Everyday Miracles: the Rooster and the Frying Pan

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stock photo of fried eggs in pan

photo credit: Japanexperterna.se Fried eggs via photopin (license)

Several years ago, my favorite frying pan, a wedding present, sat sunny side up in the dirty side of my stainless steel kitchen sink. I grimaced at the thick layer of caked-on, burnt scrambled eggs.

Make that disgusting side up.

Rather than wake me at an ungodly hour, my husband, Adam, had fixed his own breakfast. Only most of it had stayed behind in the supposedly nonstick skillet. It would take a really good scrubbing to get it clean.

I groaned. Why couldn’t you have just poached them in the microwave, honey?

Sighing, I turned away from the sink. I had to make my own breakfast. To prove I could not burn the eggs, I prepared another skillet to join the one already waiting for me.

Soon, I had scrambled eggs to eat off a paper plate and a second frying pan to clean, one victoriously in better condition than my husband had left his in. I turned to the sink for the first time since breakfast had absorbed my attention.

Odd. My wedding set frying pan still lay in the dirty side of the sink, but now it was sunny side down. Frowning, I picked it up.

A spotlessly clean skillet smiled back at me.

What’s this? I could have sworn this thing was filthy. Must’ve just imagined it.

Shrugging, I set the skillet face down in the clean dishes’ side of the sink.

rooster stock photo

photo credit: keepps DSCN5230 via photopin (license)

After a busy morning, I pulled myself away from my home office to read my Bible and pray. I’d been going through the Gospel of Mark, and had gotten up into the rather lengthy chapter fourteen. I stopped cold at Christ’s words in verse thirty. “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.”

What was sending chills down my spine? That Peter would deny the Lord? That if such a saint could be tempted, what of us?

Nope. One word sent me into a tizzy: Twice.

Soon, I was flipping back and forth between Mathew and Mark, getting my heart rate and blood pressure up sky high. As if the eternal fate of all humankind rested upon me determining how many times one Judean rooster crowed on one fateful night nearly two millennia ago.

Had Jesus said the rooster would crow once, as he did in Matthew, or twice as he did in Mark? Had it crowed once like he said, or twice like he said? How could I reconcile Matthew’s account to Mark’s account?

I had to solve this earth-shattering dilemma! The inerrancy of the scriptures was at stake!

Of course, it’s a fallacy to hold a millennia-old book to modern standards. And, even in modern police investigations, honest accounts from honest witnesses can differ on minor details and may even seem to out right contradict each other. We only get four totally identical accounts of events from four witnesses when they’ve collaborated and agreed to a fake story.

That morning, though, “logical, rational Andrea,” proceeded to send hysterical, “urgent” messages to my husband and church friends fretting over how many times the cock had crowed on the morning of the crucifixion. None of them provided answers satisfactory to my “logical, rational” thinking. Neither did the apologists I found on Google. At that moment, God didn’t seem much inclined to answer my question, either.

If I did something productive that afternoon, it was on automatic as my mind was focused on how many times a rooster had crowed on the most important night in history.

This lasted until Adam came home that evening. After spending half an hour attempting to reassure me about the rooster, he said, “Oh! Sorry about leaving the frying pan such a mess. I didn’t have time to deal with it.”
My jaw fell open, and I asked him to again verify he had left a frying pan with burnt scrambled eggs stuck to it for me to clean up this morning. When I answered his natural question of why he needed to repeat that, Adam started laughing.

I frowned and put my hands on my hips. “What’s so funny?”

“Only that you’re so worked up over a rooster after God washed a frying pan for you.”

At that, I ran into the kitchen. Said frying pan lay in the sink where I’d left it, still spotlessly clean without any human effort—and I rarely get dishes that dirty that clean so fast.

A thorough examination of the dirty sink’s drain revealed tiny bits of scrambled egg. I picked the frying pan up gingerly, like it might electrocute me.

Once the dumbfounded reverent awe wore off a little, I attacked the skillet left from my breakfast, still waiting on the stove to be washed. A goofy grin spread my lips. “If God can scrub a skillet, so can I!”

Heaven sat quietly as I petitioned the Lord. He’d already answered well before I thought to ask. If God was laughing at me, I had earned it.

Christians can be as skeptical as atheists of everyday miracles. Some prefer to believe I’d forgotten scrubbing the first pan and had deviated from my habits by scrubbing it promptly and leaving it in the sink that I wash dishes in rather than in the sink I left washed pans to dry in. But I am a creature of habit. No way had the woman I was then scrubbed it before I had breakfast.

God is capable of having answered a question about a chicken by scrubbing a skillet with burned scrambled eggs stuck to it before I had asked. And God would answer a question about a trivial matter with a illustration of what was truly important. Christ’s grace cleanses ours souls much the way God took the time to cleanse in a moment the filthiest skillet I’d ever seen.

Also, we can fall into thinking such everyday tasks are unimportant and that God doesn’t see or care. Let’s be reminded today that the Lord does see. The Lord does care.

[tweetthis]Everyday Miracles: the Rooster and the Frying Pan[/tweetthis]

[tweetthis]Think everyday tasks are unimportant and no one sees or cares? Christ does see. Christ does care.[/tweetthis]

Have We Downsized God?

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“[The Son] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” — Hebrews 1:3

The son is the light that radiates from God, but God With Us is as identical to the Father as the impression left by a footprint matches the foot or as the finger print matches the finger and its unique grooves. We can trust Jesus to represent the Father perfectly.

So often this world may seem chaotic and broken, spinning out of control. Yet scripture tells us that Christ, the word made flesh himself, is the one supporting the universe, holding it up with the power in his words, a tireless, ceaseless effort if ever there was one.

