Sunday, October 31, 2010

Repeat as Necessary

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Back in late August, my pastor boss came in to my office and rather casually said, 'I want you to find out who did the photography for the West Campus directory and get us set up to do one.'

Well, one thing leads to another and, believe it or not, the church directory has sort of turned into my project.

And there have been moments when I have not been the happiest camper in the park. Just bein' honest.

Kind of as a joke, when the 'poor me's ' began to creep in, I started declaring, 'Thank you, Jesus, that I have this opportunity to crucify my flesh, grow in grace and develop the fruit of the Spirit in my life.'

But after one particularly potentially frustrating afternoon in which I had repeated that little phrase several times over, I made a discovery.

It made a difference in my attitude. It made a difference in my focus. It made the frustration recede.

It was spiritual warfare. Who'd a-guessed it?

I think that little statement is going to find its way into my thoughts on a more regular basis.

Because I *do* thank God for the opportunity to grow and mature. I just need to remind myself of that - out loud- a little more frequently. ;-)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: Ruth

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi.

What a respite the book of Ruth is! After the dismal end to Judges, suddenly a little story that is full of hope and promise appears to remind us all that God is in even the small details for those who love Him.

I've got a special place in my heart for was the first study I did on this blog (it's linked on the from the bottom up if you click through). I still go back and re read the study from time to time to remind myself that God is working even when it looks like everything is falling apart.

But...I've decided that, since I've looked at some pretty heavy choices from Joshua and Judges, I'm going to go with the obvious pick from Ruth:

But Ruth replied, 'Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.' - Ruth 1:16 - 17

That, my friends, is a Quality Decision. True commitment. I'm not going to harp on today's standards of commitment...just hold that up as a shining example for all of us of how to put one's hand to the plow and not look back, no matter how hard the going gets.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fading Gold - RD Exeunt

Who can blame her? It's been rolling for quite a while now...continually amazing me at the seemingly unending supply of really random questions.

But, sooner or later, wells run dry, inspiration fades, what was fun becomes a chore and then a burden. So Linda's giving serious thought to letting (at least the weekly version of) Random Dozen go the way of all flesh.

Maybe the loyal RD Fan Club could develop a rotation, and take turns hosting it each week? Each person's turn would only come around once every three months or so...but it's Linda's baby, so if she continues it monthly, well, we'll have fun with it once a month.

Anyway, this week's Random Dozen is a Random Pair...sort of.

1. What scares you the most

A) Physically
B) Emotionally

Why does it scare you, and how do you cope?

I'll be honest. I Do Not Want To Answer This Question.

So I'm going to wimp out and only answer it halfway.

Because it scares me to see my fears in print. Out in the open. Exposed. I've had long journal entries discussing my fears and why I have them. Some I understand. Most I don't.

Physically...I'm afraid of a lot of things. Big dogs. Or little dogs with bad tempers. Spiders. Being in a car wreck. Severe storms. Heights. House fires. Snakes. Terrorist attacks.

The Usual.

Coping with physical fears...well, we all do what we can to avoid those things that scare us. The things that can't be avoided, we try to prepare for to minimize the impact. As if we COULD prepare, but at least that's a way of dealing with the fear of an event. Dealing with the event itself is entirely different and I have to completely rely on God's grace to give me whatever I might need in the event of a true emergency.

Emotional fears...I was telling the truth. I can't put that out here. Not yet(and that, in and of itself, says a lot, no?). Because one of the ways I cope with my emotional fears is to give them as little air time as possible. Out of sight, out of mind...mostly.

2. What comes to mind when you read the phrase, "Nothing gold can stay?
Honest? The first thing that came to mind was, 'Stay gold, Ponyboy...'

