Laughter is Good Medicine

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Thank God for humor! Right?

Sometimes I think my life is an episode of I Love Lucy. Just like Lucy, I often find myself in ridiculous moments.

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One year for Christmas my youngest daughter made me a gift of a decorated jar, filled with 365 notes of encouragement, one for each day of the year. I love those handmade gifts! jar

One note read: What would Lucy do? Don’t do that!

Yes, my children inherited my humor and ability to laugh at ourselves.

God gave us the gift of laughter. Life can be serious and we need the reprieve of some comic relief.

Years ago, there was a women’s conference and I wanted to go. It was a couple hours away drive and I thought it would be nice to have another lady (or two) ride with me. I asked my pastor if he knew anyone who might like to go with me.

Suddenly it became an event and I was appointed the one in charge of all the arrangements. It went from having a lady or two to ride with, to a couple van loads of women. It is never a straight drive from point A to point B with a bunch of women; especially when one woman has taken a fluid pill before departure.

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With each bathroom stop, the fluid pill lady would run into a bathroom while the rest of us watched the clock tick. Of course I didn’t factor in the multiple bathroom breaks when leaving the church parking lot, so I had to make up the time on the highway so we wouldn’t be late.

“Uh, Stacey, the angels don’t fly past the speed limit!” Gotta love the side seat drivers. “Slow down!”

We finally arrive in the nick of time, and all the ladies pile out of the vans like circusClown-Car clowns, making a mad dash to the entrance doors; leaving me, my aunt, and Nancy, behind.

Nancy was a dear friend and sweet woman. She was not in good health and was almost not going to come on the trip because she was worried her handicap would hinder her. I called the event in advance to be sure it would be handicap accessible and she would not have to climb any stairs to her seat. I really wanted Nancy to come with us because I believed it would be uplifting for her spirit. After some coaxing she agreed to come.

So there we are; myself, my aunt, and Nancy, lagging behind in the dust of the other women.

“You go ahead so you can get a seat.” Nancy said. “I will catch up.”

“Absolutely not! We are not leaving you.” My aunt and I assured her.

We made our way into the event and the ushers graciously led us to the special needs section, right up front, to the right of the stage. Turned out to be the best seats in the house!

The rest of the ladies were seated on the stage, behind where the speaker would be speaking. As we were taking our seats, the ladies waved to us, joyful to be on the stage seating. But, when the event began, it turned out they didn’t have good seating after all, they had to watch the speaker from behind. Turns out stage seating is not the best seating after all. There we are; us in the front row and them on the stage, watching us watch the speaker.

Halfway through the event I had to use the restroom, because I didn’t take the opportunity during one of our umpteen bathroom breaks on the road. Hey, someone had to keep the engine revving!

I, as inconspicuously as I could, duck down and creep out of the row, walk all the way to the back exit door of the sanctuary (it was a very large church), and made my way to the restroom. After I exit the sanctuary I hear something drop. I look down and it is a large paper sign:

Reserved for Special Needs  

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Yep, when I sat down I didn’t remove the sign that was taped to the chair, and you guessed it…. it stuck to my bottom.

I laugh to myself, because at this point I didn’t think anyone saw this little blunder.

I get back to my seat and I whisper to my aunt, “You are never going to believe what happened.”

“We know! We know!” She say’s, laughing, tears rolling down her cheeks.

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I look over to Nancy and she is laughing. All three of us trying to control ourselves in this most “spiritual” atmosphere. I look up to the stage and all the ladies are laughing too. They may not have been able to see the front of the speaker, but they sure did get a good view of my back side. Everyone saw me walking, dignified, through the sanctuary with a big ol’ sign stuck to my bottom.

The event was being video recorded and I often wonder what people must think of the ladies in the background of the stage, laughing until they cried, while the speaker was preaching to the audience. Maybe they would think the ladies had a touch of the Holy Ghost giggles.

To this day I look back on that trip with fondness and I laugh at the memory. (I will have to share the adventure of the ride home in another post.)

Yes, laughter is good medicine. We have to take a step back and just enjoy the moments, because those moments are what make memories.

Be Free & Stay Free

Love-O-Meter

 

 

 

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If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction].  And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new homeless-dogs-unconditional-love-best-friend-361__700message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing.  If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all.

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not man-holding-woman-armsjealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant.  It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail].  Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].

Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. But as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for the gift of special knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part [for our knowledge is fragmentary and da738a2e672662c87d25e6520b7e7a44--black-white-photos-black-and-whiteincomplete].  But when that which is complete and perfect comes, that which is incomplete and partial will pass away.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.  For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God].  

And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love. 

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1 Corinthians 13

 

Distracted From Your Purpose

 

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Pesky distractions, we have all been  guilty of this at times, huh.

We set our mind to something and we promise ourselves we are gong to be productive… tomorrow. Then tomorrow comes and there is that distraction that seems so important at the time. I mean, come on now, we all know the world would fall off it’s axis if we didn’t just check the Facebook real quick, but there is no such thing as real quick, is there? Before we know it the day is spent and we say, “tomorrow,” again.  Sigh.

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Social media can be a good thing, in moderation. But, too many of us are living our lives on social media, and all the while, life is passing us by. We have friends we have never even met before, it is simpler to just like a post, comment here and there, send a Happy Birthday meme (because their birthday reminder showed up in our newsfeed) and paint a picture of how well adjusted and happy (or miserable) our lives are.

