Friday, April 27, 2012

Trojan, Microsoft, Prayer & a Miracle

So... I had a virus on my computer... Two actually! And yes, they were Trojans (which I actually have no clue about I've just heard they are awful and I trust that. ha!) Thankfully I have good ole Microsoft Security Essentials and the Trojan was pretty much immediately detected.  (Aside: The thing I love most about Microsoft Security Essentials though is it makes it so easy, even for non-geeks like me!  There is just a pop-up window that recommends an action, in this case "remove" and a little details tab you can look at that's super easy to understand so you can see where it's saved on your computer AND which website, e-mail or whatever the issue stemmed from!) Of course, like any other scared-to-death person I clicked remove and it's was processing the removal so quickly... to a point... then... nothing. Frozen. Uh-oh! What would someone like me do now?! Calling tech support is like beating your head against a brick wall so I pretty much refuse that! haha! Naturally, I prayed haha! I know it may seem stupid to some but I seriously pray about EVERYTHING, it's the first thing I thought of (which, if you were wondering, is a good habit to get into because the Bible says "if it concerns you then God's concerned about it too" and "God is into the details" both Suzie-k paraphrase ha!) The problem? When I prayed nothing happened...  I prayed again "Jesus please, you know I have no idea what to go and you know what it will cost me if I have to get help with this, and I CANNOT have ruined this computer! Fix it I pray!"  Waited........... AND.... Nothing :o( Finally I literally laid hands on the computer tower (no joke) and said "Remove it IN JESUS NAME!" and voila, instantly a new pop-up "The Trojan has been successfully removed." Not only that but there were actually two Trojans; the second didn't even show up when I clicked remove but it got removed as well! My computer is good as new, no trace of the virus I knew about nor the one that was a bonus fix! "Thanks for bonuses God!"

I know the story of a computer virus isn't very spiritual (even if you have to admit it is kind of cool) but it did bring to mind a message I heard this winter through simulcast... Rev. Lee Stoneking spoke about his miracle... And if you've never heard his story you MUST! (Hear it in person! Join us when Lee Stoneking comes to Capital Community July 27-29 2012!) After speaking about his miracle Rev. Stoneking talked about the reason he believes he has so much success in prayer (regarding praying for miracles and healing.) Rev Stoneking said "I've never been afraid pray. I've always just thought I'll pray and it's up to God what He wants to do with that prayer, it's His results." I've heard the expression "our prayers, God's results" before but when you hear it coming from someone like Rev. Stoneking it seems to carry more weight and it starts to change you... But that sentence was actually only the beginning of change in me. The catalyst was hearing Rev. Stoneking say "I've also never been afraid to pray again..." and he went on to speak about praying for a healing for a man somewhere between three and five times in one service until he was completely healed!

I've always heard "never give up, sometimes people stop praying just before they receive their miracle."  float around the topic of Christian Prayer. But honestly, who could tell, if you stop praying for something you don't know that one more prayer would have done it on the other hand, you don't know if one more prayer wouldn't have brought down the miracle! There is a story found in 2 Kings 13:14-24 that tells of a king who was told to "strike the ground" with arrows and he did, three times. But the prophet was angry with him for only striking it three times and said "You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it." The king really had no idea how many times to strike the ground and there is no mention of specific instruction to that regard but I think the lesson we need to take away is you don't have to know, just keep hitting it! Just keep striking the ground with your knees in prayer! Don't be afraid of the results - or lack thereof - keep praying because that's our job, the answering is God's job. 

Another story in Mark 8:23-25 speaks of Jesus praying for a blind man and at Jesus' first prayer the man said "I see people; they look like trees walking around" so Jesus prayed again and the man's sight was completely restored.  I think we can all agree Jesus had the most powerful prayer life ever known!? After Jesus raising people from the dead through prayer, speaking stillness to the water and a storm, after Him healing a woman from a 12 year blood disease just by her touching his prayer shawl do you think Jesus really had to pray twice for this man or did He allow this to happen as an example to us?  Rhetorical question. I know, it is scary to pray sometimes... Most of the time... The thought of "what if this doesn't work" or "what if God doesn't answer" will probably never leave the recesses of our minds but we can and must refuse those thoughts! We refuse negative thoughts by remembering even Jesus prayed more than once for a miracle, by not allowing those thoughts to intimidate us into inaction, by doing our job. "Just do it" - Nike

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fear of Commitment

I've had this problem that has plagued me all my life... I can't seem to get away from it or the people who seem to bring it to my attention...  I've tried to stop it, work on it, change it...  It's so hard to be broken, such a strong fear... A fear of commitment.  Not a fear of commitment like you may think of in the traditional sense. I'm actually not even talking about my own fear, although, I have to admit, I've fought the same fear.

