Gone Walkabout...

This blog was going to be about my travels and impressions I had from them. But my attention span went walkabout. And like with any good walkabout I discovered unexpected things. I invite you to come explore with me...

You can contact me at teri-gonewalkabout@live.com

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Fourth Commandment: Exodus 20:8-11

Exodus 20

8 Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
9 For six days you shall labour and do all your work.
10 But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.

I found in studying this one I needed to find out just what "a Sabbath" was. Beyond the quick definition.

The term "Sabbath" derives from the Hebrew shabbat (שבת), "to cease". In looking through the Bible, the Lord has a lot to say about the Sabbath.

Exodus 31
13 "Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.....15 For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death.

"...put to death." Alrighty then. He is SERIOUS about this.

And I discovered that people get pretty serious about their interpretation of this also. And there is a LOT of interpretations! Is the Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday or Friday night to Saturday night? What time does it start? Does it even apply to us now? Can it be any day as long as you are resting and honoring God?


But it seems that folks are more worried about "when" the Sabbath is, than they are concerned about obeying the directive of the command.

"... keep it holy..." "Holy" means set apart as special, sacred. Before you breeze past this one, remember that God is holy. So if our Holy Father says to make a day 'holy', this needs to go past our daily thankfulness to Him.

Oh to be sure people like that "shall not do any work" section. Family time...here we come! But notice it doesn't stop with your household. "... your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns." In 2009 could that read..."sales clerks, wait staff or 'pick an occupation'"? What is the Lord whispering to your heart about that?

Does that mean we need to kick back and just have a good time at home? Take a look at what the Lord had to say about that in Isaiah...

Isaiah 58:13-14 (New International Version)

13 "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD's holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,

14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob."
The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Confused? I was. So what can we do?

Matthew 12:12 - "... it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." This was spoken by Jesus to the Pharisees after He healed the man with the withered hand.

So what to do now? I feel that my Sabbath - which I chose to be on Sunday - will be a day of rest.

Physical rest in that I am not going to labor. And I'm not going to go the way of the Pharisee as to define to a sliver what is or is not labor! You know when something is work and when it's not. Spending time with family and friends, enjoying a home prepared meal, going out for a walk or drive to enjoy God's beauty is all good.

Spiritual rest by enjoying the Lord's presence, studying His word and doing good things in His name.

And I personally feel that I should not cause others to work on Sunday. So... no more meals out and no more shopping. But I will have to remember not to be judgmental and not to cause others to stumble because of my belief.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Third Commandment: Exodus 20:7

Exodus 20

7 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

To know what is 'wrong', we first need to know what is 'right'.

So how is a person supposed to USE the name of God? In praise, in worship of His majesty, in calling out to Him, and in sharing it with others who are seeking Him.

ANY other use of His name is wrong. His name is not an exclamation of disgust, anger or dismay. Nor is it a casual exclamation of surprise or even delight. It is not a profanity. It is not for joking. It is not a name for a person or pet. It is not part of a brand name. It is not for fad clothing and jewelry.

And remember, the LORD has many names. All aspects of His three-fold person are God.

Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV)
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Another thought came to me. What about those 'cute' substitutions for His name? "Gosh darn" comes to mind. You very well know what that refers to. What about abbreviating it? "GD". Ditto. It's my opinion that since I know what it is substituting for, it is also wrong to use. Again, there is that appearance. That moment of dishonoring. So not worth it.

And by the way, thinking it is the same as saying it...

The Second Commandment: Exodus 20: 4-6

Exodus 20

4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me,
6 but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Many Christian think this doesn't apply to them. After all, they don't worship any idols...there are no alters in their homes. Only the pagans do that!

Are you so sure?

Christians state with their words that they have placed their faith in Jesus Christ.

But how often do they show otherwise with their actions of carrying "lucky charms" and believing in superstitions? Their faith in Jesus Christ is not strong enough to overcome the need to also have faith in a man-made object (called an idol in Biblical days) or ritual.

When was the last time you told someone "Good luck"? Knocked on wood lately? How was your horoscope this morning? How do you feel about Friday the 13th?

