The Christmas Spirit

Holy cow it’s been difficult for me to get in “the Christmas spirit” this year.  I’m not all “humbug” or anything, but it’s been busy pretty much nonstop.  From Thanksgiving until now it seems like it’s been one thing after another, from grading final papers at school to late nights in pastoral care to making the 2010 budget and the Christmas play at church this weekend, I have been running around like mad.  We adopted a stray dog (who we found a home for today!), and I am in the final stretch of training for a half-marathon.

The past two weeks I have been trying to get some more quiet and reverence since school has been out, but it hasn’t been easy or particularly successful.  I’ve had several marriages in significant crisis that I am trying to help; the holidays increase money stress, which increases marital stress.  I have 4 sermons in the next 10 days (Christmas play, this Sunday, Christmas Eve, and the following Sunday) to prepare for, and for me sermon prep is a time-consuming process of study, prayer, writing, outlining, and thinking.  We are inviting the church to come to our house on Sunday afternoon for Christmas carols, cookies, and fellowship, which is stressful because we’ve been cleaning and de-cluttering the house in preparation.  (If you’re in town, you better come see us!  The house will NEVER look this nice again!)

I know that I am not alone in my craziness.  I took Laura out to lunch yesterday at a restaurant near a local mall, and at 11:30 on a Thursday morning the mall parking lot was completely jammed full of cars.  The consumerist cycle continues unabated in America, with news reports touting better-than-expected holiday sales and parents rushing to get the latest toy craze for the kids. (this year it’s the zhu zhu pet)  Like I said earlier I am seeing a lot of marital breakdowns right now, much of it centered around money and holiday stress.  Several good people I know are out of work right now and looking for a job that will last beyond the New Year.  I have military friends trying to cram in some family time before deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.  My heart aches as a pastor when my congregants hurt, so I work hard to help them.

Throughout all of this, God has been calling me back again and again to a particular verse of Scripture that isn’t normally associated with Christmas; even though it’s not really “Christmas-y” it has spoken to me powerfully this December.  The prophet Micah wrote it during a time in Israel and Judah when they had fantastic wealth but also a smugness and contentment in their lives that took them away from the worship of God.  They had class warfare and financial ease, and since life wasn’t too bad their hearts got hard before the Lord.  In Micah 6:8 God looks at them and points a finger at their debauchery, showing them the simple yet profound demand that He has on them as His people:

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

In the midst of all of the busyness, God has called me to three simple habits and attitudes.

  1. “To do justice”: I like the way that the NIV puts this: “to act justly.”  God wants me to be upright in my thoughts and conduct.  Despite the hustle and bustle He calls me to do the right thing, all the time and as an act of worship.  That means I look out for others this Christmas, be they the kid lost in the mall or the clerk who gives me too much change at the store or the friend who needs a call.  God is just and wants me to be as well.
  2. “To love kindness”: God wants me to love kindness, to be merciful and loving to people.  He wants me to share the good news of Christ with others, to help them live to honor God (how unloving to allow a friend to debase themselves in sin and never try to help!), and to be there for them when they fall.  He wants me to extend forgiveness to others just as He has to me.  So when someone cuts me off in traffic or hurts my feelings I need to forgive them in love.  I need a soft heart with thick skin!
  3. “to walk humbly with your God”: How hard it can be for a type “A” personality like me to walk humbly with God.  He is the one responsible for any success and goodness in my life.  He is the one who provides it all, and yet how often do I take the credit!  He wants humility; He wants me to know where I stand in His eyes and to shine His glory rather than my own into His world.  He wants me to be His instrument rather than use Him as a tool to build my career or the path to my own success. 

This is the call I have from God this Christmas.  It’s been a busy one, and frankly I don’t see it letting up before the New Year.  Even so, I can enjoy the spirit of Christmas by remembering the cry of the prophet Micah.  God sent His Son into the world to pay the price for my sins and yours (1 John 2:1-2), living the words of Micah to perfection.  He came not for His benefit but for mine, so this Christmas I want to focus on doing the same to the best of my ability for His glory.  My prayer is that perhaps the call on me this Christmas can help you live out the call He has in your life too.

