Reaching the top shelf

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credit: http://worldofweirdthings.com/tag/intelligent-design/

Limitations can just be so darn frustrating!  I remember trying to buy clothes when I was a 5-foot-12-inch teenager in a world of where 5’8″ was “tall”.   My stature is one of the reasons I would choose to sit rather than stand in a group of women for a conversation, since standing typically means the discussion will be about six inches below my ears.  It’s a bit isolating….

But then, who do complete strangers turn to when they need something off the top shelf at Walmart, right? 

To put that in perspective, I once read an account of Continue reading “Reaching the top shelf”

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.

Close encounters with the food processor

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I’m married to a southpaw, but I’m a chronic right-hander, which for me means that I pour my pot of tea held in my left hand into the sweet little cup in my right. All of this, however, is a non sequitur for some things, like washing dishes, raking leaves, or, more importantly (of course), typing a blog post.  All ten fingers are of equal standing then.

Especially when I make a nice surgical slice into one of them while making dinner.  It doesn’t matter which one, they all bleed the same B-neg red, and it’s just as difficult to type with any of the ten swathed in multiple bandaids. 

Like I’m trying to do right now.

That sense of touch which connects with the synapses is a bit put out, and it takes a little more Continue reading “Close encounters with the food processor”

I’m decidedly mono-lingual

wood 2When my husband was in grad school at Indiana University, we lived in married student housing as a cost effective measure since we had three young’uns in tow.  Bob used to call it “the finest in institutional living”, and my dad got a kick out of referring to our “mini-United Nations” since we lived in a college community with other student-families from around the globe. 

It was truly a great experience, but communication could be interesting at times.  Not so much for me, since I’m from the USA and I.U. is clearly American (unless you ask someone from Purdue, like me, then you might get a decidedly different opinion.)

Because of this multi-cultural makeup, I had the crazy opportunity to learn new languages—

–and I totally blew it.  Sure, I was working different shifts to put Bob through school, tending to three growing children, Girl Scouts, you name it.  But I lost a potential gift of actually being able to converse on a different level.

Here’s an example of two wonderful ladies, one who desperately wanted to communicate, and the teacher who went to great lengths to find a way—

I’m so exquisitely glad that Helen Keller didn’t miss her opportunity.

God also has all kinds of creative ways of communicating with us.  He can find what is just the right kind of lingo/leverage to get through.  But one thing even God has difficulty with (by His own decision) is our unwillingness to believe Him, to believe what He says is actually true.  The first appointment is to accept the Doctor’s diagnosis and treatment—sinful nature, repentance, faith.

Now, Christians get that one, being as how it’s the definition of Christianity and all.  But we tend to get a little hung up on the next part of the communique:

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

We get caught up in our mistakes, our lack of progress.  Or as my bloggish friend, Dan Ledwith, puts it in his book Rest in the Shadow of the Almighty:

 “We can stop worrying that grace is going to run out. We can admit our mistakes, failings, and shortcomings. They don’t define who we are. We can learn from the past instead of languishing in the past. We don’t have to worry about failing, and falling. We can let go of hurts that others have done to us. God paid for it at the cross. There is no debt remaining to be paid.”

God has made the (supreme) effort to get through to us on every level of existence.  It behooves us not the miss the opportunity to learn (and accept) His communication.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17  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.

Ledwith, Daniel (2011-01-27). Rest in the Shadow of the Almighty: Discover the Joy that Is found Living Under the Sovereignty of God (p. 167). CreateSpace. Kindle Edition.

Restore the Joy

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We express art in so many different ways.  Some people can sing.  Some people can write songs to be sung.  Some people can play an instrument (or several) accompany the songs that are sung. 

Then there are those who show up as the full meal deal.

Julie is one of those blessed ones, a blessing both for her, and to us.  Check out her blog:  https://isingbecauseimfree.wordpress.com  And here is her poem.

