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Gullible.

A fawn strays from its sheltered bed toward the creek. It bows to sip without waiting for parental guidance. A flouncing bit of fur catches its eye. The fawn abandons the water and bounds into the tall grasses to investigate. Deep inside the cool maze of reeds, the game darkens. A delightful tail reveals its other side, brimming with sharp teeth. Unless a wiser deer comes to its rescue, the tempter will devour its prey.

Gullible. We’ve all found ourselves fooled by something, our faces soiled with varying degrees of regret. One ruse might result in laughter, while the next leads to a dark labyrinth with sinister teeth at its center.  Survivors resolve to avoid further deception. How do we protect ourselves against the guile? Against our own folly?

1. Remain sheltered. Straying from the fortress of God’s presence and the influence of Truth opens our vulnerable minds to the enemy lurking outside.

2. Wait for parental guidance. Do not take steps beyond the Father’s leading. When we prance off ahead of God’s will without asking for His guidance, we ask for trouble.

3. Beware of distractions. Beautiful, delicious, promising thoughts lead us astray one day, while negative attitudes draw us off course the next. Any focus taking God’s place devours the soul.

4. Resist temptation. Submit notions to the Holy Spirit. The earlier we surrender an urge, the easier our journey back to true satisfaction. For those deep in the thicket as well as those sniffing at its edges, Living water awaits to quench our desires for joy.

5. Keep wise friends close by. Stay in touch with the Wonderful Counselor, and with those who remain intimate with the Wonderful Counselor. Retain security in your faith by surrounding yourself with seasoned believers who have a personal relationship with the triune Lord – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” — James 5:19-20

When You’re Thirs-Tea….

 

Rain nourishes the growth of bountiful leaves across the earth. Each world culture harvests, dehydrates, and threshes its own into an assortment of teas. A vast selection of aromas and flavors surround us, each providing a unique and valuable contribution. A cup of tea offers delight to be savored often as a part of life’s abundant joys.

Satisfaction beyond a sniff requires infusing dried teas with water and energy. Waterless tea remains impotent to soothe the senses or offer medicinal value. Tea’s value and effectiveness depends upon pure water.

When thirsty, we often reach for tasty options such as iced or brewed tea. Soon after imbibing these, we thirst again. If we drink water less often than other refreshments, our bodies suffer the effects of dehydration. Though teas and other liquids offer some benefits when blended with it, pure water remains the sole resource to hydrate our bodies toward optimal health.

Our souls thirst for love, healing, and identity. We often seek others grown upon the earth to ease our yearnings. When infused with the power and nature of the Spirit, people can provide delightful and refreshing benefits to our lives. Human comfort cannot replace Christ. Without the Lord’s refreshing presence, our souls lack vital hydration and thirst escalates.

“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water…whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4:10,14

My day seems to have slipped away with little evidence of productivity. I began with great hopes of accomplishment, praying for the will of God to fall afresh upon the earth and for His Spirit to sweep me along in accord with it all. Within a couple of hours, all clients cancelled. I thought I’d redeem the day by making progress on my novel…but the mouse and keyboard proved unresponsive. Halfway through reorganizing the guest room closet to find extra computer components, my cell phone rang downstairs. Happy to offer a small modicum of help to the caller, I paced the first floor of my home and noticed neglected housekeeping tasks. As the call ended, a buzzer drew my attention from rearranging clutter. The laundry phenomenon remained–the chore which can never be finished–yet I persevered in the quest for an empty hamper. I decided to sort the mail before starting on my writing. By the time I had tucked the important documents into their places, I needed to leave home. A quick stop on the way to the prayer center put me behind. One son needed to go to an appointment. Once home, my other son requested pizza. I left again, returning to make another twenty minute stab at the impossible laundry mission. News, thirty minutes with my husband, and the night has fallen. I stare at my blank day and wonder what God thinks of how we spend time.

Time cannot affect the infinite God. His eternal nature and ways exist beyond its limitations. We might have enjoyed the same boundless life, if we hadn’t brought the entropy and agony of age upon ourselves by choosing sin in the Garden of Eden. The Almighty Father planned to resolve our fatal curse in the moment we caused it. He loved us enough to send His Son to lay aside infinity, dwell in hour-bound flesh, and bear our burden to His own torturous death.

Jesus understands a life lived in time, though He exists beyond its bounds in His glorified form. I look to His life, desperate to find out how He would evaluate my use of time. Some days, Jesus fed, healed, or taught thousands. Other days, He talked with a handful of His friends. For forty days, Jesus fasted in the wilderness with no human companions. The gospel seems devoid of quantitative measures to declare Jesus’ time well spent. No productivity quotients appear in His ministry, and He models no consistent formula for scheduling a day.

Isaiah 55:8

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

While the world demands accomplished tasks, earned income, and tidy lists, God measures time by how we give it away. The moments I spent in prayer, worship, and sharing His love and kindness with others provided a more beautiful measure of eternal living than those when I found myself distracted by untidiness. Even the brief kisses to my husband and smiles at my sons lasted with un-ticked, un-tocked quality.

Maybe I’ll ignore the laundry, just for tomorrow, and use a few extra moments to see where the Spirit sweeps my soul.

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