Thanks for stopping by, whether you got here by a link or hitting "next blog" -- I am glad you are here. I've also done some writing on homeschooling, and what I learned thinking I was teaching.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fire! Fire?

The sound of the alarm worked faster than a bottle of Geritol – dispelling all the leisure we were enjoying this Saturday morning.   I set the fire alarm off this morning – again.  A whooping siren straight away follows the five-second warning beep; the sound disables my ability to think or remember the code which I must enter into the system to silence the amplified horn’s cry for help.  Mercifully, Doug remained calm, and entered the code and checked in with the fire department – although his first impulse was to try to disable the smoke detector – an impossible aspiration with our hard-wired system.

No, I wasn’t playing with matches – I had cooked bacon in the oven, a method I’ve used for decades that enables fat to drain away while it crisps the meat evenly. (Bake bacon @ 400 degrees, 20-25 minutes, in a broiler pan with a spot of water in the base of the pan.) I had removed the bacon and was toasting the bread when the horn blasted. Nothing even smelled like smoke.

In some ways the fire alarm exercise was a concrete application of the passage in Scripture I’ve got to prepare for a class and I hate it.  David does the unthinkable.  (2 Samuel 11-12) The good part is that God sends help; the bad news is why  David needed the help! What he fancied -- what he thought was within bounds, given that he was the king -- cost more than he could pay – so others paid.  Adultery, murder, the abuse of a general and his soldiers, and a child’s death . . .

Whew. Making breakfast never was such a welcome distraction! I wanted to lay aside this study!

Having read recently of a man who perished because of fire, preceded by the smell of smoke, I am grateful we have such a sensitive system. If nothing else, the sound got my blood pumped into places I didn’t know I had. 

Serendipitously, that clanging alarm, the rush of adrenaline it brought, and then trying to describe how it all felt also keeps me from glossing over one of Scripture’s actual horror stories. I don’t do what David did!  I don’t see any smoke. But, God knows I can go A.W.O.L. often enough – never a good place to be, given I have an enemy and a tendency to do things my way.  (1 peter 5:8) And if these challenges were not enough, I live in a time when even in the church we seem to have a hard time calling evil, evil. (Isaiah 5:20-21)

And when I say we, I include myself!

I am too comfortable in my times; I nod off – ignoring and excusing how our culture or the church got to be where we are and I do the same for my own actions and desires. As Nathan, sent by God, penetrated David’s conscience effectively this week’s lesson – alarming as it is – reminded me how simply temptation(s) can corrupt decisions.  Because I haven’t done exactly what David did – doesn’t mean I can’t, or won’t.  But God has not resigned – He answers as surely as fire department did, responding quickly to the prayers that David prayed – a “fire extinguisher” worth remembering!  

1-3Generous in love—God, give grace! Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
   Scrub away my guilt,
      soak out my sins in your laundry.
   I know how bad I've been;
      my sins are staring me down.

 4-6 You're the One I've violated, and you've seen
      it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
   You have all the facts before you;
      whatever you decide about me is fair.
   I've been out of step with you for a long time,
      in the wrong since before I was born.
   What you're after is truth from the inside out.
      Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.

 7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I'll come out clean,
      scrub me and I'll have a snow-white life.
   Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
      set these once-broken bones to dancing.
   Don't look too close for blemishes,
      give me a clean bill of health.
   God, make a fresh start in me,
      shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
   Don't throw me out with the trash,
      or fail to breathe holiness in me.
   Bring me back from gray exile,
      put a fresh wind in my sails!
   Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
      so the lost can find their way home.
   Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
      and I'll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
   Unbutton my lips, dear God;
      I'll let loose with your praise.

 16-17 Going through the motions doesn't please you,
      a flawless performance is nothing to you.
   I learned God-worship
      when my pride was shattered.
   Heart-shattered lives ready for love
      don't for a moment escape God's notice.

 18-19 Make Zion the place you delight in,
      repair Jerusalem's broken-down walls.
   Then you'll get real worship from us,
      acts of worship small and large,
   Including all the bulls
      they can heave onto your altar!
(Taken from Psalm 51, the Message)

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