My Love Affair….. With Insomnia

Can’t sleep? Neither can I! Oh, why why WHY can’t I just fall asleep? 12:30am, 1:30am, 3:00am; the numbers just keep clicking past my eyes, mocking me. I am so tired. Before I lay down, I take my prescription sleep aid as instructed, a warm bath to soothe my bones, quiet bedroom, and warm milk with honey. Sleepy. (Lay head on pillow) Ugh. TOO quiet! “I lay me down to sleep, I pray for the Lord my soul to keep…” One potato, two potato, oh, remember how sweet Grandma’s root cellar always smelled? Like rich earth, and, ooh, french fries sound good. No, no, go to sleep! (Roll over) Ummmmm. I’ll count sheep. One, two, three…. I need to call tomorrow about that question I have. Wonder if I still have time to enter the fair contests? Yeah, I could make… Stop it! Stupid brain. (Roll to other side) Just stop it! My legs won’t hold still. Maybe an ice pack will help. (Get up and get ice pack; lie back down) Okay, think of soothing sounds, like a creek or the ocean. Great, now I need to pee. (Get up, then back to bed; dog gives me dirty look because I keep disturbing him) I’ll sing the old hymns. That should calm my mind. (Sings silently) Oh, wasn’t that funny when the dogs….

And on it goes. One well- meaning person said “Just shut it off and go to sleep.” Oh, that I could! Apparently I’m in love with Insomnia since I can’t seem to go to bed without him. (Frown)

Thank the Lord for coffee and caffeine!!

Irony

I am enjoying what may be the most pleasant morning we’ve seen in central Oklahoma for this entire summer…. while the state to our south is enduring the remainder of the worst hurricane to hit the U.S. in at least 12 years. In fact, I don’t remember an August quite like this one for its weather. So far, it’s the 3rd wettest August on record – and we have a chance for more rain before it is over. It has been the coolest in 20 years, and last year, 2016, was the hottest August on record, EVER, for the entire earth. Climate change! Oh no! Call Al Gore and the climate police! Call PETA and the ACLU and all the “Save the world” campaigns. (Sorry, couldn’t resist a little poke.)

Seriously. Look at the history of the earth. It began from a formless void, and was fashioned by the Creator into a living entity (NOT sentient; LIVING) to support life as He created it. Over the millenia, the earth has changed in a myriad of ways. First, God created the creatures of the sea, then the land, and finally man to watch over and protect it all. From the tiniest organism and the most minute cell structure, to the largest creatures, He created it all, and called it good. Read Genesis 1-2 for a full account. It’s quite beautiful. God created the creatures we call dinosaurs, and He created dragons. You have to realize that all myths are based on fact.

The problem with the earth, and all of the climate changes across the eons, are ultimately our responsibility. Starting with being thrown out of the Garden, we have been on a destructive bent ever since. Because of bad choices made by humans, the enemy of everything good, Satan, has been released to create havoc on and in the earth. Through his fury and desire to take everything good and turn it into evil, not only have humans suffered, but all of the plants and all the creatures suffered; even the earth itself is being brutalized by the enemy. Is it our fault the earth has gone through ice ages and worldwide drought? Is it our fault that the entire earth was covered in water, drowning anyone and anything that was not on Noah’s ark? Are hurricanes and tornados and floods and drought our fault?

Ultimately, yes. It does all rest on our shoulders, and the world is a heavy burden to carry. (Theme song of “The Twilight Zone” plays….)

“And to the man [Adam] He said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” ” Genesis 3:17‭-‬19 (http://bible.com/116/gen.3.17-19.NLT)

Sounds all gloom and doom, doesn’t it? Fortunately for us, and for ALL of creation, this is all temporary. The phrophet Isaiah foretold it: “Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.” Isaiah 65:17 (http://bible.com/116/isa.65.17.NLT)

John, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, also foretells us: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone.” Revelation 21:1 (http://bible.com/116/rev.21.1.NLT)

We have a responsibility to take care of, and manage well, this pile of dirt and rock and water that we live on. We carry that responsibility for every part of this world, plant, animal, and human. I’m not an advocate for the extremists who scream that we shouldn’t eat animals or use ridiculous schemes to prevent us from using the earth’s resources. We are here to manage and maintain. As any true conservationist will tell you, animal flocks and herds have to be managed, and that entails culling to maintain and do balance. God gave us the earth and did and drill that is within it to oversee. Since we gave the job of overseer to the enemy, we, and all of creation, are suffering. That’s irony. We gave the job that God gave us to the worst thing possible, the one being whose existence is the opposite of God.

The first step to save the world is to submit ourselves to our Lord Jesus Christ. Only then can we began to see how to truly care for the beautiful people and creatures, and the earth itself. Ready for real climate change? Look to the Savior. Start with prayer and thankfulness for the incredibly diverse world He has given us. Love God, love His creation.

