Saturday, January 20, 2018


"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
Psalm 139:14
Some ancient versions say, "You are fearfully wonderful."
Perhaps we understand that the first time we hold a newborn in our arms.  Who isn't intimidated by that tiny fragile thing fresh from the womb?  Beth Moore brings out that the word for fearfully connotes respect, God honored.  This is sanctity of life. 

Another brush of beauty is that she says that God reserves the right to know us before anyone else.  Even with all the scientific revelations, the very earliest, even the most sophisticated methods can not determine pregnancy before five days, usually more like fourteen days.  God revels in the knowing us from the first moment we are created.  It is His secret.  " You darling child are my secret and I want to think about you before I let anyone else know." (Beth Moore).  Think how tender are the moments of first knowing, before sharing the glorious secret of pregnancy.  That's how God thinks of us.  We are wanted.

"My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth
(think of Adam created from the dust of the ground:
"we are earthlings")
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance..."
"How precious are Your thoughts to me, O God..."
Psalm 139:15-17

To be desired, to be wanted, to be respected is sanctity of life. 
Our Father in heaven has chosen us, our unformed substance...

"And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them."
Psalm 139:16
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you..."
Jeremiah 1:5

"ordained,"  "consecrated"
These are heavy, weighty words for baby unformed tissue or even before,
 back before you were even the "twinkle in His eye."
Sanctity of life. 
All of life is precious.
 JANUARY 20, 2018

PROVERBS 10:26-28

"Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
So is the lazy one to those who send him.
The fear of the Lord prolongs life,
But the years of the wicked will be shortened.
The hope of the righteous is gladness,
But the expectation of the wicked perishes."

Have you had a swig of vinegar lately?  No, I didn't think so.  It's not the top ten things that a chef sips while cooking.  Once upon a time, the home remedy to a cough and cold was to drink a mixture of vinegar and honey.  It still is, actually. My own dear sweet mother promoted it.  She even made a believer of my husband such that he became the enforcer-in-chief of the putrid drink when I got sick.  At the time, we were living in married student housing on the Point Loma campus--which were just girls dorm rooms given over to us (no kitchens, but bathrooms with three toilets and two showers).  Anyway, he tried to wrestle me to make me drink the putrid thing.  We were having a laughing struggle when our upstairs neighbors heard everything through the thin walls and began cheering my husband on yelling, "Make her drink it, Al!"  Still not a vinegar fan.  Did Solomon ever wrestle one of his wives to make her drink vinegar?  Hmm, you were wondering that too?

Well, we may never know that, but I have a hunch that Solomon and his wives were sitting around a fire roasting marshmallows perhaps at one time as he speaks of the annoyance of smoke to the eyes.  You know, how you have to keep getting up from your logs around the fire pit in order to keep the smoke from getting in your eyes, or as the saying goes, "Smoke follows beauty."  If that is true, I must have be beautiful because I never have been able to avoid it.

All this to say how irritating and distasteful it is to send a lazy person to do a job.   Will the job get done?  Doubtful.  Perhaps Solomon is speaking of his frustration as a leader of his country.  Maybe there's a Resist Movement who are Do-Nothings. The only kingdom we have much control over however is under our own roof, and as the parents of a 16 year old, we resemble this.  It takes twice or ten times the effort to get him to do something than we could have done in a much shorter amount of time.  His doctor recommends no more than an hour of video games without an hour of exercise.  What are the odds we can even enforce that?  Oh, what did you say?  Your kids jump up and do whatever job you sent them to do without complaint?  Adam Clarke describes it, "So the sluggard, the lounging thriftless messenger, who never returns in time with the desired answer."

Prolong life or be shortchanged.  If someone wrote a thousand page book about that, it would be a best seller.  What did the iconic Betty White just say on her 96nd birthday?  Vodka and hot dogs?  Don't recommend it personally.  There is an approach to life that perhaps a majority practice, that they will wait until right before they die to repent so that in the meanwhile, they can "enjoy" sinning.  I think they are forgetting sin has a price tag.  Hmm.  But sometimes, the wicked's lives are suddenly snuffed out without warning. 

In contrast, the life of those who fear God is prolonged.  Old age of the godly is beautific!  They live their lives with gladness.  Their lives are like the last of the fragrant beauteous blooming roses in a patch of a dying garden.  We have such a rose bush right out of our window where we sit and dine, a daily wild bouquet, a place where we recently relished watching little wrens play causing the stems to wobble and bow in their honor.

(I got to meet this artist, Carl Brenders, once!)

There is hope that brings gladness and expectation that is perishing.  Oh, unmet and failing expectation is a huge topic, but I'll leave you that to ponder on your own.  It is imperative to put your hope in God, in the unperishable beauty that leads to heaven, rather than in the plans of man which perish.  They burn like tender to a match and lit to rolled up blueprints leaving only ashes and smoke in the eyes.    Beauty for ashes.  See, we've come full circle.


Friday, January 19, 2018

JANUARY 19, 2018


"Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool,
And so is wisdom to a man of understanding.
What the wicked fears will come upon him,
But the desire of the righteous will be granted.
When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more,
But the righteous has an everlasting foundation."

Hey, sport, listen to what Adam Clarke said...

"'It is as sport to a fool to do mischief' 
What a millstone weight of iniquity hangs about the necks
of most of the jesters, facetious, and witty people!
'How many lies do they tell in jest, 
to go to the devil in earnest!'"

So, wisdom to a man of understanding is a more profitable sport.
Sports cause conditioning, honing skills, playing for victory over the competition.
It is done for a pleasurable, but difficult activity.  So is gaining wisdom to a man of understanding.
Want to play?

"'The fear of the wicked'  The wicked is full of fears and alarms; and all that he has dreaded,
and more than he has dreaded shall come upon him.  The righteous is always desiring more of the salvation of God, and God will exceed his utmost desires." (Adam Clarke)  Living without fear and dread is a privilege offered to Christians.  "The desire of the righteous will be granted."

"Delight yourself in the Lord,
And He will give you the desires of your heart."
Psalm 37:4

Whirlwinds and Tornadoes.  Do you have a secure place to run to?  Got a storm cellar?  We had a basement when I grew up in Kansas, yeah, the same one as our designated go-to in case of nuclear attack.  Adam Clarke says, "As tornadoes that sweep away the wicked: it shall leave him neither branch nor root.  But the righteous, being built on the eternal foundation, shall never be shaken."  When the world seems a little shaky, we have our feet on solid ground in love.