When Your New Housemate is Rude…

We’ve got a new housemate.

It’s of the four-legged variety.  We’ve recently adopted a rescue dog.  His name is Mack.

Mack was abandoned by his prior owners.  He’s still a puppy…only 18 months old, but already over 100 pounds.  Mack is going to be a big one.

Despite being orphaned, Mack is a loving guy.  He’s loyal and playful.  He loves to be with our kids and follows Hollianne around the house and yard like a house cat.  He and I love early morning runs around town.  He’s been a great addition to our family.

Well, almost.

Mack does have a flaw.  He’s a drooler.  And by drool…I mean an epic drooler.

It’s especially bad after he eats…or after exercise.  Bless his heart.  And to relieve the annoying presence of this substance, Mack will whip his head back and forth- and sling the drool all over trees, shrubs, furniture and…yep…humans.

It’s been a tough adjustment.

We’ve almost got the perfect pet.  Good-tempered, loves people, enjoys exercise, loyal and protective.  But a drooler.  It’s tough to overlook.

Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. Ecclesiastes 7:20

Isn’t Mack like all of us?

We’ve all got imperfections to our character.  For some of us, we are well aware of these flaws- and know what we need to do for improvement.

Perhaps we have a temper.  Maybe it’s jealousy.  Still others struggle with pride or lust.  Or maybe it’s a strained relationship that we are unwilling to address…or forgive.

There are other flaws that we can’t do much about.  Perhaps it’s a physical limitation or an illness.

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  Matthew 5:48

God is perfect- and he made us “perfect” through the sacrifice of His son Jesus.  He also calls for us to strive for perfection- despite our flaws.

God calls us to work on those imperfections that we can address.  And we are also called to examine the good in others- and be willing to accept the things that we- or they- cannot change.

Even if it requires living with a little drool.

My prayer is to have the awareness and wisdom to work on my flaws this week.

And let me know how to pray for you.

God bless you.

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Keeping your cool when the world won’t let you 

I’ve been running from meeting to meeting this month.  It seems I’ve got a new audience every hour on the hour- with a new set of circumstances to address at each visit.

I barely have time to think.

I’m not alone in this.  I’m guessing that life, work and family keeps you on the run too.

When this happens to me, I get consumed by what I “think” needs to be done. I get into a zone where all I can think about is following up with others or responding to the crisis of the moment.

And I shut out Jesus.

Not intentionally…but it happens.  I get so focused on the moment that I lose sight of how I need to live for Jesus each day. 

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.” ‭Acts‬ ‭16:25-34

Paul and Silas were in jail.  They were scared for their lives and uncertain about their earthly fate. But their faith kept them focused. Singing. Praying. Sharing.  Their attitude changed the lives of their jailer and his family.

They kept their heads when the world wouldn’t.  Praise God for great, practical examples of how we are to live our lives.

Pray for me to focus on Jesus- even when the world wants to shut Him out.

And let me know how to pray for you.

God bless.  I love you. 

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What social media can’t do

We are surrounded by media. 

A constant flow of images into our lives. Pictures.

I’m a frequent contributor.  I tweet about work. I use Instagram to post updates on my family. I have two Facebook pages- one for work and one for personal use.  

And social media is useful for updates. I enjoy seeing pictures of family and friends.

But it’s one dimensional.

A close friend recently surprised me with some sad news about his marriage. We were out for a long-overdue lunch when he asked me for prayer, confessing that he and his wife were struggling mightily. I was stunned- as there had been no evidence. He had been posting pictures of his smiling family and their fun activities on a constant, continual basis. 

It wasn’t until we had gotten into a quiet, safe environment that he asked me for prayer.

Social media images present the best parts of our lives. Fun activities. Loving families. Perfect children.  It doesn’t show pain. Stress. Imperfection. 

We show the world what we want them to see about our lives. We are fearful of being real- scared that transparency will show weakness.

How can we get past the superficial?

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17

Snapshots of our lives are no substitute for real engagement with others.  

 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14 

Love is an investment. If we are to love others, it means a level of engagement in others that goes beyond the superficial. 

Call someone you haven’t seen in a while. Check in on your elderly neighbor.  Ask your fellow church member who always sits behind you to go to lunch. Invite friends into your home. 

Ask someone how they are doing- and mean it.

Love is a contact sport. 

Pray for me to be more engaged in the lives of others. I want to be more aware of opportunities to listen and help. 

And let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

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