The above title was the advertising tag for one of those insipid tabloids from years past that grace the check-out counter at the grocery store. They tend to be right there with the candy bars to make it more convenient to rot your body and soul at the same time. In my mind, tabloids rank up there with Harlequin romances and other forms of mental/emotional snake oil. Continue reading ““Because enquiring minds want to know.””
I love, LOVE to hear my dad’s stories about then he was in Navy! Back when Bill Haley and his Comets were getting ready to Rock Around the Clock, Dad was off on some semi-covert operation overseas serving his country, doing the things that Uncle Sam thinks invincible 19-year-olds can do.
I’m thinking that, at the time of Dad’s tour, we weren’t technically at war with anyone, but we all know what that means. Realistically, we’re always at war with someone, even if it’s under the radar, especially for those of us back home. There are always enemies, and it behooves us to keep some operations covert, I suppose. Continue reading “Go around…again?!?”
“Now, if I were in charge…!”
Ever had that thought? ‘Fess up, because who hasn’t. And not just about the government, but the media, the job, or even the church…(c’mon, Someone bigger than me is reading your thoughts.)
It’s been said that absolute authority corrupts absolutely. I’m sure that’s probably true in a human sense and, although I’ve never had absolute authority, I know what I messes I’ve made with the little authority I have had. Continue reading “Stinky feet”
Week #2 of what has turned into a nasty sinus infection. The cough is so persistent that REM is a luxury, and of course, lack of sleep sets me up for another migraine, which greeted me this morning when I woke up after a few hours of rest. Bob was about to drag me to the doctor (nurses are such good patients, you know) but I betook myself yesterday and was first in line.
The doctor (one of my former students, BTW) basically said I was already doing all the right things, and then added an antibiotic and high-powered cough syrup into the mix.
As I write this, I’m sitting on the patio. The birds are singing, a distant rooster is trying to wake up the town, and Bob—bless his heart—is sound asleep in our bedroom which I vacated in the middle of the night so at least one of us could get some Z’s.
And I realize I am at a juncture. I can follow my symptoms down that road of negativity, or…
I could rewind what I just wrote: I am sitting (not lying in a sickbed) outside (the weather is beautiful, sunshine dappling through the trees in the cool morning air) listening to birds. I’m drinking my pot of Yorkshire tea. I have a healthy husband who loves me and our family. Most of my plants are actually thriving in the garden. (Okay, people, that’s a big one, just saying.)
The list goes on from there. And I’m reminded of someone in worse straits than I:
“A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks. Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.”
Severely beaten and thrown in a dungeon, not a pretty site. There was no denying their pain or predicament, but they were also at a juncture. Gripe and complain, or focus on and use the resources they had (each other, love of God, voices to worship).
Admittedly, God doesn’t always send His breakthrough in the form of an earthquake. But almost always there are others watching and listening to how we respond prior to the breakthrough.
The highest miracle, and the bottom line of all life’s situations, is the spiritual breakthrough of those influenced by Paul and Silas’s reaction to their circumstances. Hmmmm…
My tea is now gone, and thankfully, so is the migraine. Time for a little gardening. (Shhhh…don’t tell Bob.)
Acts 16:22-25 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.
Car commercials crack me up.
There are the luxury cars that try to evoke images of ecstasy by a voluptuous female draped over the hood or a tuxedo’d movie star falling backwards (slo-mo) into a swimming pool. You want to be cool? Drive this car.
Then there are the manly truck commercials with the deep, disembodied voice talking about ratios and torque (whatever those are). You want to be studly? Drive this truck.
The ones that appeal to family make much more sense to me. The safety factor of “your-child-is-more-likely-to-survive-a-crash-in-this-car” is a brilliant advertising strategy in my book. You want to be safe? Pick this one.
I’m more of an SUV gal myself. Being 5-foot-12 makes a sport car a bit challenging, and I like the thought of having more steel around me anyway. All-wheel drive, stowing capacity and towing strength, it’s all on my check list. Continue reading “Built to serve”
You walk out to go to work and the front tire is flat. Or you’re welcoming the new pastor to your deliciously prepared Thanksgiving dinner only to remember (while on the doorstep) that he’s vegetarian.
Okay, those are actually easy ones. How about your son calls from college and his girlfriend is now pregnant with your grandchild? (And the girl is contemplating get rid of both of them?)
