Saturday, January 31, 2009

Obedience


I don't like to obey.
That has become very clear to me over the years.
I don't like to obey the speed limit.
I don't like to obey the construction flaggers.
And I really have to admit I don't like to obey God.
I admire Abraham, becuase whatever God told him to do, he did as quickly and as completely as he possibly could.
Well, here we find Moses, Exodus chapter 4, with some disobedience in his life.
The story is - that God has appeared to him, and told him to go back to Egypt to confront Pharoah. After a lot of arguing with God, he has gathered up his family and is headed back to Egypt. But on the way back, God meets him and is about to kill him.
What? Doesn't that seem odd?
Here is the text...
24 -26 On the journey back, as they camped for the night, God met Moses and would have killed him but Zipporah took a flint knife and cut off her son's foreskin, and touched Moses' member with it. She said, "Oh! You're a bridegroom of blood to me!" Then God let him go. She used the phrase "bridegroom of blood" because of the circumcision.
Wow! Moses is so much like me. Ready to take on the world in the big things. Easily disobedient in the most basic things. Moses knew full well that the covenant of God with Abraham and all his descendents included circumcision. But he had not circumsized his son.
And God almost killed him over it!
What do you think God's attitude is about our disobedience...

God turns the ordinary into extraordinary


You may know the story.
Moses has followed the sheep for 40 years. It was his routine. Comfortable. Repetitious. Predictable. No, he was not rich, as he had been. His former life of glory and power and wealth and influence we all gone. For good. He would die in the desert, a mere shepherd.
But one day something happened. No warning.
A bush was on fire. The fire was not going out.
And a voice came out of the bush.
Here is the actual text...
3 Moses said, "What's going on here? I can't believe this! Amazing! Why doesn't the bush burn up?"

4 God saw that he had stopped to look. God called to him from out of the bush, "Moses! Moses!"

He said, "Yes? I'm right here!"

5 God said, "Don't come any closer. Remove your sandals from your feet. You're standing on holy ground."

6 Then he said, "I am the God of your father: The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob."

Moses hid his face, afraid to look at God."

There was lots of sand around there. What made THIS little patch of sand holy?
The presence of God was there.
What makes us holy? We are as ordinary as the sand around Moses.
The presence of God in our lives...
Think about that!

Your Strengths are Your Weaknesses


It hit me reading Exodus 2, that your greatest strengths always have an element of your greatest weakness.
Moses was clearly a man who cared about others. He also was not afraid to get involved. He saw and Egyptian beating a Hebrew, so he killed him and buried him in the sand. Passionate. Involved. Righteous. Of course, he got found out and had to flee for his life.
Now he is on the other side of the desert. Here are some shepherd girls, trying to get water for their sheep.The other male shepherds run them off. Moses character jumps in again. He is not afraid. He gets involved. He cares about the oppressed. So he chased the other shepherds away and rescued the girls. Still the same character. Still the same willingness to risk life and limb. This time it ends well. Very well. He is invited to the home of the girls, is invited to settle there, is given the oldest girl as his wife.
Sometimes our greatest strengths are at the same time our greatest weaknesses.

A More Serious Tone


My apologies.

The former blogs were from a year and a half ago.

The following blogs are not funny. Just musings from my journey.

I decided this year to read through the Bible in one year again.
Both Patti and I have done that many times in the past.

She bought a Chronological Bible a few years ago, and read it through
for something like 4 years in a row. Then I read it, but it took me two years.

Lately I have been reading from www.biblegateway.com. The print is large, the screen is backlit, and I can choose from about 40 translations, any time I want.

So I am going through the Bible, in chronological order, reading from the version called "The Message".

Yesterday I started in the book of Exodus. Interesting. It coordinated with the sale of my business. I was on my own exodus, after owning the business for 18 years...

Phil

Turkeys


It all started at the 9:00 am Celebrate service at our church. In the bulletin, plain as day, it said "Turkeys needed."

