THE MEASURING STICK

yardstick

 

When I was a small boy and life was oh so simple, we had a simple little tool that was in just about all the homes at the time and that was a “ yard stick”. This is probably the earliest of training I would have got on the task of tracking things. It had so many uses back then. As kids wanting to be grown ups we were very interested in marking our height on a door casing and measuring it. It seemed like the higher the number the more worth you felt you had. If you were to compare yourself to someone else ( which often was the case ) you had to keep and eye on their feet to make sure they were not on their toes.tape-measure-steel

It was used to measure all sorts of things in the house as well. Mom used to use it in the sewing room as she cut and sewed material to make clothes. Sometimes it got used on my behind to bring me back into line. Today we are obsessed with measuring thing. Not so much with yardsticks anymore but in building the tape measure is still used a lot. In business there is often a spread sheet that is used to track or measure. As I worked in the Dairy production facility I used a number of these to measure various things like cost per liter, or to track packaging usage and waste. These measurements are used to determine value and profitability. But what about you?Spreadsheet

How can you track or measure your value to your friends, family, business, church or neighborhood? The thing about measuring your value is that it has to be compared to someone else. The bible may teach us not to judge others but the world has us well trained in doing so. It’s almost funny to hear people say “ Hey don’t judge me!” as if they now have abandoned that type of thought. What they mostly mean is “Hey don’t call me on choosing to do what is wrong”. Life can really mess with one’s “sense of value” but our real value cannot be changed. Our worth is determined by what someone was willing to pay for it. Well God was willing to surrender His life for you so that makes each of us priceless. Just like governments print money and back it’s value God who never changes has put the price tag on your head. You have immense, incredible, value that never changes because God never changes.Contestants

The need to compare yourself to another is gone because when God designed you He put the same effort into each one of us. We all have things that we just seem to be good at and can touch others unlike any other. We also have weaknesses that allow us to work in community because we all have need of each other. helping fellow racer09ef8ed4  Yes God had a great plan in mind when He designed us and the world that we live in. So the next time you look in the mirror just remember that the Almighty perfect, unchanging God took the time to design you just the way He wanted to so you would one day reveal Him to a world who has forgotten the One who establishes value. So tonight that is what you find me……… Just Thinking

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I DID IT ALONE!

 

 

alone-764926_960_720

I was at a men’s fellowship last evening and we were encouraged to dig into scripture to see if we could discover any information about Revival. The group is made up of men with different backgrounds and teaching. Most of the group are men who have retired from their working life. Anyway The facilitator went around the room to gather what everyone had gleaned. We concluded that prayer was a good beginning for anything including revival because as we know that if the Lord didn’t build it…..

As the evening went along I started to think about the days when my mind was so occupied with the strong feelings I felt for God. He was my everything and I knew it. I remembered and shared a vision the Lord gave me many moons ago when I really was just new in my walk with God. I was in worship at the first Christian Conference I had ever attended and decided to close my eyes while I sang to rid myself of the visual distractions.

Listening to judge

I suddenly found myself standing before a judge in a courtroom setting and I quickly realized that it was me on trial. I remember thinking how unjust this was because I had not committed any crimes and in my opinion was a pretty good person. So as I faced the judge I was expecting to be exonerated as there had to be some mistake made. The judge began to read the charges that were made against me. He read for a few minutes which seemed an eternity for me. With each charge listed against me I felt more & more hopeless. The charges were true and I felt such shame. My children were there in this vision and I wanted to close their ears to what was being said of their dad. How would they ever love me again knowing their dad was anything but good. My view of the courtroom became limited as I could no longer lift my eyes under the weight of this shame. I wasn’t sure who the people in the sitting area were but if they knew me and were routing for me they would have changed their mind and distanced themselves far from the likes of me.

