Category Archives: Christian faith

A Simple Move?

Our beautiful Estes Park house has sold. We’re packing up out things for a move down to south Denver.

We’ve ordered boxes and wrapping sheets, bubble wrap, tape.

We’ve made all the necessary small repairs, spackled all the holes where our family photos once hung, reserved a moving truck.

I was thinking the other day how complicated it is nowadays to move.

Wouldn’t it be great to just pull up stakes—literally—like Abraham and move on out?

But then I opened to Genesis and read about how wealthy Abraham was. Wealth in those ancient days was measured in livestock, of which Abraham had plenty.

It wasn’t a simple affair to move. Abraham had to consider the needs of the household members: wife, children, servants, tents and supplies.

He also had to consider how to move thousands of animals to places along the way where there was food and water and shelter. Someone had to go on ahead and scout appropriate areas. And Abraham would have had to get permission to move his herds and people across someone else’s land.

There were tribal laws to obey, treaties to make, tolls to pay. And his servants and hired workers would also have had to be able to defend themselves in case some hostile tribe decided to attack.

There were no Marriotts along the way. No comfy beds and clean bathrooms where Sarah could shower away the day’s dusty, dirty, sun-scorching move.

What faith on Abraham’s part to make such a monumental move.

But the Netherton move is also a move of faith. We do not know the people in our new neighborhood. We haven’t yet found a new church. We’ll be renting for at least a year. That will feel strange. Bruce won’t be telecommuting anymore. We’ll both have to get used to his commute to work.

And we’ll miss our dear friends at church and our neighbors.

I’m praying that our move turns out to be a wonderful opportunity to follow the Lord through an uncharted (for us) future.

“So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the Lord.” (Gen. 13: 18 NIV Bible)

 

 

I got a speeding ticket yesterday.

The perfect end to a truly stressful and frustrating day of looking for a townhome to rent down in southwest Denver area.

Not that I’m going to contest the ticket. I mean, I was speeding even though I didn’t know I was.

Funny, though. Because I’d been so careful during that long commute down south from Estes Park and then back north, to drive the speed limit. I even set my cruise control to match the mph signs.

It was one of those sections of highway where you can drive 65. So I was driving 65.

Then you come down a hill and halfway down it switches to 55.

I didn’t see the 55 sign.

The policeman was waiting.

Uh oh.

I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw the flashing lights.

I was nice and respectful. He asked me if I knew what the speed limit was and I told him the last time I saw the sign it was 65. When he could see that I was not going to be an aggressive sort, he nicely explained how the slope and curve of the highway at that point made it necessary to reduce the speed limit to 55. He took my license, registration and proof of insurance and marched back to his computerized car. I waited a long, long time.

I thought maybe he would take pity on me since I was driving on unfamiliar highways. But, no. He gave me my ticket in a nice, friendly sort of voice and said if I paid it quickly I’d only get two points on my record. Whatever that means.

I said “Thanks.”

Thanks? For what?

I had to think about that for a minute.

Thanks. For not giving me a bigger ticket fine. For being polite and respectful. For not searching my car or suspecting that I was under the influence.

Thanks that I wasn’t one of the eighteen accidents the policeman said had happened just this month on this particular stretch of highway.

Thanks that God isn’t surprised by anything that happened that day.

Thanks that I’m forever in His care, and that He is always working on my spirit to make me more like Jesus. And the discipline of a speeding ticket reminds me that He wants to mature me and teach me more about Himself and about the sinful world I live in.

Thanks!

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Heb. 12:11 NIV Bible)

 

 

 

 

Building Connections

When my children were very young I had the opportunity to talk to my older cousin, Ingrid, whose three boys were teenagers and young adults.

I was impressed by how affectionate and close all of the family members were. So I asked her:

“How do you do it?”

She said, “Just talk. Them talking, me listening. Me talking, them listening.

Talk about your day,

talk about what bothered you,

what delighted you, what you learned,

what you’re currently reading, what you wonder about,

what you long for.

Ingrid also said, “Do stuff together: projects, games, sports, trips, etc.

She gave me this sage advice nearly thirty years ago. I’m sure she hadn’t envisioned a day when techy stuff would take over this culture.

Sometimes I long for the good old days when the only form of communication in the house was the phone on the wall, and a pen and stationery.

Not that cell phones and  ipads are bad. It’s wonderful to have so much info at one’s fingertips. And to have the safety and convenience of reaching our loved ones by phone where ever we are.

But these blessings sure insulate us from others.

Here are a ten suggestions for young families raising kids:

1. Have meals together, and talk. No Tech stuff or TV allowed.

2. Have your kids’ friends over and let them play in and outside the house.

3. Read to your kids. Talk about the story.

4. Play with your kids, and tell funny jokes. Talk.

5. Pick one after-school activity a week per child. One. Your child will be less stressed, and so will you. Talk about why you’re doing this.

