Musing on Facing Threats and the Care of God

Personally things have been emotionally draining the past week. Emotions have been raw and anxiety has come easily. The reason for the anxiety is related to some current ongoing threats of loss. Things important to me are at risk. It does not really matter what the risks are, but they are there. However, the things that are at immediate threat are the potential loss to the state of Minnesota if politicians do not approve a stadium. The other threat is to our dog’s health and well being. She developed a cancerous skin tumor that most likely is benign. However, it is still a threat and anxiety producing. See, these are things that personally there are deep care and attachment. When what we care about is at risk, our emotions become volatile with anger and anxiety there easily. Questions come about whether these things that are cared for have too much importance or the care has reached the point of idolatry. Yet, idolatry comes when things cared for are things from which we draw life. They become so important that nothing else matters. God created us to love and care. He wired us to develop attachments. God has given us directions to deal with such threats. Psalms 55:22 (ESV) sates “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” And 1 Peter 5:7 (ESV) states
“casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” The verses shows a simple step. Turn over what we care about to God and trust him. God will see us through whatever the threat. God does not promise that there will not be loss. God promises to sustain us, and to look out for our welfare regardless of what happens. God simply directs us to present our request to him. Philippians 4:6 (ESV) states “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” We are directed to ask God about the things we care about but have an attitude of thanksgiving and gratitude. Thanksgiving is important here, because God gave us things to care about. Be it a pet, be it a sport team, be it family or whatever else we care about. God gave us these things. So whether there is loss or the ability to continue to care, we are to be thankful for what God has given and allowed. Loss may or may not happen, yet what God has given is good. Yet, God allows threats and difficulties. Life is an ongoing battle with pain, suffering, and loss constantly lurking. God directs us to stand firm and endure. He asks us to submit to Him, to acknowledge Him, to depend on Him. When we do so, he will sustain us and at the right time, raise us up, not because of anything of our own regard, but because we turn to Him. It is easy to get lost and distracted in the things we care for and we can easily make them more important than God in our life. However, the treats of loss are not related to anything out of proper alignment, rather such times allow us to evaluate and examine where our affections lie and what we look to for life and strength. Even when nothing is out of alignment, God still allows for loss and tests, for it draws us to Him and allows Him to work and show us His love for us, by working as He will in the matters that we care about. This is why God wants us to direct our request to Him and depend on Him, for it gives Him opportunities to demonstrate His love for us. Whatever the results God shows He cares for us. Romans 8:28 (ESV) states “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” God does not promise that everything goes according to our will, just that He works it all out for good. The good ultimately comes from God demonstrating His love and care in whatever way he will in the circumstances of life and what we care for. God works when we give him opportunity to do so, and that work is ultimately building us up in His love, whatever may occur. So, in my life there may be loss, or loss may be stayed. Yet, God will be faithful in all. That being said my requests before God is for the football team to remain in Minnesota and for my dog, Bella, to not have her life in jeopardy due to some cancerous skin cells. Yet, whatever happens God will demonstrate His love for me, because He does care for me, far greater than my care for a sports team and a pet.

Musing on the Tragic Death of Amy Winehouse

Well yesterday, 7/23/2011, the pop music artist Amy Winehouse died. Sadly, not one person is truly surprised at her death for she was living on borrowed time, long ensnared by addictions to drugs and alcohol. It was simply a matter of time. She continued to use and ultimately she died. Sadly, her one hit was the song “Rehab” which she essentially wrote and sang about her rejecting a plea for her to go to drug rehabilitation. Her is a fact, while Amy’s life and death was tragic and while many can easily sit in judgment over how sick she was and proclaim if only she would get clean, each of us are really no different. When it comes to making changes, we too often protest “No, no, no.” There are things we like, we enjoy that we really just do not want to give up. We resist calls to repentance with the reply “No, no, no.” It takes brokenness and a realization of the truth to move toward change. We all have choices to make. There are many paths to death and destruction beyond the likes of alcohol and drugs. We are selfish and walk paths even with full knowledge that it is not good. We all have trouble embracing changes and turning from the paths of death. Ultimately there is one choice each person needs to make and sadly the refrain there is too often “no, no, no.” And that choice is surrender to the Creator, to Jesus the King of Kings. All to readily the response is “They told me to submit to Jesus” and “I said no, no, no.” See, for the appeal of self-direction and choosing own life, even if well aware of the pain and emptiness with lack of true peace, is alluring. Any life that dies apart from surrender is tragic. It is the path of many, not just Amy Winehouse. It is a sad day that such a hurt and broken soul reached the death point. It is too late for Amy, it is not too late for you. Please do not cry out “No, no, no” any further. This is true even for those who have submitted to Jesus yet God is stirring you to change and let go of areas of sin in your life. Stop saying “no, no, no” and repent, for the rejection only brings more pain. Surrender, say yes, it is worthwhile!

Video Selections: The Cash Cow-Rock Opera in 3 Parts by Steve Taylor

This old video from Steve Taylor seems to be appropriate.  Hope you enjoy. The lyrics are posted under the video.