What about that lucky shirt or penny? Do you have a "dream catcher" hanging in your car? Charms are defined as: An item worn for its supposed magical benefit, as in warding off evil; an amulet. An action or formula thought to have magical power.

It is wrong to put yourself even in the appearance of following pagan beliefs.

"You shall not bow down to them or worship them" Shall not... WILL not. The Lord isn't asking you to not do this: He's TELLING you not to do it.

"...for I the Lord your God am a jealous God,..." Remember what I said about the 1st commandment... "it's all about Him". Think about how your spouse would feel if they caught you loving on someone else. Wouldn't be pretty what would happens next, would it?

The Lord feels that way too. And it's not pretty what happens...

"...punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me..."

But the Lord is merciful and sent us His son who gives us grace. Without it, we'd be toast.

"... but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments."

I'll take that love of the Living God over a dead rabbit's foot any day!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The First Commandment: Exodus 20:2-3

Exodus 20
2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3 Do not have any other gods before me.

As I read this, the first thing that leaps off the page is the first four words - "I am the Lord...". That right there establishes who the boss is. "I am the Lord". The One who created the universe. The One who knows the number of stars in the sky and grains of sand on the earth. The One who knows every thing that has ever happened and will ever happen. "I am the Lord".

And then this One who we can never understand becomes tender... "...your God...". He's talking about ME! The One who breathes worlds into existence is talking about me. He notices me... Maybe it's time I should listen.

"...brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery..." Egypt? I've never been to Egypt! And I sure haven't been a slave, so maybe this doesn't apply to me after all.

Wrong! In a miraculous way, the Lord who knows yesterday, today and tomorrow was speaking to a tattered bunch of Jews and at the same time He was speaking to you and me who wouldn't be born for so many years.

We are ALL in slavery. And the master's name is satan. And we marched around in a desert of our own making until we crossed our impassable sea of sin, brought out by the Lord Jesus.

OK, now what? "...do not have any other gods..." That means NONE. Zero. Not even a shadow!

How can we have other gods? Where does our faith lie? Where is most of our attention focused?

Take this challenge: For 2 weeks keep a journal. You will record all of your activities from waking to sleep - listing everything...time watching TV, eating, driving, and computer and so on.

At the end of 2 weeks, look at your activities. How much of your time was dedicated to God? Did you even make 10%? BTW, 10% of 2 weeks is 33 hours and 36 minutes or 2 hours and 24 minutes a day. Does that seem like a lot of time? Now look at the amount of time you spent on entertaining yourself... TV, computer, recreational activities, sports, tanning... whatever it is in your journal that you've done these last 2 weeks. How many hours did you spend on your own pleasure? "...Do not have any other gods..."

"...before me." Now is not the time to get cute and say, "OK, I can have all this other stuff after I do for God." The word 'before' can have several definitions. Yes, there is the 'before' that speaks of sequence - before/in front of/proceeding. But there is also the 'before' that means "in the presence of". In the quiet of your soul, which one do you really think He means?

"In the presence of" an omnipresent God. That is everywhere. His presence is wrapped around you more than the air.

He does not want "other gods" ANYWHERE in your life.

It's all about Him.

The Ten Commandments

One of the pastors of my church - Ron Edmondson ( http://www.ronedmondson.com/ ) - did a series of blog messages this last April on the Ten Commandments. They are under the tag "Devotional".

But anyway... in the months since Ron wrote those posts I have found my thoughts coming back time and again to "The Rules". The Law. And how I need to apply that Law in my life. After all, they are not the "Ten Suggestions".

I will be posting my thoughts as I work my way through each one.

Worthless, pathetic person!!!

What am I so fired up about? Below is the open letter-to-the-editor I'm sending to our local newspaper about what happened this morning...

Dear Editor,

This is an open letter to the pathetic individual who dumped a ferret out along the river at 7:35am Saturday 22 August. You could have put a free ad in the Leaf Chronicle, or the Peddler, or on Craig's List. But no, you dumped this poor animal in my yard. Of course it won't come to me, so you have condemned it to a slow death of starvation. Perhaps it will be "lucky" and a coyote or dog will quickly end its misery. If I could have gotten the tag numbers off of your white extended cab GMC pick-up, you would have been turned in to the Sheriff. But you guiltily sped up that hill, didn't you? As it is, I hope the people who know you and wonder what happened to your pet will now realize what type of person you are.

