Heart-jacked

Have you ever had your heart-jacked? We know that when something is hi-jacked it is taken and used for a different purpose. So heart-jacked…what is it? Heart-jacked is when your heart is taken away from the purpose it was set on originally. Think of it this way: you are in a relationship and you meet someone you like better. You break up with the person you are with and start dating another. Voila, your heart has been jacked! Or perhaps you were going to pursue one major in college and you worked in a different field over the summer. You love what you did and so you change your major. Again, your heart has been jacked.

Most of us can relate to how easy it is to have our heart-jacked. In fact, if we are married and we work out of the home, we may have been in a position to have our heart-jacked more than once. It usually starts out very innocently. We start working with a fellow employee of the opposite sex who is attractive to us. We begin to share our personal feelings with that person and we become good friends with them. We continue to become better and better friends until one day, we wake up and find that we prefer spending time with that friend more than with our spouse. We haven’t realized what was happening and now all of a sudden, our heart has been jacked!

Once we realize that our heart has been jacked, we need to take immediate steps to stop the heart-jacking. We have to spend less time with that person and quit sharing personal details with them. If we can’t get away from that person, we may need to transfer to a different department, shift or find another job altogether; otherwise our marriage may end up on the rocks. Heart-jacking is real and it happens every day of the week. Just ask anyone who has experienced it.

As perilous as that example is, there is an equally perilous heart-jacking we must work to avoid if we are believers in Jesus Christ. When we first met Him and entered into a relationship with Him, we were totally in love with Him. We talked about Him with our friends and loved to spend time with Him in His word.

But then after a while, our heart began to get jacked. It may be that our work took primacy in our lives, or perhaps other relationships, hobbies, or even our ministry. Heart-jacking is real and we all have probably suffered from it to one degree or another. When we examine ourselves and find our heart has been jacked, what do we need to do?

In Revelation 3 verse 4, Jesus speaks to this issue when He speaks to the Ephesian church. He tells them, “Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” His advice to them is straightforward, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works.” What exactly does that mean? It means we need to return to the way we were when we first met Him. We need to spend more time with Him in Bible study and prayer. We must focus our thoughts on Him, and be careful about not let our hearts get jacked again.

Heart-jacked? There is an answer…let’s take it! What do you say?

 

Parallel Realities

On Sunday morning, I received a message on Facebook. Normally, I ignore the messages unless they are personal, but this one was flagged and so I looked at it. It talked about martial law soon to be in effect, people getting arrested and President Trump being sworn in again on January 20th.

I was kind of in shock at the thinking and showed the message to my husband. I then called a girlfriend and told her about it. I asked, “Am I living in an alternate reality?” In my world, the message seemed so out of touch with reality than I couldn’t comprehend how someone could believe that it would be happening. On Monday, I heard from a few people that thought that the President might actually be sworn in on the 20th. I then watched the riots on January 6th and heard what some people thought was going to happen when they went to D.C.

It made me realize that we are living in a country where people are living in parallel realities. There is such a divide, such a disparity in the news services that no one really knows the truth. One group listens to one news service and believes what it says. Another group listens to another news channel and believes what it says; hook, line and sinker. What bothers me is that there seem to be so few people in the center, so few people that are willing to look at both sides of the problems and issues. Is there any way we can bridge the divide between both realities?

It seems to me that we must stop getting our news from just one source. We must listen to disparate points of view in order to find the truth. We must stop listening to politicians and believing everything they are telling us is the truth. They should be the last people we rely on for the truth as they have a political stake in most outcomes. We must also stop demonizing people who are on the other side of the political spectrum. No one is all good or all bad. No one person or side has THE ANSWER to all of the problems that we face as a nation. Somewhere in the middle lies the truth and the answer for most of our problems.

Do you see what I see concerning parallel realities? If so, what do you think can be done to help bring our country back together and bridge the divide?

Image by Octavia A. Tudose. Courtesy of Pixabay.

Holding My Breath

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Right now, I am holding my breath and praying:

Heavenly Father,

I pray for a smooth and orderly transition of power in our government. Please place your angels around every elected official and protect them from any workers of darkness who would bring violence against them.

I pray this in the Mighty Name of Jesus. Amen.

Photo by Alexandr Ivanov, Courtesy of Pixabay

A Bridge Too Far

No matter where you stand in your political views, you must admit that what happened in Washington D.C. yesterday was A Bridge Too Far.

As a nation, we must learn to come together as Americans. The Tribalism that has divided us must stop. It doesn’t matter if you are on the left, right or a centrist, we must stop demonizing those that don’t agree with us.

