Glass Half Full

This year has been one bad thing after another. It’s been tough to stay positive. I like to think of myself as a glass half full kind of guy so come on, this has been really tough on me. Every time I think that it can’t get any worse, it turns out that I’m wrong. I know that God is in control but it seems this year that maybe He’s put the world on cruise control on a stretch of really bad road full of pot holes. That’s why it’s mega important to grab the positive when you can.

Way back before this whole covid thing got to going full blast, I wrote a post titled For My Next Trick. (February 2, 2020). You know way back before the world changed. The gist of the post was about how I performed magic pulling women’s underwear out of my tee shirt right in the middle of the men’s locker room at the rec center. As amazed as my audience of octagenarians in various stages of dress were, I must admit that it was not my one of my finer moments. Despite the fact that I had requests for bookings at countless nursing homes in the area to perform my acts of prestidigitation, my embarrassment prevented me from fully grasping a second career on the locker room stage as a magician. If that wasn’t bad enough, corona cancelled any possible tour dates. That’s why, I can only look at what happened Friday with the glass is half full kind of attitude. Like most every work day, I headed to the rec center after work ready to fight the battle if not the war in countering the corona battle of the bulge. It’s a toss up as to whether it looks like I’m ready to exercise or holdup the recreation center with the all the covid precautions. It wouldn’t be very bright to do the latter since the screeners keep track of everyone who enters by name. The locker room has been closed so I’ve been changing in the men’s restroom. Nothing inspires exercise more than changing out of scrubs and into exercise wear in a bathroom stall. At least I’m able to use the larger of the two as long as I limp entering the bathroom. I really should have suspected something when my wife kept asking if I missed performing in the locker room. I think that she thought it might spark a come back if I could pull one more magic trick out my magic shirt. The only problem was the trick did not go as planned, instead of pulling something out of my sleeve, my wife’s panties appeared on my head as it popped out of the neck hole of the shirt. Fortunately the limited seating capacity of my new performance venue meant there were no witnesses to my latest feat of hocus pocus. So in looking on the brighter side of life , my senior ARRP buddies were none the wiser of my return to the stage for a command performance there in the men’s restroom handicap stall. I fear I may have been escorted out of the establishment with no plausible explanation for wearing women’s panties on my head. They weren’t even in my color wheel. I guess another positive is that knowing my wife’s affinity for goats, I could have exited my shirt with a goat on my head.

With all that being said and it being 2020, I’ll look at it as a half full glass and take it as a win. If all else had failed, I could have gone with the story that it was the latest in high fashion super effective personal protective equipment from my wife’s new lace line.

Numbers 23:23

23 There is no magic curse against Jacob
and no divination against Israel.
It will now be said about Jacob and Israel,
“What great things God has done!”

And the Kick Is Up… (A FMF exercise on hold)

It’s Autumn here in the U.S. so that means it’s time for football (the American kind). It’s amazing that a game can last for almost 60 minutes and the outcome can depend on a field goal. It is up to what is usually one of the smallest players on the field. They depend on the holder to place the ball on the ground and hold it until it is kicked. Unless it is a fake, you never see the holder pull the ball at the last second so that the kicker will fall on their backside.

This is not the case in Charles Schultz comic strip Peanuts. Each fall, Lucy promises to hold the ball for Charlie Brown to kick only to jerk it away allowing him to fall. It’s a gag that went on from the 1950’s until Schultz retired in the ’90s.

UMC Protocol:That's Still Lucy Holding the Football – Hermit Preacher

Charlie Brown always falls for it and Lucy never seems to run out of reasons. From she doesn’t want his dirty shoes to mess up her clean football, to 1966: a “ten-billion-to-one” muscle spasm, and to the 1970 strip where Lucy recites and interprets a long, withering passage from Isaiah: “How long [will you fail at this]? ALL YOUR LIFE, Charlie Brown, all your life!”. Most of her reasoning centers around the fact that she believes that Charlie Brown is a blockhead.

