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BLOGWORDS – 27 March 2017 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – GENE WHITEHEAD

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – GENE WHITEHEAD

 

 The Promise of a Lifetime

Throughout history, there are a few traditions that are common to just about every civilization. Though the ceremonies and customs may be extremely different, countless cultures around the world embrace some kind of wedding tradition.

 

It dates back beyond the Greek and Roman Empires, was before the ancient Eastern Asian civilizations. The deepest roots of weddings and marriage are actually found in the Garden of Eden.

 

The First Wedding

Very early in Scripture, in Genesis 2:18-25, we not only find the first marriage, but also God’s intended design for marriage and the very principles that instruct us on how to honor God through marriage.

 

I don’t know how much time transpired between Adam’s creation and Genesis 2:18, but some scholars suggest that God allowed that time for Adam to be alone so that he would recognize that he needed companionship.

 

That companionship is the illustration of a God honoring marriage. As Genesis 2 points out, a marriage that honors the Lord is one where the man and woman are joined together, outside of the governing rule of either set of parents. That doesn’t mean that a man can’t seek Godly counsel from his parents if they are Godly parents, but ultimately the responsibility to lead a marriage falls on the husband. Verse 24 of Genesis 2 illustrates that saying, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cling to his wife, and they shall be as one flesh.”

 

Backing up to verse 23 though shows us the very first wedding vows as Adam proclaims that his companion is “bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh.” It doesn’t get more intimate than that.

 

The Modern Wedding

There is no doubt that mankind has come up with some absolutely weird wedding day customs throughout the centuries. Here’s a few:

 

  1. In England, it was good luck if a bride kissed a chimney sweep on her wedding day because he had special powers that swept away evil spirits.
  2. Egyptian women pinch the newly married bride to bring good luck to themselves.
  3. Korean grooms ask a happily married friend to make 2 wooden ducks for his wedding day because ducks will mate for life.
  4. In Scotland, it’s unlucky to wear green or to eat green vegetables at a wedding because green is the color of fairies and the color of revenge.

 

That’s just a sample. There is no shortage of customs and traditions that would make you laugh, wonder, or scratch your head in amazement!

 

How about the modern wedding in the Western world? We also have some things that seem to be adding to the long list of wedding traditions.

 

We’ve coined phrases like bridezilla to represent a particularly difficult to satisfy bride. We not only send wedding invitations out, but now we send out pre-invitations that we call “save the date.” The focus seems to be on drawing the largest crowds to our wedding celebrations.

 

In modern weddings, we spend months and sometimes even years and unprecedented dollars on planning the big day. The danger in that is that we are putting far too much focus on the sprint of the wedding day, losing sight of the marathon of a lifelong marriage.

 

The Promise of a Lifetime

My wife and I were married young. Probably too young. She was 17 and I was 19. Statistically speaking, we should have called it quits long before now.

 

We celebrated our 25th Anniversary not even 90 days ago as I write this. While there’s a good level of satisfaction at having beat the odds, we also acknowledge that it wasn’t easy. [rem: Congratulations to you both!]

 

In my experience, my counsel to those who are going to be married are to make the promise of a lifetime. I don’t paint an unrealistic picture of a “happily ever after” wedding and marriage. Things go wrong. Sometimes they even go wrong on wedding days. But when the focus is on the promise of a lifetime, the little things don’t carry as much weight.

 

Sometimes, even frequently, things go wrong long after the big celebration. There will come a time when almost every married couple won’t like each other. There were times when my wife and I couldn’t stand being in the same room together. We almost walked away from it all.

 

Those are the seasons that quite honestly make or break a marriage. This is when the promise of a lifetime, when the rubber on the tires of “for better or worse” meet the road.

 

And without the design of the God honoring marriage, this is the breaking point for many couples.

The Big Picture

The celebration of the wedding day is a day to honor marriage. It’s an important part of the much larger illustration of our relationship with God that marriage provides.

 

The big picture is that marriage is the earthly image of the relationship between Christ and the church. That’s why we see Christ referred to as the Bridegroom and His church as the Bride.

