Thursday, January 28, 2010

Aptitude and Grace

I was sitting in a restaurant having breakfast this morning when I overheard a conversation that seems to be representative of society’s attitude toward marriage, sex and women today. The conversation was between an older married man and a young lady. It went something like this: 

Man: “My wife gets very upset with me just because I like to watch a little sex on videos. I mean, I love to look at women’s bodies and I don’t try to hide this from her. 

Young lady: Why does she get so upset? Doesn’t she trust you?

Man: No, but it’s not like I’m going to go around and sleep with every woman I see. I just like to watch sex on my computer and on videos. She says it makes her feel insecure. 

Young lady: Maybe you shouldn’t watch them then.

Man: There’s nothing wrong with watching sex. I enjoy it. Are you dating anybody right now?

Young lady: Yeah, kind of. Nothing serious.

Man: Just make sure you don’t give him a hard time if he likes looking at other women. If you get upset with him, just argue it out. As a matter of fact I’d recommend you find somebody who likes to argue. I love to argue. 

Young lady: Why?

Man: I don’t know I just enjoy it. I argue with my wife all the time. I mean, if she knew I was sitting here having breakfast with you she’d flip out. She’d be yelling and screaming all over the place.

Young lady: Then why did you invite me to have breakfast with you?

Man: Just because I like you and I know I’m in control. She doesn’t understand that. She’d just be jealous. When you get her age you’ll probably be just like her.

Young lady: Why?

Man: Because older women just get insecure about their relationships and their bodies and everything. That’s why, when men leave their wives, they always go for a younger woman because they’re not hung up on all that stuff. You never see a man leave a younger woman for an older woman. You see what I’m saying?

Young lady: I’m not sure. Well, we’d better get going now. I have to go to work. 

I wanted to jump up from the table and smash a trey over his head and tell the young lady to run for her life. No wonder his wife is insecure and jealous. He wants her to just understand that he has a roaming eye for younger women and has breakfast with them behind her back. When he’s at home he wants to watch porn on video. Why would she be insecure? 

I thought about how sad it is that this seems to be the acceptable attitude toward marriage. “I’m married, but I still want to act like I’m single. Why doesn’t she understand?”  

Then I ran across these scriptures in 1 Corinthians 6:16-17, “There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, ‘The two become one.” 

Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never ‘become one.’” 

Attitudes are so casual in regards to the sanctity of marriage. A married man believes it’s okay to watch sex on videos as long as he’s not committing adultery. However, Jesus said, “”You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” 

Jesus also said in Matthew 19:10, “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone.” 

Aptitude and grace were definitely missing from this conversation.     

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Surprise Inspection!

You know that old saying, “Always make sure you’re wearing clean underwear just in case you get into an accident?” I always wondered what that really meant. Does it mean if you don’t have on clean underwear and you get into an accident an ambulance won’t pick you up and take you to the hospital? Will they actually check to see whether or not you have on clean underwear before treating you at the scene? Would they leave you just lying there on the road to die or would they call for emergency clean underwear to be brought to the scene of the accident?

Either way, I believe my mother came up with that saying. She’s a firm believer in always having clean underwear on hand. She actually carries a pair of clean underwear in her purse, just in case she gets into an accident. That way there would be no need for emergency clean underwear to be brought to the scene. She would have underwear right there in her purse. I’m surprised she doesn’t wear one of those medical alert wrist bands that says, “Clean underwear in my purse. Please make sure I’m wearing them before transporting me to the hospital.”

When we were very young, my mother took my sister and I shopping. We were shopping for clothes and my mom found something she wanted to try on Robbie Lee. I waited outside the door while my mom pulled Robbie into the dressing room. Suddenly I heard this horrific scream from my mom, “You’re not wearing any underwear! Where’s your underwear?”

Robbie Lee was notorious for sneaking out of the house butt naked at times when she was a child and I guess she took great pleasure out of going shopping without her underwear.

“I forgot to put some on, Mom” said Robbie Lee, pleading her case.

“How could you leave the house without underwear?” my mom asked. “It’s too hot to wear underwear,” announced Robbie Lee.

I stood outside the door feeling proud that I had remembered to wear my underwear. Mom stormed out of the dressing room with Robbie Lee in tow. I ran to keep up as Mom sprinted to the children’s underwear section and grabbed the first pair of underwear she came to.