After that, it's a whole host of golden moments that flashed by and were gone. The feel of my grandmother's lawn on my bare feet; the crunch of snow under my rubber one-button boots; singing in the school Christmas program; pulling numbered ducks from the tub at the school fall festival; making music in the high school band; wienie roasts and hayrides, My Sweet Baboo stopping time for about three heartbeats during the last week of December in 1979 by asking, 'Will you marry me?'; laughing with friends; holding each of my children for the very first time; those and many, many others...all gone. Pass the Kleenex.

But, then comes the thought that there are just as many yet to come in different places and with different people. And then, the final gold, the great sunrise, which never fades.

And the ship went out...and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then, it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.

I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's a Trap...

Mousetrap. I wanted to play Mousetrap. You roll your dice, you move your mice. Nobody gets hurt. - Bob the Tomato

Friday night was the annual Girls' Ministry sleepover. Kindergarten thru high school, all at once. The theme (chosen by the national office) was 'Time for Tea'...and our Coordinator decided to make it an evening brought to you by the letter T. We went to Chuck E. Cheese, where the girls spent Tokens, then returned for some Treats, and a devotion about the significance of Tokens.

After the devotional, the girls I teach...both the middle school and the high school classes, headed down to the opposite end of the building where we did our own 'T' evening.

I managed to procure enough Mouse Trap games that the girls all split up and played. They had a surprising amount of fun building the Rube Goldberg style mousetrap and eliminating each other...but it was a wonderful illustration.

None of the things used in the contraption looked particularly dangerous. Yet they all work together to trap the mouse who gets caught in the wrong spot.

That'll preach, eh?

The sneaky part about a trap is that it NEVER looks dangerous. NEVER looks like it could cause problems. That's why it's a trap.

Then we watched a movie; half the girls and I just stayed up all night.

I don't know why I even bother taking my sleeping bag to these things. I never even unroll it...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: Judges

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Sigh. Judges is, to my reading, one of the most dismal books in the Bible. It tracks the history of the country from the death of Joshua, when the folks had taken the land and loved God, through the repeated and increasingly desperate downward spiral that ends with the near annihilation of the tribe of Benjamin by the other 11 tribes and the summarizing statement for the state of the nation:

In those days, Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit. - Judges 21:25

In other words, there was no absolute standard of what was right/wrong; there was no one who had authority to determine those standards. Somehow, and if you read Judges you'll see this is the case, generations that had learned to obey God failed to transfer their knowledge to subsequent generations, and those subsequent generations fell into the beliefs and practices of the pagan societies around them, which led to bondage to other nations until God raised up a deliverer who would conquer the oppressing foe and turn the hearts of the people back to God. But a generation or two later, the folks would forget God and the pattern would start all over again.

We shake our heads over this folly, this failure to learn from past mistakes, but, my friends, I submit to you that we in America have fallen into the same pattern; spirituality in this country has turned into exactly what is described in Judges: everyone does as s/he sees fit.

And we have a standard right in our hand...Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.

But so few folks...even regular church attenders...actually know what the Bible teaches us regarding so many issues that well-meaning people actually consider things that are clearly presented as wrong in Scripture as being issues of tolerance. They are not issues of tolerance. They are issues of obedience.

But, in a culture where everyone does as s/he sees fit, obedience is an oppressive obscenity.

Will we learn from the pattern of Judges before it is too late for [the] US?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Two Lids and a Random Dozen

Well, Linda had a rough week, so Linda dropped in with a pinch-hitting batch of random questions.

Check out the post at 2nd Cup of Coffee for the explanation behind that...and click on the icon to find all the participants in this week's guest Random Dozen:

I wasn't going to play this week, but these questions just pulled me right in...
1. Do you prefer to read the book or see the movie?
Oh, DEFINITELY read the book! The book is almost always better. I don't know why movie producers believe they can mess around with an author's story and make it better. The book was a hit because the story was great. Don't change the story!! Please!! Tell the story the author wrote! (Um, can you tell this is one of my Personal Pet Peeves?)

