Friday, July 31, 2009

What do we do to love ourselves?

My niece asked this question on Facebook.
What do we do to love ourselves?

Love yourself as you love your neighbor. I would think that when Jesus said "Love your neighbor as yourself", that we innately would love ourselves. Thus we can use ourselves as a guide on how we love others. Aside from abnormal behavioral reasons that some people mistreat themselves, most people are doing what they can for their own preservation, safety, self-interest, etc. Paul in Philippians says "regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others," implying that it is in our nature to look out for ourselves first. What we do to love ourselves must be learned. How we see others modeling how they treat and value themselves and others develops our identity and self value from birth. How do we learn about love?

The Bible says God is Love. Love is sacrificial. If God loved us and sacrificed himself for us, does God still love himself? But He IS Love. Does Love love Love? I say yes. There is no greater role model for us than God. While God Put himself aside and thought of us, a way to rescue humanity, HE DID THIS SO THAT WE COULD HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.

If we love ourselves, we will love others as God loves them and we will embrace the love of others shown toward us.

Something to think about

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sunrise 5:15, where are you?

Psalm 5:3 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

I love the early morning as the sun comes up over the mountains. It is quiet and a good time to talk with God.

Psalm 5: 11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

Lord, I am excited to see what you will do today. Help me to trust in you. Give me the courage to allow You to come to my defense.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Are you afraid of snakes?

I am an Arizona native and this is the first time I have been close enough to a rattlesnake to take it's picture. Using the zoom on the camera was helpful. This snake was in my back yard when I came home from music practice on Thursday evening. I started telling my friends on Facebook about the snake and I received a variety of responses.

But here's the story. When I got home the dogs greeted me at the front gate. They had been in the "big yard," on one acre which is fenced. They came in the front door with me and immediately wanted to go outside through the back door. In a few minutes I heard Prince, my Cardigan Welsh Corgi barking. This bark was different. I looked out and saw him on the porch, barking at something off the porch. I said, "what is it?" At first glance I thought it was a little desert tortoise. My husband said, "no that's a rattler!" Prince had gone down the steps to see, but then he quickly took off running in the yard. Ocho, my Staffordshire Bull Terrier also went down to see the snake, but we quickly called him back up. We also called Prince back and put the gate up on the porch/deck. We decided to leave the snake alone.

The snake had come out in the cool of the evening after it had rained. Sure enough, the next morning it was gone. But where, you might say. A friend had a snake after a rain. She said, "
Oh my. Yes, keep those doggies in. A couple of years ago we had one on our back porch when we had a monsoon hit us really hard. I opened the door and it was on the other side of the back door and I saw a movement through the window. Believe me I came in VERY fast."

Are you afraid of snakes? What is the difference between this fear and a healthy respect for a poisonous reptile? OK, so some snakes aren't poisonous and some people are afraid of all snakes. One of my FB friends didn't even want to see the picture of the snake.

But a rattlesnake bite can be a life threatening situation for dogs and people. One friend said, "oh crap heart attack adrenaline rush, I would have never seen it. Thank goodness for Prince. I always try to check before I let the dogs out, but I'm going to have to look harder."

Would you kill a rattlesnake? Be careful, this is like a loaded gun. You must be in a situation to make sure you kill it before it strikes you. Thankfully the snake in our backyard did not strike at the dogs. The snake just wants to be left alone. It only strikes to protect itself.

Since we live in a region where rattlesnakes abide, we must be aware and take necessary precautions. One of my friends said she had lived in our neighborhood for 17 years and never seen a rattlesnake. I knew that this was the season to watch out for them, but even I wasn't ready for this snake encounter. My dogs could easily have been struck. My friend from Denmark said, "It´s a bit scary that you have to deal with snakes." Prince's Breeder said, "
Congratulations to Prince for protecting his family. I'm very proud of him."

Some people gave advice on how to "get rid" of the snake. "Drop a big bolder on it and things will be okay!" "Or get Karen (the snake killer) -- on the job!!! ;-)" My brother-n-law said, "
Time to get out the artillery." The guy that mows for us killed a snake last summer just outside our fence with a shovel. Another friend said, "We have had 2 snakes (rattlers) all season so far. The bull snakes are eating them. Should I send Doug over with his pole and relocate him." Actually bull snakes do not eat Rattlers but King snakes do.

A preventitive solution was offered. "snake fence your acre! Use stucco lath - works great for me." My Aunt told me I needed a couple of cats to take care of the snakes. My other Aunt said, "Just be sure you keep them on your side of the interstate! "

We will be on the lookout for snakes. We will also be more careful about when we let our dogs out until we can secure the area. Life in the desert is always interesting to me. Why did God create rattlesnakes? Well, maybe to teach us to always be on guard!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Who comes to the Desert?

Last night we were at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Tucson, AZ. The GRM provides a nightly meal and a chapel service for men who find themselves in need. Different area churches participate in providing this chapel service. I am the worship team leader at Grace Chapel in Benson, AZ. We provide a chapel service for the GRM once a month. Each time we see the room full of 50 to 80 men. Most of these men are homeless. The question is from where have they come? And where are they going?

One man came and spoke with us after the service. He was talking about how unbearably hot it was. I said it had been a mild summer so far and I told him I was an Arizona native. He assured me that it was hot. I learned that he was from New Hampshire, but he had been in Arizona for six years. Now I know why he thought the weather was HOT! I wish I had gotten to know more of this man's story. What had his life's journey been like? What brought him from New Hampshire to Arizona? Where had he been along the way? What experiences had caused him to fall on hard times. I told him that I did not wish him luck but the hope to see God work in his life.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Desert Is Alive

I live in a unique part of the United States. But the desert is normal to me. Those who don't live in the desert have various notions about what it is like. Those who come to visit have different reactions. Whatever you think of the desert, let me tell you the desert is alive! Like any eco system the signs of life are everywhere. God has enabled life to thrive in an harsh environment.

I love to walk in the desert. The plant and animal life are still fascinating to me. A few years ago we lived east of the San Pedro River in southeastern Arizona on 9 acres. Our property bordered some state land so we had a large area to explore. We would go out with our 3 dogs early in the morning. We would follow trails made by free range cattle and dry washes that would meander around thinning out and then opening up into wide areas. We would follow the wash over to the railroads tracks where there was a culvert under the tracks to let the wash continue. You see water from the Dragoon mountains comes down these washes when it rains as flash-flooding. The force of the water is more than you might think but only lasts a little while. That's why the paths of the washes can change. So, every time we went for a walk we would always be on a new adventure.