Sunday, June 25, 2006

Namah & Estella

In a land far away, there was a kingdom...and in the efforts to keep this story short, this will be a sort of "Cliff Notes" version.

In this great and glorious kingdom, there were among its citizens two subjects who would unkowingly be seeking the same thing, the favor of King Khashayar. First is Namah. Namah has been blatant in his efforts to obtain the king's favor. Everyone knows that Namah wants the favor of the king, and he gets it too. Namah does what it takes to be in King Khashayar's presence and to have his favor. He's good at it and he loves it.

Estella didn't start out as Namah did, playing the politics game and so forth, but she as well ends up seeking the favor of the king. However, her reasons for seeking the favor of King Khashayar seem quite different from those of Namah. Her methods are also different, but she as well obtains the favor of the king.

The story, however isn't merely about how Namah or Estella got to that point of favor. This story is also about how they and indeed the king himself respond to that favor.

Namah seems to drink from the cup of the king's favor with reckless abandon. The more he drinks, the more his desire is fueled to have even more. Soon he finds himself bragging and boasting that he has the greatest share of King Khashayar's favor, more than any other citizen in the kingdom. Namah begins to think and even believe that he will drink from this cup of favor for the rest of his life, and nothing will change it. He begins being a little more brash. He starts taking greater risks, because after all, he'll always have the king's favor. He can never really get into trouble.

Upon finding herself in the favor of the King, Estella begins to learn the king's likes and dislikes. She discovers that King Khashayar strictly enforces the laws of his kingdom. Like other realms and other kings, Khashayar knows that if the laws are not enforced, they will soon be useless and mocked, as well as the king who failed to enforce them. Estella realizes that the favor she has obtained with the king cannot be abused. She must never do anything that would force the king to choose between enforcing his laws or extending her favor, but it is exactly what she does do.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, this is a story from the Bible. Namah is Haman spelled backwards. Estella is a Spanish form of Esther. Khashayar is another name for King Xerxes. The definition for grace is - unmerited favor.

Having the unmerited favor (grace) of God can be respected, as by Esther, or abused, as by Haman. Yes, the grace is freely given. However, Haman abuses the king's favor and begins to think he can do anything he wants and never lose that grace. Many christians as well think that once they have grace it is a license to "be bad." Haman finds out quickly that one can fall out of favor of the king.

Esther respects the grace she is given. Her respect for the king and his laws shows in all she does. When she does come before the king unexpectedly, the king sees that this is the woman who has respected him, reflected his character throughout the kingdom and obeyed the laws. Xerxes extends the scepter - grace. Likewise, God continues to extend grace to us. He sees in us His character and obedience to His laws through the power and sacrifice of His Son and he extends grace.

How will we treat this unmerited favor? Will we be like the villain in the story and abuse it to selfish ends? Or will we respect it and long to be more like the King who extends it to us?

Ozark a Moverin

You've got to love kids!

There is so much we can learn from them, if we just take the time. The Lord is helping me to take more time nowadays and learn from my kids.

So, my four year old, Matthew, loves music. I think it is his first language. English comes 2nd, as this story will show. One of the kids' favorite songs is Joshua fought the battle of Jericho. The love it! We happen to have this one recording of it on a CD by a male quartet that did a whole "gospel" type album. Another song on there is the Old Ark's a Moverin' (and I'm goin' home).

The last day or two, Matthew has been going around singing "Ozark a moverin, Ozark a Moverin." It was just too adorable. I couldn't believe it. Since we live in the Ozarks, he hears that word a lot. Bank of the Ozarks. Ozark National Forest. Ozark this and Ozark that. Since he hears that so often, I suppose he just thought that's what the words to the song were.

It made me wonder, how many times do we put what we are already familiar with into new things that we are hearing? Do we ever get it wrong because we didn't hear the words quite right? What are we doing to make sure our words are heard correctly?

Thanks, Lord, for another lesson out of the mouths of babes.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

So what next

Was anybody else monitoring the news on Sunday?

After reading that website by that Messianic Jewish pastor, I did wonder if there were going to be any earthquakes out in Oregon. If you don't know what I'm talking about, see my post on Predictions of Earthquakes.

Well, personally, I'm glad there were no major disasters that caused the loss of life. I have wondered how Mr. pastor feels right now. But, as was discussed earlier, the Millerites thought Jesus was coming back in 1844, and they were wrong. Their calculations were right. Many of the things they had were right, but there was just one major thing they were wrong in, what does it mean to have the sanctuary cleansed. Obviously, they found out that the earth wasn't the sanctuary and that it wasn't saying that Jesus was coming back on October 22, 1844.

So, is it possible that Mr. pastor out in Oregon just got something wrong on his end too? What are your thoughts? How many "false prophecies" are we going to run into these days?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Weddings vs. Marriages

I've been kind of busy this week. Haven't posted for many days. Karl and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary on Wednesday. Hard to believe that it has been fifteen years since we took our vows.

Let's see, hmmmmmm. There was mixup at the credit union. I had all these out of state checks that were wedding gifts. We wanted to use them for our honeymoon. Unfortunately, due to a variety of circumstances that forced me into this situation, I ended up at the credit union the day of my wedding. After waiting what seemed like forever only to be told that I was in the wrong line, I nearly burst into tears and said, I'm getting married in three hours, can anyone please help me!!!

