Thursday, October 18, 2012

Roaring Lions & Baby Killers

As some of you may or may not know, I have a new addiction... Nat. Geo. Wild! I lost Animal Planet since I moved... And I could get it back but I don't want the rest of the channels - except maybe Food Network - that go with it. But lucky me, Nat. Geo. Wild is a new channel I do get on my TV and I watch it bordering on obsessively. ha! Maybe not that bad but seriously, I love animals and will watch almost anything about them.  I learned something from a show I watched on Nat. Geo. Wild a while ago and what I learned is to be the premise of this blog post.

When male Lions fight they don't usually go after each other, blood and fur flying... Instead, they go after each other's cubs and whichever kills all the other's babies first is triumphant.  You're probably in a little shock - as was I - so just take a minute... The show I was watching showed a lioness finding one of her dead babies... She chased away the hyenas and vultures and lay down beside her baby, nudging it, smelling it, licking it and crying... Honestly, making noises like she was crying. She did get angry and rushed the lion she thought or knew had killed the cub but she must have known, alone, she couldn't take him on and never pursued an actual attack. Although it was narrated the attack never would have happened if the lioness was present with her cub, although the lion could have beat her alone, lionesses are most times in a group and the male lion wouldn't stand a chance against their combined strength.
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8 (TNIV)
1 Peter 5:8 tells us the devil is like a roaring lion looking for people to devour... Revelation 5:5 says, in part, "...One of the Elders said, “Don’t weep. Look—the Lion from Tribe Judah, the Root of David’s Tree, has conquered..." (MSG) and you can probably see the comparison I am about to draw on... Since it is said the natural mirrors the spiritual I think there is a lesson to be learned here...  We must, as 1 Peter instructs remain on our guard. Protect ourselves against the devourer but along with that we must be a good mother to our Kings cubs.  Satan knows he cannot beat the Lion from the Tribe of Judah but he will try to kill his cubs in hopes of becoming greater: the weaker is always trying to sneak in and kill the babies of the King.  But a point made in the Bible in King James: Satan prowls about "as" a roaring lion... "As" because he's a fake, he is not as powerful as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, he's not even a real lion! Satan can roar and stalk and it is scary, we should never take him on alone but just remember he can never win against the King and with our King we win!

As the church we are known as "the bride" of Christ, or "the Mother."  So let's not be like the lioness who lost and mourned over her cub... Let's not be without the King and make ourselves defenseless against the killer. Let's not turn our backs for even a moment to give any chance to our babies being killed in the battle against the King. Instead, we must stick together, support each other, stay vigilant both for our own sakes and for the lives of our babies in the church. Keep them safe from the devourer!  Just like the lion I watched that day Satan won't attack the strong corporate because he doesn't stand a chance and we need to make ourselves aware that - even within the church - there is strength in numbers - or the Bible would say unity or one accord - so, while our Kind is preparing our new home, stick together, keep safe and keep watch over His cubs!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Slipping into Addiction

I saw something the other day and hated it... Actually it was what I didn't see... It was a man I used to know, someone I held in high regard and loved very much, it was his shell at least. The man I knew faded away somehow, he had been buried underneath the reality of his circumstance and had lost who he was.  There are parts of his addiction I could understand at one point... I suppose the reasons why. The man's life had been difficult, he had a rough upbringing and I don't think had ever really felt loved in some ways and I'm not sure he really learned how to love.  I've seen his past rare it's ugly head even through his struggle to show love to me and others but as for a rough past being the reason for his addiction.. I don't think so. I mean I suppose the past could be a trigger but there are a lot of people out there with a rough past who have not chosen to become addicted.

Seeing the man I used to know got me thinking about another man I know who seems to be slipping into a similar addiction. It's a sad and scary thing to watch... No matter how hard I try to relate and help the only response I seem to get is something along the lines of "but it's not the same, it's worse for me because..." Each passing day the addiction seems to get worse... I try to be encouraging and make him see the light at the end of the tunnel but that light just seems so far away for him that I can't even work up a slight smile on his face.

The two men I've been talking about are not street people, they aren't unsuccessful financially at this point, they both have loving families and friends... In each case there is really only one major stresser; for one it is his past and for the other it is work.  So what is it that makes these men turn one stresser into addiction? I think it's the addiction itself and in order to understand that statement you need to know the addiction I'm talking about is an addiction to the stress and negativity itself.  For the first man, it's not that the past was so horrendous he couldn't get over it but that he refuses to change it... And I know you're thinking no one can change the past and while that's technically true, we can change what the past means to us and turn it into a lesson... Make the painful memories be our guide for us to ensure we are better people than the ones who have hurt us.  If we have felt unloved in the past make sure no one in our future ever could feel that way.  For the second man it's his current circumstance that has a hold on him... It's not that everything in his present is difficult it's that he is no longer separating the difficult parts from the good.  He's allowing the bad to bleed into and taint the good... Even when the sun shines through his situation he's waiting for tomorrow's  storm so much that he can't step out of the shadows. 