Let this be a wakeup call. We must not try to disenfranchise any one group. We are all in this together. And please, let’s stay away from the Wing Nuts on the ends of the parties. They will only cause problems and lead us towards A Bridge Too Far. And really, as we just saw, we don’t want to go there.

Head-jacked

When we think of the word Hi-jacked, we know that one of the meanings is that something has been diverted from its original purpose. Usually, that carries with it a negative connotation. Same with Car-jacked, someone has taken or stolen our car. Really negative connotation there…but what about Head-jacked?

Head-jacked means that someone or thing has sold us a bill of goods or taken advantage of us somehow by lying to us and selling us something that is untrue. Lately, I have been feeling a bit Head-jacked.

I have been reading an article by Yanni Gu in the John Hopkins Newsletter entitled, “A Closer Look at U.S. deaths due to Covid- 19.”She then talks about a study done at John Hopkins University by a Genevieve Briand, Assistant Program Director of the Applied Economics Master Degree Program. In her webinar titled “Covid- 19 Deaths: A Look at U.S. Data,” Briand analyzes the data from the CDC looking at deaths from February 1, 2020 and September 5, 2020. 

When she analyzed the data, she expected to see a much higher percentage of deaths in older people, but it was not the case. Her statistics show that for older people and in fact people of every age category, the percentages of deaths remain about the same.

Briand then looked at data from 2014 to 2020. She noticed that there was a seasonal increase in deaths as a result in deaths by all causes, with the top three being heart disease, respiratory diseases, influenza and pneumonia. 

What she noticed that in 2020, instead of the usual causes of deaths, most deaths were listed as Covid-19. She talks about the over-exaggeration of the number of Covid-19 related deaths and overlooking the deaths by natural causes in our society.

From her statistical data, she states that, “All of this points to no evidence that Covid-19 created any excess deaths. The total numbers are not above the normal death numbers. We found no evidence of the contrary.”

Briand also states, “If (the Covid-19 death toll) was not misleading at all, what we should have observed is an increased number of heart attacks and increased Covid-19 numbers. But a decreased number of heart attacks and all the other death causes doesn’t give us a choice but to point to some misclassification.”

The above five paragraphs are mostly direct quotes from the article. I personally have looked at the graphs and thought about this article a lot. I know that Covid-19 is real and is especially lethal for those over a certain age and for those with co-morbidity factors. What I don’t understand is why the numbers are being exaggerated.  

If those in charge of the health care system in America want the public to take the Covid-19 crisis seriously, perhaps they should start by being straight with the public about the numbers, both of the deaths and the causes. They will then get the respect they are looking for and a better chance of the public’s compliance. Otherwise they leave the public with the perception that they are being Head-jacked.

Note: Since this was published a few hours ago, two people have sent me statistics that contradict this study. They are “How Covid-19 Deaths are Counted” in Scientific American and “Study of Non Covid-19 Deaths Show Increase in Several Demographics” in Science Daily….Please check them out. The best things that we can all do is be as informed as possible!

Photo by Gerd Altman. Courtesy of Pixabay.

Invisible Prison Cells

We can all agree that 2020 has been a year for the books. We have all been impacted by the lockdowns to one extent or another depending on the state we live in. For some who have lived in states with tighter rules, they have felt like they were living in prison within their own homes. 

There is a worse kind of prison than the lockdowns though. Many people live in invisible prison cells of their own making. Their prison cells confine them to a limited life. They may not even realize they are in prison because the cells and bars are invisible, but they are there nonetheless. Perhaps you are living in one at the moment.

Cell Block U is the largest cell block within this Prison System. Those who refuse to forgive someone or something that has offended them live here. Unforgiveness has affected most of us at one time or another and we were imprisoned until we were able to forgive those that offended us. Perhaps you are one who is living in Cell Block U at the moment.

Cell Block A is smaller but still has a significant population. Those who are angry all the time live here and their anger spills out on others as they pass by their cells. Much of their Anger may be related to Unforgiveness but until it is identified, they remain in this part of the prison system.

Same for those who live in Cell Block B. Bitterness reigns here and it repels those who come near those imprisoned by it. Their Bitterness may  also may be related to Unforgiveness but again, until it is identified, they remain in Cell Block B.

The Good News for all of us is that these cells are not locked, neither are the prison doors. We each can make a choice to let go of those negative emotions that are harming us and choose to live in freedom again. As we get ready to start the New Year, let’s take a look at our lives and where we are living. If we even have one toe in one of those cells, let’s get out. Let’s open those cell doors and refuse to live there any longer. We might not be able to change the Lockdown Rules that keep us imprisoned in our homes, but we can certainly change those things that keep us imprisoned in our lives. Let’s make a break for Freedom!

