Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Well Done

I like my English muffins well done.  Medium to dark brown in color and crispy. Mmmm....When topped with real butter you can't get much better.  The problem is is that it takes quite a while to toast them to that point and most often I'm in a hurry.  So rather than take the time to cook them like I enjoy, I take them out of the toaster when they pop up the first time.  They are okay, and they fill the hungry void, but to me they're not nearly as satisfying as being well done.  Every once in a while I take the time to toast them crispy and brown and I savor every bite.  But come on, who has that kind of time to waste on every English muffin toasting!?

It's the same with many things.  A hamburger is not considered "safe" eating if it is pink in the middle.  Many restaurants will not serve a hamburger that is not well done.  And what about under-cooked spaghetti noodles?  Delicious?  Yuck!

Something occurred to me today as I sat down to my delightful, brown and crispy English muffin snack.  God likes his servants "well done."  He tells us that in Matthew 25:21.  He doesn't like it much if we're soft and soggy like a buttery, under-cooked English muffin.  Or if we're raw in the middle like a medium rare hamburger.  Or if we're crunchy and tough like partially cooked spaghetti noodles.  The reason for all these foods not being acceptable is that we remove them from the heat sooner than they should be.  

Yes, many times we take something off the heat because we're tired of waiting for it to cook any longer.  But thank goodness we don't do that with our spiritual lives.  Remove ourselves from the heat that is. Thank goodness we keep ourselves in the heat as long as possible so that we aren't soggy or pink inside, under-cooked.  

The truth of the matter is I often get antsy when I'm in tough circumstances.  I don't like the heat. So I push the eject button and try to pop myself from the toaster before I'm done. I know that if I am unwilling to let God deal with me, especially in the frying pan, I won't hear those wonderful words, "Well done my good and faithful servant."  Then why do I wiggle and writhe in the pan instead of being still and letting the heat do its work?  

After all, He does use oil in the pan.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

We Can't Do It

I had a conversation with a dear friend recently. We agreed that there are so many urgent prayer requests out there, too many to remember, that some fall through the cracks. My friend said she has tried listing them so she wouldn't forget, but finds herself going through the list with vain repetition, feeling no power. We agreed that there are so many needs to pray about you feel like you can't keep up.

Yet, somehow, I believe the Lord lays certain ones on our hearts when it's time to pray for them. That way there IS power because it is His Spirit making intercession. We tend to forget that it is "not by my own might or my own power, but by His Spirit". (Zechariah 4:6)

That is true with anything that we try to do. From prayer, to praise, to changes in ourselves, to forgiving, to loving others. No matter what it is, "by His Spirit" is the only way it can be accomplished.

Lucien, a very wise man in our congregation, shared that his 5 year old granddaughter, Tenley, was very ill and in the hospital with pneumonia. Tenley always tells her grandfather that he can fix anything. In the past he has fixed toys for her and various things. But Lucien sat on the edge of Tenley's hospital bed and told her, "Tenley, grandpa can't fix you. Only Jesus can fix you."

We would all like to think that we have the power to fix things that are wrong or broken in our lives and in the lives of others. But instead we must hand the brokenness to the Lord. We don't have the might or the power. It's only by His Spirit that anything can be achieved.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

"What's Your Scary Monster"

Yesterday I spent some quiet time with my five year old grandson, Alex.  As the gentle rain outside brushed against our window, Alex and I snuggled together into the soft chair and read a children's mystery book.  It was about a swamp monster.  One of the characters went for a walk and didn't come back on time, prompting others to go out and look for him.  It was getting late in the day and the sun began to set.  Soon it was dark and everyone was nervous about being there in the dark knowing there might be a swamp monster around.  Sure enough, they spied a figure in the distance.

It was big.

It was black.

It was bulging.

It had long arms with scraggly fingers at the ends.

It had an odd shaped head.

Everyone was afraid and decided to stay where they were and not go any closer.  Eventually, the night turned into day.  As it did, each character could see that the big, black, bulging, long armed, scraggly fingered, monster with the odd shaped head was NOT a monster at all!  It was a boulder with a couple of trees growing out of it.  And their missing friend had spent the night sleeping behind the boulder.

Alex was quick to pick up on this illusion.  He made a statement that I had heard before. Only the statement had been made by a well seasoned, very wise, preacher.  This time it was spoken by my five year old grandchild.  Alex said, "Things are not always as they seem".


Yet profound.

I realized once more that right now I see things "through a dark glass".  I don't see the whole picture. In any situation.  I don't see things as they really are.  Right now I only "know in part".

So often we think we see.  Therefore, we make judgments.  We get it all figured out in our heads. Then we make decisions based on what we have concluded.

How very dangerous!  The result from our decision could be disastrous.

We must give ourselves and our situations completely to God.  Then we must wait quietly until he shows us what really is.  He has everything all figured out and he will show us the truth.  He is the Truth and he is the Light.

Remember, when the dawn broke and the darkness disappeared?  The characters in the mystery book all saw the "monster" for what it really was.  And it wasn't anything that they needed to be afraid of.

Rest in God.

Trust that he will shine the light on your situation and show you the truth.

Give him your thoughts.

Your feelings.

Let him show you what that scary monster really is.


"Things are not always as they seem".