Volatility and Stability

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Wow!  It felt so good to entitle that late December post “The End”.  I believed that it was. For during the quiet Winter of 2020 I  was very content with  my completed blog project. But then I don’t have to tell you the world, with  its unstable political, social, natural and  economic foundations, has become completely unhinged.   On  yet another rollercoaster stock market day my mother’s  broker called with information on  what she called a “profit grab”.  Instead of focusing on the decision at hand, that comment  transported me  back to 2 classic Christmas films. And once again I discovered that I can say something new regarding the   films about which this entire blog has been written.  The transcendent nature of these  classics invariably capture and comment on the stability and volatility of life.   Some of them even  comment on financial aspects.  Yes even the little bit I know about Economics I learned from these movies. For example, in the middle of It’s a Wonderful Life, there is an extended scene depicting a Run on the Bedford Falls Bank where George Bailey practically explains Fractional Reserve Banking.  He tries to dissuade customers from approaching Mr. Potter for a smaller return on their investment by reminding them that “Potter isn’t selling –Potter’s buying –because we’re panicky and he’s not!”

Then again,  in Miracle on 34th Street,  Judge Henry Harper agonizes over whether to entangle the New York State Supreme Court in deciding the legitimacy of Kris Kringle’s claim to fame.  Inside Harper’s  chambers, his political advisor reminds  him of the power of  trickle down economics.  Should he decide that there is no “Santy Claus”  then everyone from the  department stores and toy manufacturers, the greeting card makers, the candy companies and the  AF of L and the CIO would be offended –resulting in negative consequences for his re election.An online search of this movie reveals recent and  extensive commentary which runs the gamut  from the feasibility of actually trying this case on up to the ethics of judiciary election vs appointment.  My point is this:  People still watch,  learn from, think and talk about these classics which make them  prescient even today.

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So  this morning rather than playing the entire DVDs, you tube clips were the source of  my instant gratification.  That’s where I also found  the surprising commentary that accompanies these films.  People still  see connection between these mid century movies and current fluctuations.   Rather than experiencing the  typical nostalgia associated with this quick Christmas fix, I received an unanticipated gift:  A sense of well being  which  only partly comes from remembering how these movies end.

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Over the past 2 years each of my   posts contain a purposeful juxtaposition of  Christmas films with Biblical Scripture by intentionally  pairing classic cinema and  Scripture verses   to encourage contemporary readers with transcendent truths.  From Biblical Scripture I get a  perspective that comes from a relationship with the God who knows the end from the beginning. I get a promise for a peace that this world can neither give nor take away.  In other words, as my church likes to promote:  God’s got this!   2020  still remains a most unique year with some of the most life altering ramifications yet to come.  I join many people who interpret  this season Biblically,  as a sort of  serious spiritual calm before a storm.

This time I include  a Bible verse from the Old Testament –2nd Chronicles 7:14.  If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven , forgive their sins and heal their land.

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Within my church circle I am exhorted to humble myself, pray and seek God’s face and repent (or turn away from my wicked ways) in  order to take advantage of providential offers to forgive me and heal my land.  I know of many people who are  doing this on a regular basis right now.

On the  northbound  side of 294 between Northlake and the airport is a bill board proclaiming 2 Chronicles 7:14 which also includes an admonition to do God’s will.  Discovering God’s will is a controversial topic  even within my churched circle.   I know one thing about God’s will . God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2nd Peter 3:9   Repenting and believing in Christ  are the first steps to approaching a holy God.  If you read any of the posts throughout this project I think you would agree that  I strongly advocate a relationship with Christ for many personal  and pretty reasons.  Now I believe  the reason to encourage such a relationship is more imminent than ever before.   Jesus Christ’s desire for a relationship with you is possible. I close each post with the same encouragement.  Get to know Jesus –He would die  for you to to get to know Him. 2 great places to start are in the second half of the Bible.  Reading the book of John will show that Jesus is God and the book of Mark describes how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy.

The End

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“The only people who grow old are those who were born old–You were born  young.”  Dudley–The Bishop’s Wife

The end of this Christmas Season brings us the beginning of a new decade. Nothing juxtaposes old and  new so much as  the New Year holidays. Coupled with the above, these additional  quotes from The Bishop’s Wife allow us to peer into  the timeless   struggle between  aging, beauty, wisdom and significance:

“The world changes but two things remain constant–Youth and Beauty”

“If you want to know about a woman, ask the old men. They know”

Scripture acknowledges that we humans experience frustrations accompanied with aging while reminding us we can have a relationship with the One who is ever of old but never grows old.

Listen to me you descendants  of Jacob.. you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born.  Even to your old age  and gray hairs I am he,  I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.  Isaiah 46:3-4

 

December the 25th

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If you’re anything like me, today, Christmas Day, has a poignant significance for you.  The implication that  on this date 2000 years ago “God and sinners  (were) reconciled” is enough to change the Christian’s life forever.  But   there are plenty other people who struggle with the fact and idea of this season.  No doubt Christmas is an emotional holiday.   Obviously throughout this blog I’ve been writing as a fan of  Christmas , and for the past 4 weeks or so  waiting for today.

