No Feelings for Onions, but What Of People? by Jo Russell

As teenager Tommy stepped up to help his mother in the kitchen by chopping the onions for the casserole, he asked her, “Know what the secret is for not tearing up when you slice onions?”

“Those special googles?” she guessed. “I saw some in a cook’s catalog.”

“Nope,” Tommy smirked. “The secret is don’t get emotionally attached.”

The teen grinned. During the rest of the onion chopping, his tears of laughter ran down his cheeks.

Not getting emotionally involved. It’s a safe way to do things. But is it God’s way?

Jesus himself told the parable of the good Samaritan to teaching about being emotionally involved in our circles. When a traveler was robbed, beaten and left for dead beside the road, time went by. A priest came by, but he passed the man by on the other side. Ditto the next church leader, a Levite.

Why? Just guessing—both didn’t want to be made unclean by touching what might be a dead body; they didn’t feel they had the time; both already had plans. But mostly both didn’t want to be emotionally involved.

Jesus described the one who rescued the traveler as a Samaritan, a person of mixed race and beliefs that separated him and all of his kind from the Israelites. Samaritans were considered low life, unworthy. Such compassion as the Samaritan showed is an example to us all: get emotionally involved when a need comes up.

At the end of the parable, Jesus asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The experts in the law could not choke out the word “Samaritan.” So one answered, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” [Luke 10:36-37]

Show love in action. This applies to those of all races, social and economic standing and net worth. People are valuable to God. He made us all. There is no reason to refuse to help if you are able.

No need to be emotionally involved in the life of onions, but be there for people, especially those in need. Jesus said so.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women available where print books and e-books are sold.  Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing now released for pre-sales on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats Smashwords as well as print coming soon. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, www.button-to-god.com.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embracing Life Abundantly or the Value Menu by Jo Russell

As the honeymooners Herb and Marnie seated themselves at the table in the café for breakfast, they pushed two paper tickets to the center.  “Complimentary breakfast included,” it read from the Best Value Inn next door. They had booked and counted on lodging along the way which offered free breakfasts. So far, the places along the way gave them great food and plenty of it.

While she waited at the cafe, Marnie admired with wonder her new husband and also the homey décor from the red checked tablecloth to the warm wood plank walls decorated with western art and photos. It was the only café open for breakfast within an hour’s drive.

“Oh, you’re from the motel,” the waitress commented as she stepped up to the table. “You can choose four items on the menu for your meal this morning.”

His wife studied the menu and smiled at the waitress. “I’ll have pancakes, sausage, and a cup of fruit. That’s just three.” Marnie added, “You can bring me ice water with a slice of lemon also.”

“Do you plan on having syrup on your pancakes?

“Sure.”

“That’s one of the items. So is the water. So you have five items. Do you still want all of them?”

“Is that okay, honey?” she queried as she studied her husband.

“There will be an extra charge.“

“That’s okay. Hmmm. I’ll have scrambled eggs, coffee, bacon and a sweet roll,” Herb told her.

“Do you plan to use the salt, too?” the waitress wanted to know.

“Why, yes, of course.”

“That’s one of the items.”

“I’ll have the salt anyway and the rest of the things.”

“There will be an extra charge.”

“Okay.”

When the meal arrived, Herb’s pile of eggs was small enough to fit on top of a button and his one slice of bacon was the size of a stick of gum. The sweet roll was a mini like a small donut.  All three would still have lots of room even if served in a puck-sized ramekin.

“Refills on coffee are an extra charge,” the waitress announced as the plopped the plate down.

Marnie’s pancakes were average sized, but the sausage was smaller than a grub worm. She poured the thimble-sized container of syrup the waitress on the pancakes.

As they left the cafe still hungry, Marnie commented, “Say, why don’t we go for a drive and get some lunch?”

“Right now?”

“Yep.”

“Good idea! You’re worth it! ”

Life abundantly or living with the value menu? Jesus offers us a choice. In his own words, “The thief comes only to steal and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” [John 10:10 NIV]

What does that mean? Jesus gives life, not only as the son of God and creator, but in his offer of the pathway to Heaven. Life after death has already been offered from Jesus’ own life. Forgiveness each day and circumstance that we experience; God’s love forever and always; guidance from the Holy Spirit. Life that we can see and experience with joy because it’s not the end, just part of the journey; abundance not dependent on the menu, the circumstances or challenges. We are reaching higher and taking his hand. And Jesus takes it, steadying us along the way and giving us what we need to do what we can’t do in our own power.

