Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Eddie McCoy, Men's Slippers and Beta Fish

My garage door opener is broken. My cell phone doesn't work. And I "evaporated" the fish in its tank this weekend. There's a dead mouse in the laundry room that's stinking up the joint. And harvest has just come to a close. These are days of endurance, breathing vapors of joy from days' past, remembering God's faithfulness and unchanging nature.

As I was beginning to spiral toward self pity, the Lord reminded me of Eddie McCoy--and I smiled. If you didn't know Eddie, a short entry like this will never do. He was a mountain man born at the wrong time. He carried fishing worms in his lip like chewing tobacco. He rinsed his coffee cup in streams and brooks. He hunted and fished like the Wyoming native he became. His wife did her best. And He loved the word of God. I can still recall his deep, wooded voice during Sunday night testimonies, earnest spittle at the corners of his mouth, lest he slow down or lose his train of thought, "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." Knowing Eddie, he said a lot more than that, but I distinctly remember that passage.

Yesterday I thought about the time he took me aside after our wedding engagement. "You know what I told the new ladies who came to town? Why, they'd coming walking in my shoe store--Brown's Shoes--and they'd be looking for a nice new pair. And I'd say, 'What size does your husband wear?' And they'd say, 'I'm not looking for him. I'm looking for me.' And I'd say, 'You need a pair of men's slippers, your husband's size. Wear them when you get the mail. Wear them when you take out garbage and visit your neighbor over the fence. See, that's what the local ladies do--and look, they're right at home.'"


I must have seemed lost because Eddie continued, "When you're in a new place and you don't feel at home, stop thinking about yourself. Look at the people around you, watch what they do. Soon enough you'll feel like everyone else." Instead of wallowing in self-pity and pampering myself, the answer was to pick up my head, look around, and ask how I could change.

And that is why I rescued a beta from Walmart. When things weren't going well it was time to do something for someone (or something) else. It was time to stop looking at myself and look out into the world. It was time to consider the change God was working in my heart.

God is not glorified when I'm feeling sorry for myself, when the focus is on me and I'm living in Grumbletown. God is so much bigger than daily irritants and frustrations. He is calling, tugging, drawing my eyes away from self, from temporary, immediate concerns to worthy, eternal, weighty matters--Christ. It begins with confession and ends with repentance: praise, thanks, gratitude and worship, honoring Him by loving and serving others--even if it means baby steps in men's slippers or rescuing betas from Walmart.

Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:2-7)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


I have not been keeping up well with this lately--it's harvest time at our house. That's our livelihood, right here in the "breadbasket" of the U.S. of A. I can't tell you all that's involved from the farming aspect, but I know a few things as the farmer's wife. It means sending the farmer out the door by 7:30 every morning and trying to stay awake until he comes in at dark-thirty. It means making meals to eat on the go twice a day, running errands, and being available.

Jesus said, "Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest." (john 4:35).

When we plant in the Spring, we run a different operation than when we harvest in the Fall. It requires different equipment and different players. In the normal run of things, we have time to prepare; to repair equipment, get caught up on rest, think about storage, extra workers, and hitting the market at the right time in the right place.

Jesus said, "It's time, boys. Now." And that to fishermen. There's no time to prepare. Equipment and extra food rations are needed now. Workers are needed now. It's time. The planting? You missed it. Get up and get on with it. You can't afford to hit "snooze" one more time or watch another episode on Netflix. Your "four months" are over.

They're ready to be called out--to call upon Jesus for salvation or to continue going their own way. Put Jesus front and center. It's time.

Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15