Category: Encouragement

Sharing support, courage & hope

A Revolution of Empathy

I woke up this morning thinking about Barabbas, an insurrectionist, revolutionary, and murderer during Jesus’ day.

“Insurrection – a violent uprising against authority or government. An act or instance of revolting against civil authority or established government.”

Webster

He sought to bring political revolution to Jerusalem which was under Roman rule and was an active participant in the political turmoil, and religious unrest of Jesus’ time. He was arrested, found guilty of murder and insurrection and was awaiting his due punishment – death.

The crowds gathered before Pilate’s judgment bench and asked for Barabbas to be released in exchange for Jesus. After thunderous exchanges, Barabbas was set free and Jesus was condemned to death.

Barabbas and Jesus…

One man wanted a political revolution, the other a revolution of love.

I believe one can work towards producing the other. I believe the latter will birth the former.

Do you know what lies at the heart of a man or woman’s deepest longings? Guess… what would you say? To be loved? To be accepted? To be wanted? Yes, those are all huge.

But one of our deepest longings is to feel heard. We each need to feel understood, to have our feelings noticed, our hurts legitimized. We find a way to handle it if people don’t agree with our feelings, but we still want them validated.

Don’t you find yourself more willing and ready to do something for someone who gave you that validation, acknowledged your hurt; the one who actually gave their ear and heart to you and your expressions?

” Empathy – the action of understanding, being aware of, sensitive to. The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”

Webster

When you empathize with someone, you have taken action. You have given your attention, time, focus, effort and heart to listen to their feelings and do your best to understand them. Whether or not you fully understand is less important than the point that you consistently make the effort to listen. For in time, you will see a clearer picture and begin to feel what they have felt. We learn to empathize and can grow in empathy.

As a matter of fact, smart people have established a category of people called HEP’s – Highly Empathic People; and have outlined 6 habits that those HEP’s have. They :

  • have a curiosity about strangers
  • challenge prejudices & discover common ground instead
  • try another person’s life
  • listen hard and open up
  • inspire action and change
  • develop an ambitious imagination

Now, more than ever, in these days of revolution, I believe we are in need of a Revolution of Empathy. A Revolution of love in action that hears and feels the hurt, feelings, and deep seated emotions. A revolution that seeks to listen, feel, and cry with others. A revolution that will indeed change society, politicians, and government.

A revolution of people committed to strangers, who will not just lay aside personal prejudices, but change them, all while seeking to hear broken hearts and try on what it’s like to be that person. Revolutionaries who will listen hard and be open in return. Revolutionaries who will inspire others to join in this Revolution of Empathy and Love and expect big and lasting changes in our world.

We are in need of the Revolution of love that Jesus demonstrated with Barabbas.

Cheers to you.

Justice

In case you’ve missed it, “JUSTICE” is the cry of the land right now. Although there seem to be many messages intertwined in the fervor, the prevailing, and justifiable issue is justice. Although some of the methods, actions, and outcries are riotous rage, still, the underlying issue is justice.

The Founding Fathers used the phrase, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal…”

And our American pledge to the flag says, “… with liberty and justice for all.”

But we all know, justice has not been for all, and that is the issue at hand. So, a common question is asked by many and is found also in Job 8:3 “… does God pervert justice?

The answer is a resounding “NO!”. God has always placed a high priority on justice, defending the oppressed, standing with the poor, the abused, the needy, the underdog, the downcast, the forsaken, the silenced. God told his people over and over to do justice. Here are a few times:

  • Do justice to the afflicted Psalm 82:3
  • Justice is more acceptable (from believers) than sacrifice Proverbs 21:3
  • Is there no one to call for justice? Isaiah 59:4
  • Do what is lawful and right (just, justice) Ezekiel 18; & 33
  • I love justice Isaiah 61:8
  • He has show man what is good and required – to do justice Micah 6:8
  • Learn to do right and seek justice Isaiah 1:17
  • If you see your brother in need and close your heart to his cries, how does God’s love dwell in you? 1 John 3:17-18

As a nation, it is time for there to be healing, forgiveness, repentance, unity and rebuilding of healthy relations between all races. But that only comes with humility, admission, confession and truthfulness.

It is time to look deep with within our hearts and admit what is there, take actions as appropriate and heal the divide. It starts individually. It must begin in each of us.

I trust that each of us are looking within, but I challenge you to not just look – TAKE ACTION. Looking is not enough, change is needed, action is called for and healing will come.

