It was a magical and comical moment this afternoon. After a few hours in 95 degree plus heat, I walked into the customer support office at the Tampa auction, and sat down in the chair of the rep who I turn my expenses for re-imbursement into. When she returned, she saw me sitting in her chair and said "Who is that sitting in my chair?"
Of course I immediately thought of my childhood reading of Jack and the Beanstock and said, "Fe Fi Fum it is just me". Well, the entire office broke into laughter as the heat obviously made me delirious as I forgot the FO, as in Fe Fi Fo Fum. The couldn't stop kidding me about forgetting the FO.
Which obviously made think later while driving how many times we forget the "FO" in life. The FO is that which completes the rhyme of life, that is in the case of a Christian, the things that keep us centered, like prayer, reading a daily meditation, spending time in the word, etc. etc. In the case of a recovering person, the FO is calling a sponsor, reading the Big Book or 12 and 12, going to meetings.
When we forget the FO, bad things begin to happen. David forgot the FO when he saw Bathsheba. Peter forgot his FO when he denied he knew Jesus. One should have been off to war but got complacent, the other forgot what he learned, and got scared. Forgetting the FO is easy, we just plain and simple forget to do what got us where we are supposed to be. Like our FOundation, our FOrtress of salvation, and our need to remember FOrgiveness.
It can cause a faith and/or drug and alcohol relapse.
When you think of it, we are creatures of habit, and when we get out of sync, we have usually gotten out of our routine of support for our faith and our recovery. Doesn't take much, just skipping important things here and there and next thing you know we are out of FOcus.
So I joked that my new slogan was today's new short/hi-tech version of that rhyme, but somehow it just doesn't sound as complete as Fe Fi FO Fum. Please, don't forget your FO today!
One of my favorite songs came from the Beatles back in the day, "Here Comes The Sun". After spending a mini vacation at the beach, there is no doubt that feeling the effects of the sun's penetrating rays and constant light have slowed me down and re-centered my thought process. We all need some sun.
And we need The Son as well.
"Little darling, it's alright," so the Beatles say. "My son be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." 2 Tim 2:1. In a world of much darkness and un-forgiveness, a light must shine to show the way. Someone has to reassure us that it is going to be alright. Someone has to show us that grace is more powerful than any other emotional feelings that are empowering our current moment.
Here Comes The Son to show us that regardless of what is happening, or what anyone else says, life will work itself out and in the end, and if we believe in The Son, our very best days of eternal joy are ahead of us.
While walking along the beach, I looked up at the sun and thought to myself, it's alright to be happy, to enjoy being blessed, and to remember that the Lord himself led us out of any darkness we have ever faced, and he has made us strong to face any situation that we may yet experience.
It's alright, God has our back. And he has placed us on this earth to be his sons and daughters to show the way to the Son that always shines. What's your forecast today?
Hope it is Son-ny and bright!
While occupying time in hotel rooms, I often channel surf on TV looking for something spiritual or informative. There are many things I like such as Storage Wars, Dual Survival, Animal Planet, The Tree House Builder, anything with a good preacher or solid discussion about faith, and occasionally I will look at the latest work out/lose weight program, just to view the angle they come from. Today is was "The 21 Day Fix".
Being a recovering person, this struck a chord in me, as I was always looking for a fix that was not normal. Now this 21 day method does make sense, however, and it is so simplistic that it may just work. Along with daily or as possible 30 minute workouts, you are given color coded and different size containers to place the proper amount of food (protein and carbs balanced), and are allowed to eat only what is contained within.
One man on the program, formerly 375 pounds was ecstatic, as he had dropped nearly 100 pounds and was full of enthusiasm and energy. Then there was the 71 year old woman who had been transformed by this program. I think you see where I am going with this.........
Jesus spent 40 days of fasting and praying to prepare for his earthly ministry. He was to me, someone who led by example, continually showing us how we ought to get "fixed". The Word that exists within the Bible is like those containers, containing daily doses of just the right amount of measure to keep us on solid ground, not gaining the weight of carrying around too many burdens, too much pride, or too much guilt and shame, among other things.
When we get out of whack with life, we look for the fix of some kind, The best way to find it is to prepare for when it happens, then we won't look to alternatives that will add the weight of sin to our hearts when life gets unbearable. Highly stressful situations usually drive us to the fridge, the crack house or the bar, unless we know what the right fix is.
You may be reading this thinking I don't need a fix. Well consider this....the car needs fixing, the house needs fixing, dinner needs fixing, Jesus had to fix a lot of people and situations while he was here. Are you or I any different?
I like the 21 Day Fix concept, but I like the way He fixed the way for us to lose the weight of sin better!
Late last night while traveling on Interstate 10 headed from Pensacola to Orlando, Dr. Tony Evans was on the radio with a powerful message. It was about how we treat each other in marriage but it can and will be adapted in this blog toward how we treat each other. In the message was this story:
Many years ago when a man sought a wife, he would make his intentions known by bringing with him his livestock to trade the woman's family for her. One day a wealthy cattle farmer bought 10 cows with him to trade for a wife and the man who had two daughters, one a very beautiful young lass, and the other a rather older haggard woman, just knew his younger, beautiful girl would be his choice. After all, that was a lot of cows.
