Follow by Email

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Hawk and the Dove

†     This is a true story about what happened at work many years ago.  It was around six or seven o'clock in the evening.  I was upstairs on the computer diligently studying for my LT exam that I took, I passed by the way, when the call came out over the intercom to come to the kitchen so we could decide about supper.  As I walked out onto the catwalk from the day-room I looked down and there at my feet was a dove.  There were feathers all over the place.  Now keep in mind that birds of all type come into our large bay at headquarters, so this was not an uncommon sight.  I wondered what happened to it, it was laying there on its back surrounded by its own feathers.  I figured that he had gotten in as many birds do and flew into the wall to its doom.  As I looked a little closer I could see that it was still breathing, well I'll be, its still alive.  While I was looking at him, or her to be politically correct, I heard a ruckus down in the bay.  We have a six door bay, three in the front and three in the back, only one of the doors was down.  At this door was an very large hawk, banging itself onto the door trying to get out.  I realized that this hawk had chased this dove into our bay, and what happened from there I will leave to your imagination, but you know the result as I have already told you.  So I step over the injured dove and immediately go downstairs to tell the rest of the crew that there is a hawk in the bay,as they would not want to miss something so cool.  One of the guys, lets call him Waterhead, because that is what we call him, went over to the door and opened it releasing the trapped hawk.  The closer he got to him the larger the bird looked, he was enormous, I believe he was a red shoulder hawk, a very beautiful bird of prey.  So we meander upstairs for me to show them the injured dove.  I am funny about birds so one of the other guys, lets call him Rookie, picked the bird up.  Now instead of twisting his neck and putting him in the trash I directed Rookie outside to see if the dove would sit in a tree, having not know the extent of its injuries.  Well,he wouldn't stay in the tree, so he set him on the ground.  We waited patiently by the bird having a meaningless conversation, probably about the exam we would be taking in two days, which I passed by the way, waiting on something to occur with this bird.  After about fifteen minutes the little dove stood up, bobbed his head, and took off flying doing that whistle that mourning doves do when they fly.  In that moment we felt really good about what we had done.  We agreed that if the hawk had gotten him that that is natures way, but it didn't, so we gave this bird another chance at life, maybe a little wiser from his, or her, experience.

Moral-  We are the dove, the hawk is the devilish sin that is always stalking us.  It can get close to us but it doesn't quite catch us.  And because we run away from sin and do whatever it takes to live a good clean life, God gives us another chance at life, a little wiser from our experience.  Everyday of your life God offers a lesson to be learned, here ends yours.    JT

The story of Twitch

This was an actual event that took place a couple of years ago, it was about this time of year....

