It is what it is

About five or six nights ago, I watched an interesting and funny movie on Netflix. The title was “The 100 year old man who escaped from a nursing home.” Whew, some title huh? His exploits and people he knew, met, and worked for read like a history book. My personal take away was his “comme ci comme ca” [1] indifferent attitude toward life itself, just like Doris Day used to sing about when she sang “Que sera sera.” [2]

The man had a great outlook on life and was – for sure – not going to die of ulcers or stress. He didn’t care whether the sun rose or fell. Nothing bothered him. NOTHING! His favorite saying was “It is what it is. Life does what life does.” He once told a guy over the phone, “If you want to kill me, you’d better hurry up, I’m a 100 years old.” I almost fell off of my chair laughing.

Like many others today, when things start going bad for me, things that I apparently had no control over, I developed a Que sera sera attitude as well. For my own sanity, I responded with an “Oh well.” That is until I remembered the grace of God.

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. – [2 Peter 3:18 KJV]

The only thing wrong with the statement “Oh well” is that many times, others misinterpret our reaction as a complacent, “I don’t care” or “I don’t give a rip” attitude. When I used the term “Oh well,” nothing could have been further from the truth of what I was thinking. It was just a reaction during a hard time when something went wrong or when someone hurt or mistreated me and I hadn’t figured out yet how to resolve the incident. It was only a personal defense mechanism. It helped me to cope with the issue.

Oops, what did I do wrong? My mistake was, I tried to handle something by myself and kept my Lord out of the equation. What was the matter with me? What was I thinking? I was a Believer and had the grace, mercy, and love of Jesus Christ, my forever companion and confidant. Now, I just say, “I’m getting ready to grow in grace again,” and thank Jesus for being there for me, for never leaving or forsaking me [3], and for loving me [4]. Then I thank Him for taking me through the issue or giving me strength to work through it, with Him at the helm [5]. The problem with most failed decisions is that Christ was our co-pilot and NOT our pilot.

Asking Christ into my heart was the wisest thing I have ever done in my life. One thing, however, it is also wise that if my problem involves someone else through mistreatment, I choose to say, “I’m getting ready to grow in grace again,” to myself. If I say it out loud, I will have cut off all communication at that point with the person in question. This statement keeps me on the proper focus, while the statement, “Oh well” keeps me focused on the problem or person, which comes from the enemy anyway [6]. I chose to grow in grace and to keep my focus on Christ, who is the grace and hope giver. . .at least in my life.

May
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. – 2 Corinthians 13:14 KJV
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[1] Pronunciation: Come see come saw. It is a French phrase that literally means like this, like that. In conversation it means so-so, or neither good, nor bad.
[2] Pronunciation: K sir rah sir rah. It is a Spanish, Portuguese or French phrase (similar languages) and means “what will be, will be.” It is literally translated to mean, “it does not matter what you do, things will be the way they are supposed to be.” Or like our 100 year old man says, “It is what it is. Life does what life does.
[3] Hebrews 13:5
[4] John 3:16
[5] Philippians 4:13
[6] This does not mean that the person IS literally the enemy, but only that the enemy used him/her to inflict the hurt. The enemy tries to use us all in this capacity.

Crossroads

I watched the movie “Castaway” last night starring Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt. I understand that I may be the only person left in the world who hasn’t watched this movie but now I have seen it and have joined the ranks. Any movie with these two marvelous actors in it is going to be good, and Castaway was no exception. If I may, I’d like to draw your attention to the last scene where Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), has just delivered the final Fed Ex package to its recipient, the packages with which he was able to rescue from the sea when he was marooned.

Having lost his girlfriend, Kelley (Helen Hunt), to marriage due to his four year plus absence on a deserted island, Chuck finds himself at a virtual crossroad, where a north/south road intersects with an east/west road in the middle of nowhere. The countryside is so flat; you can see the next state over, in all directions. With an unsure future in front of him having nothing or anybody, he is left to his own devices, and apparently limited by his own imagination and or desire.

