Friday, May 27, 2011

My God Is NOT Anonymous!

I REALLY like it when awesome things happen to people and they remember to thank God.  Too often we run screaming to God BEGGING for "HEEELLLLPPPPP!!!" when things go sour, but then forget to run screaming to him shouting "THHAAANNKKK  YOOOUUU!!!" when we've been blessed.

Fortunately, this week, there have been some great examples of people remembering the Lord...

1. Scotty McCreery won this year's American Idol.  One of the FIRST things he said, to the ENTIRE cheering audience was "I've got to thank the Lord first; he got me here!"  In fact, every week over the course of the competition, Scotty has taken the time to give thanks for his successes.  How fantastic is that?   This blog article written by a person from his hometown area further explains how God has blessed Scotty AND how he has openly offered this thanks to Him.  It is so refreshing to see someone in the public light, with thousands of fans (many of them tween kids) seeing a role model who is opening faithful to God.  Rock on, Scotty!!

2.  Tornadoes have been ripping through areas of the US this week.  One even touched town briefly in Liberty Township, OH which is just a few miles from our house!  Despite "only" being an F1 tornado (the 2nd weakest), the short 100 yards it hit were devastated.  Take THIS house:

YIKES!!  Hannah Hawkins (17) and her Mom were asleep UPSTAIRS when the tornado ripped the roof and walls off of the second floor in the middle of the night.  As the father ran up from the basement (after hearing his daughter screaming), he could stare right up into the night sky.  The ROOF WAS GONE!  

There is a wonderful article in today's Cincinnati Enquirer chronicling this scary event.  The Hawkins' across-the-street-neighbor, Kelvin Scott, found one of his cars completely flipped over.

  This is what he said about the tornado:
“God preserved everybody in this neighborhood. This is all just material stuff. Cars, homes can all be replaced. But human life cannot. So God gets all the praise. He was looking out for everybody in this neighborhood last night.”

God gets all the praise.
This should be our mantra - in every awesome moment, in every quiet success, in every GOOD thing in our lives, to give thanks AND to tell others of the blessings we've received.
I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart;
   I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 9:1 (NIV)

God does NOT want to be anonymous.  He wants you to share how He has blessed and changed your life.  Whether you blog, or Facebook, or witness, or just talk amongst your friends, be sure to weave in a comment or two that shows others that your God is not anonymous, and that you are thankful for His blessings everyday!

:) Mags
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Monday, May 16, 2011

I Found God in Fake Rabbits...

One of our pastors told us this story on Sunday:
A pastor went to visit a home.  At the house, lived a retired greyhound racing dog.  As the pastor waited to talk to the family, he decided to talk to the dog.  "Why are you retired?" he asked.  "You look to be pretty healthy." 

The dog looked at him and said, "I am healthy.  But I quit."  
"Were you not any good?" asked the Pastor.
"I was very good.  I won the races many times," replied the dog.
"Were you treated poorly?"
The dog considered this.  "Conditions for a greyhound are not the best," he admitted. "But that's not why I quit."
"Then why?" asked the Pastor.
"Because," answered the dog.  "The 'rabbit' I was chasing wasn't even real."

Think of all of those greyhounds... chasing that fake rabbit.  Around and around they go thinking that they will be successful... thinking that they will snag that bunny.  Yet every time, the race suddenly ends, the rabbit disappears, and the dogs shake their heads in confusion.

"It was right there!" 
"I almost had it!"
"Just another second...!"
"Why are we stopping??!"

How many times do we chase fake rabbits?
How many times do we work, and work, and work for something only to see that it wasn't nearly as good as we thought it'd be?   A new car... a promotion... expensive clothes...?  How many of us remember the days in high school or college where we were encouraged to make "Goal Lists?"  Where will you be in 5 years?  In 10 years?  How often did these lists include things like I will be the boss of my company....  I will make a 6-figure salary...  I will have a big house and nice car....

I once had a neighbor who moved away because she wanted an "executive house" -- a house that reflected the stature of her husband's very "important" job.  Nevermind that her current house had 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a screened-in back porch, and really cool neighbors*. (*wink)  Ignore the fact that her only child had already left for college and it was just her and her husband.  The need for something MORE overshadowed being grateful for what she already had.  And how long would it be before the new "executive house" was suddenly not flashy enough...?

Mark 10:17-21 talks about the rich man who wants the "secret" to getting into Heaven...

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
   18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
 20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

If God came to you today, and told you he could give you a ticket to Heaven right now IF you would give up everyTHING to follow Him, would you do it?

I think for most of us, including me... that would be very hard.  My mind would be racing... trying to weigh the pros and cons of a "sure thing ticket" vs. keeping my stuff and finding another way...

Fortunately God isn't exactly say that... but He is telling us that STUFF can get in the way of our relationship with God.  It could be physical STUFF like overspending on your house, cars, vacations, etc.  It could be the poor choices you make with your time, talents, and money.  It could be the secrets you keep:  adultery, cheating, porn, addictions.  While all of this STUFF might make us feel safe or in control, it becomes a substitute for trusting God.  As our pastor reminded us:

Until you LET GO of what possesses you, you will never be FREE to follow Jesus.

My husband and I are big fans of reality TV - and the Hoarders show is especially disturbing.  These people are plagued with an addiction that forces them to collect STUFF:  be it food, supplies, or animals.  They are tormented with the feeling that there is never enough... and it leads them to unspeakable living conditions.

While we may not stockpile 300 cans of green beans (unless you're one of those Extreme Couponers and it was a really good deal...), we still have our own Hoarding issues.  We hoard our THINGS:  our TV's, our cars, our electronics, our hobbies, our money.  And while God doesn't need us to dump everything, He does want us to put our stuff into perspective.  

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle 
than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.
Mark 10:25

He who dies with the most toys... still dies... and leaves one heck-of-a garage sale.

NONE of our THINGS will get us into Heaven.

So be generous.  Use what you need.  Share your blessing with others.

And, stop chasing the fake rabbits.
:) Mags

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