THAT is why I am so angry...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Free up some time – quality v. quantity

My schedule was so full of things I “must” to do, that I had no time to do the things I WANTED to do. How insane is that?

So I pulled out my calendars for the current year and the two previous years and looked at all the activities & meetings I had been a part of. And I started listening to friends talk about all the things they had to do and how stressed they were over it.

That’s when I realized that so many people (myself included) had great ‘quantity’ of activities instead of great ‘quality’ of activities.

Of course I realize there are many things we must do. We must work to make a living & maintain the home (homemakers work too!). We must spend time serving the Lord. We must interact with our children. And we must have personal leisure time.

The problems arise when our calendar gets out of balance.

You become a Christian – you serve the Lord. You attend church. You go to a Bible study.

You are blessed with children – you spend time with them. You teach them about life and responsibility. You have fun with them.

You have a home – you maintain it. You clean it. You decorate it.

You join a club – you attend meetings. You work events. You participate.

I was spending huge blocks of time dealing with my clutter of things. I was involved in groups that I had long ago lost interest in or never actually wanted to be involved with in the first place! Pretty bad, huh?

Because of what I saw in my life and my friends’ lives, I developed a personal time philosophy I call “The Rule of Three”. Jugglers can keep 3 balls in the air with relative ease. Good multi-taskers can handle 3 projects with little difficulty. So I divided my life into thirds.

First – always first – is God. Second is my home & family. Third is my leisure.

But then that needed breaking down to keep it under control.

In living my faith, my 3 areas are:
1. Study His Word.
2. Attend church and serve on Sundays.
3. Serve Him by doing mission work & mission support.

For my home and family, my activities are:
1. Spend quality time interacting with my family.
2. Make and maintain an attractive & clutter-free home (house and yard).
3. Nurture my interest in cooking and meal presentation.

And finally my leisure time. I divide this into 2 groups – Hobbies and Interests. Hobbies are hands-on, activity related. Interests are more studying and learning. This is where I really had to make some decisions and let some activities go.
My three hobbies: 1. Photography. 2. Bonsai. 3. Jewelry making
My three interests: 1. My sponsor children. 2. Landscaping. 3. Extension Homemakers group.

I can not tell you how much narrowing my focus has helped take stress off. I go to church every Sunday and Bible study every Wednesday. I have 3 regular monthly meetings. That leaves plenty of time to do things we want to do... mission activities, classes, day trips, time with family & friends.

The system is not perfected yet. I still am fighting down that clutter monster and disorganization monster but that battle is almost won. In itself that free up a lot of extra time for everything else (these long stretches of alone time while Himself is in AK has been very helpful to my “clutter busting”).

I challenge you to consider your calendar. What is it that you long to do? What is it that is keeping you from doing that? Make a plan to direct you on how to focus on what is important to you & your family. You’ll find once you have a plan, it is very easy to weed out those distracting activities that aren’t enhancing your life.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More freedom - removing toxic people from your life

Yesterday I wrote about the clutter of possessions. But that is not the only thing that can own you. Most likely even more than things, the people you have in your life can drive you nuts.

Long ago I realized that there are people who are just ‘toxic’. They poison your life with demands, negativity, put downs, guilt, back stabbing, criticisms, never ending personal drama and they might even steal from you (borrowing things or money that is never returned is stealing).

The sad thing is these people come disguised as friends. As co-workers. As fellow church members. Like the saying goes, “With friends like these… who needs enemies?”

My question is: Why keep them in your life?

Just as when we were a child we learned it’s not smart to touch that hot stove, we also must learn it’s not smart to have toxic “friends”. Why should a person allow someone to bring havoc into their life and soul? It’s touching that stove over and over and over. It’s insanity.

A toxic person will hurt you as long as you allow them into your life. YOU are the one allowing the pain and frustration to continue.

