Categories
Christian Living

The Power of Suggestion

Last week one of my kindergarten music classes played rhythm sticks. I came down the rows afterwards giving each child a squirt of hand sanitizer. One little guy asked, “Is that hypnotizer?” I immediately realized what happened: he substituted a word he’d heard for a term he hadn’t yet mastered.

With a chuckle, I told him it was only hand sanitizer. But I kept thinking about what he said. What if there really was such a thing as hypnotizer in a bottle? I’d give each kid a squirt, and as they rubbed their hands together they’d become open to the power of suggestion.

Me (in a soothing voice): “You will keep your hands and feet to yourselves. You will listen while I am talking. You can wait to got to the bathroom.”

Oh how grand it would be!

Sometimes, when I get my spiritual hands dirty, I wish there was a bottle of heavenly hypnotizer. God gives me a squirt or two. I rub my hands together. And I’m suddenly open to the power of holy suggestion.

God (in a soothing voice): “You will be more patient with the children. You will listen (really listen) to me. You should spend time in coffee shops–like Matt, from jesusluvsall.”

Free will is overrated. “Lord, just tell my subconscious mind what to do and let’s get this over with!” But that’s not how things work in the Kingdom of God. In reality, we’re free to choose our thoughts and behaviors. There are always options: good ones, bad ones and somewhere in between.

There’s no such thing as heavenly hypnotizer. And this is a GOOD thing. Robot Christians would be as inauthentic as puppet children. We are designed to love, listen too and obey God (and fallible humans) by choice.

My favorite “Free to Choose” scripture:

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:15 (NIV)

Today, and every day, may we choose to serve the Lord.

🙏❤️ prayers and love.

Categories
Christian Living Comfort

Teddy Bear Out The Window

My wife and I were driving to church one Sunday morning, when there he was: a big brown teddy bear—lying face up on the shoulder of the interstate. Both of us agreed there must be a story behind this seemingly lost friend, one that involved a heartbroken little person.

It’s interesting how we develop emotional attachments to objects like stuffed animals. Somehow, they generate security and help us self-soothe.

Until I was 4 years old, my “teddy bear” was a small crocheted blanket our family aptly named, “Nasty.” I’m told I refused to let go of Nasty long enough for him to be washed (hence the name). And when my mother DID coax my little comforter from my grasp, I stood in the laundry room and cried the whole time.

I still have Nasty. He is safe in a trunk with several other family heirlooms. Yet other adult security blankets have taken his place, a special co-worker, a much loved family member or friend, or even a favorite chair. Can you relate?

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

God draws NEAR to the broken hearted; He doesn’t keep driving when our teddy bears go out the window. The Lord HELPS those who are crushed in spirit; He sent an angel to comfort Jesus when he collapsed at the cusp of His own crucifixion (Luke 22:40-46).

And He will comfort you and me. Guaranteed.

Check out the very next verse Psalm 34:19!

A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;

Psalm 34:19a

Hold on Teddy, Daddy’s coming…


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This post was originally published on June 9, 2019.

Categories
Christian Living heaven

Heaven. This Isn’t It!

The year I turned fifteen, my dad took my older brother and me on a fishing trip to Mexico. But first we had to get to my uncle Bill’s house in Alamogordo, New Mexico. From there we would fly south of the border in his Cessna.

I was reared on the Great Plains of the Southern Midwest (USA), and had never been too far from home. Here, stunted trees follow the mostly dry creek beds. And when you do find water it’s the color of chocolate milk. I was eager for a change of scenery.

Yet the farther west we went the more dry and desolate it became. Driving through the bottom end of the Texas panhandle, the topography resembled the surface of the moon! That’s when I fell asleep in the back seat of our ‘79 Buick.

Shortly before dawn that morning, we stopped at a convenience store in Southeast New Mexico. When the car doors opened the air felt much cooler than the last time we fueled up in the desert. Crawling out of the back seat, squinty eyed, I stumbled toward a giant conifer, the ground underneath it dappled with snow. Half awake I blurted out, “Is this heaven?”

I later learned the tree was a blue spruce and we were at the top of a pass in a scenic little village called Cloudcroft. The crisp mountain air, snow in Spring and the tall trees were things I’d only heard about. Now I was experiencing them in person!

There’s an old southern gospel song called, How Beautiful Heaven Must Be. The tune describes reading about the City of God, but concludes that the actual place must be more than we can imagine.

Kind reader, picture waking up in heaven after leaving this “desert” world.

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.

1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)

Or as Paul puts it later in this same letter, “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as He knows us!” 1 Corinthians 13:12 (MSG)

There’s a REAL place called heaven. And this isn’t it. But receiving Christ as savior means a one-way ticket!

How beautiful heaven must be!

Note: the video below is me singing the song I mentioned.

🙏❤️prayers and love.