Wednesday, November 28, 2012

On the brink of the immense inkwell...

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

On the brink of the immense inkwell....

Cinnamon Bear and the kids run away from the ink-a-boo battle and jump in the root beer ocean. They even see the silver star floating by not too far in the distance.  

Crazy Quilt saves the day. "I just wanted to show you about how sorry I was about the silver star."~ Crazy Quilt

"Crazy Quilt is one of us now and we're glad to have him" Says Jimmy

They named this episode Weasley The Wailing Whale because he is the next character introduced in the story. We will get more about him tomorrow.

Here's the link todays episode.

Today I think the real story is about how we once stood on the brink of the immense inkwell. We all deserve punishment. We all have sinned and fallen short of God holy standards. We are all like Jimmy, Judy and the Cinnamon Bear who have been sentenced to be pushed into the immense inkwell by the Ink-a-boo blotter people.  Judy starts into a bit of a pity party. Jimmy is ready to fight and Cinnamon bear says they should not give up because something always happens. Of course something does happen because we need our little band of star seeking heros for the story to go on.

Here's the verse for today's post from Acts 3:19 (NKJV)
19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, 
so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,"
I thought the part about your sins being blotted went well with our blotter people in the story today. The story of course is not written like the Chronicles of Narnia to share a Christian message. I am using it more as a spring board to show you that we can find ways to share the truths of the kingdom even from the ordinary things all around our lives. For example when my Children were little we talked about how Santa was a good man who gave gifts to people. We focused on how we should be givers. We talked about how Santa was a prentend story and that it is fun to pretend. We talked about how God gave us wonderful imaginations so we could create wonderful stories. We talked about how the story of Jesus is a real story that we can truly believe. I never wanted my children to find out that they had been lied to about Santa and to make the leap that they might have also been lied to about Jesus. I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad about how they decided to deal with the subject of Santa with their own children. It was just my personal conviction and I how I felt led to handle it with my own children. My children still love watching all the Ho Ho Ho Christmas movies. They had a wonderful time pretending all sorts of silly things in their younger years. We learned very early the difference between pretend and real stories and our focus at Christmas has not been all about the gifts we will get but more about how we will be a blessing to others.

Anyway I am hoping that you will see that even in ordinary secular stories like the Cinnamon Bear can be spring boards that you can use to talk about faith in Christ. Even in this episode there are probably a number of directions that could become discussion starters.
You could talk about courage and not giving up in the face of danger. How Jesus helps us when we fear. There are quite a few "Fear not" verses in the bible. I have a friend who made a daily flip book and filled it with a years worth of verses for her mother who struggles with fear. 

You could talk about forgiveness, how Crazy Quilt felt bad and wanted to demonstrate how sorry he was for steeling and then loosing the silver star. There are lots of bible stories and examples of how God forgives us even with all our flaws and imperfections.
 I guess the one that jumps out for me today is the image of the immense inkwell. While the idea of an inkwell is less familiar to children of today as an artest I can remember using an ink well and the pointy calligraphy pens. That ink would stain your fingers for a long time. You had to be so careful not to slop it or drip it. If you got too much in you would use a very absorbant  paper to blot or carefully soak up the excess.  The thought of what would happen to Cinnamon bear if he were pushed into the immense ink well, you would never be able to get the black ink out of a stuffed toy. Jimmy talks about being a good swimmer but is told that the ink is un-swimmable. You just sink and sink and sink. It makes me think of Revelation 20:15 “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” I can hear some of you thinking how could a loving God do such a thing? God does not send anyone to hell it was created for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41) God however is just and in his mercy has provided a way. That way is to believe in Jesus, that his sacrifice was enough to pay the price for your sins, past, present and future.
We all are stained by sin but when we accept what Jesus has done for us God looks at Jesus and he is more than enough even though we fall terribly short of God's holy standards.
Think about how great God's love is that he would send Jesus to become a spotless lamb for all of us who chose to accept and believe in what he has done for us. Its not that we have to clean our selves up between salvation and actually getting to heaven. We can't begin to be good enough to earn or deserve this pardon that God has given us through Jesus. We can get our selves in to a Christianized rut of thinking we need to read the bible enough and pray enough and be kind and generous enough. If that is how we are approaching living a life of faith we are still trying to earn God's approval. Turn it around an make your goal as you live a life of faith that of knowing Jesus more and more. Ask him to lead you in his word. Begin to recognize his love and mercy as you are going through each day. 

Prayer: Lord help us if we are still stuck in the idea of having to preform for you acceptance. Help us to realize that you love us right where we are today. You want to do a transforming work in each of us. Help us see that you are not waiting for us to be good enough. Help us to gain a better understanding of how we are to live a life of faith in you. Help us to realize that we once stood at the edge of a type of immense inkwell, under a sentence of judgement. Thank you for stepping in and taking the punishment that we deserved.

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