Truth or Modern “wisdom”

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.  There was Christmas and then my niece’s wedding.  That’s all behind us now, so here’s something new.

Someone at work sent me this email full of “wisdom” from the current Dalai Lama.  I started to delete it but then I decided to take each quote from him and compare it to a quote from the Bible that was related.  I found that in some cases what the current “wise” man says is similar to what the Bible teaches-but for a different reason, and in other cases, we as people of God are to do something completely different, and more radical. And most assuredly more eternal!

 (The words in blue are from the Holy Bible, various translations and transcriptions. Text in green is from various sources, bulleted text is from the original email.)

*************************************************************************************

  • Transforming the Mind – Teachings on Generating Compassion by the Dalai Lama
  • The whole point of transforming our heart and mind is to find happiness.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.   Romans 12:2 New King James Version (NKJV)

  • In order to reduce the power of negative emotion like anger or hatred, we need to encourage its antidote, which is love and compassion.
  • We have to develop love and compassion consciously in order to enhance their strength.

42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[bMatthew 5:42-44 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion,[a] but on God, who has mercy. Romans 9:14-16 English Standard Version (ESV)

  • Meditation

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Definition of MEDITATE: intransitive verb 1: to engage in contemplation or reflection 2: to engage in mental exercise (as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness – transitive verb 1: to focus one’s thoughts on : reflect on or ponder over 2: to plan or project in the mind : intend, purpose

Origin of MEDITATE Latin meditatus, past participle of meditari, frequentative of medēri to remedy —
First Known Use: 1560 Synonyms: chew over, cogitate, consider, contemplate, debate, deliberate, entertain, eye, kick around, ponder, mull (over), perpend, pore (over), question, revolve, ruminate, study, think (about or over), turn, weigh, wrestle (with)

  • (in meditation) We choose a particular object, and then we train our minds by developing our ability to remain focused on the object.

From Equip.org — CHRISTIAN MEDITATION- Meditation the Christian Way
Now, we have to be careful not to write off meditation itself simply because it’s practiced by Eastern mystics. Keep in mind that the Bible in no uncertain terms encourages us to meditate on God’s law day and night (Josh. 1:8)! However, biblical meditation doesn’t involve looking within ourselves or emptying our minds for selfish reasons. Rather, it urges believers to contemplate and deeply reflect God’s Person and faithfulness — not only that, it also calls us to look to His Word (Psa. 119), and His creation (Psa. 19, 104). In fact, Christian meditation calls us to look upward and outward to God so that our minds may be filled with godly wisdom and insight, and so that our hearts may be filled with comfort, happiness, and joy. To echo the opening words of the Book of Psalms: “Blessed is the man…[whose] delight is in the law of the Lord, who meditates on his law day and night.” (Psa. 1:1-2 NIV). And remember, there is a quantum difference between getting into the Word of God and getting the Word into you — so let me encourage you to hide God’s Word in your heart. 
 

  • So, through meditation, what we can achieve is the ability to place our minds and to focus our attention on any given object.

Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Psalm 119:96-98

  • Buddhist texts speak of four principle obstacles that one must overcome for meditation to be successful.  The first is mental scattering or distraction, which arises at the coarse level of mind and refers to the tendency for our thoughts to be scattered.

But you are doing away with the fear of God and hindering meditation before God. Job 15:3-5

  • The second obstacle is dullness and drowsiness, or the tendency to fall asleep.

If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. Mark 13:35-37

  • The third is mental laxity, which means that our mind is unable to retain sharpness and clarity.

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” Genesis 28:16

  • Finally, at a more subtle level, there is mental excitement, or agitation, which stems from the fluctuating, changeable nature of our mind.

22 But the fruit of the (Holy) Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 New King James Version (NKJV)

  • Mental Laxity:  “Whenever this happens we need to find a way of lifting our spirits, and one of the best ways of doing this is to cultivate a sense of joyfulness by reflecting on our achievements, or on the positive aspects of life, and so forth.  This is the chief antidote for laxity.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:9-11

  • Buddhism rejects the notion of an eternal unchanging soul.

And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:45-46

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:22-23

in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began Titus 1:1-3

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5:12-14

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

  • 4 False Views (according to the Dalai Lama)
  • The first is to view things and events which are in reality impermanent and transient, as eternal, permanent and unchanging.

