Not Rare, But Rarely Seen

The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.

Psalm 24:1

The coolest thing happened the other day. One of my co-workers came to tell me there was a luna moth outside! Most of my life I’ve been a butterfly and moth lover, but had never seen a luna in the wild.

I ran outside, and there he was in broad daylight: bright green (most moths are dull in color) and huge! Seeing this mammoth up close was such a treat, because, though not rare, luna moths are rarely seen. Winged adults only live 7-10 days and are mostly active at night.

Seeing one of the largest moths in North America for the first time, after years of searching, motivates me to think about how God works in ways that are not rare but rarely seen.

If the earth and all its contents truly belong to God–since He created them– it’s reasonable to believe He works (mostly unnoticed) to keep things going.

Just like Google, God is a background app we can’t escape.

However, unlike our ‘friend’ in Silicon Valley, the Almighty doesn’t want to control our behavior. He is simply a benevolent Father who promises the best for those who choose to change course (2 Peter 3:9).

There is a way, however, to “hack” the God app and get a bird’s eye view of His activities. Caution: two-factor authentication is required.

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood.

Psalm 24:3-4

Clean hands and a pure heart, the two things required to climb the holy north face.

But here’s the small print: it’s impossible without Christ (Titus 3:5-6).

God is as close to us as the free air we breath. His presence is not rare, but rarely seen.

I wonder how many Luna moths and other marvels of God I’ve missed over the years?

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/08/31/not-rare-but-rarely-seen/

A One Firefly Night

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Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.

Psalm 43:5

Last night, just after dusk, I sat on the back porch taking in the sounds of nature. There were a few crickets and some bird who didn’t know not to sing after sun down. It was all garden variety, until my eye caught a green blink…blink…blink. A firefly!

Hyper-focused, I tried to guess where the micro flash would come next. Over by the storage shed, near the silhouette of a tree, surely this little guy has company!

But there was only one. A single firefly blinked several times and then was gone.

A one firefly night.

And it happened so fast, I didn’t get the chance to share it with anyone. I ran inside, “Sweetheart, I just saw a firefly. ONE firefly! I think I’ll name him Frosty.”

“Frosty?!”, she said.

“Yes, after Robert Frost. You know, the poet who wrote, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”

I then began to quote, unprompted of course, one of my favorite poems:

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost

A single lightning bug–arguably, the most beautiful but fragile of God’s creatures, lives in the words of a famous poet, but also in the heart’s cry of Psalm 43.

Nothing Gold Can Stay.

The scripture, the poem, and the firefly: each say life is GUARANTEED to change. It’s beyond our total control; all one can do is prepare for the inevitable.

Depressing? Perhaps. The free acceptance of an unknown future CAN be.

But you and I know who holds the future.

Put your hope in God; for I will yet praise Him.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/27/a-one-firefly-night/

Telling Ourselves the Truth

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Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom

Psalm 51:6

The brawny woman behind the ice cream counter slammed the scoop into a tub of butter brickle so hard it rattled the glass. Clearly discontented, she never looked up at my teenage brother and me–not even to hand us our double-dip cones.
That’s when my older sibling, rarely hesitant, asked the most daring question:

Maam, do you enjoy your job?

My brave brother

THAT got her attention! The ice cream lady looked up, glaring at my brother like a roller derby queen about to pounce. For a second, I thought she would jump over the counter and start wailing on him with that scoop. But almost as quickly as it came, her penetrating stare softened into a heedful gaze. Even an eight year old me could see the wheels turning; it was an aha moment.

“No, I don’t like my job,” the woman said with growing resolution. “I used to be a truck driver, trucking is what I really want to do.”

Ice Cream Lady

That was it. We paid for our ice cream and took a seat. But, clearly, the would be truck driver experienced a catharsis. Prompted by my brother’s question, she told herself the truth.

Good questions. God likes to ask them too.

I looked it up, the first question God asks is in Genesis chapter three. Adam and Eve have just eaten the forbidden fruit and hide when they hear God out for a walk. But God calls out to Adam,

“Where are you?”

