Well, it’s actually happened. I’ve turned yet another corner in parenthood.
Here in our small Midwest town we are superiorly blessed to have, not one, but several very nice second-hand shops. I’m a true re-purposed human being, (even my dog is a rescue), so my children were likewise brought up in this frugal practice.
Recently, my eldest called from the West coast, where prices are not q-u-i-t-e as judicious has here at home, and wondered if I could look for a few things, including jeans. But not just any style. She was specifically requesting—are you ready?? (I just so love this!)—“MOM” jeans. Yes! High-waisted, the kind I used be to chided for a decade or two ago. Continue reading “Mom jeans, and other fashion faux pas’”
If you really want to get back at your older siblings for all those mean things they did to you as kids growing up, what one thing should you teach their own pre-school children? No, it’s not where daddy keeps his favorite fishing tackle, or how pretty mommy’s new lipstick looks on the freshly painted patio deck, or even how to safely use a blow torch, as fun as all that would be. The grueling, tortuous payback is much easier than that…
Simply teach their little cherubs the word “Why?”
And then encourage them to use it, frequently. Which is not so far-fetched when you consider that we humans are a naturally inquisitive lot to begin with anyway. Why, what for, how come, and the other various derivatives are simply part of our internal vernacular, both positively, from our curiosity, (giving us, for example, “E=mc2”) and negatively, from our wounded sense of inconvenience, (“how come I have to study this stoopid stupid geometry?!”)
Either way, we keep asking.
In this instance, God anticipated our “why”. (He did, after all, make us this way.) The Hebrew people all but have their toes on the boarder of the Promised Land as God is using Moses for a few preliminary instructions:
“In the future your children will ask you, ‘What is the meaning of these laws, decrees, and regulations that the LORD our God has commanded us to obey?’”
Not that the Creator needs to explain to the created, so the fact that He anticipates their inquiry shows gracious condescension. He reminds them that they were brought out of their brutal slavery in Egypt so that God could bless them with an abundant goodness (which was already prepared for them, BTW). Then we read this, which is in the same paragraph, as in almost the same breath—
“For we will be counted as righteous when we obey all the commands the LORD our God has given us.’”
Am I hearing this right? God’s saying, “I pulled you out of a very bad place and I’m putting you in a very good place. Here’s the stuff you need to do to maintain that, and thus I will consider you as in right standing with Me.”
In other words, being counted as righteous is NOT the same as intrinsic righteousness. Nope, that issue was decided a L-O-N-G time ago. I find it interesting, then, when our culture tries to damn the very God Who attempted every which way to communicate and connect with the people who rejected Him to begin with; as if we expect Him to change Himself to fit our image instead of the other way around.
Oh wait…He did that too, only not in the way we expected. (He does that a lot.)
“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.”
Of course, that was the plan all along, which makes that plan even more beautiful. And so now instead of being counted as righteous because of the things I do (which never worked anyway—the first half of the Book bears testament to that arrangement, again, no surprise to the Author), I am counted as righteous because of what Jesus has done for me.
If you’ve never seen it, great, here it is. If you haven’t seen it recently, let’s marvel in a super review:
“But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past,for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”
Back to the original question, why? Only one answer suffices:
This place is a wreck. Sitting out here on the patio in the early morning Missouri summer humidity, I’m looking at the weeds resolutely poking through the already treated pave stones. There’s some unwanted green stuff growing amongst the begonia pots, and the garden hoses are in dire need of mending. On top of all of this, a brown leaf just now floated gently down (to meet the weeds on the pave stones, I suppose.)
“Jesus replied, ‘Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.'”
PS–there are plenty of quality “apologetic” Biblical studies out there to answer many difficult questions about the Bible. It’s okay to ask questions; it’s not okay to gripe about not getting answers. After all, it really does take a little bit of rocket science to get to the moon and beyond…! (But it’s well worth the view.)
I am not an artist, which perhaps makes me appreciate those who are, like my bloggish buddy at A Time To Share and her husband. Our baby girl is an artist, as is one of our sons-in-law, and all three of my siblings and our dad. Even Bob has taken up the pen and pencil!
But me? Nope. I must have been like a flat rock that went skipping over that part of the gene pool. I can sort of draw a tree…
Of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate art…well, some of it. Admittedly, I’m more a Rembrandt to Rockwell fan than, say, Pablo P. I’m a bit of a realist in that sense. I’m a nurse, and I like body parts to be where they are supposed to be. Is that so wrong?