Sitting in Court

As the judge finished reading the list of charges against me he then asked how would I plea. I thought to myself, Was this a joke? Everything read was true and there was no fight left in me at all. I just wanted to die and the realization of what I really was. I continued to stare at the floor when I heard the sound of a courtroom door opening on the left side of the room. I somehow knew it was Jesus as my gaze remained down as He entered the room and made his way over to my side. I wondered if He had heard all those terrible things against me and if He did then why was he standing here? The judge still waiting for me to give a reply looked at Jesus as Jesus speaks on my behalf and says “ these crimes are listed to my account now and not his. The judge hit the gavel and said “ Case Dismissed. With that Jesus put His arm around me and led the children and I out of the courtroom and I opened my eyes and was still in worship. I wanted to cry but still had enough fear of man not to but I was close to being in shock as it was so real to me. As I shared it last night the realness of it came back to mind. I did shed a few tears though I wanted to really cry hard as I recalled what state my life was in without Jesus.

Jesus talks in scripture about those who are luke warm being spat out of His mouth. As I thought about my fellow Christian friends I thought that’s the state we are in now. We are luke warm when we need to be on fire.

 

luke warm

So I pondered today why in the world we as well as many others would be luke warm? I think part of the reason for this is that I have lost sight of my daily need to walk with Him but letting Him lead the direction. If the sins were wiped clean before I became a Christian and I stood before the judge today things would still remain just as hopeless as they were that day. If all the sins I committed were wiped away except for those done in February I would still be sunk. Though I have been a Christian for years now I still desperately need God daily which is why He gave us His Holy Spirit.

It is my belief that many of us think that we are now in and so Jesus can wonder off and help those more in need. As time moves along I feel less and less thankful as I once again believe that this flesh of mine has been well trained not to sin any longer. I have a bible so I can just do what I think is right from what I read. This is such foolishness.

Lost

I should embrace Jesus and His sacrifice for me. I remain hopeless apart from Him. I continue to owe everything to Him. My good deeds have not somehow paid Him back. Besides one of the biggest mistakes we make is wanting to do this walk ourselves and in our own strength so we can show Father how well we have done on our own rather then leaning on Jesus everyday. Independence is about the poorest choice a Christian can make. He welcomed us into a new family so we really need to learn where we sit at the dinner table prepared for us.

 

table-full-of-food

PICK UP YOUR MAT AND WALK

Jesus

I was thinking about the man who was lying on his mat at the pool of Bethesda for 38 years. That is a very long time and very likely was the majority of this man’s life. His situation was one where it was all but impossible for him to get the healing he was looking. Apparently every once in a while an angel would come and stir the waters of this pool and the first person to enter in after this happened was healed of whatever their affliction was.

So this man was crippled so rather then walking or running to the pool after this happened he had to crawl. Picture this for a moment. He is waiting for weeks which turn into months and finally the waters stir. He gets excited, rolls off his mat and begins to crawl. Suddenly he is covered by dust caused by the people running past to get to the water first. His heart sank as hope is dashed and he crawls back to his mat. Over the next year or two this same scenario is repeated over and over I wonder how many attempts were made by him for him to realize that this was never going to be the answer to his problem. It’s like laying out your financial plan and having it based on first winning the lottery.

So when I read in John 5 that Jesus asks the man “ Do you truly long to be healed?” ( TPT ) it made me wonder. When I first read the question I thought “ what a stupid question “ but we know that Jesus is anything but stupid so what was he getting at. So this is what I think. In that situation I would have certainly lost hope of winning the race to the pool. Then I would have been faced with a decision. Since this won’t change anything for me what do I do from here? With no money his options would be few. The point is that if you want things to change you need to try something new. This man did not so I am going to assume that he gave up.

When people get stuck in life sometimes that just accept things as they are and make that place home. In the son who became the prodigal had given up at the pen feeding pigs his story would have ended much differently. His options were few as well but he had to try something even against the odds of his dad accepting him back rather then just accepting things as they were.

