flashthoughts

Archive for April 2012

What am I thinking? Taking my car to have it serviced without an appointment? Really? I’m gonna be there all day! I better take plenty of things to keep me busy. – These were the thoughts running through my mind as I was preparing to leave for Daphne this morning. So, I packed my computer, daily devotional, notebook, note cards and was ready to go. At the last minute, I thought “I should take The Story with me and re-read the chapter for tomorrow’s message.” Now I know why He wanted me to take it – read on…

Reading Chapter 15 again – I must confess I was mostly ‘skimming’ over it until I got almost to the end. I was still ‘skimming’ when suddenly it seemed He opened my eyes to what I was reading. As if He was asking me, “Are you even paying attention to what you are reading? Don’t you see this is where you live today?” Read the following and see if you agree. Please note that anything in italics is what I have added because I truly think the substitution could be made – see if you agree. I look forward to reading your comments about this.

Taken from The Story – Chapter 15
Hosea 4:1-2; 5:4, 7, 14-15; 8:13b-14; 9:7; 14:1-2

Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites {Americans},
because the Lord has a charge to bring
against you who live in the land:
“There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.
There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery;
they break all bounds and bloodshed follows bloodshed.”

“Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God.
A spirit of prostitution is in their heart;
they do not acknowledge the Lord.

They are unfaithful to the Lord;
they give birth to illegitimate children.
When they celebrate their New Moon feasts,
He will devour their fields.”

“For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
like a great lion to Judah.
I will tear them to pieces and go away;
I will carry them off, with no one to rescue them.
Then I will return to My lair
until they have borne their guilt
and seek My face – in their misery
they will earnestly seek Me.”

“Now He will remember their wickedness
and punish their sins:
They will return to Egypt.
Israel {America} has forgotten their Maker
and built palaces;
Judah has fortified many towns.
But I will send fire on their cities
that will consume their fortresses.”

The days of punishment are coming,
the days of reckoning are at hand.
Let Israel {America} know this.
Because your sins are so many
and your hostility so great,
the prophet is considered a fool,
the inspired person a maniac.

Return, Israel {America}, to the Lord your God.
Your sins have been your downfall!
Take words with you
and return to the Lord.
Say to Him: “Forgive all our sins
and receive us graciously,
that we may offer the fruit of our lips.”

So, I ask you – Israel or America? What do you say? I don’t see how anyone can read these words and not recognize this is the America we are living in. Do we want it to continue this way? Don’t start playing the “Blame Game” and pointing fingers at politicians or your neighbor or anyone else – we are each responsible for our own individual actions and reactions. When each individual makes the choice to give HIM control of their life, that is when change will come. I need to focus on my life and whether or not I am truly allowing God to have control or if there are some things that I am still trying to control myself. When He shows me areas where I have not given complete control to Him, then I need to immediately take steps to release those to Him also. I can only do this for me – only you can do it for you. Oh what a difference we will begin to see if we will begin to do this. Don’t you agree?

Oh and if you would like help in giving Him complete control – check THIS out 🙂

Are you ever frightened or startled by a loud noise or sudden movement? I know I have been in the past but I hope, one day, to get to the place where I’m not. Sit back, get comfortable and let me explain what I’m talking about.

You all know by now that I attend Celebrate Recovery. You may not know, however, that we say the Serenity Prayer every time we meet. Last night we were given a challenge. I was actually given this challenge nearly a year ago but was just beginning to attend CR at that time and didn’t take the time to complete it. What was the challenge? To stop and REALLY take a look at the Serenity Prayer and come to truly understand how powerful it is and what it means to me. Do a “Serenity Check-Up”. As soon as the challenge was given, the thought went through my head “I need to do this during my quiet time in the mornings until I get it finished.”

So, I sat down this morning to get started and was immediately at a loss as to how to answer the very first question: “What does the “serenity” that you are asking God for look or feel like? Describe it in as much detail as you can.” Really? Is this thing serious? I had absolutely NO idea how to answer this question and was going to skip it and move on to the next question; but, the Holy Spirit nudged me and seemed to ask, “Why don’t you pray about it?” So I did. I asked God, “What DOES serenity look like?” All of a sudden, I knew I was supposed to look up the word – I mean, DUH! How can I know what something is supposed to look like if I can’t even define it to myself or anyone else? Serenity is one of those words where I tend to say, “Oh, you know what I’m talking about. It’s hard to explain in actual words, but you know what I mean, right?”

Then, before I could look it up in the dictionary, this happened……

BOTH my cats decided to plop themselves right on top of my notebook causing me to make a choice:  Shoo them down off my desk or enjoy the moment for however long it may last. I chose to enjoy. Patches (the white one) is pretty much ALWAYS ready for attention; but, Slinky has ALWAYS been the “typical” independent cat. However, she seems to be changing a little lately and seems to want  more attention.

