Do Me a Favor

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Say What?

I think we gravely underestimate God using us to impact others.

Just think about it:  You have a serious thing on your mind, a problem to solve or maybe a problem that doesn’t have a solution at all and you’re trying to come up with one anyway. 
Let’s say that, in this frame of mind, you go to Wal-Mart, the great gathering place of the masses.  While you are shopping sort of on auto-pilot, your mind is also thinking about “the problem,” which has now grown to the point that it has quotation marks around it. 

As you are looking at the birthday cards trying to find something cheerful to send while you yourself are in turmoil, you overhear two women walking by.  As one of them is talking to the other, she says something that absolutely zeros in on what’s on your mind.  And it’s a comfort to you or it’s a revelation to you or it’s something that is absolutely profound and speaks to you in such a personal way that you are awestruck.
That woman, who wasn’t speaking to you at all, was sent for you to hear what she said.  Don’t try to convince me that all this was sheer coincidence.  What God does is called coincidence a lot.  Now I am hearing more and more people calling it a God-thing.  I like that.  It gets God into the conversation.

How else would that woman in Wal-Mart been able to say to somebody else what was perfect for you?  And the woman may not have even wanted to go to Wal-Mart that day, but she went anyway, not really knowing why she went on that particular day, at that particular time.  Think of all the things that had to line up for her to speak what God wanted you to hear at just the right moment. 
And until you heard it, you were not aware that you were even listening to anything that was going on around you.

God loves you so much.  But the sad part is that when this happens, God is not given the credit.  If we are aware at all that it was something outside of ourselves that triggered the voice of God, we are just floored that such a thing could happen. 
We are floored but we do not give God the credit.  We say, “That was incredible!  Just think, that woman was right there when I needed to hear that.”  Close, but no cigar.  We’ve got to put God into it.  He’s already there.  We have to deliberately watch for him.
A few years ago, my husband bought an SUV, a white Nissan X-terra.  I really don’t know much about cars and their models and all of that.  I might know that you drive a red car, but I probably can’t even remember that much. 
I had never seen an X-terra before David bought his. What a big thing it is!  I have to climb up on the running board to get into it.  We had never had such a big, or maybe the word is tall, vehicle.  I thought it quite unique.

Until I started seeing white Nissan X-terra’s all over town.  There’s a bazillion of them! 
It wasn’t that I had never seen one before, it was I had never noticed them before. 

Thankfully, my husband had stripes put on the sides to match the stripes on our camper, otherwise I would have probably had a wreck trying to see the driver of every white X-Terra around.
When we start paying attention, we will see more and more ways that God is right in front of us every second of the day.  We just have to become more aware.

Pray more, study more, want it more!  And then want it more, and study more, and pray more.
It’s priceless, you know.

And the bonus is that while you are looking for God around you, He will become more and more evident in the lives of those around you.  And you will become more aware of God using you.
And there is nothing better than that.

If a stranger can say just the right thing at just the right time for you, isn’t it just as likely that you have done the same for a stranger? 
There are no strangers in God’s eyes, only His children who need a little (or sometimes a lot) of help along the way.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Plop, plop, Fizz, fizz...

Every once in a while, I hear someone say, with great pride, “I don’t take any medicine at all!”

That’s a wonderful thing and I’m happy for you.  Unfortunately, however, it somehow implies that it’s a major character flaw if someone else does.
I’m just a little tired of some people that are in health care positions or work in the pharmacy field treating me as though I’m exhibiting drug-seeking behavior.

Of course I’m exhibiting drug-seeking behavior!  I’ve got to have all this stuff to function.
But if I want to cut back, what do I give up?

Sleep?  No.
Lower blood pressure?  No.

Less anxiety?  No.
Less pain from neuropathy?  No.

Less depression?  No.
I don’t want to sound defensive here, but I’d like to point out that I did not prescribe these things for me.  Several doctors over the years have added this and that until I have a whole page of medications that I take.

If you know me in person, did you know that I take all of these things?  Did you guess that I have high blood pressure or that I need help getting to sleep?  Had it occurred to you that I was depressed or anxious?  Have you realized that I am in pain most of the time from neuropathy and other things?
I’m betting you didn’t unless I had already told you.

See, it’s possible – very possible – to function well when taking medication.  Once you get all the doses just right, everything rolls right along.
I doubt I would be alive today without taking blood pressure medication for 30 years. 

If I had survived that, though, sleeplessness for the past 25 years would have surely taken its toll. 
I know for sure and for certain that I would not have climbed out of the dark pit of anxiety and depression without help. 

And without medication for my neuropathy, I might be in a wheelchair.
Okay.  I didn’t tell you all of this to get sympathy.  It’s hard for me to relate this so publically.  But I feel it needs to be said by someone.

As a Christian, how do I explain having all these maladies?  Can’t God just make them go away?  Why hasn’t He answered my prayers for healing?
Here’s my answer:  I don’t know.  And I’m not going to try to figure it out.  God is God and He can do whatever He wants to do.

