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Sunday, July 31, 2011

JUST MARRIED (10 yrs. ago) part 1

10 years of marriage isn't long.  But, a few thoughts at this juncture. 


1.  "Never get your husband from a bubble gum machine." 

That was my husband's response when I told him, in jest, that he's 'not what I ordered'.  We both laughed.  Very true.  Some things should not be done blindly.  Bubble gum, yes.  Husbands no.   


2.  Let him eat kimchi.

Years before my husband met me, he worked with a Korean community.  He fell in love with everything about them.  Their language.  Their passion.  And, especially their food.  So, when we got married, we occasionally visited the Korean grocery store and would grab their sticky rice, seaweed, radishes, and the oh-so-stinky kimchi -- what my husband describes as rotten cabbage.  Its scent is so strong that it would stink up our whole kitchen.  Though, I didn't like the cabbage (and had to light a candle to help kill the smell while he ate),  I respected the fact that my husband did.  Just because I didn't like it, didn't mean I had the right to forbid it.  Love isn't selfish.


3.  You got 3 minutes. 

I love roller coasters.  And, like a marriage, it has its ups and downs and unexpected curves in the track.  But, at the end of a good one, you look at your partner and say you'd do it all over again with them in an instant.  The only downside to a roller coaster is that it's too short.  Even the long ones go fast.  It seems like you just got on and suddenly the ride is over.  In light of eternity, we don't even have 3 minutes with our partner here on earth.  So, let your hands up and enjoy the ride!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Comm-YOU-nity

I saw something a couple weeks ago.

A woman, sitting in her car in a parking lot, pushed her door open and dropped an empty take-out cup onto the ground.  She had my attention.  Was she planning to leave it there?  Or, did she just want to set it down for a moment with the intention of throwing it away in a trash can? 

I was rootin' for her.

"Come on, girl," I said to myself, "you're not gonna just leave it there are you?"

I continued to watch. 

She opened her door again and threw out a handful of crumpled papers.  Then, some other odd items I couldn't identify at a distance.  Then a small plastic bag.  It was obvious.  She was cleaning out her car. 

I wanted to keep believin'.  Surely, she would gather it all up when she was finished and walk it to the McDonald's trash can that was just 15 feet away.

But, I'm sorry to say, she did not.  Instead, she closed her car door and pulled up to the next parking spot in front of her!  She removed herself completely from any responsibility for the trash she left behind her.

I was disappointed, to say the least.  And, honestly, I wanted to be quick to judge her and say, "What are you doing lady??  You mean to tell me you can't pick up your junk and walk it to the trash can?  Who's gonna clean this up?  We're part of a community here!"


We forget. (I forget)  Or, maybe we just don't care. 
We make our decisions sometimes without thinking about how it affects the lives around us. 

We are thinking 'me', not community if we...

Litter 
Text while driving
Don't wash our hands after using the bathroom 
Shoplift (businesses often raise their prices to compensate for the loss)
Speed and drive recklessly
Treat red lights like 'stop-tionals'
Mishandle our taxes
Don't tip our waiter/waitress/hair dresser/etc.
Do dirty business


Maybe we think our actions don't have much impact.  "It's only one piece of litter.  It's only one fraudulent claim."   But, it takes each little piece of sand to fill the beach.  And, little can add up to much if we all choose self over community.  And, in the same way, little can add up to much if we all choose community over self.

How will YOU be part of Comm-YOU-nity?


Friday, July 22, 2011

Paint & Pretense

Being able to paint furniture is great. 

I especially love that I have that option when I buy things that are all beat up from a thrift store.  The basic structure of it is still sturdy, it just needs some cosmetic help.  With a bit of sanding and a 10 minute paint job, I can turn my trash into treasure.

Interestingly, though, our Creator is in the business of doing just the opposite.  He sees our painted, polished exterior.  But, He also has the ability to see beyond the 'paint' we hide behind.  He sees the beauty of the original wood. 

He says to Himself, "She looks good now.  But, I know her potential.  It lies beneath all the coatings of paint."

So He begins the stripping process. 

Some of us have multiple layers.  Years of paint built up.  But, with a steady, careful, and patient Hand, He slowly removes all that is not part of who we are.  We become a work of art in His Hands as he chips away at the layers and relieves the real us.  He pulls away the pretense and the fear that makes us hide.  And, when His work is done, we experience the Freedom to be ourselves. 


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Meatball Mush

On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed...


Poor little meatball. 

What'd he ever do to anyone anyway?  Sittin' on the top of his world, minding his own meatball and spaghetti business when suddenly... 

"Ahchoo!" 
He's completely blindsided by a nasty blast of someone's sneeze! 

And, if that's not enough, he gets knocked off his horse, (well, pasta platter) and rolls right out of his comfort zone.  First the table, then the floor and, who knows why nobody stopped and helped the poor fellow, but he rolls right out the door!  How much more vulnerable and out of your element can you get?!

What downward momentum he must have had because he didn't stop there.  His humbling continues as he journeys into the garden and of all places under a bush where no one could see him and he could very well be forgotten about altogether.  What a personal dilemma and place of humiliation for the confused guy.  I can imagine after a moment of lying there as a pile of mush, that he may have been tempted to despair and give up on all hope of anything good to come from such a terrible thing.  

