When You ‘Don’t Know Beans’

16 Aug

Some of the folklore surrounding one of the more “delicate” circumstances during NASA flights is that Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into space. The supposed theory was that beans cause “gas,” and passing wind in a space suit would damage the suit. 

Although many find this idea humorous, it’s entirely untrue. Although astronauts are put on a “low residue diet” three days before their flight, they are not prohibited from eating beans. And passing wind will not damage space suits.

“If gas could damage a space suit,” one source said, “there’s be a lot more astronaut fatalities.” *

So if YOU believed that – you don’t know beans!

DoYouKnowBeans_aboutGodI wondered where that phrase came from, and discovered the phrase apparently originated in a riddle told in old country stores. The question was asked, “How many blue beans does it take to make seven white beans?” Those who didn’t know the answer were told, “You don’t know beans!” (The answer is, seven blue make seven white, because when you peel the blue beans, you get white beans.) **

Today, the phrase “you don’t know beans” refers to people who don’t know something that should be common knowledge or common sense.

There was a time I “didn’t know beans” about God’s true nature. Sometimes I thought He was an old grandfatherly figure, loving but basically powerless. Other times, I considered Him an angry tyrant.

It took me years to understand God is great, good, loving, everywhere present, all-knowing, all-powerful, kind, involved, just, sovereign, purposeful, wise …. in short, He was nothing like I imagined.

The reason I didn’t know “beans” about God’s nature for so long was simple. I didn’t know God’s Word. I allowed the imaginations of my own heart and the weaknesses of my own thinking – plus the philosophies of this world – to corrupt my perception of the true nature of God.

It’s crucial we study the scriptures, because the Word of God – as well as His creation – reveal much about Him.

No, we can’t know everything about Him. As many have noted, He is God and we are not. In ourselves, we cannot think or act like Him (Isaiah 55:8). But there’s no excuse to be ignorant about His basic nature and how He deals with humanity.

The truth is:

  • Our thinking must be transformed through the Word (Romans 12:1-2).
  • God tells us our only reason for boasting must be that we “understand” and “know” Him (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
  • Jesus wants us to know His Father (John 17:1), and His love in us allows us to know God (1 John 4:6-7).
  • Jesus’ disciple, Peter, tells us to grow in the knowledge of Jesus, God’s Son (2 Peter 3:18).

So there might be a lot of things we “don’t know beans” about – but knowing God doesn’t have to be one of them! He is ready and eager to reveal Himself to us, but we need to seek Him! (Psalm 119:10a).

What has God shown you about Himself this week?

- Dawn

* http://www.superkids.com/aweb/pages/humor/042207.sht

** http://www.brownielocks.com/wordorigins.html

 

The Buddy System

1 Aug

As a young mom of two boys, I often wondered why socks were missing. Now I know …

I saw a funny comic by comic artist Lonnie Easterling. Matched sets of socks approached an open washing machine. On the wall behind the machine was a sign that read, “Field Trip Today!”

The first set of socks looked back over the group and said, “Okay! Everyone remember the Buddy System!”

LOL.

When my in-laws and I went on vacation last year, we left our dogs at a kennel … together. They are doggie buddies and loved their time together. BuddiesAt the window_2013

Beau, a chihuahua-terrier mix, and my maltipoo, Roscoe, have been buddies since puppyhood, and they still love to get together for a few days. When Beau stays for a while at the “Wilson Doggie Resort,” these pals are inseparable.

This photo shows them sharing the platform by my desk, peering through the screen, under the blinds, to see who might be passing by.

For better or worse, they lead each other into all sorts of escapades.

Buddies can do that. That’s why the Bible tells us to choose our friends carefully (Proverbs 12:26). Wrong buddies can lead us astray

When I lived in Iceland as a teen, there were days that got “blizzardy,” and we were told not to venture out into the snow alone. “Take a buddy with you,” I heard. “If you fall into a deep drift, your friend can help you get out … or if you fall in together, you can stay warm until help arrives.”

Now I never knew whether to take that “buddy system” advice seriously, but the concept sure did stick.  And later I found out it’s biblical. Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 says,Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?”

We need buddies for the tough times. They can help us, or they can at least comfort us until the tough times pass.

The biblical patriarch Job didn’t have comforting buddies. Oh, they wailed with him over his circumstances, but I don’t remember too many encouraging words. And his wife didn’t help much either. (Of course, I was reminded she went through those trials with Job too — many of the same losses!) I would hope that Job, being the spiritual leader of the family, could counsel her with the same counsel he ended up giving his own heart.

But I know I need “buddies.”

I didn’t always believe that. I was pretty self-sufficient.

I thought I’d only need buddies for hard times. I didn’t have a clue.

I didn’t realize I need buddies for growth, challenge, accountability, encouragement, vision and a whole lot of other positive things.

