Thursday, May 31, 2012

The higher you stand, the farther you fall

"to whom much is given..."
Luke 12:48

I'm disappointed in a friend of mine.  She made a decision that she shouldn't have made, and though I have forgiven her for the hurt it caused me, I can't seem to rid myself of my disappointment.

And I know other people who have done the same thing, but only this friend has left me with lingering disappointment.  Why?  Because I expected more of her.  She is young, but mature, and wise beyond her years; she has seen other people made the same decision, and she knew it wasn't right and yet somehow she talked herself into thinking it would be okay for her.  I hope it's not judgmental of me to be disappointed in her.  I know it's because I love her, and I hold her in high esteem.   After all, if I had a low opinion of her, then nothing she did would disappoint me, right?

And that's the hard part.  When we expect a lot of someone, it hurts more when they let us down. 

Sometimes my Awesome Girl ~ who's a bit of a perfectionist ~ can't understand why I'm proud of her even though she has turned in a school paper that is less than perfect.  It's because I'm not expecting perfect.  I'm expecting the work of a student who is learning:  some right, some wrong, and steadily improving in a subject or specific material.  This is how we judge people.  If you gave a 6th grader an assignment of 11th grade material, you would not expect it to be done very well.  But if you give a 6th grader as assignment of 2nd grade material, you would expect a very good showing. 

Or it's like a parent punishing their kids, and maybe giving the older one a longer sentence because "you should have known better."

I think that God expects a lot of me.  And maybe you, too.  I've been a child of His, of my own volition, for most of my life.  I have attended church and studied the Bible and made it my goal to live a life that pleases Him.  And of course, I often fall, which He knows I'm going to.  Mistakes happen.  But when I make a poor decision, when I know better, I wonder if that disappoints Him more than someone else making that same decision. 

My thinking on this subject led me to this verse in Luke.  The phrase "to whom much is given, much will be required" is one of those phrases we sometimes hear bandied about, often in terms of money ~ like rich people should donate more to charity.  But in Luke, it has to do with knowledge of Jesus Christ.  It's in a parable, about a servant who misbehaves while his master is away.  The servant who knew his master's will, but did not do his will, will be disciplined more than a similarly-misbehaving servant who did not know his master's will.

I hate the thought that I sometimes disappoint Him, though I know there's really no getting around it.  But somehow it encourages me to know that He expects a lot of me.  Makes me want to try.  And I know that pleases Him.

~ "Blessed is the faithful and wise steward, 
 whom the master will find so, when he comes" ~
Luke 12:42-43

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pepperoni and black olives on a thin crust, please

"attain wise counsel"
Proverbs 1:5

Chocolate or vanilla?

Hamburger or hot dog?

Lemonade or iced tea?

Paper or plastic?

Easy decisions to make?  Probably.  Either because you always prefer one over the other, or because at the time, you've got a hankerin' for one. 

But if, for some reason, you're feeling pulled in both directions, it can be really hard to make a decision.  You're busy weighing pros and cons, benefits and drawbacks.

But I think an even harder decision to make, is when someone asks for advice.  I think that being a good friend, or spouse, or business partner, or parent.... means giving the best counsel you can in a given situation.  But that can be really hard to do, if you feel strongly about one of the choices.

That happened to me recently.  A friend from church asked my opinion on something she's planning for next year, and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to give her solid advice, because I really wanted something specific.  She didn't know I felt strongly about one choice, so she was expecting me to give an unbiased opinion.  But that's really hard to do... when one is, you know, biased.

So I told her I'd think a little, and pray a little.  And I did.  And what I really wanted, more than anything, was to be able to give her an unbiased opinion.  So I did some research, to make sure I knew all the pros and cons.  And then I got out my Bible.

Before long, I was able to give her an opinion.  A well thought-out, well prayed-over; honest "here's what I think is best for everyone involved" opinion.  And I think ~ actually I feel quite certain ~ that God honored my desire to be objective, and stop thinking about what I want.  He knew that what I wanted more than I wanted my way, was to be helpful to her in making her decision.  And to be in agreement with her when she does.  Unity.  It's good.

About 20 years ago, my family visited London.   And one night, several days into our visit, we were starving, and trying to decide about dinner.  Half of us wanted steak, and half of us wanted pizza.  This is hard to accomplish in just one restaurant.  So we spent several minutes debating the merits of a pizza place vs a steak restaurant.  We looked up a few places, and discovered there was a pizza place and a steak place near each other, only a couple of subway stops away.  So we decided to go look at both of them, and then make a decision based on that.

So we got ready to go, then walked to the subway station, then boarded the subway.  All the while it's getting later and later, and we're getting hungrier and hungrier.  And then we got off the subway, and walked up the stairs to the street level to discover...

... that we'd gotten off at the wrong stop. 

We stood there at the top of the stairs, looking around.  There was only one restaurant in sight, and it wasn't a pizza place or a steak place.

And it was delicious.

You know that expression, "hunger is the best sauce" ?  Totally true.  Our hunger was stronger than anyone's desire for steak or for pizza, and we were completely in agreement in our desire for food

Unity.  It gets things done. 

So, you can keep insisting on pizza, or you can put your wishes aside, and ask Him what He thinks.  Trust me; it'll be delicious.

from ~ makin' me hungry right now!
~ "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
but he who heeds counsel is wise" ~
Proverbs 12:15

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Want it all; want it now

"the Revelation of Jesus Christ"
Revelation 1:1

Well, summer has officially begun in our home.  Probably in a lot of American homes... Memorial Day has that effect.  On Sunday we barbequed burgers and marshmallows at our house, and Monday we went over to my folks' house for barbequed ribs and corn-on-the-cob.  We ate watermelon and the kids swam a little in my parents' pool, and we had ice cream for dessert. 

I'm not a big fan of summer.  It's probably my least favorite season, because I don't like the heat.  But my kids love summer.  It's not even about school being out, because we homeschool year-round in our home.  They just love all the things that go along with summer, like swimming and barbequing and watermelon and roasted marshmallows and corn-on-the-cob... 

