Once You Know what Motivates You . . . August 1, 2017
Since my earliest memory I always got up in the middle of the night and got something to eat. 4 or five pieces of bread, tablespoon of peanut butter, left over chicken, whatever I could find.
My parents became frustrated because of my nightly excursions and when they caught me they would punish me. Frequently I would spend the day in bed, no books, no toys, and especially no TV.
Yet it did not stop me. There was something that drove me and when I would wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning I had to get something to eat! The threat of punishment was outweighed by the prospect of eating.
So there were many pleasant Saturdays that I spent in my PJ’s in my bed with nothing to do. And during the summer, and whenever school was not in session, it was the same thing.
But I had to get something to eat! And I could not explain why. All I knew is that I was hungry – or at least thought I was.
This behavior continued during my teen years and into my time in the Air Force. We had machines that would heat up a cup of chicken and noodles, beef stew, or soup and I would be steady dropping in my .35 [yup! It was that long ago!] into the machine and pushing the button.
College days. This was a little more of a problem because a group of us young men stayed in a house owned by the college and there was a curfew. Yet somehow I would leave and go to the 24 hour store around the block and get an old, barely warm, shriveled up hot dog.
Even after Bonny and I were married I would raid the fridge late at night or early in the morning. I had to get up and eat, I had to!
It was 1982 and I was 30 and Bonny and I went to visit my folks in New Hampshire that summer. My family is a story telling family and we were all sharing stories from days gone by.
My mother made this statement, “From the time you were 2 until you were 4 when you got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom you had to pass through the kitchen. Your father and I would leave you a half sandwich or a piece of chicken, just a little something to nibble on.”
I was stunned! Didn’t they realize what they had done? They took this almost blank computer [my brain] and programmed it to get something to eat in the middle of the night! And they did that for almost two years!
Neither of them could tell me why they stopped but they remembered me getting up night after night and going through the kitchen in search of something to eat and they remembered punishing me for it.
When Bonny and I got back home to Louisiana, I knew that I had no will power over this thing! But what I did know is this verse,
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” II Corinthians 10:5
So I was almost instantly delivered from my eating habit! Uhhhhh, no. But every night I woke up and I felt that urge to get something to eat I DID NOT say that I was strong enough to battle this myself.
No, I quoted the Word! Over and over, night after night I would repeat this verse. “No! I am not hungry! I will bring this thought, this want to, into captivity and tell it that my desire will not override my God.”
So here is what I learned and what I know. Ready? You might want to write this down where you can see it if you are fighting a battle.
“Once you know what motivates you, it no longer controls you.”
Now if you want to give control over to that thing that hinders you, embarrasses you, separates you from your relationship with God, go ahead. But if you are tired of letting something or someone control you, cast down that imagination! Anything that puts itself ahead of God, even a thought, take it captive and say “No! I will not let you run or control my life!”
Do I still battle those thoughts sometimes at night? Yes! But what do I do? Get up and go to the fridge? No! I will quote that verse to myself because I know that I cannot allow it to take precedence over my relationship with God.
“Once you know what motivates you, it no longer controls you.”
Chicken Mario... August 8, 2017
I make a dish called “Chicken Mario” with rice, deboned chicken, the Cajun trinity (onion, garlic, celery, and green peppers – I know that’s 4 things not 3, but nobody said the Cajuns were good with math!). Our pastor and his wife came over for dinner and she just had to have the recipe.
A couple weeks later we were talking and she said she had cooked “Chicken Mario” for some friends but they didn’t like it. I asked the following
(and the answers say it all)
Me “Was your chicken bad?”
Her “I didn’t have any chicken so I used turkey!” (yes there is a difference!)
Me “Was the rice not cooked right?”
Her “I didn’t have rice so I used potatoes! And I didn’t have any onions or garlic so I used mushrooms!”
You didn’t make “Chicken Mario!” I don’t know what it was, but it wasn’t my dish!
So, then, that is what happens when one strays from the recipe – whether it is cooking or the Word!
“Well, we think of the Old Testament as just good stories, you know parables are just made up stories with good morals.”
“Salvation is just the start! Now you have to . . . (fill in the blank and it’s usually not found in the Word, but that’s okay . . .)”
“We believe that Jesus is just one of the ways to God and if that’s what you believe, that’s fine.”
“We’re all children of God.”
No, God is exact in His Word regarding salvation and being considered a Child of God. When people stray from the Word or try and add something to it,
then just like the sister who didn’t make Chicken Mario, it’s not Christianity.
