I lived through another night. Funny, just a few years ago not living for any reason wasn’t something that I considered. Now, with all that has happened over the last 24 months, just being alive is a miracle. Although what I am doing isn’t really living…it is existing until I don’t anymore. If this journal survives, maybe it will help someone smarter than I am understand what has happened. I am not really sure.
To love us
To guide us
To help us
To mentor us
To be our Father
To support us
To fulfill His dreams for us
To calm our fears
To give peace to our anger
To sacrifice Himself first
We need to have goals and dreams, for ourselves, family and friends; it is a vital part of being human that God placed in each of us. We need jobs, homes, vacations, food, transportation, clothing, value, friendship: all off these things are also a part of life. First though, before all else – we need God. He needs us, too.
Thanks for reading.
Is it just me, or does the world want more out of us, but continues to offer less in return? Are we paying more for what was a free service only a few years ago? Flying is a perfect example of the negative change in the cost to value relationship of so many services or products we use. Flying used to be a luxurious form of transportation: good food, free movies, and big suitcases – a pampered existence for a few exciting hours. Now, you pay extra to bring clothes to your destination, unless you can squeeze them into a lunchbox sized carryon; if you are hungry, then bring your own food, and if you want entertainment, bring a credit card. The cost is up and the value is down. When I was young, ice cream was sold in a 4-quart container; we called it a gallon of ice cream. Now, since the makers of the ice cream have grown weary of raising prices, they have decreased the amount sold to 3.5 quarts. Since when is 3.5 quarts equal to a gallon? Everywhere, we are asked to pay more, and offered less in return – except in our transactions with God. His cost has stayed the same, and His value has not tarnished. His gifts are free and the value is immeasurable. Yet, even with a cost to value relationship so tilted in our favor, the darkness in this world wins too often, so we believers need to do more. The amount of pain, sickness, and hurt; the abandonment of all things Christian by governments big and small, and the stress of living in uncertain economic and political times, calls us to do more. We, who believe in God, must dig deeper to help those who do not know how, or where to dig. We need to sharpen our spoons.
Once upon a time, in a land not very far away there was a small town, nestled in brown rolling hills and oak trees, inhabited with mostly happy people who got along with each other and with neighboring cities. Gardens were planted, golf was played, churches attended, businesses thrived, and many a feast was eaten; that is until the day of the great let down. On that day the banks, money changers, manipulators, and Federal Regulators let everyone down: and so the Great Recession began. Every town had lived through recessions in the past, but nothing had been seen in decades like the Great Recession. Where once flowers had grown on the land between the lanes of traffic now stood people with cardboard signs asking for work or food. Stores, restaurants and shops all over the land closed their doors, leaving many people without a way to care for their family. When people could not pay their mortgage, the same banks from the great let down threw the people to the street. Families cried, asking their leaders for help.
Lynn (Mom) walked from the kitchen, where she was making breakfast, to the landing midway up the stairs, “They are in your top drawer on the right side, with all your other socks -same place that they have been for the last four years; and remember the rule of not shouting in the house?”
“Yes Mom, thank you.” ‘You’ was drawn out in typical adolescence overkill. Kallie was the middle child in this busy household.
In a car or on a plane,
On a bike or in a train,
At the end of the day or the end of a week,
It is home I love to seek.
The title of this piece is either a double entry (which should be caught by spell check), or the writer is finally showing signs of his age. Or perhaps the meaning is exactly as it is written. Fast fast could mean to hurry hurry, now now, or to run very fast; and I mean very fast. Or, since fasting in the Biblical sense means to abstain from eating (mostly), the title could mean to not eat at all, nothing, nada: no food whatsoever. Combining the two definitions would mean to hurry up and not eat. Personally, I love to eat; so I wonder why I might desire to quickly move towards something that I don’t want to do. In reality, I would drag myself in the slowest possible fashion towards a goal of eating less, let alone not eating at all. So maybe there is another choice.
As the year ends and we transition to another, it is commonplace to reflect on what we have done, and what we have left undone. Too often though, reflection on the past morphs into a self-inflicted mental beating, centered on our perceived shortcomings. We tend to focus on the bad, and forget about the good we have done. The discussion becomes a stream of, “I didn’t…”
I didn’t lose ten pounds.
I didn’t get that promotion.
I didn’t find full time work.
I didn’t save, or invest as I had planned.
I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t……
A little negativity can erase a lot of greatness, if we let it. Our pastor spoke about this phenomenon in an excellent sermon, and I’m sharing just two if his thoughts, but they are very important. When the “I didn’t” takes over, remember:
You are better than you think you are
You matter more than you think you do
Why? Because it is true, and because God said so. We are not the center of the universe, God is. But, sometimes we are much closer to the center than we think.
Happy New Year!
Thanks for reading.
STARTING NEXT WEEK, RATHER THAN SENDING THE ENTIRE MESSAGE IN AN EMAIL, I WILL BE SENDING A LINK BACK TO MY WEBSITE WHERE YOU CAN READ IT. I PROMISE IT WILL BE EASY AND FAST. – Michael
Your Mercy is limitless.
Your Encouragement for my soul is beyond expression.
Your Righteousness is our only desire.
Your Reality is the basis of all human understanding.
Your Years are infinitely uncountable.
Your Courage smothers the fear that emanates from Hades.
Your Heart holds the love of the universe; yet there is still room for more.
Your Remembrance of my sin is no more, as if it never was.
Your Instincts create reality.
Your Strength covers all of my weakness.
Your Timing is exact and perfectly planned.
Your Motives are pure.
Your Authority is permanent and eternal.
Your Son is our road to salvation.
As Thanksgiving approaches there will be numerous articles written, radio programs broadcasted, and television shows aired bringing to our attention the need to be thankful. Setting aside one day a year to remember, and acknowledge all the reasons we have to be thankful is a very good tradition. I encourage everyone to embrace this holiday; to be with friends and family and carefully consider how lucky we are to be American’s, living where we do, having food in the pantry and people who love us. Only, my goal this season was not to write about Thanksgiving simply because everyone else is, yet here I am mentioning Thanksgiving three times in the first paragraph. So, I’ve decided instead to focus my writing on You’re Welcome; it’s what happens after thanks.
Saying “You’re welcome” is the finale of a three part process initiated by an action; not just any action though. For instance, stepping on someone’s foot while dancing doesn’t usually lead to you’re welcome, nor would denting a car door in the grocery store parking lot. To arrive at the desired good outcome, the first step is to do something that brings joy, happiness, relief, comfort or love to another person, whether you know that person or not. An action is needed to start the process. Being thankful unto itself normally is a passive experience, and living in the level of good fortune that we do, begs for more than a passive gratitude.