In that foggy area between sleep and consciousness I felt a light thump at the foot of the bed followed by the soft pressure of paws gently walking across my legs. I smiled as the cat nestled on the quilt beside my stomach and began to purr. I was only eight years old and shared a bed with my sister and often a cat or two. I pulled my hand from beneath the covers and reached to caress my pet. To my surprise nothing was there. I sat up to search for the cat who I had felt curl up next to me. There was no cat anywhere on the bed.
For years this situation teased at my understanding of reality. I had listened to many ghost stories of strange things happening but surely there had to be an explanation behind the abnormal. It was several years before I realized that in my drowsy state of awareness time may have lapsed between when I felt the cat jump on the bed and when I reached to pet it. Maybe I dozed off and gave the feline time to retreat. Case solved, logic reinstated.
This could be our reaction when we get to heaven and are able to see more clearly. “Now we see as looking through a mirror, then we will see clearly.” As a child, I looked through suggestions and not facts. When I grew more mature, I looked beyond imagination. We all look at the world around us with the limitations of human eyes. In heaven, we will see sharply with spiritual eyes. How quick should we judge what we think is reality?
Is there something in your life that is hard to understand why God would allow?
Tomorrow is the day of romance known as Valentine’s Day. But is it really a day for romance or is it a day for love? The widely accepted story of the origin of our modern celebration is not of a romantic love but an even greater love. St. Valentine was a priest in Rome who was executed for following his Christian belief and refusing to turn from his faith. The night before his execution, it is told that he performed a miracle by healing his jailer’s blind daughter, Julia. The jailer and his entire household became believers. St. Valentine is said to have written Julia a letter and signed it “Your Valentine.”
The love St. Valentine had for his Lord translated to the persecuted people under Roman rule. His commitment to God’s work and his compassion for others led to the miracle and to his letter. The first valentine represented a type of love that involved the will and the entire personality. Unlike the version of love today that is a spontaneous emotional affection.
Jesus told Peter that if he loved him he should, “Take care of my sheep.” (John 21:16) I grew up on a ranch and learned young that caring for animals meant seeing to all their needs. That is the kind of love Jesus wants us to have; a love so strong that we can see and care for others.
There is nothing wrong with the way we celebrate Valentine’s Day. Remember the kind of love it began as and pass that love on.
What are you doing to express your love to others?
This is from my friend, Lynn Hare’s blog site. I wanted to share her views on toxic thoughts can damage more than our emotions. She graciously allowed me to reprint it.
Posted on her site on Jan 13, 2014 http://lynnhare.com/blog/?p=4317
In 1988, was in a car accident with my four-month-old son, Ben, when I drove off the side of the road and leveled a metal light pole. I suffered leg and back injuries and was laid up for a long time. Ben suffered a fractured skull and brain damage. After a series of surgeries and intense prayer from prayer chains across the country, he pulled through.
Ten years after the debilitating car accident, I developed fibromyalgia.
I had pain in muscles, joints, tendons and tissues around the clock. Sleep evaded me and headaches punctuated the brain fog I slugged through each day. I was cross with myself and often spoke to myself with judgmental words. I was too weak to go grocery shopping or even sweep the kitchen floor. Forget sports like fun runs, basketball, or volleyball. I could barely walk around the block.
Friends encouraged me to read books about detoxing my thoughts, emotions, and words. They suggested I read Dr. Caroline Leaf. Dr. Leaf is a communication pathologist and audiologist who has worked in the area of cognitive neuroscience since 1985. Her work on neuroplasticity—that changes in thinking actually change the brain and can effect behavioral change—paved the way for her research on how scientific principles are supported by Scripture and vice versa. She’s a prolific author.
In her book Who Switched Off My Brain? Dr. Leaf explores how to control toxic thoughts and emotions:
“If your thought life is toxic, you have toxic memories physically built into the nerve networks of your mind.
“The chemicals that accompany those toxic thoughts course through your body in a myriad of toxic chain reactions. These toxic thoughts can even look distorted compared to healthy thoughts—chemicals released can change the shape and even destroy parts of the neurons, causing change right down to the cellular level.
“Resentment, bitterness, lack of forgiveness and self-hatred are just a few of the toxic thoughts and emotions that can also trigger immune system disorders.”
“We don’t have to stay in this place of mental and physical distress caused by toxic thinking.” (Who Switched Off My Brain? pp. 34-36; 41)
When I prayed, I believed the Lord told me to get rid of toxins:
• I had been living with self-directed anger and resentment for twenty-two years. I lived with guilt and condemnation that defeated me. I met with a counselor who prayed with me as we released negative patterns of sorrow, anger, fear, and envy. Negative emotions, including self-directed resentment, are just as toxic as poison or cigarette smoke. I prayed for a divine exchange, and for those emotions to be replaced with their opposite, positive emotions: joy, forgiveness, confidence, and gratitude.
• I prayed these emotions over self-directed thoughts. I actively forgave myself. Cheesy? Yes. Did it work? It blew the rafters off anything I expected!
• I knew one simple truth: I couldn’t put my faith in my own abilities, which were few. I sought Jesus for my strength. Only He could redeem my health. And you know what? He did!
After thirteen years of fibromyalgia, I was delighted to celebrate that Jesus healed me!
Today I’m totally free of chronic pain and fatigue. Wahoo!