Month: January 2017

Processing… Processing…

brain-signals1Y’all have probably seen the movies where some computer wiz sits in front of a keyboard and monitor, as he or she begins typing codes, passwords and such, into the system, right? The camera zooms in on the empty black DOS screen, the wiz starts typing in random letters or numbers which usually show up as ***** onscreen, and in no time, there will inevitably come a message which says, “Processing… processing…” and the next thing you know, everything explodes into a whirlwind of computing awesomeness, and the world is once again, safe. Well I was thinking about that this morning as I was standing in the kitchen, whipping up a batch of pumpkin bread batter.

At this point, you may well ask yourself what this has to do with the price of tea in China, and my answer to you would be – absolutely nothing. However – it has everything to do with the way my brain processes things. See – whenever I have to write an essay for a class I’m taking or when I have a nasty case of writer’s block, my automatic response is to head to the kitchen and bake something. Usually a few loaves of good yeast bread, because its a very physical thing, with all the kneading and stirring and so on, and that helps me kind of connect the little dots of information and ideas swimming around in my head into an intelligent and usually insightful matrix that I can then put on paper, or a computer screen, whichever the case may be, and I’m good to go. So much so, that it’s not even a conscious decision anymore, it’s just what I do. I think today is the first time I’ve actually really analyzed the process of processing.

Anyway – My youngest son, who I’ve written about previously in My Son Who Has Autism, never did get the hang of riding a bike when he was little because of motor skill issues, but has since overcome many hurdles, and in the past few days, expressed the desire to get a bike and learn to ride it. I think that’s really cool, and we will be taking steps to make that happen. In much the same way as my baking/writing relationship, my son has things he does in order to get things straight in his head. One of those things, is to research his interests on YouTube. So much so, in fact, that when he decides he wants to learn something, he literally learns everything about that thing, and then some things he will probably never need to know.

I told you all that to tell you this; when you’re going about your daily activities, and find yourself stuck or frustrated because something isn’t working out, it’s always a good idea to stop – take a step back – research – make something – or call someone just to talk. More often than not, when you go back to it, you’ll be a lot more focused, informed, and maybe you’ll even have thought of something you couldn’t even grasp before. Why? because our brains are essentially squishy little computers that occasionally need some alternate input to process what we want it to. It’s good exercise to get your little synapses fired up and running better, and you’ll be glad you did.

It’s a lot like that with faith too. You don’t really make your faith stronger if you don’t take it out and exercise it regularly. In other words, are you just kinda hanging out, letting life get the best of you and taking your beatings, or are you stopping, taking a step back and exercising your faith by praying and spending time in the word?

You know, this morning, we were getting ready for church like every Sunday – by the way, we very much look forward to church – and got all showered, dressed, fed, and – bibles in hands, we headed for the car. Except this time, something happened that we didn’t expect. The gas tank was on flat empty, the little blinky fuel light was on, and we were sitting there looking from one to another, trying to figure out how we’d missed making sure there was enough gas in the car. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t anything we could do about it, because I’m flat broke till till Tuesday, when I get paid. We were all very disappointed, but decided God would understand, and went back to the house, somewhat long in the face.

I told our son it was okay, we could do some bible study here at home, and we’d just go next weekend as usual. My husband, on the other hand, was worried. He has classes tomorrow and needs that car. So what did he do? He took a step back, assessed the situation and decided there wasn’t enough in our gas-monster Ford F250 to make it the 50 miles round trip it would take to get him there and back, but if he could get the gas from there to my econo-box Buick – TA DA!!!! Light bulbs, and synapses were firing left and right, and BINGO! We have a winner!

So what happened? We exercised our faith by praying, and letting God handle our problem, and we exercised our brains by stepping back long enough to see what other options would work. Of course by the time it took to do all this, we would be way too late for church, but that’s alright, God is cool like that. He let us know that He is present in our lives right here at home, and always helps us when we need Him, which of course, is always.

Well – time to go check the Pumpkin Bread! Happy Processing!

