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Introducing The Chrysalis Brothers… They’ll be here all week

Sometimes my kids ask for something and because I find educational value in what they’ve asked for, I will get it immediately… okay, maybe it’s just because I think it would be fun…… but the point is this, sometimes I just get it for them … A couple of years ago my youngest just had to have a butterfly habitat. You know, the kind where you watch caterpillars turn into beautiful butterflies right before your very eyes… Yep, we got it and once we got it home the conversation between my husband and I went something like this….

Me: Great, we’re going to have to take this back.

Chris: Why?

Me: They didn’t give us everything.

Chris: Here let me see… (He takes it and looks at it)… It’s all here

Me: No, it’s missing the caterpillars

Chris: You have to order them

Me: Order them?!

Chris: Yes… what, you thought they came in the box?

Me: Um, Maybe…

Chris: How  could they have survived in the box like that?

Me: Freeze dried.

Chris: Freeze dried?  That would kill them

Me: Are you sure?

Chris: Yes, I’m pretty sure.

Me: Doesn’t it work for Sea Monkeys? ….(the thrifty side of me totally kicked in) Ugh, I don’t want to buy caterpillars

So the Butterfly Habitat sat empty until one day I happened to luck into a cute, little, furry caterpillar crawling across the driveway.  I grabbed it, ran inside and announced my find to the family.  Nobody shared my excitement but it didn’t deter me one bit… I was going to watch it turn into a beautiful butterfly and they would all be sorry for their lack of enthusiasm.  It lived in the habitat for a day or so.  Apparently caterpillars eat more than air because I had no clue what to feed him and, well, lets just say he went on to his eternal reward after grass didn’t satisfy his caterpillar metabolism.  No worries though… I did a little research and it was a terrible caterpillar that was a moth larvae that has been a horse killer here in Kentucky….. so, I’m actually a hero… but that is not the point… The point is, I didn’t want to buy caterpillars but the habitat doesn’t work if you don’t.  Fortunately my 6-year-old quickly forgot about the habitat and we went on with life.

Last Christmas, however, a package arrived in the mail and my cousins had sent my now 7 1/2-year-old a brand new habitat as a gift.  I will admit I felt the excitement jump back into my spirit when I thought about the caterpillar metamorphosis process, but still, there were no freeze dried caterpillars. So with constant urging and a pitiful looking sad face from my youngest, I broke down and ordered the caterpillars a few months later… okay, it was a lot of urging.

So the caterpillars, a.k.a. The Chrysalis Brothers, arrived and we watched them grow from tiny, little caterpillars to gluttonous, lazy, about to burst, huge caterpillars… it was actually pretty amazing at how fast they grew.  And soon they began to take their spots and form their very own chrysalis at the top of their habitat jar.  Again, amazing to see God’s creativity in their little lives… so for days they sat and we waited for them to step out and show themselves as the beautiful Painted Ladies they were supposed to be.  It happened and though we didn’t snuggle them or call all of our family with our excitement, we did find great pleasure in watching them mature and be able to fly.  So interesting to have such a close-up view and watch.

The instructions said that we were to let them go after a couple of days of observation so they could go into the world and multiply. We knew that day was coming… there was a sense of accomplishment with a bit of disappointment for having them for such a short period.  We let them go and they flew like they couldn’t possibly fly in their small habitat…now they had the whole world… or at least the neighborhood and it was actually beautiful to watch.

Watching them was a reminder to me that change is difficult… even when it is good change…. it often affects more than just those experiencing the biggest change.  But when God ordains the change there is so much to be excited about and so much to be expected that staying in the little “habitat” inhibits what God can do.

In Acts 11, Peter experienced others wanting him to stay in his “habitat” when he began eating with uncircumcised men. The circumcised believers began to complain until Peter told them how God ordained what he was doing.  Then the men who had complained opened the habitat door and allowed God to do his thing.

I can totally relate to the complaining men….

My neighbors are moving tomorrow….These aren’t just any neighbors… these are two people with whom I spent time with daily at work (I worked with both of them for several years) We’ve spent the day at the office together only to bring our families together at night for dinner.  We have shared quite a few Thanksgiving and Easter dinners together, prayed together, we’ve each been included in each other’s family holiday times, spent accumulated hours talking on the porch or making s’mores at their fire pit and we’ve borrowed everything from mayonnaise to toilet paper. …. these aren’t just friends or neighbor’s … they are unrelated family.  They are also in ministry and God has called them to another place.

You know, it’s easy to be selfless when it doesn’t really matter… the Chrysalis Brothers left and though it was fun watching them and would have been fun if we kept them longer, it was also fun to let them go…. But when it matters, it is easy to be selfish… I don’t want my neighbors to go…. I want more hours of talking on the porch….I want those shared times together… I want to hide their “for sale” sign and I want them to stay…but God has called them to where they are going.  They need to go to experience God’s freedom.

I love them and will miss them terribly, but I know that doing what God calls us to do is the only way we can truly see the beauty of the flight.  If we keep them from that then we only see a bit of what God can do.  I must open the “habitat” and let them go… didn’t say it would be easy… I know they will be such a great addition to the state of Missouri.  I love you, Howard and Shirley.  You can fly away now…. Godspeed.

Acts 11

1The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”

4Peter began and explained everything to them precisely as it had happened: 5“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. 6I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’

8“I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’

9“The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ 10This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.

11“Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. 12The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. 13He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’

15“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with[a]water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?”

18When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.”

