Do You Trust?

>> Saturday, December 29, 2012


Charlie, our dog, received a Christmas present from Sarah, our daughter Tammi’s dog. His tail was beating a rhythm against the wall as I helped him unwrap it … Pup-Peroni sticks. He danced around the room as I ripped the top of the package off. Now he could smell it and his enthusiasm grew.

Let me set the stage for what happened next.

Apparently as I walked on the carpet, rubbed against the wrapper as I took the paper off and then slid my hand around on the package … I created an electric charge in my hand. I removed one stick from the package, held it toward Charlie and he grabbed for it with his mouth. I heard the spark of electricity as he yipped and jumped backward. It had shocked him.

He no longer trusts me. 
 
When I hold a treat out for him, he paces the floor and makes little growling noises at me. I say, “It’s alright Charlie” but he doesn’t believe me. I repeatedly assure him that the treat is his for the taking … and there are no consequences … but he paces and mumbles.

We, as human beings, are just like that. We’ve been burned by someone we trusted and so refuse to trust again. Perhaps it was an intentional act toward us … or maybe that other person intended no harm. But the result was painful to us emotionally.

And so we refuse to trust again.

Just as Charlie missed out on a treat due to his lack of trust, we miss out on many blessings as we protect ourselves. Yes, we may get burned again. But what about all the treats we miss out on as we pace and mumble about the wrongs that have been done to us?

Do you trust?

“God makes everything come out right; He puts victims back on their feet.” Psalm 103:6 (MSG)


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Do You Believe It?

>> Monday, December 17, 2012


Black Friday shopping has now spilled over onto Thanksgiving Day. The news is full of stories about the shoving and screaming … the grabbing and wrestling … over a Christmas present purchase. Last year someone actually died in the stampede to be first in line.

In all that noise and chaos it’s hard to believe it … the reason for Christmas.

Today is the first day back to school … after the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook School. Teachers, secretaries, counselors, janitors … and students … enter their school filled with fear. The sound of a book falling to the floor will cause repercussions for anyone hearing that noise. Some may even throw themselves to the floor ... a knee jerk reaction to the sound of gunfire.

With all that fear and high anxiety it’s hard to believe it … the reason for Christmas.

I refuse to do the Black Friday thing. Nothing is that important to me to brave that carnage to make a purchase. And I have no little kids headed out to school this morning. But I do have a daughter that is standing in a classroom as I write these words. I know she would give her life for her students. My heart is broken for the families touched by this recent tragedy.

With all the crying and clinging going on it’s hard to believe it … the reason for Christmas.

But as a Christ-follower, I do believe it. That little baby born in Bethlehem came for a reason … to give us hope and peace. Above all the chaos and grief is love … God’s love. And as a believer, it is up to me to show that love with skin on. If I could, I would hold all the wounded hearts close. But since I can’t, then today I will be very aware of people I come in contact with. If they need love with skin on, I’ll be there.

Jesus is the reason. Do you believe it?

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.” John 3:16 (MSG)



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Dropping the Needle

>> Sunday, December 9, 2012


I learned to knit using circular needles. As I worked my way across the row and reached the end, I would just let go of the empty needle, turn the work around and begin the next row. That process functioned just fine until I started a project that called for straight knitting needles.

No problem.

I worked my way across the row, reached the end … and promptly dropped my knitting needle on the floor. Oops, I forgot I wasn’t using a circular needle. I picked up the fallen needle, turned the project around, worked my way across the row … and dropped my knitting needle on the floor.
 
Slow learner.

After a few times of watching me bend over and pick up the needle, my husband could take it no longer.

“What are you doing?”

Even though I knew the real question, I answered “Knitting.”

His curiosity was not satisfied with that response. So I had to admit I had a very short memory … and that my programming using a circular needle was causing issues.

I find I have the same issues in life.

It’s hard to re-program when you’ve spent a lifetime of unhealthy eating. The healthy food makes it to your mouth for a day or two, and then the bad eating habits kick in. Or maybe you’ve been trained to say “yes” to anything asked of you, even though you are already stressed. When you decide to take charge of your time … to learn to say “no” … you still find the words, “Sure, I’ll do that” coming out of your mouth.
 
And the hardest re-programming for me was to undo my legalistic, religious training. Even though I was striving to be non-judgmental, the words that spewed from my mouth were harsh and condemnatory.

I’m still working on that one … but haven’t dropped any needles lately.

“So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.”
1 Corinthians 4:5 (NLT)


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A Slap in the Face

>> Tuesday, December 4, 2012


It’s been in the news lately … complete with a picture … the New York Police Officer kneeling down beside a homeless man. The officer purchased some boots for the shoeless man, to help keep his feet warm. A visitor from out of state took the photo … and it went viral … with the viewers blessing the police officer for his kindness.

Yet the latest news is the homeless man is shoeless again. He’s hidden his boots somewhere safe because they are worth a lot. And he wants compensation from the photographer for his picture going around the world.

That’s like a slap in the face of the kind police officer.

I’ve been slapped like that before … going out of my way to provide “care” packages for someone who says, “If you think giving me stuff like that and a gift card makes you a good person who are soooo wrong.” Or the time I purchased a coat for someone … like the police officer wanting to help them be warm … and they took it back for the money.

A slap in the face of kindness.

But as I’ve thought about that homeless man’s actions, I couldn’t help but wonder how many times I’ve slapped God in the face. In His mercy, He provides something I need. But in my arrogance or ignorance, I reject that offer for something of my own choosing.

Have you slapped anyone lately?

“About face! I can revise your life. Look, I’m ready to pour out my spirit on you; I’m ready to tell you all I know. As it is, I’ve called, but you’ve turned a deaf ear; I’ve reached out to you, but you’ve ignored me.” Proverbs 1:23-24 (MSG)


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Headphones and Spotters

>> Thursday, November 15, 2012


From my seat in the grandstands I could see the entire racetrack. And I was ready … sun block, sunglasses, hat … and scanner headphones. I didn’t want to miss anything.

To my right, at the very top of the bleachers, stood a row of men. I could see their silhouette against the blue sky. Soon I would be hearing their voices. They were the spotters. It was their job to continually watch the action going on all around one car … the car and driver they worked for. Since there were 43 cars in the race, the row was comprised of 43 men.

The cars began to move and the voices in the headphones started their instructions. Some spotters talked a lot … others only when necessary. They gave information like the distance from the car in front of them … the car behind them … or who was coming up on the outside. Instructions were given for how many laps left before pitting … how much fuel they had left … and who would be pitting with them.

I was listening to the 2 car when the spotter gave his driver this warning. “The 24 is waiting for the 15 to come by so he can take him out. Try to avoid them.” And sure enough, the 24 slammed into the 15, with two more cars piling in. But the 2 car drove around on the inside and avoided the wreck.

As I sat there, it occurred to me that I have a Spotter … one whose focus is entirely on me and what is happening in my life. If I listen to Him, he will keep me informed of how I’m doing in this race of life.

And He will help me avoid the wrecks … if I just listen.

“Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.” Psalm 25:4 (NLT)


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