Wednesday, May 29, 2013

People Problems

Reading & Commentary from the Life Application Bible Commentary. These were read at the right time for me! Thought I would share.

Proverbs 14:4
An empty stable stays clean, but no income comes from an empty stable.

Commentary: The only way to keep your life free of people problems is to keep it free of people. But if your life is empty of people it is useless. Life lived for self is void of meaning. Share your faith, serve others, and work for justice. Is your life clean but empty.
Proverbs 25:26
If the godly compromise with the wicked, it is like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.
Commentary: don’t set aside your standards of right and wrong. No one is helped by someone who compromises with the wicked.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Practice, Practice

I think God has brought me back to a very fundamental truth, one I learned a while ago when I first really had a change in my life and turned more to Christ: that although we will never be perfect we must continue to strive to toward the goal that we are called to in Christ. We must continue to put into practice what He asks us to do, through scripture and through conviction. He will not leave us the way we are if we continually seek Him and do not give up.

Phil 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Phil 3:14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus

I remembered talking at one of my mom's retreats one time about this. I had experienced several situations in a short time period where I had the opportunity to "practice" - I had felt God's presence and leading in these situations about how to respond or provide help, demonstrate Christ's love. Some of those situations I felt like I did ok, others left me wishing I had done or said something differently, but I think the key was the focus wasn't on my weakness at that time, I was able to view them as practice, not failure.  I felt as if God was teaching me and molding me, and just like when a coach corrects his players I didn't get beat down or discouraged, I looked forward to the next time I would have an opportunity to do better. I tried to see it from a different perspective. I tried to understand what God would have liked me to do and then apply it to the next opportunity. I tried to realize how the situations could leave a lasting impact if I let God work through me. I guess what I really tried to do was allow God to train me - and train me for something that has an eternal impact.

1 Cor 9:25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 

I've never been quick on my feet when it comes to wit or reactions...I'm one of those who two hours later thinks of an awesome response or come back and regret the missed opportunity! I think this is one area that practicing could really help. In light of the "emergency situation" I found myself in that I posted about previously, I know that more practice would have definitely made me better prepared. While I don't want to find myself in those situations often, where someone else is struggling to hold onto life, I can practice boldness and confidence in my decision making. I can do this on a small level daily. I can choose to look around me to see those God may be putting in my path that I can help, even (or perhaps especially) if it requires me to get out of my comfort zone. I'm not a Jillian Michaels fan personally, but I have done a few of her work out videos and one thing that she said that stuck with me is, "Get comfortable being uncomfortable." Is it possible God gives us opportunity to "practice" doing the needed but uncomfortable things in life on a small scale to make us more prepared when the larger situations come up. I think so. Also similar to the verses I posted earlier this month Prov 1:32 - I believe I have gotten too comfortable and too busy, which is another subject in itself, to recognize and respond to the needs placed around me. I pray God will open my eyes and show me the opportunity that I know all around me to bless others, to serve Him, to share His love in word and deed, unashamed and unafraid, boldly and confidently.

And speaking of busy....I have two boys that need to finish homework and get to bed, so I guess that's all for now! Hopefully I'll get back soon.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Emergency Situation

Today I am just going to write a little to try to sort out what I am thinking. Truthfully I've been pretty discouraged and I am going to try to be really transparent to try to work through some of my thoughts. Let me give a little background info. I started thinking about reactions and helping others in crisis after the Boston bombing. I was really moved by those people who ran toward the chaos to help others. I had wondered what I would do in a crisis situation, pretty sure that I would have ran for my life, but I really wish I were the kind of person who would run to help others instead. It really had an impact on me and I have prayed that I would become that type of person.

Then a couple weeks ago I had a dream about going to a race (one my whole family - little boys included - are actually scheduled to run in soon). There was a shooter at the race and I was the only one who noticed. I'm not sure why he didn't stick out to others as he was dressed as the Grim Reaper, but that's how dreams go! Anyways, I had my pistol with me and I noticed that this guy was holding a gun behind his back. He slowy and rythmically kept switching it from back to front. I tried to get the attention of a man nearby to show him, but couldn't. I wondered if I should kick it out of his hands the next time he put it behind his back, but I worried that wouldn't work and he'd just grab me. Then he yelled and pointed it at the crowd. Everyone ducked for cover. I ducked behind a pickup and pulled out my pistol, intending to shoot. It was quiet though, and I was afraid to load the chamber, fearing he would hear it and shoot me or into the crowd. I sat behind the pick up contemplating what to do, sweating, hearing every breath in my head, terrified and unsure, trying to work up the courage to make a move.....and then I woke up. Man! Before I had the chance to see if I pulled through or what happened, the dream was over and I missed the opportunity to be heroic! I jokingly told my husband, who was a special forces marine corp sniper and a true hero even now, that he had some intense military style training to do on me! I was so disappointed in myself at my dream! My reaction time was so slow and I never did anything because of fear. Not only fear for my life but fear of making a bad move. So I did nothing and proved myself a coward! I know it was just a dream but it bothered me and I thought about it a lot wondering what I would really do.

And then it happened in real life, not on that scale, but I came upon an emergency situation and again did not have the reaction I would've hoped. I was driving down an alley and at the end of the road it appeared there was a pick up stalled on the busy street I was about to pull out on. As I got closer though I realized it was not stalled, and there was a man standing over the man in the drivers seat doing chest compressions. My heart dropped into my stomach. There were 3 men with the man who was in trouble, one doing the compressions, one on the phone, and one standing beside the one doing compressions. I got out and went to see if I could help. I did not go around to the drivers side of the truck where it was taking place, but I walked up to the passenger side and asked the guy standing beside the man if I could help. He looked bewildered and didn't really say anything. I went over to the guy on the phone, my phone in hand ready to call 911 if he hadn't got in touch with them yet and he said the ambulance was on his way. The other man continued doing chest compressions as I stood there wondering what to do.

