Monday, July 13, 2009

Baloney Sandwich: Redux

***I looked back on my blog a year and a day ago and found this. I noticed that I am not feeling all thankful and grateful like I was that morning.

But I heart the Baloney Sandwich story, so I am repeating it.
I can do this.
This is my blog.
Have a good day.

This is just one of those thankful kind of days. Nothing special happened, but I am overwhelmed with gratefulness to God for everything He provides. Nice weather, jobs for our business, watermelon, the birds singing, tough lessons that He helps me learn, family, friends, DVR technology, beef on the grill.In all honesty, my list could go on and on. Couldn't yours?

Here is a very cool little devotional called "A Baloney Sandwich" from the book "Stories Bob Benson Used to Tell."

Read it. Enjoy it. Be thankful to God this morning.
Realize that I typed it up for you with my two-fingered typing skillz. Because I love you.

A Baloney Sandwich
"You have come to share in the very being of God" 2nd Peter 1:4

"Do you remember when they had old fashioned Sunday School picnics? I do. As I recall, it was back in the "Olden days", as my kids would say, back before they had air conditioning.They said, "We'll all meet at the Sycamore Lodge in Shelby Park at 4:30 on Saturday.
You bring your supper and we'll furnish the iced tea.

But if you were like me, you came home at the last minute. When you got ready to pack your picnic, all you could find in the refrigerator was one piece of dried up baloney and just enough mustard at the bottom of the jar so you got it all over your knuckles trying to get to it. And just two slices of stale bread to go with it. So you made your baloney sandwich and wrapped it in an old brown bag and went to the picnic.

When it came time to eat you sat at the end of a table and spread out your sandwich. But the folks who sat next to you brought a feast. The lady was a good cook and had worked hard all day to get ready for the picnic. And she had fried chicken and baked beans and potato salad and homemade rolls and sliced tomatoes and pickles and olives and celery.

And two big homemade chocolate pies to top it off. That's what they spread out there next to you while you sat with your baloney sandwich.

But they said to you,

"Why don't we just put it all together?""No, I couldn't do that. I couldn't even think of it," you murmured in embarrassment, with one eye on the chicken."Oh, come on, there's plenty of chicken and plenty of pie and plenty of everything. And we just love baloney sandwiches. Let's just put it all together."

And so you did and there you sat, eating like a king when you came like a pauper.

One day, it dawned on me that God has been saying just that sort of thing to me. "Why don't you take what you have and what you are, and I will take what I have and what I am, and we'll share it together?"

I began to see that when I put what I had and was and am and hope to be with what He is, I had stumbled upon the bargain of a lifetime.I get to thinking sometimes, thinking of me sharing with God. when I think of how little I bring, and how much He brings and invites me to share, I know I should be shouting from the housetops, but I am so filled with awe and wonder that I can hardly speak.

I know I don't have enough love or faith or grace or mercy or wisdom, but He does. He has all those things in abundance and He says, "Let's just put it all together."Consecration, denial,sacrifice,commitment and crosses were all kind of hard words for me, until I saw them in the light of sharing.

It isn't a case of me kicking in what I have because God is the biggest kid on the block and He wants it all for Himself. He is saying,"Everything I possess is available to you. Everything that I am and can be to a person, I will be to you."

When I think about it like that,it really amuses me to see somebody running along through life hanging on to their dumb bag with that stale baloney sandwich in it saying, "God's not going to get my sandwich! No sirree, this is mine!" Did you ever see anybody like that-so needy- just about half starved to death, yet hanging on for dear life. It's not that God wants your sandwich.

The fact is you need His chicken!

Well, go ahead-eat your baloney sandwich, as long as you can. But when you can't stand its tastelessness or drabness any longer, when you get so tired of running your own life and doing it your way and figuring out the answers with no one to help, when trying to accumulate,hold,grasp and keep everything together in your own strength gets to be too big a load, when you begin to realize that by yourself you're never going to be able to fulfill your dreams, I hope you'll remember that it doesn't have to be that way.

You have been invited to something better, you know. You have been invited to share in the very being of God.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Spiritualizing stuff

"Do you have to try to spiritualize everything?" or "Quit trying to spiritualize everything."

Both of these things have been said to me on more than a few occasions and it wouldn't bother me a bit if they were said by unbelievers.(And they have been)

But the times it has made me pause has been when it has been said by believers; people who have been Christians for a long time, usually raised in the church.

I always assumed people are kidding when they say this...until I'd heard it many times, and not always directed at me.

