Time for Change

Are we like we are because that’s how we see ourselves. How can I change how I am to something different? I continue to go along with the ways I’ve been doing things, my habits, and my limitations. How can I become better than I am? How can I get heaven’s perspective of me, and how can I help others to get heaven’s perspective of them? Questions with answers forthcoming.

Here are two great answers received from comments. What can we add to this list?

1. Look to Jesus. The more we look at Him, the more of Him reflects in us. Later we can see that we have indeed changed to be more like Him.

2. Practice seeing yourself and others through God’s eyes.

Just One Glass of Water, Please

water1As of Mother’s Day, 2013, we added a new addition to the Jordan household.  Her name is Flora, and she is a houseplant. She came to us in a pot with a handle saying “Welcome” to all who see her. She was arrayed with little red blossoms and rich green leaves. I personally thought she would love intense sunshine like all of us Jordans do. She did at first, but by water12the end of the day, her very first day alone at home on the front porch in direct sunlight, she responded by looking as if she were saying good-bye forever. All of the life had gone out of her leaves, blossoms began to fall off. It was obvious she wasn’t long for this world.

water2This wasn’t the first time I had seen something like this. I have lost many plants in my lifetime. I wanted this plant to survive. After all, she was a gift from my family, she was family! I decided to take action.

Based on a study I had read about the effects of human interaction on plants, I decided to talk to her. That’s when she got the name, Flora. Do you know that within the next six hours or so, she was flourishing like a palm tree (Psalm 92:12). She looked, and obviously felt marvelous! Perhaps I should mention that along with some friendly conversation, she received a nice full glass of water. We continued our research and continued talking to her daily (and watering her) and do you know whenever she looked wilted as she sometimes did, it only took some kind words and one glass of water and everything changed. Each time, she perked right up as if all she needed to thrive was a kind word (and a glass of water.)

water7Sometimes, that’s just what I need, too. Just please someone give me a glass of water (and some kind words.) Tell me I’m doing a good job, I’m helping you somehow, I did a great job raising my children, or you appreciate something I did. I’m often just thirsty for a kind word and encouragement. And if no one else provides it, I can find a way to encourage myself.

The most interesting part of our study proved to be the rapidity of the change in Flora. It was noted that sometimes within an hour or less of receiving kind words (and a glass of water) her countenance, her leaves, the feel of the dirt beneath her changed dramatically. Everything changed just that quick.

water8There is, as you see, conclusive evidence that kind words, appreciation, water, all produce rapid positive changes. Things can look alarmingly bleak, and in just the smallest amount of time, everything changes. Remember that as you start your day. It may be cloudy, and the next instant the sun shines. You may be feeling sick, and shortly, you feel better. You may be unhappy, moments pass, and you are happy again.  And it only takes a glass of water and some kind words.

And should you give a glass of water to any wilting plants you might see today? Only if you want to see them flourish “like a palm tree.”

Jesus said, in Matthew 25:34-40,” Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in, naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

What Are You Doing in the Hole?

hole6“911? Is this 911? Hello, I was calling 911.”

“Yes, this is 911, may I help you?”

“YES! HELP! Come quickly! I’m in a hole!”

“Yes, ma’am, could you spell your first, middle, and last name please, and what is the address of the hole, please.”

* * * * * * * *

hole7“Well, it’s about time you got here! Help! I’m in this hole, and I can’t get out!”

“Ma’am, excuse me, but what are you doing way down in that hole?”

“Whaaat?”

“I said, What are you doing way down in that hole.”

hole3“Well, I had this shovel in my hand you see, and I just said to myself, ‘I’m not any good at anything,’ and I tossed a shovelful of dirt over my head. Then I said to myself, ‘You have never been any good at anything,’ and I tossed another shovelful of dirt behind me. I said,’You never will be any good at anything.’ I began thinking about how I have no friends, nothing ever works out for me. I am totally confused. I’m not sure how to please God, or what I should do. I’ve been hole2eating too much, I don’t have enough money, I’m bored, I’m ugly, I’m stupid, I have no friends, and no one cares about me. I don’t like people, and they don’t like me. I can’t talk to people.hole15 Every time I open my mouth I stick my foot in it. Before I knew it, shovelful by shovelful I ended up down here. I’m looking up and come to think of it, you look like an ant with a fire helmet on. Are you an ant with a fire helmet on?”

“Ma’am, I’m here to help. I’m not an ant with a fire helmet. Can you grab hold of a vine or something on the side of the hole and pull yourself up?”

“No, sir, I can’t. It’s too slippery. I tried that, and I keep slipping back down. Don’t you have a ladder? Aren’t you going to help me? No one ever helps me.”

“Ma’am, I hate to tell you this, but I think you are slipping a little deeper. My ladder won’t reach. If you had called us before you got so deep, we could have reached you with the ladder. Look around for something to stand on. There are some rocks sticking out of the side. Isn’t that a rock, you could grab hold of and put under your feet. Look, it says something on it. What does it say?”

