Just a thought

wood 2

We become like the entities we worship.

[King Ahab’s] worst outrage was worshiping idols* just as the Amorites had done—the people whom the Lord had driven out from the land ahead of the Israelites.”

*NLT note: “The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung.”

Too bad he didn’t know this part of the Book—

“And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them.”

‘Nuf said.

1 Kings 21:26; Psalm 135:18  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.

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Pick up your mat and walk…where?

wood 2I don’t mean to be a cynic. In fact, most people who know me probably wouldn’t think of me that way, if they thought about me at all, which they probably rarely do anyway.

How’s that for cynical?

But no, that’s just realistic. 

C’mon, we all do it, see the world through our own eyes, at least to begin with.  What’s their angle and what’s in it for me.  Everything from Wall Street to Main Street to the garage sales on my street, we want the best bargain with the lowest possible personal sacrifice. 

Perhaps, such was the case of the man lying crippled for thirty-eight years by the Pool of Bethesda.  The treatment modality of the day had to do with waiting until an angel stirred the waters, and whoever got in first was healed.  (Not sure about the veracity of this method, no double blind studies back then, but hey…)

Jesus shows up and we listen in on the conversation:

“When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, ‘Would you like to get well?’”

I love how Jesus (a) doesn’t assume what the person wants, and (b) requires the person to verbally identify what it is they desire of Him. 

“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”

So, in reference to (b) above, notice that the man merely makes an excuse for why he must stay infirmed, not what he actually desires.  Hmmmm….

Undeterred, his Creator makes the decision for him:

“Jesus told him, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!’”

“Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, so the Jewish leaders objected.”

(So what else is new?)

“They said to the man who was cured, ‘You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!’”

“But he replied, ‘The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”

“Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded.

“The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, ‘Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.’” 

Initially, one would think this man, being in the Temple, was worshipping God for his healing. That’s a possibility, maybe.  However, we have lots of folks going into church buildings for reasons other than God in our century also.  I’ll leave it at that, because after Jesus’ injunction about changing his lifestyle, this guy seems to have second thoughts, as in, “Wait, you mean there are some moral ramifications???”  

“Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.”

This man was no dummy.  Don’t think for a minute that there wasn’t plenty of time sitting around that pool to hear loads of town gossip about Jesus and the Jewish leaders.  I don’t mean to impugn someone’s motives who isn’t here to defend himself, but…

“So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules.”

Blessings without change, salvation without sanctification, affected holiness without hardship. It is the church’s undoing.  Subsequently, we become mere subculture instead of counterculture. Where’s the modern-day Job who says, “Though He slay me, yet will I praise Him”, rather than merely showing up for the church picnics?

Seems like many want a piece of the pie, but few can stand the heat of the kitchen.

That’s not cynical; it’s just realistic.

John 5:6-16 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

Why stay hidden?

wood 2I grew up on the edge of a large Midwest city (Indianapolis).  My graduating class in high school was over 700, and I attended the main campus of a Big Ten university immediately thereafter.  I have been to visit my daughters on both coast in L.A. and the Big Apple, and accompanied my husband’s small college on a trip to London several years ago. 

crowdAll this to say, crowds don’t bother me. 

It’s not that prefer them; I don’t.  In fact, I’m writing this on my somewhat secluded patio in my comparatively sleepy small town with my quiet mutt on the pavestones as the birds sing around me.  Yes, in a way, I’m hiding.  Intentionally.  Is that so bad?

But I’m quite adept at hiding in a crowd also.  I really like not 
Continue reading “Why stay hidden?”

Name that tune

clef-1414105_1920I’m not a true musician, but I dabble around in a few things.  I sort of remember a some notes and symbols from the treble cleft, thanks to my parents’ marvelous attempts to musically educate their young daughter.  So when it came time for our oldest child to enter 5th grade, I informed her that it wasn’t a matter of whether or not she would be in the band, but simply which instrument would she like to play.

In other words, at least some exposure to Continue reading “Name that tune”

Happy Sprinter!

quillThanks to Mitch Teemley for this whimsical (but very profound) offering!  If you haven’t found Mitch’s site, The Power of Story, go there!! (Well, I mean, read this first, THEN go there.) You’ll laugh, be inspired, made to think.  And you will have fun. Thanks, Mitch!

yellow_crocus_flowers_in_the_snow_1600x1279

Uncertain spring,

no longer winter.

Transition’s the only

permanent thing.

So why should we wait

to lift up our hearts?

Let us huddle together

and celebrate Sprinter!

⇔ ⇔ ⇔

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”

~George Santayana

Red Ink

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Red ink.  The bane of literary students, or any student for that matter.  You know what it means: misstake, eRr0r, wrong answer, ruuunnnn-on sentence (that was one of my specialties, still is, for all that.)  My husband is a teacher, and with some of his exams he allows what I call a do-over (he calls it a “revision”, which sounds much more professorial.) The red ink, or whatever he uses, shows the mistakes which, as disappointing and uncomfortable as it may be at the time, is actually a good thing.  The student then gets another chance.

This is what happened with the people in Nehemiah’s day.  Having returned from their seventy-year exile to their home in Jerusalem, they were now being instructed from God’s book of the Law, some of them undoubtedly for the first time.  Their collective reaction is quite compelling: Continue reading “Red Ink”

Good morning, Shelob

garden last

Once again, I almost met a spider face to face the other morning.  Yes, I tore the web down with a stick.  I don’t mind if she builds one over the compost pile to pick up as many flies as she wants, or on the garage wall by the picnic table and feast on the ample supply of mosquitoes.  Just not next to the light switch that I need each morning when I go outside, thank you very much!

So hello to the spider on her web (I say “her”, for those of us who may remember either Charlotte or Shelob), and as slight as it might seem, the gossamer tensile strength of the web is formidable, yet it undulates with the Continue reading “Good morning, Shelob”