resource for perspective & honesty. Find a Life-Coach, a Counselor, a wise friend, a loving spouse, an insightful parent— someone with whom you can be a safe.

Keep in mind that tuning forks vibrate and have impact on the airwaves around them. In the same way your tune-up will shake things up both within and without. Your life will go through a reorienting process with little direction for a while; just shaky. You will feel noisy within, unsure on the outside. This is normal. Go through it; tune-ups take time.

Have a nice week,

Gary

sunday morning pancakes

Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, It’s no wonder so few people go to church. With our weekday jam-packed schedules, Saturdays running kids around to sports practices, home repair, grocery shopping, lawn (or snow) maintenance, finishing up some office work (shame on you), and, if we’re lucky, a college ball game thrown in; then maybe a dinner out with friends?!? Yeah, Sunday morning pancakes sound really good— leisurely, with blueberries, recently tapped AA grade New England Maple syrup, with fresh squeezed orange juice, Columbian Supremo coffee, Canadian bacon…, on the deck, or around the fire place. Either way it carries us to a time of refreshment and rest; whether with friends or family, Sunday mornings draws us into a place of peace & restoration. Now if churches would only serve pancakes… . O, never mind.

We live a pace of life that allows for few periods of rest, few times for revival for our bodies, of refreshment for our souls. Weekends often leave us exhausted for another week of work or family responsibilities. Vacations find us so tired from work that we need a minimum of 2 weeks off just to detach from the speed of our daily lives. The probability of sequential mini-breakdowns increases with each passing year. And high blood-pressure…, you probably already have it.

Ergo, we return to Sunday morning pancakes. Sunday morning is probably the only time in your week that you have to STOP and feed your spirit. What I’m talking about is pancakes! Heaps of ‘em! With friends. Sharing the joys and woes of the previous week. (Pass the Maple Syrup again, please. O, and some more coffee!) And if you find yourself in Jackson Hole, WY, drop into Jedediah’s. You’ll feel right at home as you’re served a breakfast like you’ve never imagined!

The point is simple. Each of us needs to set aside some time during our week when we put off the busyness of life to renew our spirits and restore our souls. Pancakes drenched in whipped cream & smothered with blueberries will go a long way towards renewing our spirits. But to refresh our soul, well, only the God who made us can do that properly. And there is no substitute, just like “genuine maple Syrup.” You need to find a church with a community of fellow (exhausted) travelers, just like you, who need a reminder from God about who you are. Jesus Christ came to redeem sinners.  Like you: like me.

Let the God who made you minister to your body & soul Sunday mornings. Then hit the blueberries & whipped cream.

 

Have a nice week,

Gary