In the video below, I give a list of 4 Actions for Justice, in case you need some ideas.

What is important today, is that we all take some kind of action. There are so many possibilities! It is up to you and where you are as an individual.

But it is up to us to change the world. To do justice. It is up to us to take the baton and run with the message of “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.” Because God does not pervert justice, it is who He is and what He loves.

It is not good to be partial of deprive justice. Proverbs 18:5

Cheers to you.

The Most Beautiful Heart

This is a beautiful short story, whose author in unknown.

A young man was proud of his healthy and beautiful heart. One day, standing in the middle of town, he proclaimed that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley. A large crowd gathered to have a look at his heart. His heart was smooth, shiny, and looked very healthy. Indeed, the man had the most beautiful heart in the valley, everyone agreed.

The proud young man felt delighted and boasted his perfect heart which everyone admired. Suddenly, a voice from the crowd said, “Your heart is not as beautiful as mine.” The young man searched for the person behind the voice and an old man appeared in front of him.

“Show us your heart if you believe you have got a more beautiful heart than mine”, said the young man. The old man carefully showed his heart. The crowd and the young man looked at the old man’s heart. The heart was beating strongly and healthily but it was not smooth and shiny as the young man’s heart. Instead, it had scars all over it. It had places where some pieces of the heart had been removed and other pieces were put in. The other pieces didn’t fit perfectly and there were several uneven edges. In some places, there were even deep gouges where some pieces were missing.

The crowd laughed at the old man’s heart. “How can he claim that he has the most beautiful heart when it is all scared and uneven,” they thought.

The young man looked at the old man’s heart and laughed. “You must be kidding. Compare your heart and mine. My heart looks perfect and smooth and yours is a mess of scars and tears.”

“Yes, your heart looks perfect, but I would never trade your heart with mine,” said the old man. “Every scar in my heart represents a person whom I have given my love. I tear a piece of my heart and give it to them. Often, my loved one gives me back a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my heart. Since everyone loves each other in a different way, their piece of heart may not perfectly fit in my heart, so you can see some rough edges. These scars and rough edges remind me of the love we shared.” he continued.

“Sometimes I would give a piece of my heart, but the other person may not return a piece of his heart to me. These are the empty gouges. Although these gouges are painful, these remind me of the love I have for these people too. So do you now see what a true beauty I have?” asked the old man.

The young man and the crowd stood silently with tears running down their cheeks. The young man walked to the old man, reached into his perfect young and beautiful heart, ripped a piece out of it and offered it to the man with trembling hands. The old man gratefully received his offering, placed it in his heart and then took a piece from his old heart and placed it in the young man’s heart.

The young man looked at his heart, it did not look shiny and smooth like it used to. But, it was now more beautiful because he could feel the love from the old man’s heart flowing into him. They embraced and walked away side by side.


May today mark the start of generational healing and binding together.

May today mark the binding up of broken hearts and a recognition of the beauty that radiates from brokenness.

May today mark the reality that nothing in our lives is wasted and serves a useful purpose in strengthening our heart.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 NIV

Cheers to you.

A Little Foggy

We recently had made plans to meet a friend at the harbor and get her launched with her new kayak. As it turned out, the weather was not very cooperative.

Although when my husband and I first started out it was chilly, by the time our friend had arrived it was drizzly, windy and foggy (or very misty). So we sat in the cabin for a while and then it actually started raining and the fog horn began blasting its short bursts sending alarm to all. Oh boy!

We chatted and got caught up until it eventually stopped raining and the moisture lightened up as did the foggy haze. So we seized the moment, launched the kayak and enjoyed sharing the excitement of a new kayaker on the water with coaching, cheering, instructing and encouraging. The weather was manageable and the company enjoyable.

Visibility was limited but descent, chill was present (too chilly for me to paddle as she kayaked) but she was “happier than words can say.” Knowing she would need to launch herself from Baby Beach eventually, we decided to drive our dinghy and tow the kayak to Baby Beach for her to practice there. So we set out on the half mile jaunt.

As we proceeded, it was getting colder, rainier and foggier. We were very cold, wet and literally in a fog. Yet we splashed on and arrived at our destination. Each noted on the short trip, how long it seemed to be taking, and each was probably thinking, “What in the world are we doing out in this?”.

