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Archive for the month “January, 2020”

Oil For The Tin Man

“Have you been doing your exercises?”  It was my Chiropractor after my last visit.  I go to my Chiropractor every six weeks and he takes care of my neck issue and my lower back.  The exercise is designed to keep my neck loosened up so I can turn it better.  I could truthfully answer for the first time in awhile that I had been doing the exercises he prescribed.    I mentioned that I felt like I was fighting a losing battle.  He agreed with me that gravity was a tough foe to go against.  When I walked  away my neck was unlocked and my head could turn smoothly and freely!  He had done his job but we both knew that in six weeks I would right back here with the same problem.

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The problem behind the problem that  I have stems from the job that I do.  You see I sit in front of a computer all day and my neck is positioned out of line.  Small doses of this would probably be fine but hour after hour in the same position takes it’s toll.  The strange part of it is that my neck comes out of line so gradual that I usually don’t realize how locked up I am.  The chiropractor knows just what tests to run me through to see how badly I have regressed.  He either adjusts me on a standing table or he uses one where I lay down.  The procedure is quick with a command of “deep breath in” and the  sudden push in the targeted spot which causes the table to adjust too.  There is always a loud pop when that happens.  Usually it is just the table that pops but once on a while my body cracks too.  Then it is off of the table and more tests to see if the problem is solved.

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Remember in the old Wizard of Oz movie where Dorothy and her new friend The Scarecrow were skipping down the yellow brick road only to notice the tin man.  He caught their attention because he was stiff like a statue.  Then they heard his feint sound. Dorothy and the Scarecrow made out his sound to mean oil.  Suddenly they found an oil can right next to him.  Dorothy started squirted the oil on his mouth and suddenly he could talk.  He was telling her where to apply more oil and before you knew it he was limber enough to skip down the yellow brick road with them!

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It is ironic that the Tin Man thought he needed a heart.  However the words to the song Tin Man by America are true “Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn’t already have.”  His problem was that he got stiff and rusty and couldn’t act on what his heart was telling him.  The same thing can happen to us.  We can get hard toward the things of God and try to do things ourselves.  Often times it is only when we find that we can’t do anything that we humbly put our trust in him.  When we come to that realization we become thankful that he has softened our heart and given us a purpose for living.  No longer are we trying to do everything by ourselves because like the Tin Man we need to be free.  We realize that the spiritual oil God gives us is exactly what we need to be happy.  We are free because the burden is now off of us.  He said that he would take our burdens and carry them for us.  Because of the spiritual freedom he gives we are thankful for the transformation in us that occurs!

One day Jesus as he was about to enter a village on his way to Jerusalem heard 10 men afflicted with Leprocy cry out to him.  “Jesus, Have mercy on us”.  Jesus told them to show themselves to the priest.  As they started walking they were all healed.  Jesus had in effect taken the spiritual healing oil and applied it with his words and their faith.  Later one of the ten came back to Jesus and was so thankful.  He praised him in a loud voice and threw himself at Jesus’ feet.  Jesus asked the questions “Wasn’t there ten that were cleansed?” Where are the other nine?  Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?  Then he said to him “rise and go, your faith has made you well.”  When Jesus said well in this case he meant well both physically and spiritually.  The other 9 got their physical healing but their hearts were still hard.  This man was so thankful that he was sent away the second time with a clean heart too!

There are so many things that I want to do.  Before I try to begin I need to ask myself is this something that God would want me to do?  Being connected to him makes decisions far more easier.  He often times puts the desire in our hearts.  Without that driving desire our dreams by themselves fall by the wayside.  There are so many people that make goals for the new year and after a month or two abandon them.  Why do they fail so miserably?  The answer is that their goals are not deeply rooted.  Without deep roots when discouragement comes their dreams blow away much like a badly planted tree.

So how do we follow through on our goals.  How do we find the successes that we desire?  First of all we need to make sure that what we want is what God wants for us.  If we feel in our spirit that it is we are at the point of beginning.  Now we need to get God involved.  He tells us that if we delight ourselves in the Lord he will give us the desires of our heart.  Psalms 37:4.  So what does it mean for us to delight ourselves in the Lord?  It means to put him so high that everything else is distant.  It means that he is first and there is not a close second.

We may find that God takes us in a completely different direction.  If so we will be so much more fulfilled knowing that we are completely in his will.  On the other hand it may be a freeing up thing much like the oil for the Tin Man.  The Tin Man didn’t get his oil until he asked for it.  The same went for the ten with Leprocy.  One thing is for certain God is our friend.  He wants the best for us.  His best can be fulfilled when we give our hearts, soul, and mind to him.  Then when he gives us a desire he loosens us with spiritual oil so that we are free to fulfill our mission.  When my neck issue is straightened out it’s only a matter of time before it freezes up again.  It is only a temporary fix.  God does not do temporary fixes.  He uses his spiritual oil to take us to higher ground by helping us accomplish all of the desires he has placed in our hearts.



