It Works (Pt 2)

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Once I realized that God has answered so many prayers I was humbled. When I look back over the past year I can see where things that happened would not have been possible. It was God. I did nothing but followed what I knew to be the right thing or what I believed to be the best thing at the time.

Now I can hear you already. See it was you you made the decisions. Well, sure. I believe that God presented the opportunities and I had the choice to accept it or not.

The thing is that faith is trusting even when you feel you can’t. Trusting that God is in control.  Then being thankful.

The other side to this is sometimes we pray for things to happen or not happen that God does not intend for us. We have to accept that on faith too. Remember God knows our future. He knows where we are going. That thing, person, job or whatever that we really want may not be what God has in his plans for us. Sometimes the best things that happen to us are the unanswered prayers. Despite the felling of being let down we have to trust God. Look at the blessings and be thankful.

 

Kirk Was Wrong

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Captain James Tiberius Kirk was wrong. Space is not the final frontier. Time is the final frontier to explore. It is impossible to explore time without investigating space, but that is not what I am talking about here. Let’s look at time as a measurement of our existence.  We humans view time from our meager tiny perspectives as a line of beginning, ending and continuing. Time, like God has always been, with no beginning and no ending. The difference is that time as we perceive it and use it is an illusion.

We wake up, travel through the day with the clock at the ready. Time appears to tick on and on. It seems to be a unit of measure. Time is nothing more than a fabrication of our need to know when we are in the existence of the world. There is no time. There is only existence and being. We live on this planet and we move through our lives in one constant motion of life. Generations are born and generations die but the human race continues. Life continues with or without our knowing what time, year or month it is on the calendar or clock.

In my experience my fellow Christians are closed minded to this concept that time is an illusion. Other religions embrace the theory. According to the Hindu theory of creation, time (Sanskrit ‘kal’) is a manifestation of God. Creation begins when God makes his energies active and ends when he withdraws all his energies into a state of inactivity. God is timeless, for time is relative and ceases to exist in the Absolute. The Absolute is the spiritual realm. The past, the present and the future coexist in him simultaneously.  God creates the cycle of time, called Kalachakra, in order to create divisions and movements of life and sustain the worlds in periodic time frames. God also uses time to create the illusions of life and death for us the living immortals.

There is Biblical proof that time is an illusion. The Bible tells us God is everywhere and all at once. There is a vail the blocks our human sight from the spiritual. There are several verses that talk about the spirt world being hidden. The most notable is in Mathew 17 where Jesus speaks to Moses and Elijah. To do so Jesus has to transform from the physical and  take on his true spiritual self. He moved from the limited physical world to the world of absolute.

What if we could see past time? Past our continuation on this plane of existence? What if we could see time as how God sees it in the spiritual realm? We would see our place in the big picture of creation. The boundaries of the physical would be so unimportant that we would live fully knowing that this is not the end. Time would not control us. All it would take is for us to accept the fact that we do not see the whole picture. By accepting our limited perception, we would be free to be our true selves, not the fabricated versions that society has created us to be. Our daily lives would still be dictated by the clock, it is how we function in society, but the stress of loss and regret would be irrelevant. We would see that this life is a temporary state of being and not our true state. We would know that our love and loved ones are still out there existing. That life continues past what we can see.

If we begin to live in the spiritual mindset outside of time, conscience of the spiritual,  we would take away the control of stress and worry. We would live as free spirits only visiting the physical. The small things that disrupt our peace would disappear. Life would be amazingly peaceful and light.

Power of Prayer

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Prayer is like an extension cord to God. I am not sure how it works but I know that praying with faith changes everything. I know that I feel closer to God when I pray. When I go through a time where I don’t pray regularly I feel disconnected from God.

Not that He went anywhere, I moved spiritually.  When I find it hard to focus on life or on what is important, I stop and pray. Right there, right where I stand. Stop, drop and Pray…OK I may not drop to my knees every time depending where I am standing but I pray.

I will trust Him and put those I love in His hands.Do I always get the answer I want? No. Often I do not get an answer at all. Sometimes all I get is the peace in knowing God has heard me and He is working on it, whatever it is.  For now, that will be enough.

