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Moses P. Diddy Hall… At Least You Still Have Your strength….

There is something in the spring sunshine that allows the hibernating winter eye to suddenly see three things:

  1. Dirt/Dust and general messiness
  2. Extra plumpness around the mid-section
  3. an exaggerated rate of growth in anything green in the yard

And the consequences of this new spring sight are:

  1. Spring Cleaning
  2. Bike riders and joggers everywhere
  3. the cranking up of lawn mowers and weed eaters

There is one more thing in our house that is noticeable …. our beloved but high maintanance dog, Moses P. Diddy Hall  a.k.a. Moe, has a shaggy do… You might be thinking a trip to the groomers is the consequence to Moe’s long locks but not at our img_0995house.  We are thrifty when it comes to giving Moe his spring makeover…. shears and scissors and he’s looking good.  Well, lets just say, he looks different….. and not how I intended.  You know how when you begin to cut something and you realize that when you cut one side and then it is so incredibly uneven with the other side you then try to even it up only to find out that the other side is now longer? Well, I do…. and so does Moe.  His nice little beard and strategically fashioned head hair kept getting shorter and shorter until he looks like … well, he looks like ugly Moe.  I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder because several have said he looks really nice… I can’t see beyond his resemblence to the dragon, Falcor, in “The Neverending Story”.  Regardless, Moe has opened the door for our spring changes… next spring job for me?  Get one of those tomato tree stands as seen on TV and get to work being thrifty with my garden.

There is no special secret to Moe’s haircut. It is something we do several times a year.  At least he is not ashamed like our old dog, Sam, who used to hide behind the couch for about a week after his haircut… Moe thinks he looks nice… he doesn’t need to know otherwise.

img_0001falcor

But  through all of this haircut event it just so happened that I was reading (Judges 13-16:31) and my memory  was refreshed of  the story of Samson.  I’m always amazed when I see stories that depict Samson as some great hero and so often that is how we teach his story to children. There was really nothing heroic about Samson’s healthy life… what I mean by that is during a time in his life when he was at his physical best he was also at his character worst…. he was spoiled, manipulative, greedy, loud mouthed, arrogant,  womanizing and violent… not qualities that make a great hero that you want your kids to emulate…It was through these character traits that Delilah came into the picture… her whining and manipulative ways placed him in a position to give away the secret of his strength… his hair… and then she cut it off ( much like the Moses P. Diddy look, I would assume)  It was after this humbling experience of losing his strength and being blinded that Samson had to depend on strength from God… he wasn’t the same guy he had been earlier… and it was his final act that was the heroic one… He prayed to God to give him the ability to use his strength to do what God had wanted him to do in the first place… now that is a a hero

So two things I learned from Samson

  1. I learned that sometimes we have to be humbled in order for God to truly be able to work through us… with all of the strength that God had given Samson,  Samson was too busy worrying about the ladies and getting revenge that he wasn’t paying attention to what God was calling him to do… but God accomplished it anyway and Samson missed out on the good things because his focus wasn’t on God
  2. I learned that no matter how lousy of a person we may have been at one point in our lives, God is a loving and forgiving God and can take that old person and create a new one… regardless of the circumstances.  Samson got rid of the Philistines… even though he was pretty much an arrogant jerk… God still listened to his prayers and gave him another chance …

So if God wants me to share his story or help someone and I am too focused on my life and my wants and desires… I might just be humbled and those who I am to help will still get my help only in a way that I hadn’t really expected or hoped to have to deal with…

So what is God preparing me for?  What is he asking me to depend on him for?  What am I risking because my focus is on something less than God?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Now, as far as I know, Moe’s haircut means nothing other than the fact that he looks quite a bit less shaggy… but, I’m not tying him up between two load bearing walls in our house, if you know what I mean… better safe than sorry.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2009 in Devotions, Faith

 

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Resolutions Shmesolutions…..And Have A Great 2013

IMG_1273Taking the back roads has its perks.  Things like fewer stop lights, if any… scenery prettier than buildings and concrete… and just all around less boring…. I also like to think that they are shortcuts but often times they take just as long if not longer because of the hills and curves.  Anyway, the other morning I had stopped to grab a cup of coffee and then began rushing myself to work through the not-so-shortcut back road shortcut.  I came zooming over the hill only to come to a screeching halt….. coffee was sloshing, but no problem for me… the lid stayed tight.

