Archive | April 2012

Hoarders

Have you ever watched the TV show “Hoarders, Buried Alive”?
I have only actually watched it a few times but have seen commercials about it several times…
As I watch, I am amazed at how “blind” or how “numb” these people who live day in and day out in these homes are to their surroundings..
Watching them climb over mountains of clothing, furniture, or trash to get from one end of the house to the other without actually “seeing” that this is really…. Not… normal is amazing to me.
I watch as family members or friends come in and try to help them…. to convince them to “clean” things up … throw things out….and they will fight tooth and nail to hold on to even the littlest item that they feel as though they could not possibly live without.    You can actually see the panic set into their faces when faced with the possibility of parting with anything they have collected….!
They say things like…. it is my house…. my life…. I’m not hurting anyone…its not hurting me…its really ok….
But when they begin to dig into those piles…. they have found all kinds of  bugs.. evidence of rodents…..mold …. mildew…. things that can be very deadly to those people if not taken care of… hidden from them either by choice or by design.
When they finally get these people professional help, the agony and the struggle they go through is beyond my understanding.     How can anyone be so attached to “junk”….how can anyone be so blind to the filth that is lying underneath those piles… how can anyone live like that … .how can anyone……?
…..and then it hit me…
How many of us have those “things” in our lives (spiritually) that we are hoarding?
Those things that we hang on to because we just absolutely feel like we can not  get rid of it and survive…. Little sins or habits  that really don’t hurt anyone…. its my “house”…. my life….I’m not hurting anyone…. it’s not hurting me…..its really ok….
but..
if not taking care of… if we continue to pile those “little” sins on top of one another… they begin to create pockets of decay… attracting bugs….rodents….. in some areas mold and mildew begins to grow and causing us to become ill… become weak… and could very likely be deadly to us if not “cleaned out”
What could possibly be in my life that I would not want to get rid of… ?    Something that I just climb over in my mind when I need to get from one thought to another…one day to the next…. surely … I could see something that bad … that obvious….
Unforgiveness for one…. some of us hold on to that “sin” for sometimes years…. decades…. we can’t possibly imagine living with out that…. every time we are faced with the idea of “throwing it out” we shudder…we deserve that “token” in our lives…. its my little pile… not hurting anyone…
but… if we dig underneath …. we can see that the deadly mold and decay … the bugs….the rodents are eating away at our lives and if we don’t “clean” it out… throw it out… it will be deadly to us ….
Gossip….
Lying…..
Cheating….
Wrong Thoughts…
Pride……
Unbelief……
Fear….
How many piles do we really have in our lives…? If we really … really... opened our eyes… we would probably be amazed at what we have been climbing over for several years and not actually seeing the abnormal way of life we have been living.
Those people on the TV show have had to have someone come in and “reveal” to them Reality!    To open their eyes to the fact that this was not an ideal way of life… but, there is a much better life under that pile… freedom … and health.
Holy Spirit… open my eyes to those piles that I have in my life… the ones that I have grown accustomed to so much that I somehow do not even notice that it is not “normal”…….the sins that I have hoarded in fear that I can not live without … those things that are actually rotting and destroying my life… Give me strength, wisdom, and revelation to clean my house of all those piles so that I may live a life that is full and fruitful!
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Martyrs

My Pastor was talking today about Martyrs during a sermon a few weeks ago….. Those who have given EVERYTHING for their Faith… their Love…. to, and for, the One True God…. When faced with the opportunity to deny that Faith… that God they served or…. face a death in such a horrific manner… they chose to stay faithful to the One who had been faithful to them, trusting in what the Word of God said that if we were faithful, (even if we must die for it) He will give us the crown of life…. (Revelation 2:10)

Some,  have spent years imprisoned for their faith … beaten … and suffering on a daily basis by those who hate them simply because of their God,  and still,  have witnessed to thousands of people in spite of their captivity.

Here in America… we really do not have persecution to that extreme…

Yet….

Oh… we sometimes get poked fun at because of our beliefs…our standards…our Faith….
We may get yelled at by someone who wants to call us intolerant if we make a statement against a moral issue…racists if we simply disagree with someone out side our race or our belief system… but … all in all … most of what is lost is a few tears or maybe some self-esteem.    Except on those rare occasions do we lose our lives… or well-being.     We are still … functional….

