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Summer Time, And The Livin’ Is Easy…. At least that’s the Big Picture….

appleIn the dark of the night, he silently slips into the room…. he stares at her while she sleeps and quietly searches for the blood he longs for… he moves quickly, she has no time to react…

You might be thinking that this is a selection from a Twilight novel or some other vampire romance, but hold on, keep reading….. this is reality..

She suddenly awakes… opening her eyes to confusion and mild pain…she lifts her hand and swats the blood thirsty, pesky little mosquito away…

Yes, summertime is great for the most part…. relaxed schedules, swimming, sunshine, hummingbirds, sandy beaches, ocean water, vacations, waterparks, flowers, sitting under the pergola.… but last night’s itchy attack was just about enough to make me ready for cold weather.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the mosquitoes in my backyard don’t have babies named Citronella because it obviously means nothing negative to them.  I’m pretty positive that those mosquitoes in my neighborhood have apparently mutated and are totally immune to the pretty little candles that sit on my porch.  I can picture the scene now…

“Citronella! Come on, sweetie, ”  says Mama Mosquito, “We are going to go have dinner on this nice lady’s porch.  She even has a nice warm fire to attract us to her home.”    ” Yea!! Can we have s’mores too?” replies Baby Citronella.

So now, through my bitterness, I’m sure that it is apparent that I have been a victim of the ever blood thirsty mosquito.  Not only has the little vampire gotten me, but my family was attacked as well. …. Twilight, nothing.  Okay, I realize that mosquitoes are not technically vampires but they still are in the same category.  However, I’m sure the difference lies in the fact that there could never be a bestseller or a blockbuster teen romance about mosquitoes and their vices.  There is absolutely nothing attractive nor glamorous about mosquitoes…… or is there?Mosquito

To conquer my itch I needed a remedy…something to soothe. So I began searching the internet for a homemade alternative to going back out to the store.  My search took me to something I never knew existed.   I found out that today is Mosquito Day.

Okay, since when did the mosquito become such an icon that it deserves it’s day in the limelight? A special day for Mosquito celebrating…. and to think that I thought a special Michael Jackson day was probably not a good idea…. Apparently there is something about the little itchy bloodsucker that I don’t understand.  I had always ranked it up there with all of those other annoying things that have peaked my curiosity as to why God created each.  You know, things like:

  • slugs (yeah, you know the story)
  • liver… of course I know it is important for our bodies but couldn’t a cow or a chicken do without it?? Does it really have to be a good source of iron for my anemic body??
  • ticks…just look at them… ewww….self-explanatory
  • poison ivy… not sure why a plant needs to protect itself… particularly one whose only apparent purpose is to make people itch

But since today is Mosquito Day and somewhere down in Texas they are planning an few days of good ol’ BBQ, country music and all sorts of mosquito competitions… not to mention, “Willie-Man-Chew” the 26ft mosquito mascot… what am I not getting???Williemanchew

I kept reading… the mosquito leg contest might be a competition that I’d rather not see but it looked like all other activities would provide good family fun.  That’s when I noticed something… I noticed that Dow was the host of this Mosquito Festival.  How convenient… could it be that Dow makes repellent for the pesky mosquito?  I’m thinking so.  I’m also thinking that if mosquitoes were obsolete then Dow wouldn’t need employees to make the chemicals to repel the pests.  Hmmm… now it is starting to make sense… at least to some degree.  We need mosquitoes so that Dow or any given chemical company can make repellent, hire people so they can have jobs and provide for their families.  Ah ha! I feel like I’ve solved a mystery. Okay,so maybe that was never really the plan that God … or maybe it was… regardless, God is so creative and I don’t always see the big picture.

I wonder how many other things I really don’t understand and instead tend to look at it through my narrow vision before I really give thought to what God is showing me.  Maybe the whole mosquito and insect repellent issue isn’t really some divine revelation from God but there are others…. Like knowing that we are supposed to take care of the “widows and orphans” and sadly taking care of them to a certain degree because of a feeling of obligation rather than love and care… and one day, while helping someone, I noticed her eyes…eyes of sadness, shame and helplessness…. that was a moment I needed… a realization to what I already knew but just didn’t understand… a moment I needed to make sense of what I was doing.  It opened a door to take my knowledge into the realm of compassion.

