Modern-day Molech

IMG_20150103_172451138HOO-RAY!!!!  

dancing

I like to celebrate whenever I can.  I’ve even been known to create my own holidays! 

Today, I celebrate (in words, anyway) a shift in women’s fashion, particularly catching on with my middle school girls.  Now, the female species of the pre-ad homosapien is particularly vulnerable to whatever is coming down the pipe from the Big Apple or Hollywood. 

I find this unfortunate…

I have three fashionista rules: Cleanliness, Comfort, and Coverage. So thankfully, the trend tends to be moving to the longer tunics, and get this—“mom jeans” are making a comeback!  (Pick me up off the floor!)  Mom jeans were Continue reading “Modern-day Molech”

Put on notice.

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280There is a distinct difference between a whistle-blower and horn-blower.  A whistle-blower, as current events has shown all too poignantly, has more to do with drawing attention to others, usually carrying with it negative connotations.  A horn-blower has to do with promoting one’s self, also with ironically negative connotations, at least with one’s peers. 

Except that there are a few finer nuances with blowing one’s own horn (ask me how I know this).  One category, in fact, has to do with a type self-promotion in the eyes of others that can be done in ways so subtle as to even disguise itself from the one actually doing it!  Another Continue reading “Put on notice.”

In other words…

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“‘But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king!
    Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink.
But he was just and right in all his dealings.
    That is why God blessed him.

He gave justice and help to the poor and needy,
    and everything went well for him.
Isn’t that what it means to know me?”’
    says the Lord.”

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.

In other words…

day-planner-828611_1920“David arranged for Asaph and his fellow Levites to serve regularly before the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, doing whatever needed to be done each day.”

(Surely, God can arrange my schedule, too!)

1 Chronicles 16:37  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.

Alt-Trekkie

wood 2I follow my actor-brother-in-law, Doug Jones, on Instagram and Facebook.  We rarely get to see his face, but he has been nonetheless amazing as Pan in Pan’s Labyrinth, the fish/man Abe Sapion in Hellboy, the Silver Surfer in the Fantastic Four, and Chochise in Falling Skies, to name just a few.  And we just found out that he is going to be (yet another) alien in the up and coming Star Trek spin-off Discovery

Of course, I’m old school, with the original Kirk and Spock and Bones and Scottie and all that.  But far be it from me to consider myself a snobbish connoisseur of fine sci-fi—I also enjoyed Galaxy Quest, and the “famous” quote from Captain Jason Nesmith, “never give up, never surrender!”

So, okay, I’ve not yet donned any cosplay nor stood in line for hours to talk to a personal hero of the silver screen.  Heck, I hang out with Doug and Laurie on fam-jams anyway, and they ARE heroes in my book!

I also appreciate the actors in the Hebrews 11 “Heroes of the Faith” line up—it reads like something out of one of Doug’s movie credits.  Allow me to review (from my human perspective):

Gideon, cowering in the barn trying to hide his grain, and who needed a fleece (twice) to convince him of God’s answer.

Moses, who’s recorded conversation with God (as if standing in front of the burning bush wasn’t enough) is replete with “but God!?!”

Sarah and Abraham, who both thought God needed a little help, (since that always turns out well…)

Amazingly, God chooses to interpret their history differently:

“Their weakness was turned to strength.”

Say what?  How is it that God somehow overlooks, not only their failures, but also the consequences of those failures, and chooses instead to record in the New Testament rendition (for all eternity, no less) their successes?

Like it or not, “oops” is part of a Christian’s vernacular, and “I’m sorry” should roll off the tongue more and more easily as time goes on.  One important thing that can be said for these heroes of the faith is that they never gave up.  They may have given in a few times, but they never gave up

In that, Captain Kirk has nothing on Captain Nesmith.

Hebrews 11:34   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.

No need for a boil order?

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Cultural differences aside, Old Testament prophets were, um…a little weird.  I say that respectfully, but I can only imagine they may not have been at the top of an invitation list to any aspiring social event.  Things like walking around naked, burying underwear in the dirt (and retrieving it some time later!), marrying a prostitute, and a list of the bizarre continues—it certainly caught the people’s attention.

It would’ve caught my eye, to say the least.

