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Monday, April 23, 2018

Right in the Middle!

Yesterday was one of those days that I think I got more of Piper’s Chocolate Boost Plus, coffee, Ovaltine and vanilla, all topped with marshmallows breakfast drink down her front or on my hands than she actually swallowed!  Thank God for Bounty Quilted napkins!

Growing up my Dad had a favorite saying that he used whenever us kids left a room and didn’t turn the lights out, ate all the peanut butter soon after my Mom went shopping or any other such (what he considered) an extravagant usage of a product… I can see him now calling out down the hall from the kitchen table where he was correcting his student’s papers… “Turn off the lights… we don’t own stock in PG&E* (or in Skippy’s or in whatever the product was) you know!”  After a while that saying got to be a family joke, but you know… I surprised myself a few times when our kids were growing up by saying the same thing to them!  I’ve thought about that saying of his almost every time we go grocery shopping.

Over the last few years since Piper has been on a liquid diet, I have tried just about every brand of napkins sold at Walmart, Target, CVS, Kroger’s or Food Lion (the stores we shop at out here).  Most are too thin while a few others are too thick and are cumbersome to the daily task I endeavor to complete without making a mess.  I finally settled on the Bounty brand of napkins.  They tend to cost a bit more but are well worth it as they seem to have the right consistency, feel and absorbability.  It took awhile with plenty of experimentation, but it is nice to finally have a product that works well with the intended task I need to perform.

Finding the right napkins for Piper may seem like a silly example, but it typifies the way I tend to approach most things in life.  I like to go for it and do my best, using the best tools and process, whenever I accept a responsibility.  Working at Home Depot really opened my eyes to the availability of quality tools to help me to do many of the jobs I fumbled through in the past, by using whatever I had on hand.  I’ve probably bought more new tools or equipment over the three years that we have been in this house than I have in past years combined!  I’ve come to the point that I figure that if I am going to do something, that I might as well do it right… using the right tools for the job.

That is also the way that I have operated within my Christian faith since Piper and I got together in high school.  I don’t necessarily know what drives me, but when I start studying the Word I want to know all I can about the subject that the Spirit is instructing me in.  As most of you know, I love to do word studies back to their original languages, I enjoy investigating multiple commentaries on the Bible verses I am studying, look at Bible dictionaries as well as Biblical maps of the particular time the scriptures were written.  And on top of all that, I have been a student of revivals spanning from the 1400’s to modern times and tend to gobble up autobiographies and teachings of the great Generals of the Christian faith.

Like I have said many times, from day one, Piper and I have not been content to simply hear about the Word, but have desired to be right smack in the middle of what was happening… That’s why we were part of a group that pioneered three different churches in our home town.

If you think about all this, as I was doing last night while preparing dinner, you’ll find out that Jesus was saying the same thing when He shared the parable of the sower sowing the seed of the Word.  In Luke 6:47-48 He said: “Whoever comes to Me and hears My Words, and does them, I will show you to whom he is like.  He is like a man who built a house and dug deep and laid the foundation on a rock; and a flood occurring, the stream burst against that house and could not shake it; for it was founded on a rock.” (World English Bible) 

Jesus makes it pretty clear here that the sincere Christian walk takes WORK!  It takes dedication, consistency and the desire to get out and jump into the middle of the action… God’s action!  In verse 47 He defines three all-important steps.  First you have to COME to Him through prayer and especially in His Word.  Second you have to HEAR and thereby understand the gospel message and thirdly you gotta DO it… by taking action and putting feet to your faith.

Verse 48 highlights the dedication and consistency of the Christian walk.  He likens it to the man who sets out to build a house on the beach near what I would picture as a scenic river countryside.  But to build there, one has to do some extra work by digging down deep through the sand until you hit the bedrock in order to set the foundation upon the solid rock.  Then when the expected storms of life come, the water may beat on your home but when all is said and done, your house will still be standing.

I was telling Piper while thinking on all this as I prepared dinner, that in some respects I should have expected the accusations and what some called persecution against us when we returned from Bible School in Oklahoma.  For it would seem that our being obedient to God and His call to us might have made an unpleasant splash in the face of the enemy of our souls.  It made me smile when I considered that what we did and the way we tried to live our Christian life through the years might have been the basis for the trails and tribulations we have incurred.

COME, HEAR, and DO… well, that’s the way we’ve always done it.  We’ve never liked the idea of being bench warmers!  How about you?

Have a wonderful week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Have I COME to God, do I really HEAR what His Word is saying to me and am I expecting to DO what it takes to be right in the middle of His action today?”


*It’s funny for after my Dad passed, I could have sworn that I saw some PG&E stock listed in his investment portfolio!  No Skippy Peanut Butter though.  I guess he finally gave in and figured he might as well profit off our habit of not turning off the lights…

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