“I Pity the Fool”

April 21, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Janet Morris Grimes –

“I pity the fool who _______.” These words were made famous by Mr. ‘T,’ the daunting, Mohawk-topped figure of the one of the television series The A-Team a couple of decades ago. For those that did not see things his way, he considered them ‘fools,’ and had the strength, ammunition, and where-with-all to convert them into submission.

He taught quite a few lessons with this method.

God, however, does not handle things in this way. Sometimes, on my hard-headed days, I wish that He would. I would love for Him to blast me with a fireball to redirect my path. I need it to be that obvious, because there are times when I borderline on being foolish.

God has harsh, but loving, words for fools. The book of Proverbs is full of them. “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in his own opinion” (Proverbs 18:2 ESV). My favorite is this: “Like the lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools” (Proverbs 26:7 ESV).

God knew we needed guidance long before we did. He offers wisdom and points the way, but is our choice to accept it. It must break His heart when we repeatedly learn the hard way.

There are times that He seems to pull back, like a teacher during a test, to see what we’ve learned. Still, He always comes to the rescue when we call, even if our pain is a result of our own poor choices.

In recent months, life has taught me two great lessons about being a fool. First, God is not afraid to make a fool out of me, in the eyes of the world, if I pursue something that does not fall within His will, or if the timing is not yet right. This is a sign of love, correction, and telling me ‘no.’ It’s required of any loving father.

Satan also seeks ways to make a fool out of me. He stays on the prowl to find me at my most vulnerable state; alone and doubting. He longs for my story to story to end in defeat, for my words to become meaningless.

He would love nothing more than to make a fool out of me on a daily basis.

But He forgets that I belong to Jesus now, and am no longer available to him. Jesus now fights my battles for me, and sometimes, in triumph, I can almost hear him saying, “I pity the fool….”

PRAYER: Dear God, Your ways are not my ways. Thank You for that. Though I fail to understand, at times, where you lead me and for what purpose, I trust You. Guide my steps and protect me when I am at my worst.

Vacation

April 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Janet Morris Grimes –

In a couple of weeks, our family will be on vacation. This particular year will not bring us to the peaceful beaches or massive theme parks we see in the photos of our friends. Instead, the Grimes Family will be headed to Branson, Missouri.

Jealous?

Branson has become America’s variety show theme park; the vacation capital of the world, for those over 80 years of age. But it is here that we find our oldest daughter performing in the live show of Veggie Tales, and nothing is more rewarding than watching your child do something they excel in, no matter where that happens to take you.

Branson also offers a great water park, some beautiful lakes, and what we crave most in this particular year. Togetherness.

It is our much-needed vacation. Swimming pool, nothing on the agenda, quiet walkways beside lakes we didn’t know existed until we arrived, and conversations that don’t take place over Skype or with a text. We get the chance to be together, under one roof at the same time, something that has become a rare occurrence for our family of five.

This is the place where we will reunite, rest, and probably order a pizza or two. We might grill out, rent a jet ski, catch a movie, or choose to do nothing. But we will do it together.

And we will sing a few songs with the most adorable dancing vegetables you have ever seen.

The memories we create will be as unique as the quirky family God created us to be.

And personally, I am counting down the days.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the sights, smells, scents and touch of summer. Thank You for this time to be together. Bless it and be glorified, and continue to direct our paths.

Happily Ever After

April 6, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Janet Morris Grimes –

“I did not see that coming.”

I can’t tell you how many times I have uttered that phrase in the past month and year. Well, make that four years.

Over this time span, our family has relocated due to my husband’s job transfer. Twice. My daughter has started over at two new schools, once in her Freshman year and again for her Senior year of high school. I have given up two jobs that I was good at, only to find that my value was tied in to the amount of money I made much more than I realized. Our twelve-year-old minivan, all 250,000 miles of it, surrendered in a trail of steam, smoke and a stream of what I interpreted to be curse words coming from its exhaust pipe. I have applied for a bazillion job openings, only to find that I am not the only one doing so.

I have questioned my existence along the roadways of four different states, and come up with only one explanation for the strange path my previously predictable life has taken.

I am not in control of it. After all this time, that’s all I can come up with.

And somehow, that frees me from both the past and the future, enough to enjoy the present.

Whether I saw it coming or not, God did. He’s got it covered.

And I can add this to the list of the things I did not see coming over these past four years. Our daughter graduated from high school with honors, and with new friends in several different states. God has expanded our territory and introduced us to some of the nicest people we have ever met. I have been given the opportunity to focus on writing—an answer to prayer I had forgotten I had prayed. God calls me to meet Him outside on a daily basis; on the deck, on morning or evening walks, by the lake, in the woods. Wherever He calls me, He always seems to be thrilled to find me ready to listen.

And this is what He’s proven to me, after 28 years of marriage. Happily Ever After comes one day at a time, one week at a time, one year at a time. Or in our case, one state, one new job, one transition, one new home at a time. Happily Ever After does not depend on our revolving circumstances. It depends on our ability to let God shine through those circumstances.

Because God is never surprised by our circumstances. He is already there, in the midst of them.

“You hem me in, behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.” (Psalm 139:5 NIV)

The Judas in All of Us

April 2, 2021 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Janet Morris Grimes –

Judas. We all know his story. His name is synonymous with traitor. The eternal back-stabber.

