Ivory towers—nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. 

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280My dear father-in-law was beautifully British.  I remember seeing a castle just sitting out in the field one time while visiting and driving through the Anglican countryside.  Now there’s a site you don’t see amidst the corn in Midwest rural America!

Quite a different lifestyle, that was.  It conjures up pictures of courtiers and knights and princesses tucked away in gabled towers.  Here comes the enemy, so just pull up the drawbridge, and release the alligators into the moat.  How convenient would that be when the IRS comes lurking about? Continue reading “Ivory towers—nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. “

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Just hangin’ around

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I have a bit of a problem with the movie-star mentality that the church often has with popular preachers and teachers.  Driving around in a big city, seeing their faces splashed up on bulletin boards advertising this or that upcoming event just somehow makes me feel…I dunno…like closing my eyes and letting out a big sigh.

Not that I don’t have my faves, people from whom I get some of the benefit of their personal relationship with our common Father and Savior.  But the operative word there is “common”, meaning I have the same access with the same responsibility to hear from God myself, as opposed to settling for allowing all my understanding to derive from their hard work.  That’s just mental and spiritual laziness.  Continue reading “Just hangin’ around”

Why I’m a Fan of Messy Prayers — Kris Vallotton

How’s your prayer life? Is it a lively discussion or more of a stale habit? I think as Christians we often get caught up in checklist prayers. How boring is that? Not only is checklist praying an often empty habit, it’s also leading us to miss out on real connection with a Living God. I…

via Why I’m a Fan of Messy Prayers — Kris Vallotton

Name that tune

clef-1414105_1920I’m not a true musician, but I dabble around in a few things.  I sort of remember a some notes and symbols from the treble cleft, thanks to my parents’ marvelous attempts to musically educate their young daughter.  So when it came time for our oldest child to enter 5th grade, I informed her that it wasn’t a matter of whether or not she would be in the band, but simply which instrument would she like to play.

In other words, at least some exposure to Continue reading “Name that tune”

An ounce of prevention…

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280If anyone in history had it made, it was Solomon.  Then this happened:

“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.”

Unbeknownst to the king, there had been some things in the works “under the radar”, so to speak, for many years.  (One doesn’t generally get to the top of social food chain by making lots of friends; Solomon was, after all, a son of King David, a true man of war.)  All of these situations could have been avoided: two had been providentially held in check, (1 Kings 11:14-25), and the other was actually instigated by God Himself (1 Kings 11: 26-39).  All three were about to be unleashed because Continue reading “An ounce of prevention…”

Can’t see around the bend?

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Here’s a good quote, and have you ever felt like this??

 “Things are far more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD himself has raised his fist against me.”

Not His hand, mind you; His fist.  It’s one thing to be stopped in your tracks by an upraised hand, or even slapped by an open one; it’s another to be socked in the jaw with someone’s fist!  Granted, this poor woman was not only in the throes of grieving a deep personal loss, but her situation had some pretty unfavorable economic implications as well, such as, how are we going to eat?  Here’s why I LOVE this statement—because the person who said it was SO TOTALLY WRONG!  In fact, though she couldn’t see it, she was about to become a very important cog in the Continue reading “Can’t see around the bend?”

Avoiding the ditch

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Bob and I were riding our road bikes several years ago, yes, dare I say, spandex and all.  I had purchased a cute yellow Trek at a garage sale that I was pretty excited about.  Let’s go!  One day, we were sailing along quite well on a two-lane highway when half a house flew by on an “oversized” (you could say that again!) load—it had to pull into the other lane to get around me.  I figured the other half was right behind, so I did the natural thing…I looked behind.

Now, experienced riders (which I am not) can do that without losing their cycling “line”.  Me?  I ended up going full speed into the ditch, which I could have ridden out of, except for a driveway’s concrete culvert a few feet ahead. 

Needless to say, the concrete won. 

So I relate to this story about King David bringing the Ark of the Covenant, the ancient symbol of Yahweh’s presence, into the capitol.  He had put it on an ox-cart, and they were making their way with much celebration and glee, until the unthinkable happened…

“…the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the Ark. Then the LORD’s anger was aroused against Uzzah, and he struck him dead because he had laid his hand on the Ark.” 

