Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Gift

It’s funny how different we all are, but at the same time how much we're all alike.
Do you have that one thing, or maybe even more, that you do the same every day?
I know I do. It’s funny watching friends, family or co-workers doing the same things each day. I see people who have a fresh cup of coffee that they have stopped at the same convenience store every day to get that coffee. "Wouldn't it be easier and faster to just make a pot at home before you leave?"
One of the things I do on the days I work, I make an egg sandwich to take to work with me. If I don't the day just seems out of place.
Maybe doing some of the same things every day gives us some since of control over our day? In reality, none of us really know what is going to happen to or around us on any given day.
I've had the habit of reading my Bible every night before I go to bed for years.
There have been days that I'm so sleepy that I can't keep my eyes open, still I pick it up and open it to where ever I'm reading at the time. Sounds crazy what could anyone possibly get out of reading half asleep?
It just makes my day better by doing that, just like the person who stops to get the cup of coffee or hot-chocolate.
My egg sandwich is always the same, not the same with what I'm reading each day.
About 4 weeks ago that wasn't the case.
I just kept reading the same story over and over in my Bible. Why? I wasn't sure, I just kept going back to the same place, 2Kings 10-15 were Elisha inherits Elijah's mantel.
What I was reading wasn't very long at all, only 8 sentences. Coffee, hot-chocolate and egg sandwiches is one thing but to read the very same thing over and over every day.
I remember thinking, "This is weird" and it's me doing it!
About a week into doing this one of my friends, Jennifer, called me and said she had something for me. I was so excited! She said she was cleaning out her office and found this "thing" and felt like she was supposed to give it to me.
I couldn't wait to get it, I wanted it right away, but I would have to wait.
We don't get to see each other that much because of our busy lives, it's actuality a treat to even get to talk to each other.
For two weeks there wasn't a day that didn't go by that I didn't think of this "gift" Jennifer was giving me. I'm like a little kid when it comes to gifs. A few weeks later I attended her daughter’s school play, Afterword’s we went back to their house. We were there about 10 minutes before it came to my mind, "Do you have my gift?” I said like some 5 year old.
She kind of laughed and said, "Oh, yeah"
I was so excited; I couldn't wait to see what she was giving me. I could hear her saying from a distance, "it's not a big deal". She didn't want me to have my hopes up for some great big present. It didn't matter to me that this was something she had for years and was "handing it down". It's just fun, it doesn't matter where it came from.
She walked into the room with her "gift" and the 4 weeks of reading the same thing over and over came to life before my eyes. What was it?
It was her prayer mantel.
I told her the story about how I'd been reading the same thing over and over for weeks, she was thankful that I shared that with her.
What was my message in all this? For years I've helped others with their ministries, walked beside them and held them up in prayer.
For the past few years I've been working on my own ministry and I felt like the Lord was telling me with this "gift" I was going in the right direction.
There is no special power in this mantel; the power comes from knowing God is directing our paths. I sometimes think these "things" we do every day is what connects today to tomorrow.
What a wonderful "Gift". Jennifer says the best gift in this entire story was being able to give me the mantel. I think the best gift in this story is having a friend who prays for you........Thanks Jen!

Friday, December 10, 2010

For the love of puppys.....

Memories are a funny thing; they can take you from a happy place in time to a sad place in time. When we were kids my brother, Gary, and I use to talk about a lot of things. I remember talking about time travel one time, "does it exist or not?"
The best time travel in the world is right inside our heads, our memories.
I can see anyone that I've ever seen or go anywhere that I've ever been, in just an instant. The only thing is we can't change anything about our past memories.
Can you think of anything you'd like to change about a memory you have? I can.
I think most people would say they wish they hadn't done this or that, for those of you who know me you won’t be surprised to find out it involves a puppy!
Memories are funny; you can be 5 in one and not have another till you're 7 or 8.
The memory I'm speaking of happened when I was 10, I think?
I remember it being very cold outside and I was playing out without a coat, when from nowhere came the cutest puppy I'd ever seen. He must have only been about 9 or 10 weeks old. He was yellow and had a ton of hair, like a "Golden Retriever".
I remember calling for him and wanting to pet him so bad that I just knew he wasn't going to come to me, but he did. I remember how warm his fur made my uncovered arms and how he seemed to snuggle up to me as I held him.
After holding him a few seconds I ran up the stairs into the building my family and I were living in. My smile soon turned to a frown when I heard my Mom yell, "Get that dog out of here!"
"I love this puppy, why doesn't everyone love him?" I did what my Mom told me and took him back outside, I stayed out with him as long as I could stand the cold. I can remember walking up the stairs looking back at the puppy with tears in my eyes.
I fell asleep thinking about the puppy and woke up thinking about him. As soon as I woke up I ran outside calling for the puppy, "here Pup". "Someone else has gotten him", I thought to myself. Just as I gave up and started up the stairs I seen something the color of his fur, I yelled to myself, "there he is asleep under that car". I ran as fast as I could to get to him. I looked under the car, "yep, it's him!"
"Come on, pup", why wasn't he getting up? I realized he wasn't asleep, he was frozen to death. I picked him up and held him in my arms; I remember my face being so cold from the tears running down it. Someone, I don't remember who, came and took him from my arms and told me it'd be alright and to go home.
I think about this a lot, "what could I have done to save the puppy?"
Could I have made him a house, put him in a car or even disobeyed my Mom and hid him in the house?
The truth is there is nothing I could have done.
As an adult I think of this story and I'm thankful the puppy had someone to love it
Also, I like to think he went to sleep thinking about me, just like I did him.
So many people turn their backs on people in need because they think, "someone else will help them". Sometimes we are "someone else".
Watching people not helping someone with an "I'll show them" attitude makes me so sad, not for the "needy" but for the ones who have been hardened by the world.
How do people get that way? I believe they get that way one puppy at a time.
Remember I said there was something about this memory I'd like to change?
I'm sure you're thinking it has something to do with the puppy? It doesn't.
I'd like to remember the man who took the puppy out of my hands and told me to go home and that it'd be alright. Why? Because I'm almost sure that man was Jesus and he was telling me it'd be alright, not because the puppy was coming back to life, because the warmth from my heart for other living things had saved mine.