A Lesson from Jeremiah

Wow! Wisdom in the Gateway to America! Thanks, Mike!!

New Hope for Dry Bones

Jeremiah was a bullfrog, at least according to Three Dog Night which were experts in the names of certain slimy creatures.  Jeremiah was also a prophet.  I don’t think the two are related but here is a short message I typed about the words of Jeremiah, prophet not frog, from seven years ago.

Jeremiah 2:13 says that we have done two evil things.  One is to prevent ourselves from enjoying Living Waters.  The other is to labor and build faulty cisterns that leak stale and stagnant water.  When I think of myself doing such things I must say that I am at times a very stupid man.

When Scott Wilson read this scripture on Sunday it spoke directly to me.  When I found God, it was evident I needed Him in my life.  So once I had a taste of what He could do for me, I set about trying…

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Let’s Hear It for Southpaws!

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Let’s face it, folks, left-handed people bear a burden, although I think it’s gotten better over the decades. According to that impeccable repository of information, (i.e., Wikipedia), approximately 10-percent of our society worldwide are southpaws.  Machines ranging from scissors to power saws were generally produced with right-handed people in mind, and in the past, even in education if a child showed a preference to his left hand, he would be “encouraged” to use his right instead.  Continue reading “Let’s Hear It for Southpaws!”

Pick up your mat and walk…where?

wood 2I don’t mean to be a cynic. In fact, most people who know me probably wouldn’t think of me that way, if they thought about me at all, which they probably rarely do anyway.

How’s that for cynical?

But no, that’s just realistic. 

C’mon, we all do it, see the world through our own eyes, at least to begin with.  What’s their angle and what’s in it for me.  Everything from Wall Street to Main Street to the garage sales on my street, we want the best bargain with the lowest possible personal sacrifice. 

Perhaps, such was the case of the man lying crippled for thirty-eight years by the Pool of Bethesda.  The treatment modality of the day had to do with waiting until an angel stirred the waters, and whoever got in first was healed.  (Not sure about the veracity of this method, no double blind studies back then, but hey…)

Jesus shows up and we listen in on the conversation:

“When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, ‘Would you like to get well?’”

I love how Jesus (a) doesn’t assume what the person wants, and (b) requires the person to verbally identify what it is they desire of Him. 

“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”

So, in reference to (b) above, notice that the man merely makes an excuse for why he must stay infirmed, not what he actually desires.  Hmmmm….

Undeterred, his Creator makes the decision for him:

“Jesus told him, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!’”

“Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, so the Jewish leaders objected.”

(So what else is new?)

“They said to the man who was cured, ‘You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!’”

“But he replied, ‘The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”

“Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded.

“The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, ‘Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.’” 

Initially, one would think this man, being in the Temple, was worshipping God for his healing. That’s a possibility, maybe.  However, we have lots of folks going into church buildings for reasons other than God in our century also.  I’ll leave it at that, because after Jesus’ injunction about changing his lifestyle, this guy seems to have second thoughts, as in, “Wait, you mean there are some moral ramifications???”  

“Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.”

This man was no dummy.  Don’t think for a minute that there wasn’t plenty of time sitting around that pool to hear loads of town gossip about Jesus and the Jewish leaders.  I don’t mean to impugn someone’s motives who isn’t here to defend himself, but…

“So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules.”

Blessings without change, salvation without sanctification, affected holiness without hardship. It is the church’s undoing.  Subsequently, we become mere subculture instead of counterculture. Where’s the modern-day Job who says, “Though He slay me, yet will I praise Him”, rather than merely showing up for the church picnics?

Seems like many want a piece of the pie, but few can stand the heat of the kitchen.

That’s not cynical; it’s just realistic.

John 5:6-16 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

Office hours 24/7

wood 2My husband, Bob, is a biology prof at a small college in a small Midwestern town.  His classes have been very unique, sometimes only comprised of, say, five or so students learning genetics or molecular biology.  I mention this by way of context, since despite the small size, he also has plenty of office hours, and even with those, is quite flexible and available, and has even had an occasion of a personal phone call or two about an upcoming test. 

In other words, he makes his knowledge very accessible to his students. 

Unfortunately, in the 25+ years that he has prof’d at this college, I have heard plenty about the genre of students who don’t bother to utilized what he so generously offers, don’t even show up for lecture or lab…and thus the “down notices” go out needlessly.  He hates that, because he does everything he can to help his students succeed.

So, I get a little confused when the greatest Teacher Continue reading “Office hours 24/7”

S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280It’s that time of year when the grocery stores are stocking up on their 20+ pound turkeys.  I’ve already cooked up one and stored most of it in the freezer.  We usually head back to Indiana for Thanksgiving with family, and my sister-in-law puts on the feast of the year.  It’s one of those meals where you have to pace yourself, especially if you want that pumpkin pie (with R-E-A-L whipped cream) at the end of the day. 