So much talk lately about “fake.” Most of us are more guilty of being fake than those we point our fingers at. With all our Christian memes we post, prayer requests that are liked and then forgotten, we have seemed to be so distracted we forgot what the last words of Jesus were before He ascended into Heaven.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20

Even Paul said:

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1

Too many of us are running in circles and wondering why we are not getting anywhere. We ask God what is our purpose, but we seem to not really want to invest in it. It is like looking for something grand and shunning the most simple.

It is not how many Bible verses we can quote or what church we sit in on Sundays that really makes a difference. It is about how many lives we have reached with the love of Christ. It is about relationships.

Hell would like nothing more than to keep us busy, busy with good things and time wasters, because if we are busy then we can not fulfill the real purpose we are here. We are here to share the love of Christ and to point others to Him. We are to be making disciples. If this were not so, then we would immediately die and go to Heaven as soon as we are saved. But, we didn’t die, did we? We are still here and we are an extension of Him.

The world is dying and people are lost. They are seeking answers and the enemy would happily point them to the counterfeit. We are losing people to addictions and suicide. Families are falling apart. Kids are joining gangs, babies are having babies, the innocent are being exploited, people are going to bed hungry, and the list goes on and on and on…

We have the answer! The answer is Christ!If we have the love of Christ in us, we should not be OK withholding the truth and life from a dying people.

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You do not have to be a Bible scholar to share Him. It doesn’t require a certificate or degree to invite someone over for coffee, or to come alongside a young mother, or help a young man get on the right track, or sit with an elderly person.

We can not sit back any longer and say it’s the churches responsibility, because guess what… we are the Church.

As I read over what I wrote thus far, I am tempted to change it, because I really do not mean for this to come off sounding harsh. But, I am going to leave it as is, because I am a mother and I have children who live across the country, and friends all over the world, and unsaved family members, and maybe someone reading this post may be that someone who will reach out to them and help me love them into the Kingdom.

You want to know what your purpose is? Look outside, get off the internet and look outside, your purpose is someone out there. Maybe at your job, your grocery store, the gym you go to, the park you walk your dog, the homeless man down the street, they are your mission field.

If you have His Holy Spirit, then you have all you need to make a difference.

Be blessed and be a blessing.

Be Free & Stay Free 

If We Are The Body

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The other day I overheard a conversation between two women. It actually broke my heart to hear what was being said.

The conversation went something like this:

“I quit going to church, I love Jesus, but I quit going to church because I am too lonely. I tried different churches, but no one will talk to me. I need friends. I have tried introducing myself, I spoke to the pastors, I tried to joining groups, but no one seems to want to know me. I know if they would take a couple minutes to get to know me they would like me, no one can even talk to me for 15 minutes. My counselor told me it is because they do not want to know me. Sometimes I get so lonely, I need friends, but I can’t take being rejected in church anymore.”

What is wrong with this picture?

I understood what she was saying, because I have felt it too. I am sure most of us have felt it. This ought not to be…especially in His church.

People are turning to the world for their answers and the world offers false hope, temporary fixes.

I read an article a while back about gangs recruiting the youth. It said the main lure for youth to joining gangs is to have a sense of belonging, a community, a family. Many of the youth that join gangs come from broken homes, they do not have a father figure in the home. Even though it is dangerous to be in a gang, to them it was better and more safe than being alone. Not only does membership in a gang give you a sense of community, it also offers protection.

I want to sound an alarm to the church. Wake up, wake up!

It was not that long ago when the headlines read the rise of depression is rising, even in the church. People are taking their own lives, families are being torn apart, addictions are wreaking havoc in lives, more people are choosing to shack up than marry, the world has crept into the church to weaken the church, yet the world remains strong.

The world is like a gang, recruiting souls. Oh, church, when will we wake up and see? When will we love as the Father loves? When will we be about the Fathers business as Jesus was? Are we really too busy we can’t take 15 minutes to talk to someone and let them know someone cares? Are our homes such a monument that we can’t even invite someone in to dine with us? Are we that selfish we can’t give of our resources to advance the Kingdom and to be the face of Christ to the world and to each other?

Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)? Romans 2:4

If we say we are His we must have His love in us. We must not have a form of Godliness and deny the power.

Jesus said, “By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].” John 13:35

Again…  And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment. The second is like it and is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31

I believe Jesus made it pretty clear what we are to do if we are His followers. We are to love. To deny a brother or sister is to abandon them. No one in the body of Christ should ever feel alone, isolated, abandoned. Also, how will people ever believe God loves them when His own Body doesn’t?

Pity the person who falls down and has no one to help him back up.

Loneliness and isolation leads to depression, hopelessness. Please, be aware of the people God has placed around you. You have the answer within you, share it. Be His arms, His legs, His mouth.

You must purpose to love people, to reach out to people, or it will not happen. The world will keep you so busy and distracted and all of the “I will do it tomorrow” will never happen.

Look around you, there are hurting people. There are people who are ready to throw in the towel. Be the one who stands up and gives them one more reason to try again.

True religion is not found in your wallet, or in a church pew, or in 101 church activities… it is found through love. It is found caring for the orphans and widows, visiting people in the time of their distress.

I like a quote I once heard… “Preach the Gospel ALWAYS and sometimes use words.”