Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Liar, Liar. Pants on Fire.

There are many common statements that people throw out as true scripture. I am here to say, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!" Okay, no, that is not what I really would ever say to anyone. My real statement would be, "NO! That’s not true. That is NOT what you were supposed to learn. You've been told a myth and have come to take it as biblical truth.” Now, don't feel bad, even some biblical Christians believe these statements:


Biblical myth #1: “God helps those who help themselves.” You’ve heard that one a few times, huh? NOT in the bible... not at all; this is a complete myth. This phrase was actually spoken by Benjamin Franklin - whom wasn’t even Christian. Can you imagine if God only helped those who helped themselves?


TRUTH: God helps those doing whatever they can to destroy themselves and those who are helping themselves and those who are not sure. He’s God. He does that.


Biblical myth #2: “The Lord will never give you more than you can handle.” I really wish this was true; however, its not. There are so many things in this world we can not handle! My friends’ 5 year old little girl had to go the the hospital to have her tonsils taken out. After the surgery the nurses took the mom into the recovery room to see her child. The moment she saw her little girl attached to all the tubes and lying in the hospital bed, she passed out (subsequently hitting her head on a table and ending up in the bed next to her daughter). This poor mother could not bare to see her child this way! There are many things in this world that are unbearable. Just because we live through them, do not make them something we felt like we were handling well.


People commit suicide; life was unbearable.


The actual verse is:

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. -1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

TRUTH: Its really about temptation and how God always gives us a better choice when facing temptations.

Biblical myth #3: “Gods says don’t let people tread on you.” He does? No, he doesn’t. In fact he says just the opposite:

You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

-Matthew 5:38-42, NIV


Some people like to use the verse in Matthew 7 - "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”


TRUTH: Mean people suck and there are always mean people; you don’t have to give them your best treasures, but you do have to treat them with love and kindness, even as they punch you in the face, steal from you and make you go the extra mile (a.k.a. tread on you).


Myth 4: “The one with the most toys wins.” Okay, you did not really think that was in the bible right? It’s just a bumper sticker! I promise.


TRUTH: You can't take it with you, and you won’t miss it (unless you end up in the fiery pit - then you'll be missing a lot. Choices. Choices.).


Do you have any verses you’ve heard that you know are not true, or want to know if they are true? I'd love to hear them!


Friday, June 17, 2011

Got Questions

Occasionally speakers and bible study leaders will throw out the question, “If you had one question for God, what would it be?” ONE question? I could never have ONE question for the creator. I have SOOOO many!! So many! Here are a few of my top questions. Also, I have added some answers that I think God MIGHT answer, based on what I know of His personality... these are NOT from God, they are from ME.

How much longer? (Of course this only be a question I would ask while not enjoying the afterlife. In fact, I ask it a lot in prayer. So, God, how much longer do we have to THIS; this whole earthly existence thing gets old.)
God might reply: When my work has been completed.

Why do you call me to pray for people, even wake me from a slumbering sleep to pray for friends and people I’ve never met? Why would you need me to pray when you already know what they need?
God might reply: Your faith in me is renewed every time you are obedient to me. I use you, not because I need to use you, but because I want to use you. Isn’t it better for people to find strength/love/healing through the obedience of prayer rather then me just gifting it? What about when you see that person later full of faith/love/healed? Doesn’t that renew something new in you? Does it matter if you never know the person? Don’t you know that if I call you and ask you to pray, and you do, then my work has been completed in them?

I saw a man the other day with a really hairy back and shoulders and very little on his head. You think this is funny, don’t you?
God might answer: Some men need humbling.

This reminds me of a Sanctus Real song, “These things take time.” Really good song! “Why did you give me eyes, when my faith is how I see?” For lack of a better video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFT4ScXaSzs

SOOOO, what are your questions? What would you ask God?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

California is Amazing

California is amazing.


Congratulations to Roxy on her High School graduation! I was so happy to be able to share in the celebration of the end of one season and the beginning of another.


