Tag Archives: Bible

Contemplating the Benefits of Discomfort

Bee came running inside her doggy door and immediately shook off the cold weather that had swaddled her body while she was out doing her business. Once inside, she headed directly towards her warm cozy bed that is lodged in front of the fireplace.

She couldn’t get there fast enough. Instantly, she laid her pudgy body down and sprawled out so every inch of her physique could feel the warmth of the gas flamed fire. Nothing or no one was going to get in her way.

How quickly do we place our sights on the comforts of this world and nothing or no one better get in our way? I have to admit that I love having air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. I also jump at the idea of planning a trip, particularly if it involves having my meals prepared and my bed made each morning.

And in moderation, there is nothing wrong with this lifestyle. But what if we decided to get uncomfortable every once in a while? What if we do a couple of things a week that we really don’t want to do but know that if we do, we could actually meet the needs of someone else?

Jesus gives us something to think about when making these decisions.

Matthew 25:31-40 states, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Bee hasn’t moved since finding her sweet spot in front of the fire. As for me, I am considering my options and writing down my to do list.

Our Deepest Desire

It was clear what Carl wanted. We were sitting at the breakfast table when Carl placed his paws in my lap.  Looking at me with those soulful brown eyes, if he could speak, he would be asking for some of the sausage dish that could be seen on our plates.

I pushed his paws off me and firmly told him that he would not be getting any food off my plate. With a sad demeanor, Carl turned from me and slowly walked back to the couch and curled up in his familiar spot.56605741629__FFAC95CB-502E-4A67-BCDA-3817A1CED79C

Carl is not the only one that wants.  We all do.  And the want list only seems to increase during the holiday season. Children are conditioned from birth that Christmas means getting what you want. Presents are stacked under the tree by parents with the hope that their loved ones will find enjoyment from the gifts that are given.

But if you think about it, will the presents fill the desire of what we really want?  As the gifts are unwrapped, a sense of anticipation rises up in our hearts. But no matter what is inside, it just can’t give us the long lasting satisfaction that we all yearn for.

So where can we find this satisfaction that our hearts so desperately desires? Will it be in the things that take up the space in our homes? Or in the accomplishment of a lifetime goal? Could it come through a relationship that has been sought after?

What if our greatest want or desire could be satisfied by the baby in the manger? The newborn cuddled up in the hay.

Take a long look at the babe.  The one that the angel told the shepherds to come worship.  The one that the star directed the wise men to. God’s only son. Christ the king.

So often we lose sight of the gift that God has given us. The only gift that will fill the void that He actually created within us.  So in this season, let us not forget the reason to celebrate. If this means opening up your Bible and reading the story as it is actually written, do it. Or if music can resonate in your heart, play music that is intended for worship of our savior’s birth.

Carl will surely return to the table and try to persuade me to give him what he wants. And as he places his paws on my lap and looks at me with his soulful brown eyes, I will use this as a reminder of what is truly desired.IMG_4656

“Thank you Lord for sending your only begotten Son to earth as a baby. I want to particularly thank you for allowing this baby to grow into a man, one that understands my frailty and temptations. Thank you for allowing Him to die on the cross so that I can live life to the fullest.”

Outside Looking In

Carl’s nose was pressed against the French door as he watched the people inside mingling around. He wanted to come in but the electronic door wasn’t working and he seemed to be stuck on the outside. IMG_4601

How many times have you ever felt like you were on the outside of a group or situation and just didn’t know how to get in? I know I have felt this way many times in the course of my life.  I have wanted something that others had and felt the insecurity that comes when I didn’t feel like I measured up.

Hagar definitely struggled with being on the outside. She was an Egyptian maidservant living in the home of Abraham and Sarah. Looking in on this couple, I am sure Hagar longed for her own husband and a man to love only her.

To make matters worse, Sarah told her husband to take Hagar as his second wife and bear a child. Instead of being happy about conceiving Abraham’s child, Hagar began to detest Sarah for the situation she was now in. Genesis 16:4

It is easy to understand Hagar’s feelings. We have all felt the nagging anger that comes when our lives don’t turn out like we expect them to. And to make it even more difficult we seem to draw others around us that appear to have just what we want.

So what do we do when we are stuck on the outside looking in? How can we be content in all situations?

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11-13. “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”

So the next time you start looking through the glass from the outside, take your focus off of the people inside and look towards Christ. Paul was so right, only when we focus on our savior can we be content with any and every situation.

Carl doesn’t have the ability to see beyond the glass and the humans that are mingling within the confines of the room. He only has the capability of focusing on what he sees. But thank goodness God created us with an eternal perspective that can help us see beyond the confines of this world.IMG_4427

The Truth About Angels

Carl is no angel.  He is far from it. If I get too close to him while he is dozing on the couch, I have learned that if he is irritated by my proximity, he will let out a quiet but effective growl. This is his way of letting me know that I need to back off.IMG_4061

Just recently, I have been doing some research on angels and their spiritual purposes. It is amazing how many myths have been written about them and how we humans have a very shallow understanding of these invisible but real beings.

I don’t want to be a myth buster but I do believe that angels are real and have a specific purpose. First of all, angels are only male. There is not one single female angel mentioned in the Bible. Given that God created them before He created man and that they don’t die, there is no reason to have female angels flying around.