1 Peter 4:7-8 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another. (NIV)

Fireproof (aka The Love Dare)

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I usually only review books and this isn’t a review technically it is an opinion. I watched the movie Fireproof. If you haven’t seen it I recommend you do, married or not. The movie is based on the book The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick. A firefighter, Caleb tells his father John about his impending divorce, and John challenges Caleb to commit to a 40-day test called, “The Love Dare.” Caleb reluctantly agrees to do the test, but more for the sake of his respect for his father than his marriage. He wife initially sees through Caleb’s half-hearted attempts to win back her heart, which deepens Caleb’s frustration. But with his father’s encouragement, Caleb continues with The Love Dare, and eventually makes a life-changing commitment to God and his wife. As a result he saves his marriage.

The love dare is an interesting concept that challenges you to do things that in reality you should already be doing for and with your spouse or partner.  Some of the dares are a simple as speaking nice and the others are more challenging. The end result is a refocus of your heart and actions on the choice you made to love the other person.

The book and movie shows that the Biblical love and marriage is a choice. If you make the choice a priority your marriage will be a strong partnership. There are no fool proof ways to guarantee that the person you choose to love will love you in return. All you can do is stay true to your promise and love them.

God chose to love us. We chose to love him and each other. Love is never the wrong choice if done for unselfish reasons. The Love Dare is that choice in unselfish action.

The Pain of Christmas

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We as Christians hold the crucifixion of Christ as paramount to our forgiveness by God, but what we miss is that the birth of Christ was just as tragic and painful. I am not talking about the obvious that He had to be born to die. Our Father God chose to impregnate a young girl to send His son here to suffer for us. The suffering began before he was born. We all know the warm fuzzy Nativity story with lowing cows, gifts and singing angels, but what about the other side of the story? The painful and terrified side?

Mary was probably 13 years old or so and unmarried. If she had not been protected by God she would have been stoned to death as other adulterous women had been stones in the village of Nazareth. She was engaged and in that culture that was the same as being married. Even without that for a young girl to be pregnant was a death sentence unless she had a husband to claim it. Which Joseph did not at first. Was Mary suffering for Christ even at that point of the story? Yes, she had to tell her mother, father and future husband that she was pregnant and God did it. No wonder the girl left town to visit her cousin Elizabeth. While she was gone, Joseph suffered agonizing ridicule and it kept him up at night. He tossed and turned at the fact his sweet young bride was knocked up. The angel Gabriel visited him in a dream and told him to relax Mary is telling the truth. Mary and Joseph were terrified at the prospect of Mary’s pregnacy and yet, they followed God’s will. Mary very well could have said No to God, but she didn’t. Joseph could have said no to Mary’s father. He could have told him to keep his daughter, but he didn’t. Then the suffering got worse.

The couple went from Nazareth to Bethlehem, about a hundred miles on a donkey…. on a donkey. Not only was Mary in physical pain and Joseph’s feet raw from the walking, there where other dangers on the road, bandits to steal what they had, men who took women as slaves and other untold bad things. Yet, God protected them from that, but not the suffering of the journey. It was long and hard. Mary pregnant and riding on a donkey. Her back must have hurt, her feet must have swelled and she must have been sleep deprived.

Jesus was born in a manger the story says…a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes was laying in the manger. A manger is a wood box for feeding animals. A smelly box with animal slobber and bugs. Where did Mary get the swaddling cloth? Mary probably ripped her own clothing, wrapped Him up and layed Him in the manger on the cleanest hay she could find. Itchy scratchy bug filled hay. No bassinet with a musical mobile spinning about his head. How many of us would ride on a donkey for a hundred miles, give birth in a barn and put our newborn in a hay box? That is suffering.

Did the suffering for our sin start at the arrest of Jesus? No it started the moment that God put the plan in motion. The Nativity story is a story of a miraculous birth and the suffering of our Savior. From the moment of conception the suffering started. However, to suffer is to be human. He suffered the experienced of human life.

So as you think about Christmas and all the fun things that go with it, remember that it is a Holy day not a holiday. Without Jesus it is just another day, with Him it is the remembrance of His coming into suffrage for us sinners.

