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Escape from the Hotel California

10 Oct

Escape from the Hotel California

The Eagles – Hotel California

http://youtu.be/BjIJGxULpgo

Welcome to the Hotel California, 
Such a lovely place, (Such a lovely place) Such a lovely face
They’re livin’ it up at the Hotel California,
What a nice surprise, (What a nice surprise) Bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
and pink champagne on ice, and she said:
“We are all just prisoners here,
Of our own device”
And in the master’s chambers
They gathered for the feast,
They stabbed it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was running for the door,
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before,
“Relax,” said the night man, “We are programmed to receive,
You can check out anytime you like… but you can never leave”

Island of the Dead Arnold Böcklin  (Swiss, Basel 1827–1901 San Domenico, Italy)

Island of the Dead
Arnold Böcklin (Swiss, Basel 1827–1901 San Domenico, Italy)

Suffering is acknowledged and discussed in Christianity, Buddhism and many other worldwide faiths. Suffering does endow us with wisdom beyond our years. I think suffering brings us a degree of wisdom, understanding and compassion only available to those who have gone through and come out on the other side. But the key words are to come out from the land of suffering and not stay living there. Let’s not take up residence in our own personal “Hotel Californias.”

Look to find Joy in everyday life. That’s why I Love taking photos. I Love writing poetry, stories and commentaries. As many of my friends, family and co-workers I also have a ridiculous sense of humor. I’ve learned to laugh at myself. I love to hear people’s stories. Not to make fun of them but to find the common points in life that we all share, no matter if we are Christian, Native American, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist. We have to find laughter in the midst of our greatest tragedies, triumphs, victories and even our defeats. Our respective faiths do not ignore or make believe suffering does not exist but our belief systems help us to transcend the mutual trials and tribulations of life.

Let’s look at two different scriptures from the Holy Bible that deal with suffering. Let’s also keep in mind that Biblical scriptures also have a historical and social context. While Biblical characters may or may not have been actual living people the dilemmas, emotions, and feelings are very real and very concrete.

2 Corinthians 4:7-9

New International Version (NIV)

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

We are all a little broken. The cracks & chips cannot always be hidden nor should they be. We wear our scars like Warriors. These are the battle wounds that give us character and grace for living. Suffering can produce clarity of the mind, purity of the soul, and a different perspective on living.  At one time or another have we not all been Fallen Angels looking to be restored to the Kingdom?

 

Psalm 42

New International Version (NIV)

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One[d]
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
    as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

 

The people portrayed in the Bible aren’t Super Heroes. They are everyday folks like you and me. If they did not have the foibles and fragilities of the human condition we could not and would not be able to relate on our level. Times change and the modern world has encroached upon our 21st lives but we still possess the same frailties’ and vulnerabilities of soul and spirit as our Biblical ancestors. They are real people with real problems. Sometimes they achieve good solutions sometimes they mess up totally but provide an example for us of what not to do.

I agree with the Buddha’s teachings that becoming too attached to anything, idea or philosophy can lead to suffering. However suffering in and of itself is not a character flaw. In fact some suffering helps to build your character and gives you a greater ability for compassion. That being said there is external suffering which happens through no fault of our own and there is self-imposed suffering caused by bad decisions and errors in judgment.

While watching a TV show about the late writer, author and playwright Tennessee Williams I felt such sorrow that a man with so much talent was derailed from a productive pathway.

He did have plenty of success with such plays as, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire and many other famous plays and stories, however he was done in by the effects of a dysfunctional family, depression about his mentally ill sister Rose, and eventually he was done in by drugs and alcohol. The suffering he felt regarding his sister Rose was the sadness and frustration of seeing a beloved sibling encased within the walls of mental illness and being powerless to help her. His internal self-imposed suffering was caused by bad choices regarding substance abuse.

I too am a writer and author but through my Christian faith and Buddhist practice I will avoid the path of destruction that seems to plague many famous, writers, musicians, actors, and artists.

Suffering should invite self-examination of our lives. Are we repeating destructive patterns in our lives? Am I living right? Am I a blessing towards others? Do I negate others feelings or emotions just because they may not be in line with my own experience. In addition to prayer what are some practical hands-on ways I can help my sisters and brothers in need. Am I so fixed into my own suffering that I’m allowing “Wounded Soldiers in the Household of Faith” to fall on the battle ground.

