Jesus’ Take on the Golden Rule By Jo Russell

One teen tall and awkward, the other short and skinny, Roberta and Connie sought answers to life’s persistence questions –like how to get a date for the school dance. “Let’s go to the homecoming dance!” suggested Connie. “That’s where the boys are!”

So as the close friends dressed carefully for the occasion, their hope grew that someday their princes would come! Why not at the homecoming dance? Someday, they both knew, the braces and pimples would be gone. Connie would be pretty and Roberta would find a boy at least as tall as she was. Her size twelve feet would grow into the rest of her.

Roberta remembered Billy, who shared many of her classes. Just the image of the handsome chiseled features, trim body and startling eyes made her heart flutter. All these months of emotion—now was Roberta’s chance. She felt she had her heart in the right place for love. Didn’t she write on the first page of every notebook her hopes and dreams?

Roberta and Billy

Billy and Roberta

Billy loves Roberta

Roberta loves Billy

Last she chanted, “Roberta and Billy sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g…First comes love, then comes marriage…”

Anxious for the chance to see Billy outside of classes, Roberta and Connie stepped into the large, throbbing darkened room. She pulled on her friend’s arm and shouted in her ear, “Look, Connie! He’s here!”

Far across the large room sparkling with lights, Billy, surrounded by friends, laughed and smiled. But more than an hour passed and both girls still sat together on the sidelines. Finally, Roberta prayed, “God, please, please, let Billy ask me to dance!” She persisted in her plea with the Creator. When at last, she saw Billy stride in purposeful steps toward her and Connie, Roberta caught her breath. “Thank you, God!”

As Billy came closer, the handsome boy’s smile blazed. When he stepped up to where the teen girls sat, Roberta stood and leaned forward to accept a dance–or a kiss.

But Billy’s first words startled her. “Roberta, I’d ask you to dance…if you weren’t so tall!” Then he turned to Roberta’s friend, “Connie, will you dance with me?”

Ouch!

Roberta wondered if she could ever trust prayer, God, or boys again. In time when she grew into her feet, Roberta began to understand that prayer is communion with God. He answers prayer yes, no, and wait – for good reason, even where Billy was concerned.

Then there’s Jesus take on The Golden Rule, ““Do to others as you would have them do to you” [Luke 6:31.] No, it’s not get even or some who interpret it, “Do unto others before they have a chance to do bad stuff unto you.”

Jesus gives much direction, detail, and modeling in these famous passages,” Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-29]. In his life, Jesus offered love and forgiveness to all–even those who mocked him, mistreated him, misunderstood him, and crucified him.

For he says, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that…But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most high, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” [Luke 6:32-36].

Love is the answer. And the opportunity to show it comes up every day – even at homecoming dances.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and  website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

Whatever You Do, Don’t Throw Up in the Backseat! By Jo Russell

Returning from a Christian camp weekend with her two sons and another Backyard Bible Club member, Roberta noted how fun it was to ride the mountain curves in the new SUV. What a great change from the desert highway!

“Flatlander” is the usual tag attached to people raised on deserts and plains as flat as pancakes. Roberta reflected that she had three of them in the under-10 set in the backseat. The new car was  winding through a mountain range higher than any of the children had ever seen in their lives.

Her two boys were making sounds like “Whee!”

But the queasy girl, Sherri, announced, “I don’t feel good.”

Roberta remembered this child, a neighbor and member of the Backyard Bible Club, fussed at anything from a small cut on her finger to having no one who would play with her.

Still, giving Sherri the benefit of the doubt, Roberta stopped and let the three children play on the mountainside. Riding cardboard down the slopes brought cries of joy and excitement from all three children.

But soon after they were back in the car, Roberta heard the pint-sized girl announce, “I think I’m going to throw up.”

“Whatever you do, don’t throw up in the backseat!” Roberta chimed with rhythm and finger snapping. “I like it! Let’s say it again, ‘What. ever .you.do. don’t .throw. up in the backseat!”

A few more curves.

“My stomach feels funny.”

