Star Trek, from my car

wood 2

Bob and I like stargazing.  I know that sounds romantic, and I suppose it is, until you consider that we get up in the wee pre-dawn hours to drive (further) out into the country (only about 10 minutes) to an isolated farm-access gravel road between a corn patch and a cow field.  In August are the Perseids, an annual meteorological lightshow that is worth craning your neck to see, unless you like to just stretch out on top of the car’s hood, like me. 

Staring into the galaxy beyond the fireballs that are “up close and personal”, you know, like Proxima Centauri which is a mere 4.2 light years away, you can see why our spiral in the universe is called the “Milky Way”.   How many stars can I actually see out here? One estimate I read was less than 0.000003%.  It’s beyond what my depth Continue reading “Star Trek, from my car”

Shields at full

A few more thoughts on the story of our hero, Shammah, lest we leave him fighting in a field of lentils.

Back in the day, names usually signified something—an important characteristic of the person, or an event when the child was born, something like that.  Names were important, not just something to throw around casually.

Many are familiar with the name “Shammah” as one of the covenant names of God, meaning “There” or “Present”.  (1) The name “Shammah”, used in this context and for this soldier of Israel, actually means “desolation, horror.” (2) Gag!  Whatever happened for this poor baby to get such a moniker?  Who knows, but the name stuck, as names generally do, particularly when we don’t want them to…

It gives me pause to consider why God would allow one of the mighty men of battle to have a name so closely sounding like His own,  yet with entirely opposite meaning.  Just a few thoughts:

  1. Many times it is in the very place of utter abandonment and horror that God chooses to show Himself the most astonishingly present. (Consider the cross, for example…)(3)
  2. Even when circumstances seems the most desolate, the fight continues, must continue, will continue. (The Philistines weren’t just going to call it a day and go home.) (4)
  3. God is not intimidated by numbers, for OR against. His name of Shammah, His presence and power, are ready to work through us and for us as we stand our ground. (5)

Thanks for readin’!!

  • Strong’s Concordance #8033
  • Strong’s Concordance #8047
  • Romans 8:28
  • Hebrews 12: 1-2
  • Philippians 4:13

Eat Up!

(Full post at dawnlizjones.wordpress.com)

I’m not an expert on Jewish customs by any means, but reading the Old Testament about the Passover during this season is intriguing.  Of striking interest to me is the part where the Hebrew people are warned that, once the Passover lamb is sacrificed and served up on a platter, they were to use up the whole thing in some way or other, not to leave any remaining until the next day.

What’s that about?

Here’s my take.  Leaving meat unpreserved in a hot place for several hours (like overnight) causes spoilage and rancidity.  Not just the ugly worms and bugs that we can see crawling all over the leftovers, but more importantly the ones we can’t see!  It’s not just about had badly it stinks, or how unappealing it appears served up for breakfast. The bottom line is that spoilage causes illness, and rancidity causes death. 

I think of it analogously as Jesus our Passover Lamb.  God intend us to “eat” Him completely, receiving all His words, all His commands, all His love, and to trust Him completely, or to use a good old-fashioned word, “whole-heartedly”, as opposed to “half-heartedly”.

Taking just pieces of Jesus causes spiritual spoilage and rancidity.  Like empty legalistic behavior, hypocrisy, selfish ambition, and the list goes on.  In a nutshell, it not only stinks, but causes death—in ourselves and others.  The truth is that most of us have been there, on the giving or receiving end…or both.

The good news is that, even though Jesus’s Passover sacrifice of Himself for us was a onetime event, Passover itself comes around every year.  Our God is One of second chances, and third, and fourth.  Grace is truly amazing.

So here’s to encouraging us all to make sure we “fully consume” the Passover Lamb.  It’s really the only way to not have spiritual stinkiness in our lives.

And really, even though we have to chew on it sometimes, it’s pretty tasty! 

These Old Charming Houses

“Old houses have charm.”

Sure, okay.  I guess that depends on your definition of charm.  Like an obstinately leaking flat roof or creaky floor joists.  We have lived in our “charming” abode for over twenty years, and are s-l-o-w-l-y but surely getting it upgraded from charming to more functional.  Central air and the first attempt at a new roof came when we moved in.  Since then, we have successfully vaulted the flat roof, gutted and remodeled the downstairs bathroom, put in new ceilings, and improved the whole picture with new aluminum siding.  Currently, we are completely re-doing the upstairs “water closet”.

Of course, “we” is a euphemism for our wonderful and patient contractor, Dusty (which, personally, I think is a terrific name for a contractor, if you get my drift.)  Bob and I can barely hammer a nail in straight—that is, if we can find the hammer.  Dusty and his men really know their stuff.  And they didn’t even raise a stink when my over-curious husband checked out their work area to see the progress, promptly stepping into some construction goo that they had just carefully spread prior to laying the tile.  They have vision, and that gives them purpose.  They’re going for both functionality AND aesthetics!

 I love these guys.

But regardless of how careful and considerate they are (and they are!), when construction is in progress, you just can’t plan to dine a royal party in style in the middle of it.  And you also don’t want to rush the work, either.  It needs to be done properly and under experiended supervision so that the electricity doesn’t burn down the house and the plumbing doesn’t, well, you know.

Life is similar.  We all need to be remodeled, upgraded, re-done.  We are all under construction, and have our times of messiness.  People close by step in the sticky goo of our moral confusion, or have to be careful not to trip over the ripped off wallboard of our pain. 

Like my contractor, God is not deterred from His vision and purpose for us. All my goo, all my dust, it’s all temporary.  And Jesus didn’t die on a cross just to make me “functional”, although some of us would be thankful even for that!  No, He made the supreme sacrifice to make us beautiful, to make our lives count for eternity.

This Easter, don’t be afraid to hang up the “Under Construction” sign and put on a hard hat.  It’s what He now lives for!