Merry Christmas!

Adopting a Stray

So my soft side got the best of me again this weekend. I am a sucker for a stray! I went for my run on Friday morning, and on my warm-up I noticed a dog in the front yard of the neighbor’s house. It barked at me and came across the street toward me for a bit, which made me uneasy. So I watched it closely until I was well past it, then forgot about it on my jog.

On my way back home the dog was still there. The owners of that house had basically abandoned their home the weekend before. (welcome to the economy in 2009…we haven’t had a lot of foreclosures on our block thankfully) That’s not the end of the world, but the neighbors next door to the newly-abandoned house were outside with their two dogs, playing with the one that had barked at me earlier.

Well to make a long story short I found out that the owners had abandoned not only their home but their dog. They had sold another dog they had, but left this little mutt to fend for herself.

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Of course before doing anything I went home and talked to my wife. (I surprised her by bringing a dog home unannounced when we first moved to Phoenix…and learned my lesson!) We talked about it a little and ended up bringing her home for at least the weekend. After all, she would go hungry or get hurt in the street by herself.

Well the previous owner came by that afternoon and told us some particulars. She is only 8 months old…so she’s a puppy. (strike one!) She has not had her vaccinations and we have kids in the house. (strike two!) And she has not been fixed and is an escape artist. (STRIKE THREE!)

Wait, there’s more! Laura does not like dogs particularly, though because I like them she tolerates our 55 pound lab mix named Grace. We also have a cat and James just got a rat. Laura wasn’t at all excited about taking on more animals! We would have to feed her, and of course once she was part of the family we would have to take care of all of her needs financially. The first night she stayed in our back yard I had to get up several times because she was barking at who knows what. She scratched a lot, which probably meant she had fleas.

There was not much going for this little mongrel. She had no real redeeming qualities…

Except the kids absolutely loved her. I said she looked like a “Trixie,” and they instantly started calling her Trixie. (even after we found out her previous owners named her Emory, Trixie stuck) They played with her and loved on her. We talked as a family over dinner on Sunday about keeping her and all the headaches it would be, but the look in the kids’ eyes was enough for Laura to relent.

So the kids and I bathed her with flea and tick shampoo, and put some flea treatment on her. After that she came in the house… and promptly peed on the carpet in our bedroom. She is sweet but not too smart. She likes to jump on the couch which is a no-no in our home. But again, the kids love her (and I like her too).

This got me thinking about a passage in Ezekiel this week. I know, you don’t spend your days thinking about prophets and their connection to stray mutts; that’s why you read my blog, because I do! In Ezekiel 16:1-5 God shows His amazing grace to His unfaithful people not because of their worth but because of His grace. This is His description of how He found them:

Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem, Your origin and your birth are from the land of the Canaanite, your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water for cleansing; you were not rubbed with salt or even wrapped in cloths. No eye looked with pity on you to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you. Rather you were thrown out into the open field, for you were abhorred on the day you were born.

There was nothing of value in them to bring God to love them or make a covenant with them. There was no intrinsic value in them. But God loved them anyway and provided for them in verses 6 and 7, giving them room to grow up. He then gave them everything they could possibly imagine in Ezekiel 16:8-14:

“Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine,” declares the Lord GOD. “Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. I also clothed you with embroidered cloth and put sandals of porpoise skin on your feet; and I wrapped you with fine linen and covered you with silk. I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your hands and a necklace around your neck. “I also put a ring in your nostril, earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dress was of fine linen, silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour, honey and oil; so you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you,” declares the Lord GOD.”

There was no value or worth in Israel that caused God to choose them as His people. Yet because of who He is, He redeemed them from their worthlessness, provided them everything they needed to thrive, and gave them an exalted place at His right hand.

