Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

The hope of Life

Glorious Light of Christ

Sometimes I pray, because I need help….the kind of help that doesn’t come from friends or advisors. The kind of help that has a knowledge of the future, so the advice and direction that I need will be accurate and reliable. Sometimes I just don’t hear an answer or see one come, just because I have prayed. Sometimes the answer comes in a very unexpected way. Sometimes, people ask questions…why would God do “whatever?” I don’t know…but there are some things I do know, and there are answers available, some answers come only by hunting for them. Children get answers to prayer regarding some of what adults consider unimportant, or not what you should ask for. We live in this world where instant gratification is expected. I love to see the answers when children pray. They pray with such faith…I often wish I could have that kind of faith…..It seems I have to fight a fight to maintain faith, and keep on believing. At least part of the time. (more…)

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When it is time for this Holy Day…..I wonder, what can I do or say that touches your heart? Thank you God for coming here, taking on the heartbeat of a human baby, for coming into a world where everyone was looking for you, and so many never noticed. Thank You that the Shepherds noticed! Thank you for Angels that declared your Glory and your Entrance into the world that would cost you your earthly life.

I cannot even think of your birth without thinking of your words….those most important ones that tell us there is “no other name given under heaven, by which we must be saved, except for Jesus.
I think you knew that people wouldn’t like that much….they much prefer their own way to heaven, and have convinced themselves that they are right. It is interesting that just because we believe something does not make it so. (more…)

I Wasn’t who I am…..

Posted: December 7, 2011 in Minot
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Isn’t it strange, how one day your perspective on things just change? Today as I was just driving along, trying to get where I needed to go, I suddenly thought…Wow….I have forgotten to go to God first! I think I used to be that way….asking, seeking, searching for answers, but most always praying about something first.

The flood…..Disaster…changes who you are and what you think, and how you arrive at what you are thinking. Or maybe you don’t really think at all, maybe you just go from point A to point B and dance to the music.

I realize that I am not who I was before the flood. “Things” have taken a backseat. “Things” have gone away. One day they were all safely in my home, and next they became water logged. Soggy couches, chairs with broken legs, a dining room table folded over, hardwood flooring bulged up across the once smooth and shiny area. None of it really matters, but I matter. It matters that through all the troubles of dealing with slime-water-filled stuff, I was no longer who I am. The really hard part of all that, is realizing one day you are different. Realizing one day that you had been asleep somewhere in the midst of it all. The brain fog…clouded everything….perhaps a coping mechanism.

Oh, yea, I went about doing what needed to be done. I laughed at jokes. I helped others….and accepted help from others. Gratefulness. Emptiness. Sorrow….hoping…but mostly no feelings…no thoughts of returning to life, primarily because of not knowing I had become someone else.

There seems to be no question I know the answer to. For others, yes….I am able to say all the right words, because those words are part of the real me. But for me to help me….

What has not been lost? I didn’t lose Jesus and He didn’t lose me. I didn’t lose my experiences, nor did I lose hope. (well, only part of the time) I didn’t lose laughter, and I didn’t lose friends or family. I didn’t lose ……Those things that no one or nothing can steal. We all have them…and it is good to remember what is left. Somewhere in the Bible it talks about everything that can be shaken will be shaken. Sometimes I feel like a snow globe….I am just one of those pieces of snow, flying all over, and finally beginning to settle only to be picked up and shaken again. When the shaking is done, things never return to the way they were. Anyone who thinks we can go on as usual is sadly mistaken. Almost nothing in our lives will ever be the same again.

People talk about the new “normal”. We have to find our new “normal”. Part of finding that new normal is reminding ourselves, that something of what we have gone through will create in us a new and better person if we will allow it. The Bible tells us that “All things work together for good to those that” 1. Love God and 2. Are called according to HIS purpose. If we meet that criteria, then something out of this will be turned to good. If we don’t, then it may not.

I look around and I see some seriously bitter and angry people. I have been one of them! I think I felt betrayed by God when this flood came….I think I had no concept of how it would change all our lives. I think I was just unable to think very clearly…sometimes even now, I struggle with that.

I work, and all is well! I know my job very well, and I am good at it. But in the wee hours of the night, I wonder. Day by day I seem to awaken a little more. I seem to be finding my way back to me. I wonder what is in store for the rest of my life, and how much life is left. I don’t seem to be concerned about me, but more about my family….What would they do without me? Then I think….how Silly! They would be just fine, they have Jesus, and he is much better at helping than I am…then I tell myself….I know the answer to this….”There IS a time to live, and a time to die, a time to laugh and a time to cry, a time to plant and a time to harvest…..” There is a time…and when it is time for those things we can’t shrink back from the things we don’t like and hold on to only the things we do like.

