My Wife Attacked Me With Scissors

She really did. I guess if I were to tell “her” side of the story, she was trimming hair around my ears (which makes her a saint… again, her side of the story).

Well, whichever side you believe, there was blood. Lots of it. I didn’t even feel it when she nicked my ear. It was like something out of a Mel Brooks movie. Way too much blood for such a tiny incident. It was so over the top ridiculous, I was scared to sneeze.

We tried cleaning and holding tissues to it. I gave it a good 15 minutes of holding things to it, applying pressure, etc. and figured it was good enough to jump in the shower.

When drying off, I must of grazed my ear with the towel as it was half full of blood. I cleaned it up again and tried peroxide, bandaids, tissues, weird head angles. For about 45 minutes, the blood flowed.

What started as a laughing matter began to concern me a little. We also had a clock ticking against us, we had to leave the house in 3 minutes at this point.

I started to panic. My wife was helping to try and figure out new ways of stopping the bleeding and every time she would come back in the room I would exclaim in exasperation that the bleeding hadn’t stopped yet. Each time the pitch of my voice would get higher and higher as worry and fear began to settle in.

With 3 minutes to go, I was pacing and panicked, and out of ideas. She really is a saint. She kept checking on me, trying new things, and coming up with new ideas. Finally she stopped in front of me, put her hand over my ear and began to pray.

If I’m honest, it felt silly. A tiny little nick that didn’t hurt… at worst a mild inconvenience of being late. And here we were engaging the Lord and creator of the universe.

While she poured out a heartfelt and sincere prayer, I’m thinking, “hey, I know you are dealing with wars, plagues, starving people, riots, diseases, and the devil, but if you could put all that aside for a second I’ve got this ear thing…”

What is sad to me is that I’ll be the first person to tell anyone else that no problem is too small for God. He wants to know our fears, concerns, crushes, frustrations. He is our brother and our friend. But when it comes to my own mess, I just can’t seem to get on board with it. We do the same thing in the other direction. We claim overwhelmingly that no problem is too big for God… except for what I’m dealing with right now.

Not only did I fail to follow my own advice, which I know to be true, it also never occurred to me to pray at all. Why? On multiple levels I failed. This is why psychologists can’t diagnose themselves. It’s why we can’t use ourselves as references, and it’s why mirrors are the cruelest inventions in the world.

We can’t accurately see inward. Our eyes only see in one direction. This is one of many reason why we have a church. A community of believers to help each other remember the small stuff, withstand the big stuff and to pray through all of it.

The last little bit may make some feel uncomfortable. My ear stopped bleeding. Immediately. Not even a little dried up bubble where the clot formed. There was no clot. It just stopped and dry clean skin remained. No wound. No scab. Like it never happened.

For myself, I have two questions, and I hope my lapse in judgement will help to serve as a good example for you.

1. Why didn’t I pray first?

2. Why not bring EVERYTHING before God? I firmly believe He wants us to.

For you, I have one question. Do you believe God can heal us here, now, and today? If not, ask yourself why you pray at all. Examine your prayers. Dig into the scriptures. I know an awful lot of people who pray everyday for God to be with sick, be with doctors, give comfort, etc. if you don’t believe God has power in this world, why are you praying those prayers? The very prayers Jesus taught us to pray.

“Give us bread, deliver us from evil, forgive our trespasses”. Those are actions that we request God to make in a world that we believe God is bound to be action less in. If He has the power to “guide guard and direct us” as so many of us have prayed verbatim… He has the power to remove a mass, reduce a fever, clean a blood stream, and even stop an ear from bleeding.

Or do we really believe that God can change the hearts and minds of mankind, but he can’t heal hearts and brains? Did your God flunk out of medical school and settle for bachelor’s in psychology?

I’m thankful to a God that forgives me over and over and over again. I’m thankful for His patience while I pray as a last resort when He intended it to be my first. And I’m thankful that He cares about me enough to care about what I care about, even if it would make most of us shrug.

