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Snow Wonder

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❄️❄️❄️SNOW❄️❄️❄️- it’s something we take for granted. Sometimes we are complaining at shoveling and scraping ice. Other times we are relishing the thoughts of sledding, making snowmen or forts, throwing snowballs and days off of school.
I remember getting to be a high school helper to an exchange student; a young man from Brazil. As much as we taught him in his year with us, I will never forget the one day he helped teach all of us an important lesson.
Our English teacher suddenly stopped class and told us to quietly put on our coats and go outside with him for a few minutes. We saw the absolute awe on Sergio’s face. He was 17 and had NEVER seen snow before!
The sky is falling!! It first terrified and bewildered him. Then delighted him as we all tried to explain how it just suddenly appeared from “up there”. Why is it cold? It disappears when it hits the sidewalk! Why are they sometimes like tiny ice cubes and other times these giant flakes?
We who routinely experience snow no longer marvel at the occurrence nor ponder these many questions that someone who has never seen such a thing. Sergio helped me to better exerience the joy and wonder of discovery by simply looking around me.

It was a marvelous time, and one memory I cherish.

It’s at times like these when we can rediscover the delight in the ordinary. Do you allow yourself to enter into the awesome wonders that surround you every day?

What are some of your recent rediscoveries of delight?

Tsunami of Prayer

As I watched more Earthquake/Tsunami footage, waited and prayed. I also couldn’t help but ponder about what the Bible has to say about the nature of Holy God. From the very opening words of Scripture it says “In the beginning God…” !  It serves as a great reminder that as modern or technologically sophisticated we may believe ourselves to be, man is still the created and God remains the Creator and Sovereign.

I learned that Japan is frequently esteemed for it’s disaster readiness. I then contrasted that with the thought that although they may be prepared for an earthquake or other natural disaster are they really ready for their future?

As I spent the entire night without sleep I was fasting in prayer. I thought about how somehow appropriate it was that this was happening during the season of Lent; a time of darkness awaiting the coming light. I drew many analogies to what was happening in Japan and our attempts in my city, state, county and nation for building a Christian Emergency Network. This being a group of people who serve the community during times of distress by not only helping meet their physical needs, but also addressing their spiritual needs. Disasters come and go, but the power of the Gospel is an everlasting deliverance.

I literally had hours to focus on what God was doing in the Midnight Hours!! At this time when I would normally have been asleep for hours and not even known about what was happening on the other side of the world I was having a study in the impact of prayer.

WHY? Isn’t that often the question at such times as this?

Why am I really up now? Do I not trust that God has everything under control? Am I grotesquely “rubber necking” at the images playing out in the footage from the other side of the world? I had to really pray “search my heart oh Lord, and let me know if there is any wicked way in me. Reveal any sin in me so that I may repent and be in good standing with you and with others.” I know the importance of coming into His presence with a clean heart so that I would not be offensive to Him. I want my time of prayer and seeking God to be one of communion in a sweetness that grows my relationship with Him as I long to learn more about God and how to be transformed into a more accurate image of who He created me to be.

After I addressed these concerns I was better able to focus on reaching out over the world-wide web to people with news as it was happening live. This is a passion of mine; communication through using visual new media in order to take people I may never have met and be able to encourage and equip them. “Coming alongside” also meaning “to comfort”  the Greek word paraklesis — the very act of doing life “together” is what the church is called to do I believe. The “Helper” that Jesus said He was going to send when He went away was the Holy Spirit — the paraklete. I get so stirred up with the Holy Spirit at such times that it is like this Tsunami Wave crossing the Pacific…it’s traveling great distances at high speed (500 – 700 m.p.h.) and is anticipated to have an impact!

WHAT IS A TSUNAMI?

Being from the land-locked Midwest United States, many of the people I live around haven’t a clue what a Tsunami is. Therefore, I thought I would use this short little clip to help explain:Wave-generation-characteristics-recession-inundation

So a Tsunami is generated by a sudden shock. It is NOT a gigantic wave but is more like a surging high tide in fast motion. Out at sea where the ocean floor is so deep there may be no little elevation of a “wave” detectable. However, as the Tsunami wave reaches the shoreline and shallower ocean floor, the elevation of the wave will increase. In fact, as Tsunami is nearing the shore, a sudden very outgoing tide may signal the impending trouble soon to follow. Just as it is often “darkest before the dawn”; it is often an extremely fast outgoing low tide tsunami tide feeder right before the incoming high tsunami tide comes surging in.

We saw that principle at work after the New Orleans flooding disaster a few years back. Tremendous loss of life and property, a very dark time for many people and their communities. Then, just as God always does … the light of goodness comes shining thru. God’s light doesn’t just trickle in either, it FLOODS in to overtake the darkness. How does God do this? Through prayer.  Don’t you see? We are given the awesome honor of being able to join in a concert of prayer! Today, with our connectivity through the internet and mobile devices, more than ever we are able to reach out at any time of day or night and say “here I am,” “I am here with you,” and “let’s pray.” Isn’t that exciting?

