Seeking the Truth over a Big Boy Deer

“My grown son thinks I’m looney!” Trudy complained as she slammed a card on the game table at the senior center. It was enough to ruin her Friday.

“Why is that?” her card partner, Ellen, asked as she drew another card.

“Just this Wednesday, he drove me up to his place. Along the way, there was a big boy deer in a meadow. John stopped so we could look at it.”

“A big boy deer? How did you know?”

“It had, you know, the big horn things on its head about like this” Trudy explained as she spread her hands as wide as a bedspread.

“Oh. It sounds like you saw a ‘buck’ with big antlers and all.”

“No! It was a big boy deer, not a buck!”

“We don’t have big boy deer in this area. But we do have elk. Could that be what it was?”

“Absolutely not! You think I’m looney, too! No, it wasn’t an elk. It was a big boy deer. I do know the difference. I’ve seen them before lots. I lived way out in the country in Missouri before I moved here.” Trudy slammed down her cards and glared.

“I always thought you were a city girl. Like on a farm?” Ellen asked.

“No! I lived in an apartment!”

Just as Trudy believed she was totally right about the “big boy deer” and left no one room for  even an experienced hunter to argue, so over the centuries, some have incorrectly applied their own interpretations to God’s divine concepts and teachings.

As Jesus walked, taught, healed and lead, some in the audience put their own spin on the scriptures. In this case, Jesus himself confronted them. “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.”  [Matthew 22:29]  They had asked about resurrection and wanted to know who a man would be married to in heaven if he had multiple marriages due to deaths in the family. But they had been thinking of heaven in terms of customs and practices on earth. Jesus told them there would be no marriage in heaven, but that beings there would be more like angels. [Matthew 22:30-32].

Then and now, the answer was not to figure out what heaven is like or a lot of other divine mysteries, but to continue to learn about God, his ways, his power, through studying the Bible, and day by day building a relationship with him.

Some who heard Jesus’ words understood. Paul summarizes by writing, “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 have fully known.” [1 Corinthians 13:12].

So the secrets of heaven remain. Who knows? Maybe besides elk, the countryside in heaven will have meadows full of big boy deer.

[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 from Amazon.com and her speaking engagements. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, http://www.button-to-god.com.]

My God is a God of love!

“Dad, would you pick up Jamie from her swimming lessons at the pool? She’ll be finished at 10:00 this morning.”

“Anytime I can spend more time with my granddaughter is great!” Grandpa Gerry answered.

When he got to the pool parking lot, Gerry saw something going on just outside the main entrance. Hair flying! Gym bags sailing. The chants “Fight! Fight!” as the pee-wee crowd gathered around.

As he got closer, he found 10-year-old Jamie in the middle of all of it. Gerry’s granddaughter had her fist drawn ready to punch a girl in the face who she had pinned to the ground. Jamie shouted, “Take it back! You can’t say that about God! He is a God of love!”

Like any of us, Jamie is a work in progress.

“We love God because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command. Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” [1 John 4:19-21]

Gerry had work to do with his granddaughter, Jamie, for the famous “love passage” begins, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered…” [1 Corinthians 13:4-5]

And that could begin now. Grandpa Gerry guided Jamie to lose the fist and help the girl up.

That was a great beginning!

 

[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 from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

Begging for Waffles and Living the Truth

“I know you don’t usually like waffles,” Wendy commented to her small dog whose attention was focused on Wendy’s plate, “but these are delicious! Try this, Maggie!” Wendy handed over a half round piece of waffle. Maggie held it tight. It framed the pet’s mouth like a smile!

But, as Wendy guessed, Maggie didn’t eat it. Instead, the dog carried the morsel around in her mouth from the kitchen to her bed. She used it as her pillow. Maggie then carried it from her bed to her lookout point. She sat on it after that so no one could take it away.

Maggie was still carrying the waffle around day two and it looked less like a smile. “Snarl, grrr!” Maggie responded to the curious cat who sniffed the waffle and tried to paw it.  There was not much left of it for Maggie to guard.

By day three, the waffle began to crumble, leaving bits of toasted treat on a path through the house like Hansel and Gretel dropping crumbs to find their way back to their beds.

Who got the benefit of Maggie’s waffle?  Only Wendy. She got to vacuum up the crumbs.

If Maggie’s possessive actions over the waffle represented God’s ten commandments (Exodus 20) and instructions for Christian living, would keeping them to herself be the right choice?

Holding fast to God’s word is a beginning. “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and mind; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  [Deuteronomy 11:18-19]

More advice. This came from Solomon: “My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you.” [Proverbs 7:2]

Study, learn, teach, share. That’s what a Christian does. That’s how a Christian grows.

Jesus concludes in his own words, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” [Matthew 7:24]

And the wise who learn and share God’s teachings in words and actions in everyday life will find it leads to joy and hop. Never will it turn to crumbs along the path like Maggie’s waffle.

 

[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 from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

God Sees All who Walk the Plank

A play day at the beach! What a treat for the two moms and the six children!

Cousins Vera and Jeane, now adults and living hours away from each other, relished the spa resort moments as they sipped lemonade on the hot summer day. They enjoyed the sun from their chairs while watching their kids.

“Hey Cousin!” Jeane chuckled, “Look at us in a ‘spa resort’ for the weekend!”

Vera shook with laughter, “Yeah, isn’t it?”

For their weekend getaway was just an economy motel sharing one room with two beds and several roll-away cots. By the time they’d checked in, the ladies could only get a second-story room.

Both moms watched all the kids from six to nine years old carefully as their room was right next to the stairway—a new experience for the children! Still, the weekend was the ladies’ gift—their husbands had given them the time away from home while the two men moonlighted for family vacation money.

“Mom! Look at me! I can jump down the stairs!” cried Bruce.

“And me! I can skip down the stairs super fast!” and Josie bounced down and ended up with a skinned knee. The girl howled with pain.

In the middle of all the racket, Mark, behind the moms’ chairs, topped it all. Once and for all, he proved that myth is false—that moms have eyes in the backs of their heads.

“Hey, Mom! Look at me! I’m walking the plank!”

And the wee boy in wobbly sandals was balancing on the edge of the balcony railing!

Jeane gasped. Had it been her own child, she would have come up with a string of never-to-be-forgotten consequences. Threats like that today would be called child abuse.

Vera seemed to remain calm as she passed up all threats and settled on, “Mark,” she began slowly. “We frown on that!”

Jeane held her breath, We frown on that?! What kind of discipline is that?

“Ah, Mom, I wanted to walk the plank!”

Perhaps it is surprising with risks children sometimes take that any survived to adulthood!

It also may be surprising that parenting and discipline take so many forms. Frowning. Threats. Isolation. Loss of privileges. Kid’s stuff?  Not always. Every choice has a consequence, even for grown-ups.

God disciplines us because he cares for us. He corrects us to hone us into the men and women he wants us to be. Our Creator is our GPS [Global Positioning System]. He gives us free updates and maps in the Bible.

From King Solomon’s wisdom come these words: “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” [Proverbs 3:12]

God does have eyes in the back of his head. He cares enough for us that he watches us “walk the plank” and gives us the right consequences to remind us to follow him. When you’re wobbling as you walk the plank, reach out for him!

[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 from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]