While this passage is first and foremost about God’s relationship with His unfaithful people, Israel, it also has application to me[1]. How many times I need to realize that when God found me I had nothing redeeming in me. There was only me and my sin, offensive to God and completely worthless. And yet God loved me anyway and sent His Son to die for me. He redeemed me and made me His child, then gave me everything I could possibly imagine to bring me up from that worthlessness He found me in. Now I am no longer that worthless wretch, but a child of God deemed royalty by the King of kings. (1 Peter 2:9) Yeah I still “pee on the carpet” occasionally[2], but He loves me as His and faithfully cleans up my mess.

Thanks, Trixie, for showing me again how much God loves me. Thanks for reminding me that it is not who I am who made Him redeem me; rather, my redemption is solely and completely because of His unfathomable grace. That alone is worth the price of keeping you around! (but stay off of my chair)

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[1] Application is different than interpretation. In biblical interpretation we seek to find the author’s intended meaning for his first readers; in this case, it is Ezekiel’s recording of God’s pronouncement to His people, Israel. However, the next step is finding how that original audience is like and unlike me as a modern reader, then finding the universal theological truth taught in the passage and applying it to my personal situation. This is the path to correct biblical interpretation taught by Scott Duvall and Danny Hays in their excellent book, Grasping God’s Word. 2nd Ed. Grand Rapids, MI; Zondervan, 2005.

[2] Metaphorically speaking of course! Laura has me pretty well house-trained at this point in my married life.

When Conflict Goes…Right!

God made us to live in community. John Donne said it famously:

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind…

This is how God made us from the beginning. In Genesis 2:18 God said it was not good for Adam to be alone, and because of that Woman (Genesis 2:23; she isn’t called Eve until Genesis 3:20) was made to complete him. This is, in my opinion, a reflection of the Trinity and is a good thing. Just as God, the infinite Three-In-One, lives in perfect community He has made us to live in community.

That sounds all well and good. God lives in perfect harmony within Himself as Father, Son, and Spirit and we are called to live in harmony too. The problem is that life seldom is so simple. Humans are fallen (Genesis 3 tells the story), and because of the Fall we have conflict. We see this from very close to the beginning too, as Cain and his little brother Abel have the first family squabble in Genesis 4. That family squabble turns into the first murder!

Though Christians admit that we are flawed, imperfect, sinful, and prone to doing wrong (Romans 7:14-24) in a general sense we have a hard time admitting that to others in particular issues and with specifics. We expect our Christian lives to be lives of perfect harmony and unity, always getting along and always reflecting the amazing standard of the church in Acts 2:42-47:

42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

We don’t think about Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 lying to the church and causing problems, or the issue of racism that crept into the church in Acts 6. We seldom consider the major problems the church in Corinth faced, which Paul addressed in 1 Cor 5 and 6. (heck, the whole letter is written to a church that had a bad case of disunity and bickering, backstabbing and sin!)

Wherever there is community there is bound to be conflict, even among good and godly people. We miscommunicate, take things the wrong way, have differing priorities and perspectives on life and ministry. Since life is seldom simple there are often several ways to see a given issue, and that means that well-meaning Christians will disagree on how to deal with them. This leads to conflict within the body. Add to this our “flesh” or sinful nature, and the fact that we can and do offend one another and sin against one another, and it can make a deadly brew of disunity and fighting.

The past couple of weeks have had a bunch of conflict in my life. I had a student ask for prayer because she had to confront her pastor and his wife over an issue of a promise that was not kept. I sent out notices to several other students that they were failing my class and that we needed to talk about their performance. I offended a family in our church unintentionally through some miscommunication. (and was told of this by one of my elders who heard about it from them) I had to participate in a conflict between two people in ministry where a lot of hurt had built up and emotions ran strong. (take a moment and write your pastor a quick thank-you email…this is the stuff you pay him to do!) I also had to talk with a family member about the movie they wanted my son to watch with them that Laura and I were uncomfortable with.

