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Mary, Did You Know?

Never having watched more than one episode in the past seasons, I lucked into watching “The Voice” this year when a young man from Kentucky blew the judges and audience (and me, too) af5530500-58c5-0133-0b0c-0e76e5725d9dway in his blind audition.  Following Jordan Smith’s first performance, I was hooked and continued to watch and cheer for my fellow Kentuckian.

If you are unfamiliar with the show, singers audition and are then selected (or the singers select depending on the audition responses) by celebrity “coaches” who coach them through vocals, style and stage presence in attempts to win a recording contract.  Viewers vote via texting and purchasing songs on iTunes to support their favorite contestant.

Jordan Smith’s performances were consistently on the top of the charts, sometimes bumping chart staples, Adele, and Justin Bieber, out of the way.  Though he had talented competitors, it was still no surprise to me that he won during last night’s finale.

Along with his beautiful singing voice, there is something about this young man that many seem to gravitate to; maybe his humility, maybe his sincerity, maybe his faith, maybe he represents “real” people; the average Joe … whatever it is, he is a special guy. Watching his mother support him from the first show to tonight’s finale, I guarantee one thing… she knew Jordan was special long before Jordan did, long before his coach, Adam Levine, did and long before America did.  And I would be willing to wager that she held on to that fact when times were tough for Jordan.

I don’t know Jordan’s story but from a very small amount shared during the show’s interviews, I would guess that he had some tough times growing up.  He once mentioned image issues and often more times than not, those personal image issues are heightened when others tease, bully or even try to give well-meaning advice.   As a parent, I know how difficult it is to watch your child hurt from the cruelness of others and watch their self-esteem suffer, particularly when you see the greatness of that child that he can’t seem to see himself.  Probably much like the first time she noticed his great talent, she will likely hold tightly to last night’s win.

Just ask a scrapbooking, photographing, videoing or journaling everything parent, whether it is a cute story, a long sought after accomplishment or just a sweet moment in time, I think we as parents have those moments with our children that we always want to remember.  However,  we also have those rough or challenging moments; temper tantrums in public, siblings screaming because one has hurt the other, experimenting with scissors and their beautiful long hair, the day the teacher calls to tell you that your child is failing a subject, or a multitude of little (or big) imperfections that we’d like to forget.

Reminding myself of those good times and not so stellar moments makes the whole story of Christ and his life growing up that much more relevant.  Jesus’ mother, Mary,  had those moments to hold on to too.

The Bible says (in my paraphrase) that Mary listened to the words of praise spoken about her baby, thought about them, held them close and then treasured them.  Later when we read about him being a preteen, we see his parents doing what I believe is a tad bit of discipline. ( I do believe he was perfect, but I also believe he was a child and still needed parental guidance) Mary and Joseph can’t find Jesus. They search for three days only to find him teaching adults. The Bible says they were astonished, but it also says they didn’t understand fully.

The astonishment of what others think about your child, the marveling at the thoughts of the greatness of your child, the treasured moments that you want to hold onto, that just makes Jesus’  family seem like your average family. Jesus’ family could have lived right down the street with their very average but loving family life.

Mary seems to have paid close attention to the words of others and her son’s actions.   From these actions, she was able to treasure these things about her son and then hold on to them when he had to save the world and not stand in his way.

Whether you are a parent, a grandparent, an aunt, a sister, a brother or even none of these, it pays to listen to what God’s people say.   When God is ready to do a great work in the ones we love or in ourselves, to look with depth into a situation annativityscened hold on to those words and thoughts of others gives us the insight to set aside our desires and we can trust to let God do his thing.

As Mary rocked her sweet newborn,  she held to the thought that her son was special…. more than just special but a Savior.

Luke 2

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29″Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss[a] your servant in peace.
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,

31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.” 33The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.

41Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 43After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

49″Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

51Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

 

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Posted by on December 16, 2015 in Devotions, Faith

 

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A Pharisee’s Cheer… “Go Big Law!”

(I was reminded this morning of this article I wrote in 2009. I thought it was an appropriate read 6 years later and thus, decided to add a bit at the end and re-post it. Enjoy!)

When I was in sixth grade there was a realization that came to be in my life.  It was the fact that I was a Kentucky Wildcat. (For those reading outside of the Bluegrass State, I’m talking figuratively not literally.) I’m not sure exactly how I came into that knowledge. Maybe it was when I  traveled numerous times with the Follett family to Kentucky football games and that pride of having a car horn playing the school theme song while others cheered it on did it. More than likely, it may have just been the fact that I thought some of the Wildcat basketball team guys were quite nice looking in their Converse shoes and striped tube socks… (Yes, I signed my name Nancy “Macy” on all of my notes to friends and yes, I am showing my age.)   Regardless of how it came to be…..all I know is that sixth grade brought about my first true conversations of the University of Kentucky Wildcats, their rivals, their players and statistics. with all of mjay_shidlery friends at lunch and that had never been before been an experience.  Sixth grade was also the year that I, maintaining my tomboy image,  decorated my bedroom in Wildcat Blue and White.. I was then the envy of all of my Kyle Macy, Jay Shidler loving girl friends and the envy of all of my UK basketball player wannabe guy friends… I was, without a doubt, a blue-blooded, ‘don’t talk bad about my Wildcats’, type of follower.

