It Was a Boa

>> Thursday, October 3, 2019

I stood in line at Starbucks in the Barnes and Noble store.  Ahead of me were two more people and then a woman with a very strange scarf around her neck.  The design had a print that looked like a Boa.  I was trying to analyze how that matched her clothing when it moved.  

It was a Boa.  

I was no longer standing in line.  I removed myself a safe distance away and bravely looked at her again.  The snake was around her neck, her waist and around one leg.  It kept moving.  A lady came to stand beside me and said, “That’s why I got out of line.  Why do they let her stay in here?”  

I had no answer.  

That Barnes and Noble is attached to a mall.  After she received her drink, that’s where she headed.  I could only imagine the double takes she received.  Maybe that was what she was after.  

Later that evening, I was watching a television program that had been enjoyable during the previous season. As the program progressed, my mind kept returning to the Boa.  This show had looked okay to me before.  But I began to get a feeling that just maybe it was not an okay program to watch.  

The Boa was moving.  I needed to back off.  

The program had been recorded, so I pushed pause.  I pondered the premise of the show, the focus, the goal it had in mind.  Just as I had realized the Boa around that lady’s neck was real, I suddenly faced the realization that I was watching a snake in my TV room.  As a Christ-follower, I could not continue to watch.  

I deleted the show.  



As our world gets crazier and more immoral, I believe it is going to require us to become more aware of the insidious techniques of evil that have invaded our culture.  It may look innocent enough, but perhaps the hidden agenda contains a scheme to do harm to our moral fiber.  

It’s up to us to remain vigilant.  

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life.”  Proverbs 4:23 (ESV)

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Rest and Reflect

>> Friday, September 13, 2019

Several years ago, Pam, a Toastmaster friend, gave a speech about Sabbath.  I’ve never forgotten the concept she put forth.  It’s time set aside from busyness to commune with God. And so, at various times since then, I’ve tried to schedule a Sabbath.  The times I’ve achieved that in my life totally demonstrated to me why it’s necessary.  Yet, life happens, and the Sabbath gets lost in the hurry and chaos of living.   

Recently a friend chose to re-arrange her work schedule to observe the Sabbath on Saturday, in accordance with Jewish law.  I’ve been in awe of her ability to shift her life that way.  And it has caused me to ponder, again, the need for Sabbath in my life. 

A few months ago, I traveled to Amish country.  Their whole lifestyle reflects a Sabbath culture.  And on Sunday, God is the focus all day.  Only the absolute necessities, such as milking the cows, are accomplished on their Sabbath.  They live a centered life.  

And now, this morning, the podcast I listened to explained the need for us as Christ-followers to observe a Sabbath.  Chuck Swindoll’s definition of Sabbath is to “rest and reflect”.  In our world, we all need that.  As fragmented as we may feel, a time to rest and reflect will bring us back to center, to the main value in our life, God’s love.  

In her speech, Pam explained a Sabbath can be when you choose.  If Wednesday is the day you can set aside, then that works.  If a whole day is impossible, what matters is a specific time and focus to rest and reflect.  

I am feeling the need for Sabbath in my life.  I am retired now, but as I look at my life, I don’t know how I ever found time to work. I do take time for meditation and reading, but that’s not Sabbath to me.  I’ve been experimenting with some mini-Sabbaths early in the morning, on my patio, with the birds singing.  That’s just made me hungry for more.  

It’s a choice I need to make, to set aside time for God.  Maybe you could do the same.  

“I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart, and my spirit ponders.”  Psalm 77:6 (NASB)
  

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Just a Strand

>> Sunday, September 8, 2019

Just as my head hit the pillow, the Ring alarm system alerted me to movement in the back yard. I hurried to the window to see if that cat was back again, the one causing me some sleepless nights.  

No cat.  Probably just a bug crawling on the camera.  That happens sometimes.  

Once again, my head aimed for the pillow.  And once again, the alarm sounded.  I was determined to catch the culprit this time.  Turning on the flood light for the yard, I searched for signs of any movement. 

None.  

Third time’s a charm. This time I knew there had been sufficient time for the video to display, so I checked the event list.  One strand of a cobweb hanging from the gutter moved slowly back and forth in front of the camera. 

A cobweb.  

This involved me putting on a house coat and house shoes, taking a trip to the garage for the broom and then walking to the back yard.  I saw no cobweb but swished the broom madly in all directions.  

There, that took care of that.  

But not so.  

No sooner had I climbed in bed, than the alarm repeated its message.  I do have the comedy routine on video, where I look like a wild woman, swinging that broom around the yard.  Up and down.  Back and forth.  Where in the world was that bloomin’ cobweb?  It wasn’t even a full-blown web; just a strand.  

Of course, by now I was wide awake.  Even though the alarm was silent, my brain was not.  

That’s when the thought occurred to me that life can be just like that.  It may be something very small and insignificant to us, but perhaps to someone else, their alarm bells are going off.  Maybe they were raised in an alcoholic home, you go out to dinner with them and they react to you having a glass of wine.  They may say something, or they may not.  They may just avoid you after that.  The picture of that glass of wine in your hand is more than they can handle. Mentally, they are waving that broom all around.

We just never know what life experiences they’ve encountered.

As a Christ-follower, I pray that I can be sensitive to the smallest signal someone emits.  Even though I may not understand the trauma, I can care about the aftermath they are dealing with and be there for them.  

“We’re all adrift in the same boat; too few days, too many troubles.  … So why not give us a break?  Ease up!  … You’ll watch over every step I take, but you won’t keep track of my missteps.”  Job 14:1, 6, 16  (MSG)

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My Helper

>> Wednesday, September 4, 2019

As a person who lives alone, I’ve become more aware of the consequences of falling.  I hang on to something solid any time I use the step stool.  I make sure the floor has no obstructions in my pathway. And since my brother fell a few weeks ago, breaking ribs and hip, I have increased my vigilance.  

That’s why this scripture caught my attention as I read my Bible the other day.  

“It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. ….. If one falls down, the other helps. But if there’s no one to help, tough!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (MSG)

That last sentence made me chuckle.  Tough.

There is a way to have help in my earthly world.  It’s a little device I carry in my pocket.  If I fall, I push the button and someone is there to respond to my need. And even though I didn’t mean to test it, I know it works.  

At work one day, I bumped the corner of my desk as I passed by.  Suddenly my pocket was talking.  “This is Sean.  Are you ok?” My boss turned to look at me.  “Who’s talking?”  

I reached in my pocket and removed the device.  

“I’m ok.  I’m at work and just bumped into my desk.”  

“Is there anyone there with you who can verify you are ok?”  

That’s when my boss’s sense of humor kicked in.  

“Yes, I’m her boss. Now get back to work.”  

Sean was assured it was an accident.  And I now carry that little tool with the button turned inward to avoid further mishaps.  


But I have so much more than just a piece of equipment in my pocket.  God walks through each day with me.  

I’m never going it alone. 


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