Saturday, December 31, 2011

Difficult People Can Be

A few years back I was having an especially emotional day and trying to get some chores done around the house. My highs and lows were getting to me, so I knew without a doubt that the others in the house had to be feeling the tension of dancing around my occasional bouts of temper. I had been prescribed an anti-depressant while I had been hospitalized for surgery just a few months back, so I had become unaccustomed to these emotional swings, and found them to be very unnerving.

My married daughter had come for a visit, and she, along with my husband, were in the kitchen. My daughter was doing some baking, and my husband was reading at the kitchen table. This was a peaceful, every day setting, but I just wasn't feeling that peaceful, and I didn't like the unsettled feeling.

I was doing laundry, and as I bent over to load the clothes from the washer to the dryer I made a passing comment, more to myself than to anyone else, but loud enough that the pair in the kitchen overheard me.

With my head tucked into the dryer I said, "I don't think my Zoloft is doing a very good job today."

Without a skip of a beat my daughter and her dad glanced at one another, and together they remarked, "Oh, oh."

Funny? They thought so. So did I, to a point. I seldom mind being the brunt of a joke or light moment, but I don't like having a bad effect on others. The thought of them having a tense moment caused by me was more unsettling to me than the Zoloft not working. I don't like making others feel uncomfortable, and yet, that's exactly what I unintentionally have done most of my life. My off-beat sense of humor makes some people get wide-eyed and not a little ill at ease, not knowing just exactly what I am saying.

I am also too blunt in some of my observations, I am not one to shy away from a good debate, and I am entirely too opinionated. Again, these are characteristics that put many people off. I have prayed, confessed, repented, and sworn to do better many times. Yet, I continue to slip back into these bad habits far too quickly.

I continue to ask the Father for help, and I know that He is continually working on me and my ways. This isn't a cry for help from anyone. It isn't a subject that I would welcome input from anyone on.  I'm just saying....

But I sure do need a lot of prayer and patience from my friends.

And, meanwhile, this little anecdote continues to serve up chuckles for my family, and, that, I like.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Reaching Out To "Gomer"

Last night I attended church, and the pastor there mentioned the book of Hosea. Hosea tells about Gomer, his wife, or is it Israel that the story is about? Theologians can't decide, so I'm sure I can't. Nevertheless, I choose to believe, for the sake of my story today, that it is about a woman of, shall we say ill repute? That's the nice way to put it. God told Hosea to marry her, even knowing what kind of woman she was, and Hosea obeyed. And he didn't argue with God, and he didn't fuss or complain about it, and he didn't complain about her. He just simply obeyed God.

Since the day I first heard the story of Hosea I have had a very soft spot for it. I have always thought I would have liked to have known Gomer. She was a very interesting woman and most certainly required a lot of understanding to really know her. Some would call her evil and dirty, not worthy to be thought about except with disgust. Some might give her a chance, but never a second chance. Even to the people who didn't know God she would have been considered trash, filthy, stinking garbage. But, with all my heart I believe that these are the dear ones who need God's people the most, to love them, to encourage them and wrap their arms around them, draw them close enough to really smell them, and show them the true love of God.

People like Gomer have never experienced real love. Lots of times they have been mistreated to the point that they believe there is no such thing. Some have experienced physical intimacy and deceived into believing that this is love. So, they search and search for a love that never comes, building walls against people, living lies with bad reputations and no thought for anyone but themselves. It's a black pit of hopelessness that they dig and can never find the way out. And all the time all they want is to be wanted and loved.

Amazingly, I definitely have known some Gomers. Some of the Gomers I've known I had to leave behind due to their lack of response to the Truth or due to their total disdain of it. A very few of the Gomers I've known are now healed and love God and are loved by God's people, and they walk in Truth. They are miraculous stories of how God never gives up on us, never stops loving us even when we may be garbage.

If we say "yes" to God as Hosea did, we can reach out to every unbeliever, no matter how evil or filthy we believe them to be. Under all that filth is a child that God loves and wants in His family. When I turn away it's possible that I was the only one that God could use to help win that one that He loves so much.
And then God uses that new child of the kingdom to reach out to others. Imagine. Gomer can be out there winning souls for Jesus Christ!

I don't want to say "no" to God. I don't want to have to answer for the soul that didn't come because I wouldn't obey Him. As a former "Gomer", I know well how different a life can be when you know the Truth. I understand the miraculous effects of coming from a life of lies and filthy rags to being a "sweet perfume" to our loving Father. I know intimately the majestic Father, His Son, and His Spirit that leads my life and makes me, imagine it, more like Jesus every day.

