Anger leads to more anger. Want some fun ways to push back on hate and make some progress? I saw this on a friend's wall today and loved it. Made me laugh. Seems more effective than yelling.
This is amazing as well. I loved THIS article about a black man who befriended KKK members. I don't pretend to know how difficult it must be. Read his words. Friendship wins.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King Jr.
Do you have any stories of a time friendship and love won over hate? I'd love to hear them.
I use The Bible app with a devotional option and I'm currently working through one called 100 days of hope put out by Hope International. This morning it pointed out a thought I love. I got carried away and spent the day thinking about this verse. A good devotional will do that for you.
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life."
One of the reasons I read the Bible is because so often it tells the truth about me. Watch this. I took the first sentence, took out the instructions from God (Do everything without) and the inheritance of God (become blameless and pure, children of God) and got myself.
Grumbling or arguing.....in a warped and crooked generation. That's me. I get amped up and argue with people or philosophies I view as warped. I grumble like crazy when I see a crooked deal. Argue and grumble are my go to plans. You?
The next temptation is to accept God's rule but forget God's power and grace. The rule is to not grumble or argue. Easy way to do that is to simply withdraw from the warped and crooked generation and only hang out with people with whom I agree. No arguments. Stay home, only engage with my friends, love people who look and act like me. No grumbling. Rule achieved!
Except that's not the whole verse. Grace doesn't care about the rules if the heart is off. Checking off half a verse as completed and ignoring the real message simply wasn't point. Context people. Read and apply the full message.
Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky...
See it? What the writers at Hope International pointed out was the shine AMONG THEM. The them is the warped and crooked generation. This verse calls us not to fight with them. Not to argue with them. Not to tell them they are wrong. It also doesn't tell us to wrap up our children or our feelings or our lives in a layer of protection and avoid them. It calls us to SHINE like stars in the sky among them.
Stars are beautiful, spectacular, awe-inspiring, light giving, shiny, sparkly, fun. They illuminate the night. They provide a stable immovable point of reference for people lost in a dark night to find their way home.
How do we shine?
as you hold firmly to the word of life.
If you are drowning and someone throws you a life preserver you don't glance at it occasionally or drape an arm loosely through it. You hold on firmly.
Jesus saved me. Without Him I'm a waffling, unfaithful, angry mess. He is the word of life and I'm not letting go.
The people around you need a word of life. They don't need arguing or grumbling. They don't need words of death. We have enough of that. Shine life.
Summer! When, I think of vacations and well, social media is full of amazing vacations some probably cost a lot and some maybe we made a budget or it was a gift. Sometimes, even when we don’t mean to we make assumptions about what others are doing because maybe we are trying so hard and we just can’t or maybe we have different priorities right now.
Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Galatians 6:4-18 NIV
We all have different resources and priorities. God has challenged me to make my life mine and not compare or make assumptions. I try so hard to be forever determined to be Christ like. To be obedient with what his plan is. We need to be intentional, to not to confirm to this world. Let us not pull put the credit cards or spend all of God's money on a few days of rest, when you can make memories and rest, using our resources wisely. God does instruct to rest. Maybe your staycation, vacation isn’t a week long, maybe it’s not even a day. However, whatever it is make it amazing for you.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so, on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Genesis 2:2
Now your idea of fun, memories, rest are going to look different from anyone else is because there yours. Let’s take the Beach! I live in Kansas and the beach is not in my budget right now, but I can find a local lake and maybe bring a CD of ocean music, maybe invest in a bag of sand, some sand toys and a blanket and instant beach. Can’t get to a lake, how about beach in the backyard kiddie pool, sand, beach towel umbrella and music. Relaxing day at the Beach and you didn’t even have to leave your home.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
What about a taking a day drive with no itinerary and see what adventures you can find. Have you ever taken a trip to your home town visitors center? Take a day and act like a tourist. Check out Google, You Tube, Pinterest, local library, and of course your visitor’s center are great resources. Key words to search are Staycations, or Vacation on a budget.
The possibilities are endless.
We went camping last weekend. We spent most of the time out on a party boat. Not a college drinking type party boat. Think gummy bears, lots of sunscreen, pink and white frosted animal cookies and a giant inflatable floating ducky kind of party boat. I'm very proud to announce I did not get a sunburn. Neither did my children. Unlike last year I also did not have a fingernail polish explosion. *read here. I may yet get this adulating thing down.
In the evenings we read books, rode bikes, talked to friends and watched the sunsets. Eastern Oregon shows off at twilight. Mt. Jefferson, the Three Sisters and Mt. Hood line up and play with the sky. Its a toss up if that's my favorite part of camping or if the midnight trips to the bathroom win. Seriously. I inevitably have to make the trek from campsite to the bathroom at least once. The stars are worth it. I have a theory about the decline of faith in God in cities. There are too many lights. They can't see the stars. The grandeur and scope remind me how very tiny I am. It always makes me feel grateful that the creator of so much still cares about me.