There was a time in my life I had so many toxic people around me I should have been living in a hazmat suit! It was depressing… draining (emotionally and financially)… and irritating! So I started cutting them away. For sure there were guilt attempts by them to continue the relationship – big time! After all, THEY were the ones benefiting from the relationship. But I knew in my soul there was no reason to be guilty.

A friend is supposed to be a blessing.

I learned to say “no”. “No” to doing someone else’s responsibilities. “No” to allowing criticisms, put downs and back handed compliments to seep into my soul. “No” to always being the giver in a relationship and rarely, if ever, the receiver. “No” to listening to complaints and negative comments that drain the joy out of life. "No" to the person who cancels plans at the last minute because she "wasn't feeling it". "No" to the chronic late arrivers who think their time is more valuable than anyone elses.

No – nein – nyet – la – hapana – non – nao! NO!!!

I can guarantee if you set a boundary and do not let a toxic person manipulate you… they will leave your life. When you stop giving them what they want, they are gone to find a new “friend” that they can control.

I’ve seen mushrooming of toxic friends with the advent of “social networking”. Facebook is amazing for that. People who actively dislike me (and the feeling is mutual) are suddenly requesting to be my “friend”. Why??? Hit that ‘ignore’ button! And by the way, it’s alright to “un-friend” someone. If you do and they try to ‘friend’ you again, ignore them. If they have the nerve to ask why you deleted them and you don’t want to be blunt (“I don’t like you”), then just say you are cutting back on your friend list… so sorry… but you can email privately any time you’d like. (Don’t worry… they won’t be emailing you soon enough).

Some people use Facebook to peek into others lives... just like that nosey neighbor who watches everything you do from their curtained window. Or worse...peeking into your window from outside! Not giving them free rein in your personal life is NOT being rude. It is NOT 'keeping the peace'. It's NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS!

Remember… your friendship is a gift too. Choose wisely who you give it to.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Free at last!

I knew I had too much “stuff”. But until I moved last summer, I never realized just how much over the top it was. It’s now one year later and I am still unpacking boxes. That’s just wrong. It has become so apparent to me that the more stuff you own… the more the stuff owns you.

It’s bad enough if you keep it fairly well organized. But if it has turned to clutter, you have sold yourself into slavery.

Why would I say that?

Think about the amount of time it takes to maintain a mountain of possessions. Just cleaning it (and cleaning around it) takes forever. Not organized? How many hours have you spent looking for something? How many dollars have you spent buying something you have but can’t find? How frustrated has it made you?

That is where I found myself earlier this year. My office piled high with boxes of stuff. Unorganized. Missing things I needed. Spending hours fooling around with “things”.

Enough was enough. I began to hate those boxes. And in that I found the ability to purge and organize.

There was an added blessing in that a Christian mission we sponsor a missionary thru (Africa For Jesus) is opening a thrift shop to support their work. That gives me the additional motivation I need to keep going when it feels like my head will explode from making decisions.

So I am sorting and boxing up a lot of things to donate to the thrift shop. Instead of a mountain of boxes full of ‘whatever’, I now have a mountain of boxes that are empty waiting for recycling.

My goal is to have the house box free and organized by the end of this month. That’s 10 days. I can do this!

Does that mean I will be done? Not quite. There is still the shed to deal with. But because the size and weight of the items out there – and all the shelves that must be built to hold tools and seasonal items – that will be worked on when Himself gets home AND the weather cools off.

A friend recently asked me what I will do with myself once I am done decluttering. I have to smile at the possibilities. I’ll finally have time to scrapbook, put together photo books, make jewelry, start experimenting with recipes again, garden, working on my bonsai or head off to a movie or class without fretting over what needs to be done.

Or I could take a nice nap!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Welcome Little Bird

I've just become an aunt!

At sometime shortly after 8 am, my new niece arrived. I'll post a photo after I figure out how to get it off my cell phone!

As Little Bird's aunt, it is my job to make sure she has plenty of cute shoes and loud toys. As she gets older, I hope to show her where Orion's Belt is in the sky... how to ride a horse... take her to explore the zoo... watch old musicals together... and show her as many wonders of this world as I can.

I'm looking forward to the job.