Built to serve

car-3189771_1920Car commercials crack me up. 

There are the luxury cars that try to evoke images of ecstasy by a voluptuous female draped over the hood or a tuxedo’d movie star falling backwards (slo-mo) into a swimming pool.  You want to be cool?  Drive this car.

Then there are the manly truck commercials with the deep, disembodied voice talking about ratios and torque (whatever those are). You want to be studly?  Drive this truck.

The ones that appeal to family make much more sense to me.  The safety factor of “your-child-is-more-likely-to-survive-a-crash-in-this-car” is a brilliant advertising strategy in my book.  You want to be safe?  Pick this one.

I’m more of an SUV gal myself.  Being 5-foot-12 makes a sport car a bit challenging, and I like the thought of having more steel around me anyway.  All-wheel drive, stowing capacity and towing strength, it’s all on my check list. Continue reading “Built to serve”

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Prayers for Oneta

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Our dear Oneta over on Sweet Aroma
https://onetahayes.com
has asked for our prayers.

Seems she is in the hospital awaiting surgery for a sudden broken hip.
I told her we’d be right on it…

When two or three are gathered…..

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Are you listening?

Proverbial Thought (& More)

headphones-152341_1280I am at a venerable point in life when my adult children, (all in their 30’s at this writing), have been saying thing like,

“Mom, I heard you coming out of my mouth!”, or…

“Is that how Dad would treat Mom?”, or…

“I’m ‘channeling’ you, Mom”, and one of my personal favorites after the birth of a granddaughter,

“Mom, I’m sorry for all the #*@!! I put you through.”

It’s a time when you realize that something, by God’s grace, got through, is still getting through.  Sometimes it sure seems like our kids just aren’t paying attention.

But they are.  In more ways than one.

I love the New Living Translation header for Proverbs chapter 7:

“Another Warning about Immoral Women”

Emphasis on “another”.  Just in case you missed the first one or two. 

Can’t you just see the kid rolling his eyes?  That whole oh-mom-do-we-have-to-talk-about-this-again attitude. 

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A louse, by any other name…

nurse-37322_1280I feel pretty lousy.  With no intended defamation of that ubiquitous parasite, the louse, I think I must have picked up a bug (of another kind) from one of my sweet cherubs at school.  First came the deep cough, just allergies thought I.  Yesterday the sore throat hit, and the chills, followed by the sweating break of the fever—a nice parting shot now that I can count down my days to retirement on both hands. 

I say fever, but I didn’t bother to take it.  I still have the old glass thermometer you’d probably be hard pressed to find anywhere these days, except a museum.  Bob thought I still felt warm this morning, so I found it, but no, thankfully the mercury didn’t climb too high.  It’s just that aching aftermath, no energy and less motivation. Continue reading “A louse, by any other name…”

Let’s have a fight!

argument-3312463_1280Like many people, I’m not intrinsically adept at confrontation.  That’s a nice way of saying that I tend to avoid it like the Black Plague, whereas my dear husband of 30-plus years (emphasis on the “plus”) has no problem with it.  I have always struggled being overly concerned with what people think of me.  Bob…well, let’s just say, not so much.  So, one can easily imagine how, once the honeymoon period wears off (five days???) and real life kicks in, communication patterns with regard to expectations can be…challenging. 

During one of our relatively few “disagreements”, I was doing my typical backing down routine, when my counterpart surprisingly said, “Now wait a minute!  Don’t you give up so easily!  Just because I’m louder doesn’t mean I’m right.”

He’s so good for me.

Learning to argue is a definite skill set for any relationship.  Setting boundaries, no name-calling, dealing with my own ego and emo, learning healthy compromise, being motivated by love rather than the innate desire to “be right”…the human psyche isn’t born with these things; they have to be intentional in any relationship.

Except one. Continue reading “Let’s have a fight!”

Just Like You Said

Proverbial Thought (& More)

girl-563719_1280Children have an innate ability to (at least believe they) remember something you SAID. 

Y’know, like, six months ago. 

“But YOU PRO-O-O-M-I-S-E-D!!”

Busted!