And when it finally gets here– while  living the dream –we may worry  that our hearts will feel  a little bit broken  tomorrow.  Lord knows that among the stores and radio stations touting the importance of the date up til now, there is a shockingly abrupt end to the celebration on December 26.  We will  miss the  music,  the lights,  the exclamations of goodwill so stimulating in December and so absent in January.  A priority of this blog has been to emphasize the relevance of Christmas upon every month of the year in order to anticipate the season.  Today’s blog is written to extend this same season.  My friend Teresa’s father points out that the holidays extend from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day so that gives us a little more time to enjoy the sights and sounds for awhile.   Although referred to  frequently throughout these posts the following quote paired with transcendent Scripture merits another look.

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Christmas isn’t just a day it’s a frame of mind — Miracle on 34th Street.      But Mary treasured all these things  pondering  them in her heart. Luke  2:19 New King James Version 

 

With intentional meditation on the events of Christmas past, we can keep a Christmas frame of mind well past the season. For more on pondering the season and maintaining a Christmas frame of mind  see the following post from January 6, 2019.

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2 weeks to go – with The Preacher’s Wife

This Christmas get to know Jesus the real  Reason for the Season–He would die for you to get to know Him.

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“When we love someone-we are really loving God” Dudley in The Preacher’s Wife    

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  John 3;16

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With three weeks to go– Keeping Promises with Elizabeth Lane

lizlane“It’s very important to keep promises–especially to yourself”  Elizabeth lane Christmas in Connecticut

This Christmas get to know Jesus the Real Reason for the Season–He is so anxious to explain how He’s kept all of the promises He’s made  to you. For all of God’s promises         have been fulfilled in (Christ Jesus)  2 Corinthians 1;20

For more  on what the Bible has to say about promises  See posts from June 26, 2019   and November 27, 2018green plant

Believe

“Faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to.”  Doris Walker in

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Now Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.    Hebrews 11:1                         And without faith it is impossible to please God for whoever would approach Him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.  Hebrews 11:6

For more on what the Bible says about Faith and the characters that talk about it see the  post from November  11, 2018.

 

 

Prayer– Round 2 for 2019

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“I just got a bust in the jaw in answer to a prayer a little bit ago.”

“Oh no no no George- I’m the answer to your prayer!”

Last November 25, 2018 in a post entitled Lessons on Intercession from It’s a Wonderful Life,  I used this quote to  write about the surprising answers we get when we pray. I’m always interested in enriching my prayer life and  excerpts from  the following Devotional readings in 2019   divulge the possibility of realizing God’s perspective on our petitions.

Last Spring, Moody’s Today in the Word (May 11) wrote specifically about verse 8 in a passage from Revelation 5:1-14, ” …the four Living Creatures and the twenty four  elders fell before the Lamb each holding a harp and golden bowls each full of incense which are the prayers of the saints.”

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“Interestingly, verse 8 doesn’t say that the incense represents the prayers of the saints but rather that it is their prayers. What a beautiful picture of how Christ  must view our prayers–not as whining or nagging but like a pleasing aroma. When we worship we do not imitate heavenly worship–we join worship already underway, adding our voices to that of the living creatures and elders, angels and the rest of creation.”

Then in Autumn, one of my favorite authors commented on the following verse:

“In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I called. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry came to His ears.” 2 Samuel: 22:7

In Letters to Malcolm:Chiefly on Prayer, C. S. Lewis states,”…if our prayers are granted at all they are granted from the foundation of the world. Intercourse between God and man occurs at particular moments for the man but not for God. If there is an adaptation between the free actions of men in prayer and the course of events, this adaptation is from the beginning inherent in the great single creative act.  Our prayers are heard… not only before we make them but before we are made ourselves.”

Just last month,  I came across this devotional in a scheduled reading plan very soon after  I had  requested that  God would  reveal more of His greatness to me.  In retrospect, this is not a surprising answer to my prayer. I grew up praying God is great, God is good… That the Creator can and would consider my supplications into his  eternal plan, exposing not only his greatness but his kind desire to have relationship with me, is only a token portion of his omnipotence.

Another full year has come and gone and I’m still practicing and learning to pray.   Last year These 2 devotional readings shifted my concentration away from myself and onto God when I pray. What have you learned to think or do that has elevated your prayer life?  How has God answered your prayers during the past year?

Violet Bick– Last post for November 2019

 

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“Hold on a minute fellas, I think I got a date–But stick around just in case”  Violet Bick It’s a Wonderful Life 

I love this girl– she possesses that great combination of confidence and foresight with her old fashioned Plan B.  Violet is also savvy enough to ask for help when she really needs it and  in the film she knows exactly who to approach for that assistance. Violet is confident enough in George Bailey to know he will never turn her aside.

Because of His nature,  God will never turn away a genuine seeker.  He loves to show Himself faithful to those who need to learn to trust Him.

“…For you, O Lord have never abandoned anyone who searches for you.”  Psalm 9:10

 

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For more on what the Bible has to say about this character check out posts from July 22, 2019 and December 9, 2018

Thanksgiving: Toasts and Blessings with Mary Bailey

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Although commonly considered to be a Christmas movie some of the best scenes in It’s a Wonderful Life evoke everyday life in Bedford Falls outside of the superlative season.  The above still highlightcut off daffodilss a toast timeless enough to be  channeled into contemporary holiday gatherings.

Bread that this house will never know hunger.

Salt that life will always have flavor.

And wine that joy and prosperity will reign forever

Coupled with the following  blessing Thanksgiving can begin.

 

 

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Who coould imagine the book of Job coould inspire such a blessing?

As we embark on the holidays, I would love to hear about your traditions.