It just so happened that both of my parents died in the month of September. My mother passed away in 1998 (over Labor Day weekend) and my father followed her this past year. Now, as September rolls around again, I start to think about the family I grew up in. I’m the only one who can. You see, I have no siblings. Not only that, but my mother was also an only child, and my father had just one sister. I haven’t seen my two cousins since we were all in high school; we were never all that close.
It bothers me that no one else knows what my childhood was like. No one else knows the family stories, the special memories, or the little peculiarities that were uniquely ours. Sure, I’ve told my husband and daughters some tales of my growing up years, but I’m sure I haven’t told them everything. Now no one is going to remind me of the ones I’ve missed.
Past Friday I listed four ways we can do something to help the Christians in Iraq—stand in solidarity, write letters, give generously, and, most importantly, pray. When I mentioned prayer, I gave some guidelines, including the need to pray for the ISIS Muslims who are deceived captives of the enemy.
In spite of my suggestion, I wasn’t sure exactly how to pray for them. Sure, we want them to stop what they’re doing and turn to Jesus. But what does that look like? Is it all right to pray that God clobbers them?I’ll admit, this is one time when I want my big, powerful, angry God to do some serious smiting!
Then I came across this blog post that neatly summarizes just what we should be asking God for, when we pray for our enemies. It’s even specifically aimed at praying for Al-Qaeda and ISIS. I know I’ve stopped my Tuesday posts for the time being, but this was just too timely and appropriate to pass up. Please read:
Since January, six thousand people—Christians, Kurds, Yazidis, have been brutally murdered by ISIS, the radical Sunni Muslim terrorist group that is carving an Islamic state out of northern Iraq and Syria. It’s incredibly painful to read the reports of the atrocities being committed. If you’ve ever wondered if Satan is real, read a few of these news items:
Which is more important—social media or an actual person standing in front of you?
Most of us would agree—at least most of the time, the physical presence of a person trumps catching up on Facebook or Twitter, answering texts or phone calls. Sure, my best friend understands that if we’re chatting and my husband calls, I’ll probably take the call. And I’ll tell Pete that I’m in the middle of a conversation—is this important or can it wait a bit? On the other hand, if my friend is confiding about something serious and important to her (and me), I might not answer the call. There are no hard and fast rules, but there is courtesy.
It’s amazing what you can learn when exercising at Curves. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been a member of Curves for almost three years now—the first time in my life that I’ve managed to stick with an exercise program that didn’t involve swimming or folk dancing. I just need to be distracted while I wear myself out. Curves is perfect for that. Going from machine to machine occupies the body, but not the mind, so we chat with the other women as we huff and puff. These women are a wellspring of fascinating information. For example…
When asked (in Matthew 22:36-38) which is the greatest commandment in the Law, Jesus replied “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ He was quoting Deuteronomy 6:5, but with a twist—Jesus added the word “mind.”
There’s a reason for this. When Deuteronomy was written, the concept of mind was included in heart and soul. By the time Jesus arrived on the scene, those meanings had diverged. Wanting to be sure that we understood our need to love God with our intellect, Jesus inserted the extra word. (And while Matthew omitted “with all your strength,” Mark and Luke made sure to include it.)
For the past week we’ve enjoyed the company of our out-of-state daughter and two granddaughters. Gwendolyn is now three months old, Willow recently turned two. I’ve loved every chaotic minute. I’ve spent the week reading cardboard picture books, filling sippy cups, and moving sharp or breakable objects to ever higher shelves.
Like all grandchildren, our grandkids are nearly perfect, but they still need a lot of civilizing. They weren’t born polite, considerate, well-behaved little girls. Our kids are doing a wonderful job of teaching and training, but if you’ve ever wondered about the concept of Original Sin, just spend a day with a toddler!