God’s wide-angle lens

wood 2I 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”

Teach your (siblings’) children well

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280If 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:

Deuteronomy 6: 20, 25; John 1:14; Romans 3: 21-26  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.

Hoosier yer folks?

IMG_20150103_172451138When 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 because Continue reading “Hoosier yer folks?”

The capstone of nine months

IMG_20150103_172451138As 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.

And yet, even though he will experience everything he can as our own baby girl goes through this process, no one can really Continue reading “The capstone of nine months”

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.

The Kraken (#12)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

XII. Departure

The morning came when all was done. No task the prophet gave,

Save breakfast, which he barely touched. His countenance was grave.

And Galen’s pulse was quickened then.. His chest began to heave.

He knew just by his master’s look that it was time to leave.

 

“The time has come, “the prophet said and took him by the arm.

“Be carefully attentive lest we come to major harm.

There is more than one aspect to this problem to be solved.

Tomorrow, when the sun is set, this part will be resolved.

 

“Of course,” he paused, “wear proper dress, and don this garment here.

Despite our plan, the Kraken’s speed might best you, and I fear

You’d meet your end within its coils if not for this disguise.

One dressed in white upon the ice stays hidden from its eyes.”

 

Then quickly Galen slipped the robe on top of what he wore

But asked, “However shall we go with no boat on the shore?”

His elder went to fetch the saddles hanging on the wall

And gathered spears. Then, with a rope, he tied and bundled all.

 

He said, “I know your heart is set on striking out by sea,

Yet, nonetheless, we shall proceed as safely as can be.

No vessel born of human hands can breach the Kraken’s lair.

No ship that plies the sea is safe, but these will take us there.”

 

And as he stepped outside the door and pointed overhead,

A flock of griffins landed, calling shrieks to raise the dead.

With eagle’s front and lion’s haunch, and terrible in shape,

Each one arrested Galen’s eyes and held his mouth agape.

 

The wise man held the saddles out in effort to explain.

“Be calm. You should be thankful for the speed that we will gain.

There are no reins. You use your arms to balance as you sit.

The saddles only they allow. Their beaks refuse the bit.”

 

Amid the whir and flutter of appendages, they sailed

In feathered flight. A mighty squad, through azure skies they trailed.

All through the night and into dawn, the expedition flew

To find a world of gray and white had entered into view,

 

A frozen sea encrusted with the ice of broken flows,

Pale, jagged blossoms grown from seeds the deadly tempest sows.

Calm water in an open space was ringed by icy crags,

Bare, lofty, snow blown pinnacles on which the north wind snags.

 

The griffins banked and steered their course to land near water’s edge

And skidded on the hoary frost to stop along a ledge.

“Unpack your spears,” the prophet said, “before it grows too late.”

He added with severity, “It’s here that we must wait.”

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY…dot…dot…dot!!

Not about me?

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280

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?”

“Birth”day takes on new meaning when you’re the one birthing

IMG_20150103_172451138To begin with, I haven’t given birth to a baby for over thirty years.  That, in itself, is worthy of thanksgiving.  (And beyond that, if you are a man somewhat faint-of-heart, you might consider going to the next post on your reader…)

Not that I would trade any of it—that miracle of another human being growing within me and then passing through me into the world, and, as my husband’s mother mused when our first was born, someone who is “50% mom, 50% dad, and 100% herself”, well, that’s just unspeakably cool. 

Back in the early ‘80s, they were going with these new things called “birthing rooms”: comfortable bed in a wallpapered, home-like atmosphere, etc.  I got to use one when our first made her global debut.  For all the “coaching” classes we had, poor Bob was ultimately relegated to silence and the important task of providing me with ice chips. 

For our second, however, the birthing room was not available, and so I was taken into the old standard: an operating room atmosphere with Continue reading ““Birth”day takes on new meaning when you’re the one birthing”