ETERNAL INK +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The articles within this publication remain the copyrights of the authors. Any permission to reproduce any article, in any format, must be granted by the author. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Editor-in-Chief of Eternal Ink - Mary-Ellen Grisham - meggy88@... Administrative Editor - David Davis - fishercaster@... Devotions Editor - Annettee Budzban - ahrtwrites2u@... Features Editor - Carl Phillips - CarlPhil10@... Special Materials Editor - Ivie Bozeman - ivie@... Eternal Ink Web Site - www.eternal-ink.com ISSN#: 1528-9605 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Table of Contents 1) Mary-Ellen's Note 2) Devotion 3) Meditation of the Heart 4) Prayer Requests 5) Poetry 6) Eternal Ink Holiday Prose/Poetry Contest 7) Thoughtful Humor 8) Bible Study 9) En-Lightening Moments-Contemporary Prayer 10) Memorable Words/Closing Words ISSN#: 1528-9605 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 1) Mary-Ellen's Note "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8 (NIV) I can remember my mother's wry expression when she would say to my brother or me, "Is that really necessary?" Her practical, no nonsense criteria for evaluating our behavior was a source of time saving and humor for us all. If we really didn't need to do something, if it wasn't important or kind, then she felt we ought not to waste our effort. I think her practical advice was a good preparation for much of the Biblical wisdom about what ought to govern our thoughts, choices and actions. So many of our days could be improved by thinking and doing what is "true," "right," or "admirable." When we share thoughts and ideas with friends, rather than focusing on gossip or the unnecessary, we would find our relationships blooming with a consideration of that which is noble, pure, lovely, and praiseworthy. Anything of "good report" is a joy to share and will enhance rather than tear down a day or a relationship. So many people get "turned off" by "religious people" who are judgmental, critical, or self-righteous. If we can let our love light shine for Jesus, we will keep our thoughts and actions focused on the true and lovely. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 2) Devotion Gossip can slip from our mouths like a sly little fox... By Annettee Budzban Catch for us the little foxes, the little foxes, that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. ---Song of Songs 2:13 (NIV) Early one Sunday morning, I got out of bed and made my usual journey down the hallway to the kitchen. The sunlight beaming through the kitchen window caused me to walk over and take a peak at the beauty of the bright morning sun. I peered out the window above the sink, and gazed out to the far edge of the backyard, where I caught a glimpse of two beautiful red foxes. Each one stood on opposite sides of the swing-set; in their fixed positions they gave the appearance of a life-size set of bookends. "Come here, quickly!" I summoned my husband to take a look at the foxes before they disappeared from sight. Both of us stood in amazement as we stared at this unusual sight in our backyard that etched itself into our memories. A few days later during my Bible reading, I came to a passage of Scripture that was unfamiliar to me: "Catch for us the little foxes." Instantly, I thought about the two little foxes I had seen only a few days before. I was certain, however, those were not the foxes the Lord was cautioning me to catch. God wants us to see the things in our daily lives that ruin our relationship with Him. Things like the constant complaining and cutting remarks we make about others. They slip off of our tongue like a sly little fox. Although they appear harmless, they rip the other person to the depths of their soul, and drain us of the positive energy we need to stay happy. When the destructive force of gossip sneaks its way into our conversations at home, work, or church, it destroys our reputation with one another, and the good work God wants to do. We are cautioned each day to be alert and catch the many little foxes that can cause damage and destruction in our lives. A new way of living helps us to blossom and flourish into the person God wants us to be. (c)2004 Annettee Budzban ahrtwrites2u@... +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 3) Meditation of the Heart AN EARLY MORNING STROLL By Ivie Bozeman No time of the day can compare to the early morning walk, especially in October, when Indian summer is here. The air has a quality that cannot be duplicated. Nature is at her best at this time. The frustrations of the day have not yet begun. The only ones in a hurry are those on the way to work. Wildflowers, delightful to the eye, line the roadsides with gorgeous colors. My walk leads over a dam, holding back a lake, built by man, to enhance the subdivision. The water in the lake is quiet this time of morning, concealing the fact that lots of life dwells in its depths. Rows of new houses, some all ready inhabited, others still in the building process, line the sidewalks. The builders have left large green trees