 

([Act One)
Move…
Move in closer…
Move in closer to the…
Move in closer to the middle of the frame
(Act Two)
It was a morning just like any other morning
In the Sinai desert, 1200 B.C.
It glistened, it glowed, it rose from the gold of the children of Israel
…and most of the adults
The cash cow!
The golden cash cow had a body like the great cows of ancient Egypt
And a face like the face of Robert Tilton
…without the horns
And through the centuries is has roamed the earth
Like a ravenous bovine
Seeking whom it may lick
Cash cow!
Cash cow!
From the valley of the shadow of the outlet mall
To customized petwear boutique
From the trailer of the fry chef
To the palace of the sheik
The cash cow lurks
The cash cow lurks
The cash cow lurks
HA HA HA HA….
Who loves you, baby?
Who’ll give you good credit?
Who says you’ll regret it?
Aaa-ooooooo
Who loves you, baby?
Who’ll give you good credit?
Who says you’ll regret it?
Aaa-aaa-aaa-ooooooo
I was in love and I needed the money
And then I needed more money
I was filthy rich and all I wanted was love
…and a little more money
Woe to you, proud mortal
Secure in your modest digs
You think you’re immune?
You, who couldn’t finger said cow in a police line-up with the three little pigs!
Cash cow!
Master of disguises!
Who’s gonna change shape at will?
Who’s the eye on the pyramid on the back of the dollar bill?
Who loves power lunchin’ from Spago to Sizzler?
Who loves you, baby?
Who’ll give you good credit?
Who says you’ll regret it?
Aaa-ooooooo
Who loves you, baby?
Who’ll give you good credit?
Who says you’ll regret it?
Aaa-aaa-aaa-ooooooo
Who loves you, baby?
Who’ll give you good credit?
Who says you’ll regret it?
Aaa-aaa-aaa-ooooooo
Cash cow comin’ to get ya
Why?
Cuz you think this is stupid, don’t you?
The cash cow will not be mocked!
The cash cow’s planning a coup!
The cash cow chews cud bigger than you!
Woe, woe, woe to you
Who blow off this warning
Perhaps you’ve already been licked
I, too, was hypnotized
By those big cow eyes
The last time I uttered those three little words
“I deserve better!”
(Act Three – instrumental)

News Commentary: Jeff Dubay Update-Exchange one prison for another.

Well the Star Tribunehas reported that Jeff Dubay has been sentenced to 180 days in the workhouse for his drug related offenses.  Judge Smith also gave him a stiff warning that the next step is prison.  He had failed to follow through with the diversion program and substance abuse court and had failed twelve drug tests while missing eleven. 

Jeff sadly turned to cocaine to fill the emptiness inside after finding the truth in Ecclesiastes that what he had chased after was ultimately all nothing.  He lost everything including now his freedom for his drug.  Perhaps his lawyer is right and his moving to Brainard, Minnesota away from his drug connections would be the answer. However, this is often not the case for people who have turned to drugs for an answer.   Here it is moving from the prison of addiction to actual time in jail.  It is the told bottom of self.  

Jeff Dubay’s struggles are not uncommon and we all think we are good enough.  The mindset is that if you just have enough strength and will power and drive to succeed, you will do what it takes to be successful and avoid anything that can drag you down. Yet, each of us at one point or another turn to something to feel the emptiness.  It does not matter whether what is turned to is socially acceptable or not, but it is something that is an attempt to fill what Blaise Pascal called a “God-shaped vacuum” inside us all. The true satisfaction only comes when one is in right relationship with God. The only way anyone can get right with God is through Jesus the Messiah by turning from self and accepting the gift Jesus has to offer.  If you want more details on turning to Jesus please read this page: https://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/how-to-become-a-christian/. Please don’t wait till you reach bottom to look to turn to Jesus.   The consequences and problems will still exist but there will be peace and the driving emptiness will be no more.

Now for any who struggle with addiction, including Jeff Dubay. I strongly recommend getting involved with the Teen Challenge treatment program.  They will deal with both the addiction issues as well as the connected spiritual issues.

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Please see this post for most recent thoughts and update: https://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/addict-lost-in-addiction-and-the-pathway-to-death-1-12-10-update-on-jeff-dubay

News Commentary: Jeff Dubay Update

Previously, I commented on the downfall for former Twin Cities sports radio personality Jeff Dubay. Since then he had entered a diversionary program with the hopes of avoiding legal consequences.  Well, I just recently learned of an update posted on June 16th in the Minneapolis Star Tribune where he is now due to face a year in jail because he failed the diversionary program.  He has continued to a slave to his addiction.  His story is a sad one. It is one where people who have not fallen to such an addiction can easily cast asperions and look down on Jeff Dubay, but he is really no different then the rest of us. 

KFAN sports personality Dan Barerrio today made a comment essentially suggesting that Jeff is just an adolscent who has not grown up.  Such a comment fails to grasp the elements of addiction that are common to us all.  We all have areas we turn to for satisfaction or to cope.  Our desires often lead to our being slaves to any number of things that become the focal point of life.  Some common things people reach the point of serving are food, entertainment, sex, and work.  For the likes of Dan Barerrio and others, Jeff’s behavior is one to castigate based on the fact that it led him to destruction.  The destructiveness of drug and alcohol addiction is readily apparent, the desctruction of other areas of self-focus on not quite as clear but the ultimate destructiveness is true.  

Again, the prayer for Jeff Dubay is that he finds the truth of the Gospel where there is true freedom and grace.  Jail time may well help him be at a point of re-evaluating and perhaps have a chance to turn to Jesus.  Jeff and Dan and others need to realize that ultimately we all fall short.  It is not about being “strong enough” nor “growing up.” It is a matter that when we seek to serve our self, depend on our own morality we will falter.  We all need a savior for there is no one righteous.  We all choose what we serve, the sins birthed through our own selfish desires, or surrender to Jesus and his gift of covering the consequences of our continual failing to do what is right and moral.

So, I ask the reader, where are you in life? What is there in your life that dominates and you live your life essentially serving?  A re you depending on your own will and ability to choose the moral path?  What is stopping you from turning to Jesus the Messiah?   Are you on the path to destruction?  It is real easy to be proud of self or not making choices that Jeff has made, but he is no different then any of us.  He is a man who was sure of self, built his kingdom and eventually faltered and made choices that led to his own destruction.  The paths of destruction are wide and many and most people do not want to hear that the are on such a path.  We can easily see the failures of others and ignore our own selfish evils.