But, to his amazement, this was not the end of his story! 

Surprisingly, we are told that the 'mush was as tasty as tasty can be!"  His trial made him even more pleasing!  Imagine that!  And, after a year of hiding, the season changed and what was once a pile of mush became its own growing tree!  And, that tree grew amazing 'fruit' -- more meatballs and tomato sauce! 

So, if you're a meatball all covered in cheese, on top of your bowl of spaghetti.  Remember the journey of our poor little fellow and the good that came out of that sneeze!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Petal Plucking

He loves me.  He loves me not.  He loves me.  He loves me not. 
He LOVES ME!

A child's simple game that said it all.  A scene filled with giggling girls, petals thrown everywhere, and the hope of true love. 

I played a game or two in my day.  Admittedly, I was one of those giggly little girls with stars in her eyes when I had a crush on a boy.  I can remember counting the petals before I started to try and figure out what the last petal would land on.  Would he love me?  Would he not?  Sometimes I rigged it to work in my favor.  It had to land on 'he loves me'.  How disappointing and unromatic it would be otherwise!

I don't play with flower petals anymore.  But, I do occasionally play a similar game with God. 

He loves me.  He loves me not...

I know He loved me yesterday.  But, today I just don't feel so secure about it.  I'm unsure about us. 

And, honestly, there is nothing I hate more.  It's similar to wondering from day to day if your father loves you.  Or, being uncertain if your husband or wife still accepts and adores you the way they did the day before.  It's an insecure and terrible place to be.  When my head is not on right and I'm on the "He loves me not' petal, my whole day takes on an insecure and shaky feel.  AUGH! 

And, then He reminds me. 

God doesn't play these kinds of games with us.  He's not waking up with an Eight Ball toy in His hand asking it if He should love me today or not.  He's not checking ridiculous horoscopes to see how He should feel about His day and feel toward me.  Can you imagine if that is the kind of Guy He is?  For sure, we'd all be swimmin' with the fishes by now. 

His Love is consistent and unconditional.  And, we forget sometimes that He's the One that made the first move.  We love Him because He first loved us.  He's the Initiator in this Romance we have with Him.  And, believe you me, He is more interested in keeping this flame alive than even we are. 

So with a sigh of relief, I stop the questioning.  I stop petal plucking.  And, I simply say thank you.

Thank you for loving me.  Today, tomorrow, and every day after.


Friday, July 15, 2011

RSVP

RSVP.

It's French for r├ępondez s'il vous pla├«t, meaning “reply please” or "please respond" (Wikipedia).

When receiving an invitation, it's not only courteous to RSVP, but in many cases required.  Large events like weddings, for example, depend on their guests to respond.  The host did their part.  The guest must do theirs as well.

But, sometimes we procrastinate. 

I know, for me, I'll throw an invite in a pile of 'to do' papers and it simply gets lost in the shuffle of things to get done.  I will either label it as 'low priority' or just completely overlook it altogether.  If I'm not careful, I may never RSVP at all.  The wedding will still take place.  But, a seat will not be saved for me.

*****
We have been INVITED. 

There's a Party.  A Banquet that is going to take place.  Soon.  Yes, very soon.

The invites have gone out.  The Host has done His part.  But, He waits now for our RSVP. 

But, some will procrastinate.

They will throw it in the pile of 'things to do before I die'.  They label it 'low priority' or overlook it altogether.  And, if they are not careful, their 'time to go' will come upon them like a thief in the night.  The Party will still take place.  But, a seat will not be saved for them.


Don't procrastinate. 
RSVP today.



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Antiseptic

Caring for wounds can be an unpleasant experience. 

It stinks because not only have you gone through the pain of being hurt but now you must allow yourself to feel the sting of the medicine.  And, the thing is, if you're going to get better, you have to get yourself the proper treatment.  If you don't, the wound is susceptible to infection and that could lead to worse consequences.  Though we hate it, we have to apply the antiseptic.

Heart wounds need proper treatment, too.  And, sometimes it can be down-right unpleasant.

His Love is like an Antiseptic to our hearts.  It's beautiful and wonderful.  But, it also kills Germs and Infection. 

So, we come.
We come to the Doctor.  We visit the Hospital.  We find the Treatment we need. 

And, because we trust Him, we willingly press our wounded hearts against His Healing Hand.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Interruption of Service

At the top of our steps in our second floor hallway, we have a double light switch.  One switch works the hallway light.  The other switch is connected to the outlet that's down the steps where our TV/cable is plugged into.  Most of the time we are careful with which switch to use.  But, occasionally, we flip the wrong switch and instead of shutting off the light, we completely interrupt the service downstairs by cutting off the electric source.  When it happens, it's usually followed by several moans from the people downstairs watching TV.  

Similar to our electrical outlets, we have LIFE outlets.  The places we are able to plug into to get the nourishment we need to keep our hearts going.  Things like reading the Bible, and fellowshipping with others that love the God we love.

When we are consistently plugged into those outlets, we are like the Energizer Bunny.  There's a steady flow of LIFE running through us.