‘What. ever .you.do. don’t .throw. up in the backseat!”

They stopped again for more recreation and time to regroup.

Sherri seemed fine. “How do you feel?” Roberta asked the girl.

“Okay.”

But ‘okay’ didn’t last long. A few more curves and Sherri whined, “I feel like I’m going to throw up!”

“We’re almost down the mountain,” Roberta assured her. Once the SUV made the last gentle curve, Roberta again added, “What. ever .you.do. don’t .throw. up in the backseat!”

Just then small Sherri committed the unpardonable sin in the back seat of the new vehicle. She got sick all over the upholstery, the carpet, and the two boys in the back seat.

After that, she sang out, “I feel better!” Roberta knew that the boys and upholstery were all washable, so all was forgiven. Sherri hadn’t been used to mountain roads or adventure.

The unpardonable sin of throwing up in a new vehicle may be nothing like the ones we feel are too great for God to forgive. Check the Ten Commandments in Exodus twenty and you may find yourself thinking, “Ooops! Broke that one, that one! What does God think of me?”

God loves you, that’s what. He loves you as you are and forgives you as you are if you have a humble and repentant attitude.

Proof is here: “You see, just at the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, thought for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” [Romans 5:6-8 NIV]

So don’t sweat the small stuff, because God doesn’t. He’s ready with open arms to bring you into the family of God. And it never matters if you threw up in the back seat or had done something worse. God loves you. With his love and forgiveness, He proves you’re totally washable and will come out like new.

Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and  website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

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You Sure Look Different With Your Clothes On! By Jo Russell

Ron’s shaggy blonde hair was cupped thick around his face when Mari saw him in the grocery store showcased against the European cheeses and deli meat. It was the first time to see him wearing something bigger than a hot mitt! He also looked at Mari with total surprise. She had never seen Ron with a shirt on. But then, he hadn’t seen her with one on either.

He stared, then blurted. “You sure look different with your clothes on!”
Mari thought the same of him. Were they lovers, only meeting in a motel when their needs were greatest or is Ron a male model? Is he hopelessly stuck on himself and determined to show off his compact well-muscled, hairy body?

Well, no.

Mari never before saw him before without wet hair, and water dripping off his body. Both swam laps in parallel lanes at the local pool for several summer seasons.
The world may cry for more skin and less clothes. Ron and Mari already had that at the Aquatic Center!

“You sure look different with your clothes on!” could have been the catch phrase of the flower-power generation like mine or now: “If it feels good, do it.”

God doesn’t just know you inside and out, but he knows what talents he has given you. He knows how he wants you to use them. He knows every joyful event in your life as well as the disappointments, losses, awards, victories, and challenges ahead. God knows the length of your life and what he wants you to do with it.

No matter where you are with God right now, he has not given up on you. Your age doesn’t matter, nor cellulite, moles, bitten fingernails, or the things you do better or worse than anyone else.

God knows you. He should because he made you. “You perceive my thoughts from afar…You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord.” [Psalm 139 3-4] NIV. What says love more than knowing someone completely and delighting in who they are?

You may not see the plan now, but God is smiling with his hidden agenda for your life. Will you let him guide and lead you? Wherever you are in your journey, God can take you there.

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and  website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]   

 

Joe Cool by Jo Russell

Roberta welcomed the happy sounds of three tall teen boys, foraging in the kitchen and cupboards for more food. Two were her sons, David and Pete. The third was Joe, who, since they had been toddlers, shared their love of food and adventure.

 

All three young men had been raised with outdoor enthusiast parents. It just followed that they brought adventure into the kitchen as they looked for ingredients to make smoothies. Out with the Food Channel! In with Extreme Food Makeover!

 

Extreme Food had begun the night before when the teens asked Roberta to leave the room while Joe added his secret ingredient to chorizo and eggs [sausage and eggs].

 

“What do you think?” Roberta’s son, David, asked his mom after her first bite. She thought about cinnamon added to some Australian meat recipes. But she was out of that spice. After many wrong guesses, Joe fessed up. It was vanilla.