Karl had his own woes with a tuxedo situation. One of the groomsmen was unavailable when we called for measurements. His wife took out his suit coat and measured it. She didn't know how to measure it correctly, and he ended up with a tux where the sleeves came just past his elbows! So they spent that day getting remeasured and making sure everyone still matched.

My dad had built the gazebo we were getting married in. There was no roof on it, just streamers in the wedding colors. The wind was crazy that day, but we were grateful that we didn't get rained out. So, the unity candle wouldn't light. We had to "fake it" for the pictures.

One of my uncivilized cousins decided that it would be more fun to throw the entire little ball of birdseed at me instead of opening the pretty little wedding colors package like the civilized people did and tossing the birdseed the traditional way.

Then, on our way to the hotel, Karl told me he had forgotten something at the place where he was staying. It was a 20 minute drive in the opposite direction of our hotel! Yikes. I was beginning to think we would never get there. But Karl was insistent that he had to have it.

He was right. It was vital. It was a cooler that he had prepared. Inside were some tortillas, grape juice and glasses. This is a groom's idea of unleavened bread and juice for communion. Karl wanted us to begin our marriage with a special communion, just the two of us. I have always loved that desire in him to see that our marriage in anchored in God.

There have been times where we've gotten off track, but praise the Lord for the power of the Holy Spirit and the messages of revival that come into our lives, reminding us that God must be a vital partner in our individual lives as well as in our marriage.

Communion has always been special to me, and I think Karl knew that as well, when he worked so hard to put that cooler of stuff together for us. Jesus said He would not drink of the fruit of the vine until He drinks it anew with us in the Kingdom of Heaven. God is waiting for the marriage supper of the Lamb. Waiting in eager anticipation to commune with us.

I think of 15 wonderful years with Karl, and more to come. And I also think of eternity with my Savior. God is good.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Taking the Sabbath "Nestea Plunge"

So there was a little big of gritting the teeth yesterday. Things weren't quite going the way they were supposed to. We were going to be visiting a different church than our regular one, and this other church is one hour away.

Well, first of all, I have three kids and one is still in diapers. Then, the horse in the pasture next to us got out, and the owners live a few miles away, so we had to call them and make sure the horse didn't get too far away before they got here.

Needless to say, I wasn't happy about the fact that we had missed part of Sabbath School. Why? Because I think I will rot in hell for being late? Nope. Because I'm afraid of what people will think of me and maybe I'm not a good enough christian? Nope (but sometimes it does get to me). So what was the reason I wasn't happy about being late?

I like to enjoy and embrace the Sabbath. For a home schooling mommy with three kids, I need Sabbath, every minute of it! I need each and every moment of remembering Who created me and for what purpose. Remembering Who can forgive for the messes I've made this week and Who can recreate me. Remembering Who loves children and wants them to be happy. Remembering Who loves and gives special strength to mommies with three children. Yes, I need every minute of Sabbath, as well as every minute of Sabbath School and Church where I can worship God my creator.

To me, Sabbath is like the nestea plunge. Does anyone else out there remember those commercials? All those people in desperate need of refreshment who finally take the "nestea plunge" into a pool of crystal clear water. That's what Sabbath is to me. By the end of the week, I am in desperate need of refreshment, just like the Creator knew we would be. I want to fall into all the beauty, peacefulness, joy and celebration, worship and praise, relaxation and challenge, everything that is Sabbath.

So, next week, I'll learn from this past week's mistakes, and try to be ready to embrace every minute of the Sabbath that I need so much. I don't want to take the plunge when the pool is already half empty. I want it all! All the blessings of Sabbath.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Prediction of Earthquake

I was made aware of this site, and so I checked it out. It's about a pastor from a Messianic Jewish Church that is predicting an earthquake of dynamic proportions for Portland, Oregon.

I'll let you read more about it for yourself. Here is the link to it.

Personally, my thoughts are that Jesus said there would be many false christs and false prophets in the last days. So, if this man's prediction is true, then we go from there. If it is false, then we know that he was just one of the false prophets Jesus warned about. If that is the case, that lets us know that the times Jesus talked about are here!

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Blue Ribbon Forestry

Wow! Michael participated in a 4H competition on forestry and came in 1st place in his division. Wow! I think he was more surprised than anyone else. In the forestry competition, they learn to identify trees, measure the diameter of the tree at chest height, and then learn how to "scale" the tree using a forestry scale stick to determine how many 16 foot logs of lumber can be made out of the tree.

So why is this important? Well, for me, it goes back to Genesis, when God tells Adam and Eve to take care of the garden. Yes, we use trees to build houses and so forth. Yes, we have to check trees to make sure they are still healthy and do not cause a potential debris hazard, such as on highways. But we don't have to cut down every single tree. Trees help with the environment, with ecosystems and show God's beauty in nature. I'm glad that Michael is learning which trees can be cut and which ones need to be left alone to grow and so forth.

I'm looking forward to heaven and the new Earth when all will be restored like it was in the garden of Eden. Until then, I'm glad my children are learning how to take care of trees that God created.