Popcorn Dance

Microwave popcorn is super easy to store, make, and something I tend to take for granted. This afternoon, I saw a joyful little granddaughter just laughing and giggling as she stood in front of the microwave and watched a bag of microwave popcorn popping.  She was absolutely delighted so I stood behind her to see what was tickling her funny bone.

I buy the single serving size bags and it is plenty for me.  Have I ever taken the time to see what goes on in the microwave?  Of course not.  Well, the smaller size bag jumps around in the big microwave!  The popping kernels actually make the whole bag jump. Sometimes the whole bag lifts off the floor of the microwave.

Since I made a bag for Kamryn and a bag for myself, she actually had a double feature!  The second bag she took care of from start to finish so now she knows how to do it herself.  It is cheap entertainment too.

Since her laughter and joy was infectious, it lent me some joy along with her.  I’ve been thinking since observing that our Christian joy should be spread around like that. Allow the simple things of life to bring joy.  It didn’t cost anything.  Nehemiah told those who had struggled along with him to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem after sitting in rubble for seventy years, “Neither be ye sorry for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  (8:10)

Bubble over with laughter even if it is watching a bag of popcorn dance around inside the microwave.

Grilled Cheese

A grilled cheese sandwich sits before me. Have you ever noticed that one will find grilled cheese on the children’s menu.  What?  Adults like them too.  Last week I noticed on the Great Food Truck Race which currently airing on Foodnetwork has a food truck dedicated to all varieties of grilled cheese!  On the side of my sandwich sits a small bowl of canned peaches.   I also happen to like canned peaches better than fresh ones.  It could just be laziness.

My mother did not like my grilled cheese sandwiches.  She said they were too dry.  Once a week she made her own fat and salt laden version.  Once when we were visiting the doctor, he asked her a probing question in a very gentle way, “So, what have you been eating?”    She replied, very pointedly that she ate what I cooked for us except for one thing:  grilled cheese.  “Karyl, she said, makes terrible grilled cheese sandwiches.  I make my own.”

By now the doctor, a bit mischievous, launched into the conversation, looking at me out of the corner of his eye. His reply to her shocked me.  He approved!  He patted her hand and added, “Just hold that to one a week, okay?” Mom happily, almost jubilantly, made her own grilled cheese once a week.

It’s interesting how those memories come back at the most unexpected times. But then, I think about Mom so often, I’d guess it might be every day.

Our Heavenly Father sometimes indulges me.  It is then, when He gives me a want as well as my needs that I recall Ephesians 3:20 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all the ages, world without end.  Amen.”

For Mom, that luxurious sandwich permission was “exceeding abundantly.”

Wild Violets

Today the fellows from the lawn care company that sprays my lawn arrived.  Once again, they applied fertilizer and weed control.  The note on my bill they left at the door included this hand-written statement:  “. . .you do have a lot of wild violets and it may take multiple applications to completely clean them out.”

I am finally rid of the most obnoxious weeds and my grass is thin now but slowly filling in under the application of fertilizer.  If it would not eradicate my flowers, I’d love to see my flower beds sprayed with the mighty potion they apply.

Those little wild violets—for some reason, I don’t mind.  Their little purple happy faces are a sign of spring.  Granted, they do take up room that should be given over to luxuriant grass, but I sort of like them.  Oh, but I see something here!  Those little happy blooms are so much like the pet sins we all adore.  You know them:  the small acts of selfishness and expenditures on cute shoes we will wear twice a year, the snappy remark that was really rather mean, weak reasons for not sharing Christ, and on and on.  You get the idea.

What does it hurt, we ask ourselves.  A little indulgence, here, a smatter of happiness there, and soon we can have too many pet sins enticing away the growth of what is really valuable to us.

So, let the wild violets gradually wither away and the grass grow.  Those pet sins are difficult to purge, but if I persistently pour some potent scripture on them, they will wither too.  “Flee youthful lusts” Paul warned Timothy in II Timothy 2:22 and James warned new Believers in the early church, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you,” in James 4:7.  God’s Word is like the 3-way weed control that is listed on today’s bill.  Those pretty little wild violets will eventually leave. The grass will survive and thrive.  I will thrive too.

Today, choose a wild violet of yours and tell it that the end is near.

 

Gate, Gates, and More Gates

When I moved to this house a few years ago, the yard had a gate.  It was an odd thing because only the back yard had a fence and that not on all sides.  That gate didn’t really close anything in or out. In a year or so, I thought it was a bother and had it taken out.  What good is a gate if it is only there for some sort of decoration?  It added maintenance to my already busy life.
The Bible uses the words gate, and its plural gates a total of 407 times according to the search I put to it this afternoon.  The use starts in Genesis 19:1 and last mention is Revelation 22:14. Most of the references are found in the book of Deuteronomy.  Many of the references regard gates to a city because most of the cities in ancient times used walls for protection.  It was also common for the leaders of a city to sit at the city gates to do business.    We now feel protected if we live in a gated community.  Even though air strikes are still possible, some compounds still find walls and gates a matter of security.

Since a gate of security is controlled by a guard, (my grandson at Pensacola Christian College sometimes works at the campus gate) this brought me to thinking about the security of the church.  The church, that called out body of believers whether a local assembly, or a more collective body of believers, has a security guard.  It is the Lord Himself.  Jesus made that clear in Matthew 16:18 when he declares to Peter that the testimony of Peter, that great confession of his faith, was like a rock.  It is solid.  Firm.  Unmovable.  Jesus said that the “gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The antecedent for it is the church.

We live in shaky times. While Hell may open the gates to pour out cursing and damnation, God shuts the gates of the body of Christ into His secure hands.  Trust him; obey Him; honor His Word.  Don’t despair of the thunder sounding from Hell.  It cannot prevail.

Me, Colin, and the Constitution

Colin Kaepernick and I have never met, although we have some things in common.  He is an NFL quarterback  and I am an NFL unsigned free agent.  We share many of the same physical attributes.  (See …

Source: Me, Colin, and the Constitution

Memorial Day to Labor Day

The two holidays of Memorial Day to Labor Day mark summer for most of us.  I feel sorry for the children who now start school in the sweltering heat of August; in fact, I feel sorry for the teachers too.  Just when tomato canning is in full swing, school starts now.

For my little family of five, Memorial Day marked the first time we took the boat out.  My husband insisted it was warm enough, the kids were always excited to go, and I dragged my feet and took a jacket.  I don’t think a single Memorial Day passes but what the phrase, “Let’s take the boat out” runs through my mind although it has been nearly 25 years ago now. (It is true that the happiest day in a boat owner’s life is the day he bought it and the day he sold it!)

On Labor Day it was always the same thing:  “Let’s take the boat out for the last time this summer.” At least it usually was warm and the family enjoyed diving off the boat platform but it always brought a feeling of sadness to me knowing the carefree days of unscheduled events of summer were ending.

The classroom commanded my life for so many teaching years, I did enjoy the summers off even minus the income.  I taught mostly for the pleasure to teaching, but it did get cumbersome to stay on a rigid schedule.  Ah, retirement!

So, I said all of that to say this:  Our days are numbered.  Not one single one of us knows the future.  We could be struck down on the street walking our dog although we think we have a vast future lying before us.  Health is good, thinking is clear, why not?  Well, because we also remember that only God knows the future and always before us we need to live in the “now” and each day as if it were our last.  That keeps us out of sin’s temptatious reach. Did I just make up a word?  Temptatious?

Psalm 90 is attributed to Moses.  It is a prayer.  Moses prays with tenderness in the Psalm.  In verse 12 he prays, “So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

Happy Labor Day!  We live in a country where we can find useful places to put our energy and at the same time, provide for our needs.  I am thankful for a country where free enterprise is still possible. We can work, and then we can play.