C.A. Bennett – Writer

 

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To Receive, Or Not to Receive – That Is The Question!

john-15-7

WOW! It has been a busy couple of weeks around the Bennett household! I have been wanting to post, and have had so many things on my mind that really needed to get out, but honestly, y’all don’t even know how jam-packed my brain has been, to the point where sleep is an issue, as is the idea of organized blog posts. What’s happening? In addition to one son and myself doing the whole college thing, my husband made the big decision to go back to school this semester, in an effort to get his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Technology! So exciting! I’m doing my best to help him out with all the enrollment paperwork, schedules, books, etc, and he’s really digging in and working hard already. That’s something I wish I’d had when I started college – Someone to give me a helping hand and point me in the right direction. Alas, I had to wing it and deal with the grumpy, overworked counselors at the college. Not so fun, and incredibly confusing. I personally think the enrollment process in college is designed to thin the herd. Only the strong survive the first two weeks – the rest are left to perish. There’s something wrong with that if you ask me!

But I digress! I wanted to talk to you today about getting what we want. My whole life, I’ve heard the bible verse Matthew 7:7, which states, “Ask and you shall receive” but most of my life, I’ve wondered why it is that I’ve asked, and yet haven’t always gotten what I’ve asked for. Why? Many people have asked the same questions; “What am I doing wrong? Why is God breaking His promises?” I’ve asked those questions, and I’ll bet you have too. So let me tell you what the Lord showed me. This is SO important, so PAY ATTENTION okay? John 15:7 says, “IF you abide in me, and (IF) my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you.”

So what happened here? “IF” happened, and trust me – IF is HUGE! Why? Because it means there are conditions to getting what we ask for. It’s a trust thing, and we have to hold up our end of the deal. Just like when we were kids – if we wanted our earthly parents to buy us something, we usually had to meet some criteria, such as chores, or homework, or good behavior, etc. In the same way, we need to keep our Heavenly Father’s word in our hearts, and live like we are actually in His family, and not just house guests who get spoiled and served without responsibility. Don’t get me wrong, house guests are great, but you wouldn’t give them a list of chores, now would you? No. You would show them hospitality and spoil them while they stay with you, because it’s a short time, and we are (usually) grateful for the short amount of time we are able to spend with them, yes? Okay. Now if they end up moving in, you would expect them to contribute in some way, and probably on a regular basis, would you not? After all – having people laying about your house, eating all your food and waiting on them hand and foot isn’t exactly a desirable long-term situation for the person doing all the work. Hence the term “house guest” – because they leave! Can I get an “Amen”?!

Back to the rules; as my pastor put it – rules exist for our protection and for our well-being. When you were a kid growing up, you would have eaten all the sugary food you could stand until you became ill, and would never get the proper nutrition your body needed to thrive. However, you probably had parents who made rules about the times you could have treats, what kind and how much. I have no doubt that it usually came after you had some type of nourishing meal. If that was not the case, then you may have bad eating habits now, and are certainly paying the price with your health. Personally, I was raised eating very unhealthy foods to excess, and as a result, I have a great deal of trouble losing weight and keeping it off. Why? Lack of rules. My mother also has a weight problem, as does my brother. Had I known as a young mom what I know now, I would have never allowed sugar in my home, much less in my children’s mouths. Fortunately, they are smarter than I was, and healthier as well.

Anyway – the point is – keep Gods word. Abide in his word, which as we mentioned in a previous post – means to live in His word, and keep it in your heart at all times. Be obedient. The Lord isn’t unreasonable, He just wants you to be safe happy, healthy, and that gives Him the ability to bless you. It’s good for you, I swear! Then – if you are keeping His word and his rules too – you will naturally ask for those things which are in line with His word/rules/will for your life and you will be blessed for it! I think sometimes people see this verse and think they should be able to ask for lottery winnings, or another man’s wife/another woman’s husband and they will get it. That is not the case. You can indeed ask anything and you will receive it – as long as you are actually asking for that which is in keeping with God and His word. If you’re not sure, search the bible! What does it say? Are your desires in line with Gods word? If not, chances are you won’t get that thing, or person, or if my some chance you do – you probably won’t be happy with it, so be careful.

