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.

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Where’s my brush?

paint-117599_1280As I write this, I’m waiting for a phone call.  Our church recently completed pouring concrete for a much-needed upgrade on the parking spaces by the daycare facility.  They were asking for help and so, although Bob and I have absolutely no experience in these things, we showed up to see what we could do, which was as expected—very little.  So I provided food for the workers for a few days. 

Now some painting needs to be done, a yellow caution strip to prevent tripping over the little step-up to the sidewalk.  Again, I’ve never painted on concrete, but put a brush in my hand and tell me where and I might actually make a small contribution!  (Or a mess, or both…) Continue reading “Where’s my brush?”

Inventory

Inventory is not necessarily one of my favorite pastimes.  I tend to be a bit (okay, a lot) more spontaneous (oh alright, haphazard) in my organizational skill set than my husband, Bob.  In the past 39 years, that much is evident.

Nonetheless, now that retirement has arrived, the massive purging process at our homestead will soon begin (yeah, right.)  At least, that’s the plan. Continue reading “Inventory”

Fire in the hole!

I have never, thank God, had my house catch on fire.  I can only imagine, and prefer not to.  When we had our kitchen redone, the contractor found loose, live wires in the walls, which meant a complete gut-and-redo.  And again, thanking God that in the twenty-seven years we have lived in this old house, it has not gone up in flames with us in it!

But have you ever considered what you would run to get on your way out the door…?  Only that which is most important to you. Continue reading “Fire in the hole!”

Go around…again?!?

secret-3037639_1920I love, LOVE to hear my dad’s stories about then he was in Navy!  Back when Bill Haley and his Comets were getting ready to Rock Around the Clock, Dad was off on some semi-covert operation overseas serving his country, doing the things that Uncle Sam thinks invincible 19-year-olds can do. 

I’m thinking that, at the time of Dad’s tour, we weren’t technically at war with anyone, but we all know what that means.  Realistically, we’re always at war with someone, even if it’s under the radar, especially for those of us back home.  There are always enemies, and it behooves us to keep some operations covert, I suppose. Continue reading “Go around…again?!?”

Stone, wraps, and other impediments.

I wonder if Martha gets a bit of bum rap.  She’s the calculating one, knows what needs to be done and does it herself if necessary.  The list-maker, the bean counter.  Martha was the chief cook and bottle washer when Jesus came to visit her and her siblings.  She alone was the one who received a gentle rebuke from the Lord when she demanded that her sister, Mary, come and help her in the kitchen instead of sitting with the Master, listening and absorbing.

I bet Martha as the older one, the one who helped her little sister growing up to put on her clothes and lace up her sandals.  You know how older sibs are called upon in a family.  Insert all of that on Martha’s shoulders.

Now Mary, it’s possible that Mary is same woman mentioned in another of the Gospels as the “unclean” prostitute who broke the jar and anointed Jesus in an act of repentance for her now-former lifestyle. The jury is out on that one, but for argument’s sake…

In this context, I can perceive Martha’s frustration, helping to sacrificially raise her younger sister only to have her go off and ruin the family name.  Perhaps this is why no spouse is mentioned for Martha— in that culture once the family is disgraced, who wanted to marry into that?  If this is case, like the older brother in the parable of the prodigal, I get it.

Then their beloved brother dies. 

Interestingly, when Jesus finally decides to make an entrance, Mary is the one who stays behind, but it’s good ole’ practical Martha who goes out to faithfully meet the Master.  Of course, the first words out of her mouth are, guess what, cause and effect:

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”

Problem defined, problem solved.  That’s Martha.  If Plan A didn’t transpire, she always had a Plan B.  It wasn’t, however, quite what she expected:

 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.

But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”

How often do I ask God for a miracle, only with the proviso that He does it my way.  Good grief, don’t open the tomb!  Don’t expose the decay and don’t make the smell of death public.  No, I like to keep things private.

I forget there was nothing private about Jesus dying on a cross—for me.

There is something about the things we keep hidden which allows them to fester and multiply.  I’ll try to deal with it on my own. If my first plan is tanked, then I’ll think of the next step, but by all means, let’s keep stench under control.

window-806899_1920Except life doesn’t actually work that way.  The only way Lazarus was going to walk out of that tomb was to roll away the stone and let him breathe God’s fresh air.

How’s your air quality today?

John 11:21,21,39 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.

