The Simple Life


My brother is just so funny. I feel blessed to have him in my life. He makes me laugh so hard.  It’s wonderful for my mother to share this time with him too, since he had been living apart from her for many years.

I’ve noticed that he and the other people with special needs bring home beautiful pictures. The other day I was looking at this picture and I said, “Kevin, this is not yours. You’ve taken someone else’s picture by mistake.” He promptly picked up a pen and crossed out the other persons name and wrote his own name on the top! Then he said, “There you go.” As if life is just that easy. Take what you want. I wonder how many times he’s seen that done I thought. “Hmm,” I said. “He’d make a great attorney!”

My mother and I were laughing so hard at him. In his world forgery was nothing. If you like it, make it yours.

I looked at all of the artwork and started looking at the things in my home. I realized that life is just too short to collect things. The beauty of simple things that the artwork my brother produces, is better than anything one can purchase.

I sat in my living room and was sad when I noticed a small cardboard box which held the belongings which my mother was left with after being moved from her home. I took a picture. I cried to think this was so important to her.The Barbie dolls which she used to knit clothing for. No one could believe that she could do this and it was something that she took great pride in. The little Charlie Brown that plays music. The pictures. I managed to get the bronze shoes from my brother Dennis who had passed away as a baby. These she somehow never lost in all of her shuffling through the years. It is difficult to see my mother’s life reduced to a cardboard box. But then I look around and feel the weight of all the things in my life holding me down. I don’t want anything in my life. I can’t stand things holding me back from what is important. I hate greed and what it does to people. It hurts me to see what it has done. I don’t want to take care of things. Although I love looking at my brother’s pictures. And my mother’s things. It’s cute, but we all have the propensity to collect. So I want to bring joy to other’s by giving.

Now I got my mom into a pottery class to learn something new. She was making me laugh with her antics. When the teacher told her to “pinch her pot,” she said, “What?” “Yea, I said, “That meant something completely different in the 70’s!” Now she’s learning a different skill at 82 and she’ll be able to make new memories and so will I.

I realized that life is not about owning things. In fact the more time I spend with my mother, the more fleeting I see that our time is on this earth. I see that those who have robbed and tried to fill their lives with things, are missing the most important qualities.

My mother and I listened to my brother talking last night. He was telling us about the lipstick that he was going to give his girlfriend at school. He was going to put it in his purse. It’s really a fannypack. He crams all kinds of stuff into that purse. Sometimes I’ll check it just too unload some things. It’s so stuffed full. I just have to see what he’s carrying around and it’s funny. Pictures of things unrelated. I try to connect the subjects, but can’t seem to and move on. The objects make no sense,but they amuse me.

The keychains that I have given him have all found a place on this pack. I have actually had to remove some,because it has become unsafe. The weight of this is ridiculous. And the fact that one of them is a round basketball for coins, makes it hilarious with his gait and when he bowls, underhanded, my son made the remark that it’s a good thing I didn’t give him the bull’s you know what, to hang from this pack, or it would be quite a sight to behold, when he bends down to bowl! This visual just made me crack up.

He is very animated. And when he tells us that someone threw up at school it’s hilarious. He is over the top. I don’t think it happened the way he tells us and at times, I only wish I could place a hidden camera on him. There was one day that he told me that one person threw up and another girl was told that “she stinks and needed to go into the bathroom,” while the teacher was spraying the bathroom. And later, he said the same girl was his girlfriend. My son, who is not easily grossed out, said, “Come on, I don’t want to hear this! You’re girlfriend stinks!” And my brother as proud as could be, said, “Yes, she stinks! Right?” Wow! That’s unconditional love at it’s best! And, all I can say is, those special education teacher’s work very hard, and deserve pay raises!!! Treat them well. They’re very special people.

But,people like my brother are also very special and he keeps me centered. I sometimes find I’m taking him for granted and when I come back to him, I find humor in his simple words and beauty in the world around him. It is just what God was trying to point out to all of us and the reason He told us that “the meek would inherit the earth.”

Look at what a mess we have made of all of this. Greedy people have tried to use people like my brother for selfish gain. I’ve had people say, “They look at your brother like a throwaway.” That has brought me unspeakable pain.” Yes, even at his birth they thought he wouldn’t live. But God had a different plan. And his plans were to bring men to repentance through my brother. Yes, my brother who is so innocent. Who would take an art project and cross someones name and sign his name, would do this with anything. He knows no difference. He tells me everything costs “a hundred dollars.”

But who cares? My brother puts everything in perspective. Whether it a billion dollars or a penny, in his mind it’s the same price. Just as the value of a soul is worth more than everything. And as the Lord has said, “Woe to the man who gains the whole world, yet loses his own soul.”

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The Conversion


To sit at His feet

“The Truth Shall Set you Free.” The words taped to my bathroom mirror. I placed them on it a long time ago, to remind me that I am inprisoned, and the only way to be free is to know the Truth.

