Tuesday, June 29, 2010
On the other side (or should I say "on the scorchin' side"?) of this trek, I'll pick up where I leave off here, and now.
Until then, adieu ... (Why don't we use that word more often? It's synonymous with farewell, but it actually means, literally, to God).
Monday, June 28, 2010
because we have chosen to do so,
but because God has apprehended us.
~ Oswald Chambers
In truth, it's a truth that afflicts my sensibilities (or lack thereof). It's a notion I don't find easy to accept, though on the conscious level I give it my assent.
So why am I scratching my head as if to ask no one in general, and my own self in particular: Well, what am I here for if not to work for God?
It's a rhetorical question, if not a mute point as both Oswald AND the scriptures point out. Come to think of it, they're not MUTE about the distinction one bit.
but trusts God who justifies the wicked,
his faith is credited as righteousness.
David (Ps 32) says the same thing when he
speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom
God credits righteousness apart from works.
Romans 4:4, 6
My own designs and devices are, in yet another truth, suspect. Unless and until I'm content in whatever state I find myself, many (dare I say "all") of my designs have the look of a self-will run riot (though dressed nicely, I can assure you).
I can justify just about anything because it feels right, or because it gives me so much joy & satisfaction, or because it's so needed (I'm needed). Surely that MUST mean God's called me to do thus-and-so?!
There's a huge distinction between what we're called to do and what we advise God we'll be doing on His behalf, even though the line that separates the two is often blurred (no doubt, by my own faulty reasoning).
Just as it is said that faith without works is dead; so, too are works without faith - - the sort of faith born of reason: Faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). (I could write a Gone With the Wind sized volume on what faith isn't, not the least of which is blind!)
I heard it said once, and it's never left me: We are not human doings, but human beings.
When I get that (and not just in intellectual assents), I'm much more content with my beingness, and a whole lot less enchanted with my doingness. Funny how the former begets the latter; but the latter rarely, if ever begets the former.
I just hate it when truth interrupts my biases.
consider loss for the sake of Christ.
What is more, I consider everything a loss
compared to the surpassing greatness of
knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,
for whose sake I have lost all things.
I consider them rubbish, that I may
gain Christ and be found in him,
not having a righteousness of my own
that comes from the law,
but that which is through faith in Christ—
the righteousness that comes
from God and is by faith.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
computer game wars!
Erik (15 1/2), Kaden (11), Kelly (15 1/2)
Friday, June 25, 2010
How dare anyone mess up the way I view what was ...
Thus has been my experience these many days of visiting the home of my childhood.
That's a fact: I'm a visitor. Yet soon I'll be a resident again.
Another fact? You never really go home again, nor can you time-travel in reverse. The course of time always advances forward, as does one's way upon it. Everything is always new ...
- New sunrise
- New adventures
- New opportunities
- New grace for the day
- New memories (or old memories refreshed as in "deja vu")
- New information ...
- New knowledge ...
- New understanding and, hopefully ...
- New wisdom
- New visage (where DO these wrinkles come from, anyway?)
- New life- both physical and spiritual
we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
O God our Savior, the hope of
all the ends of the earth...
where morning dawns and evening fades,
You call forth songs of joy.
Psalm 65:5, 8
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
Do we really need the Hubble Space Scope to understand that mysteries still abound? For all man's knowledge and advancements, new things come into view, and old things are made more lustrous still. Man simply cannot fathom, let alone compete with the majesty of God's creation, or the very majesty of God Himself!
Could it be that formless voids yield starry wonders without a hand to guide & guild them?
Such silly questions. Such marvelous wonders.
the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where
their voice is not heard.
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one
by one, and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty
strength, not one of them is missing.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
My take ...
- Glitzner - A chemical that removes bling from all things bedazzled.
- Norbundt- A tactical maneuver for women attempting to get the remote from their husband.
- Bigurtz - It's what happens after you "beget" more than 4 children.
- Morvotni - A concerto on the harmonica.
- Messot - A small varmint that nests in boy's sneakers.
- Twednt - What happens to all the people that Tweet.
- Hipthilis - Another term for large thighs.
- Propic - What happens to the dentist when he's not gentle.
- Zoosh - A well-know tactic used often by Dr. Seusse.
- Luntrip - A Volga boat-ride in Russia.
- Crisch - Like a croissant, this delicacy is served on National Doing Laundry Day.
- Seratypt - Oh dear ... this is what happened to Sera when she "tipped" a wee bit too much.
- Jurunta - A form of hunting while on African safari.
What about you? Do you ever laugh aloud when confronted with a scrambled word? Any favorites you can recall?
