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Posts Tagged ‘Wisdom’

I glanced at my watch, fifteen minutes to spare. Super. I whipped off I30 and pulled into the local McDonalds to quiet the gnawing of my stomach on my backbone. The line was long, but I had a margin of fifteen minutes. No problem—

When the cars finally moved enough for me to place my order I was committed. “I’d like a ham and egg McMuffin with no cheese, please.” She repeated the order and I confirmed, “That’s right. No cheese.” I pulled forward and waited. And waited.

The car in front of me must have been ordering food for a multitude. No joke, ten minutes passed. And I waited some more. When the car pulled away, the McDonald’s lady handed me my sack and a giant coke.

“No cheese, right?”

She smiled and nodded.

My fifteen-minute margin had been gobbled as I pulled back onto the freeway. I unwrapped my McMuffin, anticipating the deliciousness, but noticing the wrappings seemed thinner than usual—there was no egg!

Just a slice of ham and warm muffin slathered in melted, yellow, gooey stuff. So ooey-gooey I couldn’t separate the ingredients from each other.
Now any other time, I would have looped around the restaurant, gone back through the drive-through, and demanded they fix the problem. But I was already headed west on I30, and running late. I took a bite or too, but the greasy processed yuck impersonating cheese coated the roof of my mouth. I stuffed the remains of a breakfast-gone-bad back in the bag and pouted. Gonna be a long time ‘til lunch.

No Cheese photo

With every spin of the tires I grumbled about the kitchen staff’s inability to fill a simple order. What’s so hard about leaving off a piece-a-cheese?

And God let me grumble for a mile or so—until He pointed to the comparison between the cheesy sins I served Him each day. with my lack of regard or remorse for not giving Him what He asks.

“But these are incompetent people,” I argued. “… not paying attention or caring what they’re doing.” Silence filled the car and the space in my mind.

“…not paying attention or caring…” circulated in my mind while I recalled my harsh words to my husband the evening before when he hadn’t done something I thought should be done. And the Lord punched the play button on the tape of my incompetent and rebellious moments where He specifically asked me to discard distasteful habits in my life. Habits I had drug home and allowed them to take up residence—worse yet, habits—no let’s call them what they are—sins I paid no attention to as they grew new roots, attaching and renewing themselves to my heart and mind like weeds.

No Cheese photo 1

I won’t even bother to record my list. I’m sure you have your own.

Sins, like melty cheese on my deformed McMuffin, that stick to hearts and minds. Sins we all are either too lazy, too unobservant, or too ignorant or rebellious to scrape off and throw in the trash. But we need to identify and own up to our sins, seek God’s forgiveness and healing, through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Paul tells us in Colossians 3:8-11 we are to put aside:

“anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created Him—a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.”

But Paul doesn’t leave us standing naked and exposed. In Chapter 3:12 of Colossians he tells us what to put on.

“So as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

It’s impossible for me to be thankful when I’m gripping. And as if to test what I learned last Saturday, when I pulled through another McDonalds yesterday, one where they never mix up my order, guess what? Yep, I got everything, including cheese. So what was I supposed to do—suck it up and eat it anyway? Oh no. We are to instruct, rebuke, and teach—in a kind manner. I looped around the building and asked them to give me the order I requested—a McMuffin with no cheese.

No Cheese photo 2

And likewise, God requires you and I to take another loop around His Word, so He can instruct, rebuke, and teach us to put to death the unrighteous, cheesy sins that separate us from fellowship with Him and each other.

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:16-17 NAS).

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Don’t be where trouble can happen.

Grammar excluded, this is a profound statement, isn’t it? My Mama repeated these words to my brother and me often. So often it still plays like a recording in my brain. “See Mama, if you’re peeking through the pearly gates, I heard you all those years ago. And still do.”

But today we’ve thrown out those sayings of years gone by like the baby and the bath water. Why? Could it be pride? Wanting to DSCF4898do things our way—rejecting our parents’ way. After all, their ways are meaningless today, right? Times and people have changed. Or have they? Were those statements based on solid, biblical, historical truth?

It’s obvious we’ve raised several generations of young people on a different foundation than we were taught. A shaky foundation. A weak foundation that is cracking and crumbling. Is the substructure beyond repair? Only time, our response to truth, and God’s mercy will tell.

For the next few weeks I’d like us to dissect some of those ancient words from generations past. Let’s see if they were old wives’ tales or words of wisdom we’ve trashed in this super-sonic age of technology. And if you have sayings from your folks, please share them. Join the conversation and let’s learn from each other.

To know wisdom and instruction, to discern the DSCF4893sayings of understanding, to receive instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice and equity; to give prudence to the naive, to the youth knowledge and discretion, a wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel…The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:2-5, 6 NAS).

Last week, in Dallas, Texas, a seventeen-year-old girl climbed over her boyfriend and out the back window of a moving car. The car ran over her and she died. Alone. In the middle of the night. On a dark city street. Allegedly after partying at a club with friends. Friends who drove off and left her. With friends like that…
DSCF4943
This young woman made a fatal choice to spend her last hours in a place where trouble was bound to happen.

A young mother, shot in the early morning hours—3 a.m.—in the parking lot of her apartment. She too died alone, leaving behind babies and a grieving husband. An isolated parking area in those dark hours is certainly a place where trouble is apt to happen.

Boys love to climb. A young teen climbing on a school roof falls, breaks his femur, and spends the summer incapacitated. Then the teens who broke into a house and were shot by the owner. Dead. Gone forever because of wrong choices.

Two hormonal teens in the back seat of a car, or alone in a basement playroom watching TV long after the parents have retired for the night, a definite opportunity for trouble to happen.
And the list goes on and on. I’m sure while reading mine you recycled your own list, didn’t you?

We’ve all done stupid stuff, gone places we shouldn’t have, taken foolish chances, but the difference is the actions listed above are becoming the norm rather than the exception.

Where have we gone wrong? What could we have done to achieve a different outcome?

Mama had another saying that answers that question. When you do bad things, bad things happen. And in our house, boy did they! Mama called them consequences and she made them happen. This godly woman believed God made bushes for parents to cut switches, and she sent us to cut our own rod-of-consequence. A new switch for each infraction of the rules.

Oh no! Not the dreaded word—rules. Yes, there were rules in our house. Rules set by Mama, carried out by Mama, and enforced by Daddy. There were no time-outs or removal of privileges. Consequences were swift, sure, and tailor-made for the crime. And the only political correctness in our home fled at the sight of Mama’s switch and Daddy’s belt.

The wisest man who ever lived said:

“Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory…Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid” (Proverbs 11:14; 12:1 NAS).

DSCF4894We’ve pitched the switch, banished the belt, and tossed the baby with the dirty bath water. But Solomon instructed:

“Do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28 NAS).

Current psycho-babble encourages parents to be their children’s friend. God gives children many friends during their life-time, but He only gives a child one mama and one daddy. If you don’t parent, it won’t get done. We are the ones God appoints and holds accountable to equip our kids with His knowledge and understanding so they can learn to make wise decisions.

Parenting begins at the cradle and ends at the grave. And very often these days, the funeral is that of our children because many of them have failed or refused to make wise choices.

God didn’t give us babies, then leave us without an instruction manual. He gave us sixty-six books, but one in particular teaches the basic principles for living life right—the Book of Proverbs.

The teaching window is brief. The time to begin is now. Don’t wait ‘til tomorrow, because:

“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15 NAS).

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