The Secret Sauce

We love a good steak in Texas.  Maybe it’s a Southern thing but steak is king here!  The bigger the better of course, after all everything IS bigger in Texas.  You can get a 72 oz and even 85 oz steak if you want.  That’s almost as big as a child!

There is much debate about how your steak should be prepared though.  Medium rare or medium well?  With spices or no spices?  Herb butter anyone?  And the biggest debate of all: sauce or no sauce?

The sauce debate is a heated subject here in the South.  Those that rally against the sauce claim that the sauce ruins the steak.  It masks the flavor of the steak so you are only tasting sauce and not the true essence and goodness of the meat.  You should see the heated conversations at the dinner table when the waitress brings the steak and someone reaches for the A1 sauce!  Or even worse, the ketchup!

One thing that you never need sauce for is God’s word.  It is good and pure and amazingly rich and meaty without anything added.  God sent his son, Jesus, to die for us on a cross, an awful, excruciating death, to pay the penalty for our sin.  Three days after his death Jesus rose from the dead conquering death once and for all.  We can have everlasting life with Christ when we confess our sin, repent (a 180 degree change in direction), and believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior.  He loves us just the way we are: messy, medium rare, just plain us.  No sauce needed.

Romans 10:9-10 – If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Revelation 22:17 – The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” and let the one who hears say “Come!”  Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes to take the free gift of the water of life.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Grab In The Dark

Oh my gosh.  Best, hands down, game ever.  Grab in the dark was my and my sister’s favorite game to play as kids.  We begged my dad to play it with us all the time.  There was never a time when the game didn’t end with injury, yet we constantly begged and pleaded to play.

It can only be played in a pitch black room.  If there is any shred of light, even the tiniest crack of light, you can’t play.  You have to be completely hidden by the darkness.  We would meticulously cover every bit of light coming from under the door and cracks around the window using blankets, clothes and anything else dense that we could find.  Once all the light was eradicated it was time to play.  It was on!

The basic premise of the game is that Dad would seek us out, grabbing around in the dark for us.  Can you tell how original we were when naming the game?  Amy and I would silently move about the room, hiding under beds, on the top bunk of the bunk bed, standing on chairs, anywhere we could find to hide that also had an easy escape route.  As Dad blindly hunted around for us with his hands, we would shift, jump, lunge, or whatever, into the next hiding spot.  Now technically we weren’t hiding per say because the dark was hiding us, but that’s why it had to be pitch black, so that way you were actually hidden.

So picture it, a dad, two kids, pitch black, leaping, lunging, swinging, jumping and in general rough-housing.  Did I mention it was in the dark?  I mean what bad could come of that?  Black eyes.  Cut arms.  Bloody noses.  Big bruises.  The game would never end until someone got hurt.  We never planned it that way, each time we played we truly intended that this would be the time that no one got hurt, yet that time never came.

As an adult I can’t imagine what my mother went through while we played.  I find myself wondering was she (a) so overjoyed Dad was entertaining us that the cost benefit was worth it to her and therefore she sat outside oblivious to our screams (of joy and of pain) while sipping an iced tea or (b) was she standing outside the door where we were playing, mommy heart stressed to the max, holding ice packs, band-aids and cloths ready to catch the dripping blood.  Knowing my mom, it was probably B.

Life in this dark and crazy world works the same.  This world is dark.  It’s broken.  We often can’t see to find our way.  We are searching for more.  Searching for a shred of light.  Searching to connect.  We often find ourselves jumping from one problem to the next.  Lunging from one near disaster straight head on into the next.  We love the “fun” that comes from sin yet we get beaten and bruised by the choices we make.  Our sin isn’t worth the consequences, yet we keep making the same bad choices over and over and over.

Jesus is the light for our dark world.  He is our hope that this time the game will be different.  He is the salvation that even when we make the same poor choice he will be our savior from the ultimate consequence of separation from Him.  We have hope that this time it really will be different because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.  God is always standing there, waiting on us, heartbroken yet holding the ice pack to heal our wounds.  He is always faithful, never wavering and unconditionally loving.

Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Psalm 86:15 – But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

Nehemiah 9:17 – But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.


Spilled Blue Paint

All the walls at my house are painted white.  Frosty White, color SW6196 at Sherwin Williams to be exact.  It’s faintly grey but looks white.  So white in fact you can’t tell a difference between it and the ceiling color, which is actual white.  The floor is also white, white porous stone.  White everywhere.

White walls and floors are impossible to keep clean though.  Anytime there is a spill it stains almost immediately.  We have to be diligent and clean up spills as soon as they occur.  With two kids that means constant cleaning!  Every few weeks I scrub dings and scuffs from the walls to try and keep them looking clean and new.

While cleaning up around the house last week a bottle of blue nail polish dropped, on the tile, and shattered everywhere.  Blue nail polish splattered and sprayed to the four ends of the earth (at least it felt that way!)  Blue.  Everywhere.  Walls, floor, baseboards, coat closet door, everywhere.  The more we scrubbed to clean it up the worse and worse the mess got.  There is no cleaning it up.  It will never be white again.  And it is right at the front door entry area so anyone who walks into the house will see the explosion.  There’s no hiding it or covering it.

Sin and salvation are like trying to clean white walls.  We all desire to live a good pristine life but that isn’t possible with our sin nature.  As spills and dings occur we do our best to clean them up, and can even make it feel as though the sin never happened, at least for a small time.   Its impossible to keep our white walls and white floors white.  Sometimes we do big spring cleanings, going to church every Sunday, doing our best to pray each day, but the season ends and we are back to our sinful ways.  In most peoples lives we have a blue nail polish moment.  Sin explodes everywhere and we will never be the same.  It’s a life changing path altering experience.

In that moment, in that experience, embrace Jesus.  He is our creator and He died for us so that we would be washed white as snow.  Our salvation in Christ is the only way for our blue walls, blue floors, blue baseboards, blue everything, to be wiped clean and made white again.  We can’t clean it ourselves, only a relationship with Jesus can.  Pray daily that your blue would be made white.  Confess, repent, and live knowing that you are saved and made new.

Acts 3:19 – Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

John 3:3 – Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Ephesians 4:22-24 – You were taught, white regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in the true righteousness and holiness