Let’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!”
Bob will confirm that I’m not very proficient at keep track of things. To parody the old phrase, he says that I have “places for things, and everything in their places.” Same with finances, and although I’ve improved immensely over the years, I do still generally pray prior to any attempt at balancing my checkbook. (It rattles Bob’s cage a bit if I do anything with his. I just don’t tell him about it until after the fact; it prevents anxiety.)
All this makes it even more incredible that I’m in nursing since we have to keep track of EVERYTHING, like when someone sneezes, and what color it was.
Okay, right, that was gross without warning, (so is nursing), and mild hyperbole, (depending). But you get my drift. I tell people that there is mass deforestation when I return to work as a school nurse in the late summer with all the required record-keeping and paper work that transpires. At least now with computers and email, some of that can be mitigated, but even so, documentation in some form continues.
The Israelite judge, Jephthah, is generally known for the weird story about his daughter, poor kid.
But I think we generally miss the importance of this guy’s backstory and how God may have used it to his (and His) advantage.
Back in those days, having sons was pretty well tantamount to status (as opposed to having daughters; now where they thought the baby boys came from, gets me…) And although even our secular Western culture has fairly well done away with that mindset, they (and us) still deal with the “world’s oldest profession”.
So while Jephthah’s dad, Gilead, had several socially legitimate sons, little Jephthah was not one of them, and was treated accordingly.
“…and when these half brothers grew up, they chased Jephthah off the land. ‘You will not get any of our father’s inheritance,” they said, ‘for you are the son of a prostitute.’ So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. Soon he had a band of worthless rebels following him.”
Because, back then, with those kinds of credentials, that’s about all the following you’re going to get. I can only imagine what hardship he must have suffered going from the house of his father (probably bullied while he was growing up anyway, but at least provided for) to ousted into the “real world”, possibly as a teenager. Homeless. Despised. Without family or connections. Or money.
As usual, the plot thickens—
“At about this time, the Ammonites began their war against Israel. When the Ammonites attacked, the elders of Gilead sent for Jephthah in the land of Tob. The elders said, ‘Come and be our commander! Help us fight the Ammonites!’ But Jephthah said to them, ‘Aren’t you the ones who hated me and drove me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now when you’re in trouble?’”
Run off the farm, rather than living in the lap of luxury, Jephthah has been hardened by life’s boot camp, and is now evidently the one most suited for rescuing those same brothers with soft, un-callused hands.
And rescue he does, like the rushing in of the cavalry.
The point is this. People do us injustices. We have to suffer the consequences of others’ stupidity, prejudices, unkindness, or just low-down thoughtlessness. I’m bullied, kicked out of the club, whether physically or emotionally. Bereft. Alone. (At least it feels that way.)
But God has other plans, and this is just part of the Divine Boot Camp. Plans for rescue, not vengeance, for redemption, and restoration, and it may be for the very ones who turned me out.
Jephthah’s hands and muscles may have become just as soft as his brothers had he stay in his dad’s house all that time. Instead, he became the hero.
Which is God’s training for all of us, to be heroes in one way or another.
Judges 11:2-7 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.
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:
Deuteronomy 6: 20, 25; John 1:14; Romans 3: 21-26 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.
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.)
Now wait a minute! It’s only July! I’m not ready for Autumn yet! Besides, no fair, since I’ve been out of town for a week, which gave the weeds and their comrades free reign. Continue reading “Good fences make for good gardens”
“Jesus replied, ‘Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.'”
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?
But then, I would also make a lousy existentialist; I’ve been ruined by day-to-day living and breathing and working to give too much heed to alternate universes, virtual or otherwise. In my profession, what I do either causes my Continue reading “Ain’t nuthin’ like the real thing, baby…”
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?)
Luke 8:16-18 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, 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.
It would behoove us to follow his example.
2 Kings 22:11; 2 Kings 23:6 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.