Jun 25, 2020

Stop, Look, and Listen

Nancy Claster, who will forever remain Miss Nancy in the hearts and minds of her loyal fans as television's original "Romper Room" teacher, died this past week of cancer. She was 82.

Do you remember Romper Room? Daily televisions were turned on to find a friendly woman who seemed to be able to see us while we were in our living rooms using her Romper Room Magic Mirror.

The Romper Room hostess finished each program by gazing through an empty mirror frame and reciting the names of the children whom she pretended to see watching the program (a different list of names each day). For example, “I see Tommy and Cathy and Joe and Vickie and Stan and all you boys and girls out there.”
During the show, simple life lessons were taught on things like manners, kindness, and waiting your turn. Sometimes other life lessons like Stop, Look, and Listen.

That particular message was pretty simple: When you come to a railroad track, you are supposed to stop, look, and listen until proceeding on. The goal was to prevent being run over by a train.

As I said, the lesson was simple; so simple that it was taught to elementary students; which is funny considering the application wouldn't be applied in their lives until ten years later when they were drivers!

Yes, the lesson was given specifically for when one comes to a train crossing. But; and hopefully you figured this out yourself, the lesson was taught so that it could be applied to other situations in our lives.

And yet, lately, I have been thinking that many adults seem to have forgotten that lesson when they got older. I observe too many adults who are doing way too much talking instead of listening.

I see way too many people in situations in which they are metaphorically about to be run over, and, they hit the gas instead of doing what they were instructed to do:

·  STOP when you are entering a dangerous situation.
·  LOOK at where you are about to enter
·  LISTEN (that means that you have to stop talking)

Too many people who fail to see they do not have to voice their opinions on everything they see posted by others.

Too many people who then pass on their opinions to all of their friends in the form of a post or video.

Too many people who simply need to stop posting, stop ranting, stop forwarding, stop insisting that their way is the only way!

Too many people who simply need to look at who might be reading their posts, look deeply with eyes of compassion and empathy at those with whom they have a differing point of view.

Too many people who simply need to listen. This, of course, implies that one needs to stop talking (including texting, tweeting, or posting) to do so!

You might be surprised just how much you have in common with someone you see as your opponent.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
All Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Jun 18, 2020

It's Time To Rise Up O Men of God!

Rise up O men of God,
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and soul and mind and strength,
To serve the King of Kings,
To serve the King of Kings.

Rise up O men of God,
His Kingdom tarries long,
Bring in the day of brotherhood,
And end the night of wrong,
And end the night of wrong.

Rise up O men of God,
The Church for you doth wait.
Send forth to serve the needs of men
In Christ our strength is great,
In Christ our strength is great.

Lift high the Cross of Christ,
Tread where His feet have trod,
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up O men of God,
Rise up O men of God.

Rise up O men of God,
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and soul and mind and strength,
To serve the King of Kings,
To serve the King of Kings.

Songwriters: Traditional / Phil Keaggy / Bill Batstone / Buddy Owens

Jun 11, 2020

Blue Light Special

For many years, a blue light was synonymous with good things. In the seventies, many of us used it (along with black lights) to make our glow-in-the-dark psychedelic posters come alive. Good times.

Kmart was synonymous with the blue light. Debuting in 1965, the “Bluelight Special” was a highlight to the weary shoppers who frequented their stores.

At certain times during an average day, a flashing blue siren in the center of Kmart's stores as would go off to direct shoppers to a discount item, as an announcement was blared on a loudspeaker;
 “attention, Kmart shoppers,”.

That is until the retailer phased out the Bluelight Special in the early 1990s

Today, a blue light is used for other things and is usually not synonymous with good things.

For instance, forensic scientists use a blue light (along with the chemical Luminol) to detect blood and other fluids at crime scenes.

Even Gordon Ramsey has been known to use blue lights to detect germs and other unmentionables in kitchens, pools, and hotel rooms. 

And yet, the truth is, a blue light, even in today’s uses, has the potential to lead to good things. It is just that at first, it can appear to be gross, and stuff I don’t want to know about, and things hidden are suddenly visible.

Thanks to Gordon, I now have those images stuck in my head every time I go out to eat or check into a hotel room!

When forensic scientists use it, their goal is not to see just how gross and messy the room in which the crime was committed is. Their goal isn’t to just see how bizarre the activity was.

No, they use the blue light because when it reveals things that are hidden, it can lead to evidence that will solve a crime and hold someone accountable for a crime that would have otherwise gone unsolved.

For Gordon Ramsey, in spite of what you may think, his goal is NOT to point out what is hidden to just point a finger and yell. His goal appears to be to correct an otherwise unhealthy situation.