Introducing the Panic Button, and we all have one. Or for some of us, several. Big ones clipped onto our keychains that we carry around every day, with glow-in-the-dark coatings and red LED-lit letters that invitingly read PUSH ME NOW. Continue reading “In which Dawn learns to pray…(cont.)”
My dad had a shop in the basement, a couple of rooms of the basement in fact. It was pretty awe-inspiring. His big engineer’s drafting table, from which hung the triangle and T-square, dominated one room, the one in which he built in all the new cabinets himself. I think that was before he designed and built the beautiful screened-in back porch.
The actual shop was in an adjacent room. This housed a myriad of baby food jars filled with screws and washers and all types and sizes of things. His lathe was in there, and the circle saw, and undoubtedly a host of other things I would have no idea how to use. (What’s a router??)
You know that whole “knock, and the door will be open to you” thing that Jesus talked about? I’m wondering how many times we stand on that same threshold with the door finally open, but are too scared to step over.
Which makes this story of Nehemiah so informative to me.
The land of the Hebrews, God chosen people, lay in utter ruin and desolation, as predicted. The people, those who survived, are in exile, servants of the foreign king. Nehemiah lands the job of cupbearer of this pagan king himself, not particularly a posh position, since at any time the royal loses his cool, Nehemiah could lose his head. Continue reading “Planning…”
“Pay attention to this, Job. Stop and consider the wonderful miracles of God!”
This passage encourages me to ask God for His miraculous intervention! What a God we serve! Creator of the Universe! Molder of the everything from the Rocky Mountains to the pebble I skip in the lake! Designer of the intricacies of the human body as well as an amoeba!
This dove-tails right into what Jesus said about having mustard seed-sized faith and moving those mountains and asking for “whatever you will and it shall be done”—that suits me just fine, thank you!
Then I realize this passage comes from the book of Job…which gives me pause. More like slamming on the brake…
If anyone had reason to ask for miraculous intervention, it was Job. By the time this verse shows up in the narrative, we find our ragged hero drowning in disappointment and sitting on an ash heap with pus leaking from his multiple skin sores. All of his children and most of his servants have been killed in various assaults, his wealth has been stripped from him, his wife has been less than encouraging, and now his erstwhile friends have showed up to accuse him of being guilty before God for who-knows-what.
It hasn’t been a good week.
I’m all about asking God for miracles; He knows more than anyone how badly we need them down here. However, God is more concerned with intervening in my character than with intervening in my situation. If the trial will benefit my intimacy with Him more than the miracle, He’ll choose the trial every time.
Which sounds pretty scary at first, but then God also says this in the book of Job:
“I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come.
Here your proud waves must stop!’”
No matter what the circumstance, my Father is still in control. His plan for my character and my relationship with Him supersedes my immediate comfort, (and not just physical, but emotional, mental, and spiritual as well.)
Even the secular segment gets the idea that sadness has a crucial place in our proper development:
Of course, I have choices to make in how I process these difficult times—regardless of what’s happening around me, I have decisions about what is happening within me. And as a Christian, God says I have internal resources not otherwise available.
Part of that processing has to do with interpretation; that is, how I “see” my circumstances. It’s very, very tempting to fall prey to thoughts such as:
God doesn’t love me like He loves others.
“For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another].”
Or, God’s going to do what He wants anyway, so why bother praying?
“Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly];”
Then there’s the age-old: God must not exist.
“For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].”
The bottom line is the historical reality of the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ—when nothing else makes sense, that does. The splintered, bloodied pieces of wood and the splendidly empty tomb mean there’s more going on behind the scenes that I’m not privy to…yet. To think otherwise means my arrogance is peeking through, something God addressed with Job in no uncertain terms.
So where does miraculous intervention fit in to all this? Jesus’ template of “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done” is a good start, but I don’t think He meant for it to be a spiritually lazy default. I like His disciples initial request: “teach us to pray.”
Which is becoming an ongoing request for me: “Holy Spirit, teach me what to pray specifically, give me grace to pray persistently in the face of disappointment, and help me to engage the power of Heaven for the building of Your kingdom in this circumstance.”
Interestingly, I suspect that’s when something quietly miraculous begins to happen…
Job 37:14; Job 38:11 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.