I thought I knew what this scripture meant…but I did not. Not even close. It was the reason I kept crying out to the Lord for release and none would come. The suffering in the last 3 years, has grown, and I cried to Him to help me.

I just finished reading a book. Probably the best I’ve ever read, besides the bible, of course.It’s title is; The Shack. And I was soaking in my tub as I was nearing the end of this book. I was crying as I was starting to understand the picture of grace that the author had conveyed. This is when the Holy Spirit spoke to me. He told me that this book was what He was using to point out something important that I had missed. It is all about truth, yes, but the truth is….forgiveness. It is the, knowing and walking out this truth, that we are set free. Unforgiveness, imprisons us.

I was shocked as He pointed out that I hold out forgiveness to those who deserve it, but not to the ones that do not. And I am the one who decides. Which makes me the judge.

I have experienced so much injustice and pain in the past and I wanted everyone that I deemed responsible for this, to be punished. Yet, I have not wanted to acknowledge that I have been the one punished because I am imprisoned by my own failure to walk in love.

The Lord has spoken to me, “How can I convey my love and grace to the world through you, when you do this? How can anyone understand what I’ve done for them if you claim to know me and yet represent me in this way? If you truly understand the depth of my love,”That while you were still sinners, I died for you,” then you would be able to forgive anyone for everything they’ve done against you.”

Yes…this is grace isn’t it? Unmerited favor and mercy. It makes no difference what the rest of the world does, it is not an understanding that anyone can have without the Lords truth, living in them.

“Just forgive,” He tells me.” Keep forgiving and walking in this Truth, and in this, you will remain free.This is the WAY, I AM, and the TRUTH, of that understanding, will give you LIFE. And this is why these are my names. The only way to our Father’s heart.It is through this Love, that I can change the hearts of men. It is when a man knows, that he doesn’t deserve forgiveness, yet it is given, that he truly begins to understand, my love. My love is unconditional.”

“Oh….so the truth shall set you free. It doesn’t mean uncovering others. The truth is, “Love covers a multitude of sins.” It is only by loving that we truly know the Father’s grace toward us. It is not because we deserved love, that He loves us. “We love Him because He first loved us.” And it was this love that offered up His only son to redeem us. There is not love greater.

As I begin to see the picture of who I have been, I’m broken. I begin to sob as I’ve seen my own cruelty through His eyes. I am the one who had asked the Lord to allow me to impart His love to a dying world, and now to see this picture of myself, brings me such grief.

All of a sudden I begin to understand what Paul must have realized, when Christ appeared to him and revealed His pain at what Saul (Paul) had been doing. Saul, acting in what he believed to be, righteous actions and using his power, to send Christians to their death. The question that the Lord should first ask, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Yes, this is when Saul’s name was changed. He had the conversion and finally felt the pain of what he had done, to the Lord. The Lord gave him a new name and a new life.

But for me. I have known His love. His forgiveness. How can I be excused?

I know the answer to that…is still…His grace. His grace is extended to me and I am to become a vessel of this grace. The vessel, broken and spilled out, to others. The grace that was extended to Mary as she gave the picture of herself to us. The picture so profound, that the Lord said, “her name would never be forgotten, for what she had done.When she broke the expensive vial of Canard, and anointed our Lord. Yet this vessel does not release its fragrance until it is broken. And it is this anointing that breaks the yoke, of bondage offering us freedom.

Mary, the one who sat at Jesus feet. The “one who is forgiven much, loves much, but for those who are forgiven little, love little.”

And now I understand, “The Truth, will set you free.”

This is the truth… to love others…as He loves me. My prayer today is that He fills me as a vessel to overflow into the world around me.

You Have Disappointed Me


The Lord longs to show you compassion

This is His word to us

“The Lord is full of grace and mercy and He longs to forgive.”

It’s amazing, what a simple message this is, yet so powerful. We are not like Him. He tells us this. And yet I read and hear stories about someone falling from grace, every day.

Yet, this is not true grace. It’s only our human standards, subject to change with each person’s rules. It is not an absolute standard of righteousness. Where does this absolute standard originate, if we are so subjective in our judgments? Yes, this is the question that comes to each of us at some time or another. Moral codes. And why don’t the animals have them as well? Is there a such thing as murder, incest, rape, in the animal world? So, we can already acknowledge that humans have a moral code and it has been placed within us. “For since the creation of the world, His invisible qualities, have been clearly seen, His eternal power, His divine nature-have been clearly seen, being misunderstood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

Today the sex scandal and tomorrow, something else. What do we expect? We are fallen beings, living in a corrupt world. We are subject to temptations every day, and what is the source of power to overcome?Or shall I say, Whom? It is not going come from a man-made system of religion. This story shows yet another person, trying to become sanctified by a form of religion and sinning at the same time, while pointing the finger at others. A perfect example of the Lords word to us, “Be careful how you judge, lest you be judged by the same measure, you use.”