Obviously, this caused quite a stir:

“David was angry…[he] was now afraid of God, and he asked, ‘How can I ever bring the Ark of God back into my care?’”

Yep, that’s it.  I get (what I think is) a good idea, God will like this one, and BOOM!  Off I go, zero to sixty in three seconds—

—only to end up in the ditch.  Then it’s really easy to blame God for my ignorance and rashness (which hurt not only myself, but the other Uzzah’s in my life as well!)

David was a warrior, a prolific songster, and a mighty king, BUT…he wasn’t a priest.  Perhaps in his unbridled passion, he neglected to ask those “in the know”.  Consider what happened when his royal predecessor, King Saul, acted as priest instead of waiting for Samuel to arrive as instructed.  (Things did not go well.) No one can deny that David was an enthusiastic individual, and truly had a heart for his God.  But even so, it is tantamount that we seek His guidance first and wait patiently for His timing.  Thankfully, David didn’t give up.  It was a good plan, it just had to be God’s plan:

“Then he commanded, ‘No one except the Levites may carry the Ark of God. The LORD has chosen them to carry the Ark of the LORD…We failed to ask God how to move it properly.’”

The information had been available but it’s possible that, after all these years of waiting and struggling to even survive, they were so taken up with this pending coronation (they had been doing some pretty seriously partying for three days prior), David overlooked this very important concept (that was penned by his future son, Solomon, BTW.  Maybe the son was learning from his dad’s mistake?)—

“Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes. People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD.”bikes

Kinda wish I still had that bike.  (Unfortunately, I still have the spandex…)

1 Chronicles 13: 9,10; Proverbs 19:2,3  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.

“I’m Number 2! I’m Number 2!” (or 3, or 10…)

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Ever wonder what the big deal is about big deals?  As I “chronologically expand” and the world morally shrinks, I’m liking obscurity more and more.  Nobody in politics needs to know my name, Hollywood’s not interested in any hidden talent in my house, and I certainly don’t need my face plastered on some billboard.  No awards.  No accolades.  No name recognition.

May sound like sour grapes, I know, but think of it.  Solitude is priceless in our society, and there are those who, I can only imagine, thirst for it unrequited. 

However, what our “BIG-thinking” society tends to forget is the importance of “the little”.  So the account about King David on the run for his life when his wayward son, Absalom, temporarily succeeds in his coup, is of curious concern.

David had a few spies of his own up his sleeve; well, no, actually they were embedded within Absalom’s palace, and when the plot was made to murder the fleeing monarch…

“Arrangements had been made for a servant girl to bring them the message they were to take to King David.”

LOVE IT!  A servant girl!  Not a soldier, but a servant; not a man, but a young woman (or girl).  And women weren’t exactly considered trustworthy or intelligent, either.  We don’t know her name as she remained obscure.  We don’t know her reward (if any), but she could have been killed if captured.  We do know that if she had failed with what had been entrusted to her, King David could have been eliminated. 

Seemingly small parts have huge consequences.

God gives us small things to do: teach Vacation Bible School, mow the church lawn, or your elderly neighbor’s.  Listening to a friend’s lament over their children…again.  Forgiving the very irritating relative…again.  And praying.  Always praying, even when we see the opposite of what we’ve been praying for.  Praying anyway.

A wise blogging brother, Wally Fry of Truth in Palmyra, put it this way:

“Are we so concerned about the ‘big’ plans God has for us that we forget the small plans count also? Are we wanting to get revived by a big hoopla in our church buildings with crowds, preaching, and music or are we willing to work the details of God’s plan person by person as Elijah did here? If we are only living for the big, high visibility plans, and don’t have time or inclination for the seemingly small plans, we may need reviving.”

Vive la petite! 

Template not optional

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I’ve done a little quilting in my day.  I love quilts, and the limited projects I’ve done makes me even more appreciative of those artisans who really go after it.  Of course, I also love the practical history of quilting, i.e., repurposing worn out clothing into lovely and useful bedcoverings to keep the family warm on those cold winter prairie nights.

One of the important things about quilting, which is fairly contrary to my personal internal wiring, (sigh), is the absolute need to use a “template”, a pattern to consistently measure the various geometric shapes, because let’s face it, geometry is not to be gainsaid.  Or put another way, if you want it to fit Continue reading “Template not optional”

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?”