Month: March 2017

9 lives

Growing up on a farm, we had an abundance of cats. Most earned their keep by hunting mice. With corn in the corn crib and feed grain for the cattle, our farm offered a buffet to unwanted rodents and, in turn, a never-ending supply of food for the cats.  Our cats enjoyed several buildings to live and dine in: chicken house, hog pen, summer kitchen or wash-house, and barn.

Occasionally, some of the female cats ventured into the surrounding fields for privacy as they delivered a litter of kittens. Unfortunately, some encountered machinery such as a combine, tractor, or hay baler as they faithfully refused to abandon their kittens.  Some lived, though injured, and eventually returned to living a normal cat life.  They were living proof that cats really do enjoy nine lives.

Last week, 9 lives of a very different sort were celebrated. A 21 , a non-profit organization devoted to ending slavery around the world, rescued 9 lives. In Ukraine, two women were rescued and 2 men were rescued from labor exploitation.  In Thailand, two women and 3 children were rescued. Praise God! 

Nine lives freed from bondage. Nine lives starting over and free. Nine lives now hopeful of tomorrow.

Perhaps in time, smiles and laughter will come from those nine mouths. I won’t pretend to understand or comprehend the emotion associated with any of those nine rescues. But I can join in praising God for new beginnings and second chances. Nine lives coming out of the darkness and into the light. Nine lives free to continue to become whom God created them to be.

God is a God of second, third, and fourth chances. And, yes, even more than 9. God doesn’t keep track. Thankfully, He is always a God of another chance.

I don’t know if this applies to cats or not, but I am certain it applies to those 9 precious lives and to my life too.

Starting over and free.

  Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24 (NIV)

Photo credit: A21

give & get

Recently, a friend received a Facebook zinger. You know, the type of comment that leaves a heart scar. I imagine my bewildered friend mumbled a few choice words as she hit ‘unfriend’.  I read the unkind comment before my friend sent it and its author into cyber extinction. Scanning through Facebook, I found an interesting post by the offender, the same person who forgot to pause and think before posting. The offender posted how much she appreciated kind words from her co-workers following a difficult time in her life. Hmmm. Let me get this straight. The offender enjoys getting loving and kind words from others, but she doesn’t always give them to others?

Why does this sound so familiar? Because I am also guilty of engaging in the dangerous and hurtful disconnect between giving and getting. I know what I want to get from others (love, kindness, respect, honesty), but sometimes I am not very mindful about giving the same.

Give what I want to get. If I give my body more vegetables and less sugar, I get to inhale and exhale while wearing my jeans. If I give black oil sunflower seeds, I get to enjoy the splendid beauty of my feathered backyard friends.

Give what I want to get; a warm-hearted and humane life motto.  Always try to give to others what I want to get back. It is the abridged version of the Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12,  So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.

I will give grace and mercy to someone who made a mistake on Facebook because I, too, need much grace and mercy to cover my thoughtless words and careless actions. I will give grace and mercy to those around me and in cyber world. For it is by His Blood that I can approach His Throne and receive His grace and mercy in my time of need including navigating Facebook.

 So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive his mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need. Hebrews 4: 16 (TLB)