As I began to pet them and they were purring their sweet little purrs, it dawned on me what a perfect picture of serenity this is. Yet, at the same time, I knew, if there was a loud noise (or ANY sudden noise) or something as simple as a door opening, their ‘serenity’ would be GONE. The cats jumped down and I looked up the word serenity. Here’s what I found: The quality or state of being serene. Yes, that led me to look up the word serene. Here’s what I found there: 1a – Clear & free of storms or unpleasant change, b-Shining bright & steady / 2 – Used as part of a title (His Serene Highness) / 3 – Marked by or suggestive of utter calm and unruffled repose (rest) or quietude. Synonyms of Serene are: Arcadian, calm, hushed, peaceful, placid, restful, quiet, still, stilly, tranquil

Truly my cats had been peaceful and utterly calm. But as I stated above, I knew the slightest disruption to the quiet moment would cause their ‘serenity’ to be gone in a heartbeat, which ‘dominoed’ my thinking to me and my serenity. I can be very peaceful and calm, feeling God’s presence all around me until there is a loud noise (most often in the form of a trial) or something as simple as Him opening a door to lead me somewhere new. Suddenly, I am no longer serene but frightened.

NOW I can answer the question! Now I KNOW that when I ask God to grant me serenity, I’m asking Him to help me get to the place where I’m not so easily frightened by the new or unexpected. I’m asking Him to help me get to Philippians 4:7 as a way of life: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Something has been lurking in the back of my mind all day today. Earlier I attempted to post it as a status on Facebook but, as I began to type, it began to grow. So, I left it alone, hoping I would have a chance to get back to it later in the day. Well, it is definitely later in the day (10:00 p.m. to be exact – lol). Even though I know what is going through my mind, I am still struggling with trying to put it into words. I decided to just start typing and ask the Lord to pour the words out. I think the best place to start is at the beginning….

I accepted Jesus as my Savior many years ago, when I was a young teenager. I’ve ‘celebrated’ many Good Fridays and Resurrection Days (Easter) since that time. Yet, when I woke up this morning, I was experiencing feelings that I do not ever remember having before. I felt such a sadness and I didn’t know why, at first. As I went about getting ready for work and thinking about it being Good Friday, it dawned on me. It IS Good Friday to me and many others because we know that, even though this was a day of great suffering for Jesus, He rose again and lives in Heaven with His and our Father and is preparing a place for us. But my mind just kept thinking about the day it actually happened all those years ago. The despair those people must have felt as they saw Jesus hang on the cross and die. Yes, they had been told by Him that He would “rebuild the Temple in three days” but they didn’t understand what He was saying to them.

I realized I was experiencing a true grieving – for what those early Christians must have been going through on that day and for the sacrifice and true suffering that my Savior, Jesus Christ, went through on that day all because He loved me! In my head, I know what Jesus did for me, how He suffered for me and died for me, and it hurts my heart to think of what He went through – all for me. (He did it for YOU, too, just in case you are wondering.)

A few years ago when the movie, The Passion of the Christ, came out, I managed to sit through it. There were a lot of places (and I mean a LOT of places) where I had to close my eyes or turn my head or just look down. I was surprised that I made it through the movie because I have never even been able to attend Easter plays at a church because it bothers me so much to see even an extremely light re-enactment of what He suffered for me!

However, I attended a local church’s presentation last Sunday night, The Passion Play, for the very first time. They have been doing this for many years but I’ve never gone before because I know my nerves can’t handle it. It quite literally makes my heart feel as if it is going to burst right out of my chest – and what is presented is extremely mild compared to what He must have actually suffered!

As I said earlier, I know in my head that He suffered but, even though we can read about it and some can do their best to ‘re-enact’ it, I wonder if my heart will ever truly be able to comprehend it? I don’t think it will because I think it really is too horrific for me to handle.

Maybe all my feelings today were brought on because of the play I attended last Sunday night. Maybe they were brought on because I have been drawing closer to Him this last year through CR (Celebrate Recovery). Maybe I’ll never really know WHY or WHERE they came from. I only know that all day long today I have felt a sadness that I could not explain, one that I’ve never felt before, yet it wasn’t  for anything that had happened in ‘my little world’. This sadness, or grief, was for all those people so long ago that truly did not have the same assurance that I have today. They weren’t able to say, “It may be Friday but Sunday’s on the way” because I don’t think any of them knew (ahead of time) what was going to happen on Sunday.

In The Message Bible, Matthew 28:5-10 is translated this way: The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as He said. Come and look at the place where He was placed. Now, get on your way quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there.’ That’s the message.” The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. “Good morning!” He said. They fell to their knees, embraced His feet and worshiped Him. Jesus said, “You’re holding on to Me for dear life! Don’t be frightened like that. Go tell My brothers that they are to go to Galilee and that I’ll meet them there.”

So it makes me wonder, was it a Good Friday for them or was it just plain awful? They didn’t realize the joy until Sunday. What do you think? Do you have any thoughts about this? I’d love to hear them, if you do. And now I’m going very “old school” because there’s a powerful song that Carman sings and I’d like to share it with you. If you’ve never heard of Carman or never heard this song – listen to it now – you won’t regret it. If you know who Carman is and you HAVE heard this song before – listen again anyway and remember that even though it’s Friday night…….Sunday’s on the way! Praise the Lord!!!


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