Salvation, Honoring All People

I woke up with three things on my mind this morning:

A. Cultural assimilation doesn’t equal salvation.

B. We were created by God Who alone deserves a particular glory and honor from each one of us regardless of who we otherwise associate with.

C. Honoring those He created (all human beings) isn’t an option as hard as it may be to recognize or do so.

A- Would you or I have a genuine, daily, intimate relationship with God in Jesus Christ if our spouse, closest friend or friends one day disbelieved and decided there is no God, the Bible is a myth-book and people like you are deluded in your faith? In other words, do you have a personal walk with the Lord each day based on other’s acceptance and kindness toward you or based on intimacy and a growing moment-by-moment relationship with Him?

“Though none go with me, still I will follow.”??

“But if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served, which were beyond the Euphrates River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” -Joshua 24.15

What if Joshua’s “house” left without him never to be seen again? In the real world such things happen. Our friends are no more God than any of us are. Our Lord and Savior is alone our salvation – there is no other according to Jesus’ own words.

B- All created people, things, the universe itself, and certainly salvation and active, ongoing discipleship is all sourced in God Himself. Love, grace, mercy, kindness, forgiveness and eternal life were and are HIS idea and according to Jesus, His very coming into our world, sufferings, crucifixion and His resurrection were and are the will of God the Father. He has sent the Holy Spirit to empower those who follow Him. All this is ultimately true or it is not true. WE as people are ultimately either true in relationship to Him or we are not.

C- In one of my daily devo readings a particular line jumped out at me: “Belittling or denying the good that others do is a form of stealing. If we do that, we have taken away the honor they deserve. ” (https://todaydevotional.com/devotions/dont-take-what-isnt-yours)

The first part of this brings to mind Paul’s statement in Romans 13.7 “honor to whom honor is due” (note “is due” is implied but not in the original text best as I can discern via study). Peter further writes “Honor ALL people” -1 Peter 2.17

The Greek for those two works “honor” and “all” respectively mean “all, every kind, the whole” and “to prize, value”. In that all humans are created in God’s image -and- contain by the fall as well as capacity for personal choice a sin nature. Is it not the case we at times struggle with such honoring of -all- people? Yet Paul and Peter’s statements stand.

In summary, for myself personally the past 50 plus years of walking with Jesus have been a journey of challenge, spiritual growth, God’s provision and of course pain, suffering and watching many I loved and love either walk in faith with Him or fall away. To be blunt, very little if anything surprises me about human choice and behavior, both those who live out of relationship with God and those who do not.

To be very clear, loving, honoring a person does not always mean maintaining a close, deepening relationship with them though it certainly -does- between ourselves and God. Faith, trusting God Who is perfect and trusting flawed humans are two different matters indeed.

From the first moment of faith in Him until writing this in late February, 2022 my walk with Jesus is not based on what others do or don’t do with Him, His Word and His calling (or non-calling) on their lives. Jesus ALONE is my salvation and I do not believe there is any other worthy of being called Savior, certainly not another human being who like myself is as apt to sin as God Himself is fully perfect, totally sinless!!

The essential relationship with God is THE. ISSUE. and shall be in eternity. How we treat one another is or is not based in His love, and that -regardless of another’s faith or zero faith, is an ongoing matter: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

If my neighbor follows Him or not, loves or hates me cannot dictate my love and relationship with Jesus nor my loving my neighbor to the best of my understanding of what God’s love for them requires of me.

May God grant you and I grace to trust Him though trusting people and even our own motives has often proved a calamity. It really does come down to your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Things to Do with a Junk Guitar

Let’s say you inherit a lemon guitar (we’re talking acoustic or electric six string, steel strings). Or find one in your long-gone older brother’s closet or up in Grampa and Grandma’s attic. Maybe you buy it at a yard or garage sale or in some rural thrift store for 30 bucks U.S..

Note all you’re about to read can largely also apply to a ukulele.

For our purposes here, let’s say you don’t want to find someone, or pay somebody, or otherwise do-it-yourself to fix the messed-up frets, set up the bridge and nut (or re-do either of them), mess with the truss rod, etc., to straighten the neck from a twist. Let’s add that the action (distance between the fretboard and the string height) is such it feels like pulling telephone poles down to fret it and besides, the intonation (proper pitch on every fret right to where the neck meets the body) is out, the higher up you play the more sharp (usually) or flat (sometimes) that old guitar gets. What’s it good for really?

I’d say time for your imagination to kick in bro and sis!!

