Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Blessing and a Curse




I am definitely out of practice with young children. My dear friend went into labor yesterday and so I had her kids over for the day. They are GREAT kids- well behaved, respectful, gentle, and sweet. But 3 year olds and 8 year olds have way more energy than older-than-dirt-year-olds, I discovered. Besides that, it was my mother-in-law's birthday too. So I raced over to the Nursing home first, visited with her a while, and then raced over to my friend's house to get the young'uns. I was already running out of steam.

I wanted the day to be memorable on many levels. So I planned an activity, thinking that would get us through the delivery of the new brother. We made beautiful duct tape roses. Each child made one to present to his/her mother to commemorate the new little brother. Asherel taught us how and even the 3 year old with a little help made a lovely rose. That left us with only 4 hours to create joyful memories.

Hmmmm. What next?
"Want me to read my new book to you?" I asked
My new book, Tommy- A Story of Ability, is 50 pages long. After about 20 pages, the 8 year old said, "How long is this book?"
The three year old didn't want me to stop reading, however. Go figure. I revised my age estimate of who this book is designed for....3 year olds and adults. (Actually, I think 5th grade through middle school might be a good age for it.)

Book over. Hmmmmm. Now what?
"Shall we make cards for your Mom with sand art?" I suggested.
They liked that idea and so we sat outside and made works of art.

Now only 3 1/2 hours left to create joyful memories.
I rummaged in my closet and noticed paper plates and plastic cups. Instantly, I saw pigs.
"How about making a pig mask?"
They loved that idea. I pulled out pink tissue paper and they went right to work covering the plate and cup with tissue paper, cutting out and attaching ears, poking eye holes, hunting for a stick to attach to the mask to hold it to their face, glueing the cup "nose" to the plate, winding pink duct tape around the stick.
And then the 15 year old brother's phone rang.
Baby brother had arrived! And college brother would be there any minute to retrieve the lovely family.

I pulled the roast chicken out of the oven and wrapped it up, and also wrapped the huge pan of lasagna I'd made. They would have many dinners. I sent them off with their big brother, laden with crafts, and gifts, and many dinners.

It was in the middle of the night that I remembered those kids were allergic to milk. And I had made a big pan of lasagna...dripping with cheese...a milk product. I just cannot get it right!

My Bible reading was in Malachi. So far, God is not at all pleased with the Israelites and Malachi's job is to convince them that they have wandered far from God and they need to return to Him. Warning after warning of horrible consequences are issued. I remember a pastor telling us once that Malachi ends the Old Testament with a Curse. But the New Testament ends with a Blessing. That really struck me. God is Good, but He is also Just. And He is not pleased when we call evil good, or rationalize and ignore His commands for faithful behavior. He will not turn a blind eye on Evil, on sin, on disobedience, on disregard of who He is. But we never get it right, and haven't since time began. On our own power, we end up just where Malachi warns us we will end...That is the problem with the Old Testament Covenant and laws. None of us can manage to keep them. All of us will make lasagna one day for milk intolerant friends and call it a kindness....

But there is hope. There is a Messiah, a savior, a Redeemer and with Him, all things are possible. A New Covenant is established. We do not need to struggle on our own. God does not help those who help themselves...He helps those who cannot help themselves, and that is the beauty of the Gospel.

Malachi 4:1-6 (NIV)
“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, ” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. [2] But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. [3] Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty. [4] “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel. [5] “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. [6] He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”

Revelation 22:20-21 (NIV)
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. [21] The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.




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