Order in da courtroom, here come da judge.

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280When a someone speaks berating and unbecomingly in your office, in front of others…especially when they’re wrong, since they didn’t properly fill out their paperwork.

When you’ve spent ridiculous amounts of time trying to help expedite a Medicaid mess for a someone, and they walk into your office upset with you…because of a misunderstanding.

When a person treats you with distain and disrespect, then expects you (expects, mind you) to help them when they need it.

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Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson

(Thankfully, God’s sense of justice does not match my sense of justice.)  

Okay, these are First World problems. No, not even problems.  These are inconveniences.  Irritations.  Now for some quality perspective.

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Akure with her 4-year-old daughter Ikeno and 2-year-old son Lochuch, who are trying to suck the marrow from donkey bones. The family’s last cow died in the night. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Especially when the hunger is exacerbated by government graft, not merely lack of rain…

Here’s another bit of perspective buried pretty deeply in an Old Testament story.  Now, the Hebrew culture at the time allowed for polygamy, (which is a whole separate theologically and socially relevant discussion way beyond my early morning brain cells or word count.)  The judge Gideon, of the “famous fleeces”, had a bunch of wives and, correspondingly, a tassel of kids. 

He also had a concubine, sort of a live-in, not-quite-a-wife, it’s-complicated kind of relationship, but it got really complicated when the one son she had, Abimelech, decided to stir up trouble in a massive power play by getting all of his half-brothers murdered.

All, that is, but one.

Jotham made a summarily bold move, (okay, from a hilltop, but still…), by confronting the men who allowed this to happen. 

“For he [Gideon] fought for you and risked his life when he rescued you from the Midianites. But today you have revolted against my father and his descendants, killing his seventy sons on one stone. And you have chosen his slave woman’s son, Abimelech, to be your king just because he is your relative.”

“Jotham continued, ‘Now make sure you have acted honorably and in good faith by making Abimelech your king, and that you have done right by Gideon and all of his descendants. Have you treated him with the honor he deserves for all he accomplished?…’” 

Then he went home, wherever that was now, since his previous place of residene had become a blood bath.

“After Abimelech had ruled over Israel for three years, God…”

Jotham had to wait…for three years. (Which is short compared to some.)  He did NOT take matters into his own hands.  His hands were too small anyway, whereas God’s hands are always big enough.  God made good on the situation, as He always does, in His time and in His way.

Still, I empathize with Calvin in the Watterson’s cartoon.  But in my more rational, wizened moments, I am thankful for the sure “goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life”—‘cuz I know I need it as much as the next guy. I am called to mercy this side of the Cross, not revenge, not offense. 

I am also called to smell pretty:

“Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.”

Everywhere, every situation, every encounter, every irritating people, perhaps the one in the next pew. 

Or even with, (especially with?) my own fallibilities and mistakes. 

lightningThank God for the lightning bolts that haven’t come my way.

Judges 9:17-19, 22,23; 2 Corinthians 2:14 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.

Cramped quarters

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280The story of the Old Testament prophet, Jonah, is an intriguing one, and is not without a mild undercurrent of a Providential sense of humor.  Not to poke fun at Jonah’s dire straits, but he did, after all, open himself wide to at least some form of discipline.  Interestingly, as the story unfolds, Jonah never denies that he worships the God of the Hebrew people; he just persistently argues with Him, at least concerning God’s intended task for His wayward prophet.  I have to wonder what brought the man to this extreme—maybe someone from Nineveh had harmed his family somehow, causing a hatred so intense that it created a prejudice toward the whole town (along the lines of the comment about Jesus: “can anything good come out of Nazareth”.)  Maybe Jonah considered God to be unjust in His patient treatment of anyone “not Jewish”. 

Or maybe he was just having a bad day…?

Regardless, a massive storm blows up to buffet the ship carrying Continue reading “Cramped quarters”

Check the seed before pulling the weed!

garden lastOOPS…

That’s not an atypical comment in my gardening prowess. 

To begin with, there are only a few good things I can say about weeds, one of which is that they afford me at least a little exercise outside in the fresh air. I have some definite work to accomplish in that area, and with a bit of concerted effort, I should make some headway in today’s June morning.  But every once in awhile I’ll be out for something else and a particular unwelcomed green thing will catch my eye and up it will come.

I’m not well-versed in weed identification; if something is emerging where I didn’t plant it, it grows at its own peril.  Such was the case yesterday after coming home from church.  My eye targeted a shoot that didn’t belong, a seeming invader among my tender herbs and cukes.  Oh, the hubris of such an alien!  How dare this offensive intruder bury his tentacles into my soil, (such as it was…), gorging his rogue self on the much needed nutrients intended for my other dearies!  I did what any note-worthy gardener would do without thinking!!  I plucked it up by the root!

Oops…

The seedling still bore the Continue reading “Check the seed before pulling the weed!”

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.