Example of Answered Prayer

Anyone who knows me knows I am a pray-er. I pray for everything. Big things like the health of my friends and  little things like God please let me make it home safe. I pray all the time. When I am asked how do I know God hears? or How do I know he answers? Most of the time I say, I just do. I try to remember a specific example and sometimes it is hard to find one that I think is significant enough to make a point. Now I have an example that is clear and obvious. I know some will say it is just coincidence but I know that it is not. It is a direct answer to my prayer.

Two months ago I prayed for God to show me what path I should take in my life. There was a position at my library that would be better money but not what I really wanted to do. Like a lot of people, I have student loan debt that I really need help paying. I am not destitute but could use the extra money. I prayed about it and not receiving a clear answer from God, I applied anyway.

One day shortly after I applied a co-worker and friend asks me if I saw a posting for a job at a different library. I said no but I would look at it later. I didn’t think about it the rest of the day as I was busy working. It had just posted that day, so I thought I had plenty of time. When I got home my step dad had the newspaper with the same posting in it. He made my mom call me to tell me about it. OK, God, I am listening. I looked at the posting, prayed  and decided to apply. Still unsure.

A few days after the posting closed, the other library called me for an interview. I felt that I did alright but not my best interview. I found out that someone with significantly more experience applied and possibly interviewed too. That’s it, I stand no chance for the job, I thought. I told God I can’t worry about this… here, you take it and I went about my day as always. The position at my library came up for interview and I still didn’t feel right about it. I agreed to interview for it anyway.

That very day I was called by the other library director and offered the job. I felt sudden and immediate peace. I knew without a doubt that call was an answer to my prayer. It was sudden and unlikely, but it happened. I was offered the job and I took it on the spot.

That is how God works. He lets you exercise your free will while saying, I have this, listen to me, trust me. He is clear with answers. When the answers come your soul knows it is from God. Sometimes the answer is no and sometimes the answer is not what you expected. Either way, you know.

I started my new job this week. I am happier than I have been in my career in a long time and the frosting on the cupcake, the salary is more than my old job and that other one that I applied for. My new coworkers are like a big family and in that family I have discovered other prayer warriors too.  Yes I miss my coworkers from my old job, but I am still in contact with my friends. I still pray for them. My life is in God’s hands. I trusted Him and I have been fully blessed. I see His plan for me at my new library. There is potential for touching lives in big ways as a serve my new community.

Prayer works. Try it. I dare you.

Blessed Beyond Measure

We all have things that come up in our life that put us in a state of temporary anxiety. Any life changing event can send us in to turmoil. We have bills and no money to pay them. We argue with our spouse or significant other. Our teenager gets arrested or our daughter comes home pregnant. Our elderly parent falls breaks a hip. The triggers are not always negative. We get married. Buy a new dream house. Have kids or become grandparents. All if these things can disrupt our lives. These life things can always send us in to a tailspin of what ifs and whys.

We need to remember when life slams us with significant stress that we are blessed. The simple act of listing our blessings out in back and white can ground us and stop the anxiety from taking over. Sometimes it helps just to say, “I can’t handle this alone any more.” and tell some one. Acknowledge that there is this thing happening but here are the blessings despite the thing.

In the vain of practice what you preach. I will share with you that I am in a similar crazy phase in my life right now. I know that God is in control and I know that whatever the outcome it is His will and His chosen path for my life that I will take. The voices in my head, negativity, doubt, anxiety, want me to worry and look to the what could go wrong. To combat that here is my list of blessings.

I have a husband who loves me, a daughter who is successfully raising grandchildren who are little pillars in their community and parents who are proud of me.

This daughter is a strong independent, smart beautiful and compassionate girl.

I have grand parents, aunts, uncles,cousins, nieces and nephews who love me.

I have friends who are there to listen to me whine when life gets tough and celebrate with me when success comes.

I have a roof over my head, food in the kitchen, heat for the cold nights and a reliable car to get me around.

I have a job and a possibility for a better job. Both filled with wonderful people whom I respect and love.

I have an almost complete novel that I could not have written without the grace of God guiding me through it.

I have sweet fur children who love me unconditionally.

I have a church full of family who pray with me and are there when I need them.

I am in good health and improving everyday.

If you have any of the things in the list above you are blessed. If your list looks like mine you are blessed beyond measure. How inconsiderate of us to let the bumps in the road of life to distract us from the truth.

We are loved, blessed and important to God and other humans. Why do we worry?