Everyone encounters many crossroads in their life. Crossroads are nothing more than a place of decision where we can choose the direction of our life. Some decisions will be major and some decisions, not so much. The Bible is very clear in hundreds of Scriptures how to choose the right way [1]. Here is my favorite.

v5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
v6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. – [Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV]

At the end of Castaway, it is left up to our imagination as to which way Chuck decides to go, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. We can rest assured that if we follow the Lord’s leading, we will have chosen the right way.

v12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. — [Proverb 14:12 KJV]

Therefore:

v14 Let all your things be done with charity. — 1 Corinthians 16:14
v12 For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, And his ears unto their supplication: But the face of the Lord is upon them that do evil. – [1 Peter 3:12 ASV]

Choosing a right road can become quite a challenging ordeal sometimes. It can paralyze us into standing still and not going forward at all, tormenting us because of the lack of decision between our mind and heart. Then, when we finally make that decision, we wonder if it was the right one or not. So do what is right in the eyes of the Lord, and choose your road and route wisely.

Life’s journey is nothing more than a road on which we travel and depending on the direction we have chosen to go, we’ll eventually get to our destination. There are many dangerous directions we can choose to travel. God gave us the free will to do so.

As we journey down our chosen road of life, we might ask ourselves, “What road am I traveling on? How will I get to where I am going? Is this the best road and route to travel? What is my final destination? Am I going in the right or wrong direction?” So if we end up where we don’t want to be, remember who chose the road on which to travel in the first place.

This is an introduction to a new book I am writing on this subject. Until then, happy traveling or as Roy Rogers used to say, “Happy trails to you, until we meet again.

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[1] Genesis 32:24; Proverbs 14:12; Isaiah 30:21; Jonah 1-4; Matthew 26:36-42, and many more.

A God Thing

It was in 1993 that I traveled to the Morris Cerullo 23rd World Conference in San Diego where over 7000 Christians from all over the world gathered to worship God and to hear how He was working throughout the world. What an awesome God-filled time it was. I floated in His presence for seven days. I was anxious to get home and share that week with everyone. However, I missed my flight. UGH!

As I walked up and down the crowded concourse waiting for my next flight, I bumped into two lady friends of my sister. They were wandering around on the concourse like they were lost. I could tell that they had been crying. After talking with them and learning of their plight, I learned that someone had stolen one of their purses. It had contained her ID, money, and ticket for home. The other friend wasn’t going to leave her friend stranded. She said that she would pay me back, to which I replied, “Not on your life.”

Our meeting was a divine intervention and God allowed me to partake of His blessing of helping a sister in the Lord. How could I ask for remuneration? My payback was God’s blessing to me and to that sister in the Lord.

Have you ever made plans to do something and because of some unforeseen force, those specific plans fell through? You then did something else either through necessity or to fill the void and you ended up meeting God at His appointed time for you, whereby He blessed your socks off. You’ve just experienced a God thing. Maybe out of a clear blue sky something happens for you or to you that all but has you in tears, praising God. You’ve just experienced a God thing.

So whatever circumstance you are going through or whatever state you might find yourself in, stick around and rejoice because your God thing is close at hand.

v11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
v12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
v13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. — Philippians 4:11-13

When I close my eyes and seek His face, these verses still bring tears to my eyes. Oh how my God loves me, and how I love Him.

I could share many more, but my experience in San Diego was a definite God thing. By chance (and I use that word loosely – LOL), I’d missed my flight, wandered around in a crowded concourse dodging people, and bumped into two sisters who needed help. It was an awesome chain of events that guided us together. Thank you Jesus.

Thank you Lord for all the little and big “God Things” that you make happen for us. The closer we get to you God and seek your face, the more God things you bless us with on a daily basis. Thank you Lord. You are my standard and I give you not only my praise and worship but I give you my life as well. Have your way with me Lord and I’ll do my best to serve and follow you. In your precious name, amen.

NOTE: Anyone out there have a God thing they’d like to share and bless the body?

WWJD

I’m sure that we’ve all read at least one book where upon finishing, we walked away gratified and convinced that what we just read was absolutely the truth and quite worthy of publication. We totally agreed with its theme and all the points that the author made. We may have even recommended the book to others, and yet. . .there was no practical application in our own lives due to the teaching contained in that book.

Conversely, how many of us have actually read a book that had a huge impact on us and ultimately mitigated a change in our life, all because of the narrative presented in that volume? Furthermore, how many of us have read a book that made us question the status quo of Christianity, discipleship, and the paths of many believers in general — maybe even provoked us to question our own service to God? And made us think, “Am I pleasing God [1]?”

I have just read such a book!