The ultimate question is, “Is it time for us to change course?”

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Anger and The 3 Ts — Trials, Troubles & Tribulations

16 Sep
Ten Lepers

Ten Lepers were healed, one only one return to give Thanks.

 

ANGER

USUALLY FROWNED UPON AND COUNTED AS ONE OF THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS DOES IN SPITE OF its BAD RAP SERVE A PROTECTIVE PURPOSE. People who don’t get angry on the outside are really boiling mad inside which cause depression which in turn brings on diseases like migraines, high blood pressure, diabetes, and the like.

ANGER

Turned against innocent outsiders’ results in long term incarcerations among the perpetrators, bad relationships with family and friends and sometimes when an argument escalates beyond control the combatants may find themselves being taken to the hospital or to prison.

ANGER

Used to get to the root of a problem separating disparate elements can have positive outcomes if the therapist or interventionists can get the troubled self-destructing members to reach an understanding that continued bad choices will produce the same self-defeating results.

Challenges in the form of Trials, troubles and tribulations bring out the strength that is already in you. No outside force or power can help you if you don’t first help yourself. Once you make the determination within your heart everything else will fall into place. It’s like the character of the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz. He sought what was within him all the time. All he had to do was face his fears even while being afraid. Once he realized that the Wizard was a charlatan he knew that the power resided in him all along. God is always with us and he never leaves us, sending His angels to smooth the pathway but allowing us to discover the power that lies within all of us. Rise up and take your place as a Rightful Citizen of Planet Earth!  We are the only hands God has on this earth to stop violence against women, girls or even pets. Make your house or home a sanctuary for one who has fallen off the straight path. Let’s create a friendly island of peace for our girl children. A Place of no judgement where they can be free to be themselves without shame, scorn or rebuke.

Jesus our Way Shower taught us how to be strong and that there is no shame in asking for help if you need it. Jesus gives many examples and situations which cause our strength to rise up within us. We are called to civil disobedience and to right wrongs within our community.

In Matthew 21:12-13 Jesus threw the money changers and sellers out of the temple.

 Matthew 21:12-13

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus at the Temple

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[a] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.

Matthew 21:12-13

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus at the Temple

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

Jesus Calls Herod a Sly Fox

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’” (Luke 13:31-32)
____________________________________________________________

Jesus calling Herod a fox catches us a little off guard here. Did Jesus really call people names? Yes, when appropriate. He did not do it to hurt people’s feelings or out of childish anger or to be unkind. But Jesus called a spade a spade.

What did he mean by calling Herod a fox? A fox is a small, weak, wily animal that lives by cunning rather than strength. Jesus was drawing attention to Herod’s crafty, treacherous side. Herod was not a man worthy of trust or respect. He divorced his wife to marry his own niece, who happened to be his own brother’s wife. He beheaded John the Baptist because of a foolish promise made at a birthday party. He was a man of weak character who used his political power for selfish ends.

Now, we need to be careful here. As Christians we are called to love, forgive, forbear and be courteous to others. We should not go around calling people names as a general rule. Jesus rarely did. But there are times when we also must call a spade a spade. Sometimes a thief needs to be called a thief; the unfaithful spouse must be called an adulterer; the pornographer needs to be called perverted. There are times when evil must be confronted and named. There are times when Herod must be called a fox. Originally Posted by Ray Folwer

Jesus and the Woman taken in Adultery

John 8:1-11

New International Version (NIV)

but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

A new ministry for girls called Jephthah’s Daughters has been birthed. Please send donations and contributions to help young girls between the ages of 4 to 17 in need via PayPal to deborah.palmer280@gmail.com. The young ladies will receive care packages and counseling. Rest assured that you are supporting a good cause that will lift up young women who have been abandoned and neglected by their birth families.  Thank you.