As I sat and listened to the sermon….I began thinking about how when we hear the word Martyrs our minds think of those who usually are in a foreign country …Those who have gone on a short-term mission trip or who have chosen to make it their life work….Then, God dropped this thought in my mind…. we have Martyrs here…. Daily…..and you and I know them Personally!

My Dad … I believe was a Martyr…
You see… My Dad had Cancer…. He actually received Jesus while in Stage 4 Cancer.    He was given just a few months by the Doctors to live…. and yet… he lived several months longer… why?     He was a fighter…. yes… but…. more than that… I believe God gave him a mission.     Nurses that would take care of him, would marvel at his strength… his as well as my mom’s ability to face all of those terrible things that came along with that horrible disease, with love for each other….trust in a God we all believed in …and I believe… that even though my Dad was officially a new Christian… He knew Jesus from the time He was a little boy and that showed to those around him.    Without speaking a word…. He ministered faith… love… hope… to every Nurse,  Doctor, or Hospice person who came in contact with him.

I have had friends … Killed in a Car wreck…. Coming home from a church service on a Sunday night… Who loved God and walked to the best of their ability to serve a faithful God…
I have friends who have lost little ones far to soon…. I can not imagine the pain that has to be in their heart…their souls… their spirits…

Friends and Family members and acquaintances who have gone through the fire… the torture…. the suffering at the hands of evil circumstances… sickness… disease…perils…
Some overcoming… some … not.   Their Faith in the God who never leaves us or forsakes us…. held in the highest utmost position in their lives.    Never wavering or denying that One True God they knew and Loved…even unto death.

With each one of those loses… Many,  who may have never heard the Gospel,   have come to know…. or will… come to know that same loving God that they and I  serve.    Not one of those lives lost…… have been in vain!

The Bible says in John 10:10
Satan (the Thief) comes to steal, Kill and destroy….

Whether it is in a foreign country being physically imprisoned , tortured or murdered by an enemy that can be seen……or here at home… imprisoned in a body and suffering from a horrible disease,  or a life that has been taken before their time by an enemy that we can not see…..

The enemy hates you if you love God!

But…. I have a God who loves us so much that He gave His own son as a Martyr for You and for me!   Many have and will hear the Gospel and be saved through his imprisonment, torture and death.

My favorite verse in the Bible brings this home…..

Genesis 50:20 NLT         You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.  He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.

 

The Plan of Attack

scissors[1]I guess I am probably the Hairdresser’s worst nightmare because those scissors in my bathroom drawer are a little bit too handy when the mirror is not reflecting what I want it to.     Several times,  I have tried to “improve” that reflection by “trimming” just the crown portion of my hair so that it will do what I want it too…. I either don’t have the time to get an appointment to see the “Professional”…. or…. I am just wanting instant results and don’t want to wait.

Now… I can pretty much get away with it the first time…..It looks ok to the untrained eye and from a distance….. but… if I do it again before I have it done professionally…. that line between the top and the bottom gets to be pretty drastic and then when they try to “fix” it to my specifications….well…. it is almost next to impossible.    I have to give them credit though…. they want to make me happy and we seem to find a “compromise”.    They are now happy that I have not left crying and I am happy that they didn’t butcher me.

HOWEVER…. Neither one of us REALLY got the IDEAL outcome.    Well…. Last week I went to someone new.    I had to admit to him that I had taken the scissors to my hair and his reply was….”I was wondering what happened to the top of your head”….yep… it was pretty obvious!!!  Not quite in the running for the Billy Cirus look a like photo shoot…. but close!

Now… the plan of attack…. He is going to see me in 4 week intervals… (I am assuming, before I have a chance to get the scissors out).    Let the top grow out to fill in that spot that has been removed by said scissors and then slowly get me to what I am hopefully anticipating as the Ideal cut that I have been so desperately seeking for sometime now.   He can “see” that outcome in his mind…. I can’t right now… but… I decided that I was going to trust him and go with it.   Why?   Was it his confident tone of  how he told me?    My desperation on getting “fixed” ?     My age,  in the fact that I am not as “picky” as I once was?   I’m really not quite sure… maybe ……a combination of those and many others floating around in my head.  I just did it!

