Wednesday, August 12, 2015
I've been surrounded by sadness lately--there has been an accumulation of losses this past year. And it's so easy to get consumed by the sadness and just give yourself to it. Sometimes I don't even realize I'm grieving until tears are just leaking out of my eyes and I don't even know why. (A good sign that I'm not very in tune with my emotions.) Or it can play out by just feeling exhausted all the time. This time, it's like I can't even focus. I'm trying to plan an event and I can't even remember the times or what I need to do next. And when I get alone, tears leak out again. Have you ever been there? I know some people who struggle with even deeper depression or sadness. For them, it's a constant battle...I can't even imagine how that feels.
What do you do when you're in that hard place? Praise. That's not something we normally think of doing when we're sad, depressed, or grieving. God knew we'd be in those low places, so He gave us the antidote...
"Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of the lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name." (Hebrews 13:5)
It won't be easy. It's turning your mind from fixating on all your problems or losses to looking to God Almighty. That's why it's called a sacrifice. It's laying your "flesh" on the altar before God as a willing sacrifice. It's opening your mouth wide as a grateful offering. It's lifting your voice with words of praise and thanksgiving--all to glorify God.
Things may not change immediately. But keep doing it--offer that sacrifice of praise. It will bring a depth to your relationship with God you may have never experienced. It's easy to praise God in the good times. It becomes a sacrifice in the hard times. But it's the axis which can change everything.
Saturday, August 8, 2015
Col. Curtis H. Downs III
We should all tell our stories. We may think no one wants to hear them or that they're insignificant. But we all have a story to tell--and one which will encourage or teach someone else.
I had the privilege of interviewing all four of my grandparents and writing down some of their stories. I only wish I'd gotten away from the questions I'd pre-written and dug a little deeper or asked for more details. But that one experience taught me how to ask questions to discover the stories of others.
One of the biggest regrets of my life will be that I didn't get to record and write Curtis Downs' story. One night, through some probing, he began telling some war stories of his time in Vietnam. Curtis was a Colonel in the Army and was a helicopter pilot.
He was a true humanitarian, patriot, soldier, hero, and friend. I was fascinated with his stories. They were stuff movies are made of! The first time I heard some of them, I told him, "Curtis, you need to write a book!" And he said he'd heard that more than once. Occasionally, I would reiterate my sentiments. And then one day, I offered to interview him and write his story. He promised to think about it. I guess the more he thought about it, the more he talked about it at home with his wife, Dondra. And she makes things happen! She ordered a dictophone so he could begin recording his thoughts. And the next time he saw me, he told me he thought he was going to let me write his story. And then he said, "Some of it won't be very pretty." I told him I was up for the challenge. And then...Curtis went to be with the Lord this week. I'm so sad we didn't get his story recorded from his own words.
YOUR story is important! Begin telling your children and grandchildren your story. Write it down--even if you don't think it's significant or special. Write it down--even if you think you don't write well. Write it down--even if you made big mistakes. Write it down--even if it's not near completion. We have a legacy for those coming behind us and they need to know how we've lived. They need to hear how God saved us and helped us.
God wrote His story for us to learn from. We should write ours for the same reason.
Monday, August 3, 2015
Manipulation. I hate it, don't you? And it's getting worse and worse. You can't even log on to Facebook without being manipulated! And it may be that FB is one of the worst culprits.
For instance....the news flash that our President is angry! Just what did Trump say???
Or the new info that everything you are eating is going to kill you. What is that ingredient??
Your former first lady is spending money for an expensive haircut instead of feeding the poor! (Actually, I might have pitched in. I've wanted her to have a new hairstyle for quite some time. Did I really just say that?) And what a horrible picture. Who cut her hair for $600? And more importantly...why didn't they show a photo of the new haircut??
The antichrist has been revealed??
There may even be truth in some of these articles. And I may have even clicked on a few of these. But I get mad at myself for giving in to the manipulation--especially when it's a dumb article!
Manipulation is a form of control. And when you try to control the mind of another, it's called witchcraft. Remember that when you're using manipulation as a tactic. And especially be aware when someone is trying to manipulate you. I'm afraid we'll be seeing more and more of this especially in a political year. It actually frightens me how much manipulation is used today--because I know the real motive is to try to get people to stop thinking for themselves.