Donations and Freewill offerings can be made directly to my PayPal account deborah.palmer280@gmail.com

Lamentations of the Righteous

15 Aug

Lamentations of the Righteous

Revelation: I don’t have to be Super Christian! Studying I Kings 19:1-18. I realize it’s okay when we are fearful, tired and just plain overwhelmed. God did not get angry with Elijah when he was going through a rough time. God sent an Angel to feed him and allowed him to get some rest.  Elijah was at the end of his rope and I’m sure he was thinking, “A little help here please.” God answered his needs. God did not berate him. The Lord understood that Elijah was frustrated and afraid.  God met him where was at. In verse 8 “the Lord came again a second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.” God knew Elijah needed several hours of good peaceful sleep and healthy food to tackle what was ahead. He did not send him out on his journey a nervous wreck but gave him time to rest and regroup.

Elijah felt discouragement, Jeremiah is known as the “Weeping Prophet” and the book of Lamentations is attributed to him. Elisha, Isaiah and Daniel all had their detractors. Hosea wed the harlot Gomer who continued to cuckold him throughout their marriage. How his heart must have broken at Gomer’s infidelities. Many are the nights he must have cried not only for himself but also for the young innocent children who suffered due to Gomer’s indiscretions.

Lamentations 1

New International Version (NIV)

How deserted lies the city,
    once so full of people!
How like a widow is she,
    who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces
    has now become a slave.

Bitterly she weeps at night,
    tears are on her cheeks.
Among all her lovers
    there is no one to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her;
    they have become her enemies.

Even though I know this verse of scripture is discussing Israel’s abandonment of God’s laws many times I have felt this pain personally. I don’t for a moment compare myself to the Major or Minor Prophets found in the Bible but their feelings of betrayal and anguish concerning people they love who continuously hurt themselves resonates with me. Yes I experience the personal pain of words thrown at me in anger much like daggers to my heart but the worst feeling is when loved ones turn away from reason and begin a campaign of self-destruction sometimes taking along innocent people with themselves. All Biblical prophets expressed grief at the stubbornness and unwillingness of their people to change.

Garden of Gethsemane

Garden of Gethsemane

Sometimes we just need to get away from it all. Being afraid is not a sin. We are human beings not robots. Even Jesus had to get away to a desert place. Anyone who works in any type of customer service job knows that you can become overwhelmed by the multitudes of people asking questions or with their hands out wanting, pulling at you, pushing you, all trying to get your attention, not even giving you time to catch your breath. Jesus knew what it was like to be on your feet all day long with little time to sit down for a break. It is recorded that Jesus went to a desert place or sometimes up to a mountain so he could sit, think, regain his energy to face the crowds once again.

It’s okay. It really is. With the help of God I can hurdle this storm.

Bebe and Cece Winans

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOkijBvJ5Yw&feature=colike

Jesus was also known as “The Man of Sorrows and the Stone that the Builders rejected.”

What is the shortest verse in the Bible? “Jesus Wept.” Jesus wept not only in the Garden of Gethsemane the sorrow and upcoming pain of the crucifixion but for his people. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which kills the prophets, and stones them that are sent unto you; how often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen does gather her brood under her wings, and you would not! Luke 13:34

Oh the grief and distress in Jesus heart as he cries for his people. The sadness in his heart as they continued to cling to falsehoods when the truth was before them. How many times do we feel the same sting we castoff by those who are supposed to love us?

Why does God allow us to experience pain, sorrow, rejection and betrayal? Certainly not because he enjoys seeing us hurt or in tears but we suffer because we inhabit an imperfect world. However God is able to bring us through the fire and not let us get burnt. We may get a little singed but the fires of trials and tribulations will not consume us.

Today I’m thankful that I don’t have to be perfect. God still loves me warts & all. He sees my tears, sorrows and emotional pain, but it’s okay. Jesus knows what I’m going thru. God is not going to dump me just because I get nervous or have some other normal human emotion. Rather than keeping my emotions bottled up inside and getting sick I cry out to the Lord. With Jesus I can just be myself. Thank you Jesus for being my understanding friend. Today I experience God’s undying, never ending, unfailing love for me and my loved ones. God’s love has redeemed me from the hand of the enemy and made me Victorious over all my circumstances!

Donations and Freewill offerings can be made directly to my PayPal account deborah.palmer280@gmail.com

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