a collection of steps

Archive for the ‘choices’ Category

9/11

In change, choices, healing, memorial, plots, prayer on September 11, 2009 at 1:56 pm

They went to work.

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That’s all.

They boarded a plane.

That’s all.

One plot.

That’s all.

They’re gone.

But that’s not all.

We will never forget.

Help

In change, choices, God, help, jobs, prayer, weight-loss on September 1, 2009 at 10:12 am

If I didn’t have to have food or money, I could really enjoy life.

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In fact, much of my life has been spent resenting the fact that I am so dependent on these two elusive slave masters.

Diets and jobs and bank accounts and bills, chocolate and carbs and house repairs and taxes – what gravity! I loathe the pull it has on me; the prison bars that skew my view of life. What if it could all be wiped away?  What glory!  What rapture!  Put me in a library and throw away the key.

Such loathing extended toward those who control these monsters. The skinny, healthy ones; the owners of manicured lawns and custom drapes and three car garages.  Their secrets have eluded me all these years.

Yeah, I know their secrets now: eat right, exercise, save.  I also know now that my fight isn’t against food or money, but against my own lack of control.  It took me a lifetime to realize I need help outside of myself; that I cannot deliver myself from evil.

HELP!  That’s the place I need to be, crying out to God.  Not just when I’m desperate, but every single minute of every single day.

In this midlife crisis of  economic challenges and an aching, aging body, I need Him now more than ever. 

Where does my help come from?

I look to the hills, says the Psalmist, I look to the One who made heaven and earth. Does He not own the cattle on a thousand hills?  Does he not give me my daily bread?

He will not allow my foot to be moved; He who keeps me will not slumber…nor sleep. The Lord is my keeper; the Lord is my shade…He will preserve me from all evil; He will preserve my soul…my going in and my going out…forevermore.

Psalm 121 was a reference made in this past Sunday’s sermon, it’s point being that we are to focus on trusting God.  Not on my resume, not on my expectations, my logic, on other people or on my circumstances, not on my personal strength.

Lord, thank you for showing me how helpless I am. I need You.  Help me!

Sick

In career, Children, choices, Christ, God, healing, Jesus, kids, parenting, resurrection on August 27, 2009 at 1:33 pm

His daughter was about to die.  He had only one option to keep her alive: find the Healer.

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That decision could cost him everything; his job, his reputation, his dignity. But Jarius was desperate.

He cast off the protocol of his position as a ruler in the local synagogue like an old stinky coat and publicly threw himself at Jesus’ feet.  Not exactly proper behavior for a religious leader.

Didn’t he already have a hot line to God?  Why Jesus?  Wasn’t this ‘Blasphemer’ just a radical empowered by the Devil?  That’s what his peers were saying.

Looks like Jarius is about to get the pink slip.

So what!  My daughter is dying!

My guess is he didn’t take the time to process the consequences of his actions; he couldn’t care less what anyone thought – only that his daughter lived.

A sick child stops the world for a parent. They will cross social, economic, political and religious barriers to save them and nothing else matters.

It was such a circumstance that caused this father, employed by an institution that was hotly opposed to the ‘False Prophet,’ to beg for help. So here he was.

“My little daughter lies at the point of death,” he said to Jesus, “Come and lay your hands on her, that she may be healed and she will live.”  So Jesus went with him.

But there were snags along the way that I’m sure tested Jarius to the brink.  Jesus had stopped to talk to a woman! She had had the nerve to touch his garment, crawling in the dirt like a dog.

Why are you stopping to talk to a WOMAN?!  My daughter is dying!!  Come on!!

Jesus stood patiently to hear the woman’s story. Come on – come on – we’re running out of time!

A hand was placed on Jarius’ shoulder. “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”

Jesus heard the news and instantly infused the stunned father with faith. “Do not be afraid, only believe.”

Earlier in the Gospel of Mark, where this story is found, another public situation revealed the huge risk Jarius faced by seeking out Jesus.

His peers, the scribes and Pharisees, were incensed when they saw Jesus dining with ‘tax collectors and sinners.’  They pulled His disciples aside and asked why he would do such an unclean, inappropriate thing.  Of course, Jesus heard them and had an answer.

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Only the sick need a doctor. Do you see His innuendo?   We’re all sick!  Jarius got it, and his daughter lived.


Dull Hearts

In books, change, choices, Christ, God, healing, Jesus, prayer on July 31, 2009 at 10:19 am

Last night I was talking with a friend on the phone apologizing for not being available to her these past two months. “It’s like I’ve been in a coma,” I explained.

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I realize my choice of words was exaggerated, as I’ve never been in a coma, but she got the point.  She knew that in June my husband and I uprooted our lives and moved north to live closer to our kids and new grandson.  Thank God for good friends with lots of patience!

But, this morning as I was musing on that conversation, I admitted to myself that I’ve been in a ‘coma’ longer than these past two months.  I didn’t realize my condition until I arrived at Chapter 13 in the book I’m reading:  Matthew 13:13-17 in my Bible.  Jesus was teaching his disciples and those who had come out to hear him speak using parables, short stories packed with dynamite.

After a few stories, the disciples pulled him aside and asked, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”  Jesus pulled a quote from the ancient prophet Isaiah to answer their question.  It was here that I realized the state of my own heart:

“…the hearts of this people have grown dull.  Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so I should heal them.”

Ouch.  You mean I can close my eyes and ears to God’s Word?  And, if I do, my heart will grow dull?  It is this word ‘dull’ that caught my attention.  I’ve been so focused on my earthly state of affairs that I allowed my heart to grow dull.

If a dull heart comes from ears and eyes that are closed, then it only stands to reason that my own will closed them.  My will.  What was that one part of the Lord’s Prayer? 

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Yes, that’s it.  That’s the prayer I repeat when I hear it in church.  Good Christians know that by heart.  The question is, do they mean it by heart?

Lord, I choose to open my eyes and ears so that when I read or repeat Your Word, when I raise my hands in worship or take notes on a sermon at church, my heart will be sharp and not dull.  I want to understand with my heart and turn so that You will heal me.  Thank you for your patience with me and for friends and family who love me in spite of my dull heart.