Wednesday, September 23, 2015

DUMP the TRASH

Dan confidently says "I know that there is no human way that man can make a vertical leap that tops five feet." Socrates replies "Ancient Greeks vaulted over bulls, did you know that?" Defensively and pridefully Dan snorts " I know more than you think!" Mercifully Socrates states the obvious "You think much more than you know. Knowledge is NOT the same as wisdom."  Baffled Dan asks "What is the difference?" The humble man responds with a question.  "You know how to clean a windshield?"  Dan chuckles "Yeah!" Socrates throws him a squeegee "Wisdom is doing it" Selfish curiosity about how this old man miraculously leaped atop the gas station roof, drew Dan into a relationship with Socrates.  "Look I do whatever it takes, I train 50 weeks a year, I read and study the best methods and apply them and I am just a heartbeat away from qualifying for the Olympics.  Even as good as I am, I gotta do all I can to make sure I qualify." Socrates was patient as he listened to Dan talk about how he trains his BODY, not his mind so HARD and says "There is a lot you need to let go of before you will understand what you saw Me do"  Socrates allows God's grace to work in him as he practices the truth. "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." [John 1:17]  When the student was ready, the teacher appeared.  Dan invited Socrates into his heart and mind so he could learn the secret to performing like Socrates. The relationship began with Dan's transparent desire to learn.  
"Ask me anything." Socrates pauses then asks "Are you happy?" Exasperated Dan questions "What does happiness have to do with anything? My dad has plenty of cash, school is a breeze, I get straight A's, I have great friends, I am in great shape, and I don't sleep alone unless I want to.  I have all I need to be happy."  Socrates then asks "Why cant you sleep then?  You keep returning at 3:00 in the morning to talk to Me. What if you do not qualify for the Olympics, will you still be happy?  What if things do not go your way will you still enjoy your friends and the competition? Maybe you are still asleep. Many people live their whole life, asleep to the truth, and they miss all the glorious moments in between where they are and where they are going.  Never fully awake, never fully aware of all that is going on behind what they can see, or what they think they know is truth." Dan was getting agitated and blurts out "If you know so much, why do you work at a gas station?"  With a clear voice Socrates says "This is a service station.  We offer service.  There is no higher purpose."  Suddenly a new character shows up and her name is JOY.  Dan asks "Is she related to you?" Socrates shakes his head and says "You need to ask better questions."  Dan begins to shovel food into his mouth and Soc says "Slow down."  Dan continues to gulp down his food and replies "You sure got a lot of rules!"  The teacher replies "Not rules, but GRACE.  Through my life as a man, I learned to rely on grace, not my strength.
Grace is God's ability to work in me. But I must accept the gift of grace and allow it to work in me. You eat sloppy and your sloppy thoughts slide around and defeat your purpose. The difference between me and you Dan is that you practice being good at gymnastics.  I practice listening, and allowing grace to work in me.  God is able to work through those who believe in Jesus for each action, each breath, and each word they speak.  There are no accidents, and nothing growing stays the same. IF you want to be all you were created to be, and IF you accept me as your Trainer I would require that you eat no meat, watch no TV, drink no alcohol and have no sex." Stunned by the sacrifices required, instead of being quick to listen and slow to speak Dan blurts out "And that is exactly why you will not be my chosen trainer."  Knowing that Dan loves a challenge, Socrates asked Dan to maintain a simple squat for five minutes.  Dan failed and fell to the floor.  Socrates said "Meet my son Jack!  Everyone tells Jack what to do. The church taught him how to acquire and sustain faith and what Jack must do to remain in good standing before God and to enjoy peace in this life.  All his life Jack did not seek answers from within, but he relied on people ~ not on the living Word of God.
