Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sharpening knives

Last Saturday night I had nothing to do. This is a very rare occurrence in my life, and I realized that I must quickly fill that vacant block of time with something useful. That is when I came up with the bright idea of sharpening our knives in the kitchen. I pulled out my sharpening stone and blithely began to stroke away. Sharpening dull knives took longer than I had expected. Several hours later, I was getting a little tired of my newfound occupation, but continued on my mission, convinced that sharp knives were well worth the effort.

Standing by the kitchen counter with knives scattered around me made me think of Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." The Bible is a tool that needs to be acuminated through constant use. Through prayer, the Holy Spirit will sharpen the Biblical concepts in our thoughts, making them useful to our lives. Let's not allow our Bibles grow dull with neglect, but continually read and pray for the great Stone to sharpen our spiritual swords.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What many do not know about Maryland

Maryland state bird: Baltimore oriole (it's beautiful to see these bright spots of sunshine in the forest)

Maryland state flower: Black eyed susan

Maryland state crustacean: Blue crab (believe me, if you go swimming in the summer in the Chesapeake Bay, you will understand why this is our state crustacean)

Maryland state insect: Baltimore checkerspot butterfly

Maryland state reptile: Diamondback terrapin (The Terrapins are also the name of Maryland University's basketball team)

Maryland state song: Maryland my Maryland (interestingly, this was written to encourage Maryland to join the Confederate States of America. Lee ordered his troops to sing this song as they marched through Frederick, but were given the cold shoulder since Frederick was staunchly for the Union)

Maryland state tree: White oak (we had the largest white oak tree in America, until it was blown down in 2002)

Maryland state dog: Chesapeake bay retriever

Maryland state boat: Chesapeake bay skipjack (incidentally, these are the last working sailboats in the US)

Maryland state sport: jousting (yes, that's right, baseball is just a little too modern for us)

And to top all
Maryland state dinosaur: Astrodon jonstoni

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jeremiah and car doors

I shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other. I was in a parking lot between a proverbial rock and hard place. To be exact, my finger was situated all too snugly between the car door and the frame of the car. We have been using a rental car this weekend that does not have an automatic lock, so each door must be locked separately. Somehow, while locking up the car, I miscalculated the time that it would take for the door to close compared with the time it would take to move my finger from the door frame. So there I was, with finger in a locked door, and no way of escape.

I quickly looked around to see if anyone could lend a hand. The car next to mine had three people gathered around it talking about their vehicle. I gave a pleading gaze their direction and entreated them to lend a hand. One of them (I take to be the car dealer) looked up, gave me a disapproving glare, and then quickly shifted his glance back to the car he was so intent on.

I was quite stuck. I had no way to open the door because of the security of the bolt, I couldn't reach through the opposite door, because I couldn't maneuver myself around with a finger caught in the door, and I couldn't simply press a key to open the lock. I tried pulling and wiggling my finger out, but it wouldn't budge. There was nothing else to do. Then it struck me! I needed to pray.

I have been reading Jeremiah in my devotions recently. Judah was in terrible straits. They had been in the grasp of the Devil for centuries, and they were about to be taken into captivity. God was pleading through Jeremiah for Judah to return their loyalty to God, to leave their dangerous courting with evil, and turn back to God. He promised that if they but showed a desire for God He would "deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible (Jer. 15:21)."

I was not "flirting with the evil" car door, but I certainly felt like I was in "the grip of the terrible" when I cried out to God. I mustered up all my strength and with a mighty pull, I wrenched my finger away from the abominable door.

Though it was a relatively small thing for God to do for me, I was reminded that God can save us when we cry to Him, whether it be something like saving us from cars, or saving us from eternal death. We must never forget to call out to Him in our every need. His promises will always hold true.