Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tone Deaf : the Good, the Bad and the Extremely Ugly

When you think of  the words: The Good, the Bad and the Extremely Ugly, do images of a dusty land and a man in a cowboy hat heading out to enact his revenge on some well deserving soul come to mind? I know it does for me.  Who knew that it would be my own mouth and reactions this weekend that would bring these words to my mind. Revenge and retaliation are just instinctive for us human beings. Just sit and watch two babies at play. Baby one will take a toy away from baby two and low and behold baby two will wack baby one upside the head with a different toy. It is a natural response. We revel in watching the good guy in a movie enact revenge on someone who has done something bad to him or his family. Heck, I have even cheered for the bad guys demise. Some say we are just wired this way. Well,  if I say I'm a Christian then I shouldn't be wired this way. We have the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit living in us, so we have the power within us to do and be better. This is the Good. This past month I have been studying in Romans 12 and finding it a lot more difficult to live out than I thought. It says in Romans 12:1-2 1Therefore, I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
 Even in knowing, that I have been transformed and that I try to stay in God's word to renew my mind. I feel that not retaliating is one of the hardest most difficult things to do in Christian living. This is the Bad. The further I get into Romans 12 the harder it is. Romans 12:17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. and in 12:19 19Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the LORD.
Which has lead me to question, what is my tone of living? Do I have a tone of grace or a tone of retribution and vengeance? Well this weekend I was tone deaf when it came to grace. All of these scriptures I have been learning were meant to be lived out on my enemies and those who persecute me, I would never need to call on the power of the Holy Spirit in reaction to my family in this way! I love my family and would never lash out at them in vengeance. Wrong!! Now here comes the Extremely Ugly!
It all started in the fact that no one was listening to me. In two different instances I had told my children to do something, well they both didn't listen and did something completely different than what I said to do. I was getting quite aggravated with them and then my beautiful, loving, husband came in from doing yard work, dancing and happy, well I wasn't going to stand for me being miserable and him being happy, so I proceeded to tell him about his children's disobedience. He tried to cheer me up by trying to avert my attention by putting his headset on my ears so I could hear the music and dance too. When that didn't work he just turned the other way and walked back outside to do yard work. I had been dissed, as my children would say. I couldn't believe he thought yard work was more important than my ranting. How dare him! LOL About 5 minutes later I went out to talk to him about lunch, (my cry for attention). He said it didn't matter and what ever I wanted to do and jokingly told me to go back inside and stop bugging him so he could finish up. Writing this it all sounds so silly. Well, that was the last straw for me, all I heard was it didn't matter and I was bugging him. I couldn't believe the jargon that rolled out of my sweet, little Christian mouth. Needless to say at that point, I was never fixing him lunch again as long as I lived. But do you know in God's true grace, my husband had put his headphones back on and started up the leaf blower so he didn't hear my awfulness in all it's glory and my kids were inside and didn't see or hear a thing. Needless to say, the walk back down the driveway and into the house became a walk of shame. In my head, kept repeating,
Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I had failed once again. Alistair Begg says,"If we allow that enemy to establish the agenda to engage us in such a way that we are caused to lose our temper than we have been defeated not by that person but we have actually been defeated by evil, by the evil one."
 It never turns out good when we try to overcome evil, with a greater evil. The moment I lost control of my anger is the moment I was overcome and pulled into being evil. Admitting to being overcome by evil is never on my list of things to do, especially to those whom I am trying to be a witness. I feel me reacting in vengeful ways mars my testimony  not only to others but most of all to my husband and my children. God has blessed me with this beautiful family to love and to take care of.  I tell my children not to act like the world and then I fall right into all the worldy ways I tell them not to do. It is God's love and kindness that led me to repentance and salvation, so that may my love and kindness for not just others but my family lead them to repentance and salvation. If I am going to teach about God's overwhelming love and salvation then I need to live it out. The only way this will happen is if I enable the Holy Spirit of God to overcome my instinctive nature to take revenge or lash out at those who have hurt me or my loved ones. 
Father how grateful I am for your grace in showing me my downfalls. I have asked you Lord as the Psalmist did, search me Oh, God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way. Fill me with Your Spirit daily, Lord, that I may overcome evil with good, help my life to show a tone of grace and not of retaliation and retribution. Help me to be a better wife and mother, help me to show them  and others a tone of grace beyond humanly possible so that they may see Your love and grace through me. In Jesus' name I ask this, Amen.

Today comfort food is on the agenda. This is one of Big Daddy's and my favorites for lunch.
Tomato Onion Pie
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
1 prepared pie crust (I just use the one found in the refrigerated section)
2 cups shredded Fondue cheese. (you can use Gruyere cheese) 
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 large tomato, sliced about 1/4 inch (enough slices to arrange on top of pie)
2 lg eggs (room temperature)
1/2 cup half n half
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat Oven to 425 degrees. In a skillet over medium high heat, heat butter and oil, when butter is melted add in onions. Cook onions until soft and slightly caramelized.
Place prepared pie crust into 9" deep dish pie plate. In a good sized bowl, add cheese, flour, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Toss lightly to combine.
 Place cheese mixture in in pie crust. Layer cooked onions on top of cheese mixture. 

Next placed sliced tomatoes on top of onions.
In a small bowl whisk together eggs and half n half. Pour evenly over tomatoes, onions and cheese mixture. Then sprinkle Parmesan over the top.
Bake at 425 degrees for 10 min. Cover crust with foil or pie crust protector.
Reduce heat to 375 and bake for 20 min. more.
I serve it with a salad for lunch or just use it in the place of a veggie item at dinner.

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