Category Archives: 25 D.O.P. (2016)

Flap (DOP #24 2016)

You’ve likely heard of the butterfly effect, which is a concept that proposes that even a butterfly flapping its wings can change the weather thousands of miles away.  The concept suggests that a very small change can have a big impact on the end result.  If you give it some thought, it is pretty cool to think that even the smallest change in conditions could result in a big impact down the road.

As I think about my actions in the world, it is a bit terrifying to think that my deliberate choice to eat 7 pieces of licorice instead of 6 might be changing something in my life a few weeks from now, but surely that isn’t exactly how the concept works.  It seems quite unlikely that such a small choice you make now will result in a totally different situation for you next month.  Yet, we see this born out in history.

How often does one person act, and then we see the result worldwide?  A person catching a thrown football instead of missing it can change the fortunes of thousands of gamblers.  Those gamblers may come out of this new situation for better, or for worse.  Those effects will cause ripples too, as the man who just won $50 by guessing the outcome correctly may spend some of that money on his family, where the man who lost $50 will have to go without something that he would have purchased, perhaps skipping the microscope his son wanted for his birthday in favor of something less expensive.  I could go on, but I suspect that you get the picture.

Now the butterfly doesn’t know how to effect the specific changes it wants, and this is that part that gets tricky, because we humans think we are smart enough to know what will happen as a result of our actions.  Unfortunately I’m not sure I see much evidence of this.  For example, in my own life, since I want to be in shape, some small actions I could take to affect the outcome of my desire would be to drink less sugary drinks, and drink more water.  Or perhaps I know that 20 minutes of exercise a day will get me closer to my goals of fitness, but I spend that time reading Facebook posts while drinking a large soda instead.  Need I go on?

So when we pursue peace, we often think of large grandiose actions that are incredibly difficult to achieve, and as a result, we fail to act on them.  What if we spent deliberate time each day focused on a small achievable action to bring peace into our lives?  What if it was as simple as one moment, stopping yourself before you walk out the door, reminding yourself to be peaceful in your interactions with those around you today.  It seems so small and insignificant, but what could this small moment mean a week from now, a month from now, or a day from now?  What if we repeated this moment each day, trusting that even though we don’t see a specific effect, that our so small actions will affect our outcomes?

Today, as you walk out your front door…seek peace.

Touch (DOP #23 2016)

Yes, my 25 days posts have become incredibly late.  I have an excuse, but I will be finishing this year.  3 posts from the end, but if you hold on tight, we will get there together.  If you thought I had abandoned my task, my apologies, but I have not.  

  In the summer of 2015 I spent two weeks in Haiti, followed by nearly two weeks in Nicaragua.  Most of that time was a lot like other times I have been out of the country, but there are a few moments that still stand out in my mind nearly 18 months later.  Today, I will tell you about one of them.  If you have not been a long time reader of this blog, you will want to read Bipolar and To Be Used to get the full story, but if you are already familiar with those posts, please read on.

To freshen your memory, towards the middle of our first week in Haiti, our team was presented with a kid who was in a life threatening situation.  The 3 medical professionals on our team all knew that bad things were going to happen to this kid if we didn’t get him to a hospital as quickly as we could.  Soon, 4 of us were huddled around this kid, in the back of a speeding pickup truck barreling towards the nearest hospital.  We made it to the hospital, and somehow the kid made it through the night and even went home a few days later.
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Traffick (DOP #22 2016)

This won’t be a pleasant and peaceful post, but it is what I can write at the moment.

I bought an old school bus in October, and I had to bring it home from Maryland to Ohio.  I made some video blogs about it which seemed to be entertaining to people, so I’m not going to tell that whole story here right now.  Instead I am going to tell you a part of the story that didn’t make it into the videos.  It has taken me a while to process it actually.

As a new bus owner, I learned a lot of things about having to pick fuel pumps that you can fit the monstrosity you are driving into.  I discovered that parking in a restaurant parking lot is nearly impossible, and found myself parking at truck stops and eating gas station food because it was so much easier than parking elsewhere.

I pulled off the road right before I made out of Maryland (which is a long state if you are going west on 40) and stopped at a truck stop to grab a drink and something to snack on.  I wanted to give myself a mental break for a while before I ended up making a bad driving decision, and I needed to catch up on phone calls and messages.  So I sat in the bus for several minutes before I went inside.  While I was sitting in the bus double checking the map, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye and saw a truck driver hurrying a woman into the back cab of his truck.  There was something about the forcefulness of the process that stood out to me.  I only distinctly saw a pair of yoga pants disappearing into the back before the man got in.

It felt creepy, but who knows…maybe it was his wife or girlfriend.  Unfortunately it got creepier.
After a few minutes the driver of the truck drove his truck a few feet, putting the nose right against the wall of the gas station.  Effectively making it so no one could see inside.  I hadn’t been trying to see inside, but the unprompted odd behavior drew my attention.

