Friday, July 19, 2013

The Lord's Bathtub

This is not the usual place to find a frog:
     Yup.  It's a frog in my bathtub.  I wonder if his fellow frogs could see him, what would they say...
     "If you can get water to come out of that thing, you'd live like a king!"
     "Nice digs, but where are the plants?"
     "I like the minimalist architecture, but a rock here or there would be nice."
     "Kinda Zen.  But...How'd you get in?"
     "What are you thinking!  They have a CAT!"

     And yet, the frog seems content with his rather simple landscape.  He has one key advantage:  he has ME.  I will keep the cat from him; I will make sure he is secure while he is in my house.  Eventually, I will place him back into a more secure environment.  I will be careful in handling him, knowing that frogs cannot be handled roughly.  Finally, I care about him.  
     (Note:  this is not an informal resume for a position at the Humane Society.  With all the creatures that I come in contact with living in the mountains, each one has its place.  I want to make sure that I do my best to assist in keeping that order.  So, I just don't kill an "intruder"--I do my best to put it back where it belongs.  Though, lest I sound too self-righteous, I just killed an enormous wolf spider...he was outside even, but the horror of his size made me grab the bug spray.)
     Do you feel out of place?  Do people around you think you are nuts for following Christ?  Are you a frog in the "Lord's bathtub?"  Yes, it more "normal" to be part of the world around you, yet the Bible is all too clear about our new place in the world, once we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord: " You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God" (James 4:4).
    Whoa--those are strong words. We focus on being followers of Jesus and He even calls us friends: "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15). He calls us His children: "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him" (1 John 3:1) enemy of God?  And why does James use the word "adulterous"?
     Think about it:  if you love someone other than the one you are married to, that is adultery.  If we are lusting for something we cannot have and denigrate the one we are with, we are trying to serve two masters, and eventually the more worldly one (the one that best fulfills our fleshly desires) will prevail, if we are not careful.
     Of course, we are out of place here in this world.  Christ died for us, brought us into a place of safely and love, and if we expect the world to applaud that, we are mistaken.  Jesus says quite simply:   "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first" (John 15:18).  In fact, the hatred others bore Him led them to conspire for His death.
     We want to get along with the world so we can witness to Who Jesus is in our lives.  Paul himself says,
    "Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.  To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings" (1 Cor. 9:19-23).  
     But, that "outta place feeling" is a consequence of our loyalty to Christ.
     Think of what following Him really means:  We have JESUS.  He watches over us.  He will make a way for us in an insecure environment. He knows we are fragile, and handles us gently. He cares for us, and someday, we will reside with Him in heaven.
     The "Lord's bathtub" is not where all the frogs hang out--as for me, it's the best place to be:  "But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served...But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).
     Now, I must go and make sure that wee frog is all right.

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