It was one of those great weeks. I was commenting to everyone before church who dared to ask how my week had been, my reply was ' it has been a fantastic week'. I have gained the reputation at church as one of those people who answers the question 'how are you?' with very honest answers. If you didn't want to know you shouldn't have asked, right. Because of what happened later that day, I still cannot recall what the sermon was about. But I remember, because it happens alot, I got a case of the Jimmy legs towards the end and began to move around the church. I have this quiet little corner beside the sound guy where I am out of the way and usually go unnoticed. As I stood there, an overwhelming need to begin to cry came over me. I fell to my knee's and asked God who I was supposed to be crying for. Usually at that point, I can look around the church and see someone in need of prayer or just someone who needs a loving hand placed on them. But this time, there was no one. The service ended and we were all glad handing like we usually do, telling each other to have a good week and what not. Thats when a girl from the pre-k room grabs my attention and motions to me, she is in a state of panic. My first thought was someone was in trouble and I needed to go help, I usually rip open my shirt exposing the giant S and prance off singing 'here I come to save the day', figuratively of course. The girl grabbed me by the arm and said 'she is having a seizure'. So I start formulating my game plan on what to do, I have done that before a thousand times over. When I enter the pre-k room I look down and see a small child on the floor flat on her back, no one else is in the room except the pastor, his mom, me, and the girl who brought me. I looked a little closer and recognized the little dress the little girl was wearing, I knew it becaue I had put it on her, it was Cameron. That is when God took over, I did not panic, my thoughts were not my own, I became like a robot. I layed down on the floor beside her, I gently turned her on her side, her tongue had rolled back and she was choking on her spit. She was having a full blown seizure, head to toe. I placed my chest on her legs to keep them still, put my hand under her head so she would stop banging the floor. I don't blame those already in the room for not doing anything, they had no idea what to do. The girl who came and got me confessed that she came to me because it was my child, she had no idea I am an EMT. I kept my voice down and asked for an ambulance, and this is what impresses me the most. The ladies of our church when called to action respond in a second, because it wasn't but a second later that I heard cell phone buttons being pushed to 911. After about a minute Cameron stopped seizing, and began to come to. I said aloud that I need something for her to throw up in and in half a second there was a garbage can lid right there, which she immediately filled. I said very quietly that I need something to wipe her mouth and face off with, and in half a second I had wet paper towels in my hand. I asked if someone in the church could see to my other two children, you see, Heateher came to the early service and was already back at work. That is when they told me that that was already taken care of, by those blessed beautiful church women. I asked if someone could please notify my wife, and was told that someone was already on the way to get her. Once the ambulance got there I was relieved to see the two guys get off of it, I knew both of them. I gave a brief patient report to the paramedic, he quickly told me to scoop her up and lets go. Cameron at this point was what we call post-ictal, that is the state of confusion after a seizure, what was bad was she kept passing out. Here is where it got tough on me. We get in the ambulance and I sit down on the stretcher, I have Cameron in my lap laying on her back on my chest. I tell the paramedic fully what I had seen and done and do whatever I can to help him get an IV and all the other equipment on her, all the while trying to keep her awake, she was what we call, unresponsive. Not completely, she would respond sometimes to verbal and all times to painful stimuli. We get going down the road, the paramedic calls the hospital and gives a report, and thats when it happened. I looked down at my youngest, and from the position I was in, all I saw was the 'pretty' purple bow that I had placed in her ponytail that morning. She just had to have that pretty little bow to go with her pretty purple polka-dotted dress. I looked down at my baby and saw the pretty outfit that she had on, that I had helped her put on, and realized that here my pretty little baby was laying lifeless in my arms. I prayed, I cryed, I still cry when I think about it. That was the moment that God told me that I had done all I can do for her, and that He would handle it from there on. We got to the hospital and when the Dr's realized I was an EMT and 'should' listen to me I gave her to them and started making phone calls. It turned out to be a long day. She stayed in the post-ictal state for more than three hours. So Heather and I spent all that time trying to coax Cameron back to life. Heather knew that something wasn't right, she said she could tell by the way I was acting that this wasn't normal. Some folks from the church came down and we made a circle around her and prayed, and prayed and prayed. Suddenly, my little girl looks up, realized that she is holding a crayon that I had placed in her lifeless hand, and began to color. She colored Belle from Beauty and the Beast. We played UNO with her, and not long after that, we were taking her home. It was determined that the seizure was caused by a fever, not just a high grade fever, but a fever that kept going up and down, which is why no one knew she was even sick.

Since that day I have gotten a lot of praise from those who witnessed what I did. I remind them that no matter what they saw, or how they think it went, do not praise me, give all the glory to God. Because he was with us that day. You see, I remember very vividly that when I carried my child out to the ambulance, there were many gathered around. Most never knew I was carrying my own child. But what I heard from several voices as I walked past was, thank God James has her. I said quietly to myself as I say it to you all now, No, Just Thank God.

Her drawing of Belle still hangs on my refirgerator to this day. JT

Midnight at the Oasis

There once was a man who found himself in the desert. He looked upon the baron openness of the endless sea of sand. He saw the rolling dunes that have taken their shape from years of blowing sand. The little ripples within them that make them look like waves of water flowing to the horizon. No matter where the man looked, all he saw was the vast open desert around him, how was he to survive. In his pocket, he found a bag full of seeds, he had no idea how the seeds got there, but there they were. The man found a flat patch within the rolling dunes and he put his seeds into the ground. He could have eaten the seeds, and satisfied his hunger for the day, but what about tomorrow, or the next day, how could he survive? Would eating that bag of seeds all in one sitting give him the energy to make it out of the desert, he did not know, so he did what was in his heart and he planted them. It took some time, but eventually, it rained, not a lot, but just enough. The man awoke one morning to find that the seeds had started to grow. Before he knew it, he had enough food to last him a long time, and from that crop, came more seeds, to plant again and again. It wasn't long that the man realized, he no longer wanted to escape the desert, he was quite content living there. It did not rain often, but it did rain enough to keep him from being thirsty, and his crops were bountiful enough to keep him fed. All he had to do, was make one decision, eat the seeds, or plant them. What would you have done?