The amazing thing we have to remember is that we are who we are, and we are where we are supposed to be! We didn’t make a mistake! We just were swept into a time of “something”. It is OK….We are never guaranteed another day, and we never have been. We have this day, and maybe we should make the best of it we can. I think I have to be careful not to just think about me. I also think, I have to be careful TO think about me. What do I want? What do I need? Why not stop and smell some roses? It may be winter in North Dakota, but the flower shops have roses! And there is no charge to smell them! Maybe today, I should go find a sled and go sledding….not a big hill, just a small one…..I am way too old to be climbing up a really high hill….or maybe I am not!

So what is the plan? I don’t know, but God does….In Jeremiah 29:11 it says, “I know the plans I have for you. Plans for good and not for evil, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.” I don’t have to know the plan…I just have to look to Jesus for the lighted path and follow it. He will take me where I need to go, and get me there, when I need to be there. I have no worries, because it is all good!

I must remember to remind myself to ask God first….then listen carefully (messages from God come in so many different ways) and then follow directions. Just following Jesus is pretty easy. He leads the way, and clears the path, and lights the way. There is no stress….just do what He has for me to do today. Tomorrow the sun will come up, and the day will begin, and if I start it out seeking His direction for my day, then I cannot go wrong. I must watch the path closely, it is so easy to step off it and go face first into the mud…or a snow bank, as the case may be.

I love babies, they are so special! Have you ever watched the anticipation of a Grandma or Grandpa trying to get a baby to smile? Over and over they smile and coax and once that little one breaks forth in a smile, those Grandparents exhibit such satisfaction….and Joy….

I think we have to think of Jesus that way….He has the answer, and he will not give up on us. He will keep trying until we “smile”. and His joy is great, because we have accomplished what He wanted FOR us. It is AWESOME to have a GOD who loves us so much, and only wants the BEST for US!

You heard about the little girl who was walking home from school, and a storm came. Lightning was flashing all around…Her Mother, came looking for the little girl to drive her home so she wouldn’t be afraid….but when Mom found her, she saw her daughter look up and smile and continue on her way, seemingly unafraid.
Once Mom got her daughter safely into the car she asked why she had been looking up in the sky and smiling…and wasn’t she afraid of the storm?

The little girl looked at her Mom….and said of course I wasn’t afraid….The light would flash and I knew God was taking my picture so I smiled for Him!

Blessings to you all in the Mighty Name of Jesus! Let God make you SMILE!

Prayyior

The Guilt of Survival……..

There is a time that strikes our hearts with a sense of guilt…for surviving something. It could be life, it could be having a house when others were flooded, it could be for keeping a job when others were laid off, it could be living when someone else died.

It is not an easy road, this life we live. “In this world there will be trouble” and wherever we go and whatever we do we will run “face first” into it. The question is not what the circumstances of the trouble are, the question is how do we deal with it. Do we scream and curse, or do we help out, oftentimes going beyond what we even think is possible, or do we collapse and crumble under the onslaught.

Many of the people in Minot have had their homes destroyed by flood waters sweeping in under unprecedented circumstances. Many have found themselves in shelters, and others in a friend or stranger’s home. Some are living in tents, or campers or doorways, or in vacant flood damaged buildings.

Yesterday, I found I was one of those who was blessed with a little “rectangular box house“, courtesy of the federal government. (although I am thinking I may have actually paid for it many times over) It arrived on wheels, was jacked up and placed on concrete blocks. Someone came and hooked up a water line, a sewer line and electric. Someone built a wooden deck, someone put in an pole that the electric was hooked to, someone dug a ditch and buried the electric line. Someone put vinyl soffit material cut in pieces around the bottom of it to “skirt it” or close it in for winter. I doubt seriously that the people doing this have ever spent a winter in North Dakota….but they did what they did, and for that I am grateful!

The “little box house“, has a furnace, a stove and fridge, kitchen cabinets (although since I am short, I can only reach one cabinet), a kitchen and bathroom sink, a shower, beds, a couch and a table and chairs a closet with a place to hang things, and hook ups for a washer and dryer……It is an interesting little house. The walls are all covered in multi-brown colors, and it is smooth and easily cleaned surface….I suppose if you were writing a description of it, you would call it “Multi-colored” neutral!

One of the most interesting things it comes with is a weather warning system. If a tornado is approaching the warning system is activated (don’t ask me how….it is one of the many things I just don’t know) There is a white light that will start flashing and I am guessing that if it goes off, there is not one chance in a million that you will not hear or see or know that a tornado is approaching. What to do if that happens….is questionable…..first you have to survive the warning signal, and next take shelter. In my case, I am guessing the only shelter would be in the basement of my house which has just undergone massive flood damage, and where I would prefer not to be…..I don’t think it will go off if a blizzard is coming….in which case I really don’t want to be in the basement at all…

Today, my “little box house” is my castle! It is one of those places that I have never said….”gee, I would love to live in a little box house!” Well…that is not actually true….when you have no place to go and winter is coming, and you know it….you wish for a “little box house” or anything that will keep you warm, as the days turn cooler. It is downright cold at night even now.

