Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Yikes!


With a quizzical, yet knowing eye looking deep into my own, He asked: "So tell me, child: How did you get gum in your hair?"

I wasn't entirely sure how it HAD gotten there, so I began my litany of possibilities ...

"Well, someone else must have done it when I wasn't looking; someone needing to get rid of their gum quickly."

His eyebrow arched. I continued.

"But it's possible I simply leaned my head against something with gum stuck to it.", I quickly offered.

Just as quickly I added: "Oh ... now I remember, I was chewing it just before I went to bed. It must have fallen on my pillow, and then I must have rolled onto it."

A subtle grin turned up one corner of His mouth. I waited for His acceptance speech.

I would be waiting a LONG time. He just stood there, waiting.

So I asked Him: "What do You think happened that gum would find it's way to my hair?"

Another LONG time passed, and then He said:

"First, nothing makes it's way to your hair that you have not somehow been complicit in allowing or inviting - even if unknowingly."

"Second, gum is for chewing - the best parts savored and the flavor swallowed, while the remains are then removed and either wrapped safely for another chew, or placed decidedly in the trash. Some gum is to be flushed altogether!"

"Third, did you think I couldn't see, or couldn't remove that gum?"

I shifted on aching feet.

"Well, sir. I wasn't sure. I figured You'd have to cut my hair to get it out; and I didn't want that. Afterall, the whole world might see the bald spot and then KNOW I'd not handled gum properly."

He winked at me then, before saying: "And you thought I wouldn't KNOW if we just ignored it, or pretended not to notice?"

A tear formed in my eye; then one in His as He asked me: "Are you ready to be rid of it?"

I then nodded (albeit half-heartedly), closing my eyes to steal myself against what would, surely, be a painful removal.

From somewhere came a cry, "Ouch!". It took me several moments to discern that it had emanated from my own throat.

When all was said and done, I checked the mirror for the loss of tresses that must surely have occurred; losses that would be the tell-tale signs of my folly. To my utter surprise (and relief), no such gouge existed.

What remained was the most amazing luster ... a shimmer of gold that His light had left where the gum had once gripped.

"Come now, let us reason together,"
says the LORD.
"Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
Isaiah 1:18

I hope that's the last time I show up with gum in my hair (or egg on my face)! Moreover, I hope that's the last time I think He doesn't see, or that I could possibly remove the icky stuff by myself.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Magic of Ordinary Days

From the very first viewing moments to the last compelling scenes, this was one of Hallmark's movies that made it to my "Must Have" list.

What delighted me nearly as much as Hallmark's dramatic rendering was the fact that the story was first a book; one crafted with the utmost in story-telling charm by Ann Howard Creel. I now have it in my possession.

While I delighted in the film, I labored over the book like a small boy surveying a caterpillar.
Both have been grand, yet humble reminders of how utterly magical is an ordinary day. I am delighted and grateful for such a pleasant path to an equally pleasant - and altogether powerful - truth.

What does such a thing - an ordinary day - consist of, anyway?

Likely that list will be different for each of us, but this I know:

Ordinary days are ... well ... ordinary!
They don't stand out or make it to the
nightly news.

What makes them magical is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. My eye sees them, in part, like this ...
  • I can hear my breath and the beat of my heart.
  • Recalling friendships brings an unsolicited smile to my face.
  • The faint chirp of a Cactus Wren is a sonnet.
  • The sun reaches beyond my skin to touch my soul.
  • A sense of well-being dares my feet to tap out the rhythm of a song.
  • The shirt I've donned contains the hint of my favorite cologne.
  • I silence the drone of "must"s and "should"s to waste many minutes
    on musings.
  • Realizing that I've yet to discover as much as I've already discovered.
  • Organizing the pantry shelves is an adventure.
  • Clean sheets summon my body to rest & relish.
So what about your ordinary days? Are they magical?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

No Doubt About It

Equivocation or certainty? It's a question I put to the word might as I ask it to justify it's duplicity.

You see, when it introduces itself as a verbal auxiliary, it's a somewhat double-minded endorsement of doubt.

In that instance it also means
maybe, or probably. And we all know that something can be probable, though not possible; possible though not probable. Maybe's a shape-shifter!

However, when might boldly proclaims itself as a noun, it becomes something entirely different. It's powerful, bold, strong, sure.

Might trumps maybe every time. In the biblical sense, it's the foundation for "yes", and the bullion that backs heaven's promises!

