Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lessons From the Litter Box

As my children and I were doing our weekly chores this past Saturday my youngest son, Joshua, says to me “I am so glad that I don’t have to clean the litter box for my chores any more”. For those of you who have cats you know how revolting a litter box can be. My Pastor happens to believe that cats are straight from the underworld and if you have ever cleaned a litter box, you might agree. I went on to explain to Joshua that while it was difficult to train the cats to go to the bathroom outside and there were times I had to clean poop off of the kitchen floor, the training was well worth not having the stink of a litter box in the house. Now they come in and out of the cat door as they please and my house doesn’t smell like a dump.

I love it that God can use even the stinkiest of lessons to show us how his principles work. He used this conversation with my little one to remind me to continue the hard training with my children and I won’t have to clean poop off the floor when they older. Ok, not poop literally, but there will be a lot less messes to clean up if we continue to work hard on God’s parenting principles while they are still small. Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo, two of my favorite people in the world, have taught me that if I do the hard work up front then the teenage years won’t have to be tumultuous and messy as most people expect.

There were times in the midst of training the cats that I wanted to give up. It would have been much easier to just let them do what they do naturally and continue to step in their own poop while carrying it on the bottom of their paws making a mess of my house. In the same way, sometimes I am completely exhausted and want to just stop training my children for a bit but I know if I do, my house will be a complete mess in a few years. They will do what they do naturally and sin, only if they don’t have the foundation that God provides for all parents, that poop won’t be so easy to clean up. So I, for one, will continue to train my children, even when it gets tough and I am pooped (pardon the pun), by relying on God for his strength and searching his word for wisdom. He is faithful if you just ask for help. His timeless principles are found in his word and in the godly wisdom of those who have already been there like Gary and Anne Marie.

Proverbs 22:6 ~ Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Can God Really Use Someone Like Me?

Do you ever wonder if God can use you? Really use you? I mean it’s not ordinary folks like you and me that God uses. Its great people like Moses and King David, and Peter and Paul right? Truthfully, I have often thought “why would God use me”? I have a sordid past. A deep, dark history that has brought shame, embarrassment and degradation to the person I am now through Christ Jesus. Not to mention, I have often considered myself just an ordinary person, lacking in any of the extravagant gifts that I see God give to others. But here is what I want us to consider, especially if you have ever felt or thought the same about yourself. Acts 4:13 (NIV) says “When they (the rulers, elders and teachers of the law) saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus”. Hmmm....Unschooled and Ordinary! Did you also know that Peter denied even knowing Jesus just as I have done in my past, yet Peter was the “rock” on which Jesus built his church!

What about Moses and King David? Now those are two extraordinary people who were used mightily by God but you and I…we are not even close to extraordinary, nor are we a leader like Moses or a King like David. But get this; Moses was a murderer who ran from the consequences of his actions and David was an adulterer who killed the girl’s husband to keep him from finding out. Yet God intervened in both of their lives and they became two people who were used in amazing ways for the kingdom of God.

Paul was a man that openly killed Christians until God intervened and radically changed his life on the road to Damascus. He became one of the biggest voices for the cause of Jesus and sharing the good news with others! So you see it doesn’t matter what your past is, what education level you have and how ordinary you think you are, when God intervenes he wipes out your past and makes you and your life extraordinary. He has a plan to use you in amazing ways just as he did these men and many other men and women. The only thing you need to do is come to Jesus with an open heart and empty hands. You will be astonished at the work he will do in and through you as he renews your soul and makes those of us who have been foolish, wise (Psalm 19:7)!

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