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Daily Prompt: Fish

via Daily Prompt: Fish

The right time.  The right temps.  The right spot.  The right bait.  All the proper equipment.  Perfect quiet.  Motionless.  And those are just the variables you can control.  The fish has to want to eat.  It has to be in place, see the bait or the lure, and choose to take action without getting scared away first.

We walk away from so many opportunities down and disheartened without realizing how many different caveats control the outcomes of our endeavors.  We don’t understand that “failure” can simply be bad timing, too much wind, someone adjusted an unknown part of the equation, or any number of things that don’t reflect our true effort at all.

Its all about what you focus on.  If you only see “BIG FISH” then you will often be let down.  But what if you centered yourself around the experience?  Learning.  Growing.  Finding your moments.  Practicing.  If catching a big fish were the end goal, many people would stop fishing.  It wouldn’t be a hobby, it would be a trial.  What is left after the goal is completed?

If your goal and focus are something else.  How many fish you catch, what you share while fishing, or being the best you you can be… then not only will the big fish come, but you won’t experience the pitfalls when they just aren’t biting that day.

If you are fishing for people, ideas, or even actual fish, you can’t bank your emotions on a single experience.  The world is far too complicated to expect the perfect string of events to equate with “success” on a daily basis.  There are far too many moving parts, many of which we can’t control.  But if we can anchor ourselves to more realistic goals, then not only is life much more enjoyable, but what a treat it will be when the big ones jump in the boat!

Jesus Take the Wheel… Please!

It happened yet again.  Driving home last night I noticed a car behind me, but I couldn’t see his headlights or even most of his hood.  According to all of my mirrors, the driver was in my back seat.  When this happens, I slow down.  Not for the sole purpose of being rude, but for safety first.  There were barely inches between us while driving 50 MPH.  If I had even tapped, ever so gently tapped, the brakes for a pedestrian, deer, someone turning, an active crosswalk, or any of the countless issues that would require a break tap, this guy would have hit me.

Slowing down generally solves 2 issues.  It makes the eminent wreck safer (if he hits me, it will be at a slower speed) and second, it usually causes them to realize they were tailgating and they will back off.  Once they back off, I resume normal speed.  Yesterday, I let off the break and cringed as I’ve never seen anyone THAT close to me without actually hitting me.  His reaction… BEEP!  Followed by flashing lights and hands thrown in the air.  I continued to slow until I got around 20 MPH.  Then he started swerving.  Left and right, lights flashing, hands waving, horn blaring.  For 2 miles he did this.  Never once did he back off.  He was so close, he didn’t hit me, but I would be surprised if an index card could have fit between our cars.  I finally turned and he whipped around gesturing and flew off.

The last thing I saw was his Jesus fish on the trunk.  Some of you are thinking, he probably borrowed (or in this case stole 😉 ) the car.  Unfortunately, I’ve been in the passenger seat of other Christians who drive the same way.  And this is yet another, of many, reminders to me how important it is that Christians understand that if we don’t look like Christ… we aren’t IN Christ.

Consider the following statements in lieu of such a silly thing (like driving styles) and then make sure to expound them across all areas of your life as often as possible:

  • The Bible spends extremely small amounts of time on Jesus while he was in ‘church’.  I call it the Bible camera.  While Jesus did go to the temple to learn and even preach, the action was mostly outside of the religious walls.  So the camera was mostly tuned in when Jesus was living among the real world.  The story we see of a man who sets a Godly example to EVERYONE.  strangers, dinner parties, while traveling, interrupting public conflict, even while sleeping in a boat.  The examples we have of how to act like Christ (in order to be Christ-ians) are while He lived his normal life.  This extends to us.  Crowded airplanes, sporting events, kid’s baseball, restaurants, DRIVING, and how we handle politics (mmmhmmmm!  zing to almost all of us on those last 2).
  • Entitlement and Christianity are polar opposites.  Come on.  You know the verses.  Turn the other cheek.  Go the extra mile.  And many other examples let us know that picking up the cross of Christ means dropping the expectation of equality and fairness.  The cross wasn’t fair.  Jesus didn’t deserve that.  Most of life won’t be fair.  We aren’t here to experience fairness.  That shouldn’t be our fight.  We are here to show the world that Jesus loves them.  Somehow, some “Christians” have convinced themselves that they can show love and the finger at the same time.   (notice the quotes?)  The Bible could not be more clear.  Love is the greatest command.  Sacrifice is required to love.  Elitism is the opposite of love.
  • The right thing requires effort.  How easy are your decisions?  Its so easy for me to get mad at the jerk acting like a jerk from jerkville.  Its much more difficult to try and understand where he is coming from.  Why was he in such a hurry?  Was his life filled with turmoil?  The hard option is understanding and forgiveness.  If we aren’t facing difficult decisions in our lives, perhaps we aren’t making very good choices?  This rule isn’t meant to be 100% universal, but think about it.  We have eleventy billion cliches explaining the road less traveled, the merit of all things lies in their difficulty, problems are opportunities in work clothes, etc. etc. etc.  We aren’t even talking Christian logic here.  This is worldly universal.  Ask any athlete.  Ask any philosopher.  Talk to any doctor, lawyer, or architect.  Life, in and of itself, isn’t easy.  Living a good, honest life is doubly difficult.

Prayers and peace to each of you.  May we all learn to lose more and more of ourselves while we take on the lifestyle of Jesus Christ.  The more we look like Him, the more His message will reach those who need to hear the story of love, forgiveness, and redemption.

Christ didn’t gamble on us

Perhaps it may help to understand the mind of Christ when He came to earth.  Or, to be more precise, where His mind wasn’t.  A quick glance in Isaiah 53 can clear this up for us.

“He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.  Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we counted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

This was written in scripture quite some time before Jesus came to earth.  In fact, this was the scripture He came to fulfill.  The point i want to make today is very basic.  Jesus didn’t come to us on a bet.  It was NOT a gamble.  He and God didn’t have a disagreement about mankind.  Jesus didn’t leave heaven exclaiming, “You’ll see!, they will change!”.  He didn’t come to earth, first with a goal of saving us, and the cross was merely His backup plan.  The sin had already been committed.  The cross was already the ONLY plan Jesus had.  And if you are sitting there thinking, “Well, duh!”.  Let that sink in for a minute.  Jesus still came.

We sing about Him on the cross and how he could have called 10,000 angels to set Him free from his torture and death.  But we rarely realize that this was not Jesus’ first introduction to the plan.  The cross wasn’t an ‘uh-oh’ moment for Jesus.  The cross was His destination all along.  He knew, from before birth in the manger, that His life here was about pain, humiliation, backstabbing, manipulation, and death.  All from the folks He loved and wanted to save.

He still came.  In other words… humanity did not disappoint.  God knew blood had to be paid, and who better to handle that?  Like clockwork, we found out Jesus was better.  He was holy, he was pure, he was unwavering in His faith.  And we knew very quickly He had to die so we could get on with our corrupt lives.  We all performed God’s plan to perfection that day.  Jesus showed up, prepared to die.  And the sinners showed up, prepared to kill the innocent Savior.

This isn’t revolutionary, but I hope a change in perspective might help with the magnitude of what Jesus did for us.  His trip to earth wasn’t a mission gone south.  The cross wasn’t the result of poor timing, missed opportunities, or misinformed planning.  The cross is EXACTLY what was planned in response to our refusal to honor God.  And we made it possible.  In fact, we carried it out.  He knew.  He knew our hatred, our greed, our corruption, our pride, and He still came.  He also knew God.  He knew God didn’t bluff.  He knew God loved mankind in spite of our actions.  He knew God wouldn’t send him here with a hidden agenda or with a secret plan B.  He knew His mission was the cross.  He knew when He carried it on His bloody back, He knew when He was adored by cattle and wise men in the barn.

So my question for today is… now that we KNOW what He did for us and what we did to Him.  What will we do today in response?

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