There was a point in the life of Jesus where he held the ball for mankind. He could have pulled it at any time because He was in control. He could have thought that they’re nothing but a bunch of blockheaded sinners and I don’t want them to get my perfect ball dirty. Instead He held the ball until the last minute and then cried, “It is finished”. I’m sure Satan must have felt that he had won. He and all of his minions probably danced and taunted all of us blockheads. The ball hung in the air for a while but on the third day, as Jesus walked out of the tomb, His heavenly Father announced , “It’s good” and the game was over.

The incredible thing about this is that Jesus already made the kick for us. He promises to hold it for us and all we have to do is trust Him.

Man, 22, kicks his kitten through the air on football field... before  raising his arms to signal a goal | Daily Mail Online

Philippians 3:12

12 Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.

This is part of the FiveMinuteFriday.com hosted by Kate Montaung weekly challenge to write for five minutes on a prompt word. Today’s word was obviously hold.

The quotes and their references were from a 2014 article by Eric Schulmiller

All Your Life, Charlie Brown. All Your Life.

The complete history of Lucy’s pulling the football away.

Bringing in the Herd

In the movie,City Slickers, Billy Crystal’s character, Mitch, makes the statement after driving cattle, “Curly said ain’t nothing like bringing in a herd.” I don’t know about bringing in cattle but I’ve heard a lot recently about reaching herd immunity with Covid-19. Herd immunity is when a certain percentage of a population has been exposed to a disease and have therefore developed antibodies against the disease. There are different schools of thought about dealing with the corona virus in this method. I’m not necessarily suggesting that the NFL should have had each team have a sleepover during preseason but if they had, they would have saved themselves tons of scheduling headaches.

We have had a couple of times when we reached herd immunity in our family. The first was when our kids were very little. Our son was six, daughter number one was about 2 and 1/2 and our youngest was only a few months old. I think our son brought something home from school other than a note from the teacher or cute refrigerator art. Yep, he brought home a case of chicken pox. I think we even had folks suggest that it was a good thing because we could get it over with the oldest two. They even went on to say that it was too bad the baby couldn’t get it. It was a constant struggle to keep a 6 year old and a 2 1/2 year old from scratching the itchies. The only thing these Dr Spocks failed to account for was complications. Other than just being really itchy, the disease ran its normal course in our son. Our oldest daughter on the other hand, experienced scarlet fever when some of chickens got infected. Our poor little girl looked like she had eaten some off limit treat in the Willie Wonka factory being cherry red all over her body. She recovered after many oatmeal baths. Oh yeah, the baby, ever competitive, would not be out done by her brother and sister decided she would catch those chickens too even though we were assured by all the “experts” that she was too young to have done so. The other complication was pacifying a wife who had been trapped quarantining with three kids under six.

Our next dabbling with herd immunity was last Christmas season. I was the first to develop Montezuma’s Revenge without ever enjoying the Mexican culture not quite a week before Christmas Day. If you don’t mind spending extended time with either your head or the other end in the toilet, it is an excellent way to keep off those extra holiday pounds. There were times though, that I was sure an alien had decided to Christmas vacation somewhere in the depths of my body. I began to feel somewhat human before we were to celebrate Christmas with my wife’s side of the family. I can’t be 100% sure but it’s possible that the contagious phase of the curse may have been longer than I suspected but luckily there is no epidemiologic evidence that I was the Typhoid Mary of the stomach bug that swept through the family. Sherry had the pleasure of spending Christmas Day becoming closely acquainted with the porcelain in the upstairs bathroom. It hit daughter number one at her in-laws home and she wasn’t spreading much Christmas cheer. Daughter number 2 lost not only her Christmas vacation when her work was closed for the holidays but just about everything else she ingested along with some organs we hope that she won’t need. As reports began flooding in of nearly everyone in the family developing symptoms, the theme song for Christmas of ’19 should probably be “Another One Bites the Dust”. Achieving herd immunity in this case was not pleasant nor very desirable. I’m not necessarily accepting total blame for the stomach bug wildfire that swept through our family, but if I was patient zero, it is fortunate that we didn’t invite Curly to our family Christmas because he would have put me down before I infected the rest of the herd.

Deuteronomy 28:59

59 He will bring extraordinary plagues on you and your descendants, severe and lasting plagues, and terrible and chronic sicknesses.

Not Just Anybody (a FMF exercise on help)

I’m sure that most recognize the title of today’s post is from the Beatles song Help. It’s not that I’m such a huge Beatles fan but it was the first thing that popped into my head when I saw today’s prompt word.

