My Journey Along the Narrow Way

Archive for February, 2011

Casper in the Bottle…

When I was fairly young, we had a lava lamp in our living room.  It was a really funky-looking lava lamp with a pale green light and white lava in it.  Remember, this was the early 1970’s and a lava lamp went well with our early 70’s decor.   Anyway, I was convinced that the lava in the lamp was actually Casper the Friendly Ghost [before you say it, yes, I realize I was a very strange kid].

I loved Casper-in-the-bottle.  He was always there and I loved to turn the lamp on and watch him fly around.  I also loved to talk to him.  I think at first my parents probably thought it was really strange.  But after a while, I think they just found it amusing.  My love affair with Casper lasted only a little while but eventually, sadly, I grew up and moved on from my friend Casper.

It’s really funny to me how we just love certain things as kids and then as we grow we outgrow them and leave them behind.

When I was twelve, I decided that I was madly in love with, and going to marry, Shawn Cassidy.  The minute I laid eyes on him I was totally smitten as only a 12-year old can be with someone complete unrealistic and unattainable.  I loved all of his gumball pop music.  I knew every song by heart and pretended he was singing them to me.  I watched the Hardy Boys Mysteries show religiously the whole time it ran from January 1977 – January 1979.  I remember that I cried when it went off the air. 

One time there was a massive fire in the canyons above where we lived in California.  Everyone in the neighborhood was walking up the road to get closer and see the wildfire.  I remember being so upset with my dad because he wouldn’t let me walk back down the hill to our house and the Hardy Boys was about to come on.  Oh, for that to be my only worry now!

Well, twelve came and went and all of a sudden I was giving away my Shawn Cassidy t-shirt and was definitely too cool to listen to his music anymore.  However, the boy-bug had definitely hit so it was off to cooler guys to adore.

It’s funny to me that we are so fickle.  I mean, I realize it is really good to move on to more mature things but sometimes my interests come and go quicker than the wind. 

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

We are to grow up and give up our childish ideas and things.  I admit that when I thought back about Casper, the Lava Lamp Ghost and my Shawn Cassidy crush, I giggled.  But I also thought about how silly and childish both of those ideas were. 

So it is with Christianity.  There is something so very sweet about a brand-new “baby” Christian.  They are excited, exuberant, and want to tell everybody about what they are learning.  And we can definitely learn a lot about our first love and retaining that exuberance and excitement.  But baby Christians only know a little bit about God’s character.  They only know a little bit about a lot of Biblical things.  And that’s fine because they are babies.  What isn’t fine is when you see a person who has been a Christian for years and years and they still only know a little bit about a lot of Biblical things.

The Bible tells us we are to “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  2 Peter 3:18   We are not to stay the same as the day we were saved we are to learn more about our Lord.  We are to strive and struggle and study and in doing so, we know more and more about the character of God.  We grow in faith and become mature Christians.  

 As we start out we “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” (1 Peter 2:2)  But see the what the Bible has to say about the danger of staying with only milk.  Hebrews 5:12-14, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.  But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

So those who are of full age or Mature Christians, should be eating the meat of God’s Word not just the milk.  They should be studying God’s Word, digging into it, meditating on it, discussion it with their friends, listening to preachers who rightly discern the Word of God.  And like a person who is eating meat, you should be growing strong and healthy.

Open up that Bible.  Start reading and knowing God more.  Just like exercise, the more you do it, the stronger you will become! 

And don’t worry, I still think of my friend Casper everytime I see a lava lamp and it makes me smile!

I Like to Move it, Move it…

Yesterday I was driving to work and praying as usual and I came to the realization that enough is enough. I decided I had to get back on South Beach and I had to get back to exercising.