The Glenn Cunningham Story

I took four different articles or stories and combined them into story form about this former Olympian long distance runner.  The news touts Bolt as the fastest man but I want to correct that:  he is the fastest sprinter.  I just happen to admire long distance runners, including my son who runs as a means to maintain his health.  Cunningham ran to get his healthy legs back and in the meantime, won a silver medal in the 1936 Olympics.  Here’s his story.

The Glenn Cunningham Story

A runner of Olympic proportion and a Christian who overcame the obstacle of potential invalid

An eight-year old boy in Kansas lay in a bed of pain.  His legs burned to the bone in places and toes were missing from his left foot.  When he came to consciousness all he asked about though was his brother, Floyd.  “Is Floyd here?”  The solemn faces of his father, Clint, and mother Rosa, told him the sad news.  Floyd had died in the sudden explosive fire that cold morning in 1916.

Little was known on how to treat such severe burns other than amputation.  When little Glenn Cunningham heard the hushed discussion about treatment, he stubbornly said “No.”.  He would walk again.
Weeks passed and his lifeless legs refused to allow much circulation, but from time to time Glenn recognized pain and his parents took turns with massage therapy to return blood flow and healing.  Day after day Glenn tried to stand to only collapse on the floor.  The first day he felt sensation as he stood he yelped with delight “I can feel the floor!” and his father dropped to the floor with him in excitement.  Slowly, so very slowly he began to walk. It took a long two years of rehabilitation. Cunningham determination reaped rich rewards.  He kept his legs.  He walked.  Eventually he ran!

Since Glenn knew now from experience that movement was a key to his return to ambulation, he began to push himself to faster movement and discovered that running would be a key element to his future.  Glenn was not ashamed to claim Isaiah 40:31 as his favorite Bible verse:  “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

By the time Cunningham reached the age of 12 he could outrun even the high school runners in his town.  His form was not sleek and smooth, but he had endurance and speed. He never walked when he could run. When he walked, he could hide his limp.

His love of running started as a way to regain health but it went so much further.  From Cunningham’s first race at the Morton County Fair in 1923 which he won without much contest, to his college days at Kansas University, and on to the 1932 and 1936 Olympics, Glenn Cunningham continued to amass running records in the world.  His fastest running record was accomplished in 1938 running the mile in 4:04.4.  He brought home the Silver medal in the 1936 Olympics where he was narrowly outrun by a New Zealander.

His mile running record was not betters by another American until 1966.  Just think of those doctors who wanted to amputate his legs and think of how well he could have run if he had possessed toes on his left foot!

Although Cunningham could have made a name for himself and bundles of money as a star athlete, instead he used his academic degrees to teach and later, he founded the Cunningham Youth Ranch.  His wife, Ruth encouraged Glenn to reach out to other youth who were experiencing troubling times.  Over a thirty-year period of time the Cunningham’s raised their own ten children on the ranch while reaching out as foster parents to over some 10,000 children.  They did it at their own expense without government money.

Ruth, a simple, loving Christian played a large part in Cunningham’s life. Ruth’s drive, along with a strict upbringing in a home that sought to honor Christ, Cunningham found a place and voice to hnor his Savior.  After he retired, he once said “I regret all of the times when I should have stood up for Christ and I didn’t.”  That changed.   The year before Cunningham’s death, he met and was interviewed by Chuck Coleson.  Colson was taken aback when Cunningham asked around the dinner table that evening, “So what is your relationship with Jesus Christ?”

Some of his school mates called him “Scarlegs” yet at the end of his running career he was known as the “Ironman of Kansas.”  Once looking on his trophies, medals, and awards he bemused that he would give them all up if he could just have the little silver cup that had stood in the hardware store in Elkhart, Kansas.  He won it, but the cup came up missing and the hardware store never did make good on their promise to give him the award that started him running the first race on a dirt track at the Morton County Fair in 1923.

