Sunday, January 24, 2010

For the Glory of God

I was going through some old notes and came upon this quote that I copied out of a vegetarian book.  I felt very convicted (in a good way) by it.  I thought you ladies might like to read it as well. 

FOR THE GLORY OF GOD

     Only one lease of life is granted us; and the inquiry with every one should be, "How can I invest my powers so that they may yeild the greatest profit?  How can I do most for the glory of God and the benefit of my fellow men?"  For life is valuable only as it is used for the attainment of these ends. 

     Our first duty toward God and our fellow beings is that of self-development.  Every faculty with which the Creator has endowed us should be cultivated to the highest degree of perfection, that we may be able to do the greatest amount of good of which we are capable.  Hence that time is spent to good account which is used in the establishment and preservation of physical and mental health.  We  cannot afford to dwarf or cripple any function of body or mind.   As surely as we do this, we must suffer the consequences. 

     Every man has the opportunity, to a great extent, of making himself whatever he chooses to be.  The blessings of this life, and also of the immortal state, are within his reach.  He may build up a character of solid worth, gaiing new strength at every step.  He may advance daily in knowledge and wisdom, conscious of new delights as he progresses, adding virtue to virtue, grace to grace.  His faculties will improve by use; the more wisdom he gains, the greater will be his capacity for acquiring.  His intelligence, knowledge, and virtue will thus develop into greater strength and more perfect symmetry.

     On the other hand, he may allow his powers to rust out for want of use, or to be perverted through evil habits, lack of self-control, or moral and religious stamina.  His course then tends downward; he is disobedient to the law of God and to the laws of health.  Appetite conquers him; inclination carries him away.  It is easier for him to allow the powers of evil, which are always active, to drag him backward, than to struggle against them, and go forward.  Dissipation, disease, and death follow.  This is the history of many lives that might have been useful in the cause of God and humanity.

     The living organism is God's property.  It belongs to Him by creation and by redemption; and by a misuse of any of our powers we rob God of the honor due to Him. 

E.G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, pp. 15, 16

Saturday, January 16, 2010

God and Nature

God’s providence embraces the whole universe.… By contemplating the beauty and use of each thing, (one who has acquired the habit of detachment) is filled with love for the Creator. He surveys all visible things: the sky, the sun, moon, stars and clouds, rain, snow and hail … thunder, lightning, the winds and breezes and the way they change, the seasons, the years…; the fourlegged animals, the wild beasts and animals and reptiles, all the birds, the springs and rivers, the many varieties of plants and herbs, both wild and cultivated. He sees in all things the order, the equilibrium, the proportion, the beauty, the rhythm, the union, the harmony, the usefulness, the variety, the motion, the colors, the shapes, the reversion of things to their source, permanence in the midst of corruption. Contemplating thus all created realities, he is filled with wonder.

Peter of Damascus (ca. 1027-1107)

Christians on Nature

The Sermon of all Creation: Christians on Nature, is a beautifully illustrated book of inspirational quotes taken from the writings and sayings of Christian sages of all denominations. It will be available in Spring/Summer 2005 by World Wisdom, and was edited and designed by Michael Oren Fitzgerald and Judith Fitzgerald
The following is excerpted from the foreword of the book by John Chryssavgis:

It may be tempting, though surely misleading, to imagine the current environmental crisis as a recent phenomenon. Human beings have from the outset ignored the “voice” of creation, selfishly shutting themselves off from the breadth and depth of the mystery of the universe that declares the wonder of God. Such is perhaps the root of our original sin: not a transgression against some invisible “principle,” but the rupture of the primal connection between ourselves, our world, and our God. How unfortunate it is that we have reduced the concept of sin to individual guilt, while overlooking the social and cosmological implications of sin, whereby division and brokenness are introduced into the world, barring us from discerning God in all things and all things in God.