I had some success with South Beach last fall, loosing 20 lbs. However, I stumbled when I went to California over Thanksgiving. When we returned home, we had just found out about Bud going to Korea and Miss Emotional Eater came for a visit and stayed with a vengeance. This is not something new – I struggle with emotional eating pretty much all of the time. Just let me get upset about something and see where I head. It’s not to talk to someone or pray or read my Bible, like it should be…it’s straight to the refrigerator or cabinet.

I’m going to be completely transparent here – this is a something I absolutely HATE. This is sin and I know it. This is relying on something other than God to help me deal with hurt, pain, worry, etc. And I am really and truly OVER IT. My health is suffering and my closet is bursting at the seams with multiple sizes of clothes.

So, before I could change my mind, I signed up at Planet Fitness for their $10.00/month membership, which is totally worth it. And last night I went with Bella and worked out. Sure, I whined and sweated like a pig, and felt like I was going to puke, but I did it. I made it 25 minutes on cardio (15 minutes on the bike and 10 minutes on the stepper)! I’m sore this morning but I’m going to do it.

We are a Moment…

My stepmom fell today (at a doctor’s office, no less) and broke her hip.  She is currently in the Emergency Room getting admitted into the hospital where they will do surgery  tonight to fix her hip.

Prayers are appreciated – her name is Louava and my dad’s name is Troy.

This immediately brought to mind the suddeness of her fall.  It’s funny how we wake up each morning and we expect to make it through the day in one piece.  We expect for everything to be the same when we get home in the evening as when we left in the morning.  We forget how fleeting life is and how it can all change in the instant.

Before I was a believer, I used to still understand deep down in my heart that if I died without Christ, I would go to Hell.  I didn’t want to go to Hell.  I had been in church enough growing up to know Hell was not where I wanted to spend eternity.

So, what did I do about it?  I stuck my head in the sand.  I put my hands over my ears and closed my eyes and sang, “lalalalalalalala, I’m not listening.”  If my thoughts came even close to thinking about dying, I would quickly and firmly push them into a box and ignore them.

When I did actually let the thought of myself dying come into the corner of my mind, I would assure myself that when the time came, I would have time to “get things right” before dying.  I really thought that.  That I would actually have time to “get saved” at that last instant.  However, the Bible tells us in Job 14:1-2, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.  He comes forth like a flower and fades away; he flees like a shadow and does not continue.”

James 4:13-14 says, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

God calls us “a vapor”.  That is how fragile our lives are.  Just like a vapor that comes from a boiling pot, it soon disapates and is gone.  How silly of me to think that me, just a vapor, could just say to God, “Hold it just a minute, I’m not quite ready for You to take me.  I need just a few minutes so I can get saved”?

Ecclesiastes 8:7-8 says, “For he does not know what will happen; So who can tell him when it will occur?  No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit, And no one has power in the day of death. There is no release from that war, And wickedness will not deliver those who are given to it.”

What an arrogant thought.  And what an insult to the Cross of Jesus and the blood He shed to save men from their sins, for me to make it so cheap that I could just slide into salvation at the last minute.

But that’s what being lost does to you.  It makes you arrogant and self-righteous.  It makes you think that you have all the time in the world to do and live however you want to.  You’ll get right in the end…no problem.

Ecclesiastes 8:12-13 also says, “Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God.”

All this to say… Don’t wait!  You could be gone in an instant!  Romans 10:13 says, “For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”” Call on Him…be saved!  Do it now.  You may not have another chance.

Psalm 90:1-2

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

An Apple a Day…

So, I went to the doctor the other day for my yearly check-up. 

First I would like to say that I LOVE Dr. Dailey!  He is the best doctor I have ever seen.  After your lab work is done he actually sends you a letter with your lab report explaining it and giving his recommendations.  It’s so nice to actually have something in writing so you are not trying to remember everything the doctor is saying to you.

So…here’s the deal:

*  My cholesterol and triglycerides are still too high (C=251; T=170).  My LDL cholesterol is also high (163).   I will be taking some meds to lower my cholesterol since diet hasn’t seemed to help.

