Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Challenge of the times...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

There is very little more discouraging than seeing someone who should know...should KNOW...the difference between what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy and what is poison choosing to ingest the poison and, after it has festered well, spewing that poison over anyone who hints that it might be poison.

The argument for the poison makes sense...only if one pretends God is not who He claims to be, does not do what He promises to do, and whose character changes with the social norms of the day.  Some have never met God, or have met twisted impersonations, or gave up on a relationship with Him before seeing the fruit of it and honestly do not know.  But others...who have at some point seen God work...well, if it grieves my heart, I can only imagine how it must grieve His.

But, perhaps I am wrong.  Perhaps their vision of what was in front of them was out of focus instead of seeing God, they saw something else, and still don't know.

In which case, the poison becomes a cry for compassion and prayer.  How can I better represent God in that situation?  Without throwing more pain on the poison? Because the poison comes from a place of pain and deception; it needs revelation and healing, not judgment and condemnation.

And, while this was not really sparked by a political diatribe but by an ideological one, it still applies to folks whose politics are violently opposed to mine.  Once again, how do I represent God in the situation?  When I am quite sure the labels hurled in my direction do not apply to either my convictions or my opinions? It is offensive to be the target of such labels...but the least productive thing would be to be offended.

So I must look in myself for a shred of truth to the labels...what do I need to repent of?  What do I need to change?  Not in my convictions, but in how I hold and present them; so that I am free of the  inclination to justify my self or concern for how I am perceived and can simply give a creditable account of what I believe and why, without breaking the bruised reed or extinguishing the smoldering wick that may still be in a position to respond to God.

 All the while being mindful of the difference between someone who's actually willing to consider looking for truth...and someone who's merely looking for a fight. 

By way of disclaimer, I am not a 'facebook friend' of the sometime acquaintance whose accusatory rant aimed at someone who voiced convictions similar to mine surprised me and prompted this post....

Monday, October 29, 2012

Translation Transition

It was a college graduation gift from my previous church, gettin' close to 30 years ago.

I put it in a cover which, as it turned out, was not a good idea.  The handle on the spine put stress on the binding and the stitching and, well, it began to break down.

It started coming apart at the first section join and I managed to get it more or less repaired with glue and packing tape. But then the second join started to split; when it got to this point, I tried to repair it again.

Unfortunately the glue spread a little bit and the center margin is stuck together...covering the last letter on each line. And that section is a little off kilter -- crooked-- from the rest of the volume. Sadness.

It's a Scofield NIV, which I have used and loved and marked and nearly memorized the page location of almost every favorite verse.

But it's obviously time to retire this volume and begin the process again.  I put a replacement Scofield NIV on my Christmas list.

However,  I had to run to the local Christian Bookseller last week to get a DVD for our sleepover, and when I checked out the clerk pointed out to me that they had small NIV's on special for $5.  I thought, '$5!  That'll be a great thing to get and carry around when I don't want to lug the Big Bible!' (I have a stupidphone, so no icloud versions are available to me...).  Anyway, I got a cute little purple NIV and immediately began marking it as I read.

Only...somehow, as I read, the text seemed a pinch odd.  I just thought I was mixing up translations in my head; I use several different ones at different times, which pretty much means any verse I quote is some mishmash of KJV/NIV/NKJV/NASB.  Anyway, I didn't check to see *why* it seemed odd; I just went with it.

But this Sunday, I was using it in class and my only student that morning commented that what I was reading did not match what she had in her NIV.  I stopped then and looked carefully and...she was right.  There was nothing to indicate that the NIV I had was not what I was expecting, until I dug into the preface and found that there was a revision in 2011, reflecting the changes in language usage since 1984

Now, there's nothing wrong with that; the whole point of the NIV is to put the Bible into current language...  and the language has changed a bit in 30 years.  But I would've liked a little clue that this was a revision (I suppose it could have been on the shrink wrap packaging somewhere; if so, I missed it). The literature I use for my girls classes is based on the 1984 edition; the 'fill in the blanks' and word searches and crossword puzzles are quite tricky with anything else.

.*Can* I get a 1984 edition Scofield anymore? Or should I just go and get an ereader, which will probably not cost that much more than a full grain leather Bible?