But, when we disconnect.  When we don't plug in --  it is like the switch at the top of my steps, and service gets interrupted.

Stay connected.  Stay plugged in.  Where else can we go?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I'll Leave The Light On

One of the scariest things to me is losing your child. 

How my heart goes out to the families of the children I see on posterboards at the grocery store or post office. 

LOST
HAVE YOU SEEN ME?

Desperate cries for help from the people who love them.  I can only imagine the number of broken hearts there are for every photo posted.  I always say a prayer as I walk by the poster.  Sometimes I even get choked up as I see their faces.

Who knows the stories behind those photos.  Was the child/teenager taken?  Did they willingly run away?  If they did run away, why?  And, do they know that there is someone out there that is looking for them?  Do they know that their faces are being mass sent and included in our coupon mailers?  Do they know how much they are loved?


I can only imagine then how our Father feels towards His lost children.  His posterboards would probably be filled with heartfelt pleas...

LOST!  My most amazing son.  My most beautiful daughter.  If you are reading this,  I want you to know that I am not mad at you.  You are not in trouble.  Please do not be afraid to reach out and contact me.  You can call collect any time day or night.  Please don't feel like you have to get your act together before you call me.  I accept you right where you are at.  I JUST WANT YOU HOME!!  So, please please if you are reading this...  PLEASE CALL YOUR FATHER.  You know where to reach me.  I'll leave the light on.  I love you. 
-- Daddy

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Trash Man

I think it's one of the stinkiest jobs you can have -- being a trash man.

Under-appreciated I would say.  I can't remember the last time I thanked my trash man.  Let me think...  Nope.  Actually, I have never taken the time to thank him.  He faithful comes and takes away my garbage with one swift move of his strong arms.  In a matter of moments, I watch my waste get eaten by his big truck.  I never see it again.  The trash man takes care of it all.

He's a reminder to me of how well my other Trash Man takes care of my garbage.  With a swift move of His Mighty Arms He sweeps away the junk.  Effortlessly.  Willingly.  And, never with an ounce of condemnation.  (Trash men don't condemn you for your garbage.) 

So, thank you trash man.

And, thank you Trash Man.

How filthy my life would be without you!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Layman's Terms Please

I went to the vet several weeks ago with my dog.  When we sat down with the vet after he was evaluated and treated, she began to explain to us what she thought he had.  After 2 minutes of her explaination, my brain hurt.  She had used large 5 syllable medical words that I had never heard in my life.  I needed explaination for her explaniation! 

After a moment to think, I said..."So, what you're really trying to say is -- he has a form of doggy food poisoning? 

To which she replied... "Well, in a sense... yes."

Well, why didn't she just say that in the first place!?

******

The best kind of doctors and teachers are ones that can take the complicated information they know and break it down into simple terms.  They know how to explain complex things in a very understandable way.  They know that the general public hasn't been through years of college training like they have.  They have to speak in common terms if they are going to get anyone to understand.

And, the one who sows and waters the seeds of LIFE understands this, as well.  They understand that there's no need to speak in complex terms.  They can speak simply about it.  They know that if they break it down into layman's terms, there will be a better chance that their listeners will walk away with a better understanding. 

God spoke to my heart once and He said this,

"You speak simply.  I'll speak deeply."


He's the One that takes the simpleness of the Message and makes it grow and stretch into the deepest parts of a human heart.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

...but, I don't want to.

I said a prayer once that went something like this...

"Oh God, help me.  I just don't know how to lose these 10 pounds." 

To which He replied, "Yes, you do."


He was right.  I've lived in this body long enough and lost enough pounds in the past to know what I need to do to lose weight. 

It wasn't a question of whether I knew what to do.  It was a matter of whether I wanted to apply what I already knew. 

So, my prayer changed...
"God help me apply what I know then."


And, that's how it is with many things in my life.  I know the answer.  I know what I need to do. 

The question is...  am I willing to apply it?



Monday, July 4, 2011

Apply What You Know


Apply what you already know.

I know that if I am tired, I should go to bed.
I know that if I don't understand something, I can read the dictionary or encyclopedia.
I know that if I am not feeling well, I can pick up the phone and call the doctor.


I already know the answer.  I already know what I need to do.  I don't need to consult my how-to book.  I don't have to ask an expert.  And, I don't have to guess what I think will work.  I already know the steps.  All I need to do is simply apply what I know.  I don't need to complicate it. 


And, I don't need to complicate the things of LIFE either.


I know that if I am having heart problems, I consult the Heart Physician. 
I know that if my Vision needs improvement I go to the Eye Doctor.
I know that if I'm having trouble lifting my head, I see the Chiropractor. 
I know if I don't know the answer, the Book will tell me what I need to know. 
I know that if I really want to know my Purpose, I can ask the Manufacturer.
I know that if my heart is heavy, I can Sing away the blues.
I know that if I am lonely, I can call a friend.
I know that if I'm starving, the Bread will satisfy.
I know that if I'm thirsty, the Wine is pleasing.
I know that if I want to take cover, I need only run to my Secret Hide-out.

I already know the answer.  I already know what to do.  All I need to do is simply apply what I know.