Personal Improvement

There’s a real gem of a book that I discovered a couple of years ago, a real treasure chest of true to life situations that I easily related to. It’s as though it were written specifically for me and I’m willing to bet that anyone who reads it will have the same life changing experiences that I have had and continue to have. 

 Truthfully, I’ve known about this book ever since I was a child. My Great Grandma Ribey poured over the pages of this exceptional guide book. It’s actually a series of books. I suppose she found it particularly helpful in her frail condition. When I knew her, she couldn’t have weighed more than 90 pounds except for the heavy iron leg braces she wore to keep her polio crippled legs from twisting in all directions. Passed down to my Grandma Dorothy, once again every page of this collection was turned, re-read and referenced over and over. I’m guessing she needed the self-help advice and guidance contained within its chapters to help her through her tough times. Her alcoholic, womanizing husband left her with four children and her crippled mother to care for throughout the, “Great Depression”. My mother took up this book next. She benefited from the information presented in it and even consulted copycat versions of it. However, they were not nearly as helpful as the originals. She co-raised a family of three after spending a day caring for the mentally ill in a provincial hospital.  As for me, well I’ve never needed to pick it up. I have always had my life all together and done just fine on my own. I didn’t need any advice telling me what to do, how to live or to behave.

My perfect self-guided life began to crumble when I began and stumbled through a long and miserable divorce and custody battle. This was followed by the unexpected loss of my secure, high paying job that moved out of the country. I entered into several adulterous relationships. By the way open relationships do not work. World travel with a, “I don’t give a rats bottom end”, what it cost attitude, depletes your savings accounts pretty quickly. I was taken advantage of financially, again, and after having my life’s goal and my only dream crushed before my eyes with no chance of recovery, it was time to crack the cover on this collection of personal improvement books that my family has used time and time again.

This book has changed my life forever and I am convinced it will change yours too. Not just your life but anyone’s, who reads it word for word, cover to cover. If you’re anything at all like me you’ve already denied that you need any help managing your life. You will most likely continue to deny yourself the information you need in this collection until you fall flat on your face and then remember reading this blog.  

I understand your fear of giving in and picking up copies of this self-help series. We’re greedy self-centered people by nature. The world tells us on every front, it’s all about me. Get all you can, get as much as you can, get it now and get it free. Have it your way, (Burger King) You deserve a break today (McDonalds)  I deserve the best, I deserve to have whatever I want, when I want it, how I want it and who I want it with. Why should I waste my time reading books that I am convinced will advise me that I can’t have what I want and that I must give up the joys and pleasures I get from my selfish desires.

By now you have probably figured out that I am referring to “The Living Word of God” (“The Holy Bible”) Look, if you’re sick and tired of the empty wisdom of society, if you’re going down in a spiraling ball of flames, if you’ve just recently survived a face plant at the bottom of the barrel, get into the word until the word gets into you. Get your hands on a Bible.  

It’s taken me the better portion of my life to wise up and that was only after I crashed and burned. Don’t follow my life of misguided pride, and my mister know-it-all world wisdom attitude.  Don’t wait to be thrown off your horse. You can avoid a lot of pain, anguish, embarrassment, and suffering if you will just take my advice and begin reading the owner’s manual of life. You’ll save hundreds on self-help books, or thousands on a psychologist. All the answers you need are recorded in God’s word.             

I’ve learned after reading through the Bible a couple times now, that I have had to give up very little. What has happened though is my values have changed. I experience a peace I never had before and I sleep soundly all night, every night. I hardly ever worry about anything. I agree and support the teachings and at the end of the day I am a much happier, joyful, content, gracious, truthful, loving and understanding person than I ever was before. The choices I make are so much better and I don’t have to retreat and eat my words any longer.    

The most interesting way I have found to read through the Bible has been this past year as I have read it in chronological order. You can find the order here. https://www.blueletterbible.org/dailyreading/PDF/1Yr_ChronologicalPlan.pdf

Get started today!

An Attitude of Gratitude

Would you like to reduce your risk of heart disease? Would you be interested in knowing a free, no pill method to help fight depression, stress and anxiety? How would you like to improve your mood, sleep better and increase your energy?

At the University of California’s San Diego School of Medicine, a professor by the name of Paul Mills says that by simply adopting a positive mental attitude, you can reduce inflammation around your heart and improve your heart rhythm. His studies have shown that the more grateful people were, the healthier they became.

I know what you’re thinking. Your thinking that it’s easier said than done in this angry, angry world. How do find anything positive among so much negativity? I can remember once in the very earliest days of my “Christian” infancy, praying to God and wondering if He had not lost the battle with Satin. My inexperienced eyes saw so much evil that any good was blurred over.

About this same time I learned an attitude adjustment prayer from Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California. He called it an, “Attitude of Gratitude”. I can testify that this prayer will change your life in numerous ways. I have prayed it on long bus journeys, flights, and at times when I am feeling sucked down by the world’s negativity.

