Saturday, December 28, 2013

August Mashup

I have no idea why blogger is messing with the quality and tone of my pictures lately. They've all been through the same black and white conversion process, I know there is no varying color space problem, so what gives???












Monday, December 09, 2013

July Picture Round-Up

July was the month I really slipped on the 365 Project! I do have a lot of iphone pics that I'm using for the book, though, so that most of the days are actually captured in some capacity. I just didn't lug around my big camera every day of the summer, especially to the beach, where I have two arms of my own trying to keep watch over 4 little squids in the water.







Saturday, December 07, 2013

Creation and Re-Creation

Why do we keep the Sabbath?

In my mind I hear a few dozen conversations I've had or heard through the years play through my head.

They go something like this:

"Why do we keep the Sabbath?"

"Because the 4th commandment tells us to."

"Weren't the commandments nailed to the cross?"

"Not unless you think it's fine to steal, murder, and lie!"

"Why is it important to 'remember' the Sabbath day?"

"Because it reminds us of the sovereignty of God and His power, knowing that he made the world in seven literal days. It is a memorial of Creation."

"Didn't Jesus change the day of rest from Saturday to Sunday when He rose from the cross?"

"Nope, the Pope did."

Of course, this is paraphrased and a bit tongue-in-cheek, but the thought process is guaranteed to be familiar to everyone who has grown up in the Seventh-Day Adventist church.

The commandment has been part of my life since birth. It has, at times been the most welcome of habits, and at other times, carried the most tiresome requirements of expectation. I'm just being honest, here.

At times, what spoke to my heart has been that God saw that it was good and declared it to be Holy. What an amazing thing to really think about. I don't have to "keep" the Sabbath holy. It IS holy. That actually has nothing to do with me. I can choose to allow my soul to commune with God by joining Him inside the holiness that is offered, or I can refuse it and remain outside that circle. It is, in some way, like keeping watch at a post of duty, or leaving it untended. But I don't want to get caught up in this avenue of thought today, so I won't be finishing those thoughts just now.

Because at other times, like right now in my life, the part that speaks to me is the creative power that He wanted to remind us of....not just once a year or once every seven years, but every 7 days!

So what?! Remind us of WHAT, exactly? That He has the power to create an entire planet full of complex ecosystems, planetary systems, digestive systems, DNA reproducing systems, in 144 hours?

Well, dear me, that IS impressive. There's no denying that.

BUT SO WHAT?!

So we take 9 months to recreate our own little selves in the lives of our children. It takes us 8 hours to recreate some semblance of organization in a house full of those lively babies, and takes 1 hour to recreate an image of youthful loveliness in the mirror with the help of makeup and curling irons once those little ones wreak havoc on our bodies! It takes scientists years of research to recreate some process of natural biology so we can figure out how it's supposed to work when it goes all wrong. So how exactly do those 144 hours of pure creative power relate to ME in MY life?

Creation and re-creation.

We've talked about it 'till we're blue in the face and we've still lost the meaning of it somewhere in the shadows beyond the circle of light.

Oh, just OBEY, Lisa. Just knowing that He said so is enough.

Yeah, I know. I'm not disputing that. In any way. There is beauty in obedience and there is joy in understanding that my understanding is not His understanding and I don't need to be the parent when I have a Father I can trust.

Keep listening. There's something absolutely amazing that we've just simply been missing.



Create: to make, to cause to grow, to produce from nothing.

Recreate:  to make new, revive, refresh.

Look at that car above. It's old, forgotten, worn out and broke down. It would be unlikely that one could just jump in, turn the key, and motor on down the road. No one doubts,  however, that with the right tools, a little determination, and a few bucks, this car could be restored and made into a useful vehicle, even pretty, perhaps a collector's item taken to car shows and talked about by enthusiasts.

But listen to this, we are ALL riddled with doubt when it comes to thinking of Jesus recreating (restoring) a man!

It's everywhere, in memes on facebook, in conversations in households all over the world, it's set in the hearts of hurting people the world over, but never anywhere more than this "throw away" society we live in in America: the "once a liar, always a liar" attitude. 

Once a deadbeat, always a deadbeat. Once a fatty, always a fatty. Once a tramp, always a tramp. A tiger can't change it's stripes. Well, yeah, that's actually biblical. But why do we hang on to it so tight like we are afraid of allowing someone a second chance? Afraid of believing that someone could be different tomorrow than they were today? Afraid of our own identity changing into something foreign? 

