I just finished reading a motivating article about a pastor who dressed himself up as a homeless man before they announced him as the new pastor of the church. He walked around the parking lot for 30 minutes before the church, asked a few people for food before coming inside church. When he came in, he sat in the front only to be told by elders to please move to the back of the church. After the church announcements, they introduced the new pastor. As everyone clapped and waited for the pastor to come on stage, the homeless man stood up and walked to the front. He revealed to the church that he was disappointed in the way he was treated but before he did he quoted “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
What a great lesson for people to have their eyes forced opened that morning in church. How did they feel after they knew the truth? Do you know people who treat others with dis-respect instead of respect? I often wonder how they feel about their thoughts or actions. Do they know who the person really is that they are judging so harshly? Are they basing their decision off the love of power instead of love from their hearts? They can answer that question better than I can, but it doesn’t make it easier to swallow if you or someone you respect is on the receiving end of negative actions.
I encourage you to be better than that. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and no one is perfect, but at the start of your day ask yourself…… How can I do better today than yesterday? Challenge yourself to this daily. Remind yourself that your heart was made to love others, not hurt others. If you let negativity become the only thing others hear from you, then that negativity will push people away. No one wants to be alone with only negative thoughts and being avoided like the plague, so why be that way? Leaving your legacy doesn’t mean you are leaving what you feel others think, but you are leaving what others think of you. Remember to spread Gods love for everyone and remember that person you asked to sit in the back of your church could be your pastor one day:)
Everyone can change, Change for the better.
I would like to stretch out of the norm for a minute of usually useless information that I am know for sharing to share something that touched my heart this morning. I call it a good reminder of the meaning of love.
On my way to work a side job this morning I got stopped by a red-light. My first thought was dang, I could have made it! As i abruptly stopped my car before the line, I slowly looked up at the light. It was one of those times that for the first few seconds after you stop, you realize how far under the light you are and have to lean forward just to see the light. Well I had to do just that. As I mumbled in my head about my decision of stopping, something caught my eye and my heart.
I was not far from an low income government subsidized apartment community that some would call run down, dirty, old, ugly and probably more derogatory words. Truth be known, I have probably thought those same thoughts before having to remind myself to not be judgmental. As these thoughts ran through my head of the times that I had been in that apartment community, and the bad things I had seen with my own eyes, Spiderman got my attention.
This Spiderman was on the back of a new, clean backpack of a little boy being carried by his mother walking. She had him all bundled up with a jacket and a toboggan, with gloves and holding him tight against her chest. This is a congested area of work commuters, that probably are not paying attention to what is going on around them…just as I was, until Spiderman captured my heart.
As I sat there and waited, I looked over to the car beside of me. This mother still carrying the love of her life was now in front of this car as the light turned green. I saw the look in the drivers eye .. it was as if I could hear what he was saying in his mind. Almost like a thought bubble over his head…..Hurry up woman! Gosh I am late! This Starbucks coffee is horrible this morning! Dang i wish this woman would hurry!… As I looked back away from the driver, The loving mother holding her proud Spiderman was now almost in front of my car. She made eye contact with me and knew she was in the intersection at a bad time with the light turning. I motioned her to pass in front of my car without hesitation. At this point, my heart was filling with enough love to get out and stop the whole intersection myself. The look she gave back was a thank you. With heartache in her eye from the daily stresses of life, I thought to myself .. Who are you? What is your story? What are you doing?
She passed my car and made it to the corner, where I saw her stand under the KAT bus pick up sign. That is when I realized what she was doing. I began to pull through the intersection and looked through my rear view mirror. She was still holding him, but he had turned his head to look back at the intersection. The innocence in his face screamed at me. It Screamed, this is my mommy. She takes care of me. She holds me close when it is cold and puts on extra clothes along with my gloves to keep my hands warm. She makes sure I put on my Spiderman backpack for daycare and I know she loves me.
I continued to think. The mother was dressed as if she was working, and her son was dressed as if for daycare, no old enough for school. Emotions flooded my heart with how this little boy doesn’t know struggles or pain that the woman holding him is going through. The pain having to ride a bus to her work, and not having a car. He doesn’t understand why he has to get up a little earlier than other kids, so they can make the nearly half mile walk from his apartments to get on that bus. At this point, He doesn’t know that there is any difference in his run down playground, than the playground at McDonalds. All he knows is that he is loved. He has friends that he loves to play with, He has a soft pillow for bed time and he has a mother who bought him an awesome Spiderman Backpack. Love, that is what he knows.
I said a quick prayer for that mother. A prayer for strength and for God to show her that she is doing great. That life throws curve balls, and from the love I saw in 45 seconds, she is doing everything right.
