Chief of Sinners

Some of the deeper ponderings now...

I was rereading Acts 9 last week.  It is the account of Saul's conversion.  I was struck anew by the section.

I once had a friend once tell me that after reading through the Gospels, he was convinced that if there was someone not to imitate, it was the Pharisees.  It is true, really, Jesus doesn't even give them the time of day most of the time, and when he does, he ends up exasperated.  It's like talking to someone who always knows is a frustrating experience (please no slighting comments on the irony of me writing those words.  :)).

So the question I was asking myself last week was why Paul.  He seemed to be the exact opposite of the typical disciple mold.  He was hardened to the point of killing disciples.  Proud of his own zealousness.  Perfect in regard to the law as far as he was concerned.  This person sounds more like the assemblies of religious zealots that questioned Jesus, but got no answer, than a man after God's own heart.  His pride...really, that is what struck me.  But God chose him.

So this all got me thinking to the passage where he refers to himself as the chief of sinners.  I always thought he said that about himself because he had killed disciples of Christ, or he was just being humble, thinking himself worse than he really was.  But it occurred to me, that he was the chief of sinners.  He had served himself, his pride and his own god (the law).  Not the true and living God, but one he created.  He was the worst of sinners, a man with a hardened heart towards the true God.  But as Paul himself says in 1 Timothy 1, it was to show God's perfect patience.  The fact that despite being the furthest from needing God, God came to him, and by His mercy changed him.

And then I began to think about perspective on sin.  I have ranks on sins, even if I don't want to admit it.  But I always thought pride should go closer to the bottom, because everyone struggles with it.  But I'm pretty sure I was wrong.  I think pride tops the list, and although pride leads to many other sins, it also manifests itself in the form of being better than those sinners.  I spend my day teaching my children to work hard at all they do, make healthy lifestyle choices, and develop self-discipline, but if I don't spend even more time showing other mercy, understanding the perspectives of others and humbling myself before God, I am just encouraging my children to become the chief of sinners.

To be more blatant...I often worry about my children being promiscuous, lazy, or ending up in prison; but I never think, "what if my child ends up being arrogant".  I mean, I know it is a bad character trait, but I always thought it would be better than the alternatives.  Apparently not.

God is good

Well before letting loose one of the heavier topics that I have been mulling over this last month, I thought I would just do a little update on our life.

The title is apt...God is good...but He would still be good without the blessing upon blessing we have received these past few months.  And sometimes when I receive, I forget to say thanks...or acknowledge the Giver.  This time has been so different.  I seem to awake each morning with a contentment that I am just giddy about.  I mean, I don't deserve a darn thing, and yet my life is so comfortable.  I love, love, love my house, and at the risk of spending the whole post telling you about every nook and cranny, I will limit myself to just two things. 

I have the most beautiful tree outside the living room window.  It is a Linden tree Crabapple I believe, and it was pretty when we looked at the house, but now that it has lost it's leaves, it is covered with red berries.  The branches form a ceiling for our front walk that is just perfect, and I can sit by the fireplace, enjoying the snow-covered limbs every morning with a cup of coffee.  It is pretty perfect. 

And the second thing is the kitchen sink.  The kitchen is not spectacular, just ordinary laminate countertops, and oven that is a bit smaller than I am used to, and a basic fridge, but the sink...the people before us went all out.  It is solid stone so I can't stain it, and sooo deep, plus I can lay my biggest cookie sheet flat in the bottom.  On top of that , the faucet is also a sprayer and I just love it.  I mean, I do spend a good deal of time at the sink, but I never thought a sink could be so wonderful.  Quite silly, really, now that I have written it all out.

And on to the more important things in life.  The week we moved in, the girls met a neighbor girl who, we soon found out, has 3 sisters.  These 4 girls are pretty much the same age as my girls.  They are over about every day to play.  It is pretty incredible really.  It was the thing that I prayed for more than anything else...friends for the girls, and already we have managed a birthday party for Hannah with a house full of friends.  The neighbors seem just as excited to have us in the neighborhood, and it is all quite overwhelming...not the girls...the blessing.  Actually, the house runs much smoother with 8 girls than 4.  Guests seem to encourage polite behavior towards sisters, and so the house is even more pleasant with more.  Anyway, I could keep going about the blessings, for a few more years, but I will spare you.  I'll just say I feel blessed beyond measure, and then some.