May this day be filled with the joys of laughter. Such a balm!
Monday, June 21, 2010
Defensiveness does little good beyond ensuring a bloody battle. It's born in a stew of fear & conflicting emotions, not the least of which just MIGHT BE the need to be right at any cost. One can hardly deem that righteous. (Remember, it's me that's guilty here ...)
But what of Paul's admonition to us, the one in which he encourages us to be ready, to be "set for the defense of the gospel"? (Philippians 1:17)
As I read today's e-devotional from Days of Praise, that same question confronted me. I read this ...
Is it possible to be ever-ready with reason & grace in positioning and defending the gospel?
I can be sure it doesn't include defensiveness, but the gentle & quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4) of the woman warrior.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
I heard a wonderful quote some years ago: "The greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother."
My sisters and I are the recipients of just such a gift.
Daddy's love-largess for our mother was a vast reservoir that spilled onto, and into our lives. I could write on-and-on about this amazing man of gift-giving; a man of faith, adventure (mountain scaling, fly-fishing & hunting at the top of that list), industry, warmth, charisma, gentleness and affections.
Suffice it to say, I cannot pass through this day without again thanking God for the man that gave me life, so Another could give me life eternal.
but it takes someone special to be a dad.
~ Anne Geddes
Friday, June 18, 2010
So, if you live anywhere in on the planet, and especially near the Carolinas: Be there!
I've been Traveling the Road Home with Melinda Garman for quite some time now. In fact, it was just a few short weeks ago that she and I spent the better part of the day together when she came to visit Arizona with her hubby (click on the link to read about it). Because of that auspicious and wonderful meeting, I know a wee bit about the Black Mountain gathering. I can tell you it's going to be one amazing opportunity - - on so many levels!
in Black Mountain, North Carolina!
God-willing, I'll be jumpin' the screen to be there myself - - for real!
Molly & Tom are headed to the Caribbean for a wedding (poor dears), so my commission here is twofold: bunk in with Rylie while Mom's away, and make a beeline to son Kelly's house to get my hands on the newest addition, Kole (look to the right).
On Sunday, Father's Day, I'll prepare dinner for all the dads in the family - - the first such gathering since we left ten years ago. Can't wait!
Amidst all this I'm investigating, planning, thinking, strategizing, praying and hoping to register for the Girl Gathering at Black Mountain, NC from September 24th to the 26th.
For now, I'm simply content to wear my Grandma hat. It like it best.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I've lived in the Phoenix area for ten years now. In all that time I'd never seen a Black Widow spider, a scorpion, or even a rattlesnake until recent years. But they were here.
I've learned a little bit about snake behavior - - which is a WHOLE LOT more than I even cared to. Even so, it's prudent to know what lurks. You just never know when you might meet up with the lurker.
I now understand that rattlesnakes are particularly unpleasant (and aggressive) in the summer when they're courting, and again in the late fall when they're hungry & getting ready for a more dormant existence.
It's bad enough to come upon one all stretched out on a golf-cart path, road or sidewalk where they languish to absorb the warmth of the asphalt. But it's an altogether different matter to come upon one in it's coiled position, or when it's wound tightly into a bush or shrub (I didn't know they did that!!).
Rattlers aren't interested in striking anything they can't eat, so - most of the time, anyway - they're polite enough to rattle their tales in warning. It pays to have a listening ear at a time such at this.
Furthermore, it's a fact: there's no such thing as a rattlesnake whisperer!
So, as I sauntered along this morning with both eyes and ears alert, another of life's lessons attended my steps.
If it's prudent to beware of what danger lurks in the physical world, it is equally prudent t.o beware of dangers on all paths - especially those spiritual in form & context. Just because I feel safe doesn't mean I can take my ease. Nor does it mean I need to go out, or return with fear.
On July 24 I'll leave the desert for the rainforest of the Pacific Northwest. The life lessons won't change with the climate, for the lurkers continue to lurk.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm.
Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
Proverbs 4:23, 25-27
Monday, June 14, 2010
the weapons of the world.
On the contrary,
they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
We demolish arguments and every
pretension that sets itself up against
the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought
to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5
In the referenced text I am again reminded that it's a process for which I'm responsible. It's a process identified as a "weapon"; one placed decidedly within my reach like a rope, or prod.
Too, and in keeping with man's free will, God isn't about to ride the range of my mind, shuffling little thought-dogies back into the safety of the herd. That I must do, or not.
The "or not" part is easy. I might label it as being open-minded, or an expansive-thinker, or free-spirited. I can justify just about any position, any rambling notion. In truth, it's an indulgence (one I all-too-often grant myself). Pure and simple, it's disobedience.
in which you used to live when you
followed the ways of this world ...