It tends to be the typical “your eyes are too big for your stomach”, so it’s a learning process I suppose. Continue reading “S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G”

ASSUME nothing

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I’ve used this media file before, (that’s what we call it now, I suppose, at least it sounds more impressive that “picture”.) 

post
http://www.amazon.com

Media file wasn’t a phrase when Norman Rockwell was around, or if it was, it certainly wasn’t digital.  Just about everything is digital now-a-days.  I still haven’t quite figured out what that means, as opposed to analog, I mean.  Continue reading “ASSUME nothing”

Feast on which beast?

NR thanks
Thanks to Norman Rockwell for this amazing painting: Freedom From Want.

This is the time of year I really kind of wish I had a chest freezer down in the basement.  The 20+ pound turkeys are on mega-sale, and the fresh cranberries will only be around for a month or so.

No matter, as the traditional American Thanksgiving Day feast that so many of us are blessed to gorge ourselves on will, by God’s grace, come around again next year.  My sister-in-law is the usual head chef at our yearly family gathering.  (Personally, I prefer to stay in the background and help with the clean-up.)  The main thing with the traditional meal, however, is the fun and hilarity that can follow shortly after about the first ten minutes of feasting and before the tryptophan kicks in. Continue reading “Feast on which beast?”

Not just the click of a button

translate-110777_1920I am horribly monolingual. 

Bob and I spent six years living in married student housing at Indiana University/Bloomington while he was working on his degree, with three little girls in tow, and thus we were surrounded by many cultures.  My dad used to say we lived in a mini-UN.  Our eldest had a map of the globe on her wall, and since our kids attended the university elementary school, we realized that she knew children from every continent save one (Antartica—does anyone actually live there?  BRRRrrrr!) Continue reading “Not just the click of a button”

It stings!

In the mass hysteria that is the superhero-universe phenom, here are a couple of guys that are somewhat overlooked:

green hornet (1)
Credit: Newsweek/google images

Give it time.  Hollywood will find a way.

The other kind of hornet is more real in my personal experience as a school nurse, however.  One of the custodians in my school building was called to go kill a wasp or two flying around inside the building one the second day of school because there were a couple of kiddos registered as “allergic”.  (SOOOooo glad the teachers read my notes to them—thank you and I love you!!)

Clearly, stinging insects have been around doing their thing for a long time: Continue reading “It stings!”

Take me, break me, make me

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Now here’s a character I really relate to—Saul.  No, not the apostle, unfortunately.  His story turned out pretty well, considering he wrote over half the New Testament and all. 

I’m talking about the Old Testament Saul, and the making of the erstwhile monarch of Israel.  It’s not like he asked for the position, after all, and despite all the positive social markers, he had a serious fear-of-man-self-preservation complex going on.

Thus, I can relate.

Here’s what’s going on:

The prophet Samuel has told Saul to wait for him seven days at Gilgal.   Samuel will arrive, present the offerings to God, and then Saul and his army will go wipe out the enemy de jour. This was a clear mandate, unmistakable in its direction and timing.  No discussion needed.

But there was a problem.  Samuel didn’t show up.  And on top of that:

“The Philistines mustered a mighty army of 3,000 chariots, 6,000 charioteers, and as many warriors as the grains of sand on the seashore!”

Which, granted, would be a bit intimidating.  It certainly was for Saul’s men, who suddenly must have heard their wives calling them home for lunch or something. Consequently, Saul’s army began thinning out, and fast.  The king made a decision:

“So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself. 

Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived.”

Oops.

Needless to say, Saul’s explanation was less than effective, and Samuel’s edict was unfortunate, as was the rest of Saul’s reign.

“’How foolish!’ Samuel exclaimed. ‘You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you. Had you kept it, the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.  But now your kingdom must end, for the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart.’”

Saul didn’t know it, but God had had him uniquely positioned for a serious breakthrough.  But Saul blew it.

Whereas our modern-day markets and media value tangible results, heavenly success is measured in terms of obedience.  If Saul had remembered his history, he could have leaned on the exciting story of Gideon and his paltry three-hundred, or even Moses at the Red Sea before the onslaught of Egyptian chariots.  Instead, the first king of Israel decided to interpret his situation by his own (very limited) appraisal. 

Sadly, his assessment left out one incredibly big Resource.

Because our God specializes in seemingly no-win situations.  He will bring me to a breaking point where I have a clear choice between obedience or expediency. When that happens, it can mean that sometimes—or many times—He will actually let me be broken, shattered, shards on the floor.  Careful where you step.  Part of the dream is over there; a piece of my heart is in that corner.  Where’d I put the broom?

What I desperately need to remember in those periods, (and they do come), is that obedience proceeds breakthrough.  That is, God will do the breaking, then I have to walk through it.   This gets a bit uncomfortable for a time; nevertheless, I am never alone.  Ever.

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.”

There’s that word “through” again.  (Selah…)

I also need to remember that the condition of my heart in obedience before God is more important to Him than the size of my “army”…or church…or bank account…or any relationship.  My focus needs to be, and stay, on the clear directive.

Because God will show up; He always does. 

1 Samuel 13:5,9-10,13-14; Psalm 23:4 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