Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Teacher King

I know the Israelites in the days of the New Testament were expecting a Messiah to come and rescue them from the treacheries of the Romans. The timing was right in as far as prophecy had predicted the time when the Messiah would arrive. In fact, Jesus was a popular name for a baby when the Messiah was born. That's one of the reasons he was called Jesus of Nazareth. It helped identify him.

Other prophecy called for him to be a Servant King. And he was. The climax of this was when he washed the disciples feet. This was something new for his followers. Can you see the mayor of your town washing the feet of his office staff, including the janitors? Or a general of an army, who expects his commands to be followed without question, washing the feet of the privates under his command? Kind of gives it a different spin on it, doesn't it?

Whether you think of Jesus as a servant King, or a conquering King, or just simply the Messiah, he is known as a teacher to all of us. We read his parables today and still learn from them. We search his words regarding the end days to see if we are nearing them. We learn about heaven and what to expect when we enter eternity.

And while thinking of him as a teacher is second nature to us, it may have been a stumbling block to the Jews of old, especially the Pharisees. According to Lois Tverberg in Listening to the Language of the Bible, the people were expecting the Messiah to teach from and about the law. No wonder the people gathered to hear him speak. He brought understanding to the heart of the law. He walked the talk.

Somehow I missed that connection. I didn't realize the Messiah was suppose to teach the people. I just figured it was his way to get the word out that he had arrived and that the people needed to change their lives around in order to get right with God.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

God Works in Mysterious Ways

All I wanted was an answer on what to do with some land we had just outside of town and what to do with our current home. Do we sell the land or build on it? At the time I was leaning toward building on it since our years of having it on the market had failed. Oh we had inquiries about the land but we never got any good offers. Talk about frustrating. Then to add onto that, if we decided to build on the land then we needed to sell our current home. This brought in another dilemma. . . how much do we renovate so that the house holds its worth on the current market?

I was in turmoil. There's so much I would change in the house if we stayed, but if we wanted to sell how much did we need to do? Do we paint? And how many places in the house do we paint? Maybe all we needed to do was change the counter tops in the kitchen. But what about the stained, no-longer-plush carpet. . .do we change it? In which rooms? To what style. . .cheap or high quality? What do I pack up so the house doesn't look cluttered?

The possibilities seemed to snowball. The more I thought on it, the more I needed to consider. My stress level was reaching an all time high. How was I going to sell a house and then turn around and build another one?

So, I cried out to God. In the end, I told him maybe all I needed to do to be happy in my current house was change the carpet. At the time it seemed a weak concession, but it felt like the right answer. At the same time, Dave came up with the same conclusion. We decided we would put the land in God's hands and fix up the old house.

Oddly enough from that moment on things fell into place. (That sounds like a line from a movie.) In whatever way it worked, whether we were on the same page at the same time or the timing was finally right, our lot sold within six months. And our ride to renovating the house began.

The changes to the study were completed without any issues. But the kitchen held another story. In removing the drywall behind the sink we discovered the plumbers were unique in their placement of pipes. This lead to some expected expenses.

And speaking of expenses. . .the kitchen work was placed on hold and slowed when one early morning I discovered that our water heater was leaking. This may not be so alarming to some of you. But, if your water heater is in the attic and the drip pan connection is cracked, then you have a problem.

After one hour of scooping out water from the pan, pulling out every towel we own, and soaking up water from the carpet, we called our insurance company. The water restoration people quickly arrived. They pulled down dry wall, tore out door and floor trim, and cut open the carpet to remove the padding that was soaked before beginning the drying process. And let me just add that large fans and dehumidifiers are LOUD.

Now, months later, we are almost finished with the repair work from the damage done. I must say that I now have a better understanding for all the DIY and home improvement shows that always find something that has to be updated or brought up to code in the midst of their project.

Interestingly enough, the last thing to be fixed is the carpet where the men had pulled up the padding. When the contractor went to put the carpet together they couldn't, so they went back to the insurance company. Come to find out, the carpet will need to be replaced not only in the area where the damage was done but also in the adjoining loft area, bonus room and stairs.

When I talked to God about the carpet I was only thinking about the great room. What I'm getting is far more than I ever expected. And in this round about, mysterious way I see God's hand in it all.