I looked ahead to find why traffic wasn’t moving and there, sitting in the middle of the road, was a little bitty poodle.  He was dirty and matted and had apparently decided that the line in the middle of the road was a comfy spot.  Amazingly, that little animal was backing up traffic about 7 cars deep on both sides of the road.  The school bus that was leading the line of cars opposite of me was honking the horn…. the dog just looked up… I wondered if possibly the dog was deaf but it seemed as if he heard the noise but just was too stubborn to move.  Finally, after sitting in traffic for a bit, a lady a few cars in front of me hopped out of her and started walking toward the dog.  Still the dog sat.  The lady began yelling at the dog and clapping her hands. In essence, pushing the dog without touching him.   The dog moved…. but only a small step… she now sat in front of the bus…. the lady continued clapping until the dog finally retreated to the middle of another road.

Traffic began moving along as normal once again.  I noticed as I passed by that there was another lady who had maneuvered her way out of traffic to the side of the road to see if she could rescue this poor, little, confused, dirty, matted dog.  She very gently and slowly walked up to the dog and though I couldn’t hear what she was saying, it was apparent that she was talking sweetly in that “you’re a good puppy, aren’t you” voice.   You would think that this unattractive little dog would have been excited to hop in a warm car with a sweet person who obviously cared about its welfare, but instead it barked and growled and when the lady backed up a bit the poodle took off running into a tangled brush area just off of the road.

As I drove past I could see the look on the helpful lady’s face and I think it was one of disbelief or frustration or that of helplessness.  She had done all she could do.  The poodle made its own choice.matteddog

A part of me chuckled at the whole situation… a little dog holding up so much traffic.  He got warnings and he even got sympathy but even after he begrudgingly moved, he accepted nothing from anyone and continued on the same path that he was already on. All I could think of was what a sad, little, stubborn (or maybe dumb) dog.  And it was then that I think I got a little kick in my rear …. you know, I tend to be just like that little dog.  I’ll sit in traffic (theoretically, not technically) … as dangerous as it might be… and a warning may push me to move a little bit, but even at times when I am completely moved, I may run back to the same old routine. Are ya with me?

I usually don’t make New Year’s resolutions but the New Year is a great time to begin a new routine.  I heard on the radio yesterday morning that the average person will have abandoned their resolutions by day 18.  But I have also heard that it takes 6 weeks to create a new habit… so pushing beyond day 18 for a little over another 18 days will create a changed person.  I can imagine that if that poodle had gotten into that car, he would have been cleaned up, nourished and ended up looking like a cute, lovable little guy.  That is a good ending to a bad situation.  So what makes us stop before day 18 rolls around? Could it be fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of failing, fear of stepping out of what is comfortable?….

But you know something else… there were two women in that situation who were very important… the one who moved the dog and the one who tried to rescue the dog… Sometimes we don’t even realize we are in the middle of the road and we need a reminder, someone to move us.  I think that is where God jumps in and does the motivating that gets us to move and provides the rescuing of our lives… maybe it is a friend or family member who urges us to get help, maybe it is an invite to church, maybe it is a song or story that is heard or maybe we look up and step out of ourselves and see the lives we are affecting (just like the backed up traffic).  Then we find ourselves at a crossroad to an encouragement, a safe place, a hope…. a loving God…..or back to the same old tangled brush.

Maybe you are a like that little dog in the road…. possibly in a dangerous situation… maybe it is a habit that is killing you,  a lifestyle that consumes you,  a relationship that alienates you, an attitude that robs you,  an ailment that embarrasses you, or a spiritual neglect that is calling you… Whatever it is, you don’t have to sit in the road or run to the tangled brush… you can hop in the car and be changed.

This can be the year to not make a resolution to change but to actually change.  That’s my prayer.

Philippians 4:13

13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

 

(re-posted from 2009)

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2013 in Devotions, Faith

 

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Day 1 of November Thankfulness-Don’t Box Me In

There used to be a skit on Saturday Night Live about a couple named Doug and Wendy Whiner.  The skit was based around this couple who spoke in a whiny voice all of the time.  I can remember traveling in Panama as a teenager and while doing a little sightseeing, my friend and I began saying things in our Doug and Wendy Whiner voices.  Looking back, we cracked ourselves up but were probably annoying everyone else.