Moral- The vast desert is our lives. Sometimes we muddle through life and find ourselves in a place where we feel very empty and alone. We look upon our lives and think of them as endless sea's of dispair, where we cannot find an oasis. We want all our needs to be satisfied for us. When we feel alone, we blame God, we ask, if there was a God why would he put me in this desert, why doesn't he give me an oasis. The fact is, he didn't put us in the desert, we put ourselves there, we seldom credit God when things go good for us, but boy do we blame him when times are bad. We are given a choice, you can satisfy your earthly needs right here and now, live for the moment, or for the day. But in reality, how long will that feeling last, how long before we are hungry again, and we think back to that bag of seeds that we ate greedily in one sitting. The other choice is seeking God, and accepting Christ in our hearts. By being wise, and doing what we know is right, we take Gods word and we give it to others. We accept the word of the Lord and then we plant that seed into someone else. It is our task as good Christians to witness and spread the word. God will provide the water, trust in the Lord, and the seed that you have planted will grow and bear good fruit, and within that fruit, is more seeds. Before you know it, you are standing in a forest, it is no longer the empty desert you once thought it was. If you do not think this can happen, just wait. If you are reading this, it is because I too was once in a desert. But I followed the word of the Lord. I started planting seeds. If you have read this blog or any before it, a seed has been planted in you. It is not up to me or you when God will provide the water, just trust that someday it will rain. The water that pours on you is your baptism. And when you get to a point where you are planting seeds to feed others, you realize, as I have, the life that you save, is your own. JT

*A sign I read at a church- A hypocrite is not himself on Sunday's*

Is gel?

† If you go into any pharmacy today or any health and wellness store, the majority of what you find in them is beauty products. These stores carry a wide variety of things for your skin, makeup, hair spray's and gels, hair dye, lotions and all other sorts of anti aging products.

If you think about it for a moment, there are few who read this who haven't used one or all of these products. Even the guy's use hair gels and some of you uses the lotions and the Just for Men products. If you are going to work or going on a date with your spouse or significant other, we try to look our best, don't we? We get all gussied up, that's what we say in the south. We put on perfumes and colognes, deodorants and antiperspirants, and yes, we all do our hair. It is important to us to look our best for our partners, isn't it? Try to imagine how much time you spend in a day just getting ready to present yourself to the world. Statistically speaking, it is said that we spend more time in the bathroom using all of its facilities and prepping ourselves than we do engaging in sex. To me, that's a sad fact of life, because if you think about it, those times when you are getting all gussied up, your kind of hoping it will lead to sex, and you spend more time prepping for sex than actually having it. Now before you stop reading and thinking that I am going all hippy on you, I am not saying that we should not do these things. My point is this, is all that make up, all that deodorant, all that perfume or cologne, and all that hair gel really you? Is that how you really look? Is that how you look when you wake up in the morning?

Moral- One of the things that I have seen most couple's, including my own marriage is scarred or damaged by lust. Lust is an overwhelming emotion that overtakes us. It makes us believe that it is more important than anything else we have in our lives. We crave so strongly the things that we lust after that we are willing to sacrifice the "real" things that we have, including the most important, our relationship with our spouse. I speak mostly for men on this one, but it can pertain to the women too. Lust in our hearts is a powerful addiction. But listen to this, it is an addiction that can never be satiated. It can never be satisfied. The only thing you accomplish in living a lustful life is you wind up wanting more. It is like putting a band-ade on a broken leg. It is because of this never ending hole within us that destroys our relationships. The solution, as I see it, is to find a way to live in love and try your darndest to avoid lust. Lust is not real, it is not who we are, it will never make you happy. Think about happiness in the long term. Is it better to chase down your lust and satisfy it for the moment, or to work on love? Which one do you think will last longer. Love is permanent, it requires maintenance, but if you are in love, you don't have to keep falling in love every week, or every day. But if you live in lust, you will find yourself like a drug addict chasing down that pusher and selling your soul to fulfill that desire. Lust is like hair gel. You can put it in your hair, but it won't last, it will wash out, it is not who your really are. It is hair dye, it will only fade, and who your really are will eventually resurface. Lust is a tool of the enemy. He uses it to keep us from staying in love with our partners. It is the enemies greatest fear for a couple to maintain a loving relationship under God. The love we have for God transcends to the love we have for our mates. The more you love Christ will lead to a greater love for your spouse. Take a good look at yourself, before you think this pertains to someone else, what do you lust after, what is your greatest sinful wish? Has having that sinful desire in your heart ever helped you, or has it taken away everything your really need.

