Strategy–don’t leave home without it.

I’m not much of a strategic person, at least not naturally.  I sure appreciate those who are, though.  On that continuum, I probably tend more toward the “see problem, fix problem” rather than “anticipate problem and prevent it” end of the scale.

At least, I’ll say there’s room for some personal improvement. Continue reading “Strategy–don’t leave home without it.”


Ayn Rand meets Moses

IMG_20150103_172451138Bob reads to me while I sit in my great-grandmother’s rocking chair and crochet, complete with the dog on the rug—seriously, we look like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting, only in blue jeans. 

Our most recent book (at this writing) is Ayn Rand’s tome entitled Atlas Shrugged.  Not for the faint of heart, mind you, and not something you’ll find in the religious section of Barnes and Noble, but with some very timely and important ideas on economic integrity, possibly more applicable now than when it was written.

In her novel, she refers to the conflict between the “producers”, those who put their hand to the plow and make stuff, and the “looters”, those who somehow feel entitled to live off the hard work of the producers without significant contribution of their own, simply because they feel they need it.  Of course, “need” is precariously defined to the destruction of those who produce.

Sound familiar?

My disclaimer: I’m not an economist.  Anyway, that’s not the thought I want to convey here. 

Context: the Hebrew nation is (still) about to step into the Promised Land, and Moses is (still) giving them last minute instructions.  Check this out:

 “When the LORD your God goes ahead of you and destroys the nations and you drive them out and live in their land,…”

I see a definite partnership with God here—the Almighty will destroy the enemy while at the same time the Hebrews are to clean house (“drive them out”, which is dirty work as well) and occupy.  The Promised Land was just that—land that was promised, but that didn’t mean they weren’t going to have to work for it.  And hard. Sweat, blood, sacrifice, mistakes, and try again.  (Read about it, it’s pretty dramatic, and makes me feel better about myself…)

Interestingly, when I compare that to my personal salvation, and that 21st century idea that turning my life over to Jesus is “all there is to it”, uh, I don’t think that’s what God has in mind:

“But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.’”


“He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”


“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

…to quote only a few.

Do we earn our salvation?  Of course not!  Do we partner with God to change into the likeness of all He purposes for us to be after He saves us—absolutely!  And it calls for blood, sweat, and tears, hard work, mistakes, and (oftentimes) self-forgiveness. 

historically-1093192_1920Because I don’t want to be a “looter” of God’s amazing grace, but a “producer” in His kingdom on Earth. 

Hand to plow, and keep it there.

Deuteronomy 12:29; James 2:18; 2 Peter 3:9; Romans 12:2  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.

Alive and Well in Kansas!!

“Then celebrate the Festival of Harvest to honor the LORD your God. Bring him a voluntary offering in proportion to the blessings you have received from him… for it is he who blesses you with bountiful harvests and gives you success in all your work.”

** This BEE-autiful video is from Alive and Well in Kansas.  And if you haven’t checked out her blog, please do!  (GREAT instagram feed also, just in case you wonder where your food comes from!)

Deuteronomy 16:10,15  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.


neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Before writing this, I just mowed and trimmed the yard.  Instead of a “rider” we have a push mower, (well, alright, gas powered, not the kind your great-grandfather used, which was the REAL push mower).  And I was having issues with my trimmer, (okay, it’s also gas powered, not the hand clippers I used as a kid…)  And it was Missouri-summer HOT and HUMID! 

Whine, whine, whine.

That’s kind of what a couple of the Hebrew tribes sounded like when they came to Joshua as the nation of Israel was settling into the long-awaited Promised Land—

“The descendants of Joseph came to Joshua and asked, ‘Why have you given us only one portion of land as our homeland when the LORD has blessed us with so many people?’  Joshua replied, ‘If there are so many of you, and if the hill country of Ephraim is not large enough for you, clear out land for yourselves in the forest…’   The descendants of Joseph responded, ‘It’s true that the hill country is not large enough for us. But all the Canaanites in the lowlands have iron chariots,…They are too strong for us.’”

At first, it does sound a little like whining, but to their credit, these leaders had made a proper assessment of their current situation and resources; they were being honest. 

“Then Joshua said to…the descendants of Joseph, ‘Since you are so large and strong, you will be given more than one portion.  The forests of the hill country will be yours as well. Clear as much of the land as you wish, and take possession of its farthest corners.’”

Bringing that honesty to the Lord (via Joshua, since we’re talking Old Testament), the people were initially given the direction they needed…

 …but they were going to have to work hard for it. Then check out what Joshua says next (this is so cool)—

“And you will drive out the Canaanites from the valleys, too, even though they are strong and have iron chariots.”

Bringing that honesty to the Lord, they were then given the needed encouragement to make it happen.

God has allotted certain things to us, which includes our deliverance from the clutches of sin.  He wants that abundant life to flow from us to others (as I have to remind myself, it’s not just about “me”).  Because of Christ, I have too much in me to be penned in by my puny circumstances, not when God has forested hills and open valleys for me to expand into. 

…but I’m going to have to work hard for it.

I’m expected and designed to work hard.  Spiritual battle is not fun.  Clearing out the wood from the hills (past experiences, regrets, and my own “personal demons”) and the iron chariots from the valleys (Satan’s demons, since they like to hang around my warning-sign-304370_1280garbage), can be a daunting business.  Messy, too.  Definitely not a one-man job, but neither was it for the tribe of Israelites who needed to expand. 

So I should sharpen my axe and stop whining.

Joshua 17: 14  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.

Whose #camels are you watering?


The book of Genesis is so fun.  Challenging, but very human.  I recently read the part when Abraham sends his trusted servant bride-hunting back to their home town for the heir to the throne, Isaac.  Camels were the pack animals of the day, and water was a premium, so when he pulled into town, it was important to park at the local well, not only for himself but also for his livestock.

Per custom, the women were coming over to gather water for their needs.  So how was this guy supposed to pick out a bride?  Where does he even start?  Wisely, he started with a prayer.  Smart move.

As one young local approached, he asked her for a drink of the water.  To the servant’s great pleasure, the girl, whose name was Rebekah, not only gave him a refreshing drink, but offered (offered, now, was not asked) to draw water for all of his camels as well.  (!!)

A little research tells us that the water pots these women generally used held about three gallons.  One gallon of water weighs about seven pounds (plus the weight of the heavy pitcher).  One tired and thirsty camel can drink up to 30-gallons.  And since the servant was shopping for a bride for what was effectively a “prince” whose father was exceptionally wealthy, it’s not a far stretch to consider that Abraham had sent his servant with several camels loaded with gifts for the prospective bride’s family, ten to be exact.  You can do the math.  Rebekah’s offer wasn’t just generous; by our standards, it was extravagant.

From one act of unselfish servitude and kindness to unexpected elevation; from watering the camels to riding them as a soon-to-be-princess—we just never know what a little hard work mixed with a good dose of mercy will produce.  Now that’s powerful chemistry!

So, whose camels are you watering?