Later as he (Jesus) was sitting on Mount Olives, his disciples approached and asked him, “Tell us, when are these things going to happen? What will be the sign of your coming, that the time’s up?” 4-8 Jesus said, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities, claiming, ‘I am Christ, the Messiah.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When reports come in of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history; this is no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Famines and earthquakes will occur in various places. This is nothing compared to what is coming. 9-10 “They are going to throw you to the wolves and kill you, everyone hating you because you carry my name. And then, going from bad to worse, it will be dog-eat-dog, everyone at each other’s throat, everyone hating each other. 11-12 “In the confusion, lying preachers will come forward and deceive a lot of people. For many others, the overwhelming spread of evil will do them in—nothing left of their love but a mound of ashes. 13-14 “Staying with it—that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved. All during this time, the good news—the Message of the kingdom—will be preached all over the world, a witness staked out in every country. And then the end will come.  Matthew 24:3-35  The Message (MSG)

  • The second is to view things and events which are actually sources of dissatisfaction and suffering as pleasurable and as true sources of happiness.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:17-19

I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, Colossians 1:23-25

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8

  • The third false view is that we often tend to apprehend as pure and desirable things which are in reality impure.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. James 3:17

To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. Titus 1:15

Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

  • And the fourth false view is our tendency to project a notion of real existence upon events and things which in reality lack any such autonomy.

My dear children, you come from God and belong to God. You have already won a big victory over those false teachers, for the Spirit in you is far stronger than anything in the world. These people belong to the Christ-denying world. They talk the world’s language and the world eats it up. But we come from God and belong to God. Anyone who knows God understands us and listens. The person who has nothing to do with God will, of course, not listen to us. This is another test for telling the Spirit of Truth from the spirit of deception. 1 John 4:4-6

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3

  • …both happiness and suffering are subject to change and are impermanent.

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Psalm 126:5

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4

To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 2:26

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10

But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-14

  • …there is a fundamental disparity between our perception of the world and ourselves, and the way things actually are.  Things do not exist in the manner in which we tend to believe that they do, as an independent, objective reality out there.

“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.” John 3:19-21

My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. 1 John 3:18

My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion. And how bold and free we then become in his presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he’s listening. And if we’re confident that he’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked for is as good as ours. 1 John 5:13-15

Grandma’s Bedtime Songs

Spoiled I am.  I grew up with my Grandma. Anyone who has done this knows what I mean. They are right, those tacky signs that say “If mom says no, ask Grandma.”  She lived with us and spoiled my sister and me at every opportunity.  It was blissful!

One of my favorite memories of her spoiling is the time that she spent getting us to go to sleep every night.  Daddy had always put us to bed with stories and silly songs and one verse of “In the Garden”.  To this day I can’t sing that hymn without being a little teary over Daddy.  But, once Grandma Irbie moved in with us, SHE had to sing us to sleep after Daddy did. Talk about finding any excuse to stay up later!
She sang us “Wonderful Words of Life” and “Showers of Blessings”.  She knew lots of hymns and silly songs too. One of the silly ones was about a farmer who planted buttons but all he got was a ‘row of buttonholes!’  Can’t remember the exact words or the tune. I’ve never found that song anywhere, maybe she made it up.
After she sang to us, if we still were awake, she would tell us stories about our mom as a little girl or even stories of her own childhood. She was born in 1899, so she told us about a time long gone, but ever so enticing. We learned about her mamma’s chickens, and how the cows went down the street by themselves to the field and when it was dark they came home by themselves too. We learned about the times during both world wars, the Great Depression, and the Fifties.
I think I’ve mentioned before that Grandma was a school teacher. That meant that, even with all the spoiling, we were expected to do our homework well, and she checked it every time. She helped with spelling, was a task master with multiplication tables, and when we started studying history and government, she was more than happy to teach us all she could. Those 2 subjects were her special favorites. She was very interested in politics, read all she could about it and listened to the radio news all the time to learn more.
From the cooking and handcrafts, and school work, to the singing and cuddling and fun, living with her in our home was always interesting, she added so much. And as we grew up, she was more than a grandmother, she was our friend.
Here are the words, do you know this one?
1.	Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life; 
	let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life; 
	words of life and beauty teach me faith and duty. 
Refrain: 
	Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life. 
	Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life. 