What's interesting to me, though is that my kids want all the good things of summer, all at once.  As soon as they can feel the change in the weather, and the day is lighter longer, they start talking about it.  They get a tiny glimpse of summer, and they can't wait to experience all of it.  They aren't satisfied with some; they want all

I love that attitude.  I love the idea of not being satisfied with a little, if you can have a lot.  At first, I thought they were being greedy.  Why do we need all the good things of summer right away??  But then I thought, why shouldn't they be excited for the things they love?  They're not greedy kids; they're not demanding anything, they're just eager.

And frankly, when I thought of it that way, it made me think of heaven.  That's the attitude we should have, as a result of the peek we've had into heaven through the Book of Revelation.  Have you ever read it? 

A pure river of life, clear as crystal... the tree of life, which will bear fruit, and the leaves for the healing of the nations. 

No need for lamp, nor light of the sun, for the Lord will be the light.

No more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain.

Pure gold, like clear glass... precious stones of sapphire, emerald, amethyst, topaz... Twelve gates, each made of one pearl... A street of pure gold, like transparent glass...

A throne, and a sea of glass like crystal.  And a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald.

And angels and creatures and elders giving Him endless praise and glory. 

Let's want that.  All of it.  Soon.

~ "desire better:
      a heavenly country" ~
Hebrews 11:16

Monday, May 28, 2012

No Greater Love

"Greater love has no one than this,
than to lay down one's life for another"
John 15:13

Isaac Davis
February 23, 1745 – April 19, 1775

Dr Joseph Warren
June 11, 1741 – June 17, 1775

Leonard Covington
October 30, 1768 – November 14, 1813

John Stansbury
28 March 1788 – 11 September 1814

Sullivan Ballou
March 28, 1829 – July 29, 1861

Robert Gould Shaw
October 10, 1837 – July 18, 1863

Remington D.B. Vernam
March 24, 1896 - December 1, 1918

Wilbur E. Colyer
March 5, 1898 – October 10, 1918

Francis C. Flaherty
March 15, 1919 – December 7, 1941

George L. Fox ~ March 15, 1900 - February 3, 1943
Alexander D. Goode ~ May 10, 1911 - February 3, 1943
Clark V. Poling ~ August 7, 1910 - February 3, 1943
John P. Washington ~ July 18, 1908 - February 3, 1943

Ralph E. Pomeroy
March 26, 1930 – October 15, 1952

Baldomero Lopez
August 23, 1925 – September 15, 1950

Terry Teruo Kawamura
December 10, 1949 – March 20, 1969

Maximo Yabes
January 29, 1932 – February 26, 1967

Scott Speicher
July 12, 1957 – January 17, 1991

Patrick Daniel Tillman
November 6, 1976 – April 22, 2004

Megan Malia Leilani McClung
April 14, 1972 – December 6, 2006

Travis A. Morgado 
March 27, 1987 - May 23, 2012 

Jesus Christ 
"died for our sins, was buried, 
  and rose again on the third day"
1 Corinthians 15:3-4

~ "If you abide in My word, 
you are My disciples indeed.  
And you shall know the truth, 
  and the truth shall make you free" ~
John 8:31-32

~ "Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty
by which Christ has made us free, 
 and do not be entangled again" ~
Galatians 5:1

Sunday, May 27, 2012

And it's easier than refolding a map....

"tell me,
that I may turn to the right
or to the left"
Genesis 24:49

Our family went to a 50th Anniversary party this weekend.  Lovely couple at our church.  And we aren't just friends with them, we are friends with their daughters and sons-in-law ~ who are our age ~ and their grandkids ~ who are our kids' ages.  So our families are all wonderfully entwined.

The party was only ten miles or so from our house, but the freeway was jammed.  Saturday beach traffic gets worse and worse as the summer gets closer...

So the Apple of my Eye thought it would be better to go surface streets.  Only problem was, I was driving, so I needed for him to tell me every time we needed to make a turn.  We'd gotten off the freeway in a place that I was less familiar with, and I didn't know how to get from there to the house.  So he told me what I needed to know, but frustratingly slowly, if you ask me.  I felt like he was waiting until the last minute to let me know if I needed to turn, and if he wasn't saying anything, it just felt like he'd left me wondering.  I kept wanting to say, "Don't forget, I don't know where to go.... make sure you're guiding me... Is this right?  Do I need to turn?" 

The thing is, he knew where to go.  So he knew how far in advance he'd need to tell me where to turn.  And he didn't see any point in telling me before I needed to know. 

Wanting to know before I need to know ~ is about control.  I wanted more of it.  And I was the one driving!  I love irony....

Have you ever felt that way about God?  Maybe you are you feeling that way right now?  Sometimes when we are trusting Him to handle something, we still want to know now how He's going to handle.  And when.  We want control.  If knowledge is power, then we'd like more, please.

But it doesn't work that way.  If we put our trust in Him, then it's gonna be His way, in His time.  And we'll know, in plenty of time, what we need to know.

~ "Commit your way to the Lord,
trust also in Him,
and He shall bring it to pass" ~
Psalm 37:5

Saturday, May 26, 2012

God Bless You!

"fear the Lord your God
and serve Him"
Deuteronomy 6:13

You probably know that Solomon built the temple.  And you probably know that David had wanted to build a temple for God; for the ark of the covenant to reside in.  But do you know what God's response was to David when he decided he wanted to build a temple?  It's a wonderful story.  God's response to David was a response only God could have.

In chapter 7 of 2 Samuel, it occurred to David that he was living in a place of beauty and comfort, and that the ark of God resided in a tent.  He wanted to build a holy and beautiful sanctuary for God ~ but that's not what God wanted.  And God said "no" in the most beautiful way I think I've ever seen.

God said to Nathan, "Go and tell My servant David: 'Would you build a house for Me to dwell in?  I have 
not dwelt in a house since I brought the children of Israel up from Egypt, but have moved about in a tent and in a tabernacle.... Have I ever spoken a word to anyone, saying, "Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?" ' "

Those are verses 5-7.  But then look at the direction God takes:  "Thus says the Lord of hosts: 'I took you from the sheepfold, to be ruler over My people.  I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name...' "

He was saying to David, gently and lovingly, "I have not asked for a house.  I have never asked for a house.  I have simply been taking care of you."

That is what He had done.