2. What is your favorite holiday and why?
Thanksgiving. I cook dinner and we eat it...all of us at the table together. And we have a myriad of traditions...from eating Pillsbury orange rolls for breakfast to tearing up the bread for the dressing while watching the Macy's parade to putting off the pie because we're too full from the meal to eat it. No pressure to go anywhere or do anything away from home. I love Thanksgiving!

3. Which do you like better - the mountains or the beach?
This is a very tough question. Probably the beach, but only by a whisker.

4. If money were no consideration, what vehicle would you drive?
Current year Ford Mustang. White.

5. What is your favorite cold-weather beverage?
Russian Tea I've already made...and we've already batch this fall. I discovered that Kroger sells a store-brand orange drink mix that is the generic equivalent of Old Tang, so that's what I use now. The New Tang, with sucralose, just doesn't work anymore.

6. How do you communicate most often with your friends: phone, email, text, face-to-face, or Facebook?
probably Facebook...

7. How do you receive your mail? Mailbox on the porch, at the end of the driveway, down the street, or post office box?
In the box at the end of the drive. But it's a standard city driveway, so it's not a big deal. Nothing like taking the .6 mile round trip down to the mailbox and back at the house in which I grew up.

8. Of the four basic personality types - sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholic, and choleric - which is your strongest? Which is your least evident? (See definitions below.)
Oh, I've Blogged about the Personality Test before (in fact, it's one of the most frequent search engine hits on my sewing blog)
I generally come out about 50% Sanguine, 24% Melancholy, 24% Choleric and 2% Phlegmatic.

9. What do you miss the most about being 20?
Hm, I wasn't married yet when I was 20, so I'll have to say I miss living without creaks and aches and pains and having to Be Careful of What I Do so I don't Hurt Myself.

10. How long from the time you get up, does it take you to get ready to walk out the door in the morning?
I *can* be ready to walk out the door in about 10 - 15 minutes if the need is urgent and it doesn't matter what I look like. However, in general I set my alarm for about an hour and a half before I need to leave.

11. Who handles the car maintenance and pays the bills in your family?
My Sweet Baboo deals with the cars; we kinda split up the bill paying.

12. For those in the US, how many states have you visited? For those outside the US, how many provinces/other countries have you visited?
*stops to count, wishes she had a map, then hops over to the Weather Channel site to look a the map* 22, if I counted right. 'Course, that includes states that I've just driven through a teeny bit of on the way to somewhere West Virginia and Maryland...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Faithful Faves: Joshua

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

There's so much good stuff in the book of Joshua; I once counted four or five separate applications from the narrative in chapters 6-7-8 alone. I picked one of those for today's discussion.

When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath. --Josh. 7:21

This, my friends, is the progression of sin in our lives. Look at the verbs there:
I TOOK and
I HID (implied).

In a nutshell, that's what happens when we do wrong. Think about Eve in the garden, David and Bathsheba...isn't that the same progression?

The actual error begins somewhere in step two: I coveted. I think this is why coveting is specifically called out in the 10 Commandments as something we are not to do....that's where the trouble starts. Seeing the plunder was not the problem...everyone saw the plunder. Probably a number of folks grieved a little that such nice things were to be given over to God (either by destruction or by going into the treasury for the future temple...and there's a sermon there, too...). But only Achan let that grief turn into desire turn into coveting turned into thieving.

So here's the take home thought from this verse: the 'Danger: Bridge Out' sign for us is when that little tinge of interest in...or, as I've heard it described by others, the inclination to take a second look at... something we have no business having/doing/seeing/tasting/pursuing/etc stirs.(Note for any folks inclined to take 'second look' literally; I'm not necessarily meaning that one refuses to look at something more than once; it's the measuring look to see really what is there and what it means to oneself that I'm talking about) True, there's no actual harm in a second look, but...that's when we need to take action to 'nip it in the bud,' as Barney Fife would put it. Recognize that the interest in taking a second look is the Y in the road; not taking the second look will break the progression between 'I saw' and 'I coveted;' interest will never become overwhelming desire and there will never be a need to hide anything.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lovin' My Mama's Prayin'

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I spoke to my mom Monday, just to catch up, since we hadn't talked for a while, and told her about the intimidating work week I faced this week...trying to pull some data from the data base that really had no way to be pulled.