...Yet, there is indeed something unique about our age inasmuch as, perhaps for the first time in human history, we are in a position to choose the direction of our world. Based on knowledge achieved and experience gained, we are able to embrace attitudes and espouse choices that will immediately affect and impact our world as well as the world that our children will inherit. The decisions and actions of former generations and eras were, at least to a degree, determined by nature or by culture…

Where we are personally challenged for change is where daily life translates into environmental ethics. It is where life, spirituality, and politics coincide. The voice of creation is eloquent and clear. The choice is ours.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What Right Do We Have

I am filled with anger and frustration right now with myself and with the world in general, at least the affluent part of the world.  What right do I have to worry about what I am going to eat when others like the people in Haiti are beginning to starve?  What right do I have to sit in a nice warm home filled with "stuff" when there are so many suffering people in the world?  Why was I chosen to live in such "luxury"?  We talk of recycling, and reusing when there are so many people in the world who would be happy to own the recycling, who would be happy to eat my compost material, and so on?  We are so spoiled, sitting here in front of our computers on our comfy chairs, eating, drinking, going whereever we want!  How can this be? 

I am also filled with sadness as I have recently watched two movies about the Native American People.  One is called, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.  I am overwhelmed with the atrocities of how the native people were treated.  I am not saying it is all one-sided and that the whites were totally to blaim, but I do feel that the whole thing was a huge mess and not handled very well at all.  I often wonder what it would have been like to live back in the days before the Europeans came.  I would not want to be without God, but I wonder what that way of life would have been like. 

"Our white relatives say the Indian is stoic.  This is not necessarily true.  We just wait to see the true person.  Given time, he will show his true self, so we wait and time will provide the proof."  Phil Lane, Lakota Leader

"O Great Spirit, who made all races, look kindly upon the whole human family, and take away the arrogance and hatred which seperates us from our brothers."  Cherokee Prayer

"The old Lakota was wise.  He knew that man's heart away from nature becomes hard."  Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

"Do no wrong nor hate your neighbor, for it is not he that your wrong; you wrong yourself."  Shawnee Chant, American Indian

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

on eating local

"If the government does not propose to protect the lives, livelihoods, and
freedoms of its people, then the people must think about protecting themselves.
How are they to protect themselves? There seems, really, to be only one way, and
that is to develop and put into practice the idea of a local economy - something
that growing numbers of people are now doing. For several good reasons, they are
beginning with the idea of a local food economy. People are trying to find ways
to shorten the distance between producers and consumers, to make the connections
between the two more direct, and to make this local economic activity a benefit
to the local community. They are trying to learn to use the consumer economies
of local towns and cities to preserve the livelihoods of local farm families and
farm communities. They want to use the local economy to give consumers an
influence over the kind and quality of their food, and to preserve and enhance
the local landscapes ... Without prosperous local economies, the people have no
power and the land no voice."
-- Wendell Berry

The Idea of a Local Economy by Wendell Berry
http://www.relocalize.net/node/4770
Originally published in the Winter 2001 issue of Orion magazine

A beautiful sunny day

So it is a beautiful sunny, non windy day and I am inside sitting on the computer.  What is my problem?  Yes, I should get out there for a walk.  I am feeling a little under the weather though.  I know I said I like the wind but I have to admit that in the winter the wind can be really really cold and it blows right through you.  I get a chill pretty easy and so ya, I don't always go out when it is windy and cold.

Actually it has been sort of a strange season for me.  I have been trying to be more aware of the seasons and how I feel and looking at the way I eat or should be eating if I wanted to be more in tune with the seasons.  This past couple of months I have been very withdrawn physically.  There have been many cold snaps and yucky weather and since we homeschool I have had the luxury of choosing to stay home for many days in a row.  This is strange for me because I used to love to be on the go all of the time.  But I just felt like it was a time to slow down and reflect and learn and catch up on some reading, studying and watching some DVD's like the Waltons.  But today is a beautiful day and I am itching to get outside and so I will have to do that. 

I see the European ring-collared dove's, not native to North America are in my back yard again.  I first noticed them, oh, about a year or so ago and I could not find them in my bird book for the longest time because I thought they were a pigeon.  You can't find them in every bird book but I did finally find them in one of my books which explained how they escaped from an aviary in Central America I think it was. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Wind

Where I live, the wind blows like a regular hurricane.  I have heard people complain about it all of my life. I, on the other hand, love the wind.  The only time I really don't like it much is if is blowing for days and days at 100 km.  I find the wind to be soothing most of the time.  I can hardly sleep when it is too quiet, the wind soothes me to sleep.  It is cooling in the summer and brings chinooks in the winter.  It is a prairie wind, and the prairies are where I was born and raised, east of the Rockies.  I can't imagine living anywhere else.