Oh, I know, we all have done it. There is always someone, worse than myself. However, God does not look at things the same way, as we do. The sacrifice of our Lord, meant and open curtain between us and the Father, for us all. But in so doing, and this is the rub, we first must acknowledge that we just aren’t as good as we think we are. Yep, that’s the difficult part. How can we acknowledge this, if we are yet looking at someone else and saying, “I’m not as bad as that guy!”

This story in the news, is the same as all I have heard this past year. Sex scandals, drugs, greed. I watched the evening news the other night and the title was, “Who has disappointed us the most in 2009?” The mere title, gives the impression that we, have some courtroom and sit as the judges of all mankind. We know that judges in the courts, are also sinful men, as we have seen in our own government. No one is immune to this ‘sin disease.’

So, who are we to say that “We are disappointed?” I had a pastor state, that if God told us, “Listen, I’m going to pick 20 minutes of your life and show it to the world.” We would be hysterical about this. Wouldn’t we want to choose the portion that denotes all of our ‘good behavior? But if God told us, I will be the one to decide. I’m betting we would have the ACLU standing at the door!

I mean who does this ‘God” think He is? Violating my rights, like this! If He does this, it will show the world that I am just like them and then I will lose my self-appointed right to judge others by my standards!

Yes, this is it, isn’t it? It’s all about rights. I had someone speak to me recently about the rights of a person, and the person, she was speaking of, is in prison.  At some point, even in this world system of laws, we can lose our rights. Or a better explanation is that we choose, to give them up.

But while we decide, who’s rights have been trampled, we need to stop, and look at the cross. A man, who had done no wrong, died because He gave up His rights for us,. And He willingly did this, for the ones who could not be right in any way, shape or form, no matter how hard we tried.

As I read this story in the news bout this “scandalous woman,” I noticed that she  gave money to her church, which her sister pastored. I’m betting, she thought she was ‘buying some grace,’ to elevate herself. For some reason, we still try to assume God is like man. He can be bribed, to turning a blind eye to our deeds. This is mans way of doing things. Empty religion.

The Lord tells us, “They worship me with their lips, but their hearts, are far from me. The hold to a form of religion, but deny my power.”

Of course, this is a picture of everyone, before we reach the true understanding, of how sick all of us really are. This is why Jesus Christ, the great physician, has come. He came for the sick, not the healthy. And my joke has always been, “that if a man thinks he’s healthy…he the sickest of all!”

Every day, I must remind myself, I am sick, in need of the physician. When we lean on Him, and not our own strength, we allow the Lord to take these burdens. He will give us the strength to overcome. The law of sin and death is inherent, in every human being, and therefore, our choice will always be to follow our flesh…that is until we turn to the Lord. We just cannot turn from sin, before we accept Him, to be our master and savior.

When a person falls, and they are ‘shamed,’ I believe that they are closer to the truth, than most. It is this discipline that the Lord speaks about. “He disciplines those that He loves.” He also tells us, “be sure to know that your sin will find you out.” Oh haven’t I experienced that thousands of times in my life?

It isn’t pleasant, and it has caused some, to even jump from the tallest buildings, however, if you listen carefully, this is probably the Lord bringing you to a place of submitting. It is His love allowing this uncovering. What feels like punishment is His perfect love. “Fear has to do with punishment, but perfect love, casts out all fear.” He wants you to know this perfect love.

If you are reading this, yes, He’s speaking to you. You are not so great as you think you are. You think that you are better? Yes, so did I. You think perhaps, because you haven’t ‘killed anyone,’ or ‘raped anyone,’ that you have a loophole? Or perhaps you have raped or killed. Well, God wants all of us. He loves us and He knows that the reason we do terrible things is because we are trying to live without him. He wants all of His children to know Him and once we realize it is His blood that He shed, to allow us in we are forgiven. He tells us that “as far as the east is from the west, I will remember you sin no more.” (Psalm 103:13)

I had an interesting discussion the other day about those words. The Lord did not say, “the North from the South, because one we reach the North Pole we start to go south again, but East is always East and West is always West. It is infinity…and where our sins are cast when repentance comes to us.

But what about you? What is the Lord speaking to you this day? Are you finding yourself, disappointed in world leaders, or the idols of the world? Have they “let you down,” because you had the false hopes that someone achieved a ‘god status?’ Well, stop being disappointed. Only God can be this for you. And He is reaching out to grab you in you quietest moments. When you are alone with no one else, He is speaking to you. The Lord tells us that “No one, can come to me, unless the Father who sent me, draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44) “So as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden you hearts.” (Hebrews 3:7,8)

This is your day, the first day, whether great or small, it makes no difference to the Lord, for He is no respecter of men. Turn to Him, and let Him be your rock and your shelter. He will never disappoint you!

Jesus Loves You….And So Do I!