Friday, September 10, 2010

I Used to be a Rolex, Now I'm Just a Plastic Swatch Watch

In the book "The Believer's Guide to Spiritual Warfare", Thomas B. White talks about how Satan can use issues we deal with to set us back in our spiritual walk.  He says on page 38:

"Most of what you and I deal with daily are the faults, foibles, and physical infirmities of our own natural selves, with all the emotional and psychologival baggage that we carry through life.  Beyond that, each of us has individual areas of besetting sin that nag at us and drag us down with discouraging regularity.  If this were not enough, the covetousness, pleasure, and humanistic appeal of the world sysytem presses upon us all.  Now alongside, and sometimes in and through these battles, the devil takes what he can get and aggravates our unresolved emotional problems, besetting sins, and willful blunderings. We are like a finely tuned watch mechanism into which pieces of grit are dropped. What could have functioned well according to original design wears down and malfunctions due to an external, foreign influence."

Now I don't care if you don't agree with the rest of the paragraph.....the bold section can't be more true of humanity.  God made a perfect, sinless man (and woman) who of their own free will sinned, therefore passing it on to the rest of us.  As time has elapsed, more and more sin and corruption has become mainstream, adding more grit to that mechanism....

As we were going over this in our bible study on Wednesday, I just thought the beginning product was like a top-of-the-line Rolex and the end result of what it is now is like the plastic Swatch watches from back in the 80's and 90's....hence the title....I Used to be a Rolex, now I'm Just a Plastic Swatch Watch.  Not saying that we all are that way but through Jesus Christ and salvation, the opposite is true. We get an upgrade from a plastic Swatch watch to the Rolodex......

Don't forget to replace your batteries!! Stay charged up for Jesus, don't go dead and be of no use!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Words lie, Actions don't.....

We say we’ll call, and we don’t. We don’t even text.
We tell people we love them and we don’t…
We tell people we’ll help them do something and we don't....

So many times, we get caught in saying one thing but going back on our word, sometimes unintentionally. Words are what we use to tell people how we feel, what we are doing, and what we plan to do. Our actions will either match what we say or they will tell a different story.

I have had numerous conversations with friends who have been in relationships whether they are friendships, dating or marriages and there is sometimes a broken line of communication on their part or on the other’s part. There’s:

• The girl who tells me that she doesn’t know what to think of the friend who seems to never remember anything she tells her. Her friend forgets birthdays, major events, everything….she only calls when she herself needs something, but never to catch up.

• The child who thinks that the parents care more/less about just them than their other brothers and sisters.

• The guy who tells me that his wife is distant….she seems to give their children and male friends more attention and help than she gives him.

• The girl who believes the lie of “I love (lust) you” from a boyfriend who has ulterior motives.

The only thing I can think when I’m approached with these issues is that words lie and actions don’t.

For the girl with the self-absorbed friend….that friend is showing that she doesn’t care about how she can help you, but what can she get out of the friendship. No matter what she tells you, you have no reason to believe that she will keep her word. It doesn’t matter if she promises or even prepares to do something she said she would….you can’t be sure that she’ll do what she says until she’s finished. You want to think that “Maybe THIS time she’ll______” but her actions have shown you otherwise. Birthdays are forgotten, events blown off, etc. We form friendships with people and we keep in touch with them for years while other friendships turn into more of an acquaintance relationship. When I first started going to school, I went to a large community college….and I can say with no hard feelings that there are only about 3 or 4 people that I keep in touch with on a frequent basis other than on Facebook. Even if I don’t get to talk to them as much as I want to, they know that I’m still dependable and I will keep my word with them and others.

For the child who feels that their parent only loves/dislikes them and not their siblings, it’s hard to prove this is true, but it is not hard to see when a parent gives more attention and encouragement to one child and the other. When children are small and all in the same house as their siblings, it’s easy to see. Parents may say that they love both kids the same amount but in different ways (personality –wise) but the child may see a difference in their actions. As the children grow older they’re wondering if their parents approve of them or if they are proud o f the things they accomplish in life because they never received that verbal affirmation.

