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“Our Poor Choices--His Good Grace!” Genesis 16: 1-15 Key verse(s): 3: “So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.’”
Do you ever pray for discernment? People tend to pray for things that they feel are useful at the moment and fruitful for today and tomorrow. But discernment, you say? Just exactly what is it and why should I be including it in my prayers? Discernment is the ability to examine the situation, apply a good dose of experience, stand back and get a perspective on the recipe, and take the appropriate action at the appointed time. It’s what most people would call “good judgement.”
Chuck Swindoll writes: “I read this past week of a couple (let’s call them Carl and Clara) whose twenty-five year marriage was a good one. Not the most idyllic, but good. They now had three grown children who loved them dearly. They were also blessed with sufficient financial security to allow them room to dream about a lakeside retirement home. They began looking. A widower we’ll call Ben was selling his place. They liked it a lot and returned home to talk and plan. Months passed. Last fall, right out of the blue, Clara told Carl she wanted a divorce. He went numb. After all these years, why? And how could she deceive him...how could she have been nursing such a scheme while they were looking at a retirement home? She said she hadn’t been. Actually, this was a recent decision now that she had found another man. Who? Clara admitted it was Ben, the owner of the lake house, whom she inadvertently ran into several weeks after they had discussed the sale. They’d begun seeing each other. Since they were now ‘in love,’ there was no turning back. Not even the kids, who hated the idea, could dissuade their mother. On the day she was to leave, Carl walked through the kitchen toward the garage. Realizing she would be gone when he returned, he hesitated, ‘Well, hon, I guess this is the last time--’ His voice dissolved as he broke into sobs. She felt uneasy, hurriedly got her things together, and drove north to join Ben. Less than two weeks after she moved in with Ben, her new lover, he was seized with a heart attack. He lingered a few hours...and then died.” (Charles Swindoll, The Quest For Character, Multnomah, p. 42).
For more from Chuck, visit http://www.insight.org
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Those Nasty Redo’s! (10.06.05--Beginning Again!--Genesis 16:7-10)
Time is one of the most precious commodities that God gives us daily. The time to do things is always limited. And, we need to balance the things we want to do with the things we need to do.
Therein is the tension. I start each day with a fragile plan, one that is put together loosely as I fall asleep the night before and gradually takes shape through morning routine, shower and breakfast. By the time I’ve gotten in the Corvair and am headed to the office, it is nearly complete. Unfortunately, one thing that never makes it into my morning planning, because it is not considered worthy to stand next to the “do’s,” are the “redo’s.”
This past morning I had planned on putting a simple weather strip on the bottom of my daughter’s bedroom door. This was a planned “to do” and should have been a five minute job. I tackled the job in the evening after getting home from work. One and a half hours later I was ripping the thing off again for the third time. I had redo bumping into redo and the “do’s” I had so carefully placed one after another were getting bumped and jostled. The just needed to be time for those unwanted but sometimes necessary “redo’s.”
Thomas A. Edison was working on a crazy contraption called a “light bulb” and it took a whole team of men 24 straight hours to put just one together . . . When Edison was finished with one light bulb, he gave it to a young boy helper, who nervously carried it up the stairs. Step by step he cautiously watched his hands, obviously frightened of dropping such a priceless piece of work. You’ve probably guessed what happened by now; the poor young fellow dropped the bulb at the top of the stairs. It took the entire team of men twenty-four more hours to make another bulb. Finally, tired and ready for a break, Edison was ready to have his bulb carried up the stairs. He gave it to the same young boy who dropped the first one. (James Newton, Uncommon Friends: Life with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel and Charles Lindbergh, 1989, p.22)
Sometimes God’s plan calls for redoing things when ours calls for doing and moving on. No one likes having to start over, especially when other “to do’s” are jostled or displaced in the process. And when our mistakes impact on others, it makes it even more difficult. Yet, doing things over is part of God’s disciplinary plan for us. In His game plan there is no place for running away from our mistakes. Submitting to our problems, accepting God’s help and tackling the “redo’s” is the right thing. Putting some time away each day for this necessary discipline is the best policy by far.
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Stop the Bleeding But Heal the Wound! (10.07.05--Beginning Again!--Genesis 16:7-10)
There is one good rule for starting over. If something’s broken, don’t try to fix it with anything less than your best effort. The odds are that the more you try to “band-aid” things, the longer it will take for the situation to heal. Band-aids have their place--don’t get me wrong. When there is a wound and you want to stop the bleeding, dressing that wound properly is important. But, the band-aid is only a dressing, not a cure.
Being married to a nurse, I should have the advantage when it comes to taking care of injuries. Nonetheless, having a nurse at your disposal is one thing; listening to her advice is another. Recently I received a nasty slice on a knuckle from a hack saw that I was using. If you’ve ever used one you’ll know how easy it is for a blade to jump from the saw path and right over a knuckle. Although the wound wasn’t deep, because of its location so close to the bone, it was sore. A band-aid was called for, so I put one on. The problem was, I didn’t want to remove it after the bleeding stopped. It just seemed that I was always bumping it and needed the protection. Finally, after several days, my wife convinced me to remove the bandage. Sure enough, it started bleeding all over again. Fixing the wound required allowing it to be open to the air. If that wound was going to heal, I had to remove the bandage. There was no getting around it.
I read, recently, about a small western town of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where Police received a phone call from a worried citizen who reported that he had seen the same car pass by his home five times. That in itself would not have been enough to call out the cops. But, the caller continued, the car was driving in reverse. Police later reported that they stopped a teen-age girl after a number of complaints that a car had been seen going around the neighborhood in reverse for some time. When the police approached the stopped vehicle the girl had a very logical explanation of her strange behavior. She told police that her parents had let her use the car, but they had reversed their decision when they discovered that she had put too many miles on it. “I was just trying to unwind some of it,” she said. (Source unknown)
There are always opportunities to begin again when what we have done in the first place was not the right thing. Yet, we make it a lot harder on ourselves when, seeking a new start, we head off in the wrong direction in the first place. We choose a healing path, but, in reality, strike out on a path to continued wounding.Walking away from our problems and not confronting them is just such a path. When we sin we need to lay those sins down before the Lord, the wound fully exposed, in order for Him to provide the healing balm of His mercy and grace.