Bigger boat for bigger teeth

shark-2317422_1920As I begin to compose this, I hear a raptor behind me.

No, I’m not imagining yet another Jurassic Park spin off.  In the pre-dawn hours here on my patio, there is an owl perhaps not less than fifteen feet in the trees at my back.  My dog, Buckley, seemed to be a tad unnerved by the sound.  I assured him he was too big to tempt the creature toward an attack, and I made some big human noise to assert my dominance and position as well.

This guy can have all the mice he wants, thank you very much; however, I have heard of owls carrying off smaller canines.  When it comes to enemies with teeth, to quote the old movie, Jaws, we gotta get a bigger boat.

Pardon the corny segway, but the disciples discovered a similar thing when they found themselves in a crowded and small vessel when a nasty storm blew in.  Thankfully, they had someone on board Who was bigger than the storm.  Interestingly, His being there didn’t prevent the storm, as in “oh wait a minute, there’s Jesus, let’s wait ‘til they all pass.”  (How convenient would that be?)   Jesus, did, however, have to assert His dominance in the situation to make it go according to His plan, rather than the storm’s plan.

Neither does Satan keep away merely because we bear Jesus’ name.  Sometimes that Name acts like a magnet!  Satan himself has some pretty big teeth, and he knows it:

“Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

Nevertheless, we are in a pretty sizable boat:

“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.  Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come.  God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.  And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.”

Which the writer (Paul) follows in the next chapter with:

“For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.”

Part of being united with Christ is learning how to, like Christ, assert His dominance in and through me when I see the enemy.  “Take up your cross and follow me” includes that part; that is, not only the sacrifice, but the proper use of the authority and power which was paid in full by His own cross.

I can spend a lifetime learning how to fish in that boat!

1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 1:19-23; Ephesians 2:6 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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More than Deet

mosquito-1465062_1920I’ve had one or two people comment on the “number of mosquitoes” in our immediate vicinity, such as my back yard.  Well, my patio is circumscribed by English Ivy, and the border to my next door neighbor to the south is a combo of flowering myrtle and forsythia amid an old sycamore.  Then I have a variety of flora embedded directly to my north which is shaded by one of two colorful maples.  In other words, I love trees and flowers.

So do the mosquitoes.  Continue reading “More than Deet”

What’s in a name?

arrow-964733_1920I was just visiting with my brother this past week.  He mentioned the show “American Pickers”, which I thought was maybe something about guitar and banjo players.  I mean, that’s what the name sounds like, right?

Wrong.  Evidently, the show is about people who find treasures in junk shops. 

Ahhhhh!!  A show after my own heart! Continue reading “What’s in a name?”

That elusive hummer

hummingbird-691483_1920I’m smiling as I write this watching a hummingbird perched on one of the feeders taking his sweet fill.  They fascinate me, and since I’m not an Audubon, I’m dependent on the research and experience of others how to attract these little guys.

Originally, I had spent a few dollars on the store-bought red stuff to put in the feeders.  That can rack up some funds over time—do you know how much these hummers eat?! Continue reading “That elusive hummer”

The Importance of Being Ernest

woman-565127_1920I love that title movie based on the play by Oscar Wilde.  It’s a screwball comedy about mixed up identities and a starry-eyed young heroine who finally figures out who’s who.  And she’s quite earnest about figuring out who Ernest really is. 

If you haven’t seen it, do.  Good fun.

But the point is well taken, the importance of proper identity, that is.  The age old, “who am I really” with the corollary, “what’s actually going on here?” Continue reading “The Importance of Being Ernest”

Still checking the sign

Just got in about 1AM Monday morning from our grandparenting trip to beautiful Sweden, and my eyes have been feeling the seven-hour time difference.  Our number two granddaughter has been referred to by her parents as “half cowboy” (our daughter being American) and “half Viking” (our son-in-law being Swedish).  No problem—we bought the pappa an authentic cowboy hat a few years back and the momma is getting used to finding rune-stones sticking up out of nowhere in the fields. Continue reading “Still checking the sign”

Just part of the routine

home-office-336377_1920We have a break in the heat and humidity from the late summer weather here in southern MO.  That means this morning the AC is off and the fresh early morning air is coming in through the open windows.  Then I have also gone through my typical routine: dog out—check, oatmeal in the microwave—check, hot tea made—check.  You know, all the things you kinda do on auto pilot.

Another one for me is: open the computer to email, not to check my email, but just in case daughter #3 calls in from Sweden.  #1 lives in California (two time zones away) and #2 lives in New York (one time zone away), and naturally I love talking with them just as much too.  But the baby of the family had to move SEVEN (count ‘em, 7!) time zones away, so communication is a little more challenging if you want some face time. Continue reading “Just part of the routine”

Check marks

ok-1976099_1280As I write this, it is almost 5AM and I’ve been up since 3:45AM.  It’s called jet lag.  I’m wide awake, made more permanent by the nice black tea I bought while in Sweden (seven time zones away), and might as well start my day while my brain and body make the adjustments.  My “to-go” list is as follows:

  • Laundry
  • Groceries
  • Weed-whacking
  • Bug spray
  • Rake the grass
  • Fix the carrier
  • Thank you note to ____

And I won’t bother to write the rest.  (I did get the yard mowed yesterday, as it was looking more in need of brush-hogging after being gone for two weeks.) Continue reading “Check marks”

Just another part of a healthy garden

gardener-3336148_1920It’s August, and we’ve finally gotten a little rain.  My lack of gardening prowess is showing of late.  Part of it is not my fault—the flowers look considerably scorched because I’ve reserved most of the watering for the edibles. 

Unfortunately, even the tomatoes and cukes are having a tough time, which IS my fault. 

Composting, planting, weeding—I’ve definitely increased my skill set over the years.  Pruning, however…not so much:

garden

Problematic on a few different levels, right?  Continue reading “Just another part of a healthy garden”

Pass me the brush

paint1It’s done!!  We were able to get the caution strip painted by the Daycare/Preschool’s new parking area BEFORE the doors opened on Monday morning.  We had already had a couple of people trip up on the overhanging lip to the sidewalk, so this really needed to be done.

Others in the church had helped lay the concrete.  They had also researched and provided what was needed for the paint job. I guess I was the erstwhile crew-chief for this part, so I got there early to sweep and tape, when another church member showed up to help.  As he started on one end and I on the other, I yelled down to him that I had never painted concrete before, so if he had any suggestions…

“Just start painting!”

Hmmm..I liked that.  Do the best you can with what you have and keep the main directive in mind, i.e., prevent injury with a warning stripe before the kids come on Monday. 

And we had some pretty good help, I want you to know!

Okay, so it wasn’t perfect, but it’s not like we were asked to do brain surgery.  There may need to be a few touch ups later.  But mission accomplished, and actually quite well, if I do say so myself!

Nehemiah also had a task that laid heavily on his heart—rebuild the protective wall around Jerusalem. Importantly, he also had a clear directive from God AND confirmation to match the weight of the task before him AND he had done his research, which was actually ongoing, as the narrative continues.  (Slightly more than painting a church caution strip.)

Once construction started, there was immediate backlash:

Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices?  Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap— and charred ones at that?”

I find this to be such a perfect picture of how our enemy, our truest enemy that is—Satan, reacts when we begin the task God has given us to do.  Note, however, it is (1) a directive from God, and (2) it has been confirmed to the level of the task’s weight, and (3) the pre-project research had been done (“counting the cost” and all that). 

Then I just have to start “painting”.  God is more than able to touch up a few strokes of misplaced color along the way.

Nehemiah 4:1,2 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.