We finished church, went out to lunch with some friends, and I went back to present myself. "You wanted some turkeys, did you not? Here I am!"

"No, not people," I was told. "Birds. We are 60 turkeys short for our thankgiving baskets that we prepare and distribute to families who are struggling financially."

Well. Now I had a mission. Costco is the cheapest place, but my wife told me they have no turkeys at all. I know she was wrong, because I met one in the parking lot last time I was there. No matter, I would take her word for it.

Off we go to Safeway. Their special was $.29 a pound. Wow! Ten turkeys would be cheap to buy. I loaded up my shopping cart full of plump turkeys and rolled up to an available cashier - a young man probably still in high school. He looked at my cart and said, "Only one turkey is allowed per customer."

I said, "You are only permitted to BUY one turkey, or you only GET THE DISCOUNT on one turkey?"

He was very clear on what he had been instructed. "Only one turkey per customer."

I said, "OK, we'll go through the line 10 times!"

He replied, "That would not make any difference. You are only allowed one turkey per customer."

"These are not for us," I said. "Our church needs turkeys to give to the poor. I am not expecting to get a discount in price. I only want to buy ten turkeys."

"Let me call the manager", was his wise reply. After a long wait the manager came over. It was obvious why she was the manager. Competent, decisive, problem solver. The cashier explained our devious plan, to buy MORE than one turkey, but that it was to give to our church for poor families."

"OK. The first one rang through at $.29 a pound. This special costs us $11.0 per turkey. The rest of them you have to pay full price for. Do you understand that?"

"Of course. We expected that. We just want to buy ten turkeys."

"You know what?" she said, "I am going to ring all the rest of them up at $.39 a pound. That shouldn't cost you too much. Is that OK with you?

"Of course! We don't even expect that!"

With that the competent manager walked off. The customers were grateful. The cashier rang the ten turkeys up.

We went to the church to deliver our turkeys. Come to find out - one of our friends was there with - no not TEN turkeys, but THIRTEEN. WHAT is with THAT!

So now you know the story of how we came up with a nefarious scheme to plunder Safeway of 10 turkeys.

And how we were outdone by a more generous friend.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blog Shmog


Blog Shmog, who cares anyway?
There is already too much opinionating in the world, why add more?
It is just as well that my blog career ended quickly and miserably.
Otherwise I might have been induced into writing my opinion every day on a number of topics. But who cares, anyway?
Blog Shmog
Go get a life...

blogxsasperated


I am blogxsasperated!
All this time I have been afraid of doing a blog because there would be so much response and I don't have that much time.
Never dreamed that I would be doing a blog that no one read but me!
What is the point?
I guess I can lay my blogaphobia aside.
No one will read it.
No one cares.
Exblogger
Phil

Blogtastic


We are now considered certified members of the dark ages if we are not blogging.So what is blogging?A blog is like an online journal that allows somebody to share their thoughts with the public in the form of blog posts.The infinitive is "to blog"The term "blog" is both a verb and a noun. As in "Do you blog?" - clearly used as a verb. Or alternatively, "Do you have a blog?" - most definately a noun. Of course, the tone of this last sentence is usually more along the lines of "Of course, you have a blog, don't you, you outdated, backward OLD person?"So - now I have a blog.And I am blogging.A question - If I am thinking about what I am going to put in the blog, am I blogathizing? And if I go on and on in a blog, would it not be correct to say I am blogating? I think so.Since this is all new to me, I think it is legitimate to twist and bend the word any way we want. Like, if you are mad, you are blowblogging, if you are bragging, you are showblogging, if you are romantic, you are snowblogging (NO) sweetblogging.If your blog is educational, you are edublogging.If it is boring, you are blogasnoring me to sleep. If it is mean, you are blogcruel.Here, for public consumption, is my first blog. I hope it fills you, chills you, thrills you... Blogtastic!Phil Leng