2018 April 03 Monday

2018 April 03 Monday in Liberty Hill Texas

67° and breezy with an overcast sky. Last night the Venetian blinds in the bedroom were clanging as the breeze blew them in and out. I finally raised them far enough that they stopped flopping in the wind. It was still overcast when we returned from the center at one thirty. Temperature then was 74° and the wind has calmed.

MUSING – April 03 2018

I HAVE AN OILY BEARD

Psalms 133:1-2
“See how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in harmony! It is like fine, scented oil on the head, running down the beard–down Aaron’s beard– running over the collar of his robes.

My children love and respect each other. It wasn’t always so, As youngsters, there were plenty of times that they would argue and fight … sometimes physically. However, as adults, they enjoy spending time together. It truly is a good and pleasant thing. I’m extremely proud of the people they’ve become.

I think that this analogy works well in our schools, workplaces, and certainly in our churches. Where there is harmony in the group, the leader(s) of that group are blessed. Symbolically they have scented oil on their heads and beards.

Does the leader of your group have an oily beard? If not, what can you do to change the situation?

All content (except quotations) © 2018 Thomas E. Williams

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2018 April 02 Monday

2018 April 02 Monday in Liberty Hill Texas

51° and overcast to start the day. But got to the low sixties with some occasional sun in the afternoon.

We loaded our laundry bags into the truck, then drove to the senior center in Georgetown. We had breakfast for lunch: egg casserole, biscuits and gravy. There were over a dozen folks for lunch.

From there we went to the laundromat in Leander to wash clothes.

I noticed my windshield was covered with bug splatter. But i’d rather have bug than snow. Anyway, I ran Rudolph the red nosed pickup through the car wash after filling his tank.

We arrived to home in time to put the clothes away and rest for a little before heading to Burnet (pronounced burn it) UMC for a meeting of the Emmaus fourth day group.

And like good Methodist, everybody congregated in the kitchen.

But eventually we made it to the sanctuary.

When we left the church there was just a little afterglow left in the western sky.

MUSINGApril 02 2018

ENTER BEYOND THE GATES AND COURTYARD

Psalms 100
Shout happily to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD cheerfully. Come into his presence with a joyful song. Realize that the LORD alone is God. He made us, and we are his. We are his people and the sheep in his care. Enter his gates with a song of thanksgiving. Come into his courtyards with a song of praise. Give thanks to him; praise his name. The LORD is good. His mercy endures forever. His faithfulness endures throughout every generation.

The psalmist rejoices that he may freely enter the temple’s gate and courtyard. What a blessing that is. However, in the time of his writing, only a very few were allowed behind the. Only the high priest was permitted to stand before the mercy seat, the throne of God.

But that all changed because of Jesus’ sacrifice. At his death “the curtain in the temple was split in two from top to bottom.”* That which serrated us from God’s presence was removed. We now have “(Jesus) a chief priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way that we are, but he didn’t sin. So we can go confidently to the throne of God’s kindness to receive mercy and find kindness,**

Now we have a new and better reason to burst forth in praise and songs of gladness.

For what do you praise God this day? What is your song of gladness?

*Matthew 27:50-51

**Hebrews 4:14-16

Text, photos, and graphics (except quotations) © 2018 Thomas E. Williams

2018 April 02 Monday

2018 April 02 Monday in Liberty Hill Texas

51° and overcast to start the day.

We loaded our laundry bag into the truck then drove to the senior center in Georgetown. We had breakfast for lunch: egg casserole, biscuits and gravy. There were over a dozen for lunch.

From there we went to the laundromat in learner to wash clothes.

I noticed my windshield is covered with bug splatter. But if rather have bug than snow. Anyway, I ran Rudolph the red nosed pickup through the car wash after filling his tank.

We arrived to home in time to put the clothes away and rest for a little before heading to Burnet (pronounced burn it) UMC for a meeting of the Emmaus fourth day group.

And like good Methodist, everybody congregated in the kitchen.

MUSINGApril 02 2018

ENTER BEYOND THE GATES AND COURTYARD

Psalms 100
Shout happily to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD cheerfully. Come into his presence with a joyful song. Realize that the LORD alone is God. He made us, and we are his. We are his people and the sheep in his care. Enter his gates with a song of thanksgiving. Come into his courtyards with a song of praise. Give thanks to him; praise his name. The LORD is good. His mercy endures forever. His faithfulness endures throughout every generation.

The psalmist rejoices that he may freely enter the temple’s gate and courtyard. What a blessing that is. However, in the time of his writing, only a very few were allowed behind the. Only the high priest was permitted to stand before the mercy seat, the throne of God.