Someone once said that if given the choice, we would always choose our own familiar problems over someone else's unfamiliar problems. We choose our problems. They're comfortable. And we stay in them, complaining about how no one treats us fairly and how so-and-so is narcissistic and so-and-so is holier-than-thou and we lament about how tigers can't change their stripes.

We look around and see old creatures saying they're living new lives and still hurting those around them and making mistakes and living like their old selves and we think..."This is what redemption looks like? This is what a 'new creature' looks like? This is what CHRISTIANITY looks like?" and we doubt. We doubt what we can't see in the lives of those around us, what we can't see in the mirror no matter how hard we try. We doubt that it's possible at all. We doubt that anyone is really 'good', that any of it really matters, that there is a purpose in doing anything but trying to 'be a good person' while meeting expectations so we don't disappoint those we love.

Look. I'm speaking to Christians, here. I'm speaking to Christians living in American households believing in a literal 7 Day Creation and forgetting Who spoke it into existence.

THIS is why it's important to REMEMBER the Sabbath was a day of rest at the end of a literal 7 day creation week: 

Because. He. Can. Do. It.

Because He is ABLE. 

Because if He can spend 144 hours in a state of pure creative power that spoke every leaf of every species of tree, every cell of every human system, every hair on every animal, every star we see in the sky, every microscopic organism on the planet into life, HE CAN speak new life into our hearts. Into my heart. 

Into your heart.

It's there, it's available, it's a REALITY, not just a POSSIBILITY. 

We are Doubting Thomases just as much now as we ever were! Ask yourself: If you don't doubt the possibility of a literal creation week, why do you doubt that He has the power to speak the words of life and recreate a person from the inside out?! 

No, we can't do it ourselves. We can't change our own stripes. We can't become leopards when we are clearly tigers. And yes, it does take a man giving God permission to change his heart before God can work that sort of creative power into it. That's where prayer comes in, intercessory prayer, prayer for the Holy Spirit to soften a hardened heart. 

But when we just sit. And doubt. And worry. And talk about how things or people will never change....

.... denying the power of God that He has so personally called us to REMEMBER....

We are effectively FORGETTING the power, that incredible power of restoring man to the place of REFLECTING the Savior's face that is FOUND in the Word of God.....

..... while we 'remember' to wash the dishes before sundown, and bake the rolls before Sabbath, and not indulge in watching television, and to ask for Sabbath off of work.....

Let's go back for just a second to Eve. What was her sin? It wasn't eating the fruit, you remember. It was doubting that God's word was TRUTH.  Doubt. It was doubt that did her in, and it's doubt that will keep us from the mighty power waiting at our hearts' doors. 

So tell me, what does "Remember The Sabbath" mean to you?

Playing a Little Bit of Catch Up!


More of May 2013











Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Why Miley is not the problem

I don't watch music award shows. Particularly any that have anything to do with performers associated with MTV. I saw some pretty lewd things on one when I caught a few minutes of the VMA's a few years back. That was the end of that.

I haven't watched Miley's performance. I have no need to. I don't need to look it up on youtube, and I don't need to turn on the TV so some "news" program can invade my home with it instead of reporting real news.

I don't need to SEE it to believe that it was NOT SOMETHING I WANT TO SEE. Do you get that? In our quest for all knowledge and desire to not be left in the dark about ANYTHING going on ANYWHERE that someone we know is talking about, we let our curiosity take us to places we later regret. Or maybe you don't. I know I do. I'll give you an example.

I have a little rescue dog named Twert. That's right. TWERT. He's been around our house, filling our home with little hot dog happiness long before the term TWER'K' was invented. Needless to say, throw in some modern-day technology, a few random hashtags, some random folks who can't spell, and I got my education on what "twerking" is.

That, however, was a very, very minor shock compared to my other example.

Several weeks ago I was hanging around on a web forum for moms when someone brought up how disturbed they were by the music video for Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" song. Others mentioned various other music videos they'd seen lately and a discussion ensued about the messages being sent, etc. Reviews on the Blurred Lines video were mixed. I was curious. I'd heard the song a couple of times and it had a very catchy little tune (hey, hey, hey!).

I don't listen to the radio very often. It makes me crazy. I do, however, like to turn on a Pandora workout station when I exercise.

Back to the story.

