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 Blog

The “answer”

Photo by Stefan Steinbauer on Unsplash

I couldn’t sleep the other night. So I turned on the living room television, but found mostly infomercials. Some guy with a mullet and a bow tie hoped to sell me, “The Answer.”

“Yes! For just two easy payments of $39.95, you can possess the greatest wealth building secrets of all time–conveniently printed on three laminated cards.”

The huckster claimed he carried these cards in his back pocket at all times; they allowed him to make thousands of dollars while he slept.

“Your pajamas have pockets? There’s not an app for that?”

There’s nothing like talking back to a TV at 2 a.m.😉

After about 30 minutes, I returned to dreamland. But something from that silly infomercial stuck in my head: the idea of making money in your sleep. There’s a passage in the Bible about God working while we sleep, I thought. Sure enough, I found it over breakfast.

It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

Psalm 127:2 (NIV)

What strikes me about this verse is the fact that God GIVES. One of the cross references is Isaiah 55:1–where the Lord invites everyone to “Come to the waters and drink at NO COST.”

Inspired, I dug deeper into the Bible to find more things that God gives us. Here’s a sampling:

  • God gives us songs in the night (Job 35:10).
  • He gives food to every creature (Psalm 136:25).
  • The Lord gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness to those who please Him. (Ecc. 6:22).
  • God gives strength to the weary (Isaiah 42.29).
  • Jesus gives us peace that’s not like the world’s (John 14:27).
  • He gives us life and breath and everything else (Acts 17:25).

Of course, all these things aren’t REALLY without cost; they are free to us because Christ already paid for them. That could be a discussion in itself.

In the meantime, isn’t it wonderful that God freely offers His best to us?

You don’t need the “answer” to anything if you know the God of everything!

Categories
Christian Blog evangelism

Why Cover That Up?

Photo by Daniel Reche on Pexels.com

As I’ve mentioned before, my wife and I are big fans of the HGTV (Home and Garden Television) network. We’ve watched so many home renovation shows we should be experts by now–at least in theory!

The other night we were scratching our heads, along with Ben Napier from the show Hometown. Underneath some puke green colored kitchen linoleum he discovered solid oak floors! “Why would you cover that up?!” asked Big Ben with a bewildered look.

Jesus feels the same way about His followers covering up who they truly are. “You are the light of the world,” He said. “A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14).

Have you ever tried to dim the light of Christ within you? Regrettably, I have–in order to fit in–and it felt like covering up solid oak floors with puke colored linoleum.

The Hometown episode brought to mind a woman I know who collects and sells antiques. She has an amazing eye for finding old furniture that just needs some love. One time, she discovered a complete Ethan Allen dining room set painted lime green! Underneath the paint, she found (you guessed it) solid mahogany.

However, it’s a bit of a somber story for the Antique Lady, as the local’s call her. She explained that, once beautifully aged hardwood is painted over, you can NEVER restore the original finish. The untouched table and chairs–with their original patina–would have been worth twice as much if they had not been painted.

Jesus feels the same way about His followers decreasing their value to the world. “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?” (Matthew 5:13)

Have you ever turned down the volume (so to speak) of the godliness within you? Unfortunately–in order to blend in–I have, and it felt like painting over vintage mahogany.

Now, as much as ever, may we bring out the God-flavors of the earth and let the love of Christ shine through our lives. Jesus is the Light of the World and we are expected to carry a torch. Our good deeds for the glory of God are a reflection of Him.

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

John 8:12

This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine.