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Showing posts from April, 2008

Things That Go Plop!

There are times in your life where you know that God has taken you by the scruff of the neck and left your feet dangling just above the earth. Sometimes He does it to keep you from running in front of a fast moving truck. Other times He does it to give you a "time out." He even grabs ahold of us to get us to focus. It's as if He is saying "Whoa! Nice shooting, Tex..... but the target is over here!" It can pinch a bit when the Almighty grabs you, but occasionally He does it to lift you up and show you something.

The last two days have been so full of blessing that I can scarcely believe it. I have whined and prayed and blogged about not having something to do. I have asked God to give me something to be passionate about. For nearly three years I have done my best to open some doors. I realize most folks would like to be retired, but I am not ready for it. I finally gave up and said "God if you want me to do something, you need to plop it in my lap.&q…

Contingencies

I've said it before, I love my church. If I am in Kentucky for no other reason than to be a member of this church, it's a good enough reason for me. After service last Sunday I dropped into the local grocery store to pick up some ingredients for our women's bible study pot-luck. One of the other members of the church was picking up some lunch. She made an unsolicited remark that she too loved to hear the Word preached the way our pastor does it- in its entirety. "I can't believe I wasted all those years listening to garbage." I wanted to hug her. I know exactly how she feels.

I remember feeling betrayed when I realized I was being taught fluff and nonsense. I remember thinking I would be so much further along in my sanctification process by now, if only I had the truth preached to me after I was saved. I fancied that I could probably have been the protestant version of Mother Theresa, if only. . . That was 17 years ago and before I wrestled with the Doc…

Be yourself- don't waste your blog...

So... I read an article on my friend, Carla's blog. I have written about her on my blog before and have recommended her before. In this particular post she talks about one blogger's vision for a directory of Christian bloggers to help promote accountability. Which, on the surface sounds all good and 'Christianly' but Carla has reservations. Then I read the comments for her article and Steve Camp of Camp onThis fame has responded. I have also recommended his blog a number of times. For those of you who don't want to click the links, this is a brief synopsis. Some guy wants to have a Christian bloggers directory for accountability purposes, Carla questions the need since accountability begins in the bloggers local church, and she fears it will set up a click of bloggers who are "in" and those who are "out." Steve drives the point home and signs his comment "Don't waste your blog..."

That's the part that has me spinning. &…

Joy in Gray

Today is my favorite kind of day. It's about 60 degrees outside. The sky is bright but gray. There is a misty breeze that has left a translucent veil of glittering water on all it touches, magnifying color and texture. I love the feel of cool air on my skin and in my lungs. I am exhilarated. I am energized. I am happy.

I had the chance to meet the artist, Thomas Kinkade once. It was on a similar day in the Napa Valley. He was on his way to a gallery featuring his work but the artist in him couldn't help but to stop and paint what he was seeing. The colors of the grape leaves, the light on the wild mustard, all of it was too much for him to pass by. The intensity of the colors, the vibrancy of life. He was so animated and excited as he tried to describe what he saw and how it called to him like deep calls to deep. I can't write my name legibly, but I knew exactly what he was talking about. I wanted to be jump up and down with him and exclaim, YES!! I know!! When…

Prayer and Holy 2 x 4's

My lawn was mown and jungle tamed today. I actually did some yard work and didn't get eaten by T-Rex. More importantly, I am better attitudinally. Why? Because people are praying for me. I tell myself they are praying for me because they are tired of hearing me complain about everything and they want God to shut me up. My inner monologue says some fairly mean things to me. It doesn't matter though. I gladly accept prayers to our God on my behalf.

I used to hate it when people told me they were praying for me. I hated it because that meant that God was going to do something in my life. He was going to take action and I was going to receive whatever it was whether I wanted it or not. I didn't mind so much when there was a catastrophe of some kind going on in my life. I would actually ask for prayer then... but when someone would randomly tell me they were praying for me, it unnerved me. Praying for someone exponentially increases their likelihood of being refined…

moved from pity party to prayer warrior with a phone call

I have been dog tired. I have been grumpy. I have been disinterested in the things of God, but I still like him much more than I like people. People. Bah! Why does God bother with us? Horrible things. Sinful things. Who needs them?

Ever notice when you're grumpy everyone wants to try your patience? My lawn service hasn't shown up in three weeks. Three weeks of growing bluegrass makes your property jungle-like. That's OK... I expect the wildlife are enjoying the added cover and camouflage. There's probably a T-Rex out there. He's probably hoping one of the dust buffalo in my home will come out and play. My house is a mess- the good fairy hasn't shown up to clean it and I am certainly not going to be productive. That would ruin my pity party. My car's check engine light went on... and once they fixed what caused that problem they told me about another one. My guts hurt. My whine is becoming perfected. And just when I am about to pitch a full on tempe…

The Line Between Entertainment and Truth

I have finished watching the HBO series, John Adams, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by David McCullough. I am not going to review it here, but I am going to discuss an aspect of the final show. I don't think it will spoil anything but... fair warning.

There is a lot to like about the series. It haven't read McCullough's book yet, but I have recently read Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation, Cokie Roberts.In it, Roberts writes about both Abigail and "Nabby" Adams, providing some primary source material. I read the book as part of a book club and we had a marvelous time discussing the women who were a part of our founding history. Armed with some elementary research, I was thrilled to watch the John Adams series.

One of the things that struck me in the final episode was the evolution and transformation of the friendship between Adams and Thomas Jefferson. As they both neared their ends, there came a time when all of those who had been instr…

Stumping the Clerks

Since moving to Kentucky I have a favorite game I like to play- Let's Stump the Grocery Store Clerk. It's always fun and fascinating. I have been here three years now and haven't tired of it yet. The game started accidentally. You see, being from California, I am used to having an abundance of produce to choose from. Conversely, the selections are somewhat limited in Kentucky.

Although the produce here in Kentucky is getting better, when I first arrived what was sold in the stores looked like what would be thrown away in any California market. My sister and her family arrived 5 years before me and she says it was quite shocking for her and I am fortunate that it has gotten better. To be honest, I didn't realize how battered and forlorn a zucchini could look by the time it made it to the store. Thank the Lord for Farmers Markets and vegetable gardens.

Slowly, as the quality of the produce has improved, the variety has increased. You can recognize a big city transp…

Connecting the Dots

Today my pastor preached from Philippians 3:1-11. He unpacked verse 3 "for we are the {true} circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,"(NAS) The entire sermon was encouraging and convicting and verse 3 stuck with me.

Am I trying to place confidence in my own abilities? Is that the cause of my misery? While considering the possibility, this thought occurred to me. I am always prepared for crisis. I am the one you want to know when the hurricane comes, when the earthquake strikes and when your relational world falls apart. If you need to figure out how to get a mountain moved by noon, I am your girl. Why? There is a mechanism within me that works when everyone else seems to seize up. It is not something I set out to accomplish for myself. It is the way God designed me.

I was talking with a group of women at bible study and remarked that I like earthquakes. Now, don't get me wrong, I hate that people ge…

Failing Miserably at Being Still

Envy is not an easy sin to overcome. I find that it permeates my daily thoughts like breathing and blinking. I kid myself by trying to believe that it would be easier to stop envying people for their things and their social status than it is not envying them for having something to do with their lives. I don't give a rip about things and keeping up with folks on their toys and gadgetry. I don't care about their money or their stock portfolios. I envy them having something to do.

I think my problem is that I don't only want something to do, I want to be doing something that matters and to be good at it... but I haven't a clue what that thing might be. Where does that fit in on the sinful unbelief scale? I suppose it could be sinful to think that your life doesn't matter. I mean, God is keeping me around for some purpose. I could list for you the things I don't want to do or can't do... but nothing that I think I could do.

I am failing miserably at bei…

If These Walls Could Speak

Redbud Paparazzi

"If you have ever walked among giant redwoods, you will never be overwhelmed by the size of a dogwood tree... "

When I first moved to Kentucky it reminded me of where I grew up with just a few things missing; redwood trees, cool fog and the smell of the ocean... I can almost feel them. Almost. We have fog, but in California when it is foggy it is cold. Here it is warm and foggy. That's just not right. Things are very different here. My brother-in-law said, "Welcome to Kentucky, turn your clock back 50 years." I knew at once he was right. He grew up in the California redwoods too. We're both old enough to remember when California was kinder, slower and gentler. Kentucky is still all of those things.

I had a chance to chat with with a woman at bible study. She was a teacher at the local elementary school. She has the kind face, ready smile and soft, expressive voice that undoubtedly made her a favorite teacher. She also has the inquisitive nature and se…

Repentance and Remediation

When you squeeze a sponge and dirty water comes out of it, it's not the pressure on the sponge that made the water dirty. The dirt was already there. In the last few days I have been poked, prodded and squeezed, revealing the content of my heart. It's not been pretty.

I can offer a lot of excuses to try and rationalize the misery I have been in and most of them would sound plausible. I have been feeling poorly. I have cabin fever. I have not been active in the Body. I have been unemployed, my finances have been stretched.....and the list continues. The reality though is that my flesh has been driving my life.

It didn't happen all at once or with an announcement of its intentions. No, sin is an insidious evil and like the San Francisco fog it creeps in looking enticing and mysteriously beautiful . Then, while you are admiring it, it blinds you. Lovingly, God sounds the foghorn and if you're wise, you'll heed the warning before you crash on the rocks.

While thinking…

Speaking of Evaluation

I am evaluating the purpose of my blogging. It seems to me that there are many writers out there who are far better at the craft and whose contributions are infinitely more valuable. As I search for something meaningful to do with my life, I am not convinced that this is it. I can go several days without speaking to another human being and thus it is nice to 'give voice' to my thoughts, but if this is it- if this is all my life is to contain- then it ought to be given more thought and better effort or not done at all.

Evaluating Arguments and Godly Behavior

The final day of debate between James White and Steve Gregg was the most beneficial day of the five. The two men posed and answered questions in a controlled manner allowing the listeners to hear and absorb more information. I was relieved. There are a lot of comments regarding the debate on the web- sadly some are downright nasty. Normally I provide links or citations to allow my readers to see for themselves, but at this point I find no benefit in reproducing or highlighting something that troubles me so greatly. In fact, most of the comments have been cut and pasted to me and I haven't bothered following or searching for the links to the authors. It wouldn't be productive to my post and my objective here.

What is my objective? I want to encourage believers to learn how to make evaluations and assessments of positions or arguments while exercising control of their sinful desire to attack people personally.

You may well ask what lends me credibility in this area. It is a…

Gardening, Parables and Thoughts

We had two beautiful days of spring here. The redbud is in bloom, my patio peach tree is awash with deep coral colored blooms. My clematis is springing to life. There are daffodils and tulips blooming. Spring and fall are my favorite times of year here. The colors of the foliage are spectacular. Soon I hope to take a drive through the Smokey Mountains. They are simply stunning. Yesterday I ran errands, enjoyed the scenery and purchased some plants for my garden.

Today is overcast and we are likely to get some rain. As soon as I got up I got dressed in my gardening clothes, grabbed my tools and headed outside. I had some lovely and huge terracotta pots on my deck that had lavender growing in them. I managed to keep the lavender alive but the pots did not fare well over the winter. If the plants have any hope of survival they need to be in the soil before the terracotta crumbles away. I took my shovel out in the yard and dug two massive holes, one on each side of the rose bush…

You Fear What You Think You Need

Emotions are tricky things. Just when you think you've figured them out, they set you spinning in another direction entirely. I've said it before. We need to be suspect of our emotions. Jonah slept peacefully in a boat going the opposite direction from where God had just directed him to go. David was overcome with his desire or perceived need of Bathsheba and as a result the sword never left his house. Elijah challenged 850 priests of Baal but then ran in terror from Jezebel. Paul felt justified in his zeal for Judaism and executing Christians until Jesus stopped him on the road to Damascus.

