Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Are YOU smarter than a 5th grader?

The other day I was watching someone who I consider to be much smarter than me struggle...helplessly...with a computer issue.  It was really a fairly simple one.  This person was using Excel to make a graph.  Or trying to, anyway.  I am self-taught at Excel.  And pretty darn good at it if I say so myself.  And was feeling superior.

And then it occurred to me.  I was comparing this "smarter" person's skill set with my own.  Excel? Pshaw!  I got it down.  Linux?  HUH?  Never in a million years.  And I'm currently (trying to) learn Photoshop.  It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks.  But give this Excel-challenged person an engine or a carbuerator to dissasemble and repair...he's your guy.

A friend posted a quote from Albert Einstein on their Facebook profile. It said something like everyone is a genius.  But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will fail dismally.  And if that fish's persepective on its intelligence is based around its tree climbing ability, it will think itself stupid.

So change your perspective.  You may be a whiz at cooking, sewing, grammar...but feel "less than" because you can't figure out a formula for Excel.  Or you may be a gear head and mechanical things light your fire, but feel as if you are dumb because a simple email program confounds you.  It's not a matter of smarter THAN...it's a matter of perspective.  We're all in this together.  Let's make sure we have each other's back.  In the end, that's what will matter.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Deal tenderly now, Father (a prayer by John Piper)

Father in heaven, you are the absolute Sovereign over the shaking of the earth, the rising of the sea, and the raging of the waves. We tremble at your power and bow before your unsearchable judgments and inscrutable ways. We cover our faces and kiss your omnipotent hand. We fall helpless to the floor in prayer and feel how fragile the very ground is beneath our knees.

O God, we humble ourselves under your holy majesty and repent. In a moment—in the twinkling of an eye—we too could be swept away. We are not more deserving of firm ground than our fellowmen in Japan. We too are flesh. We have bodies and homes and cars and family and precious places. We know that if we were treated according to our sins, who could stand? All of it would be gone in a moment. So in this dark hour we turn against our sins, not against you.

And we cry for mercy for Japan. Mercy, Father. Not for what they or we deserve. But mercy.

Have you not encouraged us in this? Have we not heard a hundred times in your Word the riches of your kindness, forbearance, and patience? Do you not a thousand times withhold your judgments, leading your rebellious world toward repentance? Yes, Lord. For your ways are not our ways, and your thoughts are not our thoughts.

Grant, O God, that the wicked will forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Grant us, your sinful creatures, to return to you, that you may have compassion. For surely you will abundantly pardon. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus, your beloved Son, will be saved.

May every heart-breaking loss—millions upon millions of losses—be healed by the wounded hands of the risen Christ. You are not unacquainted with your creatures' pain. You did not spare your own Son, but gave him up for us all.

In Jesus you tasted loss. In Jesus you shared the overwhelming flood of our sorrows and suffering. In Jesus you are a sympathetic Priest in the midst of our pain.

Deal tenderly now, Father, with this fragile people. Woo them. Win them. Save them.

And may the floods they so much dread make blessings break upon their head.

O let them not judge you with feeble sense, but trust you for your grace. And so behind this providence, soon find a smiling face.

In Jesus’ merciful name, Amen.

-John Piper