I feel guilty….there are so many people who have no where to go. Some of them have little children. Some of them are so tired of the living arrangements they have that the relationships they have with those they are living with, are quickly going downhill. It is not a good thing. There were supposed to be two thousand of these “little box houses” all set up and occupied by now. I think it was about 12,000 people who are without a home.

It is only a matter of time before a good number of people who call Minot home, will be forced to leave. Death comes to those without heat and shelter, in the winter in North Dakota. It is hard to leave here…there are jobs HERE, lots of jobs…..the rest of the nation is struggling with no jobs…..What to do? Oh What to do? Stay where the jobs are…and freeze or go where there jobs aren’t and starve. Wow…what a choice!

Trouble…“in this world there will be trouble”……”but be of good cheer for the Lord God delivers us from them all!”

One of the real problems with each of us, is that we discover as times become more difficult, and the options begin to disappear, we become more self-centered. We loose track of other peoples needs and begin to only see OUR needs. When we recognize that, we begin to “feel” guilty! I think that the “feelings” we have are satan’s way of trying to beat us into the ground and destroy us.

Of Course, you should be concerned about yourself and your family, or group. It is your job to take care of those in that group. It is how it is supposed to be. Each person is to be responsible for those around them, and from that circle reach out to others…..but first we have to take care of ourselves. Without taking care of ourselves, we would be unable to be of any value to others. The Golden Rule says “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We usually only see…..love your neighbor…and miss…the part about loving yourself. That Word tells us that it is “normal,” “expected” and “ordinary” that we love ourselves….FIRST!

So today, or tomorrow…or whenever it comes that you have something that someone else doesn’t….don’t let satan destroy you with “guilt”. Jesus came, forgave sin, and took away guilt. That’s as true today as it was the day he did that! Guilt is satan’s way of trying to “kill you”, “steal from you” or “destroy you!” Don’t allow that to happen. Instead of “feeling” guilt that you have something that others don’t have, rejoice, be happy…you have what you have, whether it is life, hope, love or a “little box house.”

In my case I have a “little box house“ aka FEMA TRAILER…..but there is room inside for another person….or perhaps two, or maybe even 3. The couch I thought I had, is really a hide-a-bed….so there is room for someone else. For those who are waiting for their “little box house” to come….perhaps I could share mine, so they have a place to wait. Through it all, we will grow, we will be frustrated, gracious, kind, angry, and hurt. But we will come through this valley, and on the other side….we will realize how we have changed. We will realize that the things that were important once, are no longer and other more vital things have taken their place. We will be better for what we have experienced, what we have learned, what we have endured. We will find we are strong and courageous, and if we allow ourselves, and draw closer to Jesus, we will find that He has provided all that we need!

So for today…let’s not let the “guilt of survival” overcome us, but let us ask….who can we help, until help comes for them? And eventually…..when once again, you have your space to yourself….enjoy it…be free…and be Thankful to God, because He has given us “All that He is, was, and always will be! Above all, remember….we are to Him and then to LOVE OURSELVES….

Be glad! Be cheerful! Be thankful! But don’t be guilty! You survived, and are exactly where you are supposed to be……Be Free!

Blessings to you all,
Prayyior

The Guilt of Survival……..

There is a time that strikes our hearts with a sense of guilt…for surviving something. It could be life, it could be having a house when others were flooded, it could be for keeping a job when others were laid off, it could be living when someone else died.

It is not an easy road, this life we live. “In this world there will be trouble” and wherever we go and whatever we do we will run “face first” into it. The question is not what the circumstances of the trouble are, the question is how do we deal with it. Do we scream and curse, or do we help out, oftentimes going beyond what we even think is possible, or do we collapse and crumble under the onslaught. (more…)

Butterflies may be free….

But we are stuck with our choices.

It is interesting how choices work! Do you want Chocolate or Strawberry Ice Cream? Would you prefer to walk or ride? Do you want to fly or take the train? Do you want to obey the rules, or disregard them? Which rules do you want in your life? Rules are a lot like a fence around your yard. Yes, they keep pets and children confined, but they also keep strangers and animals out.
It is interesting how it works. We like our orderly lives and yet we long for a sense of freedom and wild abandon. We find our responsibilities confining. They prevent us from doing some of the things we want to do. Shall we go to work today or should we go fishing? Shopping? Golfing? (more…)

Greed will take us down…..

Have you ever noticed someone who was “greedy”…just wanted everything for themselves and would not entertain a thought for a stranger or even a friend or family member? You probably know someone who is like this….they stand out in a crowd. You can spot them by their comments. It usually starts with blaming someone else for their problems, and it goes from there to I will take care of me and to hell with everyone else.