Personally, I think it’s pretty humorous.  Kids will keep you, if not broke, then at least honest, when the money goes for braces instead of a new(er) car, or into the college fund rather than a retirement fund.  Disney over Cancun, that sort of thing.

Best not to tell a kid something unless you mean it.  To them, our words are powerful, like a contract signed in blood, and once they know you’re sincere, they’ll be back for more.  More encouragement, more love…more money.  (Always more money.)

Interestingly, it can be similar to the spiritual realm—Heaven is listening to what we say.  Unfortunately, Hell is also tuned in.  Now, I have heard my husband say that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman; He doesn’t force Himself on…

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A Good Question…

Oh yeah. Thanks Dan!!

Learning To Be Full Of Grace And Truth.

…Do I leave people better than when I found them? I know my parents taught me to leave a place I use better than when I found it, but this takes that to the next level doesn’t it! Now, I am certainly aware that we will not always be able to answer this question clearly for ourselves, that is simply not how life and relationships work. But I have been learning that keeping this question near the front of our minds when we are with anyone helps to keep us focused on loving others as ourselves instead of loving others for ourselves.

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Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these…

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Timeless, (but not exactly)

retro-1139373_1920Guess what I received in the mail!  Nope, not the Publishers’ Clearinghouse check for a gazillion dollars.  Evidently, I’m now part of the Nielsen Ratings for TV watching.  (I can just sense a collective fearful shuttering coming from Hollywood…right.)

One of the questions on the form was about the number of TV’s in my home.  Only one, but it’s actually a bit on an outdated enquiry since you can pull up just about anything on any computer or mobile device.

And I’ve now the next form regarding which television shows I actually watch.  One (of the few that I bother with) is called Timeless.  I enjoy history, and this is a show about time travel back into particular events, sometimes obvious, sometimes not so obvious, that manifestly molded our current society.

The running theme is about two groups of people, each with a time machine, traipsing through our past like bulls in the china shop.  One team is trying to re-form history into their own likeness while the other is trying to stop them and fix what has been changed. 

Makes me consider two very special trees that God put in the Garden, (no, neither team has tried to travel back quite that far yet…)

 “…In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

I can picture our unfortunate fore-mother, Eve, meeting the serpent coiled around a branch in the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  That’s the fruit she tasted and shared with her husband, Adam, “and their eyes were opened”, but not in the way for which they (and we) were created.  Now the burden of figuring out this life was no longer on God, but on themselves. 

And we’ve been mucking about in this confused and deluded state ever since.  Just turn on the news.  (Not one of the shows I usually watch, considering the Neilson Ratings I mean.)

There are those who posit our expulsion from the Garden at this point in history was an act of mercy, and I agree.  Some say if we been left there to eat of the Tree of Life, we would have been left in our sinful state for eternity, or something like that. 

I’m no theologian, but even just watching a show like Timeless gives a glimpse of how much more of a mess we could have made if eating from the Tree of Life had included things like power over time (which it very well may have.)  Any science fiction geek can tell you what a fascination the human psyche has for time travel; how many of us would travel back to change certain things if we could?  Gag!  Can you imagine?!?

Which is what Timeless does, and gives a pretty good description, perhaps without meaning to, of what a mess it would make not only of history, but of the human heart.

More importantly, this restriction gives me another clue to the grace and sovereignty of God, to His creative purpose, in that I have only a limited power over time, and it’s just in a forward sense.

“I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

watch-1694751_1920And I don’t need a time machine for that.

Genesis 2:8; Philippians 3:13,14  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.

In Which Dawn Learns to Pray (#4)

notebook-1361981_1920I felt this pull while praying to check my website email.  Putting it off as a distraction, I went back to praying, only to have it crop up again.  So, I asked the Lord if this is something He was wanting me to do right now.  I immediately heard, “Go for it.” 

Okay, checking the email, nothing there I needed to see as far as I could tell.  That’s a little discouraging since maybe I didn’t hear from Him after all, which then degrades into maybe none of the things I think I’ve heard in the past are from Him either, which spirals into the typical that-works-for-others-but-not-me mindset of my past.  Doubt, failure, intimidation.