between the houses. In the areas where cement has been poured and flowerbeds formed, new trees, transplanted by the landscapers, stand. Crepe Myrtles, finished with bloom for the season, now have orange and yellow hues in their leaves. Dogwoods, now with golden leaves, along with maples, and Bradford pears, promise a riot of color shortly. Turning down a narrow trail on the side of the lake, I follow it as it curves. Grapevines here have already surrendered their green for brilliant fall yellows. Their abundant growth brushes my arm as I walk toward a bridge spanning a small stream coming out of the lake. It will later be called Sugar Creek. The bridge, with its wooden guardrails, looked normal enough until a glint of morning sun caught my attention. Between each rail was a spider web. Its beautiful pattern repeated itself in concentric circles reminding me of the designs my mother once created with her crochet hook. She used very small thread and a tiny hook to create the lovely lace effect. I recalled the numerous times she had attempted to teach me how to make the dainty lace, but my brain could not capture the techniques of her art. Now, this little spider, with few cognitive abilities, had created this lovely web. Scientists tell us spider silk is the strongest and most elastic material on earth. It has been written that Ghenghis Kahn used spider silk to weave armour for himself. I felt very humble as I stood there examining the lovely web. Drops of dew had caught in the web; and as the rising sun sent its rays of light against the drop of dew, it sparkled like a lovely diamond. My heart swelled with awe at the beauty created here. I stood, barely breathing, then I happened to see another movement further down in the web. There were insects trapped there, soon to be the spider's breakfast. When God created the balance in nature, this was a part of his plan. I thought of all the plants and animals we humans use for food, and then I slowly walked on. It was all a part of the Creator's plan. Further on down, the road curves around the lake and I was headed back in the direction of my house. This group of houses had been built in a pecan grove. Almost every house had one or more pecan trees. October is the month these nuts fall. The squirrels were out having breakfast on the nuts the tree owners were hoping to harvest themselves. There was a conflict here between animal and human desires. In this case, the squirrels were the winners, because within the city limits, it is against the law to discharge a firearm. Nearer my house, I saw an armadillo in the road that had been killed by a car. Remembering all the holes he had dug in my yard and the bulbs he had eaten, I could not grieve for him. I'd had my meditation for the morning. I had seen God's intricate hands at work on my early stroll. The water, trees, wildflowers, spider webs, squirrels, armadillos and human desires for the same food as the squirrels, showed me conflict in the natural world. When God created the food chain, conflict came into being, but in his way, God created a balance in His world. I was reminded that God is the creator of all things and he provides for all his creations. There will always be a certain amount of conflict, but there will also be God's love for all, as he provides for his creations. He created the world and everything therein and wrapped it all up in a package that is awesome to behold. Genesis 1:31 "God looked at what he had done. All of it was very good! Evening came and then morning-that was the sixth day." (c)2004 Ivie Bozeman ivie@... +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 4) Prayer Requests Please pray for Rose Frye. She is a dear lady in her nineties who has multiple ulcers and blood problems. She was recently sent to the emergency ward and is making a slow recovery. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 5) Poetry Paths of Light By Mary-Ellen Grisham Along night's shadowed way, I see lights in the rain-- like God's guidance through trouble, I think with sober thoughtfulness. As the long beams from street lights shimmer wavelets in the water runs, light is scattered and reshaped; blurred geometrics ripple and shift, marked by raindrops making bright coins and divergences from the lightways. Yet the clear path to the radiant source remains-- though misted and distorted, a light track flows for following through the somber dark, a path to take us home. (c)2004 Mary-Ellen Grisham meggy88@... Potpourri By Mary-Ellen Grisham Dark red leaves with dregs of brown, loosened leaves come tumbling down; rusty wine slides down the hill-- tranquil fruition, serene and still. Leaf shadows wave in shifting design, covering clustered leaves with lacy lines. Floating clouds race to refine wispy nets for leaf design. Scampering squirrels smoothed by a gentle breeze find nuts and berries in the leaves-- Autumn's bountiful colored stew moistened lightly with evening dew. Burnished gold and scarlet hues paint the hills with sunset views. Deepening crimson blends into blue of night: God's creatures curl up 'til morning light. (c)2004 Mary-Ellen Grisham