In both cases these men are becoming addicted to the negativity of life instead of directing their thoughts and hopes to a better day.  So why am I writing about these two today?  I think it would be easy for any one of us to slip into an addiction to negativity, we all have hard times and frustrations we can't seem to control that happen day after day... We all, at times, have the question is it ever going to change and get better? But we muse take control of our own thoughts and refuse to get to the point of becoming addicted to the negative.  We have to not allow negativity and problems to become the place in which we expect to live, we must pick ourselves up, put one foot in front of the other and look forward to a better future and move there!  But if you've already slipped into addiction to negativity the good news is you can turn it around the same way you can stop it before it starts... You may have to ween yourself off, you may make mistakes along the way, you may even fall off the wagon but you can start over at any point and you can beat this!

Whatever your current situation, whoever has hurt or is currently hurting you, take your power back! Stop dwelling on the pain, don't allow all your thoughts to be directed into negativity, don't allow the bad things in life to take away from the good.  I know the reality is some times life sucks but just take a break from that and think about something that is good. "Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies." Philippians 4:8 (MSG). Don't allow yourself to speak negativity into your own life "Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose." Proverbs 18:21 (MSG).

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Don't Have Time for This

Random start (as always): I actually got nervous when this page was opening for me to write... Tickle belly and everything... WEIRD. Anyway, on with it.

I noticed something when I was getting into bed one night this week. Something rough brushed up against my leg... NOT NORMAL! The office doesn't make for "hard working" hands and my puppy's fur is soft.  Before I realized what had rubbed my leg I actually got a little freaked out but when I moved my legs back up from under the blankets it happened again and I realized it was my heels! Eeew, I've NEVER had calloused anything and I really didn't like to feel the beginnings! The next day after cleaning up I thought I need to take care of my heels... But I don't have time.  Seriously? That's a total lie I just told myself, I have time I just don't want to do anything with it... Anything.

Honestly, I've been so lazy lately! I just want to crash every night after coming home from work. (As you can probably tell from my late post last week and tonight... Last night I had another thought...  Doing good, two thoughts in a week :oP  ha! How many times do I use lack of time as an excuse? How many relationships of mine have suffered because of the no time excuse? How many people have received my lack of time speech when they needed or wanted something from me? What else do I "not have time" for? (Okay, that's a lot of thoughts. Clearly I'm on my joking game tonight. *now rolling my eyes at myself*) Mostly I thought about one thing I've used that excuse for... I've told myself and God that excuse many, many times only to go on Facebook, Pinterest or watch TV for a couple of hours.  How lame is that?  And the sad thing, although God knew the difference I actually never even thought about it enough to clue into my lie.  Yes, lie. The truth is I have lots of time I'm just tired because of the business of life and I'm lazy... I don't want to do anything. 
Ironic I found this on Pinterest, I know.
I'm sure you can already see the problem with not having time for anything... But, just in case you're left wondering, let's look at it in a different way... If I were married and when my husband came home every night and asked what we were having for supper, if my response was continually "I don't have time to cook" while I sat on my derriere staring at a computer screen not only would I either be obese and unhealthy from never moving and eating ready made junk or emaciated from never eating but my husband may get the impression I didn't care about his hunger and may even stretch his thinking into believing I didn't appreciate his work and care for our household.

And there it is, the questions being posed to us all... Do we care about the hunger, both ours and the hunger of the world around us or are we too busy? Do we appreciate God's work care for us or do we even have time to think about it? The truth is our business and lack of time are excuses, even if we are busy there are non necessities we can and should be cutting out in order to make time for the important things.  So if you cut the excuses out you have to get honest, do you care about the hunger? Are you appreciative of God's work and care? The thing is, the Word of God is called the Bread of Life because it's the only thing that can feed spiritual hunger. Not only must we partake but we must carry it with us, in our hearts and minds, to give to the starving people that cross our paths on a daily basis.  And appreciation should never be bottled up inside, as you know, I'm a advocate of telling people how you feel and it should be no different when it comes to God! Spend some time with Him, tell Him you appreciate Him, better yet, show Him you appreciate Him with dedication and time.

I think maybe part of the problem is we've forgotten how to sacrifice. During the old testament times people couldn't even get close to God's presence without a sacrifice but through the blood of Christ the final sacrifice for sin has been made and we can freely enter into His presence. But are we missing something? There were many different kinds of sacrifices throughout the Bible, not only for sin. While I thank Jesus for the cross, I must not neglect sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15,) thankfulness (Psalm 50:14...) I must never abandon the evening sacrifice (Psalm 141:2,) I must not offer to God that which has cost me nothing. (2 Samuel 24:24)