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Showing posts from October, 2012

Is this really "the worst"?

Give some thought to this one:  The Worst is Never the Worst. Sometimes I think we imagine the worst, hope for the best, but really have no idea what to expect when life gets a little crazy!  Lamentations is not the most well-read book in the Bible, but it is there for a very specific purpose.  Probably because there is some great wisdom in this third chapter.  First, let me just set out the context.  Jeremiah is the writer and this is considered to be one of the poetic books of the Bible.  The primary purpose in writing was to mourn the huge loss of the Jerusalem, and more importantly, the Temple.  Judah is taken into exile, probably under the Babylonian rule, and now there is great turmoil and sorrow in the land.  Nothing has been the same since.  In fact, the Book of Lamentations is read at the Wailing Wall weekly as a memorial of the great sorrow and tragedy of losing their holy city.  The very title of the book in Hebrew means "How" or "Alas" and was a word c

Custom-made jewelry

I have one "custom-made" piece of jewelry - a pinky ring.  It is made up of some gold from various pieces I had, but the most precious part of the ring is the three diamonds channel set at an angle into this ring.  They are from my mom's wedding band.  After dad passed, mom knew I had a desire to have the ring made.  I had only one diamond to place there and was considering placing a couple of amethysts next to it, but she offered the diamonds.  The "value" of the ring went up right there!  It wasn't just the physical value of the ring, but the value the heirloom portion of this ring!  She gave me a "piece" of what dad and she shared - nearly thirty years of great love!  No amount of planning on my part would have produced the same ring!  I have worn this ring every day for twenty plus years.  It has worn an indentation into my pinky finger!   The right word at the right time  is like a custom-made piece of jewelry, a nd a wise friend’s timely re

Need a transplant?

Some of the Psalms of David are filled with all kinds of things which seem to be said not once, but multiple times in the same psalm - kind of like a chorus or refrain in a song.  Maybe this is because so many of his psalms were indeed set to music!  As he begins this particular psalm, he lays out the "words of the refrain" - " God, the one and only— I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I need comes from him,   so why not?   He’s solid rock under my feet,      breathing room for my soul, a n impregnable castle:   I’m set for life."  (vs 1-3 MSG)   This refrain, or the crux of it, is repeated not less than three times in as little as twelve total verses!  So, it must be important, right?  Here's what is sandwiched right in the middle of these refrains: My help and glory are in God —granite-strength and safe-harbor-God—s o trust him absolutely, people;  lay your lives on the line for him.   God is a safe place to be.  (Psalms 62:7-8 MSG) David had such a

Taste and See - mmmmmmm!

Can you explain "taste"?  Most of us would say some things "taste" sweet, others sour.  Maybe we'd describe some things as "yummy" and others as "yucky".  Either of these explanations would be correct, for taste is something we each "sense" in our own way, although we are all "built" with the same "sensations" in our taste buds.  It depends on WHAT we are tasting, WHEN we are tasting it, and WHAT ELSE we've been tasting just before we tasted whatever it is we are experiencing right now, doesn't it?  For example, a good cup of hot coffee tastes really good on a cold morning, or just as you are trying to get your eyes open.  But...have you ever had a cup of coffee in the morning after you have had a night of indulging on onions and garlic?  The "taste" of coffee is masked a little by what it was we experienced the night before.  Brush your teeth and use a little mouthwash!  The experience changes,

Group "norms" or your "norms"?

Who do you "hang out" with?  You probably have a pretty "routine" group of acquaintances who you associate with more than others.  Sometimes, we have groups at work or school, others at home and at church.  They can overlap a little, but seldom are they all the same.  When we have all these groups in which we associate, it is easier to be one with one group and quite another with the other, isn't it?  There is not a great deal of consistency between the members of the groups, so being a little different with each group usually doesn't present a problem. day, you find a member of one of your "groups" crossing-over into another!  Perhaps you find yourself a little conflicted because you "act" one way with the present group, but quite a different way with the other.  The truth about associations is the tendency we have to "blend" to their way of acting.  We become like those we hang out with, don't we?  Yeah, we h