meggy88@... +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 6) Eternal Ink Holiday Prose/Poetry Contest, 2004 The following are the full requirements for entering the contest: SEASONAL POETRY - Christian poetry with Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's as a theme. Authors may submit three poems, no more than 40 lines each. The work should be original and be sent in the body of an email to meginrose@... Be sure to include a title, your name, your copyright, an email address, and a snail mail address. Please do not send poetry in attachments. Proofread your copy before sending please! SEASONAL DEVOTIONS OR MEDITATIONS - Christian prose based on the Bible or Biblical principles appropriate for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's. We are NOT accepting fictional stories. We are hoping to get some very fine holiday devotions and meditations.These, of course, may include personal experiences or true anecdotes but should be crafted so that personal materials illustrate Christian living and Bible truths. Length should be no longer than 500 words. Prose submissions should be original, and include title, your name, your copyright, email and snail mail addresses. Proofread your copy and do not send attachments please. Send submissions to this email: meginrose@... The deadline for submission to this contest is November 12, 2004. We will select a first, second, and third prize winner in both categories, and there will also be honorable mentions. All those who place in these categories will have their work printed in an edition of Eternal Ink and on the Eternal Ink website. Winning submissions may be considered for publication in an eventual anthology of best works. Prizes will include Christian books and materials. Authors retain the copyrights to their works. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 7) Thoughtful Humor IMPORTANT NOTICE The Maker of all human beings is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to the serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart. This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units. This defect has been technically termed, Sub-sequential Internal Non-morality," or more commonly known as "SIN" Some Symptoms: a] Loss of direction b] Lack of peace and joy c] Depression or confusion in the mental component d] Foul vocal emissions e] Selfish, violent behaviour f] Amnesia of origin g] Fearfulness h] Rebellion To correct this SIN defect, the Manufacturer, Who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory authorized repair and service free of charge. The Repair Technician, Jesus, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required. The number to call for repair in all areas is: P-R-A-Y-E-R Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, Jesus, into the heart component. No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Jesus will replace it with: a] Love b] Joy c] Peace d] Kindness e] Goodness f] Faithfulness g] Gentleness h] Patience I] Self-control Please see the operating manual, HOLY BIBLE, for further details on the use of these fixes. As an added upgrade, the Manufacturer has made available to all repaired units direct monitoring and assistance from the resident Maintenance Technician, the Holy SPIRIT. Repaired units need only make Him welcome and He will take up residence on the premises. WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit without making these corrections voids the Manufacturer's warranty, exposing the unit to many dangers and problems --- and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded. For free emergency service, call on JESUS. Thank you for your attention. If possible, please notify others of this important recall notice. Author unknown Submitted by Ivie Bozeman +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 8) Bible Study GOD'S COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM By CARL F. PHILLIPS The two things most men yearn for are family and home. In Genesis 15 God promised both of these to Abraham - descendants and land. The chapter appears to be based on a combination of the Yahwist and the Elohim documents. Two main sections of the chapter are obvious - verses 1-6, and verses 7-21. The first deals with progeny, the second with land. Genesis 15: 1-6 - After ((Abraham rescued Lot from his captors) the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." But Abram said, "O Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "You have given me no children, so a servant in my household will be my heir." Then the word of the Lord came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir." He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars - if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Abraham believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. Some translations read that God said, "I am your sovereign," instead of "I am your shield." At any rate, God is telling Abraham that He, God, is Abraham's King. One of the duties of a king in those days was to "shield" his subjects from harm. Although Abraham was a wealthy man, God also told him that He, God, was Abraham's greatest treasure - "your very great reward." Eliezer was a servant probably picked up by Abraham on his journey south from Haran. He was Abraham's "chief servant." Documents of the time discovered at Nuzi, near Kirkuk, on a stream that flows into the Tigris River, along with similar documents recovered from other areas around the Middle East, reveal that it was common practice for a childless man to adopt one of his own male servants to be his heir. This seems to be the action Abraham was contemplating - or perhaps he had already done so. There are more than 8,000 stars that can be seen with the naked eye on a dark night. The promise of offspring eventually came to fruition in Egypt. But, according to the Apostle Paul, all Christians are spiritual children of Abraham. Abraham, then, is the father of all believers. This passage records the first reference to Abraham's faith in God's promises. He believed God's promise of children. We can also infer from this that God, in His infinite grace, credits righteousness to all believers. Notice that God identified himself to Abraham in the passage above, as well as in the passage that begins with verse 7. Genesis 15:7 - He also said to him, "I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you thiis land to take possession of it." This follows the form of the covenants of the kings of that era - an introduction identifying the king, and then a brief prologue of what the king has already done for his people. Even though Abraham believed, he responded to the promise of heirs with a complaint - "You have given me no children." But he really expressed his doubts concerning the promise of land. He asked God a question that revealed his skepticism. Genesis 15:8 - But Abram said, "O Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?" Apparently he believed the promise of a son, but wanted a guarantee of some sort that he would possess the land. God responded to the complaint about heirs by repeating His promise: "A son coming from your own body will be your heir." Then he went on to try to make Abraham understand how many descendants he would eventually have - as many as there are stars in the sky. He also reiterated to Abraham the promise of land. Genesis 15 18-21 - On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates - the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites." The Hebrew word translated "made" in this passage is translated "cut" in Jeremiah. The covenant was sealed in the blood of slaughtered animals. The covenant was eventually filled when Joshua led the Israelites out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land. The "river of Egypt" referred to is not the Nile, but is probably the Wadi el-Arish in the northeastern Sinai peninsula. Notice that in connection with the promise of heirs, the expression "the word of the Lord came" is used twice. This is a typical formula used by prophets in telling people what the Lord has revealed to them in a vision. It is this turn of phrase that almost guarantees the inclusion of some material from the Elohim document in this chapter of Genesis. Before we condemn Abraham for his doubts we need to put ourselves in his shoes. Sarah was long past her menopause. But Abraham's virility had not left him, even in his old age. Children were still possible, perhaps with another woman if not with Sarah. But numerous other peoples, all no doubt prepared to defend themselves from invaders, occupied the land where God had led Abraham. It's easy to understand why Abraham might consider the taking of the land from its indigenous people an impossible task. But Abraham was thinking in human terms. He forgot, for the moment, that with God all things are possible. He even went so far as to tell God, in so many words, to prove it. God would eventually convince Abraham of the validity of the divine promise. The covenant procedure, in Abraham's day, was frightening in its implications. Carl Phillips -- Port Isabel, Texas Journalist/Columnist/Speaker Author, THE WESLEYAN WAY -- a weekly Church Page column Features Editor, ETERNAL INK -- http://www.eternal-ink.com/ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 9) En-Lightening Moments: A Contemporary Prayer The best prayer I have heard in a long time!!!! Heavenly Father, Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children. Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester. Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares. Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together. Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love. Author unknown submitted by Ivie Bozeman +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 10) Memorable Words/Closing Words "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4: 4-7 (NIV) This late summer, early fall season is certainly a time for rejoicing and enjoying God's beautiful earth. Our joy is doubled because we know the Lord is always with us, knowing our experiences, standing ready to help with our troubles. The peace that walking with Jesus brings is as golden as the lovely season through which we are now passing. 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