I’m a skunk

Ok, not like in substance but more like in appearance.  For whatever reason, I forgot to schedule a hair dye appointment and the wonderful white hair I inherited from my dad is now the streak down the middle of my head.  So I look like a skunk & it’s not merely a bad hair day but rather a bad hair hue ,)

We both know that appearances can be deceptive and hopefully, we don’t always fall for the trap that says a shiny suit equals sterling character.

But sometimes we do.

So let’s ask the Holy Spirit to lead us into truth so we don’t get tricked by our natural senses.  Just because I look like a skunk for a few days doesn’t mean that I’m smelly ,)

Fools Gold

When I was growing up, I learned about the Gold Rush & how some people were tricked by “Fools Gold”, thinking they’d found gold only to be disappointed that the shiny metal was nothing more than shiny metal. 

This lesson is speaking to me again here in Angola, where Saving Moses has 6 malnutrition clinics.   Two of our clinics are less than an hour apart. The first clinic is very rustic, seemingly primitive & seems to lack even the bare essentials. The electricity has only been added in the last few years & whenever I hang out there, it almost feels like I’m camping, but our moms will live with their babies in this place for an average of 3-4 weeks in what we would consider primitive & seemingly uncivilized conditions at first glance. Some of the staff are frequently high school graduates interested in going into medical school so they get their feet wet, literally, starting at this malnutrition clinic. 
The second clinic, about an hours drive away, is a seemingly sharp contrast. It’s definitely a more modern building, adjacent to a medical school & staffed with medical students & health professionals running around in white lab coats. On the outside, it looks like it’s far more developed & we would often conclude more effective than the first clinic. 
But the reality is the opposite. The first clinic, albeit rustic, is highly regarded & well renowned for specializing in malnutrition. With our therapeutic milk, 80% of the babies in this clinic survive & grow to be healthy kids. In this seemingly backwater clinic, people will travel for literally hundreds of miles to get their babies to what they consider the best possible care to survive the ravages of malnutrition – all in a place that barely has running water. While the second clinic looks better appointed, it’s not as effective nor well regarded for its malnutrition work. 
Just because something looks shiny & bright on the outside doesn’t mean that it’s golden, effective & even healthy on the inside. Paul tells us in the New Testament not to be deceived by the external & what we see but rather to be led by the Holy Spirit in our hearts, attentive to the Spirit of Truth 🙂

X-Rays

Going through airport security in foreign countries can be a very interesting experience, to put it mildly. The security in some countries is nothing more than a suggestion & in other countries, I’ve had some experiences that I just don’t talk about. But the whole point is that they want see past a person’s surface presentation, X-ray vision. 

It seems to me that the ability to see beyond the surface is really important. So many times in our lives we can be distracted & even deceived by mere appearances. Some people look amazing on the surface but if you dig a little deeper, they’re a disaster in every way. On the flip side, I’ve met people whose surface appearance was far from appealing. They’re disheveled & unimpressive from a quick glance, but underneath, they’re nothing less than magnificent humans.  And this is one of the things I most love about the Holy Spirit, Whom Jesus also calls the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit has X-ray vision, knows who we really are on the inside & remains deeply committed, faithful & loving with us. The Holy Spirit empowers us to be who God has made us to be 🙂

wish list – part 2

My kids have been working on their Christmas wish lists & I asked one of them yesterday if world peace was on his list – he chuckled 🙂

When I was growing up, I always wondered about the whole thing of Santa coming down the chimney & how he stayed so clean coming down so many dirty chimneys.  Maybe he wore a haz-mat suit for the chimney dives 🙂

But when I’ve been thinking about what might be on God’s wish list, if God has such a thing.  Perhaps God would like the inside of our lives to be clean, of course with God’s help.  It seems to me that particularly during this season, we often dress up, fix our hair to be pretty & look good on the outside, but let’s not forget to let God help us to clean & fix up the inside of our lives as well.  Cleaning out bitterness, strife, unforgiveness, animosity, impatience, . . . .   cleaning out some junk in our hearts so that Jesus has room & space to maneuver in our lives without alot of clutter or interference 🙂

Tiny but Mighty

I read this morning about how Samuel was working on picking the next king for Israel after Saul & was being introduced to Jesse’s sons, from the oldest to the youngest. When Samuel first met Jesse’s oldest son, Samuel thought he was a shew-in, but God quickly corrected Samuel & told him not to make decisions based on external appearances – God looks at the heart & isn’t influenced by what’s on the outside (tall, handsome, suave, etc). After meeting supposedly all of Jesse’s sons, Samuel didn’t pick any of them. Finally, Jesse mentioned that his last son, the smallest & maybe the least likely or eligible, was out herding sheep. Once they brought in David, Samuel knew he was to be the next king. David was the least likely & seemingly most ineligible – tiny but mighty. In my mind, tiny by mighty, was often a theme in David’s life (Goliath, fighting the Philistines, running from Saul, overcoming Absalom’s treachery & more). Tiny can most certainly be mighty 🙂