My trip ended up being very... ambivalent. I loved seeing so many that I love and hugging as many as would let me. Beautiful place, amazing weather. The BEST coffee, better than I even remembered. Shopping was great! Broadway Plaza and Jamba Juice... YES! However, on Sunday I found myself feeling lost, broken, confused and overwhelmed. It took some time for me to figure out what was going on, here we go:

  1. I’ve been going through a LOT of little things in Florida that aren’t important, but are all important. The little annoying, we're part of the world, life things. I’m the best at blowing these things off, but after a while the injustice really was waring against me. I had to ask that all the bad news phone calls stop until I got home...there was nothing I could do from 3000 miles but feel pressure.
  2. Some of my best friends are going through the hardest trials. I have the gift of feeling what others are feeling, even if unspoken. Even if I don’t know you, I might know if you’re lying, hurt, happy, are sick, have a hurt knee, or have recently hurt yourself. I often do not know what to do with this information, but pray; in prayer God will reveal even more truths that I don’t know what to do with. I pray for you. Often.
    It goes with the gift of healing, one I am so thankful for, and as hard as all this feeling is some of the time, I am thankful God uses me. As happy as I was to see my friends, but their overwhelming emotional pain, hidden behind smiles, left me... ambivalent.
  3. I don’t feel like an effective Christian in Florida. I’m not doing the work he’s called me to do... I’ve tried to get connected. I’m not. Its confusing. Someone asked me if I can see why God moved us. My answer was, “No, not yet, not at all. I’m completely ineffective there.” He was shocked by my answer. I was a little shocked too but I don’t lie. I was making so much grounds in my teen mission work (where God has called me) and now I can’t even get connected to do anything. I know God will reveal where I need to be soon. I’m just always afraid I missed it.
  4. Someone asked me how things where in Florida. The word that came to mind was “tenuous.” No, I did not blurt that out loud. I think I said, “It’s a work-in-progress.” and smiled a 90% smile to ease their mind.
  5. I don’t lie. I know I’ve said that twice. However, it would have been easier on this trip to lie to everyone and lie about how awesome things are(n’t). The truth did make some people a little uncomfortable. I’m sorry. I just think the truth is always the best. So with that, the truth is... Its not all bad!! God is my best friend; therefore I am always in a win-win situation!

So, the second one above was the hardest for me. Sunday night I prayed that God separate MY feelings from the feelings of my friends and I felt much better, more like my centered self. Happier.


California is amazing, but man, what a roller coaster.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Redemption

Santus Real asked fans to record their story of redemption (based on their song, The Redeemer) on YouTube and post it to their site. I have a story that I've only shared with a few women and my husband. It's really hard to tell such a personal story in two minutes and on such a public level. To be truthful, I posted it to their site and then had a moment of panic... "What did I just do? It's not that good. Its too personal..." then, I reaffirmed myself and promised myself to blog the video here as a reassurance that, now, I can not go back! All in! *gulp*

Unfortunately, it's not one of those stories where I was on the edge of death and God pulled me off a train track two second before my left arm was to be severed by an on-coming train... however, it's my story... so here it is:





Thursday, April 14, 2011

What the ___!!

The fascination with spending hundreds of dollars on something to hold my cell phone and wallet completely alludes me. The fascination with something that looks like it was spray painted and bejewled... I don’t get it, but I always hear women commenting on other peoples handbags and ask where they got it, yada yada yada... I don’t think I have the proper mix of estrogen to really understand. After my visit to an upscale mall over the weekend, I KNOW I really DO NOT get it.


Waiting for Craig to finish giving a talk about animation to some students, I decided to find a little air conditioning at the mall. A little bored and not into the shopping thing (unusual) I was taking my time, milling. I strolled passed some upscale handbag store. The obnoxious, sparkling, oversized bags in the window did not catch my attention because I thought they were awesome; they caught my attention because I know they cost a lot and I always look at the price tags to see if I can see just how much someone is willing to shell-out for the latest fashion. Every other time I’ve looked, the tags are always flipped in discretion. To my delight (which later became my dismay) I saw one that was price-side-up. It read $2500.


Twenty-five HUNDRED dollars.


After gulping for air, I said audibly, “What the hell?!” I don’t even curse, normally, but it just slipped out, followed by, “Who the hell?!” I can not believe that someone, anyone, would spend twenty-five (freakin) hundred dollars on a PURSE! Call it a handbag or whatever you want, it holds your JUNK.