ARTPIECE/WALLHANGER

You might take it all apart, carefully placing all screws, etc. in a safe place, taking a few close-up pictures so you’ll know how to put it back together again if you’ve never done such on a guitar. You could then purchase paint stripper solution and following safety precautions and all directions, get that old paint off the the body and neck.

Depending on the look you want, you could sand it all down from heavy to medium to fine grit sandpaper and finally steel wool taking great care of your work. From this point on you might use tongue oil, stain or even re-paint it until you have the look you desire.

After all this, put it all back together again with a cheap set of strings and hang it on the wall as an art piece and nothing more.

If it’s an acoustic guitar and you really want some work, you could -carefully- cut the top (face) off and create, then install horizontal shelves inside the body and hang it on the wall as a “git-shelf”. Add small speakers and some type of music player for a “music shelf” as well.

Lighter weight electric trashers -can- be used as oars in your small boat if you don’t mind getting strange looks from people 🙂

OK, let’s say you are willing to research online and learn, then do whatever work or pay to have it set up properly for use as a guitar. Simple if you’ve the money and patience.

CHANGING PICKUPS, Etc.

Without going into multiple complexities as to what all that might mean if you do it yourself, the beauty of a playable acoustic or electric is adding or otherwise changing out one or more pickups now in 2022 as I write, is rather simple as long as you pre-fit or at least carefully measure and then purchase. The only caveat to this is with electric guitars you must also do homework on the proper electronic values of the volume and tone controls. Acoustic pickups such as the piezo (often quite bright and thin sounding without a really good outboard tone shaping foot pedal) often require some soldering skill and of course a good soldering iron, etc., and you’d likely have to drill at least one if not two holes into the guitar to feed and install the 1/4 inch input jack.

Nobody pays me to tell you that Cbgitty.Com sells these piezos (there are more than one type) already assembled) so there’s that option. Another for acoustic guitar is a “sound hole pickup” where you pop it in under the strings and a couple little movable metal bits slip under the top of the body and snug it in place. Often they already have a guitar connection cable permanently affixed to the pickup, so no soldering needed.

Electric guitars have a long and wide range of cheap to very expensive pickups, the smaller Fender style or larger Gibson style, and here the issue is finding something that can fit into the already-routed out pickup holes in an old electric.

Of course ALL pickups are best chosen AFTER hearing them in the same sort and even brand of instrument before buying them. The varied amplifiers affect tone greatly as well.

A lot of study online and then visit to a local guitar shop and actually playing a guitar similar to your junker though a amp like the one you already own will give you the best shot at laying money down on something that you might actually like months after doing (or paying someone) to do the work.

Two more etc.’s on this: if you want to get really exotic there are YouTube clips and other info. on the web that discuss/show adding a bass pickup to a guitar where the bass pickup is placed sideways under the first 3 lowest guitar strings AND keeping the other actual guitar pickup in place. Add a separate 1/4 inch input to the bass pickup. Then send via two guitar cables each of the two pickups into separate bass and guitar amps. Add an octave pedal (the ones that take the note/s an octave or two DOWN) from that bass pickup and you have something akin to being a bass and guitar player all at once.

You -could- replace the bottom two guitar strings with lighter bass strings as well but this means paying attention to the neck which you don’t want to twist and also doing some nut and bridge work so the thicker strings will fit. It also means dealing with intonation (pitch of -all- the strings up and down the entire fretboard) or the bottom strings will not be in tune with the guitar strings.

Another possibility re. a ukulele: there are plenty of online articles on tuning ukes. What I have done is to change the order of the nylon uke strings on one I have, thickest string facing my chin and so on so more like a guitar. I then tuned the bottom (low) strings the same pitch, the 3rd string higher and 4th the same pitch as the bottom 2 but one octave up. Any variation of this (in the key of E it would be Low E, Low E, B, high E for example) gives you an open chord. To play chord shapes and melodies you then must learn where the notes are using such a scale.

HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED SLIDE PLAYING??

Slide guitar whether acoustic or electric? Even using a slide on a uke? Keeping only 3, 2 or 1 string on a lousy git, figuring how to lift the bridge higher (and nut if needed) and not playing in the common way with fingers pressing strings down between frets but placing the slide (search for other posts in my blog here for details on slide guitar playing) OVER the frets to sound out the string or strings?

BUILD A CBG OR FOUND-OBJECT GUITAR?

One more deal IF you want to dive in and just use the neck (of an acoustic, electric or uke) is to separate it from the body of the el-junk-o instrument and affix it to a wooden bowl, metal cookie tin, cigar box or some such thing, and if done carefully at very least you can create a working slide guitar or uke -especially if you don’t care about playing it normally with fingers pressing strings down between the frets. Toss the body away or use it for something else perhaps.