 

On the wedding day, a man and his wife become one flesh, just as we become one with our Lord and Savior (1 Corinthians 6:17). Just as a wife is to be led by her husband, Christ leads His church. And as a husband is called to sacrificially love his wife, Christ gave His all for the church in His love.

 

Marriage is hard work. It’s sacrificial in nature, and it’s absolutely rewarding while sometimes excruciatingly painful. The wedding day is an important part of the total package, but it’s the marriage that is the promise of a lifetime.

 

 

 

Gene Whitehead ditched his first career in order to serve people and share hope. His passion is to help people embrace Christ and apply Scripture to their life, something Gene calls Simple Theology for a Messy Life. You can read about that and download his free eBook, The Armor of God at genewhitehead.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Gene Whitehead, The Promise of a Lifetime

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BLOGWORDS – 20 March 2017 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – DAVID STEARMAN

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – DAVID STEARMAN

 

 

A child once prayed, “Lord, please make all the bad people good, and all the good people nice.” Profundity. Out of the mouths of babes… Because so many of us…Christians, that is, i.e. the self appointed “good people” as it were, find ourselves lacking in the common grace of kindness.

 

I believe this has to do with the way we see on another. Because we do fairly well with these things when it comes to strangers and acquaintances. We do our best not to insult, act rudely, or speak offensively to those with whom we have little contact. But there’s truth in old country proverb that goes, “familiarity breeds contempt”, and once we get to know these folks a little better, we begin to notice our golden idol’s feet of clay. We look beyond their gleaming virtues to their faults. And the more and more familiar we become with these, our new friends, the more glaring their faults can appear, and the more critical of them we can become.

 

Enter a critical spirit. A judgmental attitude. Disrespect. And unkindness, on our part.

 

I believe this has to do with our focus – what we see when we’re seeing them. And nowhere is this principal more evident than in marital relationships. If a woman is not careful of her focus, that Knight in Shining Armor can morph before her eyes into an irresponsible brat. Conversely, the Queen of any Man’s Dreams can appear to him as the Wicked Witch of the West. Because the fact remains that none of us are perfect. Especially us, when we’re resentful and rude toward the ones we love.

 

Remember when you first met your true love? They were smart, witty, funny, and wonderful. How you admired their admirable qualities. How your heart lit up with love when they walked into the room.

 

Well guess what? That person, with those attributes, is still there. The positive qualities we first saw in our spouses still exist. Can you still see them? I believe you can, but sometimes not without putting forth the effort to change your habitual focus.

 

One man sees a sunset and grumbles, “Tough day. Glad that’s over.”

Another lifts his voice to pray, “How beautiful is the handiwork of God.”

Same scene, different perspective, different attitude. What do you see when you see the love of your life?

 

I was speaking in a church one evening when the Holy Spirit spoke to me about a couple in the room. I didn’t know them, or even which couple they might be among the many in attendance that night. All I knew was that the Lord was telling me there was a man and woman in the service who were contemplating giving up on their marriage, and that He was instructing me to give them some advice. So I just spoke it out: “A married couple here is considering divorce,” I said. “In fact, you’re planning on filing the papers this next week. And this is what I believe the Lord would say to you: ‘Don’t do it. Instead, go home, and during the next few weeks, treat each other the way you would if you truly loved each other. And treat each other the way you used to treat one another when you first met.’”

 

Sometime later the pastor of that church told me how accurate that word from the Lord had been. That a couple in that exact situation had indeed been in the service, and that taking that advice had actually saved their marriage.

 

God is good, and He knew what they needed. It was about what they saw when they looked at one another. It was about focusing on the good, rather than the bad. And consequently, about how they treated each other: it was about focus, respect, and kindness.

 

My wife and I have been married longer that some reading this have been alive. And all this time we’ve been blessed with a wonderful, loving marriage. In fact, because of this, we’re often asked if we’re newlyweds. Others, who know better, often ask how they can have a marriage like ours. And my answer is always the same: Focus on the best in one another. And be kind. Especially, be kind.


