THE CONVERSATION


father and son

Daddy, why do you live here?
Because my job is here.
But, why not somewhere else?
Because what I do is important to the people here?
But, why wouldn’t you be important to other people somewhere else?
Because there are other people in other places that are just as important to the people there.

Daddy, why do I do wrong sometimes?
Because you have a choice, and sometimes you choose the wrong thing.
But, why do I choose the wrong thing?
Because you don’t know any better, or because you think it’s right at the time.
But, why don’t you stop me?
Because if you don’t make mistakes, you’ll never learn.

Daddy, why do you love me?
Because you’re my child.

Daddy, why do you know so much?
Because I’ve been around a long, long time.
Daddy, why should I believe everything you say?
Because I said so.

© Simply Consider This, 2014.

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HOPE, ACCEPTANCE, COMPLACENCY, AND PEACE


 

perfect worldHOPE:
Io expect with confidence

ACCEPTANCE:
Belief in something

COMPLACENCY:
A feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger, trouble, or controversy.

PEACE:
A state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations:

When we hope, we have the expectation that what we hope for will come to pass.

If we follow the doctrine that God has everything under control, then we must accept the outcome of our hope when the results are in.

When we accept the outcome of our hope as God’s will, we live our lives within the comfort of complacency.

Living within the comfort of complacency affords us a peace beyond understanding.

We must accept the fact that all that happens, happens for a reason, is according to God’s will,  and there is nothing that we can do to change it.  After all, who are we to question God?   He is omniscient.  If God doesn’t know what is going on, then who does?
Once we accept the fact that all that happens is God’s will, we must be content with the outcome.  We may not agree with the outcome, but it is what it is, and we must accept it.
Hope relies on faith and faith relies on trust.  If we do not place our trust in God, then we have no hope.  If the hope we claim is not based on trust, then we have no relationship with the God we call our Father.
How, then, can we have Hope in the Father?
Trust that what He tells us is Truth,  Accept the outcome as His will and be Complacent with that outcome.
Then, and only then, will we have Peace in our lives.

DO NOW WHAT YOU DREAMT TO DO


Sun Dance

Life is but a vapor
Here, then gone
These are not sad words
These are real words
Our life is given as a gift
Moments in our existence pass
So quickly before our eyes
Life as we know it, is so, so short

Don’t wait –
Do now what you dreamt to do
Try what you were afraid to try
Step out and grab a hold of life
Live with no regrets

Laugh often, smile a lot
Make it a habit to give hugs
Love intensely
Love like there is no tomorrow
Give from your heart freely
Share hope, give joy
Encourage, and lift up the brokenhearted
Listen, understand, be gracious
Sing in the shower, loudly
Crack a joke, then laugh at yourself
Cry with a friend
Hold someone’s hand

Do now what you dreamt to do
Try what you were afraid to try
Step out and grab a hold of life
Breathe –
Take time to stop and inhale spring
Summer, fall and winter
Smell the changes in the air
Watch a bird in flight
Get lost in the splendor of color
As the sun rises in the morning
Be captivated by the beauty of the water
As the rays of the sun dance upon it
Look up and take notice
Of the pureness of the blue in a summer sky
How the stars sparkle
Against the velvet blackness of night
The sweetness of a baby’s laughter
The aroma of home baked cookies
How it feels to be with family
Embrace life
Notice the small things that surround you
For simple joys are our greatest pleasures
But most of all be thankful
God created life to be savored
He gave it to us as a gift
To be unwrapped and enjoyed
Relish every moment
Of the life He gave you
Live it to the full
For life is but a vapor
Here, then gone

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.

GET OVER YOURSELF


skier2We all have problems.  Whether it is something as simple as juggling a schedule to get the kids picked up after school or a life threatening disease, there will always be obstacles to overcome.  It is how we approach them and how we relate to them that will make the difference in whether we let them take over our lives or make a difference in someone else’s life.