When we arrived at our destination, it was not as foggy or windy, so kayaking around was again a pleasure and learning curve for our friend who was totally loving it, minus the cold wind on the way. She was even able to paddle herself back, learning the currents, winds, vessel rules and paddle strokes as we drove alongside of her in the dinghy.

Way to go, Virginia!

By the time we arrived back at the boat, the fog had totally lifted, the moisture entirely gone from the air, the skies were blue, and we were hot and very happy campers (or kayakers). What a difference! What a change from when we first started out. We hadn’t the foggiest notion such a change would be granted to us.

We were able to spend some more quality time in the warm sun, enjoying a late lunch and each other’s company. The fog had lifted for us beautifully.

Foggy similarities:

  1. Fog forms in the difference between cold and warm air (air temperature & dew point) – my mind will be a little foggy or a lot foggy when there are major highs and lows in my life. I need stability, level paths, consistency, routine, regularity.
  2. Fog lowers visibility – I can see nothing clearly when my head space is foggy. In a fog, it is solid objects that cast shadows. Everything I see is off, because of fog’s affect.
  3. As air heats up, fog disappears – doing something, getting moving, starting something will warm me up and the mental fog will disappear. The hotter I get, the brighter it will become.
  4. Being fogged in – even though the environment is currently telling me I’m unable to move about safely, I won’t allow myself to get fogged in. There are ways to keep on splashing through the fog. Find them. Heat up the air. See the fog lift.
  5. Fog can disappear as suddenly as it appears – this “flash fog” depends on humidity and temperature. So again, fight off coldness, cooling off, chilling out too much and I will see flash fog flee.
  6. Fog drip – the California Redwood Forests receive 30-40% of their moisture from coastal fog. This is called fog drip. Be sure to collect and use the fresh water that falls on you during your foggy days, even the fog has a purpose in your life.
  7. Fog can play a key role in historical events – George Washington and his troops escaped capture in the fog in August, 1776. On the beaches of Normandy in WWII the Allies landed in foggy conditions. Both positive and negative results can come from foggy, impaired visibility.
  8. When your heart is right, conditions can’t stop you – the power for our decisions comes from the condition of our heart. Learning to persevere in spite of conditions and through elements is a life skill in need of sharpening. Forging on, in wisdom and strength is possible and needed in the human experience. We can drive foggy mindedness away by our decisive actions.

“The fog of illusions, the fog of confusion is hanging over all the world. “

Van Morrison

“Sometimes it all gets a little too much, but you gotta realize that soon the fog will clear up.”

Shawn Mendes


” Faith is like radar that sees through the fog.”

Corrie Ten Boom

When it’s foggy, ships need to hear the fog horn signals – it’s a matter of life and death.

I trust within these stories and comparisons, you will be able to hear and respond to the signals in your own life of being a little foggy.

Cheers to you.

We all like sheep

Do you remember hearing about these three famous, ground breaking sheep?

Montauciel – the famous French sheep? Shrek – the infamous 59 1/2 pound sheep? Dolly – the first mammal cloned?

Here’s a refresher:

Montauciel, who’s name means “climb to the sky” in French, was used as guinea pig for the Mongolfier brothers in the 18th century who were experimenting with hot air balloons. The sheep was put in the basket, along with a duck and rooster and actually flew 2 miles at an altitude of 1,500 ft, before the balloon landed. All passengers were ok upon landing.

Shrek, lived on a wool farm in New Zealand with 17,000 other Merino sheep. These sheep are sheared once a year but Shrek was having none of it! He hid for 6 years as each yearly shearing time came. Seriously! After 6 years, in 2004 he was finally caught and shorn in 20 minutes. 59 1/2 pounds of wool came from him, enough to make 20 men’s wool suits.

Shrek before
Shrek after

Dolly, the sheep, was the first mammal cloned from an adult cell in 1996. She was used for medical research.

Now, I admit that I’m a city girl, but there is a lot to be learned from sheep. So baaaa-re with me.