A good example would be what I told someone the other day. Do you think if you ever needed a shoulder to cry on, or a true friend to talk to, could that person be someone you are cheating with? Do they even really care about you? Or do you turn to someone you love? And if that person that you turn to isn't your spouse or significant other, then you have a serious problem. I also told another guy this, the person who you have in your life that is supposed to satisfy your lust should be your spouse. Couples quite frankly should be there to satisfy the needs of each other. And if you do not satisfy those needs, its like depriving someone in the dessert of something to drink, how long will they thirst before they go and get a drink elsewhere?

So ultimately I say this, wash that crap out of your hair, let your hair fall is it would naturally. Get that lust out of your heart, and learn to live in love. Love is the only thing in the world that you cannot touch, taste, hear, or smell, and it is the only thing that is ever truly worth calling real. Because real love lasts forever, just like the Love God has for you. JT

The last thing you say....

This is another one of my all time favorite things that I wrote, the graphic imagery always reminds me of not only my own mortality, but the reality that every day when I awake could be my last...

    As Christians we are obligated to be a forgiving being, and I am amazed at how often we are not, myself included. To bring my point home I told a story to my bible study group, their minds were wandering as people do when they are hearing something very personal that they are not willing to change, so I told them a tale to let them know how serious I was and how much I believed in what I was saying.

I was at work several spring's ago, it was about lunchtime and we were getting ready to sit down and have our meal when the tones went out for a vehicle collision with injuries. It was right up the road so it did not take us long to get there, we had to shut down the road as the two vehicles were completely blocking the two lane road. This particular collision was a head on crash, a bad one. We immediately proceed to the car that is the worst off, my captain who is a paramedic reaches into the vehicle to check on the patient, he turns and looks to me and gives me the look and the shaking of the head that lets me know that there is no helping this woman, and to move on to the next vehicle. The particulars about the wreck are neither here nor there, what is significant is how God was speaking to me during this moment. Once the save-able patient was loaded and the police finished their investigation, they have to be very thorough in a collision that involves a homicide, I looked into the car with the lady who had just been called home. She was dressed for work, and it was obvious to me that she was on a lunch break. I say that because in the middle of the car on the hump was her bag of Taco Bell. Several things about this rang my senses. I could still smell the food that was in the bag, above the smell of the collision. When cars get in a crash, if you have ever been in a collision you can testify to this, there is a particular smell. The smell of antifreeze, airbag dust, and oil make a very peculiar aroma. But above all that was the smell of her lunch. She was going about her day as she normally would, thinking about what she had to do for the rest of the day, not knowing that her day was about to end right then and there. This is where I made the point to the group that most of us will never see our end coming, or our beginning depending on how strong your faith is. This lady never knew she was about to die, she never saw it coming, her demise was quick and painless, a flash of light and then Jesus. The other sense of mine that got tapped was my sight. You see, the bag of food was filled with this lady's blood. She was slumped over the steering wheel right above the bag. God spoke to me in a way that to this day I still see that image. Here was this lady's intent on continuing the rest of her day, and in the same image, the end of the day. The thought that went through my mind then and still to this day was....What was the last thing this person said to the one in this world she loves the most. Do you think she left a petty argument unresolved, bitter at the thought of the argument, or did she tell that person that she loved them. I live my life like this, arguments have to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. The end of the argument must come in the same day the argument took place. I do not want the last thing I say to the one I love be a stupid insult that I will always regret.