This what He promised to do:  "I will plant My people where they may dwell, where they will not be oppressed.  And I will make you a house.  I will set your seed after you, and he shall build a house for me.  I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever... I will be his Father, and he shall be My son.  I will chasten him with the rods of men and with the blows of the sons of men, but My Spirit shall not depart from him.  And so your house, your kingdom and your throne shall be established forever."

These verses are important to each of us ~ as believers, and as Bible scholars.  This is the establishment of the Davidic Covenant, and it has been estimated that these verses are referred to over 40 times, elsewhere in Scripture.  These promises of God would be fulfilled through David's line ~ in Solomon ~ but the ultimate fulfillment is through Jesus Christ. 

But can you imagine how David felt as he listened to these words?  Have you ever felt as David must have felt then?  Have you ever wanted to bless someone, or offered to do something for them, and had them turn it into an opportunity to bless you?  Though David's intention was to bless God, God did not want that.  God wanted to bless David.

God's love is extreme and overwhelming, and no matter how you try to calculate it, you are underestimating His ability to bless you. 

So here's an illustration of His love for you:

The deepest point of the Pacific Ocean is the Marianas Trench.  Its depth is nearly seven miles.  The lowest part of the Marianas Trench is called the Challenger Deep.  The depth of the Challenger Deep is more than a mile greater than the height of Mount Everest.  If you dropped a steel ball into the Challenger Deep, it would take more than an hour for that ball to hit the bottom of the ocean.

Now, with that in mind, think about Micah 7:19 ~ "He will have compassion upon us, and He will cast our sins into the depth of the ocean."

He has made a covenant with us, though we will never achieve for Him what we might hope to.  You cannot love Him more than He loves you.  You cannot bless Him like He can bless you.  You cannot even serve Him without Him giving you the ability and opportunity.

Go ahead; try to bless Him.  And just watch what He does.

~ "Bless the Lord; 
never forget the good He has done for you" ~
Psalm 103:2

Friday, May 25, 2012

Thy Will Be Done

"Jesus answered, 
'My teaching is not My own.  
  It comes from the One who sent Me.' "
John 7:16

I'm reading a biography of Harry Truman ~ have I mentioned that?  Oh yes, I told you the story about the dusty Bible...

Okay, well here's another lesson from Harry Truman.

As you probably know, Truman became President of the United States upon the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Though Roosevelt had been growing weaker, his death came as a surprise, not only to the country, but to the world.  FDR had been instrumental in the founding of the United Nations, which was due to officially come into existence in October of 1945.  But he died on April 12, thirteen days before his anticipated appearance at the founding conference on April 25.

The morning after Truman took the oath of office, he was meeting with the members of the cabinet, when the press secretary came in and said that the reporters outside wanted to know if the United Nations meeting in San Francisco would go on as planned.

Truman said it most certainly would.  He said it was what Roosevelt had wanted, and it was going to take place.  "And that," he said, "was the first decision I made as President of the United States."

That really struck me.  The first decision Harry S Truman made as President of the United States was to do exactly as his predecessor had planned.  In time, he would be called upon to make his own decisions, to rely on his own wisdom, but in the wake of FDR's sudden death, he knew the best thing was to carry on in the the path of the one who had greater knowledge of the circumstances. 

It made me think of Jesus' words while on earth.  While He never stopped being God, Jesus was a Man while on earth.  Doing the right thing was not always easy for Him; a fact we saw when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane.  ("He fell on His face and prayed, saying, 'O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.' " ~ Matthew 26:39)

I know, as a parent, sometimes it's hard to punish my children, because I love them and don't want them to be sad.  It's hard to know, sometimes, when to be merciful and when to be strict.  So I don't know if that was hard for Jesus, too, while He was on earth.   Maybe there were times when He had to rely on what He knew was His Father's will, rather than His own. 

Truman knew what FDR had planned; what his goal was for the United Nations.  So when the decision was his to make, he knew what steps to take. 

This is how we need to be.  Reading God's Word, knowing His will as best we can, so then when we are called upon to make a decision, to take a step ~ even one we didn't know we were going to have to ~ we'll know what to do.

~ "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,'
shall enter the kingdom of heaven,
   but he who does the will 
      of My Father in heaven." ~
Matthew 7:21

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'd like to be, under the sea...

"the sea and the things that are in it"
Revelation 10:6

I was cleaning out some old stuff in the garage the other day, and came across my water shoes.  I'm not really a water person, so they'd gotten a little bedraggled, being left in the garage for a long time without being used... dusty and a little spider-inhabited.

The last time I used them was on Maui.  We'd gone for my brother-in-law's wedding, and done some snorkeling while we were there.  I love snorkeling.  I first discovered it on Kauai, and couldn't get enough.  Fishes of all colors and descriptions, and even some turtles.  Oh, and rocks.  And coral.  So cool...

Our kids weren't very interested in it on Kauai, or on Oahu.  They were young, and it was understandably difficult for them to put up with the snorkels in their mouths.  So they played on the shore with family members while we snorkeled.

But when we were on Maui, they were a few years older, so they both gave it a shot.  I absolutely loved being able to share that experience with them.

So I picked up my water shoes the other day with a bit of a happysad sigh... happy for the memories, but slightly sad wishing we could go back to Hawaii sometime soon and because I was throwing them out ~ since they were spidery and bedraggled and maybe even had a hole in the toe.

But then, as I walked to the trashcan, I caught a whiff of saltwater.  So I held them a little closer to my nose, and sure enough, they still smelled like the ocean.  It's been three years since they were in the ocean.  But there it was. 

I want to be like that.  I want to give off the fragrance of Him to the people around me.  Even if I'm going through hard times, feeling bedraggled and spidery.  Even if I'm dry and full of holes and feeling like I'm not being used for any great purpose.  When I look at those water shoes, I think of the ocean, and the joy I found in His creations there.  When people look at me, I want them to see ~ and smell ~ and hear ~ Him.

~ "through us He diffuses 
the fragrance of His knowledge 
    in every place" ~
2 Corinthians 2:14

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Psalm 150 Deconstructed

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth... 
And God called the firmament Heaven"
Genesis 1:1, 8

Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!

"He said, 'It is finished!' 
And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit"
John 19:30

Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!

"The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness, 
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing"
Zephaniah 3:17

Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments 
and flutes!

"Then David danced before the Lord
with all his might"
2 Samuel 6:14

Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!

