Massachusetts Woman Sees Image Of Jesus On Her Iron

1_61_112709_jesus_iron

METHUEN, Mass. —  A Massachusetts woman who recently separated from her husband, had her hours at work cut, and moved into an apartment, says an image of Jesus Christ she sees on her iron has reassured her that “life is going to be good.”

Mary Jo Coady first noticed the image on Sunday when she walked into her daughter’s room.

The brownish residue on the bottom of the iron looks like the face of a man with long hair.

The 44-year-old Coady, who was raised Catholic, and her two college-age daughters agree that the image looks like Jesus and is proof that “he’s listening.”

Coady tells The Eagle-Tribune she hopes her story will inspire others during the holidays. She says she plans to keep the iron in a closet and buy a new one.*

………

When I first read this story,  I shook my head in disbelief.  To me the residue looked as much like the Sphinx or a poodle as it does a person.  To me, I thought, it would reassure me I needed to clean my iron.

But then the Lord convicted me of my condescending arrogance and lack of compassion for this poor woman.  Recently separated, work hours cut, having to move into an apartment, probably from her home, and desperate to be reassured that “life is going to be good.”  How sad, lonely and hopeless she must feel to be starting life over at 44 without a husband.

How heartbreaking that her religion seems to have failed to inform her that God speaks through his Word, and that she’d be so desperate she’d look to a smudge on an iron for hope.

How tragic that she doesn’t appear to know that the Bible is filled with promises from God – wonderful, bright promises that he’ll never to leave us nor forsake us, that he will never cease doing good to us, that he causes all things to work together for our good.

How pitiable that she doesn’t seem to know that though life isn’t always good, God is.

And how heart-rending that she believes some residue on the bottom of her iron would prove that “he’s listening,” that she wouldn’t know “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry,” and “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (PS 34.15, 17, 18).

How merciful God has been to reveal to me that the Bible is God’s very word, his love letter to me, by which I can fellowship with Christ.  How kind God has been to give me his “great and precious promises,” upon which to build my faith, and not “signs” on irons.  How merciful God’s been to assure me by his Word that he cares for me and will provide for me.

Let’s give thanks today for the gift of God’s Word, and pray for this woman and multitudes of others to come to a true knowledge of Jesus and a hope that is sure.

*Foxnews.com, AP

Time For Cowboy Breakfast Again

For those of you looking for new holiday traditions, consider having Thanksgiving breakfast on the North 40.

Ever since my kids were little, on Thanksgiving morning I’ve gotten up early — well not that early — and prepared our annual “Cowboy Breakfast.” What is a Cowboy Breakfast, you ask? First of all, it is a breakfast that cowboys would eat: scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon, sausage, fried potatoes, fried onions, fried green peppers, fried apple slices, and toast — preferably not whole wheat or some other healthy abomination. The whole thing is gloriously cholesterol-laden, and rich in saturated fat.

A cowboy breakfast has two basic rules: first, manners are forbidden. I started this rule because I was always working on manners with the kids the other 364 days of the year and figured they needed one day a year off.  (“I’ll tell you why it matters how you hold your knife.  When you’re grown up, you might just be invited to the President’s house for dinner.  If you don’t know how to hold your knife you’ll look like a bumpkin.  Do you want to look like a bumpkin in front of the President?)

So the Cowboy Breakfast no manners rule means you can talk with your mouth full, slurp, eat with your fingers, put your elbows on the table, burp, and lick your plate if you want to.  All these are encouraged.  You don’t have to say “please” and “thank you.” You can say, “Gimme them eggs.”  Everybody can talk at once. You can wipe your mouth on the back of your arm.

The second rule is you must talk in a cowboy voice and utter cowboy-like sayings, for example, (in Texas accent) “Jonny, after we’re done chowin’ down here, I want you to get up to the north 40 and fix that fence.  We got dogies (not doggies) runnin’ all over tarnation.  Man, these eggs is mighty good if I do say so m’self.  Consarn it!  I just dripped grease all over my new chaps.  Hey woman, kin I git you to clean ‘em after yer done fixin’ that leak in the barn and skinnin’ that buffalo I shot this mornin’?  I’d preciatate it a heap.”

This Thanksgiving we’ll do our Cowboy breakfast for probably the 20th year in a row.   We’ve had cousins and other families join us, and it’s one of our favorite traditions.  The kids don’t do the cowboy voices much these days, but they still want to do the breakfast.

So around 7:30 or 8 Thanksgiving morning, you’ll find me in our kitchen slicing potatoes and firing up several frying pans full of oil.  And I’ll still be talkin’ like a cowboy, consarn it, even if nobody else wants to.  Now where’s that woman got to?  I need my socks darned.

This article was originally published November 19, 2008.

photo by anyjazz65

Jumpin’ Catfish Filets, Batman!

catfish

It’s an unusual day that begins by answering a knock at the back door and one is greeted by two grizzled fishermen offering a bucket of 8 live bullhead catfish.

That’s how my day off began.   I met them the evening before fishing at a local lake, and had talked with them a while.  Their “salty” language didn’t bother me, but when they found out I was a pastor, it suddenly bothered them, and they profusely apologized for using such words around “a man of the cloth.”

I gave them a personal tract with my address on it – what’s more natural than giving your address to total strangers you just met in the middle of nowhere?  Apparently they fished all night hoping a bucket of catfish would atone for their vocabulary.  I graciously accepted it, since I like catfish and didn’t want to refuse their hard-earned gift.

Cleaning catfish is not for the timid.

Catfish are notoriously hardy creatures and can live outside water for some time.  They’re very hard to kill.  They don’t have scales like most fish – their skin is smooth and slimy.  To remove it, you lay the live catfish on a board,  hammer a large nail through its head, cut the skin the whole way around the head, grab the skin with pliers and pull toward the tail.  Then you gut the fish, cut off its head and tail, leaving a nice filet.

After cleaning each cat, I put the filet in the sink.  While working on fish number 4 or 5, I heard a noise in the sink.  When I looked in (play Twilight Zone music here), I was astonished to see the filets in the sink twitching and flipping, like a fish might flip around when you catch it and plop it on the shore.  No heads, no tails, no skin – just chunks of fish flipping around in the sink.  Apparently, nerves were still firing in the dancing filets.

Amazing – the fish were dead, but still kicking.  Like chickens with their heads cut off running around the barnyard. Like the sin that remains in a Christian’s life after regeneration.

Before we’re born again, we’re in “the flesh” – our fallen nature.  But when Jesus saves us, he strikes a death blow to our sin nature, and gives us a new heart and a new nature, born of the Spirit.  This is now our dominant nature.  Our old nature, though crucified, is not dead yet – it still seeks to exert its influence and entice us to sin.  It’s like the filets in the sink, still twitching and flipping.

Eventually the chunks of catfish stopped moving.  Similarly, someday our sin nature will be obliterated.  In the meantime, we must not be surprised when our old self twitches, jerks and rears its ugly head.  Indwelling sin doesn’t go down without a fight.  But fight we must, killing our sin day by day, confident that Jesus will complete his sanctifying work in our lives.

So don’t give up – keep fighting the good fight of faith.  Keep killing that sin by the Spirit’s power.  Victory’s on the way.

photo by doug.deep

Advice For A New Homeowner

I just bought a new house. My first house. Praise God.

Slight problem though. I know nothing about owning a home. I own a screwdriver, a hammer, a pair of pliers, and a tape measure. All previous home repairs have been done with duct tape.

If you told me that the headlight fluid on my radiator gasket needed to be replaced, I would believe you. I wish that Tim “the toolman” Taylor was my uncle.

So what advice would you give to me, the new homeowner?