Preparing for impact

SASWe’re traveling quite a bit recently, seeing family and all.  Our children have dispersed globally—if there were reasonably inhabitable colonies on the moon, at least one of my kinder would be there.   Even our nearest kin are out of state.  I told our youngest daughter, (the one currently residing in Scandinavia), that her software engineer husband needs to hurry up with that transporter beam.  Until then, however, it’s the car or the airline.

I’ve flown plenty, but Bob still gives me the window seat.  There’s just that wonderful rush when the plane speeds noisily down the runway, then the cabin gets quiet as the ground just falls away.  I love it. 

Of course, not long after that happens, the flight attendants begin their little demonstration that no one pays attention to, but should.  Instead we go back to staring out the window or reading the magazine in the seat pocket.  I think it’s somewhat comical when they instruct us on how to put on the life jacket under the seat when we’re flying from Missouri to southern Cal…?? Continue reading “Preparing for impact”

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What’s in YOUR wallet?

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It kind of sounds like paper money is rapidly becoming an antiquated art form; even though we still use it here in the US, my daughter in Norway informs me that nobody really uses paper (including checks) over there; “money” is either in the form of plastic or is digitalized via e-devices. 

Sigh.  Yet another piece of skillful beauty succumbs to society’s need for efficiency, (similar to the LP record jackets giving way to small CD covers only to fall prey to artless MP3 players.)  I suppose those in-the-know have decided that such a form of monetary movement is somehow more secure, which in my opinion is debatable.  But as usual, I was not consulted.

Not only is the craftsmanship of our paper money exquisite, but through the years, different features have been added to make it increasingly difficult for counterfeiters, unarguably artisans in their own right, to succeed in their objective.  Case in point: did you know that if you hold up a magnifying glass (since my multifocals are obviously not sufficiently empowered…) to the rim of the main Continue reading “What’s in YOUR wallet?”

Scrubbing toilets with a toothbrush

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Alright, parents.  Remember assigning duties to your children, like cleaning their room, doing their laundry, washing the dishes, et. al.?  I’ll admit, I wasn’t the most consistent at this one, but it is an important part of parenthood, regardless of the amount of grousing that can take place.  Cries of “Unfair!” can abound.  I mean, really, between cleaning the bathroom or mowing the lawn, I know which one I’d choose.  But the choice is made for them, and for good reason—no one should let the 6-year old mow the lawn and leave the 15-year old to pair up the clean socks. 

And yet…

Change direction (but not really).  Re: the continuing saga of the wandering Hebrews on their way to Canaan—the absolutely ornate meeting Continue reading “Scrubbing toilets with a toothbrush”

Lion tamers, to name a few

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Gary Smalley, a gifted family counselor and founder of the Smalley Relationship Center, conceived a simple personality test using four animals as examples; the lion is used in his demonstration as one who tends to have inherent leadership potential, but is also fraught with some significant relational challenges.  I’m thinking the Apostle Paul was, perhaps, one of these:

“Each Sabbath found Paul at the synagogue, trying to Continue reading “Lion tamers, to name a few”

Happy Birthday to me!!!

This is NOT health food.
This is NOT health food.

I’m composing this little post in the beauty of an autumnal morning.  The summer heat is beginning to succumb to the earth’s orbit, the last of the four “blood moons” has passed into history, and despite that occurrence, one of my more immediate concerns has been whether the bag worm epidemic is going to destroy my beloved sycamore tree.  The shallowness of that may be evidence enough of my state of mind, but there it is.

Of course, all that could change in an instant.  You know how life does.

So I’ll write this now and post it later, because I’m writing in celebration of my blog’s one-year birthday in January of 2016.  And maybe I’ll even read it myself.  Because here’s the Continue reading “Happy Birthday to me!!!”