 

Now the towering teens searched for food stuffs while discussing future adventures. Activities would have to span camping, hiking, biking, exploring, and camp cooking.

 

While sharing smoothies, the boys’ ideas for activities began to bud. “Hey, let’s hike the General Crook Trail. It’s only 136 miles,” Pete suggested.

Friend Joe’s enthusiastic answer was, “Oh, cool!”

 

More smoothies and venues were discussed around the table loaded with vitamin-packed shakes. Each was different. Some combined milk with fruit. Others blended juice and fruit.

Another great idea came from Pete. None was surprised. “I was thinking about hiking the Continental Divide,” Pete added. “It’s about 2,300 miles.”

 

Joe’s reply, “Oh, cool!”

Feeling confident to share his plans and dreams with friends and family, Pete confided his latest idea – to climb Mt. Rainier over the summer.

 

Joe’s response was, of course, “Oh, cool!”

The smoothie fruit drinks disappeared quickly as the boys slurped up their shakes made from a few bananas, peaches, apples, pear, and part of a can of pineapple. Soon all the usual ingredients were depleted.
Joe was still hungry, so he scrounged to find what was left for the fifth refill of the blender. Satisfied, he filled the container with milk and cracked an egg into it. Then he added a protein-packed plop of peanut butter, and then finished it off with a frozen hot dog. The smoothie was absolute creativity full of protein and calcium! So healthy was the strange tan-speckled shake that Joe was the only one who would drink it. His reaction was predictable.

“Oh, cool,” he said after his first mouthful.

 

Like Joe’s lack of ingredients for the final smoothie, the ingredients we get in dealing with life require the best of our creativity and faith in God. He always comes through for us. Some examples from the Bible follow.

Ingredients: only enough oil and flour for one last cake of bread for a widow and her son. They expected starvation to follow after this last meal. [1 Kings 17]. Then a stranger showed up and asked for water and bread. Prophet Elijah assured her that the Lord would keep her in oil and flour if she did so. She never ran out of ingredients while the land was without rain and crops. Perhaps another lesson in this is “never assume.” We expect predictable results from what we know of man-made solutions. God has no limits.

 

Ingredients and conditions: It’s hot, and the prophet has no food or water. His feet are blistered, dusty, and sore. Elijah has a price on his head. The prophet had gotten in trouble with the queen, Jezebel, when he had her priests killed [1 Kings 19]. The prophet assumed that Jezebel’s followers would find and torture him. He concluded there were no other believers left in that land. Life simply wasn’t worth living anymore. The lacy shadow of the broom tree was thin shade in the heat. But God’s angel fed him. God reported 7000 believed in God as Elijah did. Read to find out the rest of the story.

Ingredients for emergency kit: no back-up supplies. From Mark 6:5: Jesus advised his disciples to go around to the villages, but take no extra food, no money, no extra clothes or sandals, and no advance registration at an inn or bed and breakfast. Not only had God provided for their basic needs, but also gave them the power to heal many of the sick along the way.

God knows our needs. The challenges He gives us build character. Ingredients are often spiked with surprises. Let the adventures begin!

What more can we say to that than “Oh, cool!”

 

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com and Amazon.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]

What Does Color Say About Your Bible? By Jo Russell

As Barbara listened carefully to the message in church, she asked herself, “Did I hear the clergyman right? Didn’t he just say, ‘The only good Bible is a red one.’?” Her heart dropped to the ground as she studied the beautiful gift her grown children had given her recently: a dark green plain-language Bible edition with her name engraved along with gold designs on the cover.

As Barbara thought over her journey back to God as an adult, she never remembered seeing any of the groups at church having a RED Bible. How could they be so wrong? Or was it the pastor?

Her concern showed on her face as she turned to her husband, her mouth pulling down at the corners. “Did you hear what he just said?” she whispered. “I don’t have the right color!”

Albert responded, “Honey, he means a read Bible, r-e-a-d, not the color!”
It’s true. Any book not read is a buried treasure. When it comes to the Bible, it has everything!

