The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Test

If you look closely at the picture you will notice a number in the circle. If you don’t see the number then you are probably colorblind. It may look like a circle with lots of dots in it, but there actually is a number and it’s difficult to see.

I think this describes people very much. Sometimes it may be very difficult to see the real them because of camouflage. I don’t expect people to trust me the moment I meet them. I want them to make me earn the trust that is given. I know from experience if I blow the trust it takes a lot longer to get it back than to lose it.

There are many people who hear the truth but disregard it. As one of the famous lines in “A Few Good Men” Jack Nicolas says, “The truth, you can’t handle the truth.” This statement is accurate much of the time because many times we don’t want to hear the truth, especially about ourselves. Have you ever noticed people have no trouble with the truth until you hit on their weakness? Then they become defensive. Let this be a sign to you that if you become defensive, maybe you should give it more thought. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. John 8:45

With all the garbage going around in our world and nation and so many false prophets, the Bible warns us to be careful. It’s not my responsibility to be careful for you, but yours. It’s so easy to be deceived even with someone saying all the right things. However, God left us a way out because He knows we’re too blind to see the truth.

Imagine if you will, walking around life not being blindfolded, but wearing very dark tinted sunglasses. You can see somewhat but it’s difficult to be accurate. For now we see through a glass, (or Sunglasses) darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. I Corinthians 13:12 This is where Jesus will shine His light so we can see more clearly. We will know for sure when we’re dead. So how do we do this now?

Not long ago I sent out a story “Do You Know Me?” I’m not asking if you know God or who or what He is. I’m asking do you know His character. This has helped me so much to clarify where something was coming from. I’ve had people I knew and loved come to me ignorantly pushing me away from God. One was a former pastor. He thought he was doing the right thing, but he had a heart of selfish motives. Therefore I knew it wasn’t from God.

So many times I hear the Bible misquoted because people are trying to conform God into their image. Such as, I heard a woman say that God brought a special man into her life when she and he were already married to someone else. God will not bless adultery. I hear people say their favorite verse is “God helps those who help themselves.” This is not in the Bible. This was a quote from Benjamin Franklin. God will not go against His Word and will not bless our sin. I’ve heard people thank God for their one night stands or make the comment, “There really is a God.”

The first thing we have to do is know the genuine character of God. The way we do this is to seek. God so much wants us to know Him intimately, but He can’t give it all to us at one time or our heads would explode. Let me help you with a little demonstration. In 1 John 4:8 it tell us that God is Love. It’s not the human love that we’ve come to know, but something beyond our comprehension. Here’s a good test. This is Godly Love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end. 1 Corinthian 13

So if you are trying to decide where someone or you might be coming from, you could test their motives and your own by using this list and see if it matches up. If it doesn’t, then it’s not from God. This is not just a good method for testing false prophets, but for testing anyone’s motives. Any false teacher whether they are deliberately being a false prophet or ignorantly being a false prophet will not be able to stand up to this test. Even if they can, they will not be able to maintain it very long because it requires too much energy. I had a slight confrontation with someone recently and I tested him. He pretty much blew the entire list. By the way, the number is 74.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Superman vs. Jesus

If any of you ever read my very first post, you know that I’m an avid Superman fan. I started as a child watching George Reeve in the old black and white Superman which I thought was amazing. I never quite understood how Superman would put his hands on his hips and stick out his chest when a bad guy would empty their gun on him as he stood unharmed. Then they would throw the gun at him after exhausting the ammunition and Superman would duck. Hmmmmm? The other day I was watching Superman Returns and I noticed some things I guess I really never gave much thought. So I started doing a comparison between him and Jesus.

Superman was there to help and heal the present sufferings of the people and the world. The Bible says in Romans 8:18, I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Superman was here for the flesh, but Jesus was here for the spirit. Such as, keeping a bus full of children from falling off a bridge, rescuing people in a jet plummeting to earth or stopping a robbery and saving lives. He had the ability to help a few people, but not everyone because he could only be at one place at a time. Superman never gave any thought that his actions may have caused more damage than good because he couldn’t see their hearts (I’m not talking about his x-ray vision) of the people, but Jesus could.

This is the state of mind I see so many people in today. Help me Superman! Stop this present danger that I’m in all while not seeing the eternal dangers they face daily. Superman was here to rescue and save lives, but Jesus came to give life and save us from eternity not the future on this earth. In human form Jesus was limited to helping people because there was only one of Him and He could only be at one place at a time. However, when He died on the cross in place of us and rose again He could give us eternal life and then be present with all of us at the same time.

