Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Local Suburbia Compassion

**Warning, some graphic details in this post**

So, are insects and rodents such as mice and rats considered animals? Or were they just created to be food for other animals? We know that bees are an important part of pollination. And we know that bats, who I consider a flying rodent, are important as they can eat up to 300 mosquito's per minute. But what about mice? And are they worthy of some sort of compassion?

One very early morning this past week I awoke to the sound of small squeaking coming from a mouse, who naturally made it's way into the house and thus inside a glue trap. In the middle of my sleep I didn't think much of it, until it was actually time for me to wake up. So when I arose from my slumber and still heard a faint squeak, I went to retrieve the little rodent. I brought the trap outside hoping maybe I could somehow let him escape from the clutches of the glue. Nope, didn't work. So by then I knew what I had to do to put it out of it's misery. (I'll spare you the graphic details on this one)

This little escapade reminded me of a life changing event that occurred when I was 15 years old. I was traveling down a local suburb road one day with my grandfather, we were on our way to his house to paint. The road was light on traffic on this particular hot summer day, as we traveled with the car windows down and a slight breeze in the air. A perfect summer day I thought, and then it happened!

Our destination was halted as we saw a small black and white kitten lying injured in the middle of the road, you could see it squirm as it squealed in pain. It appeared to have been hit by a car as the visibility of blood was present.  And not just blood, but some of the inside guts of the kitten were visible. All of this was not visible to the naked eye from a distance, so needless to say it was because my grandfather had pulled off to the side of the road that we viewed this poor kitten in this condition. As I stood there with a squeamish look on my face, my grandfather nonchalantly picked up the kitten and brought it to the side of the road. Mind you, my grandfather never gave it a second thought about getting his hands bloody when he brought it to the side of the road. That was his nature.. to just do it.

My grandfather then went to open up the trunk of his car to retrieve a rubber mallet. My eyes lifted way out of my eye sockets at the thought of what he was about to do next to that kitten. But he did it ever so gently though.

As we drove away, my grandfather explained to me why he did what he did. He explained to me the importance of grace, compassion, and mercy, and how to administer it to not just humans, but to all of God's creation. And then, as any other preacher would, he reminded me of the first and greatest example of mercy and compassion; that of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.

One of the greatest events of my childhood I will never forget.

Lesson learned, Gramps. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Absolutely Like This!

1. When you think of Trader Joe's you think of: friendly service, good and healthy food, low costs,happy environment. And now you can add compassionate to their trade mark environment.

Some friends from my church recently had their family cat pass away. A few days later the mom went to Trader Joe's to return the unused,unopened cat food. One of the employees went to talk to the manager and came back with a bouquet of flowers and an apologetic hug for the mom.

2.  A woman in Florida returned home from the Chik-Fil-A drive-thru to find her order was wrong. She called the restaurant to complain. The manager took down her address and drove to her house with the correct order.

Businesses that go the extra mile for their customers, and some literally for that matter, are what we need more of in America.

3. My Youth Pastor recently commented on a day where he went to retrieve his young daughter from her room to take her to school. He found her on her knees praying!

This is probably the most humbling parental experience one will ever face with their children.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

1200 Words Per Minute

Imagine being able to speak and think up to 1200 words per minute. No need to imagine, because this really happens to most individuals according to a new doctors study. Actually, their study discovered this:

The average individual has 1200 self talk thoughts per minute. And unfortunately, only about 100 of those words are positive.

Now match that with this recent Lifeway Research study:

Most churchgoers do not read or study the Bible on a daily basis. Only 19 percent of those surveyed said they read their Bible daily.

Upon hearing about both of these studies, of course I put two and two together and began to wonder:

How many of us who call ourselves Christians actually carry only 100 positive self talk words per minute out of those whopping 1200 words?
And if we do, is it because of what the second study suggests, only choosing to read our Bible when it conveniently fits into our schedule?

Sometimes our mind can play tricks on us, we will over analyze a situation we may be going through or over think things. Our thought patterns can wreck havoc with our lives. If we could only get ourselves in a routine of not magnifying those small things, but look straight to the Word of God and what He says about the situation we may be facing. And yes, no matter how big we think our situation may be, our God is greater. The Lord even instructs us on how we should conduct our thought process:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

God doesn't want our minds to be distracted for it carries us far away from Him. He wants us to think positive and not dwell on the negative. In other words, He just wants us to trust Him and seek Him out in every choice we make and every decision that has to be made.
So when God instructs us to think about things that are: true,right,pure,lovely and admirable, He is saying to think about Him.
Think about His promises.

In all things remember His Word is His will for your life. Remind your Heavenly Father:

Remember your promise to me;
it is my only hope. - Psalm 119:49

Then humble yourself to your Heavenly Father:

Your promise revives me;
it comforts me in all my troubles.   - Psalm 119:50

Out of those 1200 self talk thoughts you have per minute think of  God for who He really is, Your Heavenly Father.

Then embrace Him for He truly loves and cares for you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Vision of Grace

When you think of a swan you normally associate them with grace and beauty as you admire their pure white coat of feathers and graceful presence. But, in this photo, do you see grace? This swan has it's pure silky coat and carries with it the presence of grace despite the large bump on it's beak.

I love this picture because this swan still symbolizes grace even though we may not perceive it by how it looks. This also reminds me of a piece of scripture of how God was instructing Samuel not to judge others by appearance:

"But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him.
For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
 (1 Samuel 16:7)

Don't be intimated by how other people perceive you, it's what's on the inside that matters most.