I have to give in to the fact that love is scary... It's everything  you've always wanted but it's so hard to just let go and be vulnerable to it. It's hard to choose one path above another, I mean, what if you miss out on something great, right? Is it commitment or settling? I know this is the "right one" but do I want that kind of commitment now? Shouldn't I just let go and have fun now and commit later? Ummm... No, commitment, ALWAYS right one over right now, who says commitment excludes fun?

Listen, the truth is if you have a fear of commitment it's probably also a problem with decision making... Let's face it, making decisions and committing to stand behind those decisions is part of being mature and we aren't kiddos any longer.  If you need to hear it from someone else; listen to me "you already know it's right, you know this is it for you, there is no other relationship because you'll never be able to totally forget about this one... SO COMMIT ALREADY!"

So, why am I not talking about commitment in the traditional sense? Seems pretty traditional to me...? It's because I'm talking about the fear of commitment I've seen for years in friends of mine... Throughout our teens and now that we are adults it seems even worse. Although some of my friends afraid to commit as teens have now taken the big leap there are so many dangerously wasting time. "Dangerously?" Yes, NOW is the time to COMMIT TO GOD!  Stop fooling around thinking you've got your whole life ahead... What if you're wrong?! Are you going to be able to look God in His eyes, ignoring the nail scars in his hands and thorn pierces in his forehead while you try to excuse yourself with just a "had I known I only had another year... Week... Day... Hour... I would have turned my life completely over to you! You know I love you, I just..." Just what? I love you but I wanted to have fun without you? I love you but I loved partying more? I love you but I didn't make time for you? I love you but I just couldn't commit?  If you wouldn't believe or accept that excuse from a friend, family member or partner why would you offer it to God? I've watched so many of my friends whom I love deeply throw precious years of influence away to a drink, relationship or career when they could and should have been changing their own lives and saving the lives of others with God. I'm sick of it, I'm standing up for this generation... Even if you don't know you need to be stood up for. God loves you, He wants your commitment, He's after your heart... Go after Him, go after Him hard and serious.

The truth is, you may not have the time to change tomorrow so do it today! I know we always hear "you're not promised tomorrow" and it's true... I know it's hard to really grasp that thought and the truth is you may have years... But if you do have years do you really want to waste them or do you want to make a difference? No one really wants to waste a life, entering and leaving this world unnoticed and without matter... So don't! Commit now, don't even wait until tonight before bed! If you're around people while you're reading this get up, walk to the washroom run some water and whisper to God. Talk it out with Him, apologize and make a plan to change, make time for Him right now. I know it's only three minutes in the washroom and you think that's hardly worth offering to Him at all but if you hadn't talked to someone you love for (however long it's been for you and God insert that time here) wouldn't you want time even just three minutes? "The journey of one thousand miles starts with a single step." - Chinese proverb (as tweeted by Healthy MaginationThe relationship of a lifetime with Christ starts with a single prayer.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Couldn't leave well enough alone... Clarification on "Florida, Disappointments & Solitary"

