Wednesday, May 24, 2017

TOWER OF GOOGLE?

Picture this:

You're out with friends, enjoying a lively conversation. Someone casually asks, "I wonder if it's still snowing in Colorado?" Then, three people whip out phones and start typing furiously. The conversation continues. Several minutes later, someone says, "Yes." You are puzzled but then realize your friendly banter has been "google-ized"......your conversation among friends has been over-taken with up-to-the-minute facts.

Has Google become the new Tower of Babel?

Read Genesis 11 for a Biblical account of a time when mankind tried to become smart like God. It was four generations after Noah--after God had destroyed nearly the whole earth because of mankind's sin.

Noah's descendants spoke one language and settled the region called Shinar on the plain of Babylonia, between those two famous rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates. The people multiplied and developed a booming city with skilled craftsmen.

Trouble was, they got a little full of themselves and decided to build a city with a huge tower "...that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth." (Genesis 11: 4) 

This was human endeavor, full of human pride. It was self-glory instead of God-glory.


Do we do that today? The Internet allows us to wonder about nothing! Whatever question arises, there's an answer right at our thumb-tips.

Be assured, I believe in the power of knowledge, learning, and education--I'm a teacher, remember!

However, does our quest to know, understand, or explain interfere with faith and trust in God?

Adam and Eve got us into all sorts of trouble because they couldn't resist the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil." (Genesis 2:16)

Those who attempted the Tower of Babel soon came under God's discipline when he said, "Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other." (Genesis 11:7) That pretty much:
  • stopped the building
  • caused them to scatter over the known world (something they didn't want to happen)
  • gave birth to Foreign Languages 101.


I believe God instilled in each of us the ability to create, learn, discover, etc. After all, we are made in his image. However, I continually ask myself, "When do I need to know for sure and when do I trust God for what I don't know?"

 Apply the pride of "needing to know" to modern life. Where is the wonder, the mystery, the call to trust God even when we don't know his specific answers. It's a tough line to walk.


BTW: I did use Google to research the Tower of Babel....also, two very old commentaries collecting dust on my bookshelf: Halley's Bible Handbook (1962) and The New Unger's Bible Handbook (1984). I, too, have been "google-ized"!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

COMFORT WORDS

Words. Words. Words.

Lyrics (words) to songs speak to me. Always have, always will.

Our family is currently walking through a serious medical situation concerning an adult son. It's been a tough time, to say the least. How am I comforted during this stressful, extremely emotional time?
  • Prayer - my own, my family's, my friends'
  • Bible Reading - God's promises in Scripture are real
  • Love of community - family & friends: thank you for listening/praying/loving
  • Sound medical practices
 
There's another source of comfort, and that is words...to Christian music.

Old hymns from my youth
Praise songs from the 1980s
Modern renditions from my very progressive church
 
 
These words of comfort come to me at unusual times: in the middle of sleepless nights, during long walks, or when I'm feeling the most frightened.

Songs that are particularly meaningful:
  • I Need Thee Every Hour
  • Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Sweetest Name I Know - especially the line that reads, "...fear not I am with you peace be still, in all of life's ebb and flow..."
  • It is Well With My Soul
  • Let's Just Praise the Lord
  • God is So Good
  • The Joy of the Lord is My Strength
Click here to read the lyrics of modern praise songs:
My message to you: As life ebbs and flows, remember God loves you. He will walk you through whatever you must endure, he has a plan for you and your loved ones, and (as a pastor friend wrote to us), "God is God and he is good. He will never let you down and he'll never let you go!"

Take comfort in that, dear friends.

 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Mother's Day Rerun

(I haven't posted for a while.....life has been happening, with all its ups and downs. My desire is to get back to posting regularly on this blog. After all, I handle the ups and downs better when I'm writing. However, I'm repeating a post I did last Mother's Day, because I think the thoughts have merit. Thank you for reading.)

 

 

Mother's Day Can be Difficult

Hallmark has made sure no one forgets Mother's Day. However, they've also managed to make it difficult for some people to get through it. I always cringe in church when we are instructed to stand and wish the women around us a "Happy Mother's Day."

What about those women who aren't mothers? Who have lost children? Who have lost their moms? Those who are single or those who choose not to have kids? What about those who may be estranged from their children?

I once knew a woman who never went to church on Mother's Day because it was too painful. She spent almost her entire life taking care of aging parents and in-laws. She said they were her mission in life, and there was no time for motherhood. Ouch.

What about single dads? Shouldn't we send them cards or flowers and chocolates on this day?

I feel privileged to be a mom and enjoy everything about it. But, I never want to lose my sensitivity to those who are not parents or choose not to be parents.

I wish all mothers a special blessing as they work diligently to make life good for their children. They deserve the accolades and attention of Mother's Day.

