Do Opposites Really Attract?

Meghan and Tink

Consider cats and dogs, two very different species. Can they be friends or are they destined to always be at odds with one another?

Our cat, Tink, despised our dog, Meghan, when they were first introduced many years ago. Today, however, Tink loves to snuggle with Meghan as often as Meghan allows.

But Tink and our other cat, Gunny, still despise each other after living in the same household for roughly ten years. 

Gunny

There’s a larger age difference between the two cats than there is between Tink and Meghan. Plus, Gunny’s personality differs from Tink’s.

Gunny is a cat that needs lots of mental and physical stimulation, a true huntress. Tink, however, stays in the same spot most of the day. Until she deems it is time for food, that is. Then she finds whatever human is nearest to her proximity to pester until fed.

Meghan’s personality is best described as accommodating to whatever the activity may be. If resting, she’ll gladly rest. If heading outside, she’ll gladly go along. Oh, and food time is a significantly joyous event. Essentially, Meghan gets along well with every member of our household.

What does this illustration of animals and opposites attracting have to do with Genesis 25:28?

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When Your Story Isn’t About You

your story and God

Something that fascinates me is how often a turn of phrase, concept, or even a direct biblical quote appears in movies that do not intend to promote a biblical worldview.

Movies frequently misquote or twist what originated from the Bible. But even with this tendency, we can learn something.

Case in point, the movie Dr. Strange is a sci-fi movie based on a Marvel comic book that portrays a man seeking his own healing through any means, including sorcery. Clearly, this is not a film intending to promote a Christian or even Jewish biblical worldview. However, it is a film promoting a general story of good over evil, which is found in a biblical worldview.

Consider with me a scene from Dr. Strange where we can learn something.

In one scene of Dr. Strange, a character challenges another who operates from a motivation of arrogance and fear that they have missed learning the simplest lesson in life.

When asked what this lesson is, they reply that the simplest lesson in life to learn is that our time here is not about us.

Is this really the simplest lesson in life and is it a biblical concept?

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What Causes You Anxiety?

Resiliency

Our answer to this question is more nuanced in 2022 than five years ago.

In the past five years, humanity has experienced a global pandemic, ongoing political turmoil, supply chain failures, rising inflation, and the list continues.

What other stressors do we struggle against?

There are also more intimate stressors to consider, such as a loss of a loved one, loss of a means of income, infertility, divorce, to spilling water on your computer keyboard (yes, this just happened to me.) 

Any of the above items and others can raise our cortisol, the stress hormone, to various degrees. How we cope with the daily intimate anxieties and the global ones reveals our differences in resilience.

Can we “bloom” like the flower in the picture above, even when we are anxious?

What can we learn about dealing with our anxieties in Genesis 25:21?  

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Where Are You From?

origins

Shortly after moving to South Carolina in 2003, I received an invitation to join a local women’s group where I received advice to say I was from Oklahoma instead of Kansas when introducing myself to the members.

The reasoning for this advice came from Oklahoma’s history as an unorganized Indian territory, while Kansas was a loyal free state between 1861-1865. These dates refer to the American Civil War, sometimes referred to as the War of Northern Aggression. 

The encouragement to lie about my birthplace was accurate advice for being better received by this group of women. When I stopped following that advice, the facial expressions of members who were meeting me for the first time revealed they immediately disliked me over something that happened before I was even born!

How does this connect with Genesis 25:20?

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The Value of Redundancy

redundancy

First, what is redundancy?

Merriam-webster.com defines redundancy as the quality or state of being redundant.

Okay, Merriam-webster.com, what is the definition of redundant?

Merriam-webster.com defines redundant as exceeding what is necessary or normal or characterized by or containing an excess, specifically: using more words than necessary.

Second, how do we define value?

Some options from Merriam-webster.com include:

  • Relative worth, utility, or importance
  • Something such as a principle or quality intrinsically valuable or desirable

So, when do we value redundancy?

As one continues down the list of viable options, we find redundant can also mean serving as a duplicate for preventing the failure of an entire system (such as a spacecraft) upon failure of a single component.

How does any of this relate to Bible study and specifically, Genesis 25:19?

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Submitting to the Promised Legacy

Dutch

The dog above was our beloved Dutch, a Rottweiler/Akita mixed breed that showed up at my husband’s workplace many moons ago when we lived in Kansas.

We also had two Pomeranians, Mikki and Bear, our indoor dogs prior to Dutch’s adoption into the family.

Mikki
Bear

Mikki and Dutch got along. Bear, all twelve pounds of him, thought he was in charge, even though Dutch was at least five times bigger. Bear’s pride, though, got emotionally stunned one day when Dutch came running to greet my husband and sent Bear rolling like a soccer ball with an accidental paw swipe.

Later, when we lived in Oklahoma, Bear was barking at a passing dog along the fence line when Dutch came barreling around the corner, also barking. Bear panicked until he realized Dutch was coming as his personal bodyguard from whatever Bear had been barking about. From that point on, Bear accepted Dutch’s presence.

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Family Conflict Truce at Funeral

funerals

At first glance, the picture above just looks like a beautiful garden.

On closer inspection, one realizes this is a graveyard that is well tended with plantings of perennial plants and decorated with things like a lantern.

The caretakers of this graveyard are showing care and love in memory of their ancestors.

  • What might the stories of these families be before their ancestors passed?
  • What if the remaining family members had years of conflict between them prior to the funeral?
  • How might these families have behaved at the funeral, given their history of conflict?
  • What can we learn from Genesis 25:9-10 about setting aside family conflict at these times?
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What Type of Legacy Are You Preparing?

inheritance

A few months ago, I traveled to Kansas for a few days to help my parents downsize for the second time. 

This move entailed more compromises than the previous one for them.

One aspect involved me and other family members agreeing to receive some of their furniture and other personal items that they could no longer use.

My sister, who lives nearby, agreed to store my items until a later time.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, my brother-in-law delivered some of these items to my home.

The emotional impact of these items entering my home included excitement, awe, thankfulness, and even sadness, to name a few.

Some of you have been through this with your parents. Perhaps multiple times.

Or maybe you are downsizing and passing belongings on to your children, other relatives, friends, or other entities.

What does Genesis 25:5-6 teach us about preparing a legacy for others?

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How Quickly Do You Comply?

rules

I am a terrible tennis player.

But I love watching professional tennis grand slams.

This weekend, the Wimbledon 2022 tournament ended.

Wimbledon, as the birthplace of tennis, holds a special mystique to tennis players and fans alike.

Players are subject to specific rules of dress and conduct at Wimbledon, not present at other grand slams.

Failing to comply with the specific rules of dress and conduct results in significant fines for the players.

Some players exhibit “don’t care” attitudes about the special rules.

Most players comply with respect.

What does this have to do with Genesis 24:66-77?

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