Sunday, March 1, 2015

Who Knew?

Sure enough, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. With that being stated, it sometimes takes personal experience to gain this insight.

Such as the fact that not all “As Seen on TV” products work as shown. For the record, I can testify that the cordless vacuum, which was promised as having the power to pick up a bowling ball, was not super strong. While it is true that I didn’t try to pick up any bowling balls, I can tell you the one I received could barely pick up a toast crumb. I should’ve known if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Just like the legendary Fountain of Youth - a spring where youth is restored to all who drink or bathe in her waters – sounds way too good to be true.

However, this I do believe is true: whatever age you currently are has nothing to do with how you feel. Only you are in control of your feelings.

So, how do you feel?

We have the ability to feel young and free, no matter if we’re 15, 50, or 93! We are in charge of our feelings.

The other day I read about a person who had to have one of his legs amputated at the age of 17. What he did while he was healing from the amputation is a testimony on how we are responsible for our own happiness in this life.

His name is William Ernest Henley. He wrote the inspirational poem Invictus while recovering in the hospital from losing his leg. It was written in 1875, but still today the message is clear. The words tell us that no matter what crosses, which may invade our lives, one can remain unbeaten. One can become Invictus – unconquered, invincible.

I know I feel this when I look at the big picture of life. Where I look in the mirror and can see all the aspects of my life, not just a person who is showing signs of wear and tear. My thoughts become purposeful as I recall these words of William Ernest Henley:

“It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”

Isn’t it about time we played a role in the direction of our destiny? After all, we are the masters of our fate, the captains of our souls.

(Thank you to the special someone who gave me a copy of the Invictus poem - I find myself being pulled into it’s meaning over and over again. Who knew?)

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Real Thing

Thirst-quenching, refreshing, exhilarating are the words that come to mind when I think about Coca-Cola whose advertisement once claimed to be the real thing. On a terribly hot day the brown fizzy liquid poured over ice looks very pleasing.

But is it even close to the real thing?

If I want the undeniably real thing that is both pleasing and rewarding I think about God. He knows my innermost wants and needs, my desires, the sorrows that burn my heart, and all that overwhelms me. He has seen all the joys I’ve experienced, and He knows all the blessings bestowed upon me.

There isn’t anyone who knows what lies deep within my soul the way God does. He does this through love.

And, it’s the real thing.

Once you’ve experienced it you’ll never be the same. His love is so deep for us that it goes beyond this life into eternal life.

“Do not be afraid – I am with you! I am your God – let nothing terrify you! I will make you strong and help you; I will protect you and save you.” (Isaiah 41:10)

For me these words from the book of Isaiah are the real thing all right. They are restoring, heart warming, encouraging words that let me know I’m loved and protected.

Some say Love is the most overused word in the English language. Not true for our God.

He is Love.

And it’s the real thing.

"God loves each of us as if there
were only one of us."

(St. Augustine)

Photo credits belong to Shannon O'Donnell (drawing of Coke picture) and Cullen O'Donnell (photograph of ocean waves)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Boxed In

I have a beautiful box in which I store very special belongings. I don’t keep trash or junk in this special box.

It was made to hold things. Never would I ever think of literally putting someone in my box. First off they would have to be shrunk, and secondly things belong in boxes not people.

This may sound perfectly reasonable, yet there are people who persist on shoving us inside a labeled box. No matter how much we’ve changed, they view us as the way they used to see us. Maybe we used to be up to no good, but then Christ came into our lives and now we are good and Holy too. We could have been guilty of milking the system, but have changed and currently play by all the rules.

Regardless of how far we’ve come, they choose to continue seeing us as who we used to be, not who we currently are. We can be assured that God has not designed any boxes where sinners are to be dumped and abandoned. Our God wants us all to live in His future Kingdom and continues to give us the chance to change and grow and repent.

"God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, He forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong." (1 John 1:19)

God knows us and is aware of our full potential. He has already let go of our past, if it still hovers around it is because we have not let it go fully.

God sees our capabilities in which we all can achieve. Do we?

"It is in pardoning that
are pardoned."
(Francis of Assisi)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mission Possible

To climb Mount Everest is quite an undertaking and once done an awesome accomplishment. Personally, I’ve never been to the peak of “the forehead in the sky” as it is called. To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been remotely close to Mount Everest, a.k.a. earth’s tallest mountain.

But that does not mean my mission in life is a walk in the park. As I understand it, God has given us all a mission.

 “You will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts1:8)

If you’re like me there are times when this mission of spreading God’s word seems just as daunting as trying to climb Mount Everest. Not everyone wants to hear about God and the Bible. Some people don’t believe and like to test and throw out questions that cannot be answered by a mere human.

Being human has it’s flaws and sometimes we aren’t as Holy as we should be, which makes us look like a weak witness to say the least. On top of all this we have our own faith that needs nurturing on a daily basis.

If I had to climb Mount Everest, I would seek the help of one who has climbing experience, and the same goes for being a missionary for God. I look to those with experience in this field of work.

So, for starters, as I go about my quest in life I try to remember this saying from St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

A smile forms as I put into play this advice from Mother Teresa, “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

I find inspiration to keep striving towards my goal from J. Hudson Taylor, “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies.”

God has given us all a mission; we are to proclaim His love and forgiveness by living a Christian life.

Wondering how your mission is going and what ways you play your part as a witness?

"Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples."

(Psalm 96:3)

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Problem with Problems

They exist. That’s the main problem.

I have my share. They vary in size and seriousness similar to that of the forever changing weather patterns.

I can laugh at my little problems. These are the ones I consider to be “First Class Problems,” like having to remove two outfits from my carry on bag that won’t zip shut. Or, having to eat around the burnt parts of a pizza I tried to reheat.

I know, I know, these dilemmas are nothing…that’s why after I come to my senses I can laugh.

How we handle our problems has a lot to do with how much of a role they play in our lives.

It is a mystery in the making. Are blessings present in spite of brokenness? Did brokenness bring forth blessings?

What a paradox.

Two different people can have the same problem; strangely one is happy, the other miserable. The difference is the way the problem is approached. I have been witness to this numerous times. 

Best thing we can do is stir up the courage to embrace our problems. Acceptance along with faith cures all fears (and problems.) Don’t let someone tell you how terrible you have it, instead turn to God for guidance. Nothing is too big for our God.

Romans 12:2-3 “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”