Genesis 3:9

God knew the answer, of course–He always does–but he could have said, “What have you done?” Thankfully, He is more concerned Father than pitiless inquisitor (2 Peter 3:9). He just wants us to come back.

Today, may both you and I tell ourselves the truth–whatever it is.

Speak the truth and see what happens.

Dr. Jordan Peterson

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/23/telling-ourselves-the-truth/

IYQ-YQR

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“If you, God, kept records on wrong doings, who would stand a chance? As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that is why you’re worshiped.”

Psalm 130:3-4 MSG

I met a clown once. I know, that’s a weird opening sentence, but it’s true. He was at the mall making balloon animals for the kids. While he contorted a squeaky red one into a dog for my son, I noticed six cryptical letters embroidered on his costume–where a name tag would be.

“IYQ-YQR,” I said, “What does that mean?” “Oh, you don’t speak “clown-lish,” said the red-nosed jester with a smirk. “I…like…you..like…you…are,” he said, pointing at each letter.

My new clown friend was on to something. He must have heard about the guy who said this:

Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Theodore Roosevelt

At the risk of comparing the Almighty to both a clown and our 26th president, I believe God agrees.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

Psalm 103:8,10,13

I think we agree, imperfect humans fall far short of God’s holiness (Romans 3:23). And our creator doesn’t grade on the curve. He could flunk us all. Thankfully, there’s a merciful solution for our predicament.

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8

Okay, now I’m preaching. You probably already know these things.

Here’s my somewhat fresh angle:

God likes you like you are.

You don’t have to DO anything to earn his approval. Like that clown at the mall, He just likes you…period.

Squeaky balloon animal, anyone?

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/18/iyq-yqr/

From Grief to Joy

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I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Jesus (John 16:33)

What “things” is Jesus talking about–that he told them?


Christ had just shared the news that he was soon to be betrayed and arrested, falsely accused and convicted, and then brutally executed. Furthermore, as these events unfolded, most everyone listening to this unwelcome monologue would run for their lives.

Yet He told them these things so that they could have peace.

Peace!?


Absolute worst case scenarios don’t usually include serenity.
But Jesus knew the WHOLE story: 72 hours later He would be alive again and the disciples’ grief would turn to joy.

It’s likely you’re already familiar with the story, so I’ll get to the point.

Isolation is cured by authentic community.

The disciples were cowering behind locked doors for fear of arrest, until the risen Christ Himself came knocking. Isolation changed to authentic community the second someone turned the bolt!

Once united, these former frightful believers in Christ soon turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6)!

I bet, like me, you’ve experienced everything from rock bottom grief to over the moon joy. Here’s the good news: Christ said one day it will ALL be joy,
because the Prince of Peace overcame the world and started the most authentic community EVER!

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

Mother Teresa

Do Your Thing, Ding-a-ling!

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

1 Corinithians 12:7

Being a part of a hand bell choir is a rewarding, yet often daunting, experience. Picture nine people standing behind a long line of tables filled with bells. Every ringer plays at least two–one for each hand. Thankfully, you are only responsible for the bells in front of you. A space note in the left hand. A line note in the right. It sounds simple enough, right? But playing your part means finding and following these two notes as they bob up and down in a sea of black ink. Meanwhile, every other ringer at the table is trying to do the same thing! And one mistake can bring EVERYBODY down. It feels like taking a tightrope walk over a waterfall with several of your friends.

“Just play the notes at the proper time and everything will be fine.”

Doris, our brave director.

It seems that playing in a handbell choir is much like being part of a Christian community–the Body of Christ. In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul compares the church to a human body whose many parts make up a whole:

“As it is, there are many parts, but one body…If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

1 Corinthians 12:20,26

In other words, everyone matters if anyone matters at all.

At this point in your Christian journey, please remember the following:

There are parts of the song that can only be played by you.

So do your thing, ding-a-ling!

“Therefore, dear soul, in this life you are receiving a music lesson from the Father. You are being trained to sing in a choir you cannot see, and there will be parts in the chorus that only you can sing.”

George Matheson