Help, I need somebody! Help,not just anybody. Help, I need someone. Help!

The world is in a mess and these words seem to epitomize the cry of so many people, myself included sometimes. We look for relief from so many different areas, the government, politicians, even sport stars and celebrities, and even from somewhere in ourselves. The problem is that we don’t just need help from anybody. To illustrate the point that not just anybody will do, I need to relate an experience that happened to me.

Many, many years ago, we lived in Virginia Beach and I was in the eighth grade. I don’t have a weird name but it’s also not super common. For the only time in my life, I had a friend that lived only a couple of doors away that shared my name. There was also a young lady that I had my eye on for a while. We all rode the same bus. One day a friend of the young lady said that she wanted to talk to me because she liked me. You can imagine what that did to my young heart. Her stop was a couple before mine so I decided to get off there. I was so excited and nervous to say the least. I waited until the crowd had thinned before I approached her. I said I heard you wanted to talk to me. She replied, “Oh, no, it’s not you. It’s your friend.” I tried to act as cool as possible but it seemed like the walk home was the longest three or four blocks ever. She didn’t just want anybody with our name. She wanted a specific somebody.

The same is true when I or for that matter anybody needs help in today’s messed up world. All those other places don’t have the answer. I don’t need help from someone. I need help from the only One that has the answer. I sometimes forget but I know where my help really comes from.

Psalm 121:2

My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

In these troubled times where everything seems so messed up, I can change the words of the song a little bit to make a pretty good prayer to the only One who can really help.

Dear Lord,

My life has changed in oh so many ways
My independence seems to vanish in the haze
But every now and then I feel so insecure
I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before
Help me I know you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you always being ’round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me.

Amen

Psalm 109:26

26 Help me, Lord my God;
save me according to Your faithful love.

Psalm 28:7

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.
Therefore my heart rejoices,
and I praise Him with my song.

The G.o.a.T

There are arguments over who is the g.o.a.t. in different sports. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock and aren’t familiar with the term, it stands for the greatest of all time. In basketball, it’s Michael Jordan versus Lebron James. In football, people tend to be in either the Peyton Manning or the Tom Brady camp. In our home, there is no such debate over such trivial matters such as sports. The goat in our home is neither MJ or Lebron or Peyton or Tom. No, in our home, the goat is exactly that, a goat. This is because my wonderful bride is obsessed with goats. The first step in getting help is admitting that you have a problem. This could be troublesome because as far as she is concerned, goats themselves are the greatest of all time. This obsession is nothing new. I’ve known about it for some time. I tried to ignore it with little success. I’m quite sure that we would have a goat if she could figure out some way to convince the home owners association that a goat is really just a new breed of dog that happens to enjoy grazing.

Our daughters only fed the obsession when they gifted her a goat yoga session for Mother’s Day several years ago. The goats don’t do the yoga but actually dance and prance upon the participants backs while they do yoga. Yes people really pay for that privilege. I would have thought having goats jump on one’s back would have lessened her affinity for goats. Since having goat hoof print shaped bruises on her back had no effect on her love of goats, I was sure that at least having a goat use her as a toilet might have dimmed her goat ardor. Such was not the case and she has only grown more and more fond of her four footed friends.

Goat Yoga

I must admit that I may have failed in my duties as a husband and instead served as an enabler this weekend. We visited a local goat dairy farm. There were not even any tiny little baby goats to hold and cuddle but she was in heaven. The goats attempted to eat her shirt and even nibbled her pants and all she did was laugh. I think her illness may have reached tragic proportions because she succumbed to a goat beauty treatment. Pictures don’t lie as you can plainly see.

Getting acquainted with the stylist

The initial treatment
Setting the Style
Enjoying the experience

I worry about my wife when she has come to believe that goat slobber is the next big thing in hair care. I warn you. She may extol the virtues of this as a styling gel but remember she can’t help it. She has goat on the brain and it may possibly cloud her judgement. When the tour was over, my lovely wife had still not had enough goat time. While my daughter and I, perused the goat inspired products that were for sale, my bride felt she apparently needed a last minute touch up at the goat salon. I did check the car for any goat stowaways. I could picture my love saying that it must have followed her home so luckily I was able to avoid that experience. I may have overheard her inquiring about a season pass to the goat farm but that could have happened in my recurring nightmare.