Not respected, rarely believed, probably ridiculed, and usually hunted down, the job description was not for the faint of heart.  Clearly, one was not chosen by Continue reading “No need for a boil order?”

Who’s minding the gate?

IMG_20150103_172451138We had a break-in a year ago.  Well, not really a break-in.  More like a stumble-in.  Bob and I were watching TV on the couch one evening when we heard a noise in the kitchen.  Some poor soul just ran right in after…, well, it’s a long story.  All was taken care of, police, ambulance, and thank the Lord for good neighbors.   

I say it wasn’t a break-in since we hadn’t locked our back door. (Duh.)  Even though we both grew up in a big city, we tend to take for granted the relative safety of our wonderful small Midwestern town.  So, really, our fault.  Lesson learned, but like Paul Harvey used to say, here’s the rest of the story…

I’ve been plowing about in the Old Testament books of Chronicles.  Unfortunately, they have acquired a reputation that puts them decidedly among what some call the “white pages” of the Bible, i.e., the edges of the pages are white because they are seldom touched.  The past few years I’ve been trying to discipline my reading Continue reading “Who’s minding the gate?”

Worriers, unite! (and then go somewhere else.)

wood 2Did you know that our upper atmosphere is totally littered with cosmic debris, some of which could break through and wreck havoc at anytime, unannounced by our sophisticated technology?  (Remember Russia a few years ago?) 

Or how about the “definitely-not-Kansas-Toto” freak tornado in China that terrified a schoolyard of children and teachers?

A little closer to home is the New Madrid fault line, where I live here in the Midwest of the USA.  I read this little tidbit this morning: “…earthquakes in this region shake and damage an area approximately 20 times larger than earthquakes in California…”, and that we are about thirty years overdue for a major jiggle. (Bob tried to soothe me when we moved here saying that we would be living on the side of our town a little further away from the crack…)

Making it more personal, I was sitting out on the patio this morning right before sunrise, enjoying the relative cool, the quiet of crickets and waking birds, the serenity of my big black dog and my pot of very black tea.  Deep breath.  Nice.  

Then the sun came up, I turned off the outdoor lights (Bob likes it when I do that) and continued my morning on the porch. After a bit I noticed a big spider web built on the side of my table with (guess what) a big spider in the middle RIGHT NEXT TO MY ELBOW–all morning!  

I relocated quickly.

Closer inspection confirmed the spider was deceased (evidently not his own web?) and after clearing the area of the offending wildlife, my skin stopped creeping as I sat back down.

My thought is that potential dangers (or at best, inconveniences) are all around me, and I’m not even aware of most of them.  Yes, I wear my seatbelt.  Yes, I eat properly, (and sometimes I even exercise.)  Yes, I put on my bike helmet before riding to Walmart for groceries. (Yes, I wear spandex…TMI??) 

But even with the best of all things, other things still happen. Unexpected things. Tragic things. Things that have nothing to do with terrorist attacks or misplaced passions and loyalties belonging only to humankind.  (And we all know, especially these days, that many humans are not kind.)

When Bob’s dad died of a heart attack at a young age, my husband said, 

“God is still on His throne.”

If anyone had reason to worry, it was the Old Testament prophet, Habakkuk.  He came to this conclusion:

I trembled inside when I heard this;
    my lips quivered with fear.
My legs gave way beneath me,
    and I shook in terror.
I will wait quietly for the coming day
    when disaster will strike the people who invade us.
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
    and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
    He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    able to tread upon the heights.

Meteorological interruptions or man-made intrusions, God is still in control.

Time for that Walmart run.  (Helmet on, of course.)

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Habakkuk 3:16-19  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.

 

Animated Truth from The Bible Project (very cool!)

MUCHO thanks to SlimJim at The Domain for Truth site for posting this vid!  This is probably one of the easiest and best explanations of the this part of God’s character I’ve ever heard.  Seriously check out the The Bible Project and the resources they have!  

How ’bout some jelly on that #manna?

