Sonlight Sensitivity

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As a child, I suffered from a condition called “Sunlight Sensitivity.” When I spent too much time in the sun, I would break out in hives. From the time I was about five, I had to take Benedryl every night before bed, even in the winter time. In the summer, I would have to wear a hat and put a special cream on the area where I would break out. When I was a teenager, my allergy doctor read that possibly certain shots would help my condition. He wanted to know if I was willing to try them. I was and so I took the series of shots, and voila! I was able to spend time in the sun without adverse effects.  

As a young adult, I suffered from a different kind of  “Sunlight Sensitivity.” I was raised in a town that got about three hundred days of sunlight a year. Dark cloudy days were at a minimum and there were only about two weeks in the winter that were really dark. I was used to living in an environment where it was really bright outside. When I moved to cities that had a different climate, i.e. were rainy and grey most of the time, I did not do well. I felt “off” and not really myself. When I would return home I felt normal again when I was in the sunlight. Even today, when it is a really dark day outside, I turn on lots of lights in the house to get a certain level of light in my environment.

Now, I suffer from “Sonlight Sensitivity,” a spiritual form of the condition. If I do not spend enough time with the Son in the Light of his Word, I can suffer from symptoms of impatience, intolerance, a lack of vision, and a real absence of joy. In other words, I am not the person I want to be and I am sure I am not that pleasant to be around. I need the Light of the Son to brighten my days and the Wisdom of His Word to guide me so that I don’t make bad decisions and end up on the wrong path. 

What about you? Do you suffer from Sunlight or Sonlight Sensitivity?

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

What’s Right or What’s Left?

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In life, we make many moral decisions. Moral decisions come in lots of sizes, from small to life-altering. No matter the size of the decision, each one is important because every decision we make creates a building block in our character. Usually with a moral decision, there is a right decision that can be made. If we don’t make the right decision, we settle for one of the decisions that are left. 

For example, you are at work and someone keeps hitting on you. You’re married and you know you should not hook-up with another person. Do you make the right decision and tell the person “No,” or do you make one of the other decisions that are left? The first decision that is left is to hook-up and be unfaithful to your partner. That decision leads to other decisions…tell your spouse the truth or lie to him or her.  Most of the decisions that are left will have negative consequences when we don’t choose the right decision in the first place. 

Most of us do not have to make life-altering moral decisions every day but we will be making moral decisions as we walk through our day. Do we steal something small from our employer? Do we cheat on our taxes? Do we use someone else’s work and claim it as our own? Each of these questions will have a right decision that can be made. If we don’t make the right decision we again are stuck with the decisions that are left. One of the by products of the decisions that are left is among other things, living with a guilty conscience. Is living with a guilty conscience worth stealing a stapler from work? Is it worth saving a few dollars in taxes? Is it worth pretending to have created something that was not entirely ours? 

The answer is obviously “No” to those questions. So as we go through our day, let’s consider our decisions. Do we want to choose what’s right or settle for what’s left?

M.I.A. from the Uncivil War

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For the past three years in America, there has been an Uncivil War going on. It has been a war of words that people on both sides of the political spectrum have been engaged in. Politicians, Media personnel and Actors have participated in this war. They have thrown volleys back and forth, many of which have been downright dirty and untruthful. I have been ashamed of these so called “leaders” as I have watched the political theater play out.

Many of the populace have followed their leaders into battle and have participated in this War. They have called people names and some have even physically harmed others for the crime of not aligning with their side in the war. I heard last week that there are those who will only buy a house in neighborhoods that seem to hold their particular political beliefs. This is indeed a form of insanity and those of us who want to hold a sane view in our society might want to take a few moments and reflect on what is happening.

I think it is time for many of us to become M.I.A. from this Uncivil War. There seems to be no gain in following people who hold no moral authority and perpetuate such bad behavior. I, for one, do not want to judge my neighbor by his political beliefs, the color of his skin or his religious preferences.

I’m leaving this War. Yes, going M.I.A., what about you?

Oblivious

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Have you ever watched someone walking through a crosswalk while texting? The person is totally oblivious to what is going on around him. A speeding car could be coming in his direction and because he is not paying attention, he could be hit and killed. When I see people doing that, I want to shake them and tell them to “Wake Up!” A whole world is going on around them and they are distracted to the point of oblivion. Because of this, they put themselves in danger because of their inattention. 

Not only is this true in the material world, it is true in the spiritual world. If a person is totally unaware of the supernatural forces that may be affecting and directing him, he can end up in a very dangerous place. There are spiritual beings that are bent on the destruction of man and they are more than happy to take advantage of someone who is unaware of their existence. The materialist is in a war he cannot win because he doesn’t even know he is in one. He is at the mercy of the spiritual forces around him. 