You might be thinking that this is where the blog post turns into me venting about not being understood, lamenting people leaving church or talking bad about me. (plaintiff’s exhibit one, your honor) Not this time! This week I taught in Gospels class in Matthew 18:15-17,

15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17 “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

God has really been working on me in this area. He has brought to mind Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as depends on you, be at peace with all men” as I have worked through these disagreements. In Acts 5 and 6, I see the church maintaining unity and joy through their internal conflicts by focusing on God’s priorities and talking them out, loving each other and fighting fair. (and, in the case of Ananias and Sapphira, a little divine discipline)

I also have been hearing in my head a statement that I believe is from God for me at this time*: “Sheep bite, but only when they are hurt.” Most people that I know are not wolves; they are not predators looking to make a meal out of me. As a shepherd I seek to help the flock by grazing, guarding, and guiding them. A shepherd checks his sheep, and occasionally touches a sore spot for one of them. If a shepherd is bit by a sheep it is not because the sheep is looking for a meal but as a defense against the pain. That perspective has made all the difference.

The student who needed prayer had the talk with her pastor and his wife (not me, btw) and came away with a profound respect for them as people. I talked with the students who I sent emails to, and every one was thankful for the communication and grateful that I took time to help them see how they could improve their performance and pass my class. I sent an email and then called the family I had offended. They accepted my apology and we cleared up the miscommunication. I had several emails back and forth with the folks who were involved in the ministry conflict and was amazingly blessed by watching God salve wounds and lead people toward peace and blessing in ministry.**

I must say it is amazingly cool to watch God’s people do things God’s way and see Him bring the type of healing and resolution that we see in the book of Acts. It really encouraged me as I saw God heal hearts and reconcile relationships that had some resentment between them. It doesn’t always work this way (I have had people call me the worst excuse for a pastor ever and leave our church without even giving me the time of day), but when it does it is a reminder that God’s way is always best. Even though I loathe confrontation and get ill when I have to confront, I have seen God work through it enough that I am committed to His way in this.

I can’t encourage you enough to try it His way and see what happens. Pray a bunch, make sure that you try to see it from their perspective and admit more than your share of the fault. Seek reconciliation rather than admission of how right you are and see what He does. Maybe, just maybe He will bring similar results in your life.

*I am not normally a “God told me something” kind of guy. He speaks directly to me seldom. In August, though, I believe He really asked me if my ministry was about my kingdom or His. (that was painful!) In September this thought came in prayer about sheep biting and has been very helpful in ministry and perspective. Who am I to put God in a box that He cannot speak directly to my heart?

**The family issue is still hanging a little. I know God can and will bring resolution, but this one is not necessarily between Christians. Thanks for praying with me over it that Laura and I would be the parents we need to be while obeying Exodus 20:12.

Redemption

On Thursday Michael Vick signed a 2-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. The first year will pay him $1.6 million and the second, if the Eagles keep him, pays $5.2M. The Eagles already have an all-pro quarterback in Donovan McNabb, but the addition of Vick makes the Eagles a very, very potent offensive football team. If you’re a football fan, the thought of McNabb, Vick, and Brian Westbrook in the backfield all together is crazy to think about.

Signing a free agent during the pre-season would normally be no big deal. You’re perhaps reading this and wondering why I am even writing a post about football! This particular free agent acquisition is one of great interest, though, because of the moral and ethical dimension to the signing that has caused a lot of controversy.

For anyone who has had their head buried in the sand for the last two plus years, Vick just finished a 23-month sentence in federal prison for running a dog fighting operation. He was released a month or so ago, and after a good bit of intrigue in football circles landed in Philadelphia. There will be people protesting the presence of Vick at Eagles training camp, and he will hear from the crowd in every game he plays in the NFL.

The question is the moral and ethical side of the signing. Vick is absolutely an asset on the field, being a 3-time Pro Bowl selection. However, some feel that having him back in the league lets him off the hook and implies that what he did was okay. There are many who believe that the NFL is shameful for letting him once again be a role model for kids after what he did. Playing in the NFL is a privilege not a right, and no one should be given a chance to make that kind of money and have that kind of celebrity after behaving so heinously.

Really?

There is no question that Vick participated in some horrible abuse of animals, and that the dogs in question were helpless victims deserving of protection and not exploitation. In Genesis 1 and 2 Adam is given the responsibility to care for creation, not abuse it, so this sort of thing should be viewed as intolerable. There is no excuse for what he did, and Vick has done nothing but admit his guilt.