2.	Christ, the blessed one, gives to all wonderful words of life; 
	sinner, list to the loving call, wonderful words of life; 
	all so freely given, wooing us to heaven. 
	(Refrain) 

3.	Sweetly echo the gospel call, wonderful words of life; 
	offer pardon and peace to all, wonderful words of life; 
	Jesus, only Savior, sanctify forever. 
	(Refrain)
Here is another of my collection of Grandma Irbie’s quilt fabrics.  Isn’t it fun?

Life is like a grilled cheese sandwich

Sometimes food can make you think!  In our family, especially if the whole group is together, lots of times while we eat, we also talk about food. Food that we’ve had in the past, foods that we like the best, foods we would like to prepare. All of us enjoy cooking, experimenting with ingredients and feeding others.  A foodie family we are!

And in the face of that description, I’ve found that sometimes the simplest foods can have the most impact, and can really make you think!  Consider the humble grilled cheese sandwich.

One evening, as I ate my delicious grilled cheese sandwich, it came to me that our commitment to Christ is either like the wheat; or the milk the cheese and butter are made out of.  The wheat plant gives its life to become the flour that makes my whole wheat bread.  Its sacrifice is total. There is no going back, no refill of its life. Once it is harvested its life is over, and it begins a new life, as bread.

The milk that the cheese and butter are made from comes from a totally different kind of giving.  The cow is able to make more milk, over and over, day after day.  So while the cow is giving, she is not sacrificing.  She is giving from her abundance, in fact, not to give the milk hurts the cow.  She is getting rid of something she cannot use. We can use the milk, her calf can use it, but not the cow herself.

So, what is your commitment like? Are you wheat, giving your life to follow the Lord? Or are you a cow, just giving when you have to, out of something you don’t really need?  It matters.  Jesus taught his disciples (and if you follow Him, you are a disciple, it’s not just the name of a group of folks 2000 years ago) that their commitment to Him needed to be complete. Total. The entire you. Examine your relationship with Jesus. Become wheat.

Mark 8:35(NKJV)35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

More about my Grandma

My Grandma was my friend.  She lived with us from the time I was about 10 and I was with her as much as possible. She taught me to cook, to sew, to embroider. She tried her best to teach me the multiplication tables, but that was pretty hopeless.

Irbie Elizabeth Garner Callis – Grandma extraordinaire! She came to live with us after “Pa” died and life was always better with her there.  She was a teacher in an earlier life, vastly well-read, truly interested in politics and the government.  She was an artist, cook, clothing and hat designer, and gardener. 

Here is a photo of Grandma with her new husband on their honeymoon in the 20’s.

  Of her earlier life, I have bits and pieces.  Of the time I spent with her there is a wealth of stories and memorabilia. That’s what I can write about, because it is what makes me, me.

When she came to live with us, my grandfather, “Pa” had recently passed away.  Grandma Irbie had reached the conclusion that she couldn’t live in their big house alone.  My parents had built a large home in what was then the “country”. (Now a busy section with a shopping mall where the dairy farm used to be. Sigh!)  We added on a bedroom upstairs for her, and while it was being built she stayed in my bedroom and I moved to a smaller room that had been for storage.  It took the summer to build the upstairs addition, and when it was finished it was the biggest, nicest room anyone could want.  I got my old room back, but to tell the truth, I spent more time in hers than I ever did in mine!

Once she was settled in, Grandma Irbie started to make herself part of the family.  My dad’s mom, Grandma Bessie, live with us as well, part of the time.  They worked in the yard together, each with their gardens of heirloom flowers.  Bessie had roses and daffodils, Irbie, iris and peonies and more roses.  Grandma Irbie had brought her yard with her when she moved. Daddy had spent lots of weekends digging up her flowers and bulbs and moving them to our house.  She also had an old concrete trough that had been a watering trough for cows. He moved that to our backyard and made a goldfish pond of it. 

