Sunday, May 20, 2007

Jamie Lee McNiven is THREE!

We will be celebrating the third birthday of one of my grandnieces' (Jamie Lee McNiven) this afternoon at her parents' home. Another grandniece, Elizabeth Foxley, turned nine on Monday and I still have her gift in my car, unable to get away all week to give it to her, so she will get her gift today, too!

I got Jamie Lee a couple of little things -- a 24-piece Care Bear puzzle and a Songs Of Jesus book with buttons she can push to play the songs as her mom or dad and her sing along and look at the words in the book. She is a music lover -- has been from the beginning (as if three isn't "beginning" enough!) so I think she will really love it. I'm glad there are eight or nine different songs on it, well-performed, or her folks might have to bury it under a pillow after a while!

Jamie and her family and Lizzie and her family attend (and serve in) churches regularly. A few years ago I also bought the Nest Publications cartoon Bible series (videos and cartoon workbooks/coloring books created by former Walt Disney cartoonists and theological Judeo-Christian masters) for all four grandnieces. Lizzie (nine), Casey (six) and Isabella (almost 4) have been enjoying them for some time now, but Jamie is still with Veggie Tales, Barney, and the rest of the junior set gang. This particular cartoon Bible series is probably the best legacy gift I can give the kids. They really dig them. They are equal parts Old and New Testament stories -- the history of the people who God claimed as His own, led, protected and blessed (and also disciplined strenuously at times for willful disobedience and for failing to live up to His most basic standard of holiness, the Ten Commandments).

I have watched several of the DVDs and have been impressed by how well they follow the Bible stories in language that expresses the awe and reverence with which people in Biblical times considered their God (or G-d, in Hebrew expression) to be. To the Hebrews, the name of the Almighty is, to this day, so holy and revered that they are forbidden to say the name or to write it in its entirety since even G-d's chosen are unclean (sinners) and unable to approach a holy (perfect, unblemished) G-d . That's how we got the universal praise word HALLELU-YAH -- HOLY IS THE NAME OF YHWH -- or YAHWEH.)

Our Judeo-Christian background is BEYOND fascinating -- it's CAPTIVATING when studied, adopted, and reverenced! It sure gives one a deeper sense of our origins and destiny than the thin theory of Darwinism (an "educated guess" appearing less likely every day as fossils and other archaeological artifacts come to light) that we came from apes. Everything everywhere came from God -- even apes, animals I have a great affinity for because they are so much like us mentally and physically (but so are elephants and dolphins like us mentally!) -- so I consider all animals placed under our dominion by God to be worthy of the protection and respect that God expects us to show toward them and our environment.

Mark Twain once joked, "I think God invented man because he was disappointed in the monkey." Nothing God makes disappoints Him except us -- and even we seem to exasperate Him more than we disappoint Him! Like a good parent of toddlers, he just keeps considering us unfinished, lost but running headlong with great joy toward a busy freeway with a razor blade in each hand! He seems to regard us as willing participants in our own unwitting self-destructive aspirations.

But He wants to redeem us because we were created to be his image-bearer and we are (it's obvious by now, isn't it?) incapable of reflecting him perfectly. Occasionally we see glimpses of Our Father in heaven in our mirrors or inside our hearts, but not repeatedly, not reproducably at each and every turn the way we were designed to be. That's why He sent His Son (a perfect reflection of Himself; "in Him I am well-pleased") to live the sinless life designated to (and failed by) us so that we would have a role model and a release (redemption, salvation) from our inability to get the job done right in our own strength.

Not long before Jesus ascended to heaven forty days or so after His resurrection, He told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Paraclete -- the One Who would come alongside them and give them power and the ability to resist demonic influences and be as He was on earth. Right on time, the Paraclete (Holy Spirit) came at Pentecost and since then there's been a spark of the divine taking up residence in our bodies, giving us spiritual insights and tendencies that we wouldn't otherwise spend much time paying attention to.

Those who come to know and to love the Living God did not get there by choice so much as they did by divine intervention. The Bible says, "You did not choose me. I chose you." Boy howdy, is that true in MY case! I was just stumbling through life the best I knew how until that week in early September 1999 when the Holy Spirit began to beckon me with the sweetest, most compelling, unconditionally loving voice I had heard since De: "You need to be baptized..."

I needed WHAT!? Weirdest interstellar communication I ever received in my life! Over and over again, a time or two a day, for over a week...




I made a card not long after and framed it. It reads:

"Father God... You spoke the universe into existence... and ... you spoke to me... Unfathomable... Incredible! AMAZING! I BELIEVE!!!"

I never, ever, ever, ever, ever want to "get over" that sweet sweet experience... that invitation to enter into His Kingdom,which God has been ushering and adopting His children into over four and a half millennia!

If He ever calls you.. if He has ever called you and you didn't respond... RESPOND!

He wants you! I know it sounds absurd... why would He care so much about one individual soul? BUT HE DOES!

The answer to all success in life is this: "Seek ye first the kingdom of G-d, and all these others [necessities and blessings if life] will be added unto you."

If you seek the cart (success) before you harness the horse (the power of God), you are going to be pushing that sucker yourself!

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