To his surprise, the farmer chose the older, somewhat comely looking daughter. Several months later she came back home to visit and the father couldn't believe his eyes. This daughter who he thought to be haggard was absolutely beautiful and glowing, she was far better than he ever imagined. When he asked her what made the difference, she answered, "his love and devotion to me has been so amazing, I am so happy".
I am sure you get the point and how it applies to marriage, but let's take that one step further to how we treat each other. Think about this, have you made your children, your friends, your Christian brothers and sisters and even your parents feel like the 10 cow woman? Do you influence others to be better, to be encouraged when discouragement has set in? Is your enthusiasm contagious or contaminating?
Looks like this farmer may have read the scripture (paraphrased), "consider others greater than yourself" and put it into action with his wife. But let's make the greater point...God considers you a 10 cow man/woman, so do you feel like it and are you willing to let that feeling rub off on others?
Verse after verse in the Bible talks about how God loves us, but do we really let that love soak into our souls so deep that we are always glowing? Or are we like those Israelites who were always complaining? Do you think that attitude makes a difference in how we look and how we look to others?
Let's see, how many cows did God trade for us...
Just this past week I was given the opportunity to stay at a Resort on the beach at a reduced rate and partially funded deal by the auto auction I was attending. It was magnificent, to say the least, as I had a 7th floor room overlooking the ocean, and all the amenities that go with first class treatment. I could open the sliding doors and hear the tide rolling in, how awesome!
The other luxuries included a parking deck on the same level as my room, a spacious kitchenette and dining area, a screened in parking lot (no bugs allowed), and a motion sensor door coming from the parking lot that always makes toting your luggage easier. Two very large pools, three restaurants, a private beach and two different kinds of soap that was derived from vegetable sources. They virtually think of everything to make you feel cared for.
I decided to eat breakfast at the cafe and to my surprise, a small glass of orange juice was $4. What made me think of this is that a much lesser hotel I stayed at last night offered free OJ which I gladly took seconds this morning to somehow make up for the over priced one yesterday. I guess it evens out.
While drinking that free, and just as tasty OJ I thought about the old adage, "you get what you pay for". Then I remembered that the $4 OJ wasn't for that single glass, but for all the other benefits that go with being given first class treatment. And that my friends, reminded me of Jesus.
While staggering around in my lost drunken life prior to coming to him, I thought I could buy my way into happiness through every other means other than finding God. Things came easy for awhile as I could talk my way into and out of anything, that is, until the bill came due. Then I would avoid at any means paying it until life just got way way out of control. That's when I checked into the ultimate resort, the Kingdom.
You see, Jesus paid an exhorbatant price for us to be free, to be loved and to receive all the benefits of eternal happiness. On paper, it looks like he over paid for us. But when you get to know him, take advantage of his blessings, you see that he wants the very best for us, and every day he gives us another $4 glass of OJ in his abundance of grace.
You get what you pay for, and what we got from the Lord is way more than we deserve!
It happened a few weeks ago. During an auction I saw it sitting on the ground, footprints all over it. Dirty but readable, I picked it up. It was a car haulers card, but on the reverse was a scripture that I have been thinking about and repeating since that time:
"In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Just a discarded card, but a big message. Think about the circumstances of your life today and ask yourself, "Do I feel accepted or discarded?" Has society looked down upon you for one reason or another? Maybe you weren't good enough? Has your faith caused resentment by others in your life? Maybe, just maybe you are right where God wants you to be at this moment.
Just a little over a year ago I was wondering if I had passed the peak of my business career. Spiritually things were great, but money wise I was sinking fast. Today, several guys lamented the same situation, and it took me back to that time mentally. The thing was, I am positive by nature so I never gave up thinking somebody would see what benefit I could be to them. So to these guys today I told them how things had changed dramatically for me almost overnight, but that I never stopped believing it would.
Even so, and even with the amazing love of the Lord spurring us on, we can feel discarded when things are looking bad. The feeling may take awhile to go away, but if we do give thanks, even when things look bleak, when we have been rejected, guess who always has our back and knows exactly when to get things moving in a positive direction?
Look at scripture: The Jews lamented, God relented. Moses complained, God showed that he reigned. The apostles felt like there was not enough, the Lord showed his stuff. Paul was stuck in jail, the Lord paid his bail. The believers lost direction, Jesus gave them resurrection.
It's all over the Bible, God takes what is discarded, or looks like a lost cause and makes it relevant. You too my friend must believe that His purpose for you is not to wallow forever in the mud, but to rise above that, clean up and "shine like a star in the universe". One day, things will turn around, and it may take another person sparking you on, or a scripture that you read that gets you to believe. Or maybe constant prayer. But even today when things don't look so good, give thanks. God will deliver you from your lament.
Discarded card or great topic? God even had a plan for that dirty, stepped on and thrown away business card. What does he have in store for you, someone whom he loves so deeply?
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.