So, now it is time for me to divulge a truth……I’m often like Doug and Wendy.  I whine. I suppose the reality of it is that I’m a pretty thankful person.  I realize that I have been blessed with a great husband, great kids (even if they do roll their eyes at me at times) and a great family.  I love my job and my co-workers. I have some precious friends. My kids never have to go without needs. (I am stressing needs… wants are a totally different thing.) I’m thankful to God  for all of these things and so much more.  BUT…. I’m also still a whiner.  Not so much of one out loud and to people (okay, maybe a few get to hear me) but in the quietness of my life, wherever that may be, I whine to God about what I don’t have or what I don’t want.

Last spring, I took a day long personal retreat.  It wasn’t much of anything other than a hike all by myself to a rock that overlooks a river.  I took my walking stick, a backpack, some music on my phone and my Bible.  The intention of the retreat was to spend my time with God….. whining.  I had been dealing with a perpetual thorn in my side… as much as I have done and as hard as I have tried, I couldn’t (still can’t) get that thing out of my side.  So, my retreat time was going to be me and God…. I totally had planned on him showing up at that rock with me.  I sat down, prayed some, opened my Bible, read some….. nothing.  No God.  I did those things again.  Still, no God.  For whatever reason, though I know I am always in his presence, he chose to be quiet.  And my reaction… I was disappointed…. I wanted to complain about this thorn in my side… I wanted answers….. It was a great day for it to be removed! Still nothing but silence.

I basked on the rock for several hours, reading, waiting….. I was at the point of putting God in a box and of believing that He was also annoyed with my whining, so I finally gave up and decided to leave.  Now being a girl that grew up on a farm, with a tad of hippie inside and lack of desire to be like others, I decided a hike without shoes would be great….  I put my shoes in my backpack and began hiking through mud, rocks and grass… It was wonderful.  The smells of fresh mud and grass, the feel of walking on gravel and squishing through mud, the sounds of a running creek and singing birds… I was instantly taken back to my childhood.

I made it through the rough terrain and back to a concrete sidewalk and was watching a group of kids in the distance when I looked down and caught myself in mid-step.  I almost stepped on the biggest thorn I’d ever seen in my life.  It was huge… at least to me it was.  It was probably three inches long and the thorns on the side were sticking a good two inches outward.  It looked much like a cross.  I thought in my mind that thorn would be great to show the kids at church because it was probably the size of the thorns placed on Jesus’ head.  I looked around to find more but there were none.  The only ones I saw were about 40 feet in the air, wrapped around a large tree.  So, I picked it up and decided since God wasn’t meeting me that I would listen to some music.
I put in my ear buds and without looking, clicked on my music.  A song began to play and as I sat down in my car, I heard the words in a whole new way….

The song was, Don’t Give Up by Shawn McDonald…. These are the words that I heard….

Sometimes it is hard to go on
It’s hard to see the reasons
For breathing, living, letting love guide the way
But you must hold on

 
Don’t give up
Don’t give up
Hold on for one more day

 

Sometimes we fall down
We get ourselves in trouble
But it’s OK
Cause we still have another chance to get it right
To get it right

 

I’ve come too far
I’ve seen so much
I’ve heard the call and felt the touch
I’ve tasted love that I cannot deny

 
Don’t give up
Don’t give up
Hold on for one more day

 
I remembered the words that had been spoken to me just days before, ” Maybe the thorn in your side is to keep you relying on God.  If you didn’t have it would you depend on God as much as you have to with it? Maybe not” … I looked at the thorn… it was a souvenir…God waited until I was like a child and spoke to me in a way that was creative and miraculous….. I wept…

I’ve kept that thorn. It sits on my desk as a reminder of that day.   I still don’t like the thorn in my side and it still bothers me a lot, but at least I have an understanding and that understanding came in such a loving and beautiful way.

 

 

Day 1: I’m thankful for a God that cannot be put in a box, desires a personal relationship with me (and you) and speaks in beautiful ways.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NLT)

even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

From Jesus Calling by Sarah Young-

Grow strong in the Light of My Presence. Your weakness does not repel Me. On the contrary, it attracts My Power, which is always available to flow into a yielded heart. Do not condemn yourself for your constant need of help. Instead, come to Me with your gaping neediness; let the Light of My Love fill you.

A yielded heart does not whine or rebel when the going gets rough. It musters the courage to thank Me even during hard times. Yielding yourself to My will is ultimately an act of trust. In quietness and trust is your strength.