Today many people are suffering with all kinds of physical and mental health challenges. What do you do when they come? Well many people today are being diagnosed with XYZ and the person accepts this proclamation as their lot in life and they lay on their mat and watch life pass by. Now perhaps you don’t know Jesus at least not in a real way. Maybe you do but your prayers have not changed your circumstances and you see that as Him saying no to you. So then we just nestle into whatever it condition it was that the doctor told us we had. For some it becomes our new identity. I can join a club of fellow people who suffer the same affliction. If your condition is made legitimate then you may become a speaker on behalf of your fellow suffers. Perhaps if it is sympathy and attention you wanted but never attained it before well you may have found a way.

So Jesus asks “ Do you truly long to be healed?” I’m sure the man at the pool knew everyone around there and their relatives. He was still alive so someone took care of him by proving food and drink perhaps a blanket. What did this man know how to do besides beg? It had been a long time since he worked. His whole world would change if he were healed. There goes the handouts that he had grown accustomed to. One thing that many of us fear is change. We cannot predict how the change will turn out and that stirs up fear. What if there was someone who you could trust completely. Let’s say that person loved you more then you loved yourself. This person already had a plan for your life that if you followed it you would be completely satisfied. Then you could surrender your life to someone like that and not need to fear.  Jesus extending hand

So think about it. If you are sidelined with something and you just don’t know what you could do to change things then…. So Jesus asks “Do you truly long to be healed?”

A SACRIFICE OF LOVE

This morning I found myself thinking about Jesus and His death. As a Christian we all know that it is His sacrifice that has allowed us to be accepted into the kingdom so I am not going to go there but this is where I am going.
There was a night long ago in my past where the fellowship that I attended was doing a bible study that was taught by Kay Arthur. We had her books and her video series but this particular lesson was on the night that Jesus surrendered himself to the religious authorities to suffer one of the most horrific periods that any man had ever endured. As I watched Kay describe what He was going through in great detail I found myself going into shock as I allowed myself to receive the truth of His suffering that He went through for my sake. When I say my sake I mean in a truly personal way and not the group type of understanding.
This was the night that the reality of what Jesus has done moved from my mind to my heart where I felt my own suffering that someone who loved me so very much was enduring this so I would not have to. I got to see through the eyes of my heart that this torture He was going through was unjust for Him but totally just for me. My life had earned suffering and death, not applause. He was abandoned by those he loved which would have been my fate. All my buddies that seemed so important to impress would all take off when things became unpleasant but it was happening to Him instead. This one friend I had, Jesus was the only friend who would stick by me when nobody else would and yet it was everyone but Him who got my best. Why would you stay with my when I was so unfaithful to me. I never deserved this love from you.
My heart was breaking but I didn’t want the people I was with to know how close to breaking I was. One of the men began to teach on the cat and nine tails but in a purely academic way that triggered such anger in me. I just discovered that Jesus was the best friend I ever had though I never realized it until now and also the reality of His death had hit me hard. I wanted to attack this man for his insensitivity! I wanted to grieve this loss I had just had but I seemed to be alone in this. I went home where the house was empty. My wife had just left with the kids just weeks before so I felt very alone. I allowed myself to go back to the thoughts I was having at the study. I became overwhelmed and I tried to tell Jesus how sorry I was but words could not express the pain I felt. I just knelt beside the bed and I let the dam go. I cried and sobbed buckets of tears that seemed to have been held back for years. This is what repentance must really have felt like. I had lived my life so wrong and been the poorest of friends to Jesus. I was no better then anyone and I realized it for the very first time.
I think that a part of me died with Jesus that night. When I had finished my sobbing I was a different person. I was a friend of Jesus now that did appreciate Him and did really love Him. My understanding had changed. He never chose me because I was so good or amazing but it was because He is who He is and very little to do with me. I just allowed myself to let the truth take root and change me. I was a sinful man born in sin so why did I think I had became something different. A worm does not transform into a butterfly unless it is willing to first allow itself a type of death for life to come forth from this.
Pondering 2This morning I was remembering who I had become and wondered what had happened to me that I no longer felt that new life flowing through me. I is all different and though my theology tells me that I belong to Him a great part of me feels like I was before this happened. As I pondered this a thought came drifting into mind. A word actually. “ ENTITLEMENT”. Somehow I think that I am now entitled to blessing and not suffering. I don’t need Jesus anymore as I “ saved” so I can move independently of Him. I looked up the word to refresh my memory of what this word really means:
ENTITLEMENT- he fact of having a right to something.
“full entitlement to fees and maintenance should be offered”
• THE amount to which a person has a right.
“annual leave entitlement”
the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.
“no wonder your kids have a sense of entitlement”