My eldest went to the nature talk put on by the local ranger. After she invited me to go with her. The quarter mile trail was a good spot for her to have a few minutes of my undivided attention. She showed me the juniper berries and the Oregon grape. She explained about the Monarch butterfly station and the bat houses. We took a photo of this gorgeous blazing star.
We've been home just over a day. My husband has been doing laundry non stop. I watered the garden, picked green beans. Cut back the blackberry bushes and hauled in several bowls of berries. We had leftover camping food for dinner tonight. And fresh green beans from the garden.
For dessert we're having blackberry crisp. It's my mother-in-law's recipe. Naturally it calls for a touch of cinnamon, lots of sugar and generous butter. Usually its my job to put this together. Tonight my eleven-year-old followed the recipe. Her grandma would be proud.
There are only a couple of weeks left of summer. I'm doing my best to pay attention to these little moments. Sunsets and stars and fresh blackberry crisp.
What moments have caught your eye?
Jurassic Park 3ology
When Jurassic Park first hit theaters in 1993, I was senior in high school. I saw it and loved it. So, I saw it again. And again. Six times I went to that terrific film. So, naturally, when the sequels come out, I had to see them as well. With the exception of Jurassic World, they did not live up to their predecessor, but they were still enjoyable. Throughout the series, the gist of the story remains the same: Dinosaurs are alive and well and living in a protected environment, something bad happens and the dinosaurs attack. Pretty straight forward. No matter how prepared the humans think they are for any potential problem, unexpected things catch them off-guard. What the character of Ian Malcom calls ‘chaos’.
There is a moment in Jurassic Park III where Alan Grant’s assistant, Billy, picks up two velociraptor eggs as souvenirs. Raptors have been established throughout the films as highly intelligent and vicious. Grant discovers the stolen eggs and is immediately concerned that the raptors are going to come looking for them. He holds them over a cliff and is about to drop them when he pauses. He decides not to drop them but instead puts them in his backpack. A member of his party worriedly says, “Those things are still after us. What if they catch us with them?” to which Grant replies, “What if they catch us without them?” Chaos.
We all go through life pretty content, thinking that we are more-or-less ready for any potential problem. We protect our kids, we lock our doors, we get insurance, we wear our seat belts. But every once in a while, unexpected things catch us off-guard. Maybe the doctor calls with bad news, maybe you lose a loved one, or get betrayed by a friend or spouse. Chaos.
Faith in God is the one thing in our lives that remains constant. When things go off the rails, he doesn’t. When life throws chaotic events at us, he remains firm. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I recently had a very difficult year. Unexpected things happened to me and nothing went as I expected. I spent hours in prayer and conversation with God. Joy, sadness, anger, disgust, worry, and every other emotion not in Inside Out were wrapped up in those prayers. When chaotic times come up for a Christian, they have two options: Blame God for letting them down, or turn to God to help them through it.
Let me assure you… Trouble WILL come. No ifs, ands, or buts. The raptors WILL find you. What if they catch you without God? The peace that God provides in times of trouble is priceless. I could have suffered through that year blaming God, and ignoring his comforting presence. But leaning on him and trusting him to get me through changed my year from ‘chaotic’ to ‘doable.’
There is no doubt in mind that when the raptors came into my life, I had what I needed. I had the love of a never-changing, hope-giving, joy-providing God. I’m so glad I kept him with me.
We had a minor mishap in our kitchen. The end result required purchasing a new stove top. Naturally the new one was slightly a different size. The resident chef did his thing and researched options to cut the 1/4 inch of our granite tile. While studying up he came across a horror story of a family who did $34,000 worth of damage to their house by cutting granite and sucking the silica dust into the heating ducts. We wisely decided to hire a professional. We also built a tent to control the dust.
"The Martian" is one of the rare times when I liked the movie as much as the book. You remember the scene when Matt Damon built an ecosystem out of plastic and duct tape? He did better than us.
I briefly considered trying to recall my college calculus and geometry and figure out the correct way to proceed. It was easier to wing it and add more tape.
I just fisnished reading "Hidden Figures" about the black women mathmeticians who where instrumental in NASA's early days. The movie was fun, full of emotionally high charged moments and Hollywood inspiration. The truth portrayed in book was different. The changes came slowly through determination and plodding effort. The character of the women ran deep. The book was about relationships, about volunteering with Girl Scouts and Sunday School, about climbing the ladder so people behind you could follow. It was about brilliance, math and science and new frontiers. I was impressed by the grace with which these ladies faced racism. They prevailed through hard work and self control. The book was not as flashy as the Hollywood version but the strength was impressive.
Sometimes its ok to go with the easy add more tape method in life. But if you want to build something which lasts I would recommend the hard work version.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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