My favorite hospital is the Church. The world is sick. God is its Healer. But God’s Church is its hospital. I can testify. When I got tired of running to futile places to help me, I ran to the church. It was in 1997. I remember it like it was yesterday. The Church was unlike anything I had ever run to before. The Church was a place of acceptance, not rejection. A place of healing, not injury. A place of purposefulness, not pointlessness. A place of pride, not regret. Every weekend, people show up to Church by the Glades, hurt, infected, assaulted, addicted, or afflicted; and our Hospital is staffed, equipped and ready to assist them. There are places in this world that are just for somebodies, but God’s Hospital is for everybody. If you are hurting, I hope you know Him. I also hope you have a Hospital you can run to and be safe. If you aren’t near my hospital, Church by the Glades, email me, let’s find you one!
Love is a very interesting thing. It has so many facets. Over the years, I’ve had a handful of bold people who Facebook messaged me to express their lack of love for me! If I zoom out on the collective messages, the one conclusion I’ve come to is they don’t like me, but they don’t know me! I battle in private, things I can’t necessarily reveal in public. So I’m learning to not shun people who dislike the “me” they only see in public. It’s simply part of life. People shunned Jesus IN public and they shunned Him because of WHO He was in public. They didn’t know that in private, he was praying for them, and getting ready to die for them. One thing I’ve learned is who people are in public isn’t necessarily indicative of what they’re dealing with in private and Jesus would say “love them.” I believe he exhorted us to love ourselves, love our neighbors, love our enemies. In my summation, that would mean loving people we only know in public.
I am always trolling the bible looking for mind-verses. One thing I’ve learned is there’s no therapy like God’s book. It is the book of life because it’s a double-edge sword against thoughts of death. It is a book that buries itself like treasure in your belly when you read it, NEVER to return void. It is the book that, when stored in your heart and uttered aloud, will make the enemy flee. It is a very powerful mental-health remedy, and it’s free and accessible to all of us. That being said I was thrilled when I came across this one. Isaiah 61:3 says God can give, “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” To me, this says WITH God, we can exchange heaviness for priase. How? By praising Him. It sounds intellectual and theological, but I’m neither, and I’ve learned to. I’ve learned that praising God isn’t bound by buildings. On my jog this morning, I passed a lady praising God while walking with her headphones on. Praising God is sometimes in song, sometimes at church, sometimes still, sometimes active, sometimes in writing, sometimes in a prayer. It’s giving God props in a reverent way. If you are in a spirit of heaviness, try starting your day with praising God, exchanging that heaviness for praise. There’s nothing to lose…and a garment to gain. 🙂
I was thinking about moodiness and wondered if the bible spoke to it, because it seems to be a more of a 20th century buzz word. But the bible does speak to moodiness! Consider Saul in 1 Samuel; David in Psalm 25, 31, 42, 77 and Elijah in 1 Kings 19. I was relieved when I discovered that moodiness did not elude these biblical heroes. It reassured me that it’s not just a “girl thing,” or an “age thing.” It is a human thing. But before we discuss moodiness, let’s discuss anger. Is anger wrong? No. Again, in the bible, Jesus got angry. Like the emotion of anger, I think the emotion of moodiness begs the question: what do we do with it? I might be thinking about this way too much, but I am curious for clarity. More importantly, I want to be a good steward with the “me” God resides in. I have a clinical mental-health diagnosis. Does that mean I get a 2-for-1 voucher on being a jerk to people because I can’t control my moods? No. If I am stewarding my emotion of anger (I get angry at people but I don’t murder them) and my emotional love for dessert (I eat it but I don’t hoard it) then with that same spirit of self-control, I can be a good steward with my moods. I leave this open for discussion. All thoughts welcome. Just don’t be mean. 🙂
Time for honesty! Fill in the blanks: Today, I am worried about __________ and __________ and __________. OK, we dumped worry onto these blanks, now what do we do? Because when you dump something, it leaves a space. What do we fill in worry’s place? In Philippians 4, Paul gives us WORRY-REPLACERS! Paul tells us to replace worry with “truth,” like, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) or with something “noble,“ like, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) or with something “right,” like “I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) or with something “lovely” like, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3) or with something “admirable,” like, “Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely.” (Psalm 112:5) or with something “excellent,” like, “So I will save you, and you will be a blessing.” (Zechariah 8:13). Many of us are victims of worry. But we do not have to stay victims of worry. If we have God in our lives, we have victory in our lineage. Worry is a condition but it is not part of God’s creation. I pray that you and God partner up, begin to dump worry and fill it with the goodness of God’s substance!
“Every day of my life was recorded in your book.” Psalm 139:16
If you have a pulse, God has a plan. A pulse means life. A life still living, is a life WORTH living. We cannot stop short of living if we are still breathing. If we are still breathing, it CAN get better. It CAN heal. It CAN improve. It CAN start over. It CAN be restored. It CAN be forgiven. It CAN be redeemed. It CAN be set free. As long as we are breathing, we keep going. As long as we have a pulse, God has a plan. The plan ends when God takes away our pulse. Not a half-second before that. So whatever it is, no matter how far away you are, no matter what you did, no matter what was done to you, you can hang in there, keep going, and trust God still has a plan. God brought me into this world on September 25, 1973. Since then, I’ve had several days I wanted to quit. And a few cases where I foolishly tried. I’m glad they all failed. I am glad that after each dark moment, I stayed to see God’s good light. When God’s done with my plan, God will take away my pulse. Til then, I’m in it to win it! I’m here to stay! And I hope you are too.
There’s a 2nd grader named Christian who got called by Today Show’s Matt Lauer as his “new favorite kid.” Christian felt bad for kids in his class who had no one to play with on the playground, so he asked his principal to help him make a buddy bench. “The way the buddy bench works is if a student feels lonely on the playground without anything to do, they can go to the buddy bench, and another student will come to the bench and ask if they want to play or talk.” LOVE! In Ecclesiastes 4:9, it says, “Two are better off than one.” Christian might not have known he was living out a response God has put in all of us: to not do life alone. But no doubt, God smiled when he did this. If God has always existed in a community of three (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and if in the beginning, God created a friend for Adam, and if Solomon exhorted that “two are better than one,” 4,000 years ago, it makes a pretty solid case that we need each other. This week, my prayer is for people who feel lonely. I know the Buddy Bench is for kids, but it could also be for adults. I pray that lonely people are greeted by friendly people and that wherever they take a seat, God brings a buddy to their proverbial bench.
For years, my brother, Jason, has served as a fireman. A building is on fire, a fatality on the highway, a terrorist scare–these scenarios make up a day in the life of a fireman. And while I would run from them, Jason runs toward them. What I don’t understand is what makes him willfully risk his life for the lives of strangers. Curiously, if you would ask Jason, he wouldn’t know either. He says, “I don’t know, it’s just something inside of me.” God saves too. His scenarios? A man addicted to drugs; a woman being trafficked; a college student attempts suicide; a marriage crumbling. Everyday, we find ourselves in need of being saved, and God goes through Fire to get to us. I know someone who started taking drugs when he was fourteen. For years, it would be a burning building he could not get out of. He had three choices: slowly sit in the flames of drugs; risk his life trying to find a way out; or let God come to him. One day, he called on God to rescue him. He’s doing better. He has a long way to go but he’s not burning in a building he can’t get out of. Psalm 37 says that God saves the godly. I hope you know Him. If you need to be saved, call on Him. He loves you, died for you and is standing by to rescue you.