But that all changed because of Jesus’ sacrifice. At his death “the curtain in the temple was split in two from top to bottom.”* That which serrated us from God’s presence was removed. We now have “(Jesus) a chief priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way that we are, but he didn’t sin. So we can go confidently to the throne of God’s kindness to receive mercy and find kindness,**

Now we have a new and better reason to burst forth in praise and songs of gladness.

For what do you praise God this day? What is your song of gladness?

*Matthew 27:50-51

**Hebrews 4:14-16

Text, photos, and graphics (except quotations) © 2018 Thomas E. Williams

2018 April 01 Easter Sunday

2018 April 01 Easter Sunday in Liberty Hill Texas

62° and breezy as we made our way to Cross Tracks Church for the Sonrise service at seven.

In the afternoon we went to Arik and Jenny’s for a family Resurrection Sunday dinner.

MUSING _ April 01 2018

HURRY – HE IS RISEN

Matthew 28:1-10
After the day of worship, as the sun rose Sunday morning, Mary from Magdala and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. Suddenly, there was a powerful earthquake. An angel of the Lord had come down from heaven, rolled the stone away, and was sitting on it. He was as bright as lightning, and his clothes were as white as snow. The guards were so deathly afraid of him that they shook. The angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid! I know you’re looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He’s not here. He has been brought back to life as he said. Come, see the place where he was lying. Then go quickly, and tell his disciples that he has been brought back to life. He’s going ahead of them into Galilee. There they will see him. Take note that I have told you.” They hurried away from the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly, Jesus met them and greeted them. They went up to him, bowed down to worship him, and took hold of his feet. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go, tell my followers to go to Galilee. There they will see me.”

Go tell His followers, “You, hurry away from the tomb with fear and great joy and run to make new disciples.”

Text, photos, and graphics (except quotations) © 2018 Thomas E. Williams

2018 March 30 Good Friday

2018 March 30 Good Friday in Liberty Hill Texas

46° and cloudless to start the day. It reached a high of 70°.

We had some shopping to do. First at Costco and then at Walmart. I really wanted to try the preorder and drive up at Walmart. However, I kept losing the connection on the phone.

Have any of you used this Walmart service? If so, what’s your impression?

Ella and I are both impulse buyers. I suspect that, if we didn’t go in the store, we might save some money.

Nothing much happened for the rest of the day until we sang at the Good Friday service.

The sun was already below the horizon when we came out from worship.

MUSINGMarch 30 2018

WHAT IS GOOD ABOUT GOOD FRIDAY

Isaiah 53:4-9
“He certainly has taken upon himself our suffering and carried our sorrows, but we thought that God had wounded him, beat him, and punished him. He was wounded for our rebellious acts. He was crushed for our sins. He was punished so that we could have peace, and we received healing from his wounds. We have all strayed like sheep. Each one of us has turned to go his own way, and the LORD has laid all our sins on him. He was abused and punished, but he didn’t open his mouth. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. He was like a sheep that is silent when its wool is cut off. He didn’t open his mouth. He was arrested, taken away, and judged. Who would have thought that he would be removed from the world? He was killed because of my people’s rebellion. He was placed in a tomb with the wicked. He was put there with the rich when he died, although he had done nothing violent and had never spoken a lie.”

Matthew 27:12-14
While the chief priests and leaders were accusing him, he said nothing. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear how many charges they’re bringing against you?” But Jesus said absolutely nothing to him in reply, so the governor was very surprised.”

Matthew 27:27-31
“Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the palace and gathered the whole troop around him. They took off his clothes and put a bright red cape on him. They twisted some thorns into a crown, placed it on his head, and put a stick in his right hand. They knelt in front of him and made fun of him by saying, “Long live the king of the Jews!” After they had spit on him, they took the stick and kept hitting him on the head with it. After the soldiers finished making fun of Jesus, they took off the cape and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.”

Eight hundred years before his birth, Jesus death was already chronicled by the prophet Isaiah. It’s not a pretty picture. Imagine that you just read it in your local newspaper. What would your reaction be? Outrage? Grief? Anger? Disbelief? Would it ever occur to you too call it a good Friday?

Here is the reason we can call it good,
“Christ died for us while we were still sinners. This demonstrates God’s love for us.” Romans 5:8

It is good because the predicted Messiah had come and completed the task of rescuing his people from their sins.

Have a blessed Friday.

© 2018 Thomas E. Williams

2018 March 29 Thursday

2018 March 29 Thursday in Liberty Hill Texas

52° and foggy so not a pretty sunrise photo .@.

Yesterday evening, while it was cool, I baked a load of Irish soda bread. I wrapped it and put it in the freezer.





It will stay there until Sunday morning and then go with us as we go to sunrise service, brunch, Sunday school, egg hunt and worship. Then it will go to Arik and Jenny’s for a late lunch/early supper where it will be consumed by family and friends

While the soda baked, Ella mixed up another bread pudding. She them out in the refrigerator for the ingredients to marry overnight. This morning, while I prepared breakfast, she baked the pudding. While it was still warm from the oven, she drizzled caramel ice cream syrup over the top. Yum!

