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Monday, May 28, 2012


            I’ve always been fascinated by the women of the Bible. Michal, Saul’s daughter is one that has intrigued me for years. Some of the things I want to know about her aren’t explained in Scripture, but still, what I do know about her is fascinating!
            Michal and David were in love before Saul gave her to David in marriage. (Now, Saul had promised his daughter to whomever would fight for him. He didn’t exactly keep that promise, as he gave his firstborn daughter, Merab, to someone else. But, since Michal and David were in love, I’m sure David was pleased to get Michal instead of her sister. He paid twice the required dowry to Saul, and married Michal.)
            One of the things we’re not told is why Saul thought Michal might be a “snare” to David. What did her father Saul know about her that we don’t?
            When Saul threatens to kill David, Michal saves David’s life by putting a dummy in the bed and helping her husband escape.
            Things went from bad to worse with Saul for David. It looks like David was away from Michal for years, fleeing her father.  In the meantime, Saul gave her in marriage to a man named Phalti, who loved her. (I don’t understand this part of the story either! How could Saul give his daughter in marriage to another man, when he knew that David was still alive? Was Saul already that amoral that it didn’t matter to him? Did he do this because he cared for his daughter? Or did he want to punish David?)
            Eventually, David got her back, and they should have lived happily ever after.
            Life didn’t work out that way.
            By this time, David had quite a few more wives, children by at least six of them, and you can imagine what kind of “favorable” impact this had on his relationship with Michal—especially after he stole her back from her second husband, who went crying after her.
            Next, we see Michal at her very worst. David is very happy to be bringing the ark of the Lord back home. He dances with all his might. Michal sees him dancing before the Lord, and she despises David in her heart. (Was she jealous of God? Her husband was enthusiastic about God and the symbol of His presence, the ark of the covenant. Was David more thrilled with the ark and his dance for the Lord than with her?)
            She meets David and publicly mocks him. This was extremely ugly and disrespectful, to say the least.
            David answers her, and then God judges her harshly. She never has a child after that.
            Why the harsh judgment? It’s because she disrespected both God and her husband.
            Let’s go back just a little bit. Can you see reasons why Michal might have been jealous of God and mad at David? David, in his absence from her, took many more wives and had children by them. Michal’s father and brothers had been killed and beheaded. She must have mourned them. When David came back home, finally (with extra wives, concubines, and children in tow), he “rescued” her from her second husband, a man who had shown her love while her first husband was gallivanting, fleeing, and fighting all over the region.
            I think most of us would have issues with the same sorrows that Michal had.
            The problem, though, was her reaction. Instead of clinging to God and loving Him more, she took her suffering out on the Lord and her husband. Wrong reaction! For this, she was judged.
            Did Saul’s prophecy about Michal come true? It came true backwards. Instead of her being a snare to David, she ended up being a snare to herself. She ended up childless—a shame in that culture—because of her mocking, jealous, disrespectful response to God and her husband.
            A very sad story!
            May we learn from her negative example. In our sorrows and disappointments, may we cling to the Lord, love our husbands more, and have a happy ever after!
            (The key parts of Michal’s story can be found in 1 Samuel 18, 19, 25 and in 2 Samuel 6.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


This is a fascinating time to be living in Europe. This morning, a new socialist president took office in France. Rumors are swirling that if Greece can’t get a government formed this week, it might be leaving the euro zone. Citizens are demonstrating in streets all over Europe against austerity measures. They want jobs and growth. Quite a few European economies are officially in recession again. The only countries that are showing growth are Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, and Germany. The state of economics in Europe is at best iffy. For the most optimistic, recovery is coming, but it will be slow—like years away. (I have a feeling the protesters won’t be patiently waiting.)

The European Union is presently comprised of 27 countries with six candidates waiting for approval. If, as some predict, economies collapse and the euro collapses, does this mean we could soon see some stronger countries gobble up other countries? Could we see unity in order to save the weakest links? I’ve heard faint murmurs and wonder if there’s anything to them. Prophecy says there will be ten kingdoms. (Revelation 17)

When is the beginning of the end? Are we there? Good questions! The Bible says we won’t know the day nor the hour. (Matthew 25:13) The angels in heaven are in the dark, too. (Matthew 24:36) And, God views time very differently than we do. (2 Peter 3:8)

At the end of the “war to end all wars” (World War I), people were thinking they were in the end times. When World War II ended, they were thinking the same thing; conditions in Europe were horrible. With the economic crisis today, nuclear capabilities in Iran, Islamist governments gaining power in Arab countries, the decline of the U.S.A.’s financial stability, Russia and China beefing up their cavalries and arms programs, continued disagreements between the Palestinians and Israel, we are thinking again that just maybe we’re close to Jesus’ second coming.

Of course, there’s no way of knowing. The important thing is to be ready, watching, and waiting when our Bridegroom comes. (See the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13.) Are we ready?

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20).

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Maybe it’s what’s happening around me, and maybe it’s spring. It could be my age!

Recently, I’ve been thinking about my blessings. I feel almost overwhelmed with the wonderful life God has given to our family.

We were directed by the Lord to a beautiful corner of the world. We are privileged to be serving God near the ocean, near high mountains, and where it is green year-round. It is breathtaking when the sun comes out—which recently hasn’t been often, but you have to pay for all that green somehow! Every city center is old. (I’m talking hundreds of years old.) Each town has its own history and lots of Old World charm. We’ve lived in several cities and in two villages. We’re in a village now, and it’s the time of year when our neighbors are cutting hay and starting their gardens. Our apple trees are in bloom. A few tulips are still hanging on to their petals. The lizards are beginning to come out again. (Where have they been all winter?) Our dog perpetually smiles, because we’re outside more. I just love hanging sheets out on the line and getting them dry in the same day. Yes, the natural beauty is a blessing!

Then, there’s our family. Without boring you with a family slide show, take my word for it that we are truly blessed. We have Christian parents and siblings, wonderful kids, and a beautiful (and very funny) little grandson. Our children married terrific mates. We’re truly thankful!

My husband is a pastor. Even though people will always be human, and sometimes the pastorate isn’t a bed of roses, it is still a privilege and a joy to serve the Lord in evangelization, Bible training, and encouraging our little flock. We have a mixture of cultures in our church, and we’re happy that our people love each other. We see a unity in Christ that could never be achieved outside common faith. Our church family is our second family.

Looking back over the last more than 30 years, I dare to alter the popular hymn a little: “Count my blessings; Name them ton by ton. Count my many blessings; See what God has done!”

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. (Psalm 68:19)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Lawn Ornament

We have a unique lawn ornament. It’s not a pink flamingo, not a reflective gazing ball, not a bathtub full of flowers or an antique farm machine. It’s not a plywood silhouette or a fake life-size deer. It isn’t a decoy duck or a colorful gnome. It isn’t even a cement bunny. No fountain graces our yard. Our lawn ornament is truly unique.

It’s our fifteen-year-old dog, Fuzzy! Over the last few years, he’s become a little more prone to napping. Whether the lawn is covered with snow or with grass, he plops himself out in the middle of the yard and goes to sleep. We have to laugh at him, because he sleeps with a smile on his face. (Yes, dogs do smile!)

Fuzzy doesn’t know he’s getting older. He thinks he’s still a puppy. Some days, like yesterday, he comes barreling across the lawn to greet us, wanting attention—and getting it. Other days, he doesn’t move as well, and we are content with a bow and his walking over to us.

His hearing is all but gone. He doesn’t hear me at all, but I still talk to him. He hears my husband when he yells a low “Hey” that I couldn’t hope to imitate.

But Fuzzy still has a great sense of smell. Just put out some table scraps, and he’ll be there almost before you turn back into the house. (Yes, we spoil him in his old age!)

He can see well, too. We’re thankful for that.

We know our time with our beloved dog is limited, because he just has to give up being a puppy sometime. Nothing on earth, not even an adorable mutt from the pound, can last forever.

For now, we’ll just enjoy our lawn ornament. He’s the one who greets us when we get home, loves us unconditionally, and makes our lives warmer and happier.

Tell me, who else would smile as they grace our lawn?