Have you ever felt like this little guy [above] when your life is not going well and you see yourself never getting things “right” and never reaching your goals? I have felt the BIG “Butt Claws” snapping at me, especially when I am down, attacking me in my most vulnerable spots. For example, my writing is very important to me. I view this blog as a ministry to encourage people and glorify God. This is the main reason I really dislike making typos. In my last post, “God’s Grace and the Seven-Tool Believer,” I made a HUMUNGOUS whopper of a typo [a mistake really]. I just couldn’t believe it!. The “Seven-Tool Believer” should have been the “Nine-Tool Believer.” I was referring to the Fruit of the Spirit” and its character qualities. Last week, in the middle of the night, I awoke with the thought, “Oh no! There are NINE pieces of Fruit, not seven! ‘But the Fruit of the Spirit is  love,  joy,  peace,  patience,  kindness,  goodness,  faithfulness,  gentleness and  self-control‘ (Galatians 5:22-23a). What a stupid mistake! Why didn’t I catch it before I put it out there for the world to see? How are my readers going to think of me when I make these ridiculous typos?” I could just hear the snap-snap-snapping of those “Butt Claws”, trying to pinch at me where it hurts the most ( my writing) “You‘re never going to get people to follow your blog with all the typos you make. No one is going to read your stuff NOW!”
There are other more serious areas in which “Butt Claws” is just waiting to pinch us where it really hurts. Many of you can relate to these next examples of the relentless snap-snap-snapping in “Butt Claws’” insidious pursuit to pinch us just where it hurts until we bleed: “You will never make it through college. Why don‘t you just give up?” “No one wants to be your friend. Your speech is terrible. You’re just a cripple anyway!” “You’re never going to get married. Just look in the mirror! How can you be happy being single for the rest of your life?” “You’re a horrible spouse!. Why else would s/he leave you?” “You’re a terrible parent (aunt). Look at what your kids are doing!” “You‘re never going to have kids. You‘re just not cut out for it.” “What did you do wrong for this to happen?” “You will never make your parents proud. You’re just a loser!” “You‘re the only one in your [school, work, group] who hasn’t done IT. What’s wrong with you? Have some FUN. IT’S not going to hurt.” “Now that your mobility is gone and you’re in a wheelchair, how can God use you anymore?” “You already have to deal with cerebral palsy [ or whatever]. Why don‘t you just give up and stay home? Your friends won‘t want to put up with your stuff.“ “You’re never going to lose weight.” “You’re never going to kick that bad habit. Just look at all the times you tried and failed!” “What did you do wrong to have your baby with a disability?” “Why are you being punished with a disability [miscarriage, job loss, bad marriage]?” “Don’t you have enough faith to be healed? What‘s wrong with you?” “God wants you to be rich. What are you doing wrong?”
Before we get really depressed and discouraged, let me identify who “Butt Claws” really is. If you haven’t already figured it out yet, “Butt Claws” is my “pet name” for the evil one. Jesus describes the evil one as “…a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44b). Jesus knew that the evil one was a liar and the only way to handle him was to know the Truth found in God’s Word. In Luke 4, Jesus confronted each of the devil’s temptations with the Truth found in the Scriptures. Jesus knew that the devil’s lies were often, if not always, made up by distorting God’s Truth. The devil used Scripture to tempt Jesus, but even when the devil tried his “darnedest” to tempt Jesus in the desert with his distorted version of God‘s Truth, Jesus did not waver from what He knew to be His Father‘s genuine Truth. Jesus also knew that the devil was not done trying to destroy Him. Even after forty days of intensive heat, hunger, thirst and the insipid tempting in the desert that came to no avail, Jesus knew that the evil one was not done with Him and would be back. It says in Luke 4:13, “When the devil had finished all his tempting, he left Him [Jesus] until an opportune time.”
We have Jesus as our example as to how NOT to listen to the devil’s lies about us. All the accusations in the above paragraphs are all lies about us from the evil one. The best way to combat the devil’s lies is to know God’s Truth and to know that Jesus is much BIGGER and STRONGER than “Butt Claws.” “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). When we hear words of condemnation and accusations, we can be sure that they are not from God. “Therefore, there is now no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). When we are down on ourselves and the weight of life‘s circumstances are too heavy to bear, Jesus loves us and wants to lift us UP. “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30) . In order to NOT listen to “Butt Claws” and all His lies, Jesus teaches us by example to guard our hearts. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. BUT store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your HEART will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). “BUT seek first HIS [GOD’S] kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” Matthew 6:33)
Ephesians 6:13-16 says, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of [God’s] truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of [Jesus’] righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from [knowing] the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith [trust in God], with which you can extinguish all the FLAMING ARROWS [lies] of the evil one.”
I Peter 5:6-11 encourages us to, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
In order to stop listening to the evil one’s lies about me, I must believe and listen to what God says about me and what He Sees in me. I need to know God’s “But Clauses.” One of my favorite one is about Joseph in the Book of Genesis. Joseph’s brothers pushed him into a pit. He was found by Egyptians and forced to be a slave. Joseph spent time in prison and when he was finally let out, he became Pharaoh’s trusted servant and “right-hand man” and was entrusted with the important business Pharaoh’s kingdom, because of Joseph’s trustworthy character. When his brothers came to him for food, because of a famine, his brothers did not recognize him at first. But, when Joseph finally told them he was their brother, they were terrified of what he might do to them to get revenge. “But Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, BUT GOD intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:19-20).
