Spiritual streakers

wood 2I never quite understood the whole streaking phenom from a few decades ago.  Chalk it up to cultural weirdness, although I’m sure the psychologists would have a few other differential diagnoses.  Or maybe it was just a fashion statement…?

Personally, I have three fashionista rules: cleanliness, comfort, and COVERAGE.  Really keen on that last one.

Anyway, here’s another one of those little obscure passages that leaves me scratching my noggin trying to figure out why God put it in the Bible.  This is right after Peter, James, and John kept falling asleep in the garden while Jesus was sweating blood praying about His imminent crucifixion.  Judas has now singled Jesus out, the guards have seized Him, and the rabble is Continue reading “Spiritual streakers”

I love my dirt

garden lastMy birthday is smack-dab (great vocabulary word, BTW) in the middle of Spring.  This past year, I asked for one thing.  Just one. 

Dirt. 

And lots of it.  I have been working on putting a new garden in, and since we live within the city limits, it’s not like on one of the nearby farms where you have dirt to spare (as well as other biologicals that enhance the soil, if you get my drift…) And to boot, the dirt in my yard is not particularly conducive to growing vegetables and such, which calls for a little more intentionality and strategy when putting in a garden, at least if I have high hopes of producing nutritious edibles. 

I let my desire be known to my husband and progeny.  I even held off buying dirt, hoping that the truck from one of our local home and garden stores was going to show up with bags and bags, but alas, it was not to be.  Bob did not consider “dirt” to be an appropriate birthday gift for his wife since, to him, it smacked of “work”….(sigh).

So I bought myself a gift—dirt.  Yes, I did.  Twenty 2-cubic-foot bags, in fact.  (That’ll teach ‘im, right?? Nah, probably not.)  And when it’s delivered, either from the store or

dirt
Happy birthday to me!!

in my old suburban, I hadn’t decided which yet, I would empty most or all of it into the new garden plot and “start to begin to commence” planting.

At least, that was the plan.

Of course, there are lots of other things that can be done with dirt.  Like playing in it, building mud pies and such.  It’s a bit messier than a sandbox, but quite do-able.  Naturally, cats and dogs find dirt most helpful also (as with sandboxes).  Worms also appreciate the dirt, which in turn makes the robins appreciate it also.

But that’s not why I’m spending a pretty penny (several thousand pennies, truth be known), on good soil.  The purpose of this birthday gift to myself is to grow things!

So why do we do we tend to have a similarly skewed attitude with the gifts that God gives us?

So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.”

Just a thought: whether it’s a bags of dirt, a new trowel or shovel, or fresh gloves, you don’t buy them to admire them, but to USE them for their intended purpose—to grow and produce, not to play around making a mess to simply get dirty. 

Although I certainly do enough of that in the process….

The wonderful gifts God gives us—relationships, talents, time, health, experiences, forgiveness, supernatural or natural—all are for the building and nourishing of His church.  Or as Bob likes to say, they’re tools, not toys.

So just a thought: what kind of steward are you with God’s gifts?  Best not to get your hands dirty unless you plan on getting some work done.

1 Corinthians 14:12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)  Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

A quick gardening project–HA!

garden lastOkay, I did it again.  Bit off more than I can chew, that is.  For years I’ve wanted some raised gardens in the one full sun spot of my little yard.  I’ve dreamed and planned…and waited. 

Until now. 

At this writing, it’s my school’s Spring Break (March), and since the city won’t allow burning off my leftover leaves due to overly dry conditions, I decided the time is right for this new plot.  (Does that mean Bob can blame the city for my over-zealous project?)

Did you know that railroad ties generally weigh around 200 pounds? Each? I have the aching muscles and bruises to prove it.  Of course, I’ve used railroad ties before, just not this many, and a little more “terra-forming” (as my husband puts it) was Continue reading “A quick gardening project–HA!”

A Christian Blogger’s Prayer

From Elihu’s Corner. Triple AMENs to this!

Elihu's Corner

image
Heavenly Father,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reach out to believers and non-believers through this medium.

Grant me wisdom to respond properly to those with whom I interact both here and in other places that you may be glorified.

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“Will you please just listen…?!?”

