Did Jesus have a Facebook Page?

Christianity 0ut of the Box


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Listen: The Grass is Greener where?


 

Our sight is often short.

Many times what we see in front of us is the grass that appears to be a plush green. What’s on the other side is the greener hill we have ignored out of our own choosing. Why?

Because we would have to change. Admit we were wrong. Humble ourselves. Knock down our own pedestals. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to eat my own words.

Smokescreens pop up everywhere; a fog like mask specifically designed to hide something.

The key is to know how to determine the difference between the smokescreens and the truth.

“You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

Aldous Huxley said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.” He may have a point here; at least in some cases.

Jesus made the Pharisees mad over and over.

Jesus made the retailers mad for turning over their tables.

Jesus made his own people, the Jews mad because he claimed to be God.

Why is this so?

The truth isn’t what people want to hear. And they don’t want to hear it especially from people who are prophetic, or know God differently they than do.

A prime example of this is King David and the Prophet Nathan.

In II Samuel 12, God sent the Prophet Nathan to David. The story goes that the two argued quite loudly. David didn’t like what Nathan was saying and Nathan let him know in no uncertain terms he had deeply sinned against God. As a result of David’s sin of adultery and murder his household was wounded, scarred and a heartbreaking mess. Does anyone hear this? Can anyone relate?

You may ask, “Who is this guy Nathan and what could he possibly know?”

Well, he knew God. He was appointed by God as a Prophet to one of the most valuable characters of the Bible; one who would carry the bloodline of the Messiah.

David was young and stupid. Stubborn. Willful. Arrogant. These negative, obstinate characteristics blinded him from God’s truth and what he knew was God’s will. Why?

Because he wanted what wasn’t his.

He lied to cover up the original lie so he could keep what wasn’t his.

He allowed his Kingly appointment to believe he could get away with whatever he wanted.

WRONG!

No position will ever allow any of us to get whatever we think we want. What “appears” to be a season of achieving our greedy desires is only a smokescreen for the truth and will eventually end. That ending usually follows with unbearable consequences.

God is always speaking to us; through His word, nature, people and most importantly the Holy Spirit. God speaks in more ways than are countable because He is a creative God.

Maybe if we started listening we would know when, what and how He is speaking.

Ask God to speak to you. Read the Bible. Pray. Open your heart and ears to His voice and allow Him to share Himself with you.

The air will clear.

The mask will begin to peel off your face.

The fog will lift.

And then…… just Listen.

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A True Story: The Heart of a Cat


It was early dawn. My husband who gets up before anyone else on earth, arrived in the den only to hear our 12 year old feral feline wailing and acting strange.  Opening the back door there she stood in front of him holding a 2 inch field mouse in her mouth as if to show him her gift of love.

Little did she know opening her mouth very wide to wail one more time the mouse fell out. He shut the door in an effort to keep the rodent from running inside. Maxi took off chasing him as if to say, “You are mine.”

Mark knew he had to stop this chase. Grabbing the cat after cornering this very frightened creature he brought her inside only to have her sit by the door and whine.

He hadn’t even had a cup of coffee yet.Mark and Maxi 2

Leaving her to her misery of the lost gift he made his early morning joe.

By the time I moved much later he told me of this great adventure.

The cat began wailing at me as if I would let her out. Somehow her instincts knew her prey was still around.

He and I went outside only to find the ailing rat in a hole on the right side of the back door. She runs out and begins to attack. The mouse escapes, running around the table, grill and into a side corner. Grabbing the cat once again we put her inside. She was not happy with her grandparents. Her efforts to once again show her appreciation for saving her life years ago was in the least futile in her eyes.  

By now I needed coffee.

We sat in the den watching tv and resting for a while. Too much excitement at 7am.

30 minutes later I went outside. Not only was the mouse still there, he was crouched behind my Swedish Ivy plant up against the brick on the left side of the door.

Mark attempted to catch him only to have the scared mouse run and fall right into the pool! Swimming for his life Mark finally caught him with the pool net. Giving him his freedom, Maxi ran outside to continue to search. 

She sniffed all around still believing she could locate her hard earned present. Her facial expression said it all.

“Why would you do this to me? I wanted to give it to you to show you my love?”

Isn’t that kind of like God?

Not that he wants to bless us with rodents but the abundance of his own love. Love that captures hearts like no other. Love that is supernatural and healer of all ills. Love that surrounds his people so overwhelming that once it hits you are never the same.

Maybe God feels like our cat sometimes. She gave us love only for us to throw it away. She exerted energy she rarely has these days to announce her gratitude only for us to deny it. She spent hours tracking for a gift we simply refused.

We can learn from our friendly felines the word, “devotion.” They seem to know what it means more than people.

God can take the size of a field mouse kind of love and make it grow.