The treasure inside is priceless for all time and all generations. It is also a foundation for growing close to God and others.

Here are some reminders:

Courage and faith heading into the unknown: 9 Genesis 7:1–Noah; Genesis 12–: Abram and Lot; Exodus 2–Jochebed, mother, and son, Moses; Luke 1 — Mary, a virgin, engaged to be married agrees to be mother of God, though the usual punishment for out-of-wedlock pregnancy was death by stoning;Acts 9–Saul becomes blind and led into Damacus–becomes the Apostle Paul

Special effects: Exodus 7:4 –the plagues of Egypt; Exodus 14–The Red Sea parts for God’s people, but drowns the enemy; Numbers 22:21– talking donkey; Joshua 4– crossing the Jordan on dry land; Joshua 6– the battle of Jericho won with God’s help and no weapons. Mark 4:35– Jesus calms a storm

Miraculous childbirth: Genesis 21: Abraham and Sarah, parents of Isaac; 1 Samuel 1: Hannah and Elkanah, parents of Samuel, the prophet; Luke 1: Zechariah and Elizabeth, parents of John the Baptist; Mary and God, the parents of Jesus

Romance: Genesis 24:15 – Isaac and Rebekah; Song of Songs 1:12–by Solomon

Conflict /rebellion/treason: Numbers 14:14–The Israelites want their fish, garlic and onions back! Job 1:1 – Job’s friends aren’t helping through his crises. Psalms– much of it written by David, who was being hunted down by the King Saul; 2 Samuel 18 — a son’s rebellion against his father, King David. Luke 22:20: Jesus knows Judas will betray him. Luke 22:34: Jesus predicts Simon Peter will deny him three times in one night. But Jesus goes on loving us – as he did them.

Selflessness: Luke 20:21–The widow gives all she has; Jesus shows scores of examples of selflessness in his actions.
Miracles and provision: All through the Bible.

 

Barbara remembered these things and smiled. It didn’t matter what her Bible looked like, but that she read it and every day learned more from God’s directions and stories.

Isn’t that a good lesson for all of us? Read the Bible, no matter what color it is.

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, paperback available now on sale from her website [www.button-to-god.com] and Amazon. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]

 

What? Road Kill Again? By Jo Russell

As Roberta turned into the driveway after being gone all evening, she saw the car’s headlights illuminate a dark, furry and very still shape.

“Chalk another one up to the coyotes,” she thought. Remembering the meat-eaters roam free in the country, Roberta figured that’s what it was. Road kill. Carnivore kill. Whatever. She sighed heavily as she steered around the shape and got out of the car on the other side.

“Not tonight, God. I just can’t deal with this. It’s too dark now.” The shape, size and color ruled out the remains being any of her critters, Roberta knew, but by morning, rigor mortis would turn the body into something as stiff as a stale pizza crust.

At first light, Roberta donned gloves and hoisted a shovel. Ahead was the unpleasant task of burying the furry shape in the driveway. It hadn’t moved, of course. Resurrection only applies to Jesus.

But in spite of the dread she felt as she approached the still shape, she got a close look. Then her fear and assumptions vaporized. She erupted in laughter!

For there in the driveway–dark, furry and very still–was a pair of her lined winter gloves that had fallen out of the passenger side door pouch when she cleaned the car earlier. It was just a bad case of mistaken identity.

Mistaken identity and drawing the wrong conclusions happen often enough.
How often do you fail to understand what you see or experience? Where is the reality?
How will you get around the latest knotty problem? You might be asking yourself, “Why is God doing this to me? “

It happens often enough during any journey, including one with God. Paul says, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” [1 Corinthians 13:12] NIV

We can be assured that God sees the entire length and width of our life and our challenges. He knows the solution, the outcome, the journey and the end. God is there to help us through all. Someday we will see and understand all. Not now.

His love prevails over all the fears and challenges of our lives, including a decent burial for gloves in the driveway!