Even if you are a spiritual person and believe in the supernatural, it is easy to become distracted and not realize the forces that are vying for our attention. Turn on the average television show or movie. Most of them have gratuitous sex, swearing and violence intentionally programed in so that our minds will be filled with negative images. Many of the thoughts and temptations we deal with are in our minds because a worker of darkness has placed them there. 

If we don’t want to become a victim of the warfare that is going on around us, we must not be oblivious to what is happening in the supernatural arena. We must arm ourselves daily with the spiritual armor the Lord has provided for us: truth, righteousness, faith, salvation, prayer, the gospel of peace and the word of God. Only then can we hope to not be a casualty of the spiritual war we are in. 

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Ephesians 6: 10-13

Soul Scars

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A week ago, I was changing a bandage on a wound. It was about three weeks old and the scar tissue had begun to form. I thought, “Well, I need to put some alcohol on this to make sure there are no germs there.” I got my bottle of alcohol out of the cupboard, put it on a cotton ball and got ready to feel some real pain as I knew the alcohol would sting. To my surprise, there was no pain. You see, scar tissue does not have any nerve endings when it begins to form. The nerve endings have been cut in the surrounding tissue, and initially, a person feels nothing.

I began to wonder about our soul scars. If someone could see our souls, what would they look like? Would there be wounds that had healed completely and others that were in the process of healing? Would there be wounds that were festering and causing us pain? I think if people could see our souls, they would see all three kinds of wounds.

The most obvious would be the wounds that were still open, still in the healing process. Sometimes life wounds us deeply with the loss of a loved one or some other deeply personal loss. These wounds may take years to heal, and only as our grief is felt or expressed can we truly heal. Tears are a valuable form of therapy with these kinds of wounds as they wash them and keep them clean while they are healing.

The least obvious would be the wounds that have healed and the scars have become part of our soul’s makeup. If you look closely at them, you will see that the area around them is healthy and whole and sometimes the scars have healed so well they are difficult to discern. 

A Soul Physician would be very concerned about the wounds that are still festering, where there is infection. We all have those kinds of wounds whether we realize it or not. They are the wounds that have not been taken care of and no healing balm has been applied to them. Usually the infection has been caused by unforgiveness and a person must purposely set out to do their part in the healing process. 

 Festering wounds must be acknowledged and we must be ready to be healed from them. We must be willing to apply the disinfectant of forgiveness to them and let go of all of our unforgiveness and bitterness. Will there be pain when we lance these kinds of wounds? Yes, they may have been festering for years, but as their purulence is released there will be a peace that takes its place.

Oh, the sweet peace of forgiveness, may it blanket our souls and make us healthy and whole!

“Forgive us our sins, for we forgive everyone who sins against us.” Luke 11:4

Polluted Wells

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Have you ever been out hiking around in the country and come across an abandoned home? Many times there is a well beside it that hasn’t been used for decades. Would we drink out of that well? Of course, not. The well could be polluted. We don’t know what the water is like and we certainly don’t know if things have fallen into the well that would make the water polluted.

Have you ever been at a large gathering of people? You walk around talking  to various people. Some of them are pleasant to be around and others, not so much. We may start talking to a person and what comes out of their mouth is bitter or caustic. At that point, we can hardly wait to get away from them.

Have you ever thought that people are like wells? Inside each person is a well or a soul. When we talk to people, we experience what is inside of them. Each person shares part of who they are when they communicate with us.  If a person’s soul is healthy and whole, it comes out through with their words. If the person is full of bitterness, envy and jealousy, that also comes across.

What about our own wells? What is inside of us? Do we need to take a look at our wells and perhaps get some of the pollution out? I’m guessing we all have some things inside of our wells that need to be cleaned out. We just have to be honest with ourselves and admit that there are things inside of us that need to be changed.

Can we change ourselves? Can we make ourselves better people by the sheer force of our own will? I doubt it. I know that I would like to be a better person than I am but I am unable to make myself so. I must submit to the Lord, let Him know my problems and ask Him for help. Only then, can I let Him clean my well out make me into the person I desire to be.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Two Soldiers on a Train

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Have you ever been on a train, subway or bus when two soldiers got on? Immediately you feel safer, you just kind of breathe a sigh of relief. There are a few things you know instinctively when you see them. You know they are warriors, well trained in the art of war. You know they will not hesitate to protect the people if there is any kind of problem. You also know they will lay their lives down willingly in order to defend each person from any kind of attack.