 

Don’t Give Up- Shawn McDonald

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Stop! In the name of pug….well, more like poodle.. and Nix the Resolutions

Taking the back roads has its perks.  Things like few stop lights, if any… scenery prettier than buildings and concrete… and just all around less boring…. I also like to think that they are shortcuts but often times they take just as long if not longer because of the hills and curves.  Anyway, the other morning I had stopped to grab a cup of coffee and then began rushing myself to work through the not-so-shortcut back road shortcut.  I came zooming over the hill only to come to a screeching halt….. coffee was sloshing, but no problem for me… the lid stayed tight.

I looked ahead to find why traffic wasn’t moving and there, sitting in the middle of the road, was a little bitty poodle.  He was dirty and matted and had apparently decided that the line in the middle of the road was a comfy spot.  Amazingly, that little animal was backing up traffic about 7 cars deep on both sides of the road.  The school bus that was leading the line of cars opposite of me was honking the horn…. the dog just looked up… I wondered if possibly the dog was deaf but it seemed as if he heard the noise but just was too stubborn to move.  Finally, after sitting in traffic for a bit, a lady a few cars in front of me hopped out of her and started walking toward the dog.  Still the dog sat.  The lady began yelling at the dog and clapping her hands. In essence, pushing the dog without touching him.   The dog moved…. but only a small step… she now sat in front of the bus…. the lady continued clapping until the dog finally retreated to the middle of another road.

Traffic began moving along as normal once again.  I noticed as I passed by that there was another lady who had maneuvered her way out of traffic to the side of the road to see if she could rescue this poor little, confused, dirty, matted dog.  She very gently and slowly walked up to the dog and though I couldn’t hear what she was saying, it was apparent that she was talking sweetly in that “you’re a good puppy, aren’t you” voice.   You would think that this unattractive little dog would have been excited to hop in a warm car with a sweet person who obviously cared about its welfare, but instead it barked and growled and when the lady backed up a bit the poodle took off running into a tangled brush area just off of the road.

As I drove past I could see the look on the helpful lady’s face and I think it was one of disbelief or frustration or that of helplessness.  She had done all she could do.  The poodle made its own choice.

A part of me chuckled at the whole situation… a little dog holding up so much traffic.  He got warnings and he even got sympathy but even after he begrudgingly moved, he accepted nothing from anyone and continued on the same path that he was already on. All I could think of was what a sad, little stubborn (or maybe dumb) dog.  And it was then that I think I got a little kick in my rear …. you know, I tend to be just like that little dog.  I’ll sit in traffic (theoretically, not technically) … as dangerous as it might be… and a warning may push me to move a little bit, but even at times when I am completely moved, I may run back to the same old routine. Are ya with me?

I usually don’t make  New Year’s resolutions but the New Year  is a great time to begin a new routine.  I heard on the radio yesterday morning that the average person will have abandoned their resolutions by day 18.  But I have also heard that it takes 6 weeks to create a new habit… so pushing beyond day 18 for a little over another 18 days will create a changed person.  I can imagine that if that poodle had gotten into that car, he would have been cleaned up, nourished and ended up looking like a cute, lovable little guy.  That is a good ending to a bad situation.  So what makes us stop before day 18 rolls around? Could it be fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of failing, fear of stepping out of what is comfortable?….

But you know something else… there were two women in that situation who were very important… the one who moved the dog and the one who tried to rescue the dog… Sometimes we don’t even realize we are in the middle of the road and we need a reminder, someone to move us.  I think that is where God jumps in and does the motivating that gets us to move and provides the rescuing of our lives… maybe it is a friend or family member who urges us to get help, maybe it is an invite to church, maybe it is a song or story that is heard or maybe we look up and step out of ourselves and see the lives we are affecting (just like the backed up traffic).  Then we find ourselves at a crossroad to an encouragement, a safe place, a hope…. a loving God…..or back to the same old tangled brush.

Maybe you are a like that little dog in the road…. possibly in a dangerous situation… maybe it is a habit that is killing you,  a lifestyle that consumes you,  a relationship that alienates you, an attitude that robs you,  an ailment that embarrasses you, or a spiritual neglect that is calling you… Whatever it is, you don’t have to sit in the road or run to the tangled brush… you can hop in the car and be changed.

This can be the year to not make a resolution to change but to actually change.  That’s my prayer.

Philippians 4:13

13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2010 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Life is a highway… Can we stop at the next rest area, please?!?

t2010camaro2You could probably say that if I was a car then I would be a 2010 Camaro.  Totally able to take on any other car and never feel ashamed or embarrassed of my ability.  I would zoom down the highway just racing by all of those minivans and family cars. .    I wouldn’t even have to refuel because I might also really be a Transformer!  Nothing would slow me down… every goal and objective that I aimed for would be reached without any hesitation because my speed and accuracy would threaten or take down any obstacle…. Yep, that is me…. a red, 2010…. I should add, convertible… Camaro.  Vroom……vroom.

Oh, who am I kidding…. I would never be believable as a Camaro…. a VW bug maybe… a 70’s model, at that…. but never a Camaro. 1978-vw-beetle-convertible Actually at this point, I am more like a scooter…well, maybe  a scooter going up hill… or more likely a scooter going up hill  with an oversized load…. okay, a scooter going up hill with an oversized load on a gas fumes only…. I really should pull over and call for help but instead I’ll push myself on up the hill at whatever the cost….At least I’m a red scooter….

The point here is that my summers are crazy… my job requires my summers to be quite impressive… filled wih potentially fun things but those things tend to drag tons of energy right out the door with them…they tend to make my sleep schedule totally mixed up… my mind in overdrive and my hands constantly working to show others how to do more…. So, when does it slow down?  Not for a few more weeks and then unfortunately my summer is over…and fall is here with more activities and events…

Because of the craziness of camps, planning activities for summer and fall, for coordinating events and other goodies… I tend to truly be that scooter… I forget to refuel….and I tend to push myself up the hill when things could be so much easier…

The refueling is the important part of all of this… often times I forget that things can be easier if I remember to refuel…

I was reminded of that during staff meeting the other day…. It seems that because of what I do I tend to forget to stop and really soak in the fuel….I love my job and what I do… I love to create things that in some way help others see God or deepen their faith or walk…It would seem like since I am helping others fuel up I shouldn’t have to refuel myself.  Oh, I read and pray and do the things that I should but it is the message that gives me the fuel to continue to do what I do at the pace I need to go….

I slowed down enough during staff meeting to soak in these words from Paul ….

Ephesians 3

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[e] 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.[f] 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

There is the fuel that I needed….to be reminded that I am loved….not just to serve and serve …. not just to hear the words …. but to truly soak in the thought and  be reminded of how wide, how long, how deep his love is ….

That was the rest area I needed to finish my summer…..


 
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Posted by on July 2, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Ugly is the new Cute…

A recent end of the school year field trip took us to a cookout at my daughter’s teacher’s house and huge yard.  The rain brought the class inside the house and to the dismay of Snickers, their dog, hundreds of little 1st grade fingers tried to get a grasp on the little shih tzu.  I totally understood why the kids wanted to get their hands on her.  She was so cute.  Now, we have a shih tzu and there are times when I think he’s pretty cute but there was something about Snickers that was different.  She had a bit of ugly going on that made her strikingly cute….Her ugly attribute couldn’t have been pulled off by a large dog because then it would just be gross but a little dog can get away with it… Snickers’ ugly attribute?  It was a lazy tongue… what I mean by that is that she walked around with her tongue constantly hanging out … not hanging out like she was exhausted and not hanging out because her tongue was overly long but hanging out about an inch because it was comfy.  It made what would be an average shih tzu incredibly cute.

My daughter and I had a little conversation tonight about the perception of cute.  As you may know a friend of mine recently adopted a Chinese Crested Hairless puppy into her home.   Eventhough Tasha has a bit of ugly going on, tashathe puppy has won the hearts of our daughters.   They love the fact that she is a lap dog and acts like a lap dog when our so called “lap dog” doesn’t like to be held.  When we pass the pet section in a store they look for cute clothes for Tasha… Moe doesn’t really like the whole clothes dressing up thing….Poor Moses P. Diddy Hall…. how fast they forget.  But my friend, Michelle, she is not limited to loving only the canine pet but she also has a little marsupial ( a Sugar Glider) that my youngest daughter is very attached to and my middle daughter, after spending just a little bit of time with, begs for permission to buy one with her own money… our answer is always,”No! What about Moe? We can’t get you to take care of him” and her retort is always, “I try but he doesn’t want to be held.”…what being held and needing food and water have to do with each other have in common, I don’t know but in her mind that is justification for more pets……. poor Moe…

nuggetSo back to the conversation about cuteness.  My daughter tonight was talking about how cute Tasha was… on and on and on she talked and finally I had enough and stated my thoughts,

“I don’t think she is that cute”

“What? Are you kidding me?” my daughter said

“No,” I said, “I mean she is sweet but I don’t really know that I would consider her cute”

“Well, I do.  She is just so little and so cute”

“Come on, Catie… What about Moe? He is so cute.  Just look at him.”

And at that moment, we both looked down only to find Moses P. Diddy Hall losing his supper right before our eyes.

“Ewwww!!!”  (that would be from both of us)

Gross is not cute, Moe!

Okay, Tasha is cute….

I guess all of that judging of what is cute and what is ugly and the fact that cute little Moe disgusted us all,  helped me remember that there are many ways to look at one situation (or pet) and eventhough he wasn’t referring to cute and ugly, Jehoshaphat’s orders of judging helps me remember to look at the situation as God would and let God be the judge… IMG_0014

Our conversation tonight ended with carpet cleaner, laughs, the understanding that ugly is in the eye of the beholder and complaints from Catie who had the honors of taking care of her dog’s mess.  …. Poor Catie.

2 Chronicles 19

4 Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and turned them back to the LORD, the God of their fathers. 5 He appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah. 6 He told them, “Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for man but for the LORD, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. 7 Now let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.”

8 In Jerusalem also, Jehoshaphat appointed some of the Levites, priests and heads of Israelite families to administer the law of the LORD and to settle disputes. And they lived in Jerusalem. 9 He gave them these orders: “You must serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the LORD. 10 In every case that comes before you from your fellow countrymen who live in the cities—whether bloodshed or other concerns of the law, commands, decrees or ordinances—you are to warn them not to sin against the LORD; otherwise his wrath will come on you and your brothers. Do this, and you will not sin.

 
 

Super Communicator …. Helping the Misunderstood and Saving the World

American Idol is one of those shows that I said I would never watch…. Never say never.  I’m not addicted but I sure don’t like to miss it.  Several weeks ago there was the airing of auditions at their stop in Louisville.  Well, as a Kentuckian, naturally I wanted to watch…. as if I wouldn’t have watched any other city… but you know what I’m saying. I wanted to watch people from my region have their 15 minutes or less of fame.  mark-mudd-jrOne guy, Mark Mudd, definitely got his 15 minutes.  He was in multiple commercials and highlights giving what looked to be the look of death (Say those last three words with a deep, melodic voice for a more dramatic reading)  I, like the rest of America, was on the edge of my seat waiting to see exactly what happened and what we Kentuckians are like.

The time came for American Idol to focus on the life story about this guy who would eventually give the doomed evil look.  From that biography we found out that he was really a pretty sweet guy who had actually gone through a lot during his life.  He came in, sang his little song and didn’t make the cut.  As he left he told the judges, “Take care and be careful.”  The judges went ballistic… or at least Paula did. Well, I think they all did to a certain degree.  They took his words as a threat…. as if the guy was telling them to be careful where they go because he might “git ’em” ….Paula jumped at the guy and told him that “you don’t say that to people…”   I started thinking about it. You know,  I say ” Be careful” quite a bit to people.  It is an endearing goodbye as I want the recipient of those words to know that I want to see them again.

I became a little frustrated. I wondered if Paula had gone into another country like Italy and someone said, “Ciao,” would she have the nerve to say, “You don’t say that to people, you might make them think you want to eat them”?  I doubt it.  Good grief, we live in a huge country. Even though we are a United States, I’m thinking it wouldn’t hurt for these folks to do a little studying up on the cultural sayings of the area before they head into a region…. super-communicator

Regardless, the guy was just misunderstood.  I would have liked to have swooped into that room, just like a superhero (I shall name me, Super Communicator) and taken that young man back in front of the judges and explained to them that he was being endearing… a gentleman.  They would have seen the error of their ways and apologized before the guy was made out to be some weirdo in front of millions of people watching.

Super Communicator must have entered into the picture somewhere because American Idol posted an apology for their misunderstanding.  Unfortunately for Mark Mudd, it came after the airing and more so, came quietly where most won’t even know it happened… and probably don’t care.

The American Idol judges misunderstood the intentions of a young man and in doing so they seemed to have missed out on an opportunity of warm Southern hospitality from a regular good guy.