"And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord
came into the camp,
all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook."
1 Samuel 4:5

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

 "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living being"
Genesis 2:7

Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Caution: God at Work

"I will refine them as silver is refined,
and test them as gold is tested"
Zechariah 13:9

So I drove 1600 miles last weekend.  Well, actually, I didn't drive all that way.  I was with my folks, and they did a fair amount of the driving.  We were on our way to visit my sister and her family.  She and her husband had the lead roles in their community musical, so my folks and I drove up to see the performance.

Road trips can be fun.  Some good music; maybe some fun treats you wouldn't normally allow yourself; time to chat, uninterrupted by TV or phone.  Well, mostly.  I guess nowadays it's possible to let those things interrupt, even in the car, if you let them.

But one thing that's not fun about long-distance driving, is the construction.

Everybody likes the benefits of construction: smooth roads taking us to the places we want to be.   But having to drive through a construction zone is a hassle.  If you live near a place that's being improved, that can be a pain because you have to deal with it on a frequent basis, until they finish what they are doing.

last year; outside our house

But it's also a nuisance when you're on a long road-trip.  Our goal was not wandering for exploration; it was to get to our destination as soon as we could, to maximize our time with our family.  So construction was just slowing us down.

But here's the really frustrating part ~ we really didn't see any construction.  We saw lots of traffic cones, and more than once the highway went down to one lane, but only once did we see anyone actually doing any work.  I believe the cones were there for a good reason, and I truly appreciate the guys {and gals.  but mostly guys.} who do that hot, tiring work.  But it was hard to give them the benefit of the doubt ~ that they were doing something valuable and important ~ when I couldn't see anything being done. 

And it made me realize I hate it in my spiritual life, too.  I drove past all these orange cones, thinking how frustrating it is when God's hard at work in my life, and I can't see what it is He's doing.  Sometimes He's letting me go through hard things; sometimes he's letting "unpleasant" people remain in my life; sometimes He's giving me a job to do that I don't want to do; sometimes He's just making me wait.

Oh, but our God is faithful.  All the time.  He is thinking of us, and loving us, and working in us, all the time. 

Whether we can see it or not. 

~ "Now made the God of peace...
make you complete... working in you
what is well-pleasing in His sight" ~
Hebrews 13:20,21

Monday, May 21, 2012

Red Light, Green Light

"six paces"
2 Samuel 6:13

A little follow up today.  There was a wonderful detail in the 2 Samuel, chapter 6 story about David deciding to move the ark to Jerusalem.

It's just one line, but it might be the most applicable verse for us, in the whole event.

Remember that David and nation of Israel had decided the time was right to bring the ark of the covenant back to the center of the nation, Jerusalem?  Remember that they plopped it on a cart, which was drawn by oxen, and got started on the journey?  But then the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, and God smote him down for touching it?

After that, David was afraid of the Lord, so he refused to move the ark further, and had it taken into the house of a man named Obed-Edom.  And for three months, the Lord blessed Obed-Edom and all his household.

And when David saw that Obed-Edom was being blessed, he "went and brought the ark of God to the city of David with gladness."

I like that line.  Gladness sounds so joyful, doesn't it? 

And this time, he brought it as the Lord had instructed them.

And then, this is the important part, verse 13:  "And when those bearing the ark had gone six paces, the Israelites praised God, sacrificing oxen and fatted sheep.  And David danced before the Lord with all his might."

After six paces.  They stopped what they were doing, and they looked around at each other.  God was pleased.  And so they were pleased.

Gives a whole new look to the idea of going to church every Sunday, doesn't it?  Stopping every six days, making sure you're in His will; celebrating, praising Him, and then moving ahead as He has called you, in boldness ~ and in gladness.

~ "God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, 
    because in it He rested from all His work" ~
Genesis 2:3

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Look a little higher

"rather than the Creator"
Romans 1:25

So recently I was reading a magazine that's about animals and people and the world we live in.  You know it well.  It's interesting and informative and there are amazing pictures.  I learn a lot about science and nature; animals and fish and birds I never heard of.  Countries and islands and peoples I'd like to visit someday.  

But not long ago, I read a fascinating article about biomimicry.  Biomimicry is the practice of scientists trying to copy things they see in nature, to improve medicine or technology.  For instance, sharks never have barnacles on them like whales do.  Turns out sharkskin has a texture that prevents algae and barnacles from sticking to it.  And, scientists have discovered, bacteria can't adhere either.  So they are trying to mimic sharkskin in hospitals, to cut down on the number of germs that can attach themselves to hospital equipment.

Another example is the gecko.  Geckos can walk on walls and ceilings without falling off.  So scientists are trying to imitate the characteristics of their feet, for military or law enforcement purposes. 

The article was so interesting, and I love the idea of making lives better, but I was so aware that the article was completely without any mention of God.  All credit for any wonderful innovations or characteristics that a creature might have, were attributed to "nature" or "evolution" as if those inanimate nouns were behind it all.  Now, I have no problem with the concept of evolution as it relates to animals' features adapting to their environments.  In fact, I believe that God designed them to evolve.  But praising evolution and not the Creator, is like praising the heart for coming up with the idea to pump blood throughout the body. 

And then the same day I read this article, I came into the room to find our cat asking for food.  Now, our cat asks for food the same way she asks to go outside and sit in the sunshine.  When she wants to go out, she sits by the back door meowing at anyone who comes near; but she also paws at the door.  You never saw anything sillier in your life.  And there she was, hoping to accomplish food in her bowl, the same way.  Her paw silently and uselessly sliding down the wall by her food bowl, waiting for the wall to respond. 

Now, of course, you know that the reason she paws at the door is because it opens ~ eventually ~ when we notice her pitifully pawing.  She doesn't make the connection that it's we who are making the door open.  And apparently, she's thinks the wall is the one to talk to about her food. 

To me, there was an interesting comparison there.  Those who would give credit to sharks for their skin are as short-sighted as my kitty, who gives credit to the door for opening.

And it makes me sad.  Not my cat.  Her brain is at a disadvantage.  But those who appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature are missing something.  There is so much more joy in not only loving all the majesty and whimsy and mystery of nature, but in loving Him who carefully and thoughtfully created it all.