I was rescued by Him, so I could be part of the fellowship with He, Father, & Holy Spirit. I am meant and was made for this family and not to be independent or alone. How did I get so far from the truth? Perhaps it is time to repent once again. If you have forgotten what this word means

re·pent·ance
rəˈpentəns/
noun: repentance; plural noun: repentances
1. the action of repenting; sincere regret or remorse.
“each person who turns to God in genuine repentance and faith will be saved”

 

Just Thinking

Norman Crowell
Tuesday, January 9, 18

MY FRIEND

 

Woman

I HAVE THIS AWESOME FRIEND YOU SEE

WHO OFTEN HIDES HER SELF

A PART OF HER IS BROKEN

SO SHE DOESN’T SEE HER WEALTH

 

SHE DOESN’T SEE THE VALUE

DEPOSITED RIGHT FROM THE START

ON EVERY TEST SHE FAILS HERSELF

AND DAMAGES HER OWN HEART

 

OH THE DEVIL IS SO CRAFTY

AS HE SPEAKS HIS LIES TO HER

YOU’LL JUST NEVER BE ENOUGH OH CHILD

AND NOT WORTHY TO BE HEARD

 

THE OTHER GIRLS ARE OH SO SWEET

AS THEY LINE UP NEXT TO YOU

IF ONLY YOU WERE MORE LIKE THEM

SO ON THESE LIES YOU STEW

 

THE TRUTH YOU SEE IS GOD MADE YOU

WITH PURPOSE AND PLAN IN MIND

HE OFTEN IS REVEALED THROUGH YOU

BUT THE LIES HAVE LEFT YOU BLIND

 

YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO YOUR FATHER

AND TRUST HIS WORK IS GOOD

HIS HEART DELIGHTS IN WHO YOU ARE

IF YOU ONLY UNDERSTOOD

 

GOD’S MERCIES ARE FOR EVERYONE

IN THIS YOU DO BELIEVE

IT’S TIME TO LIFT YOUR EYES AND SAY

HIS LOVES I DO RECEIVEUNITY

 

 

 

 

Pain and it’s many forms

PAIN 1Pain in the neck

Pain is something that we all live with in one form or another. It comes in all shapes and sizes and is like a parasite as it sucks the life from it’s host. For this blog I want to explore the pain caused by betrayal. It happens to us all on the road of life but it doesn’t make it any less painful. I became familiar with betrayal as a young boy. Not all homes were that warm safe place growing up and mine wasn’t either. Mom and dad seemed to be at each others throats as longs as I can remember. The home was under constant threat of divorce. It was not as common as it is now but for me it was very troubling. I grew up with this nagging sense that I had no safe place and that love was highly unstable. ( She loves me, she loves me not )

Somewhere around the age of 10 I started to get really bad headaches. On one such time I was visiting a neighbor friend of my parents and she suggested I lay down and slept until it passed. She was always kind to me. I went to sleep and then woke as I heard a familiar voice. It was my father. I was curious why he was there. I went to see him and said “ Are you here to see if I was okay?” He said that he was. I was thinking how odd that he was doing that but I really wanted to believe that was true. I guess IO was never convinced at that age that I was really loved or appreciated at home. I really wanted to be so I accepted it as truth….. until I discovered that he was having an affair with that lady. That blow up was ugly which I got to see up front and personal. I was on my bicycle and going by that ladies house when my mother hollered for me to come in. I knew she was angry but I didn’t know why. I walked up the stairs and mom proceeded to tell me what this lady and dad were up to. There was lots of screaming. The ladies husband phoned and mom answered it. She tells the man what is going on and then takes the phone receiver and slams it into the woman’s face. At that point I left and so there blew up another place in my life that I found refuge in.Crying boy

