Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Raw Onions

“ . . . live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.”  Colossians 1:10
Although the words “Cat fan” will never make it to my resume under “hobbies” I was engrossed watching an online video of a kitty opening a door to a laundry room to escape. I am easily impressed. I was equally impressed when hunkered down, ogling over a massive hot dog covered in ketchup, mustard, and a tight row of raw onions sat a four year old girl excited to dive into her lunch. I stared, expecting the girl to unleash a fit of rage when she took a bite of her hot dog and the rough, onion taste bit her back, however, she chewed, as the edges of her mouth turned upward in a satisfied grin and she leaned back in her chair to chew in utter content and satisfaction. I continued to stare out of shock. Had the authorities been in close range I would have been arrested for over stepping my starring boundaries.
It takes large amounts of prodding and cash to get our kids to venture over to garlic bread from toast and butter. Raw onions would never happen in our house.
 “I am so impressed that she likes raw onions.” I said to the mother understanding her concern for my gaze. “I have always given them to her so she has always eaten them.” She replied. I shook my head in disbelief as my kids sat eating their cheese pizza leaving the crust on the plate because it is “gross” and picking the “burnt bubbles” off the top of the cheese. Admittedly, that gene was passed down from my side of the family. Raw onions and burnt cheese bubbles taste terrible.
In the New Testament, Jesus tells stories about people who seemed to impress Him. Although that isn’t possible, Jesus is smitten over the widow who gives the only coins that she has left, the shepherd who spends hours looking for one sheep while the other 99 wait, the faith of a centurion who asks Jesus to “say the word” and his servant will be healed, and the pack of friends who send their injured comrade through roof of a building on a cot so that he could get in front of Jesus and be healed. These people do simple acts with mighty faith. They are unrecognized, unassuming, and unpretentious. They do the right thing not the impressive thing.
Although it is impossible to impress God, it is not impossible to please Him. Simple acts of faith, obedience, sacrifice, submission, and love, please God. He loves when we serve others without needing recognition, act lovingly without setting off lights and sirens, and when we give anonymously.
Pleasing God should come naturally, but it does not. Impressing others should never matter, but it does. When we learn to please God and to neglect our need to astound others, peace will ensue. And even if you are old enough to have acquired a taste for raw onions I probably wouldn’t be too impressed unless you were eating them while riding a unicycle around an ice skating rink while holding a cat. That’s impressive.

1.     In what ways have you become too satisfied with impressing others instead of pleasing God?
2.     What are some specific ways you can please God this week?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

I love them.

Model Perfect

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24 (NIV)
There were two tests that every girl must pass in order to become the perfect runway model at Henshaw’s Department Store. When standing straight with your feet together your legs must touch at the calf and knee, and you must master balancing on one leg while supporting a book on your head. My legs were too skinny to touch and my poise was poor so after my 8-week stay in modeling school, I was dismissed—epic fail.
My charm, composure, and stature, had no merit in the modeling world, which I was certain to be the perfect career for this sixth grader. Any hopes of draping trendy outfits plucked from the department store racks over my tall frame for the Fall Fashion Alive show were wasted.
In spite of my failure to be model perfect I still had a measurable dose of confidence and self-esteem and learned over the years as my relationship with Christ grew, that God doesn’t expect perfection from me. With that I can breathe a sigh of relief. He created my legs and the rest of my body exactly as He intended, off balance and broken. I, like everyone else have flaws. When I look closely at the defects in my character I have to make a choice. Do I remain the same, convinced that I am whom I am, or do I seek to make a change to become who Christ intended me to be?
As I read God’s Word, the Bible, I learn how to act, think, and speak in a way, which pleases Him. In addition I learn that as I read, I need to apply what I have learned to my every day life. And contrary to what others believe, choosing to follow what is written in the Bible and following God’s standard for living righteously doesn’t hinder my fun, it hinders my pain. God desires progress not perfection
Since leg liposuction and knee augmentation are out of the budget I have to rely on the fact that I can still pop a wheelie on my bike to make a good impression, unless my ridiculously delicious made-from-scratch carrot cake sounds better since my modeling skill have been shelved.

1.     What imperfections are you allowing to keep you from believing that you are perfectly created by God?
2.     What changes can you make today which allow for more Christ like character?