I want you to understand that I’m really not comparing Jesus to a fictional character, but to the mindset of this nation and the world. We live for instant gratification and pleasure. When it doesn’t come or in the package we thought it should be in then we get angry and blame God. This is the only time many people even acknowledge God. They view God as Santa Claus or a Genie.

This is why so many con-men are successful. They play on the people’s greed and fear. Many elderly and uneducated are taken advantage of by con-preachers. They give their money away because they hope to get more back in return. There is no where in the Bible that says this. Then they end up losing what they had. When they confront the guy, all he has to say is you must not have enough faith and he’s in the clear. I really don’t blame the false preachers as much as I blame the ones ignorantly giving their money away. They don’t have to be gullible, they chose to be gullible. I know some of you are thinking about the verse, “Cast your bread upon the waters and it will come back to you in full measure.” I would first suggest you look at that scripture in context and then if your motive for giving is getting then you are actually taking.

Jesus knows the horrors of hell. This is why He spoke more about it than heaven. We are in a place in our society that people don’t even want to bring up the topic of hell and completely ignore it. Why? Because it’s scary and unpleasant. I hear some shunning the topic because they don’t want to be one of those hellfire and brimstone preachers. Jesus loved us enough to tell us about hell and provided an escape. I love you enough to tell you the truth. Those who shun the topic of hell care more about themselves than you. Not mentioning it doesn’t make it go away. Some say they would rather speak about God’s love because it’s more soothing and exciting. Guess what! This is God’s love. He loves us so much He doesn’t want us to go there. Then you think, then why would He send people there? He doesn’t! This is their choice and free will.

Ok…to answer the question that has been on your mind. If Jesus and Superman were to get in a fight, who would win? At first I thought Jesus hands down. No contest, but at this present time it would seem as if the Superman ideology is winning in this nation. Then I remember that this is just a battle, not the war. Jesus wins!

Love is...

Love is…

I know that many of you have seen the cute little cartoons that say something like…
Love is…sharing your chocolate with your sweetheart.
Love is…a smile from someone you care about.
Love is…a cup of soup when you’re sick.

If I do much more I might get sick. This is not the “Love is…” cartoon because I didn’t want to get involved with copyright infringements.

I heard the other day someone say that love is one of the greatest emotions of all. Most people believe this even though it is a highly inaccurate statement. Love is not an emotion at all. Love is a choice and an action, a verb. Infatuation is an emotion. You either choose to love someone or you don’t. Genuine love is never based on “what I can get” or “how you make me feel” because this is always based on what they can do for you. This is infatuation or lust. The actual proof of real love is loving the unlovable. "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them.” Luke 6:32

If you are basing your love for someone based on how they make you feel, then this is not about you loving them as much as you loving yourself. This is selfishness. They make YOU feel good. Most people get married because the other person makes them feel good. They are basing this on emotions and selfishness. Eventually these emotions play out then they say, “I just don’t love you anymore.” This is nothing more than stimulus reaction. In other words, if you push the red button you get hot and if you push the blue you get cold. If I base what I do according to what someone does for me, then I’m giving them control of me. It is not natural for us to love our enemies and we definitely need help. Even though we should love God, it is not natural for us to do so. “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, (sister, husband, wife, mother, father, ex, stranger, enemy) he is a liar.” 1 John 4:19,20

Don’t get me wrong because I know I enjoy the feelings when someone loves me. It’s very natural to respond to those feelings. We cannot go around treating people anyway we want and say, “Well, they’re supposed to love me anyway no matter what.” It’s the same thing as being offensive to everyone and saying, “Well, they just need to forgive me.” I know someone who did this. This would release us from our responsibilities and help us to justify our wrong behaviors. What I would caution myself and anyone else is not to develop an “I deserve it mentality.” I think gratitude would be more appropriate.

I would think that all of us stood before a preacher while he said, “Love each other during sickness as well as health, for better or for worse, richer or poorer and forsaking all others until death do you part.” Some think these really aren’t vows to God, they are just suggestions.

• How many men or women split when they discover their mate has a terminal illness?
• When you seemed to have gotten the worse and not the better, do/did you still love them?
• I know several that found the next Mr./Mrs. Right when the present spouse didn’t produce the income they had hope for.
• Infidelity has become as common as the cold. Once again we’re looking for someone to make me feel that special way.
• Death do us part is definitely outdated. Should we change it to divorce to us part?