“Hmmmm, let me see. I’ve got it. It says, ‘Jesus loves me.’ I know that song.”hole1

“Ma’am, can you sing that song?”

“What? Are you crazy? I’m in a hole!”

“Ma’am, just start singing that song and look for rocks along the side, pull them out and read them and think about what they say. Believe what they say, and then stand on them. Keep going. That’s right! Read the rocks, sing, and put them under your feet. You’re already beginning to move up out of the hole. Come on! You can do it!”

hole9“Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes Jesus loves me. Yes Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.’ Here’s one that says, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ 2 Corinthians 12:9.  I’ll stand on that. And oh look at this, ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.’ 2 Timothy 1:7 That’s good!’ Hey, look at you. You’re not an ant!

hole2“Let me get this big rock over here, what does that say? Let me see,  ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ Philippians 4:13. I can stand on that. Okay, I can see you clearly now! Can you let down the ladder now? I think it will rest on these rocks I’m standing on.”

hole14“Sure, lady. I’ll be glad to. Read the names and words as you come up the ladder. You might be interested in what is written there.”

“Oh my! I see. Linda, Jamie, John, Savannah. Those are people that love me, and no doubt have been praying for me. And there’s ‘faith, hope, love.’ Oh that top one has my destiny written on it. If I had just stayed right there, I would not have gone down in the hole ”

hole10As she is pulled from the hole by the handsome, friendly firefighter, she hears cheers and applause. Tossing the shovel away, she is welcomed into the arms of family, friends and all who know her. She is thankful and happy again and moves on with their support into her destiny.

What to do When You Mess Up

edit1Have you ever said something and wished you hadn’t? Or done something and wished you hadn’t? Have you hurt someone unintentionally who you wouldn’t have hurt for anything in the world? Have you lost precious minutes because of letting your emotions and words run amok and then edit3couldn’t even remember what started it? You really want to erase it, do it over, go back in time. Could it be possible?

Yes, God has made a way for us to do this. Every movie or TV show we watch and every song we listen to has undergone numerous revisions. Even as I write this, I can backspace, delete or cut. In fact, I do it so often, I hardly think about it. If you could see what I have written without backspace and delete, it would be embarrassing to say the least. Some things we say or the way we act can be embarrassing as well. We would love to always be able to say the right thing and act the right way, but just like our fingers when we type, our actions and reactions are often  swifter than our thoughts. Somehow, with God’s help we will find a way to redo it.

If you have ever watched a behind-the-scenes creation of a movie, you know they do a few minutes or seconds, edit5then cut, then do-over hundreds of times to get it right. And even after the tape is finished, there are multiple changes. Even whole scenes are cut out, never to be seen by the public. And no actor or producer is still talking about the scenes that didn’t make the cut. It’s history; it’s just tape on the cutting room floor to be swept away at the end of the day and forgotten. What remains is what’s entertaining, inspiring, significant.

edit4We can create a life like that too. When we don’t get it right, say the right thing, feel the right way, have the right perspective. we can mentally rewrite the script and shoot the scene again in our imagination. We not only learn from our mistakes this way, but we rehearse a better action, reaction, or attitude that will set us up for getting it right the next time. We can use buttons that work the same in our imagination as backspace, delete, cut, undo, redo. Our buttons have different names. They are called “repent,” “forgive,” “forget,” move on.” As we use these buttons to revise our lives, we no longer replay bad scenes that leave us feeling like we’ve watched a bad movie. We focus on those inspirational, entertaining, and significant events and days in our lives. We can replay them over and over and when the credits roll at the end of the movie, we’re going to feel pretty good when we hear the Critic proclaim, “Well done!”edit6edit7

Lower the Temperature, Keep It Cool

??????????????????????????????????????????????????Do you feel the pressure rising on the inside of you. Your thoughts heating up? Steam building like a pressure cooker? Thoughts rolling around causing you to spiral almost out of control of your imagination? Someone was unfair to you. Someone doesn’t like you. Someone didn’t treat you right. You’re worried about something. Anger, fear, frustration, confusion, depression oppression?  Oh no! Stop before it gets worse. But how can you?

temperature1Take a deep breath and turn down the temperature. That is the way we would deal with a boiling pot before it overflows onto the stove, making a huge mess. Deep breath, new thoughts. Look at it from another angle. Completely change your focus. Think of things you’re grateful for. Think of how it might look to the other party. Put the best connotation on it. Things are often not the way they seem. Ask God a question about this. That’s right, bring the temperature down. Is there anything you can do to change the situation? Is there something you could do to make it right? Is there a way that you could help someone else through this? Do it. Think of the positive outcome. Now isn’t that much better?temperature4 temperature5