Bow the Knee

The only person I have ever heard sing this is by Kirk Talley.  Since he is from East Tennesee and I lived there for many years, I am more familiar with him and the Telley Trio.  The words are powerful and Kirk does a wonderful, controlled job of recording it.  Words in bold is my added emphasis. It is on my playlist. Scripture reference is Philippians 2:10

Bow the Knee

By Brian Edwards, KME Publishing

Recorded by Kirk Talley on the album, “What’s Missing Here.”

In a lowly cattle stable In the town of Bethlehem

A baby is born to save fallen man

But He was rejected, the crowd called “Crucify”

And as a humble man, Jesus had to die.

Placed in a borrowed tomb, but just until day three

When out from the grave He arose in mighty victory

Died as a lamb, but rose as a Lion, the

Conqueror of Calvary

Death Bowed the knee!

Chorus: 

Bow the knee to the Lord of Lords and King of Kings

Bow the knee, as Heaven’s angels start to sing:

Holy, Holy, to the to the Christ of Calvary,

Let all Heaven and earth, to King Jesus, Bow the knee.

I can see old Satan as he enters the room,

His time is almost over, soon he’ll meet his doom

He will live in hell for all eternity

But before he leaves Christ’s presence,

He must bow the knee.

Now this is something that Satan’s never done,

What humiliation to bow before God’s Son

His legs begin to tremble, his fear is plain to see

And then, before the Throne of God,

Satan bows his knee.

Bow the knee, to the Lord of Lord and

King of kings,

Bow the knee as Heaven’s angels start to sing:

Holy, Holy, to the Christ of Calvary,

All of Heaven and earth, to King Jesus

Bow the knee.

I Want to be Somebody!

Sometimes I plod through the book of Numbers.  It can be a challenging book to absorb.  Then there are days when I can’t stop reading it!  Chapter 15 begins a narrative that is interesting but not absorbing; the narrative spills into chapter 16 which takes on more interest.  This is not dry listing of laws and census data.  Chapter 16 gets exciting!

When God chose Moses as the leader of the Hebrews, Moses was endowed with wisdom that not everyone wanted to follow.  Among the Levites, the esteemed family that would carry out Tabernacle duty, jealousy lurked.  The Tabernacle duty included the wearing of special attire and had great notice among the rest of the Hebrews, but some of the jobs were mundane and required only strong bodies.

The Kohath family bore the task of transporting the Tabernacle as the families journeyed.  The task undoubtedly took organization skills, but by most people, was not a glamourous job.  After all, they were Levites, and the Levites were important, right?  That’s what Korah thought.  I suppose each time they disassembled the Tabernacle and then stopped to assemble it again, his rebellion grew.

The rebellion erupted when he and his restless group of 250 out of about 7,500 (Numbers 3:17-22) protested.  I suppose no one looked to them for spiritual advice and they were feeling neglected.  I don’t know if their protest was as we think of today with placards and rowdiness, but it did grab the attention of Moses.  It grieved him.

After reasoning failed, God intervened with His plan.  The end result was disastrous.  The earth opened up into what we would call a giant sink hole and swallowed all 250 of them.  Done. Gone.  Don’t mess with God’s plans.  In mercy, God did not destroy Korah’s children.  That generation lived on, probably reminded often of their father’s fate.  They were gate keepers of the Tabernacle (see Numbers 26:9-11 and I Chronicles 9:19) and later in the permanent Temple built by Solomon.

Psalm 84 is written for the sons of Korah.  Verse 10 sums it up:  “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand.  I had rather  be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell  in the tents of wickedness.”

Next time you are asked to do a task at your local assembly of believers, and you don’t want to do a task that no one notices, remember Korah and his protesting mob.  There is no unimportant job when it is done with robust energy for the glory of the Lord.  Be the sheep that follows the Shepherd.

The Sin Factor 2

A reader suggested this song to go along with the piece I posted earlier today.  It is an excellent support to the once and done sacrifice of Jesus.

I hope this works, I am doing something new today.