“Lift up your leg,” said Mom. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Mom was putting the new underwear on Robbie right there in the store. I stood by quietly watching and hoping no one else would see. Robbie Lee had a frown on her face like she was being tortured or something. I just wanted them to hurry up so we could go home.

“There, that’s better,” declared Mom, checking out the fit. With that, she was off to finish her shopping.

When we went through the checkout, Mom placed all the items she had picked out on the counter. Then just as the cashier was ringing up the last item, Mom lifted Robbie Lee’s little dress, revealing the brand new underwear and said, “I also want to buy these.”

The cashier looked stunned. My face felt like it would catch on fire, but there was nowhere to hide. Robbie helped Mom hold up her dress, waiting patiently for the cashier to decide the price of the underwear she was wearing. Mom didn’t even flinch. She seemed oblivious to my red face. I guess she was a Mom on a mission and wasn’t worrying about being embarrassed. The cashier finally decided on the price of the underwear, we paid and left the store to go home. I felt that Mom shouldn’t have paid full price for the underwear. After all, Robbie had already worn them for nearly an hour.

Isn’t it great to know that God will never lift the curtain and reveal our past sins? I’ve talked to a lot of Christians who struggle with their past and the things they’ve done before they accepted Christ. They find it hard to believe that God has completely forgiven them and they keep waiting for Him to tap them on the shoulder and say, “Remember those terrible things you did many years ago?”

Romans 8:1-2 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

Stop waiting for the other shoe to drop. God is not going to suddenly reveal all of your sins to everyone around you. That’s the beauty of the cross. God looks at you with Jesus colored glasses. When He sees you He doesn’t see the sins of your past. He sees His Son, Jesus in you. Your sins are forgotten. I reckon it’s time you forget them too. How can you see what God has planned for your future if you’re so busy looking behind you?

Oh yeah, and if you see my mother in a shopping mall, walk the other way. Otherwise you might be subjected to a surprise inspection.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lost and Found

Have you ever done something so incredibly stupid that as soon as you did it you knew it was a big mistake, but then it was too late to do anything about it? I had one of those moments while Robbie Lee and I were vacationing in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We were swimming in the Albemarle Sound with this huge inflatable raft and having a great time. The raft was big enough to hold about three people so we were just lying on our backs, floating with the current and soaking up some sun. Then Robbie Lee decided she wanted to get her head wet and handed me her prescription sunglasses to hold.

“Whatever you do, don’t drop my glasses,” warned Robbie Lee. “They’re the only ones I have.”

“What do you think I am?” I asked. “I’m perfectly capable of holding your sunglasses without dropping them for heaven’s sake.” I was highly insulted that she would even question my ability to hold on to her glasses without dropping them in the water.

Suddenly I got the idea of putting the sunglasses on the floating raft for safe keeping while I dunked down in the water as well. It was a very warm day and the cool water was very inviting. When I came up out of the water I grabbed hold of the side of the raft and jumped on top of it. As soon as I landed I saw Robbie Lee’s sunglasses go flying off into the big blue sky above. They seemed to just hang in the air for a split second while I sat helplessly on the raft, unable to reach them. It was as though God just held them there for a moment to say, “What were you thinking?” I immediately realized the stupidity of my act, but there was nothing I could do.

I watched as the glasses finally dropped into the dark waters of the sound and disappeared. As I sat there on the raft, bobbing up and down on the water with my mouth hanging open, I heard an ear piercing scream, “a-a-a-ah! What have you done? Why did you jump on the raft? I told you to hold onto my glasses, but no, you put them on the raft and then jumped on it? How dumb can you be? I’m going to . . .”

I slid off the raft to distance myself from my angry sister. She looked like she was willing to sacrifice my life for her glasses and I didn’t want to take any chances.

“Don’t worry,” I reassured her. “I think I know where they landed. We’ll find them.”

Of course when I turned to look in the general direction of where I thought I saw the glasses go into the water everything looked different. We had drifted from the spot a bit while Robbie Lee was threatening my life. Yet I knew we had to try to find the glasses because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my vacation with Robbie Lee squinting at me while gritting her teeth.

