Thursday, November 18, 2010

French Fry Fraud

          Coney Island hotdogs are my diet of choice. On a long overdue visit back home I was delighted to find my downtown eatery still intact. It was like walking back into a movie set of my childhood. Same stools. Same booths with Formica tops. I patiently stood in line behind a hippytype. He smiled through a missing tooth and tossed his long gray pony tail around proudly.
Customers at the bar stools observed up close all the smells and creations being mass produced.  Extra onions. Ketchup only.  A dozen to go. The pungent greasy odor from the deep fryer combined with the sauce and onions. People from all walks of life were equal here.
A man in a fancy suit left his booth and I grabbed it quickly. It was like finding an opening at a four star restaurant. Pulling napkins out of the holders I wiped the table clean and stacked the dishes. I smiled at the table like an old friend. Memories were flying. Most Saturdays my sister and I rode the trolley downtown to see a movie and eat Coneys and fries. If we had gum in our mouths it usually ended up stuck under the table.

Instinctively I put my hand under the table and immediately pulled it back. Mine might still be there.  I took a hand wipe from my purse and reminded myself I was eating on the top not the bottom of the table

Lost in my childhood visions I ordered a Coney, fries and a coke in a bottle. When the young waitress dropped my food in front of me and scurried away I was jolted out of my fun thoughts and into the now. What was this? What had they done to my perfect reenactment of my past? I had been betrayed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Grandma's One Room School

Grandma would tell us stories of her childhood like it happened last week.
"I learned the three R's."Reading 'riting and 'rithmetic taught to the tune of a hickory stick."
She loved to tell us about her days spent in a one-room school with twelve grades.  We knew the kid who pushed her off the swings, and the kid who washed her skinned knees. How similar to life.

As Christians in the school of life we learn the three G's. They come continuously one right after the other. As predictable as the sun rising and setting we see the three G's of Grief, Grace,and Glory cycle thru our lives.

Grief leads the team and often comes without warning. The Doctor gives a prediction. Relationships are estranged. Guilt and regret knock on our door. Someone gets pushed off a swing and we pick them up, or sometimes we get pushed off and Jesus picks us up. As long as we are on one planet filled with good and bad children we will have trouble.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Plant Your Sorrow

Recently my thoughts returned to a lesson on sorrow that the Lord taught me.
"Plant your sorrow." This was what the Lord said to me about six months after my husband's death. I was indignant.

"Lord, I know if you plant corn you get corn. I don't need any more sorrow. Thank you."

Very graciously he explained, "No, this is different. If you'll plant your sorrow I will give you an anointing to heal the broken hearted. You plant a natural seed and it is raised a spiritual seed." Later I realized he was refering to the end of I Corinthians 15.

Not knowing how, but knowing who I agreed.

A few years later the Lord again showed me that sorrow needed to be planted. I was travailing for a friend's unborn baby that the doctors said could not live. I asked him to help me to understand. He showed me a beautiful tree with a growth on the one side.

"What is that?"

Answer: "A planting of the Lord."

I knew somewhere in the Bible I had read that phrase so I searched for it.

In Isaiah 61 we see Jesus's statement from Luke 4 about why he came.
" comfort all that mourn..
to give them beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they might be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord,
that he might be glorified.

I began to realized that he took our sins and our sorrows when he endured the cross. When we plant our sorrow we are agreeing that he borne our grief and sorrow. (Isaiah 53) We don't have to fake it or do anything. This allows him to raise it (change it) into a spiritual seed.

My friend's baby died a few minutes after birth. A newborn baby miraculously came to them within weeks, and they have raised him for the Lord. When I look at him I think of the growth on the side of the tree I saw. I consider him a handsome planting of the Lord raised from a tree of great sorrow.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Prayers Mixed with Perfume

Do you wonder what happens to your prayers?  I do. Where do our prayers go when we pray. To God? To an altar in heaven?

The Bible writes that they have an eternal essense about them. They do not dissipate like the vapour from an aerosol can. They are more like radio waves that remain. Revelations 5:8 says that "the prayers of the saints" are stored in golden vials (bowls) and presented at the throne room of God before the Lamb.

But first our prayers are mixed with incense (perfume) and then they ascend like smoke before God.(Rev.8:3-3). Perfumed prayers. Now that's a thought.

The Old Testament was familiar with this picture. The psalmist wrote in 141:2 "Let my prayer be set before you as incense." All of Exodus 30 deals with building an altar of incense and the composition of the perfume for the atonement prayer.

Expensive perfume lasts a long time. It's a new thought to realize that true prayer mixed with incense will last longer than our mortal bodies.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

God's Love language

Much is said about people’s different love languages. People don’t understand others because they define love differently.  Five things = love.