 

 

David Stearman is a songwriter and recording artist turned novelist, who specializes in romantic and adventure stories. His love for nature and travel is reflected in his writings, which often feature scenes set in exotic locales.

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/david.stearman

https://twitter.com/DavidStearman

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6454021.David_Stearman

http://www.davidstearmanministries.org/

http://www.amazon.com/David-Stearman/e/B008EKIOZG

http://tropikbird.wordpress.com/

https://www.pinterest.com/davidstearman/

http://instagram.com/David_Stearman/

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, David Stearman, The Grace of Kindness, Hummingbird, Falling for Chloe

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BLOGWORDS – 13 March 2017 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – EMILIE HENDRYX

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – EMILIE HENDRYX

 


A Different Kind of True Love by Emilie Hendryx

 

The depth of love we can express is untapped and truly amazing. We see a hint of it here and there. Maybe someone buys your coffee at Starbucks in the drive through or a teen helps an elderly person across the street but these things are rare.

 

 

Why are we blinded by our selfishness?

 

I was looking through one of the many posts of ‘things that will touch your heart’ (or some similar title) and unfortunately these pictures are small in number compared to the 7+ billion people who live on the earth.

 

Are you one of these people? Maybe you aren’t caught on camera, maybe your act of love doesn’t go viral, but do you go out of your way for a kindness? Do you love from the very deepest part of your being? The beauty of being in Christ is that you can do these things. You can love like He does because He’s in you. There’s no excuse for you not to consider someone else greater than you – aside from our own selfishness that we all battle.

 

My heart is full with the capacity we have to love. With a true love.

 

 

But are we loving? Are we looking for ways to express that love to others? How often do we find ourselves overrun with things that need to get done, a shopping list, a chore, an errand…These things distract us from our true purpose here on earth. To love others as God has loved us and to show them that He loves them too.

 

 

Why not partner together and love – I mean really love others. Give of ourselves, our time, our finances. Share our story. Sacrifice our desires once in a while. Give up getting that next thing in place of providing something for someone in need. Step past our judgments to see the heart realizing we aren’t perfect.

 

It’ll be awkward at first. It may even scare you to act outside of your comfort zone, but isn’t that what the Lord calls us to? He doesn’t tell us to stay safely locked inside our comfortable lives but rather to love our enemies, carry the burdens of others, and shine our light for all to see.

 

 

Let’s show the world what True Love really looks like.

 

 

Emilie is a freelance writer, photographer, and graphic designer living in Dayton, Ohio. She’s a member of ACFW and writes romantic suspense and YA Sci-Fi. She’s got a soft spot in her heart for animals and a love for the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time, you can find her designing fun bookish items for her Etsy and Society6 shops all while drinking too much coffee.

 

www.eahendryx.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/emiliehendryx

www.goodreads.com/eahendryx

www.instagram.com/createexploreread

www.twitter.com/eacreativephoto

www.pinterest.com/eahendryx

 

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Emilie Hendryx, A Different Kind of Love, True Love

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BLOGWORD – 6 March 2017 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – EILEEN HINKLE RIFE

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NEW WEEK NEW FACE – EILEEN HINKLE RIFE

 

eileenrife 

Marital Secrets

 

Regret barged into the bedroom and refused to leave. Like one of the boxes Celeste had carried from their trailer to their new house, a dark secret weighed heavy on her heart, especially in the last year. She surveyed the pile of cartons beside the bed and located the one marked “Framed Pictures.” Tearing away the tissue paper, she smoothed her hand over the cool glass surface lodged inside the pewter frame, corners adorned with inlaid sapphires. A bride and groom smiled back at her. Mr. and Mrs. Joe Tatem.

 

In my novel, Masquerade, Celeste’s secret not only damages her emotionally but also affects her marriage to Joe. In her case, sharing the secret with Joe would be a healthy step, though difficult and not without stress. That’s why she’s “gone into hiding” for the five years they’ve been married. Since the secret affects her ability to carry children, and Joe wants kids badly, she forces herself to tell him. Just when she works up the courage, tragedy strikes, ushering her to a place she never expected, ultimately meeting another who holds a key to her past . . . and her future.

