The Ultimate GMO

*Image is from Rodale’s Organic Life

Genetics. We can’t get away from them. Pretty much everything we eat, unless you are a strict geophagist, has a genetic component. And what constitutes a genetically modified organism? People have been modifying the genomes of plants and animals for millennia. Just look at all of the varieties of apples we have, or man’s best friend.

It seems that the term, GMO, is reserved for creatures whose genome has been altered by means that are beyond natural cross-breeding; alterations that would never happen in nature, by any stretch of the imagination.

And what about our genomes? We are finding that things people once thought were simple choices, like alcoholism, lesbianism, being socially insensitive most of the time (now known as autism) have very strong genetic components.

I, of course, struggle with autism, and I am certain I could very easily become an alcoholic, which is why I am very careful about how much and when I drink.

So why does God tell me through the Bible,

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18)?

God does not say I shouldn’t drink alcohol at all, but I shouldn’t let it take me over, instead, I should let Him take me over. But for someone who is a candidate for alcoholism, I can understand how that would be a very tough statement for someone who actually does struggle with alcoholism.

And why, when God knows it is extremely difficult for me to think of the perspective of others (actually it is impossible, on my own, without a lot of coaching, first), does he say this in Philippians 2:1-4:

(1) Therefore if you have any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, (2) then make my joy complete by being of one mind, having the same love, being united in spirit and purpose.

(3) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. (4) Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

As I was talking with a friend about this the other day, suddenly the following flowed out of our conversation. Now, keep in mind that I have a biology minor, so I am somewhat well-versed in the scientific perspective of biology in general, and genetics in particular. But as we were talking, God seemed to pour this through us:

Yes, we are all genetically predisposed to various things, be it singing, stealing, dancing, dealing, cooking, cheating, making things, murder, smiling, smoldering, you get the picture. It is impossible for us, on our own power, to follow what the Bible says, to even want to follow what the Bible says, without this:

(5Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. (6Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. (7)So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ (8The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you it is with people born of the Spirit.” (John 3: 5-8)

So, Jesus is saying that to be part of His kingdom, I need to be genetically modified. I need to be unnaturally changed by the supernatural to even be interested in living life to the fullest.

Does God actually change our physical genome, or does he just give us the supernatural power to overcome our genome, I don’t know.  I just know that I want that!

Jesus, later in that chapter tells us how we can experience being born again:

(16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16 -17)

Believe in Jesus, and God will genetically modify you by giving you his Holy Spirit to help you do the impossible.

Wow! I want to be the ultimate GMO! How about you?

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Thank God, I’m terrible!

For some months now, my son’s piano teacher has been asking him to learn to play Christian worship songs using just chord sheets. My husband and I didn’t push him over the summer – he got the summer off from lessons (Actually, I got the summer off from listening to him complain that he needed to do something other than playing on the computer!).

He started lessons again last week, and was asked again to pick one song to work on. Later this morning, he started picking on his sister, so I suggested that he must be bored, so why not practise piano (he truly loves to play, so I wasn’t trying to be mean, just trying to help him stay out of trouble). He noodled around a bit, and then I remembered that he had yet to tackle a worship song. So I told him he needed to pick a song.

Let the excuses and procrstination start!

son: I don’t know any of the songs my teacher gave me.

daughter, looking through his sheet music: I know you know this one.

son: I don’t know what the notes are supposed to be.

me: You have an incredible ear (he actually has a perfect ear – but being from Minnesota, “perfect,” is culturally difficult to accept, “incredible,” is already pushing it!), so I am sure you will be able to figure it out. But you don’t even need to do that, just figure out the chords listed on the sheet.

son: stalling, stalling stalling…

me: Where is the chord sheet your teacher gave you? Get that out. That will make it easier.

son: rolling head on couch, still stalling

me, getting out his chord sheet and placing it on the piano next to the song sheet: Come on, you can do this.

son: No, I don’t want to. You can’t make me, etc, etc.

me pulling out all of the stops: You will not get to play on the computer tonight until you try to play this.

son, pouting as he sits down on the piano bench: Help me, mom!

me: OK, where’s the A chord? OK, so this is what you do (playing the chords listed on the sheet, painfully slowly, and with many an error).

daughter: Mom, please stop! Please let my brother try it!

son, also all too happy to have me stop: Ok, I think I get it.

Next commences 15 or so minutes of perfect chords. He then switched to almost perfectly plunking out the melody.

Thank God I know just enough piano to be painful to listen to!

Toilets vs. Telephones

To all of you out there who get frustrated with me when I do not answer your emails or phone calls as quickly as you would like (or ever, sometimes – sorry about that), maybe this story will give you a little bit of insight into me.

First let me say, that by God’s grace, I am getting better at responding in a timely manner. But here is a glimpse into why you may not always hear from me when you think you should.

Yesterday afternoon I had two things that I wanted to get done: scrub the bathroom and make some phone calls for a friend to people that I didn’t know, asking them to sign up for something that I believed in. As the afternoon wore on, I realized that I was only going to be able to get to one of those two things.

I picked cleaning the extremely dirty bathroom.

Why does God want to be my friend?

God wants to be your friend because He likes you. It makes Him happy to be your friend. Another reason that He wants to be your friend is because He wants to help you be happy. He wants to help you with your probems and he wants to give you interesting things to do that will make you feel joyful and at peace.

Do you have a pet that you like? If so, why do you like that pet? Is it because that pet makes you feel happy. Do you enjoy making your pet happy, too by taking care of it and finding fun things for it to do? Then you understand just a little bit about how God feels about you.

Or maybe you really enjoy playing computer games. Why do you like them? Is it because playing them makes you feel happy? Well, that is how God feels about being your friend.

“He will take great delight in you.” Zephaniah 3:17

Why are we here?

Devotions for kids on the spectrum

An eight-year-old I know, who has ASD, asked her mom, “Why are we born, if we are just going to die?” I remember thinking about similar things when I was young.

This is what I have come to learn. God created us to be His friend. He wants to be friends with us forever, but he does not want to force us to be his friend. He wants us to decide if we want to be friends with Him.

That is what this life is for. We are born, and are given the opportunity to meet God. We learn about him and decide if we want to be friends with him. If we decide that we do want to be His friend, we get to go to heaven when we die. He also helps us while we are still here on earth.

 “LORD, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.” 1Kings 8:23