Sunday, July 26, 2020
Monday, June 8, 2020
Recently we were watching a video about a sea slug called a nudibranch. Their beautiful coat usually is a protection from predators since these slugs do not have any shell. What I found most interesting wasn’t their color, but how they got their stinging nematocysts (these are the same cells that jellyfish and sea anemones have). These clever slugs eat their enemies. They create a special mucus to prevent the stinging cells to fire at them. After they ingest them, the immature nematocysts are stored away. When they have matured and are needed they will shoot their stinging cells to paralyze their prey.
While listening I was stunned by how creative this creature is. Since they don’t have a shell they need a way to protect themselves. Stealing another animal’s weapon is very clever. It made me think about how to apply that today in my life. Right now we have been face with the enemy of fear. Satan has been trying to choke us with fear. I hear the words I am fearful, scared, and worried. While under the mist of a pandemic we have stopped looking at Jesus our Savior, but have chosen to look at the waves of worry and fear that surround our feet. What if we took what satan is using to sting and paralyze us and us it against him.
We can learn a lot from these sea slugs. When we feel the words of anxiety and fear creep deep into our heart leaving us breathless we need to block them with words of scripture, like “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 and “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…” 1 John 4:18a. Then in turn we need use what the enemy has used against us and throw the stinging cells back at him. As soon as the lie of the enemy sneaks into your mental space we immediately shoot right back out Jesus’ name and the enemy will flee.
I know that we are all doing our best to understand the world around us, but there is a difference between being safe and wise versus only focusing on the negative of the story. I am not saying that what is happening with this virus isn’t devastating and horrific, but I am saying when all we read is the news and facebook posts instead of mediating and reading scripture then we are only fighting this virus with the fear the enemy is throwing at us. Yes, we need to stay informed so we can make wise choices, but isn’t God the ultimate wisest individual. Doesn’t he have better knowledge of this virus than even the CDC or White House. Shouldn’t we be asking him what we should be doing.
Deep down I think God wants us to surrender our fears and pray. Pray for those in leadership to have Godly wisdom. Pray for families that are facing this horrible virus. Pray for those that are suffering from job loss. Pray for a miracle in the world. First and foremost the miracle we need is not a cure to this disease it is a cure of the heart of pride that is in this country. We might have the smartest individuals and scientists, but are they relying on their own strength or God’s strength to find the answers.
We have been given the greatest opportunity to during this social fasting to be still. To wait on the Lord. To rest in his presence. I believe that being still in God’s presence is the weapon that we need to shoot back at our enemy. Right now we need to be strategic like this nudibranch. We need to use the word of God to be chemical slime to help protect us when digesting the enemy’s darts of lies and worries. Then in turn use those poisonous darts to shoot right back at satan.
When satan lies - Fear the Virus You shout - Fear God
When satan lies - Blame others and God You shout - Blame satan
When satan lies - Worry You shout - Pray
When satan lies - Fear death You shout - Death has no hold on me!
Each day we need to treat as a battle zone over our minds and hearts. We need to be prepared that this journey isn’t an easy one, but God has given all we need to fight this war. Part of the fight we pray together even if it is over the internet. Making sure we reach out to friends even it is a text message or call to say we are thinking or praying for them. We need to read and study scripture together. We are not meant to fight is battle alone. Memorize what Jesus said in John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
The sun streaming through the window crept up from the bed base onto my sheets and light blanket swiftly warmed up my whole bedroom. When the sun reached my face it made me opened my eyes. The sweat that was dripping off of me into my bed sheets was all a confirmation that it was hot season in Thailand. Which only meant that no amount of fan or breeze could cool down my bedroom during the night. I was too cheap or too stubborn to turn on the built in air-conditioner placed right under my 13 story window, which meant that waking up sweaty was a common occurrence these days.
I sat up alert to the day I had before me. For today was going to be epic event for this single twenty something woman. I was asked to be apart of a Thai friend’s wedding. This would be my first exposure of a true Thai cultural experience. I had never seen a Thai wedding and being not just invited, but apart of the wedding’s festivities was a huge honor. The first part of the day was the traditional Thai wedding, but the second part of the day was the western type christian wedding where I was asked to be one of the candle lighters.
I showered and dressed in a traditional Thai skirt which was full of colorful material with various embroidered designs that wrapped around my waist a few times with a tie in front. I picked out a simple dress shirt that was cool and loose thankfully matching the skirt perfectly. I packed up my makeup, hair supplies and my second dress with dress shoes that I would need to change into for the second wedding event.
My roommate and I headed to the bride’s house where everything was adorned with vibrant colored decorations. We all sat on the floor of the upstairs room in their open air wooden house. The bride looked extravagant with a reddish fabric embroidered with designs of gold running up and down the skirt wrapped neatly around her petite waist. Another piece of ornate fabric was draped across her chest and over her shoulder on top of another glittery type shirt. Soon we heard the sounds of chatting and singing coming down the lane they lived on. This act showed how he and his family were asking for her hand in marriage while walking down the street towards the bride’s house. The groom was also dressed with decorative fabric as pants and a long sleeve tailored coat. He joined the bride upstairs in the main room on the center mat.
There were plates of various fruits and foods placed around the edges of the room. One plate looked like a fish that had just been recently caught and cooked, but in reality it was a perfect sculpture of a fish made out of a gelatin mixture. The designs and artistry work took my breath away.
The words the Thai officiate spoke rapidly went through one ear and out the other during most of the ceremony. Near the end the dowry which was many stacks of the Thai currency was gently placed on a plate framed with exquisite jasmine flowers that gave off a calming fragrance. The dowry was tied up into a cloth and given to the bride’s family.
After the ceremony had finished, my roommate quietly grabbed my attention so we could gracefully head out, while taking the bride too. We were heading out to prepare for the next ceremony. Since we had the bride in the our car we were surprised to see my roommate’s SUV trimmed with a gigantic ribbon in the shape of a bow on top of the hood. Thankfully it wasn’t blocking her view while driving. From now on everyone that saw us knew we had the bride!
Our friend, the bride, wanted to do the traditional Thai ceremony with their families, but she and her future husband wanted to still have a traditional western christian wedding with their new church family. That is where my roommate and I were key. A few months back when the bride wanted to find a dress for the candle lighters, I truly thought it would be impossible to find a dress that would fit me. I had learned that past year while living in Bangkok that I had to buy from the “fat clothes” stores. Not because I was fat, but mostly because I was a head taller than most Thais and their clothes were mostly meant for petite individuals. This is why I was doubtful that we would find a dress, but to my surprise there was one dress that they found that actually fitted perfectly. As I placed it on for the wedding, I was reminded that wearing this dress was not for my beauty or show, but for honoring the bride. My dress was bright pink, almost sparkly, with a halter top. Right in the middle of my chest was a gigantic pink rose that could easily cover up my face. The bottom half of the dress had a jagged trim around my knees with pink tulle layered between the material with the same design. When I first tried it on months earlier the only thought that crossed my mind was that I was a Pink Tinker-bell. Even though I thought I looked a little over the top, this is quite normal for Thailand. They love the color pink and anything that looks “cute.” I might have felt a little awkward in it, but I still blended in with the whole wedding party and the guests.
We had to wait for the bride for over an hour before the ceremony started, but over all the wedding went on smoothly. Thankfully I could wear a jacket during the reception. The jean jacket was mostly to help keep warm in the powerful air-conditioned room, but it nicely covered the massive rose on my chest. At the reception all guests sat around round tables where we had a spinning tray in the middle. Since I hadn’t eaten lunch I was starved by the time the food arrived. When they placed the first appetizer, which was fried pork rinds, on the spinning tray I quickly devoured about a third. Next we had another appetizer which I mistaken to be the main meal and ate a good portion. It wasn’t until the seventh dish came out did I realize I hadn’t planned my eating journey well. By the time we got to the fifteen dish I was more than full. My tight pink dress was definitely getting close to ripping at the seams. That is when they brought out the the wedding cake. Even the thought of eating another bite was sickening. In true Thai culture the bride and groom approached the wedding cake with a long sword and together they cut their first piece of cake with the traditional saber.
That night laying in a cooler bedroom I went to sleep dreaming of pink tulle and gigantic swords. I knew that my wedding one day would probably be quite different, but my memory of this Thai wedding day would last forever.
Monday, February 10, 2020
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
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