Planning…

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…”

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It’s Complicated…(Part 1)

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I’m not into overt government control, but anarchy doesn’t appeal to me either; I’m much, MUCH too familiar with human nature to rely on our own ability to play nice together.  That’s why this statement from the Old Testament book of Judges is really quite chilling—

“In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.”

No king, including Yahweh God anymore, evidently. What used to be a theocracy was no longer, so do-your-own-thing was the rule of the day. Here are just a few examples: Continue reading “It’s Complicated…(Part 1)”

…and party on, and on, and…

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280There’s nothing like a good party.  We had Christmas caroling parties for the girls, including D.Y.I. tree ornaments, stringing popcorn, games, and of course, singing around the neighborhood.  One activity had to do with picking up a nickel out of a mound of flour—with your teeth.  It turned into a riotous flour fight in my front room, (I loved it, but found flour in the floor boards for years.)

There is just something about celebration that draws people; good stuff is happening and they want to be a part of it. As a bit of an introvert, even I know that exuberant celebration is good for the soul and can encourage and inspire us to even greater things.  

And if anyone knew how to party, is was God’s people.

Backstory: The family of God was in disarray.  Israel and Judah were Continue reading “…and party on, and on, and…”

Chasms are optional; instructions are not

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I have to admit, I’m a real Chronicles of Narnia fan.  I never read them until doing so with my children.  The movies don’t do justice to the books, with the possible exception of the first one.  The special effects are, well,… effective, to say the least, but something is lost on the silver screen as the series progresses.  But then, I’m not an industry professional so who cares?

There is one scene, however, in Movie #2 or #3 that comes to mind; it’s the one where the kids are futilely wandering lost through a forested area when Lucy sees King Aslan across a chasm and bids her to follow.  Naturally, no one else sees him and neither do they believe Lucy’s “vision”.  To make matters more definite, there is no discernible way to get across the chasm, even if Aslan were there.

Lucy gives in the others’ opinions of the situation, which causes problems and a later (gentle but definite) rebuke from the lion, i.e., if he bids her come, she is to come regardless of what the others may think, and regardless of there not being an immediate and obvious path.  Lessons, lessons…

Close that book and open another:

Israel’s rebellious king has recently set up new gods with all the trappings.  In keeping with historic trend, the Lord Yahweh sends His notice of displeasure through a “man of God” who arrives on the scene with some pretty miraculous confirmation.  The king, a bit shaken, asks the man to come dine with him; however, the invitation is thus declined:

“For the LORD gave me this command: ‘You must not eat or drink anything while you are there, and do not return to Judah by the same way you came.’”

Pretty clear instructions, and so far everything God told this man has panned out. No need to doubt the message’s veracity on this point either.

Until another so-called prophet lies to him, saying “an angel” appeared instructing the man of God was to return with him and eat at his house.

Why did this convince the man of God??  I’m sure he was probably temptingly hungry, and that didn’t help, but does God change His mind?  What evidence did this liar have for Plan B?  Spoiler alert—it didn’t end well for the man of God.

Not that I would have done any better, left to my own accord.  And certainly the Lord also says there is wisdom “in a multitude of counselors.”  I readily admit I need the help of others to sometimes discern God’s will in a situation (it’s part of that koinonia thing).  But on the other hand, there are some commands that God gets through pretty clearly even to me; nevertheless, Satan will try to bring his own pack of lies into the muddle, sometimes through those whom we love and trust.

Like Lucy’s family, for example.  “Did you REALLY see him?”

Sounds suspiciously like an old serpent in a Garden long ago, “Hath God REALLY said…?”

1 Kings 13:9  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.

Not about me?

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I’m gifted.  At least, that’s what my folks were told back when I was in 5th grade.  So they put me in different school for a couple of years, which was really nice of them, since it meant mom had to carpool a few of us “gifted” kids to and fro.  (Never mind that fact that my older brother, who was not recognized as “gifted”, went on to be the Purdue engineer, celebrated in his field as international keynote and author, widely traveled, as well as musician/artist on the side.  Yeah, don’t overestimate manmade “tests” for gifted-ness….just saying.)

Right, so here I am, gifted.  Of course, a gift is something that is innately given, something for which the receiver has no claim to credit, nothing they can legitimately boast about, because it’s, well…a gift.

Which, clearly, can come in all forms, some of which are recognized and valued, some of which are undisclosed and certainly undervalued.  And, just as obviously (at least, to me, maybe that’s part of my “gifted-ness”), what Continue reading “Not about me?”