I did it. I looked it up. I looked up the unrated version of Blurred Lines and I watched it.

The women were completely topless and wore g-strings. They danced with men wearing suits singing lyrics that allude to date rape.

And then I sat back and felt really, really sick.

I felt like I did the day I sat in a courtroom as a potential juror and listened to the list of crimes the accused was being charged with. Things that I didn't want to hear, things that I didn't want to enter into my mind, things that I'd rather live in a bubble and believe never happens to any child anywhere.

Sure, in the music video those are consenting, of-age adults parading their bodies around like objects of desire and nothing more, but there are countless, COUNTLESS, youth sitting in their homes, on their ipads or iphones or laptops alone in their rooms watching this while their parents sit unaware, unwilling to open their eyes, or worse, unable to see the problem in the video, the lyrics, or the watching.

When was the last time you really had your eyes opened about what's out there in terms of popular music? The last time you informed yourself about what your kids are watching in their favorite band's music videos? The last time you read through all the lyrics to the songs they're singing along to? How about the songs YOU are singing along to? I think maybe that's part of the difference these days. Those of us who have grown up in the MTV era LIKE it. We listen to a lot of what our kids listen to. And we don't WANT to know what's wrong with it because it makes us feel YOUNG.

I don't know about you, but I like to feel young. I like to remember what it was like to feel a little rebellious when I turned up the radio a little too loud. I like it when the song takes me back to a time in my life when I felt anything was possible. REALLY possible. A time when there were a thousand different paths to take and all were equally wonderful and complication-free!

Reality.

Discomfort.

Pain.

We want to escape those three things. We seek, constantly, to avoid them unless absolutely unavoidable. And then we endure them JUST long enough to go back to our comfortable, entertained, avoidance lifestyle.

Unless it's someone else's pain. Someone else's discomfort. Someone else's REALITY. And then we turn into Drama Queens.

Guess what?

I'm going to tell you why Miley is NOT the problem.

It's because YOU ARE.

It's more comfortable to not think about the words or the music video and just. sing. along.

Did I lose you?

Let's walk through something together real quick, okay?

Two people, walking in a garden, they've been given everything they need, everything they want. They don't even really have an understanding, a grasp, of death or hurt or loss, although they have been told and informed about the pain that was caused when there was war in heaven. They're not uncomfortable or in pain, or entertained out of a sense of reality. And yet they make a mistake.

What, EXACTLY, was their mistake?

Eating the apple? Was that the mistake? Really?

No. It wasn't!

Believing Satan's lie more than they believed' God's TRUTH. That was their mistake. All God asked of them was to trust Him. "Trust me, guys, you don't want to eat that. The knowledge of Good and Evil...it's not really something you want to know. Trust me on this. I know you haven't seen death. I know you can't comprehend that someday your beloved, sweet, curly haired baby whose hair smells so sweet as he nurses at your breast and who will make your heart ache with the love you feel for him will KILL your second sweet baby. I know you can't GET IT when I say that it will break your heart the first time you take a lamb and cut its throat and that you will only GET IT after you have done that over. and over. and over and over. For YEARS. I know you don't realize what a LIE is, or how devastating deception can be, and will be to all of your descendants down through the ages. But please. Just. Trust. Me. Please."

And they didn't.

They believed Satan's lie instead of believing that what Satan said couldn't be true because it went against the words of God.

Now. How does this apply to us? I'm getting there. Hang on.

How benign did that action seem, not just in that moment, but now? Think about it. Really, take a moment. Think about this woman, alone, no one around, takes a BITE out of a FRUIT.

And the whole world goes to hell in a handbasket.

Does that seem....fair? No?

Yet in that very moment of disbelief Eve handed over dominion of her world to Satan. It was her choice. It was Adam's choice. They chose to hand over that dominion, even though they didn't fully understand the dynamics of that choice, it was still their choice and they made it. And they owned it. And they lived it. And they bore the terrible fruit of their choice as they watched their children, grandchildren and many many generations make the SAME choice.

Let's get back to Miley. But we're going to take a direct route through YOUR soul to get there.

You're thinking right now, 'I don't even LISTEN to Miley! I don't even know who Robin Thicke IS (or I wouldn't except I turned on the news the day after the VMA's, honestly!)'. Keep reading.