Grandma also became our chief cook! Mom worked and so it was nice to have Grandma to fix dinner.  She could cook anything!  She taught me how to cook, and my specialty was Christmas cookies!  (I tell people that when I got married, I could make cookies and watermelon pickle. Anything else my husband wanted I had to make a quick phone call home to ask how.)  We went fruit picking in the summer, peaches and strawberries, and she canned and preserved and pickled everything that was fresh.  Her fried chicken was unbeatable, and oh!, spoon bread and shortcakes and rolls, so light and fluffy. I’ve learned to make them since, but mine are never the same. Here’s a collage that I made of her cooking pickles. I call it “Comfort Food” because those are 2 of the main things I associate with my Grandma.  She taught me to be a foodie and comfort is what I take from knowing her.

collage by carroll sawyer

Influences from the past

My grandmother was a seamstress and hat designer from the 40’s on through the 70’s.  She never threw leftover fabric or trims away. So when she passed away I inherited not only her love of sewing and design, but also stacks and bags and boxes of fabric pieces, hat decorations and paper patterns from almost every era of the 20th century.  I just kept them for years as a memory of her, making this and that. Then I got a scanner for Christmas!  I discovered that I could scan the pieces and print them out for art projects. THEN, I discovered digital scrapping and realized I could use the fabric and embellishments in a whole new way. Grandma would be amazed!

There are so many pieces and I could never use them all myself. So occasionally I’m going to post an image here.  If you can use it, please do. ****Just remember, the fabric pieces are old, I don’t know who made the fabric or the designs, so please only use them for your personal stuff!!****

This piece was a dress that Grandma used to wear.  She made it and used the scraps in one of her many quilts.

Lessons Learned

I’ve been keeping a journal, sort of, for years. And since I’m learning how to “do” a blog, I think that I’ll be easy on myself and start with this. It’s been sitting around for a while!

——————————————————————————————————

Learned it from my dog
I was sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast one morning recently, with Bandit, our little Jack Russell Terrier, staring up at me watching every bite that went to my mouth. We’ve had him a couple of years now, and he has definitely taught us a few things. How to share the double recliner, share meals, share the front seat of the car, share your breakfast, you get the idea. And as we sat there, eating breakfast (he gets a bite every now and then) it dawned on me that there was something more I could learn from him. I could learn about the way my relationship with God should be. No, really!
It came to me that the relationship my dog has with me is very similar to the one I SHOULD have with God. Let me try to explain.

Waiting
To start with, there is the waiting at meal time. That little dog comes in the kitchen at the first rattle of a pan, eager to see what we will be eating. Now, of course there is a bowl of dog chow right there for him all the time, but he knows there is something better coming, he just has to wait. And that waiting is the hardest thing he has to do! He is so eager, so filled with anticipation. He sniffs and stands on his hind legs to try to see better (he’s pretty short), and wags that tail non-stop, hoping I’ll let him do a “taste-test”.

Now, I’m starting to see it this way. Shouldn’t I wait in anticipation like that to be fed by God? I know there is something better to come, I know I have to wait. But I get impatient, I get tired of waiting, I get bored. In the kitchen , I keep creating a meal, whether Bandit is watching or not, but I enjoy his company. The heavenly Father keeps on working in my life whether I am waiting, bored, or tired. Even if I wander out of the room, He keeps working, and the good things that he is preparing will be ready for me, whenever I return.

After the meal is prepared and we sit down to eat, Bandit is right there. He goes back and forth between us, or sits by one of us, waiting for the good food to come down to him. That bowl of dog chow is still there, and he will eat it eventually. But he knows that if he pays close attention to us, we will reward him with something delicious. He’s especially fond of carrots, and spaghetti noodles. Oh, and beef stew, his absolute favorite!

Mark 7:24-30 ( KJV ) 24And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.  25For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:  26The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.  27But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.  28And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.  29And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.  30And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.

Again, he waits, he’s eager, he knows good things will come. I want to be that way with God. I want to be eager, anticipating goodness in my relationship with Him. I have things nearby that could satisfy me in some way, but I know that what is coming down from the “table above” is going to be SO much better. Blessings and knowledge, and love and my favorite, grace.

Well, there you have it.  I hope that you will enjoy this as well as, just maybe, take something away from it.  Let me know!

Hello!

My first post!  I am really starting this blog…to learn how to do it!  You can read blogs and about them, but until you try to do it yourself you don’t learn much!  So here I go, old dog learning a new trick…hopefully.