Regardless of whether I heard right or not, I know that those last three thoughts are not from God either!  What do I do with this?

Then I realize I’m still on the steep end of the learning curve.  In fact, we’re all on the steep end of the learning curve until the day we leave this place, so I’m in good company.  And the learning curve is just that, learning.  That, in itself, is encouraging.  I was a good student in school, but I still had to study and learn from my mistakes.  In fact, mistakes are some of the best instructive devices!  Plus, I know I have the best Teacher.

The opposite plays right into the enemy’s strategy: discouragement.  Who would want me to stop praying and jump off that learning curve?  Who has a vested interest in my giving in to doubt, failure and intimidation?  And fear of deception (one of my personal past Big Three)? 

Besides, if I need to hear from God about something important with obvious far-reaching consequences, He is good enough to confirm it for me.  He did that with Gideon, and He promises He doesn’t play favorites.  Plus, He has provided safeguards during the process: the Bible, koinonia with those who are further up the curve than myself, and of course, the Holy Spirit Himself.

He also promises that His sheep hear and know His voice.  Jesus is patient and kind and gentle, so I’m not by myself on this mountain of a learning curve.  Psalm 23 help-2444110_1920says, He leads me in paths of righteousness, and that He is with me in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  Well, if He’s with me there, surely He’s with me in the Valley of the Shadow of Doubt. 

I can let this serve to increase my tenacity and resolve, pushing me further in, rather than scaring me away.  Good things don’t necessarily come easily, and great things come with a price. 

Hey, this is good stuff.  Maybe I heard Him after all.

Marching orders.

vintage-3168021_1280I 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 overseas on some semi-covert operation, 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 to those of us back home.  There are always enemies, and it behooves us to keep some operations covert, I suppose.

A prime example of this is Joshua and the conquest of Jericho.  With help of the Expositor’s Commentary, I find some interesting parallels—

no-symbol-39767_1280The Israelites had not yet encountered a walled city like Jericho; this had to be intimidating to the roaming former Egyptian slaves. What new situations do I come up against that threaten my comfort zone? 

 

world-war-2827031_1280Concerning the land, God told them, “I have given to you…” meaning it was already a done deal, but here’s the thing—they still had to fight for it. Yes, they had their priests (worship), but they also had their warriors (spiritual warfare).  As an example, my children are “a heritage of the Lord”, they are part of my “land”.  As such, I must fight for them as God gives me wisdom, but fight for them from the place of secured victory, not fear or anxiety.

passion-3111303_1920.pngJoshua’s situation was a “religious event”: “…the presence of priests, and the prominence of the ark all indicate that the conquest of Jericho was more than a military campaign; it was a religious event. Israel must always remember that the land was God’s gift to them.”  My circumstances aren’t merely about me either; it’s ultimately about God, His plan for eternity, His kingdom.

choir-303302_1280Praise and declaration come before the victory. The priests were very conspicuous in this procession, and they were also the ones sounding the trumpets.  These can represent both praise to God and the sound of war.  As God’s “royal priesthood”, we are to be involved in both; in fact, they are inextricably linked.  Walking around that wall for six days was an act of obedient faith—so is praise and worship.

checklist-1316848_1280God gave the people specific instructions that were not part of the normal battle plan of the day. Can you imagine Joshua’s mighty commanders when they received their orders?  (“You want us to do what??”) Not unlike the family of Noah who had never heard of rain, or even the disciples of Jesus who couldn’t fathom their King nailed to a cross, God has ways of doing things that can be off the wall.  To borrow from the secular: “Just do it.”

question-1243504_1280The commentary also brings out the tedium of continued marching for six days. This was not a stroll in the park.  They were in enemy territory, so there may have been arrows (and who knows what else—ewww!) flying from the walls.  Sometimes my obediently praying and obstinately living God’s plan for my life becomes tiring.  But God says I am not to grow weary in doing good.  Again, from the commentary, “This senseless marching may have completely demoralized the defenders, who would have been totally confused about what was going on.” I can bank on it: persistent prayer and praise demoralizes my Enemy.  (I rather like that one.)

“Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it.”

Joshua 6:20 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.