At this writing (just after Memorial Day), Bob has braved getting up at 4AM, driving me through an impressive Midwest lightening storm and torrential downpour two hours north to the Kansas City International Airport, dropping me off so I could catch a flight to see my dear parents a few states away. I informed him that I’m a big girl and would be perfectly fine doing this on my own. But no, chivalry is not dead in my household, and I’m not nearly “progressive” enough to rock that boat. Add to that the fact that my husband is nocturnal by nature, and getting up at 4AM is generally only a few hours after when he might be coming to bed anyway.
Yeah, I pick a good one.
But he is a cautious animal at that, which means here I sit with a couple hours to spare. Even the airport isn’t quite fully awake, which is honestly one of the things I like about the Midwest.
I’m not really much of a people-watcher, but it’s kinda hard not to do it in an airport. We’re all just squished together in one mass of humanity, hoping that no bombs get though on anyone’s shoes or hairspray bottles, hoping that the toddler sitting behind us sleeps the whole time, wondering if “they” will be there to meet us at the other end.
Or if the peanuts will be too salty this time. Whatever.
As I sip my tea and read my Bible, and look out on, oh, so many people, I connect with these words of Jesus:
At first, these words may seem intimidating. Actually, as a disciple of Jesus, they are meant to be comforting. Bob said, just this morning on the way to the airport in fact, that I was probably quite introspective as a child. The challenge was, as my father told me back then, philosophically “you’re trying to do calculus before you understand algebra!” (You can see where I get my penchant for analogous reasoning….)
Because I have a deep seated need to understand, that is, to understand myself. Similarly, there are secret places—some treasures, some not so much—buried in each of us, all of which need to be exposed—some to be utilized, some to be healed. However, and this is important, none of this can be accomplished without the proper exposure first.
Which comes to the next part of Jesus’ comment:
I find this intriguing. He’s not so interested in how we are informed; no, that comes in all sorts of ways, many of them unpleasant, (can I get a witness?) It’s not the the mode of information that’s critical, it’s how I process it, how I “hear” it:
Okay, my dad is a retired Purdue mechanical engineer, and my brother is a chip off the old block. Jim has spent many years specializing in industrial containment, and could talk ad infinitum about filtering and micro-particles, et. al. Not my area, but suffice it to say that how you filter something is critical to the purity and usefulness of the final product.
Easy segway: only through the infinite love of our Creator Father can we proper “hear” the secrets of our hearts—the good and bad—so that we can process and produce all that we have been created to be. Not only for ourselves, but for others. Not only for now, but for eternity.
Okay. Time to go catch my flight and see my folks! (How much you wanna bet Bob takes a nap today?)
In, lo, these many years of driving, I had never had even one point against my license, despite what my husband refers to a my “lead foot”. There is in our small town, however, a place drivers affectionate refer to as a “speed trap”—you know, the limit is 30mph, but in a few yards it goes up to 45, and in between the road gently slopes downward…
The officer was nice. Nonetheless, I was a several dollars poorer and a few “points” wiser.
The idea is that I was responsible for what I didn’t know, but should have known. I didn’t know I was going ____mph over the speed limit. I didn’t know there was an officer just biding his time. Both of these bits of information would have been helpful in preventing my mishap, but no matter. I still had to “pay the man.”
Which makes King Josiah’s response so much the better in my mind.
After a long and sordid line of (mostly) wicked rulers over God’s people, Josiah had a interesting idea—let’s follow our God. In fixing up the temple, one of the workers found the Book, the Law where their God explains the conditions of the covenant with the people.
Now, the king was already on the right track in terms of his heart-attitude, and being raised in a very ungodly and confusing family/social environment, he was doing what he could with what he had. But when presented with this additional info, his reaction was, well, possibly a bit better than mine when I was pulled over…
“When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair.”
One of our family catch-phrases is “what am I supposed to do with this information.” It’s really a good test to see if there is something the other person is expecting from me, or if he/she is simply, you know, just talking. This seems to be exactly what Josiah did, and he discovered, in no uncertain terms, that God wasn’t just talking.
Someone once said that the Holy Spirit speaks to those whose hearts are positioned to act upon His instructions. So when Josiah heard God speak, he took one of the offensive idols and…
“…he burned it. Then he ground the ashes of the pole to dust…”
Pretty definitive statement, that. And it wasn’t the only culture shift that was made as Josiah “turned to the LORD with all his heart and soul and strength”. Love it. The kingdom of Judah was responsible for what they had neglected to know (even though it had been available), but God blessed them for the changes, (formidable ones, difficult ones), that were accomplished.
I 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”
Well, okay, some of it (lots of it) is more than a bit gruesome and could rival anything coming out of Hollywood. I mean, why spend eight bucks at the theatre when you can read about the concubine who was cut up into twelve pieces and subsequently Fed-Ex’d (via chariot?) to each tribe of Israel?
And some people regard the Bible as outdated, irrelevant milktoast. Go figure.