It reminded me of Gods love for his children. For all of us. She held him tight, she was keeping him warm, and she was caring for all his needs to the best of her ability. Just as God Loves us, holds us and is with us regardless of where we live, or what we do.
It was a humble reminder that our God is an awesome God.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
“Innocent people, ear piercing screams and chaos, there is no where to turn..but to God”
Psalm 46:1 (KJV) ” God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble “.
I actually was one of the many that was at the premier for The Dark Knight thursday night, at the same time the horrific events were unfolding in Aurora Colorado. I found out via a movie goer about the shooting after the midnight show. I immediately looked it up and read the preliminary articles about this nightmare. A nightmare full of innocent movie goers and a mad man.
I started thinking about all the people around me, the smiling faces, outbursts of laughter, excitement in their faces ( mine included, being a dark knight fan ). And then it hit me, these were the same faces with all the same emotions that the movie goers at the Century 16 were wearing .. until some evil coward violently ripped all the fun and excitement from the bowels of their souls. The aftermath turning a family fun theatre into a nightmare so violent, you couldn’t even screen into a horror flick. My heart flushed and filled with pain as if it had been pierced with sharp knife, the sorrow i felt for the people connected to this massacre was overwhelming. I immediately prayed to God to give these people peace in a time of such mass confusion.
I remember taking a psychology classes in college and yesterday dove back into research mode about the profiles of people who commit such violent crimes. The bulk of the research that has studied the psychology and motivation of people who have committed this type of crime, defined as “mass killings” that take place usually in broad daylight or in a public place, where the victims are not specifically chosen and are generally strangers. Most ending in the gunman turning the weapon on himself.
As I researched these kind of heartless people i found according to a study of adolescent mass murderers (who killed over three people), they are most often white males (79%) with a median age of 17, and they have a history of reclusive behavior as opposed to violent behavior. The majority of them were reported to be people who kept to themselves, often focusing more on books, dreams, and brooding inside their inner worlds than real social connections with their fellow students, friends and families. The site i read this on said this study is based on multiple source data gathered about 27 incidents of this kind, between 1955 and 1999.
This type of mass murderers are grouped under the “pseudocommando” category. I learned pseudocommando refers to murderers who come to a public place, prepared with a full arsenal of weapons, and are generally moved by revenge fantasies, on account of feelings of powerlessness and humiliation.
It seemed that the shooter fell into several of the categories that us as the general public can read on various reporting websites. I don’t really want to know much about him other than how can we prevent future incidents, and how to help handle the events in our hearts that are still aching with sorrow.
Will we ever know the true meanings of why people do such horrible things? I am confident the answer is no. All we can do is try to educate ourselves on the make up of the majority of these kinds of evil people, and combat it with knowledge, but most importantly prayer and our faith in God. As any horrific event being covered in the media, it will slowly become a news story of the past, with the coverage going from every hour to none at all. I try to take situations like this and go to the bible for strength and answers to my questions, when I feel like they are none.
Of course the popular bible verses poped up first in my research such as 1. Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”. And this is so true, he is there for us when we don’t even realize it. I love that verse and think of it when I am in a dangerous work situation, or somewhere that I feel alone or even scared. The more I looked at different verses, the more I kept going back to
Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV) “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”
Reading this verse, it gave me another perspective. God will touch many lives from this horrific incident, and who knows how many people will turn toward God, because he is always there. He will be there for these families and individually help them get through this time in their life. Heroic stories will start to come to life after the initial news gets information on all the events. You will read how people helped one another out of the theatre, how strangers held hands and prayed, how injured people were helped by people they were standing next to in the popcorn line. How officers transported victims themselves in patrol cars, when there was not enough ambulance services to provide help to all the injured. You will hear the stories of the victims that did not make it out… The students, the teachers, the military men and women. Mothers, fathers, daughters and sons that never got a chance to be with their loved ones again. But you will hear how they had touched peoples lives before theirs was so violently taken away. We will tear up in our eyes and see ow they will be remembered and loved, with their memories. We will pick up the pieces, policies and security measures will change, and the ripple effect will go on for months. After all is said and done, it will come back again to God and his unconditional love. The constant reminder to do the right things, trust in one another, pray daily and most importantly never overlook friendships of people you have contact with. When will our last day be here? No one knows the answer. So why do we live our lives so selfishly? I encourage you to pray for the families and reach out to help others around you. Tell your others what they mean to you, and live life to the fullest, remembering God is in control.
I also hope you will embrace positivity, show others we love them as a brother or sister in Christ. We never know what tommorrow will bring, or if tommorrow will ever come at all.
May God bless us all.