No.  I want a Bible I can hold and mark... ;-)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Tassle Tussle

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

We are currently finishing up our unit title 'Pure Heart' in the Friends (grades 6 - 8) club.  Every unit has to have a project or an adventure or some such thing; the first time we did 'Pure Heart' the project was the human video for the Girls' Ministry talent competition ('Average Girl' by Barlow Girl was perfect).

But this year our human video will be the project for 'Commitment to Christ', coming up after Christmas, and I needed a project for Pure Heart.

And I found it by ignoring the chapter divisions when reading up on Moses for another thing altogether.

I was actually researching Moses' most common reaction to opposition -- falling facedown rather than justifying his position -- and I saw something I'd never seen before.

We're all familiar with the story of Korah's rebellion in Numbers 16; what I had not really noticed was what happened in the tail end of  chapter 15, which is what resulted in Korah and his buddies presenting themselves before Moses and Aaron and proclaiming, 'You have gone too far!'

It was over tassels.

Some poor guy had been caught gathering firewood on the Sabbath; not a smart thing to do when keeping the Sabbath was part of the covenant Israel made with God.  On God's instruction, the fellow was taken outside the camp and stoned by the assembly, so they would realize the significance of breaking the covenant.  Then, God instructed Moses to direct the people to put tassels with a blue thread on the corners of their garments to remind them to keep the commandments of God.  In other words, so they won't forget and go out do what they think is expedient rather than keeping to the word.  So they would see the tassels and be constantly reminded that they belong to God and need to obey his commands and live by His decrees.

That's the end of chapter 15.  Where someone reading through would likely stop.  When they pick up with chapter 16, chances are they'll have forgotten what came before and just begin with "Korah and [his allies]...came as a group to Moses and Aaron and said to them, 'You have gone too far!  The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them.  Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord's assembly?'  

But remember, Moses did not split Numbers up into chapters and verses.  There is no division in the text between the decree to make the tassels and the protest.

This certainly leads one to believe that it was the tassels that set off the whole chain of events that began with that little group protest and progressed to the ground swallowing Korah and his cronies, fire from God consuming 250 men who thought they should have the same privileges as Aaron and his sons, the plague that killed 14,700  when people came the next day and accused Moses of causing the deaths of all those folks and finally ending when Aaron's staff budded and bore almonds, settling the authority question once and for all.

I was dumbfounded when I read this all in order.  I had just never put it all together like that.  Tassels.  A visible reminder to obey.  Such a simple thing...

As we discussed in our lessons, 'Pure' means 'unmixed'.  So I told the girls the story of Korah's rebellion, and we made tassels so they could put it where they will see it and be reminded that we are God's and we, too, need to keep our hearts dedicated to Him, unmixed with any personal agendas.

 Also as a reminder that a little rebellion can have serious consequences.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Vertical Face Plant

Last night was the annual Girls Ministry sleepover.

It's K - 12, but we split the girls between 5th and 6th grades.  Grades K - 5 are together all night in our youth sanctuary but, after the joint worship/devotional, my fearless co-sponsor and I  took the 19 girls in grades 6  - 12 to the large classroom at the other end of the building and had an event that was, hopefully anyway, more suited to their age level.

Normally we split after the evening adventure and a snack, but this year's adventure venue got changed very late in the game; the climb-around-and-bounce place we were scheduled for rather  unexpectedly closed.  Fortunately our ministry leader called to verify things a couple of weeks ago; otherwise ...who knows when they would've let us know?  There was an alternate place available, but it was much smaller and not really suitable for older girls.

Normally, I do a fun activity for the older girls after we split, and then we settle down to a couple of movies and, for the girls who really want to stay up all night, a room full of board games next door.

But this year....

I had girls who had never roasted a marshmallow.

So we did a weenie/marshmallow roast in the back parking lot.

The craft the younger girls did was a little stretchy bracelet w/brightly colored plastic beads spelling 'Courage' (our theme was 'Strong and Courageous'); when I looked at it, I thought 'Oh, that's good for 2nd graders, but it ain't gonna fly with the high school girls.'