She said, 'I'll just pray that God gives you a creative answer to the problem.'

I sorta felt like my brain just bounced off the floor on that; there was nothing I could see that would let me get this particular existing reports, nothing to query on...I was, well, intimidated.

But yesterday when I was able to really focus on the problem, I suddenly realized I could create an attribute and add it to the data I need to pull, then search on the attribute.

It's a little tedious, but it works.

Thanks for praying, Mom... ;)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Random Dozen: Happy Birthday to our Hostess!

It's Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee's birthday, and for today's list of a dozen random questions, she asked her loyal blog readers (of which there are at least about a gazillion) to each supply a suggested question. So she has posted the 'guest' questions not only this week, but says she has enough left over for next week as well.

So, rather like Billy drawing Family Circus on Father's Day, here are the Dozen Random Questions from Readers, Part 1.

You can click on the icon to see everyone's answers, or even link up your own!

1. From "Men Are Dumb ....": If you had a theme song that played whenever you walked into a room full of people, what would it be?
Based on this week's true life adventures, it would be a slight paraphrase of the Veggie Tales Hairbrush Song:
Oh wheeeeere are my car keys?
Oh wheeeeere are my car keys?
Oh where oh where oh where oh where
Oh where oh where oh where oh where oh wheeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrre
Are my car keys?

2. From Pam of "Alert And Oriented x 4": Which of your shoes are your absolute favorite, and which are of the object of your most painful shoe-buyer's remorse?
I have some nice Clarks that are comfy and my size (6.5 wide) and they're even a little cute. They probably rank as the favorite, although I'm lovin' my new New Balance walking shoes, too (yup, this gal's headed into fuddy duddy territory)
Painful shoe buyers remorse...I bought a rather pricey brand of European shoes with tassels on them a couple of years ago, despite the fact that I'd promised myself never to purchase shoes with dangly doo bobs on 'em, since the dangly doo bobs always fall off. But these *were* pricey European Shoes, not some cheap pair from the discount overrun store, and I was in sore need of some wear-'em-every day shoes, so I plunked down the credit card and took 'em home. Sure enough, after about 2 months, one of the tassels fell off. They sat in the closet for quite awhile while I fumed about it, but I finally took a pair of scissors and cut off the tassel on the other shoe. I still wear 'em, mostly because they fit and I'm determined to get my money's worth out of them. No more tassels!!

3. From Susanne of "Living to Tell the Story": Tell about your favorite birthday celebration that you've personally experienced.
We never 'did' birthdays when I was growing up; my hubby took me to Opryland last year for my 50th, which was very nice, but in all honesty the best birthday celebration I've ever experienced was the surprise party I put together for My Sweet Baboo's 40th birthday (um, that's been a WHILE ago!). I did it with a 'This is Your Life' theme and friends and family came to town to surprise him. He was surprised, and the party was great. But I'll never try to pull something like that off again!

4. From Lori of "Just me and My Life": If you were a flavor of ice cream, which would you be?
Plain Vanilla

5. Cindy Swanson of "Notes in the Key of Life" asks: Have you ever had a crush on a movie star? Who was it, and are you still crushing?
I really don't remember having a crush on a movie star, but when I was about 6 I did have a crush on Johnny Quest. Still crushing? Nah, I don't think so...

6. Jill from "Jill Boyd's Place" inquires: Glasses or braces--if you had to wear one, which would it be?
I had both. At the same time. Not just glasses, big ol' 1980's swallow-your-face glasses. And I was in a friend's wedding with both. Here's a picture; I'm the one on the bride's immediate left. With the glasses and the braces. (from 1984)

7. Nel from "Fasteneau Facts" asks: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Where I could watch the sun rise in the morning, see the sun set in the evening, marvel at the stars at night, and listen to the quiet all day.