Image by Kalhh. Courtesy of Pixabay

Christmas Gift

The first Christmas I spent with my Dad and second Mom, she greeted me with “Christmas Gift.” It was a tradition in her family that this was the first greeting you gave a person on Christmas morning. I didn’t know what to think of it at first, but after spending a few moments thinking about the greeting; yes, I got it.

Jesus is and was the Christmas Gift. He is the one we celebrate today. What a Gift He is to the world and what wonderful gifts He brought with Him. Gifts like Peace, Love, Joy, Forgiveness, Eternal Life, Healing, Restoration and Renewal. 

And just like two thousand years ago, we need Him as much or more than the people of His generation. Our world is just as lost and broken as it was then. Thinking about how He came as a baby in a manger touches my heart. Even then, He came in a way that anyone could relate to. He broke societal barriers then and He is still breaking them today.

It doesn’t matter who you are, what you have done, or where you have come from: He is your Gift. All you have to do is reach out for Him. He is there waiting for you to ask Him into your heart and make you a new person. 

He is truly the “Christmas Gift.”

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3: 16

Image by Cheryl Holt. Courtesy of Pixabay

He Didn’t Have a Cell Phone

Have you ever thought about the influence that Jesus had? He was born in a small town in an occupied country. His family was not wealthy and had no elevated social standing. He only had a ministry for three years, and yet He had more influence on the world than anyone who ever lived.

We know that He was the Son of God and taught truths that went counter to the world He lived in. We know that He performed miracles and attracted thousands who came to hear Him and be touched by Him. He was The Ultimate Influencer and yet, he had no social media footprint.  He did not have a cell phone and was not on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. 

What He did have was right priorities. He knew that in order to influence others, He must spend quality time with the Father. We read in Scripture that He would go out to a lonely place to pray. There, He learned the Father’s will, heard the Father’s words and was filled and empowered by the Spirit of God.

He did not seek the attention of the crowds. He chose twelve men whom He could pour His life into and spent three years living with them and teaching them. He was not interested in the number of  His followers because He knew what was in men’s hearts. He knew they were fickle and would follow Him one day and be gone the next.

There’s a lesson here for those of us that wish to influence others towards a deeper relationship with Christ. We must do as He did. We must spend time, real time with the Father, and learn His will through reading His word. We must not focus on the number of followers we have but choose to invest our time, energy and words with those who are really interested in going deeper with Christ. Followers, as Jesus knew, will eventually come and go. We must  follow His example and seek to do the will of God, in the power of God, for the purposes of God, in order to have real meaningful influence in the world. 

Photo by Dorothee’ Quennesson. Courtesy of Pixabay

Adventus

Adventus is a Latin word meaning arrival or approach (Lexico.com). In Roman times, the population knew what this word meant and the ceremony attached to it. An Adventus was held when a conquering General or Emperor was welcomed into a city during a progress or the end of a military campaign (definitions.net).

Hence, the anglicized word Advent. Advent has been celebrated by the Christian church for about sixteen centuries. It was celebrated in Gaul and Spain during the fourth and fifth centuries as a time when those wishing to be baptized spent forty days in fasting, penance, and prayer. It was not linked to Christmas but to The Feast of the Magi. By the sixth century, Christians celebrating Advent were looking forward to Christ’s Second Coming. Later in the Middle Ages, Advent was linked to Christmas and to the first coming of Jesus (Christianity.com).

In the twenty-first century, many denominational churches still celebrate Advent. It occurs over four Sundays where both Christ’s first and second comings are celebrated. Most people (including myself for many years) do not really know that Advent is not just about remembering Christ’s first coming as a baby in Bethlehem. It is also about looking forward to the time when Christ shall come as a conquering King to the Earth. 

Why do I even mention this? Because most of us at Christmas think of Jesus as a baby laying in a manger. There is nothing wrong with this but we must remember a few things about Jesus:

He is no longer laying in a manger in Bethlehem.

He is no longer walking around Israel teaching and performing miracles.

He is no longer on a cross at Calvary being crucified as an atonement for our sins.

He is no longer just risen out of a tomb after being there for three days.

He is no longer ascending into Heaven.

However, He is:

Sitting at the right hand of the Father, waiting for the time when He will return to Earth, His Adventus, and judge the nations. He will reign on the Earth for a thousand years and then judge the living and the dead…some will spend eternity with Him and others will spend it apart from Him in Hell.

Are we ready for the next arrival of Jesus? We can rest assured that it will surely come just as the first one did; according to God’s timetable and in fulfillment of prophecy. Let us prepare our hearts for it, so that we will not be ashamed at His Adventus!