Simply, you go through the alphabet, a-z, and you pray to All Mighty God giving Him thanks for the things you are grateful for. Dear God, thank you for the air that sustains my life. I am so grateful for my B bed that helped me get a good night’s rest. For this great country of Canada where I am safe and free.  Continue this onward through to the letter Z.

I’ve added to my, Attitude of Gratitude prayer and now I pray for three things for each letter of the alphabet. 1) For something that by God’s grace is given for free to everyone. 2) For a material item. Something you can see, touch and hold. 3) Something heavenly or spiritual, angelic, or a promise.

Everyone’s prayer will be different. We are all unique and place emphasis on a variety of topics and interest.

Here is my latest. You can use it, expand it, shrink it or change it in any way that suits you and your unique relationship with the Lord.

Air, Apples, Angels. Beat (heart), Bed, Bible. Canada, Coffee, Christ Jesus. Day (today), Dog (my), Deities (3 of God). Earth, Eyes, Eternity. Family, Flowers, Faith. Gratefulness, Glasses, Grace of God. Humor, Hair, Hope. Imagination, ice, Incarnation. Joy, Juice, Justice. Kisses, Kittens, Knowledge. Laughter, Lamps, Love. Music, Medicine, Marriage. Nature, Nuts, New Jerusalem. Ocean, Oven, Oath. Parents, Plates, Prayer. Quiet Time, Quesadilla’s, Qualified. Rain, Roses, Rapture. Stars, Spices, Savior. Time, Trees, Truth. Understanding, Umbrella, Unstoppable. Voice, Violin, Virgin. Water, Watch, Wedding. Xeroradiography (x-rays). Youth, Yeast, Year of the Lord’s Favor. Zeal, Zucchini, Zion.

This prayer is an easy and flexible way to honor and praise God. Start, stop and restart it throughout the day. Just make a mental note of what letter you stopped at and then continue later on.  In expressing to God your, “Attitude of Gratitude” you will obey many, many passages that are written in the Holy Bible.

We are told to give thanks in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT Just because we know and accept Jesus. God blesses us with every Spiritual blessing there is in heaven. Ephesians 1:3 NLT that’s a pretty good reason to be grateful.

Will you share your, “Attitude of Gratitude” prayer? Send it to the2yochristian@finchwisdom.com

References:     Gratitude Is Good For The Soul And Helps The Heart, Too

NOTE: I am not suggesting that anyone not take their medication or not to seek medical help for depression, anxiety or other situations.

Rewarded

Quite some time ago I printed up a couple of resumes, one for each location of the same business. A position was not available at the time but I just thought it would be a great place to work. One day a few weeks ago, out of the blue I received a telephone call asking if I had found work yet and would I be interested in coming in for an interview. WELL! YEAH!

After failing at a couple of other interviews where I marched in under my own power and full of self-confidence, “someone”, (hint)”The Holy Spirit” put it into my mind to pray and ask for guidance, help and support during the interview. I invited the entire Trinity along to join me, and to intervene wherever I fell short. The interview I felt, went very good. I was calm, laid back and relaxed. At the end of the interview I was asked to provide character references. This is always a good sign.

One week went by and I hadn’t heard anything but “something” again placed the idea in my mind to send an e-mail and lightly exclaim that I was still available and ready, willing and able to work. Well, another week went by and still I didn’t hear anything! “Something” told me to send another e-mail but this would be the last. It wouldn’t be good to be accused of harassment. Two days later on a Friday I received an e-mail saying that I would be contacted early in the next week. Now this just has to be a good sign.  

Just before meeting with my Sunday, Bible Study Group, I told one of my friends that I was pretty hopeful of finally being granted a job. After the study, my friend wished me the best and asked me to promise to let him know if my feelings came true. The study leader asked me what was up and so I told him my news. He reached out his hand for what I though was going to be a congratulations hand shake but he gripped my hand as if I were dangling off the edge of a cliff and he was pulling me to safety. His wife came over and placed her hand on my shoulder and they began to pray. He thanked God for my new opportunity and asked for His blessings on me and that if this opportunity was not to materialize I would continue to wait knowing He (God) has something better in store. Wow! What an unexpected act of caring, love and brotherhood. Aside from learning and understanding the Bible on a deeper level, this is what a small group is all about.  

Monday came and went with no telephone call or e-mail. Tuesday came and went and still no phone call or e-mail. Late Wednesday morning the phone rang when I was in the shower. I didn’t hear it but when I had finished showering, I heard the answering machine beeping, indicating there was a recorded message. It was the call I had been agonizing over. I returned the call immediately but was sent to voice mail where I left a message that I had received their request to call back . Later on in the mid-afternoon I called once again but was sent to voice mail again. Ahh you have got to be kidding me! I mean seriously I finally got a break and I lost it for the sake of a shower. Considerably later and after the business had surely closed I gave up on ever hearing from this business again. Finally the phone rang and I was told that I did NOT get the job I applied for but I was offered a casual/part time position if I wanted it.