Check out these characteristics of sheep, both good and baaa-d:

  • Sheep experience emotions like humans. Fear, anger, rage, despair, disgust, boredom and happiness. They actually feel despair when their friends are led to the slaughter.
  • Sheep are intelligent with impressive facial memory skills.
  • Sheep have excellent hearing and can recognize their shepherd’s voice out of a crowd.
  • Sheep have a strong instinct to follow the sheep in front of them – off a cliff or through water, makes no difference. They are hardwired to follow without even thinking.
  • Sheep have poor depth perception; shadows and dips in the ground cause them to baulk.
  • Sheep build friendships and stick up for one another in fights.
  • Sheep are very social creatures and require the presence of 4-5 other sheep when they are grazing in order to maintain their visual link to each other.
  • Sheep find safety in numbers and get agitated when separated.
  • Sheep have excellent peripheral vision fields of 270-320 degrees.
  • Sheep are susceptible to disease such as parasites when they are mismanaged.
  • Sheep wag their tails, like dogs and form bonds with their shepherd.

Throughout history, humans have been compared to sheep. In ancient times kings were considered the shepherds of their kingdoms and the people his sheep.

In the Bible we see this played out with the twist the we (human’s) are the sheep of The Lord’s pasture.

“Know that the Lord is God. It is He who has made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of His pasture.”

Psalm 100:3

Probably the most well known passage in the Bible about sheep and the shepherd is Psalm 23. And that passage is at the heart of this message.

When I was recently reading this passage, I was struck with over 11 things that the shepherd does for the sheep! The entire psalm is one in which the Shepherd takes the initiative and responsibility for the care, protection, provision, supervision and defense of the sheep in his/her flock. Check it out.

Here is the list I made in my notebook of what Our Shepherd does for us, His sheep:

  1. He provides everything I need. I don’t go without anything that I need. He is my friend.
  2. He makes me lie down – whether I think I need to rest or not, He knows I do and makes stretch out.
  3. He leads me – he actually is in front of me leading me to the goal or watering place where I will find rest.
  4. He refreshes my soul – he renews me in my weariness and allows strength to return to me.
  5. He guides me – again he’s waaaay ahead of me, guiding me along the bumpy path.
  6. In the valley, He is with me – when shadows and darkness overwhelm me, He is right there with me.
  7. Both his rod and staff bring me comfort – his rod corrects me and his staff supports me – both bring me comfort and repentance when needed.
  8. In the face of my enemies, he orders and arranges all that I need to be sustained.
  9. He puts oil on my head providing healing, acceptance and sweet fragrance.
  10. He promises goodness and love will always have my back.
  11. AND, he wants to live with me forever! Not just here in this pen on this planet.

Wouldn’t you agree that the sheep have a pretty good gig?

The shepherd totally has the sheep covered. The sheep do so very little and are so dependent on the shepherd. Yet there is a sweet, personal relationship between each sheep and their shepherd that makes the sheep wag it’s tail in happiness and satisfaction when close to their shepherd or listening to his voice.

The precious, tender, reality of these verses demonstrate the Lord’s patient, conscious, willful, loving, strong, and complete care for us – his sheep.

Our Great Shepherd

I was and continue to be overwhelmed by my careful shepherd.

I trust “the wool not be pulled over your eyes” and you too, rest confidently in the complete care and provision of your Great Shepherd.

Cheers to you.

For a complete downloadable Bible study on the 23rd Psalm, go to my Bible studies and click on the file.

The Fear Factor

Years ago there was a show our family loved to watch – Fear Factor. Joe Rogan, now famous podcaster was the host and he had individuals do the scariest and most fearful things. It was creepy, scary, and fun to watch.

I wish I could say the same about the fear factor in each of our lives. Watching how we handle fear in our life, what we do with it, how we manage it is not nearly as much fun as watching Joe Rogan. But regardless, we are faced with our own fears and how we handle them is vital.

We all have fears. Fears of one kind or another. And even though we were born with just two fears, there are six basic fears we all must deal with.

  • The two fears we are born with
  • fear of falling
  • fear of loud noises
  • Six basic fears
  • poverty
  • criticism
  • ill health
  • loss of love from someone
  • old age
  • death

Most of us deal with multiple fears. Hey, welcome to humanity. So check out the list, identify yours.

Here’s the deal though, each of those 6 fears have multiple symptoms that demonstrate in our life. And that is where it becomes very complicated and tangled.

Let me list symptoms and you associate each with the fear you think it is a symptom of:

  • lack of ambition
  • self-consciousness
  • hypochondria
  • inferiority
  • jealousy
  • laziness
  • keeping up with the Jones’
  • fault finding
  • indecision
  • procrastination
  • lack of exercise or over exercise
  • self-coddling
  • fear of failure

I actually have a book with lists beside me with dozens of symptoms for each of those fears, not just these listed. So, if we are living and breathing, there’s quite a pile of tangled strings for us to undo.