All of us also lived among them (the world)
at one time,
gratifying the cravings of
our sinful nature
and following its desires and thoughts. ...
But because of his great love for us,
God, who is rich in mercy,
made us alive with Christ -
even when we were dead in transgressions -
it is by grace you have been saved.
Throughout the Gospel accounts we hear it said, " Jesus knew their thoughts ..." On the conscious level I know that. I further acknowledge that I know that I know that, even at the subconscious level! Even so, the implications get clearer-and-clearer as I age.
The fact is, what goes on between my ears is as telling as what goes on in my daily life, which - in turn - makes it all the more imperative that I insist those thoughts are rounded up.
I dare not permit the little strays to wander onto the precipices of life. BUT, if I find one or more there, it falls to me to dispatch the hound to nip at their heels until they are safely herded again.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit,
joints and marrow;
it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Off to saddle up ...
Sunday, June 13, 2010
There’s a place of quiet stillness ‘tween the light and shadows reach
Where the hurting and the hopeless seek everlasting peace
Words of men and songs of angels whisper comfort bittersweet
Mending grief and life eternal where joy and sorrow meet
There is a place where hope remains
In crowns of thorns and crimson stains
And tears that fall on Jesus’ feet
Where joy and sorrow meet
There’s a place the lost surrender and the weary will retreat
Full of grace and mercy tender in times of unbelief
For the wounded there is healing, strength is given to the weak
Broken hearts find love redeeming where joy and sorrow meet
There’s a place of thirst and hunger where the roots of faith grow deep
And there is rain and rolling thunder when the road is rough and steep
There is hope in desperation there is victory in defeat
at the cross of restoration where joy and sorrow meet.
Friday, June 11, 2010
From the previous post wherein I reflect on the demise of the once-great Pharaoh Amasis (and the entire Egyptian culture), I find my way to this noteworthy item: the demise of Egypt's god(s).
There were few limits to the number and kind of gods worshiped in Egypt, of that we are certain. But the god that garnered the loftiest locale was none other than Re, the sun god. The early Egyptians believed that he created the world; and the rising sun was, for them, the symbol of creation.
Where Egypt's god Re (aka Ra) is concerned that fact is particularly poignant. After-all, to have worshiped something or someone so fervently for so many decades, building an entire culture/worldview around it, and then to have it/him fall into disrepute or death is a tough pill to swallow.
What DOES one do when their god ceases to exist?
I can imagine the stark incredulity as Re's adherents cry out from antiquity: You mean my god's dead?
Re was thought to be the creator of the universe - - the original master, or lord. At some juncture he was made to share his god-ness with Egypt's king (Re's FIRST mistake), and then later with other gods, like Osiris.
What was he thinking?
Though Re lived on in various forms into the Greco-Roman period, his worship gradually deteriorated during the fist millennium. This decline was probably due to the weakening of the kingship under various foreign rulers; and while he continued to be a part of Egyptian theology, he was no longer a part of the peoples living faith.
This god, and all like him, fell out of favor. Seems people like their gods to stay in step with the times!
Don't those gods realize if they're created they can be un-created?
What a shame about Re. To have been god, and then to fall into the same Netherworld you once ruled is terribly disconcerting.
about our Lord ... Who has saved us
and called us to a holy life—
not because of anything we have done
but because of His own purpose and grace.
This grace was given us in
Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
but it has now been revealed through
the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus,
who has destroyed death and
has brought life and immortality
to light through the gospel.
2 Timothy 1:8-10
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I know, I know ... at 62 it's probably unrealistic, albeit idealistic. But the mysteries of ancient civilizations captivate me, and none more so than the Egypt of antiquity.
With rapt attention I have often dialed into National Geographic and other specials concerning the days of the Pharaohs. It's no secret that brilliant minds and equally mysterious intelligence forged the once-great culture romanticized today.
Egypt is hardly the stuff of lore. It's history is well-documented, with many texts and relics in existence today that flesh out the mummified memories of it's glorious past.
In one seemingly innocuous, insignificant collection of Biblical texts (Jeremiah chapters 43 & 44) I've been reading about the plight of the Jews about to be banished to Egypt for their steadfast affections for tradition & false beliefs above their love of God. First summoned out of Egypt & delivered from cruel slavery by Moses, they are now sent back there in a punitive measure to get their attention.
Their reverse-exodus from Israel occurred during the reign of various Pharoahs, among them the last great Pharaoh, Amasis. It is his name, along with that of Hophra that caught my attention as I read through Jeremiah's bleating texts.
