Reuben, more than a sandwich

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Jacob’s progeny was an unruly bunch.  Our dysfunctional society has nothing on them, and Jacob’s in particular reads like a trashy dime-store novel.  Of course, having two official wives and two sort-of wives probably didn’t help much.  So let’s start with the first born, who’s name is immortalized in the rye and sauerkraut sandwich, Reuben.

This hot-blooded young man had a one-night stand with one of his father’s sort-of wives (i.e., his step-mother), eventually getting him booted out of line for the first-born blessing rights, which was a really big deal back in those days.  (Jacob would have known that, having maneuvered the same kind Continue reading “Reuben, more than a sandwich”

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On the way out the door~~

IMG_20150103_172451138Remember sending your kiddo off to kindergarten that first day?  Or camp?  Or that first solo in the car? (GAG!) Or college?  I remember the anxiety of allowing our teenage girls to go on month-long mission trips out of the country. The first one was to Hong Kong when it was still under British rule, and I found out (after the fact) that my 14-year-old smuggled Bibles into China.  She assured me it was safe. 

Because 14-year-olds know these things.

On one such excursion, one of our daughters reported that when she arrived at the staging complex, there signs posted everywhere that read “CALL YOUR MOTHER!”  Somebody there must have compassionately understood.

Now, by the grace of God, all three of our children have Continue reading “On the way out the door~~”

I Have ANOTHER question (#3)

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Leviticus 20:10 “If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the man and the woman who have committed adultery must be put to death.”

So why were David and Bathsheba not stoned for their adultery?  In fact, this punishment was not even mentioned in the rebuke from God through Nathan the prophet.  Of course, the child died and there were other terrible consequences that effected many people.  Can we legitimately infer anything about why God didn’t have Nathan follow through with the original consequence?  And more importantly, does anyone else see the grace of God working alongside the law (truth) of God?

Giving shout-outs for some specific insightful bloggers, but also invite any others who might have some thoughts to weigh in on this one:

Beyond the Map

Cookie Crumbs to Live By

From the Inside Out

I Sing Because I’m Free

Learning to Be Full of Grace and Truth

Patrick Hawthorne

Pneumythology

Salvageable

Tolle Lege

The Recovering Legalist

Truth in Palmyra

Virtual Vitamins

(And if you haven’t checked out these sites, I recommend you do!)

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.

Frog legs for dinner…again?

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Call me weird (and it’s okay, probably others already have) but I LOVE frogs and lizards and snakes and turtles.  I’ve been known to find fascinating specimens in our yard during early morning gardening, and taken it in to visit my husband who is still in bed. 

As I said…weird.

frog-540812_1280But definitely one of my favorites would be the croaking/jumping beastie.  They come in all sizes and colors, and they sing me to sleep on summer nights.  I don’t know the difference between frogs and toads, and I don’t particularly care; that’s my biology-teacher husband’s department.  But it’s just always a treasure to find them and hold them, to which Bob (the soft-hearted nature-loving guy that he is) always says, “put him down, he’s a scared little creature!”

That said, I will qualify my love of all things herpetologic by adding that I Continue reading “Frog legs for dinner…again?”

LP: Long-Play/Loving Parenthood

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Sitting in my daughter’s living room, listening to the one and only Stevie Wonder while Jess puts the baby down for a nap, glad that my daughter likes some of her mother faves from back in the, well, let’s just say “way back then”.  Hopefully she got a few other good things from me as well, even more important than a love of music.  I remember when she was getting ready for 9th grade and I gave her the choice of what instrument to play in the band.  It wasn’t a matter of whether or not she would learn music; that was a given, just part of her education.  It’s one of those parental decisions that Continue reading “LP: Long-Play/Loving Parenthood”

Avoiding the Red Sign

The red sign of doom
The red sign of doom

A lot of folks in my small town can relate to this sign.  Never mind that the print is too small to read from the street.  You have to pretty much get your face right up to it to get the full impact of the words.   Of course the tip-off is the searing red color, which brings to mind things like a blaring fire engine, a tornado warning on the weather map, the burning flames of,…well, you get the idea. 

It’s not a friendly sign.  But not uncivil, no, nor disrespectful.  Just matter-of-fact and to the point.  No beating around the brush (pardon the pun.)  It is from the local town government stating that your grass (to use the term lightly) is higher than the allowed limit for in-town residents.  The take home message is simply this: Cut it, or else.

Or else what?

Ah, therein lies the treasure!  Seems like the only motivator for some of us is the “or else” factor, a.k.a., consequences.  If…then.   And this is not necessarily a bad thing.  It is, many times, an uncomfortable one, which is in itself a good motivator.  I need to feel the pain if I lean up against a hot stove, or if I get irritable at my friend because I’m having a bad day.  I need to see the numbers on the scale go up if I eat donuts and ice cream every day, or the numbers in the grade book go down if I don’t study for my coursework.  Consequences teach us very important things, as well as keep us safe.

Removing reasonable (i.e. safe) consequences does the opposite.  Learning from our mistakes is harder, partly

pixabay
pixabay

because we don’t feel any different after making the mistake.   Or we don’t even know we made one, since somebody derails or blunts the consequence before it gets to us.  In a morally maturing sense, that’s “pass interference”, except that the one who pays the penalty is the person who was deprived of learning a needed lesson. 

This sets everyone else up for a Domino Effect down the road.  Someone who is not well acquainted with the consequences of their own decisions and behavior will eventually have the rest of us reaping the benefit of their vested ignorance. 

….it’s almost like they expect the city to make their signs a friendly pink and yellow.

Doesn't have quite the same pizzazz, y'know??
Doesn’t have quite the same pizzazz, y’know??

If….then

Choices…consequences.  If I eat too much chocolate, then I get fat(ter).  If I pull the car into the garage too fast like my husband has repeatedly warned me against, then I rip off the mirror, busting the window into a gazillion shards of glass, costing us hundreds of dollars, and having to call my husband to tell him that I pulled the car into the garage too fast…again.  You know, things like that.

We live and breathe if/then’s.  Of course, we’re in good company–even our stone age ancestors had to learn that fire was good in some ways…and not so good in others.

Here’s one of my fave’s that’s really worth chewing on.  It’s a quote from the book of the prophet Isaiah:

“And if you pour out that with which you sustain your own life for the hungry and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in darkness, and your obscurity and gloom become like the noonday.” (Isaiah 58:10 Amplified Bible)

What do I sustain myself, my very heart and soul with?  Okay, money is always a good indicator about where our hearts are, and I’m in total agreement that no matter how little one has, some of it has to be given away to help someone else.  But how about the other things “with which I sustain myself”?

A big one for me is time.  Is my life so full of chores and projects and responsibilities that I don’t have time to pause and listen to a friend in need? Or is a child’s hug somehow an interruption?

Another one is talent and personal skill set.  Can you make music? Sing? Build a wall (or a new drum “cage”, as the case may be in our church)?  Can you make people laugh?  Cook?  Okay, maybe these aren’t the things with which you bring home the bacon, but not everything of true value is recognized on Wall Street.

I think it was St. Augustine that said “men’s souls hang on your gifts”.  Jesus, Himself, warns us not to bury what He has given us, but to invest it wisely.  IF we pour out (not dribble, by the way) these things to help those in need–not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually, relationally–THEN our own personal clouds begin to dissipate as well.  Interesting paradox, this whole “losing my life to find it” thing.

If I get up at 3:30AM to write this post, then I’ll probably need to sleep in.  Good thing it’s Saturday….

NIghty night……….dawnlizjones