Posted in Christianity, Thoughts

Some Things to Make You Think

Collected from one of my Pinterest boards, because I don’t feel up to making you think myself.

 

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Posted in Christianity

Psalm 91

Today I decided to just share my favorite Psalm:

 

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

Posted in Life, Thoughts

Donna

I have started rewatching some Doctor Who episodes I like. Last night I watched one with Donna, one of my favorite characters.

It was her first episode. She’s about to get married, and the would-be groom turns out to be a jerk and a traitor, though poor Donna genuinely loved him.

At one point, the man says this about her: “I was stuck with a woman who thinks the height of excitement is a new flavor Pringle. Oh, I had to sit there and listen to all that yap yap yap. Oh, Brad and Angelina. Is Posh pregnant? X Factor, Atkins Diet, Feng Shui, split ends, text me, text me, text me. The never ending fountain of fat, stupid trivia. I deserve a medal. ”

The way he says it makes the comment especially unkind, but it’s probably fairly accurate. Donna is the sort of person who, if we knew her in real life, most people would find obnoxious, shallow, and boring. She’s loud. She’s brash. She’s oblivious. She doesn’t have any obvious impressive talents.

And this show takes her and gradually shows how much depth even a person like that has. Her loyalty and bravery and ability to stand up to people who need someone to tell them to stop and how much she can care about someone and how interesting she is.

I love that.

Posted in Christianity, Thoughts

Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me,” etc., seems to be a well-known Bible passage. It’s a comforting sort of one.

It falls at the beginning of a chapter. While having the Bible divided into chapters and verses is quite useful for finding things in such a huge book, I think this particular chapter break is unfortunate. Let me just get rid of it:

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times. Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”
– John 13:36-14:4

It’s so much better when you know that it immediately follows Jesus telling Peter that Peter would deny him. “You’re going to do this terrible thing… But don’t let that stop you, because in the long run, things can still be good. I’ve got this.”

Ignore that chapter break.

Posted in Life, Thoughts, Writings

Inspiration

Don’t loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you don’t get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it. – Jack London

Or, a more modern phrasing that floats around: You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

I have been writing this blog for six years now. Every week, aside from a few when I was at church camp with no internet. So that’s more than 300 posts.

Honestly, it’s kind of hard to believe.

When I started the blog, I knew that if I didn’t have a schedule, it would fizzle out. But having a reasonable goal I had to meet made keeping it up attainable. But having to write every week has given me a lot of practice going after inspiration with a club. The weeks I don’t have a plan for my post probably outnumber the weeks I do. Somehow my friends still put up with me saying, “But I don’t have anything to write.”

Something always gets written. Always. And sometimes it’s really lame, but sometimes it’s all right, or maybe even good. And those good ones wouldn’t exist if all I did was wait for inspiration.

If you hadn’t guessed, this post has been brought to you by an, “I have nothing to write about, time to grab the club,” week.

Posted in Christianity, Thoughts

A Beautiful Picture

This year I am reading through the Old Testament books in the order the Jews used. It’s an interesting way to mix things up a little.

I noticed that in this order, Song of Solomon is immediately followed by Ruth and then Esther, and this just kind of seemed right. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that these three books together paint a wonderful picture of how to work at a good marriage.

In Song of Solomon, we see that sex and romantic feelings are – gasp! – good and important in a marriage. I have seen people try to insist that this book is only a picture of Jesus’ love for the church, and I want to ask, “Okay… but have you actually read it?” Because I do not see how you can read Song of Solomon and honestly come away with that belief. Are there parallels? Sure. A significant part of the purpose of marriage is to provide a picture of God’s love. But Song of Solomon is also about human love and touch and beauty and passion – and it’s okay that that’s in the Bible. Really.

And then in Ruth we see a woman who has lost her husband and chosen to stay with Naomi, her mother-in-law, when Naomi leaves Ruth’s country. I don’t know if Ruth desperately wanted to get married again, but if she did, she didn’t go hunting for a husband. Instead, she did the right thing: she helped Naomi. During harvest time, she went into the fields and picked up grain the harvesters dropped, which I imagine was hard work, and fairly humiliating, as this was something poor people did. But work hard she did.