So go catch a field mouse today and give it to God. It’s a start, and he will accept it with open arms.

Romans 8:38 “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”


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The Accident of Heredity


 

“It’s the saddest thing to see people in the service of God depending on that which the Grace of God never gave them; but depending on what they have by the accident of heredity.”

His Utmost for His Highest 12/30

Reading these words yesterday summarized a teaching God has been giving me for quite some time.

Personal experience and years of getting to know God tell me these genetics can only be changed by long………conversations with the Almighty.

Most often our goals do not meet His purposes due to ignoring His word and guidance. The results are the world we live in; lost nomads in their own seas of deserts.

The Bible is full of “wanderers” who paved examples for us; only it helps to read their stories to learn the outcomes.

Not reading God’s word is a self-fault wilderness; a deserter’s reward for the loss of the Creators design.

With every one of His Biblical characters over time and agony, God chipped away at their natural features. What we are born with must be renewed to follow Christ. That “born again” clause comes into play if you choose to become His servant.c s lewis

So it doesn’t matter what you inherit because the Grace of God will form in our nature only Jesus Christ.

If we truly think about it, God is saving us from ourselves; those negative lapses into earthly derision. He strips us of bitterness, anger and resentment by allowing us to become another “Job.”

God stamps us with His presence which is an automatic rejection and order for worldly persecution. He allows our indignation and egotistical “selfies” to knock us off our golden trimmed pedestals. We end up by our inherited personality caged or imprisoned which adds to the humility of falling flat on our “airbrushed” faces. So much for that trip to the salon.

We are our ancestor’s descendants complete with their good and bad traits. As we love them through our lives, it was never intended by God that we keep their hand-me-downs.

Just because something is what it is doesn’t mean it needs to stay that way.

 Psalm 87:7 As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in you.”

 

 


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Maxicat Adventures


 

A change of pace here and atmosphere.

Our live- in cat is by far a personality of her own. She remains very healthy and carries some feral instincts I doubt she will ever lose.  

She can be grumpy and irritable but also loving and caring on her own terms. In other words don’t bother her if she doesn’t want to be bothered. Never mind she has no problem waking us up in the middle of the night to go out the front door for her nocturnal escapades.

Mark went outside a few weeks ago just after dark to go swimming. He felt someone or something was looking at him. Turning around there she was perched on the roof of the house as if to be smiling and saying, “Hey dad, I’m on the roof and there is nothing you can do about it.”

One afternoon the teenage boy of the guy who cuts our grass watched Maxi in amazement saunter up to our 6 foot fence and take a graceful leap to the top in one move.  Resting a moment, she observed the surroundings from her elevated position as if to enjoy the view.  Hopping down to the ground landing completely poised on all 4’s she was off for an afternoon stroll in the woods. Not bad for an 11 year old feline.

But make no efforts to take this cat to the Vet for anything.

About a month ago I noticed her mouth was swollen. An infected tooth was the first battle.

As usual you could hear her wailing and whining all over the clinic. It was embarrassing. Thinking that horror was all she would have to deal with we had to administer 10 days of antibiotics. None too happy she wised up and hid under the dining room table, ran upstairs and hid behind the couch or landed in a deep dark closet where hiding out would supposedly rid her of this nasty tasting stuff we forced down her throat. What she didn’t know was her teeth had to be cleaned. Oh how I dreaded this.

The morning she was to go no food and water kept her in screaming mode. Following me around the house like a child wanting a new toy the look on her face was “why aren’t you feeding me? Where is my water you stupid cat person?”

I must admit it was wrenching my soul that I knew what she didn’t. The cat carrier awaited for another journey to what she thinks of as a feline “hell.”

I could see what she was thinking as we pushed her into the carrier, “How could my people do this to me over and over when they know I hate it!”

The house was eerily quiet all day with her gone. Her loud mouth had vanished.  Her yelling for wet cat food was absent. Her notorious presence was noticeably missed.

A mad, doped up cat.

A mad, doped up cat.

Later, the call came from the doctor telling me how well she did. Mark brought her home that afternoon only to watch her drunkenly try to maneuver walking anywhere. The anesthesia was still very much in her system causing her to walk sideways until she fell over.

We thought it was funny but she saw no laughter in her plight.

Over the next week administering more meds she was more difficult than before. Even now she is distrusting of us thinking we will shock her into returning to the cat abyss.

I can’t help but think how God must feel when we don’t trust him.

As we hide under the dining room table or lock ourselves in a dark closet from him are we grieving his heart? Do we run the other way when he wants to administer his medicine knowing it is what is best for us?

When he tries to explain himself do we react like a cat who has no idea what is being spoken?

I know how it made me feel trying to explain to Maxi why she needed antibiotics and a Vet visit to restore her “pearly whites.”

