For years, I’ve used a decorative paper towel holder in my kitchen. It looked nice; matched my kitchen theme—roosters—and held my roll of paper towels within arm’s reach.
There was one problem with the holder. It was made for an earlier time, when a roll of paper towels wasn’t as thick as it is today. That meant every time a new roll was placed on the horizontal pole, I had to use one hand to grab a towel and the other to pull it away from the roll and tear it off.
This was frustrating, because when I’m cooking, I don’t always have a free hand to grab a towel. Of course, the problem resolved itself once several towels were removed. Then, the roll would move freely on the holder. After that, I wouldn’t give it another thought.
The other day, I accidentally hit the bottom of the ceramic holder, and a piece of it fell off. I didn’t immediately think about replacing it, because it wasn’t that noticeable, and it didn’t affect the way it worked. Later that day, I was in a Bed, Bath, and Beyond store shopping for another product, and I happened to pass by a shelf of paper towel holders. Several of them had labels describing them as being perfect for today’s extra large rolls.
That was the moment I decided not to put up with the frustration I felt every time I inserted a new roll of paper towels on the ceramic holder, and I used my 20% off coupon and purchased a sleek new modern-looking one.
When I brought it home, I placed a fresh roll of paper towels on it, and presto! problem solved. I’ve had it a week now, and I’ve probably changed the roll three times—I’m very messy in the kitchen—and, every time I install a fresh roll, I ask myself why I didn’t buy a new paper towel holder sooner.
Why did I put up with something that was clearly a problem and had an easy solution?
The answer’s pretty simple. It seemed like a small problem, and I had too many other things to think about, and, after removing a few sheets, I didn’t notice it again until I needed a new roll.
Too often, we treat spiritual problems in the same way. A situation arises; tempers flare, angry words are spoken, lustful thoughts are entertained, gossip is spread, godless choices are made, and then we move on.
However, the sin that caused the problem in the first place remains; it’s never examined, never prayed over or confessed, and the situation happens again. And again.
God’s Word gives us much counsel about dealing with our sin, and one example is found in Psalm 51 where David realizes the only solution to the sorrow he’s experiencing is to confess his sin to God.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” (Psalm 51:10-12).
Don’t put up with it!
When I was putting together a proposal for a Christian literary agent about the first book in my Titus Ray Thriller, One Night in Tehran, one of the questions the agent asked me was “What is the Scriptural basis of the novel?” Because the majority of Christian fiction is either Amish fiction or in the romantic suspense genre, I imagined the Bible verses the agent usually received from authors in those categories was about love or forgiveness or kindness.
My novel is about Titus Ray, a veteran CIA intelligence officer who comes to faith in Christ through a group of Iranian Christians. He is spiritually impoverished, with no religious upbringing and no clue about how to live out his faith while continuing his espionage activities for the U.S. government. However, a verse of Scripture often quoted by Javad, the Iranian who led him to the Lord, is one Titus adopted to help him through difficult times. It’s from Matthew 10:16, where Jesus addresses his disciples before sending them out to announce His coming Kingdom.
Jesus said, “Behold I am sending you out as sheep among wolves, be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.”
When I sent the proposal to the agent, that’s the verse I chose as the Scriptural basis for my series. Since I never heard back from that agent, maybe it wasn’t the best Bible verse to use.
However, I’ve come to appreciate that verse, and, since using it in my novel, I’ve run across a post on that Scripture by John Piper, a present-day theologian and author of the most helpful book I’ve ever read, Desiring God. Here’s the link to that post.
A short paragraph from the article reads, “So, yes, go among wolves and be vulnerable as you preach the gospel, but when they lunge at you, step aside. When they open their mouths, don’t jump in. And not only that, be as innocent as doves. That is, don’t give them any legitimate reason to accuse you of injustice or immorality. Keep your reputation as clean as you can.”
Today, believers wade through a morass of cultural upheavals and political issues, much like helpless sheep wandering among wolves. Yet, Jesus commands His followers to use wisdom and innocence as the primary means of presenting His Kingdom to the world.
I made six important discoveries this week. These weren’t earthshaking discoveries or anything like that. They were just personal observations I made as I came to the end of a strange week. It was strange for several reasons, but mainly because my husband and I were snowed in for two days, and it just so happened it was the week we were supposed to keep our grandsons–plus the granddog–while my daughter was out of town.
1. There are just sometimes in life when you have to stuff your obsessive compulsive disorder and let your house resemble a guy’s messy dorm room.
2. A bowl of vanilla ice cream, with sprinkles on top, is a good cure for boredom.
3. My oldest grandson now knows more about the computer than I do, even though I bought him his first computer game when he was nine months old.
4. Although a dog may refuse to go outside to do his business before going to bed, he will always do so at 3:00 a.m. when it’s snowing outside.
5. A hand-drawn game made out of a piece of discarded cardboard is a whole lot more fun than playing the deluxe version of Monopoly.
6. There’s nothing quite like having one of your grandsons ask you, “Is it time for our Bible study yet?”
While certainly not a discovery, I also had a reminder this week. It was from Psalm 139:15: “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
Website Lists All Free Books Available On Amazon: I love reading books on my Kindle for iPad, and it’s so much better when they’re FREE. Freebook Sifter is a website which lists all the free books on Amazon. The link provided here opens to Christian fiction, but if you click on the e-book tab, you’re able to choose any kind of book you like. Click here for Freebook Sifter.
Did Jesus Sing While He Lived Among Us? The answer from several New Testament passages is yes! I’m sure He also laughed, and I suspect what made Him laugh was an inexpressible joy we’ll only know when we see Him face-to-face. Here’s a great article about Jesus and singing by Tony Reinke.
It Could Have Been Me: This is such a great reminder that all our steps are ordered by God. Whatever comes our way (or doesn’t), may we thank Him daily for His grace. Read Lisa’s blog post on “When It Could Have Been Me” here.
How Much Money Am I Supposed To Give Away? The short answer Tim Challies gives is “enough that it matters.” His full response is insightful and could serve as a springboard for a family discussion on giving. Read it here.
What Are We Doing To Christmas? In this blog, Bob Kauflin writes of three ways we can miss the beauty and wonder of the Incarnation: we can sentimentalize, sanitize or spirtualize Christmas. If we do one or all of these, we miss the glory of the Incarnation. Read the article here.
Angels We Have Heard On High: Although we mainly associate angels with the Christmas story, Joel Miller writes about the ministry of angels to all believers. Read his Angels: Friends of the Faithful here.
A Last Minute Stocking Stuffer: It’s not too late for this last minute stocking stuffer. I love this idea for a gift. All it takes is a 7-day pill organizer. Read about it here.
The Day I Accused My Wife Of Infidelity: Seeking an “extra” revelation from God or wanting to feel we have an insight not given to every believer can take us down a dangerous path, as C. Michael Patton explains in his blog at Credo House Ministries.
People Do Good Things And Bad Things: You will enjoy reading the insights from Tim Challies on how different religions view the universal concept we all share about how our right and wrong acts must balance each other out. Read “The Ledger” here.
Film on the book of Job: Desiring God, a ministry arm of John Piper, announced the release on iTunes of “JOB the Film.” This is an animated work of Piper’s poetry interpreting the Old Testament book of Job. It is a moving film answering “why do people suffer.” View the trailer below.
How To Handle Animals In The Bible: “Have you ever pondered that the Lord not only designed the animals for naturalistic functions such as pollinating plants or providing you with food and clothing, but to be an intentional, constant reflection to you of spiritual lessons?” Read the full article here.
How To Handle Some Important Rocks In The Bible: Lisa leads on how to build an altar of grace, and more importantly, not to waste rocks.
How To Handle The Ten Most Unbelieved Letters In The Bible: “It’s 10 letters found in Ephesians 2:9. The hardest words for unbelievers to believe. Often the hardest words for believers to keep on believing. Read more here.