No Strict Teachers in Heaven? Prepping Kids for the “Cruel” World or Helping Them Break It?

When school starts you hear stories of new teachers, tasks, and ways kids get others to laugh. Sometimes kids talk about new challenges like having “strict” teachers.

One story went like this:

Teacher A asked a question to class. Student B asked for it to be repeated. Teacher A makes example of Student B for not listening.

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The Torch and Oven: A Christmas Story You Didn’t Hear

Christmas is a time to enjoy cozy lights, sweet treats, and Dutch gezelligheid – a wonderful word without pure translation, but roughly: nice/comfy/friendly/cozy- ness.

Some think of “baby Jesus,” or making everything just right, and still others wish to fast forward through the season. Holidays can be painful for some so I want to share a verse I’ve never heard at Christmastime which may give hope, especially to any who’ve ever been oppressed. Or maybe it gives more perspective beyond the baby in a manger.

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Tower of Bible: All that “Law” but Where’s the Love?

How do we have the bible in every language and version (e.g. NIV, NKJV, ESV, NASB, …), study guides, teen/mom/soldier/woman/early reader styles, Comic Bibles…. and still miss the main message?

love-your-neighbor-as-your-self-even-if-they-are-lgbtq-or-refugee-or-muslim-or
Translation: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Jesus) “And if they are a refugee or gay?”… or Muslim or Mexican, or Republican….?  Jesus: “Is there something wrong with your ears?”

I didn’t know I owned so many bibles–granted, I’m a self-proclaimed recovering pharisee so I shouldn’t be surprised, but it wasn’t until a friend visited from a country where being Christian is a crime and her daughter longed for a bible, that I really got thinking.

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Submissive God? 3 Bible Verses Exposing Mankind’s Freedom that May Blow Your Mind

If God really existed, why is the world so wrecked? And if *He is so “good,” how could He let those things happen to me…?
(note: I use He/His as pronouns for God but fully recognize God with male and female ‘identity,’ for lack of a better word, as evidenced throughout the Bible and the human race. 2-pt post here if you like).

Just one look at the suffering and oppression in this world –not just against people, but all creation– and it’s hard not to stumble on belief in a good God. But blaming (or denying) Heaven for all the woe ignores our God-Given freedom to destroy everything just fine on our own.

God is waiting for the miracle-save the world-justice-love-JasNotes-authorunknown

Hands can hurt flesh, and mouths can speak death, yet we rarely see God grab someone mid sentence, or mid swing. And if He did intervene every time we exercised our freedom, would we really be free?

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The Last Wall: How Our Hearts are the Last Border to Break

Our lives have been marked by boundaries: the boundary of the womb, the boundary of the crib, the boundary of the skies…  and we push these walls, kicking against the dark in the uterus, climbing out of cribs, dreaming of flight and touching the heavens.

It seems like all boundaries–from the glass ceilings to the Berlin Walls, were meant to be destroyed…

Breaking Berlin Wall.jpg

But some of the greatest walls rest in our Hearts.

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Jesus: Homeless Refugee ‘Moocher’, Not Welcome in Today’s Church?

You know the story of the guest pastor who visited a church in shabby attire, unshaven and maybe even unshowered? Churchgoers sidestepped him and certainly didn’t seat him at the front, so imagine their surprise/shame when he got up to give the sermon.

It’s a good example of the authenticity of our Love, and while Love shouldn’t be swayed by sight, any flesh and blood wrapped in labels like “Refugee” -“Homeless” -“Foreigner” -“Moocher” -“Homosexual” -“Annoying Friend,” will test our hearts.

Do we love because we want to, or because we ‘must?’ If the latter, is that really love?

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The Nitrous Oxide Connection: 6 Tips to Keep Your Joy/Power Tank Full

This starts with a snail named Turbo who dreams of speed. When Turbo almost drowns in an engine filled with nitrous oxide–and my kids and I started getting nervous— I started to wonder, hey, isn’t that laughing gas??

Turbo snail engulfed in nitrous oxide.png

SNL skits with Steve Martin flashed before me, and I checked Wiki: sure enough the stuff that numbs pain and causes giggles is the same stuff that turns car horsepower into unicorn power. Pow!

Turbo Movie-Snail Speeds Away.jpg

I don’t believe in coincidences, what’s the Universe trying to say?

Speed and Joy can go together like Slow and Annoyed, but does the connection run deeper? What if Fun, Laughter, and Joy are some of our Greatest Weapons in this life?

Is that why they’re constantly under fire?

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