Let My People Go

“The godly people have all disappeared; not one honest person is left on the earth. They are all murderers, setting traps even for their own brothers. Both their hands are equally skilled at doing evil! Officials and judges alike demand bribes. The people with influence get what they want, and together they scheme to twist justice. Even the best of them is like a brier; the most honest is as dangerous as a hedge of thorns. But … Judgment Day is coming swiftly now. Your time of punishment is here, a time of confusion. ….. As for me, I look to the LORD for help. I wait confidently for GOD to save me, and my GOD will certainly hear me.” Micah 7:2‭-‬4‭, ‬7 (http://bible.com/116/mic.7.2-7.NLT)

Wow. Even though this was written thousands of years ago, it sounds like Micah is addressing the world as we know it today, politics as usual. A bit scary? I pray that you find this passage mind-numbing scary! The rich and famous rule, whether we like it or not. With enough money, we can get away with just about anything, from lies to murder. And no, this is not directed at President Trump. It is directed to everyone who uses and abuses their wealth and positions to put themselves above the law of the land. Not just politicians, but anyone who thinks they are somehow exempt from the rules. Even those people who may not be wealthy but think they can do as they please, regardless of what it does to anyone else. Selfishness, narcissism, superiority; they are just as much a sin as murder.

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the Truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to The Truth [i.e. Jesus Christ], so we will be confident when we stand before GOD. Even if we feel guilty, GOD is greater than our feelings, and He knows EVERYTHING.” 1 John 3:18‭-‬20 (http://bible.com/116/1jn.3.18-20.NLT)

I believe there are some godly people left on earth, unlike in Micah’s time. I believe, because I have experienced mercy from some of these people. They embody God’s command to LOVE. “And this is His Commandment: We must believe in the Name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.” 1 John 3:23 (http://bible.com/116/1jn.3.23.NLT)

As Christians, it is our responsibility to to act as Christians. That means loving others as Christ loves us; showing the world what it means to be forgiven of all the garbage. It means telling them about Jesus, and above all, living in Jesus. Anyone can be forgiven if they will just ask, because Jesus doesn’t turn away anyone who seeks Him and Truth. He gives us Forgiveness.

WHY Does She Harp On Love??

Why, indeed. Maybe it’s because I struggle to understand the kind of love Jesus preached. Could be because I see so little of it in the world. Mostly, it’s because of Jesus.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. ….. Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:4‭-‬7‭, ‬13 (http://bible.com/116/1co.13.4-13.NLT)

Man. If we could just absorb those 5 verses into our heads and our hearts! Imagine what life would be like if everyone on earth embraced this….. Imagine if just those professing to be Christian were to live it! This world would be a completely different place. Think about it. In practical terms: no cursing or gesturing when a driver swerves or cuts us off or stops without warning. No rudeness to people who don’t dress as nice as we do, or maybe they smell bad, or are offensive in other ways to us. Waiting in line without grumbling or being impatient. No more lawsuits (sorry, lawyers, but we wouldn’t need you!).

Smiles, nods of acknowledgment from everyone we come in contact with. Hearing “Thank you” and “You’re welcome.” Finding a positive comments for each person we speak to. Wow. Can you imagine how much more productive we would be?

It does take a whole lot of effort, people. In fact, just a smile can make a huge positive impact on someone who is having a bad day, and a “hello” or “good morning” can literally change your day, both yours AND the person it is directed to. In my last position, we had a VP who took the time to walk the floor when she was in the office, and take time to speak to every person there. She had tremendous demands on her time, and yet made sure to give us her attention, even for the seconds it too to say good morning to each individual. It always improved my day, and I am convinced it enhanced my productivity. On the other hand, my immediate supervisor began skipping me when she would say hello to her team. She would stop and speak to the people all around me, but when I would speak to her, she made it very clear in her expressions that I was an imposition and a nuisance. My performance suffered greatly when that happened.

The bottom line? Pay attention to yourself. Make an effort to smile and be pleasant, even if you aren’t having a great day. Smiling can do wonders for your outlook, and it makes you look better, too! Love because Jesus taught us to. We don’t have to like a person or their behavior to love them. Make the effort to learn these verses and apply them. You may never realize it, but your smile could be just the thing to turn a life that is upside down, right side up. Love, even when we don’t like.

Contentment

Something we search for our entire lives, and many never find, is so simple: contentment. Not happiness, although many mistake the two for being the same. I know that I searched without success for that elusive “happiness” for years. Oh, there are moments of pure joy, and events that give us a momentarily taste of happiness, but it always fades. As it does, we are faced with a choice. Can we hold on to the contentment and be satisfied with it, or do we immediately go on the search for another jolt of “happiness,” akin to those adrenaline junkies we see going to extremes for that momentary, transient feeling? Addicts, especially, are at risk. Searching for the next high…. and it can come from alcohol, illegal drugs and prescription drugs, sex or food… even something as innocuous as shopping. It takes more and more to reach that fleeting feeling, until it spirals out of control for so many. Yet we continue.