Does it give you that “falling in love” feeling every time you look at it? Does it come with a guarantee to make you lose 20 pounds? A year supply of guilt-free chocolate? Do you find an extra $50 every time you open it? Young looking for an extra 25 years? Because, for me and for twenty five hundred dollars, it better do more than just hold my stuff and make my girlfriends swoon.


How did this happen? Are we having a purse shortage that has driven up the cost? I counted five of these stores in this one mall, alone. So that does not seem the case? Was the cow that the leather came from a close and personal friend of the designer; hand fed, named and loved with a deep and devoted friendship? Did they hand stitch every stitch and lament over the life that was lost? Was it handmade my Johnny Depp? These are the ONLY conclusions that seem acceptable to me.


There REALLY are starving children in the world. There are villages that need clean water. There are kids in America that need food, people without homes, babies that need HIV vaccines to live a healthy life. How can one justify such opulence? Does it matter how much money you have? Shouldn’t there be a limit? I would be EMBARRASSED to carry around a twenty five hundred dollar handbag! I would feel like I was saying, Who cares about the starving kids and homeless people. At least I have this awesome bag to hold my lipstick!


Girlfriends, if I catch any of you carrying this bag, I’ll pour water over your head and shake some sense into you. Friends don’t let friends buy twenty five hundred dollar PURSES!


(I am pretty sure we saw Lady Gaga at the mall. No kidding. The kids laughed because you could see her butt checks when she walked because her dress was so short. She turned around and Sable and I both said, "That's Lady Gaga." Whatever.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stage 2: Enriched indoor environment

Procrastinating on a project I am supposed to deliver to a client this morning (its complete, but I don’t like it; therefore, I am stirring up some better options for them) I took the chicken I am going to make for dinner out of the freezer. The logo is of a horse drawn carriage and underneath it says, “Raised in Amish Country, Pennsylvania.” I remember checking out this logo at the Whole Foods where I bought it. It says nothing on the label about whether or not growth hormones have been added, or if they add other things to plump them up. So, I asked a meat guy who happened to be standing there. He said, “Oh no, the Amish don’t add anything to anything. Its good.” I dismissed my fleeting thought of, Amish, yeah right, they have a plastic wrapping and shipping company? Its not really Amish. I don’t care if the chickens are Amish or not, just that they aren’t pumped full of stuff that will give my 5 year old boobs.

This morning I noticed something new. On the pricing label it says, “Animal welfare rating. Step 2 - Enriched Indoor Environment.” It made me chuckle a little and wonder what rating my life would be given.

Enriched Indoor Enviroment. That sounds pretty good, right? Probably better than than the average chicken - an enriched life. Really though, do I really care? I mean the thing just got pulled out of my freezer, dead, so I can cook it for dinner. Do I REALLY give a care about how enriched its pathetic life was? What kind a scale is this anyway? SOOOOO, I goggled it and here is what I found out:

(http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/products/5step.php)

The Global Animal Partnership is a non-profit organization dedicated to continually improving the lives of farm animals raised for meat. They have developed the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating™ that rates how pigs, chickens and cattle are raised. Ratings for other species (turkeys, lamb, and others) are in development, so stay tuned.

Step 1: No crates, no cages, no crowding. Like people, animals need a little "personal space" to be comfortable.

Step 2: Enriched environment. It's the simple things that keep animals active and engaged — like a bale of straw for chickens to hide behind and climb on, a bowling ball for pigs to manipulate and shove around, or a few sturdy objects for cattle to rub against when they need a good scratch.

Step 3: Enhanced outdoor access. Pigs and chickens still live in buildings but they all — yes, each and every one of them — have access to outdoor areas where they can catch a few rays.

Step 4: Pasture centered. Chickens need to forage, pigs need to wallow and cattle need to roam. They can do all of these things when they live outdoors and have shelter — and of course, a view!

Step 5: Animal centered; all physical alterations prohibited. Animals get to live their lives with all the parts they were born with, and nothing else! No nose rings, no clipping, no snipping and no branding.

Step 5+:Animal centered; entire life on same farm. Animals are born and live their entire lives on one farm. Pigs and cattle are slaughtered on the farm, and chickens are transported only short distances (because you can't herd chickens!).

