Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Out of the Rubble

"Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings." (Isaiah 58:12, NIV)
The spring of 2011 has been unkind to many across our land.  Devastating tornadoes have left thousands homeless, hundreds dead, and most of us touched in some way or other.  Those of us who do not live in the cities ravaged by these monster storms have only the stories and images that come to us through news agencies or by way of reports from family and friends of the victims.  We cannot fathom the depth of need and despair, but because "we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works" (Ephesians 2:10, NKJV), we are called to offer hope and assistance to those who have lost so much.

We may be overwhelmed by the images we have seen and feel that our small efforts cannot possibly make a difference, but we are wrong to think that way.  If we will ask God how we can help and do what he leads us to do, then collectively we can make a significant impact on the lives of the victims and their devastated communities.  We are the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need.  It is we, his people, who must do the work of rebuilding what has been lost and restoring hope to those whose faith has been so badly shaken.  Although God himself is the Repairer of Broken Walls and the Restorer of Streets with Dwellings, he needs crews of committed believers who will come alongside him, pray for those in need, and help rebuild these communities and the faith of those who live there.

Pray, give, and serve where you can, that others may see that God does care, that hope is real, and that God truly can and will work all things together for the good of those who love him.  Pray that out of the rubble, revival will come and many will receive Christ as Savior.

Friday, May 27, 2011

All Creatures Great and Small

"And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." -- Genesis 1:20-21

Earlier this week as I was preparing to leave for work, I noticed a small insect on the window of my car.  At first, I thought it was a spider (not an insect) but on closer inspection realized that it was a praying mantis not more than 1/2 inch long.  Despite his (or her) miniature size, the mantis was a perfectly formed though smaller version of the adult praying mantises that frequented our yard last summer.  Sadly I had only my camera phone handy to snap a few photos, so no one but Joy and me will ever know how truly cute a bug he was!

As an animal lover, I am especially fond of baby animals.  I can remember one spring evening observing a brood of killdeer chicks running along the curb on our church parking lot.  Having seen plenty of adults on the grounds, I marvelled at how cute these tiny replicas were!  It is a sight I shall never forget.  Born to run, these little birds had no trouble keeping up with their parents.

There are few things in life that demonstrate God's creative genius than his creatures, both great and small.  Whether it is a tiny insect or a solitary great blue heron standing in the shallow water of a lake or pond, these glimpses of God's glory in the animal kingdom are reminders of his presence and the great care he has for his created ones, including us.

If you have trouble seeing God's glory because of the chaos and challenges you face, get out, take a walk, and look for God's hidden treasures.  Before long you will be so captivated by the brilliance and breathtaking beauty of the world he has created that your heart will be encouraged and uplifted by the realization that you are his most prized creation!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Don't Look Now, But We're Still Here!

"As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me.  Night is coming, when no one can work." -- John 9:4

As we knew would be the case, today came and went despite Harold Camping's prediction that Judgment Day would occur on May 21, 2011.  How could he possibly be privy to God's timing of the Rapture when Jesus himself clearly tells us "no one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Matthew 24:36)?  Puh-leeze!

My daughter didn't want the Rapture to occur today.  She has a friend who is still lost and has not yet received Jesus as her Savior.  Many of us are in the same boat, praying for the salvation of those we love.  There's a lot of work to be done before Christ returns!

As much as I would love to be in heaven at this moment, I know that God still has work for me to do on this earth.  So do you.  What are we waiting for?  One of these days -- only God knows when -- Jesus is coming back.  Even though we might be ready, will the lost ones be?  It is up to us to "do the work" of showing and telling the world about Jesus while there is still time.  Let us not waste another day, for tomorrow could well be our last.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Remembering Tinkerbell

It has been a week since I planted Tinkerbell in the garden beneath the azalea.  I know it must seem strange to those who aren't animal lovers, or at least rodent lovers, but that little furball has left a huge hole in my heart.  Who would have thought that a furry little rodent could steal the heart of one who has always been a dog lover? 