I had heard on the radio several months earlier a story about Truckers Against Trafficking, an organization that worked to free exploited women, often barely teens, from forced prostitution (trafficking) by training truck drivers to recognize the signs of an exploited woman.  I had found the story interesting, heartbreaking, eye-opening, but I never really expected to find myself in a situation where I would need to know how to help someone.

After wondering if there was anything I could do for several minutes, I walked in to the gas station to purchase my items.  While I was in there a young lady came out from the back, with a vacant expression, and it seemed like she had just showered.  She took some items from the shelf and headed straight back to the back room without paying.   I’ll never know if this young lady was the one in the truck, and I’ll never know for sure that I witnessed someone who had been trafficked.  I really hope I’m wrong, and that nothing untoward was going on, I hope it was just a small truck stop outside of a small town with not much going on, but I’ll never really know.

What I do know now is that I want to prepared should that situation arise again.  Someone shared a video from the same organization on Facebook today, and I was able to get a number to call in the future if my bus travels take me into that situation again.

Take a minute to check out the video, make note of the number.  If you are in a position where you travel regularly, perhaps look into getting the required training.

We can bring peace into lives by freeing people from modern day slavery.  If we know what to do.

Weary (DOP #20 2016)

I’m still processing the end result of the Crush-Crushed series, so tonight we will take a break from that while I continue to learn what exactly should be taken away from those verses.  I’ve often started these posts before, but they never seem to lead anywhere, so I wanted to at least verbalize the process.  Perhaps someone else has some perspective for me, I would welcome it.

“Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble at heart.”  Matthew 11:29

I am pretty tired of writing about peace.  It is a burden, and it does take so much time to come up with something.  I think I am closer this year to giving up than I have ever been, as so many things are going on that it is hard for me to focus on this one aspect of life.

Is it just one aspect though?

If I have peace, will it not overflow into all the other areas of my life?

If I do not have peace, it certainly effects all of the other things I am trying to do.

The Bible describes those who are unrepentant as enemies of God.  We are not at peace with God.

However the Bible immediately follows that statement with this one…”but while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

While we were yet His enemy, Christ paid with His life to draw us back into a relationship with the Trinity.

So even though I am not at peace in this moment, the way is open for me to find it.  The door has been forever kicked open, the veil has been torn.

Crushed (DOP #19 2016)

I asked you to meditate on Romans 16:20 (a) last night, which says “The God of peace will crush Satan under his feet.”

It turns out in my sleepless stupor, I made a typo.  The Bible says that “The God of peace will crush Satan under YOUR feet.”

I think I conflated two verses actually, bringing together the verse in Genesis that talks about the Man bruising the Serpents head, while the Serpent strikes at his heel.  That verse in Genesis 3 even has a fancy name!  The “protoevangelium” is the first verse to foreshadow the coming of Christ.  Even in the very beginning, God has a plan for restoration of his people.

So what does it mean practically when we read these two verses?

Well…Paul addresses the brotherhood of Christ at the top of the paragraph, so we know that Satan will be crushed, by the God of peace (Jesus), under the feet of His people.   In some sense, God has already done this through the work of the cross.  In another sense, Satan is still making an impact on the world today, and there is plenty of his work to crush.

So I think this verse is a call to arms!  A call for us to be ready to march when God asks, so that we may crush the true enemy under our feet.   We march, Satan is crushed.   It all seems so simple.

Simple, that is, until you try to relate it to the world we are living in today.  What does it mean to march together as Christians?  What would that even look like?  Should followers of Christ take up arms to free people from the bondage Satan has placed them in?   If we focus on a global conflict such as Syria, is Jesus asking the Church to eliminate the “bad guys” on Jesus behalf?  Are we to stand up against the works of Satan in this world, using everything we have at our disposal, including violence?

It seems like we are back to where we started.

Lets look at two more passages.

Are you familiar with the armor of God described in Ephesians?  Read the passage if not.  Note that it speaks specifically about our enemy not being an enemy of flesh and blood, but one of powers, principalities, and rulers.  Also take a closer look at verse 15;  “and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.”  God tells us to crush Satans head, while wearing shoes of peace.  So…The God of Peace, will crush Satans head, under our shoes of peace.

Last passage.

This section  of Romans tells us that we are more than conquerors as we fight against powers and principalities, but it also shares the example of Christ with us again.  Christ, who gave himself up for us all, asks us to believe that no matter what happens, we can not be separated from his love.

Read the list again…”35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? ” – “38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I think we are being asked to march, peacefully, no matter the cost to ourselves, because absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God found in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Where will we march?

There is more here…but I’m struggling to condense it into a coherent thought.  Perhaps more tomorrow.