Jack got answers that were revealed by his intellect, by his own study of the commentary and opinion of his trustworthy coaches."  Dan interrupted "So you want me to believe You and your ways?" Socrates answered "NOPE! What I command is that you stop gathering information from outside yourself and start listening to the voice within. People are afraid of what is inside ~ but inside is the only place where they will find the One who can give them what they need. The ever present Holy Spirit will deliver sufficient grace, joy and wisdom to whomever believes in Jesus. The warrior must be willing to surrender their ego to His power to transform a restlessness self-centered mind to the mind of Christ.  You are awake at 3:00 in the morning because you have no peace. When your day is done, the distractions cease, your busyness stops,  and most of the noise of life is silenced.  You lay in bed awake and scared because you feel empty and alone.  You tell me that you want to be more than a man who swings from the rings.  You tell Me that you hope to make a difference. You tell me that you want to do more than perform a few well practiced tricks of the trade.  You tell me that you want to be a man that uses his mind and body in ways that the world thinks is impossible. You tell me that you are ready to do what I say and  I will be your personal Trainer.  I
will teach you to be a real warrior of the living Word of God." Dan agrees to have Socrates coach him.  Soc invites Dan to meet up inside a local bar.  Dan is shocked to find Socrates smoking a cigar and having a drink.  Dan asks "Hey I thought we were better than this?" Socrates takes a puff of his cigar and says "Just because you choose to obstain so that you can perform does not make you superior.  You are no better than anyone seated in this bar."  Dan departs and at the gym a friend falls and gets badly injured. Dan admits to Socrates that his first thought was selfish and judgmental.  His initial thought was what his friend should NOT have done.  Dan admitted the truth that he thought if his friend had followed the rules, this would not have happened. Then Dan was disgusted in himself for truly thinking that his friends unfortunate
injury would give him the advantage. Dan said "Sometimes I do not like myself."  Socrates quickly offered this truth "People are not their thoughts. They think they are what they think, or they are who people say they are.  The thought that 'I am not good enough' compels the lost to prove who they are by what they do. This thinking sets them up to try harder, on their own. You are NOT what you think.  The truth is:  you are what God says you are and His grace is sufficient for you. Your mind is just a reflex organ that reacts to everything.  Your head is filled with a million random thoughts each day. People judge, criticize, and wonder too much about what and why people do what they do.  None of these thoughts are useful.  No amount of this useless comparison will reveal the truth of who you are and why you are here."  Socrates suddenly SLAPS Dan. Shocked Dan says "I do not want to hurt you"  Well I guess I will just have to keep slapping you until you wake up!  LESSON: Develop awareness.  Be still.  Be quick to listen and slow to speak.  Develop the right motive. At the right place, at the right time, allow grace to work in you and through you.  LESSON: Take out the TRASH.  Throw out all useless thoughts.  Thoughts of the past, about why, worry about not being right, and about the future.  EMPTY your mind." Dan asked " But how do I empty my mind? Socrates invited him to meet up the next day for a quick demonstration.  Dan arrived a bit late and he was in a hurry so Socrates tossed him off the bridge.  Dan gets out steaming mad!  Socrates asked "Are you thinking about yesterday? Are you thinking about what you know about swimming, what you were taught in school, at church, from any man? Great you are
totally in the present, ALIVE and living in this pure moment!  Congratulations you have just emptied your mind!"  TRUTH IS: People cannot receive the gift of GRACE if their hearts and minds are full of chatter about what they need to do, or what they should be doing,  or what others are thinking and doing.  "and of His fullness have all we received, and grace to grace." John 1:16 ~ God's grace is His ability to work in us. Just as God the Father grew His Son Jesus in grace, so we can grow in grace, ONLY IF we empty our minds on how and why and accept His gift of grace!   People who are like children, live in the moment without a thought of the future or if they are good enough.  "and the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him." Luke 2:40 ~ Some people who know the Bible pridefully quote scripture confidently thinking that they know God. However, they have NOT surrendered their limited man acquired knowledge or doctine to the Teacher, the Holy Spirit.  The grace of God is then blocked from doing the work in them and through them. 
They simply operate on what they have been taught by humans. They rely on themselves to "get er done!"  God's living word warns us to NOT lean on our own understanding, but to seek Him. We were saved by grace, and to live the way of the peaceful warrior requires that people drop the pride of what they know and allow the grace of God to do His work in them and through them.  People must put to death their way of thinking and adopt the mind of Christ.  People must welcome the gift of grace, depend on Jesus and allow the grace of God to do what we cannot do apart from God, apart from grace. Frustration comes when people cannot get scripture to work for them. Knowledge of how to swing on the rings, knowledge of how to drive a car, any knowledge lodged in the mind of how to be a good Christian, this knowledge is useless without grace. IF we could obey all the scriptures in our own strength, by our own understanding, God would not have needed to send His Son Jesus to come and die as a perfect sacrifice so that we could be presented before our holy Father.  WHY EMPTY your mind of all you think? Jesus was a man full of grace, dependent and obedient to His Father.   "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him" Acts 10:38 states that Father God anointed, or filled Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power so that He could do good because God was with Him. Father God did not anoint Himself, He anointed His Son Jesus to heal the sick and cast out demons. The humanity of Jesus does NOT diminish His Diety or God's purpose.  Jesus came down, He was sent by God to walk among us in the flesh, in the form of a man. Jesus cried out to His Father "it is finished", His body was buried, and His Spirit ascended to the throne and then Jesus returned to speak to His disciples and deliver the Holy Spirit as He promised He would.
The Son of God, Jesus was honest with His Father and with anguish He asked "Take this cup from Me" ~ Jesus grew in grace and relied upon His Father for the grace to be obedient to death on a cross.  "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature Goddid not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, He made himself nothing by taking the very nature  of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to deatheven death on a cross!"  Phil 2:5-8 Jesus went to the garden to pray, to share His burden,  to ask for grace. Jesus depended on grace to defeat temptations and receive grace from His Father to obey.  Jesus never did anything by His own power or ability. He was humble and obedient, He was full of the grace and He prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.  For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.  I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.  I have revealed you  to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.  All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full
measure of my joy  within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world." John chapter 17 NIV  ~ “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain,  and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation." Rev  5:9 "He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God.