I pray all women (and men) feel God's blessing whether they're parents or not.

Maybe we should celebrate a Happy Adult Day..........

By the way:  call your mother!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Two Formulas for HAPPY


Recently, a dear friend shared one of her life's philosophies with me:

"Every day I try to make at least two people happy."

Wow. What a neat thought. If we all did this, imagine what our world would look like.


Another wise suggestion floating around Facebook is this:

  • Eat half as much
  • Walk twice as much
  • Laugh three times as much
  • Love immeasurably

It's like a math formula that steers us toward good physical and mental health.

Hmmm. Some things to ponder.

Have an uplifting day!

Photo courtesy Lyn Whaley

 

 

 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

WHY I SIGNED THE LETTER...

Recently, I joined with Christian leaders and volunteers urging the President and Vice-President to reconsider the recent ban on refugees entering our country. I gave it thought and prayer before signing, because Mom always said, "Be careful what you put in writing." I think that extends to whatever you put your name to.

Here are my reasons for signing:
  • The letter itself was well-written and signed by Christian leaders I respect. It was polite, Biblical, logical, compassionate, and most importantly, it was NOT accusatory or inflammatory. I've had enough of that lately. It's evident a lot of careful work went into creating this letter that was posted as a full-page ad in the Washington Post last week. You can read it by clicking here. I especially like that the signers promised to pray for the President and Vice-President for God to give them wisdom dealing with complex issues.
  • The parable of the Good Samaritan is very convicting. I've read it for years in church, Sunday School, and Bible studies. I even taught it in Senior English in a PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL!!! (The King James Bible is Renaissance Literature and this parable is included in the approved textbook.) The gist of the parable is that everyone is my neighbor, not just those I agree with or like or worship with. All of humanity are God's children and should be protected.
  • A verse that swirled around in my mind when trying to decide whether or not to sign, is this one: "Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." (Luke 9:26)
  • At the core of my Christian belief, is a love for missions--showing the love of Christ through caring for others. I can't set that aside as I view the plight of many frightened people trying to escape horrific situations.

I totally understand those who hold a different viewpoint. That's the beauty of our democracy--we can disagree and still live together in harmony and respect.

Thank you for reading. May God give us all wisdom.


Friday, February 3, 2017

WORLD CLEAN-UP DAY

I was dusting my globe the other day when a funny thought occurred to me:

"What if I could clean up the world just like I'm cleaning up this globe?

What would that look like?"




My mind went to some strange places...from inhaling too much dust, I suppose.

If I could really clean up the world, I would:
  • bring peace to the Middle East
  • bring unity and morality to the U.S.
  • provide fresh, clean water to all Third World countries
  • provide healthy food to all communities
  • clean up the air in China
  • turn all guns into squirt guns
  • turn military budgets of ALL countries into Education Budgets
  • put freezer packs on the Arctic so the polar bears could exist
  • seal all fissures under the state of California

Well, the list goes on and on.

I wonder what God thinks when he looks at the messes we're in. Does he wish we would clean up our act--take care of the earth and the societies he's blessed us with?

Perhaps that's what Heaven will be like: a truly pristine place where love, respect, comfort, compassion, and harmony exist. Most of all, there will be the very presence of God himself. Can't wait.

Meanwhile, I must continue to do some soul-searching about how I am responsible to clean up my corner of this dusty old world.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

STRANGE WEEK IN POLITICS

The events of this past week have caused me to do some introspection. I have a responsibility to make things better in my little corner of the world. I must:

AVOID HYPERBOLE

I should strive to speak in truth and NOT exaggeration

"But I tell you that men [and women] will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12 :36-37)

That means FACT CHECKING my own words when necessary.
"Dear Sue: Do not exaggerate just to score a point in a verbal discourse." (Guess that means I can no longer say, "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse!"

SPREAD RESPECT & KINDNESS

"Bloom Where You are Planted"
"Brighten the Corner, Where You Are"
"Pass it On" - Kindness, that is
Pay it Forward"

Respect must become a GRASS-ROOTS LEVEL movement.

SPEAK UP AGAINST:
  • Racism
  • Bullying
  • Inequality
I must use my rights of free speech as an American when I see something that doesn't benefit ALL Americans.

PRAY
  • That legislative leaders will step up and do what's right
  • That the checks and balances built into our government will work
  • That Americans will start dialoging (listening) to one another
  • That evil around the world will be defeated 

Whew! That's a lot of heavy. It's the only way I know how to personally deal with what's going on in this, the country I love.

Final note to self: "Remember, God's in charge. I read the Book and he wins!"

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (Deuteronomy 31:8) Moses' advice to Joshua who was taking over as leader of the Israelites.