Gods Timing…(belt)

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I’m aware that many people have a problem with the notion of an omnipotent, omnipresent, God who loves each of us so much that He’s concerned with the circumstances of our individual lives. Perhaps even more mind blowing to them is the further contention that He would put His Holy Spirit in the midst of our circumstances with the intent of working out the details of His great purpose through each one of us.

That’s precisely the reason I’ve got to tell this story, and while I know that there are some who won’t share my vision, I also believe that there are many more that have personally experienced similar and much, much greater “coincidental” circumstances than mine that will see it and who will recognize His work.

Where to start? I guess I’ll just pick it up on that Monday morning twenty five days ago when my car refused to start. Internal combustion is really a simple thing, it’s air and gas mixed together with a spark applied to it. This working knowledge is the basis for troubleshooting any automotive problem. All three things must be present for a car to start. I’m not very mechanically inclined, instead I rely on people who are and on the advice they so generously give me to fix my car. The first idea I heard was that my fuel pump was probably not working, and so after some research into how to replace a fuel pump and shopping around for one,  I went about replacing it.

But that wasn’t the problem…

So there I was, already into this thing for almost two hundred bucks and not much closer to even knowing what the problem was. It was through the further advice of well intentioned friends and the elimination of fuel as being the problem that my attention was focused on spark. Timing actually, which regulates the combustion process by using a belt driven cam shaft to open and close the valves of the cylinder in sync with the application of the spark and fuel in the cylinder. Whoever came up with the idea for a timing belt must of gotten the idea from God, no doubt inspired by His ability to be the power and the drive that keeps everything in sequence and brings order and harmony to so many different things that work separately and yet together. It was at this point that I fully knew that I was in over my head mechanically, and that I had done everything I personally could to fix my car, that’s when it became “God’s timing belt” problem!

What did God have in mind? Was He wanting me to look for a newer car? Was He making some other arrangement’s that would require me to just be patient for a time? I was trusting in that being the case but I didn’t really have any more of a clue!

My day to day life and transportation necessities were thankfully being covered by my brother in law who I live with, but here’s where it gets a bit complicated. His car’s transmission had been acting up, it constantly slipped at certain speeds and it had no overdrive, which is related to another previous circumstance that’s very significant. A few weeks ago I was in a library computer lab, I noticed a man who was having trouble inserting his flash drive into the USB port of the computer so I went over and tried to help him. We had a brief encounter and I remember thinking to myself what a nice guy he seemed to be.

A week or so later as I was getting out of my car at Sunday night church, I saw this same man walking into the church with guess who? My brother in-law! He had been occasionally attending my bro-n-law’s church and on that particular evening had decided to attend our church because he and his wife were riding in my Bro-n-law’s car, that decision was mostly a dictate of the transmission problems and the closer proximity of our church. That night after service’s I introduced my wife and myself to him and his wife, and he remembered me too! They invited us to come to their bible study group on Friday night’s and we accepted. Since then we’ve been getting to know them better and have been attending regular bible studies with them that my bro-n-law had been going to so we just hitched a ride with him. WHEW! (takes a deep breath)

As I became acquainted with him he shared with me his vision of a ministry he was trying to get going, he wanted to train people to be evangelists and to provide the people of his community with christian based counseling in several area’s,  he was also looking for someone who could write blogs for his ministry website…Gee,what a coincidence! I believe that our meeting was by God’s appointment, and that it might never of happened if my bro-n-laws car hadn’t of been acting up! Oh, by the way…the problem with his car miraculously fixed itself a few day’s later when he discovered that his OD switch on the shift lever had somehow been pushed in, which was telling the car to try to shift into a non-functioning OD gear at certain speeds. When he let it out, the car began to function normally (still no overdrive, but without the constant slipping) just as it always had since he’d owned it. He had driven it at least a thousand miles that way and seriously thought that it was going to completely quit on him!

I had talked about my car with several people, some gave me advice, others seemed indifferent, and still others offered me actual help! I’ve found that when someone really want’s to help you they’ll always find a way even if that means just somehow letting you know they care. To me, it’s a very big deal to tell someone I love them, I may say it casually but it still means a lot to me. It means I know you at your best and at your worst and that I make no distinction between them in that I’m always going to care for you and about you in all your circumstances.

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Anyway, back to MY car problem! It was my recently acquainted friend that offered to bring his friend to my house to look at my car. At first he thought it was the belt too, but when we got the cover off it was okay. I’ve got a few plug wires that aren’t in too good of shape  so we replaced those, still no good spark. When they opened up the distributor there was a lot of corrosion  and the rotor bug was broken, we really thought this would fix it but no, it didn’t. There’s only one component of the electrical system left, the ignition coil, so I ran into town to pick one up.

This morning, I took that ignition coil and installed it inside of the distributor cap, it was difficult for me but I was able to figure it out! I twisted the key and VOILA! it started. What can I say? It’s been a process during which I’ve had to give it to God, who then brought some Christian brothers alongside me to do some of the things I couldn’t, but He saved the last piece of the puzzle for me to provide because it was important that it happen that way for my sake. Twenty six days without a car, but being set apart has also been a blessing because in the midst of my lacking God showed me a lot of things, some old, some new, but all of them on His time!

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In All Things…(give thanks)

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To me, one of the great things about reaching the stage of life I’m at now is my ability to  look back at my life with a much kinder perspective than I had before.  Which also allows me to see my present circumstances in a more positive way. I’ve heard the term “experience” described as “the ability to recognize your mistakes when you repeat them”… Of course that’s not the ideal, but it is true enough to be humorous so I thought I’d throw it in,well… it seemed funny when I read it on a sugar packet.