 

But is it appropriate or desirable to divulge a marital secret in every instance?

 

Let’s take a look at a specific situation with the help of my husband, Chuck, who’s worked as a licensed professional counselor and marriage/family therapist for 30 years. The scope of secrets takes many forms, but the most devastating involve affairs. In general, letting the spouse know about an affair is important for several reasons.

First, it alerts the spouse to possible sexually transmitted diseases, and secondly, it shows moral integrity and prayerfully, the willingness to be accountable. Better s/he find out from the spouse than from a third party. With layers of accountability in place and steps toward healing via counseling, other same-sex godly believers, support group, and media monitoring, trust can be restored. If the spouse stays in hiding about the affair, the roots of the sin and underlying dysfunction fueling the sin remain untreated.

Sometimes, the first person a mate tells will be a trusted pastor or counselor who then can guide the spouse in the appropriate steps to take. A same-sex accountability partner plays a vital role in providing assessment, encouragement, and prayer support. On occasion, the offended spouse may not be able to hear or deal with the mate’s confession. If this is the case, the offender with help must gauge the relationship. If the offended spouse is already the jealous, immature type, s/he likely won’t receive the news well. After all, it’s difficult for anyone, but especially hard for an immature person. Thus, sharing can vary according to the tolerance level of the offended mate.

 

 

A primary question for both spouses is are you drawing your security and significance from God’s love for you, and then giving to each other out of that overflow (Matt.22:37-39)? Since Masquerade opens with Celeste and Joe as unbelievers, they have no solid foundation from which to find their personal worth and identity. A spouse confident in God’s love does not depend on his mate to be God in his life. That spot is reserved for God and God alone. The resulting love between spouses will then be greater than their need for one another.

 

Some questions to ask when considering whether to share a marital secret . . .

 

  1. If I share this with my mate, will it bring glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31)? If a spouse wakes up one morning with lustful thoughts, s/he may ask for prayer support, again, if the spouse is mature enough to handle it, but not share the specific details. Chuck and I are free enough in our relationship to do this. However, we each also have accountability partners with whom to share.

 

  1. Will sharing the secret help me pursue the perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2)?

 

  1. Will I take what is shared to the foot of the Cross and allow God’s grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ to cover the offense (Ephesians 4:32)? Ultimately and prayerfully, this is the place where we each must come and lay our deepest, darkest marital secrets.

 

In doing so, we can experience Jesus’ blood washing us clean. The One who said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” understands the pain of betrayal. He doesn’t white-wash the offense or deny it. However, He does make the choice to forgive it. In following His steps, we can be free when a spouse comes clean about a marital secret, and s/he can be clean spiritually. Certainly, this is not an easy journey for any of us, or for my Masquerade protag, Celeste, but the path to healing is crucial if we are to experience grace and peace in our lives and in our marriages. And sometimes this means we choose to share a marital secret if it will ultimately foster deeper intimacy.


 

 

 

Eileen Rife, author of Masquerade, speaks to women’s groups, encouraging them to discover who they are in Christ and what part they play in His Kingdom story. She and husband Chuck conduct marriage seminars internationally. Their three daughters and families serve the Lord in fulltime mission work around the world.

 

Links:

 

http://www.eileenrife.com/

http://eileen-rife.blogspot.com/

http://guardyourmarriage.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/EileenRifeBooks/

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003O405FO

 

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#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Eileen Hinkle Rife, Healing from an Affair, Accountability, Forgiveness, Christian Fiction, Masquerade, Second Chance

 

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BLOGWORDS – 27 February 2017 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – JANE LEBAK

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NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – JANE LEBAK

 

 

Back in 2009, while digging us out from two inches of snow that had somehow turned into a foot, my Patient Husband heard a crack. He looked up to see a pheasant fall to the ground at our garage doors. It had flown straight into the side of our house.

 

Note to pheasants: the house is bigger than you. It will not care that you are coming, and it will not get out of the way.

 

Note to readers: pheasants are stupid. There’s no way to gloss that fact.

