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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"A fool is quick tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted" (Proverbs 12:16).

Here is an entry culled from the early years of packing sack lunches.  It goes like this:

"A fool is quick tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted" is the verse I wrote on the children’s napkins this morning for their lunch sacks.  To an extent it is true that we feed on what we read on, but by the time I had copied this verse on the fourth napkin, I was digesting it.  It has been said that enough is as good as a feast…it seems that I needed a four-course meal! Indeed, through morning tasks and rushed responses, twice I felt insulted and twice I reacted, not calmly. 

The Word of God is like a seed that best sprouts when hidden in the heart.  Is foolishness also hidden there?  God will compost it, and the sprout will do what sprouts do best—provide concentrated nutrients to those who eat them.  They are live food, cleansing and complete.  So, too, is the Word of God to those in whom it sprouts.  

This is good news, children!  No more sprout sandwiches on sprouted bread, broccoli sprouts with dip, and clover sprout cookies (is there even such a recipe?) in your lunch sacks!  But read your napkins and hide the living Word in your hearts.

No doubt God used my foolishness this morning to awaken my appetite for His wisdom.  I read the napkins and supped on sprouts. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

“And Abraham came near and said, ‘Would You…?’” (Genesis 18:23).

Interceeding for the righteous residing in Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham spoke with God, saying, “Would You destroy the righteous with the wicked?”  Waiting not for God’s reply, he confidently answered, “Far be it from You to do such a thing…far be it from You!”  His confidence was not in himself, but in God’s right judgments.  Abraham knew some things about God.  He knew God to be the Judge of all the earth, and he knew God to do right.  Abraham had full confidence in these aspects of God’s character, and he staked his request upon them. 

Who is able to pray with Abraham-like confidence?  Those who search the scriptures to know God, who meditate on His precepts and contemplate His ways so that with their own lips they declare the judgments of His mouth, these have confidence in prayer. 

Abraham’s prayer, and God’s answer, affirms for us that unwavering faith in our “Would You, God?” prayers is nothing to do with the certainty of our desires, but with the certain character of God.  If before I utter a prayer I consider what I know to be true of God, some prayers will never be uttered.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

“Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the waterpots with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim” (John 2:7).

Jesus' mother learned that the wine at the wedding in Cana had run out.  Who knows why the wine ran out.  Maybe some theologian can tell us, but here’s my kitchen-sink theology: with everything there is to remember when planning a wedding, there was either an oversight in the wine delivery plan, or an underestimation of the wine consumption.  Here’s another situation.  The disciples had two baskets of fish and bread to feed five thousand followers who became unexpected dinner guests.  Or what about the widow who had enough flour in the bin and oil in the jar for herself and her son, but not for her guest, Elijah.  She was told to feed him first and then her son and herself with what was left over.  They all ate leftovers until the Lord sent rain. 

There is a poem by William Barclay.  It begins, “Lord of all pots and pans and things…”  Jesus is indeed Lord of pots, pans, baskets, jars, and bins.  He knows what’s in the bin and what’s not in the pot.  He knows we want to have enough of the right stuff to feed our guests, and He knows that we don’t always.  Never mind if it’s because of an oversight or an unexpected guest. 

I needed this reminder the other day when I was tempted to defend myself because of embarrassment.  My son and his friend came looking for lunch, found little, and left.  In his friend’s kitchen, there was food, not just ingredients.  That day I learned the difference, and purchased fo-o-od…prepared and packaged, cooked and canned…and filled the “waterpots” to the brim!  I try to keep them filled up, but they do run out. 

Jesus tells us what to do next.  Often His requests are as every day as bread and water; “Fill the waterpots.  Stretch the meal.  Serve the leftovers.”  The servants, disciples, and widow did what the Lord said and He is faithful to His own intent.  Their faith was helped and, in the same way, so is ours.