Finally, my brethren,
be strong in the Lord and
in the power of His might.
Ephesians 6:10


The Son radiates God’s own glory
and expresses the very character
of God, and
He sustains everything
by the mighty power of His command
.
Hebrews 1:3

... we pray ... in order that you
may live a life
worthy of the Lord and may
please him in every way:
bearing fruit in every good work,
growing in the knowledge of God,
being strengthened with all power
according to his glorious might

so that you may have great
endurance and patience ...
Colossians 1:9-11

So I ask myself: If my strength comes from the Lord, how is it that I consider His power to be a might, and not mighty? I suppose I get my verb/noun wires crossed. Maybe.

Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
His understanding has no limit.
Psalm 147:5


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Flower Power


No, this particular Flower Power is not about polyester bell-bottoms or Woodstock or hippies.

It's about the colorful collage made when the virtual again became real, when fellow blogger Melinda and I spent an amazing day that included lunch and a saunter through Scottsdale's Fashion Square.

Whether munching or chatting, I felt from the git-go that I'd known this dimpled beauty for the entirety of my life! Her easy laugh, warm eyes and authenticity is that rare blend found in few. It's the sort of stuff that makes for life-long friendships.

For some time now we've been visiting each other's blogs, and periodically sharing email when encouragement and prayer are needed. How providential, then, that Melinda's travels would take her from her Ft. Worth roost to my own neighborhood!

Melinda's been Traveling the Road Home
with evangelistic passion for quite some time. She's a fierce advocate for the unborn, and has just recently launched the newest of ministry initiatives with Girlfriends in Real Life along with another of her virtual-to-real blogger buddies, Mary. You can be certain that their gIRL's will be coming to a venue near you in the months to come.



It's been an amazing week; and it's only Tuesday! In the span of 48 hours I've spent time with two ladies I've met here in Cyberspace; ladies that have forever changed my life.

Is blogging worthwhile? You bet!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Gladness & Glory


What a special morning it's been.

Debbie from Heart Choices joined Terry & me for church, and then we all headed to Paradise Bakery for coffee & muffins.

There's just something about fellowship that works best with food!


Were it not for cyberspace (and Lisa Shaw, who inadvertently introduced us), I'd never have met Debbie, and I wouldn't have these wonderful new memories to treasure.

Bloggers everywhere: know how tight can be the bonds formed here!

Since there is nothing so well
worth having as friends,
never lose a chance to make them.
~ Francesco Guicciardini

Friday, April 16, 2010

Straight and Narrow?


The following question and it's corresponding answer captured my attention. I'm serving it as my post today because I believe it packs some powerful points into a subject that is all too familiar. Who among us hasn't had to field something like it - sometimes from the sincere; sometimes from the cynical?


This is one question with an answer that couldn't have more drop-dead serious implications ...


Question: "Why are there so many religions? Do all religions lead to God?"
Answer:
The existence of so many religions and the claim that all religions lead to God without question confuses many who are earnestly seeking the truth about God, with the end result sometimes being that some despair of ever reaching the absolute truth on the subject. Or they end up embracing the universalist claim that all religions lead to God. Of course, skeptics also point to the existence of so many religions as proof that either you cannot know God or that God simply does not exist.

Romans 1:19-21 contains the biblical explanation for why there are so many religions. The truth of God is seen and known by every human being because God has made it so. Instead of accepting the truth about God and submitting to it, most human beings reject it and seek their own way to understand God. But this leads not to enlightenment regarding God, but to futility of thinking. Here is where we find the basis of the “many religions.”

Many people do not want to believe in a God who demands righteousness and morality, so they invent a God who makes no such requirements.

Many people do not want to believe in a God who declares it impossible for people to earn their own way to heaven. So they invent a God who accepts people into heaven if they have completed certain steps, followed certain rules, and/or obeyed certain laws, at least to the best of their ability.

Many people do not want a relationship with a God who is sovereign and omnipotent. So they imagine God as being more of a mystical force than a personal and sovereign ruler.

The existence of so many religions is not an argument against God's existence or an argument that truth about God is not clear.

Rather, the existence of so many religions is demonstration of humanity's rejection of the one true God. Mankind has replaced Him with gods that are more to their liking. This is a dangerous enterprise. The desire to recreate God in our own image comes from the sin nature within us—a nature that will eventually “reap destruction” (Galatians 6:7-8).

Do all religions lead to God?

Actually they do.

All but one leads to His judgment. Only one—Christianity—leads to His forgiveness and eternal life.

No matter what religion one embraces, everyone will meet God after death (Hebrews 9:27). All religions lead to God, but only one religion will result in God's acceptance, because only through His salvation through faith in Jesus Christ can anyone approach Him with confidence.

The decision to embrace the truth about God is important for a simple reason: eternity is an awfully long time to be wrong. This is why right thinking about God is so critical.


Got Questions?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sassy Scenes

I'll let the photos speak largely for themselves. Suffice it to say, it's been a lovely two week episode with all things family & friends!

