Monday, January 18, 2010

Uggs and Emus (by Judy)

At school I share an office space with a wonderful group of women, all quite a bit younger than I am. The other day, they were all raving about their Uggs boots, saying they were comfy, dry in snow, and had good traction on ice. I was almost convinced, despite a lingering concern about their appropriateness for a woman who qualifies for Medicare.

So on Saturday, I went to Macy’s, only to find they don’t carry Uggs. Instead they carry Emus, and what a great pitch the shoe salesman made. Emus are made in Australia like Uggs, they look like Uggs, feel like Uggs, do everything Uggs do… and all for much less hit to my wallet. I was convinced, and soon I was happily walking everywhere in my Emus, blending in, looking like most of the women in Hudson. No one could tell the difference!

Then I looked down. The snow pack on the sidewalk was witness to my passing. Unlike all the people around me, there was no question where I had been, for the treads clearly spelled out E-m-u. I was a walking advertisement for the boots!

Suddenly my thoughts went to the Bible. We Christians, who on the surface look like everyone else, usually blending in, doing what everyone else does on a daily basis, are called to be a sweet fragrance. There should be something distinctive about us. When we pass, there should be no question whose we are. Something about us should be witness to our having been there. Even when we are gone, reminders of our presence should abound. We should be E-m-u, stamped in the snow!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Does God Care? (by Carolyn)

Have you got your coffee? Good! I have mine too. Maybe it will help chase away the cobwebs in my brain!

What are we to make of this little story about the axhead? For you, it may represent one thing, for me another, but if we look deeply into it, and ask God to help us discern His message to us, we will be blessed!

Context! It's critical. Don't you think? Let's look back a bit.

Elisha, whose name means "God is deliverance," was an experienced prophet who attracted others who wanted to learn his ways. He picked up the mantle of ministry from Elijah. In 2 Kings 2:1-18 fifty men watch him carefully. From there, He faces many seemingly insurmountable challenges, yet God enables him. Could it be that the Holy Spirit who empowered Elijah, now empowers Elisha? Yes! But the Holy Spirit works in different ways in different people.

Elisha and the prophets work together. He teaches them by example, word, and discipline to know God's power, His grace, His law, and judgments.

Time passes. Over and over again God reveals His kindness to His people through Elisha. And through a little story like this one, He shows His concern even with the little things; like a borrowed axe. God, through His chosen prophets, cares and can work miracles on their behalf. He delivers an expensive axhead from the deep back to a poor company of prophets so that they can return it. If He cares about a missing axhead and its frightful impact on some poor, honest, poverty stricken men, how much does He care about us? About you? God delivers an ordinary thing in an extraordinary way! The question is why?

I am eager to see what you think. If this story has impacted you, will you tell us how? What are some lessons we can learn that apply to our lives today? What does it tell us about the character of God?

Friday, January 8, 2010

In the beginning (by Judy)...

Today the school where I work, like every school in northeast Ohio, is closed because of snow. Many of my friends are retired, and often I admit to retirement envy, but there are not many things more wonderful than a phone call at 6:15 saying that I can keep my jammies on and linger over my coffee and New York Times. I will miss that childlike delight when I finally move on! Don't you think that bleak can be beautiful?!?

Carolyn turned to the Bible in her first post. She even optimistically asked our readers to consider a story. I am turning to a devotional of writings by C.S. Lewis, who called himself a dinosaur, but seems to speak to all of us, if we invite him. His January 4th entry reminds us that Reason alone can't tell us whether the cat is in the cupboard. Reason herself whispers, "Go and look for yourself."

In the same way, Reason alone can't help us grapple with God. Rather, a verse from the Bible reminds us to, "Taste and see that the Lord is good." As someone who holds food slightly below God and family, I hope that through this blog, we can taste and see together. The rest of the verse says, "Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him." Perhaps we can find a refuge together too.

In the beginning (by Carolyn)...

Carolyn : This is my first adventure into the new world of blogging. It is fascinating. But, as intriguing as it is, nothing is as compelling as the Bible and coming to know and understand, even in my limited way, Jesus as a Savior, brother, and friend.

The Bible is relevant to every venture I undertake and this one is no different. I have discovered that the Bible is written in One Voice. No matter how many human hands, heads and hearts helped out, each was inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Voice of God hovering over him. No matter where you turn in it, it is the voice of God you hear.

In getting ready for this posting I opened my Bible randomly and my eyes fell upon a story I love because it is so odd. It comes from 2Kings 6:1-7. A company of prophets has told Elisha that the place they meet with him is too small. They suggest going to the Jordan River where they can each get a pole and build a place there. Elisha tells them to go. They implore him to come too and he joins them.

As they begin cutting down trees, an iron axehead falls into the water, and one of them cries out in fear, "Oh! It was borrowed!"

Elisha asks, "Where did it fall?" When shown the place, Elisha cuts a stick and throws it in the water and makes the iron float. He tells the man to lift it out and the man does.

See? Isn't this a wonderful story? Isn't it odd? What does it mean? Let's talk! This is the story that will begin my blogging with you!