For the man with the distant wife, he may be trying all he can to engage his wife in conversation and doing things together (hobbies, outings, etc.) but to no avail. He spends time wondering why and if it has to do with him, but she quickly says no. She says she loves him and their children as much as he loves her and the children, but he is always seeing no reciprocity. He notices that she is quick to take care of any of the needs of the house, their children and to comfortably give her male friends attention and have conversations with them about personal issues, but she seems to have no interest in her husband other than the occasional “how was your day?” He’s left thinking, “she says she loves me, but she never shows it”. **NOTE: For this, I would recommend the book “The Five Love Languages”. If you’ve taken it, and are married, TELL your spouse what your love language is, they can’t read your mind. I personally don’t care what a spouse says about how they like to show their love for their mate, it doesn’t matter at all if it’s not their mate’s love language….My reaction “yeah, that’s nice, but that doesn’t spell love to them”. In this case, she may know that his love languages are Words of Affirmation or Quality Time but only want to practice Acts of Service. In his eyes, her love is elsewhere because her words of affirmation go to and her quality time is spent with other people.

For the dating girl, she may get the boyfriend (or the guy who she is dating although he says there’s no title….) After hanging out two or three times, going to the movies, going out with friends, he may tell her or impress on her that holding hands isn’t enough. Soon after that, kissing isn’t enough….then touching or fondling isn’t enough and next thing she knows, he’s trying to get her to engage in sex. The whole time he’s telling her “I love you”, “I care about you”, “I don’t want to rush you into it” and of course she believes it….almost. But she notices that he always acts pushy about it, then pouts and sulks when she refuses. If he really meant all those things he said, he wouldn’t pout and sulk.

Looking at all of these you can see where words lie, actions don’t: A friend acts with compassion, concern, attentiveness; a parent gives all children same amount of attention, encouragement and love; the wife talks with her husband about personal matters and spends time with him; the boyfriend doesn’t pressure his girlfriend into a compromising situation but instead suggests activities where they won’t be tempted to have sex. Even when all these things are done, if the attitude is wrong, the sense of doing something out of force will overshadow the actions themselves, which renders the actions void of any true connection and valid affection or love.

Our words are covering what our true intentions are. We only befriend people because they can do things for us or get us hookups on items… We put more effort into one child over the other because of their intelligence or good looks. We marry someone not because we love them but because we know they can provide us with stability. We date as a means to fulfill our fleshly desires without the marital obligations and vow. If people saw that was how we really are in our hearts, they may treat us differently.

The kicker is: WE DO THIS TO GOD ALL THE TIME…..say we love HIM but don’t show it, with our actions, words, attention, etc. We come to God with our hands out and up to receive, but not down to get to work. Our words lie in His face, but our actions tell him something else.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Are you living on a highway or a turnpike?

So many times we make up in our minds what our goals are and the path we need to take to get there. If we find ourselves off track traveling down a highway and we make a wrong turn, we can either get off at the next exit and turn around or catch the next freeway that intersects our way. If in case of emergency, a.k.a. God intervenes, He uses the "for emergency vehicles only" turnaround. We get off and turn around when we realize our wrongs and want to get them right.

When we are living on a turnpike, there is no way to turn around. You have to go to the next major city and make a turn around. You are forced to "deal with the consequences" and travel down the path until you have a way out. You have to pay the tolls you pass through, you have to spend your time..and your resources.

If you have had your "come to Jesus" inital meeting, the highway of your life has Heaven at the end but if you get sidetracked and start leading to Hell, you can take a detour to get to where you belong.  But if you are on a turnpike and headed for Hell, make that next exit at the next town, take a rest break to get yourself together and get back on the turnpike headed the right direction. On a turnpike, we become desensitized to our surroundings because it's the same old scenery...nothing changes....no exits, rest stops.....nothing. If our lifestyle isn't right we become so desensitized not realizing that we started off on a higway, got off on the turnpike and are halfway to the wrong destination. We ignore the traffic on the other side and if we're headed to Hell we don't want to be calloused to our surroundings and not see that we need to change. 

Remember, take the highway....the turnpike may be the most direct route...but it may not get you to where you want to go...with no way out.