As I grew older (and wiser) I maintained that passion and enjoyed watching a game with others cheering right along whether at a live game or on television…. or even on the radio.  I just didn’t want to miss a game.  However, something happened years later that began creating a bit of confusion for me…. I was speaking with a family member who lived out of state and I mentioned the coach at the time, Rick Pitino.  They floored me with their response, “Now who is Rick Pitino?”  This was a well educated, former Kentucky resident and she had no idea who Rick Pitino was nor did she have a clue that he was the UK Basketball coach!  I was stunned… You mean there are people out there who don’t follow Kentucky Basketball? You mean there are people out there who think UK means United Kingdom? You mean there are people out there who don’t schedule their C-sections and wedding plans and vacations around the Final Four or the SEC tournament? It can’t be! But it was true… It didn’t dishearten me, but it did open my eyes a bit.

ukA few years later I moved to Illinois, just a few minutes away from the city of St. Louis, Missouri.  I was completely disappointed that they rarely showed a University of Kentucky basketball game there and that there was far more talk of Cardinals baseball and Rams football than any college program…. I just couldn’t understand.   As years passed, I began to not be able to keep up with UK ball like I wanted.  I tried to catch as much as I could on the radio, internet and national broadcasts but eventually it kind of began to fall out of my interest as I started to see the fun of following the Rams or the Cardinals.  I was losing my blue.  (Do you hear the moans?)

But now we are back in Kentucky and I’ll have to say that I was excited to be back in an area where there was such passion and enthusiasm about a nonprofessional sport.  However, for me, something is different now…. it is not that I’ve become necessarily less of a Wildcat; UK is still always my top team.. it is not that I’ve become disinterested because I still love a good game. It is just that my perspective has changed.  I was once totally consumed with being on the inside of the Big Blue Nation. I sent out Wildcat trash talk with the best of them and didn’t think for once that there might be others out there with passions focused in other areas.  My thoughts were, you are either a Wildcat fan or you are wrong….My perspective has changed because I have now been on the outside looking in.  It is still fun to cheer. It is still fun to have rivals.  It is still fun to wear blue.  Still yet, my perspective is different….

Today in Kentucky there is talk of a new coach… the rumor mill (or possibly the fact mill) is telling of coach John Calipari’s interest in becoming the next UK Men’s Basketball coach.   Sports talk is everywhere… people are either super excited with the change or people are super upset with the change… regardless of their stance, it is everywhere.

(Disclaimer- I am not advocating that UK fans are like Pharisees…… this is not about “the fans”  but about one fan…. read on…)

I realized something today as I was reading about Jesus and the Pharisees…. I think my lack of ability to think outside the Big Blue realm for years could have been comparable to the faith of the Pharisees…..the Pharisees were huge “Big Law” fans.  Though the law was given as a way for salvation, it became flawed when the law began to become more important than loving God.  Those same people who were so focused on obeying and protecting the law were also breaking the law by their lack of love… enter Jesus.  He came to fulfill the law and in doing so he ruffled a few feathers and made some people pretty angry in the process.  They were so focused on their Law Love that they couldn’t really love others. They were so focused on their Law Love that they couldn’t hear the truth though it was right in front of them.  Until they stepped outside and looked in they couldn’t see that there was authority in the truth that Christ spoke and that he was offering them fulfillment of their beloved law.  He was the salvation they needed but they couldn’t get past the thought of  “You either follow all of the law… even the ones we have thrown in there…. or you are wrong”  (Are you seeing the comparison?)… I’m saying my UK fanatic ways were comparable to the fanatical ways of the Pharisee.

Jesus offered salvation to a man who was lowered by friends through a roof in order to be healed.  The Pharisees were so focused on Jesus offering salvation that their thoughts consumed them and they totally seemed to overlook the amazing fact that this man who was paralyzed was now walking.  Truth in front of them and they couldn’t see it.

Now in comparing myself to the Pharisees,…..Though I couldn’t have said it at the time, I’m glad now that I had the opportunity to step outside and look in…I appreciate the new perspective.  Had I not had to step away and take a look from another direction, I would have totally been one of those folks who would have wanted to run a coach with a poor record out of town. I would have considered it nothing other than being a loyal fan.  However, lowering myself to the level of meanness or hatred toward a coach who possibly had a bad year or two, an athletic director who has to make incredibly tough decisions, or a team of students (yes, pretty much kids) is not the true sportsmanship of a loyal fan.  Instead, it would be my blindness of not looking at the picture from the outside and considering what the correctness or truth of a fan really is.  Is it possible that the Pharisees didn’t consider their anger or hatred toward Christ as anything other than being a loyal follower of the law? ….However, it was when they became hateful and mean that they stepped away from their law and were blind to what was true….