I was browsing through some profiles on Facebook the other day and I got off into my High School graduating class. I found so many people that I used to know, people that I haven’t seen in over 30 years! One thing that I noticed was that a large part of them are still friends (at least on facebook) with a lot of the same people. This sort of hit me hard,wondering why I’m the “Lone Ranger is not a new issue with me but I tried to see it with “fresh eyes” and I was surprised by what I saw. It’s true that I  have some pretty substantial intimacy issues with specific people who are close to me and I understand why. Ironically, I’m also a very open,vulnerable, person who’s greatest love in life is talking to people who are struggling with the same issues I’ve dealt with and that I still grapple with today, although to a much lesser extent than I did at one time, which is where the “giving thanks” part begins…

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (King James Version)

3Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

4Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

I’m really thankful, for all of the years I spent wondering what was wrong with me, and wondering why I didn’t seem to have whatever it was that other people around me did.  I understand what it means to be alone and why people make some of the most irrational choices that they do to “fix this”  because I made a bunch of them myself…I don’t have to ask or wonder,

“What were you thinking?” I know…

I’m at least a country mile ahead of people who don’t know when it comes to helping  people to feel as though it’s not pointless telling me about their feelings. I once heard a therapist in a group session tell someone that it wasn’t necessary for him to throw battery acid in his eye’s to know it hurt’s…the person he was talking to got up and walked out of the room!

I just don’t think the therapist knew how much it hurt, or he would’ve never said that.

(can I still bill him for the whole hour?)

I’m not entirely sure why I wrote this, I woke up the other morning with the title and first sentence stuck in my head. When that happens, I start writing… I was hoping that I’d be able to uncover some semi-profound meaning in all of this, tie a bow on it and hand it to you to ponder over for a few introspective minutes.

Here’s my best attempt at that…

In life, we’re told over and over that “poop happens” and boy does it! That you just have to feel like poop about it for a while, and then if you’re capable of it you bury it in the backyard of your subconscious so that you can enjoy some erstwhile happiness and prepare yourself for the next event. Which has the effect of making you anxious about the future while you long for the past before the poop started happening…meanwhile, today is a bust!

That doesn’t sound too good, it reminds me of the song “Born in the USA” by “the Boss” Bruce Springsteen, who’s lament is that you,

“End up like a dog that’s been beat too much till you spend half your life just a coverin’ up now”

I remember hearing that song when it first came out, When he sang this line I used to look around to see if anyone was looking at me! It’s okay, you can laugh…I am, now.

As the years grinded by a singular thought perpetually presented itself to my consciousness.

“When does the poop STOP happening!?”

I mean, I’m just exhausted with all of this covering up! There are also a myriad of complications involved with it such as having it to come uncovered at a later and inconvenient time. Or even reaching the point that I no longer even cared if I covered it up and how embarrassing that can be….(and the odor, who can bear that?)

I needed an answer, a solution, a one size fits all excuse perhaps? Sure, that’s what “poop happens” was supposed to be, but it was merely a quip, a touch of brevity to make me laugh, and to sometimes keep me from crying out loud.

I dabbled in psychology, I thought surely the real answer would be easily found there and it was, at least part of it was anyway. I learned that our feelings are a product of our thoughts, (which we choose by the way) and that our thoughts are a direct result of our perceptions of the events and circumstances of our lives!

EUREKA! Change your perceptions and you’ll change how you feel.

Sweet mystery of life at last I’ve found you!

Only just a few glitches here…

Firstly: It’s a long process to retrain your mind to think differently, it’s hard work at times especially without help. I’ve been working at it for 15yrs so far!

Secondly: The key to long term motivation is love. Why would I do all of this work? for me? wouldn’t it just be easier to just go back to “poop happens”? You’ve got to have a real unconditional love for yourself to see this through! It’s the essence of true self esteem.

Thirdly: Here’s a doozy for you, you need the unconditional love, but in the  mindset of this world you can’t really love yourself unconditionally until you’ve become what you’ll become after you get the love! Talk about a “Circle Jerk”!

Modern psychology says, “Fake it till you make it” but you never do “make it”…you just get better at faking it!

Gods word says “Believe it till you see it” the difference is in who/what you believe in, and in the truth about who/what “they/it” are/is.

I know it may seem complicated and confusing, you may even think I’m an idiot…

That’s okay, because as a reward for reading all of this I’m going to tell you what I believe is the simple answer to this conundrum!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (King James Version)

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Romans 12:2 (King James Version)

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 8:28 (King James Version)

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

2 Timothy 1:9 (King James Version)

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

My belief in Gods word means a lot of wonderful things to me, not the least of which is that there is no more “poop” that happens! Okay, so that problem is solved…

So, When does poop stop happening? When the grace of God happens!

Thats a change of perception I can get right with!

When we can find the grace within ourselves to lay down our will and pray as Christ did in the garden of Gethsemane.

Matthew 26:42 (King James Version)

42He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

Lets deal with the love/self esteem issue while we’re at it,

John 3:16 (King James Version)

16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Of course “whosoever” includes you, and since there’s no asterisk next to it or any fine print attached where the conditions are explained it’s unconditional! And brother, If knowing that the omnipotent God who created the universe and the fullness thereof loves you isn’t something you can hang your hat on everyday then in my opinion you really don’t believe it!  If you did, you’d know just how precious you are to God…self esteem?  brother puuullleeezzzee! you’re rootin around here in the world trying to find some bogus reason to feel good about yourself when you’ve got the only real reason to staring you in the face?

That’s freewill for you, and what happens to it when it’s clouded by the deceptions which are brought to us to accept as truth by our enemy Satan.

This is one of the longest blogs I’ve ever written, so if you’re still reading then perhaps I must of done something right. It’s also gratifying to me that it’s the longest because it’s basically everything I know, that I’ve learned, or been taught, that in my estimation is of any value at all.