Being Like Jesus

Joy to the Suffering World

I’ve been thinking so much about you, my dear readers, these weeks since I last posted. I hold various mental conversations with you as I anticipate writing a new blog post. By the time I attempt the new post, most of my ideas are gone or must go. There is just too much to talk and write about!

At this season for celebrating our Savior’s birth and incarnation, I send you my best thoughts for joy in the season to share with those you love. I pray for you — that God, who holds you in the palm of His Hand, will continue to nurture and guide you, and that you will bring joy to His heart as you love Him through your thoughts and actions.

I am attaching chapter 5 to this blog of the book I am currently writing, A Traveler’s Guide through Suffering and Joy.

I had expected to post it a few weeks ago, but I’ve struggled through this chapter. If you have not read any or all of the previous chapters, I think you can approach this chapter as a stand alone for the most part. I lived this chapter, which is why I struggled through it and why it took so much time.  Click below to access it. You may want to print it and write all over it.

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Categories: Being Like Jesus, Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Spiritual Growth, Theology | Tags: , | 2 Comments

How Do I Love Thee?

Recently, I discovered a precious piece of paper in a smelly box of yellowing papers, stored in Aunt Mary’s garage at the Findlay Family Farm. So, our “Spirituality” theme will take a different turn today. A very practical turn.  Practical, yet touching and spiritual.

This recent discovery is appropriate for me to share with you on Mother’s Day or on any day that you’d like to have an uplifting thought or two or more….

It is a draft of a love/gratitude letter that my mother wrote to my father in 1990, for their fortieth wedding anniversary which was on September 2.  At the end, she adds in pencil, “finished in Sept. 1990”, which indicates to me that she had been working on this for awhile, growing her special, love list. Continue reading

Categories: Being Like Jesus, Parenting, Spiritual Growth | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

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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Self-Discipleship in Christ through Reading*

R. C. Sproul recounts in his book, The Consequences of Ideas, the story of attending a parent conference in a public school when his eldest child entered first grade back in the 1960s.** Sproul listened to the principal explain the school’s philosophy and program, describing specific activities that promote particular aspects of child development. Every activity had purpose.

Finally, Sproul asked the principal, “What kind of child are you trying to produce and why?” The principal answered, “I don’t know. Nobody has ever asked me that question.”

Sproul replied, “I deeply appreciate your candor. . . but frankly, your answer terrifies me.”

The school’s methods stemmed from a purely pragmatic philosophy — what works; what succeeds. But succeeds at what?  Pragmatism can foster a child who can do: read, write, compute, relate and respond. But what of the soul of the child? The composition of the heart? The character? The life? For what purposes is the doing?

This applies to our doing, and in this post, to our reading. “What kind of person am I aiming to become through my reading and why?” Continue reading

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The Health of an Earthen Vessel

“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves.”


I ended the last post with “to be continued.” Well, it has taken me long enough to continue! I was preparing to tell a bit about what I’ve learned about health from my studies and experience. But what has kept me from this blog? I have been completing my doctoral research project.  I’m now revising my final draft and should graduate in two months! Before I discuss my doctoral research, I need to share some thoughts about personal health. Does your earthen vessel require much attention? If not, how blessed to be able to take it for granted! Continue reading

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Reflecting Back, Treasuring Forward

Hello! I have not forgotten you! I wrote a long post in January, and then set it aside to think on it. Do I really want to share this? I see I never posted it and haven’t posted anything since before Christmas! If I were to treat my blog like Facebook, I would post lots of pictures of our three week trip to the Midwest in December and January to visit family and friends in Chicago, Indiana, and Ohio. ‘Twas grand. 

But I always develop a topic or thought. So, the following includes the first part of what I wrote last month. Reflecting on the last few years, I observe in my rear view mirror some rays refracting toward the future, encouraging me that some changes I’ve made have improved my life and hopefully, my future. I hope the same for you.  Continue reading

Categories: Being Like Jesus, Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Spiritual Growth | Leave a comment

A Life of Glad Hatting

“Why is a raven like a writing desk?” the Hatter asks Alice at his tea party in Alice in Wonderland. She can’t answer, but then, neither can the Hatter who replies, “I haven’t the slightest idea.” To ask “why” rather than “how” makes the question more perplexing, but such is the fun of nonsense.*1

Rather than Wonderland, we live in Mortaland (containing its share of nonsense) — this present cosmos which had a beginning and will have an ending, culminating in a New Heaven and a New Earth (Revelation chapters 21 and 22; note chapter 20 also). I’m not a hatter — a milliner, a maker of hats, although Continue reading

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The Ten Year Marker

This morning I wrote a letter to my family and relatives about my father, Marion Ray Thomas. Today is the ten year anniversary of his home-going, so I wanted to honor him by calling attention to his life.  The following is the letter except for the opening. I also want to honor him among my friends, which you are!  I asked my family members if they can remember what they were doing at the time they heard the news. You can follow it from here:

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Categories: Being Like Jesus, Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Spiritual Growth | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Jesus In; His Attributes Coming Out

Hello!!!! “I’m back from the Front, Old Top!”

That is an old saying from World War I. I learned it from my dad who heard it from his dad who was a WWI vet. When a soldier said it, he’d hit his friend on his back, then his front, and then would pat his head — “I’m back from the Front, Old Top!” I too say it occasionally, but without the gestures.

Paul sharing the gospel with a young man who prayed to receive Christ at the mission's Salsa Festival on March 29.

Paul sharing the gospel with a young man who prayed to receive Christ at the mission’s Salsa Festival on March 29.

So, we’re back from Florida where we spent 17 days at the Good Samaritan Mission. Wow! Continue reading

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Good Reads, Good Health, and Good Deeds

Time to turn a corner on topics.  I’m beginning a series on good reads, good health, and good deeds — a loose arrangement of topics that may be of benefit to you. Thank you for reading my posts.  I want to bless you.

When you read The Wall Street Journal or People Magazine, you do so (if you do) for differing reasons. You have purposes. You are looking for Continue reading

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