Nothing scarier than a fire set by an inventive child. Near your garage. On a windy day. How did we survive?

Did a Scary Angel Visit? Or a Savior Tramp?

Burning pine straw

One of our little boys was inventive and fearless.

And one day, a stranger came knocking at our back door.

It had been a mild-weather day and the main back door was open to let breezes in and to allow my supervision of our little boy’s outdoor play, while I tended to some laundry. The only separation between me and this huge visitor was the screen door of the back porch.

Over the expanse of his body he wore a grayed t-shirt, overalls with one strap fastened, and grubby boots untied.  Some of his teeth were missing. He badly needed a shave and his oily hair flattened in several directions. Something about the urgency of his loud knock startled me. That was before I turned and spied his unkempt estate.

I admit I was beyond distressed. Wild images of countryside kidnappings captured my mind, uninvited.

Timidly, I approached the main door, breaking all my rules about talking to strangers.

When you don't know if your are safe or not, when fire is the enemy, when friends are weird...“Yes?”

“Ma’am, it may be none o’ my business, but did you know y’ur little boy has got hisself a fire a-goin’ in the pine straw out here?”

“Oh, no! Oh, no! Please, PLEASE, stay and help me!”

Funny how outward appearances don’t matter much, sometimes.

I followed that kind and insightful messenger of mercy to the scene, and found that, sure enough, as he’d seen his daddy do countless times, our little son had raked up a pile of pine straw and set fire to it. He never guessed his tiny blaze was only feet away from oceans of pine straw, some of it drifted against our garage, downwind on a breezy day. The fire had already broken out of bounds.

We two adults raked and sprayed water until it was out.

I told the man he had probably saved our son’s life, and surely saved us great property loss. I thanked him until he was embarrassed and left.

I forgot to ask his name.

I guess he was an angel in disguise. Sometimes we need help, and God knows it. Yeh, maybe an angel. I can imagine my asking him his name, and him saying, “Folks jis calls me Gabe.”

On investigation, I learned my husband’s matches were stored high on a wall in the garage, good, but under them was the mower, rolled there by our son in less than five minutes, and topped with a milk crate, making him tall enough to reach. So young, but so brave and inventive.

And so perfectly protected.

Another story in this series here!

Sunday Scriptures – Infinity

After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:

“Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield,
Your very great reward.”

But Abram said, “O Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Genesis 15:1-5

And here we are.

And we still cannot count them.

Jus’ Sayin’

In order to submerge the individual and develop ideal citizens, Sparta assembled the males at [age] seven into barracks and entrusted their subsequent education and training to official guardians. Although such measures have been deliberately approved by men of great genius their ideas touching the relation between individual and state were wholly different from those upon which our institutions rest; and it hardly will be affirmed that any Legislature could impose such restrictions upon the people of a state without doing violence to both letter and spirit of the Constitution.Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923) at 402

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of...

Detail of Preamble to Constitution of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How about that.

What ARE we doing?

Anyone brave enough to hazard a guess?

Whenever we hold hands with the United Nations, that is what we get.  They tell us it’s all about the rights of children and other “disabled” people, but we really know what it’s all about.

Don’t we?

Read lots more here.

It’s not just the Gates Foundation, folks.

Sunday Scriptures – Pattern

Every priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.

For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said:

“The time is coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
When I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
And I turned away from them, declares the Lord
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”

Hebrews 8:2 NIV

For photos of a life-size replica of the tabernacle, go here!

Overheard: Forgive!

The preacher said:

Forgiveness is not a feeling.

What an amazing statement. How often we get hung up, seemingly crippled about forgiveness, thinking we cannot do it because we do not feel it!

And how liberating to realize it is not a feeling!

No, forgiveness is a command.

We must forgive, just as we must honor property rights. I don’t always FEEL LIKE allowing my neighbor to keep his lovely flowers, but I must leave them in his yard. Digging them up is stealing.

I also do not always feel like forgiving, but I must. Holding someone in unforgiveness is sin, just as theft is.

For insight on how to forgive, look here.