Moral- Forgiveness is an obligation amongst Christians. Forgiveness in marriage means that one person must be truly sorry and the other must truly forgive, regardless of the situation or severity of the sin cast against one another. Christ asked God to forgive those who were killing him, in a way to show that he had already forgiven them. Would you be able to do that? We most commonly live in grudges most of our lives. All who read this probably have at least one person on this earth that we hold a grudge against. But if you read Proverbs you will see it is chock a block full of why you should forgive, and that is Old Testament. The New Testament is full of how Christ lived a very forgiving life. An example of that would be Mary Magdalene, Christ never condoned what she did, never said it wasn't wrong, but he was able to forgive her anyway, as it is our duty as children of God. The other point is forgiving those whom you don't care about. Someone you don't know or know that well may severely wrong you, it is still your obligation to forgive that person, and ask God to forgive them as well. The difference with a person who you don't care about and a person you do is there is little chance of reconciliation with a person you don't care about. But if you pray for forgiveness and live that life, you will find that Christ offers your heart peace about how you have been wronged. The choice is ultimately yours, you can live in peace, or suffer with the bitterness that will fill your heart. By praying for forgiveness you find that you are living the Kingdom Life, you are offering your aches and troubles up to God. By living in bitterness you are trying to handle the situation by yourself, and you will find that you cannot find that peace on your own. Remember this, if you find yourself arguing with your loved one an argument that you have already prayed for forgiveness for, or have said you are sorry whichever the case may be, then you are a liar. Because you never truly forgave that person, and are not living in forgiveness, or you were not truly sorry, and feel that you have done no wrong. Arguments that are settled turn into conversations where each side is willing to listen and be heard.

If you expect to be forgiven in the Kingdom of Heaven, you must be willing to forgive. One of the things the Bible teaches us is that you will be judged on your ability to forgive. You can live a selfish life here and now, but in all reality you should treat everyone you know with the same consideration you expect when you reach the Pearly Gates. Remember, your ability to act and live as much like Christ as you can will dictate whether or not you get to meet him in the end. If you woke up this morning then God has granted you another day, but there is no guarantee that you will make it all the way to tomorrow, or even get a tomorrow. So if there are those in this world whom you still have not forgiven, I suggest you start praying, and living a life of forgiveness. If you are living in bitterness, you are not living, and you may never know a happy life until you have prayed for peace. And it truly is a very wonderful life. JT

Mathew 6: 7-13

Mathew 18: 21-35

John 8:1-11

01Peter 3: 8-12

Hey, she was naked and said eat this, what did you expect me to do?

This is an old blog/parable, we shall call them bloggables from now on, that I often go back to and re-read.

† In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth, then came light, the waters, the land, the plants and the trees, then day and night, the creatures of the earth, and finally God made man. God rested on the seventh day and he called it holy. The bible tells us about the garden God planted in the East and he called it Eden, and there he put the man that he had formed. A river flowed from the garden forming into four more rivers. The Lord commanded the man to work and take care of the garden he had given him. There was only one rule God gave to the man: do not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If he ate it, he would surely die. The Lord God saw that it was not good for the man to be alone, so he took a rib from the man and gave him a helper, and the man said "this is now the bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, and she shall be called woman." They were both naked and felt no shame.

I have often wondered why God chose to give people free will, as he gave it to the first man and the first woman. He would surely have to know that they would betray his trust; did he anticipate this, was he expecting this? The Bible tells us of a serpent in the garden, and how the serpent was cunning, some versions of the Bible call the serpent crafty. I have heard it said that the serpent was a deceiver, and as I read closely I found this to be true but not as people imagine deception. One day the woman came upon the serpent and engaged him in conversation. The woman was well aware of the rule God had given them, and the serpent knew this rule as well. The most profound thing I discovered while reading Genesis was that the serpent did not lie to the woman but told the truth. He told it in a way that the woman liked hearing it, so that her eyes would be opened and she would know good and evil, like God. He told her that surely she would not die. She saw the food as pleasing to the eye and good food and she took it and ate it, she gave some to her husband and he ate it. Their eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked, covered themselves, and hid from the Lord. God punished them and the serpent for their original sin, the premier of sins, the reason we are all descendants of sinners.

