• sonnyholmes

So, Harriet and I have been watching The Crown, the historical drama series about the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth and the royals of England. It's been an admixture of education, inspiration, comic relief, and memory. One scene has prodded me most. It was a quote by Princess Alice of Battenberg, the mother of Prince Phillip, husband of Queen Elizabeth. She was elderly and worn. She said---

There came a moment, around the time I turned 70, when it dawned on me I was no

longer a participant, rather a spectator---then it's just a matter of waiting and not

getting in the way.

Most of my baby boomer friends who have viewed The Crown remember and identify with that scripting. Being 70-ish in exponential times stretches and challenges us, our personal escort through a world changing fast---well, exponentially. Are we ready to be spectators cheering the world on from the stands?

Truthfully, I've never been much of a spectator. My personal achiever strength activated me in most life pursuits. Even more, there is this passion thing that keeps my personal fires burning. Most of the minister cohort will understand the passion ignited by our calling to ministry, God's guidance to redemptive service. Many years ago another Bible verse, what I refer to as my Passion Verse was printed, framed, and displayed on my office wall beside the Life Verse. It reflects my passion still today, the personal drive that keeps me in some measure of the participant category---

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your

might to another generation, your power to all those to come.

Psalm 71: 18, ESV

Hey boomer! Gen X'er! Millennial! Gen Z'er! What is your passion? Does it drive your life? Or, is it parked in a remote closet of your mind? It should be your motivating force as long as you live. Be passionate!!!

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  • sonnyholmes

OK, it's called a life verse. It is the Bible passage God gave me more than forty years ago when Harriet and I were struggling through some tough decisions about life, careers, and next chapters. Late one night there was one of those old movies on television, long before cable. A man had cancer and was wrestling with treatment options. In frustration one evening he reached into the bed-side table and extracted the Gideon Bible that was usually there then. He threw it open and put his finger down. He read Psalm 40: 1-3 in the King James Version---

I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet

upon a rock, and established my goings.3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth,

even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.

Honestly, I don't remember the outcome of the movie, the treatment plan the man and his family chose. What I do remember is how those verses answered the wavering uncertainty of our decision making process. Harriet and I agree that in that instant our Gracious God lifted us out of the horrible pit of indecision, the miry clay of hesitancy, and gave us the strength to answer what we have learned was God's call on our lives. It was a turning point we'll never regret.

Looking back, it reminds me that the human species always needs reliable truth to stand on when life currents are swift and faltering. Biblical truth places exclamation points when life's question marks leave us guessing. In his high priestly prayer Jesus said, "Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth" (John 17: 17, ESV). And, we all need something solid to stand on when the winds and currents are so unpredictable.

Those Bible verses have been hanging over my desk for forty years. They are my life verses. They steer me when the way is uncertain. A life verse or verses will give you that direction too. Ask God to reveal one to you. Now.

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  • sonnyholmes

Brevity is personal challenge. Keeping it short and sweet, whether in spoken or written words, is a stumbling block. It's one of the reasons this space has been inconsistent in recent months. There are hundreds of topics I'd like to examine and air out. But, who has the time or inclination to read volumes about them. Under the pressures of these times---you know, velocity, complexity and mobility---most of us can devote but a glance at the headlines, devotional readings, or material beyond our work or family duties. It's why most of us seeking to encourage others much learn the discipline of brevity.

Yesterday, a verse from Solomon's Proverbs gripped me---

Whoever restrains his word has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of


Proverbs 17: 27, ESV

So, I'm rethinking this word thing, the blog I've been posting for nearly ten years, and my other convictions about providing words of spiritual direction and support for those living in these fast times.

Still, don't expect any ten minute sermons.

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