Posted in Family, Grace, life, prayer, priorities, Scripture, wisdom

Alexa….STOP THE MUSIC!

But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40-42

I am so easily distracted.  I mean if there is more than one thing going on at a time I flounder.  One of the great miracles of modern time is that when I am on stage speaking, I walk, talk and breathe all at the same time.  Probably more of a miracle is the fact that I have not fallen off the stage—yet. I’m sure there is a syndrome or something for people like me—I think they spell it “man” or “men,” if it is plural.

I try to have a quiet time each morning.  A quiet time is when you set apart some time to read the Bible and pray.  It is a great way to begin or end the day.  The name is very appropriate.  For me, it must be quiet.  Sometimes I like to change things up, and in the process get too many things going on—which usually means more than one.  It’s like going through a buffet line. We have to be careful not to get too much on our plate.  Well, sometimes that happens to me in my quiet time. Let me explain.

First, I do my quiet time thing on my iPad.  I use the YouVersion app and it is just incredible.  If you own a smartphone or a tablet of some sort you can download the app from the Apple or Android store for free.  It has all kinds of devotions and reading plans as well as a zillion translations of the Bible.  Even if you speak Swahili, they can fix you up.  No kidding.  One of the totally cool features of the app is that it will read the Bible to you. Amazing.

Well, the other day, I was about to start my quiet time and decided I would try some soft music. I asked Alexa, who lives with Judy and me, to play some music. I said, “Alexa please play Christian instrumental music on Pandora.”  As always, she was so kind and said she would be glad to do that.  In a few seconds beautiful music was wafting through the air in my office.  Then I opened my YouVersion app and began to read.  I was able to pull that off pretty well, but I really had to concentrate on the words on the page and not the words of the songs that were playing.  Just to be as clear as mud, the words weren’t really playing—they were just playing in my head. I told you, I get easily distracted.

Well, scripture is a part of most every devotion in YouVersion so after I had read the devotion, I mashed the button that started the app reading to me.  That’s when things went south.  The beautiful music is wafting through the air and now this guy was reading God’s word to me and the two collided in my brain.  I found I couldn’t focus on either one.  The same thing happens when I am watching the news and Judy comes in and starts chatting.  It is an audio disaster.  And then, as if it couldn’t, it got worse.

In my home office I have several clocks and one of them plays the beautiful Westminster chimes. Well, while my brain was struggling with the music and the guy reading to me—the clock went off. It was the top of the hour and it began playing its melody.  And what would normally be one of my favorites sounds, all of a sudden pushed me over the edge.  If a quiet time is supposed to make you more spiritual…it, or rather I, failed.  As the music is wafting, the guy is reading, and the clock is dinging—I lost it.

With all that going on, I shouted, yes shouted, at my friend Alexa, “Alexa, STOP THE MUSIC!” Oh my, did I feel bad.  She did and at about the same time the clock stopped dinging and the guy stopped reading.  Suddenly…there were only the sounds of silence and the Whisperer whispering, “Dewayne, it’s ok.  Don’t let all this stuff that doesn’t matter get to you.  Just listen for Me and to Me and everything else will fall into place.”  That’s it.  That was the message for the quiet time that day.  I told my Father I was sorry for getting all frustrated and, as always, He gently whispered words of forgiveness.

In the Bible a woman named Martha got all frustrated and distracted too and Jesus told her the same thing.  He told her not what she wanted to hear but what she needed to hear. He told her that she was all worked up over nothing.  I guess it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who gets distracted and frustrated. Did I mention annoyed? Jesus invited Martha to come have a seat with Him and rest and it’s the same invitation He gives us.  I like that.  And do you know what? No matter the mess, it’s just good to know that He’s got this.

Posted in Family, life, Scripture, thankful, wisdom

Murphy’s Law

Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.”
Song of Solomon 2:15

Good ole Murphy.  You have probably heard about a thing called Murphy’s Law.  The bottom line is that if something can go wrong…it probably will. I have been a strong believer in Murphy’s Law for a long time.  In fact, I bet if I checked ancestry.com this Murphy fella is somehow related to me.  Now I know if you are one of those optimistic folks you are not a believer.  You probably don’t believe in Big Foot either.  Well, hey, I’m a believer.  Let me give you a couple of examples.

I have a 100 foot water hose that we use to water plants, wash the car, all kind of things.   When I am done with the hose and it is time to roll it back up, there is a 90% probably that the hose will catch on something—a flower pot, a rock, a crack in the sideway, or even an ant. When it catches, it kinks and I will have to walk out and unkink it.  And…there is 67.5 % chance that it will kink again.  There you go…Murphy’s Law.

Are you up for one more?  So, let’s say I am installing a light fixture in the bedroom and I have to screw three screws in to hold it. There is a 94.75 percent chance that I will drop at least one of the screws from atop the six foot ladder, that it will roll 7.5 feet over toward the wall and that it will drop into the heating or air conditioning vent.  AND there is a 100% chance that I will not have a replacement screw AND a 84% chance that no one in town will either.  See, it is Murphy’s Law—undeniable, irrefutable, you gotta believe it, proof.

Now the good thing about Murphy’s Law is that most of the things it involves won’t kill you or even cause serious injury …but it will definitely drive you crazy.  I’ve lived long enough to come to the conclusion that it isn’t the major disasters in life that steal our joy, rob us of peace, or make us want to move to Montana.  No, it is the little things.  One of my favorite verses is tucked away in one of those Bible books we never read—the Song of Solomon.  Trust me—don’t read it to your kids before bedtime—or maybe anytime.

Well, right in the middle of the book is this jewel, “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.” The author, who is a guy named Solomon, is saying he is not worried about a herd of elephants stomping and ruining his grapevines.  Nope.  He realized the danger is from those pesky little foxes that come along and eat the harvest one grape at a time.  One.grape.at.a.time.

In these crazy days that have become some kind of new normal there are some elephants out there.  The reality is that the corona virus can be very dangerous. There is a pretty small chance that I will get it.  There is an even smaller chance that it will kill me.  But there is just about a 100% chance that it and all its circumstances have and will  mess with me. And that’s the problem—worrying about things that mess with me, things I can’t change, and the Rolaids stock goes right through the roof.  Those stinking, pesky little foxes. We should be wary of the elephants, but let’s not give too much time and energy to the little foxes.

The foxes can and will mess with us.  If we allow them they can cause us to be frustrated and even angry.  They can mess with our peace, our joy, our relationships and even our sleep.  But the truth is our God is greater than any elephant or any fox. All we have to do us trust Him—to lean into Him.  The writer of Proverbs says it this way, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean into your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” 

There you go…trust and acknowledge and He will straighten this mess out. So, the next time the hose kinks or the screw disappears just remember Murphy is at work.  The choice of what we do when he visits is ours.  I think we should just probably introduce him to our Friend Jesus.  We should let him know there isn’t room for he and Jesus in our circle of friends.  Someone has to go and Murphy—it is you.  So long Murphy.  I’m gonna go rest in Jesus.  He’s got this.