In Acts, Peter had a moment like that with Cornelius.  Peter knew that Jesus was for all, Jews and Gentiles.  But it wasn’t until he met Cornelius that it all truly seemed to click for him.  As you read the whole Cornelius/Peter dialogue you see Peter start out almost with obligation and routine but after listening to Cornelius speak, the figurative lightbulb turns on… Peter gets it.  He had the knowledge but just needed that “ah ha!”  moment. He needed to hear a Gentile speak about Christ in the same manner that a follower of Christ might speak.  It was like opening another door for him.

So what other big picture am I not seeing?  Hmmm, maybe like the slow driver who is keeping me from an appointment, or the rude driver who is honking at the slow driver who is keeping him from his appointment, or the waitress who seems distracted, or the person who looks to be abusing the system, or the child with the discipline problem… or big things like hunger, poverty and war…. maybe I’ll never view them as God does until he allows me to, if ever, but at least I can think about the situation and what the big picture is and hope for a compassion or an “ah-ha” moment.

Until then though, I will continue to swat at mosquitoes, but I will only swat at those who cross that barrier of repellent so as to not take away repellent making jobs and so “Willie-Man-Chew” can live on in Texas.  Live on, Willie!  Keep up the good work, Dow!

Acts 10

Peter at Cornelius’ House

The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along. 24The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”

27Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. 29So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”

30Cornelius answered: “Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”

34Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. 36You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! (Must say it with a Gomer Pyle drawl)

surpriseI realize that not every surprise is a pleasant experience.  Yes, I’ve been on the boat of unpleasant surprises many times…You can ask the boat pilot whose name just happens to be Officer Gotcha  A.K.A.  Mr. “Can I see your License and Registration, please?” …Anyway, I am not naive to the fact that people may tend to connect surprises with a negative emotion, but I am also aware that surprises can be a wonderful thing.

Sometimes the unexpected is a great way to show someone that they are loved or a great way to feel that you are loved.  Here’s what I mean…You know you are loved when:

  • You go to work to find a surprise drawing on your computer wallpaper from your daughter that says, “I love you, Mom.” (Happened even with a post-it note this morning)
  • Your seven-year-old surprises you with a shoulder massage. ( It was actually a job well done)
  • Your co-worker brings to work your favorite dessert just to surprise you (Banana Pudding…. she is so thoughtful)
  • You receive an unexpected phone call from your friend who just called to say that you are loved (Makes me miss ’em)
  • Your health conscious husband surprises you with Krispy Kreme donuts on a Saturday morning while you sleep in.  (Okay, that one didn’t happen.. but it might if he sees that I wrote this)
  • Your husband surprises you by cleaning your office while you are in a meeting  (that one did happen!)
  • You wake up to a surprise of hundreds of plastic forks sticking up in your yard….. (Yes, you read that correctly… My neighbor and her accomplice put Howie Mandel, Allen Funt and Ashton Kutcher to shame)

See, not all surprises beat to a negative drum… some are just great reminders of how much you are loved… Okay, some might beg to differ about the whole fork thing but I’m leaning on the love side of the prank…forked yard

I’ve always felt that if those surprise moments were common place then they would mean nothing.

Take for instance the the story of Paul and Silas.  Here are these two guys in prison, chained up, praying and singing their hearts out … probably pretty annoying to the non-believers in earshot and the jailer who has to listen while he does his job… but they were singing praises while chained up when all of a sudden an earthquake type event happened… their chains are broken off and they, along with others, are now free.  I would imagine that the area was dark, possibly the jailer had a rock bump his head or maybe just in the panic of the situation, he, the jailer, had fail written on his forehead… he was ready to kill himself for slacking on the job and not keeping the prisoners in their places… earthquake or not.   Now, Paul and Silas were given the opportunity to flee… to get out of there fast.  But instead of running they surprised this man.  They, along with the other prisoners were still there.  They told him to not harm himself that everyone was still there and they weren’t going anywhere.  The jailer was shocked.  Their surprise stopped his suicide.  Instead of his tragic intention,  he was so blown away by their actions that he wanted to know more about who they were singing about.  In reality, I guess their surprise showed so much love that he was changed then and there.  He had Paul and Silas come to his home and he became a follower of Christ.   Had this guard been used to seeing prisoners who had the opportunity to flee and didn’t……if this had been normal behavior that Paul and Silas had shown then their actions would have meant nothing.

Just like my family… if they did all of those things mentioned above on a daily basis then I would probably soon forget the importance of what they were trying to show me.  Maybe it is not so bad to surprise others…

I think I know who my surprise “victim” will be today ….and I won’t even use forks.

Who needs a surprise from you today?

Acts 16: 22-40

22The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.

35When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”

37But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”

38The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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