Court Wars / Rylie & Grandpa


My sister Barbara and her hubby, Jim.


Easter brunch / Rylie & Molly


Touring in style with Grandpa as chauffeur!


A grand, Grand Canyon experience.


On the rim.


Sniffing out El Tovar's cinnamon rolls!


Molly & Tom: King & Queen of Camelback Mountain!


Our girls ...


Saying goodbye is always the tough part ...

Thank the good Lord for Wednesdays ...

... they mean coffee, fellowship & prayer with the "girls" (and an occasional grandchild) from my Home Team. Sometimes there's as many as 12, or as few as 4, but every Wednesday life is made more special because of our time together.

Life's simple joys: people!

The Constitution only guarantees the
American people the right to pursue
happiness. You have to catch it yourself.
~Benjamin Franklin

Monday, April 12, 2010

I Can Only Imagine


Some stories are true
that never happened.
~ Elie Weisel

Vision, or imagination?

Imagination, or vision?


In all seriousness, how do we know (with any accuracy) what is the difference?

Some among us are vividly imaginative. It's what gives rise to creativity, and it's both a blessing and a curse.

Why?

Because (as I'm sure you know) it allows us to envision heretofore unseen beauty & people & lands & events & meanings. On the blessing side, they are interpreted one way; while on the cursing side they are interpreted another as we ascribe to them some mis-directed notion (which almost always gets us in trouble).

So what about those glimpses into the unseen that aren't born of imagination, but of something other-worldly; of vision? How are they different, and/or how are they the same? What makes one a great story or painting, and the other a compelling spiritual revelation?

How do we know if you're hearing from God or from our own imaginings?

How do we distinguish? How do you distinguish?

I saw an angel in the marble
and I carved until I set him free.
~ Michelangelo

Saturday, April 10, 2010

On the Rim


A quick "hello" to let you know I've not gone MIA.


Actually, I've been enjoying a week of domestic & grandmotherly bliss. Daughter Molly & granddaughter Rylie, along with Molly's boyfriend Tom, have been with us ten great days. My kitchen's gotten some intense usage, as have the chaise lounges adjacent to the pool.

Grandpa & I have whisked Miss Rylie away for a Grand Canyon experience. We made our way yesterday, traveling north out of Phoenix to Sedona. We then meandered along the Oak Creek River through the canyon by the same name into Flagstaff, where we nestled for the night.

May I say how impressed was Miss Rylie that Grandpa's an "elite" hotel guest, which means our room suite was free. Rylie even had her own bedroom. Perfect for an equally "elite" granddaughter!

Soon we'll head to breakfast; then onto the canyon's South Rim. It's an amazing site that never loses it's power to humble.


I'll be around to visit each of you next week when at last my routines are again routine. For now, my best & warmest to all.

A Happy Sassy Granny

Monday, April 5, 2010

Suitable Theories

I never guess.
It is a capital mistake to theorize
before one has data.
Insensibly one begins to twist facts
to suit theories, instead of theories
to suit facts.
~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A physician by trade, and a prodigious writer by avocation, Conan Doyle is the author & finisher of the famous Sherlock Holmes. Thus his understanding of the fictional versus the factual is rooted firmly in his scientific mind.

That masterful mind would have grave difficulty with the following. Mine does, too, though my boast is somewhat less scientific ...

Fossil Find May Be 'Missing Link' in Human Evolution

Scientists hope discovery of child skeleton will help them to work out what our ancestors looked like and to determine key dates in their evolution from ape-man to man-ape. A fossil skeleton of a child discovered in a cave system known as the Cradle of Humankind may represent a previously unknown stage in the evolution of man the (London) Sunday Times reported.

Notice the positioning of the words "may" and "hope" in the headlines. How is it, and why is it that many from the scientific community insist upon testing their faith against THIS theory over any other? Too, why is it their theory (for evolution is nothing more than that) is proffered as fact; taught, even, to our children?

I suppose that's why I couldn't help but note (and appreciate) Chuck Colson's commentary in today's Breakpoint, "More Than Monkeys".

Now don't get me wrong. Speculation and theorizing, as well as the brain-storming they spawn are good things. I have no qualms with the scientific community's desire to take their evidence on in such a fashion. After-all, faith is not blind, as some would posit.

But make no mistake: theirs is faith every bit as powerful as my own. Theirs is a worldview; plain and simple!

The intellect is a marvelous machine; and - coupled with fact-finding & wisdom born of reason - it is a tool that may, or may not draw conclusions rightly. Much depends on one's objectivity, or lack thereof. Twisting facts, as Conan Doyle tells us, can be oh-so tempting - on both sides!