But let’s put this in perspective. Another NFL player just killed a man while driving drunk. Dante Stallworth served 24 DAYS in jail (he pled guilty to DUI manslaughter) and will be suspended for the 2009 season. So for killing a person (and please, no arguments that it was not purposeful; drinking and driving is purposeful) a 24 day sentence and a year without pay is appropriate, while killing dogs is a heinous crime worthy of a 2-year sentence and then banishment for life? I don’t get it. Stallworth is already a kajillionaire; he will be just fine without the paycheck. His Bentley is wrecked (yeah, he was driving his Bentley), but it will get fixed. He settled out of court with the family, so everything is behind him and he gets to watch this season on his HDTV and be in excellent shape next year.

There is another dimension to this as well; it is a theological issue. Vick has done his time, none of it in “Club Fed.” (He spent time in Leavenworth…) He has been released from prison and forced to pay restitution in large amounts. The federal government determined an appropriate punishment, and he has paid that punishment. The path for him to pay his debts is through the skills he can market in the NFL.

He has apologized and seemed genuinely remorseful for his behavior; maybe sitting and thinking of all that his actions cost him has given him perspective. Sure, it could all be a careful facade maintained by a good PR firm, but it seems that he is genuine. Though we cannot tell for sure, there is always the chance at redemption. We must never get so jaded that we aren’t willing to give someone a second chance.

I think that this attitude seeps into our lives as Christians far too often. We don’t want to offer forgiveness. We want to hold it against someone when they sin and make them really prove that they are sorry by relegating them to second-class status. Christians who fall prey to sexual temptation and all that goes with it, to greed, to lust, to envy, to a host of public sins are seldom offered forgiveness. What would happen if a deacon’s wife in your church stood up and confessed an abortion in her past? Would the church rally to her, or shun her? What if a leader confessed a serious gambling problem or a pornography addiction? Would we seek forgiveness, healing, and restoration or justice?

We talk about the grace of God and forgiveness, but if we hold onto it so tightly with others can we really say that we understand it truly?

In 1 John 1:9 we are told that when we confess our sin God will forgive it. In Galatians 2:11-13 we read of Peter sinning and leading others astray; this same man, after restoration, wrote two books in the New Testament and was one of the most important figures in Christianity. In Acts 15:37-39 John Mark abandoned Paul, yet in 2 Timothy 4:11 Paul requests Mark’s presence. Paul forgave him at some point and gave him another chance to serve with him.

In Exodus 2:12 Moses murders a man. Yet in Exodus 3 that murderer is the man (after a long time away from home) God uses to free His people. In 2 Samuel 11 David commits the sins of adultery, plotting, lying, and murder. Yet God still, after David’s repentance (read Psalm 51 and see also 2 Samuel 12:13), restored him and used him in a great way.

I can see the same in my own life. I had no redeeming qualities that would make God want to use me. I had nothing but sin and depravity (Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9) to offer God. And yet, with all of my sin, Jesus Christ died for me. (Romans 5:8) He owed me nothing, and had every reason to hold my sin against me. And yet because of His great love He redeemed me.

I look at my redemption before God, and I pray that Michael Vick has found the same. I pray as well that we would find it in ourselves to offer the grace of God that we have been given to the people in our lives who sin, even in big ways. With repentance comes restoration and redemption, no matter how we view the sin committed.

So this season, I will be rooting for Michael Vick. I hope he is able to recapture some of the magic that he brought to the NFL. More than that, I hope he uses this second chance to right the wrongs and tell the world that with repentance, restoration can occur. Show us all, Mike, that we can overcome our past and turn our lives around.

The parable of the plugged drain

Jesus loved to teach in parables. He used the issues and concerns of everyday life of the people of Israel to lead them to deeper thinking and understanding of who God is, who they were, and how they should be. So sometimes an annoyance in everyday life can be useful to teach us a spiritual lessons.