But that is the key – we each have to manage that ball of twisted symptoms and fears. Denial doesn’t work, it just pushes fear below the surface. But denial also makes personal growth and progress impossible. When the symptoms aren’t heeded and dealt with our life becomes stressed, overwhelmed, depressed, out of balance, and eventually we are being managed by the fear, rather than us managing the fear.

We make excuses, procrastinate, have diversions, avoid, find fault, etc., etc., etc. when fear is ruling our life. I know, I do it.

So what’s the answer?

Anthony Robins, in Awaken the Giant Within, has a 6 step plan that I have whittled down to 3 steps: (sorry Anthony, it works better for me.)

ONE – Identify your fear

TWO – Redirect your fear

THREE – Act on your fear

Identify your fear – call it out, unmask it. Don’t deny it. My personal fear project for nearly a year has been the fear of failure. That belongs to the fear of criticism from the list above.

Redirect your fear – Science tells us you get what you focus on. So if I want failure, I should focus on it. But I don’t want failure, so I must redirect my focus. I choose to focus on success, God’s ability to help me through, and placing my trust in Him and His ability. I redirect my focus on trusting God who is with me, and not on my debilitating fear.

Act on it – it’s pretty easy to say I trust Him, but I must act on it. Faith without works is dead, empty, void, a lie. Taking action on my fear is fearful! No lie. But each time I do, and by repeated practice, my strength becomes greater, my trust in Him becomes greater and that fear diminishes. Without action, nothing would change. I must be brave and step into action.

Just a note here. Most of my blogs are intentionally not overtly or overwhelmingly biblical. That is by design. However, with this particular theme today, I must say, that the only way to overcome your fears that will last is by learning to trust Jesus as your focus, rather than your fears. Practice redirecting your focus on Him. Take your eyes off of your fear and step toward Him. You will never be disappointed.

“You have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

FDR

The most frequent command in the Bible is DO NOT BE AFRAID.

There’s a reason for that.

We humans are so fearful. But our God cares and will unravel our sorted mess of fears and symptoms if we focus on Him and place our trust in Him, thereby conquering The Fear Factor.

.Cheers to you.

Daily Prescription

take one as needed

I have an amazingly effective, and lasting prescription for you today.

It is fast, effective, dependable, and has been scientifically proven to :

  1. Strengthen your immune system
  2. Boost your mood
  3. Diminish pain
  4. Protect from the damaging effects of stress
  5. Lighten burdens
  6. Inspire hope

Other proven effects are: It keeps you grounded, focused and alert. It helps release anger and forgive sooner. It is a resource for surmounting problems. It enhances relationships and it supports physical and emotional health.

Would you like a dose of it right about now? Would you keep this handy, little prescription close at all times and take as needed?

But it even does more! It relaxes the whole body, all muscles for 45 minutes. This prescription also protects the heart and blood vessels, ensuring good blood flow. It even burns calories; not many, but the 40 calories it does burn will add up to 3-4 pounds over a year. And lastly, it prolongs your life.

Best of all it is free!

Have you guessed what it is, this prescription that we so desperately need right now?

All of the above facts come from my research at MAYOCLINIC and HelpGuide.com and is referring to…… drum roll…

Are you ready for this miracle prescription?

LAUGHTER!

A good laugh has the power to heal and renew. Laughter triggers endorphins. Laughter stimulates your organs, soothes tension and brings personal satisfaction. LAUGHTER – the miracle drug. Laughter – the best medicine.

Laughter is NOT contingent upon circumstances. Laughter can be learned and produced. Studies have even proven that simulated laughter (canned laughter) is just as beneficial as live laughter.

To help you laugh, you can surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Put funny pictures, cartoons or memes around your house. You can choose to remember funny events when stress is mounting.

You can seek laughter by spending time with playful, fun people. This is one of the reasons I married my husband, he makes me laugh and even more after 33 years together. We have more stories and things to laugh at now. Sharing laughter with others strengthens connections and benefits all involved.

Then, of course, there is always the internet with YouTube, Social Media, and epic fails everywhere. It only takes a minute to find them and when you do, you’ll get your laughter fix and 45 minutes of muscle relaxing laughter.

Here are a couple to prime your laughter pump. Or at least get out a smile.

wait for it…

Dr. Debbie is hereby prescribing 1-2 daily doses of laughter. Deep belly laughs and laughing tears are extra bonuses.