Well the family split up for a while and my sister and I were moved to my aunts in a small village. She was a nice lady and so we needed to make new friends. Things were much quieter there and we settled in. One of my favourite things to do was to go into town to the racetrack and watch the horses go. One night mom took us ( during the separation period ) and my grandmother was there. ( dads mom ) It was time to go home and I wanted to stay later so my grandmother said I could stay and she would bring me home. That was great as my mom agreed. We the races were over I was in the car with her when she started to talk about the trouble with our family. I can’t remember what I said about it at the time but it was a negative comment regarding my father being the bad one. She got very upset and told me that it was not all dad’s fault because my mother was just an ol whore anyway. That comment sent me spinning as my one remaining parent was untrustworthy as well.Pain

It is funny how words can hurt and reshape you from one thing to another. My trust was destroyed as there was no place where you could trust other then I would need to trust my instincts and just watch myself. Where do you run as a child when home just isn’t home. It is funny but if someone were going to help me then and get me out of the mess I would have done whatever to stay there. My fear of the unknown was worse then the present fear I had. Yes betrayal can sure cause pain and the wounds are on the inside. Thankfully I discovered that there was a person who did love well and was willing to make me family. His love is unconditional and His home is indeed a safe place. His name is Jesus and He is very real. Anyway that is a few thoughts regarding betrayal that I found myself…… Just thinking

REFLECTION

 

ponder

The Lord did pray before He left

On a dark a dreary eve

He pondered those, and those to come

What was it they would need?

 

Trusting was one big problem

With mercy in short supply

The church had scribes and Pharisees

But on them he could not rely

 

With each soul wanting independence

There was no unity

Looking out for number one

All wanting to be free

 

So He prayed that we should be

Joined with Him as one

Surrendering our independence

Selfishness would now be done

 

A willingness to let God reign

Would burn within our minds

But the devil rose up and spoke his lies

And slowly we became blind

 

Now we sound like we trust in our Lord preacher

And we have our doctrines in hand

But when it comes to trusting you my friend

It’s there I’ll take my stand

 

I’m sorry friend but I can’t believe

That you call Jesus your Lord

You take this love thing way to far

Your thinking we cannot afford

 

You see I’ve been a Christian for many years

And this one thing I’ve learned

You never show your weakness friend

Or you will end up burned

 

The word of God is like a sword

Cutting the weak ones down

From their knees they look up

And they will see my frownSelfie

 

I’m sorry sir but you are wrong

There is a much better way to go

I surrender my life into His hands

And with His love I’ll glow

 

In this church where you play God

It’s a mystery as to why

You see whatever you do without love

Will count for nothing and die

 

Jesus opened the door so wide

That all were welcome in

He loved us into His family

And freed you from your sin.Matthew

 

So as you lead that life of yours

Judging others as you walk

Slander, gossip and the like

In those I place no stalk

 

It sounds like it’s time to make a change

And turn back to your first love

Repent for all your hurting ways

And wear Jesus like a gloveimages

 

 

 

 

 

 

DARK DAYS

Sadness

The seasons change

and my scenery too

From the cold of winter

To the wet and goo

 

The rain clouds form

closing out the light

now dark and dreary

with no end in sight

 

My heart grows heavy

As joy has now fled

Sadness now comes

Filling me with dread

 

If I were alone now

Stuck in this pit

Soon I’d be hopeless

In the mess I’d sit

 

But I have a friend

And He’s always near

His words are true

And full of cheer

 

In His presence

I will smile again

In spite of the weather

I’ll dance in this rain

 

Circumstances do change

And trials do appear

But the love of my friend

Is always so near

Rainbow

With Him things are different

I’m safe and secure

the love of my Jesus

shall always endure

Jesus

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