Monday Blueprint Madness

When a dear friend forwarded this image to me, I was struck by a moment of introspection. It seems the owners have closed up this room, sealed it for whatever purpose, painted it up pretty and added ventilation to keep it cool. Closed off from the world but livable. No biggie, right?

But don’t we sometimes take the same measures with our lives and our hearts? Do we establish secret places that we close off from the world or from God? We can paint it up pretty but there’s no light and fresh air. How much better to be open to the world and open to God – letting light in and letting the world see in. God sees inside of us whether we hide or not. God wants us to be in the world, giving of ourselves and receiving by his will.

Don’t close yourself off. No matter how much you pretty it up, there are signs (steps, boarded up windows) that tell us we’re missing something!

Peace,

Sunday’s Study: Judges 10

Today’s study touches on Tola (judged 23 years) and Jair (judged 22 years). Perhaps “minor judges” but representing the diversity of the leaders God used. After Jair died, the Israelites again served other gods – the Baals and Ashtoreths, the gods of Aram, Sidon, Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the Philistines.


The chapter ends with the Israelites in a stand-off with the Ammonites, searching for a leader to launch the attack against their enemy and become the head of the Gileadites.

Café Chat July 10th

Today’s topic is simply to tell of a miracle in your life.

I’ve been blessed by many miracles, great and small. I’ve been healed of chronic pain through prayer and the laying on of hands. I’ve had my life turn several times, taking new and ever-better direction as I come closer to the LORD. Currently, I’m walking in faith, stepping out as a teacher and an apostle. Declaring myself flawed but committed to live as Christ desires. Although raised in the church, I’d never read the Bible. As of today I’m over halfway through reading the “Bible in a Year.”

Although I’m comfortable and happy, I’m desperately seeking, knocking, asking as I’m commanded to do. Obedient at a time when it would be easy to stray. Fortifying myself against “the enemy” rather than relaxing my guard. From my simplistic view today, that is a miracle for which I am eternally grateful.

Blessings!

Tips for Better Living

After a long hard day spent in the office dealing with people and situations and …. stuff. Sometimes you just have to step back and look at the big picture. The big picture in my world includes a gorgeous Texas sky and, in this case, a Mimosa tree.

Thank you, Lord. If my world was limited to the scope defined by my work or the perceived boundaries of my life, it would be a sad place indeed. May I glorify your name by acknowledging your greatness as the creator of all things beautiful.

Amen.

Monday Blueprint Madness

This staircase makes me think about trust. You would only take these stairs once before you realized that a descent here is futile. You would not keep taking these stairs hoping that one day you’ll find the path clear to some pleasant destination.

How differently we approach relationships. We will engage over and over again with people who’ve proven themselves NOT trustworthy hoping each time that the trip will turn out to be rewarding.

In some cases the investment is worthwhile. I’m working on training our youngest to be truthful and honest; teaching him that the penalty for lying is worse than the penalty for whatever he felt compelled to lie about. At 15, he’s a little old for this – but it’s never too late. I trust that he will learn the importance of establishing and maintaining trust. No matter how difficult the truth is, it is better to share a painful truth than to fall into disuse, considered worthless and untrustworthy.

In our relationships, we are not rigid and constant but we are fluid and dynamic; ever changing and eternally capable of redefining ourselves and rewriting our scripted responses to others. And this, my friends, is truly a blessing.

Sunday’s Study: Judges 9

The stories of Gideon and his son Abimelech are centered in the Book of Judges. Gideon offers a stellar example of the leaders God chose to rescue his children and Abimelech is the antithesis, offering a stark contrast in behavior. It’s worthy of mention that in telling Abimelech’s tale, Gideon is only referred to by his nickname, Jerub-Baal (because he broke down Baal’s altar) rather than by his given name. Abimelech was a discredit to his father in many ways, not the least of which was using silver from the Baal temple and paying mercenaries to follow him.

In the end, God repaid Abimelech for his wickedness.

A Few Comments on Independence

Raising teenagers changed the way I look at independence. I can look back at my own quest for independence and have a clearer understanding of both sides of the equation. There’s something about breaking free from the rules and from our ties to childhood that compels many (including myself) to rebel against their parental units.

The hard lesson is that quite often the freedom that is sought, fought for and won is not really freedom. While my girls might be independent relative to their parents, they did not step out of this household and gain self-reliance. In some ways they’re getting there, yes, but each of them has relied on (or is still relying on) welfare in order to get on their feet. Currently, each of them relies on the parents of their “significant other” (whether by necessity or convenience, I can’t say).

D#1 is living with her boyfriend and his parents. She’s got a steady job with insurance! Things seem to be on track, based on the last year. She’s not raising either of her children, though. And that’s for the best.

D#2 is married and raising our youngest grandson (hurray!), living in a 1-bedroom apartment with her MIL, supplemented by food stamps.

D#3 wrapped up her 1st year of college by moving into an apartment with her girlfriend. Neither of them work. My daughter says the money she saved from the part-time job she worked for a month or so last summer…is dwindling. Admittedly, I’m leaping with both feet to the conclusion that there’s some welfare going on there. She’s the one who left home partly because we wanted her to earn some of the money for college, which we would reimburse. I guess she showed us. She’s the only one of the 3 who has not ever hit us up for anything since she left home. Is it better for her to show us she doesn’t need us? Not from where I sit.

I can’t help but find parallels between my children’s relationship with their parents and our relationship with God. God is our parental unit. God wants what’s best for us. God has given us rules that He expects us to follow. God expects us to be honest with Him and God hopes that we seek and maintain a relationship with Him. He notices when we’re away and He’s grateful when we return. The more time we spend with Him, the happier He is and the easier it is for Him to help us. If we only seek Him during times of crisis, He may be slower to respond. He may take time to figure out what’s best for us in our given situation. If we never seek Him, if we don’t need Him, if we never ask for anything, well…there’s not much He can do for us.

Meanwhile, are we relying on other gods to satisfy our needs?