Harmony, in any language.

wood 2One of Bob’s brothers was a army paratrooper out of Fort Bragg.  He then went on to get his M.Div. from Fuller in California.  So somewhere along the way he was dubbed “the warrior priest”.  (We still have a couple of his army jackets—your tax dollars at work…)

Evidently, English is not an easy second language to learn, but Richie mentioned how difficult it was to learn Greek and Hebrew.  I can only imagine the hours he spent at a desk pouring over books and notes.  It had to be an intentional positioning of his body and mind to make sense of all those squiggly marks!

So I have an increased respect for those who delve into the classic languages, and those who have sacrificed much more than time to bring us the Bible in our own tongue.  Through the years, even I have picked up a few words here and there. I have a sweetnecklace gold necklace that Bob’s mom brought back to me from a visit to Israel that is my name in Hebrew.  (At least, that’s what she was told; for all I know it could say “go home, Yankee pig”, but that’s beside the point.)  Years ago, I Continue reading “Harmony, in any language.”

Clean-up crew on board

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I love the imagery and symbolism in the Bible.

Well, okay, some of it (lots of it) is more than a bit gruesome and could rival anything coming out of Hollywood.  I mean, why spend eight bucks at the theatre when you can read about the concubine who was cut up into twelve pieces and subsequently Fed-Ex’d (via chariot?) to each tribe of Israel? 

And some people regard the Bible as outdated, irrelevant milktoast.  Go figure.

But that’s not the stuff I’m talking about. 

When read as a cohesive whole, the entire picture of the Bible is painted on the canvas of war.  Kings rising and Continue reading “Clean-up crew on board”

Now,…just who was Deborah?

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I get somewhat intrigued by what we would normally consider “obscure” comments in the Bible.  I’m of the inerrant/infallible school of theology, not that I don’t have plenty of questions for the other side of eternity.  Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop me from trusting the Author for what’s in the Book, even if some of its contents keeps me scratching my forehead. 

So here’s one of those parts to the story of the patriarch Jacob and his burgeoning family that I find interesting:

“Soon after this, Rebekah’s old nurse, Deborah, died. She was buried beneath the oak tree in the valley below Bethel. Ever since, the tree has been called Allon-bacuth (which means ‘oak of weeping’).”

I was curious why God put a little honorarium to this Continue reading “Now,…just who was Deborah?”

Thar be giants in them thar hills!

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My brother and I come from fairly lanky stock.  Jim hovers around six and a half feet, whereas I am a measly 5’12” (at least it sounds shorter.)  If you’re tall like us, you’ve probably heard the jokes growing up.  You know, “Hey!  Can you hear me up there?”  (To which I reply, “No problem!  Hot air always rises.”)  And so on.  Neither of us were particularly athletic.  I remember my basketball coach saying “Jump, Dawn, JUMP!” Jim’s comment was simply, “That’s the problem; we never have to jump…for anything.”

Even now at my tender age of 50+, being a 6-foot woman in a 5’5”-foot woman’s world is still a bit of a challenge, even humorously so.  Standing in a group of women, I sometimes find myself slouching since the level of conversation lingers about six inches below my ears.  I converse somewhat more comfortably when we’re all seated.

I’m not a very intimidating personality, which is probably Continue reading “Thar be giants in them thar hills!”

Whole lotta shakin’ going on

(pixabay)
(pixabay)

Here’s another part of the story about Prince Jonathon and his little sortie against the hillside Philistine party.  In fact, it’s probably a bit of an overlooked, but really important segment of the account. 

Once the prince and his side-kick armor bearer finished off the enemy soldiers on the hill, (which was 2 against 20, BTW), God then sends an earthquake, which had to be pretty scary to everyone, including our two heroes who had just put themselves in great peril for their nation and, more importantly, their God.  

Seems like a pretty unconventional way of saying “well done”.

[I find it mildly amusing, or sad, probably both, when we call a natural disaster an “act of God”.  Primarily because so many people in our society no longer even believe in God, (although one hears His name thrown around repeatedly in various ways), but also as if He is to blame for acts of His creation, (any more than a parent can be blamed for their adult children’s decisions, as much as we like to do that these days.)  But I digress…]

The result of this act of God was that a large portion of the Philistine army was eradicated by this “natural disaster”, providing additional overwhelming victory for the Israelite army.  So, as scary as surfing on what was originally terra firma was for our two, their persistence and faithfulness (gotta love that old-fashioned word!) paid off big.  The earthquake needed to be properly interpreted as God’s intervention rather than an unfortunate interruption in Jon’s plan

The point: what seems like a setback, a disappointment, or even a disaster may just be God’s rearrangement of our otherwise comfortable terra firma for a greater “victory”. 

Check it out for yourself at:

1 Samuel 14

Romans 8:28

Ephesians 3:20-21