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Tuesday Thoughts 8-14-18

The devil is in the details.  This is an old saying but there are probably many of you unfamiliar with it these days. It doesn’t matter, because whether known or not, its stated reality is a daily experience (if we’re paying even just a little attention).  It plays out in many circumstances but one of the most constant and vivid in my experience is the world of plumbing.  On the surface, it’s a simple element of life in America.  Turn the faucet, and water comes out.  Push the handle and it flushes.  Rotate the knob a little toward “hot” and you’ll have an enjoyable shower.  Ah, but when one of those things (or many others) doesn’t work as expected, the detail devil kicks up its heels!  It won’t simply be a new knob, a tightened fitting, or an adjusted temperature.  It will require every plumbing tool you own (and a couple borrowed ones), 3 trips to the hardware store, and twice as long as you thought (plus a half an hour).  You know this is true even if you’re not on the DYI side of the issue because it still pops up in situation comedies eventually.  The way these demonic details come to light in plumbing is by discovery, but it doesn’t always work that way.  Sometimes the details are present right away, but we don’t recognize them or minimize their relationship to the task at hand.  This is the sneaky way it works in issues of spiritual conflict (or warfare, if you prefer).  The proof can be seen when we reach end-of-rope moments.   All of us have them, but most of us realize this is not what God had in mind by going to the great lengths of becoming one of us and paying sin’s penalty for us.  So what’s the deal (or, “how did I get here…again?”)?   Most likely, you skipped over a detail.  Maybe you find yourself immersed in an old habit you had once conquered.  It seems like there’s no hope and it will consume you.  But somewhere back in time there was the tiny detail; an offered, tiny, look…sip…critical attitude, and it seemed like just one harmless little detail with no influence.  Or you’re deeply wounded by someone with whom you used to be deeply connected.  But there was that one little word that was spoken a while back.  It stung but instead of a simple inquiry to clear the air, it was shrugged off as a petty thought and stuffed down inside to feed a growing resentment.  Or you could be in the desert of distance from God.   He seems so aloof, his Word so dry that you stopped reading, and his answers so few, and far-between that you stopped conversing.   But there was a moment, back there somewhere, that an important, but little detail became a “gray area” and lost its importance & practice.  Did you notice the shift?  The irony (or the distortion of the world) is that our opening idiom was birthed out of the much older saying, “God is in the details”, so that whether our perspective is avoiding the traps of the enemy or entering into the blessings of our Savior, the root is the same: pay attention to the details and honor God in them!  As the great Old Testament writer of wisdom, King Solomon wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5–6 (NLT).  The good news is that a turnaround begins the same way the slide did…living out the details intentionally.  So surrender ALL of them and climb away from the end of the rope!

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