By this time a few others arrived. Several stood around like me, unsure of how to help. One woman ran up and asked if the man doing the compressions knew what he was doing. I said I didn't know and she ran over and took over the chest compressions. Another woman stood beside me and asked the small crowd of us if we wanted to pray. We stood in a circle holding hands as she prayed over the man's life.There were some true heroes there! I'm thankful for them and I was amazed how they immediately sprung into action.

It seemed like it took forever for the paramedics to get there. Once they did I was stunned by their roughness and intensity, obviously for his good, but nonetheless. The boldness and quickness of those guys was impressive to me. They jerked him out of the truck, his head bobbling, he was completely limp. They got him down on the sidewalk and before I even saw what they were pulling out, they had the shockers on his chest and were shocking him. One continued with chest compressions. I really think the man's rib cage must have been hitting the pavement with each thrust they were so hard. His chest cavity looked like the plastic dummies we were trained on in CPR class. I had no idea the human body could move like that and not break in two.  I'm sure the man at least suffered some broken ribs. They got him in the ambulance and it sat there for a while. Finally I got back in my car and the cops directing traffic allowed me to go. About 5 minutes down the road the ambulance came screaming past me. I don't know what happened to the man but I will never forget him. And I have never been so grateful for nurses, EMT personnel, and all emergency responders and citizens who just jump in to help. What a heart of courage they all have! True heroes.

As I left I thought over the situation and wondered - why didn't i take initiative and jump in and help with the compressions like the one woman did? I've had CPR class, even within the last year. And why didn't I think to pray? I pray every morning and claim to live a life of faith. The truthful answer - I don't know. I stopped with the intent to help, and became dumb on the scene. It was like I didn't have a clue what to do. I was really disappointed in myself, especially knowing that I had already been actively thinking about reactions. As I think over it and read scripture I hope I will find some answers. Am I experiencing God's revealing of weakness in character and feeling His discipline? Is He preparing me for something down the road? Will all of this help strengthen me and move me toward being more outwardly focused? I hope something like that.

There are several possibilities I have seen in scripture and in reflection over the last few days. The main one that I keep thinking though is regardless of what I feel about myself in light of all this, its really not about me. I can be down on myself and hope to change and improve, but truly, its got to turn to be about other people.   

This is one situation where the line between life and death in someones life was getting thin and I witnessed it. Actions were required to keep him on this side of life. I believe the bible wants us to meet the real physical needs of others and this is very important and needed, but to also look at it in the light of eternity. Jesus healed, he fed, he helped and he brought back to life, but His main purpose here was to save people's souls. Don't we come into "emergency situations" every day on a spiritual level? I had the training and the knowledge to preform CPR and possibly help save the man's life, but I didn't use it. I have the knowledge and the training to tell people about Jesus. I know its God's job to save their soul, but as a follower of Christ, He has entrusted me with His Word to give people the information I have to help save souls, and honestly most of the time I don't use it. How many people's eternal lives are on the line and I walk around with the key to life in my pocket, not sharing it, just letting them lay there or depending on someone else to take initiative? I've been in church all my life. It's time to put what I know into practice in a very practical way on a day to day basis. My post earlier on Proverbs was about not getting complacent or comfortable, words of wisdom I need to incorporate into my own life. I hope in the next situation, whether it be a physical crisis or spiritual one, I will be bold...use everything I possess, give all I have, to jump in and help.

I hope to write more about this later...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Proverbs 1:32

Proverbs 1:32 - NAS – "For the waywardness of the naïve will kill them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them.

I looked up some of the meanings of the words from Strong's in this verse. See below:

waywardness - backsliding, turning away, apostacy - abandonment of one's faith
naïve - simple, foolish, open minded
kill - destroy, ruin, slay
complacency - quietness, ease, prosperity; dictionary: contented self satisfaction
fools - stupid fellow, simpleton, arrogant one
destroy - perish, be lost, vanish, die, do away with, blot out, lose, stray

I was so moved to see the depth of this scripture and to dig into its meaning. Such a powerful verse!

I am encouraged to fight for what I believe in, to speak up when the world wants me to be quiet in the name of tolerance and open mindedness, to ask God to awaken me when I am growing cold, to keep me from backsliding and be aware of subtle attempts of the world to move me toward conformity. To not let me get comfortable in all the blessings He has given me but that He teach me to use them for His purpose.

May I not settle for a comfortable life that will leave no impact, but delight in Your service and leave a legacy of a life devoted to Christ.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Interesting Article


We Christians have so tamed our enjoyment in God that we cannot fathom what such thrill-seeking would even look like. Feasting on God is as foreign to most Americans as an empty stomach. Why can’t we fix our souls on the only goodness who can handle our cravings? Why do we chase the more mild flavors of money, food and sex?

If only we would not stifle our gluttonous cravings, but turn them in the right direction. If only we would feast on an infinite God who offers fullness of life, rather than these lesser tables with the far milder flavors of money, sex, food and power.

As George MacDonald put it, “Sometimes I wake and, lo, I have forgot.” Sleep is like a reset button and my hunger is misdirected often. I think I’m hungry for the finite, but I’m really hungry for God. To remember, we need to taste daily, deeply and constantly of the goodness of God. So let us turn together, and feast rightly.