Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sometimes, We All Do Stupid Things

I will forewarn you...there is nothing particularly spiritual in this post...unless, of course, something works itself in before the end.

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From time to time, we all have done or said things that are embarrassing, silly, or downright dumb. At least I certainly have.

Like when Rachel and I were getting ready to leave for school when we still lived in Bali. Our normal routine was for me to unlock the doors while Rachel fed the fish. One particular morning, in my hurry, I started to say, "Rachel, I'll feed the door and you open the fish." OK, that was a stupid thing to say.

Then there are the embarrassing things I have done. Like the time my motor scooter got away from me and dragged me to the ground. You can read about that story in my earlier post entitled "Scraped Elbows and Bruised Ego: Minor Motorcycle Mishap Makes Me Mortified".

Yesterday, I was at my parents' house eating a rather delicious taco soup. I happened to catch sight of an uncancelled check in the napkin holder (serviette holder, for my Australian friends). I recognized the design as being one of mine, so I pulled it out to see what it was for. I looked it over and started to laugh. This is what I saw.
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So, that's something stupid I wrote. No great harm done. No bank would have cashed that check anyway, but it did give us a good laugh. 

Does anyone else have one of those "I can't believe I just did that!" moments? Would you share it in a comment below, and we can all laugh together. After all...

A cheerful heart is good medicine... 
Proverbs 17:22a

See, something spiritual worked its way in after all.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Catch For Us The Voles...

One day last week, I went out into the back yard to do some work that had been long-delayed by week after week of snow. After a long wait, and several comparatively warm days, much of the snow had melted. 

It was wonderful to see the grass again. Well, it was wonderful until I noticed a maze of tracks etched into the grass. The tracks were about as wide as the circumference of a broom handle, and they meandered all over the lawn. In some places, they resembled a map of the rivers feeding into the Nile Delta.

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I had never seen anything like this before. Of course, I went to m trusty search engine and googled the problem. I think I typed in something like "lawn damage post snow". Immediately, I saw a couple pictures that looked remarkably like my back yard.

Image found here
Those criss-crossing runways are caused by voles, little rodents that resemble field mice. Unlike moles, voles do most of their damage above ground. 

I guess these critters are always around, especially if you live near open fields. However, when the winter is especially long with extended periods of snow cover, voles have an especially good time enjoying the freedom to forage under the snow without fear of being seen from above by birds of prey. 

Of course, this also means that I had no idea that a major "vole fest" was taking place in my back yard. It wasn't until the snow melted that I could see the results of their "partying".

King Solomon wrote in his Song of Songs this plea:
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards...
Song of Solomon 2:15a
Usually, since the Song of Songs deals with the love between a man and a woman, we take this to be a warning to watch out for the little things in a relationship that cause destruction. It is a warning to deal with those little things before they cause serious damage.

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I think this warning is a good one for any relationship, not just within marriage. Whether we are talking about foxes in the vineyards, or voles having a party under the snowdrifts, little things can cause much damage if left to themselves.

In the same way, petty grievances, selfishness, pride, and unforgiveness can wreak havoc in our relationships. We might call these "relational voles".

Weeks on end with snow covering the lawn hide vole damage. Similarly, time and busy-ness cover up the destroyers of relationships.

So what's the solution to relational vole damage? Allow God to shine His light on the things that cover up the problem. Just as the sun melts the snow, the SON can melt through the complacency that allows us to ignore the problem. 

Once He has done this, we can clearly see what is causing the damage, and He will help us deal with it.

From what I understand, it is nearly impossible to get rid of the voles of the animal kingdom. Fortunately, our God can enable us to deal much more effectively with "relational voles". 

We don't have to settle for "relational vole damage" in our lives. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

You Brought Us Out

This past Sunday, my pastor introduced a new song to our church. I wanted to
share this song with you because I think it has such a great message.

The words of the song relate to God's people being led out of slavery in
Egypt. They traveled a long, long way from the place of captivity, spent
years wandering in the wilderness, and finally were brought in to the
Promised Land.

I tried to embed the You Tube video, but couldn't figure out how to do it. You can (I hope) click here to go to the video. (You'll have to wait about 15 seconds for a commercial before the video starts. Sorry.)

Here are the words to the chorus. 

Oh Lord you brought us from a mighty long way, 
a mighty long stay in the wilderness. 
Oh Lord You brought us through the thick and thin, 
through the fire and wind to a better place. 
You brought us out, 
to bring us in.

The people of Israel are not the only ones who need freedom. Many of us have been brought out of our own places of captivity. Many others are still in that "distant land" and need to be brought out. Others are in the middle of the journey - figuratively speaking, they are still wandering in the wilderness.

In reality, we all are still on the journey to the ultimate "better place". Yet we can still, in some fashion, know and live in the "better place" right now. This song reflects the joy of those who have been brought in to the place that Jesus has for us.

A word of challenge, though.
God brought us out...
To bring us in...
In Exodus, God brought His people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land so that they
could be a reflection of His glory among all the nations around them.

God has a purpose in bringing you and me out of our own "far places". He didn't do it just so we could sit back in our easy chairs sipping sweet tea for the rest of our lives. Nor did He bring us out so that we could spend the rest of our days feverishly working ourselves to death in a frantic effort to please Him. 

He brought us out ... 
He brought us in...
so we could reflect His heart, 
His love, 
His glory. 
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