For this reason, there have been few children that carry the name Judas. His life serves as the perfect example of what not to do, especially if you are a Christian.

Jesus knew early on that Judas would become the betrayer. Still, He invited him into his inner circle. Judas managed the money for the twelve Apostles; but was a shady businessman, stealing from that same moneybox. His decisions were based on profit margins, never matters of the heart. If it were up to Judas, there would have been a massive public relations campaign, spotlighting all that Jesus had done, asking for funding so that His ministry could continue.

Judas had a front-row seat to the ways of Jesus. He saw the miracles for himself. But more than this, he knew the grace. The love in His eyes. The way He spoke of eternity. And hope.

Still, Judas didn’t buy into it. He never allowed his heart to become a part of the equation; never sensed the fact that even he might one day need a Savior.

Judas was destined to be a part of Jesus’ story. Before what became known as the Last Supper, Judas sought out the Chief Priests, determining the cost for the life of Jesus. From that moment on, the book of Matthew tells us that Judas waited for an opportunity to hand him over (Matthew 26:14 – 15 NIV).

Judas still had to play the part of the adoring apostle. During the Last Supper, Jesus predicted his betrayal, acknowledging that it would be Judas, even saying that it would be better for him not to have been born. Jesus instructs him, “What you are about to do, do quickly” (John 13:27).

Judas leaves to make his mark in history.

A few hours later, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas leads the angry mob to Jesus. He greets him with a kiss, and mocks him even further by calling him Rabbi (Matthew 26:49).

Jesus responds by calling him ‘Friend.’ “Friend, do what you are here to do” (Matthew 26:50).

That’s some kind of friend. The ultimate betrayal.

If the truth were known, Judas could have reconsidered. They still would have gotten Jesus. Judas didn’t have to become the enemy of the story.

After watching the gruesome crucifixion, Judas felt remorse. He even returned the thirty shekels of silver, realizing, finally, that wealth did not bring the happiness nor acceptance that he craved.

His story ends with Judas hanging himself.

If Judas were thinking clearly, he might have remembered how Jesus had predicted his own death. And even more, that He promised to return. He had seen him heal the multitudes. There had been no unforgivable sins.

He could have sought the other apostles, confessed what he had done, begged to be baptized, or prayed to God to seek forgiveness. He could have been the hero to this story, the first one waiting at the tomb to apologize. Like the thief on the cross, he could have been the King of Second Chances.

Instead, he becomes the poster child for what happens after sin. Guilt. Remorse. Darkness. Even death.

I suspect there is a little Judas in all of us. We make bad choices, but instead of grabbing the one hand that can save us, we wrestle with our past, wallow in our remorse, and keep reminding Jesus what we did to Him.

He already knows. And He died anyway. So that we could join Him.

Not Going Anywhere?

March 4, 2021 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Janet Morris Grimes –

Stuck. Drifting aimlessly. Going nowhere fast. Maybe going nowhere at all. Three steps forward. Two steps back. Or is it four?

And since I am stuck, accomplishing nothing, I take a look around. I no longer recognize my surroundings. How did I get here? And where is ‘here,’ anyway? Is this even the right path? Am I lost? And if so, why am I the last to realize it?

I am supposed to be somewhere. Somewhere else. Anywhere else. Accomplishing something. I am sure of it.

But I am here. Stuck. Is it getting darker? What’s that animal noise I hear in the distance? Oh wait, it’s getting closer. I should run. But where? And to whom?

How did this get to be my journey? And why am I having to travel this road, wherever it is, alone?

Stuck. I hate that feeling. Mainly because I might be the one to blame.

By following the same patterns that led me to that place, to this place, I end up with the same results. My current surroundings frighten me, so I go back. Like the Hebrews, yearning for a past where they knew what to expect. But their past required them to be a slave. They overlooked that part in their flight from the unknown.

Perhaps that’s why their journey took 40 years instead of 40 days. Two steps forward. Three steps back. I’m certain that’s not the way God mapped the rescue effort.

They were unwilling participants in their own rescue.

They were stuck. Shame on them. Shame on me.

As it turns out, the Hebrews and I aren’t the only ones who suffer with this problem.

The disciples wandered a bit as well. They doubted. They fought among themselves to be the favorite. They thought like humans, instead of like the spiritual beings Jesus was developing them into.

They bumbled around, like me, the last to figure out what was happening to them.

Bless their hearts.

It is through this bumbling around that we can learn from them. How not to do what they did. Or rather, how to do what they ended up doing. They learned. Eventually.

In John, Chapter 6, the story is told in this way. “Later that evening, the disciples walked down to the sea, boarded a boat and set sail toward Capernaum. Twilight gave way to darkness. Jesus had not yet joined them. Suddenly, the waves rose and a fierce wind began to rock the boat. After rowing three or four miles through the stormy seas, they spotted Jesus approaching the boat walking mysteriously on the deep waters that surrounded them. “I am the One. Don’t be afraid.” Jesus spoke to the disciples.

“They welcomed Jesus aboard their small vessel, and when he stepped into the boat, the next thing they knew, they had reached their destination” (John 6:16-21 The Voice New Testament).

Perhaps they should have invited Jesus into their vessel much earlier in the story. That had to be a long and exhausting three or four miles of boat-rowing.

Maybe that’s what’s missing when we are stuck. Not going anywhere.

We need to welcome Jesus into our vessels much earlier in our journeys.

Or better yet, never leave home without Him.

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