Overheard – He Came Back for Us

“But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Mark 16:7

Galilee - Israël

Galilee – Israël (Photo credit: Emmanuel Dyan)

Gone to Galilee? But He just died Friday! We saw Him die on the cross. We watched them bury Him.

Gone to Galilee?

Why Galilee, an out-of-the way sort of place, about 60 miles (over a day’s walk) north of the gravesite?

It’s where Jesus grew up and ministered, but that’s about it. He had always been preparing to leave Galilee, to go Jerusalem, the Capital, where all the powerful and influential world-changers were.

Since they just crucified Him, if He truly was risen from the dead, seems He’d march straight to the palace or the temple and SHOW them He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Messiah of God Almighty!

Galilee? Nobody there but His followers.

Us.

He Came back to show Himself to us.

To the very same ragtag group of people who denied Him, misunderstood Him, forsook Him, and fled, He returned; to deserters.

Especially mentioned by name, to Peter, who had denied even knowing Him, He returned.

He came back for us as well. He has a message, is calling us, to travel to our “Galilee” to go back to the place where we fellowshiped with Jesus and to begin again. To follow Him all over again.

He will meet us there. In fact, He has gone on ahead and is already there.

The Disciples did not witness Him rising from the dead. They were gone. Out of it.

It is incredible enough to think that He could just decide to rise again, and to return to anyone. But he came back for us, to those who did believe and needed to know that He is alive, needed to believe again, and more.

The proof of the Resurrection is not the absence of Jesus’ body from the tomb. No, it is the presence of Jesus with His followers. The greatest promise of the Resurrection is not that we shall live forever, although that is great, indeed. No, the greatest message is that though we are still sinners, weak, and faithless like the Disciples, Jesus returned to US.

The Bible is not a book telling mostly how men kept seeking God. It is a record of how God keeps seeking US, despite our lack of faith.

And why?

The risen Christ has come back to change us from doubters to ambassadors. Jesus came back to us because He loves us.

I look back over my life at all the mistakes I’ve made, all the times I’ve failed, gone my own way, strayed, and each time, He came for me. He found a way to get to me even when I tried not to be found.

For  what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.  I Corinthians 15:3-8

Here, Paul is writing to the poor struggling Corinthians, who were failing badly at being the Church. To those backsliding, sinful, divisive, faithless Christians, Paul preaches the Resurrection. He reminds them, and us, that the risen Christ chooses to return, to strengthen Christians.

How will we respond?

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:1-4

 

 

Overheard: At the Foot of Mt. Sinai

Recently our church studied the Book of Acts.

We saw early Christians respond with courage to severe persecution.

We saw miracles were normal for the early church.

We might say such strong faith is something we long to see in our church.

But do we really?

We sing, “Revive us again,” and “Mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead.”

But do we really desire and plead for the presence and power of God to revive us?

I wonder if we are content with the “mercy drops”.

Maybe really we are satisfied to have the Lord simply break through, every now and then, to do a mighty thing or two among us, but we really aren’t serious when it comes to wanting to see the full power and presence of His Holy Spirit.

Now some say we are living in a different dispensation and that the age of miracles is over — that was for a specific time and place to authenticate the message of the apostles, but we no longer need that today.

English: Sunrise on Mt. Sinai in Egypt
English: Sunrise on Mt. Sinai in Egypt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Really!!

The church doesn’t need the power and presence of Holy Spirit today?

Miracles are happening in mission fields where people have never heard of Jesus, why not here?

Is not “Jesus Christ […] the same yesterday and today and forever” as it states in Hebrews 13:8?

I’m afraid we have become comfortable and accustomed to the absence of God’s Presence in our meetings.

In reality, maybe the Presence of God scares us, just as it scared the Israelites at Mt. Sinai, and as a result, we don’t experience the miracles of God.

And our faith is dying.

When God sends forth the Holy Spirit, amazing things happen:

Barriers are broken.

Communities are transformed.

Unity is established.

Diseases are healed.

Addictions are broken.

Marriages are reconciled.

Hope is established.

People are blessed.

Revival comes.

That’s what the preacher said.

And we know there is more he didn’t say.

Much more.

Let’s go for it.