Rev 19:1  "On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords."  Rev 19:16 ~ Let us empty our mind, drop our pride, our ego and let us boldly claim the truth. Jesus Christ is the living Word of God, who was with God the Father in the beginning. "First there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning."  John 1:1-2.  Scripture lines up with scripture and Jesus is returning and His name is the Word of God. He is the alpha and the omega, He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  There is no teaching, no commentary written by man that can stand up against the truth; and the truth is the Word of God, which came down and walked among us as the man Jesus Christ. Dan Millman's best-selling Way of the Peaceful Warrior was first published in 1980. Written in autobiographical form, it chronicles Millman's
experiences as a competitive gymnast at the University of California in Berkely.  A woman named JOY shows up and lays hands on Dan and prays for his soul. Socrates, or the Holy Spirit keeps talking to Dan in his dreams to reveal God's way as the only way. Socrates seeks to break down Millman's conventional thought and show him the way of the "Peaceful Warrior" and that is to allow God's grace to work through him.  Dan had to drop his ego and surrender all he thought he knew, and his way of performing in life to allow grace to do what only God could accomplish. The fact is, the truth is: The grace of God healed Dan's multi-fractured leg.  In ten short months Dan confounded the wise and performed flawlessly to qualify for the Olympics. LESSON: Lighten up, enjoy the journey, take out the trash, Yackety Yak, don't talk back! Sing a FUN song by the Coasters or enjoy the lyrics of HOME by Phillips and Phillips. "If you get lost, you can always find HOME, you are never alone! 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Two Books to Read for November

Ladies we have two months to read one or both of these different books before the Lakeside Book Club meets again. We have many who will be traveling so we will meet again on Thursday November 12, 2015.  Mark your calendars and also expect a reminder email in November. Our group was asked to email recommendations and here are two that came in that hold great reviews. The Nightingale: by Kristin Hannah  available on AMAZON at $12.99 for a kindle download with 12,670 five star reviews - As a New York Times Best Selling book, the author exposes the horrors of World War II in France. She uses the small town of Carriveau as a main setting that dramatically contrasts with the evil that is about to come to a country that has surrendered to the Nazis, and is now being occupied. The novel also develops the story of two courageous sisters who, ironically, get to come together to join forces in a time when hope, faith, and unity are lost. In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.  This historical fiction book is set in France in the year 1939.  . It is the period when the country surrenders to the Germans, and the Nazi regime begins its occupation. While the city of Paris takes in most of the heat, the quiet village of Carriveau is on the brink of changing forever. The once peaceful and bucolic town has turned into a horrific show of airplanes, war tanks, bombs, and the scary sight of Nazis
from the SS, the Gestapo and the regular Wehrmacht all over.  In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn't believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive. Vianne's sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth.  The Lakeside Book Club ladies may also prefer the second rare write over the above historical fiction.  The Lovely Bones was also made into a movie.  
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold    AMAZON $6.99 with 3,892 four star reviews.  ~ It is a unique novel that apparently tapped a vein of universal human experience.  It resonates with readers of all ages and it remains a phenomenal #1 bestseller. It is celebrated for its narrative artistry, its luminous clarity of emotion, and its astoniishing power to lay claim to the hearts of millions of readers around the world. The story was made into a movie starring Mark Walberg. It is a haunting and heartbreaking tale that unfolds from heaven, where "life is a perpetual yesterday" and from where the deceased narrates from above.  The author fashions it from the perspective that everyone has his or her own version of heaven.  The author supports the imagination of a child as heaven resembles athletic fields and the landscape of a suburban high school. “A heaven of her "simplest dreams," where "there were no teachers.... We never had to go inside except for art class.... The boys did not pinch our backsides or tell us we smelled; our textbooks were Seventeen, Glamour a and Vogue." This heaven placed child named Susie struggles to accept her death while still clinging to the lost world of the living. Her family disintegrates in their grief: her father becomes determined to find her killer, her mother withdraws, her little brother Buckley attempts to make sense of the new hole in his family, and her younger sister Lindsey moves through the milestone events of her teenage and young adult years with Susie riding spiritual shotgun. Random acts and missed opportunities run throughout the book.  Though sentimental at times, The Lovely Bones is a moving exploration of loss and mourning that ultimately puts a preference on living. The author spins a surprising finish, which may tend to tidy up a little too well for everyone in the end, however, no matter our thoughts about heaven, we certainly all hope that heaven is indeed a place filled with incredibly happy endings.