They are a good visual for us, making us feel safer. We can see them and even touch them if we are close enough. It’s different with angelic warriors, sent to protect us. We pray and ask God to send His angels to guard us but we are unable to see them and touch them. Are they just as real as the human soldiers we see? Are they as strong and powerful? Indeed, they are.fantasy-3313964_640Image by Stefan Keller. Courtesy of Pixabay.

In Scripture, we read example after example where God sent His angels to protect and defend people, cities and nations from attack. These spiritual beings are not the cute cherubs we see portrayed in art. They are warriors, well able to protect those they watch over. We can be confident when we ask God to send His holy angels to help us that He will do just that. You can count on it.

There is an enlightening story in Scripture. The king of Syria sent his army to Dothan to capture the prophet Elisha. When Elisha’s servant got up in the morning he was afraid when he saw the Syrian army surrounding the city. He asked Elisha what should they do. Elisha answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes  of the young man, and he saw. AND BEHOLD, THE MOUNTAIN WAS FULL OF HORSES AND CHARIOTS OF FIRE ALL AROUND ELISHA. 2 Kings 6: 16-17

Remember: Just because you cannot see something does not mean it is not real. Have faith. You will be surprised what God will do for you!

Cosimo

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At the end of the semester, Carole and her three friends took a trip to Italy. They loved Rimini and rented a condo by the beach for a week. They intended to spend their first week of summer laying out in the sun and getting a dark tan. They arrived at the beach only to see it crowded like every other Italian beach but they didn’t care. They knew they were going to have a great time. 

It was a beautiful beach, as are all the beaches along the coast of Rimini. At one end of the bay, all of the yachts were docked at the pier. There was one that was especially opulent that stood out to them. They talked about it and could imagine the rich and famous partying there. They thought how fun it would be to be invited on board for one of their parties. At the other end of the bay, the fishing boats were docked. The Salvari Brothers had a large trawler but it held little attraction for the girls. Each evening they would watch as the yachts pulled out for a short cruise around the bay; the fishing boats would leave a little later and none of the water craft returned until early the next morning. 

Every day the girls had the same routine: get up, shower, don their bathing suits and bask in the sun all day. On their way home, they would stop at the deli and purchase their dinner for the evening. They would watch movies and talk until late at night. On their last afternoon, when the girls were at the deli, they met a gorgeous guy named Cosimo. He seemed especially interested in Carole and invited her and the rest of her friends onto his yacht for the evening’s festivities. The girls were thrilled to learn that his yacht was indeed the opulent one they had seen. They just needed to tell the security guard the day’s code word and they would be allowed on the yacht. The girls raced back to their condo, showered and dressed for the evening. 

They were starstruck as they walked on board the yacht. There were more than a few celebrities they recognized. They tried not to gawk at them as they took everything in. Cosimo came to greet them personally and introduce them to some of his friends. They were then free to tour the yacht. Each deck had a bar, band, dance floor and scrumptious food available. They enjoyed dancing all night and were sad when the ship came into port. Their magical night was ending and they would probably not get another chance to spend a night like this one again. Cosimo stood on the deck and as each guest exited, he reached into a crystal bowl and gave them a friendship ring. It had the name of the yacht, “The Cosmopolitan” engraved on it. Once they took it, they would be allowed back on the yacht any time they wanted. 

When it was Carole’s turn to receive her ring, Cosimo took her aside. He implored her not to leave and promised he would buy her an airline ticket home the following week. He wanted to spend a few extra days getting to know her. Carole looked at her friends and they all nodded and encouraged her to stay. They would bring her luggage to the boat before they left to fly home. Carole only hesitated a moment and then took Cosimo up on his invitation. He had her stand by him and when the last guest finally left, he took her to the suite she would be staying in.

Carole was intoxicated with Cosimo. Every evening, they partook of the finest food and wine. Cosimo kept her on his arm while he greeted his guests. At dawn they would return to her room and Cosimo would come in and spend part of the day sleeping with her. He would get up before her and later she would find him on deck when she arose in the afternoon. When the week was over and it came time to leave, Cosimo again asked her to stay and of course, she did. She felt like a celebrity for the first few weeks. She was in love with Cosimo and wondered where this new relationship would take her.