6. Limit your children’s time on cell phones and TV. Talk about why you’re doing this.

7. Bring your kids along with you during your activities. Everything you do is a chance for them to learn about the world and about civilized community. Talk about why you’re doing this.

8. Do volunteer activities together. (This includes chores around the house.)Talk about why you’re doing this.

9. Get to know your child’s teacher(s) and stay informed about EVERYTHING he/she is learning. Talk about why you’re doing this.

10. Pray together. Talk about what the Lord means to you.

You’ll be glad you did these things early on, because once your child’s a teenager, the habit of communication is likely to continue.

It’s easy to let other influences take over your child’s life. But bear in mind that most of our culture’s problems can be boiled down to this:

1. No relationship with God

2.  bad or no relationships with others.

Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold. God is all about relationships, and we should be, too.

“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives.” (Col. 3:15, 16 The Message)

 

 

 

The Invisible Exists

We decided to drive all night to get to Las Vegas for my niece’s wedding on Saturday.

Bruce and I left Estes about 9 PM and drove south to intersect with I-70, the interstate that runs through the Rocky Mountains.

We’ve driven this route hundreds of times and we are always thrilled by its beauty.

Since we know the way so well, and have seen it, we know where the road will curve, we know the speed limits, the towns, the sights well before we encounter them.

This was not a trip for sight-seeing. We drank coffee to stay awake, and got through the desert to our air conditioned hotel before the morning sun could turn up the thermostat.

But as we drove through Colorado’s Glenwood Springs Canyon, I pictured the magnificent cliffs looming above us, hardy little pines and spruce trees clinging to the rocky base. By now, in August, the Colorado River wending its way at the bottom of the canyon would be groovin’ like a laid-back hippie, and rafters wouldn’t have to fight any powerful currents.

I felt sorry for tourists driving at this time of night. If they hadn’t seen the glories of this route on some other trip, they’d be driving blind, imagining that the darkness surrounding them contained nothing but black sky.

Oh, what they were missing!

I believe that’s how it is with the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus frequently referred to in the gospel of Matthew.

As Christians, when the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us, we get a taste of what heaven is like. And sometimes, like tourists, God comes near and we get glimpses of His indescribable beauty. Having touched, tasted, smell, felt His glory, we anxiously look forward to more experiences.

But I can only tell another person about Him and how wonderful it is to be near God and to spiritually see Him.

It’s great to read about wonderful things along the route.

But at night, without sight, the traveler only knows from his reading of a map, or by someone who’s already been there.

A whole wonderful, colorful, exciting world exists.

It’s there even when the traveler’s eyes don’t see it.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.” (Matthew 5: 8, The Message)

Don’t Stay Angry!

Cain was the first criminal.

He wasn’t a criminal because of his disadvantaged background.

His parents were probably about as close to perfect as any man and woman could be. And Adam and Eve certainly didn’t have any personal baggage handed down from their parents!

If anyone didn’t have an excuse for his bad attitude, it would be Cain.

None of us knows exactly what Cain’s problem was.

He had an attitude, that’s for sure.

Genesis 4 recounts how both Abel and Cain brought their offerings to the Lord. Abel, of course, brought offerings from the firstborn of his flocks, and Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil.

The offerings themselves weren’t the problem.

God was displeased by something in Cain.

Cain was very angry. God said to him, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you. But you must master it.” (Genesis 4: 6,7 NIV)

Even after God’s warning, Cain continued to be angry.

His anger centered on his brother, Abel, and the perceived favoritism God was showing him.

Can you relate? Do you ever think someone else—your sibling, your friend, your business associate, etc.— is getting the long end of the stick and you are always receiving a lesser portion?

It’s so easy to focus on what you’re not getting and to grow resentful and angry.

I’ll bet you can think of at least a handful of news stories where some disgruntled employee killed his boss or associates because he felt he’d been treated unfairly.

We think: I’d never get that angry. Those people in the news were crazy.

Maybe, maybe not.

I believe most murderers aren’t crazy.

Just really angry and selfish.

Like Cain, they focus on themselves.

They fail to see God and how He can bless them if they will submit to Him.

Cain could have repented of his really bad attitude.

But he didn’t. After God rebuked him, he just got more angry.

Cain selfishly held onto his anger, and the result was death.

For us, the sin of unconfessed anger may not lead to physical death.

But think of the ramifications of our anger in all of our relationships.

Do you want to be around someone who’s angry?

When I was a young mother, I had to pray for Jesus to help me deal with some anger issues. I knew, if I didn’t, not only would it harm my relationship with the Lord, but it would harm the spirits of my precious young children. Thank the Lord, He made me sensitive to His prompting to get out from under the yoke of anger.

Is there anger in your life that is getting in the way of your relationships?

What would the Lord have you do?

Ephesian 4:26 says: “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”