It was so disappointing to once again be rejected. I accepted the job trying my best to sound excited about it. Certainly something is better than nothing. I moped around the house stewing about this latest let down. I went to bed early and once I had calmed down, “The Holy Spirit” and maybe Jesus as well started reasoning with me. Hey! Did you not pray for a job? Did you or did you not ask God to give you a chance to prove that you’re worthy of a job? It’s a job! What did you have an hour ago? Did you even think to thank Him? Psalm 9:1 NIV. This opportunity checks off all the requirements you wanted in a job. What are the chances that will happen again? You’re going to be working at helping people in need. You will have every Sunday off and never have to miss church. You will receive some benefits. It pays better than minimum wage. It’s a small company with a small family atmosphere. There is no labor union. You have not hit bottom yet, is that where you’d rather be? Be grateful for goodness sake! Start with what you’ve been given, do your very best and see where it takes you.

They were so right and I was so wrong. I may not have the position I wanted but I have work. God has heard my prayers and once again He has delivered. Psalm 118:21 NIV How do I know what He’s thinking? I don’t know His plans for me. This could just be the beginning, a test or a sampling. No doubt, if I work as though I am working for Him, proving myself worthy and showing my appreciation He’ll increase my blessings. It’s an opportunity to praise God through managing the wages that I earn and give back to the Lord His share.

I prayed so many times and I even begged for a chance to prove myself to Him in a job and now that I have been blessed I’ve already failed. I did not thank God for this blessing. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV.  I got down on my knees and I prayed. I thanked Him and apologized for being ungrateful. I confessed that I am weak and I would need His strength to keep me from becoming prideful and thinking I can manage from here on in. I asked that He keep me appreciative and performing my very best. I asked that He guide me and help to plan the proper use of the wage that I receive.

In so many ways this starter job is of key importance because everything I think and do, how I act and react, is being scrutinized. My attitude will determine whether I am worthy of more and whether I should be allowed to progress forward. My faith is being tested. I must remain positive and hopeful.   Hebrews 11:6 NLT

I would do well to remember the second sentence in Isaiah 60:22 NCV, “I am the Lord and when it is time I will make these things happen quickly.

What Are My (TRUE) Motives in Prayer?

 After praying for blessings upon my family, friends and myself, I thought, “If I were God and this prayer were prayed to me what would I think about it”. Well, I wouldn’t take too kindly to it, at all.

First of all, family and friends were added into the prayer so that the prayer wouldn’t seem selfish. Second, the blessing asked for was just a cover for the real worldly wants that would be gained after the blessing was given. Third, the gains would not require any trust or faith in God’s abilities. Fourth, the worshiper (me) was impatiently trying to speed up God’s timing. Four fails. Not on your life buddy.

Ever since I stumbled across the last sentence in James 4:2 NLT, which simply says, you have not because you ask not. I’ve become pretty good at asking. What an awful thought, that I could be deprived of something for any length of time, simply because I didn’t ask for it. It wasn’t too long before I thought that I had figured out how God thinks about things.  I thought that I knew what I could and could not ask for, and what I would or would not receive. Whoops!

 I figured that pretty much anything spiritual with good honest heartfelt intent would be granted quickly if not instantly. (Examples) Oh Dear Lord, please give me the strength not to throw this hammer. 1 Corinthians 1: 8 NIVLord, I’m under attack by Satin. I need your help to once and for all, dispose of this old sin. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 NIV.  Material things prayed for I figured take longer to receive, if at all. Granting these request seem to depend on various factors. Is it a need or is it greed? Will it make me proud? Will I love it more than God thus “it”, whatever “it” is, could become my new god? Am I spiritually ready for it? Can it help build God’s kingdom?  Prayers prayed for situations seem to be a hit or miss, at least for me anyway. These prayers are almost always prompted by my anxiety. In every instance I believe that my anxiety was greatly reduced or relieved entirely. The actual situation may or may not be granted or possibly be delayed. (Example) When I was praying for a church and a church family, I received two nays before receiving a yea. When I prayed for a job that I really wanted, I was turned down. I thought I was fully qualified and the best man for the job. Apparently, God thought otherwise. Philippians 4:6-7.  Prayers for personal gain seem to depend on my motives. (Examples) When I prayed for the zeal to learn, study and understand the Bible, I would never in a million years have guessed I would at times spend upwards of eight and ten hours in a day, studying and conversing with God. When I prayed to win the lottery jackpot the only thing I won was another opportunity to purchase another ticket. Exodus 9:16 NLT.

 Somewhere along the line my prayers morphed into praying for specific blessings which isn’t a bad thing. But then, cocky me, assumed I’d receive my request based on my superior understanding of how God thinks. Then my second mistake, I focused on just how my blessing would come and what else would come with it.

I’m like a child who has learned how to get what he wants from his parents, except this Father, Our Father in Heaven, He’s on top of the game and will not be manipulated. God is not a vending machine where I deposit a prayer and out pops my request along with three complimentary items just because I’m so special in His eyes. I forgot He has the ability to read my mind and my heart’s intentions. 1 Chronicles 28:9 NLT.  I really need to receive this verse into my heart, learn it and take it seriously.                  