One thing He’s done, though, is equip certain people to do all the things necessary to develop a drug that I can benefit from. 
No, I don’t see taking medications as a character flaw.  I see it as God putting it in my path to help me get on down the road.

You know, like the Yellow Brick Road, Abbey Road, the Hollywood Walk of Fame?  Just sayin’, mind you…


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

An Audience of One

Several months ago, as I was trolling the internet, I saw this:

 In worship,  God is the audience.

Wow!  I’d never thought of it quite like that before.  I knew, of course, that I go to church to “worship,” but it was just to show God that I loved Him.  I recognized that each portion of the service was designed to show God that He is loved by His people.

It was a works kind of thing – good, Christian people go to church, right?

But this – well, it put worship in a whole new light for me. 

Now when I sing a hymn or the Doxology, I’m singing directly to Him…

Now when I pray, I’m praying directly to Him…

Now when I recite the Apostles Creed with my fellow worshippers, I’m telling God exactly what I believe about Him…

Now when I read the Holy Scriptures, I am reading them back directly to my Creator…

Now when I hear the choir fill the sanctuary with wonderful melodies of joy, I know those melodies are being lifted up directly to Him…

Now when I hear the sermon, I know that not only are those words for those who are worshipping, but also as a gift directly to God.

I can’t explain why or how I got the idea that worship was more for me than it was for God.  I felt that if I didn’t get something out of it, well, it certainly wasn’t my fault.

But to envision God as the audience, with all of us up at the pulpit and Our Father the only one in the congregation – that struck a chord within me.  I realized how selfish and self-centered I had become.  I was putting my needs way before God’s desires.

And what are God’s desires?

He wants us to know Him…

He wants us to obey His commands…

He wants us to live according to His plans…

He wants us to love Him…

And to worship Him…

I’d better get crackin’.  There’s probably something else I’m not quite understanding.  Ya think?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Are You Listening to Me?

What is the matter with you?  I trusted you to take care of things, to look out for my best interests.  I gave you my one precious vote (or maybe I didn’t, but this is a democracy and you won and I respect that).

I don’t want to appear judgmental, but I think it’s pretty clear that you are all acting like a bunch of idiots.  All that power being shoved around, and you can’t come to an agreement to keep the government going?
Oh, please.  I’ve seen better social skills at a day care center for 2-year-olds.

What gets me is that I have done nothing wrong.  The citizens of the United States have done nothing wrong. 
You, on the other hand, are acting like a highly dysfunctional family at its absolute worst.  If I want to see that kind of behavior, I’ll watch cable TV.

It’s time to knock it off.  To put your big girl panties on and deal with it.
I am ashamed of the lot of you.  Especially those who have been in power the longest.  It seems to me that you would have the most experience in compromising and seeing that things get taken care of.

Just do the job you were elected to do.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
My favorite Bible verse comes to mind.  Maybe it will be of help to you.

Beg as loud as you can for good common sense.  Proverbs 2:3 (CEV)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Calling All Boomers!

We have all heard that the hope of our nation is our children and our youth.  I’m here to tell you that that is only partially right.

I believe that we, the baby boomers, are also the hope of our nation.  We have lived through some of the most challenging and entertaining times in our country’s history: 
From the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

From the polio vaccine to cures for many types of cancer and better treatment for others.
From Elvis shown only from the waist up on the Ed Sullivan Show to the beautifully produced documentaries by Ken Burns on PBS.

From “The Cat in the Hat” to “The Purpose Driven Life.”
We have skills and at least partial answers that we can use to help our children and grandchildren understand how to go on from here, how to make a difference.

I believe we do that by example, our actions agreeing with our words.
And if we are part of the hope of our nation, we’d better get busy imparting some of our knowledge and life experiences to those who need to hear it.

I encourage you to intentionally tell your grandchildren about your life.  Tell them where you’ve been, even if you’ve never been outside of Marshall County.  There are plenty of stories about you and Marshall County that need to be told, and they need to be told by you.
Tell your grandchildren who you’ve been in the past, what you did for a living, what education or training you’ve had.

Teach them how to play a card game, like Hearts or Go Fish.  Watch Bonanza together and relate how you had a crush on Little Joe.
One good way of starting a conversation with a grandchild is to look at photographs from your childhood.  My 5-year-old granddaughter loves to look at the naked baby picture of her Gran!

It’s so important for your grandchildren to know you as a real person, one who has funny stories and serious stories, stories about their parents and stories about the history they are learning in school. 
I remember talking to a babysitter in high school who kept the kids one summer, and I mentioned something about President Kennedy’s assassination.  I said, “Well, you remember that.”  And she said, “No, but I read about it in history.”

Wow!  At that point, it had not occurred to me that anything that had happened in my lifetime, around 35 years of it, could be in a history book already.  But Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and I was talking to her in the late 80’s.  25 years to her was the definition of history.
You are living history.  Spread it around and let us all benefit from it.