Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Microwave Stalactites

I opened the door to the microwave to reheat my coffee a few mornings ago, then realized I just didn’t want to put it in there. Ew. Before the coffee was going in, somebody was going to have to clean out that microwave. It looked like someone had a tiny little ticker tape parade. So much food-confetti, so little space. Worst of all, there were a couple of spaghetti sauce stalactites in there. I like my coffee with lots of sweetener and plenty of creamer. But call me picky, I like it completely without spaghetti sauce drippings.

And speaking of “picky,” I thought I might actually need a pickaxe to get to the root of some of those stalactites. Do they make a microwave cleaner that has dynamite as its main component?

Life can be a little like my microwave. Anytime I’m wondering why it doesn’t taste as sweet, I really have to look at what I might be hanging onto, stalactite-style. Hanging onto self-centeredness, bitterness, laziness--any of those kinds of things--will zap the deliciousness right out of life.

First Peter 2:1-2 gives us a big, ugly list and then tells us that making God’s Word a central part of our lives can help us get rid of everything ugly that might be hanging around in there. “So be done with every trace of wickedness, depravity, malignity and all deceit and insincerity, pretense, hypocrisy and grudges, envy, jealousy and slander and evil speaking of every kind. Like newborn babies you should crave, thirst for, earnestly desire, the pure, unadulterated spiritual milk, that by it you may be nurtured and grow unto completed salvation” (AMP).

Before I can grab onto what the Lord wants me to do, and the satisfaction and joy that comes with fruitfulness, I have to let go of sin and selfishness and hang on tight to the instruction of his word.

So I’m determining to let go of everything stalactite-ish today. Even if it does take a stick or two of dynamite.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

You Think You've Had Bad Hair Days?

Have you ever had one of those weird hair mornings? You wake up (at least half-way) and scratch your rib cage as you stagger toward your bedroom door. But before you reach the door, you inadvertently catch a glimpse of something extremely disturbing. It’s the mirror—and in it you find some strange-looking person who could not possibly be you. No, you would never let your hair look like that.

You begin the thought, “There’s not enough hair gel in this hemisphere...” but then just sigh to yourself and think, “Oh well, symmetry isn’t everything.”

As disturbing as an asymmetrical hair day might be, Samson’s by far topped them all in the 16th chapter of Judges. But it wasn’t Samson’s haircut that made it a bad hair day. The “no haircut rule” was part of the vow he made to God. There was no muscle in Samson’s hair. It was his special dedication to the Lord that had given him strength. And it was his disobedience that zapped it. He had lost his devotion to God. As a matter of fact, he had traded it. He was more devoted to Delilah than he was to his God.

Samson’s lack of devotion to God and his choice to sin blinded him to spiritual things. Verse 20 has to be one of the saddest statements ever recorded: “But he did not know that the LORD had left him.”

Anytime we let our devotion to the Father slip away, we find our lives off-balance, asymmetrical—weak and disconnected from spiritual things. Staying committed to the Lord results in a life of real and lasting strength. And his strength is bigger than our biggest weakness. Though Samson suffered huge moral failure, he is still listed among the faithful in Hebrews 11:32-33. The passage speaks of one “whose weakness was turned to strength.” Only the strength of God can do that. And he deserves our wholehearted devotion with every spiritual muscle!

Hair muscle doesn’t count.

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