I watched a story on the news about a skier who had a paralyzing fall and learned to ski sitting down.  She didn’t just sit down on the couch and give up.  She learned about a way that she could still pursue her love of skiing even with her disability.  Now she is making a difference in other people’s lives by promoting skier safety while pursuing her passion.  We see these human interest stories all the time, but, when something happens to most of us, we park ourselves in the mully grubs and sometimes never come out.

Sometimes these circumstances are of our own making and sometimes they are not.  If we have done something stupid (human) which caused the problem, we beat ourselves up even more.  Lets say you spent your life as a professional stunt man and, now that you are older, every joint in your body hurts.  Or maybe it was overeating, over spending, working in a high stress occupation, lack of ambition, procrastination, or just plain laziness.   There are a million and one reasons to regret and feel sorry for yourself.

King David had done some pretty stupid (human) things.  He committed adultery, brought the woman’s husband home from battle to try to cover up the fact that he (David) had gotten her pregnant, then, when that didn’t work out, had the man sent to the front lines to a certain death.  His punishment was, among other things, that the child born of this relationship would die.  When the child was struck with illness, and for seven days, David fasted, wept and prayed.  But when the child died, David got up, cleaned up and worshiped the Lord.  There was nothing more he could do, so it was time to get up and go on.  Yes, I am sure he was upset.  He most likely blamed himself for the child’s death.  He knew he had done wrong.  But it was now time to get up and get over himself.

Each of us has that choice to make every day.  We can sit and wallow in our self-pity or get up, wash our faces, and get on with it.  I know that there are those with seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against them.  Lives can be one step up and two steps back until you wind up in a hole you can not climb out of on your own.  David didn’t go it alone either.  The first thing he did was to worship (2 Samuel 12).  He got out of himself and turned to the one who could help him.  He didn’t go whining to God about how bad life treated him, he praised Him.  He worshiped the Lord.

Maybe if we spend less time looking in and more time looking out, the circumstances wouldn’t seem so huge that they can’t be overcome.  I realize and know from my own personal experience that the circumstances can be overwhelming at times.  Three years ago, I had neck surgery which was supposed to fix a problem, but instead left me paralyzed in my right arm.  When the doctors said there would be no more healing, that is when I began to get the use of my arm back.  I was rarely positive throughout the eighteen months it took to recover, but I did learn about faith and grace.  Sometimes the lessons take longer than we expect or hope for.

If God be for us, who can be against us.

