Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Big “If”

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I abhor car commercials. Why do they have to talk like their pants are on fire, or experiencing bladder-urge issues? Also, why would I want to drive where only mountain goats dare to go? Seered into my memory is that one time when I got totally lost in the dark on the back roads of Mt. Ararat- I mean Loomis, California, No amount of horsepower could do what a simple prayer of, “God if you help me find my way back to civilization and flushing toilets, I’ll go be a missionary where they eat live larvae for breakfast,” can do. Although I suspect Jesus would prefer I quit with the bargaining.
But to my point…
Jesus is not that guy on the car commercial. He never pushes Himself on us, or bullies His way into our home. Nor does He wring His hands over whether we will choose to follow Him (although He has been known to weep). He simply says, “IF anyone would follow me…” IF. His invitation is to everyone, coercion to none. It’s a big IF upon which to base our lives. A one-time choice, chosen daily. So every morning I ask myself, “If not Jesus today, then WHAT If?” I’ve driven too many hard bargains in the wrong direction to NOT know the answer to that one .
“And He said to all of them, ‘If any one will come after Me…'” Luke 9: 23

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Maple Bars and Other Problems

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A self-enforced restraining order forbids me to come within 200 ft. of a doughnut shop. Maple bars are the big problem. Or wait. Maybe they are innocent, and I’m the problem… I’ll need to think about this, just as soon as I finish locating all the doughnut shops within walking distance, so I’ll know where not to go next time I want a maple bar.

Denying myself is at the top of my list of detestable actiivities, followed by colonoscopy preps. So I understand my friend who has a problem with Jesus’ statement,
“If anyone chooses to follow Me, let him deny himself…”
Party Pooper. Who invited this Hand-Slapper to life’s buffet? I’m pretty sure this is a violation of human rights.

But every negative has a positive, and to deny myself one thing, is to accept another. To deny myself a doughnut is to accept that consuming quantities of lard and sugar -no matter how it’s frosted, is not compatible with my higher goal of health.

When it comes to following Christ, denying myself is to accept:
1. I am not very good at this thing called life. I need something more than my self-taught nunchuck skills to survive life’s ninja attacks.
2. I hurt others, and others hurt me, and we can’t seem to get over it. Because while it’s true I did accidentally slam the car door on your fingers after you accidentally slammed mine, my bruises are more extensive, and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT anyway for owning a car. (So yeah, I might need some help with this.)
3. My 18-hour girdle of religion collapses on the 19th hour. If I sit up straight or suck in my stomach one more minute, all that pressure is sure to pop out in a most unseemly way.

Ultimately, to deny myself is to accept that the builder of this house knows how this house is wired better than I do, and following His directions will keep hay-wired little me from blowing fuses and burning the house down.

So yeah- there’s no denying my need for Him, unless I choose denial, which is another story, for another time.

Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23