I love that title movie based on the play by Oscar Wilde. It’s a screwball comedy about mixed up identities and a starry-eyed young heroine who finally figures out who’s who. And she’s quite earnest about figuring out who Ernest really is.
Do you ever wonder at the Christian tradition of being married at an altar? Here is the bridegroom all decked out in formal finery gazing wistfully upon his beautiful bride in her white satin and lace while everyone is trying to see around the photographer and Aunt Judith is loudly blowing her nose. Happily ever after is just waiting to enfold the sweet couple at the end of the aisle.
I mean, historically an altar was a blood-stained place of sacrifice…
One indisputable characteristic about the Old Testament prophets—they were weird. I don’t say that disparagingly, but c’mon, they were not always the kind of people you’d invite to a office picnic. Calling down fire from heaven, tying themselves in knots, and all that.
Of course, they were good to have around when something needed fixed.
Case in point, the prophet Elisha has been persuaded to come with some of his students to build a new meeting place. In the course of events, there was a problem:
As a teenager, I learned the basics of cleaning house. Mom “made” us do our own laundry (thanks, Mom, so very, very much!!), and we were responsible for keeping our own rooms clean(-ish). Dusting was part of it, and if you ran out of Pledge, then a damp rag would suffice.
They say “practice makes perfect”, so leave us say I am a less-than-perfect housekeeper, much less. Whoever comes to visit should leave the white gloves at home. Never quite sure what you’ll find under the bed either, and a flat dusty surface is for writing love notes,…isn’t it?
My not-quite-Heloise skill doesn’t make me less appreciative of God’s perfection, however. Case in point, I love this description of the Baal vs. Yahweh encounter. The prophets of Baal do all they can, and more so, to get their god to light the sacrificial fire on their alter, yet have nothing to show for it but raw hamburger.Continue reading “Love notes, and other uses for dust.”
I don’t mean to sound like an old time horse trader, but I have been summarily blessed with good teeth. If you are not one of those in my camp, then you know that’s not something to be taken for granted, period. In fact, one dentist once told me that the thickness on the enamel of my choppers is only about one in 100,000. Translated, that means I have really no viable excuse of any cavities. But I have a few, cavities that is.
Which means I’ve taken my teeth for granted….
Until now. This year I had to get my first (hopefully only) “crown” for a fractured tooth. OUCH to both the process and the bank account!
I’m thinking of an older friend from church many years ago who had saved a sum of money for some dental work, when she unmistakably heard her Lord tell her to give it to someone. All of it.
WHAT?!? But, Lord?!! (We’re all really good at “but, Lords”.) She did, however, obey, and of course, the money returned back to her very quickly, from an unexpected source, and if I Continue reading “God’s wide-angle lens”
If you really want to get back at your older siblings for all those mean things they did to you as kids growing up, what one thing should you teach their own pre-school children? No, it’s not where daddy keeps his favorite fishing tackle, or how pretty mommy’s new lipstick looks on the freshly painted patio deck, or even how to safely use a blow torch, as fun as all that would be. The grueling, tortuous payback is much easier than that…
Simply teach their little cherubs the word “Why?”
And then encourage them to use it, frequently. Which is not so far-fetched when you consider that we humans are a naturally inquisitive lot to begin with anyway. Why, what for, how come, and the other various derivatives are simply part of our internal vernacular, both positively, from our curiosity, (giving us, for example, “E=mc2”) and negatively, from our wounded sense of inconvenience, (“how come I have to study this stoopid stupid geometry?!”)
Either way, we keep asking.
In this instance, God anticipated our “why”. (He did, after all, make us this way.) The Hebrew people all but have their toes on the boarder of the Promised Land as God is using Moses for a few preliminary instructions:
“In the future your children will ask you, ‘What is the meaning of these laws, decrees, and regulations that the LORD our God has commanded us to obey?’”
Not that the Creator needs to explain to the created, so the fact that He anticipates their inquiry shows gracious condescension. He reminds them that they were brought out of their brutal slavery in Egypt so that God could bless them with an abundant goodness (which was already prepared for them, BTW). Then we read this, which is in the same paragraph, as in almost the same breath—
“For we will be counted as righteous when we obey all the commands the LORD our God has given us.’”
Am I hearing this right? God’s saying, “I pulled you out of a very bad place and I’m putting you in a very good place. Here’s the stuff you need to do to maintain that, and thus I will consider you as in right standing with Me.”
In other words, being counted as righteous is NOT the same as intrinsic righteousness. Nope, that issue was decided a L-O-N-G time ago. I find it interesting, then, when our culture tries to damn the very God Who attempted every which way to communicate and connect with the people who rejected Him to begin with; as if we expect Him to change Himself to fit our image instead of the other way around.
Oh wait…He did that too, only not in the way we expected. (He does that a lot.)
“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.”
Of course, that was the plan all along, which makes that plan even more beautiful. And so now instead of being counted as righteous because of the things I do (which never worked anyway—the first half of the Book bears testament to that arrangement, again, no surprise to the Author), I am counted as righteous because of what Jesus has done for me.
If you’ve never seen it, great, here it is. If you haven’t seen it recently, let’s marvel in a super review:
“But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past,for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”
Back to the original question, why? Only one answer suffices:
When I was “back home again in Indiana”, (and, if you’re a native Hoosier, you’re probably familiar with that song, even though no one seems to know where “Hoosier” itself comes from)…anyway, when I was back home again in Indiana just last weekend to see the folks, I was helping them consolidate to move into their new apartment.
Both of them are your typical Builder-Gen—responsible, frugal, forward-thinking, hard-working. Nothing is to be assumed, (Dad taught me how to spell “assume”—it makes an “ass out of u and me”), and nothing is to be taken for granted. Gratitude is a chosen attitude, and God’s will and wisdom are superior to mine.
Yes, I know not to put my folks a pedestal, and I don’t. But let’s be real; not everyone has had parents like mine.
So while I’m helping Dad recuperate from a knee problem across the street in a separate facility, Mom and my sis (who is local—thank God!) are sorting, organizing, and packing and sweating, with Dad and I out of the way.
Mom did request, bless her heart, that my brother and I go through Dad’s old financial records (V-E-R-Y old) before she takes them to the shredder, not becauseContinue reading “Hoosier yer folks?”
As I begin this post, our youngest daughter is in the birthing process with their first child. She called last night around 1:30AM (their time) to say that the dam had broken, but were home from the hospital with the injunction to “try and get some sleep”.
Yeah, right. A separate human being is trying to push her way into the world through your body, and you’re supposed to “get some sleep”.
Last report is that the contractions are getting more regular. Of course, their bags are packed, and my son-in-law has been the one “nesting” by changing all the lights in their small apartment so that they can be turned on and off by a phone app, by rotating the tires on the car, etc…we love him.