~ "they did not glorify Him as God... 
worshiped and served the creature 
 rather than the Creator" ~
Romans 1:21,25

Saturday, May 19, 2012

We all fall down

"the race is not to the swift"
Ecclesiastes 9:11

The Olympics are returning in just a few months.  I'm a big fan of the Olympics.  I love to try ~ within reason ~ to watch everything that's televised.  I love the obscure events that never get the publicity as do the more popular sports.  I love the back stories of the athletes ~ finding out what they had to go through to achieve greatness in their sport.  And I love the surprising moments... the images and people that we never heard of before the Games, but whose stories will stick with us forever. 

And one of those stories, is the story of Mary Decker.

Mary Decker was a runner; a heavy favorite to win the 3000 meter race in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.  But she and another runner collided, and Decker lost her balance and fell to the track.  The photo taken at that time, is one of the great sports photos of Olympics.

photo credit: David Burnett (Contact Press Images)
I think the reason the photo is so striking is because of the look of anger and indignation in her face.  Which is understandable.  You put all your efforts and hopes into something and then it is gone... well, the emotions are many.

Here's another one:
AFP/Getty Images
I'm really not sure which of those came first, but the expressions are so different, it fascinates me.  This one looks more like pain and disappointment.

This one is as she's leaving the arena:

credit:  Tony Duffy/Allsport
You really feel for her, don't you?

More than once, Scripture compares the Christian life to a race.  It's an apt comparison.  The exhausting effort to achieve forward motion, while needing all parts of your body to work in sync ~ your heart, your arms and legs, your lungs, and of course, your brain.

We all go down, whether from a collision with someone else, or tripping on an obstacle of our own foolishness or carelessness.   And if we're trying to run a race that pleases Him, we are disappointed when we fall.  Or annoyed, or frustrated, or indignant, or in pain or all of the above...

And we should be.  I'm encouraging that.  'Cause if you stumble in your walk with the Lord, and your reaction is "oh well," then you need to check your motivation.

No one ever really decided if Mary Decker's fall was her fault, or the fault of the other runner, or a combination of both.  In the same way, we might not always be able to pinpoint what caused us to stumble.  But it should affect us so strongly that we want to try our hardest to make sure it doesn't happen again.  

~ "let us lay aside every weight, 
and the sin which so easily ensnares us, 
and let us run with endurance 
  the race that is set before us" ~
Hebrews 12:1

Friday, May 18, 2012

Good intentions?

"the oxen stumbled"
2 Samuel 6:6

"I was only trying to help"
"My intentions were good"
"I did what I thought was right"

Ever said, or thought, any of those lines?  They are justifications of actions that need explaining for some reason.  Maybe something went wrong, and you felt you had to explain why you did what you did.   Maybe someone misinterpreted your action, and you needed to defend yourself?  Happens to all of us.

Chapter 6 of 2 Samuel has an example of this kind of situation.  A rather difficult example for us to read, really ~ unless we try to see it from God's point of view.

It had been a long time since the ark of the covenant had resided in Jerusalem.  But David had finally become king of all Israel, and after a defeat of those pesky Philistines, he decided the time was right to bring the ark back to the city of Jerusalem.  And the time may have been right, but the method the men of Israel used was wrong. 

In verse 3, they set the ark of God on a new cart, pulled by oxen.  This method of transporting the ark had been used before, but it wasn't God's idea ~ it was the Philistines.  A cart was how they had transported the ark when they'd stolen it back in 1 Samuel 6.  But the ark is not supposed to be transported on a cart, it is supposed to be carried on the shoulders of the priests.

And that's where the problem came in.  Walking alongside the cart was the sons of Abinadab, in whose house the ark had been kept.  Ahio walked before the ark, and Uzzah alongside.   But then the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah put out his hand to steady the ark.   The Lord was angry that Uzzah touched the ark, so He struck him, and Uzzah died right then and there. 

This is a hard passage for us to read if we are thinking of God in partial terms.  What I mean by that is, thinking only of His power and His judgement.   God is powerful, and He is the Judge, and He is also loving and merciful.  And He is all of those all the time.  This is not cruel and unusual punishment, because He is God. 

Here's what we know for sure:  first:  those involved were being disobedient in their transportation of the ark.  This includes pretty much everyone in the nation of Israel, because verse 5 says "all the house of Israel played music before the Lord on all kinds of instruments... on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals.  {A sistrum is a metal instrument that rattles when you shake it.  Gotta love the New King James version!}  So they were all there, and all aware. 

The other thing we know for sure is that the oxen stumbled.  But Scripture doesn't say that the ark tottered, or wobbled, or was in any danger of falling.

So, what was going on in the hearts of those involved?  Was Uzzah being self-important?  Thinking of himself as the savior of the ark?  The name Uzzah means "strength" - was he giving God a hand?

What might have happened if the ark had started to fall?  What was God's plan?  We'll never know.  I'm guessing it would have involved mulberry trees....  A good reminder that when we hit a bump, we can either steady things ourselves, or let Him handle it.

And what was the state of David's heart in the time leading up to Uzzah's death?  Did he not know the Scriptures well enough to know how it was supposed to be done?  Did the leader of the Israelites, a man who had known for years that he was going to be their king, not know the Lord's commands regarding the ark.  Maybe.  But I find it unlikely. 

Or was everything going so well for David that he got negligent?  Did he think he would be accepted by God no matter what?

David decided to leave the ark where it was ~ in the keeping of a man named Obed-Edom.  At least, until he heard how blessed Obed-Edom was, as keeper of the ark.  Then David remembered God's love and mercy, and maybe he remembered His instructions, too.

So they brought the ark to Jerusalem.  And this time, they followed directions.  And in another interesting note, {you'll get that joke in a second}, they played different instruments this time, too.  {See?  Instruments.  I have an interesting note on the instruments!  rim shot here...} 

The first time, they played percussion instruments.  Instruments of the hand.  But this time, they brought it to the sound of shouting and trumpets.  Instruments of breath.  Do you know the Latin word for breath is "spiritus" and it's where we get our word "spirit".  I think that's significant.

I think sometimes we do the same thing that David, and Uzzah, and the people of Israel did.  I think we can be so desperate to understand Him, that we lower Him, or His Word, or His commandments, to a level that makes sense to us, or seems sufficient to us.  But here we saw what happened when God had enough of their disdain.