Playing games and eating lunch at the Over the Hill Gang occupied the morning and early afternoon.

As we drove into the RV park, I stopped to take some photos of …

… Blue Bonnets in bloom at the Stocktank RV park.

The fog was all burnt off by noon. And the temperature reached 82° by four p.m.

Not much of a sunset but here it is.

MUSINGMarch 29 2018

PEACE – TIME TO PREPARE FOR WAR

2 Chronicles 14:5-7
“He (King Asa of Judah) got rid of the illegal places of worship and the altars for incense in all the cities of Judah. The kingdom was at peace during his reign. He built fortified cities in Judah because the land had peace. There was no war during those years because the LORD gave him a time of peace. So Asa told Judah, “Let’s build these cities and make walls around them with towers and doors that can be barred. The country is still ours because we have dedicated our lives to serving the LORD our God. We have dedicated our lives to him, and he has surrounded us with peace.” So they built the cities, and everything went well.”

I remember something a Marine friend of mine said as we watched the Berlin Wall being torn down. He said, “Nothing is a frightening as a time of peace.”

I thought, at the time, that it was an odd thing to say. I didn’t think much more about it at the time. However, in retrospect, I think I know what he meant. Countries use a time of peace to build up their defences. More weapons can be stockpiled during peace than during war. Resources can be used to prepare for the next battle.

I was born at the end of the second world war. I’ve lived through Korea, Vietnam, the wars in the middle East, and countless other “skirmishes”. The times between were called peace. They were never truly peace.

True peace is more than an absence of fighting. Jesus said, “I have told you this while I’m still with you. However, the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything. He will remind you of everything that I have ever told you. “I’m leaving you peace. I’m giving you my peace. I don’t give you the kind of peace that the world gives. So don’t be troubled or cowardly.” John 14:25-27

His peace is the true peace. It is the peace you carry inside you. It is the peace of knowing that the Holy Spirit dwells within you, teaching, guiding, and protecting you. His peace is with you during times of conflict not just between conflicts and wars.

Do you have the peace which passes all understanding? Philippians 4:7

© 2018 Thomas E. Williams

2018 March 28 Wednesday

2018 March 28 Wednesday in Liberty Hill Texas

53° to start the day. It stormed overnight with, wind, lightening, thunder, close to three inches of rain locally.

It stayed grey and overcast so day with occasional rain showers. It reached a high of 69°.

No sunrise or sunset photos.

Nothing much happened today. Grandies in the morning and choir practice in the evening. I believe the choir is ready for Good Friday and Easter.

MUSING – March 28 2018

PREPARATION AND OPPORTUNITY

Nehemiah 2:1-5
In the month of Nisan, in Artaxerxes’ twentieth year as king, after some wine was brought for the king, I picked up the cup of wine and gave it to the king. I had never been sad in his presence before. The king asked me, “Why do you look so sad? You aren’t sick, are you? You must be troubled about something.” (I was really afraid.) “May the king live forever!” I said to the king. “Why shouldn’t I look sad when the city, the place where my ancestors are buried, is in ruins and its gates are burned down?” “What do you want?” the king asked me. So I prayed to the God of heaven, and I asked the king, “If it pleases Your Majesty, and you are willing to grant my request, let me go to Judah, to the city where my ancestors are buried, so that I can rebuild it.”

The thing that jumped out at me here is when Nehemiah said, “I prayed to the God.” think about that for a moment. He already admitted that he was really afraid. The king, to whom he was enslaved, ask him a question. And Nehemiah says he prayed to God. How long do you think the king waited for an answer? When the Master says, “Jump” the slave jumps and asks if it is high enough.

I don’t doubt that he prayed. But I bet it was a quick “Thank you.” Because he had already prayed about this for days. Nehemiah 1:4 reads,
“When I heard this,(destruction of Jerusalem) I sat down and cried. I mourned for days. I continued to fast and pray to the God of heaven”.

Are you ”prayed up” so that you’ll be ready for God’s opportunity?

2018 March 27 Tuesday

2018 March 27 Tuesday in Liberty Hill Texas

68° and no sunshine today. My only photo of sunshine was at ten in the morning.

It reached a high of 76° before a rain storm came through at about four. This dropped the temperature to 58° rather quickly
We had sloppy joes at the Georgetown senior center. We played bingo before lunch.

After lunch we stopped at Office Depot to print out a form for Ella to sign and then fax it back. It became a lot more complicated than it needed to be.
They told Ella to log into her email account on their computer. When all she really had to do was open the email on her phone and forward it to the Office Depot email. Whereas the phone aromatically logs her into her account, by using their computer, she had to log on using her password … which she couldn’t remember.
Then she couldn’t find the original message on her phone. So she had to call the people who had emailed the form and asked them to email it again tho my email account.