If it gets much worse, an intervention might be in order. I don’t know if there is a Goat-a-holics Anonymous. I promised to love her in sickness and in health so we’ll get through this no matter what.

Matthew 25:32

32 All the nations[a] will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

I have no doubt where Sherry will be if she has any say in it.

It Looked Like She Was Swimming (a FMF exercise on breathe)

When I saw that today’s prompt word for the FiveMinuteFriday.com was breathe, I immediately thought of our youngest and the two times in her life that I prayed the prayer to breathe.
The first was at her birth when the umbilical cord snapped and one of her lungs collapsed. I prayed, “Let her breathe, dear God, let her breathe.” She gave a weak little cry but bounced back to full health rather quickly. The second was when she was about two. My wife had a tough week so I told her that I would watch the kids Saturday morning. We spent the morning at my parents pool swimming. My youngest had a “bubble” swim suit with floaties inside the suit. I had brought lunch for us so we were eating at the picnic table under a gazebo. My son, about 7 and 1/2 asked if he and a young man who was staying at my parents, could get in the pool. I said yes if they stayed in the shallow end. My almost 5 year old daughter wanted to go inside and play. I was cleaning up from lunch when I heard a splash like someone coming off the diving board. I started to scold my son when I spotted my two year old’s bubble suit laying by the picnic table. A fence blocked the view of the pool from the gazebo so I ran up the hill only to see that my two year old daughter had jumped off the diving board. She was trying her best but her head was still a couple of inches below the surface. I jumped in from what was probably not the safest launch point and picked my daughter up out of the water. I crawled out cradling her in my arms. Once again, my prayer was. “Breathe, baby, breathe.” I thanked God when I heard her take a big breath. I asked my son why he didn’t help his little sister. He responded with, “It looked like she was swimming, Daddy.”

We live in a culture today that thinks it doesn’t need God. So many believe that they can do it on their own. The truth is just like my daughter it only looks like they’re swimming. No matter how busy, or how many things that they accomplish, they are only trying to breathe underwater. We were not designed that way. We were created to have a relationship with our Creator. He breathed life into us and wants to sustain us. It’s only when we admit that we can’t do it that He can rescue us from drowning. It’s in that new real life that He calls to us to breathe.

Genesis 2:7

Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.

I included a link to Jonny Diaz song “Breathe” for fun.

The Root of the Problem

Sometimes it’s just better to leave well enough alone. It’s not like I haven’t learned this before, but I was rudely reminded of that this weekend.

I’ve previously written about having to take down a maple tree beside the driveway. My wife insisted that we should just be content with enlarging the planter that was around the tree that was cut down. I knew better and wanted to start my own reforestation project. I pictured planting a descent sized Autumn Blaze Maple so I visited several local nurseries searching for just the right tree. I began my quest for the perfect tree with Charlie Brown-esque sincerity. I knew that the right tree would speak to me, the sky would open up, the angels would sing, and a light would shine from above. We had earlier visited a nursery about 15 miles from our home that had good quality plants at an affordable price so I thought it would be a good place to start. I stepped out of my car and spotted the object of my search. The sun glistenned on the leaves. The skies opened up, the Hallelujah chorus was warming up, and just as I thought I could hear the tree speak to me, I spotted the price tag and realized it was speaking in a different language. Once the spell was broken, I was able to rationalize not purchasing the “perfect” tree. I would have no way to transport it’s ten foot plus height in any of our vehicles. Also, I was extremely doubtful of being able to lift and move the large root ball even if I was able to get it home. I was forced to lower my expectations and took my search on line. I discovered the pros and cons of the different varieties of maple trees settling on a Autumn Blaze. My wife made me promise to wait until the dog days of summer were over before planting the new tree. I calculated the expected delivery time almost to the instant of the autumnal equinox. Nature mocked me because I failed to place the order before the sale ended, not to mention the fact that the tree went back on sale one week after the tree was delivered. I was only about to begin to experience how cruel a mistress nature can be with the arrival of my little bit of heaven. The box arrived on a Friday and I could barely contain my excitement as I began to open the package. At first, I thought we must have received a wrong delivery because instead of a majestic 7 foot Autumn Blaze Maple bursting forth with an abundance of leaves about to declare the brilliance of fall, was a spindly stick with black spotted leaves that could be counted without removing any shoes. I think a more appropriate name would be a Fall Fading Firefly. The bamboo sticks supporting it showed more promise. Nevertheless, I had to save as much face as possible knowing all the time my lovely wife was probably thinking, “You blockhead, Charlie Brown” .