Helpless, as if I couldn’t get my point across. Knowing in the long run we would save her from a possible pre-mature death didn’t filter her little brain.

She was no different than us. We want the end result but forget the in-between misery of knowing what we are going through is God’s bigger picture.

Are you running from God?

 jonah


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Me, Me and Me


 Photos by John Randy Harrison http://www.pbase.com/jrandyh

29508107.yelrose01Year after year the birds sing.

Flowers bloom in the spring.

The sun rises and sets every day.

While life goes on no matter the trial or test, certain acts never change or stop.

What do these actions have in common?

Time. Beauty. Expectation.

31257435.cardinal01copyIf we woke up one morning and the news flashed “the sun didn’t rise this morning” most likely panic would erupt. That is if you could see.

When God sent the flood and basically cleaned up, Noah and his family were left to carry on. God sent a sign in the sky he would never again flood the earth. The rainbow was given just as flowers and birds to remind us of God’s presence. It is also a strong clue of God’s promise; and that he is still very much alive and in the business of running things.

The question arises often of how do you really get to know God?

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First, look out of your window.

Second, listen to the birds singing.

Third, read his word, pray and enjoy some alone time with him.

As God has cleverly kept the sun rising and setting, rainbows showing up after storms these everyday occurrences are part of his Divine plan.  Like his nature appointments, he goes before us to meet us where we are.

The Creator of the Universe with all he has to do, awaits our call, our signal or effort to speak to him.  Whether he is stifling battles of politicians, coordinating that which is the impossible or working behind the scenes of turmoil he is like the friend you long to have.

The Holy Spirit sections off his people so that no matter how much time has passed, re-connecting picks up right where we left off.  God is like that with us.

Rattling off our needs, pains, and sufferings we are so self-absorbed we forget he has taken the time to listen. We forget to thank him for what he has done and will do.

We assume his phone line is always open waiting just for me, me and me.

We can talk to him anytime, night or day and he is always lending his ear.

He talks to us every day but our phone lines are so busy the call can’t get through our hard heads.

Maybe we should learn to meet him where he is. Who knows how exciting that could be?

 20105289.lilie20031


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Cabin Fever or Jail?


I had to get out of the house yesterday.

After years of “cabin fever” living in the mountains I had forgotten what it was like to be stuck inside.  Having the option to go outside is one thing; knowing you could slide your way to the mailbox is another.

The first mistake I made was going down the wrong road. Or roads.1521636_624288524283514_993360826_n

Avoiding tree trimmers or debris workers was trial and error.  Scattered limbs, trunks split in half and blocked streets from inches of ice lined the landscape of this southern city.

Dealing with summer super storms or heat waves of 105 degrees for weeks on end appear to be a piece of cake compared to this past week of a major arctic blast.

The second mistake I made was going anywhere at all.

The traffic was atrocious. Cars and trucks came out of the woods to claim their piece of the aftermath pie.  Vehicles backed up for miles in some places due to downed power lines and trees created some very unhappy travelers.

The third mistake I made was…….yes….going to Walmart. Why, oh why did I go to Walmart?

The parking lot was full. Empty grocery carts found their own spaces. Shoppers who didn’t look like shoppers seemed to show up on the busiest day of the year. And it wasn’t Black Friday.

Inside the store were empty shelves and aisles full of boxes of items waiting to be unloaded. Certain departments looked like a wind storm had blown through leaving a path of SC Gamecock destruction.

Grabbing what I came for quickly I headed for the check out. I stood in line almost 20 minutes.

The clerk looked at me and said, “You would think people got let out of jail. They act like they been locked up in a cage or somethin’ and as soon as they were set free they headed to Walmart.”

There are many types of cages or jails we set up for ourselves. A few days of ice covered roads forced residents to stay home against their will. The fear of being stuck or their independence taken away for even a short time produces anxiety, stress and impatience. Go live in the mountains of WNC for a few years and you will find out quickly staying off ice or snow covered roads just might save your life.

The prisons we create or the ones we are thrown into without a fair trial leave scars that heavily affect our thinking and position in this life. Instead of believing we have an escape route given to us, we rummage around in our cells of panic, dread, apprehension and sometimes physical damage.

Jesus is the guard with the key to freedom from any type of incarceration, confinement or slammer. That key is his heart. Getting to know the person of the resurrected Christ changes our thought processes.  That means spending time in his word, praying over his words and having conversation with him may not change the circumstances, but enlightens our hearts to his responses of our circumstances.

This is not to say he won’t change our circumstances because he is in the business of miracles, signs and wonders but he also paves roads directing us down his path.jail

And for the sake of humor let’s just say Jesus offers up a Get out of Jail pass for free!
(He might let you pass go and collect $200.00 too)

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