Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

#32- Pipes and Priorities

A Character story about focus.

"Hi, Mom," Julie greeted as she bounced into the kitchen one morning. "How was your meeting last night?"
"Oh, hi, Julie. The meeting was very interesting, thanks. My, but you sure are up quickly this morning."
"Yeah. Something really neat came up and I want to ask your permission to do it. I'll wait until Dad gets here so I don't have to explain it twice. Did Joshua sleep through the night last night?"
"No, but he only got up once and that wasn't bad. I can get some more rest when you are all gone for the day."
"That's good. Oh, these glasses! They always get smeary. I guess I'd better wash them off again." Julie stepped to the sick and flipped the faucet causing a blast of cold water to splash down.
Suddenly, a "Yow!" came from upstairs. Julie quickly turned off the faucet and looked sheepishly at her mother. "I forgot Daddy was in the shower. I hope he didn't get burned."
"Me too," her mother agreed.
Soon everyone was gathered at the table for breakfast and, after thanking the Lord for the food, Julie spoke first. "Daddy, on Thursday Sandra is having a birthday party after school and she asked if I could stay and spend the night. I told her I thought I could but I needed to ask you. Can I . . . please!"
"What about the big history test Friday?" Jason asked. "When would you study?"
"Oh, we can study for that together at her house."
"But, Honey," Mrs. Jensen added, "you know that you don't get much rest when you spend the night at a friend's house. On a school night, and especially before a test, that's not good."
"That reminds me," Jason inserted. "Our biggest hockey game of the season is, of all things, this Sunday. I know you don't like me playing on Sunday but this game may determine the championship. I'd only miss the evening service and I could get a ride with one of the other guys. Can I do it just this once?"
The twins both looked at their dad and mom hoping for a confirmation of their plans. "Well," Mr. Jensen responded, "these both seem to be good things to do, and they would be fun. But I just wonder if they are the best things to do. I mean, I wonder if they are top priority."
"What do you mean?" Julie asked.
"Well, let me explain it this way. This morning while I was in the shower, someone must have turned on the cold water faucet."
"I'm the guilty one," Julie confessed. "I'm sorry about that. I just wasn't thinking."
"That's all right. I know you didn't do it on purpose. I brought that up because it illustrates the point I'm trying to make. You see, the water goes through the pipes because of water pressure. I adjust the two faucets so that I mix the hot and cold as they come out at their usual pressure. When you turned on one of the faucets, the pressure of the water in that pipe has to be shared between the two faucets so the quantity I get is reduced. In this case, the cold was shared and I got too much hot as a result. The pipe simply is not big enough to maintain the same amount when two different faucets are demanding its water.
"Our bodies work much the same way. When we try to run immediately after eating, we can get cramps. This happens because the body is sending an extra supply of blood to the muscles to run, but the blood is really needed in the stomach to digest."
"That must be why the coach tells us to eat at least two hours before a hockey game," Jason said.
"Right. Let your body get done with the digesting and then it can concentrate on moving the muscles. By the way, for the same reason it is better not to stuff yourself just before a big test. Your brain requires fuel to think clearly. If the digestive system is needing some, your brain may not work quite as well. In fact, I find that I don't get as well rested if I eat a lot just before bed."
"I understand what you're saying," Julie said, "but what does it have to do with my going over to Sandra's house?"
"Simply this. Just like the water pipes and our bodies, we can only do our best at one thing at a time. Because of this, we need to set priorities. Priorities are a list of the things we do in the order of their importance. Once we establish what is most important and second and third, then the Lord wants us to work at keeping the list in that order. So what do you think is most important to keep first?"
"I'd say spiritual things, like Bible reading and prayer," Jason said.
"And church?" Mr. Jensen asked. Jason got the point but didn't answer. "You're right, of course. This is why we have family Bible reading and prayer each morning- to help keep the Lord as our first priority. O.K., and what would be second?"
"I think second would be what goes on in our home," Mrs. Jensen added.
"And then our school work third," Julie inserted.
"That's great. Your list is right in order according to Ephesians chapters five and six. When these are accomplished, then we will still have time for extra fun and we'll really enjoy it because we know we have gotten done first things first."
"I know what's coming next," Jason said. "Hockey on Sunday and staying over night before a school day and test are putting the list out of order. Right?"
"Well, what do you think?"
"I guess I knew it wasn't right anyway. If I'm going to be a testimony to the other guys, I'd better keep those priorities in order, huh?"
"Hmmm," Julie remarked, "I wonder if I could spend the night at Sandra's house on Friday instead. Maybe I could go home from school with her. Then we wouldn't have to get up early for school either."
"That sounds like a better choice," Mr. Jensen agreed. "You know, when we really work at keeping first things first, the Lord will often give us creative alternatives to accomplish everything that He wants us to do."
"You're right," Julie affirmed. "And Daddy, next time I'll try to remember to help the water pipes keep their priorities in order too!"

PUZZLE. Cross off two letters and then put the third on the blank below. Continue this pattern and see what message is spelled when you are done.

TRTERHGFEWQLDSOYURDFDCVSFGHLPOKLUKJLKJDHNBJUEKIOJHUSWRSATFDOWQPKJPOIRYUIKLOJKRGHIYHTBNYMN!

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