But I couldn't make it to Hobby Lobby to look for an alternative until yesterday morning;  I'd looked up 'Courageous' in my Old Testament Word Study Bible and found that the Hebrew word was 'amats', and I had a rough idea of what I could do...  but it took some work, and some sorting to find enough letters for everyone to have 'amats'

Then we played a mega round of classic charades, because there were other events in the building and I couldn't set up our activity, which was an in-the-dark scavenger hunt, until after folks had cleared out.

I thought we'd take about an hour on the scavenger hunt; it ended up being more like two and a half hours.  Mostly because I just didn't have time to revise the clues to absolute clarity, and the Internship Students who were helping didn't really get a chance to coordinate with me on it so we had some miscommunication.  But ultimately the girls did find the objective...and I learned a LOT about designing a treasure/scavenger hunt...Namely, try to write out all the clues more than 24 hours before the you have time to double check and revise and plan with any helpers...

So we didn't start our first movie, which is always related to the theme of the night, until nearly 2:30.  We watched 'One Night with the King', which is a rather liberally adapted story of Esther but shows the strength and courage of a woman who said, 'If I perish, I perish.'

Then we watched the Annual Sleepover Movie, 'Princess Bride'.  It wasn't over until about 5:55 AM...just slightly over an hour before we were supposed to wake the girls up.  No one got up and went into the game room; I think this is the first year that we had NO ONE up all night.  The treasure hunt flat wore them out.

So this is another year in the record books...and I think I have used up all my creative juices for the next four months.

However, there is one 'I got what was coming to me' moment...I had three items to hide fairly close to the classroom where the girls were playing Charades; I wasn't using my flashlight in those areas as there was enough ambient light from the storefront-type windows and I didn't want anyone to glimpse the light from the room.  After I hid the third item, I headed back to my office where I had the box with the rest of the clues and puzzle pieces and the big cahuna prize.  It's a walk I take often and I went through the firedoor into near total darkness with my flashlight off.

I cut the turn a little too short and hit the wall at full speedwalking.  My neck popped and I was sure my nose was bleeding, but I was laughing at myself even as I ducked into the bathroom to verify that my nose was only clearing the tears that jumped into my eyes at impact.  When I walked by that bit of wall this morning, I noticed that there was a visible spot right where I oil, I suppose.

Do you suppose it serves me right for the in-the-dark event I foisted on the kids?? ;-)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Recall Report

Hey, everyone, just in case you didn't know, it's October, which means there is pink stuff everywhere there isn't orange and black stuff.

The pink stuff, of course, is to remind everyone to Get Your Mammogram.  Mine was Wednesday the 3rd, and, since it was October, I got a sturdy  pink and gray tote bag as a freebie for coming in.

And, a couple of days later I got a call I've gotten before...please come in for more images.

Now, I've been dealing with lumps and bumps and cysts and whatnot since I was 20 years old.    I knew the routine and I wasn't really worried.  This is a Been There, Done That.  I haven't gotten recalled every year,  but every time I get recalled we do a little more looking.

The first time, it was just a couple more images from different angles while I was there.  That was the very FIRST mammo, and they wanted good baseline images.  I didn't get recalled for a couple of years at least after that.

The second time, they called a couple of days later for a second appointment.  That's a Big Squish; the screening mammo is a 4 x compression; the recall is a 10x.  I'm not sure what they're multiplying there, but I can definitely say that the recall is a bigger OUCH.  ('Don't breathe,' the technician says.  Oh, don't worry on that point, I am DEFINITELY HOLDING MY BREATH HERE) 

The third time, we did a Big Squish AND an ultrasound.  Bi-lateral benign cysts was the word on that.

Last time I went in for the Annual Squish, I didn't get called back.

So, I was disappointed, but not really surprised, when I got called back this week.

My Sweet Baboo was driving home from a business trip; I planned to go and do the follow up pictures, then I had a list of places to go and buy stuff.   The Discount Club, the Office Supply Store, the Coffee Vendor.

So.  We did the Big Squish.  Then we did the Ultrasound.  Then we did a Magnification Squish.