THE OTHER MAN


another manMy wife and I had been married about six years when it all started.  Some call it the seven-year itch.  Whatever you call it, I thought it was  the hardest thing I ever had to endure. I had to stand by and watch as the woman I loved seemed to slip away into the arms of another man.
We had met this man about three years before and both liked him okay. He was easy on the eyes and seemed to have a genuineness about him that would draw anyone to him.  The words he spoke were always truthful and he really seemed to care about people.  He was one of those guys you couldn’t help but like, and most who took the time to get to know him did.  His sense of humor was always prevalent, but he had his serious side when it came to important matters. He was always there with a compassionate smile or hug, when needed, and could brighten a room with his presence.  I never considered him to be much of a threat at the time and, as days wore on, I kind of lost interest in and connection with him.  I thought my wife had too, but I guess that wasn’t the case.
Our marriage had always been, in my mind’s eye, a strong one.  We had been through some tough times financially and I bounced from job to job until I found myself driving over the road and gone for weeks at a time.  I suppose she needed something more than the long distance relationship we had and sought out his friendship once more.  `    When I would call her from the truck stop at night to ask how things were going, she would say, “Just fine,” and we would talk about our day, our finances, or what the kids were doing. I never suspected a thing, until I would come home.  Then it seemed she was happy to see me, but I could tell something wasn’t right.  I could feel the presence of impending doom.  I could feel her slipping away from me but I couldn’t put my finger on the source. I would have to figure out a way to find out what was going on, without her knowing about it.
I finally got a job close to home so I wouldn’t have to be gone all the time.  “Now,” I thought, “I can get to the bottom of this.”  Now I could see if my suspicions were true.  I would stalk her if necessary.  She was the best thing that ever happened to me and I wasn’t going to let this go without a fight.  And so I watched.  Just one slip up and I could get the evidence I needed to confront her.  It wasn’t long before my paranoia became a reality.
I would come home from work to find her talking to him, crying and asking him to help her.  Why couldn’t she talk to me like that?  I was home now and could help her with whatever it was she needed.  She had letters from him that she would spend hours reading and talk to him out loud even when he wasn’t there.  I had written her letters from the road.  I had written poetry expressing my love for her.  Why didn’t she read any of my stuff?  Didn’t that mean anything to her anymore?  I felt a complete betrayal.  But it didn’t end there. It was also the singing.  She would sing songs she made up about him.  She would sing in the morning when she first woke up and sing later in the evening.  She loved to sing, but she never sang about me.  It was making me insane with jealousy.  This other man had completely taken over her life while I was away.  What was I going to do?
I have never been a person who relies on ignorance to combat a problem. If I was going to fight against something, or in this case, someone, I was going to learn everything I could about them. I needed to learn his strengths and weaknesses.  I needed to get inside his head and know what he was thinking and, when the time was right, I would take him down.  I knew that with the right evidence I could crumble his world.  I knew that when this happened, my wife, along with all those other people who thought he was so wonderful, would see him for who he really was.  I was ready to take him on.
I began, like any good detective, interviewing his friends and anyone who said they knew him.  Believe me, there was a lot of them. I couldn’t find anything there to use, so I would sneak behind my wife’s back and read the letters she had been reading.  I read through each and every one of those letters, sometimes reading them two and three times, until I thought I had a good grasp of who he was and what he was about.  I even Googled him to see what was being said about him on the internet.  When I thought I had enough evidence, I was ready to confront him face to face.  I set aside some time for us to get together.
I wouldn’t say that the meeting went well, but I wouldn’t say that it went badly either. Every time I tried to discredit him he was able to help me to understand his point of view. Every time I argued with logic and reason he would just smile at my disbelief and tell me to trust him. Then I let him have it.  I started talking to him about my wife.  He didn’t deny that he loved her. He said he would protect her and always hold her close in his heart.  He even stated that he was jealous about his relationship with her. He said he would do anything in his power to protect it.
Then he floored me.
He started telling me that he felt the same way about me, too. Okay, I’m a guy.  This felt a little awkward. One man telling another that he loves him and would do anything for him. What do you do with that?  I’m not  homophobic,  but this was a bit much.  He began telling me that his love was like no other.  That he was not physically attracted to any man or woman–that is not love but lust.  He told me that his love was everlasting and unconditional.  Nothing I could do could earn it and nothing could cause him to love me less.  He said it was much like the love I had for my bride, but without stipulations and boundaries. His love and compassion was available to me and all I had to do was ask.  All I had to do was trust him.
Lets just say that now he calls me “friend.”  He is welcome in my home any time…all the time.  I, too, spend time with him every chance I get and no longer feel threatened by him.  I, sometimes, even tell people about this friend that I have and how much he loves me and loves them.  Of course, its difficult to talk to  some people about him because they don’t understand that kind of relationship.  They have never experienced it. They are skeptical because they haven’t been willing to learn anything about the unknown.  They can only go on what they see.

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.

LIFE


IF?