Yet the God who is with us via the Holy Spirit and the God who is holding the whole universe together on High is also outside of creation, both Father and Son, and seated beside Himself as his own “right hand man”  and served as his own High Priest, making the sacrificial atonement and interceding with himself for his people.

Such wonders of the omnipresent one! What limited mind can fully fathom the infinite God? Any god small enough for us to fully understand within the limits of human reason is too small to be truly God at all. Today, scripture provides us the only valid, trustworthy window into the character and nature of God, but we still see through its glass darkly.

We often become focused on the problem we least are inclined to, my brothers and sisters. If you’re reading this and nodding, you may have more problems with an emotion-based, unreasoning, unthinking faith than with one that applies logic and reason to the scriptures in a way that defines an infinite God according to what is logical and rational in his finite creation, which inevitably will box him in and make your image of God too small to be truly the Lord.

However, you should prayerfully examine yourself if you feel threatened by this and want to object either with a direct attack or by pointing fingers back at the warm-fuzzy, feelings-only church goers who don’t know the Bible well enough to discern whether a popular sound byte is actually sound doctrine.  That error doesn’t excuse the opposite error of being so puffed up with “knowledge,” we unwittingly fall into idolatry ourselves.

Those of us subject to that weakness  typically feel a need to define logically anything and everything so that we fully understand it and it makes rational sense to us. This gives us a sense of security that is really rooted in a desire for control, hence why it can become dangerous when we turn loose on God our particular pet means of analysis. Trusting the Lord and leaning on our own understanding are ages-old sworn enemies.

Lord, am I serving the infinite God and trusting you even if I don’t always understand all your apparent paradoxes, from my finite vantage point, or have I made a smaller idol in your image and likeness, that I can fully comprehend and honestly think is “drawn to scale”? Give me grace to embrace the truly mysterious, courage to intelligently and scripturally seek the answers that can be known from our finite vantage point, and wisdom to discern which is which. Strengthen me to today to cast down any such idols I have erected. Remove the blinders and my need to control, and enable me to trust you when I hear your voice, even if I do not understand your Word. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

A loving God and a fool’s hellish choice

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“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17)

The most famous passage in the bible, John 3:15-18,  tells us Christ was lifted up on the cross so all who believe in him would have eternal life, that God loved us so much, he gave us his only son so that no one who believes in Christ should perish. Today’s verse asserts at this point that God’s goal was not to condemn everyone else, but to save the world.  Verse eighteen adds sadly, however, that those who freely choose not to believe in Christ, to not accept the offer of salvation he extends to everyone, is condemned already and choosing to remain condemned rather than accept an offer of pardon.

What would we say of a governor who offered a pardon to a prisoner with no expectation of reform? Would we call an earthly king loving for releasing into his kingdom a person who had make it clear such had no intentions of being a productive, law-abiding citizen? Mind, God’s done all the work for us even.

So, on the judgment day, those “sent” to hell are going where they chose to go. They have condemned themselves and why?  Because they loved their sin more than they desired a pain-free, joyful eternity in the presence of God, who forbid them from taking their pet into his kingdom.

Tell me,  what kind of offenders facing a death sentence are offered a pardon, but say no, they like their old life of crime too much to receive a pardon and live? A stiff-necked fool.

Let us not be so foolish, we who trust and believe in him.

We thank you, Lord, that you came not to condemn, but to save. Search our hearts, be there any wicked way in us? If we have pet sins in our lives we need to surrender and leave behind, show us. Strengthen us to love you more. Open our eyes to the truth and set us free from the chains that bind us. Season our tongues, Lord, so we might also be of a mind to seek not to condemn those who already are, but to gently show them the way to salvation. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

A Word Fitly Spoken is Plucked from God

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“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15)

Quite a bit packed into this one verse. First,  Peter reminds us Christ isn’t like us. He’s holy, not a sinner, and should be honored as such. If we don’t watch ourselves, we will project our sinful thinking onto Christ to justify our pet sins, since, obviously, Jesus would think that is okay (often we pull out our sinful version of love here.) For his actual thoughts on any given subject, don’t guess, consult the Word. (This means you, Andrea.)

We should keep this in mind as we turn to always having an answer–how we present Christ to others as well as in our private thoughts. One thing to note is we should be prepared with a defense, if someone asks. We don’t necessarily have to correct every unbeliever we meet on the street spouting lies who hasn’t asked our opinion. After the second admonishment, we’re told, effectively, to treat those who claim the name of Christ like unbelievers, too, so this goes for all sorts of stubborn fools enslaved to lies. Cast not your pearls before swine. (This means you, Andrea.)

Instead, wait on the Lord and the leading of the Holy Spirit. We can wreak a lot of havoc trying to help folk who aren’t ready for it. Only the Lord knows when they will be. So wait on him. And, if you’re getting riled, excuse yourself and take time to calm down first. Righteous or no, anger plus the sin condition makes being respectful and gentle almost impossible unless we get control of ourselves and turn things over to the Lord. Only he can give us the grace and wisdom to know what to say and when to say it.

Lord, thank you for your word. We ask for more grace and wisdom today, and patience, too, because we are not superstitious and we trust you to teach us as you see fit. Prepare us to give the answer each person you bring our way needs, at the right moment. Forgive us for the unholy thoughts and desires of our hearts we have projected onto you. Cleanse us and show us more today of who you are, and enable us to be just a little more like you. Open the ears of our hearts, that we might listen and hear your voice and obey your instruction with gladness. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.