I have noticed just a smidgeon of unreasonability (is that a word?) in myself: When I get on the scale and don’t like what I see, I start obsessing about the amount of ice cream my husband John is eating. When I am feeling happy about my weight, my husband John could eat 5 scoops of deep fried ice cream and it wouldn’t bother me. But I badger him, when my skirt is too tight! Go figure. That’s when Holy Spirit the Attorney steps in to address the issue:
Holy Spirit (with glasses at the end of his nose, holding a stack of documents): “Isn’t it a fact, Mrs. Cowan that on the evening your husband was eating ice cream, you were wanting his ice cream and you were aware of the fact that though his pants still fit him, your skirt was too tight, and in a fit of insecurity, you took your verbal mallet and hit him over the head about his eating habits?”,
Me (sobbing with my head down on the witness table): “YES! YES! it true!”
Geesh- my sins look bad on others.
“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matt. 7,3-5
Translation: Why do you look at the love handles on your husband when you can’t even get a handle on your own?
The word “witness” used to scare me to death. I had an image of me in a skinny black tie, white dress shirt, a load of books and magazines, a bike and-horror of horrors!- knocking on a stranger’s door. What freedom to know that being a witness is merely a natural outcome of loving Jesus. Just as I have innumerable stories from living with eight children and a pastor-husband, I have innumerable stories of Jesus and me. So here’s my witness for today: Two nights ago I was driving home on a lonely street. A man was walking in the middle of the street. At first I thought he was drunk or had Alzhiemers, but he was walking deliberately toward me. I swerve to the left and he jumped to the left; then to the right and again he jumped to get into my path. By this time he was pretty close and I could see he was looking directly in my eyes with a very aggressive stare. I got scared and started pressing buttons on the door, but instead of locking the door, I rolled the window down right in front of him! With one more swerve, I stopped as he stood now in front of my car. He was making his way to the passenger side. I had one moment to decide-step on the gas and risk killing him, or allow him to get in. A quick, “Help!!” prayer and I stepped on the gas, as soon as he moved to the side to get in. In the moment I jerked forward, he had step aside to put his fist through my windshield so all that hit him was the windshield and the side mirror. Later, the police found him and said he was acting very erratic, and they dealt with it from there- which probably included a cast on his right hand! In hind sight, I realize I was praying the whole time. Though the man was the focus of my eyes, the Lord was the focus of my heart. The Lord spared me. But if He hadn’t? I’d still be His-maybe even in His presence. So there ya have it: “You shall be my witnesses…” I’ve got lots more witnessing stories. All of them say, I saw Jesus, I felt Him, I heard Him, I know Him.
This one who is life from God was shown to us, and we have seen him. And now we bear witness and announce to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was shown to us.We are telling you about what we ourselves have actually seen and heard…1John: 1,2
Having eight kids afforded me the joy of watching language developement. In two short years baby gurgles become semi-distinguishable communication-a marvel, for sure.
“John- you’ll never believe what Gracie just said! Here- let me put the phone up to her… say it Gracie! Come on…THERE! Did you hear that?!”
Whatever “that” was, it was celebrated with big hoopla by Mom, Dad, and long-suffering friends and relatives.
I think prayer is something like that. Sometimes I muff around in prayer, wanting just the right words or form and give up because it’s not what I think is “good enough”. It helps to think of Jesus, sitting at the right hand of the Father saying,
“Hey- did you hear that? I think she said, ‘Abba!”
And then they slap each other on the back in celebration that I actually said something.
Maybe that’s being too familiar about serious matters, but when pondering prayer, I do remind myself of the joy a parent has when their kids communicates to them…and the feeling of loss when they don’t.
