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Archive for the ‘help’ Category

Deliver Us From Evil

In choices, God, help, Jesus, judging, parenting, plots, terror on May 22, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva

“America took my kids away from me,” said a woman who is wanted in the U.S. on a felony charge; a woman who left her two sons here to fend for themselves.

This woman, the mother of the Boston bombers, wailed and screamed into a camera on the other side of the world, blaming America for framing her sons, suggesting that we poured red paint all over Boston’s Boylston Street to simulate blood and stage the unconscionable bombing in April.

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva rocked back and forth in her seat, flapping her arms up and down at what appeared to be a press conference from Dagestan, crying, “I thought America was going to, like, protect us, our kids, it’s going to be safe,” she told reporters. “But it happened, opposite. My kids just — America took my kids away from me.”

I do not begrudge a grieving mother her words while in a state of shock, and rarely do I write opinion pieces on news stories, but this particular rant smacked me in the face.

America is many things, but we did not stage the bombings in Boston that killed and maimed our citizens like a Hollywood movie set just so we could create a reason to kill her sons. While details are still flowing in on the Boston bombings, my point is simple: America is not responsible for the choices those bombers made. Those boys researched how to make those bombs. They planned their entire route and where to place those bombs. They stood there on our streets with utter contempt for us and detonated those bombs without as much as a flinch. They walked calmly away as everyone around them instinctively rushed to help their fellow Americans.

No, Mrs. Tsarnaeva, America didn’t take your kids from you. You left them here and they took our welfare checks, they took our pressure cookers, they took the lives of our citizens and maimed hundreds of innocent Americans who were out celebrating patriotism.

As disturbing as this woman’s claims are, hers is only one voice amongst a growing army of radicals who believe that America is evil and must be eliminated. That is downright sick. To some of you, it stinks of Nazism, for you remember all too well the atrocities Hitler perpetrated on the Jews. But America is not the only target of radicals. Dictators around the world continue to spew their venom of hatred towards other nations and people groups.

Such is the voice and the ways of evil, right? I mean, what can we do? We are just innocent citizens minding our own business, working for a living and hoping none of that crazy stuff happens in our town, or on our street, right? Ask that of the couple whose boat became famous the night Suspect #2 climbed into it to hide from the cops. They were just minding their own business in their quiet little suburban home and in an instant the entire world was watching every movement in their backyard.

My fellow Americans, now is the time to fall on our knees and plead with the God who formed this great nation to intervene on our behalf. Now is the time to put our faith and trust in the only One who can conquer the forces of evil in our land. But know this: God gave us a will. He doesn’t interfere with our lives unless He is asked. It’s time to ask.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Deliver us from evil.

The Unlived Life of Russell Stone, Part 7

In choices, death, divorce, fear, fiction, help, judging, love, marriage, obedience, relationships on October 3, 2011 at 9:41 pm

A Novelette

 by Cheryl Courtney Semick

Mrs. Stone’s story of the late Russell Stone hit a nerve in Rachel. It is 8:30 AM.

The anger rising in me was shocking. I wanted to run like villagers do when the volcano they live by day-in-and-day out starts rumbling. Mrs. Stone could see the eruption forming on my face. Still, she calmly continued.

“People judge these unlived lives as actors, manipulators or lazy bums, having no idea that they are starving for an ounce of acceptance and love in any form. They remain children in their mind with no definition for what drives them or what was stolen from them; they just know they are different from everyone else.”

I felt punched in the stomach and filled with shame. I held her gaze so she couldn’t see that I am one of those judges; that I am only an hour away from dumping such a soul.

“But why did you marry him, knowing he could never be a real husband to you?” I asked. She took in a deep breath; a strange peace engulfed me as she exhaled, something I still can’t explain, though I’ve rolled it over and over in my mind ever since.

“I didn’t know all this when I married him. He seemed as normal as any man,” said Mrs. Stone through tears. “At first I felt deceived, but to honor my vows, I had to love him unconditionally as I am loved by my Creator; that is only fair, don’t you think?”

I shrugged, non-committed. I wasn’t a religious person, but I had to agree that if the Creator loves me unconditionally, I should give my fellow man the same courtesy. I mean, that made sense, I guess. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a moral, good, considerate person. I obey the law and all, but her take on it seemed unrealistic.

“But how could you play along with it all? It doesn’t seem fair to you,” I said, my voice now pleading, my mind oblivious to the clock.

“Over time I learned that his feigned normalcy was more than just an act—it was a desperate cry for help,” she said. “I knew that my love for Russell had to be bigger than me. It had to reach beyond my romantic dreams, beyond my rights as a woman, as a wife. I had to love him more than he could ever love me.”

I choked. Shaking my head I pushed all these super woman ideals as far away from me as I could. She had no idea that Steve and Mr. Stone were one and the same and I wasn’t about to tell her. I needed to extricate myself from the Stone’s upside-down world and focus on my court date. I glanced up at the clock. It’s 8:40 AM.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Stone. With all due respect, I have a 9AM meeting I can’t miss. Please forgive me for rushing off like this. The staff will help you with the paperwork we need you to complete before Mr. Stone’s burial. I will call you later today.”

Mrs. Stone smiled serenely and looked down at the journal in her hands. My hand was on the door handle when she called my name. I turned around.