Then I got called in to talk to the doctor.  She showed me the Area of Interest, which has been on previous images but is just a little  The ultrasound showed nothing at all, but, based on the mammos, she wanted to do a biopsy.  Just to make sure.  And also to leave a little titanium marker so that any future images would show that that area Has Been, maybe no more recalls.

I liked that part.

They were just a little concerned that I was taking a daily low-dose aspirin, and gave me the option of going home and staying off the aspirin for the weekend and then coming back in early in the week for the procedure. week is busy.  I was there yesterday.  The risk of excessive bleeding was still pretty I agreed to do it.

So they moved me to another little waiting area to fill out the paperwork and such while they set up.  When I read the info on the procedure, I was REALLY GLAD I was not going to have the weekend to anticipate it!   Git 'er done, quick, without thinking too much...

But, after we were done, and I was heading out (in the rain, no less) with a rather lumpy icepack stuffed in my bra, I realized that all those errands should probably wait for a more opportune moment and headed home.

I measured out yesterday in 20 minute on, ice off...and was amazed that neither one of my living-at-home children so much as batted an eye at the ice pack strapped across my chest like Chewbacca's bandolier.  I didn't text my hubby anything about the day; I didn't want him to be distracted on his drive home.  He did, however, point to the icepack with a quizzical expression immediately upon entering the door.

Obviously the most observant person in the family yesterday.

I'm not terribly sore today, except that I've had a reaction to the adhesive on the bandage.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.  So, more icing and putting off of the errands; anything brushing against that little peeled place on my skin sends me into owie world.  Hopefully I'll be able to move without wincing tomorrow, I've got stuff to do and classes to teach.

Anyway, I should hear the results from the lab by Tuesday morning at the latest.  Not *expecting* bad news, based on what the radiologist said about everything, but it's good to make sure of this stuff...

ETA Monday 10/18 -- the pathology report was negative; it is benign tissue.  All is well.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pop quiz!

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Mama Beth has posted a pop quiz for the Siestas...the followers of her blog.  The challenge is to answer the questions without looking up the answers.

I started to do it in the comments, but decided it was worth a blog post.  So here goes... (I went back and edited it to put the right answers in where I could...)

1. Have you been in the Scriptures today?
Um, sort of.  I went to a Bible study tonight and I also reread some old blog posts from the study of Philippians...

2. If so, what’s the primary verse you remember?
Phil 3:10 - He works in us to will and to do according to His will (paraphrased)

3. What is the major theme God seems to have going with you right now? (Answer in a phrase)
 It's not about the's about the journey.

4. What is your favorite translation of the Bible just for the pure pleasure of reading?

5. By what Name did God tell Moses He would be known throughout all generations?

6. To what individual did Jesus say, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me?”

7. How long had the man at the pool of Bethesda been an invalid?
 ooo, honest...guessing here.  28 years?  (Answer: 38 years.  I thought that was too long...)

8. For what courageous statement is Queen Esther most well known?
 "If I perish, I perish"

9. What did Potiphar’s wife keep of Joseph’s?
 His coat/cloak

10. What three men did the Apostle Paul consider to be the pillars of the church?
  Peter, James and... John (? I think?)  (answer: yes!)

11. What day of the week did the Apostle John receive his first post-ascension vision of Christ?
 The Lords Day...Sunday...the first day of the week

12. Those of us who are in Christ have not received a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. What exactly did we receive instead according to that same context?
A spirit of love, power and a sound mind  (I may have mixed up my translations; the NIV says 'power, love and self-discipline')

13. Name three characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman.Try to answer first from memory.
She rises while it is yet dark; her lamp does not go out at night, she makes her arms strong for her tasks

14. Who fell asleep during one of Paul’s sermons and dropped out of the window?
  Eutycus (hope I spelled that right)  (answer: close.  Eutychus)

15. When Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up, how many wings did the seraphim around Him have?

16. What two godly men had a falling out in the Book of Acts? Who was it over?
 Paul and Barnabas, over whether or not they would take John Mark with them on their second missionary journey.