I attempted to dig at the site of the former tree only to discover the stump had only been ground to about 3 inches below the surface. I retrieved my trusty hatchet planning on making short work of the stump. Wrong, Mother Nature struck again. The stump seemed to be about two to three times the diameter I remembered the tree being. My sweet bride suggested just moving the new tree over. Luckily, she had gone back into the house before the hatchet accidently flew to where she had been only moments before. The sweat from my brow and just about everywhere else would have been deep enough to construct a koi pond if I had been able to dig through the stump and all the roots I was encountering deeper than a couple of inches. After moving progressively further from the stump and dodging a constant knot of rock hard maple roots, I decided the place I was finally able to dig a deep enough hole was a better spot all along. As pitiful as the tree looked, I was glad that the root ball was not any larger or I may have considered dynamite as an excavation tool. As much as I tried to convince Sherry that even though the tree was no longer in the center of the planter, it was a much more natural setting since nature is not symmetrical. I had to admit that was pretty lame logic, even to myself.

That brings us to this weekend. We got food to go, ate a a park, and then took a walk on Friday evening. Afterward, Sherry suggested we go to Home Depot and pick up the necessary materials to enlarge and make the planter look more like we had put some thought into it. Of course, we arrived about 15 minutes before closing so we had to return on Saturday to make our purchase. We loaded 25 of the landscape blocks some bags of top soil, and to make it complete some flower bulbs that would complete our little Garden of Eden. I estimated where the new edges of the garden would be and began to lay out the new boundaries. We faced a dilemma because no one carried the existing size blocks so we were forced to get a larger size. This meant that we (and by that I mean me) would have to pull blocks from elsewhere to go around the tree and replace those with the larger blocks. I’m sure, like me, all of you like doing double work. By this time, I think I would have been quite content to just stack the blocks following the contour of the ground and call it a day. Sherry felt it necessary to point out that conventional wisdom stated that the blocks should at least be somewhat level. Nature wasn’t through with me yet because that meant dealing with my old friends the roots. I don’t know how in the world something that has been dead for months could cause so much trouble. Once again my trusty hatchet became my companion as well as my torture devise. I swear I think whoever planted the tree must have crossbred it with a Hydra because every time I would chop a root, two would take its place, I had almost dug out the new boundary for the extended garden when Sherry decided that the opposite side needed leveling also. I fought, argued with, and cursed (at least under my breath) each root we encountered, My arm may have flown off after a couple thousand swings with my mighty hatchet but my crafty wife just sewed it back on so that I could finish the task. She worked hard all afternoon also but talked of trimming some bushes. I think I grew some muscles just so something else could hurt so I was done along with any hernias that may be forth coming.

The little tree looks a little lost in the new enlarged garden surrounding it. Maybe like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree, it just needs a little love. On second thought, it probably needs a lot of love. I may sleep with it this winter because I don’t plan on having to plant another one any time soon.

Psalm 104:16

16 The trees of the Lord flourish,[a]
the cedars of Lebanon that He planted.

One Little Letter (a FMF exercise on your)

When our kids were growing up, my wife had an ongoing bit when the kids did something good they were her children or at least ours. When they did something wrong and got in trouble, it suddenly became “What are you going to do with your kids?” It was said in jest, I think, and she really always considered the job of raising our kids a cooperative effort. They were, after all, our kids so we both had to take the responsibility as well as the credit for their up bringing.