In chapter one of “In His Steps,” the author, Charles M. Sheldon, started his story with an anecdote of human suffering and with the question, “What does it mean to follow Jesus?” By the second chapter, he’d dedicated the rest of his project to one simple question, “What would Jesus do?” Charles then cited 1 Peter 2:21 as his scriptural basis.

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps. . .[1 Peter 2:21 KJV]

Charles tells his story through the pastor Henry M. Maxwell of First Church in the city of Raymond. He also told many other stories of individual characters who chose to take the pastor’s challenge to the church, by asking the question before every attitude and action, “What would Jesus do if He were me?” One-hundred congregants took the challenge, many of which were very successful and prominent businessmen and owners. Walking in Jesus example was tough, challenging, and many times, if not always, a road of suffering. It was up to each individual, with no outside interference or guidance, that when they were tempted, challenged, or confronted, to first ask the question, “What would Jesus do?

The hard part was doing what they thought Christ would do if He were them. Many characters acquiesced to Christ and as a result, some lost their position, wealth, and status as they followed through with the challenge. However, in the end, because they followed Christ and did what was righteous in the sight of the Lord, they were blessed exceedingly. The blessings far outweighed the loss. (God has a way of doing that.)

Toward the end of the book, at another church, a pastor and a bishop resigned their position, incomes, and congregations to live in the squalor with the dregs of society to help the downtrodden and just plain rejecters of Christ. They both felt compelled that this is what Jesus would do. As a side-bar, they wanted to somehow change the opinions and viewpoints of many the unbeliever when they declared that Christians were no different than they were. That we, as Christians, talk a good game but don’t back up the talk with action. This is a bad witness for Christ and not a good practice that would induce someone to follow Christ themselves. They think of us as hypocrites.

I believe the take-away to this book is leaving us with many personal unanswered questions that only we as an individual believer can answer for ourselves. For example, do we follow Christ’s example or not [2]? Do we want to follow ‘in His steps [3]?’ Do we want to imitate [4] and emulate Christ? When we asked Christ into our hearts and promised to follow Him, did we take up our Cross [5]? And. . .are we carrying our own cross, or because of indifference, disobedience, indignation, or inaction, have we forced someone else to carry our cross like the Romans forced Simon to carry Christ’s cross [6]?

Through our inaction, did we intentionally leave our cross for someone else to carry because we couldn’t be bothered or were in a rush or late for “T” time? Did we forsake compassion and mercy and by-pass that troubled person or someone in need of salvation or minimum, help, thereby passing the buck? If we do not carry our own cross, we cannot be a disciple of Christ [7]. Have we yet to follow Christ to the point of suffering [8]? Do we follow Christ out of our plenty and abundance, or do we follow Christ to the detriment of our own needs and wants [9]? Do we give of our time, effort, and finances until it hurts or just out of something that we won’t miss?

Christ gave everything He had for us, even His life [10]. Now we must give our life for Christ through salvation [11] and to follow in His steps [12]. We must die to self daily [13] and be not conformed to the world but we must renew our minds to the perfect will of God [14].

In our own individual life, what have we encountered that compelled us to ask the question, “What would Jesus do?” And then did it. Each life is different with different stories. As you carry your cross and meander through this world, living out your own life through your gifting, desires, and vocation, what problem, obstacle, or circumstance in your life demanded the question,

What would Jesus do?

Did you do it?

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[1] Hebrews 11:6
[2] 1 Peter 2:21
[3] Philippians 3:12
[4] Ephesians 5:1; 1 Corinthians 11:1
[5] Matthew 16:24
[6] Matthew 27:32
[7] Luke 14:27
[8] 2 Corinthians 12:10
[9] Mark 12:44
[10] Romans 5:8
[11] John 14:6; Philippians 1:21
[12] Gills commentary says,Christ is an example to his people in the exercise of grace, as of faith, love, zeal, meekness, and humility; and in the discharge of duty, in his regard to the commands of the moral law, and positive institutions of religion; in his constancy in prayer; in frequent attendance on public worship; in his submission to the ordinance of baptism, and his celebration of the supper; and likewise in his sufferings; and in his meekness, patience, courage, and resignation to the will of God, which is what is here intended, and in which his people are to fellow and imitate him.
[13] Galatians 2:20, 5:24; Colossians 3:3-7; Romans6:4; Ephesians 4:22-24; 1 Corinthians 15:31; and more.
[14] Romans 12:2