At some point I began to pray in a worldly way. In the world you work and get paid, you help someone and you’re praised for it, you scratch their back and they’ll scratch yours, I complement you and you return the compliment. There’s always a payback. So I have been offering up my prayers with something good in mind, expecting my prayer to be answered, which can also be good, BUT before receiving my blessing I started to count all of the fringe benefits, that would come to me. Lately, I’ve noticed that when I pray, my prayers are either taking an exceptionally long time to be honored or are not granted at all. Is it any wonder?

It’s time to turn over a new leaf and reanalyze what I think I know. It’s time to pray earnestly and compassionately from my heart for my family, my friends, and my needs. Then leave it at that. God    decides whether to grant or turn down my prayers.

Other related scriptures;

Philippians 2:3 NIV.  1 Corinthians 10:24 NLT

The very same day when I was pondering all this over I was out and about, delivering resumes. In the afternoon, I stopped into a used book store and bought a cheap book of daily devotionals, one for each day of the month($1.00). It’s based on the Prayer of Jabez. The devotionals all point to proper prayer and intentions.

I think it’s so wonderful how God finds ways to place the answers that I need into my hands.

A Limited Time to Live

Well here we go again. What a month of revelation it has been. Never before, have I had so many dreams, thoughts, and circumstances open up before me. All of these, I’m sure are God’s way of confirming what I have learned by reading His word, studying daily devotionals, attending Bible studies and church services.

Once again, and I believe it was just prior to my waking, I had another experience. I don’t know anything about dreams and dreaming or when they occur but I suppose it’s always just before waking up because that’s when all of mine seem to have happened. Well anyway, this time my encounter wasn’t a dream but more of a suggestion and recommendations. I wasn’t being addressed by anyone specific but by an invisible voice that just came out of nowhere.  Like you would expect might come from a spirit. Holy smokes, just as I finished writing that last sentence, I realized my first dream was with, The Son, Jesus, my last dream was with The Father, God, and now this one is from, The Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity, all three have now spoken to me at three different times. Not exactly in the order we are used to hearing them presented, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. A while ago I did have a dream from The Father which would place these occurrences in the order of how we address the Holy Trinity. I haven’t written about the first because I am still struggling to share and how to share the content of that one.

This time, I heard, “what if I told you that you only have a limited time to live?” I was speechless. I believe God has a sense of humor but I don’t believe He would joke about death. It was dead quiet (no pun intended). I was a little panicky and a hurricane of thoughts was quickly accelerating in my mind.  Why? What is it? What’s wrong? When? The reply was, “It doesn’t matter why and there’s nothing wrong. It’s time, and it will be today.  Zowza! “I strongly suggest, you get your thoughts in order and carefully plan your time.” I don’t remember being afraid but in a panic, I just couldn’t seem to set any priorities. As quick as I thought of one thing I thought of another that was more important. Many were of no importance at all. Needless to say I woke up a little disturbed. The thought followed me all day long.                                                                                                                                                     

If today were the last day of your life and you just found out about it, what priorities come to your mind?  Okay, here, let’s make this real. An out of control car, comes speeding around the corner, hits you and sends you flying. You’re lying on the pavement, a small crowd of people are gathering around and you hear someone call out, “call 911.” You don’t really notice any searing pain but you know you’re really messed up. Instinctively, deep down inside, you know, this is it. What would be your priorities?   How exactly would you prepare for eternity?                                   

Now is the time to get your house in order. It’s time to get all your ducks in a row. We have absolutely no idea when our number will come up. Jesus can return at any moment, nothing has to be wrong. How long do you have? A year, a month, a week, days. In this scenario a day at the most, possibly only an hour or just minutes.                                                                                            

We’ve got to make this good and it has to be right. Are you going to be thinking about all the material things you’ve accumulated? All that money you’ve invested, in your stocks, mutual funds, bank accounts and in your pension plan. Guess what? You’re not taking it with you. How about your car? You’re not taking that either.  Not your home; your shoes, clothing or jewelry. I think we can throw out any ideas of making material items a priority. How about your career, you know the job you put before your family. How about your gym membership, the “Golf Club,” your baseball team or your booked vacation? Sorry! You won’t be going anymore; your friends and acquaintances will figure it out on their own. So, we can throw out your social life. What’s left?

I’ve given this some pretty serious thought. Without a moments delay I want to be sure that I am right with my savor, Jesus Christ.  Dear Lord Jesus, come down from heaven and please take my hand. I’m sorry for any sins I may have or have committed today. Thank you for giving up your life for the likes of me and thank you for paying the penalties for my sins. Thank you, that my sins have been forgiven. I forgive everyone who has ever sinned against me. I’m yours Jesus and I look forward to following you to my new home up above. Please stay with me until this life ends. In your name, A Men                   

If I still had some time left I would then want to make sure my family and friends were sure of their day of reckoning. If I had the time to go to them or assuming they would come to me, I would ask them to join me in prayer. I would pray that each of them would place their trust in Jesus and on the spot confess their sins, promising to try their utmost to continue sin free. I would pray that each one would offer up their own lives and ask Jesus to become their shepherd, their life coach or manager. I would not want anyone to be sad for me but to be happy and know in their hearts I will soon be in heaven. Goodbyes would be appropriate while there was time.

Spiritually, are you ready? Are you sure of your destination? Will your family and friends be joining you in the future? There’s time.

Fitting In

As of yet I do not have a church family. I have been attending church every Sunday but so far don’t feel that I am fitting in anywhere.

At ABC church in the downtown, a massive beautiful old church right across from city hall, I have attended every Sunday, visited the church through the week and visited the library on a couple of occasions. I’m a little tired of being asked, “and who are you”. Several weeks ago, I requested a meeting with the reverend. He told me that he was very busy and asked me to send a request through the churches website. I told him that the website does not work and that I had already tried this route twice before. Once in December and another time more recently. Both times I have never heard so much as a peep out of the church. The reverend then told me to e-mail him directly and he would be sure to get back to me. I told him that that was my most recent and second attempt that had gone south. We agreed to meet in the auditorium and we exchanged e-mails and contact information. I heard nothing. The following week on my way out of the church the reverend caught up with me and explained that he tried to contact me but the e-mail that I gave him was not valid and then he was too busy to make a phone call. I was a little put out because I have handed out my e-mail hundreds of times over the past decade and no one has ever had a problem before. As far as being too busy to telephone, well I suppose that is a common problem in this church. This reverend should pay attention to Philippians 4:13 ESV, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” He left it in my court to contact him again. I shook his hand and told him politely I’d be seeing him around and I left. I’ve not been back since.

       In all fairness being a pastor, a reverend, a minister, a priest or any type of a leader, must carry huge loads of responsibility. But, when you become so busy that you turn down a new member it’s high time to learn to delegate responsibilities. Interestingly enough this church complains that it cannot attract new members.

      The following week I attended XYZ in North London. It is a brand new building thriving with thousands of parishioners. The church is built on the edge of the city limits and the city is showing no signs of stopping its growth there. Beyond the church there are subdivisions upon subdivisions of half a million dollar homes and up, all containing young professional parents with 2.5 children a dog and a cat.

     The church has something on the go seven days a week. On the weekend alone there is a service Saturday night and eight services on Sunday; Four kid and youth programs a Mandarin, two Contemporary and a Traditional service. Throughout the week there are a plethora of guides, exercises, experiences, camps, studies, resources, foundations, counseling and support services, sponsorships, communities and ministries. Monthly magazines, booklets and newspapers informing every one of all the programs, upcoming programs and activities with progress reports are available on large racks in the main lobby. 

     This church appeared to me to be an over populated bee hive. I felt like a new honey bee in town and I had just flown across town to check out the big new hive temple. When I arrived there was a flurry of worker bees fanning the entrances, keeping the temple air conditioned. Some may have been on guard for new comers and atheist but if there were, they weren’t  standing out in any way. There was such a commotion at the entrance I flew on through the masses and made my way to the reception desk. Here, there is a confusing swarm of nurse bees gathering children for the nursery, kindergarten and youth classes. Mom and Dad bees were signing over their little larvae and then hurriedly rushing off to meet their other apis friends. Gathered in clusters they then swooped off to claim their comb cells in the theater of choice. Some were flying off to the upper balcony for an aerial view of the colonies stage, others to the underground cave for stage front seating. Some were flying off to get a drink of coffee or tea with honey or Royal jelly. Some were zipping off to go to the wash station, the library or the lounge. Others are gathering their notes and getting changed for their performances. Some were testing their buzzers, stingers and antlers otherwise known as musical instruments. God only knows maybe some were in the hair salon having pedi’s and mani’s or possibly their wings trimmed. The temple is certainly large enough to have one or two in there somewhere, the palatial hive is so large and grandiose. The worker bees at the reception desk were busy welcoming each other, friends and family. Among all the buzzing of the hive they didn’t even notice me, the new little foreigner bee quietly and patiently waiting, hoping, wishing and even deep inside praying for someone to take notice and provide a little guidance or assistance. Finally I spotted a lone bee sitting by herself and so I flew on over and asked if it would be okay to rest at the same table. I sat for a while in awkward silence and eventually mustered up the nerve, took a chance and buzzed that I was a new comer. The lone bee welcomed me and in between several other bees approaching to rub antennae with each other, the loner bee explained the various service options available. Kindly the lone bee accompanied me to the service she thought I would enjoy the most. After the service the lone bee was greeted by another elder of the hive and I graciously thanked her for her guidance, excused myself, and flew off out of there as fast as I could.

       One visit is not enough to give a proper evaluation so the next week I braved the rain and cold and returned to the hive a second time. This time I attended a different service because I wanted to try to meet other apis on my own and witness a traditional service. Surely a hive of this size and of such activity will need my help and I was searching for an opportunity to fit in somewhere. I rested by myself in a cell at the back of the theater and by the looks and stares from late coming swarms, I instantly knew that I had chosen the wrong honeycomb cell to occupy. I wish I had been armed with this scripture. 1 Peter 4:9 NIV “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”, or this one, Romans 15:7 NIV “Accept one another, then, just as Christ has accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

      Again, as soon as the service ended I flew on out of there as quickly as I could.    

       The next week there was to be thirty baptisms and the traditional service was being canceled. The overwhelming thought of the increased beehive activity for this Easter Sunday keep me at home, in bed, depressed and feeling well, rather small, insignificant, unnoticed and worthless not to mention still homeless with no church family.

       I, the little foreigner bee have much to offer and I am so wanting to be involved in some way or another but it seems that every single bee is purpose driven and all purposes have been filled at both churches. Four weeks ago I applied quite excitedly to teach English in the ESL program at the big hive. With 7 years’ experience teaching several different species in a variety of apiary’s around the world, why not? But Guess? This little honey bee has not heard an “aye” a “yes” or  a “no”. Not even a, “kiss my little stinger”. I suppose that there is no need or purpose for this new comer in the big hives of this world.

       So what should one do? Should one fly back on over there to the big hive and drop a few rocks on it, fly inside and stir things up, making oneself noticed or should one just pack up and move on? Admittedly this buzzing bee is impatient and does need to learn to chill out.

     Maybe a smaller hive will be better, one that can more easily spot a newcomer and is looking for new talent in order to grow. Possibly one, where every job has not yet been claimed and owned.

March 21st, 2019

What a Couple of crazy weeks, I’ve had!

Despite the circumstances in my life, I’m still trying my very best to build and strengthen my faith in Jesus. I am surprisingly calm and I sleep soundly, waking up well rested. Very obviously this is a reward from Christ himself.

At this point there is no doubt that my daughter will go on her own way, and I am to go on mine.

A new development came to light and a bit of a whammy for me. My daughter could not arrange movers to come on Saturday the 30th of March, they were all booked. I discovered with only a week to go that they were to come on the 23rd and remove everything from the house. Suddenly I had one week less than I had thought.

In a panic I e-mailed my friends right away and asked them to come and pick me up. “My plan,” “move first and work out the details later.” Even as I was planning to move, my plans were unraveling. I learned that there was no bathroom in my friend’s apartment. It had been gutted quite some time ago with plans for updating and had not been finished. It would take a week before a toilet would be functional and also new subflooring was needed. There was no room for any of my things because the apartment was filled with the owner’s belongings. I would only have one room that was cleared out. I was thinking long term rental, they were thinking short term with a signed and notarized contract. A sum of money not possible for me was suggested as rent and they were thinking of even more rental income in the future when they would rent out each bedroom individually. In addition the electricity is on its own meter and the gas and water usage would be calculated and billed to me monthly. 

Not surprising, this sudden and reckless idea of mine fell through.

 What did I do wrong? I panicked and I lost my focus on Jesus, once again turning away from faith to my own ill-conceived plans. I decided to rely upon worldly resources, my bank account, to float me until I could find work. Again, I was not exercising faith in Jesus.  Proverbs 11:28 Those who depend on their wealth will fall like the leaves of autumn, but the righteous will prosper like the leaves of summer.

I don’t believe there’s a proverb for depleting one’s finances and not replenishing them. If there was I’m sure I’d be referred to as a fool.

Was God right in closing this door on me? Absolutely! Everything screamed, “Don’t do it!”

It’s my first priority to continue looking for a full time job. Searching for an apartment will be my second priority. How can I sign a lease and not know my income? How can I search a location not knowing where I will work?

Simultaneously, I had to get myself refocused on Jesus and once again place my faith back into Jesus’ hands. While actively searching for work, am I already lacking in faith? No! I can’t keep praying for God’s will to be done and then just sit idly by and wait for a job opportunity to come to me. I believe that I have to actually make a move and make choices.   

I’ve discovered through my reading the Bible that faith doesn’t follow signs but instead, signs follow faith. It’s a pattern that shows up time after time throughout the Bible. Just look at the stories of Abraham, Joseph, David, Samuel, Esther, Ruth, and the disciples. The list does not stop here either. First an act of faith is shown and then we read about the confirmation afterward.  

Once you make a move, then God will follow up your faith with His blessing. 

If I want God to show up in my life, I believe that I have to do as much as I can with what I have on hand. Then, I turn to God and I pray for Him to bless what I have done. Pray and ask for anointing on my life, my body, my blog, my finances, on a job, for a home and place to rest my head.

The 23rd is only one day away. I’ve no home, no job and no real solid plan. I will go to the city where there is a variety of options for work. In the city, I’ll finally be able to once again attend church. Oh how I wish I had established a church family to turn to, now when I am in need the most.

This is one of the, “Verses of the Day” from the past two weeks that really seemed to speak to me. James 1:5-6 NLT  If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.

Can You Be Bought? Are You For Sale?

How would you like to be bought and sold? Treated as a commodity, an object, or a possession? How would it make you feel if someone bought you right this instant, took you home and right in front of you started ironing out the details of the plans they have for you?

If you’re anything like me, you’re saying to yourself, “no way, I’m not for sale.” You don’t buy people, they’re not for sale, and they can’t be bought.  “Oh yes they are,” and “Oh yes they can!” 

Sadly, The Canadian Press reported in July 2018 the results of a StatsCan survey. Between 2009 and 2016, the police were aware of 865 human trafficking victims. 95% were female, 72% were under the age of 25, and 25% were children all bought and sold like pets. The average cost of a slave globally is $90.00. Today, there are 20 to 30 million slaves in the world. A US State Department reported that from 600,000 to 800,000 people are sold across international borders annually. Approximately 14,500 to 17,500 of those enter into the USA annually. At 32 billion dollars a year, trafficking is the 3rd largest worldwide industry.

But now again just like me you’re saying well, I’m not worried because no one wants me. I don’t have anything of value that anyone would want. I’m too old, I’m too weak, I don’t have the looks I once had. I’m just of no value at all, to anyone.   “Oh yes you are!”

Satin wants you, and he’ll do whatever he has to do to take possession of you! He’s persistent, and he never gives up trying, day or night, all year long. 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

We’re not for sale, but we have each sold ourselves out to Satin. How much did we receive? Nothing, and Satin loves it! He does not love us, in fact he despises us. What he loves is that each of us has joined him in Hell for all of eternity.

Oh no, not me, not you, well let’s just take a little test.

In your own mind, honestly answer these questions concerning yourself.

  1. How many lies have you told in your lifetime? Little white lies. Remember, not telling the whole truth and holding back, is lying.  Oh oh!
  2. Have you ever stolen something? As a child, a candy, a piece of gum or a coin, maybe you snuck a cookie. As a teenager or adult, have you ever downloaded illegally, music or movies?  Oh oh!
  3. Have you ever lusted over a woman or a man? In Matthew 5:28 Jesus says, if you lust over someone, you have committed adultery in your heart. Oh oh!
  4. Here’s a really serious one. Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vein?  Cussing with the Lord’s name in the same sentence or using this very common phrase in its full form. OMG! Oh oh!
  5. Ahh! But at least you’ve never killed anyone. God says if you express hatred toward anyone you are guilty of murder in your heart.  Matthew 5:22   Oh oh!

Every one of us has just failed half of our Creator’s commandments?

How many of us will admit to committing idolatry. Do any of these sound familiar? Well, my God would never allow this or that. My God thinks that this is okay. I don’t think that my god would agree. I think that God wants me to do this. What we have done here is we have made our own god to worship. A god that meets our own criteria, one that allows us to do what we want and think. This is idolatry.  Oh oh!

Now wait just a minute here, you say! We didn’t realize that what we were doing was wrong. We were tricked. Well try telling that to the judge when you’re standing in the court room. Surely you don’t think a judge is going to say, “Oh, okay you can go home now.” “Sorry for the inconvenience.”

No! I think that you will have to agree that ignorance is no excuse. Leviticus 4:2 We’re going to be judged and penalized. Romans 2:16 Our God is pure, perfect, and sinless. He wants us to be part of His family in Heaven where there is no sin. Sin cannot be allowed in Heaven, or else, well, Heaven just wouldn’t be Heaven, would it?

When we find ourselves standing before God in His courtroom, what will His verdict be? Will we be found guilty or innocent? Oh oh!

Will we pass on to Heaven or are we destined for Hell?   Oh oh!

Thank goodness for us, that our God is a great, good and loving god. He could have just created a family for himself and placed them directly into Heaven but He desires more than that. He wants us, His family, to want Him and to choose Him.

Oh man! How it must shatter His heart to watch us flock over to Satin. Thank goodness once again, that God’s love for us is so great that he devised a plan where we can be bought, purchased, and owned. All we have to do is believe in Him.

Where Satin values us at nothing, God says each one of us is priceless.

How much are we worth? How much is God willing to pay? We are so valuable to God that he devised a plan exchanging the life of His one and only son, for ours. John 3:16 There has never been a price paid higher than the price Christ paid for us. He paid the ultimate price by dying on the cross, taking the punishment for our sins and all we have to do is believe in Christ, repent our sins and commit the rest of our lives to Jesus.

Yes, we can be bought. Yes, we can be sold! Yes, we can be owned!

I am owned by Jesus. Who owns you?


March 5th, 2019

I have known now for two weeks that my daughter has decided to move out of the rented house where we are living. She expressed that she was fed up with a number of instances that have occurred and told the landlady she (we) would be moved out by the end of March. That is only four short weeks away. I asked where she planned on moving and she replied I have no idea.

Where we are is small, far from high end living, but only $650 per month. Now, several realities present themselves. First and last month rent will be required up front and center for a new residence. Any other place for rent will start at an absolute minimum of $800.00 per month.

I recalled that a friend of mine use to rent an apartment in their house. I don’t know what it has in the way of bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen, appliances or services so I contacted them by e-mail and asked if they would consider renting it out once again. It may possibly be well suited to our needs and they could receive an extra income. Knowing it has not been rented in a long time and it’s probably being used for excess storage, I volunteered that I would be willing to clean and prepare the apartment; they wouldn’t have to do anything. I suggested we should get together and talk about it.