What’s the difference between your and our. I can proudly say that I learned in my public school education that they are both possessive pronouns and to go even further, they are both determiners. So what’s the difference? One little letter, that’s all, but it makes a world of difference. It’s so much easier to finger point saying that it is your problem or that it is your fault. It absolves us from all the responsibility, at least in our minds. It means that I don’t have to do anything about it because it’s not my problem and I’m not to blame. Our is a whole different story. We have some skin in the game at that point. We are not only accountable for some of the fault but also then need to bear some responsibility to correct the problem. I know it’s an old saying and may even be cliche but it doesn’t make it any less true. When we point fingers at someone, four of them are pointing back at us.

Folks today are really quite good at pointing fingers and placing blame. So many don’t want to accept accountability for anything that is happening. You hear different groups blaming the “other side” for the problems of our country and our world. The truth of the matter is that we all share some of the blame. As believers, we are called to be His salt and light. We are to be His hands and feet. Way to often, we have sat back and said to the world that it’s your problem not ours. Which brings me back to that one little letter – y. When we’re in the midst of a problem, we can rant and rave, look for someone to blame (even God), worry about the why or we can do something about it.

I wish I could remember what blog I read this week that related a story that I had heard before so that I could give them credit. The story goes that a farmer had a broken down old mule that fell into a deep abandoned well on his property. He knew that he had no equipment to get his mule out. The mule was not in the best shape. On top of that, the mule was probably severely injured and the farmer knew that it wouldn’t live much longer anyway so he called his neighbors to help him fill in the well to bury the poor animal. The neighbors arrived with their shovels and began to fill in the well with dirt. At first, the mule made an awful noise as the dirt began to hit his back. Then he started shaking the dirt off his back and stepping up as the dirt began to build up. The process continued with him shaking off the dirt and stepping up until he was finally able to step out of the well on his own. What can we learn from the mule? At first, he squawked and made all kind of noise, probably wondering why him. Why did he have to fall in a well? He may have even blamed the farmer for not filling in the well earlier. Who knows, he may have even blamed God for not stopping him from falling in the hole in the first place. He could have even faulted the farmer for not being prepared and having the proper equipment or even the neighbors for throwing dirt on him. He finally decided to stop complaining and that no matter the why or whose fault it was or even who was throwing dirt on him, the only thing he could do was acknowledge the problem, shake it off the best he could and step up.

The world, as a whole, worries too much about the why it is in a broken condition, even believers at times. We rant and rave and shake our fists looking for someone to blame. We must not dwell on that one little letter. It is our problem but Jesus promised that He would never leave us or forsake us. He is with us no matter how deep the hole is we find ourselves. Because of this, we can truly shake the dirt off no matter who is throwing it at us and step up.

By the way, I’m pretty proud of the adults our kids turned out to be.

2 Chronicles 7:14

14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

Each Friday I participate in the FiveMinuteFriday.com challenge to write for five minutes on a prompt word. Today’s word is your. Check out the site for posts from other Christian writers. It’s worth the click.

Don’t Wake Mama!

I was uninspired about a Monday post until Sherry relayed a discussion she had with our married daughter at dinner. It seems someone at her workplace was awakened after midnight by their teenage sons having a “discussion” over a video game. It reminded me of my wife’s solution to a similar situation when our eldest was still a teenager.

I need to give a little background to properly set the stage for this story. My wife, bless her heart, has always enjoyed her slumber time along with being a really sound sleeper. From the time our kids were infants, I was usually the one who was awakened when they needed something. I would get them out of bed, let them nurse, and very often put them back in their cribs because Sherry would go back to sleep. The kids learned as they grew that it was difficult to wake Mama. We even had a book called Don’t Wake Mama about young monkeys trying to avoid waking their mother as they prepared a birthday breakfast for her. They banged pots and even burned the cake which resulted in a visit from some firemen. Mama finally woke up. I must have read that story dozens of times but the theme of the story apparently did not make a deep enough impression on our son.