So today I donned my khakis and headed out for an archeological dig from the ease of my recliner & laptop.
Back to Egypt I go, dialing in on it's last great Pharoah, Amasis.
Having failed in his bid to oppose Nebuchadnezzar, Hophra turned his attention to his country's western border. In 570 BC he led an army into Libyan territory, in an effort to stop an invasion of Greeks.
The Greeks made short work of his army and sent him back to Egypt in disorderly retreat. A mutiny broke out in the ranks, between native Egyptians and foreign mercenaries in the Egyptian army.
A bold and respected general named Amasis declared himself Pharaoh Amasis II . By most accounts, Hophra fled, gathered an army of mercenaries, and then tried to recapture Egypt.
Amasis, whose name means "He who embraces the Heart of Re" , met him in battle at Memphis, and Hophra was captured, taken to Sais, and afterward executed by strangulation.
Amasis buried Hophra with full military honors at Sais, and continued as a puppet king, paying tribute first to Babylon and then eventually to Medo-Persia.
What's the point here?
It's that pharaohs and kings and rulers with a heart after Re (anyone or anything other than The Creator God) will be found as Amasis - - the last of their kind, with little more than sand and script to profess their greatness. Better to have a heart after God's own!
That, and the fact that God's word stands true & certain.
Now there's a mystery worth digging into!
God's love and
2 Thessalonians 3:5
The bust of Amasis
Egyptian Symbol for Amasis
Table of Egyptian gods
Sunday, June 6, 2010
These days find me rummaging through cupboards & drawers, closets & crannies - even as my house and garage abound with boxes. All this in preparation for the move to come.
It strikes me odd, this decision-making effort to distinguish between what's valuable enough to make the move and what's not.
Among the "what's not"s are items too worthy to send to the dumpster; items that will be useful or needful to someone else. So another level of decision-making runs parallel to the first one. Do I sell these worthy things at auction? Do I post them on Craig's List? Do I give them away to someone in need? Do I haul them to Goodwill?
It's equally odd to me how many times a day I utter, either silently or aloud: Lord, help me with this. I need Your wisdom here.
Why wisdom? Why not decisiveness, or prudence, or humility, or some other characteristic?
Truth be told, little of what I've packed, and none of what I've relinquished makes my life or home livable, or lovable. Keeping that fact in mind requires wisdom which, in turn, provides much needed equilibrium. Otherwise sentiment (not bad thing) or greed (a bad thing) rule the sorting process. In fact, sorting between those two requires a bucket of wisdom as well!
Besides, wisdom encompasses discernment, perspective, humility, and the like. Pack wisdom, and you've packed it all!
One day soon, as I unpack on the other end, I'll have a better sense of how much wisdom I actually packed into today's sorting process.
Mmmmm ... it seems to me that such a context works not only in this life, but in the life hereafter as well.
Lord, help me with this. I need Your wisdom here!
the man who gains understanding,
for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
Proverbs 3:13-14, 35
the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
2 Colossians 2:3
If any of you lacks wisdom,
he should ask God, who gives generously
to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to him.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
His servants the prophets to you
again and again, you have not listened
or paid any attention...
"But you did not listen to me,"
declares the LORD, "
and ... you have brought harm
Jeremiah 25:4, 7
There's a huge distinction between hearing and listening. How well I know!
I can actually hear something yet not listen to it; not direct my mind towards the understanding of it.
Such is the brilliant mechanism of the ear - to hear, or not to hear. It lies at the root of my teacher's admonitions: "Kathleen, you're NOT paying attention!", and my mother's (as well every mother's) woe: "What did I say, young lady?"
Seems my ear was want of wander as far back as I can recall.
Listening. What an amazing art it is, or - rather - can be. As if a powerful cosmic antennae, all manner of sound comes and goes from the receptacles or filters my ear applies. Thus my awareness, at least on the conscious level, is awarded to those noises I actually want to hear, while all others I intimidate into standing at a distance, or to be silent altogether.
Great is my propensity for hearing what I want to hear.
As I make my way through Jeremiah's woeful truth-telling assignment, I am reminded (repeatedly) that I bring about much of my own harm because I hear and don't listen; or I listen and don't hear. Seems I've trained my ear to tune in, or tune out both the noble and ignoble.
Without ruminating through the luggage of past journeys, I only need to reflect on the mis-steps of my life to know that my ear profits when I exercise my vertical listening device before engaging my horizontal one.
and do not do what I say?
of the kingdom of God has been given to you,
but to others I speak in parables, so that,
" 'though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.'