The summer was going well until one morning Cosimo didn’t come into the suite with her. He left her entirely alone and when she went on deck to find him that afternoon, he was laughing and joking with a young man named Marco.  She walked up to him and began to talk to him but Cosimo completely ignored her and showered all of his affection on Marco. Frustrated because she could not get his attention, she went back to her suite, fixed her hair differently and put on more revealing clothes, hoping to get his attention back on her. It was no use, the more she tried, the more he ignored her. She walked around the deck that evening in a daze. Other men on the yacht tried to give her their attention but Carole wasn’t interested. She only wanted Cosimo…period. 

The following days Carole grew more and more desperate. She realized that by now she was addicted to Cosimo and all he offered and that no one else could ever take his place. She had been rejected by him for a handsome young male with dark brown eyes. All of her feminine wiles could not compete with Marco. After trying for several days to draw Cosimo back to her with no success, she finally understood her chances of getting him back were nil and at that point she made a decision. One evening when no one was looking, she climbed up on the railing and then threw herself in the water. She didn’t want to live without Cosimo and hoped to end her agony once and for all.

She hit the water with a thud and then panicked. The water was freezing cold and it took her breath away. She suddenly awoke as if out of a dream and realized that deep down she didn’t want to die. If she really wanted to survive, she was going to have to do something. She started treading water as she watched the yacht sail away without her. She looked around and tried to find lights on the shore line. They were out far enough in the Adriatic that she couldn’t see much of anything. She began to swim but grew more tired with each stroke. The drinking, partying and sleepless nights were taking their toll. After swimming for a few hours, she knew she probably wasn’t going to make in to the shore.

She lay on her back and looked up at the stars. She thought about her life and that she wouldn’t survive to see her family again. Her friends would miss her and would never know what really happened to her. She prayed silently, “God, if you are real, please help me!” She took Cosimo’s friendship ring off and dropped it in the water.  She then relaxed and began to fall asleep. As her body began to slip below the surface of the water, she heard a small engine in the distance. She shook herself awake and began to yell, “Over here! Help, Help me!”

The engine noise grew louder as she kept yelling. The Salvari’s had heard her cry for help and steered their boat along side her.  The brothers fished her out of the water, used towels to dry her, and began to rub her arms and legs to bring the circulation back into her body. They radioed for help and raced the boat back to the shore. An ambulance met them at the dock and took her to the E.R. where the doctors and nurses slowly got her core temperature up to normal. She stayed in the hospital a few days until her parents flew in from the States to pick her up.

On their way to the airport, Carole and her parents stopped at the Salvari’s trawler to thank them for saving her life. They were invited on board and stepped onto the deck. They thanked each Salvari brother for rescuing her. As they were leaving, Carole noticed a small bowl full of Cosimo’s friendship rings. She turned around to the brothers and said, “I’m not the first you saved, am I?” They sheepishly looked at each other and then Enzio, the eldest replied, “No, Signorina, you’re not. It is not uncommon for us to find a young man or woman floating  in the water. They are not all as fortunate as you were.”

Carole thought about that statement a lot on the airplane. How many other young men and women had been seduced by Cosimo and the trappings of his lifestyle and then been cast aside when he tired of them? She had been so sure she was in love with him and he with her.  She thought she couldn’t live without him but now when she thought of Cosimo, she wanted nothing more to do with him.

Once back in the States, she and her girlfriends got together again. They were still wearing Cosimo’s friendship ring like some kind of badge of honor. She told them about her experience and what he was really like but they refused to believe her. They could hardly wait until next year when they would return to the beach at Rimini. How they hoped to go on his yacht again and have another magical experience. It was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to them.

As for Carole, she was done…done with Cosimo and done with The Cosmopolitan…for good.

“Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”  James 4:4

If Man-Kind Were Kind

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If Man-Kind were Kind, most of the problems in our world would be solved. We would no longer hate each other or covet what someone else has. We would share what we have with those around us and there would be little lack. There would be no wars, killing, stealing or lying. 

If Man-Kind could make himself Kind, he would have fixed the world a  long time ago.  Alas, his best efforts have not produced the desired effect. All of his good thoughts, vibrations and even his best political efforts have not borne fruit and made the planet a better place to live. If Man-Kind could make himself Kind, the United Nations would be a phenomenal success and we would be living in a world filled with peace and harmony.

Truth be told, Man-Kind is not Kind and is not able to fix himself. A heart beats within him that is filled with envy, jealousy, and selfishness. He literally needs a miracle in order to be the Kind of Man he needs to be.

Is there a Kind of MAN who can make Man Kind? There is, the God-Man Jesus. He is the one Kind of MAN who can miraculously give us a new heart; one that is filled with the power to be Kind. 

Since Man-Kind is not Kind, why not give the Kind of MAN a try who can make Man Kind?