I ducked my head down into the water with my eyes open to see if I could spot the glasses, but with no luck. The water was too dark to see anything at all. When I came back up for air, there was Robbie Lee standing with her hands on her hips, glaring at me. I dunked back into the water for fear she might try to strangle me and leave my dead body floating in the sound. When I came up for air again Robbie Lee was smiling at me. The smile was even scarier than the teeth gritting expression she had before.

“If we can’t find the glasses, it’s okay,” she said in a calm voice. “I just remembered I have a spare pair with me.”

“You do?” I asked with enthusiasm and relief.

“Yes,” answered Robbie Lee. “They’re on your face.”

My eyes opened wide. I had broken my prescription sunglasses a while back and borrowed an old pair of Robbie Lee’s to wear until I could get mine fixed. Her prescription was slightly different from mine, but my eyes had adjusted to them. Now she was threatening to take them back and I would be the one with the squinty eyes for the rest of the vacation.

“We have got to find those glasses,” I said with panic in my voice. "We can find them if we concentrate. They’re here somewhere.” 

“Are you praying?” asked Robbie Lee. 

“Praying?” I asked. I hadn’t thought about praying for God to help us find the glasses. After all, when you do something so colossally stupid, it doesn’t seem right to then ask God to help you out of the situation. 

“Let’s pray and ask God to help us find the glasses,” said Robbie Lee.

We stopped our search and said a quick prayer and then resumed our search again. I have to admit that even though we prayed, the situation looked hopeless. To find a pair of glasses at the bottom of a great big body of water would take nothing short of a miracle, but in my heart I decided to boost my faith level up a notch and believe God would come through for us. 

I got down on my knees in the water and started scraping my hands along the bottom. I had no idea if I was even close to the spot where we were originally, but it was the only thing I knew to do. Suddenly I felt something hard hit my hand. “A seashell or a rock probably,” I mumbled. I grabbed the object and pulled it up out of the water. It was a broken shell. I sighed and kept on moving.

“Are you still praying?” asked Robbie Lee as she searched the water.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m praying,” I said half-heartedly. It just seemed like a futile exercise. The sound was too big and the glasses were too small. Just then, as I was dragging my hand along the bottom, my fingers came to rest on something. “Another shell or broken glass,” I mumbled. I pulled up the object and as the sand washed away and much to my surprise, there were the long lost sunglasses. I had to blink a couple of times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

“I found them! I found them!” I yelled to Robbie Lee.

Robbie Lee pushed her way through the water to make her way over to me. I proudly handed her the glasses. She wiped the sand away and put them on her face.

“I can’t believe I found them,” I said with excitement. 

“You didn’t,” corrected Robbie Lee, “God found them. You lost them.” 

Robbie Lee waded out of the water back to our house and left me standing there alone. She was right. God actually answered our prayer. What were the chances that I could put my hand on something so small in that vast body of water? I whispered a “thank you” to Him and followed Robbie Lee back to the house.

Sometimes we feel so small compared to everything else in the world going on around us. We wonder how God can even care about what is going on in our lives with so many other people in the world. There are wars and floods and earthquakes happening every day. So why bother God with the small stuff in our lives?

We are not the first to ask this question. David asked the very same thing in Psalms 8:3-4, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” 

It’s hard for us to imagine that God would even give us a passing glance in the scheme of things. Yet he made us stewards of the earth and its inhabitants. He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for us and to be resurrected to take away the sting of death, giving us a way to eternal life.

Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

The Scripture says, “Whatever we ask for.” This does not distinguish between big or small. We are anything but insignificant in God’s eyes. God is interested in the smallest details of our lives, even a pair of sunglasses at the bottom of the Albemarle Sound. How great is our God?

Excerpt from "Life is a Buffet So What's On Your Plate?" Copyright © 2009 by Polly D. Boyette "All Rights Reserved."

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Best Thing You Can Do


I hope 2010 is the best year you've ever had for you and your family and friends. Put God first in everything you do and there's no way 2010 won't be all you want it to be. 

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

God has a plan for your life. It may not always seem like it when you look at your circumstances but that's when you trust in God beyond all your own understanding. Give Him your whole life. Ever wonder what God's will is for your life? Ever wonder what one thing you can do for Him that would be the best thing ever you could do? 

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary  life-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life-and place it  before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him." Romans 12:1 (The Message)

There it is in black and white. Give him your everyday ordinary life and he will do extraordinary things with it. It's the best thing you can do for Him.