In principal it is good to take care of ourselves. We ARE the one who is responsible for ourselves. When a disaster strikes, that is exactly when we understand the need to take care of ourselves and those we are responsible for.

We have just experienced and continue to experience a “disaster” to the Valley of the Mouse, it came as a flood. It came because of mistakes, and weather that brought too much rain at the wrong times. It came as part of a plan to prevent what happened from happening.

Now it is time for the rebuilding of a home, a street, a city. Lives have been devastated by it all. Many people will move on, and not try to stay. Some will have no choice but to deed their property back to the bank/lender who is carrying the loans on property. Many want to stay, but see no way to provide the funds to rebuild and still continue to pay on their loans, they can see no way to keep their finances in a stable position. They are responsible for themselves and their families. It is a tough position to be in.

Unfortunately, when times like these come to us, we have choices to make, and some are not, and never will be acceptable to us. We have believed in honor. We take care of our families, and we pay our bills, and we raise our children “right”, so they respect others, and treat people like they want to be treated.

Greed changes all this! Greed comes out when we forget about those around us. It comes out when someone is handing out money or did hand out money and we didn’t get any of it, or we got less than our neighbor. In any event, it is most likely that we will all have to fight ourselves to prevent becoming greedy about what we have and what we are going to do with it.

There is a story of hell, in which you see a big table with delicious food in the middle, just waiting for someone to eat it. No one smiled and each person was mad at someone else. Each person has their own spoon to use, but unfortunately the handle on the spoon is so long that even though they can reach the food, they can’t get it back to their mouths to eat it. Everyone was starving to death.

The same table was in heaven and the people at the table all were smiling and happy and well nourished. They too had the long-handled spoons and could get the food, but could not get it into their mouth. What this group did was to spoon the food using their long-handled spoon, into the mouth of someone on the other side of the table. Each person fed someone else and in return was fed by someone else.

Getting through this flood will require that we help one another….sometimes before we can receive help for ourselves.

When I was growing up, you had to rely upon your neighbors to help you. If you didn’t, then you were done for. How many houses were built by neighbors helping neighbors. When a neighbors barn burned, the whole community got together and built them another barn. Everyone worked free and people donated what they could. It still happens today…someone is hurt on their farm and the neighbors come in and plant their crop for them. Or harvest the crop. Each of us has a role to play in helping each other through this incredible crises.

We cannot rely upon the Government to help us. There may be some funds to assist, but it appears there will not be enough for any one of us to restore our home on the funds we receive. So What Do WE DO?

Can we form a co-op of people who can assist one another without the full cost of hiring someone to do something. Can we find an Electrician who will oversee the wiring of our houses, can we find a carpenter to do finish work? Can we find a heating and plumbing company who will buy our furnaces and sell them to us for a little over cost, and assist us in getting them in? Can we find someone who will negotiate a large purchase of sheet rock or siding or light fixtures? Can we find someone who will sell us a large quantity of breaker boxes and breakers at a little over cost? How about someone who can cook for a large group while this is going on? How about sharing in the labor. If you can’t pound a nail or put in a screw perhaps you can be the person who is coordinating the build.

I am remembering how quickly a house can go up, even today, after watching or being a part of making dreams come true….we all can hear the sound of “Move that bus”. and a new home fully furnished is revealed.

No….this is not the time for greed. It is not a time to think solely of ourselves. Each of us knows someone who is worse off than we are. Each of us knows someone who without help, cannot do it alone. Each of us knows someone who has given so much to others, that needs a helping hand now.

Do I have the answers….No…and may never have them.. but what I do know is that together we can accomplish what we cannot do alone. What I do know is that North Dakotans are strong and resilient people capable of making a plan and making it work. What I do know is that there are thousands of people who would like to help us, if we give them a chance. I also know that if we rely solely upon ourselves and become a greedy people we will lose.

We will lose in that our houses won’t be rebuilt, we will lose in that our character will suffer, and we will become people we don’t like. We will lose in that the lessons we learned from our parents, will be wasted and our Children and Grandchildren will not know the value of “doing for” or “helping” others. We can’t let that happen. If we want the American Dream to continue then we have to do something about it today. We have to begin to make right decisions and the first is how we are going to behave in this crises. We are Americans, and we are Citizens, and we are honorable, we are trustworthy, we are courageous, we are powerful when we stand together, and weak when we fail to stand. We are people who proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, and as Christians we are united to be as He is.

Today is the day for giving HOPE to each other. It is the day for “thinking” about how to make this work. It is the day to begin anew, trusting that God will be there for us, and with him NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE! Believe….Trust…. Just Trust….

Blessings to you all…. Prayyior