Words of Affirmation: This person can be shattered, or feel cherished by the words they hear from someone close to them. “Thank you, you did a good job” means love to them.

Quality time: This person feels love when someone plans time with them, and then keeps this special time sacred. Making an appointment with them gives them anticipation of love. It also gives them something to remember.

Receiving gifts: This person is not thinking about the gift. You put them first! They cherish your effort and thoughtfulness. Not remembering a significant date tells them you don’t love them.

Acts of service: “Let me help you” means I love you to this person. A husband resented his wife asking for help in the kitchen until he realized this truth about his wife. Kitchen time is repairing their relationship.

Physical touch: If the one you love is distant maybe they need a hug. Try a pat on the shoulder, or hold their hand. To this person it shows that you care.

In the midst of thinking about my friend's love languages I wondered how God defined love. Immediately, I knew. John, the disciple said it in II John 1:6 …”this is love, that we walk in his commandments.”

God’s love language was obedience! When we obey him he defines that as love.
"Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” John 14:21. Wow!

Father, forgive me for offered you service instead of obedience. Forgive me for not loving you or others. You said these two are the foundations for all your commandments.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chain Reaction

Good choice. Bad choice. Obedience. Disobedience. They always cause a chain reaction.

My son Ron remembers vividly a childhood disobedience that caused a chain reaction. His Dad told him not to play in the separate garage, but he was in second grade and full of energy and action. The garage was storage for valuable things including wooden storm windows taken off for the summer.

A fort in the garage's attic seemed like a great idea. He climbed on top the storm windows stacked against the wall and kicked off to climb up. He went up. The windows went down. One by one they crashed through a metal bucket as he watched horrified. What a long day until Dad came home. Bad choice

Recently as an adult Ron shared another chain reaction. He was installing carpet and went back to a store to quickly pick up something they forgot to send. The only clerk was waiting on an older lady, and Ron walked the floor impatiently.

He said a quick prayer, and felt he was to chill and sit down. Three people he knew came by in sequence and talked to him. The first two people he encouraged and pray with them there in the store. One of them said he wasn't sure why he came into the store. The third person he gave advice on what to buy and saved them $600. Good Choice.

As a bonus he found out that the clerk was helping a widow make decisions after a home disaster.

Decisions are not isolated. They are part of a chain reaction.

Lord, in our busy lives, help us to be obedient to your still small voice. Psalms 37:23.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Internet and Change

The internet came into my world unannounced  and uninvited. It was like a piano being dropped into my living room. It demanded that I cut off old friends and welcome in its friends.

My generation had been brainwashed by literature and life. Long flowing detailed setting were part of the stories we read. Thoroughness, excellence, verbose explanations were encouraged. Writers still thought the line, "It was the best of times it was the worst of times." was pure poetic beauty. Today they would ask you to make up your mind and text it to me.

We remembered the story about the tortoise and the hare. The tortoise won the race because of his slow perseverence. Then we read the revised version of the story on the internet. We found out the hare actually had finished the race, run two other races and was home enjoying the prize money. At this point some of us elders decided that speed might at least be equal with perseverence. The part about money convinced me.Writers like to be published and money paid to you is the seal of worthiness.

The attention span of the world had changed, and the internet was just a vivid illustration of that point. No one had time or desire for anything time consuming. So I said goodbye to old friends and welcomed new. The semicolon was shunned, and the m and n dashes became my new friends. Many adverbs and adjectives were left in isolation to ask each other, "How,When, Where, or Which, What kind of, and How many. I learned that the humble newspaper pyramid was to be my friend. My writing style altered according to the market.

Books that were written without complete sentences, and in an unorthodox way I stopped judging and started taste testing.

Publishers also became my friends.  Publisher answered in three days when stories were sent  by email and it took weeks by snail mail. This resulted in less rejection slips. Publishers with time crunches used  the internet for material to fill their needs.

Facebook gave me friends with similar interests. Interesting friends.

The internet itself is still not my personal friend. But I am winning it over. I am taking a class to learn about it so I don't offend it when I don't understand its language or actions. And I don't laugh at it when it is s-l-o-w. But I do love the irony of it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thought for Today

       More and more I realize that we're to live in the now. To live in the past is a distraction. To live in the future is a distraction. Today is the day of salvation.
       No matter how many times I have imaginary conversations with people from my past it will not change what really happened. Cuddling up with my favorite times in life keeps me from seeing that this is the day that the Lord has made.  He calls everything he makes good. Today is good.
       "Give us this day our daily bread." We're admonished to "take no thought for tomorrow because sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." When we get to the grief or glory of tomorrow his grace will be there right on time. Wait until tomorrow becomes today lest you get ahead of God. He is not the Great I Was, or the Great Will be. He is the I Am.
       In light of this revelation, I choose to call my blog."Thought for Today."