His commands are not suggestions.  Doing His will your way is no better than not doing His will at all.  He is worthy of our respect, and our obedience. 

~ "So they brought the ark of the Lord...
and David blessed the people
 in the name of the Lord" ~
2 Samuel 6:17,18

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Should you second the motion?

"the Lord is with you"
2 Samuel 7:3

I've been thinking lately about the concept of "getting a second opinion".  We think of that in terms of medical opinions, but really we get another opinion a whole lot more often than that.

Because anytime we ask advice of someone, we're asking a second opinion ~ in addition to our own, that is.

It's risky.  Often we have an idea of what we want to do.  What we want in advice is someone who will echo what we think already.  And we can generally find that, although we might have to ask a few people.

Scripture has lots of examples of people getting second opinions.  Like Abraham deciding it would be safer for him, when traveling, to pass off Sarah as his sister instead of his wife.  (Genesis 20)  The Bible doesn't give us any indication that Sarah thought this was a bad idea;  seems like she just went along with it.

Or all of Joseph's brothers.  In Genesis 37, they all seconded (and thirded, and fourthed.... ) Judah's idea to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites as a slave.  {Although, to his credit, the oldest brother Reuben seems not to have been a part of this decision.}

Have you ever had the chance to say to someone, "Go; do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you." ?  Do you have that responsibility with anyone?  Your spouse; a friend who has come to you for counsel; a partner in business or ministry?  It's serious business to tell someone yay or nay without asking God what encouragement or discouragement He wants you to give. 

Anytime anyone ever says to you, "what do you think?" you have a responsibility to guide as God guides you to guide.  

Otherwise they're just your words.  And you can do better than that.

~ "The children of Israel went up 
and wept before the Lord until evening, 
and asked counsel of the Lord" ~
Judges 20:23

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Lesson from Peyton Manning

"every decision is from the Lord"
Proverbs 16:33

Peyton Manning has had an interesting couple of years.  The destined-for-the Hall-of-Fame quarterback has been with the Indianapolis Colts for 14 seasons, and has won 2 AFC championships and a Super Bowl along the way.

But he had to have four surgeries on his neck last year, and wasn't able to play at all.  And then a couple months ago, he was let go by the Colts.  And all of a sudden, he had some big decisions to make about what was next in his life.

He has been such an amazing quarterback, and plenty of teams are willing to believe that he still has a few more games in him.  So he spent time talking with those teams, thinking about their offers to him, and what the pros and cons would be, playing with them.   And in the article I was reading, he had an interesting quote about that process, and the difficulty of making a decision; he said, "This isn't a math problem."

The point is, there's no right answer.  Those are tough problems.  I know we think math is hard, but at least it's cooperative.  It's not trying to fool us.  And there's only right answer. 

Not so with life's decisions.  A lot of the decisions we have to make don't really have "right" answers.  Or they don't seem to, anyway.  Some of them do, but we won't know what it is if we don't ask Him.

But it's comforting to know that even a "wrong" decision on our part can be to our benefit.  That's the beauty of Romans 8:28, "we know that God works all things for together for good for those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose."

Gives me the peace I want, even when I don't know what to do.  There may not be just one "right" answer, but if I'm relying on Him for wisdom, and trusting in Him for the consequences, then there is no wrong answer.

~ "God gives wisdom and knowledge 
   and joy to a man who is good in His sight" ~
Ecclesiastes 2:26

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Speaking what's written

Do you ever feel, when you pray, that you don't know what to pray?

I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress 
and my deliverer...

Or do you ever not pray, because you don't know what to pray?

My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation; 
my stronghold...

Do you ever wish there were a prayer script; that a writer had written words of prayer for you?

In my distress I called upon the Lord,
and cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple,
and my cry came before Him

Words of praise, and thanksgiving, and courage are waiting for you to pray.

He sent from above, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy...

No assembly required; no work needed on your part.
Just a Bible.  And a little bit of faith.

For who is God, except the Lord?
The Lord lives!
Blessed be my Rock!
Therefore I will give thanks to You,
O Lord,
and sing praises to Your name.

{All verses from Psalm 18}

Monday, May 14, 2012

True strength is found in gentleness

"the kindness of God"
Romans 2:4 

I've been visiting my sister and her husband for a few days; staying at their house.  They've got a new cat since I was here last.  A sweet, gentle little Russian Blue.


She's very friendly, but cautiously so.  There were a lot of people here for a couple of days, so she spent most of the time under a bed.

But yesterday evening my nieces and one of my nephews left, and this morning my sister and her family (including my energetic 7-year-old nephew) left to go home.  That left just 5 of us, all adults.  So the kitty has been venturing out more today.

So I sat on the floor of the room this morning, waiting, and sure enough, her curiosity brought her near me.  I sat very still, reading, while she padded slowly in the room, and warily came over to me.  She sniffed my slippers a little, and then came close enough for me to pet her.  But I had to move slowly, too.  If I moved too fast, she would turn and run several feet away, and then watch me again.

Then later, everyone left the house but me, so I went out on the front porch to enjoy the weather here in the 41st parallel.  I left the front door open so kitty could see me, and I could see her.  Soon enough, she came and sat in the doorway, sniffing and looking around.

in her "happy place"...

But I knew she wasn't allowed outside, so I had to keep an eye on her.   And anytime she tentatively reached one paw out the door, I would wave my book at her, to frighten her a little, and make her back up into the house where she belonged. 

And I got to thinking about how different I am from a cat.  I have a lot more strength, and a lot more intelligence.  I'm a lot bigger, and so in order to win her trust, I have to pull back on my abilities.  I couldn't get up and tower over her.  I shouldn't run after her and try to grab her.  I might succeed, but it will slow down the progress of her trusting me.   And I could talk to her, but it had to be softly and gently, not with all the volume I could muster.  We had to form our relationship on her terms.

yawning... Cats do a lot of that

But when I was outside, I needed to scare her a little.  Going outside wasn't safe for her, so to do what was best for her, I needed to remind her that I am bigger and stronger.

Sound like God to you?  It does to me.  Sometimes when I get a glimpse of how awesome and mighty He is, I think if we really knew the depth of His power, it would scare us too much.  So He pulls back to meet us on our terms.

But when He sees His children wandering into a place that's unsafe them, He unleashes a little of His power, to try and stop us.  But even that is nothing compared to what He's capable of.  Strength, wisdom and power beyond ~ literally beyond ~ our comprehension.  And He already knows.  He doesn't need to brag, and He doesn't need to prove Himself.

And He wants a relationship with us.  So He shows us His compassion, His mercy, and His gentleness.   

And that, for many of us, is what drew us to Him, and keeps us near Him.

I have no explanation for this ~ it simply leaves me speechless...

~ "the kindness of God
        leads you to repentance" ~
Romans 2:4

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Road Trip

"Traveling in the greatness of His strength"
Isaiah 63:1

Thoughts after a 12 hour road trip...

I love when I cross a state line and find that the culture and the topography have changed dramatically.  People and places are not the same everywhere you go.  Learn something from those He places in your path, even if only briefly.

Switching-off drivers is a good idea.  Being the one "in charge", alert and responsible for everyone else, can be hard work.  Some are better at it than others, but no one should do it all the time.  So take a turn at navigating and making conversation.  Let someone else take the wheel ~ literally.   

We're not created to sit for long periods of time.  So get up and get moving! 

A car's need for fuel on a regular basis is a reminder to us that we can't just continue on for long periods of time without doing an assessment of ourselves and our needs.  Wash the windshield, check the oil, empty the trash that has accumulated since the last stop, take a look at the tires.... Take a good hard look at yourself on a regular basis.  Maybe in prayer once a week?  Instead of just asking Him for things you want, and maybe instead of just being thankful, also make sure you ask Him if there's any way in you that needs tending to.

Rest Stops have what you need.  But only the basics.  This ain't luxury, people.  And why?  Because you're not meant to stay long.  Refresh yourself, then get back to the journey.  You've got places to go, things to do, and people to see! 

~ "It came into his heart to visit his brethren" ~
Acts 7:23

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Just for today

"He has shown you, O man,
what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justly,
and to love mercy
And to walk humbly with your God?"
Micah 6:8

It's not a command.  It's not a statement or a directive.

It's a question. 

He has shown you what is good.  

He sent His Son, to walk on earth among us.  

He gave us His Word, to instruct us.  

He has shown you what is good. 

And what does the Lord require of you?

Do justly.

Love mercy.

And walk humbly with him. 

That's all.

Just for today. 

And maybe tomorrow....

Friday, May 11, 2012

I'm not telling

"the secret things"
Deuteronomy 29:29

A friend of mine told me a secret the other day.

Well, I guess it's not really a secret, she just asked me not to tell anyone. 

Is that the same thing as a secret? 

See, the difference is, I guess, I don't really know who I'd tell.  I've met the person in question, but she's not someone who's really in my life, so the odds that I'm going to see her anytime soon are somewhere between slim and nil. 

And no one in my family knows this person so they're not going to ask, and they really wouldn't care. 

She told me because she wanted me to pray for her, and for this person.  And I feel honored that she trusted me.

But I really want to tell someone. 

Isn't that sad?  Why are humans like this??  I guess that's what gossip is.  I really don't think I'm a gossip.  I'm just not that social.  But I'm sure I still do it, sometimes without meaning.

But that desire to tell the secret means it's been on my mind a lot, which means I'm reminded to pray frequently, so I think that's a good thing. 

Maybe you should pray for me, and what I guess is, my desire to gossip.

You pray for me, and I'll pray for my friend.  And her secret.

~ "The secret things belong
        to the Lord our God" ~
Deuteronomy 29:29

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Don't Stop Believin'

"according to the command of the Lord 
  they would journey"
Numbers 9:20

I got an upbeat message from a friend of mine today.  She's about my age; two kids; married for, I don't know, around 20 years I guess.  But several months ago, she and her husband decided to divorce.  I don't know any details, really.  It's what she wants, but it's hard to see any marriage end.  So it's bittersweet at best.  And along with getting a divorce, she went back to school.  So in the span of a few weeks, she's gotten her final divorce notice, and is on the cusp of earning her degree.

And right after that message, I got an upbeat message from another friend of mine.  This friend is maybe ten years older than I am.  My oldest is in high school whereas her last single child is getting married later this year.   Well, my friend had a biopsy yesterday, and it came back positive.  
I don't know any details, just that she has another doctor appointment in a few weeks, and after that I guess we'll know what the plan is for her treatment. 

And the timing, and the wording, of these two messages got me to thinking.  The first message said, "I just sat through my last lecture!  Three finals next week, and then this journey ends!  :-)"

A few minutes later came the other message, which said only, "Even so, bless His Name."  I was immediately struck with admiration for her faith in God, when she's just gotten this disquieting news. 

But my thought right after that was, "and for her, a journey is just beginning."

A journey ends.

A journey begins.

It's how it's always going to be. 

Because we've not arrived where we're going.

Chapter 9 of the Book of Numbers talks about the journey of the children of Israel.  About the cloud that covered the tabernacle in the tent of the Testimony.  When the cloud was above the tabernacle, they would pitch their tents and stay in that place.  And when the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, they would journey.  Verse 23 says, "At the command of the Lord they remained encamped, and at the command of the Lord they journeyed."

Sometimes He gives rest, but then at His command, it's time to journey again. 

And He will be with you.

~ "And the Lord went before them...
   to lead the way" ~
Exodus 13:21

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Take your pick ~ but don't ignore the rest!

" 'If you will return, O Israel,' says the Lord,
'Return to Me;
and if you will put away your abominations out of My sight,
then you shall not be moved' "
Jeremiah 4:1

Interesting verse here.  A little something for everyone.  Just depends on what you need.

First of all, look who the Lord is talking to.  Israel, yes, but that's not all.  He's talking to anyone who is open; who will listen.  "If you will return" speaks to anyone who is willing to return to Him. 

And if you are?  Then a command for you.  "Return to Me."

If you are willing to return to Him, then return to Him!

Next, a warning.  If you are willing to return to Him, then return to Him, and put away your abominations out of His sight

That which He hates needs to be removed from your life.  Consider yourself warned.

And then, beautifully, a promise.  If you are willing to return to Him, then do so.  Rid your life of that which He hates, and you shall not be moved.