Obadiah, the unsung hero

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Ahab and Jezebel, now there’s a dynamic duo.  Ever notice that there aren’t a whole lot of babies girls named Jezebel?  Doesn’t take an anthropology degree to figure out why.  Here we are now in the time of the heavy duty prophet Elijah.  King Ahab and his lovely queen have been seriously thumbing their noses at God, even more so than some of their predecessors, and God sends a Continue reading “Obadiah, the unsung hero”

Fat Lady Wasn’t Singin’ Yet

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I remember sitting in a school-age Bible class many (and I mean many) years ago learning about this king named Solomon, about all the neat things he did, about how he loved and followed God like his father King David had done, etc, etc.  Neat story, until the teacher told us about how Solomon turned away from God later in life. ..my reaction was something like “What!? No!!”  I was truly disappointed (being the sucker for happy endings that I was and still am).   To put it bluntly, Old Sol liked the ladies—a lot of them.  And as if that didn’t make things complicated enough (which it always does, let’s get real) he started liking non-Israelites also, adding them to his burgeoning harem.

The text goes like this:

“In Solomon’s old age, they TURNED HIS HEART to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the LORD his God, as his father, David, had been…   In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the LORD’s sight; he REFUSED to follow the LORD completely, as his father, David, had done.  On the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, he even built a pagan shrine for Chemosh, the detestable god of Moab, and another for Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites.   Solomon built such shrines for all his foreign wives to use for burning incense and sacrificing to their gods.  The LORD was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, WHO HAD APPEARED TO HIM TWICE.   He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the LORD’s command.”

Solomon’s story might not have been so upsetting to this little school girl sitting in Bible class if he had been able to “guard his heart” by—

  1. …being discriminating in his close relationships. I’m to love all people as Christ does, but that doesn’t mean they all get the same place of influence in my life.
  2. …whole-hearted devotion to Jesus. That relationship comes first, without which all other relationships never reach their full potential at best, and skew me off course at worst.  And, importantly, this devotion is a choice that I make, every day and in every circumstance.
  3. …remembering and respecting his past experiences with God while at the same time pursuing fresh encounters in that relationship. Relying on the past alone is not enough.  Guarding the heart includes keeping current in our face time with the Lord AND (as uncomfortable as it can be at times, admittedly), with His people.

Thanks for readin’! —dawnlizjones

*1 Kings 11:4, 6-9Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt) (Kindle Locations 19279-19288). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Pigs and Pearls

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Having just referred to St. Aug’s comment re: “men’s souls hang on your gifts” and quoting the prophet Isaiah about pouring out “that with which you sustain your own life to feed the hungry and to satisfy the need of the afflicted”, Jesus’ somewhat uncomplimentary metaphor warning us to “not cast your pearls before swine” seems, at first glance, a bit harsh to our 21st century sensibilities.  No doubt, it was to 1st century ears also, particularly considering the religious and social context of the day.

Here’s how I unpack it—

A short take: Everyone has influence, period.  Everyone has a “hidden congregation” that’s watching and learning.  They need what you have to give, which makes each of us responsible for finding out just what that is, and start giving it, even if we don’t know who “they” are yet.  However, pearls take many years to form, and are an organic result of an irritation inside the shell.  Therefore, they are more fragile than, say, a diamond.   Which means you have gifts (sometimes born of inconvenience, irritation, or downright pain) that you might not even be aware of yet, experiences that others need, talents gained, hardships overcome.  Jesus considers these things precious when placed under His care, and He knows who needs them.

Secondly, since they are precious (and admittedly, sometimes fragile), these gifts must be respected and treated with care.  This is where heavenly wisdom is sorely needed.  I see young teenagers giving their hearts and bodies away before they can barely read and write coherently.  I see parents wasting their children’s childhood on drugs and alcohol, or on too many meetings at work (or church!) In these ways and more, pearls are crushed under muddy hooves.

And just a tangent thought: Jesus’ “casting pearls” comment also appears somewhat paradoxical, when compared with the whole “give up your life to find it” idea.  That is one of the many things I love about the Bible.  Like David Limbaugh so endearingly puts it in his book, Jesus on Trial, the paradoxes, the seeming contradictions in the Bible, are invitations to dig deeper to resolve them and thus, far from smashing our faith against the rocks of unanswered questions…

… they serve to help us walk on the water more confidently with Him who holds our hands.