I got such a lesson last night. Like I have said, I hate it when God builds my character. 🙂

I remembered that I had some papers to grade and hadn’t finished translating my passage in Luke for Sunday right before Sarah’s kenpo class (where I am a mentor and instructor helper). So I decided to come home rather than stay for adult class. ::sigh:: Kenpo is my stress relief, but duty first. Laura has worship team practice Tuesday nights so I knew I could grade and study without robbing her of quality time.

We got home and I heard that Elizabeth had made dinner. That is a good thing; she’s a darned good cook! This is the kid who made steak au poivre for her 12th birthday for the family that was one of the best meals I have ever eaten. She cooks all the time, so this was just par for the course.

She had apparently burned a whole pot of rice, though, and had to remake it in the course of making dinner. I never went into the kitchen because Elizabeth had everything under control. Dinner was great, I got my papers graded, and eventually got the kids off to bed after evening prayers. Then I finished translating Luke 7:36-50 and decided to wait up for Laura to come home (she hangs out with the Deegans after practice). She got home at about 11:30 and I was TOTALLY wiped and ready for bed.

Laura was wiped too, but wanted to load the dishwasher before bed because she is a mom and not a dad. She noticed that the sink was completely filled with water. Okay, no problem…I will just run the disposal. That didn’t help. Then we noticed that BOTH sinks were backed up in the kitchen. ::sigh:: that means the drain is plugged. It is 11:45. Really? I have to deal with this now?

Laura got the plunger. I plunged and plunged. Lots of rice flowed from the disposal. No luck on the clog. I turned to my darling wife with a tired growl and said “The pea trap is plugged with rice. I need to take that drain apart.” Now if your kitchen sink is like mine, there is a cornucopia of cleaning products, dishwashing soaps, and various asundry things under the kitchen sink. Ours also has our RO drinking water system. Everything but the RO had to come out and be scattered about the kitchen.

At least the drain was PVC instead of metal. Small favors, right?

Sure enough, the drain was jammed with rice. The pea trap all the way back up to the disposal was crammed with rice goo. Did you know that burned rice turns into the consistency of papier mache when crammed down a drain? Yeah, it does. It took us until about 12:30 to get it apart and then put back together. I knew that I wasn’t going to get to run in the morning because of it, and I was covered to the elbows in sewage. Not a great night, and I battled some significant frustration with Elizabeth because of it.

Then I started thinking about it theologically and as a parent. She was trying to do good and take care of the problem of the burned rice; she has put a lot of gunk down that garbage disposal before with no problems. She didn’t know the consequences of her actions. In our family lingo, she was ignorant (not knowing what to do) not stupid (knowing what to do and choosing to do something else). She needed instruction on what to do next time, not a tongue lashing. She needed to know the consequences, but if I scolded her and chewed her out it would not make the drain magically fixed. No, she needed a reminder, a lesson, and encouragement from her dad that I still was glad that she had served her family by making us dinner.

This hit me even harder when I put it in perspective with what I experience from God. Off I go, trying to serve Him and be what He wants me to be for His people. I try to live a separated life, be a good husband and dad, be the pastor He wants for His church in Glendale, the professor He wants for His school in Phoenix, and the friend and mentor and coach that honors Him. In all my good intentions, though, how many times do I make a mess of things unintentionally? How often my ignorance leads to a spiritual mess that I am ill equipped to clean up.

How often does Jesus forsake His own desires and needs to serve me and right my wrongs? (don’t read too much into that statement about Jesus forsaking His desires…no scathing Calvinist rebukes about God’s Sovereignty please!) I can imagine Him being frustrated with my ignorance; after all I have a degree in Biblical Communication so I should know better. Yet I know that His infinite love and patience provides for my mistakes. (my stupidity too…thankfully Elizabeth didn’t go that route so the parable doesn’t really apply to that)

Now when I look at that sink and that drain I don’t see frustration and upset over my tiredness. I see instead a lesson from God about patience and provision, ignorance and restoration. I was able to solve the problem with some teflon tape and a fork to remove the yuck; Jesus paid a far greater price for me than I ever will for my kids.

I just love it when He speaks in modern parables in my life, even though they sometimes get me covered in sewage. Thanks, Lord, for leading and showing me who You are and how You love me.