Granted…. he did have to go to the extreme on the length in order to make it all meld together…. but… since I know that he has a plan of attack and a final outcome that is supposed to be fantastic... well…..that seemed to be all that I needed to keep me from falling into that pit of despair that would have normally been my home for the next 3 months until my hair grew back.

God also has a plan of attack for my life!     He knows what He has planned out for my life!

Jeremiah 29:11 in the Message Bible says it this way “ I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out-plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”

Wow…. pretty plain and simple…He has it all planned out!     Step by Step….. hour by  hour…. day by day…. week by week…. month by month….. year….. by…… year.    Yep… sometimes we have to wait year…. by ….. year to see that Ideal plan unfold…. !    I sometimes however, do not like to wait… So…. I get those scissors out of the drawer and start “trimming” on those problem spots in my life myself.    Now,  I can sometimes get away with it …..for awhile.     Things seem to look as though they are ok and “fixed” to the untrained eye and …… from a distance…. but….If I continue to “trim” on those problems myself…. after awhile….well…like my hair…. the top and the bottom… the beginning and the end …. just doesn’t “meld” together.     That middle part…. the part that I am living in … the here and now…. just …. exists…there is no flow…no..harmony…. it is just….”there”….
So….

NOW… I take it to the Professional… NOW …. I surrender….. NOW …. I trust…. OH YES…. He has a mess to fix….I tell HIM that I have taken the scissors to my life… to “trim” off those problems…and HE says…. “Yes… I was wondering what had happened to that part of your life”…. and then…. He puts into motion HIS plan of attack…. HE sometimes has to really get drastic in HIS first line of defense…Whack off some of what I had been hanging on to for what ever reason…. It doesn’t seem to be ….and right now isn’t… the Ideal situation… but… HE has a plan!     If I will just hang on to that HOPE …. and catch the “vision” My God has for me….That Plan…. That HE is going to take care of me…. that HE will NOT abandon me…. and that HE is giving me the future that I hope for!!!!

OH MY!!!!

I am hoping for a glorious, prosperous, amazing, bright, wonderful future….!

And my GOD said HE will give that to me!

I am hooking up with HIS Plan of attack for my life!!!!

Making Healthy Choices

When you turn on the tv…. read a newspaper….. listen to the radio…. it seems like we hear story after story of Children disappearing…….. wifes or husbands vanishing…. not a day goes by, I doubt, that something, somewhere has happened to someone that is beyond imagination.     They tend to look first at family members, which to me, has to be  a horrible thing to have to go through… but… more times than not… it ends up being the one that is supposed to be the protector, the lover, the caregiver… the one that is supposed to be the most trusted person in their life.
Adults  who are so selfish, think they will simply take care of their problem by killing a cheating spouse or one that they have decided they just don’t love anymore …Somehow,  they have justified murder instead of divorce…..thinking, I assume, the problem will die with the person and maybe they will save face somehow….. Hard to understand that line of thinking.    Someone who just a few months…. years … or even days ago had told us how much they love us would be capable of doing such a horrible thing.
What really gets me, however,  is when a child is involved.     I am amazed at the number of little children who end up missing…and eventually found dead… only to find out it was a parent…the one that was supposed to be the one who is the protector!
I remember reading a while back about how some parents  would poison their children just so they could nurse them back to health…they someohow needed that satisfaction of being the “saviour” ….
When the child would get bad enough to have to go to the hospital… they would of course get better being away from the source of poisoning….. but… the minute they returned home…. they began to get sick again.

Home… the place where they should be able to go for comfort and healing and safety,  was actually the place they would instead get sicker and sicker…and maybe eventually…. die.

Some times,  we have un healthy people and places in our lives…
Places …..that should be peaceful … that should provide comfort and healing…. but instead actually poison our spirit, soul and body.

It could be an unhealthy marriage….
It could be an unhealthy relationship….
It could be an unhealthy work place….
It could even be an unhealthy church….