Another perception of angels that many believe is that they are like cuddling little beings that would only give us a warm feeling inside if we saw one. In every incident that an angel appeared in the Bible, the person practically freaked out with fear.

Angels are noted by the messages they send from God and the protection they provide to believers. Michael, the archangel is known for the battles that he has fought against demons while Gabriel is known for bringing messages to Mary, the mother of Jesus and to others.

The cool thing about angels is that they are invisible but can be transformed into the likeness of a human. And on rare occasions, a human can be given the ability to see them in their spiritual form.

Have you ever had a situation where you saw someone at an accident scene or in a hospital room that was there one minute but gone the next?  It could have been an angel. Or have you ever been on the highway and you were sure that you should have been hit by a car but didn’t? It could have been an angel interceding for you.

Carl has at times provided the inspiration for my blog as well as tried in his little bulldog way to protect me from harm.  Other than this, as much as I would like to believe that he is my little angel, he is far from it. But he does seem a little angelic with his wings. InkedIMG_0916_LI



 

Happy Birthday Carl!

Of all days to have a birthday, it is today. Carl is now four years old. I hope that this will be a special day for him, but I won’t know for sure. Instead of enjoying the day with him, we are headed to Washington D.C. with our grandchildren and Carl is staying at Suite Paws, a pet resort.IMG_0096

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that this fawn colored Frenchie would be such an important part of our family. But the truth be told, Carl has had a profound impact all of us. Given his very needy personality and endless displays of cute expressions, he has melted our hearts into a soft pile of mush.

This morning on the way to taking Carl to his destination, he looked at me with his soft brown eyes and caused me to question even going on the trip and leaving him. But the desire to give up the trip passed and he willingly went into the door that would separate us for the weekend. IMG_4250

Thankfully, there are no doors that keep us away from God. It may seem that way at times, but when I open my Bible, I am comforted by the words that tell me otherwise. Psalm 23:4 states this truth, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me.”

This Psalm has always encouraged me when I felt alone. Knowing that I have a shepherd that loves me and wants me to believe that in the darkest times of my life, He is with me.

Hopefully Carl will not feel alone and abandoned in the next couple of days. Instead, I hope he will enjoy playing with the other dogs and know in the back of his mind, that he is loved. Happy Birthday Little Guy.

Held Captive

I am not sure who had it worse, the frog or Carl. The frog had somehow jumped down onto the board that was surrounded by wire on one side and screen on the other.IMG_3660 Years ago, we had to put the wire up to keep Carl from tearing up the screen but the downside of the wired barricade were the prisoners that were taken in, some that actually died before they figured out a way to free themselves.

Carl on the other hand, couldn’t reach the frog but became a prisoner of his obsession to grasp him. He wouldn’t move far from the frog, even when Bee moved into her position of dominance. All Carl could think about was catching his prey.IMG_3663

How often do we become prisoners of our own thoughts?  I call it “stinkin thinkin”. Those words that run across the teleprompter of our brain and won’t stop playing. That is until we take our thoughts captive and exchange them for words of truth.

Paul states it perfectly in Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

A few minutes ago, I went out to check on the frog. I am not sure if I had the guts to try and catch him to release him into the world but I wanted to see what was happening. Instead of Carl standing guard, Bee was now in position to take the prey if it tried to escape. But the crazy thing was that it was gone.  Nowhere to be found.

I searched the porch to see if it had climbed up high to get out of reach from its predators. But instead of going high, it climbed over to the other screen, still held captive. Pray that I will have courage to figure out a way to save it.IMG_3664

 

Can Angels Sing?

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Carl is not an angel.  Far from it.  Every day, my little fawn colored bully does something annoying that initiates a reprimand.  He wants to please but his desire for attention can out way any good intention.

Just yesterday, he jumped up and nipped my knee which wasn’t pleasant in the least.  Even though he didn’t mean harm, Carl can appear more like a little demon than an angel. But don’t get me wrong, I love this little guy and wouldn’t trade him for anything.

Since I have had a tendency to compare others to an angel, I thought I would do a little Biblical research on what an angel is and isn’t. And what I found was shocking!

I know we all have a tendency to think of angels as these little fairy like females flying around protecting their assigned humans as we go about our business. And whenever they aren’t doing their heavenly duties, they get together for a little singing practice of the Halleluiah chorus.

Okay here is the first fact that may surprise you.  There is never a mention of an angel being a female.  The only three names of angels mentioned in the Bible are Michael, Gabriel, and Lucifer. And if angels are referred to without a name, a masculine pronoun is used.

Another fact that may also shatter your thoughts about these spiritual beings is that if you ever encounter them, you would never think of them as cute.  They are far from it.  Every time an angel appears to someone in the Bible, the first thing the human does is fall to the ground in fear.

But the one fact that I learned just the other day is that angels don’t sing. Many think of angels singing around Christmas time because of the verse in Luke 2: 13.  Many of us just scan right past the verse, thinking that it states, “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and singing.”

The only problem with this is that it doesn’t say “singing”. It says, “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying.”

The angels were saying, not singing. Which means that humans are the only ones given the ability to sing as a way to worship God, not angels. When we get to heaven, we will be worshipping God through singing, and what a beautiful sound it will be. Yes, we will all be able to sing on key and make a joyful sound to the Lord.

But until we get to heaven, Carl attempts to sing and I can tell you, it is NOT a pleasant experience for any of us. Just take a listen.

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Carl’s attempt to sing. Bless his heart!

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