8. Thena from "Patiently Waiting" wants to know: If money were no obstacle, what would be the perfect birthday gift to receive?
Ok, this is turning into a one-panel Peanuts cartoon in my head; the team is on the ball field and each of them has a question: 'Why is a birthday gift different than any other gift?' 'Is there a gift that is better given as a birthday gift than a Christmas gift?' 'And does it depend on who's doing the giving?' 'What about gifts that money can't buy?' 'And how could you put a value on a handmade gift?' 'IS there any such thing as the perfect birthday gift?' 'Real Estate.'

9. From "Life Through Bifocals," LynnMarie asks: What is your favorite birthday meal?
That's I don't have to cook! And I bet that's the most common answer to this question!

10. Debby at "Just Breathe" checks in with: Do you still send hand-written thank you notes?
Um...sometimes? VBG

11. Linda from "Mocha with Linda" poses this question: What is something you've done that you never thought you'd do?
Won a state athletic championship. And I did it 1983 and 1984. I was Alabama's State Women's Frisbee Champion. 'Course, there WERE only about 5 ladies in the competition either year...and the real pros didn't come....Anyway, that is clearly the Most Unlikely Thing to Happen that Actually Happened in my life. At least so far.

12. Jewel, my homegirl from Indiana who writes at "Musings from the World of Jewel," is very insistent that we answer this: Mount Rushmore honors four US Presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. If you could add any person to Mount Rushmore, who would you add and why?
Oh, tough question. FDR, perhaps, for guiding the country through the second world war; Harry Truman, perhaps, for stopping the buck on his desk; JFK, perhaps, for starting the Peace Corps and starting the drive to the moon; Ronald Reagan, perhaps, for the end of the Cold War...I'm glad I don't have to decide.

For the regular BLR readers who will be expecting the Friday Faithful post this week...My Sweet Baboo and I are heading to Gatlinburg w/ the Royal Rangers/Girls Ministries leaders for a couple of days. So, rather than worry about trying to post from the Smokies, I'll just give it a break. We'll start the Books of History next week. ;)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: Deuteronomy

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

'Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!' - Deut. 5:29

I know, I know, that's probably not the first verse that pops into ANYbody's mind when Deuteronomy is mentioned, spoke to me as I skimmed through and noticed how, over and over again, God instructs the people to obey His commands for their own sakes.

See, we have the idea that keeping God's commandments has something to do with salvation; it really doesn't. We are not capable of perfect living; salvation is a gift and totally not earnable. That's why they had the sacrificial system; sin cannot be erased by simply living has to be cleansed. The blood of animal sacrifices covered it temporarily, but to cleanse it so people could live with God forever took a better sacrifice. I don't think that's because God required blood; I think that's because sin is a stain, and, like any other stain, has a specific solvent that will remove it.

The Bible is very clear that only blood can remove a sin stain. Blood that did not have the sin-stain itself.

But I digress.

What keeping the commandments meant was blessing - peace, safety, health and prosperity. This verse, to me, shows the intent of God's heart to bless His people. It is, in a single statement, a summary of one of the key themes of Deuteronomy: that God yearns for His people to be in the place of blessing.

But He cannot bless us if we are not in the right position to receive blessing. If we chose disobedience, we move out of the place where the blessing is.

I know, as a parent, there have been times I've had blessings planned for my kids. Blessings that, due to their personal choices, I could not bestow. Blessings that would do harm, not good, if they were given under those circumstances.

It breaks my heart every time it happens. Maybe that's why this verse jumped out at me so. God doesn't instruct us to obey Him so He can judge us when we don't...He instructs us to be obedient so He can bless us all the time.

So that it will go well with [us]and [our] children forever!