Okay,  so I’m not really Super Communicator out saving people from their state of misunderstanding but maybe someone else is (though I do like my Superhero alter ego outfit)

I’ve been there before and I know being misunderstood stinks…

In Mark 5:1-20 there are a couple of incidents of someone being misunderstood…

The whole incident is about Jesus ridding a man of a legion of demons.  The guy was off living in the tombs (burial caves) by himself because of his demon possession.  The community around him had given up on him and he could not be subdued by anyone nor bound by chains.  So there he was among the caves literally tearing himself apart in misery.   When Jesus arrived he cast out the demons into a herd of pigs.  The pigs…. lots and lots of pigs …went running down a steep bank and into a lake where they drowned.  Those watching the pigs (would they be considered pigherds?  just curious) ran to tell the townspeople.  When they went to check things out they saw the cave guy sitting up, dressed and acting normal.  Others who had seen all of this take place started telling the story about what happened… verifying it… and the townspeople became frightened and begged Jesus to get out of town.

Okay, so Cave guy, he was misunderstood…. well, maybe not so much him being misunderstood as it was people just giving up on him and being frightened of him.  He was obviously dangerous and violent.  As a parent I can totally understand why I would be glad that he was up in those caves away from my family. I can’t say they were wrong in their fear.  But there is also something else I see here…..  This guy just needed Christ in his life.  He was mean, unkept, weird and definitely scary to those around him, but Christ met him and changed his life.  He took those demons out of his life and Cave guy became Normal guy.  Sometimes I think that is how we view people… we fear them because we are unsure that they are really like us so therefore we stay far away.  We misunderstand actions or looks as mean, weird or scary when we don’t understand the demons that they are wrestling…. maybe not the exact same kind of demons that Christ sent out (or maybe they were) but similar… you know, demons of worthlessness, demons of divorce, demons of addictions, demons of abuse, demons of neglect, demons of depression, demons of eating disorders and on and on…. “Cave guy” can be a neighbor, a co-worker, a teacher, a student, a friend, an enemy…. someone who needs Christ to help him get rid of those things that keep him from being able to be close to others, being loved or loving others- in reality, living life as intended…Yes, he was frightening. Yes, he was dangerous and different than others, but Christ didn’t leave him when Cave Guy bowed before him.

Then there is the rest of the story- Jesus- he was misunderstood too… Now here is a man (actually God) who has just taken this demon possessed, scary man and turned him into someone new and the people who were originally scared of this guy aren’t pleased… the words don’t really say exactly why they pleaded with Jesus to leave but I have some speculations.  Other scriptures refer to disciples being terrified when Jesus calmed the storm or others thinking that Jesus was not doing the work of God but of Satan when he healed… I think Jesus’s work was too big to understand… too powerful and too much to grasp.  I guess they could have been upset about the pigs dying too, but I’m leaning toward the frightened theory.   Isn’t that the way we are today though? We see Christ at work but we don’t really know how to handle it.  We misunderstand the intentions of God and then  just like those people, we seem to want to put him on a boat and get him out of town….in other words, we don’t understand why we must go through something and we send Christ on his way all because we could not see the big picture….

We misunderstand people because we don’t understand them completely and we misunderstand the work of God because we can’t understand it completely.  It seems we sure can miss out on a lot of good when we misunderstand and refuse to take another look at people and situations.

Now there is one more thing to be said about the demon possessed man … he had a serious issue and we see that Christ was the only one who could help him. I think that is important.  I’m not advocating putting oneself in danger or staying in a dangerous or abusive sitution just because we are trying to understand why another person acts the way they do… Christ can open doors for professional help and treatment. Our job is prayer and listening to God for direction, protection and strength.

So that makes Christ the Super Communicator, able to take demons out with a single sentence, able to change the way we understand and able to save the world…


Have you misunderstood what God was or is doing in your life?  Have you missed out on seeing his work because you asked him to go?  What about a person who is hurting, alone or is aching and needs Christ to renew them?  Is God asking you to be the person who goes to the caves to get that person and guide them to him?   Just think what you could be missing.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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Where’d She Go? … Falling down again…

Several weeks ago a nice little rainstorm came into our area and left behind some reminders in our yard.  We have one area that, though it seems to drain well, doesn’t get a lot of sunlight so it takes a while to dry.  The ground is very soft and in the summer, even in dry times, is very mushy so you can imagine what a good winter rain leaves it looking and feeling like… pretty much a muddy slip and slide.