My blog post "Florida, Disappointments & Solitary" written two weeks ago has caused quite the stir! I can't believe it's still getting readers and comments! But there is one thing I feel I must address... I had a comment awaiting moderation tonight that stated "I think the following article is a great read in light of the post:  Have a great day!" posted, of course by Anonymous (although I think it may be Mr. Adam R. Holz from Boundless line) on Florida, Disappointments & Solitary on 4/11/12.  Although the article was a little boring to get through (I like articles written in a more personal approach... Give me some humor or something.) I did finish it... And I'm disturbed by what the article said... Not so much for it's value but because it was in response to what I wrote... PEOPLE!!!?? To clarify, I did not mean I was waiting for George Clooney look-alike to walk into my life but I am waiting for someone I would at least like to get to know better... Have some sort of interest in or at least curiosity toward! It's true, Christian, nice and employed are "required" but it's also true loyalty, personality and some sort of connection are - although not deal breakers- requested. The man of my dreams does not have to possess all six of the list, however I'm not going to settle for the first three and end up with a cheater or someone I can't even talk to... And I shouldn't and, in my opinion, neither should any other man or woman! So if you think there is something wrong with that, get over it... I have the right to my opinion and you have the right to remain wrong! hahahahah!
Now onto the value of the article I was requested to read... Here is a excerpt from the middle:  "In her Feb. 21 article “Why Men Are Settling for Mrs. Good Enough” at The Daily Beast, Jessica Bennett talked with Fisher about the results of her study. One of the most interesting statistics was the fact that 31 percent of adult men said that they’d commit to someone they didn’t love as long as that person exhibited all the other qualities they were looking for in a mate. Perhaps even more surprising still, the percentage of men willing to make that choice was actually highest among men in their 20s, nearly 40 percent, compared to just 22 percent of women in that age bracket.
Explaining her findings, Fisher commented, “We have a stereotype in this culture that it's men who are the ones who don't want to commit, who don't want to settle down, who are the scarce resources. But in fact, it's the opposite." Fisher mentioned one man who told her, "My wife isn’t perfect. She isn’t the best I’ve had in bed. But she’s a wonderful mother to our daughter, she’s very helpful in our business life, and we get along very well.’”  And my response to that is actually not as much to "Fisher" as it is to the meant she studied... I do not want to be the woman you don't love but commit to anyway! I could possess ever other quality you're looking for but if you don't see me across the room and think "I completely love that woman" please skip over me, you may feel okay with not loving me but I definitely do not feel okay thinking you love me and giving my heart to you if you, in fact, do not feel love for me. And it's not that I won't overlook your dumb jokes or your bad sense of style, I will, but there are some important things and I don't want to be the only one who is in love in this relationship!
So here's my bottom line, hopefully this will help you all understand me a bit better on this topic: I'm not perfect (GASP!? I know, hard to believe, right!? haah) and I am not looking for a perfect man...  Just like Dr. Phil taught me I am looking for Mr. 80% unfortunately that means you're disqualified Mr. 30%... And all the readers sigh a sympathetic "awe..." What I was saying in my past post and am clarifying now is that a man doesn't have to be perfect to be perfect for me, he just has to have something to get us started! If there is nothing, no seed, how can we grow from there? We can't. Another thing I tried to make you understand Mr. 30% is that you are someone elses 80% and because there is some beautiful lady out there praying God will send you her way I am not going to keep you knocking on my door any longer, get on your way, appreciate that I'm not fooling you or wasting your time knowing you will never be happy trying to live up to the 50% I'm desiring and use the time you saved to find your soul mate.
Also, I know some of you just want me and all the ladies out there like me to "settle down" but one thing you may not be considering, the thing I am actually counting on is God created a soul mate for us! He's not Mr. Perfect and most likely not even Mr. Right (how can he be when I'm Mrs. right... Someone has to be wrong :oP) but he don't you worry, he is Mr. Made for Me and I'll know enough to love and appreciate him as soon as he steps foot into my life!
One last excerpt "Bennett also talked with Tom Matlack, co-founder of the Good Men Project. He echoes Fisher’s assessment when he says, “Marriage is challenging. Are you always madly in love with your spouse? No. But being a good husband and a good father is about trusting the other person, about being willing to deal with difficult stuff. I think it’s a sign of maturity on the part of men to admit that. … I don’t need the Victoria’s Secret model. I don’t need the infatuation that’s not going to last. I need a partner in life."  This one I actually agree with... I need a partner in life and that's all I'm looking for, not Mr GQ. I know, we won't "feel the love" every day, that's why it's called commitment but I also believe regardless of the "feeling of the day" there is the underlying "knowing of the way" and even if I think you're being a complete jerk today, tomorrow I will remember you hold my heart :o)
Marriage is difficult at times, it needs to run deeper than looks and feeling, there has to be a strong foundation! I'm just looking for the right person to build that foundation with and not going to settle for a cardboard box marriage :o)  I'll even allow Mr. Adam R. Holz the last word since he seems to have so pointedly explained my sentiments "Marriage is a partnership. As Christians, we believe that it’s a partnership with a spiritual purpose, that of glorifying Christ. And hopefully it’s a partnership that brings a deep sense of meaning and fulfillment. Sometimes, though, you’re just glad to have survived another day, another week, and having a soul mate is less existentially important in the moment than the fact that your loving spouse remembered to wash your clothes for you.