The most intriguing thing I got out of this story was the two types of temptation that there are. The first is the woman, she had to be wooed into temptation. She knew better, knew that she should not do it, thought about it, and did it anyway. How many of us are tempted daily and every now and then fall into the traps of temptation, even though we know better. We live on the premise that our God is a forgiving God so it is all right to sin, just this once. The other type is blindly falling into temptation. It is easiest to fall into this trap. The woman gave the man the food and he ate it. What is easiest about this trap is that we never accept responsibility for this sin, we quickly blame it on something or someone else, that way, we are not liable for the action. The man said to God " the woman you put here with me- she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." The man never accepted his role in defying God. How many of us blindly go into sin, and instead of feeling guilty about our transgressions, we find someone else to blame?

The man and the woman did not die, but were given a life where they would eventually die, but only after the woman suffers through childbirth and has desire only for her husband, who is to rule over her. The man would have to painfully toil the earth to receive his food all the days of his life, only by the sweat of his brow will he eat his food, until he returns as dust to the ground from where he came.

Moral- The lesson that I learned here is to know when I have it good, to know that the Lord is providing for me and my family. I know that temptation will always be around every corner like the serpent in the garden, but as a Christian, I know better. I know that the enemy is always out there, and that sometimes he does not lie to deceive me. Sometimes he tells the truth, and tells it in a way that I want to hear it. The enemies greatest weapon is catering to our egos and our vanity. God knows all our sins of yesterday, and there is nothing we can do to change those sins. The greatest thing that God gave us is that we can choose whether or not we will sin tomorrow. Will you fall to temptation, or stand for God?

I used to not believe a word about Genesis, because I didn't think Phil Collins was a good drummer anyway.

JT & the Giant Peach

This can relate to men or women, because from my experiences, I have seen it done by both genders. Imagine that you are sitting in the middle of a field. Let your imagination place you in whatever type of field you like. It can be summer and green, fall and golden, or it can be flat or rolling hills. But there you sit in the grass, legs crossed, just relaxing. You are feeling alone, you feel that there is one there. You begin to talk to God. You feel a hunger within you. 'God, if you would just give me something to eat, I could be content'. How many times in our lives have me made a prayer just like that one, only a different wish. We believe that if God is real, he will give us something to eat. It is funny how we feel disappointment when nothing is thrown our way. Funny how we sit in an empty field, by ourselves, and wonder why we go on hungry. But take that same situation, and place yourself instead at the base of a peachtree. How long do you think you will sit there before your prayer will be answered. It will only be a matter of time before you ask God to feed you, that a peach will fall into your lap. Is that God, or the laws of physics.

Moral- It is God. The point of that parable is to describe the reality of faith. Most of us, myself included, spend a good portion of our lives waiting for God to prove his existence before we believe in him. We are very quick to ask God for things, yet at the core of our beings still deny him. Put yourself in that situation. Would you thank someone who has not done anything for you, would you pay for services that are never rendered? Why do we draw a line in the sand and tell God that we need him to cross it before we believe. The simple solution is this, it is only when we truly believe, that God begins to reveal himself to us. The main point of the parable is this, we have to have an active faith. You cannot sit in an empty field, grow hungry, and expect God to materialize a peach out of thin air and provide it for you. This world was created with very specific laws, and something cannot be created from nothing. Now before you say, God can create something from nothing, yes, he can, why would he want to, who are you that God has to prove himself to you? In the terms of friendship, would you really care for, do for, and be a friend to someone who won't even look at you? Would you for someone who wouldn't speak to you? Would you for someone who even denied your existence? Why in the world, would you expect God to do that for you? The hunger is you wanting more out of life, the peach is your faith, and the peachtree is the church. How long will you sit in that empty field. JT

Do you smell that?

This blog uses an interesting relationship between our faith walks and garbage dumps. Have you ever been to the dump? It is an interesting area, it is enormous, there is garbage everywhere, it seems disorganized, but there is a method to the garbage madness. But the one thing that you cannot escape when you go to the dump, or even drive by it, is the smell. It is foul. It is years of decay of many different types of items, and the gas that they produce, is methane. Have you ever looked at what they do with all that garbage? The reality is, they bury it. Some is buried so deep you can never get down to it, because they bury it, cover it with dirt, put more garbage on top of it, and cover it with dirt. This is done many times over on the enormous site. Most dumps have gone to ventilation systems, basically where they run pipes up out of the ground to release the methane gas. Some industries have become very clever, and built next to the dumps to use the methane as an energy source. It is free, it is abundant, and it is a green way to eliminate a byproduct of our garbage. But over time, all dumps must close, like here in the county I live in, it is full ,they had to close it. If you drive by, it is amazing that what was once a garbage dump is now green rolling hills, with massive amounts of refuse underneath. Over time, the land will be developed, and yes, there will be a neighborhood on top of what is yesterday's trash. So how does this relate to you and me, lets see if I can put this together...

Moral- In our lives, no matter who you are, what gender you are, or what your age, someone has sinned against you. Some of those sins are what we call little sins, although I have spoken before that a sin is a sin is a sin, but they don't affect us much. Little sins are easy to forgive, they are easy for us to get over, and therefore don't affect us much. But all who read this have been sinned against with a major sin. Someone in our lives has wronged us in a very severe way, and left us feeling broken and beaten. We tend to operate our psych's like manager's of a garbage dump. We take those severe wrongs against us, and bury them. We bury them so deep within our ego's that most of us are capable of even forgetting that those sins even exist. But here is the problem. Just like the garbage, these deep seeded wrongs tend to seep out like the methane from the dump. What happens is, the people around us, our loved one's, tend to be the one's that suffer from the smell of our past. To put it much simpler, our significant others tend to have to pay for the mistakes that were made by someone else, we tend to make them carry baggage that they didn't pack. Most of us don't even realize that we are making our partners and family pay for someone else's mistake, we have so cleverly buried those negative emotions that we dont even realize that we are taking it out on our families. The problem with that is, just like the houses that reside on top of old dumps, the filth that lies underneath may make you sick, it seeps into the water we drink, and it is in the air we breath. Our families are not the source of the negativity, so why do we take what is essentially a small thing, and blow it up into world war 3. Have you ever been confronted by your partner or spouse and have no idea why they are so upset, and you think to yourself, boy, talk about overreacting? It is because you are fighting someone else's battle. So what do we do, is there a solution? I think there is. First, just like the people that buy houses on old dumps, they should have researched the area and found out that they are living on garbage. With us, we need to address the most significant moments of our lives, and saddly enough, we are seldom molded from a series of happy moments, we are, however, the people who we are because if the crap that has happened to us. We have to find out what ills we have within us that are unresolved. We have to learn forgiveness, and this is where God comes in. The basis for Christianity is forgiveness. You can make alot of points that faith is this or faith is that, and those points are valid. But it all boils down to our savior on the cross, and his last utterance of words, 'forgive them, for they know not what they do.' It is the obligation of every Christ child to learn forgiveness, to recognize the sins committed against us and find a way to make peace with those ills. With forgiveness, comes trust, we will learn to rely on, and trust our partners or spouses. With that trust, we will have a greater faith, you cannot expand your faith and get closer to God if you cannot trust in God. And with no trust in God, we have no forgiveness for those around us. Like the industry that builds near a dump,we must find a way to take the old garbage in our lives, and use it as learning tools for our future, George Bush said it best when he said, ' ya fool me once, ya can't fool me again.' Thats not actually how it goes. But we must take our pasts,no matter how horrible, and use them as teaching tools for who we become, and the only way it is possible is through forgiveness of those sins. If you expect to be forgiven for your sins, you must show that same forgiveness here on Earth, do not expect more favor from the Lord than you were willing to give, you will be judged on your ability to forgive. I can almost guarantee that there are many who read this, probably all, who think of their spouse when they read it, but this parable pertains to you. Remember that if you want to make things better in your home, the first step is fixing yourself. Find your peace, live in trust, find forgiveness. We are all sinners, there are no sins cast against you that you have not sinned against God. There are no little sins, there are only little minds. JT