Taking that route means of course that the construction- how to add a neck to any sort of body, means a few basic tools, bracing both neck and body in such a way the tension of the string -or moreso strings… is done so that when tightening them up you won’t break the bond between neck and body or bend the neck upward too much. Making a slide guitar with 1 to 3 strings is less an issue but even then what I’ve just said figures in. Even more exacting is trying to build a git with the idea of actually using fingers on the neck (normal rather than slide playing) because the distance between bridge and nut, exact intonation (correct pitch on each string on all the frets from bottom to top) and of course string height becomes far more essential. Slide guitar building is -way- less acute and calls for far less precision.

You can consider a search at cigarboxnation.com and general web searching for ideas, photos and video clips galore on these ideas and much, much more.

Creating, learning is a beautiful gift. Give thought and a bit of time and you may even surprise yourself!

As always, thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn

Love of Nature: and People

I suppose one can simply do as one chooses in life, but a most-deep anchor from the day I first came to saving faith in Jesus has been not only to trust His mercy and grace for my many blunders (then and to this very moment!) but also to seek God’s will for me, best as I could/can discern it.

In other words, I don’t walk around self-condemned or tied in knots trying to decide if every. single. tiny. move. I make is being led by the Spirit. That sort of thing may call for mental/emotional evaluation if not checked. Again- GRACE is given regardless.

And yet I would be lying and chopping a large piece out of my heart if I did not admit to loving nature, the country, woods and rivers, streams and small ponds!

Here I sit typing on one of many computers rescued from a landfill due to the Linux operating system, surrounded by all varieties of my diy single, double and triple-string guitars -and in a Chicago inner city neighborhood.

Trust me, this is not winter “cabin fever” here, I ALWAYS love rural and with zero effort or particular burden think of sweet times in the woods past and future, out on the land.

Some have picked up on this and have even asked me how it is I also love the inner city and am so at peace living where I do.

I’m fully convinced it’s God’s will for myself, my wife and I, and until and unless He ever made it plain and clear He was calling me to do a (in my case extremely low-grade) Wendell Berry of sorts, urban-r-us is my calling, simple as that.

Flora, fauna, chainsaws, working with the earth, great quiet, immediacy and effect (when positive) of weather and a simple, slower and different pace are part of my soul from growing up in rural farm country in my earliest years.

What I refuse to do is “write my own script” for living.

The balance of visiting such places of retreat when I believe times are right, that’s also a gift I am deeply grateful for!

Today I read poetry (Denise Levertov) and was again reminded how dear nature is to me.

People are dearer and there are many in need I hope to encourage wherever I am. Lots of people in cities 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Job Chapter Six -And Healing Change

As I post this link to a very short devotional written by a fellow Christ-follower I can already hear in my mind a long list of not-entirely-irrelevant negative responses. From “simplistic” to “these are just words that are not helpful” to judgment re. the other links, ads or possible (in the mind of the reader) “arrggghhh… this whole website is a waste” viewpoints it can be easy to just not read and pray through the actual post.

Then there’s “you obviously haven’t experienced the pain I have Sis!” which may or may not be true of you and/or Crystal. Even the issue of Job being considered fully allegorical (fictional, there was no real dude named Job, this is a story to put across various messages, and many of those I/we judge useless in the face of deep pain, lament and grief) and more. I get all that believe me. Or don’t, your choice of course.

I suggest her specifics in the devo are an entry. You don’t get anywhere without a place of entry and I think her summation is spot-on as can be.

What is also our choice is whether to grow in relationship with Father/Son/Spirit and other flawed human beings (as we each are) or to carry, possibly self-nurture the pain in a way like, perhaps clothes we put on daily, sleep in, cannot seem to discard for a fresh set. Psychiatrists and psychologists often refer to that as “being stuck”, “in a loop”.

I personally believe this simple short word is exactly what many seek to avoid and thus do themselves more harm than good. And no, this isn’t directed to any specific person because the issues at core are rather universal in and outside the churches. How would I know that?! HA, you don’t live this long and travel this wide hearing what I’ve heard and -not- experience it, both personally and via other’s narratives, be they true, false or a mix.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

daughtersofthecreator.com/when-friends-forsake

Cozy Winter- But There’s More

I must admit that growing up in the country and especially in the upper Midwest of the United States gave me a perspective on winter, blizzards and the beauty in snowy nights.