Paradoxically, as the years and mileage piles on — and after almost eight years of marriage and three kids say this — there’s something about doing even those mundane tasks together (and for each other) that enriches and expands your entire conception of what a soul mate really is."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

More than a Feeling

Okay, first of all... I love old music and Boston's "More than a Feeling" is one I grew up hearing with my dad! So I thought I would share it with you guys! You're welcome!

And now onto my actual thoughts for today! Have you ever had that feeling? You know, just a little voice inside telling you to do something... Not kill anyone or that the aliens are coming to get you, haha! A voice that tells you to pick up a card for a friend.. To send an e-mail just to say "Hi! How are you? I've been thinking about you a lot lately, hope all is well!" Or even, "Pray for them..." I'm sure you have felt those moments of impression. Call it what you will "a feeling," "providence," "premonition," "psychic instance" or "God" the real questions are: is it "more than a feeling?" And what will you do with it?

So many times I've had a feeling about something and ignored it, pushed it aside repeatedly until I forgot about it completely or come up with some excuse as to why I couldn't put action behind it.  But what if there is something to those feelings we all experience? What if someone is truly needing us to act? What if instead of making a difference we continue to make excuses? What if it really is "more than a feeling?"

I've been fortunate enough to at least, on several occasions, admit at a later date my reluctance to follow through on a feeling to call a friend, send that card or pray.  I found out after telling people "hey, I was going to send you an e-mail a couple of days ago, just couldn't get you off my mind..." or "I really felt to pray with you the other night but I wasn't sure I should..." I should have. In each and every situation where I "had a feeling" whether I did follow through with action or not I later found out that feeling was right, I should have done something.  Of course, when there is no follow through and you later find out you could have really made a positive impact on someone it's not all that pleasant but at least you know you were right in the feeling... Right? See, the thing is I've never really learned my lesson... No matter how many times I have a feeling with no follow through only to later find out I should have followed through, the next time I "get a feeling" I find another... No, actually I find the same old excuse as last time and do nothing again.  Albert Einstein said "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result" so then why have I not changed what I am in this case not doing? Simple... Fear and pride.

I'm afraid the person on the receiving end of my follow through on a feeling may not "get it." My pride holds me back from saying "I just felt I should pray with you" because what if I'm wrong? What if that person doesn't feel any need for prayer, an e-mail, a card or whatever it is?  But there is another way of looking at it... Really, what if I am wrong? If I was the person receiving that card in the mail, e-mail, prayer, etc. that I didn't feel I needed would I be offended? Would I think "hey pal, you're a moron! How dare you ask me how I'm doing."? If someone told me they were thinking about me and hoped everything was going well with me would I come back with "Yeh, well, there's no need to think about me. In fact, please refrain from thought of me or care of how I am doing all together... Things go well for me without your 'feelings thank you very much.'" OF COURSE NOT, and you wouldn't have a poor reaction either... 

So what's my point? I do have personal evidence of situations where I should have done something I was feeling to do for someone... I know for sure that sometimes that unspoken word of encouragement would have helped someone get through their bad day a bit easier had it been voiced.. And the prayer I felt to pray for someone would have been not only received well but received as an answer to a wish for knowing God cared... I also know that my fears and thoughts of injured pride are irrational because people don't (usually) react poorly to someone trying to show their care and concern. If I know that by having no follow through on a feeling I could cause harm or at the least refuse help I need to get some follow through in my life and so do you! It's "more than a feeling!" 

Lastly, here is the video that got me thinking and inspired me to write this blog in the first place: a man who realized it's "more than a feeling" and did act in spite of fear and pride, risking not only his pride but his career: