In Remembrance: Sharing of Memories related to Janie Blake

My thoughts have been many since Janie Blake started her new day and left us behind. It has been hard to focus and write anything, yet there is much to write and process. It is though time to start putting down words that are on my heart. The best place to start is sharing a bit of the impact that Janie Blake had on my life and in the life of others. Yet, for me the sharing of the memories that is the story of Janie Blake and how she touched my life is not easy. See, Janie Blake in my life from the start is a mix of pain and hurt along with blessing and healing. The two really go hand in hand and are hard to separate. The elements of pain are not appropriate to write about as there are other people involved and they need to be considered and honored. So, my sharing of memories publicly is limited. However, the limit is on me being able to share the fact that God did use her in people’s lives to build them up and help them grow in love and truth by sharing love and truth.

Ultimately, the core of my relationship with Janie Blake can be summed up as a mutual sharing of love and truth. No matter what was going on with each of us being who we are, there was love and truth in operation. And honestly, most of the time, most of the memories are just us being who we are, together. This was whether sharing meals, playing games, or just having conversation. There are stark differences in our personality despite sharing that core of interacting in truth and love. Her personality was more active. She would find a way to be involved. She had to be part of the “action.” If there was something going on, rest assured Janie wanted to be a part of it. Now, my personality is one that is more observant, watchful. I want to be where action is but will often be at the edge, watching what is going on, always looking to grow and understand. Recently saw a picture from during my sophomore year on college, it was me as always on the edge, watching & observing. My nature is to meet people where they are and come along side.

Janie’s nature is that of going after someone and pulls them in. It is because of Janie that have met and cared for several people that otherwise would not have. It is even in her active pursuit that the healing, blessing, and growth that occurred in time, happened. She actively pursued with love and grace. Part of the healing pertains to my dear wife. We had a period where she ran from God in response to deep pain and disappointment. One related to a young man dying of brain cancer, the other a disappointment over a hope for job situation. Janie loved her, spoke truth, and pursued her with not knowing anything more than my wife was hurting and angry. She provided an accurate reflection of God’s pursuit, for ultimately God pursued my wife through Janie and others until she returned back to God. Janie was consistent in her pursuit and building up of others, reaching out with love and truth. She was faithful to God’s call on her life and produced much fruit. She lived who she was before God and man. She let her light shine in her actions and deeds and brought Glory to God the Father.

I hope folks take the time to share memories of Janie there are many places to do so. There is the comments section here on this blog article. There is here Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=828554733. There is my father’s Facebook page as well: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=1128826601. There is also Janie Blake’s caring bridge site: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/janieblake. There is also the option to share thoughts at the online obituary at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/startribune/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=147504299. You also may have own resources, but please do share. I may add folks thoughts to comment sections as run across, so please subscribe to the comments in this article. I know there are many folks who have prayed for Janie and did not know her, by sharing others can know and the harvest and impact will continue.

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Personal reflections: My responses when difficulties build- giving voice to burdens

This past week have been way to silent on the blog and falter in intentionality.  It seems likely to stem from the pattern that exists of pulling back when things get too tough emotionally. There are a number of things going on and certainly could use prayer for.

1. The ongoing difficulties of wife. The issues with her having wifes that really do not let up continue, then to top it off she picks up some bug.  It pains me to see her suffering. It pains me to see  her suffering reach the point of bringing into question God’s love for her and His willingness to listen.  She is reaching a breaking point and it bothers me to see it and there is nothing I can say or do that can help. 

2.  The week resulted in exposing how to assured of things that I should not be assured.  This involves having important documents stored on a flash drive with already prior experience of the fragility of a flash drive. I had ignored the wisdom of needing to back up and have paid for it. This in spite of already knowing difficulties others have had. So this put me into a real personal funk  with anxiety, uncertainty, and other things.  Now I have found a place that looks like they are capable of restoring data but the anxiety builds none-the-less.

3. Personally have growing frustration over the communication difficulties and hard feelings when theologically disagree with brother and sisters over issues that have no bearing on matters of faith.  Personally have been hurt about things others have said and likely responded in ways that reflect that without really intending to do so. My intent is always to communicate in love, but sometimes things happen or are said that brings out ways of communicating that are hurtful, even to the point of possible severing of relationship, all related to theological perspectives. 

4. Also am aware of lack of steps taken further to move into private practice.  Are there fears or other elements of self getting in the way?  Am I holding back out of lack of faith, protection of self, and fears?  Is it the same dynamics that resulted in my putting off starting the blog for over a year? Fears of putting myself out there as needed in order to network?  Am I waiting, or simply failing to engage?  If holding back from failing to engage why do I do that?