Laughter is truly the best medicine.

Enjoy your days more with laughter.

Cheers to you.

Using your religious liberty

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people to peacefully assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Constitution of the United States, Amendment I

We have no state religion mandated, nor should we have, and that was the desire and intentions of our founding fathers. They saw the damage it had done in the nations they left, which were cause and reason for their Atlantic crossings. At the core of most hearts who came, was the desire for religious liberty. Which included the liberty to be non-religious.

THAT is the foundation upon which our nation was built, regardless of how the history books have been rewritten to exclude the Puritans and Pilgrims.

Fact is fact. Erasing it from the page doesn’t change the fact, it changes people’s remembrance of the fact, or more accurately lack of remembrance of the true facts. And that’s what is being sought.

Did you know when the US Capitol Visitor Center was built in 2008, all references to God were removed from pictures, signs, and all else. The national motto, “In God We Trust” was removed and replaced with “E Pluribus Unum” – out of many one. Speeches were scrubbed, chairs and walls changed, and bibles removed. The Visitor Center was literally stripped clean of any references to any deity.

It was done to supposedly keep with Thomas Jefferson’s “separation clause” – you know, the one that he (supposedly) wrote separating church and state. (Even that is historian’s seeking to erase the facts, because that is not what Jefferson wrote at all in his letter to Danbury Baptist Assoc., in 1802.)

The Visitor Center designers were seeking to erase our foundations and build new memories into future generations. Memories that are devoid of God and His providence in America’s founding.

Have the facts changed though? No.

What has changed is us. Those of us who know the facts.

My favorite Reagan quote is –

Freedom is a fragile thing and never is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”

President Ronald Reagan January 5, 1967

We have taken our liberties and freedoms for granted.

Having lost some of them in the recent months, we now see that more clearly than ever.

But the facts have not changed. We have liberties and freedoms and we must not allow them to be whittled away, or erased from memory. And yet, remember this quote?

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke, 1770

In this new decade, even amidst a devolving pandemic, I urge you to not be that good man who does nothing.

Be a defender of our rights, a preserver of our freedoms from extinction. We have many to defend.

Why not start now?

Start with prayer. Prayer for yourself, prayer for your family, prayer for your neighbors and friends. Prayer for this pandemic to lift, for businesses to reopen, the sick to be healed, workers to be strengthened. Pray for spiritual awakening in our nation, for freedom and justice to prevail, for truth to be upheld. Pray for God to forgive and bless America.

Tomorrow, Thursday, May 7, 2020 is the National Day of Prayer, but it doesn’t have to be, nor should it be a single day.

It is not a constitutional violation to have a day of prayer, quite the contrary. It is the exercise of your religious liberty.

Let’s exercise those religious liberties, lest we loose them.

Cheers to you.

Corroded connections

Recently I was tootling around our harbor in the dinghy, on which we are currently using a MinnKota, Riptide 45V electric, trolling motor. I love this motor because it is lite enough for me to lift in and out and it is so amazingly quiet.

cheers

I am never in the dinghy for power or speed and so I usually have her revved to only 3rd or 4th gear. But on this day, I cranked her up to her full-out, 5th gear, only to have the motor totally cut out. It wouldn’t restart, either.

Now I am thinking how glad I am that I put the paddles in the dinghy before I launched. So I used the paddle (s) to return to my dock.

Once there, I played around with the connectors from the motor to the battery and got her running again. So off I went. Again. In my mind though, I decided not go to 5th gear anymore on this trip. Solved.

Well, to finish the story, it was solved, for that trip. I had no further outages, but I also didn’t have the full strength of my motor or battery available. (Note to self, be sure and discuss this with husband.)

Well, today was the true problem solving day.

The terminals on the battery had to be cleaned from a build up of corrosion. I guess the battery’s acid was reacting with the saltwater causing that yellowish, electrochemical reaction. That “corrosion can interfere with the battery terminals ability to conduct power and in some cases can completely block the flow.” Autoblog.com.

Silicones Inc. tells us that corrosion, “Is a natural process that involves deterioration of metals because of its reaction with the environment.” It can drain the battery, and even shorten it’s life.

corroded connections. not mine!

It is interesting to note that “corrosion”, a Latin word, actually means, ” to gnaw through”.

Far more than sharing a Science lesson or a personal story, I’d like to share 6 applications and analogies.

