Sunday, November 25, 2012

Super-sized by Smallness

Choose for yourselves....

Joshua 24:15

Having been a nurse for nearly 30 years, I am a witness to the ravages of daily lifestyle choices that bring about disease and death. A vivid portrayal of the consequences to daily life choices can be seen in the 2004 documentary "Supersize Me" by Morgan Spurlock. In this film Spurlock explores the health outcomes of making daily, dietary choices that run counter to good health. He spends 30 days eating all three meals at one chosen fast food establishment, and readily agrees to "supersize" any menu item if asked. The results were rapid weight gain, high cholesterol levels, mood changes, liver changes, and other dangerous health outcomes. His rapid decline led some on his medical team to implore him to abort the experiment before irreversible body and organ damage occurred. Spurlock continued to the end. 

The results of Spurlock's poor outcomes did not rest in his agreeing to being "supersized," but in his day to day, moment to moment decisions of menu items he selected. Each day, and for each meal, he made small choices that ultimately led to his "super-sized" health decline. Like Spurlock, our day to day, moment to moment "small" choices lead us to experience "Super-sized" consequences.

It is in the smallness of life's daily decisions that we end up living with "supersized" outcomes. Divorce occurs because the unfaithfulness of the spouse began with one "small", intentional glance. Financial ruin resulted after one friendly game of poker. Death ended a vibrant life due to one "small" vodka shot. All decisions are "Super-sized by Smallness." 

Decide today, and each day, what you want your life to be "Super-sized" by, and then make the "small" choices that become the pathway to this end. Like Spurlock, life holds out a menu, and like Spurlock, you get to choose.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days.... Deuteronomy 30:19-20   

Today, choose life-choose Christ.

Father, I choose you, I choose life. Every small decision leads somewhere. Help me to make the right decisions. Help me to have a vision that leads to life with you. In your power and in your strength, I rest. Thank you, LORD, for the power to choose small and live large. Amen. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Grace like Grout

The LORD's lovingkindness indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 
They are new every morning. 

Lamentations 3:22-23

A few years back I led a team of teenagers to the Dominican Republic. Our job was to assist laying block that would become a perimeter wall that would surround a housing compound for orphans and children with special needs. My personal strengths lie in relationships and not labor, but as the leader I needed to lead by example. So, with trowel in hand and mescla (mortar/grout) in bucket, I set out to fill in the gaps between blocks. The grout acted like a bonding agent holding the wall together, in addition to preventing water from future rains penetrating and weakening the structure.The strength, durability, and safety of the wall was in proportion to me mixing and mounting the right amount of grout. Daily I would assess my work and patch holes that had been created by me not applying the proper amount or the right amount of pressure. I discovered that filling in mortar joints was more of a craft than I had first considered. Grout work was for skilled hands. 

Constructing my "life wall" is like the wall I assisted in constructing in the Dominican. I must be mindful to build in a manner that can withstand the pressure, heat, and the torrential rains that life's challenges assail at me. But what happens when my complaining, my sin, and my mindless words of ingratitude and childish attitudes put gaps in my "life wall?" That's when God's grace, like grout, steps in. 

God 's grace, His lovingkindness, His daily compassions reinforce and strengthen the "mortar joints" of my life. God's skillful hands takes grace and lovingly and willingly fills in the gaps created by my careless choices. He skillfully applies the right amount of discipline, so that I will remember what created the gap, and lovingly injects forgiveness. His lovingkindness and compassion reminds me that when I am weak He is strong.

Jesus, God's son, was a carpenter, so I am confident He knows how to reinforce a life that weakens from sin. Jesus daily inspects my "life wall" and offers to dip into His bucket of grace, and with cross in hand, fill in the gaps that threaten to crumble my life. Jesus, my strength and my safety.

Father, today, forgive me of my sins. Let Your grace like grout reinforce the weakness that my sin  creates.  I am weak, but Thou art strong. Today, and everyday, I accept your grace. Amen.