Boaz, who owns this particular field comes along, and I love the ensuing conversation. “So, uh… Who’s the new girl?” “Oh, she’s the one who came back with Naomi. She asked if she could pick up grain here, and she’s been working hard all day.” So Boaz tells Ruth to stick around. He tells her he’s heard about what she’s done for Naomi and that it’s admirable. He makes sure she has more than enough to eat. And when she goes back to work, he whispers to his workers, “Hey… Drop some extra grain, just for her.”

Obviously this is all in my own words, and I don’t doubt that Boaz had the noble motive of admiring her loyalty and hard work, but I strongly suspect he was also motivated by thinking she was cute.

But anyway. My point is, Ruth didn’t get a husband by using her womanly wiles or by being desperate or anything like that. She worked hard. She showed patience. She went above and beyond the call of duty in helping Naomi. She served God and her mother-in-law, and it caught the attention of a noble, godly man (namely Boaz, if you hadn’t figured that out). The qualities she showed before she married Boaz are things that would serve her well in sustaining a strong marriage, and she didn’t practice them only when she’d caught a guy, but even when she had no marriage prospects.

Then we have Esther, who was put in a rather impossible situation. She became queen of Persia because King Ahasuerus got mad at the previous queen, gathered together a bunch of beautiful virgins to try them out to be the new queen, and liked Esther best.

Quite a start to a marriage, huh?

If you can’t tell just from that, Ahasuerus was messed up. There’s also the fact that he apparently put people to death if they entered his inner court without being summoned and he didn’t want to see them. And if you look at history beyond just what’s in the Bible, he did things like having a stretch of water whipped when a storm broke a bridge he was trying to build. So you know, Esther’s hesitancy to approach him when she wasn’t summoned was totally legitimate.

But she had courage. Even in an impossible situation. And her courage and her humility and her patience worked. She saved all the Jews from being killed unnecessarily. She did so without antagonizing her impossible husband, or nagging him, or ruining their relationship.

So we have passion. We have godly qualities cultivated long before a potential relationship exists. We have perseverance in godly qualities even in the face of a far-from-perfect husband.

What a beautiful picture.

Posted in Life

Spaceship!

Over the last (extended) weekend, my friend GG and I went on our annual road trip to visit people.

We both feel like we haven’t seen enough of each other this summer, so being stuck in a car together for nine hours (twice) was really quite refreshing. We laughed a lot, and listened to a lot of music. At one point I observed that the percentage of songs we listen to that we both know has drastically increased since our first road trip. It’s great.

We spent the first couple nights of the trip at Gaby’s house. Getting to talk about our fictional characters and give hugs in person was nice.

We all got together with D and had some adventures. One day we went to Barnes and Noble, which has become a tradition. We always discover interesting things. My favorite discovery this year was an adorable picture book about a dragon called Too Hot to Hug. (Spoilers: They found a way to cool the poor dragon down to a huggable temperature.)

The other day we visited a natural science museum and a history museum. My favorite part of the science museum was a room where they had different things you could touch, animal pelts and bones and preserved plants and the like. Whatever desire I may have had for a bear skin rug is now greatly diminished; the bear fur was not soft at all.

We didn’t have much time in the history museum, but we went through an exhibit about World War I. It was interesting, but it made me rather sad. (At one point, there was a machine gun set up that occasionally flashed and played machine gun noises. I noticed this while standing directly in its line of imaginary fire when it went off. That was a bit disturbing.)

The next two nights of the trip were spent at D’s house. D read us some entertaining stories, some fictional, some true from her journals. We played a lot of games. Mainly Apples to Apples (always a favorite), but also Clue and Imaginiff. We also went to Applebee’s because D had been wanting to go back and see the decor from her childhood, but unfortunately, it had been redecorated. She was a bit traumatized.

Sunday, after church and lunch and more hugs, GG and I drove home.

I’m trying to figure out a good way to explain the title of this post. It’s related to a character from The Lego Movie (which I’ve never seen), who gets very excited when he gets to build a spaceship. We have a character who loves architecture. In his story, he gets to design houses for his friends. Somehow, his excitement about that got compared to the excitement of the spaceship building character, and we laughed a lot. So there, hopefully that makes some sense.