When a reply came back without a definite NO I spoke to my daughter about it. My news appeared to fall on deaf ears and my message was drowned out by complaints of how high the cost of rent is. This was 3 days ago. Two days ago, I asked if she had given anymore thought as to where we would be moving, pointing out that there is not a lot of time to find a suitable place and orchestrate the move. Still she has no idea, so again I mention that we could maybe rent the apartment from my friends but we will have to decide quickly. The apartment will need to be cleaned and prepared and we must get started packing and searching for movers.

Immediately, she tells me that she does not want to live in London. I replied that I know it may not be the best but it would be a roof over our heads. Even though she does not know where she will be working yet, she says London is too far from her work. She continued with, the traffic is too crazy in and out of London. She will be too tired, the time traveling is too much, she would have to drive my granddaughter to school every day and pick her up every night plus travel to work and back home again. It’s just too much and will cost too much for gas. It wouldn’t be fair to move her daughter to another school when she has made friends and is being invited to birthday parties who in turn are being invited to her birthday at the beginning of April.

Once again, I suggest that my friend’s apartment is at the very least a roof over our heads and it provides a temporary solution to our present dilemma. My daughter says she is not at all worried about where to stay because if she has to she can sleep in her car and with her gym membership she can have daily showers. What about my granddaughter, I asked, where would she go?  The reply was as equally simple. She can stay at her grandmother’s.

All righty then! Let’s see if I can organize all the pieces to this jigsaw puzzle.  I leave my daughter’s and stay with my sister for one week, to take care of business that was just not possible to accomplish in, Little Hicksville. My stay with my sister was pushed to four weeks because of a series of events that kept me from returning back home. Upon returning home I’m met with the sudden urgency to vacate the property within six weeks. The flat out resistance to even consider my friend’s apartment, every suggestion that I present is cut down, the mention of a birthday party with guest yet no idea where we will be living.      

I see a pretty big hole in all of this. It doesn’t seem to include me anywhere.

Now, other tidbits of information are starting to make sense. On a couple of occasions since returning, my daughter has left the house to talk with her husband on the phone. Why all of a sudden the top secrecy? My granddaughter mentioned a house that she and her mom visited for moving to and my daughter telling me that it’s only a 20 minute drive from the next town over to where she hopes she will be hired.

Now if I were an educated man and were to have to guess I’d say that my services are no longer needed at this time. It seems that it’s God’s will for me to move on.

 Uncertainty sure has a way of frightening the daylights out of you but there is a bit of scripture, I’ve long understood and practiced many times before, it’s Philippians 4:6-7 NIV, It reads; don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

If you ever find yourself with your back up against the wall try to remember this verse. It really helps to know God is there for you.

January 22nd 2019

I started my day praying while still in bed but at one point not too far in I just stopped praying and apologized for babbling nonsense. Still half asleep, my prayer was all over the place and not making any sense. In the kitchen I began another prayer to Abba and thanked Him for choosing me to be a member of His family. I gave thanks for the protection I received throughout the night and for His mercy granting me another day that will no doubt be filled with His many blessings.

Then I switched my prayer from God to Jesus, asking him to strengthen my heart and my mind, surrendering both to him, to do with as he saw fit. Specifically, I was asking for the ability to be more loving, patient, generous… and then I remembered a Pastor telling me to stop asking for the same things over and over and over. “It’s an insult to Jesus, he heard you the first time.” “What you are doing is expressing to Jesus that you do not have any faith, that he is not listening or granting you these request.” I expressed all of this out loud to Jesus and I apologized to him. Then, again I switched my prayer but this time from asking him, to thanking him, for increasing my love, my patience, my generosity, gratefulness, kindness and self-control.

As my early morning auto pilot mode is programed to do, I made my way to the coffee maker. Once I had my cup of java and 3 dark chocolate sticks (they just happened to be on the counter top) I began my daily Bible study. First I go to BibleGateway.com, sign in and pray, inviting the Holy Trinity to join me and help me to take in and understand what I read. I then read the “Verse of the Day.”

Where there is a will there is a way, but so far I have not bothered to try to discover what these preselected verses are before the actual day they are posted. I’m not sure who or how they are selected, all I know is that they are different each and every day and I have no idea what tomorrows verse will be until tomorrow.

Here was my, “Verse of the Day.”  Matthew 7:7-8 (NLT)  [Effective Prayer] “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

“Shut the front door!” Did you read that? Did you understand these verses, the same as I did? Jesus, just spoke to me through the Bible! “Go ahead, keep asking and you will receive.” There was no delay. I prayed, expressed some doubt, changed up my prayer and within a minute or two, Jesus clarified my doubt. What a high you get when you realize that Jesus Christ himself is speaking to you.

Now, before you go all off on how this is just a sheer coincidence, let me tell you there is no such thing as coincidence. I stopped believing that lie, a couple of years ago. I have had way too many of these same scenarios happen, for them to be written off as mere coincidences.   

Has this happened to you? I’d sure like to hear about it. Who? What? When? Why? Where? How do you know it was from Him?     E-mail me your experience,  the2yochristian@finchwisdom.com  please print “God spoke to me” in the subject bar.