The Prodigal Turtle

Most Saturday mornings find me looking out of my breakfast nook window, but this morning I found a pleasant surprise–an Eastern box turtle diligently crawling through our backyard toward our house. It wasn’t the first one I have seen in the neighborhood.  I’ve seen some alive and unfortunately, a couple crushed in the street.

I took a few moments to watch where he was going and see what he would do.  I got closer to him, tickling him with some weeds to watch him retract his head. After a long while, he protruded his head and restarted his journey.  He reached the back of the house and stood frozen, looking at the huge brick wall that was before him.  What would he do?

“I guess he lost his way,” I thought. There is a huge wooded area behind our yard, so I supposed that he came from there.  All I could think of was him reaching the street and getting crushed like the others.  I thought I would return him to the creek that I had heard was in the back of the woods.  Observing the seemingly lost turtle,  I thought about a parable I could tell my daughter about spiritual bumpers, which, according to my spiritual father, are those events that God puts in our lives to block us from going the wrong way and get us on the right path.  It’s one of the many ways He speaks to us.  While it would be ideal for us to have crystal clear hearing and be able to discern the perfect will of God at all times, it is just not so.  I’ve learned that the Lord usually uses spiritual bumpers in situations where we are sincerely misguided or wrong about a direction we are going.

The first biblical example that comes to mind when I think of spiritual bumpers is that of Balaam and his donkey.  God was not pleased with Balaam traveling with a messenger of a foreign king that meant to do harm to the people of Israel (although He previously gave him permission to do so) so he sent an angel to prevent the donkey from going further. Balaam grew frustrated with the donkey and beat him in order to get him to proceed. After three beatings, the donkey talked to Balaam, and an angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me” (Numbers 22:32).  Here we see that God was trying to spare Balaam from going a way that was contrary to God’s perfect will.

I can recall a situation where God used a spiritual bumper to get my attention and direct me to the right path.  I had joined a network marketing company and despite my best efforts, could not seem to attain the first level of leadership.  It was extremely frustrating.  While talking to a leader in the company, she told me of how another leader switched organizations so as to be situated where he could obtain optimal success. Having joined the company through a magazine ad, I had not personally met my sponsor, and thought that would be the best thing for me to do as well.  I moved to her organization (she also attended my church) and reached the first level of leadership in three months! I believe that I just had to be in the right place in order to experience success.  Whether God sent an angel to frustrate my efforts or not, it certainly was a “bumper” to get me in the right organization!

It was very interesting for me to “play God” with this turtle as I perceived that he  was on the wrong path and that I needed to direct him back toward home.  I was running late for a church picnic, so I decided to do it later ( if I could find him) and left him buried in some leaves.  As I expected, I did not find him when I returned home, but I did later learn that turtles have an instinctive homing ability that directs them back home when lost. Unfortunately, it some times requires them to cross dangerous roads–not good (pethelpful.com)!  I sincerely hope he made it home safely.

It’s been a while since I have written so I’m glad to be back.  Thank you for reading.

 

 

Am I Supposed to Fall?

“What normally takes six months God can do in an instant,” she says. 

The other day my loctician told me about her recent visit to a Valentine’s Day skating party with her 13-year-old daughter. She also brought her 20-month-old son and just casually asked if skates were available for him as well.  Surprisingly, they were and even more surprisingly, he skated with them!  Of course they were the type that fit over the shoes and he and his mom stayed in the slower area of the rink with the beginners, but he was dominating his first time on the rink!

She continued to tell me how he was just trying to keep up with the “big kids” (aka 4-5 yr-olds) and he would even fall when they fell, thinking that this was a part of skating.

This made me think how we are often limited by our first and most apparent examples.  When it comes to life, we tend to think that things have to be done the way we have seen them done.  Thankfully, inventors and other out-of-the-box thinkers are not this way.  If they only moved on what they had seen done before, we would be in a pretty primitive state of being.

You’ve probably heard people say, “Well that’s the way it’s always been done, and we haven’t had any problems yet.” This is fine, except for when it’s time to improve. Cassette players, dial-up internet,  and black and white televisions were just “fine” as well, until CD players, broadband and color TV’s were invented, (and I’m probably still behind in technology).

If you read my last blog, “The Focus Factor,” you know that I am job seeking. Often times I console myself with the statement, “Well you know they say the average time to find a job is about six months.”  I believe we can get so caught up in averages that we limit what God can do.   The Bible says that God can do exceedingly, abundantly above what we can ask or think according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20). We are looking at average, but God wants us to look at His Word.  Now I do understand that there is an appointed time and due season for everything, so we can’t rule that out.  I also know that we can dub things that are supposed to be viewed as guidelines as rules.

Take my last job, for example. It took me about four weeks from search to hire. I stood at my stove one snowy morning, talking to God about my need for a job.  A prior conversation I had with a friend came to mind in which she told me where she worked.  I applied online that day and received a response requesting me to move forward the same week. In about a month, I was hired. No resume, no job boards, nothing.  Just a prayer, a thought and an action. I’m sure that I am not the only one to find a job like that so quickly.

That story reminds me of a wonderful promise from the Bible:

      “Yes indeed, it won’t be long now.” God’s decree. “Things are going to  happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once–and everywhere you look, blessings!” (Amos 9:13-14, Message Bible)

In one of her podcasts, Terri Savelle Foy, a cheerleader of dreams and motivator of hope, believes that God is accelerating things.