Decluttering Space

Ever feel like you just cannot "pull it all together"?  You just feel like you are under a mountain of stuff and cannot seem to see any relief on the horizon?  Well, I doubt you are in it alone!  Sometimes we just need a good "garage sale" to clean out the "stuff" which buries us so deeply!  We had the opportunity to have a garage sale this weekend.  It was made nicer because my two children joined and the neighbor across the street also had stuff out for buyers to find their bargains.  I wonder at the many people who come, some just shopping for the bargain, but others on a very specific mission - finding the one item they desire.  Either way, they were here to unburden us of the mound of stuff we had accumulated which we really had no use for! By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open ou

Filled Lives

Wouldn't it be nice to "not need a thing"?  To be so "set" in life, nothing we could buy or be given is really needed.  It is nearing the holidays again, so it is time for folks to start making their wish-lists.  You know what I mean - little ones are not even finished carving their pumpkins, but their list for Santa is growing by the minute!  Now, if you were to ask a child what they "needed", their list would include the latest super-hero characters, a new building set, or probably an electric scooter.  If you ask an adult, their "needs" would be a little loftier - like a new set of tires for the car, the full collection of James Bond movies which was just released this summer, or the shiny new appliance down at the local retailer.  We probably have been asked what we want, only to answer back, "I have everything I need.  I don't need anything else."  It is likely true - we have a lot of stuff!  But "stuff" doesn'

Abandoning "same"

Have you ever abandoned your post?  In military terms, the abandonment of one's post refers to leaving a place you were "put" in order to provide some security or overall function to the unit.  You just never did this!  To do so left the door wide open for anyone to penetrate your perimeter of defense, gaining access to your depot of storage, or overtake your companions in arms.  The sentinel (or lookout) was to maintain constant alertness, be vigilant, and remain awake - for the sole purpose of observing for the possible approach of the enemy, or to guard persons, property, or a place and to sound an alert, if necessary.  It was considered a dereliction of duties and was punishable under military court-martial.  Indeed, this is considered a serious offense. First, there’s the matter of being put in charge of writing down and caring for God’s revelation, these Holy Scriptures. So, what if, in the course of doing that, some of those Jews abandoned their post? God didn’

The set of our sails

Ever hear the warning, "You better choose your words wisely"?  I found a quote recently, actually a little poem, which I think really puts things into perspective as it applies to our words: You may choose your words like a connoisseur, And polish it up with art, But the word that sways, and stirs, and stays, Is the word that comes from the heart. (Ella Wheeler Wilcox) Probably one of her most famous "one-liners" is the simple quote:   "Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone."  She was an American author of poetry, living only a short span of about 69 years on this earth, but leaving us with some great thoughts on the power of words, the joys of passion, and the integrity of our choices.  Another of my favorites is really a very short poem, but it speaks volumes: One ship drives east and another drives west With the selfsame winds that blow. 'Tis the set of the sails,  And not the gales, That tells us

Receiving or Refracting

What is a gift?  Isn’t it something given voluntarily without payment in return?  If we have to pay for it, is it really a gift?  I would say it is likely a “purchase”, not a gift.  Why is it we treat God’s “gifts” as something similar to a purchase?  We try to “pay God back” for his grace – a gift of undeserved favor on his part. We try to “pay God back” for the gift of salvation – a gift whose “purchase price” we were totally incapable of paying in the first place!  We need to recognize the “gifts” God gives are not something for which he ever expected payment in return. Receiving a gift is like getting a rare gemstone; any way you look at it, you see beauty refracted. (Proverbs 17:8 MSG) Gifts are given – but they are also received.  If I sent a gift each day to your doorstep, brightly packaged in fine wrapping paper, adorned with a shimmering bow – but you never once opened any of them - what good would the gifts be?  In order for the gifts to “serve” their purpose, they

Planning requires a coach

Most of us walk some form of "path".  A path is some course of action - the way we conduct ourselves - which gets us from point "A" to point "B".  Ever get lost?  You think it simple going from where you are right now - but in the complexity of today, the uncertainty of tomorrow, and the muddle of yesterday, the path can get a little twisted!  By the very definition of a path, it some way which is trodden so frequently it becomes "worn" with the continual "passing".  Walk once over a spot and it shows evidence of you being there, but it soon fades with the next cycle of growth or cleaning cycle.  Walk often enough over the same spot and it shows signs of the frequent passing!   When a person’s path draws favor from the  Lord ,   even their enemies are at peace with them.   People plan their path,   but the  Lord  secures their steps.  (Proverbs 16:7, 9 CEB) I chose two verses from this proverb this morning.  One speaks of the path w