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Posts Tagged ‘scripture’


My Necktie -- 1/7/5

Image by bjohnson via Flickr

Odd things come up when you’re a two person, mother-son household. Things you don’t even expect to think to know, you find out you don’t know by running into them face first, like tying a tie for instance.

 My son was going to his first cotillion and we were down to the wire with getting him out of the house, when he walked up to me with his tie and asked me to help him with it.

 I looked at the lavender silk tie hanging innocently from his hand, and, I realized I had no idea how to tie a tie and neither did he.

 In preparation for the event I had thought of everything else, I had even bought the tie, but I had not even given a second thought to how it was going to end up around his neck.

 We just looked at each other for split second, both of us realizing about the same time that neither of us knew how to perform the miracle of folds that would turn a slim tailored piece of silk into a passable approximation of a necktie. 

 This was a new experience for my son, coming to me and my not knowing how to do something. I could see his tension level rise as we looked at one another as my mind began to frantically think of solutions to the problem. As I went through all the possible men who could have helped if there was enough time, the realization that there was not enough time even if I got in touch with any of them made the situation even more weighty.

 The prime suspect of tie tying is actually my dad who lives over 1,500 miles away. Even if we had the time to call, he may or may not  have remembered how to do what so easily came to him not too long ago. He even showed my son how to tie a tie less than a year earlier, but the details were promptly forgotten by my then ‘tween son. And, of course, I didn’t pay attention either.

 So, after a moment of frantic thinking, I did what any mother would do in such a situation, I turned to YouTube for the solution to our problem.

 And, after a moment or two of searching I found a short video that showed us the basics of tie tying, and, we were able to get the job done without too much fuss about how big or small the knot was.

 How many times does that happen in life? We don’t even know we don’t know something we need to know, until we’re faced with it point-blank. It’s at those times that we realize that even if we don’t know how to do something, we do need to know where to go for the answers and solutions to our problem, and why it’s so important to not only know where to go, but to be able to search through it effectively as well.

 The reason why I was able to find the right video quickly is because I spend a fair amount of time on YouTube. In the same way, any of us who turn to the Word of God to find answers to our problems, need to spend a lot of time in the Bible when we aren’t in need, so we can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, quickly find answers to our questions when we are.

 “I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.”

Psalm 119:16

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The site of Henry David Thoreau's cabin marked...

Image via Wikipedia

Our memories are strange things. We get so caught up in our daily living, and our future lives, that a lot of us tend to either bury the past as if it never happened or just conveniently overlook it, treating it as if it didn’t exist because in the present it doesn’t.

Although for some people I think this trying to escape the past by forgetting it is just that, escape, for others it’s because we’re just really bad at remembering. It’s like our brains can only hold so much information at one time and everything else past, present and future just falls out if it doesn’t fit with what’s going on right now.

The other day my son and I had a disagreement over a long past trip to Disneyland. He was only about 3½ years old when he first went and about 4½ years old the second time he went. Even though he has an amazing memory ( he actually remembers things from when  he was 1 and 2) he argued with me that the first time we went was when he was 4. I had to pull out the old photograph albums to show him that yes he had actually gone earlier than he thought.

When he saw the photographs he did remember some parts of that trip. And, it occurred to me that the photographs were a little like small memorials to the trip and every time we saw them we would remember.

Every once in a while I hear of a book or a teaching about building memorials to God, which is entirely biblical and is a really cool thing, because it does help us to remember what He has done. After all how many times does He say,  ‘don’t forget’ to His people in the Word? The short answer? A lot. This is because He knows how short our attention spans are, and how we need to remember what He has done or else we just forget about it and start walking around with the delusion that He hasn’t hardly done anything at all.

One of the issues I’ve always had with these memorials is that the people who are advocating them always seem to say they should be outside and usually made of rocks like the ones in scripture. But, I’m just not an outdoor person. The whole point of building a memorial is to remember, but what’s the point if you don’t even notice it? I mean, if I can drive over a blue can and eventually not see it, you can bet money that I’ll walk right past an outdoor memorial to something He’s done and eventually not see it either.

Being a writer, I write things down, but even that necessitates digging through notebooks to find something to remember and doesn’t have that instant impact that takes place when you see a simple thing and are reminded of what He’s done. So, my writing doesn’t actually add up to any sort of memorial either.

Because I thought I was someone who didn’t make any sort of memorials, I settled back into the camp of when God wants me to remember something He’ll let me know. This seems to be working, but what I didn’t realize is that He had me building memorials to Himself so I would remember what He’s been doing without my even realizing that He was building them.

I mark my Bible, but not in a way that I’ve ever seen anyone else do it. I’ve tried highlighting scripture only to find that the colors irritated me and I’ve tried underlying scripture that I thought was meaningful but it got too messy for me. But, about 2 years ago I started drawing lines in the margin of my bible next to scripture that caught my eye. After that, I found myself, writing the date next to my line in the margin, but only if God had given me the verse either by making it go 3-D on me, speaking into my spirit or giving it to me through someone else.

This resulted in a combination of those little lines, some just plain and some with dates next to them. What I didn’t realize when I started doing this was that those with the dates are my memorials to the Lord, and just because they aren’t a pile of rocks or outside doesn’t make than any less than what they are, remembrances of Him and what He’s given me and in just the right way for me to remember what He has done.

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

Deuteronomy 4:9

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Onion? Parfait? Scripture? I don’t think many of us would actually put these three words too closely together in a sentence or even a thought, but the three are related when you think about it.

In the movie Shrek, Donkey and Shrek are having a conversation about Shrek’s feelings and his inability to reveal them to anyone. Donkey compares him to a parfait, a sweet dessert that’s easy to eat, while Shrek says he’s more like an onion, the more you peel his layers back, the more you get to know him.

Scripture is like both a parfait, sweet to read and study, and an onion, causing tears and sometimes more than a little pain in the peeling.

I wonder how many times we just breeze through the reading of scripture without actually looking at it closely enough to allow God to pull back its layers for us? We are told what it means and what we should take away from it so much that we forget that we need to look at it and study it for ourselves.

Take for example the story about the leaders of the Temple questioning Jesus about taxes, and the famous answer he gives about rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s (Mark 12:13-17). Of course, on the surface it means we should pay the government what belongs to it, and traditionally that’s what taught in sermons.

But, what if the whole story means so much more than who we pay our money too? What if we allowed God to pull back a layer of the story, and it revealed so much more about how we live our lives and who we owe what too, without compromising the literal meaning of the story?

What if the stories we think we know inside and out have so many layers to them that we wouldn’t be able to put them down because of the endless lessons that God can show us through them? Again without comprising or conflicting with the literal meaning of the story.

If we truly looked at scripture as if it went so deep and was so layered, like a parfait or an onion, wouldn’t we be so amazed by it that we couldn’t put it down? Wouldn’t we just want God to keep pulling back its layers for us?

” How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103

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