We were never meant to exist or function alone. God knew Adam needed a partner (Genesis 2:18). And He knows we need buddies (I call them my Sister-Girlfriends); we were created for community. The Bible says the disciples were sent out in twos (Mark 6:7; Luke 10:1). Probably for encouragement, but also because they likely had different gifts and skill sets!

I don’t consider God my “Buddy,” as many Christians do. No, he is my Father God – the Sovereign Ruler who loves me. But one of the truths I learned later in life is the concept of the strength of a “threefold cord” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). While this may be talking about a third person coming alongside to help two people, I also like to think that the Lord is the third partner. He is the partner in my marriage – the glue that made my Bob and I stick together in tough times. He is also the partner in many of my other relationships.

Yes, I need people. I don’t want to do life alone. And I don’t have to. My Father God is always with me (Deuteronomy 31:6; Isaiah 41:10; Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5b; 1 Corinthians 3:16). I have the privilege to live for Him and bring Him glory – to live for His purposes – but it’s wonderful to know He cares about my needs too.

Knowing Him beats the Buddy System any day.

Who is your best earthly buddy? Have you told your buddy lately how thankful you are for her (or him)? Have you thanked the Lord today for His constant presence in your life?

- Dawn

Flitting

25 Jul

AttentionSpanI don’t have a short attention span, I just … Oh look, a butterfly!

I don’t have a short attention span, I just … O look, a squirrel!

I don’t have a short attention span, I just … O look, chocolate!

I don’t have a short attention span, I just … O look, bling!

I don’t have a short attention span, I just … Did you SEE THAT?

LOL!

I love hummingbirds, and they’ve nested in my back yard. One built her nest in my eight-foot palm tree.  A couple of them fight over the bird feeder.

But what I get a “kick” out of most is when the mama bird  hovers right in front of me, staring HummingbirdNesting_2croppedinto my face. The focused attention is simply awesome, and I’m always a bit sad when she flits away into the high trees. I  talk to her and keep wishing she’d linger longer. But no … her attention span is, well, like a hummingbird – short and sweet.

One day, after one of these short encounters, I had the thought:  “Dawn, is your God-attention span growing, or do you flit in and out of time with the Lord, distracted by other things?

Maybe you know what I’m referring to. Have you ever been deeply involved in Bible study or prayer, only to be distracted by something else? Have you left time with God for something more “pressing” at the moment? Or just something that captured your imagination?

Sad to say, I have.

It’s like talking face-to-face with someone, and then your cell phone rings, and you turn away to chat on the phone. (If you feel it’s important, you might say, “Excuse me, I have to take this” before you turn away.) But most of the time, it can wait.

And if you had eyes in the back of your head, you might see the person with a “Who am I – chopped liver?” look. Rude.

Only, when we’re alone with the Creator of the Universe, is anything else really all that important?

Short of a fire in the house or a choking baby – those sorts of emergencies – most things can wait when God is speaking to us, don’t you think?

Some things have helped me not flit around when I’m with God.

  • After I ask God to help me focus, I ask Him to help me pinpoint any possible distractions I might face, and I try to deal with them ahead of time.
  • I prepare for my time with God. I turn off disruptive technology (phone, TV, magazines, etc.) – anything I think might distract or disturb.
  • I find a place where I won’t be disturbed (Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16). (Ladies, that’s hard with a little one, I know, unless it’s nap time … and then you feel like a nap.) I have a regular place, stocked with all I’ll need so I don’t have to get up and down for things.
  • I make sure I have paper and pen to jot down a reminder note when I’m “distracted” by something I do need to remember. Then it’s immediately back to the Lord with a “What was that You were saying, Lord?”
  • I practice stillness. I am retraining my brain to focus and “be still” before God (Psalm 46:10). (It’s hard work, because I have one of those Type A+, crazy-monkeys-running-around brains!)
  • I pursue God. (I’ve found that what I pursue – hunt for with intensity – will capture my attention!) Psalm 27:8 – “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
  • I also have a plan, so I don’t just flit around from verse to verse. There are specific things I want to accomplish. I use a Bible study, a book with scriptures and questions, or a study I create on my own – researching a topic.
  • I find when I pray aloud, it’s easier for me to focus. (One way to drown-out my chattering monkeys!)
  • Besides my own flitting flesh, the enemy wants to destroy my times of intimacy with God, so I ask the Holy Spirit to help me persevere in His grace. I need a lot of grace. My spirit is willing, but my body (my brain) is weak (Matthew 26:36-41). The Lord who created my brain can also control it, but I need to ask for and rely on His help.
  • I praise God for the times I do spend with Him. (Beating myself up doesn’t help.)

I’m sure there are so many other ways to grow in our “God-attention Span.” What helps you not “flit” in and out of God’s presence during your Quiet Time?

- Dawn

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