I can tell you that since changing my way of thinking and making the effort – and honestly it’s not THAT hard to follow Gods word and keep His rules – my life has become much more blessed and less stressful – college-going husband and all. Is life going to be one big bowl of cherries? No. Don’t be silly. However – you’ll find that even when negative situations come up that seem like they are unmanageable, you will be able to ask God for His help, and he will always be there for you, in some pretty amazing ways. So – abide, abide, ABIDE in God’s word. Keep it in your heart, and let your mouth speak positive bible-based truths like; “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!” and you will find that you really can, because He really does!

God bless, and have a wonderful weekend!

C.A. Bennett – Writer

Doing What’s Right

abideLet me just tell you, I have been struggling for a topic for the blog the past couple weeks. So much so, that I’ve become exasperated and prayed for the Lord to lead me and tell me what to write. Of course, I should probably doing that on a regular basis instead of sometimes, like I’ve been wont to do. Anyhoo…

With very few exceptions, I don’t like most Christian music or singing hymns and songs in church. I’m sorry, I know that’s not very Christian of me, but it’s the truth and I hope y’all understand that I’m telling you this to make a point. Okay? Okay.

So this morning, at the new church we started attending about a month ago, I was singing along with the congregation, while reading the words on the two big screens at the front – by the way, I absolutely love that this church does that! So incredibly helpful! – and as I was singing one song in particular, I was thinking how much I didn’t actually like that song. But it wasn’t written for me, it was written for God with the intent of bringing glory to His name and worshiping Him, so I was obedient and sang along. Why? Because the Lord has done SO MUCH for me and my family, that this one small thing is nothing in comparison, and yet it brings glory to God and Jesus, who, of course is God in the flesh! Hallelujah!

No sooner had that hit me, than the Lord told me, “Crystal, that is your topic! Write about doing something because it is the right thing to do even if it’s not what you want to do!” It it me so hard, I had to write myself a note to remember that, right in the middle of the song! Praise the Lord!

Now I believe that when you ask for something spiritual from the Lord, and He gives it to you, He will very often follow it up once or twice more in confirmation, so you know it was indeed Him, and not your own worldly mind. Interesting thing happened next. The very next song had the most wonderfully appropriate line for this occasion – “Jesus, I sing for all that you’ve done for me!” Hallelujah and Praise the Lord again! Two signs in a matter of minutes! God is so good, is He not?!

Did you see what happened there?

  1. I asked God for something. In this case, inspiration.
  2. I was WILLINGLY, (not begrudgingly) obedient to the Lord and what He asks of me, whether or not I actually like doing that one thing. In this case, singing Christian songs.
  3. God immediately answered my prayer by giving me inspiration during the time I was willingly showing my obedience to Him!

WOW! Is that powerful or what?!

Today’s message at church was about ABIDING in Him, and He in us. The verses Pastor Dustin at Windborn Church shared with us, are very much in line with this message, and I believe that was the third sign.

In John 15:5, Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me, you can do nothing.”

What happened? I was abiding (and we should always be abiding in the Lord, shouldn’t we?) in Him, and He in me, and the prayer I asked of the Lord, bore fruit, and now here I am, sharing that fruit with YOU! Praise the Lord and Hallelujah again!!! What a blessing!

So obedience really pays off, doesn’t it? Sure it does! When you were a kid, and you wanted ice cream or cake or cookies, but your parents told you, “You need to clean your plate or eat your veggies before you can have desert.” what did you do? You cleaned that plate and ate those veggies, I’m guessing! I know I sure did! So what happened? You were obedient to what your parents knew was for your own good, and then you were rewarded for your obedience!

That’s what happened to me today! I was obedient to my Heavenly Father, and I was rewarded/blessed with the fruit of the spirit. Why? Because even if I don’t actually like a certain song, it is always a blessing to me because it feeds my spirit and reminds me how good God is! It’s a really wonderful thing! Give it a try! Go and abide in God, be obedient to what He asks of you, and enjoy the desert He gives you, aka; your blessings!

John 15:8 – “By this, my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

The word “abide” in the time of Jesus, mean something a little different than it does today. It meant “Live” and “Dwell”. In other words, Jesus is asking us to live with and in Him, and He will live with and in us. I personally think that’s pretty cool. Don’t you?

Many Blessings to you!

C.A. Bennett – Writer