Getting The Brush Off

It could only happen to Kevin.  That was my initial thought when he was telling me the story.  It was like a repeat of past experiences when he expected one thing and got the opposite.  To understand  the significance of the story let me tell you a little about Kevin.  Kevin and I were friends in our teen years.  Kevin had a car and he was our ticket to get to school during my junior year.  He was the bridge between riding the bus which nobody liked and getting my own car.  After high school we both went our separate ways.  I went to college and Kevin joined the Navy.  We lost touch with each other for over 40 years.  One day Dane Kevin’s brother friended me on Facebook.  It wasn’t long after I was talking to Dane and naturally Kevin’s name came up.  Surprisingly one day after work there was a message on my machine and it was Kevin.  He mentioned that he didn’t know if this was my number but if it was he wanted me to call him.

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Black and White US Navy Uniform Photograph

The phone call that ensued lasted about 2 hours.  We talked about what happened to us after we had last seen each other.  From two other experiences that I have had re-kindling friendships after many years apart unexpected things happen.  I’ve found that even though we are much older we basically haven’t changed.  Oh we have changed with the experiences that life has dealt us but we are still the same people.  What I am trying to say is in my experience it is easy to find the things that you originally liked about someone even after years have passed.  Kevin’s likeable traits included the fact that he is responsible, loyal, friendly, and he can laugh at himself.  These traits served him well in his position with the City Water Department after his stint in the Navy.

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We’ve talked quite a lot about his many years at the Water Department. We’ve talked about technical things involved and people that he worked with.  The most humorous thing that he told me was that it seemed that whatever the situation he was the one that received the unexpected surprise.  For example if the office was getting gifts from the boss his got the one that was broken.  If they ordered out for lunch his order would be the one missing.  If there was a paycheck issue his was the one that was likely to be wrong.  It got to a point where Kevin’s boss was feeling sorry for him for the apparent black cloud that seemed to fly over his head.

A little over a week ago I was at an indoor flea market.  I got talking to one of the sellers about some of the old record albums that he had.  He was a big guy probably like 6 foot 8 and 270 pounds.  He was also standing up which strained my neck a little looking up as we talked.  I asked him if he knew that Alice Cooper (one of the artists that we talked about) was a Christian?  It seemed like such an unlikely scenario that the man who wore wild outfits and had the painted face was now living for the Lord.  The seller offered several other former rock stars who were now Christians.  He seemed to have an enormous amount of knowledge on the subject.  That is when I asked him the ultimate question “Are you a Christian?”  Immediately his answer was “NO.”  As I tried to witness about the Lord to him he was seemingly trying to find ways to interrupt, dispute, or simply complain about how the world and his situation was.  When I handed him my website card he accepted it but I could tell he probably would never use it.  I had the feeling that I was getting the brush off.

My friend Kevin had me laughing so hard the other day that I was crying.  I had asked him where he would recommend me going to get my car washed.  He told me he had always had good luck with Bob and Kay’s Car wash except for one time.  Naturally I wanted to hear about the one exception.  It was about a year ago that Kevin took his new to him car for a wash.  To his happy surprise the car wash wasn’t very busy that day as he was the only one going in!  With his next in line service he was thinking about what other errands he needed to do that day.  He followed the instructions that the big sign at the place electronically posted which ended with “put your car in neutral and don’t use the brakes.”  As he sat there going through the spinning brushes something very strange happened.  About halfway through the wash the entire power system shut off.  The brushes stopped, the car stopped,  the lights went out, and there was Kevin trapped in his car in the midst of brushes.

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Sometimes in the middle of a crises instant action is needed.  Kevin thought about the situation.  What could he do?  He couldn’t get out of the car because he was blocked in and he couldn’t try to drive through the wash for fear that his car would be damaged.  All he could do was nothing.  Sometimes the best thing we can do is nothing.  Kevin kept his fears under control.  I’m sure the memory of the black cloud days entered his mind.  However he was able to not panic and wait for the situation to get better.  After about 5 minutes a sudden noise was heard.  The lights came on, the brushes started spinning and his car started moving.  Within a couple of minutes he was out of the car wash and his car was sparkling clean as though nothing had happened.

I took Kevin’s advice and took my car to Bob and Kay’s.  I pulled into a long line unlike Kevin’s experience on that fateful day.  After paying at the drive through window I followed the car in front of me and obeyed the instructions.  I thought about Kevin’s experience as I went through the wash.  When we do something like ride an elevator, go through a car wash, or drive our car we don’t imagine things will go wrong.  Usually they don’t and we get the belief that nothing bad can happen.  When it does it is so much out of the ordinary that we might panic.

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When we talk to people about the Lord we must realize that they may not accept the truth we are sharing  The big man at the flea market is a good example.  I have learned to throw something out there much like throwing seeds out in a field.  The ultimate results are completely out of my control.  Many times we will get the brush off treatment because they don’t want to hear about it.  Their hearts are hard and not ready for the seeds.  At these times we may be tempted to try to do the Lords work and force them to accept it.  If we push the issue we could do permanent damage much like what could have happened to Kevin’s car.  What we need to do is wait on the Lord to take that seed that was planted and do a good work to soften their hearts.  We are not called to produce results.  The good Lord is the only one who can change people.   Our call is to show the light of Jesus within us.  By showing his light we can let him use his power to take their darkness state and transform it into a sparkling clean bright light.

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