So I now have to ponder if what was said wrong, or wonder if intentions were misconstrued or I was so out of line that someone would feel they need to gently or jokingly correct me with a wink and a laugh.

I honestly can't see it.

If I were attempting to shove the Good News down some one's throat with a pitchfork or Bible-verse hurling with intent to injure I can see anyone getting annoyed. (including me)

But seeing God revealed in every situation or circumstance is not really a bad thing, in my opinion. In fact, its a good thing.

The way I see it, I don't put God in situations; He is already there.

I just see Him there and say something about it. I am not "trying" to make Him there...He just IS.

He encompasses everything, all the time.

"It is finished. I am the Alpha and the Omega-the Beginning and the End." (Rev.21:6)

God is not at all confined to church-flavored situations like Sunday School or communion or bible study, although He is there, too.

But He can be found in every detail, every action, every corner of creation.

He is the God of grapes and goats and galaxies. I want to see Him everywhere. Shouldn't we be asking Him to reveal His awesome presence to us...everywhere and in everything?

Aren't we admonished from the pulpit that we should not restrict our worship to Sundays while singing a Chris Tomlin worship song , but be aware of Him during conversations with family and friends, shopping at Safeway in the middle of the week,walking the goats or cleaning the kitchen after dinner?

So I would encourage you not to muffle or discourage the voices that see God everywhere. They are praising God when they recognize Him in the magnificent as well as the minuscule and mundane.

I would question whether some brothers and sisters are trying to impose limits on when and where God may be seen by His children, instead of inviting Him to make Himself known in everyday life.

I will continue find great joy in seeing Him everywhere, like a cosmic Where's Waldo. And speak up about it.

I am not spiritualizing everything.

He already did.

Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed: Blessed is he who comes, the king in God's name! All's well in heaven! Glory in the high places!

Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, "Teacher, get your disciples under control!"

But he said, "If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise." (Luke 19:38-40)

Psalm 148
Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord from the heavens! Praise him from the skies! Praise him, all his angels! Praise him, all the armies of heaven! Praise him, sun and moon! Praise him, all you twinkling stars!

Praise him, skies above! Praise him, vapors high above the clouds! Let every created thing give praise to the Lord, for he issued his command, and they came into being. He set them in place forever and ever. His decree will never be revoked.

Praise the Lord from the earth, you creatures of the ocean depths, fire and hail, snow and clouds, wind and weather that obey him, mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all livestock, small scurrying animals and birds, kings of the earth and all people, rulers and judges of the earth, young men and young women, old men and children.

Let them all praise the name of the Lord. For his name is very great; his glory towers over the earth and heaven! 14 He has made his people strong, honoring his faithful ones— the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A hypothetical, slightly inappropriate situation

***You were warned once. I'm not gonna do it again. Proceed at your own risk.***

I was pondering things this morning as I jogged. About how I didn't feel like running. At all. About how excited I am that the new Glory Revealed CD is going to drop any minute now. About how happy I am that no goats are with me. About how that last insect I inhaled almost choked me to death.

Also about this following, completely hypothetical situation.

Picture this.

Say a wife is making dinner and folding laundry at the same time. Multi-tasking like a hurricane. She is on a mission to get things done. It is a Monday and things will get accomplished.

Suddenly, she realizes she has to go to the bathroom, but because she was like a woman on fire getting chores done, she may have waited a moment or two longer than she should have.

She rushes into the bathroom.

IF her husband had left the seat in the DOWN position, like he usually does, everything would be hunky-dory. Left with the seat in the upright position the humble toilet becomes a veritable Porcelain Death Trap for women, with it's gaping jaws and rushing waters.

So, for the sake of our story, let's just say that the husband left the seat up. Then the poor, unsuspecting wife would probably almost fall into the toilet and wheel her arms around like a big, clumsy ostrich trying to take flight. She may or may not have screamed.


She probably even pulled every muscle in her back, shoulder and neck.

But her injury would obviously be more than physical. It would be mental, too, because hell0-ooo.

She almost drowned in a toilet.

She would probably be justifiably miffed. I assume that she would not have the best attitude as she slapped said husband's Honey Mustard Roast Pork, steamed green beans and Garlic Parmesan red potatoes on a plate at dinner time.

You can't blame this pretend woman for getting upset. She most likely wouldn't even feel like running the next day.

Because of the pain, you know.

But she is a determined sort, (anger is an excellent motivator) and would probably go on her run anyway .

She would probably try to distract herself from the discomfort in her back by thinking about the new Glory Revealed CD that is going to drop any minute....