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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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Respect the Chickens…..and other fine May holidays

On Sunday night our plane placed us back in the comforts of home.  However, with that landing we lost the luxuries of the lack of reality and responsibility that we somewhat achieved as we enjoyed a week long family getaway.  Well, we did have to face reality to a certain degree as we watched my husband’s niece get married and we did have to be responsible parents and take a 100_0276daughter to the emergency room while on vacation (a great story for another time) but still… you know what I’m talking about.  Vacations are nice.  I also found out that when we arrived home on Sunday night we also were ending our family time by beginning National Family Week… we were just ahead of our time.  (It also makes you wonder if National Day of Prayer began during National Family week intentionally… I can think of plenty of reasons why it might have… impatience, arguements, etc)  Anyway, I can spend this week enjoying the memories of our past week as a family…

So many holidays and such little time.  I love finding out about little known special days….Today, Cinco de Mayo…. Tomorrow- The Great American Grump Out (yes, refrain from getting your grump on for one whole day)

But there is more… Yesterday, May 4,  was Respect the Chicken Day.  Though there weren’t any local events to celebrate it… or atleast none that I was aware of… I could definitely picture a parade or a bunch of poultry holding signs and bawking …

genisis1Please Respect the Chickens... Okay, so let’s think of the good things about the chickens and respect them….. Chickens are cute and fuzzy and are great at alarming the senses as they wake you in the early morning … they provide pleasantry to the eye as the rooster’s red comb…..  Okay, I can’t do it… I can’t respect the chicken or at least not in the way intended by the poultry concern people… Chickens are only cute and fuzzy  like when they are like two days old then they become incredibly awkward and ugly and I’m not even sure their mother’s think they’re cute….. they are only great at alarming the senses as they chase you around the barnyard trying to peck your head off…and the rooster’s red comb thing.. just gross… I can respect the chicken at Sonny’s Bar-B-Que though.  It is tasty.

I can also respect other chickens… or at least a certain kind I read about yesterday on Respect the Chickens day.  I was reading in I Kings about Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel.  My personal paraphrase is this…. Elijah challenged hundreds of prophets of the false god, Baal.  He challenged Baal to burn up the altar and of course, Baal let his prophets down.  God, on the other hand was an incredible showman and lit up the altar, consuming even the rocks, after it had been drenched in water.  When everyone saw this they fell flat on their faces and declared God as the one true God…  These people who fell on the ground in fear for their lives after they had seen God at work are who I will call chickens… but with respect….. so why respect them? well, because they had been standing up against God but when God showed himself they were afraid and threw away their pride and bowed before God and stated who they would worship… but there is more they were asked to prove this by gathering up the false prophets who had been leading and teaching them and bring them back to be killed… those “chickens” had to show that they were serious and they did… they had been knee-knocking scared but could have run away or could have been stubborn and prideful but they were “chicken” enough to respect God’s power

So I do respect some chickens… those who respect God enough to know that He doesn’t fool around with who He says He is..nor does He fool around with his power….

imagesEnjoy the sixth of May and remember to leave your grumpy at the door!

1 Kings 18:16-40

16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”

18 “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the LORD’s commands and have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
But the people said nothing.

22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the LORD’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”
Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”

25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it.
Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “O Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs [c] of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”

34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.
“Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!”

40 Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Videos

 

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