Buckle in, God’s got a plan

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I was always one of the tallest kids in class.  Back in high school I used to joke that the main reason I was on the girls’ basketball team was so that I could get off the traveling bus first just to intimidate the opposition.  Despite what they may have initially seen, in reality they didn’t have much to worry about.  My lack of athletic prowess may have been caused by hidden orthopedic challenges (no longer hidden, I might add!), latent asthma (ibid.), or simply a lack of interest and/or talent.  Like my 6’5” brother once observed, tall people rarely have to jump…for anything.

Nevertheless, what we see with our eyes can be scary, because we have a way of interpreting it through the lens of past experience, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, it’s a safety mechanism.  If there’s a motorcycle coming down the road, past experience says it behooves me to move.  Unless, of course, I’m an 18-wheeler with the right-of-way, then I expect the burden of wisdom to rest with the motorcycle.

With this in mind, I suppose I can have a little compassion on Continue reading “Buckle in, God’s got a plan”

And the beat goes on…

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I get all kinds of requests for money, you know, you make one donation and the scent of blood is sensed for miles.  Some of the requests are causes with which I would agree, some not so much.  But even the ones I would tend to support, well, let’s face it, there’s only so much to go around.

Which really isn’t the point.  The real issue is the fact that it’s not “my” money anyway.  Sure, it’s in my name, my account with my beneficiaries and all that.  It goes to pay my bills, my taxes, and my retirement (such as it is).  It puts food on my table and gas in my car.  It’s not that I haven’t worked hard for it all; sure I have.  And yes, some of that hard work has taken a toll I’d care not to admit, but there it is. 

Still, the truth is, it’s not mine.

Not any more.  Because I actually belong to a larger government than any on this planet—the kingdom of God, (which is, I might add, far more just than the IRS…just saying.)

Yes, it’s easy to get to a point in life Continue reading “And the beat goes on…”

Where are my sticky notes??

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I like to consider myself I an at least somewhat responsible parent, but for some reason, I don’t know why, I seemed to have a mental block when it came to remembering orthodontic appointments for my kids during that phase of our lives.  Thanks to our dear orthodontist (and his secretary!) for their good graces and common sense to make routine phone reminder phone calls.  I’m sure it saved them money for missed appointments and I console myself that I probably was not the only one.  But even if I was, I’m still glad I had the reminder!

To this day, I’m not offended with reminders.  I live with sticky notes.  I email myself from work to home, and vice versa.  I tell people to call me.  If I don’t write it down, it’s a gonner.  There are just so many brain cells for Continue reading “Where are my sticky notes??”

Decisions, decisions!

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Moses, what a guy.  Talk about job stress—the perks were pretty great but so were the occupational hazards.  (And I think I have tough days!)  At least there was clear communication with the Boss; no lost email trails or intra-office misinterpretation of body language, all that.  God’s instructions were always unmistakably clear, right down to what colors of decorative embroidery thread to use for the big church tent!

One year into their miraculous escape/rescue from centuries of Egyptian slavery, God now has them positioned to pull up the stakes and start their journey in earnest to the Promised Land.  He has also promised to be their Guide, a cloud by day and something that looks like a pillar of fire by night.  Again, fairly distinctive, even for someone directionally challenged, like me.  When Continue reading “Decisions, decisions!”

Seatbelts, check.

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Our youngest was only school age when she sat on her father’s lap in the driver’s seat of the car in the (empty) school parking lot while he let her “drive” for a few minutes.  Her feet couldn’t even reach the pedals, but as she clutched the steering wheel, she confidently said, “I got it, Dad!”

Typical.  Not just of her, but of humanity in general, right?  Now, Bob and I hope that we have been reasonably responsible parents, and as such had our three children take drivers’ ed while in high school as well as teaching them our own white-knuckled version just like our sweet parents did for us back in the day.  There was Continue reading “Seatbelts, check.”

The Shack Out Back

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Heeding the call to stop concentrating exclusively on their own interests and start looking after God’s, the tide begins to change beneficially for the returning Hebrew exiles.  But there must have been a discouraging note for some of the old-timers who remembered the good ole’ days of their beloved Solomon’s Temple, now summarily destroyed.  As always, God realized this bent in our human psyche:

“Does anyone remember this house— this Temple— in its former splendor? How, in comparison, does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all!  

But now the LORD says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.  My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.”

All this began to happen when the people obeyed God in the very tangible way of laying the foundation to the new temple.   Here’s what I glean from it:

  1. God still speaks to me, and tells me to be strong.
  2. I am not the only one “left in the land”, and I am not alone in this struggle. Granted, I may have to work to see who else is under the rock and rubble with me, but I am most certainly not alone.
  3. I have a directive—get to work.
  4. I can do this because God is with me, and He is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, a formidable ally indeed.
  5. I have the power of God’s Spirit.
  6. God is the same God—He’s brought me “out of Egypt” before, and He’ll do it again. His character and calling do not change.  (Yessss!)

In this life, things tend to crumble, and not merely bank accounts.  Relationships and families, dreams and plans, health and vitality,…and churches.  There’s just no sense sitting around pining over the dust of Solomon’s Temple when God’s calling me to build something new.  Stop comparing.  Stop waiting.  And above all, stop whining.

jackhammerAnd get to work.

Haggai 2:3-5  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.

Let’s call on “Pain & Distress” this time

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I wear a ring I bought back in high school (1970’s, just to be clear) that bears the ichthus (fish) symbol of the first century Christians.  One time, someone pointed out my ring and asked if I were a Pisces. 

Sigh.

Obviously, I’m not an astrological kind of person.  As a citizen of Jesus’ kingdom, I certainly don’t believe that being born under any kind of sign or pronouncement necessitates my destiny. 

So I like really like this little piece about a Continue reading “Let’s call on “Pain & Distress” this time”

Cramped quarters

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280The story of the Old Testament prophet, Jonah, is an intriguing one, and is not without a mild undercurrent of a Providential sense of humor.  Not to poke fun at Jonah’s dire straits, but he did, after all, open himself wide to at least some form of discipline.  Interestingly, as the story unfolds, Jonah never denies that he worships the God of the Hebrew people; he just persistently argues with Him, at least concerning God’s intended task for His wayward prophet.  I have to wonder what brought the man to this extreme—maybe someone from Nineveh had harmed his family somehow, causing a hatred so intense that it created a prejudice toward the whole town (along the lines of the comment about Jesus: “can anything good come out of Nazareth”.)  Maybe Jonah considered God to be unjust in His patient treatment of anyone “not Jewish”. 

Or maybe he was just having a bad day…?

Regardless, a massive storm blows up to buffet the ship carrying Continue reading “Cramped quarters”

Beware of fly-by’s

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280One thing that can’t be disputed about relationship with God in the Old Testament times—it was messy.  A lot of blood was involved: bulls, goats, pigeons,…prophets.

In one of the most historically and spiritually significant Old Testament sacrifices, Abram (not yet having his name changed to Abraham) slices in half several specimens of the animal kingdom in preparation for a special covenant with this Most High God whom very few people are even aware of any more, much less worship.  This is going to be unlike any other offering Abram has participated in, and I suspect Continue reading “Beware of fly-by’s”

Not the life of the party

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Jeremiah was probably not invited to many parties, but his demeanor had more to do with reality than a serotonin imbalance…much more.  God’s people had been repeatedly warned about their idolatrous and otherwise unfaithful choices.  Even as segments of their society were intermittently carried off—warning shots across the bow, if you will—they still hardened their hearts to stubbornly go against what God wanted them to do, and this after God had so Continue reading “Not the life of the party”