RESTORE THE JOY by Julie Harris

It’s another silent night

I’m searching for your light

Seems You’re so far away

I need your grace today

something’s just not feeling right

though I cannot see, I trust you’re here with me

restore to me the joy, the joy

restore to me the joy of Your salvation

and grant me, grant me

a willing spirit to obey You

restore the joy

upon my knees I wait for you

search my heart and make it new

take away anything

within me hindering

distracting me from seeing Truth

Used with artist permission.  Again, visit Julie and you won’t be disappointed.

The #Grace of a Talking Ass, ….er, #Donkey

My good friend, Kelly, asked me to participate in a halftime show during a fundraiser donkey basketball game for her small Christian school.  I love big animals, having grown up in the ‘burbs with little access to the farm.  We were to “ride” donkeys while picking up money people threw on the floor.  Needless to say, it was riotous fun.  But I experienced firsthand why the donkey has a reputation for stubbornness.  Case in point:

Once upon a time long, long ago, there was this guy named Balaam.  Not a nice man.  Popular, but not someone you would want to escort your daughter to prom.  He was well known and respected as a person who could effectively “bless” or “curse” whole sections of the population.  Not curse, as in the ineffective and banal expletives that are thrown around today.  No, evidently this man had something unnatural about him, something powerful, and not altogether healthy.  However, to superficially read the account, it almost sounds like he was at least trying to wear a white hat, but as the story unfolds, it turns out that he was, well…not a nice man.

The Hebrew people were coming to the end of a very long road trip through an exceptionally trying desert.  They had learned a lot of important stuff, generally the hard way.  By now the other people whose lands the Israelites were coming upon, including that of a king named Balak, had heard the accounts of how God had miraculously extricated them from slavery in Egypt and provided for them throughout their time in the desert.  Understandably, it made King Balak a little unsettled that this massive group of wandering foreigners was heading straight for his territory, and naturally he assumed the worst.  Whatever was a pagan king to do?

Send for Balaam, of course.

When King Balak’s messengers arrived at Balaam’s doorstep to request a customized curse, the prophet made no bones about it that he could only say what this Hebrew God wanted him to say.  (At least he got that right.)  Initially God told not to go, but when Balaam was offered more money the second time, it was just too tempting and God relented.  (Asking God a second time after a clear answer the first time is not always a wise option.)  However, God knew what was below the surface in Balaam’s heart—greed and selfish ambition, and definitely not what God necessarily had in mind for His own people.

Saddling up his long-trusted donkey, Balaam sets off for the palace, with visions of gold dancing in his head.  To his surprise, and consternation, however, his otherwise reliable transport decides he doesn’t want to go forward, (which, from personal experience now, I realize is not altogether unnatural for a donkey, except perhaps this one.)   First his old companion intentionally turned off the road, and Balaam beat him.  Then he squeezed up close to a wall for “no reason”, crushing the so-called prophet’s foot, and Balaam beat him.  A while later down the road, the poor creature just laid down.  You can guess Balaam’s response, but it’s the donkey’s that I find most interesting—he talked.

(Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t record Balaam’s initial reaction to this event, so obviously it must not have been terribly important to the account.  But, oh, to be a fly on the sweet snout of that animal!)

Suddenly, the supernatural realm—that Balaam hypothetically operated in—was opened, and there stood a seriously intense and summarily displeased angelic messenger.  (Once again, Balaam’s first response is sadly omitted.)  The words of the angel are quite instructive, if not discouraging, and Balaam gets an attitude shift that speaks well for his limited knowledge of the God with whom he was dealing.

Here is one point, among many that could be made from Balaam’s experience which relates to our modern day dealings with life, and the God of that life.  There are times, more than we would care to admit, during which we think we are following God’s will, when in reality our own attitudes are expertly hidden from us.  The bricks of our piety are often mortared together with anger, offense, jealousy, greed, to name a few.  Because God loves His children, He knows how dangerous these attitudes are, and how necessary it is for our welfare that they be removed.  It may be that those around us clearly see the danger that is standing directly in the path, and our anger and frustration with them is not only uncalled for, but unwise.  Granted, it takes humility to allow God to show us the “error of our ways”, even if it comes through humble means, but it is imperative that we see. 

Moral of the story: it’s always a good idea to pray for the grace of a talking donkey while we walk the pathway of this life.   Otherwise, the sword’s gonna hurt.