* My Vitamin D level is still a  low so I will continue to take supplements for that.

* Weight and BMI are too high – BIG surprise there (hahaha).  I guess the plan is diet and exercise (as usual).  We will see if it works this time.

Everything else looked good and aside for the things listed above, I am healthy.

This is the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius….

Everyone who knows me well knows that I love music. My life is lived to a soundtrack and I can pretty much tell you what was going on in my life and what I was feeling when I hear a song from way-back-when. My friend Kathryn and I used to break out into song at the drop of a hat during most any situation. She is one of the few people in my life who have the same “soundtrack to my life” kind of thing going on.

A couple of days ago, Bella and I decided to watch the movie “Hair”. It’s a pretty old movie (made in 1979) and I used to LOVE to watch it. I know my mom didn’t ever watch it because if she had, she would have never let me watch it – mostly due to some of the topics (and lyrics) in the movie. Aside from the naughty things in the movie…that movie really calls to me on a base level. I think it’s the wild-child freedom of the 60’s it portrays. That’s why music is such a part of my life. I am a flower-child born just a little too late. I have always been a free spirit…just a little different from everyone around me. I have a tendency to be a little crazy. I know a lot of people around don’t know that about me, because I’ve learned to hide it pretty well when the situation calls for it. But ask the people who know me best and they’ll agree. There’s just something not right about me.

Looking back at my life, I can see God’s grace in this too…

First off, being such a free-spirit, I definitely needed a firm hand on me growing up. God chose the perfect family to adopt me. It consisted of a father who was a nice straight-laced auditor and a quiet, demure, godly mother (think June Cleaver only even sweeter!). Even though I was raised in California, it was in a small, upscale, sleepy little town called Redlands. We walked to school past the orange groves, came home to home-baked chocolate chip cookies, and played in the back alley until my dad whistled for us to come home for dinner. Sometimes my quiet parents probably wondered what they had gotten into with this lively, free spirit that they brought home.

Second, God gave me a love of music. It always grounded me back where I needed to be when I was flitting around. It makes me happier when I’m sad, it calms me, it excites me. When God drew me to Him, music definitely taught me deep truths and allowed me to worship Him with wild abandon. It even gave me a place to plug in and get to know people via singing in the Adult Choir. There are not many strong memories in my life that don’t include music. I love that I can still hear a song I heard as a child or teenager and I can feel those feelings like it is right now. It gives me a way to remember the important things in my life.

So that being said, I’m going to turn on some music right now. I think a nice, eclectic mix of worship, contemporary Christian, old rock, a smidge of country, and a little sprinkle of pop should do the trick. Who’s ready to dance?

Yay!

So I just got some great news!

It isn’t something I can share just yet but just suffice it to say that God has shown out yet again!!!

Sometimes I feel so much like an Israelite in that I continually seem to forget how great God is and to remember His past deeds. I wonder why that is?

Deuteronomy 4:9

Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren.

Psalm 77:11-13

I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?

God has shown Himself faithful to me (and my family) again and again. And when I stop to think about it I am so thankful and amazed. But the problem is that I don’t seem to stop and think about it near enough. I seem to be content to just go through my life consumed with looking down and plodding ahead.

It reminds me of when Peter walked on the water.

Matthew 14:22-33

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.

Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Notice how Peter was fine until he took his eyes off of Jesus. But even more than that…like me, I wonder how much Peter missed of what Jesus was showing him by taking his eyes off of Him?

And also, see what the other disciples observed as they were watching what the Lord was doing:

Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Wow! I have got to look up. I am missing so much of His beauty and holiness.

And I definitely need to quit being so surprised when my Heavenly Father gives me good gifts and blessings. Scripture even tells us that God gives us good things if we ask (and even when we don’t).

Matthew 7:7-11

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

For now, I am remembering the past deeds of my Father and rejoicing in the blessing He has chosen to bestow on me.