Oh, do I love that promise.  "The Lord is the strength of my life" ~ to know that, is to not be moved.  {That was Psalm 27:1}  To return to Him, ridding my life of that which He despises, is to strengthen myself in Him.

And it doesn't get any stronger than that. 

His Word is instructions, warnings, and promises. 

And sometimes, all three at once.

~ "The word of the Lord is proven" ~
2 Samuel 22:31

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


"better is one day"
Psalm 84:10

Better is one minute of quiet time with Your Word,
 than a thousand minutes of sleep...

Better is one hour of serving others,
 than a thousand hours of selfishness...

Better is one day of fasting to focus on You, 
than a thousand days of five-star dining...

Better is one hour of prayer,
than a thousand hours of watching TV...

Better is one song of praise to You,
 than a thousand songs by the "hottest" new artist...

Better is one day in Your courts, 
than a thousand elsewhere...

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Lesson from Josh Hamilton

"now you have been set apart"
1 Corinthians 6:11

Here's the thing about being a baseball fan, at least for me:  it's not the players, it's the teams.  I think it was comedian Jerry Seinfeld who said that we don't root for the people, we root for the laundry.  The guy on the other team is the "enemy" until he gets traded to your team ~ puts on your team's uniform ~ and then you cheer him on.  It's not the New York Yankees I hate, it's their laundry, according to Seinfeld.  {Also, please note that when I say "hate" I don't really mean "hate".  It's just an expression.  I believe very strongly in "love thy neighbor".  Even if thy neighbor is a Yankee...}

But even though it's the laundry we love, there is usually a guy or two wearing that laundry, that we like just a little bit more than the other guys.  Maybe we like his achievements, or his work ethic, or that he went to the same college we did.  Lots of reasons.

Well, my Amazing Boy loves baseball.  As you may have noticed through this blog... And he's got a few favorite teams, but one of them is the Texas Rangers.  And one of his favorite players wearing the Texas Ranger laundry, is Josh Hamilton. 

from Wikipedia
Josh Hamilton is a great hero for a boy to have.  He's a hard-working and accomplished baseball player who is open about his faith, but also about his struggles with drug and alcohol addiction. 

Hamilton's substance-abuse troubles stretched from 2001-2005.  He was clean until 2009, when he stumbled, and again in February of this year.  I think he is still to be greatly admired for his attitude and his openness about his struggles, and for trying to educate others about drugs and alcohol. 

And therein lies today's lesson. In a recent interview about his lapse a few months ago, Hamilton was asked how his slip-up had happened, and I thought his answer was very instructive.   He said his relapse was prefaced by the thought, "Why can everybody else do it, and I can't?"

The hard fact for him ~ for anyone who has beaten drugs or alcohol ~ is to remember that they are not like everyone else.   For them, substance is their weakness, and it always will be, and that means they have to stay away from it; to be set apart from it.  

For each of us, it's something different, but for each of us, it's something.  We simply cannot be like everyone else, and still be true to who He has called us to be.  Anyone who doesn't care about sin, and its impact on their life, is going to do plenty of it.  Christians cannot be like that.  There are things that are sins, and things that will lead to sins, and you can't be any part of them, even if "everybody else" is.  It's hard, sometimes.  But it's true. 

We don't want to be like "them"; we want to be like Him.

~ "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, 
   holy, acceptable to God" ~
Romans 12:1

Sunday, May 6, 2012

How busy are you?

"as we have opportunity"
Galatians 6:10

Ever seen this photo before?  If not, what do you think is happening in this picture?

I saw the photo in Smithsonian Magazine, but I found it online at a site called

The man is James Meredith; the photographer was Jack R. Thornell.  The date was June 6, 1966 and Meredith had just begin the March Against Fear.  It was a solitary march, to protest racism in the United States.  He was going to march from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi ~ 220 miles.  His goal was to encourage black citizens to register and vote ~ to encourage them to not be afraid to exercise their constitutional rights.

Meredith was already well-known.  In 1962 he had been the first black person to enroll at the University of Mississippi, so although he was "marching" alone, there were reporters, photographers some police officers and a few followers who were nearby.

But shortly after he had begun, he was shot in the head, neck, back and legs.  Miraculously, he was not killed.  With the publicity created by his being shot, other civil rights campaigners continued the march, and Meredith was well enough to join them on June 25, the day before the march arrived in Jackson, Mississippi.

But here's the thing:  can you see the agony on that man's face?  It's what makes it such a striking picture ~ the timing of it is what makes it a Pulitzer Prize winner.  If he were lying fully down, as he probably was only a few seconds later, you wouldn't be able to see the expression on his face.   So great job with the camera, right?

But after taking this remarkable shot (with the camera... not the other shot) the photographer jumped back in his car, and drove off quickly to get it in to his boss.   Now, someone must have called an ambulance, but in the time it took for it to come, Meredith said he lay there hollering, "Isn't anyone going to help me?"  And as I look at his face, I just can't imagine the feeling of pain and helplessness.

But even more, I wonder what the photographer must have been feeling.  How do you watch that, snap off a dozen or so pictures, and then drive away, with your job being uppermost in your mind?

Now, to be fair, photographer Jack Thornell greatly regrets his action.  He and Meredith are friends now, and he says it still haunts him that he did nothing.  And I think that's good.  It sounds like he learned a lesson.  But I wonder how many of us need to learn that lesson.  Because the sin he committed there, was just pure selfishness.  And which of us hasn't been guilty of that?   I'm sure he thought there was simply nothing he could do; he was confident that someone would call an ambulance; and he had a job to do. And besides, there was someone with a gun nearby ~ maybe anyone who went near Meredith would also be in danger.

But there was an opening for compassion and encouragement.  There was a chance for someone to hold Meredith's hand and help him feel less alone.  I look at the picture and the agony it shows, and I wonder what kind of man just drives off when he sees that. 

But as horrified as I was by that picture, I was even more horrified to realize that I've done it, too.  Maybe not that dramatic, but I've ignored people in pain or unhappiness or fear, because I had something "important" to do, or because I was afraid, or because I assumed someone else would handle it. 

And they say that an opportunity missed is an opportunity lost.  Well, yes and no.  That opportunity may be gone forever, but there will be another one.  Gotta be ready.

~ "as we have opportunity, let us do good to all" ~
Galatians 6:10