17. Name five sets of married couples in the Bible.
Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Ruth and Boaz, Joseph and Mary

18. In one word, what is your biggest challenge right now?

19. Name two people you’ve encouraged today.
Debbie and Kathy

20. Why did Jesus marvel in Mark 6:6?
  Ack!  It was either someones great faith or someone's lack of faith.  Don't remember which story is in Mark 6...  (Answer:  the lack of faith in the folks in his hometown)

21. Are you actively getting to practice loving someone you’re pretty sure can’t stand you right now? (No names please) If so, how long have you been in this process?
Um, not so much at the moment...

22. What are the names of the firstborn son and his brother in Genesis 22:21?
 Esau and Jacob?  Maybe?  (answer: Uz and Buz, sons of Abraham's brother Nahor)

23.What would the sons of Korah rather do than dwell in the tents of wickedness?
 I'm not even going to try to guess at this one; I can think of several possibilities but I honestly don't know what the answer would be. (Answer:  Be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord.  Which was one of the possibilities... ;-) )

24. Who penned the Book of Hebrews?
 Ha ha ha!  Trick question!  No one knows for sure.

25. What runaway slave did Paul send back to his master, asking him to receive him graciously as a brother?

Bonus: Are you memorizing a Scripture right now? If so, tell it to us!
 Um,  I'm in between memorizing verses... :-D  I'm working on memorizing the five fold purpose of our girls' ministry...which seems harder to me than scripture, for some reason ...
To win girls to Jesus Christ through love and acceptance
To teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded us - developing girls spiritually and mentally
To provide encouragement, support and accountability through lasting Christian relationships
To provide an environment for girls to develop their gifts and abilities
To acquaint them with the Great Commission of Jesus Christ our Lord

Monday, October 1, 2012

Daddy's Got it Covered

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I have some really big screw-ups in my life.

Things that I said/did that were just plain stupid.

Things that I said/did that were a product of an overly developed judgment reflex.

Things that I said/did out of spite or retaliation.

Things that I said/did out of the misguided notion that I knew what was best.

Things that I said/did because I was too tired/frazzled/distracted/etc to think my actions through clearly.

And the worst thing about these screw-ups is that they did not only affect me. The things that resulted in humiliation I can deal with.  Humiliation is not fatal.  Yes, I'm still humiliated whenever those lapses in good judgment come to mind, but that just serves as a good reminder that I'm NOT all that and a bag o' chips. But those other things...those affected others.

Whether it was a result of intentional action or not, I hurt other folks.  Or caused someone to be offended with Christ because of my actions.

And, for most of them, there is no going back and offering restitution.  There is no undoing the damage.  Too much time, too much distance...not enough credibility.  Not anymore.  Not since...the screw-up.

We all live with this stuff.  I may feel like I'm the numero uno example of the bull in the china shop syndrome,  but I know that I am not alone.

One day, though, I read a verse that I've heard a bazillion times, and suddenly, unexpectedly, it offered me some comfort.

For we know him who said, 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' and again, 'The Lord will judge his people'.  --  Heb. 10:30 NIV

Nope, not terribly comforting for the offender at first glance, is it?

But...look at His promise...that He will judge, that He will avenge, that He will repay.  As a judge...He is righteous.  He does not judge on appearances, but on the heart.  The times I did wrong from a wrong heart attitude, He knows.  Those times I did wrong from honest mistakes or sheer stupidity, He knows.  And I know I cannot repay the damage that I have done.

But He has promised that if I confess my errors...towards Him and towards others, He cleanses and He forgives.  And, He repays.

If I am trusting Him to repay me for the damage done to me by others, I have to also trust Him to repay the debts I owe to others for the damage done to their spirits that I cannot repay.

Now, please don't hear me say that I can do whatever I want and He'll take care of it.  No.  That's not what I mean.  But it does mean that I can acknowledge my error, own it as mine with no excuses or blame shifting,  confess to Him that I did wrong, accept His forgiveness and trust Him to  make any necessary restitution on my behalf when I cannot do it on my own.

And, conversely, it obligates me to forgive anyone of those debts I perceive as owed to me, and look to Him for that restitution.  Maybe this is why  He emphasizes forgiveness is intertwined.  Forgiveness cannot be received if it is not passed along.

Recognizing God's forgiveness is really the only way we can live with our past mistakes...I know it's the only way I can live with mine.