And let's not forget that even science has had to move their benchmarks & conclusions from here-to- there on umpty-umpty occasions. Their theories have often not withstood time, new data, or the depths of reason.

Facts are funny little creatures.

Mortals offended by a Creator and/or the Creation Worldview will always seek evidence to prove it wrong. They hope their finds may lead them to the truth, but only if that truth supports a nothing-from-nothing first cause.

Eeek!! & Eureka!! What, pray tell, would they do if they discovered otherwise?

I guess it all depends on who tells the best story. Plausible or not, good story tellers can twist facts and make them stand erect as if never having been twisted. I've relished & enjoyed reading a few - albeit un-scientific - authors of this sort - Jean Auel and Dan Brown, to name but two. It would, truly, be a capital mistake to buy their fancy as the substance of one's faith.

Best to let the Creator tell the story Himself, I say.

Now there's an Author Who never twists facts!

For in six days the LORD made heaven
and earth, the sea, and
all that in them is ...
Genesis 20:11

The earth is the Lord's,
and the fulness thereof;
the world, and they that dwell therein.
For he hath founded it upon the seas,
and established it upon the floods.

Psalm 24:1, 2

And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning
hast laid the foundation of the earth;
and the heavens are the works
of thine hands:
They shall perish; but thou remainest;
and they all shall wax old
as doth a garment
...
Hebrews 1:10



Footnote:
For a flip-side view of evolution, I recommend several good sites:

The Institute for Creation Research
Answers in Genesis
Creation Science
Real Creation Scientists, or here
Former Evolutionists/Now Creationists
Scientists Who Reject Evolution (Believer & Non-Believer Alike)


Sunday, April 4, 2010

No "If"s About It

There is either an empty tomb,
or an empty faith.
Dr. David Jeremiah

... if Christ is preached, that He
has been raised from the dead,
how do some among you say that
there is no resurrection of the dead?

But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.

And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.

Yes, and we are found false witnesses
of God, because we have testified
of God that He raised up Christ,
whom He did not raise up—
if in fact the dead do not rise.

For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!

Then also those who have fallen
asleep in Christ have perished.

If in this life only
we have hope in Christ,
we are of all men the most pitiable.

But now Christ is risen from the dead ...

For since by man came death,
by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:12-21

It is an essential Christian doctrine: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It stands powerfully, front & center, as evidence of Christianity's unique, singular Truth claim: Christ alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life - because Christ alone has power over death & the grave!

If it didn't happen, everything (not just some, but EVERYTHING) written in the span of 4,000 years and collected in the pages of Holy Writ is no different than any other religious thought. Worse, it's a batch of cleverly devised fables.

Thank God there's power and proof behind every word penned! The pivotal victory wrought at the grave is demonstrated for all time in an empty tomb.


It is finished. He is alive.

...these are written that
you may believe
that Jesus
is the Christ,

the Son of God,

and that by believing
you may have life in his name.
John 20:30


Friday, April 2, 2010

An Undivided Heart

It's a rather odd thought among the many I consider today; with ramifications that reach far back, and into antiquity's satchel. It surfaced as I read this passage in a particular Psalm:

... give me an undivided heart,

that I may fear your name
...

What does a divided heart look like, anyway? How does it differ from an undivided one? Is it synonymous with a broken heart, or something more sinister? Is it something one acquires when hurt, as if by fracture? Or is it a birth defect; a condition that inhabits the body because imperfection reigns supreme?

To answer such provocative questions, I had to investigate what an undivided heart might look like. Then, surely, I could know the difference between the two, and know how such a thing might affect me personally. Surely.

I didn't have to look far:

I will give them an undivided heart
and put a new spirit in them;
I will remove from them their heart
of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
Then they will follow my decrees
and be careful to keep my laws.
They will be my people,
and I will be their God.
Ezekiel 11:19-21

Across the great divide between lost and found is this promise: a new heart.
  • It's not something one purchases, or finds, or achieves.
  • It's a gift.
  • It's makeup bears no sign of division.
  • It's singular in intent & stable - the opposite of double-minded.
  • It's faith-filled and forward-focused.
An undivided heart does what it's summoned to do; and nowhere is that better demonstrated than in the final, tortured moments of God's own Son, remembered this Good Friday, Who ...

... for the joy set before him
endured the cross,
scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand
of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such opposition
from sinful men,
so that you will not grow weary
and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:2-3

The perfect picture of an undivided heart!

He did what He came to do, thinking it's horrors and shame of little consequence as compared to His love for me and you.

The fact is, we could/can never have an undivided heart apart from His.


Teach me your way, O LORD,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.

I will praise you, O Lord my God,
with all my heart;

I will glorify your name forever.

Psalm 86:11-12