As poor as my family was there was winter fun, Dad’s big old Buick with a huge rope tied to the trailer hitch and onto a massive, heavy toboggan with old iron runners underneath, my older sister and brother and I screaming as he drove around thick, icefilled lakes near our home. He’d swing a bit left, then right and so forth so we’d be sliding around with snow and bits of ice flying up.

It didn’t matter because we were all dressed with thick layers of clothes, snowboots and mittens, scarves and the rest, hats pulled down over our ears.

For many homeless people in such climates in the world it’s a very different story indeed -and I’m all too well aware of this 😦

Tonight I again give thanks to God for a warm house, working computers, web service, sitting drinking hot tea and looking out the window at the very cold, snow-filled night.

In fact I just finished looking at a bunch of online photos of Illinois woods, rivers and rural places taken in wintertime. Beautiful -when you’re well fed, warmly dressed, taken care of in a heated house.

When I’m done typing this I’ll fill our bathtub with water hot as I can stand and lie up to my chin in it for half an our or more reading devotional material on one of my Kindle tablets.

This is life even for people -relatively- poor in the “first” world. I’m aware of this. That awareness is what keeps me praying, visiting jails, prisons, writing songs, speaking and deeply grateful to be part of a fellowship who serve the poor, homeless and marginalized people in inner city Chicago.

It would be simple to merely enjoy the warm pleasures of life and ignore the struggles of those who work so hard just to survive for so many people in my city, county, state, nation and world. It would also be something I could not be at peace with knowing I could have helped but spent my life looking out the window or online and doing nothing more than sipping a wonderful hot drink rapt and wrapped only in my God-given blessings.

The inequalities, inequities and out-of-sight/out-of-mindness are in part what keep people cozy rather than sharing the grace God has indeed given us.

Paul writes to the Ephesian Christians “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.” (Eph. 4.28) How interesting that we often only think of those who have been consciously, actively stealing as thieves -as if there is no thievery when we withhold mercy, compassion, clean water, food, clothing, shelter, refuse grace and provision to the immigrant and fully neglect care and visiting the prisoner. I think all of us has something to share with those in need.

God help us do so.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Knowledge, Wisdom, Love?

Knowledge cannot be forced though of course it can be taught, discussed, graded, judged -but not forced upon a person. Wisdom (what to do with knowledge) is another and deeper layer that likewise cannot be forced though like knowledge often can be taught and learned. There are many, many ways, people, even nature itself (the natural world) as well as pain, struggle, study and etc. in various moments and repetition can indeed instill both knowledge and wisdom in a person -but again, a truly heart-embraced application of, and walk -in- such comes down to personal choice, a matter of the will.

I’ve been reading broadly on these topics for quite a long time and it does seem that one frustration of people is that “he/she/they/them don’t GET IT” when of course the same is true of each one of us on any number of issues, no?

This is where “the love that surpasses understanding” (Greek- “knowledge” in Eph.3, “understanding” inPhil. 4), understanding of course essential in any real, true knowledge as well as wisdom… brings something so crucial and so often missing to issues that we are just not willing to do a deep dive -regardless of the topic.

I do understand some will disagree with what I’m convinced is the reality of God, His love, and “love is patient, love is kind”, “make love your aim” and so much more of God’s Word to His people bring core.

Paul also writes regarding Jesus- “in whom are all the treasures of the wisdom and the knowledge hid”. -Colossians 2.3

Our reverence for others while we often maintain distance and lack of true reverence and focus on God: Father/Son/Spirit is a missing link that often puts us on a proverbial ice flow in a ocean of contrasting views, judgments and often trashes relationships.

No relationship of real integrity can be forced.

Neither can knowledge or wisdom -or sadly, relationship to God Who is the Source of them.

This is the fallen world we live in. How we choose to seek Him and love one another is a matter of each person’s choice.

May our choices increasingly reflect those of God best as we understand Him, His Word, His will.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

The Big Splash

Being “known”, fame, larger/ever-growing numbers as if math and popularity equals self-worth and value? NO.

A good quote that dealt with this was in my social media feed the other day and every so often I’m compelled to write about “the big splash” mentality because I’ve long been convinced it flies in the face of so much of what God says in His Word with regard to importance, His loving us, our loving Him and our neighbor as ourself.

Being somehow/somewhat (always inadequately) known -or perhaps more accurately known about… is in my view a waste of one’s thoughts, time and efforts.

Give what you can, spend, be spent, share, don’t fret if it seems few “dig your chili”, just offer what you have to offer and of course do it in love and without continual focus on how much popularity comes your way.

The “always bigger equals better” ethic is so deeply flawed but so universally accepted it seems anything small, not far-reaching, not considered major or in some way “winning” the popularity of a massive and growing group of people is just not all that important. Therefore the individual or small group is sometimes likewise considered unworthy of intrinsic worth.

