Thursday, March 15, 2012

Of Mice and Men

Last night I heard them again … the critters … the mice that had left their droppings in our utensil drawer. I had been sleeping in the Blue Room right off the kitchen (not because I was in the dog house but because our niece, Lily, is staying with us) and at about 2300 I’d hear a mouse or mice rummaging through our kitchen drawers – dirty rats! Mind you, this is a rental house that we’ve only been in a month. At our house in Livingston we had two possums living under our house. It seems like these crazy animals are drawn to us.
            Anyway, being the good wife that she is, Amanda was proactive and got some traps. Of course, being the good husband I am, I baited them and placed them. After placing them, Amanda and Lily went back to our bedroom to settle down and watch a movie because I was in the Blue Room watching Hurt Locker and didn’t want our visiting 11 year old niece to watch a war movie. So I’m sitting there watching the EOD guys do their thing and all of a sudden – SNAP – and then the twitching and kicking of an animal trying to escape its inevitable death.
            Sure enough, I put the movie on pause, walked over to the drawer, slid it open and Jerry mouse was twitching the last few seconds of his life away. Out of respect for the dying (I don’t think it was that formal to be honest with you but I’m just trying to make this thing dramatic) I closed the door and allowed him to go home to the great Cheese Head in the sky alone. He died alone!
            Of course, I felt compelled to share this great victory with Amanda so I went to the room and told her that with 15 minutes of putting out the trap we had our first KIA. She had a look of disgust on her face but asked, “How big is it?” That planted a seed in my mind: “Why not take a picture of it and text it to her?” I did. Haha. Amanda heard the second trap snap around 0200 and sure enough, the mice community had sent out a second mouse either for recovery or recon. Either way, it paid the ultimate price.
            Now this morning – while I’m doing my Bible study – these mice came back to mind and as God so often does, He uses them for an illustration. These mice – in some people’s mind – weren’t doing anything to hurt anybody. Maybe so but they were where they weren’t supposed to be and they were taking a dump there to spite us! Knowing that mice want food, Amanda and I set out a trap with bait we knew would be attractive to them.
            Isn’t that how Satan works us? Think about it! Think about the Garden of Eden.

1 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”
2 “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. 3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”
4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”
6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

            Satan knew exactly what Eve wanted! He knew the desire was for that which looked, smelled, and in fact, tasted good. But it was that very thing – that bite – that forced the trap to snap down on her “neck,” break it, and choke the very life that she was searching for right out of her.
            Aren’t we all like that? Don’t we go after what looks good, what’s appetizing, knowing full well that it’s not the best? It’s not God’s will that we simply feed our appetites. We are to be fed – by the Spirit. We are to be filled – by the Spirit. We are not to feed the flesh.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Greatest Show on Earth

It's been about a month now that Amanda, the kids, and me moved over to Knoxville. Despite it being a tough decision to move with the distance now between family, friends, church, and the great land that makes up the Upper Cumberland, Amanda and I both feel like it was good decision.

Obviously, one of the perks of moving from a small, rural town to a larger city is that you get a wider variety of things of which to be exposed. For instance, Knoxville has a great Greenway trail. It also has a great view of the Smokey Mountains from almost anywhere in the city which means proximity to the Park and to Beech, Sugar, and Cataloochie for skiing (if and when it snows)! There's also a variety of dining, shopping, sporting events, and education. The number and variety of churches here is pretty amazing here too.

As I mentioned before, along with variety comes proximity. We no longer have to drive an hour and a half to see a show we might want to see. Case in point, the circus. It was in town over the weekend and we took the opportunity to take the kids and one of our nieces. It was a lot of fun. WB&BN would still make P.T. Barnum proud (and I say that like I know the old boss).

It's been billed as, "The Greatest Show on Earth," and people still come from miles around to see what kind of "magic" the performers and animals will create. The only disappointing comment I heard was from an older spectator who complained that there were no lions! Oh well. There was a guy who let the Clown drive a Jeep loaded with people over him! That's right! Drove it over him!

People came eagerly - expecting to see something. There was a woman like that in the Bible. She had a nasty medical issue for most of her adult life and all she wanted was to be healed. So she went doctor to doctor trying to get healed. It wasn't until she approached The Greatest Show on Earth - Jesus - in the midst of a crowd that she really began to fully understand how great He really was. She just touched his garment and was made whole.

How many of us are willing to do that? Press in despite the mob? Press in knowing that his power will overwhelm us? Press in despite the inadequacies in every area of our lives - the ones we try to hide as well as the ones that are easily exposed?

One of the coolest things I saw at the circus this time was the acrobat who walked upside down 100 or more feet off the ground ... with no safety net ... just sticking his feet in some contraption that was loops hanging from the scaffolding. Amazing!

Jesus is like that ... amazing? He does that which is breathtaking! He does that which is well worth the price paid!