So these difficulties mount and the frustration grows, and so in turn my human natural response is a bit of withdrawal.  It is not looking to God for defense or strength, it is engaging in the human natural.  Personally have a long way to go in my own life in regards to the principles for transcending suffering.  For me resting in God and letting Him work things out in his time is tough. It takes a lot of faith and can see how limited my faith is in all these circumstances.  Now I know in my head that all this leads to greater faith and leads to growing and maturing at a greater level. All I know is right now personally, am tired, hurt, and know the extent of my own limitations and weaknesses.  All I can say and ask here is to pray.  This blog post in away is sharing some burdens that I personally feel and am going through.

The Greed Effect: Positive and Negative Consequences

     Well recent news certainly has brought greed and it’s consequences to the forefront. Greed is part and partial to many events in the world today. Most people are looking for continually more.  American culture pushes the lust for for and feeds greed.  It is all around us. And when greed is rampant, eventually there comes a crash, it is inevitable because that which is driven by greed will eventually be exposed.

      There are already famous greed crashes. We have the original stock market crash in 1929 and the infamous black Monday in 1987. More recently,  there is the NASDAQ crash in 2000 and scandals like Enron in 2001.  Today, we have the crash of the real estate markets and the ripple effects going out to multiple financial institutions like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Washington Mutual, and AIG.  Today there are many signs of huge financial instability.  What got us to this point is at the core greed and the subsequent consequences.

     Now not all consequences of greed are bad. Greed can result in quality work being done, and work being done quickly to meet some reward. For example, in Minnesota the completion of the I-35 W bridge was done with a bonus for early completion. The hired company put out all stops to meet the significant bonus, and reached it.  The natural inclination of achieving for gain is a central component at times for facilitating behavioral change.  However, most change dependent on reinforcement only lasts as long as the gain is meaningful.  Also the effects of greed can result in a robust economy, as people always seek for the newer and better.  However, those positives are often short lived.

     As already mentioned, anything that is driven by greed will reach a limit.  Humans have limited capacity and as such, there is never unlimited growth.  When the limits of growth are reached, you will find what is happening today.  First of all areas of corruption and exploitation are exposed.  Then those dependent on the money derived from corruption and exploitation find that they did not stick to sound principles and essentially it all becomes a house of cards. So when falls happen the question always is how to get it restarted. In the past those driven by greed simply finding another area to seek the continual more in.  Eventually though, there is no place left for the greed seekers to go.

     We also see that when money gets easy, and the quest for more continues, that people readily take shortcuts.  Why work for to get more, if you can find a quick way to get it.  Many scams and con men gain much all related to people’s greed. 

    Make no mistake though, greed will be seen as a problem, and is seen as a problem globally. Being anti-greed is part of an underpinning to communism. It takes the truth that when people share it is benificial and twists it into some form of forced sharing that ultimately only benefitted the elite, who in turn displayed there greed.  There will come a time, perhaps soon, when folks will be pointed to global sharing as the answer.  There will be promotion of interdependence and global sharing. And while the concept sounds and looks good on the surface, it is not founded on the truth. Sharing doesn’t negate the selfishness at the root of greed.  It doesn’t address anything about the basic essence of humanity.  Sharing does have a benefit, but to focus on sharing without the foundation of the gospel and surrender of self to the messiah, it is faulty.  It is just taking the principle found in the prosperity gospel and extending it. If all share, all prosper will be what is promoted.  For example, the show Oprah’s big give whole concept was ultimate prosperity comes through sharing.

    So, how does one really combat greed.  It all has to start with the Gospel. It has to start with the answer of our selfishness and moving beyond our own self-interest and toward surrender to the King of Kings.  It involves accepting where God has us in life.  God’s word states in I Timothy 66-12(NIV):  6.But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7.For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8.But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9.People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.10.For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.11.But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.12.Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

   Contentment is clearly a biblical key to individual dealing with greed.  We all need to rest in being able to manage all things through the strength of Jesus, not our own strength as shown in Phillipians 4:12-13 (NIV):   12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.13: I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

    Now we are called to share and be generous (2 Corinthians 9) and doing so is contrary to the principles of greed. It is not a compulsion with true giving being a response tothe recognition of the gift of grace, not for ultimate gain. When we are truely generous, God is pleased, because true generosity is giving from beyond our self. We are each incapable of giving beyond our own selfishness without living in surrender to Jesus the Messiah.