Thursday, September 16, 2010
Except that Spike the dog, watching me drink Jasmine tea and eat toasted rye bread, is doing tricks. He gets up on his hind legs and spins. Sits behind me and barks. Jumps onto the desk by the window and lies down, looking at me in anticipation. Lying down is often enough to get a taste of what I'm eating.
No results? No compassion in my eyes? He leaps off the desk and throws his front paws on my legs. He's persistent, I'll give him that.
Now he's distracting me from the task at hand. Spike is cute. And I skipped our three-mile morning walk because I couldn't make it up the hill from house to the stop sign at the end of the street because of an early morning torture session at the XGym. (Oh yeah, it's that intense.)
I throw him the heel of bread. He crunches it with great satisfaction. "It worked! It worked! She fed me."
Sometimes when I pray, I feel like I'm doing Spike-tricks to get God's favor. Maybe he'll satisfy my wants if I am good. Maybe he'll finally intervene in this problem if I do a few extra deeds of kindness. If I keep praying the same prayer, maybe he'll finally take notice.
Oh oh... let's get one thing straight! Our life of faith in Christ is not built on repetition, rules, or getting it right. It's a relationship with a Master who knows what we need and how to build his Kingdom in good times and bad.
The other kind of religion, of begging and chores? That probably only gets us a taste of doggie heaven, with acknowledgment and a few treats from other people, if we're lucky.
*"So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him? God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him. But if a sinner becomes wealthy, God takes the wealth away and gives it to those who please him. This, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind. … So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God." (written by a jaded wise man, who had everything money and power could buy) Ecclesiastes 2:24–26; 3:12–13 NEV
*(Jesus said,) “And I tell you more: whenever two of you on earth agree about anything you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, I am there with them.”
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, if my brother keeps on sinning against me, how many times do I have to forgive him? Seven times?”
“No, not seven times,” answered Jesus, “but seventy times seven... Matthew 18:19-22 TEV
*But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7 NEV
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