Saturday, February 11, 2012

I Guess We Didn't Get the Memo...

This morning, Regina and I decided to try and go for a walk/run. The sun was shining outside. It was a lazy Saturday morning. We were feeling guilty from the great dinner and dessert the night before. Our friends David and Martha had brought us a pecan pie. I won't tell you how much I ate because it would be self-incriminating...

Anyway, I guess we were the only ones who didn't get the memo that an Arctic cold front had come through Tennessee last night. We bundled up, stretched, even put on gloves and intrepidly headed out the door and down our road. Sadly, after about 100 yards and our noses falling off due to frostbite (exaggeration here), we promptly turned around and headed back to our warm house.

On the way back, I displayed one of my many hidden talents. I spotted eleven cents in the road and stooped down to pick it up. My spotting and picking up coins all over the world is legendary (at least in my mind). For some strange reason, I have this gift for seeing and picking up stray coins. While I call it a gift, others (read Regina, my family, etc.) have other ideas. However, my practice is when I find these stray coins, I take them home and place them in my "World Hunger" bank adding them to my other loose change. When the bank fills up, I take it out, count it, convert to bills (or a check) and give my donation to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund.

Eleven cents isn't very much by our standards. But I began thinking: "What could eleven cents do in a hungry and needy world?" I sure wouldn't miss it and evidently the person who dropped it didn't think it worth the effort to stop and pick it up. So, is there any value to the eleven cents I just placed in my World Hunger bank?

* Eleven cents won't even buy a meal for a hungry child but it is at least halfway towards providing a warm, nutritious meal to a kid in the Horn of Africa. Pretty valuable!
* Eleven cents won't solve the world's malaria problem but it is 2% of the cost of a mosquito net for a family that lives in an area with rampant malarial problems. Just 50 more Eleven cents would provide that net. Pretty significant.
* Eleven cents won't help all the thirsty people in the world but it will provide almost 5% of the funds needed to give a family clean drinking water for one day. Again, not bad for a measly eleven cents left in the road.

The world didn't get the memo that there is hope for the hungry, sick and thirsty. And I didn't get the memo that eleven cents doesn't make a difference.

However, consider yourself served! You just got the "eleven cent" memo. What will you do about it?

For opportunities to make your eleven cents count, visit: and see some possibilities for yourself of what eleven cents can do.

Monday, February 6, 2012

When you get what you ask for...

There is a small but significant story in the book of Samuel where the nation of Israel asks God for a king. God had saved them, redeemed them out of slavery in Egypt and set them apart as a nation holy to Himself. He was their king with Israel being a true Theocracy, ruled and reigned by God.

But the people wanted a king.They wanted a king so that they could be like all the other nations around them. They said to Samuel the prophet, "No! We must have a king over us. Then we'll be like all the other nations: our king will judge us, go out before us, and fight our battles." Maybe it was that God was not enough. Maybe it was that Israel could not see their Kingly God and wanted something or someone they could see, touch and feel. Whatever the reason, they demanded a king because they wanted to be like all the other nations...

Isn't this the picture of our sin? God has chosen and provided the best way for us. We opt to rebel and choose our own way in opposition to God's. God longs that we hear and follow Him but also knows that we as fallen human beings will more often trust in our own way and lean to our own understanding. And in the end, the scary thing is that we generally get what we ask for.

When Israel made this one, simple choice...a king to be like all the other nations...they had no way of knowing that they set into motion a history changing event. God knew. He knew beforehand that they would choose to have a king instead of Him. He had already foreseen it and laid the laws down for Israel's king in the law, hundreds of years before they even asked for a king. He even said to Samuel , "they have not rejected you; they have rejected Me as their king." This simple choice was just a simple small step towards God establishing His Son Jesus as the King of Kings.

Israel got what they asked for and received both the blessing and the curse of that fulfilled request. And even though they rebelled against God's way and got what they asked for, God's purpose still went forth and was ultimately accomplished.

When we ask and choose, even against God's plan for our lives, we also generally get what we ask for. However, our choices in no way will ever derail the main purpose and plan of God. Our choices against God remove us from the flow of His plan and His blessings for our lives much like what Israel did in that simple request for a king to rule over them.

What are the things that I have traded in order to "be like all the other...". What are the blessings and plans of God that I have stepped out of to pursue my own ways and own desires? What have I asked for that has really taken me away from God's plan for my life?