My conclusion, at least for me, is to simplify. Simplify my desires. Sure, it would be fun to have a huge house were all of my family and friends could gather together, but the truth is that I would be content in a little cottage with a vegetable garden for a backyard (with a tiny pool, of course!) and flowers filling the front; close to people I care about. All that’s a pipe dream, because it would be entirely too small for my partner, and I care too much to abandon him. My other dream is be to have a bigger place, where my mother could come to live with me. Just dreams at this point in my life. The point is that I can spend my time searching and dreaming of these things, and make myself miserable because they aren’t possible, or I can open my eyes to what I have and choose to be content.

Honestly, at times I validate from contentment to disillusionment. By now in my life, according to some standards, my house should be paid off or close to being paid off, and I should be retired with a decent retirement. Neither are even close to being true, except that I am unemployed, though not by choice. Because of circumstances, I could choose to be bitter and discontented, but what would that do, other than make me and those around me miserable? Contentment is definitely a choice, one that I don’t always choose. Sometimes I want that fleeting happiness so badly that I succeed in making myself feel wretched, and where is the benefit in that? It can be a tremendous effort, at times, to choose contentment over the disgruntled, angry, depressed feelings the enemy wants us to be.

We can be as Joshua and Timothy say: “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (http://bible.com/116/jos.1.9.NLT)

“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” And we can also make this choice: “But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.” 1 Timothy 6:6‭-‬9 (http://bible.com/116/1ti.6.6-9.NLT)

It is through the Grace of our LORD Jesus Christ that we are able to choose, and find, contentment. Working to support yourself and your family is not wrong, in fact, it is what we are supposed to do. It’s that search, that longing, for more and more, bigger and better, that can destroy our contentment, and even our lives. Think about it. Where do you find yourself? My prayer is that you find contentment with Christ.

Wise Guys

The world is full of people who like to expound on how wise they are. Are they really wise? There is a tremendous difference between wisdom and intelligence, and common sense.

“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3:13 (http://bible.com/116/jas.3.13.NLT)

I have had the privilege of knowing some truly wise people and some exceptionally intelligent people. While it is possible to be both, I find it rare to find a person who embodies both. It’s sad, really. One of my favorite songs, and groups, is “O God Forgive Us” by For King and Country. Wise or intelligent, or barely able to make sense, we all need Jesus, we need to live for Him, and we ALL need to be forgiven! Don’t let your intelligence, or your worldly wisdom, get in the way of that. “You will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.” C.S. Lewis, @CSLewisDaily

I truly believe that God gave us one job when we became Christians. Never stop praying for others. Never. It doesn’t take any particular wisdom or intelligence to pray, and it is something we can do no matter where we are, what we are doing, or who we are with. Just talking with God, our Savior, answer sharing concerns and struggles and thanks, and fears. He doesn’t promise intellectual wisdom, or prosperity. He promises to give us our daily needs, as long as we seek His wisdom. It’s a journey, and the destination is an eternity with Him.

“So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His Will and to give you SPIRITUAL wisdom and understanding. Colossians 1:9 (http://bible.com/116/col.1.9.NLT)

The “Right” to Welfare

“Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: ‘Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.’ Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the LORD Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:10‭-‬12 (http://bible.com/116/2th.3.10-12.NLT)

There are two types of welfare in this country today, and it has gone far beyond the original scope. People who truly need help because of physical or mental limitations, people who need a TEMPORARY hand up, and our elderly are the only ones who should receive benefits. Oftentimes, we fall in our journey through life (for a multitude of reasons) and need that helping hand to get back up. Then there is the second type. We have too many people exploiting the system. Anyone who can afford to do their hair and nails, buy cigarettes, or support an alcohol or drug habit, or who use it as an excuse to not work should lose their benefits. We – the people of the U.S. who do work and pay our taxes and scrape by on what we earn – should be insisting on regular and random drug and alcohol checks. Maybe even house checks, to determine if there are freeloaders in the house.

I’m quite aware that any liberals who read this are going to jump all over me, and I really don’t care. These words are truth, and anyone who has to actually go out and work should be in agreement. Most really hardcore liberals have outside incomes, including the wealthy and those I term “Trust-fund babies” – those people who come from wealthy families and have nothing better to do. Harsh words that are, unfortunately, true.

Our churches, Christians everywhere, regardless of denominational affiliation, need to be taking care of those in need, NOT the government. Note that I said, those in NEED, not those in WANT. I have been in positions of need, and many years ago received commodities. No food stamps and certainly not money! I have been in the temporary situation of having the church pay some of my bills, and I have had help over the years from family to get me back where I needed to be. At some point in our lives, I think most people need help. It doesn’t always have to be financial. Sometimes it means teaching a person how to do better with their resources, and sometimes, it means showing what Jesus can do in our lives.

“Work” doesn’t always mean a job that has a monetary value. Some of the work to be done can’t be financially compensated, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable or necessary. This is the most important thing:

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the LORD rather than for people.” – Colossians 3:23 (http://bible.com/116/col.3.23.NLT)