The way I read this is that, if you have a Stage 5 chicken, then everything they don't do, they do to the stage before, compounding down the scale. Therefore, Stage 1-4 chickens all have nose rings. My chicken, the one that implies it was raised on a Amish farm, is really one step away from chicken hell; its not Amish, and it’s never seen the sun.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Smashed Up Red Cars

About a week ago I started out on a short trip (long journey). I was traveling through many states over the course of a few days. 5 minutes into the trip and I saw a smashed up red car on a long-bed tow truck. It was the same model and color of car as someone I know; luckily, this someone is 2928 miles away, not the exact car. It was a terrible site. I could not imagine what happened to it. How many times was it hit? Did it flip? I felt rather certain, that the driver did not fare well. The drivers seat was completely smashed. It made me feel sick, even a little faint. I thanked God that it was not someone I knew and prayed for those struggling through whatever tragedy had happened.

Over seven years ago we left family and friends to move to NY. Two years later we landed in CA. There it took me years to find my footing. Recently, we up and moved back to FL, but starting over in a whole new town - again. Through these transitions, and most recently with the last move, one idea has been at the forefront of my thoughts. God is not that concerned with our comfort. I know that sounds like God is not concerned about us, but what I am trying to say is that he is not concerned with our comfort. These are two different things. He’s not dwelling in me saying, “Jodi, I just want you to be happy.”

God’s concerns do not mimic our concerns. His view of the world is so much greater than we can comprehend. I have heard so many people say, “I think God would want me to be happy.” I always think, but have never said,
What makes you think THAT? Sure, he wants everyone to find happiness, but not at any cost, and really, in my opinion, it’s not even that big of a concern to him. Do you think that Noah was thinking how amazing living on the arch along with two of every animal was going to be? When Jesus sent the disciples out in two’s to teach not allowing them to take provisions because they were to find food and shelter as needed (luke 10:1-24), did this make the disciples feel comfy-cozy? Paul looks on the end of his life and states, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim 4:7) It was a long, struggling road for Paul, just as it is for us. We really need to look no further than God’s only son. Jesus’ life was nothing about comfort and happiness; his life was about pure sacrifice, for us. It makes me wonder where we get the idea that “God would want me to be happy.” The truth is, God WILL help you find contentment in every situation. Also, he will lead you out of situations that cause you to be unproductive for His glory. If you’re in a constant state of sin and stress, how can you be fulfilling your purpose for which he designed you? He designed each of us for His glory and His purpose. He wants you to succeed in your purpose, and that is His concern.

The story of Lazarus is one of my favorite. Quick recap (John 11:1-45): Jesus is in another town and he gets word that his friend Lazarus is sick and dying. Jesus purposely stays away because he knows that Lazarus is going to die, and he knows that he is going to bring him back to life; perform a miracle to the witnesses of those whom love Lazarus. When he arrives, Martha (Lazarus’s sister) comes to Jesus and yells at him for not coming sooner (she knew Jesus could heal him). When Jesus comes to the place where the mourners are mourning, he is so overwhelmed by the sadness that, it is written, Jesus wept (John 11:35). Now, he KNOWS he is going to raise him from the dead. He KNOWS he is minutes away from a funeral to a celebration, but because of the pain and sorrow that those there are exhibiting, he stops and weeps with them. He does not stop all things that cause sorrow. He may not intervene in our deepest tragedy, but he is there with us. He will share in your pain, share in the suffering, and if you ask for it, he will give you wisdom and discernment to deal with your pain. At the same time, he KNOWS the next thing that is going to happen for us; he set it up. Salvation.

Salvation is God’s greatest concern. THIS is where we are meant to be completely and blissfully happy. THIS is where we will never know sadness, or pain, or suffering. When you read the bible, notice that things are not easy for those that Jesus has the most contact with and that know and love him as Lord, his disciples.

One smashed up red car, so mangled it was nauseating. The up-side? It made me more aware of how alert I needed to be while traveling. It reminded me of my blessings and how one accident can change everything. It made me pray that my friend has a long and satisfying life; thankful I saw another’s car. Time is short, but salvation is everlasting. Don’t worry about your comfort. Invite God into all areas of your life and He will help you find contentment in all things. It is a promise that Godly contentment will be far greater than any comfort the world can provide.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. - Phil 4:12-13