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com and Amazon. For more chuckles, to hear a speech, read excerpts, check this website and also Amazon.com the second edition e-book just released. Free Mother’s Day download May 9 to May 12, 2013.]

Free Mother’s Day Gift for You, Friends and Family:
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Are You the Real Deal? By Jo Russell

In a room crowded with country folk in cowboy hats as big as patio umbrellas–some wearing holsters with pistols–and the smell of savory, sizzling prime rib, the caterers worked quickly. The husband and wife team were serving the big cattlemen’s event in the rural mountain area.

Wrapped in a white apron and tall hat, Chef Ruth, barely five-foot-five, carefully cut the perfect beef slices into servings. Serving up plates, her husband, Bob–well over six feet–also wrapped in an apron, worked efficiently.

“Are you the chef?” one hat-wearing cowboy nudged Bob. The western-clad guest assumed that apron-clad Bob had created the gourmet meal. After all, aren’t nearly all chefs men?

“No,” Bob corrected him as he pointed with his elbow, “She is.”

“Well, now, Little Lady, are you a real chef?”

“Yes, I am,” the culinary school-trained professional affirmed. Then Ruth asked, “Are you a real cowboy?”

It would be easy to tell the cowboy from the chef by the way one rode a horse and the other created a meal.

In the same way, a person is not known to God by personal appearance, social or economic standing as he or she is for actions and words.

Jesus would call it fruit. “No tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its fruit…The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks.” [Luke 6:43-45 NIV].

What is coming from your heart, mind, and mouth? God knows your voice, sees your heart as well as your actions. He never stops loving the unique creation you are.

Based on that, how would you answer this question:

“Hey, Big Guy, are you a real Christian?

“Say, Little Lady, are you a real Christian?

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]

Punishment or Physical Therapy? By Jo Russell

Anyone sentenced to physical therapy following surgery or an injury has a great example that God isn’t finished with us yet! Like physical therapy, God gives us exercises that stretch our muscles, skills and abilities. The final objectives from God and physical therapists are the same: mobility and new possibilities.

Recent surgery reacquainted me with P.T. This has given me hours of going nowhere and feeling guilty for neither doing anything nor burning a significant number of calories. The machines mimic skiing, bicycling, mountain climbing and marathon running. But all of them and I stay in one place.

So last time, I multitasked by memorizing some of the Laws of Physical Therapy posted on the wall:

“Never say, “I just want to go home – because you’ll just stay longer.”

Never say it’s easy – because we’ll make it harder.”

“Never lose count – because you start at one again.”

“Never complain – because we never listen.”

“Never scream or cry – because it just encourages us.”

“Never look like you are enjoying yourself – because we’ll put a stop to it.”

“Never hold your breath because if you pass out, we’ll have to do the paperwork.”

As if physical therapy and surgery wasn’t enough to qualify me as a glutton for punishment, in the fall, I took over teaching a Sunday group of tweens. After that, I was gone for a month because of saws-all surgery. When I returned, some of the experiences with the students illustrated the P.T. laws so well that I laughed aloud.

P.T. Law: “Never argue – because you don’t win.” One student always seemed to think he deserved another turn because his was “no fair.” He didn’t get another chance. He learned to do his best the first time.

P.T. Law: “Never say you can’t – because you’ll do it anyway.” Working in teams, each student learned to find passages in the Old and New Testaments in spite of the fact that the Bible is as thick as two of their school textbooks.

P.T. Law: “Never lie or cheat because we know the truth and you’ll live to regret it.”
When I returned, the students claimed they hadn’t gotten their fair share from the prize box. I learned the truth from the sub.

While having lunch with some of my friends, one asked if my new class lived up to the reputation of middle school behavior. That’s the kind that keeps the pharmaceutical business thriving and gives parents nightmares. My friends were expecting horror stories.

I smiled sweetly, remembering the famous passage: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose.” [Romans 8:28 NIV]. I thought of the children’s progress, participation, and enthusiasm. The passage fits and encourages. I also remembered in P.T. when the therapist high-fived me and said, “Great going!” I know how good that felt.