“Please take this and read it before you go to court.”

I gave her a sideways look as I took the journal from her trembling hand. How did she know my ‘meeting’ was in court?

To be continued….

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Read from the beginning…

Everything

In garden, God, healing, help, love, power, relationships on September 20, 2009 at 2:23 pm

With God I neiStock_000004551858XSmalled nothing.

He is my…

Father, Physician, Husband, Attorney, Confidant,  Travel Agent, Accountant and Concierge.

He is my Counselor, Mother, Financial Adviser, Interpreter, Professor, Gardener and Surgeon.

He’s my Nutritionist, Manager, Driver, Landlord, Planner, Negotiator, Mechanic, and Army.

He’s my Real Estate Agent, Defender, Carpenter, Banker, Insurance Agent, Creditor and Healer.

He is my Pastor, my Proxy, my Brother, my Judge.

He is my Safety Officer, Designer, Architect and Friend.

He makes me laugh.

He’s my Exterior Designer, decorating my life with sky paintings that shame the masters.

He accessorizes my landscapes with colors and shapes that fill my senses with pleasure.

He unscrambles my brain.

He calms my craziness.

He corrects me.

He is my Search Party when I get lost, kidnapped or wander away.

He collects my tears in a bottle.

He loves me.

He blows me away.

Without God, I am bankrupt.

F Words

In believe, choices, faith, fear, help, Jesus, love, power on September 13, 2009 at 9:27 am

No other letter in the English Alphabet begin words that are so extremely polarizing than “F.”

To be sure, two of those words are embattled to the bitter end of life itself: Fear and Faith.

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More acutely for students is the dreaded grade: F. No other letter can mark a child so deeply.  To receive one means we FAILED.

Such a connection to ‘F’ can drive us down untold paths of perpetual failure, locking us into a prison cell with all sorts of nasty inmates: self deprecation, disconnection, stigma, depression, discouragement, disenfranchisement, etc.

Failure has such potential to kill a human soul that those who are wise to its power can weaken it with another ‘F’ word: Funny!  Truly, laughing at our failures is a God-given weapon to combat this deadly word.

(BTW: the ‘FAIL BLOG’ has the corner on this right now, so if this post is too depressing, go there, laugh your head off, then come back and read the rest of my post!)

This battle has armies on both sides:

Fear – Faith

Fault – Forgiven

Fierce – Funny

Famine – Food

Filth – Finery

Forsaken – Friend

By no means is that an exhaustive list, but you get the point, ‘F Words’ are at war. I won’t even list the most infamous F word since it probably popped in your head when you read my title. So dirty is that particular word, that common reference to it is the ‘F-Bomb.’ How ironic, given the devastation a bomb has in today’s society, both physically and metaphorically.

This war, as I mentioned above, has two captains: Fear and Faith. And, based on my studies of Holy Scripture and years of experience in both of these camps, I have concluded that the front lines of life are fought on the battlefield of the mind by these two foes. But by no means are they an end in themselves.  These captains war for two kings: Love and Hate.

The Bible teaches that Faith and Fear, to a human being, are the means by which we choose Love or Hate.  To live in fear is to vote for hate. To live by faith, is a choice for love.

Since these foes are not tangible on earth, like a gun or a kiss, they are often missed altogether. We search all our lives for answers to life’s questions and dilemmas, and yet, even when such a quest leads us straight to God’s Word our minds still can’t get our head around faith, how it ‘works’ (sorry about the puns, they just happen when I write).

The king of Hate works hard to disguise the simplicity of faith. By no means does he ever want you to get behind the power of faith.  If you do, you would be walking on oceans to feed nations with a loaf of bread. You’d be healing everything you touched and worse, casting him out everywhere you go!

No, wielding the sword of Faith is no easy task. Neither is Fear easy to flush out. So much of our lives are subject to its trickery we rarely view it as an enemy!

But I digress.

Why is Fear vs. Faith my topic today?

Early this morning my husband jostled me from a troubling dream. In it I was surrounded by demons. It was just me and one other person and I was screaming at the top of my lungs at them to ‘leave in the name of Jesus!’ but it wasn’t working. When I ‘came to’ I begged my husband to lay his hand on my mind and to pray God’s peace over me as I was filled with fear.

Only by knowing and understanding the power of faith was I able to know how to defeat the assault of fear in that nightmare.  The Truth set me free from its grip.

Do you want power over fear?

Know your enemy. Dig deep into a Bible as soon as possible. Find out who, what, when, where and why Fear is your enemy.  ‘be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.’ (1 Peter 5:8)

Know your weapon. As a soldier learns to use and respect his weapon before he goes to war, so must we learn how faith works and how to use it against our enemy. Knowledge will dismantle most of Fear’s power, but you must understand that nothing in you has power over fear.  No method, mantra or effort on your part – outside of a choice to walk by faith – will defeat fear.

Get serious. Make no mistake: if Jesus is your Savior, then Fear has power ‘over’ you and Faith has power ‘in’ you.  To allow both, and it is your choice, is sin.  ‘…for whatever is not from faith is sin.’ (Romans 14:23b) You can’t have it both ways.

Choose your F Word: Fear or Faith.

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How do you get more faith?  Read your Bible every day and get grounded in a church that teaches the Word of God without apology.  ‘…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’ (Romans 10:17)

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!