Welcome to my blog, may you find hope, inspiration, peace and perhaps a chuckle or two!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Exploding Ants, Toxic Body Fluids, and a Clean Heart

Did you know that there is a frog that breaks its own legs and grows claws when threatened and a fish that engulfs its enemy in a thick casing of slime, as well as an ant that explodes?

Malaysian ants internally combust under threat, causing their bodies to explode. They wait until their enemies are close enough to die before detonating. A sea cucumber can literally take on different body states – from hard to liquid – in order to defend itself because of a type of collagen that enables the skin to absorb or excrete water which effectively enables its body to change from a liquid to a solid.

The bombardier beetle sprays boiling hot and chemically toxic bodily fluids in the direction of any would-be predator. Opossums playing dead actually slip into a semi-comatose state, thus removing any excitement of the kill for a predator.

Amazing, the different ways God equipped his creations to defend themselves. What about humans? How do we defend ourselves aside from weapons of course? Did God create us with defense mechanisms? Sure we have teeth and nails but those were created for other purposes like eating and scratching.

According to Sigmund Freud, defense mechanisms are thought to safeguard the mind against feelings and thoughts that are too difficult for the conscious mind to cope with. In some instances, defense mechanisms are thought to keep inappropriate or unwanted thoughts and impulses from entering the conscious mind.

Emotional defense mechanisms like denial, withdraw, and avoidance are exhibited frequently in the lives of people around us. But what does the Bible say about our defense mechanisms or our conscious mind?

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!” Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)
“My defense is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.” Psalms 7:10 (KJV)

It would appear that the state of our heart and thoughts are somewhat connected to God's protection. Speaking of protection, what does the Bible say about it?

 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
Psalm 46:1 (NIV)
“God, my strength, I am looking to you, because God is my defender. My God loves me,and he goes in front of me. He will help me defeat my enemies.” Psalm 59:9-10 (NIV)

So perhaps the reason we aren’t equipped with claws, musk sacks, or poison glands is because God created us to Trust HIM to be our defender and our protector*.

Many creatures display their defense mechanisms when threatened, before any physical contact is even made. Aren’t we kind of like that to? We withdraw, avoid or slip into denial the instance we are threatened emotionally.

If we believe the Bible is true and the word and heart of our Creator, then it would seem turning the offender over to Him would be the easiest way to achieve protection. Turning our thoughts over to the One who goes in front of us and keeping both He and His Commandments in our hearts can only give us more leverage in the battle.

Point to Ponder: Is there a battle you keep fighting over and over? Do you feel like you are losing? What about trying to ‘allow’ your Creator to defend you? What steps can you take now to shift the balance of the battle onto God our Protector?

* (disclaimer: I am in no way saying forms of physical or emotional abuse should be endured silently. If you or someone you know is in physical or emotional danger, tell a pastor or counselor immediately.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Who Hijacked my Jesus? Or Nature vs. Nurture

The other day I watched an amazing video of one of God’s best creations. It was a lovely black lab who “adopted” a litter of abandoned kittens and literally nursed them back to health. Remarkable feline and canine connected. I’ve pondered that change in species; the DNA differences, it’s a paradigm shift to see a dog nursing kittens and plucking them lovingly from danger.

That same day I watched a group of people in the name of my Jesus; taunt, mock and judge a grieving family at a military funeral in Washington D.C.

That is not what Jesus taught. If Jesus was still in human form would he link arms with that bashing, insulting “preacher” most definitely not. Did Jesus ever go to a funeral and taunt the grieving? Where is this example in scripture? It basically isn’t so how can they claim this action in the name of Jesus.

Last week I listened to someone extolling the virtues of an extra marital affair. She claimed the Lord brought this person into her life to make her happy; despite being married to her husband. Basically saying this “home wrecker” was an answer to prayer. Really? I looked for justification in the scriptures for extramarital relations and I couldn’t find it there either. Why was she giving Jesus the credit for this introduction? Can you picture it? Jesus saying to the Woman at the Well, “Oh yeah and here’s a number for another guy for you to check out despite your being married?

That is not what Jesus taught. Basically Jesus is being hijacked.

" For I am the Lord, I do not change' Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob." In like manner Hebrews 13:8 says: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."

It would seem in order to lend credibility to our beliefs, passions and desires we hijack the Jesus from the scriptures and morph him into something that justifies behavior, attitudes or actions. We use Jesus as an endorsement for our thinking no matter how unscriptural it is.

While a dog can change its nurturing habits it can’t change its nature it is still a dog.

God often changes his nurturing habits. Sometimes he loves us with tough love, sometimes he blesses us beyond belief. His nature doesn’t ever change "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." He is a changeless God.

I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6)

The Bible speaks to his character and his nature. The Bible is also called the Living Word of God. God is changeless. So is his Word.

We run a huge risk at morphing Jesus to justify us. When we change the nature of God, we change his character which in turn pulls us from the TRUTH of the scriptures that govern our lives. We then are governing our lives by a truth that is only our own truth, not the Truth of the Bible. This path leads us to sin. Because not obeying God is basically disobedience which can only be described as sin.

Point to Ponder: Are you morphing Jesus to justify something in your life? Would that be something Jesus would join you in doing or thinking?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Loved to Death

Have you ever really loved something or someone so much that it hurt? The other day I heard someone say excitedly, “Oh I just love that show to death”! It caused me to wonder where that expression came from. I love words, and as a writer, realize the power they have. Where did that phrase originate? Have you ever said it?

Photo by Linda Jackman Photography
Have you loved something or someone that you would die for? It prompted me to ponder what has that kind of value in my life? My spouse and my children, “some” of my family members, but that is about it. I’d love to have a house at the beach but I wouldn’t kill for it, nor would I die for it.

What would it be like to be loved to death - imagine it. Loved so well and so much that you couldn’t stand it, you couldn’t speak or breathe you just felt nothing but love 24-7?

We don’t have to imagine, because we all have been. Jesus loved us to death. Literally.

Jesus Loved us to Death. Can you feel the power in those words? He didn’t give up on us. He knew we were going to try and fail and some of us not try at all. He knew we would lie, cheat and steal. He didn’t give up on us. He gave it all up for us.

Sometimes I feel like quitting, giving in and throwing in the towel – on myself, and on my projects. Nurturing, growing, improving, maturing me; it seems like so much effort. Sometimes I feel worthless and undervalued mostly in my own eyes because of my shortcomings and my failures.

But Jesus loved me to death.

In light of those words, quitting or giving up seems like squandering or wasteful. If Jesus thought we were worth dying for, and he is all knowing and never wrong. Why is it so hard for us to see ourselves as worth that? Worth dying for.

Perhaps it is the lenses we use to view ourselves. The world's lens tells us one story, while the spousal or kid lens gives us another image. Then there is the parent or work lens which can give us a totally different perspective. The view changes based on the lens we are looking through.

Since no one ever gave up more for us than Jesus, we need to look at ourselves through His lens. It isn’t easy and it isn’t natural. I have a dear friend who struggles to do this ever and she is miserable. I have other friends who are confident women and it seems easy for them to use the “JESUS” lens. Personally, I struggle with it and it hinders me.

I am going to try harder to see myself through the Lenses of the ONE that loved me to death. Join me!

Point to Ponder:

What lenses are you using to view yourself? How would your life be different if you saw yourself as Jesus sees you - worth dying for?