Welcome to Crete

sign-303895_1280

I have opinions.  Some are strong ones, like Purdue should win the NCAA tournament this year, (just kidding, but that would be nice.)  Some a bit more ambivalent, you know, mashed potatoes with or without gravy, (unless, of course, it’s Thanksgiving.)

And, like everyone else, I also have my own sense of timing.  I’ve come to the opinion that this faculty is a product of both nature and nurture.  I have recently decided there must be a part of the brain that controls one’s awareness of time, and since Bob’s very nurturing family typically ran late, perhaps this furthers my DNA connection.

I also have opinions about how I like to spend my time.  Actually, the word I should italicize is “my”, which, as a Christian, is usually a theological typo.  As obsessive as I can be about getting out the door “on time”, when it comes to God’s plans, I have a tendency to either drag my feet or ring my hands impatiently, both of which waste His time!

Enter one of the intriguing characters of the New Testament, Titus.  In Heaven, I want to talk with this guy; he’s kind of a personal hero of mine.  A non-Jewish convert to the new religion of Christianity, Titus became a trusted friend and faithful co-worker of Paul.  We read of him overseeing financial transactions, going on missionary excursions with the apostle, as well as being sent into a sticky situation in one of the churches in Corinth.

But my personal favorite is his assignment in Crete.  Paul himself writes this to his younger cohort:

“I left you on the island of Crete…”

Wow!  Paul had intentionally chosen Titus for the task—now that’s an impressive project!  Not bad in one’s C.V. for future ministry options; that is, until we read a bit further down the page with Paul’s travel guide description:

“Even one of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, ‘The people of Crete are all liars, cruel animals, and lazy gluttons.’”

And then, as if to underline that statement, Paul adds: 

“This is true.” 

Great.  Just great.  Not exactly a K-LOVE cruise with your favorite artists.  Even though Titus was himself a Greek, he had been with Paul, a very learned scholar with high standards of moral living.  Perhaps not a good initial fit for the younger man.  Why did Paul leave Titus there?  To complain?  To despair?

“…so you could complete our work there and appoint elders in each town as I instructed you.” 

Titus was not without resources.  He had been instructed, prepared, and now the Holy Spirit was strategically placing him for reasons of His own choosing which, I can only surmise, had to do with Paul’s earlier statement:

“…at just the right time he has revealed this message…”

Not only had God now revealed his reconciling message of Jesus to the world, but the time was right for those “lying and lazy” Cretans to hear it also.  God had been working.  Preparing hearts.  Using circumstances.  Arranging and developing and “calling those things that are not as though they were.”  (I love that one.) 

Thankfully, God is still working.  Preparing hearts and using circumstances.  In loved ones, in the government, in the most unlikely and personally uncomfortable situations and scenarios.  We all have our own “Cretian calling”, (sometimes within our own hearts.)

And God is not obligated to ask me about my opinion or sense of timing. 

Titus 1:12,13, 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.

Packin’ heat

I have some friends who, when they go to church, carry their concealed firearm.  One of them is with the local sheriff’s department.  The other is a pastor in another town.

I looked up where the term “arms” as a reference to weaponry comes from:

“Arms, meaning those things used during fighting, comes from the Latin arma, which had largely the same meaning and came from the root ar- meaning ‘to fit together’. Since the 14th century arms has referred to weapons. When new weapons came along that used gunpowder, they were referred to as fire-arms.”  (a quote from Doug Rice on https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-etymology-of-the-word-firearm)

 Huh.  I just kinda thought it looked like fire coming out of your arm…?  Shows what I know. Continue reading “Packin’ heat”

Where’s a screen writer when you need one?

Have you noticed that it seems like quite a few flicks coming out of southern Cal studios are based on true events?  Maybe the “Industry” kingpins (holding the purse strings) have realized that it’s profitable for art to imitate life rather than the other way around.

Clearly, there’s enough drama, intrigue, and corresponding courage in life and history to keep the screen writers busy.  Here’s one I haven’t seen written yet. Continue reading “Where’s a screen writer when you need one?”

Planning…

You know that whole “knock, and the door will be open to you” thing that Jesus talked about?  I’m wondering how many times we stand on that same threshold with the door finally open, but are too scared to step over.

Which makes this story of Nehemiah so informative to me.

The land of the Hebrews, God chosen people, lay in utter ruin and desolation, as predicted.  The people, those who survived, are in exile, servants of the foreign king.  Nehemiah lands the job of cupbearer of this pagan king himself, not particularly a posh position, since at any time the royal loses his cool, Nehemiah could lose his head. Continue reading “Planning…”