Not that I am in any way comparing myself to the great patriarch Joseph, BUT GOD has been helping me through the years of living with a disability, to look at it this way: The evil one wants to use my disability “to harm me (and my family), BUT GOD intended it for good to accomplish what is being done.” One of the good things God is accomplishing in me is for me and others to see His strength in my weakness. As Paul writes, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. BUT HE (GOD) said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you. For My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (II Corinthians 12:8-9).
Here is a small sample of some of “BUT GOD [Clauses]”:
“My flesh and my heart may fail, BUT GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).
“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, BUT with GOD all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
“For GOD so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish BUT have eternal life” (John 3:16).
“BUT GOD demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
“BUT because of His great love for us, GOD, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us up with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:4-10).
“BUT you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to GOD, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, BUT now you are the people of GOD; once you had not received mercy, BUT now you have received mercy” (I Peter 2:8-10).
The above Scripture verses and others tell us the Truth of who we are in Christ: God has adopted us as His children and because of His Son dying on the cross for our sins, we are blameless, blessed, chosen, forgiven, holy, loved, redeemed by blood of Christ. God has lavishly given us His grace and wisdom and understanding in order to grasp a glimpse of “the mystery of His will made known to us by God.” We are alive in Christ, filled with the riches of God‘s grace, complete and ready and able for “when the times will have reached their fulfillment” (Ephesians 1:3-10). That‘s not all, BUT Christ has also made us free:, “So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
Not only that, BUT in Christ we are His new creations: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (II Corinthians 5:17). Not only that, BUT JESUS “was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace [with God] was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed” [of our sin and shame] (Isaiah 53:5). Not only that, BUT JESUS has changed us from victims to VICTORS over death: “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality [when Jesus comes again and gives us our new eternal bodies] then the saying will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in VICTORY.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law [trying to be good on our own]. BUT THANKS BE TO GOD! He gives us the VICTORY through our Lord JESUS CHRIST” (I Corinthians 15:54-56).
Finally, when God looks at us, He does not see our sins, BUT GOD sees the righteousness of Christ: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us…God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (II Corinthians 5:20a-21). Not only does God see Jesus when He looks at us, we are also His beloved children: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is who we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. BUT we know that when He [Jesus] appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (I John 3:1-2).
The next time life gets overwhelming and you feel like Charlie Brown who never gets to kick the football and you hear the snap-snap-snapping of “BUTT CLAWS” getting closer and closer, turn your attention to who you really are in Christ and how God sees you. Isn’t that the real Truth of who you are? I am convinced that seeing ourselves the way God sees us will help us to see other believers as God sees them, no matter how different they may be from us. Seeing people as God sees them is crucial in the healing process in broken relationships and broken churches who are in the midst of conflict (the topic of my next post).
Also, it helps me to think about the “Butt Claws” and all his “crabby” friends and their eventual demise: “But the wicked will perish: The LORD’S enemies [and ours] will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish – like smoke” (Psalm 37:20) and “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ. For the accuser [BUTT CLAWS] of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore, rejoice you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He will be filled with fury, because he knows his time is short’” (Revelation 12:10-12).
By the way, I did change the title of my last post to, “God’s Grace and the Nine-Tool Believer” as well as a few more typos (SIGH!), so you‘ll see the edited version if you google it. I am still going to strive for typo-free posts, BUT GOD is helping me not to be too bent out of shape if I do make typos. As long as you guys get my drift, it’s all good!
Thank you all for “following “ lydslookonlife! WELCOME to all my new followers!
CRAB CAKES Anyone? (Easy Crab Cake Recipe [Suggestion] from tasteofhome.com)
*2 CANS [6 OUNCES EACH] CRABMEAT, DRAINED, FLAKED AND CARTILAGE REMOVED
*1 CUP SEASONED BREAD CRUMBS, DIVIDED
*1 EGG, LIGHTLY BEATEN
*¼ CUP FINELY CHOPPED GREEN ONIONS
*¼ CUP FINELYCHOPPED SWEET RED ONION
*¼ CUP MAYONNAISE [REDUCED-FAT MAYO OPTIONAL]
*I TABLESPOON LEMON JUICE
½ TEASPOON GARLIC POWDER
*1/8 TEASPOON CAYENNE PEPPER
*I TABLESPOON BUTTER
*IIN A LARGE BOWL, COMBINE THE CRAB, I/3 CUP BREAD CRUMBS, EGG, ONIONS, MAYONNAISE, LEMON JUICE, GARLIC POWDER AND CAYENNE PEPPER.
*DIVIDE MIXTURE INTO EIGHT PORTIONS; SHAPE IN 2-INCH BALLS. ROLL IN REMAINING BREAD CRUMBS. FLATTEN TO ½ -INCH THICKNESS.
*IN A LARGE NONSTICK SKILLET, COOK CRAB CAKES IN BUTTER FOR 3-4 MINUTES ON EACH SIDE OR UNTILL GOLDEN BROWN. YIELD: 4 SERVINGS.
Wine or Optional Beverages
LIGHT-BODIED WHITE WINE: [NEW ZEALAND] SAUVIGNON BLANC OR [ITALIAN] PINOT GRIGIO. OTHER OPTIONS: SWEET ICED TEA WITH LEMON WEDGE, ZESTY LEMONADE OR ICED WATER WITH LEMON WEDGE.
I have gone to Baltimore twice, to a RED SOX vs. ORIOLES game, at Camden Yards. Each time, I had to have those famous Maryland crab cakes. I think I had a glass of sauvignon blanc with them. If you don’t like sea food, maybe you can try the recipe with ground turkey or pork [maybe without the lemon].