1. Connections are vital for life – no matter who locks you down or what restrictions are placed on you, without connections to others, you will loose power and die out. Stay connected to other people.

2. Environmental reactions – the people in your close family/work environment will cause reactions in you, and you will cause reactions in them, especially over long periods of time. Be aware.

3. Unhealthy connections – when things build up between you and those you are connected to, it must be cleaned up or you are draining the power of your relationship. Notice & deal with it early.

4. Corrosion – those reactions, not cleaned up, will gnaw through your mind, heart and eventually the connection to the other person if left alone. Gnawing feelings are corrosive.

5. Clean connections take time – the time and effort it takes to apply some cleaning compound (honesty, love, forgiveness) to that connection is minimal and yet mandatory for you to run at full-power, 5th gear capacity in your relationships. Take the time.

6. 5th gear living – you were designed to run at full throttle, full power, abundant life. Don’t settle for less by choice or by corrosion on your connections with others. Let’s go.

For most of us humans, being boxed up as we have has probably caused some electrochemical, corrosive reactions within our walls. Perhaps we have even noticed we haven’t been running at full power, or ability.

The good news is, we know what to do now to get back to full power and lite, quiet running.

Check for corroded connections.

Cheers to you.

Hope deferred

Sunday Sermon 5.3.20

” Hope deferred makes the heart sick”

Proverbs 13:12 NIV

This phrase/verse has been weighing heavily on my heart lately.

” When hope’s dream seems to drag on and on, the delay can be depressing.”

Proverbs 13:12 The Passion Translation

The loss of hope is debilitating. Paralyzing. Depressing for sure. Today, we want to talk about the importance of hope and offer you some solid examples of those who had hope in difficult situations.

A study of the original Hebrew words used in this passage from Proverbs would reveal that this is a much better transliteration of Proverbs 13:12:

” When a prophetic vision or expectation from the Lord is delayed, prolonged or removed; feelings, will, and intellect are all worn down, and worn out, making one sick and weak.”

Proverbs 13:12 original Hebrew meaning

You see, when hope is removed from the equation, our mind, will and intellect become worn out and weak.

Let’s be honest, it has been really tough to watch the news and read the latest reports without emotions rising up within us. Each day we hear restriction updates, business expectations, state revisions, financial concerns and add the family realities chiming in, we are definitely being worn out and rubbed down by the news.

Just today, I had to cancel our flight and accommodation reservations to Honolulu in mid-May for our son’s wedding! Vacations are being cancelled or postponed, graduations are not receiving the honor they are due, workers are still unemployed, travel has been suspended, schools have been closed and morphed into online, distance education, church meetings are virtual, gatherings are forbidden and freedoms have been handcuffed.

Hope has definitely been deferred!

Today, I’d like to submit to you stories of people who also faced a deferment of hope so that “hopefully” we can be encouraged and keep us from allowing our will, feelings and intellect from becoming “sick”.

Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman (Psychology.com) tells us from his studies, that hope is a “cognitive motivational system.” It starts in the emotions and follows to the cognitions (mind). Lord knows, our emotions have been stirred enough and pressed upon enough to affect our thinking. Right?

But your hope, is more than a cognitive or emotional reaction.

Dr. Jerome Groopman, in his book, “The Anatomy of Hope”, tells us that belief and expectation are key elements of hope and they can block pain by releasing endorphins and enkephalins because they act like morphine in the brain and body.

So hope, in and of itself, has a powerful effect in the human body, mind, intellect and emotions. And hope triggers a virtuous cycle.

We are told that there are 4 types of hope. Let’s look at each of those and then look at those stories of biblical characters who demonstrated that kind of hope. Ready?

These are the four types of hope that psychologists say we have:

  • 1. Realistic
  • 2. Utopian
  • 3. Chosen
  • 4. Transcendent

In reality, if we are struggling with having hope, who cares that there are four kinds??! But here goes, anyway.

1. Realistic hope – this is the hope that says in a cancer situation, if we take these meds it will help. It is realistic in and about the situation.

Abraham and Sarah, in Genesis 15 were given a promise of a son of blessing and yet 60, 70, 80 years passes before Isaac, that son of promise was born.

They lived a normal family life for years with that hope and without it’s fulfillment. They tried to hurry the hope and Ishmael was born, but he wasn’t the son of promise. The hope of a son of promise had been rubbed down and worn out as Ishmael grew to the age of 13. Their hearts could haven been sick. Their hope could have escaped.