That is what I’ll call a Pharisee moment…A time when I am so focused on one thing that I can’t see what the truth is. (And, you know what?  I’d probably even cheer my focused notion on… “Go Big Law!”)… The only redeeming thing about the Big Blue Blooded Die Hard Pharisee moment, It didn’t have an ounce of eternal value. It was just a total non-important Pharisee moment.

Here’s the tough thing though… Unfortunately, that same “Go Big Law” mentality can seep into our lives and while we are cheering it on, we miss our opportunities of seeing what Christ is showing us.  We can easily be so fired up about the law that we forget the people… the people who God placed in our lives.. the people who He saves.  We can also get so caught up in law pep rally that it turns into our own idol… and our own sin.  Thankfully, just like Paul, God loves and forgives a Pharisee too… … all we have to do is ask.

God, show me your truth.

Luke 5:17-26

17One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. 18Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

20When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.

21The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

22Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2015 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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The sinister plot …. and we are in it….

If you have been following along for awhile you may be aware that I enjoy a superhero every now and then… particularly those with off the wall powers….you know,  like the ability to clear up misunderstandings or the ability to translate for a drive-thru restaurant speaker…I’ve been wondering about something for the last two days… maybe not wondering outwardly but inwardly… I’ve seen adults acting differently and children behaving in an manner out of the ordinary….I have felt if maybe there was some kind of an evil plot against people.. some force to be reckoned with…..some evil super villain with an evil plan…… Eventhough, I don’t necessarily believe that there is a evil super villain lurking through Kentucky, it did make me think and I put on my superhero creating cap and thought about the brilliant evil plan of a super villain….

Let me begin by sharing what would be my sinister plot if I just happened to be a super villain for once….. though it would require a great deal of patience, over time it would bring doom to those who opposed me and I would have complete control… This is my sinister plan-

daylightraI would:

  • make people so grumpy (particularly children) that no one could possibly get along … creating  a plan for mass distraction… everyone would be frustrated, angry or not talking to each other, so no one would be able to work together to create a defense against me
  • make children detest rest and sleep by staying up later and not relaxing as normal…  they will no longer be able to learn at their full potential… as they grow their intelligence will be iffy
  • make workers, particularly those of odd hours, also detest rest and relaxation so their productivity will decrease… causing low self esteem and output..and eventually creating apathy and a loyalty to me as my words of encouragement will seem sincere.
  • allow more play time for children (incredibly sneaky way of causing divisiveness between parents and their offspring leading to disrespect and discipline issues)
  • allow more play time for adults (another incredibly sneaky way of causing divisiveness between co-workers, spouses, etc)
  • allow farmers and others in an outdoor working field more time at their jobs so they can be overworked and very tired … too tired to fight when the day is through…..
  • create mass confusion by tricking adults into believing that they are on time to work, church, etc, only to really be late- causing stress related health issues..(high blood pressure, anxiety attacks, etc)
  • cause commercial travel delays and stand stills… again working on the stress related health issues

Now you might be wondering how to accomplish this mighty task… It is extremely simple… All I will do is tell people that for the good of the economy, energy savings and just for fun we must all extend the daylight in our lives by an hour.  My plan will also tell them that they will eventually get that hour back later in the year but the reality will be that their human nature will not give them that hour back because they will stay up later because they think they have an extra hour…

It is brilliant!  Brilliant! I tell you!  Bwahahahaha!!!!

What?  It’s already been done?

Darn you blasted Spring Forward Daylight Saving Time!

Now I don’t get to wear my fancy super villain suit….. it was perfect.  The blues represented the night and  day skies… the star was my secret way of making people think that they would still see stars…. The skin color was to originally represent the tan of one who is in the sun for a longer period of time but since we are talking me… my skin color would be a bright shade of burnt red… and then to top it off.. I won’t even get to use the evil name of Daylightra…

Oh well, since the evil plot of Daylight Saving Time is already happening maybe I should focus on the creation of a superhero who can add an hour of sleep to everyone’s day without shortening the day… Maybe he would be called Captain 25 Hours!

Today I did read about what it means to be on the side of good though… not in Superhero terms but in spiritual terms.. In Deuteronomy 7, God is leading the Israelites into the land that He promised them… and in doing so they are fearful of those that they will have to move out of the way.  God tells them that to remember that by following the laws he has laid out for them He will do incredible things and they won’t have to worry… Why would we even want to flirt with evil when we know the power behind the Creator God?  The opposition of God will always lose… those are the facts…no more super villain ideas for me….

Deuteronomy 7

17 You may say to yourselves, “These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?” 18 But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. 19 You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the miraculous signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the LORD your God brought you out. The LORD your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear. 20 Moreover, the LORD your God will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished. 21 Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. 22 The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you. 23 But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed. 24 He will give their kings into your hand, and you will wipe out their names from under heaven. No one will be able to stand up against you; you will destroy them. 25 The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the LORD your God. 26 Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Utterly abhor and detest it, for it is set apart for destruction.

(By the way… take note of verse 23.. I’m wondering it was ancient Daylight Saving Time that caused the confusion… I’m just saying….)

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun

 

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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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