Each of these should be a place of growth…. a place to feel  peace…..safety…
We run to them with the assumption “if we can just get to our safe place, everything will be ok”…
But… when we get there, we only get another dose of poison…and so we get sicker and sicker…… weaker and weaker…
It is so subtle and it takes us sometimes years before we realize “this is not normal”…this is not a healthy place to be.
Getting out isn’t always easy… but, when it comes to survival…. that may be the only choice…. to leave those things, those people, those places that are supposed to be good but are actually doing us more harm than good.

Love…. from a distance…. and pray for those involved… but take care of “you” so you can take care of those God puts in your path.

Here’s Your Sign

traff_signs[1]

Life has taught me many “God” lessons through out my life. God talks to me through picture form and that seems to make those lessons He teaches me to stick and become more real.

I seem to get a lot of my “inspirations” from God as I am driving.    I guess while I am driving,  I am a captive audience and my mind, although going in several directions, my body at least physically has to stay in one spot…..

Several years ago as I was driving home from somewhere and I happened to  noticed the speed limit sign out of the corner of my eye as I was reaching for the radio dial to turn up a favorite song that was beginning to play…
However….I really didn’t see the numbers on the sign….I just assumed that it was a  55 MPH sign,  since I have driven that road several times and KNEW that  was the speed limit, and therefore went on as usual.

but….What if …..what if  I was going 80 MPH?…….What if I was not paying attention to the several signs I passed on that particular road I was on?   What if every time a sign came up,  I intentionally or unintentionally…looked away…. fiddled with the radio staition…looked in the mirror…?
What if …. I got stopped by a police officer for going 80 MPH in a 55 MPH speed zone?

Speed Limit signs…… Caution signs…. signs telling us how many miles to the next town…. are all put on the road …. not once… but several times for those of us who are just getting on the road or for those who have been on the same road for some time, to assure us that we are going the right way… that we need to watch out for upcoming hazards…. to remind us to slow down… or… speed up….

Do you think my “excuse” of not seeing the “signs” would  get me out of the ticket?
It really would sound like a lame excuse when he tells me that I must have passed at least 5 signs within a 20 mile radius…
How do you think my excuse will hold up in front of the Judge?

God…places signs on our path of life…
Some to tell us we are going too fast….. too slow…. signs to tell us we need to be cautious ahead…..to tell us we are on the right (or wrong) path….. or signs to even tell us about Jesus… that He is real…. That we need Him in our lives…

Some times….. when we know we are lost, we “look”  for those signs….
Sometimes….we want to avoid them so when we see them coming …. we look away….hoping that if we don’t see them we can use that as an excuse if we get caught….
Sometimes…. we slip by without consequences….

but…

On Judgement day…. before God our Judge….
How will that excuse of…. “I never saw that sign” hold up ?

I believe He will then show us the “Signs….

Those  signs…… of when all of those people He placed in our lives were speaking Truth to us….
Those signs……of all the Sermons we ignored….
Those signs…..of the Messages on the  TV…. the Radio….that we turned off.
Those signs of how He tried to warn us numerous times to look up…. read the signs…but… we CHOSE not to listen…Not to look ….at that all important sign…
That Sign leading us to Him…to accept Jesus as our Saviour….
We decided we could slip past that one …. looking away…. because ….?

God will not let one person travel on this road of life without providing all the signs to help him or her get home.    He points the way clearly…. but it is our responsibility to read those signs.

Batman and Robin

 

Batman and Robin….

I bet most of you can hear the theme song in your head right now…..hear the slow precise voice of Batman….Robin’s quotes of “holy chicken wings batman”…. and the colorful stars that would take up the screen during a fight scene with words like SOCK…. POW… ZAP….OUCH!!!     I remember looking forward to watching the show every afternoon after school…….. The Joker… Riddler…. Catwoman… and the Penguin…. all in their funny little costumes, they would have something up their sleeve to cause havoc in Gotham City.      The Bat Phone would ring or the bat signal in the sky would shine, and suddenly Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson would have to excuse themselves from company and retreat to the “bat pole” that took them to the “bat cave” so they could get into the “bat car” so that they could fight crime and once again save Gotham City from doom!!!