Stop Kicking and Learn to Relax

I had an interesting experience this last year that was brought to fruition at bible study some time ago. You see, a couple of summers ago we sent our two littlest to my sister's house for vacation bible school and for swim lessons. My son last year had a terrible time with swimming in deep water, he still had memories of almost drowning the year before, yes, he did almost drown. But this year we were a little wiser, he couldn't come crying to us because we weren't there, and the swim teacher was tough as nails, she just wouldn't let him give up. So needless to say, the boy has become quite the swimmer. Last week we were in Florida on vacation, the kids got to do a lot of swimming, turns out, the boy is part fish. One day it was just me and the boy, the girls had gone shopping or something. So T and I went down to the beach, we had gotten swim goggles from a place down there and I wanted to show him the sheer joy in swimming around in the waves and looking for shells in the water. I took him out to where I was standing about chest deep, so he couldn't reach the bottom at all. I noticed that he was swimming like he was in the swimming pool, he was pulling and kicking like the dickens to stay afloat and swim. I let him do that for a while until I saw that he was growing tired. So I grabbed him and started to show him something. I told my son that we were in salt water, and that all he had to do is relax, settle down, and realize, that all that kicking and paddling was unnecessary. I showed him how he floats in salt water. After that, we both kind of floated down the beach looking for shells, and he found a great conch shell for his mother.

Moral- Our lives can be summed up with what my son showed me last week. Here we are going through life trying our dangdest to make things turn out the way we want them. We spend a great deal of time trying to control our lives and every situation in it. The reality is, we are part of a greater plan, and grand design. No matter how much we try to control it, or how hard we struggle, our lives will turn out exactly as God wants them to. We tend to forget that we have to give our struggles up to the Lord, because no matter how hard we try, we can never handle it on our own. Our part is to relax, to stop struggling, and realize that this whole time we could just be floating down the beach, there is no need to try to keep yourself afloat, you are going to float anyway. The true moral is that if you allow this to happen, you will be amazed at what you might find.

Psalm 107:23-32
Mark 4:35-40
Luke 8:22-25

God never leaves you, he never abandons you, it is we who abandon he, JT

Life is Like Vegetable Soup

Quite literally, faith is like a bowl of vegetable soup.  So lets think about that for a minute, what does it take to make a good soup.  Soup is a very simple meal, with the exception of the one making it.  It is easy to heat up and eat, it only takes a bowl and a spoon.  But if you have ever tried to make soup, you realize how difficult it can be.  That is why I trust in God to be the chef of our faith soup, it would be far to difficult for us as simple humans to accomplish such a daunting task.  But the reality is this, we are not the consumers of the great bowl of soup, life is the consumer, we are the ingredients.  What I mean by that is, each one of us us uniquely different in our own way.  Yes, there are many different types of vegetables, meats, and broths that go into vegetable soup.  For every one type of vegetable there isn't one that is the same, simply put, it is nearly impossible without some outside interference to make to pieces of carrot look exactly the same.  Yet when you put all of these ingredients together, a wonderful medley is the result.  Ultimately what I mean by all this is what I have experienced recently in the church.  From the confusion of certain people who forget they are not the master chef, and they are not the consumer of the final product, that they are just like me, a simple God made ingredient in a big bowl of faith.  Just like there are not two carrots the same, I nor you can be compared to other carrots, we are similar, yet still not the same.  The real point I would like to make is that if you happen to be a green bean in the soup of faith, you cannot expect the carrots or onions to act like a green bean.  It is not within our nature or our creation to be like something we are not.  It is shameful that we encounter green beans in our lives accosting us and treating us as if we have done something wrong simply because we cannot ever be a green bean, we are carrots, and vice versa.  We have to learn that it takes all kinds of people in this world to make faith work, if we were all the same, it would be bean soup, not vegetable soup, and in faith we would be called a cult, not a religion.  We must learn not just tolerance of people who do not know the Father, but also become more tolerant of each other.  We must realize that God has made us all unique for a reason, and that reason is not for us to decide.  In conclusion, God made me the way I am for a reason, and I offer no explanation nor should you expect any reason for the way I am.  The Lord God accepts you for who you are just like he accepts me, and for that reason we must learn to better accept each other, regardless of whether or not we completely agree with what the other is doing or saying.  I am a work in progress just like you, and I will stand before the man just like you, you are not better than me because you are a green bean, so let me just be a carrot, created unique by God, for the betterment of Faith itself.  When they talk of the great feast in Heaven, I am willing to bet the first course is vegetable soup.

If the enemy attacks you, and if he hates you, you must be doing something right.  JT