Don’t Dive In. Dip In!

I’ve been MIA from the blog for a few weeks. The reason? I’m swamped with freelance writing projects and tight deadlines. I’m grateful for the work, and I hope to be back to my weekly posting schedule in March. But, in the meantime, here’s something to think about:

Do you remember the story of Naaman and Elisha? It’s in 2 Kings 5.

Naaman, Captain of the Aramean army of Damascus (Syria), had leprosy. Sores covered his body, and he faced not only a painful death, but also alienation.

Leprosy scarred a person’s body and also their character. It was contagious. It made people afraid. Often the diseased were cast out to live in colonies—together, but alone—torn away from those they loved.

Naaman was not that sick yet.

He did not believe in God, but his little servant girl did, and she suggested that Naaman visit God’s prophet, Elisha. Maybe he could heal Naaman’s disease.

So, out of desperation, Naaman went.

When he arrived at Elisha’s house, he expected Elisha to come out, speak some words over him, maybe wave his hands around Naaman’s body; but that didn’t happen. Elisha didn’t even come to the door. Instead, he sent his servant who said: Go dip yourself in the river seven times, and you will be healed.

Simple. Too simple to be true. That’s what Naaman thought. Hogwash! If God existed so great and mighty as His people believed, then certainly God would heal with a great and mighty act. Naaman would have left if his servants hadn’t convinced him: Give it a try.

Imagine this powerful captain, rugged and strong from years of fighting, carrying out the simple act of dipping seven times in the Jordan River hoping that his skin would become like a baby’s.

But Naaman did. He dipped seven times, and God healed him, not only his body but also his heart. God came into Naaman’s heart and healed His disbelief. “I am convinced,” Naaman said, “that there is but One true God.”

maxresdefaultSometimes, we dive in expecting such great things from God that we miss Him in the simplicity of faith. Look for Him in the little things this week. See God in the simplicity of love, kindness, caring and rest. Maybe you have been expecting some great answer to prayer when, perhaps, the answer is hiding in the simplicity of God’s Word. Dip in to the bible this week. Discover what is waiting for you there. Allow your faith to lead you, and expect God to answer.

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jan2015FB

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Filed under Faith, Simplicity

Confessions of an Oleo Smuggler

oleo-margarineIt’s a well-kept secret (until now): my parents and my grandma were smugglers. Worse, they took me along to get the goods. I sat in the back seat of a getaway car, and I even helped deliver an illegal substance to family members, neighbors and friends.
I guess that made me a smuggler, too.

The illegal substance was yellow-dyed oleomargarine. In the Dairy State, buying it, which cost less than butter, was like stealing a farmer’s dairy cows and holding them for ransom.

In 1895, the Wisconsin State Legislature passed a law forbidding the manufacture or sale of butter-colored margarine. (One guy was even sentenced to 18 months in prison for selling the stuff!) Oleomargarine  remained illegal in Wisconsin well into the 1960s.

The ban on oleomargarine led good people to do bad things.

MJS OLEO_1On Saturdays, we traveled across the state line to Illinois where oleo was legal, and we bought it at a little mom and pop store called Packy’s.

Dad drove the getaway car, mom rode shotgun, I carried a blanket to cover up the goods, and we sent Grandma in to do the deed. A few minutes later, she slipped into the back seat beside me with a case of oleomargarine in her olive-green, shopping bag. I put the contraband on my lap, covered it up with the blanket, and off we went looking like a typical 1950’s family out for a drive.

Smuggling margarine wasn’t THAT bad. We didn’t feel guilty for doing it. In fact, most adults got a pleasurable little rush when they put those fake butter sticks into their refrigerators. They had gotten away with it—and it felt good.

Sometimes Christians feel a rush when they get away with little things that they know are wrong, things that they think don’t matter.

But God sees, and it matters to Him.

In his book, Faith Like Potatoes: The Story of a Farmer Who Risked Everything for God, Angus Buchan writes: “If you allow one little sin to creep into your life, and think it doesn’t matter, it will grow and grow until it affects your whole spiritual life, deflecting you from your primary aim of serving God.”

He’s right. Even little sins affect our relationship with God.

So, today I offer this prayer:

“Dear God, I’m guilty of smuggling oleo,
and a lot of other sins, too.
Please forgive me.
And every morning when I butter my toast
remind me to watch out for all those little things
that separate me from You.”
Amen.

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Are you on Facebook? Check out my page where I post daily articles and inspiration for writers. And while you’re there, I’d appreciate it if you’ll click on the “like” button near the top of the page. Thanks!

jan2015FB

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*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

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Filed under Humor, Knowing God, Random Ramblings, Sin