I pray that each one of us can meet and learn to love a "Gomer". There is so much that they need to know about what true love is all about. And we have so much to learn about the wonderful miracles that God performs even today. There is a chance for each one, for God loves each one specially and completely, no matter how they smell.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

God, Talking To Himselves


One day God was sitting back, looking over mankind as He always does, and He decided that today was going to be the day. He'd been planning this for a long, long time, and He had everything in place that He needed. So God, in His infinite wisdom, called together His committee, His Son, and His sweet Holy Spirit and looked at Them lovingly.

"I'm ready to get started." God told Them. "I know You are excited to finally do this, so I'm going to lay it all out for You. Take notes if You need to."

God's Son and The Holy Spirit looked at each other and rolled Their eyes. Since when did They ever need notes to remember everything? God knew this, and He knew that They had rolled Their eyes, though He hadn't been looking up. God chuckled to Himself knowingly, and the others chuckled with Him. "We have such fun together," They all thought to Themselves.

So, God continued talking to Himselves, "You know I have had my eye on that little girl in Nazareth that we created a few years ago, and we were right, she's perfect for this mission. She's old enough now to conceive a child, and she just recently was chosen by that guy Joseph that we talked about. I like him. He's a good Jewish boy, a little older than she is, but still, I like him."

"Yes, yes," interrupted The Holy Spirit,"but I still don't understand why in God's name, oops, sorry Sir, we put her in Nazareth. It's suppose to be Bethlehem!" His eyes opened wide, "Hello!!"

"I know, I know," answered God. "Calm Yourself. I've got this all worked out. You worry way too much, You know. You need to trust me on this."

"Yeah, well I trust You, I just don't understand why sometimes You just do things the hard way, kind of screwy. No offense, Sir."

"No offense taken. It's those foolish humans that make Me do things the hard way. If they'd just listen and do what I tell them. They trust Me even less than You do." God shook His majestic head in dismay. "Now, I've got everything covered here, so listen up. Son! Are You listening?"

"To every syllable, My Father." 

And God smiled.

"Okay. That Augustus guy in Rome has decided he's a big shot, and he wants to know how many people he can count that he can make cow-tow to him. What a jerk! So he's ordered that they take a census, and everyone will have to go to the city of their forefathers to be counted. Get it? City of their forefathers?"

The Holy Spirit sat straight up in His chair. "Oh, sure! I get it now! Bethlehem! That's the city where Benjamin and David came from. Whoa!  This is just way cool!"

God is thinking how bright that Holy Spirit is.

 "But, wait a minute."

"Oh, no." thought God. The Holy Spirit was thinking again. 

"Okay. From Nazareth to Bethlehem. Isn't that like eighty miles or more? Won't that girl have to go eighty miles while she's pregnant, I mean VERY pregnant? Like, H-U-G-E pregnant! God, are You sure You've thought all this through?"

"Sometimes You are so exasperating. Didn't I say, 'Trust Me?'  I'll see to it that she and the baby and Joseph get there safe and sound. What's the problem? Eighty miles of good road with a few of their friends tagging along for company, and I'll make sure they've got the best donkey on the market, brand new, never been ridden. It's gonna be a cakewalk! Yes, she'll be a little uncomfortable, but I'll take care of her. You've just gotta trust me on this."

God's Son glanced at The Holy Spirit with disdain then turned back to His Father. "Abba, this sounds perfect. I know how diligently You have planned this, and I know, without a doubt, it's going to be fantastic. I'm ready to go anytime. Just give the word."

God thought He heard kissing sounds coming from The Holy Spirit, but He decided to let it go. "Kids." He muttered and moved on.

"It's going to be very important for the girl's sanity that we get her out of Nazareth to spare her of all those sharp tongues wagging about her. Sheesh. I've got quite a few stories about them I could repeat, but I won't......yet. Their day will come if they don't change their ways. Well, that's why I'm sending You there, Son. Okay! Let's get the lead out! Holy Spirit, You've got that star ready to go? And We've got to get those guys from the east moving, too. I'm counting on You!"

"You can count on me, Sir! I've got everything on my list ready." The Holy Spirit said this with pride, then realized He had revealed something that maybe He would have liked to have kept to Himself.

"Well, You know, Sir, sometimes I do have to write things down, You know, just in case."

They all smiled and quickly dispersed to accomplish the great task.

"We are such a cool team," God thought. "Lombardi ain't got nothing on Us."