IMG_20150103_172451138I’m an old-fashioned XX and my husband is an old-fashioned XY, which is genetic code for female and male (exclusively).  After more than 35 years of matrimony, it is obvious that, as our chromosomes are not changing, neither are our styles of communication. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn NEW methods of getting our needs/desires/ideas across to each other, however.  Old dogs can still learn new tricks.  One of mine is that, since Bob reads my blog, I know he’ll see this one….and laugh out loud.  Well, I might laugh out loud; Bob will probably smile, maybe giggle.  You know, certain things just hit us differently, since we are different….v-e-r-y different.

Come to think of it, I could even use this moment to remind him that our anniversary is NEXT WEEK.

For years earlier on in our wedded bliss, I wanted him to send me flowers.  I think to him it just seemed like an impractical gift, especially given our precarious financial lifestyle at the time.  So one day, imagine my reaction when he brought to me a real live red rose!  I mean, a real LIVE rose, not cut…no, something I would need to take care of–on top of three small children in a tight married-student campus apartment, and a part time job as a nurse (night shift or weekends).  And what did I know about taking care of roses??!?

As always, it’s the thought that counts.

I’m at a better place now, communicatively speaking I mean.  How can I expect the poor man to have any idea what his companion is thinking without telling him?  The Y in his X doesn’t exactly give him telepathic powers (thankfully).  And, yes, he tends to have that typical “let’s fix it” mentality (again, quite practical) when I have a teary-eyed frustration or concern.

On that note, I received this from blogger Rusty Foerger at More Enigma Than Dogma.

(BWaH-hahahahaha!!!)  Message received LOUD AND CLEAR.  

Now, honestly, how many of us do this to God?  Right, here’s how I’m feeling, just listen (which God is really quite good at), but then when He gives us the solution, we choose to keep the nail in place instead.  DUH!

He does have specific strategies for our specific areas of concern.  He is not capricious, and He is not ambiguous.  And everything He does is out of love (even removing the nail, as painful as it may be at the time!)

  “He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.”

And, oh yeah, Happy Anniversary, Honey!  That is, almost.  Y’know, next Thursday.  Six days from now.  August 18th, 1979.  Flowers optional.  (Pssst…make sure you read the tags.)

Psalm 23:3  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.

A Little House

quillA great poem by Kathy Boecher at A Time To Share!  Not only does it speak to me because of my house (I’ll let the percolate in your imagination–even This Old House experts might be challenged here…) but mostly because of the redemption message that is deeply embedded yet thinly veiled for those who know the grace of our Lord Jesus.  And, as always, the fab painting is by her talented husband, Paul.  

red house

Original art painted plein air by Paul T. Boecher©

A LITTLE HOUSE

A little house stands all alone, no people left inside,

There once was life within that house and laughter did abide,

The windows are now boarded up, the grass is overgrown,

The roof is battered, walls need paint, some love needs to be sown,

A fixer upper, yes indeed, but still a strong foundation,

Where walls can once again be filled with strong determination.

KATHY BOECHER©.

Scrubbing toilets with a toothbrush

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Alright, parents.  Remember assigning duties to your children, like cleaning their room, doing their laundry, washing the dishes, et. al.?  I’ll admit, I wasn’t the most consistent at this one, but it is an important part of parenthood, regardless of the amount of grousing that can take place.  Cries of “Unfair!” can abound.  I mean, really, between cleaning the bathroom or mowing the lawn, I know which one I’d choose.  But the choice is made for them, and for good reason—no one should let the 6-year old mow the lawn and leave the 15-year old to pair up the clean socks. 

And yet…

Change direction (but not really).  Re: the continuing saga of the wandering Hebrews on their way to Canaan—the absolutely ornate meeting Continue reading “Scrubbing toilets with a toothbrush”

Equal Access Relief Room

Pastor Anthony is on his way to Africa for a bit of “down time”, (HA). This first little experience while en route but still in the USA was a new one on me!

The Recovering Legalist

Here I am in the terminal of the Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. As of this writing I still have an hour or two before boarding a 777 in route to Ethiopia, then Zimbabwe.

Please make sure to check out the guest posts which I’ve scheduled over the next week or so.

Now, the reason I’m writing this post while sitting in the airport is because I saw something I’ve never seen before.


I guess when men and women can use the bathroom of their choice, depending on how they identify at any given moment, I’m glad our animals now have a place to relieve themselves.

But what if, after all this travel, I feel DOG TIRED?

Just a thought. But how do you flush that hydrant?