From Genesis to Revelation the voice of God tells us it’s rather quite the opposite.

In essence, popular doesn’t equal valuable. It also doesn’t confer love, truth, grace, mercy, compassion or eternal reality as God Himself expresses and in fact defines these.

I’ve written lyrics that speak to these issues and one was included in the first truly professional record I was involved in:

Sometimes we don’t need more -we need deliverance from it.

Things to consider along the path?

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Perceptions or Reality?

Been thinking about this for the past couple of days. I fully agree and will explain why from several angles.

“Never let someone’s perception of you become your reality.” -Ezra Hendrickson

As a follower of Jesus in particular, from two very different sides of this important ethic is in my view, exceptionally solid.

First, we don’t typically or at least thoroughly know WHAT a person or group of them thinks of us. Sometimes we do of course, as they’ve been quite vocal about their perception, but often that’s just not the case at all, so we ourselves perceive what they perceive to be true about us whether in fact it is or is not. Could be our judgment of their judgment is fairly wrong, theirs’ of us is or a mix of both with a sliding scale on either end of the spectrum.

If your head doesn’t already hurt, the other side of this as I see it is that if we believe what either our close friends or actual enemies think and say about us we’re also likely leap-frogging reality -just as they likely are. Why?

Our friends who love us will typically think and interact with us in grace, understanding, tolerance and perhaps even God’s true love. Our enemies aren’t thinking or interacting with us (if they do at all) out of those things, therefore to believe we’re as righteous and holy as our friends think/say we are OR that we’re as dastardly, horrid and not-to-be trusted as our enemies believe again puts us in unreality-land. Our judgment, friends or enemies judgment are all likewise flawed because all of us ARE.

Here’s the deal:

LOVE “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Cor.13.7

If I truly love you I won’t be walking around demanding your praise and kisses nor will I beat myself up or live in condemnation if it seems you don’t like me.

To “believe all things” in context means (as Paul writes) living in faith not in ourselves but the Lord. He goes on to say ALL of us only have partial knowledge.

It’s incredible how much we think we know about another person and at times how much they are convinced they know about us as well. Partial means partial.

So to continue on a path of fretting over someone’s opinion of us especially when they don’t know us as God does -nor do we know ourselves as He does-, well it’s essentially a waste of time.

Some may perceive I’m holier than I am, others that I’m more of a wretch than I am. My sense of security and peace doesn’t come from anybody’s perceptions because that’s all they are, limited, flawed, partial perceptions rather than hard-core constant fact.

Two more important points in all this:

I meet people in jail and prison all the time who are perceived guilty though they’re innocent and others who say they’re innocent and are truly guilty, simply great liars and actors. The same is true for people in about any area of society by the way! What do I really KNOW about them??! Not much for the most part.

Lastly, let’s say you are exactly and authentically guilty (“for all have sinned” so all of us are).

Redemption means we can confess, repent and be changed… truly redeemed. This is so core to Jesus, His teachings, life, death on the cross and resurrection that it’s amazing more professing followers of Jesus don’t give “a snowball’s chance in hell” that those who actually ARE guilty could ever change and not be the people they have perceived them to be forever!

Thank God He not only offers the power and chance but Himself can and often does change us, our mindset, attitudes, perceptions and even that old “judge ’em, the bums!!” stuff so many (yes- you and I “Christian”) walk around think‌ing.

God doesn’t perceive anything that isn’t true as true, nor that falsehood is anything other than false.

Things to consider when our mind gets knotted up in what others think of us -and what we think about them.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

How Soon We Forget

When Jesus says “Remember” we ought to listen, ponder the context try to discern why He used that word. Now this, dear reader, will require some study on your part (and mine) as I haven’t spelled it all out in this very brief post.

Matthew 16.9- Do you not yet understand nor remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets you picked up?

Mark 8.18- HAVING EYES, DO YOU NOT SEE? AND HAVING EARS, DO YOU NOT HEAR? [CAPS = He is quoting the Old Testament] And do you not remember

Luke 16.25- But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.

Luke 17.32- Remember Lot’s wife.

John 15.20- Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you as well; if they followed My word, they will follow yours also.

John 16.4- But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. However, I did not say these things to you at the beginning, because I was with you.

Jesus quoted scripture as well as alluded to remembering in other spots in the four Gospels but if one only took the time to study the context and application of these six in our own life what a difference remembering could and would make for us and also the lives of those we “share” with, or “minister” to in serving them and our Lord!

A Bible study worth the time methinks!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn