Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The attack and the baby Jesus

He is so subtle, the enemy.

Satan picks little, innocuous things that seem insignificant to so many to throw us off.

Satan knows just when and where to attack, and always do so when huge things for the Kingdom are on the horizon.

This is the story of my day, which really began last night. I am in the middle of planning and organizing a little weekend of spiritual renewal that will involve between 100-150 men. Some will be new to the event, others will be there because somehow God used the weekend as a tool in His redemptive story in their lives.

The weekend is a well-thought out event, all shedding significant light on the love and grace offered us by Jesus Christ. Detail after detail make up the planning and organizing. In many ways I am an "as the Spirit moves" kind of guy, but also have a level of reverence for this weekend that has me doing all I can to pay attention to the details.

Last night, a thoughtful, well-intentioned phone message was left asking if I had remembered, of all things, popcorn!

POPCORN! Significant enough for one person I know to petition to have it declared the fifth food group. Significant enough to send me into the tank this morning.

There are hundreds of details going into this event and popcorn gets me. See what I mean about subtle? It isn't as if I don't have cooks to provide meals, or people to clean up after the meals, etc. Those would be significant details, but Satan gets me with popcorn.

I have long proclaimed that I don't really care what people think about me and carried a confidence level in the things I do (because I do everything I can to stay away from sure failure), but the fact of the matter is that this has been a lie. We all have a desire to be well-thought of, to have people appreciate us and the things we do, and to, frankly, be loved.

I know I do - some of you may, too, if you cut through the bull and be real.

The morning attack sent me reeling. "Why did I think I could be involved in this, in this position? I can't even remember popcorn." "You're no good at things like this." "I can't believe you forgot that!" "Why would anyone have ever entrusted this position for this weekend to you?"

Takes me into John 10:10. It reads like this: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full." The words of Jesus for you and for me!

After shaking off the sucker punch from Satan, that scripture came to me. So did all of the acts of love, grace and mercy Jesus has shown me in the course of my days on this earth. I praise Him that He is giving me eyes to recognize the attack and that He is better equipping me to handle the attack all the time.

This weekend I am talking about has nothing to do with me - it never has. I am aware of that. Popcorn or no popcorn, the weekend is going to be what God wants it to be and how God wants it to be.

Sometimes it takes a four year old to make the point stick.

Having made my way out of the attack I stopped home for lunch. Our fourth child, Anna, is the only home with mom during the day and seems to be our biggest mess maker. I made my way through the living room and one of her messes to encounter her at the island in our kitchen making another mess.

This is the moment at which I sometimes have something stupid to say, get upset with her and the like, but today I just took it in. There she sat, with some Dora dominoes her grandmother had given her just an hour earlier, standing vertically. They were all facing inward, and inside the oval was a couple of dominoes stacked on top of each other with some others on their sides acting like walls.

"They're all looking at baby Jesus," Anna says.

"What?" I ask.

"They're all looking at baby Jesus. All the wise men and people are looking at baby Jesus."

It wasn't until after these words that I noticed the detail described above in the little nativity scene she had created.

God blew me away through that little girl - our little angel. Here I had been running around sweating some silly little detail that is fixable, having allowed Satan to get in my way for a time this morning, when I really should have been looking to Jesus...should be looking to Him at all times in all things.

More and more, as He tweaks my sight and gives me eyes to see exactly what it is that is going on around me I am blown away. They continue to be exercises in experiencing His grace and His peace in my life!

My prayer today for anyone who happens to come around here is simply this:

Abba, Father, may I always know (I MEAN REALLY KNOW) that the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy and that You, Jesus, came that we may have life and have it to the full. In the holy, precious, healing name of Jesus I pray. Amen!


Jennifer said...

This is incredible. I needed to read this more than you can imagine tonight, Chris! It was meant for you to see -- but God is know using it for me, too. Wow, and again, I say: Wow.

(By the way, I'm personally aware of the fact that the popcorn thing is frequently overlooked. You're not the first victim of the popcorn catastrophe.)

Steph said...

Awesome post, Chris. I'm praying God puts a barrier of protection around you and your family. (I like the Words of Truth you spoke to yourself!)

Billy Coffey said...

This is such a great post, and you have such a wise daughter. Sometimes I think God gives us children just so they can remind us of the things we forget.

janelle said...

First, popcorn is a food group; thank you for the attention drawn to that.

Secondly, amazing grace...I once was bling, but now I see...Realize dear friend, that this life is a walk with Jesus - he will peel away the "blindness" from our eyes in stages.

janelle said...

Obviously, I meant blind - not bling...I've never been that type.

(Thought I'd point out my mistake before Kathy did)

jasonS said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

This post is so good. It's always amazing how those little things can send us over the edge and make us doubt everything. But God is faithful!

I'll be visiting more often. Blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed the essence of this post. How wonderful that God 'planted' your daughter doing something you needed to be reminded of. Things that get blown out of proportion get put back in place when seen through the eyes of a child.

Matt @ The Church of No People said...

Such a great post. We say over and over that 'it's not about us,' but when our plans go awry, it's really hard to say that and mean it. But God is faithful.