You want me to do what??

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Today’s adventure with Jesus takes place over two days. More and more I’m putting into practice what Jamie Winship teaches, this honest revealing of my thoughts and actions to Jesus, followed by listening for His ‘take’ on my situation and what He wants me to do. The other night in one of his videos I heard Jamie say that in the Bible people’s reactions to hearing from God is one of surprise and resistance: “You want what????”  Think Joshua or Gideon or Peter about letting down the nets on the ‘wrong ‘side or mingling with Gentiles. Then there is Simon who greeted the newly blinded Saul, notorious Pharisee hunting down Christians.

I had one of those, ‘You can’t mean You want me to….” reactions.  Yep, that was JUST what Jesus had in mind.  Hard to resist God, isn’t it?

Part 1

…not pursuing dishonest gain; Titus 1:7 NIV

I’m a thief who plans her robberies.

Stopping at Target, I purchased 5 items, paying for them in the self-checkout area. “Oh, I’ll be able to ‘stock up on’ (ahem…steal!) extra Target bags for the cat litter.”

Other stores’ plastic bags are not sturdy. So, I look forward to getting Target bags. Last time, I took an extra 5, on purpose.  This time I grabbed about 15.  But then, God!

Focused on pilfering these ‘poop bags’, I walked out, ‘extra’ bags in hand, minus the purchases.  Suddenly, my empty hand startled me – “Where are my 3 cans of tomatoes?” Running back, I found the self-checkout employee who handed me my bag.

Then the Holy Spirit convicted me! It took that episode to show me just how I was dishonoring God. “Is this how King Jesus treats His adopted little sister, reducing her to poverty so she robs Target?”

Today’s appointed reading and Jesus’ gentle message pressed: ‘Go confess this to the manager!’

My response?  “Yes, Lord Jesus.”

Part 2

if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship 1 John 1:7

Yesterday I agreed with Jesus and told Him I would go to Target and confess my theft, but after Christmas.

But then I couldn’t sleep and resolved to go this morning, but after church.

But then, I couldn’t wait. I showered, quickly dressed, grabbed my stash of Target bags and drove off.  Entering the store, I bee-lined to Customer Service. The gal eyed me approaching, waiting to help.  I quickly admitted my theft, handed over the bags, and told her I was sorry.  Listening, she smiled, then said “It’s okay.”

“No, it’s not!  It was wrong and a sin” and something about Jesus and getting this off my chest. I thanked her for listening, eyes moist with tears, and left Target a free woman.  Freed of sin. Free to fellowship again with Jesus and light of heart.

Help me remember, Lord Jesus, that you call us to stay in your light, enjoying your affectionate peace.

How easy it is to lie and steal

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I didn’t lie yesterday, but God showed me how very easily I could have and what a pickle I would have been in.

Lowe's

Mike and I were at Lowe’s to look for a new kitchen trashcan.  We found one we liked, but it was the floor model and had a small dent.  In talking with the sales associate I inquired about a reduction in price due to the dent.  He thought that would be likely.  We found another small defect and I suggested, “We should get 50 % off this floor model then since there are 2 issues and no box to boot!”  He agreed.

We had to wait while he sought approval first from customer service, then from a floor manager who had to check with his supervisor by phone. The supervisor advised him that 20 % is the max discount in such cases, not the 50% I had asked for. In the end, as the floor manager completed the ‘sale’ price, he informed us:

  • “Lowe’s never gives 50 % off for a damaged floor model.”
  • I replied, “But the sales guy said it was likely!”
  • He asked, “What’s his name?”
  • “Bill”

The floor manager THEN informed Mike and me that he was going to have a serious talk with Bill, because all Lowe’s employees know NEVER to offer a discount like that to customers and that Bill could possibly be fired!

I was horrified.  What if I had ‘lied’ about Bill mentioning the 50% off reduction?  I would have had a SERIOUS crisis of conscience on my hands.  I would have had to admit to Mr. Floor Manager:

  • Oh…no, uhh,….. he didn’t really say that.  I just said that…..about the 50% off.  Don’t hold that against him!

My stomach felt the same blow to the gut as THOUGH I had lied.  Maybe God gave me a glimpse of the ‘wages’ of sin!  Whew – I didn’t enjoy looking into the precipice.

**

Then there was a moment last June when I came close to the edge of sin.  I was at school and was putting something back in my desk drawer when I recalled that I needed sticky name tags for a church seminar I was facilitating.  The stash of labels was front and center, lying in that desk drawer at school.  But something kept me from what I’ve done in the past – ‘availing myself of’ a school provision for home use.

Would my using work-provided supplies be considered stealing?  If not, it certainly pointed to something worse: UNBELIEF!

unbelief  How so?  Because lickedy split my inclination was:  I DON’T want to spend  $2 at the store to purchase what I need when I have some tags right at my fingertips.  But who provides me with all my needs, my daily bread?  Is my God THAT miserly in what He gives that I can’t afford a small office supply from the money He provides through our work?  God pointed out the larger sin that underlay my temptation to sin: to steal. I was ashamed and well taught in the moment.

Phil 4:19 – And my God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

But lest you think that I always stop right before this kind of sin, I don’t. Frequently I know what I am doing AS I move forward, yielding to the shortcut of sin. Remorse immediately follows afterwards.

So why do I lie? Why do I tell someone what I think he/she WANTS to hear?  Because I don’t want to experience the:

  • annoyance
  • anger
  • disappointment
  • dress down of the person to whom I am lying

What struck me during a recent post-lie conversation with God was how misplaced my fears were, how little respect I had for God.  Rather than avoiding the possible displeasure of my interlocutor, I should GREATLY fear lying to God who is holy, who has given me life AND shown me nothing but love and mercy.  Is this how I treat my Father?  What does THAT say about how much I value Him?

One hears in Christian circles that as one gets closer to divine light, as God’s holy flashlight penetrates the dark recesses of sin in the heart, one FEELS more sinful. As the years go by, I grow increasingly aware of my sin, daily and I am shocked.  I don’t know why, except I thought ‘I was BETTER than that’.  Ha!

I am learning (through lots of pop quizzes) to thank God FOR his gentle training rebukes that follow my failures.  It means I’m a daughter,

“……because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Hebrews 12:6

 

 

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