Every time I walk into my office I miss her.  The corner where she lived is dark now because there is no longer a reason to leave on the light.  There is no longer the sound of scampering and chirping of a beloved pet who was glad to see me or at least hopeful for some morsel of food.  Cleaning out her cage each evening became a ritual of sorts.  Joy would take her out of her cage and either hand her to me to hold or lift her to my face for little nose kisses.  I miss the tickle of Tinkerbell's whiskers and the way she reached out her nose to touch mine.

How well I remember the day we brought her home from the pet store on Labor Day, 2007!  We had returned a guinea pig we bought just a couple of days before because the other cavy was sick with an absessed tooth.  On the way home she pooped in her box and I called her "Stinkerbell," even before coming up with the name Tinkerbell.  When we introduced her to our poodle, Madison was quick to put Tinkerbell in her place, snapping at her front paw.  Although they started off on rocky footing, before long Madison began to tolerate her and eventually play with her.  The day I loaded Tinkerbell up in the carrier to take her to the vet, Madison protested loudly.  I think even Madison misses her now.

Of course, Joy was a little young to get into the guinea pig pet care routine at first.  But before long I had her cleaning out the cage like a pro.  I would get tickled when the kids would set up obstacle courses for her in the den floor.  Joy's friends enjoyed playing with her.  She had quite a little personality!

Will there be another Tinkerbell?  Not a chance, although I am entertaining the thought of buying a pair of guinea pigs at some point.  They are really are delightful little creatures!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ode to Tinkerbell

On Labor Day four years ago,
We bought a guinea pig
Who lived with us for just a day
Because she became sick.
We took her back from whence she came,
And traded her for you.
And ever since you've blessed our hearts
And we have sure loved you.
Sweet Tinkerbell, you showed me how
To love all kinds of pets.
And even though you weren't a dog,
You really were the best!
I loved the way you'd scamper 'round
Your cage and talk to me.
The smell of carrots in the morn'
Would make you chirp with glee.
Your gentle nibbles on my finger
And kisses nose-to-nose
Are two things I will ne'er forget,
Two things I'll miss the most.
No longer are you suffering,
And though our hearts are sad,
The memory of your time with us
Will always make us glad.
God bless you, little Tinkerbell,
And may you quietly rest
Just knowing that we loved you well,
And that you loved us best.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Hormonal Guinea Pig

A few days ago my daughter said to me, "Mom, I think something's wrong with Tinkerbell." 

"Why?" I asked.

"She's not eating all her food," was Joy's reply.

Now I don't know about anyone else (particularly you ladies), but when I am feeling out of sorts, NOT eating is the last thing on my mind!  Nonetheless, for a guinea pig, being out of sorts can be a sign of serious illness like an upper respiratory infection or bloat, both of which can be fatal if not treated. 

We kept a watchful eye on Tinkerbell over the weekend, observing that she was becoming more lethargic and eventually stopped eating or drinking anything.  The amazing pooping piggie quit leaving little messes in her cage, which was a sure indication that something was wrong.  Saturday night, after a whole day of lying still with her eyes wide open ("pupils fixed and dilated" is the medical term they use on TV), I was certain she was a goner.  I covered her up with a hand towel, exposing only her head so she could breathe but not wanting her to be cold as she slipped away in the night.  Saying my last goodbye, I went to bed and cried myself to sleep -- all over a rodent!  I was relieved to find her still alive on Sunday morning.  She even perked up a little Sunday night as if to say, "You can't get rid of me that easily!"

First thing Monday morning I left her with a vet who specializes in exotic animals.  (Who knew a rodent could be considered exotic?)  When he called to break the news to me, the tone of his voice caught me off-guard.  Expecting to hear a serious and sympathetic voice on the other end of the phone as he delivered a grim prognosis, I was tickled when he giddily announced, "Tinkerbell has cystic ovaries, which is common in guinea pigs her age.  We'll treat her with hormones and she'll be good as new in a few days."   Dr. McGee, are you saying my guinea pig is menopausal?  Leave it to the guinea pig to upstage me yet again!

Oh, did I mention?  Tinkerbell had her very first ultrasound. Doesn't that beat all!   No babies do I see, but I'm naming the cysts Peter Pan and Wendy.