Friday, August 26, 2011

Are we missing something?

hon·or  [on-er] n. – high respect as that shown for special merit; a great privilege; glory, recognition, distinction, esteem.

We live in a society with little honor.  Sarcasm and cynicism are running rampant, ruling media, and rendering important things meaningless.  We do not know how impactful words are.

(Zombies are actually nothing to joke about)

“The tongue has the power of life and death…” (Prov. 18:21)
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” (Isa. 5:20)

wor·ship [wur-ship]  v. – to feel an adoring reverence or regard, to find worth in.

What do we worship?  Take a look at the ol’ checkbook.  The things and activities we spend our money and time on are what we find worthwhile. 

Our deepest desire is to be loved and accepted.  We crave fulfilling relationships. Facebook is wildly successful for a reason.   We want to stop worrying, to laugh with others, to always feel like we are in love.  There is an almost unquenchable desire for respect, distinction, adoration, etc… a longing to be enjoyed by others.  We spend our time, energy, and money trying to fill these desires.

“Take delight in The Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps. 37:4)

Do not be deceived.  You are not defined by the things that you do, but by who (and whose) you are.  Each of us is incredibly important!  Public figures glorifying themselves and cursing others are not funny or entertaining.  Marketing firms preying on our hopes and fears are actually cruel not creative.  Leaders serving themselves forget who has allowed them to lead.  Do not accept this lie that you are alone, that nothing matters, or that by “saving money, you will live better”. 

Instead, remember that “we are made in the image of G+d, in His own likeness, to rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Gen. 1:26).  We are not robots.  G+d has made us “a little lower than Himself crowning us with glory and majesty!” (Ps. 8:5). 

As our greatest example, Jesus showed us how to live a life of joy, peace, and love in the midst of both friends and enemies.  He turned water into wine, mourning into joy.  He spoke to the storm and commanded it to stop.  He gave thanks and fed thousands.  He cast evil out of people.  He showed us that G+d’s children really do have authority over the earth and how to use it.  He taught us to pray “on earth as it is in heaven”, to forgive others, to ask, to receive, that the Kingdom of heaven is at hand, and to love The Lord our G+d with everything we can muster.   Jesus says “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).  Jesus says “give and it will be given to you…for by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:38).  I believe Jesus.

G+d is the best Father any of us can know.  He is waiting, willing, and more able than we can comprehend to “give good gifts to those who ask Him” (Matt. 7:11).  In His “presence is fullness of joy and in His right hand are pleasure forever.” (Ps. 16:11)  Nobody wears glasses in heaven, there is no sickness, no sadness, no cancer in the presence of G+d, no aches or pains in His Kingdom.  The solution is to honor and worship The Lord appropriately.  Adore The Lord!  Adore yourself!  Adore others!  The more you give, the more you receive by your own standard.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Oh Alaska!

Alaska is named for the Aleut word alaxsxaq meaning "the mainland" or"that which the sea breaks against" also from the word Alyeska which means "the great land".  And indeed Alaska is great! 

In fact, Alaska is huge, majestic, awesome, expansive, ginormo, etc.  Alaska is way bigger than Texas.  The cumulative seacoast mileage of Alaska is longer than that of the entire continental U.S.  The two largest national forests in the U.S. are in (where else) Alaska, as well as, the tallest peak in North America.  Even the birds are huge in Alaska.  Compare a robin or crow from anywhere in the lower 48 and they will be dwarfed by the same bird in Alaska.

For Sarah, the astonishing thing about Alaska has been learning how ridiculously dangerous living there seems to be.  And the locals can expound, in gruesome detail, on the various ways you can meet The Maker during your short vacation.  Just ask them.  We should all have the common sense to avoid bears (black, brown, and polar), moose, bison, sheep, caribou, elk, fox, wolf, lynx, and wolverines. 

But the glacially fed rivers and lakes stay so cold all year that even a short exposure (approx. 5 minutes) can be deadly.  The Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet experiences some of the highest tide swings (up to 40 feet) in the world.  That could kill you somehow.  And almost every year somebody fatally wanders out on the mudflats during low-tide only to find out too late that the tide comes in under the flats first quickly turning what was as solid as concrete into quicksand.  Volcanoes.  Avalanches.  Calving glaciers.  Rock slides.  You really have to stay on your toes.

Summer in Alaska offers some of the best wildflower viewing, well don't get too close because many of those plants are extremely toxic.  And the almost invisible prickles of the devil's club plant, that seem to grow everywhere, will actually burrow themselves into your body if you have the misfortune of brushing against one.  Not fatal, but very uncomfortable. 

We even heard a story about a tragic situation where a beloved horse somehow contracted rabies, turned on its owner and killed them.  There are neighborhood dogs that regularly kill moose calves and I am sure they would turn on a human.  It gets so cold in the winter sometimes that my mom has witnessed ice forming on the concrete walls of her basement. That's right, inside her house and that is with the heat full blast!  While we were visiting, the local newspaper issued a warning that clams being harvested this year were tainted and, you guessed it, they can kill you if you eat them.

Despite all this, we enjoy every trip we make to Alaska!  We are blessed to have such courageous family braving the elements and living the Alaskan adventure.  May you dwell in the shelter of The Most High and rest in the shadow of The Almighty.