He uses a blue light to point out stuff not visible so that things can be cleaned and changes can be made; thus resulting (when applied) in new and healthier ways to manage kitchens, pools, and hotel rooms. 

Believe it or not, Gordon is really looking out for what is wrong so that things can be made right.

Do you know that even the LORD has a “blue light”?

One of the blue lights that He uses is the Bible; which speaks and instructs us in areas that have hidden sins. In a similar way that a blue light exposes what is not easily seen, He allows us to see what has really been going on in our lives.

The Bible tells us that His Word (the Bible) is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105)
I am always amazed at the items that become exposed as well as His commitment to help me change the course that I have been on.

Another blue light is the Holy Spirit. He convicts us of sin:

“And when He comes, He will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.” (John 16:8)

And He teaches us how to make adjustments so that we can do it correctly.
“There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own but will tell you what He has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever He receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever He receives from Me.’ (John 16:12-15)

“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” (John 14:26)

God’s blue light in our lives can be seen as either good or bad depending on how well we know and are known by Him.

The Lord’s goal, in spite of what you may think, is NOT to point out what is hidden to just point a finger and yell. His goal is to correct an otherwise unhealthy situation. The Bible says:

“Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good.” (Deuteronomy 8:5)

He uses a blue light to point out stuff not visible so that things can be cleaned and changes can be made; thus resulting (when applied) in new and healthier ways to manage all areas of our lives.  The Bible says:

“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” (Hebrews 12:11)

Believe it or not, His goal is really looking out for what is wrong so that things can be made right and we can live as we were meant to live.

“But consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin.” (Job 5:17)

“Joyful are those you discipline, Lord, those you teach with your instructions.” (Psalm 94:12)

I’m not sure where you are at today. Perhaps the idea of someone using a blue light (literally or spiritually) in your life sends fear throughout your very soul. 

Take hope, my friend. The Lord only wants to point things out so that He can work with you to make corrections. He is simply asking you to ask Him:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

No matter where you are at today, you can awaken with the hope that as you turn to God each day, you will find His mercy fresh and new waiting for you to use. Great is His faithfulness; in that you can place your hope! 

Are you ready to get your life cleaned up? Have you tried to clean up your life with no success? 

Are you tired of trying to do it your way? Call 1-888-NEED –HIM; someone is waiting to talk with you.

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. ...” (Psalm 139:1-3)

All Scripture taken from New Living Translation (NLT), copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Jun 4, 2020

You've Got This

There is a phrase that is used too much on social media and in commercials. It is the phrase; “you got this!”

It is a catch phrase for being able to deal with something someone has been confronted with (not necessarily a bad thing). It is a colloquialism derived from “you have got this,”

FYI: "You got this" is more like slang; people say it all the time, but it's not technically correct. "You've got this" is actually grammatically correct.

It is used to help someone do something they are too scared of doing. If someone is not confident that they can do something, you say this to them to help them know they can.

It is used to tell someone that you believe they can or will succeed in dealing with something: “I know you can lose that weight! You got this!”

I have seen it said to individuals facing a new job, addictions, court appearances, new adventures, Covied-19, and even sleep apnea!

I know that I may seem a little cynical but DO YOU REALLY GOT THIS?

Really? Even AA will tell you that in order to beat addiction you have to first admit that you DON’T got this! That’s why you’re in a recovery community.

I would submit to you for consideration that we stop giving out this bad advice and help others to realize that here in lies their problem…

They’ve got it, but they are supposed to let it go!

Telling someone that they’ve got this implies that they don’t need anyone or, more importantly, God’s help.

I’m grateful the phrase wasn’t around when Jesus was going to the cross. I can almost hear one of the disciples looking at Jesus and giving Him two thumbs up as he exclaims; “You’ve got this!”

We are supposed to come to Jesus when we are weary and carrying heavy burdens so that He can give us rest (See Matthew 11:28)

We are supposed to cast our cares upon Jesus because He cares for us (See 1 Peter 5:7).

We are supposed to not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let our requests be made known to God (See Philippians 4:6-7).

We are supposed to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (See Matthew 6:24-34).

We are supposed to trust in the Lord with all our heart, and lean not on our own understanding. We are supposed to acknowledge the Lord in all our ways knowing that He will direct our paths (See Proverbs 3:5-6).

If we’ve got it, it’s because we are enduring with and through the help of the Lord; not our own strength.

So, stop telling people when they are facing a struggle or new opportunity that they’ve got it. Instead point them to the only One who can help them. 

Point them to the Great Shepherd of their souls who cares deeper than you or I ever could.