Different Ways of Cooking Fish and Potatoes

I like just about any way of preparing potatoes. Potato salad, baked potato loaded with toppings, au gratin potatoes, mashed potatoes, waffle fries from Chick-fil-a. I love them all.

But, fish … not so much. I’m picky about fish. I don’t like it raw or blackened or baked or smoked. I pretty much only like it battered and fried (with the exception of tuna salad sandwiches.)

And I’m picky about what kind of fish. I pretty much only like cod, like you find in McDonald’s fish sandwiches and Long John Silver’s fish fillets (with the exception of tuna salad sandwiches … and fresh red snapper fried and served in fish tacos.)

The other day the idea popped into my mind that our “pet sins” are kinda like fish and potatoes. There are some sins that appeal to me, while others don’t.

Wasting time watching hour upon hour of sports or blowing a afternoon shopping aimlessly at the neighborhood mall has no appeal to me.

Binging on Netflix documentaries and Facebook posts is calling my name. (Just one more …)

Getting in a fist fight or stealing from the neighborhood convenience store has absolutely no interest for me.

But, turning a cold shoulder on my husband to “teach him a lesson” or yelling at my kids when they’re moving too slow for my liking, will get me every time.

I need to be careful about judging other people’s “sins of choice” and remember that all of my good deeds are but filthy rags in comparison to God’s perfect glory.

I need to remember that any one of our sins are enough to separate us from a holy God.

Like the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18, the Pharisee’s greatest sin was the sin of pride. And the greatest answer to that sin is to humble myself before God, asking Him to have mercy on me, a sinner.

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14)

Playing with Lions

Yesterday, at my local Community Bible Study meeting, we were looking at Genesis 4 when Cain killed Abel, his brother. In Genesis 4:7, before Abel has been killed, God warned Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

The word, “crouching,” conjures up an image of a cat ready to pounce, doesn’t it? Well, apparently, I’m not the only one because our CBS leader proceeded to share a story of a man who was severely injured by his pet tiger.

Like Michal Prasek, a Czech man who was found dead in his own pet lion’s pen, we can underestimate the power of the “pets” in our lives. Today I’m asking myself, how am I naively playing around with a pet lion, thinking it’s just a sweet, little tame cub that won’t possibly hurt me, thinking that I’ve got control of it. But, really, that sweet, little cub is actually a lion just waiting for the right time to pounce. Like, 1 Peter 5:8 instructs us. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Remember, as my pastor is so fond of saying, “Sin will cost you more than you want to pay, take you further than you want to go and keep you longer than you want to stay.”

21 years ago

21 years ago, Thomas William Endraske was silently born, making his public entrance into the world. He was not welcomed with balloons or stuffed animals, but with tears. He was not greeted by scores of relatives, but this Mama Bear loved all six inch of his tiny, pink unmoving form.

His birth was the capstone of a two-week attempt to save his life and my life will never be the same.

This baby boy’s life and death changed this mommy’s life for the better. I’d heard of grief before and I’d seen others grieve before, but this was my first experience with grief myself and it prompted my first step onto a fork in the road ahead. I moved from a wider path of comfort to a narrower path of faith and obedience. And I’m thankful.

I wonder today how different my life would be if he’d never been conceived at all. Would I have ever adopted his brother, Nick? Would I have ever begun praying and studying and feasting on God’s Word? Would I have homeschooled his big sister Emily, willingly sacrificing my own comfort and time for hers? Would I now be a mother of four living children or would I have stopped after two? Would I believe without a doubt that children are the greatest blessing that God can ever give to a woman?

So today, on Tommy’s birthday, I say, “Thank You, God, for creating him.”

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11

I’ve written a book called, “A Child Of Promise” for parents who are continuing their pregnancy after they know something is wrong with their unborn baby. It is available on Amazon. Today and tomorrow, in honor of Tommy’s birthday, the Kindle version is available at a discounted rate.

On selfishness

Early last Tuesday morning, I was packing up to drive down to Pensacola, Florida with my oldest daughter and my two youngest children. My oldest daughter is dating a young man who is stationed there for the Navy and she invited me to join her. (Yay! What a wonderful opportunity!)

We were trying to leave at 7 a.m. and I was racing around looking for any final things we needed to bring. My husband was sitting at the dining room table reading his Bible – usually a very praiseworthy thing in my eyes. And then it happened. He asked me to get him a cup of coffee.

The thing is, every morning before I teach online, I make him a cup of coffee to take with him to work. It’s just one tiny thing I can do to serve him and let him know how much I appreciate him.

But that particular Tuesday morning, boy, it made me mad. Here I was, rushing around to pack the car and grab last minute stuff for our trip, and he’s sitting there reading his Bible and he wants a cup of coffee.

Are any of you thinking, “Wow. That’s so selfish.”  I sure was.

[Before you read any further, please know that my husband and I have already discussed this and he encouraged me to post this.]

But here’s the deal, the real deal.

That’s me. That man sitting at the table reading his Bible while the rest of the family is rushing around — as painful as it is to share this with y’all — that’s me.

And, dare I say it aloud or type it out on my little phone keyboard, but I feel all super-spiritual while I’m sitting there. I’m thinking to myself, “They should’ve gotten up earlier. Why are they rushing around? They’re so unorganized.” Or some other such self-righteous thoughts.

Somehow it is so much easier to see the speck in someone else’s eye than the log in my own. I think Jesus talked about that sometime.

In all honesty, who was the selfish one here? Truth be told, both of us. 

Here I was, heading out of town for a week in Florida, while my husband stayed back to work and take care of the dog … and I’m complaining about getting him a cup of coffee. I wish that I could look not only to my own interests but also to the interests of others. I wish that I could serve others like Christ served me. Jesus did so much more than get me a cup of coffee with a quick-as-a-wink Keurig machine.

Father, I pray that you would give me your strength to love and serve others like you loved and served to me. I thank you for the blessing it is to have a husband to get coffee for. I thank you for the blessing it is to have a husband who reads the Bible. I thank you for the blessing it is to have a daughter who invited me to come with her younger siblings to bring along. Thank you for your Holy Spirit that convicts me of sin and shows me my own self-righteous, deceitful heart. Thank you that your mercies are new every morning and that you are faithful and just to forgive us of sin and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Father, I pray for the strength to turn away from selfish motives and desires. Give me a heart like yours. Amen.