Spilt Milk

  My upbringing took place on a retired dairy farm in NC, in the days when cows were milked by hand into a milk pail placed right under the spigots.  Occasionally a cow might lift a foot to kick at a pesky fly crawling on her underside and then misplace it right into the milk bucket.  The milk was ruined, it was an udder mess, and would be dumped out on the ground, generally by a subsequent movement of the cow’s foot.  Since it could not be retrieved,  “There was no need to cry over spilt milk.”

  On occasion, this phrase is borrowed from yesteryear, and endued with interesting new application.  e.g. When you have done something that cannot be undone, and the consequences prove to be disappointing, or even detrimental, you might feel badly about it for a while, but you have come to accept, “There is no need to cry over spilt milk.”  Perhaps this idea resonates with you because of things done in your past, decisions you have made that hurt still.  If only you could erase the consequences of prior choices, perhaps you could finally experience lasting peace—or so you think.  But then that hopeless and helpless feeling arises in your heart and you conclude again, “There is no need to cry over spilt milk.”

  But wait!  Perhaps there is something that can be done to alleviate the penalties accrued in your “less than perfect” past.   Jesus, God’s Son, came to earth to die for the sins of the world, “to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:18)”  He rose from the dead and lives, even now, at the right hand of God the Father, and offers forgiveness in exchange for faith.  He pleads, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)”    Truly, for those of us who call Him, Lord, “There is no need to cry over spilt milk.”

My Refuge And Strength

  In every sustained conflict there is a need for strength to stand in the heat of the battle, and a refuge into which we might retreat for rest, rejuvenation, and renewed marching orders.  In modern warfare, strength might be defined as “fire power,” which today, involves ways and means for launching explosive projectiles in the direction of the enemy.  In days of old, it was physical strength to wield the sword or cast a spear.  The refuge (safe place) would be at least as diverse from one era to the next: a cave, a fort, a battlement, an encampment, an armored personnel carrier, etc.

  The study of warfare involves spellbinding history, and fascinating tales of modern technological advancement, and then their are the soldiers—a limited number of people who dwell under the spacious skies, around the amber waves of grain, the purple mountain’s majesty, and above the fruited plains of America.  But there is a warfare in which every soul is engaged—the battle for truth and right!  The smoke never clears, and the onslaught never slackens on this battle field that spans the minds of all mortals.  At risk are the souls of men, peace among nations, the sustainability of freedom in the physical realm, as well as the spiritual.  It is a battle in which “decent people” fight to defend the things they have chosen to cherish: Good, God, and Country.

  It is in this invisible, but undeniable conflict, that followers of Christ are encouraged to proclaim, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. …The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge (Psalms 46:1-3, 11)”

  As for His strength, He“…is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us (Ephesians 3:20).  And for a refuge, He calls, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)”

Better Than I Deserve

  Years ago we had a lady in our church who answered the common greeting, “How are you doing?” with a rather serious, “Better than I deserve.”  While it left the greeter with a “Where do I go from here?” sort of feeling, I learned to appreciate her intention.  It was true; I certainly had done nothing to merit the multitude of little things that made even a mundane life, something for which to give thanks.  And it was not just the necessary provisions that warranted my thanksgiving, but the many hurts and hardships that I had been spared, as well.  God is certainly good to me—better than I deserve.

  The Bible has words for these treasures:  Receiving blessings that we do not deserve is called “Grace.”  Not facing the harsh consequences that our deeds so justly deserve, is called Mercy.”  God is responsible for both, and often throws in an unexplainable “Peace” for good measure.

  His peace is freedom from disturbance of mind, even when circumstances dictate otherwise. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7).”  Peace with God, and the peace of God, is what makes a good day good.

  God’s mercy is experienced when we do something death defying and don’t get killed, or when we are lazy and still have food to eat, and money to pay the bills.  If it were not for God’s mercy, none of us would be here today.  “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23).”

  His grace, though especially evident in the lives of those who know Him personally, is experienced, to some degree, by every human being—common grace.  e.g. The sun rises every day, it rains on our crops, we have pure water, our hearts beat steadily for decades, etc.  But without a doubt, the greatest evidence of God’s grace is Jesus Christ, who died to pay the penalty for our sins. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (Titus 2:11).”  God’s grace will save all who trust in Jesus for forgiveness!

Under The Knife

 Horrid thoughts of the human body being violated by knife or sword in incidents of crime or war, can quickly become dreadfully unsettling, but have you ever heard the term “going under the knife” to describe someone who is having surgery?  I have read in awe of the surgeon’s scalpel being used to skillfully and carefully glide through the epidermis, the dermis, the hypodermis, and finally the deepest muscles and sinew, to expose bones or organs in regions of the body otherwise unseen.  Even here I find it necessary to remind myself that surgery is intended to help the patient.

  There is an interesting verse in the Bible that, in spite of its intimations of carnage, is intended to remind us of helpful, though invasive, surgery.  “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)” 

  The Word of God is alive—endued with the power of God, and like a two edged sword, is capable of penetrating to the deep recesses of our being, getting to the root of a problem, extracting that which is only harmful, to bolster that which is only good.  This incision is not physical, it is surgery on the soul (the psyche, that which animates the body), and the spirit (the eternal part of man that relates to God).  …and the Surgeon’s task is to correct how we think, and adjust our deeply rooted, but sometimes ill advised, motives.

  Let it suffice to say that the Word of God, the Bible, can affect or repair every aspect of your non-physical, non-material life.  The apostle Paul reminds us that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2Timothy 3:16)”  But so many have ignored their great spiritual need, and have shunned the only serious help for their ailing souls.  They limp along through life, in terror of going “under the knife,” even though it rests in the hand of our skillful, loving, Great Physician, Jesus Christ.