LIFE  can be iffy.
If I hadn’t wasted my younger days.  If I had made a different career choice.  If I had more money, talent, ambition, education, time.  If the economy doesn’t get any better I’m going to lose my job.  There are a lot of “ifs” in life.  If looks backward and forward and seems to be the central focal point of worry and regret.  If shapes our dreams, gives us hope, and causes governments and financial systems to collapse.  If is the center of life.
There are numerous “ifs” in the Bible.  In Leviticus, God outlines to Moses and the children of Israel what course of action should be taken if this or that happens.  If a man hit’s a pregnant woman and causes her to lose the child.  If there is a skin disease on a person or mold in the house.  These were common sense rules for healthy living.  Every one of these came with a sacrifice to be offered for the person or object to be deemed clean.
The common “if” referred to is found in 2 Chronicles, which deserves a look on two levels.
2 Chronicles 7:13-14
13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
First, is the idea that a loving God would cause all this mayhem on His people.  This is generally left out of the quote when pastors proclaim the need for prayer and repentance.  It doesn’t sell very well. If God is so loving  why would He withhold rain and send plagues and locusts?
God is a loving God, but, just like any parent, He can only take so much disobedience from His children, then the punishment must commence.  The devastation is a way for God to “spank” His unruly children all at once. He has to get their attention.  But God IS a loving God and He will stop the punishment IF.
If His people will humble themselves (quit thinking they’re all that and a bag of chips), talk to Him, get to know Him and turn away from what caused the punishment in the first place (which they are fully aware of) then the absolute promises begin.  God says, “I WILL, hear from heaven.  I WILL forgive their sins.  I WILL heal their land.”  This isn’t God requiring conditions for His love.  This is simply God saying. “I want you to know me, love me and follow my rules.  In return I will give you everything you need.  Just trust me.”
But now you say. “That was thousands of years ago.  How does that apply to me right now, today?  God isn’t going to send locusts down on me. There‘s medicines for the flu and stuff like that.”  The same rules apply today as then.  The same “rules” in the sense that we are to follow God’s commands.  We don’t live under the law of Moses, but under Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ.  Okay, what does that mean?
That means through Jesus Christ we no longer have to live by all the rules, regulations and statutes set forth in Leviticus and perverted by the Pharisees.  Jesus made it simple:
Mark 12: 28-32
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “There is no commandment greater than these.”
Love God with everything in you and love your neighbor as yourself.  Pretty simple.  It’s a learning process.  The more you learn about God, the more you begin to realize His love for you and then that can radiate that love out to others.
But how are we supposed to get to know Jesus and God if they’re not here where we can see them and talk to them?  Jesus had an answer for that, too, and it came with a promise just like the one in 2Chronicles:
John 14: 15-17
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another counselor to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth (the Comforter, Holy Spirit). The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
Two simple commands which baffle the mind of men. Love The Lord your God with everything in you.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  If you do that then, God WILL send the Holy Spirit to be with you FOREVER.  The Spirit of Truth to help you understand His Word.  The Comforter for you to turn to in time of need.  Not a replacement for God and not a substitute for Jesus, but a teacher to help and guide us and a conduit for Gods love, mercy and grace to flow in and through us.

Makes things a whole lot less “iffy” doesn’t it?  We have His Word on it.

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.

TO WHOM I BELONG


temptationYou know, you don’t belong
Playing in the mind as a song
Sung over and over again to me
Til it’s all I know, it’s all I believe
You have no purpose it speaks to me
Why do you try so hard to see
There’s no place for you here
No one cares, no one hears
Cites the spirit’s evil cantor
Breaking the will to bring disaster
For it’s purpose is to destroy
With the emotions it does toy
Divide and conquer is it’s plan
To come between God, you and man

How does one stop the onslaught of lies
Spoken at the most vulnerable times
Crying out my soul pleads
Jesus, please come rescue me
Then I hear His voice calling out
Declaring to me without a doubt
You are precious in My sight
Regardless of this vicious tripe
I have called you by your name
And you are mine, by Divine claim
My Father calls me His Beloved
Nothing removes me from His cover
Under the shelter of His Wings
There to His Words I do cling

Soaking deep to the core my being
Arising now and proclaiming
Who I am, to whom I belong
In Christ forever is my song
So in your face and take that
Defeated the enemy is set back
Running from the spoken Truth
Fleeing God without a truce
For the lies can not stand
Before the majestic Son of Man
So when the lies come to taunt
Break their hold with this thought
Who you are and what you’ll be
Isn’t by what others think or see
Nor is it spoken with deceit
Listen only to the Father’s heart
It’s there He tells you who you are.

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.