Abundance of joy, gratitude, humility, guidance on the road to eternity.

Those gifts are only the beginning. God doesn’t limit it to four like the value menu. He includes plenty of free bonus gifts and surprises.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available where print books are sold and in e-book. Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing releasing for pre-sales August, 2017. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, http://www.button-to-god.com.]

 

 

 

 

 

Stinkin’ Sin by Jo Russell

“Howl! Bark! Howl! Howl!” crooned the hound dog with glee at three in the morning after an extra lap around the yard and returning to the sunroom where he and his companion canine slept.

“Yip! Bark! Yip!”  Maggie agreed. They’d done good.

Soon the barking woke up the people of the house and one staggered in her pajamas to the glass door.

“What?!” Sherry rubbed her eyes and checked on the dogs in the sunroom. “What was worth waking us all up at this hour?”

She opened the door and both dogs charged into the house with joy. The smell of skunk perfumed up the house faster than a bug bomb. As was their usual routine, they jumped their dance of joy, frisked about, wrestled and then sat expectantly in front of Sherry for a treat and a bowl of food. It was with their usual message, “Here we are, you lucky people! Breakfast time!”

Instead, Sherry dragged them one at a time into the shower for a good sudsy cleansing.

Fortunately, she had written down the formula from the vet: ¼ cup of Dawn dishwashing soap, ¼ cup of peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda—all mixed together in a gallon jar of water. It worked.

Both dogs had been unaware that in putting down their black and white intruder, they smelled, stunk up the house and woke their owners extra early. Unlike other times, even the people who loved them were not enthusiastic about seeing—or smelling them just now.

It’s like the aroma of sin in God’s eyes. King David asked for forgiveness in Psalm 51. He finally realized with prompting from Prophet Nathan that his serious choices were no secret from God with just consequences to come. He was guilty of both adultery and murder. He asked for forgiveness, was genuinely sorry and took responsibility for his actions. He humbled himself and begged for forgiveness. David pleaded with God,“…blot out my rebellion. Wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge….Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” [Psalm 51:1-4; 7-10]

Cleansing—a priceless gift offered from our creator and God. As we review, reflect and are renewed each day in time with God, let us also be humble and ask for a cleansing. Stinkin’ sin: it crops us more often than a skunk. Deliberate choices, not doing something God prompts us to do, failing to forgive, worrying, acting on our own without listening to God’s guidance.

Asking for forgiveness, being genuinely sorry, and accepting the consequences is a continuous process on the road from here to eternity. Such actions last longer than a soapy skunk bath and strengthen our bond with God himself.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available where print books are sold and in e-book. Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing releasing for pre-sales July, 2017. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, http://www.button-to-god.com.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweets, Glitter and Glitz and God’s Answers by Jo Russell

“Let’s get you some good snacks to take to school this next week when it starts,” Mom told her first grade daughter as she headed down the snack aisle at the grocery store. The wee girl drew herself up sniffing like a hound on a scent.

“I can smell all the goodies!” she cried. They were surrounded by packaged snacks so bouncy and bulky that a pile of them in the middle of the floor would have topped the highest mountain in the state.

“That’s easy, Mom. I like the white ones with powdered sugar. They’re good!”

But her mom vetoed the idea and instead picked out a sensible and tasty energy bar with fruit and nuts.

“But, Mom! The ones with powdered sugar….” the child protested.

Another small girl headed to the shopping cart with her choice of school clothes: a shiny silver pair of leggings and a sequined leotard that was perfect for a Las Vegas midnight lounge show.  She could picture herself strutting her stuff in front of the school crowd.

“I like these, Mom. Every girl needs glitz!”

“Not at seven years old, Honey. Let’s find something like the other girls wear to school.” And they did.

A young woman had finally gotten saved, searched and found her wardrobe wish: a bright red dress. But in the fitting room when she tried it on, she studied her image in the mirror with horror. All this time, I’ve wanted a red dress. But I look like a blood clot!

The Lord gives us what we need and not always what we want. But that’s okay because he really sees the big picture and gives just the right thing at just the right time.  It’s a matter of trusting in him.

David, while fleeing from the danger of King Saul’s anger and armies, wrote, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” [Psalm 34:8-10]

Those blessings and answers to needs may not be covered in powdered sugar or glitter, but are outrageously good for each day and experience of our lives! Celebrate God’s goodness!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available where print books are sold and in e-book. Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing releasing for pre-sales July, 2017. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, http://www.button-to-god.com.]