This lack of understanding the message of the story came to a head but was partly our fault when we agreed to something that was against our better judgement. In a moment of weakness, we answered yes when he made a request for a sleep over. I think we limited the number of young men that were to attend but that number kept expanding. I don’t remember the exact final guest list but we prepared enough food to alleviate hunger in most third world countries. I’m not too sure that Dominos didn’t call us to deliver. A shark feeding frenzy was less dangerous than watching these boys devour everything in sight. The party moved mostly upstairs to our playroom which runs about 3/4 the length of our home so they had more than enough room to express their exuberance. Despite the fact that we had stocked the mini fridge with soft drinks and moved an assortment of snacks that rivaled most well stocked snack bars upstairs, the stairs, as well as the living room, became a super highway of young men foraging for enough food to last for a second ice age. We tried to be good sports since it was our son’s birthday but our bedtime came and went with little diminishing of either the traffic or the noise. We finally traveled up the stairs despite the obvious danger to life, limb, and our eardrums. We committed one fatal flaw when we said we didn’t care how long they stayed up as long as they stayed upstairs so we could go to sleep. The stairs share a wall with our bedroom and I swear I expected one of the young men to come crashing through our wall as the thundering herd migrated constantly from the steps to the kitchen. I think they were trying to figure out a way to move the stove and the big refrigerator upstairs in case they ran out of food before morning. I’m not saying they were too loud but the airport called several times requesting enough quiet to enable them to land planes. I experienced shell shock for months from all the artillery shells that sounded as if they were landing around our bed. After several attempts during momentary lulls in the action to define where upstairs was along with requesting that the noise level be kept below that of an F5 tornado, Sherry had finally had it. By this time it was well into the single digits of early morning with no indication of letting up. I momentarily thought to caution restraint but the look in her eyes reinforced the adage of discretion being the better part of valor. My mild mannered wife took matters into her own hands without blood shed. She simply killed all the circuit breakers to upstairs. Like Gilligan’s Island, the boys were instantly as primitive as could be. Our son must have suddenly recalled the lesson of don’t wake Mama. He then must have imparted that knowledge to his friends because it suddenly became deathly quiet. I believe someone even came down and locked the door to upstairs, fearing what might come next.

In the morning, Sherry restored power to upstairs but all the young men were understandably more subdued in the light of day. To all you parents I suggest you become acquainted with your breaker boxes should you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

Numbers 11:23

23 The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s power limited?[a] You will see whether or not what I have promised will happen to you.”

Whose Is It, Anyway? (a FMF exercise on church)

One of the things I’ve missed most during this time of covid has been meeting together with other believers at my church. Before I go too much further, I need to say that I understand the church is not a building. If nothing else has come of this difficult time, this has been made very clear. Social distancing has made us explore new and different ways to do church. That begs the question of what is church. Before we can begin to answer that question, it’s probably more important that we address the question of whose church it is.

I earlier referred to it as my church and that’s part of the problem. It’s not my church, or your church, or even our church. It was, is, and always will be His church. When it’s His, it can withstand the gates of hell. When it’s ours, it can break up over an argument of the color of paint on the walls. When it’s His, it is a hospital to bind up the wounds of the brokenhearted. Where if it is ours, it can become the first to shoot its wounded. His church gives salt and light to the world but ours can shield the light where only we can see and and keep the seasonings to ourselves. His is color blind. Red, yellow, black, and white are all precious in his sight. Unfortunately, ours can be equipped with blinders only acknowledging those who are just like us. His is a bright and shining city on a hill beckoning all to come where ours can be like white washed tombs, beautiful on the outside but cold and empty on the inside. His is built on the Rock so that it can stand when the rains fall and the flood rises. Too often, our’s is built on sand and can wash away when the storms hit. His is His hands and feet caring for the least of these but if we’re not careful, ours can be the hands that throw the first stone. The church is His bride that He gave His life for. When we try to make it our church, it can become the worst Bridezilla imaginable being petty and selfish demanding everything be exactly the way we want it to be. His church is always for the pleasure of the Audience of One but sadly sometimes our church is concerned about the entertainment value and what we can get out of it.

I look forward to the time when I can fellowship with other believers, study the Word, and worship the One who made us in person. Until then I need to always keep in mind that we are the Body of Christ. We are the church but it is His, bought and paid for with with His life. Much of the problems of the world could be dealt with if we remember whose church it is.

Matthew 16:18

18 And I also say to you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock[b] I will build My church, and the forces[c] of Hades will not overpower it.

Each Friday I participate in the FiveMinuteFriday.com writing challenge hosted by Kate Montaung to write for five minutes on a prompt word. Today’s word is church. Check out the site for more writings from a christian point of view.