 

It landed about two feet away from my Patient Husband and his snow blower, but it didn’t move. Eventually he turned off the machine and chased it away. It half-wobbled, half-flew to a cluster of trees in front of the house, near the road.

 

When he told me, I said, “It’s concussed?”  He thought so.

 

And my first thought was, if it’s dead (because birds have light bones, and that kind of impact might have broken several) maybe I should go get it.

 

I mean, that’s what Ma Ingalls would have done, right? She’d have gone out, cleaned and dressed the bird, and everyone would have dined on Providence-Delivered Pheasant, the best take-out meal. God gave Moses quail in the desert, and our family would have received a pheasant.

 

I procrastinated. Even though I live in the Swamp nowadays, I’m a city girl, and the idea of eating something that wasn’t shrink-wrapped and slapped with a sell-by date…well, that’s just weird.

 

I still had no idea what to do an hour later when I looked out the window to discover a pheasant poking around in the trees at the front of the house. I didn’t need to go retrieve the pheasant carcass because the pheasant was still using it! This made my decision a lot easier. Or at least, it made my cowardice a lot less noticeable.

 

(Okay, everyone, go ahead and make the pun you’re dying to, about how I chickened out. Do it. You’ll feel better. Really. See now? Isn’t that better.)

 

I feel a kind of kinship with that pheasant. I imagine my soul, cruising along, and God’s saying, “That big thing, the thing in front of you? Avoid that? Like, turn…? Avoid it? Because it’s a house and you’ve got hollow bones…?” and then WHAM! I slam right in to whatever sin I should have been avoiding and which would have been reasonably easy to avoid had I been paying attention. Spiritually speaking, I’m just not that smart.

 

But we’re made stupid by our own sins, and we’re surrounded by a sin-filled world. Jesus redeemed us, but the devil is still wandering around like a lion, a predator who would love to devour things that are small and stupid, things that are broken and didn’t come shrink-wrapped from the meat counter.

 

The writer Mark Shea is fond of saying, “Sin makes you stupid.” Therefore I would suggest it’s reasonable to pray, “Help me, God! I’m stupid.” He puts up with a lot from us, so He already knows.

 

But we aren’t done yet with the pheasant. The next morning, coming back from the school bus stop, I passed the same stand of trees and found the pheasant still there, and only about six feet from me!

 

And then I realized it was sitting in a pile of feathers. Oh dear, I though. It must be sick and it’s shedding.

 

And then I realized that wasn’t a pheasant. Oh dear, I thought. It’s a hawk.

 

And then I realized it wasn’t sitting in a pile of hawk feathers.

 

Oh dear, I thought.

 

It was a beautiful hawk. And, I would add, smarter than the pheasant. For, you see, hawks do not dither about wondering whether the pheasant has parasites or a sell-by date or was raised on organic corn. They’re entirely pragmatic. And pheasants are tasty.

 

And from this, I also derived a very important lesson: the world is a dangerous place when you are both stupid and tasty.

 

For years afterward, whenever I felt I was under spiritual attack, I would pray, “God, please help me. I’m stupid and tasty.” rem: too hilarious and oh-so-universal!

 

Live and learn. Or, don’t do either. I guess. Sometimes God gives those of us who are especially stupid a hands-on demonstration via Nature’s School.

 

 

 

61dnj97ajfl-_ux250_Jane Lebak talks to angels, cats, and her kids. Only the angels listen to her, but the kids talk back. She lives in the Swamp, writing books and knitting socks, with the occasional foray into violin-playing. You’ll also find her blogging at QueryTracker.net, a resource for writers seeking agents and small publishers. Enjoy!

 

https://www.facebook.com/Jane.Lebak/about?lst=1410255848%3A100005823044993%3A1487977590

http://janelebak.com/blog/

https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Lebak/e/B004FRUOLY/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1487977673&sr=8-2-ent

https://twitter.com/JaneLebak?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

 

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#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Jane, Lebak, Pheasants, Mark Shea, Stupid and Tasty

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BLOGWORD – 20 February – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – JOY DEKOK

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NEW WEEK NEW FACE – JOY DEKOK

 

A Sleeping Sparrow

 

Not far from our house, I have a place I feed and watch the birds. Off to the side, near a tree, sits my photo fort. It’s really a hunting blind Jon bought me at Cabela’s, but the only shooting that gets done there is with my camera.