SEARCH LIGHT...A BOAT, THE FOG, TRAVELING AT NIGHT, AND FAITH August 15, 2017
One morning, after working as fire watch all night in the oil field, I was piloting my Jo boat (30 foot workboat) back to the dock. It was still dark and it was very foggy. You couldn’t hardly see 20-30 feet ahead of you. It was normally a thirty minute ride from the warehouse to the dock through the canals going by the wells and other facilities. It was so foggy that even passing within 50 feet of a platform I was unable to see the lights of that platform and that 30 minute trip took a couple hours. The way through the canals there were pilings every 50-100 yards along the route on my right side. As long as I stayed to the left of the pilings I would be in the channel and didn’t have to worry about sandbars or running aground. The pilings had very wide strips of reflective tape towards the top to help guide the boat drivers. But the fog was so thick it was hard to see from one piling to the next! I kept the boat at idling speed (just in case I did hit a sand bar or land it wouldn’t be at full speed!) and I used the spot light on top of the cabin to search out the next piling on my trip home. Often I would spot a piling and slowly go past all the while desperately flashing the beam back and forth trying to find the next one. Many times I would lose “sight” of the last piling but still not be able to see the next one. Yet I knew that there would be another one somewhere up ahead and each time when I felt the most anxious, I would see the next piling and there was a sense of relief! I was on the right course! A little like faith, right? We believe that God has set out a course for us and He has provided “pilings” (the Word), the “reflective tape” (individual verses), and especially (Ahhh, you see it coming!) “The Light!” Jesus Christ, our Savior. A Christmas musical I sang in during college had this song in it “Light of the world, Light of the world, Light of the world come shine through me!”
So as the chorus of that famous hymn says: Thy guiding radiance above us shall be a beacon to God, to love, and loyalty.
Yes, just like the search light I used to find my way home, He is Jesus, our Beacon, the Light of the world, pointing the way to salvation for the lost and guiding His church through the night and fog of the world.
WHITE WALLS........... September 5th, 2017
As Pastor Scott was speaking about Paul calling the High Priest a “whited wall” in Acts 23:3 (just covering up the rot) I thought about the time I was stationed at Williams Air Base, AZ in 1970 and living in WWII barracks as a Security Policeman.
It seemed that every year the Civil Engineering squadron would tour our barracks and condemn it. Within a couple days we (Security Police) would receive gallons of paint (usually white or grey) and we would paint the barracks top to bottom.
A week later C.E. would come and “inspect” our barracks and before you could say “General Curtis E. LeMay” (Chief of Staff of the Air Force 1961-1965) our barracks passed inspection! It was no longer condemned (that is until the next inspection!).
Indeed they were “whited walls”. Looked all nice and new on the outside, but the inside was filled with rot, mold, and decay.
Many times the world looks like that. Shiny, blingy, flashing attractive lights or clothing, yet on the inside it is death, decay and rot.
Don’t be fooled by how nice something – even ideas! looks on the outside! Check under the hood, kick the tires, and look for signs of a cover up! Ask the Lord to show you the truth of the matter! Test the “spirit”!
FEEL FREE TO LAUGH........... September 13th, 2017
Luke 6:38 “Give, and it shall be given unto you; goodmeasure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
I can relate to this verse! And of course there is a story.
When Bonny and I were Freshmen in college we had one teacher who was chronically late. 5, ten, even 15 minutes late every time! Often I would lead the class in testimony to fill the gap.
I worked at a nicer local restaurant that had a bar inside. On Friday and Saturday nights I would hear a knock on the little door under my drying table and I would open it and grab a very clean 5 gallon bucket and fill it with fresh ice.
As I was sharing this with the class I told them I was often reminded of this verse, “Good measure, pressed down, shaken together.” which is what I would do to the bucket of ice. In the middle of the story our professor walked in.
When I got done I asked, “Brother Simmons, can you relate to this verse?”
“Brother, the only time I can relate to this verse is when I watch you eat!”
Feel free to laugh, feel free (because I did!).
HERE'S A GOOD ONE........... September 19th, 2017
I was a Corrections Officer for the state of Idaho. My friend and I published a bulletin, for the prison, entitled “Getting to Know You.” because of our high turnover rate. It was not unusual to have as many as 6 or 7 new officer’s in a month, almost 10% of a staff of one hundred.
We provided news and general info about new and old staff as well as interviewing the Director of Prisons and our own Deputy Warden, Pam Sonnen. When I interviewed Pam I asked, “If there was one thing you could tell all of us at the same time, what would it be?”
She gave, to me still, one of the best pieces of employer to employee advice I’ve ever heard. “Please come talk to me before I have to fire you.”
Understand the pressure Corrections Officers face, low pay, working with the worst people in the state, long hours, over time [in my first year at the prison I had 7 full weeks off and did not use 1 hour of vacation – that’s how much OT I had because we didn’t get pay, we got comp hours], and having administration and supervisors looking over your shoulder and questioning almost every decision you made.
So many times people were susceptible to whisperings of inmates. “Hey Boss! When you leave would you drop this letter off on your way home? I missed mail call.” “Officer Smith, can I get a cup of your coffee?” “My! Don’t you look nice Ms. So-and-so!” as the inmate flicks an imaginary piece of lint from the uniform.
Yes, simple things. Until you realize they are just a prelude to something bigger.
“Please come talk to me before I have to fire you.” Pam told me almost without exception she could rescue an officer at the brink of being fired if they would only come talk to her!
Spiritual application: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” I John 2:1
Sounds like good advice from God, ““Please come talk to me before I have to discipline you.”
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