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Posted by on July 3, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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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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What shall we do with the drunken slug? Adventures in my garden…

SlugI try to be green.  I mean I recycle… I think that is about as green as I know how to be or really want to be.  I don’t try to be wasteful and I do try to be resourceful but I think light green is probably more likely my shade …. However, I did try to do something this year that I have never done before.. Gardening.  I grew up on a farm and remember going to the garden with my mom and aunt but also remember feeling like it was torture.  Not anymore… nope, gardening is way cool.  I figured it wouldn’t hurt for me to grow a few items to help stock our refrigerator in these cautious economic times.  So gardening is what I decided to do.  But since I knew nothing about gardening I decided to get my kids involved and then they could grow them and we would all learn together.  We bought seeds and a seed starter kit and went to work.  We had squash, dill, cilantro, peppers, sunflowers and more.  They grew and grew and we were so proud and still are.  The day came when it was time to plant them in the real ground and now they are growing like crazy…. One problem though……I have no clue if the plant growing is a weed or a vegetable…I think I yanked up some baby carrot tops today because I thought they were weeds…. still don’t know for sure.

Now the sunflowers, mammoth sunflowers, to be exact, I’m way excited about.  The first round of sunflower sprouts accidentally drowned while we were away on vacation and then after drying my daughter’s tears, we started over.  This time the sunflowers are in the ground and growing right along… that is, until yesterday.  Yesterday morning before I left for work I went to check on my little garden and the sunflowers since they are our newest addition.  I was heart broken at what I saw…. nothing.  That’s right.  Three of our little sunflower plants were gone.  Only a little stem was left to look at. sunflower My first thoughts were the weedeater… but I knew my husband wouldn’t have hit them.  My second thought was a rabbit but I couldn’t understand why a rabbit would only eat the sunflowers and not everything else.  I was highly disappointed but took heart because the other two baby sunflower plants were still going strong.  I figured that the rest of my garden was in danger but really didn’t have a way to protect them from the hungry rabbit so I just had to hold onto the hope that all would be well in the morning.

Later that evening I was doing some work when my daughter came from outside and told me to hurry, “Dad, found what ate the sunflower.”  I went outside totally expecting to see a cute but evil bunny when he stuck a little something in front of my face.  It was ugly and gooey and had been sitting right on top of the sunflower…. the culprit? A gray field slug.  I wasn’t completely convinced that it could do so much damage but I googled it and sure enough… slugs seems to love baby sunflowers.  I became immediately protective of my little seedlings and like any good mother, sought to get rid of the bully.  Again, I googled in search of a remedy and I also stated my disgust at this little slug on Facebook.

Amazingly, I must not be alone in trying to rid the world of ugly gray field slugs because people rallied to help me solve my problem. Some of the sweetest people I know jumped at the chance to tell me how to *cough, cough* torture those little slimy guys. First there was the whole salt thing.  I thought that slugs didn’t like the feel of salt on their slug bellies but no… apparently if you place salt on a slug it will tell you top secret government plots and then it will melt away as if it were in a scene from the Wizard of Oz… ewww… Then there were others telling me to practically plan a slug keg party… okay, maybe that is a bit much but beer is supposedly a slug’s vice and they will drink themselves to death…. or maybe it’s drown in their yeasty beverage… slugs-aug08whatever the death of choice for the slugs, I found it pretty comical that the little ugly, slimy sunflower murdering varmint could cause such a stir in good people.

I guess there are times when we just can’t put up with something and it tends to bring out something in us that we don’t always recognize until we’ve crossed a line. Peter was like that.  He had the tendency to jump at a situation and then Jesus had to stop him in his tracks.  I was reading in John tonight about the arrest of Jesus.  Peter got a little out of control… I can picture the scene.  He watched as the soldiers and priests arrived at the scene.  I can imagine him to be clinched-jawed and squinty-eyed as they stepped closer to Jesus…. he was angry and wanted to protect his buddy/teacher/friend/mentor from this posse.  He drew his sword and took off the ear of a servant named Malchus.  Now, you might think that Jesus would be thankful for Peter’s enthusiastic act but instead he had to stop Peter …. good guy, bad move…he just couldn’t put up with the thought of them mistreating his mentor.

You have to really love Peter… He was always reacting and wanting to do the right thing… like the time he told Jesus that he wouldn’t let him die or the time that he told Jesus that he wouldn’t let Jesus wash his feet… Peter’s intentions were always good or at least they seemed good but it was good in the eyes of man and not the eyes of God… sometimes it is so hard to know… Obviously, Peter had been hanging out with God for quite some time and still didn’t get it completely…

I guess that can be us today, too.  Feeling like we are doing the right thing because it seems to be the right thing……not necessarily because it is the thing God is giving us the thumbs up to but because we don’t want someone else to hurt or we don’t want to seem unloving or uncaring (isn’t that being the opposite of being like God?)… or maybe we want to seem angry and defensive (after all, didn’t Jesus get rather smart alec with those who were not willing to open their hearts)…. Peter could relate to reacting then thinking…. I’m pretty sure there are many of us who can claim that same attribute including me… I guess my next thought is how Christ reacted back… frustrated, stern and possibly even a bit angry…. that makes me very aware that when I react I need to focus on when God is giving me the thumbs up or thumbs down…

Now, does the Bible give any indication on how to treat a slug?

Matthew 16:21-23

Jesus Predicts His Death

21 From then on Jesus[j] began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.

22 But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him[k] for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”

23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

John 18:1-11

Jesus Arrested

1When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it.

2Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

4Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

5“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

7Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”
And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

8“I told you that I am he,” Jesus answered. “If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”[a]

10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

11Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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