It seems that with three daughters we are always trying to rush to get to where we need to go.  This story begins on what just happened to be my oldest daughter’s birthday celebration night.  We were all rushing to go meet grandparents at a restaurant and impatience was running rampant.  My husband and oldest daughter were in the other car while our youngest and myself were in our van.  We were waiting for our middle child.  She knew she was holding everyone up and could probably sense our frustration so when I looked up I noticed that she was rushing to the passenger side of the van.  I looked back down and continued digging for something really important in my purse when I noticed in my peripheral vision … pretty much a slow motion scene… I noticed her laying horizontal in midair and then disappeared… It was like a magic trick gone wrong… Being the sympathetic and compassionate mother that I am,  I laughed….and got out to check on her.  As I rounded the hood of the van there she was sitting in a cushion of mud.. Now, Allison has always had the ability to be a tad bit dramatic… well, really a lot dramatic especially when sympathetic mom is not being so sympathetic … so now was her time to shine.. She was not about to fall, have mom laugh at her and then not make us all feel guilty for it… So she got up, with tears in her eyes and a cracking voice, held on to me as she limped her way into the house to change clothes… something was surely broken… Well, apparently Cheddar’s can cure a broken something because she was fine and laughing about the whole thing a little bit later…

Now, you would think that Allison and I would have both learned our lessons… Her little drama was remembered and smiled about from time to time but for the embarrassment she experienced (our neighbor asked her later if she was okay) and for the guilt that I endured, it was not something that any of us wanted to relive…

Well, then it snowed and rained ice and our driveway became a downhill skating rink.  Again, we were running late for something and I was digging for that ever important something in my purse when I looked up and noticed Allison coming out to the car.  I went about my business and the next thing I know, Allison was once again, horizontal in midair and then disappeared.  I knew better than to laugh.  I quickly opened my door to get out and check on her and I saw her shoulders bobbing up and down and I heard laughter so I joined in… I felt a sense of relief as I was able to laugh this time, not at my daughter but with with her.  As I made my way closer I laughed a bit harder and louder… my daughter looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said something like, ” I can’t believe you are laughing at me!”  It was at that moment that I realized that Allison wasn’t laughing after all, she was sobbing.  She got me again, I was completely guilt-ridden.  I tried to comfort her by explaining that I thought she was laughing and so therefore I thought I had the freedom of sharing a humorous moment with her… She looked at me like I was crazy.  I helped her up, nearly falling too, and directed her back to the house so she could get dry clothes on.

So, two times down (literally) and one to go… Tonight,  for a change, I wasn’t truly in a hurry but my daughter was.  She was semi-pushing for us to make our way out to the car, but for whatever reason I was able to get there before her.  I was doing my thing … you know the routine by now… looking in my purse for something important when I saw her coming to the car.  It had been about six weeks since the first fall and about three since the other so they were long forgotten… but quickly remembered when I, once more, saw Allison disappear …. This time though,  it was a bit different. Before I even had time to maneuver my way out of the car to check on her, she popped straight back up, looked at me through the window and laughed… she shrugged her shoulders and said, “I’ll be right back.”  I chuckled as I watched her go into the house to change out of her muddy clothes…

You know, I fall quite a bit too.  Not physically fall so much, but I fall in other in ways.  I fall in patience, or understanding, or compassion or giving of my time… those are just a few of many.  Falling isn’t really the same as failing.  Failing is at the end of the road, falling is a bump in the road.  After each fall, Allison went back inside, changed clothes and finished what she had started.  She may have been a bit dramatic about it but she didn’t let it keep her from doing what she had intended.

I don’t know where you are as you read this… maybe you are feeling a bit overwhelmed after a fall… maybe it is a health fall, an emotional fall, a financial fall, a spiritual fall… maybe you really don’t have the support that you need to help you get up after that fall.  Sometimes those falls are easy to pop up from, other times a good cry is a natural precursor to getting up and then sometimes we can be totally embarrassed or angry… whatever the case may be, Christ is there with a hand held out to offer you help and hope… holding that hand and allowing him to be the strength is what directs us home….

Mark 5:35-43

35While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?”

36Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.40But they laughed at him.
After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!“). 42Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.


 
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Posted by on February 19, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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