And yet, in Romans it says in chapter 4, verse 18, ” Against all odds, when it looked hopeless, Abraham believed the promise and expected God to fulfill it. He took God at His word…”. Hope was deferred for at least 13 and maybe 60 years, and yet Abraham and Sarah had hope in the God of their circumstances. They were realistic in their circumstances.

2. Utopian hope – is a collective hope, negating the present and driven for a better future.

Joshua and Caleb, in the book of Joshua would be a great dipiction of this type of hope. They held out for the collective victory of Israel and their entering Canaan for 40 years. Do you think that after 40 years of hoping, they may have been a little worn down? A little heart sick? Was their hope deferred? You betcha!

Yet, after a 40 year wait, their hope was strong and Caleb said, “So here I am today, 85 years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle as I was then. Now give me this hill country…” Joshua 14:10-12 NIV

Joshua and Caleb hung onto the Utopian hope of a better future of fulfillment for Israel.

3. Chosen hope – chosen hope helps us live in a difficult, present situation with an uncertain future. It helps us to regulate negative emotions.

Joseph, in Genesis 37, who dreamed at age 17 of his brothers bowing before him, had that dream burning in his heart and thoughts for 13 years! In those 13 years he was betrayed and sold as a slave by his brothers. Imprisoned in Pharaoh’s palace, yet favored and set as a leader there. Falsely accused of sexual assault, thrown into prison again. Joseph’s dream, still burning in his heart, fighting off deferment sickness, he hoped until he finally became the Prime Minister. And then, his brothers came and bowed down before him. His chosen hope was finally fulfilled.

David, at a young age of probably 15, was anointed to be the next King of Israel. (1Samuel 16) That anointing, held him and his hope, through so many discouraging circumstances. He was literally searched for as an enemy of the king and his life was in danger, sought after, and chased down for 15 years. He did not become king until he was 30 years old. 15 years of hoping… 15 years of deferment. Yet he chose to “be strong and hope in the Lord.” Psalms 31:24

4. Transcendent hope – a general hopefulness that something good can happen.

Romans 8:28 – In all things, God works for the good of those who love him…

Psalm 38:15 – Lord, I hope in you

Lamentations 3:21 – This I recall to mind, thereore have I hope

These verses are just a few of the many we are given assuring us that something good will happen to those who put their hope in the Lord.

Yet, the best example of transcendent hope would be Jesus, the epitome of transcendent hope. His hope was fixed not on the now, but on the future… “Who for the joy set before him endured the cross..”. Hebrews. 12:2

And yet, even Jesus hoped. As a 12 year old kid, stumping the Rabbi’s until he entered his ministry in AD 26, he hoped. He hoped as he called the disciples and built the Kingdom of God inside them. He hoped as he taught the crowds, healed the sick, and raised the dead. He hoped in the garden of Gethsemane and he hoped hanging on the cross. He hoped in that empty tomb, he hoped as he ascended from that hill.

He hoped for them, he hoped for us, that we would hope without growing weak, tired, worn out or rubbed thin. He hoped that we would hope in Him, His promises and His Word.

Jesus’ hope transcended every limit.

Our hope can be secure like these heroes of hope, when it is anchored to God’s promises, (Hebrews, 1 Peter, Acts 26), when it is anchored to Jesus (1Timothy. 1:1), and when it is anchored to the Word. (Romans 15:4.)

Those three, God’s promises, Jesus, and The Word of God make for us a three-fold cord, that will not be easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12) When our hope is built upon these, we are anchored, secure with an UNSWERVING HOPE. No matter the length of wait, wearing, or rubbing.

When our hope is anchored in Jesus, His Word and His promises we are secure. Our mind, emotions, will and intellect are strong and stable. We are not sickly. Our hope is in Him and our emotions will follow our will.

That kind of hope motivates. That kind of hope is congious. That type of hope can be learned. That type of hope is healthy and promotes healthy behaviors.

Hope deferred does NOT have to make your heart sick when it is anchored God’s promises.

But if it does, please allow Abraham, Sarah, Joshua, Caleb, Joseph and even Hannah, Simeon, Anna to encourage you to not allow the constant rubbing away of freedoms & strength in your situation to make you sick, weak, and depressed.

Hope deferred, may make the heart sick, but may it not be your heart, because you are anchored into Jesus, His Word and His promises.

Blessings.