One of my favorite songs talks refers to the story in the Bible where Jesus halted the raging storm with a word. Some of the lyrics say, ” sometimes he calms the storm, other times he calms the child.” That is to say, when we go through these “storms” of troubles, as I pray for God to “stop the storm,” but IF I am praying according to His will, I think I will pray like Jesus did in Gethsemene before He went to die to take on punishment for sins He never committed. . . “Father please let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not MY will, but THINE be done.”

It seems so often that when I have prayed this way for others God either changes their situation to a more acceptable/comfortable one OR God causes such growth through both the person and me that I then see the “why” more clearly. When I still don’t see the “why” I firmly stand on “His ways are higher than my ways… I am His child always and forever… He loves me and will only do what is best for me.” And that goes for any of my brothers and sisters in the Lord as well.

UPDATE:

My friend in Maui reports that they had only about six foot waves and had a photo on his FaceBook page from their hotel where there were a couple of people actually out in the rough surf. That is not smart. In fact, upper California or Oregon had a person or two swept out and lost at sea for such foolish activity. Another analogy for those who will not heed a warning and believe “it’s not that bad” or “it doesn’t apply to ME”.

Santa Barbara, I waited as long as I could before writing this post, but Sue had not called me back so I found out through an online source that the beaches had been closed along the California coast as a precaution. However, they just warned people in the marina, and told swimmers and surfers to remain out of the water until the all-clear is given.

So no harm done to either of the places and people that I was praying fervently for all night long. That is, those that I already knew. However, my prayers are continuing for the people of Japan!! There have been reports of hundreds, but I suspect more like thousands of deaths. Plus I keep going back to the thought of the ripping hearts of the mothers and thier babies separated, unable to communicate. Also the myriads of people who are stuck without transportation walking towards there homes; not knowing if their homes are even there. Remember, it is also very COLD! There are some emergency shelters, but those will be full and stretched in resources. Families are certainly separated, unable to locate one another. Are they safe? God only knows !

Therefore, I will continue the tsunami wave of prayer for the relief and rescue efforts that are no doubt underway even now. I am exhausted! I have been up for nearly 2 solid nights now. However, since I have posted this, I am going to be able to get to sleep knowing that God is at work in all this.

As mighty as the power of that earthquake was, and as devastating as the resulting waves of destruction across Japan – God Himself is the ALL-Mighty who never sleeps nor slumbers. It is night now, I must sleep. I will do so with the glorious hope of the approaching light of a brighter tomorrow!


 

 

 


Tiger Encounter

I was blessed to be able to have one of the best animal encounters of my life when I was able to do the Tiger Cub Encounter at the Gulf Coast Zoo (a.k.a. “the Little Zoo that could”).  The zoo currently has two six-week old bengal cubs that they allow you to actually play with for thirty minutes for a fee. What a special once-in-a-lifetime experience for animal lovers like Michelle and me. The tiger has always been my favorite!

The little white male tiger is called Mysore. The little traditional orange cub is a female named Kandy and she was my favorite because she really seemed to like me.

It was absolutely incredible to have one of these precious cubs climbing on me and playing with me. However, the best for me personally was when I fed her a bottle of warm milk. Kandy was a very good nurser and had all ten ounces down in no time. The next thing you know she was fighting to keep her eyes open as she cuddled up to a soft stuffed animal and started to take a cat nap.

This is a segment of video where the female six week bengal tiger named Kandy was playing with me while mouthing a lot. The two little cubs are teething and the animal handlers said they are encouraging them NOT to bite. She is really quite gentle, but you will see me guide her off of biting on my socks or my jeans, etc.  I asked the zoo person what I should say;  like “be gentle” or “no bite” and he said when they get bigger all of that “goes out the window” and a handler will most likely get scratched up in those encounters. That’s part of why they are doing so much handling at this young age. One of the zoo’s goal is to be able to handle the animals for regular exams without the need to use sedatives, yet, realizing that these are wild animals and a person can get hurt. Mutual respect is practiced here.

I was so very blessed to be able to have this encounter while I was visiting my parents who lived in the area of this zoo.  There were only a very few time slots left so my daughter and I went in at different times, but the way it worked out, we were better able to witness the other person having fun and take more photos that way. : )  Plus, I discovered the cubs will actually be gone for the next couple of weeks at another zoo. So it is amazing that the timing worked out.

I talked to other zoo visitors about how it must have been like this in the garden of Eden. God had originally intended for man to live with the animals and subdue the earth. It was fun to think about. Well I can now check this special experience off of my “bucket list.”

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