Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Beloved Stuffed Animal


 My son had a stuffed bear that he carried with him incessantly as a child. This lump of formerly soft white fuzz became torn, filthy, and lost a lot of stuffing over time. I tried to clean Gundy (as we came to call him, for he was indeed a Gund bear,) but it was a losing battle. He smelled rather pungent up close, but the scent of boy, dirt, bedtime bottles and various other aromatic additions was uniquely beloved. Every night the bear slept with the boy--in fact the bear became the pillow.

Without more than a thought I can see, feel and smell Gundy...and the sleepy toddler in his jammies, hair awry, clutching him. My now-24 year old son still has him, for he is much beloved even now. Time can't change that.

Just because the stuffing has been knocked out of you, and the dirt of this world has turned what was once pure and soft to stiff, matted gray, just because you've landed in the dirt and come up worse for wear, do you think Jesus loves you any less than the boy loves the bear?

Turn to Him as Savior and accept His offer of undying love. Trust me, just as Gundy is loved despite his frazzled, dirty look, the lost stitching on his nose and lopsided stance, you are loved by Christ.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
    “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
     we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A New Song, Please!


Have you ever had a silly song go through your mind over and over and over? We all have, I think. I woke up with one plaguing my mind this morning. It's old and has a slightly 'naughty' context, not outright rude or nasty, just not the kind of song I want to dwell on.

I started thinking about how the temptation to sin is a lot like that endlessly repeated song. Although consciously I don't want to hear it any more, at the slightest inattention I find myself humming the dratted thing again.

I prayed and asked the Lord to replace it with a worship song, but He didn't deliver me from it. Temptation is like that. I can ask God to take it away but the moment my mind slips into neutral the tune wafts through my mind and out onto my lips. We may pray "lead me not into temptation", but the song is still there...

I need to replace this tune, the temptation, with another one that's healthy and good. I need to choose what will go in its place, and then listen to it, even sing it aloud if I can, so that the new song fills my thoughts. I can't keep humming the little ditty and expect it to go away.

"Sin is crouching at your door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." (Genesis 4:7) Sin will 'desire' or rule over me, as long as I let the tune go on running through my mind without replacing it.

"But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." (James 1:14-15) Temptation is like that song. In itself it isn't sin, but it will carry me away or entice me, rising to the surface of my mind without warning. I'll start to hum along.

I recall these verses, "... that you lay aside the old self , which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit (that song!), and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind (listening to another tune), and put on the new self (a worship song!), which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth." (Ephesians 4:22-24)  

If you have an old song going through your mind too, I pray that we we'll both enjoy a new tune today, one that entices us to the purity and beauty of holiness that comes of worshiping the Lord.