Once I’m settled inside, even before I get the windows unzipped and sit in my chair, the birds start to come in a flutter of wings, flashes of color, and a chorus of cheeps, peeps, and calls.

 

he-watches-me-1-joydekok

 

I watch them head in from deep in the woods and across the wildflower field and out of the pine trees nearby.

 

he-watchesme2-joydekok

 

They’re getting used to me talking to them, praying out loud, singing, and even my breath vapor on the cold Minnesota air doesn’t scare them like it used to.

Not long ago, a friend asked me if I had a favorite bird. I couldn’t name one because they’re all my favorites.

But it’s the sparrows that get me singing.

 

watchingme-joydekok-01-17-17

 

When I was a teenager and had just placed my faith in Jesus, Mama told me that my great-grandmother’s favorite hymn was His Eye is on the Sparrow.

One day when I was home alone, I got one of the old hymnals out of the piano bench and played the melody with my right hand while singing along. I recognized the words right away because Grandma Joy and Mama sang the same song quietly while cleaning the house or playing that same piano.

I took those lyrics straight into my heart, and to me, it was our song, and even though they are in heaven, it still is.

Back when I was a teenager, I liked the words. Now, I love them. Especially on the days when doubts and discouragement yank at my spirit.

The other day, I was feeling low – there had been a terrible hurt and tears. And my heart was broken and lonely.

Then, this sparrow decided to snuggle in close to me. He listened to me talk to him for a moment, they snuggled down on the branch and went to sleep! When four juncos joined him and also went to sleep, I stayed very still not wanting to wake them up.

Where chaos had ruled, peace now reigned.

 

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I watched them rest and pondered Matthew 10:29-31 (ESV)

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

And I smiled. When I needed a blessing, God gave me a few peace-filled moments with a sleeping sparrow. What a sweet gift.

Don’t get me wrong – the circumstances hadn’t changed, but in that shadowy place, I was helped by God and reminded I am valuable.

And so are you! God said so, and we can take Him at His Word!

Doesn’t that truth do something to your heart?

Here are the words to this old favorite – if you don’t know the tune, just read the words out loud and let them encourage you.

 

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Joy started reading when she was four and learned to write soon after. Words on the page fascinated and delighted her. By the time she was five, she was writing stories and dreaming about writing books for other kids.

One day while vacuuming, an idea for a novel came to mind. She resisted diligently, but the characters in Rain Dance wouldn’t leave her alone. Finally, the only way to get past their nagging, she wrote the book.

Joy married the love of her life almost forty years ago. She and Jon love their dog kids, Sophie & Tucker – a brother and sister team who stole their hearts. There’s a story behind their names, but that’s a blog post.

Joy loves Jesus and came to faith in Him when she was fifteen years old. When she’s not working she’s riding her John Deere Gator taking pictures on the 15 or so acres of wildflowers on the land she and Jon live on. Joy relaxes by taking pictures of the beauty that surrounds her. If the Oak Ridge Boys, Chris Tomlin, Johnny Cash, Donny Osmond, Toby Mac, or Nicole C. Mullen sings, she listens to it. Dragonflies, flowers, raccoons, fog, frogs, bugs (outside), and the wind fascinate her.

 

 You can find Joy at:

http://joydekok.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Joy-DeKok/e/B0049RU8HU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1471635270&sr=1-2-ent

https://www.facebook.com/joy.dekok

https://twitter.com/JoyEDeKok

https://plus.google.com/+JoyDeKok/posts

https://www.instagram.com/joydekok57/

https://www.pinterest.com/joydekokauthor/

 

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#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Joy DeKok, A Sleeping Sparrow, His Eye is on the Sparrow

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BLOGWORD – 13 February 2017 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – C. KEVIN THOMPSON

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NEW WEEK NEW FACE – C. KEVIN THOMPSON

 

This is For the Birds

 

I’m a phrase guy. I like to know how we as humans come up with certain phrases that permeate our conversations. Where did they originate? Why were they coined the way they were?