If we are looking for someone to make us feel that oogly googly feeling inside, then we are not looking for love, we are looking for emotional stimulus. If we are constantly looking for this, then we could be referred to as a narcissist.

What I am trying to say is that we need to just to call it like it is. Don’t feel guilty. Just accept the truth instead of trying to rewrite the truth.

Here is a good definition of Real Love: Love is… when you want the best for someone even if it’s your enemy and even if it means that it hurts you to show it. This could best be demonstrated with the crucifixion of Jesus. Even though mankind turned their backs on Him, He loved us so much that He didn’t give into the fear or pain and continued to love us all the way to the cross.

Would you allow your adult child go to jail even though it ripped your heart out, but hopefully it would teach them responsibility. I have heard many people say, “I just can’t spank my child because I cannot bear to hurt them.” The truth is, “I care more about myself and how it makes me feel to teach my own children.” Here’s another one. “I can’t tell my husband or wife how I feel because it might hurt their feelings.” The truth is, “I don’t like confrontation so I’m just going to bury my head in the sand and hope it goes away.”

Love isn’t…Doing things for others just to make you feel good.
Love isn’t…Giving to others to make you feel good.
Love isn’t…Giving your children anything or everything they want to make you feel good. If you give them what they want to shut them up, then you are doing it for you.
Love isn’t…Making someone love you.

We are only responsible to love others. We are not responsible to make them feel it or accept it. If you have required someone to make you feel loved be it either your husband, wife or children, then you are placing a responsibility on them that they or no one else can fill and you are destined for a miserable life.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Obedience and Surrender

For many years I used to hate the words Obedience and Surrender. I wasn’t too crazy about either one. Of course I’m referring to God and when I would go to church and hear these words I would just cringe. Why? Because I felt this was definitely an area I was very weak in, not to mention I just didn’t want to do it.

Fear of these words kept me running for about 40 years because I felt like such a loser and disappointment to God. I even remember making the statement that God probably didn’t even love me. How could He? I could almost visualize Him shaking His head in disappointment when He looked at me.

Boy was I wrong. Now I think, how could God deny me love when He is love Himself. I didn’t get all the answers at one time, but I had to face these fears and was amazed when I saw them in the light. They didn’t look anything like I had pictured in my mind.

Let’s look at the word “Surrender” for a second. We as people and especially Americans see this word as taboo. To surrender would mean a sign of weakness and quitting. When does a person usually surrender in a situation? Let’s look at it if we were in a war. When a soldier gets overwhelmed with the enemy and there’s no way out, he throws up his hands and says, “I surrender.” Usually when they have exhausted all means of escape and there is no where else to turn and they finally surrender. This was a very point God brought me to. I came to the point there was no where to run and all my escapes were cut off. Then I surrendered to Him. He wasn’t chasing me. He was seeking me and I’m so glad He found me. What I didn’t understand about surrender was I was looking at it as the rest of my life, possibly 20 or 30 years. That was too much for me to swallow at one time, plus I may not even live that long. Another point God does not give us grace to live in the future. There’s no need. I have to surrender daily admitting and trusting God and that He has my best interest at heart. As His word says, He will never leave me or forsake me.

Many say that God turned His back on them a long time ago and they can’t even see Him anymore. That’s because they turned their back on Him. He will never leave you or forsake you and no matter how many times you say it, it doesn’t change Him.

What about the word “Obedience?” I guess since we are all naturally disobedient that word does have a tendency to rub against the grain. If you took a look back into the Old Testament at some of the characters in there that God used, you would find some pretty rough men. Even though they were rough, they had a quality of obedience to God. We’re afraid of obedience and surrender because of what God might ask us to do. I think one of the greatest fears if we surrender then God is going to send us to Africa as a missionary. If this were true Africa would be bulging at the seams due to all the missionaries over there.

The truth is, if God wanted to send any of us to Africa, He would prepare us for it and by the time He let us go we would be biting at the bit and begging Him to hurry. The other fear is that God is going to ask us to change the world. Not likely going to happen. What I have noticed is God uses me to do (in my mind) small insignificant things such as, opening the door for someone, paying for someone’s meal, saying a kind word or doing some small task for someone. The important thing is to be alert when He speaks and then do what He says. That’s obedience! In fact, you probably are already doing it and just didn’t know it. So what is the driving motivation for us to be obedient? Not to get love, but because we love. “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” 2 John 1:6