In his book, When People Are Big and God Is Small, Ed Welch makes some great observations. Here's one of my favorites.

"The rise psychological needs was inevitable: If you exalt the individual and make emotions the path to truth, then whatever you feel most strongly will be considered both good and necessary for growth. Whatever you feel most strongly are seen as your God-given…

Fear in Femininity

There are differences between men and women and one of them is what and how we fear. There are common fears between us. Men have different societal roles and therefore different pressures and fears, but a man cannot know what it is like to have fear simply because you are a woman. Women make constant evaluations based on safety.

While driving his car a man gets a flat tire and he thinks, "Drat! How inconvenient! I will be late and I will get dirty while I change the tire." He's glad to see someone pull over and ask if he needs a hand." A woman thinks, "Oh no, someone has pulled over...are they safe....will I be safe?"

A man calls a plumber to come help him fix the problem in his master suite bathroom. He wants to make certain the plumber will do a good job and not over-charge him. A woman wants those things too, but she is mindful that she is allowing a stranger, most likely a man, to come into her bedroom in order to fix her bathroom. She wants to make cert…

Do-over Politics

So, just a few more thoughts on the race for the presidency. Obama was on The View last week and smoothed out a lot of wrinkles for people. One of the hosts, Sherri Shepard, who had previously been a Hillary supporter was swayed by his message and said she would campaign for him. The man is great at saying nothing in precisely the right way an emotions driven public wants to hear it.

Meanwhile on Good Morning America, Maya Angelou said she was supporting Hillary. Ms. Angelou was a prominent civil rights figure in the 60's and 70's and says she has been watching Hillary since she was the First Lady of Arkansas. Suddenly Kentucky's May primary is important. Bill and Chelsea are here stumping for Hillary.

Barak has already been here and made his mark. You can buy "Barak is my Homeboy" t-shirts with your city or county name on them. He also has a fan website titled, "Kentucky Gays for Obama. No, these are not attempts at redneck humor. These are the real deal.

Now,…

Bad Theology is Fertile Ground for Fear

I saw a program on the National Geographic channel called Dogs with Jobs. In this particular episode, a dog that was being trained for an elite defense team in Austria was being tested to see if she would make the grade. She was a young Belgian Shepard who obviously loved her work. She watched her master's every signal and command and obeyed him, doing all he asked with all she had. She located bad guys who were hiding, disarmed one gunman and cornered another. She scaled walls and crawled on her belly under barbed wire. All of these things were perfectly executed but her final test would be the deciding factor. She and her master went up in a helicopter- way up-and parachuted out together. The dog and her master were clipped to an expert skydiver, whose job it was to guide them to the earth as if they were going in on a mission. If the dog balked, became disoriented, sick or frightened, she would be disqualified. The dog so trusted her master that she didn't seem to notice…

Untangling Fear: Part One-Definitions

I am an adrenaline junkie. I have been described by people who thought they knew me as "fearless." Truth be told, I have always enjoyed a smidgen of fear to make my heart race and senses tingle. I think that's why I enjoyed my public safety career. I like earthquakes and thunderstorms and am at my best in a crisis. Joseph Wambaugh nailed it when he said police work was "hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror." I couldn't agree more, public safety is like that.

Some fear is addictive. I like anticipatory fear. The best part of riding a roller coaster is that long, slow, why-in-the-world-did-I-think-this-was-a-good-idea climb to the apex of the ride with that teeny tiny bit of time you are suspended just before you fall. Yowza!

I have had the great pleasure of swimming on the Great Barrier Reef. To say that it was incredible is an understatement. The colors, the beauty, the wildlife, it was all breathtaking. And then the person heading our…