 

One such phrase is: “This is for the birds!” Ever heard it before? Ever used it? Ever added specifics to it, like “This whole day is for the birds!” or “Politicians are for the birds!” In each case, the phrase connotes a uselessness or worthlessness to whatever is “for the birds.” So, how did a reference to giving or leaving something to birds ever become a negative statement?

 

Although no one can pinpoint a specific reference, general belief links the phrase back to the days of horse and buggies. When that mode of transportation lined the streets on notable cities like London or New York, it was a common need for pedestrians to “look before you step.” The “calling cards” of the equine conveyance made crossing the street a lively affair, no doubt. As an added bonus to the hustle and bustle of city life, apparently, in the droppings, undigested food—namely oats—became the draw for many an English sparrow. It does make me wonder why nary a raven could have been found and interviewed (maybe even quoted).

 

This concept of “leaving behind worthless things for the birds” is not a recent or modern phrase, however. It actually finds its roots in scripture. In Isaiah 18:4-6 (NIV), the prophet wrote, “This is what the Lord says to me: ‘I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.’ For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives, and cut down and take away the spreading branches. They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey and to the wild animals; the birds will feed on them all summer, the wild animals all winter.” Notice how the fruit—which is normally harvested BEFORE the pruning takes place—will be left on the vine as the spreading branches and shoots are cut off, left for birds and wild animals to consume.

 

In Jeremiah 16:4 (NIV), the Lord says, “They will die of deadly diseases. They will not be mourned or buried but will be like dung lying on the ground. They will perish by sword and famine, and their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals.” In this reference—which is a reference to judgement—those accursed by God will be left “like dung” (Hmmm…where have we heard that before?) for the birds and wild animals to consume.

 

It seems this concept of leaving behind something worthless, unworthy of consumption or use by man or God, even accursed of God, to rot and be eaten by birds is a very old saying. Much older than the pre-industrial revolution. Yet, this concept of leaving things “for the birds” is also rooted in love, believe it or not.

 

Jesus said in Matthew 6:26-33 (NKJV), Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

 

When you are a bird, you can’t sow. I’ve heard of turkey farmers, and chicken farmers, but I’ve never met a turkey or chicken that farmed. They only “get farmed.”

 

When you are a bird, you can’t reap or store anything, either. Oh, you can build a nest and “store” some eggs until they hatch, but that’s different. When it comes to food, you’re dependent on what falls to the ground from a tree or bush, what teems in a river, lake, or ocean, or what may slither or crawl on the earth. But at no time did you ever have a hand in producing those food sources. God did.

 

So, it begs the question. If God had not designed His creation like He did, what would have become of the English sparrow, the raven, and the mountain birds of prey since they can’t sow, reap, or store away in barns? I think you know the answer. The trees would be a lot quieter. The skies would be less populated. And the love of God would have been questioned infinitely more than it already is by a world stained by sin.

 

Yet, even though these creatures seem to be less in stature than Man (Are you not of more value than they?), God doesn’t abandon them. He cares about everything. Everyone. And even though Man was His crowning creation (cf. Gen. 1:26-27), it doesn’t mean every other thing He did create is “on its own” like the theists believe. He loves the lowest of the low, the highest of the high, and everything and everyone in between. That’s how it is when you so loved the world, that you gave your one and only son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life (cf. John 3:16).

 

 

 

 

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  1. KEVIN THOMPSON is an ordained minister with a B.A. In Bible (Houghton College, Houghton, NY), an M.A. in Christian Studies (Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, MS), and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (National-Louis University, Wheeling, IL). His book, 30 Days Hath Revenge – A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, is now available! Book 2 of the Blake Meyer Series, Triple Time, will be available for pre-order in late February 2017. The Serpent’s Grasp, a standalone, is coming May 2017. Book 3 of the Blake Meyer Series, The Tide of Times, is coming August 2017.

 

 

www.ckevinthompson.com

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Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson

 

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