So, blundering or otherwise, I come to Him because…
“My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD,I am coming.” Ps 27:8
When I was about 7 years old, a bee landed on my nose. It crawled into my nostril and- I don’t know- started making a hive, I guess. Well, you can imagine my fear. I started doing my little scary jig as my Dad shouted, “Just stand there. Don’t move! Look at me!” That was probably the hardest thing to do. I wanted to do everything BUT just stand there. But I stood still, my fingers twitching a mile a minute, and my eyes fixed on my Dad. Then at my Dad’s instructions, I took a giant breath through my mouth and like a canon, shot that bee into outer space. All this to say, “Likewise, stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” As the saying goes, “you can’t prevent the devil from landing on your nose, but you CAN prevent him from building a hive in it” (Actually, I made that up). Keep your eyes on Daddy, not on the bee.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Eph. 6:11
What are the schemes of the devil? In a nutshell, to make me think the worst of God, the worst of you and the best of myself; to convince me that God knows little, you know less and I know it all.
I wonder if real speakers like- say, Billy Graham- prepare for a speaking engagement the way I do. After gathering my Bible, notes and computer, I settle into the refrigerator, foraging for every edible morsel. I weigh myself with the cake, to see how much I’ll gain if I eat the whole thing. Then I move onto the task at hand: rearranging living room furniture. What time is it? Yikes! I’ve gotta get serious! So I check my scalp for gray hairs and color them. After redecorating me and my house, I freak out over my lack of preparation and acquire “distress in the lower tract”, spend the remaining hours in the bathroom praying that someone will call and say, “Thank you very much, but we’ve found someone less neurotic for our conference.” But no. (Sigh) Why can’t someone else be the foolish thing of the world to confound the wise? Lord, take my messes and make a message.
But God has chosen the foolish things (literally dull, stupid, blockhead, heedless, absurd ) of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak (feeble, sick, without strength) things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 1Co 1:27
Christians can be so annoying. I wanna know where David went to church. He says, “As for the saints who are on the earth, they are the excellent ones in whom is all my delight.” (Ps. 16:3) This would be easier to swallow if he’d said, “As for the saints in heaven…” ‘cuz we all know some saints on this earth that aren’t so delightful;, in fact, some of ‘em just about get on my last nerve. Looking at the definition of “excellent ones”gives me a clue to David’s reasoning. “Excellent ones” actually means “superior ones”. If someone is superior, someone else is inferior. Does David see himself as inferior? Is this some sort of false humility? David had tremendous talents and abilities, and I think of him as a pretty honest guy. I don’t think he’s referring to ability, but rank. David sees himself as inferior in rank-i.e. a servant. What a novel idea. I am there to serve others. That kinda changes everything, doesn’t it?
I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. (Jesus said that) John 15:12
I’m thinking that doesn’t mean love them “only if they deserve it.”
After describing to John a potentially serious family situation he responded with a long, sardonic laugh.
“Why are you laughing?” I asked, irked.
He shrugged. “Well, I have a limited repetoire of emotional responses and that was the only one I could find.” Then, as if to justify, he added, “My emotional search engine was running slow.”
Well. That explains a LOT over the past 39 years. Why isn’t there a Mandatory Disclosure Clause of this sort of thing during courtship?
“Why didn’t you TELL me this on our honeymoon??!!!” I asked.
“I didn’t know it until I said it.” was his response.
A glimpse into the male psyche, for sure. We laughed all morning over it- which is one reason we’ve stayed so happily married for 39 years.
The Bible tells husbands to “dwell with their wives according to knowledge so that their prayers will not be hindered.” Or as the Phillips version states, “…try to understand the wives you live with” (Ha! Good luck with that!). But I think it would do us wives well to dwell with our guys according to this knowledge about their display of emotion- or lack thereof. Accept it as a gift from the Lord. After all, wouldn’t it be a bit detrimental if we both got hysterical when the car two lanes over decided to move over one?
“Similarly, you husbands should try to understand the wives you live with, honouring them as physically weaker yet equal heirs with you in the grace of life. If you don’t treat her as you should, your prayers will not be heard. To sum up, you should all be of one mind living together with true love and sympathy for each other, compassionate and humble.” 1 Pet. 3:7 (Phillips and NLT)