Let's imagine we are in a room full of televisions. Turn on the news. ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, BBC. Turn on MTV. Turn on CMT. Turn on Judge Judy. Turn on The Bachelor. Turn on HBO. Turn on the Horror Movie channel (whatever that is) Turn on the Soap channel. Turn on BET, STARZ, E!, and ESPN. Turn on the damn porn channels. Stand there and let it blare at your soul until you feel sick and KNOW that it all started with believing a LIE.

And the worst of all that is this: THAT is ENTERTAINMENT. Even the news. We take it all in in small increments as we can handle the stimulus that makes us feel something. We feel excited, turned on, happy, sad, indignant, angry, shocked, horrified, scared, nervous.....and then we push the power button and go numb as we turn to our comfortable lives. We DO nothing about those feelings except push them aside. What else are we supposed to do with them? How awesome for Satan that we are training ourselves so well to feel NOTHING because we know how to turn the power button on and off.

I stopped watching the news a while back when it became obvious to me that it is >90% about ratings, drama, and celebrities. So I started reading the news websites. I could pick and choose which items to read about and stay on top of basic world events, at least. I learned that broadcast news stations often do not cover the most graphic and disturbing stories, but they will write them up and post them online. Why? Because people DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT. They want to hear about how inappropriate Miley Cyrus was, how Kim Kardashian's rear end got bigger since she had a baby, and how Robin Thicke claims "What a pleasure it is to degrade women".

No one wants to hear about the mother who cut off her baby's arms with scissors. The father who killed his 3 month old because she choked on his condom. They don't want to hear about the hands, spines, and skulls of aborted babies falling into bloody pans on the floor of a cold examination room.

THIS is the world we live in.

THIS is the reality of the dominion of Satan.









Did you take a moment for that to sink in? Don't stop now. Keep reading.






Let's go back and revisit Adam and Eve.

Do you ever believe the lies you hear? Well, for one thing, how exactly are we supposed to know if they're lies or not? People lie all the time! All. The. Time. They lie to you, they lie to me, they lie to their bosses, they lie to their children.

They lie to themselves.

They deceive themselves. Willingly. Why? Go back up to that part about escaping from pain, discomfort, and reality. We don't want reality. We don't want the truth. We don't want TO KNOW that what WE do is what keeps this world spiraling in darkness and pain. We don't want to hear that every time we choose to believe the lies that Satan spreads about God we are perpetuating the very things that hurt us, each other, and the people we never meet on the other side of the world.

We do it. We choose it. We hand over dominion to Satan and he takes that one little bit of permission and makes us his slaves.

I had a lightbulb moment last night. We were sitting in church, listening to our Pastor explain the principles behind why God didn't just Zap Satan the moment he knew Satan's heart was leading him to rebellion. I've heard this so many times. I know the reason. And our pastor explained it so well, one more time, like this:

"If the president of the United States (doesn't matter who or what party) was being accused of some heinous crime by 6 people, and the morning of the press conference to begin the official inquiry comes and it turns out that ALL 6 people who are bringing this accusation (or are witnesses) turn up dead by various means, what would be the automatic conclusion of the rest of the US and world?"

I know what I would think. I'd think he was guilty as sin. And so would everyone else I know. And then we'd probably behave ourselves according to the laws he'd set forth just so we wouldn't get zapped, too.

So in His wisdom God allowed Satan's course to be seen, and his "government" proven to be the ugly counterfeit that it is. Do you think that the angels, as they look down on homes torn apart and babies being bruised, beaten, killed, have any doubt as to the true nature of Satan's way of doing things? Do they look down and think, "Well, I guess Satan MIGHT still be a pretty good ruler of heaven... if given the chance..."?

Then WHY do we? Why do we still flounder around with listening to Satan's lies when all we have to do is look at God's Word and stop DISBELIEVING what it says there?

Because, once again, we would rather sit in our entertained, comfortable, unrealistic lives and let Miley be our fall-guy.

And until we seek the truth and BELIEVE the truth instead of lies, we will perpetuate the sin until someday some other generation BELIEVES what God has so plainly said, does the work and He can take us home.

And STOP the pain.


This is what God says:

"I have loved YOU with an everlasting LOVE.." Jeremiah 31:3

Do you believe it? Even if you don't FEEL lovable?


"The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, pride, and arrogancy." Proverbs 8:13

Do you believe it?

Do you have the fear of the Lord? Do you hate evil, pride, and arrogancy? Or are you entertained by it?

Miley's not the problem.

You are. I am.



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