Once I received the form I forwarded it … except I missed a digit in their email and it didn’t send. After correcting it, I recent it and it was printed.

At this point she had to fill out the form, sign it, and fax it back.

MUSINGMarch 27 2018

WHAT WILL YOU BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?

1 John 3:1-2
“Consider this: The Father has given us his love. He loves us so much that we are actually called God’s dear children. And that’s what we are. For this reason the world doesn’t recognize us, and it didn’t recognize him either. Dear friends, now we are God’s children. What we will be isn’t completely clear yet. We do know that when Christ appears we will be like him because we will see him as he is.”

When we are children people would always ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I wanted to be a cowboy. Not the kind of cowboy who herded cattle. I wanted to be the one in the white hat and who rode the the snow white horse. I wanted to be the one who saved the stage coach, or the town. You no the one who could shoot the gun out of the bad guy’s hand, to be the one who could ride up beside the bad guy, jump from my horse, knocking the bad guy from his horse. We’d wrestle in the dirt without me losing my hat. I wanted to be the hero.

As an adult, I never did any of those things. But I still try and live by my imagined cowboy code, to do the right thing at the right time. I try to help the underdog. I try to live in such a way that “The Spirit of the Lord is with me. He has anointed me to tell the Good News to the poor. He has sent me to announce forgiveness to the prisoners of sin and the restoring of sight to the blind, to forgive those who have been shattered by sin, to announce the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19

2018 March 26 Monday

2018 March 26 Monday in Liberty Hill Texas

66° and headed for a high of 89°. Winds were gusting to 23 mph most of the today. The sunrise was mostly hidden again but I managed to capture a little color.

The sunrise was mostly hidden again but I managed to capture a little color.

We had smothered chicken with rice and green beans at the Georgetown senior center today. We picked up some bread and a cake also. We played a couple games by ourselves. We invited others to join us but had no takers.

We then stopped at the church for the “Just a Little Walk with Me” group.

It meets on Mondays and Wednesdays for a time of devotion, fellowship, and to walk in the gym.

With the pain in my knees, I don’t walk much, and my legs are getting weaker. I’ve just started doing knee bends ( not DEEP knee bends) while hanging on to a chair it a table. I’m hoping to gain some strength because, as it now is, I have trouble getting out of a chair.

However, after sitting there for about a half an hour, since no one else arrived and the door was locked, we left. We must have missed a message somewhere along the line.

Around five we left home for a drive on two of my favorite driver’s in the Texas hill country. 1174 and 1431 between Liberty Hill and Marble Falls are full of hills and curves that would make a roller coaster jealous. The scenery is gorgeous with a rugged beauty. I love to drive it … IN THE DAYLIGHT. In the dark or rain I avoid it like the plague.

The reason for the trip was to attend an Emmaus gathering at First United Methodist Church in Marble Falls.

First we ate. Then we worshipped.

MUSING– March 26 2018

DARK BLESSINGS

1 Thessalonians 5:16-20
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this. Don’t put out the Spirit’s fire. Don’t despise what God has revealed.

My favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:28
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God–those whom he has called according to his plan.” Once you understand the depth of that verse, you can face each obstacle, each challenge, each setback, and each hurt, if given to God in prayerful thanksgiving, can become a blessing. It is more than a positive attitude. It is a promise from God that He can use your pain as well as your joy for His holy purpose.

Try it the next time you are tempted to cry out, “Why me?” Instead honestly tell God about your troubles, then claim this promise that He can turn it into something good.”

In my own life, I can look backward on those dark times (my valleys of death and despair) and see the way God used those. Now, if I can l look forward with that same assurance, I can praise Him in and for those trouble filled times.

Can you look backward and see the hands of God at work? Can you trust that He is still at work yesterday, today, and tomorrow?

2018 March 25 Sunday

2018 March 25 Sunday in Liberty Hill Texas

68° at 7 a.m.

After worship today, we went to Adam and Leigh’s for lunch. The kids colored eggs with a little help from the adults. We had brought out games from home and played Fast Track and Rummikub.

MUSING – March 25 2018

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

Philippians 3:1
Now then, brothers and sisters, be joyful in the Lord. It’s no trouble for me to write the same things to you, and it’s for your safety.

Paul writes, “It’s no trouble for me to write the same things to you,” or as a different translation reads, “To write the same things to you truly is not tiresome to me.”

As I’m writing these little devotions and/or my sermons, I wonder how many times I’ve said the same thing over and over? There are only so many ways to say, Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.Psalm 34:14 or Change your hearts and lives! Turn back to God so that your sins may be wiped away. Acts 3:19.

God’s message hasn’t changed in thousands of years. But, have you heard it?