The Old Testament records the travel plans of the newly reorganized and very fussy nation of Israel on their way to the place that had been long promised to them as a special homeland.  Sometimes I’m tempted to think, “For crying out loud, people!”  (Which they did, frequently.)  I mean, after all, God had done some pretty amazing things from the beginning of this project, what with plagues and parting the Red Sea, Charlton Heston notwithstanding.  There was plenty of water from a rock to satisfy a couple million people or so, and enough quail to feed an army.

And then there was this thing called manna.  I think the jury is still out as to what this stuff really was, which is kind of a moot point, since it was obviously enough to keep them nutritionally sustained over time.  Kind of like the limbis bread of the wood elves in the Lord of the Rings.  (Yes, I own the trilogy of movies, directors cut and all that,… but I digress.)

I readily claim that I’m not a picky eater, and neither is Bob.  But admittedly we do enjoy some, albeit limited, variety in our palate.  I joke that I could live on pizza, but the reality is that even my homemade pizza would probably get a bit old over time.  So in a somewhat shaky defense of the Hebrew people, my very human side can relate to a diet of everyday manna bread and water, even though it made them very healthy indeed.  (I can only imagine the mothers of the five-year-olds….)

However, it seems that the people never quite learned how to address their grievances judiciously to the God that was so obviously trying to help them.  It wasn’t that they were hungry or thirsty.  They were just bored.  Bored with the desert, bored with constantly moving,….bored with bread, and more bread, and only bread.

Put that thought on hold to check out how their future king, David, managed his frustrations and fears and disappointing circumstances with God.  Here’s just a snipet of one of his many recorded communiques with his Lord:

Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me;
Fighting all day long he oppresses me. My foes have trampled upon me all day long,
For they are many who fight proudly against me.
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.
What can mere man do to me?
 You have taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your book?
 Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call;
This I know, that God is for me.
 In God, whose word I praise,
In the Lord, whose word I praise,
 In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?  (see Psalm 56, NASB)

Now David wasn’t just having a bad day.  This was written in the context of his true enemies (and he had many) capturing him in his own wanderings prior to his providential promise of ascending to the throne.  David had no problem “pouring out his complaint to the Lord”, it’s just that he knew how to do it properly.  It’s not about using the right words; it’s all about having the right heart.  David didn’t mince words with God; he didn’t candy coat the problem or his own emotional response to it.  But even in the muck and the mire of dealing with life, he maintained that God was with him, God was in control, and no matter how long it took, he would continue to trust God for the outcome.

Deep breath.  Back to the Israelites.  They just hadn’t grown up enough to understand and appreciate with Whom they were dealing.  Unfortunately, as it has been said, desperate times call for desperate measures.  God sent in “the snakes” to do a severe work of judgment.  And then, in typical fashion, He also provides a way of healing once bitten.

  • I find it interesting that God uses snakes to do the dirty work, since Satan was described as a snake in the garden after deceiving Mother Eve. The original sin was pride, thinking that we should be allowed to “be like God” (which, really, we already were, being made “in His image”, all that.)  Like Eve, the Hebrews thought they were “entitled” to more than manna, more than what God deemed healthy for them for that point in the journey.  Hmmm….
  • The account goes on to say that the people became impatient (Oh!  That word!!) with the long journey and complained about the manna, i.e., God’s provision.  Not complained in the sense of David’s pouring out his honest frustrations to God “Whom he knew would do what is best, and trusted Him with his life, regardless of current circumstances” kind of complaining.  This was more of a “how dare you invite us out here and feed us nothing but bread” category, and the snakes were happy to accommodate.  There is a very important warning here: when I complain to God with a victimhood mentality, with a feeling that I am entitled to more than I have (instead of a humble “I know what I really deserve” kind of thinking) there are definite “snakes” just waiting for a piece of me.  Their names are Bitterness, Resentment, Jealousy, and Offense, and they have many, many sibling slitherers close behind that are just as poisonous to my soul
  • Interestingly, once the people asked for forgiveness, God didn’t just remove the snakes. They were still lurking around, waiting and watching.  But God gave the people a pole to look upon should they be bitten, and having gazed upon the pole, they would be healed.  Similarly, if, through unresolved heart issues, we allow ourselves to be bitten, we really have only one option for true healing, and that is to gaze upon the One Who was raised up on a cross for us. 

So yeah….shut up and pass the quail.