And then I answered with the most encouraging words of truth about God’s relationship with everyone, “Like us, they are all works in progress.”

God has great plans in who you are becoming. Give yourself a high five! God isn’t finished with you, yet!

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]

Do What? Look for What on the Playground? By Jo Russell

The school secretary punched the speaker phone to answer as she put a second call on

hold, and noticed the small child entering the office. She had to deal with it all. A

parent’s voice came over the speaker.

“Mrs. Ford here. I need to talk to Jason’s teacher. It’s really important.”

“The teacher is busy with her class at this moment. Could I have her call you back? She has a break in about 35 minutes.”

“No, this can’t wait.”

I rarely interrupt our teachers.”

“This is something like an emergency. I have to talk with Jason’s teacher.”

“Can you tell me the nature of the emergency?”

“No, I really must deal with Jason’s teacher herself.”

“Okay, I’ll transfer you to the classroom phone.”

Startled to hear the phone ringing when it wasn’t recess or lunch, the teacher stopped her

lesson. The call had to be important to be transferred during class time.

“Mrs. Ford here. This is an emergency!” she began. “Jason lost one of his gloves on the playground. Could you find it for him?”

To Mrs. Ford, her need for Jason’s glove outweighed children’s learning.

God is the creator and savior of the world, our protector and provider. When we put our urgent prayer requests before Him, how do we sound?

Consider the Lord’s Prayer in Luke 11, which begins, “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name [calling his name sacred and holy]. A third of the prayer adores God. The rest is about asking for forgiveness and needs, but honoring God receives first place.

Mary, sister of Lazarus, honored Jesus when he came to visit once by bathing his feet with about a quart of expensive oil worth about a year’s wages. Jesus affirmed it was the right thing to do.

John the Baptist honored our Lord when he told the religious leaders, Pharisees and Sadducees, that he would baptize with water for repentance, “…after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” [Matt. 3:11].

How do we honor God when we pray? Let your honor and respect for God begin with Him. Our lost gloves can wait.

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing 2011. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips; check her entire website options and weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.]

Ladies of Assumption By Jo Russell

“Our Lady of Assumption” the church van read. When I saw it, the first thing I thought was, “What are they assuming? When I looked up “assumption,” I just blew off the first couple of common religious definitions, to see if assumption meant I was taking something for granted. Sure enough.

We women and mothers are all ladies of assumption. We are like optimists who are born with the “best case scenario” carved into our hearts.
We assume when we have sweated over a color-coordinated nursery that would “wow” even the HGTV staff, our newborn(s) won’t make a mess on the walls, floor, crib or curtains.

We assume when we give our toddlers their first allowances, they will deposit the coins in the piggy bank like we showed them instead of cascading coins into the mattresses, coats, and pillowcases, leaving us to find them a few at a time for years afterward. Eventually, kids understand the bank idea. Sometimes they spell it M-O-M and D-A-D or M-O-T-H-E-R.

When our kids are older, we assume that they will learn to like whatever they can’t stand. When four, one of my sons quipped, “When I am five, I will learn to like onions. When I am fifteen, I will learn to like girls.” (Well, one out of two isn’t bad.)

We assume that when we buy two weeks worth of groceries for the family, the food will last fourteen days without being locked up in an armored car.

We also assume that when we fill the lawn mower with gas, change the spark plug, show our offspring how to prime it, and pull the start cord, then park it in the middle of a six-inch lawn waving like America’s wheat, we will return hours later to the smell and look of fresh-cut grass.

We assume that road trips will go flawlessly without getting lost, with no one getting carsick or losing one shoe, without even one flat tire.

Along the same line, we optimists believe that all prayers will be answered “Yes,” and we will never run out of toilet paper before payday. With God’s steady hand in our lives, we can continue to believe in the “best case scenario.” God’s answers are not always “yes,” but also “no” and “wait.”

Have you claimed him as your guide today?

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing, 2011. For more chuckles, keep checking  her weekly blog on Button-to-God.com.]
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