“What normally takes six months God can do in an instant,” she says.

What is it that you would love to see accelerated in your life? Have you been looking at all the “beginner skaters” instead of what God says in His Word?  Be encouraged that God has a specific plan to manifest His promise to you, and it won’t necessarily happen the way you’ve seen it done in the past.

Thank you for reading. I hope to hear from you soon.

 

 

The Divine Name Change

“Why did you have your name changed?” I asked Roger.
“I wanted to have the same name as my father,” he replied.

While looking through my safe, I came across a document that belonged to my husband.  It was a name change document that indicated that his last name would be changed from “McNeal” to “Daniels.”

I thought the verbiage on the document  was interesting.  It stated:

“This day Roger Rydell McNeal appeared in open Court, having at least 30 days prior hereto filed his application praying for an order changing his name to Roger Rydell Daniels.”

Praying that his name would be changed? What type of legal document indicates that someone is praying?  I thought that was odd.

“Why did you have your name changed?” I asked Roger.

“I wanted to have the same name as my father,” he replied.

Without going into further details, he wanted the same name as his biological father, and not that of his older siblings’ father.

There is so much power in a name.  Women marry and take on the name of their husbands. Women divorce and regain their old names, not wishing to associate with their ex-husbands.

I still remember when I was a newlywed. At my then workplace, we introduced ourselves to new employees.  For a long time, I identified myself as “Selene Jones” instead of “Selene Daniels.”  It took a while for me to catch on to the fact that I was no longer a Jones.  My DNA did not change, but I had to begin a new way of thinking and acting to carry out the title of Mrs. Selene Daniels.

Several years before I was married, I took on another name change. It was from “unrighteous,” to “righteous.”

Isaiah 62:2b states, “… you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.”

I’ve had this new name of “righteous” for almost thirty years now, but I still remember when my name was “unrighteous” and I didn’t have hope. I still remember when someone asked me, “If you were to die today, where would you go?” and unfortunately, I knew it wasn’t to heaven. I knew I was not a child of God.

Consequently, I had no self esteem or confidence.  My former name of “unrighteous” didn’t afford me true confidence in myself, or my future, but, my new name brought along with it hope and direction.

In Ephesians 1:4-5, the Lord tells us that the Father in heaven, “… predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ….” Thank God for Jesus who paid the price for my adoption and that of the whole world.

Although my biological father gave me the name “Jones,” I thank God that my spiritual Father in heaven adopted me and gave me a new name in Christ that gives me hope, confidence and direction in life.

My husband changed his name because he knew who his true father was.  On November 13, 1988, my name was changed from “righteous” to “unrighteous” because I discovered who my true Father is as well. My prayer is for you to do the same.

Thank you for reading.

That Salsa Jar Smell

As I reached up to the cabinet to obtain an empty jar in which to pour my newly boiled  bone broth, I opened it and took a whiff. “Yep, still smells like salsa.” I tried again with the sauerkraut jar, same thing.

However, when I smelled another jar with no lid, nothing. No smell whatsoever.  Wow, what happened?

Science teaches us that when molecules move from a high concentration area to an area with low concentration of those molecules that process is diffusion. In open space, molecules move randomly at very high speed. They collide with each other, move in other directions and after sometime they reach the state of equilibrium. At this stage the diffusion stops. The molecules get distributed equally everywhere in the space (room). But even at this stage they do not stop colliding with each other. They are moving and colliding even at equilibrium. They are just spread uniformly now. (quora.com)

In the salsa and sauerkraut jars, the concentration of the salsa and sauerkraut molecules was high since the molecules were not allowed to escape, consequently causing the jars to still be fragrant.  Not so with the lidless jar. Whatever molecules that were once there had escaped and become diffused with the air around it.  Therefore, the jar had no smell.

I often think about the things that dilute or diffuse our fragrance of the Lord.  Truly, residing in the presence of the Holy Spirit will make us more like Him.  And, its important to keep the aroma strong by not diffusing it with ways, words and influences that are not of Him.   They weaken you and make it hard for you to “…spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere,” (2 Corinthians 2:14). Surely we don’t want to be without the fragrance of Jesus.

In Mark Batterson’s book,  “The Circle Maker,” he says, “Our minds are subconsciously primed by everything that is happening all the time.” That’s why I believe we should watch out for those “spirit diffusers.”

Spending time in the presence of God–praying, singing, reading the scriptures–leaves behind the “presence of God” fragrance. Similar to the capped salsa jar, when prayer, worship, and heartfelt repentance is consistently practiced, I believe that the fruit of the spirit of love, joy,  peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control remain in high concentration.  When they are not, diffusion easily takes place.

The salsa jar I used to store my chicken bone broth still smelled like salsa long after the contents were removed.  The scriptures tell us that when the rulers and elders of Jerusalem “…saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus,” (Acts 4:13).

Do you believe they could sense the aroma of the Lord?  Many say presence, but whatever it is, it is almost tangible.  The miracle the disciples performed indicated with whom they had been. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful testimony to carry? If those who don’t know Jesus could tell that we had been with and belonged to Jesus simply by our fragrance? I think one’s eternal life is well worth it.

One of my Facebook friends wrote, “You ever get that feeling where you just want to be in God’s presence, just to sit there and not say a word, just sit there?” That, my friend, is one of the keys to getting and keeping that salsa jar, Jesus kind of smell.