What brave souls they were!   Although they got into some very “sticky” situations… they always managed to come up on top…!    How did they do that?!?!      Batman was cool!!!     He was always the leader… the decision maker… the one who figured out the plan…. he had women after him… always got the recognition…. and he drove the “bat car” ….

but…. Robin….

Robin was “just the sidekick”…Robin was the tag along… the comedy relief… the sounding board to bounce of the clues with…it was never his name they asked for when they were in trouble… it was always Batman…. never “oh no…. we need Batman AND Robin~~~

It didn’t seem to bother him though… he was a part of the team…. the Caped Crusaders…The Dynamic Duo…..!     I have found myself  playing the role of Robin more times than Batman…Most times….. it is ok…..I know that what I do and say are important in the task set before me and when I do my part…. it goes smoothly for all of us ….. just being a part of “the team” is awesome!

But sometimes…. just sometimes… I would like to be Batman instead of Robin.. Why?     Hmmmmm not really sure… is it pride?     So that I could get recognized?     A Pat on the back?     My name on the Bat sign?    Is it for self-assurance and self-worth?     There again are the words “self” which is a pride motivated word…..me, me, me…

So where am I seeking that “worth” and value?    From the world….. or from The WORD?     Batman got his reward from knowing deep inside of him that he was doing good… not for the recognition of the Mayor… not from the news  reporters or the people of Gotham City… He did it because it was the right thing to do…. His identity stayed a secret… and he stayed humble.

I understanding that Batman couldn’t do it by himself …. he NEEDS  Robin to do his part so that he can do his part…  Robin is gifted with a different gift as Batman and by WORKING TOGETHER…. it makes everything better and the victory is always  sweet!

We all can’t be Batman…!    What a dull and boring world it would be.    I think we would end up going nowhere fast….even in circles maybe!    We need input from a different outlook… and bit of comedy relief when things get too tense from the problem solving….yep…. we need a Robin in our lives…!

Robin is my gift…. an encourager… a supporter…a strong shoulder to lean on…. and …. I like it!    It’s in me…. a part of me…..It is how God made me…!   It may be how God made you!!!    Do you except it?     Or… are you trying to fight it?   It’s a whole lot easier to accept it… and you might be surprised how much more fun Robin actually has being Robin than trying to be Batman.

Holy eye opener Batman!!!

Tune in next time when we learn that even when we aren’t Batman to EVERYONE we are Batman to SOMEONE!

I’ll be here…. Same bat time…. same bat channel ;~)

QUICKSAND

QUICKSAND..
although I have never seen it in real life…. I have seen many old westerns where people have fallen into a trap of Quicksand.
The more they fought to save themselves the faster and deeper they would sink,
The struggles that were meant to free them, would actually keep them from being saved.   Fear sat in and they could not hear the voice and instructions from the one who might be there to save them…but …if they would only stop….. relax, they actually “floated” longer until help arrived or someone could pull them to safety.

My need to “know” how things are going to happen…my need to “fix” things that aren’t right……my need to “see” the answer…. has been my Quicksand.

I would pray and tell God my dilemma …. and when I began to sink…. I would feel the need to save myself……any way I could to get out!!
The harder I tried to get free… the deeper I sank…. the more I fought God in the direction He was taking the situation…. the faster I sank….
Many times, I have felt the quicksand up to my chin before finally letting go of the self saving fight in my quicksand of troubles.
When I finally  would quit fighting… and start trusting…. is when those loving arms would reach down and pull me out of that pit of Quicksand and set me on solid ground..!     Safe…. !

Even though now,  I know better… there are still times when I want to try to save myself from the Quicksand…. however … I remind myself… that I need to relax…. I need to trust God!     God saw me fall in that pit…He knows all about the situation…the mess….. the dangers…..and His arms are near enough, long enough, and strong enough, to pull me out of the smallest to the biggest trap of Quicksand that I could encounter…

How much easier is it on me when I do. My muscles aren’t as sore from tensing up… my heart rate is much slower… my stress level is down….my mind is uncluttered with worry so I can now hear the voice of the one who is bringing me to solid ground….Safe!