Some assembly required

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I’m saving for a new kitchen.  They say the first rooms of any old house that should be remodeled are the bathrooms and the kitchen; okay, now that we’re 25-years into this already old house, it’s probably time.  So I’m saving my dollars as I am hoping for a visit from the contractor in the months to come.  (Bob, honey, take note.)

This past Christmas, our oldest granddaughter received a “new kitchen” from her father’s parents.  I have rarely seen such an elaborate and beautiful play thing, and I’m thinking of writing them to request they send me one, only on a bigger adult scale!  It’s magnificent! 

The challenge is that it Continue reading “Some assembly required”

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This Little Light of Mine

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***EXTRA EDITION of Not My Poetry***

Obvious, I didn’t write the following song.  (Sunday School teachers the world over are in sore debt to the one who did, as it ranks up there with the one about Zacchaeus and the sycamore…)

Anyway, I play this to make a point.  Plus, the bass vocals and djembe percussion are really cool:

Of course, if you prefer R&B…

And what’s the collection without an uptempo bluegrass version, right?  (Just imagine smoke coming from the banjo…)

Right.  So here’s a song that most people who have grown up in church (and many who have not, for that matter) could sing without much prompting.  A significant comment is found embedded, albeit not deeply, within this simple song.  John Eldredge puts it so clearly in his book, Waking the Dead. (Such a great title for the subject, BTW.)

God has placed within us a “glory”.  Another good teacher, Danny Silk, calls it our “song”. Or as my own pastor, Lawrence Wilson, says, “what did God have in mind when He thought you up?” 

That being the case, then why, WHY!??! do we insist on downplaying that talent/gift/calling/glory or whatever else we can call it in the name of….what?  Humility? That’s hogwash.  It’s not like we can take any credit for it anyway.

Or maybe we hide it because we’re afraid to stand out, as if shining our light will dim someone else’s.  Equal hogwash.  The more light we have, the better we can see.  And if it’s too much, God will provide the sunglasses.

Maybe we’re concerned that what we feel pulled to is really of no value, and if that’s the case, it probably means we’ve been told that somewhere along the line.  More hogwash.  If God put it there, and God doesn’t make mistakes, then He must have a purpose for it, and therefore, it’s needed.  

I love this story from the early church–Jesus has gone back to Heaven, and the Holy Spirit has made His promised installment.  Peter and John “happen” to come upon a man unable to walk, begging for alms at the entrance to the temple.  Now, another Sunday School song that many remember, (and we’ll use traditional church pipe organ this time.)

“Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” Those words were made immortal by this simple song, (second only by the Bible itself, that is), and the first words that most people probably think were said by the apostles to this lame man.

They were not.

The FIRST words Peter and John said upon meeting the man were:

 “Look at us!”

Seriously?  Isn’t that the very thing we are taught to avoid, in the name of “humility” (or humiliation)?  But here’s the rub: many times for us to redirect someone’s focus onto God their Creator, they first have to look at us, His creation!  And the really hilarious part is that God planned it that way!

Jesus even points this out in His prayer right before going to the cross:

“Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you.” 

So, what glory, what gift/talent/passion/song is inside of you?

Why not follow Jesus’ lead, and let it shine!

Acts 3:4; John 17:1  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 Wisdom of Harvestores

wood 2I love the story of Joseph, of Technicolor coat fame.  He’s also the one that had the bright idea to build large storehouses to put up the grain for the seven bumper-crop years and then portion it out during the famine (also of seven years.)  And Joseph was in charge of the storehouses, which made him a powerful entity, but without this plan the people would have been goners. 

So it turned out to be a pretty good plan.

Here in the rural Midwest, storehouses are also used.  And you don’t TOUCH the grain until the farmer says it’s time.  Only he wields the authority as to when the grain is supposed to come out and how much and for what use.  One does not question the wisdom of the farmer. 

But, spiritually speaking, I still have this bent in Continue reading “The Wisdom of Harvestores”

Zinnias, and other gifts

garden lastHere’s another status report on the new garden.  Writing this in June, during a hot/dry spell here in southern MO, but with my watering (and Bob’s sweet patience with the water bill…at least so far), color is exploding round about. 

Now, my sister-in-law, Bu, is quite the avid landscaper.  She advised that I start cutting these beauties so that more would continue to pop up throughout the season.  She’s usually right about this sort of thing, so I have trustingly clipped a few of my prizes to enjoy indoors and await a new crop as they come.

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Pretty cool, huh?

It’s actually quite good for me, since I have more of a tendency to hoard things, you know, “make them last”.  Like books that set on the shelf, not imparting any knowledge, just collecting dust.  Or unused hanging planters, nurturing spiders’ nests in the garage instead of flowers on my patio.  Things you save “for a rainy day.”

I’m thinking we tend to do that with other gifts also.  Like health, and money, and talent, and those things we think we might make use of when retired, or on vacation, or….just later. 

Jesus said something about “burying it in the ground” rather than investing it wisely for a future return.

Not that timing isn’t important; clearly providing food on the table for the family is a more imminent need than being in a rock band (unless that’s what puts food on the table.)  Relationships take precedence over personal pursuits, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are mutually exclusive 100% of the time. 

Here’s the point: 

“Send your grain across the seas,
    and in time, profits will flow back to you.”

And just for kicks, here’s the footnote for this particular translation:

Give generously, / for your gifts will return to you later. Hebrew reads Throw your bread on the waters, / for after many days you will find it again.”

Generosity is one of those hallmarks of Christianity, and it’s not merely money. Believe it or not, sometimes greenbacks can be the easiest thing to give!  Time and talent, gifts—both spiritual and otherwise—(and even making the effort to inventory what I have in my own storehouse), is incredibly important, because it’s not about “just me and mine”.  It’s about what the Creator, my Creator, has put inside of me to cast out there to bless and benefit others.

Right.  So some neighbors might wake up to find bouquets of zinnia blossoms on their front doorsteps in a few days….

Ecclesiastes 11:1 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.

Marching to the beat of a different Jdembe

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One of my childhood memories is that day in grade school when “they” (whoever “they” were) brought various instruments into the classroom for us kiddos to try out.  I wanted to play the drum. Now, I don’t know if it was because this was the mid 60’s and girls didn’t play drums—similar to the thinking in high school where  girls took “home-ec” and boys had “shop”.  Or maybe I was just too scared to ask, but for whatever reason, I didn’t get the drum. 

In fact, by the time I was in 4th grade, I ended up on a violin.  Later on, my parents gave me lessons on the organ (bless their hearts, they really tried).  In early adolescence I finally got my hands on Dad’s old guitar, and with a Continue reading “Marching to the beat of a different Jdembe”