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Fireworks optional

carpediemI will admit it here, I watch the TV show “Agent Carter”.  And what a heroine she is, flawed but keeps on swinging (literally) and the bad guys are just no match.  There is a part in a recent installment where the uncontainable “Zero Matter”, some ancient force that manifests itself as swirling black ink, infects one of the other good guys, but because it is so powerful an entity, the Zero Matter explodes through his body.  (No gore, since the guy is inexplicably okay, thanks to Hollywood…)

Not so in the real world of uncontainable forces; just ask Hiroshima, Japan.  I’m not a bomb expert, but I think there’s something about juxtaposing a few disagreeable components inside a metal container, and when the prescribed reaction takes place, the metal container no longer exists, at least in its original form. 

Uncontainable force is something the Israelites knew a little about also.

“The LORD said to Moses, “Warn your brother, Aaron, not to enter the Most Holy Place behind the inner curtain whenever he chooses; if he does, he will die. For the Ark’s cover— the place of atonement— is there, and I myself am present in the cloud above the atonement cover.”

Without racking up my word count on Old Testament types and shadows, suffice it to say the Bible is pretty clear that God is uncontainable.  So, in a sense, He is speaking metaphorically here, trying to get a point across on a level they can understand.  (He has to do that with me all the time.)  I used to think this had more to do with God being angry at our presumption upon His presence.  Now, however, I think the point He was trying to make had more to do with protection; i.e., humankind, in our fallen state, no longer had the capacity to “be” with this Definition of Life they called “Yahweh”. 

Too much life??  Yes.  Uncontainable Life, beyond our imagination.  Life that created the Universe.  Life that instills the human soul within the human womb.

There was a time when I lamented that I didn’t “feel” God enough, and His response was that if He allowed to me to “feel” Him fully, I would be flat on my face and no good for anybody.  Incapacitated.  Even in our redeemed state, on this side of eternity we are not capable to fully appreciate His presence; there is only One man who could:

For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ…”

I write this by way of encouragement for all my fellow “non-emotional” semi-introverts who bemoan a seeming lack of demonstrative response.  Our heart-passion for God is shown in the decisions of the will, not in the level of enthusiasm or the number of tears.

But then there’s Heaven….

 

Leviticus 16:2; Colossians 1:19  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.

Move over, Mac

wood 2Alright, all you techno-wizards.  I’m to a point in my experience (and it’s not the first time) when computer operating instructions seem to be in a different language.  I know the words are English, but somehow I’ve woken up in a parallel universe and the dictionary has changed. I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around this Mac Keynote program to upload a presentation to YouTube. Not just slides, but time-lapse clips and music.  Looks great on Keynote, but it rejects the upload when pushing the button marked “YouTube”.  (And, no, QuickTime cuts it off also….and iMovie is, well—that’s another story.)mrxfbpjymwiyy

I refuse to be an old dog who can’t learn new tricks.  I’m totally fine with the old dog part (especially considering the alternative), it’s the refusal to learn new tricks that’s rubbish.  These presentations mean a lot to me, so I dig my teeth in like an old pit bull and keep at it.  (Thankfully, Bob has also been locked in combat with his latest creation, doing much better than his wife I might add.)

Then, this morning I read this:

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment…”

This is more than mere problem-solving and trial-overcoming.  (And certainly much more than wrestling with a computer program that doesn’t do what it promises to do!)  It’s about producing a quality of personhood within me that will stand regardless of discouragements, diversions, and changes of direction.  And more importantly, it’s about a goal that is eternal, i.e., my intimate, ever-increasing relationship with God through Jesus Christ His Son. 

I was a bit amazed when, in my (very) limited study of church history, how many leaders of our faith went through periods of doubting their salvation, such as John Bunyan, Martin Luther, and John Wesley.  The important thing is that they persevered, pushing through questions and mental combat to pursue God’s promises and expose Satan’s lies.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the main agenda of the enemy is to drive a wedge of any kind between me and my Lord, to attack any confidence in the relationship.  (Took me a while to figure that one out.   Duh.)

Paul here says that it is through these struggles that our “confident hope” in salvation is hard wired into our souls.  This makes sense, because our spirits are already secured in Christ; it’s my soul (mind, thinking) that gets bogged down.  That’s still a mystery to me, but I’m becoming more and more comfortable with mystery when it comes to God’s way of doing things.

Much more comfortable than with the mystery of Keynote and YouTube, for sure

Romans 5:3-5 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.