Saving Stinky Mike

 

His name is Mike, and he is a used car dealer.

He was very much a stereo-typical car used car dealer.

He was loud, obnoxious and , honestly, quite foul.

His face was weathered, with a sickly grey tinge.
His nose, bulbous and red with veins. Indicative of years of alcohol abuse.

His office was stank with old cigarettes.

Mike even had an Al Pacino bobble head on his desk.

Mike gave me the creeps.

But the reality was that we wanted the vehicle.

The price was in my budget  and it was just what I was shopping for.

A little red, jeep 4×4.
Perfect for our Manitoba winter, cute, sporty.

I will name her “Gloria”

Even during the test drive, Mike would make scathing derogatory comments about those that stood waiting at the bus stop or walked down the street. Then he would laugh.

Mike made my skin crawl and everything in my logic screamed “don’t deal with Mike!!”

To top off creepy Mike and his mechanic, were not quite honest with us.
Probably not a big surprise.

Gloria needed more fixing then they they led on. She did not pass the required safety so she could be sold legally.

To make a long story short, Mike and the mechanic, and Gloria’s glitches got caught before she ever left the used car lot.
And Mike’s boss agreed to have everything up to code with her, ASAP.

Tomorrow we go back and bring Gloria home.

Tomorrow we will see stinky, creepy Mike, again.

Today, I am asking myself how am I going handle myself and if I will choose to take the higher road.

I make myself remember who I am, and whom I represent.

Yes, it would be  easy to deal with Mike and then leave.
Maybe that will be all there is opportunity for.

But what if there is chance for more?  What if this was all about having the “more” trickle into stinky Mike’s life?

Could it be that God has a plan and a destiny for Mike?

If so, how do I ever find a way to help him hear?

Is it possible that just by our presence and prayers, I can leave something lingering in the spirit, to touch the deepest, part of Mike’s deep crevasses?

If there is a chance, I don’t want to have it slip by because I was focused on me and the realm of Jo.

I begin to work my BLESS keys.

I get my heart ready.

I allow God to show me what He knows about Mike and tomorrow.

Moments are of eternal value. People are of eternal value.

What if, just what if, Mike the stinky used car sales man was destined for greatness.

What if some trickery from the enemy of our souls, took him far from his path.
Far from the plan of God, but never far from His reach.

It could have been me. It has been me in the past.

What if no one ever prayed for me? Where would I be now?

What if no one ever prayed for Mike besides me?  Never a single prayer in his entire life.

What if Mike was there for me?

What if he is here to open my heart into the deeper things of God?

What if he is my test?

Will I pass or will I fail?

And what in the world do I have to do?

It is moments like these I am so thankful for the BLESS keys.

I now know exactly what to do.

So, tomorrow, I will walk them out.  What ever that may look like, right now, I am not sure, but I know what I am to do.  That is enough.

5 simple keys could change this man’s destiny.

Every day, we meet someone.
Everyday we have opportunity for something much huger than what it may seem.

God the most purposeful being there is, and if my life is His then nothing in it is ever without purpose either. No matter how ordinary.
No matter how small.

Not even the decision to buy a little red Jeep from a man named Mike.

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If you invite Jesus to dinner will He show up??

 

“You can have your religious tradition, but COUNT ME OUT!”

My jaw hit the floor! What do I do?  What do I say?  DO I SAY?

Tradition? Religious?

For a first generation evangelical Christian, those words had been subtly burned into me as taboo.

“Its not about RELIGION! Its about RELATIONSHIP” we tell everyone.
To me, the words stir up a taste of everything empty, cold and legalistic.

Now, here they were coming out of the mouth of someone I respected and loved.
Someone who, too, loved God.

But  he’s sitting across from me firmly refusing to have any part of in mealtime grace.
How in the world do you not say a blessing over your meal?
My mind was reeling. How do I respond. Can I argue his attitude?

Apparently not, because after I gathered  my indignant and offended self together, I did what I usually did.
I quietly sulked away.

Maybe it was God, keeping my mouth shut.
I would like to think so.
I’m sure at the moment anything that would have fell out would have been the WRONG THING! But, my oh my, how I would have love to have had the right THING.

Over the next few days, my mind rehearsed the conversation with a quick and brilliant rebuttal that would leave him speechless and, of course, humbly repentant.
I would have explained, very nicely, of course, that I could certainly understand how one could see dinner prayers and blessings as religious.

After all, I use to think that too.

And of course, how tradition in itself is not a bad thing.

Certainly, I would agree, that cute little poems and songs sung over your meal, really means nothing if your heart is not sincere.
By all means, I could see where he was coming from.

But noooo, not my family! Not anymore.  We were much more evolved!

I would straighten my back, look him right in the eyes, and tell him that I have stood, humiliated, in line for too many food hampers to be ungrateful.
I have cried myself to sleep too many times, partitioning God for our “daily bread” for my babies to not give thanks.

Maybe I would even recite, Psalm 37:25
”I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread”
If that didn’t make his jaw quiver, I would remind him how God has brought me out of years of eating disorders, and how overwhelmed I am that I no longer look at my plate as an enemy.

Yes sir, I  planned it all out.

If I could do it all over again, I would have hit him with the good stuff.

Now, don’t get me wrong. All of it is good. All of it was sincere from the bottom of my heart.

Gathering around the table with the family, holding hands (yes, we even hold hands) and giving thanks is a beautiful thing.

Jesus gave thanks when He broke bread and that’s good enough for me.

It is one of those moments when we as a family we are focused, even for a minute, in the same direction.
Jesus said that when 2 or more are gathered in His name He shows up (Matt 18:20)
So, YES!! Lets open our mouths and give thanks, if we are thankful.

My muddle was not so much identifying my thoughts on this difference of opinion.
It was , first, how do I handle my original response of offense, and second, how do I respond to a dear brother in the Lord, who obviously sees things differently.

Truth be told,  it could have been another thing that nailed the proverbial coffin on our friendship. (we have a lot of different opinions)

I could have thrown my arms up in the air, said “to hell” with the friendship and walked away, one final time.

But I thank God, first for keeping my mouth shut and,  second, for the keys in BLESS.
The keys in BLESS come very quickly to me, at times. I have been walking it out for years.

But there are other times, like this, when I have to sit down and choose to make myself remember what I know to do.

Yes, I confess, I still have a very carnal side to me, that loves to rear its ugly head.
I’m working on it, but its still there.
(don’t be so hard on me, now, you have a nasty carnal side too!)

The real test is this… What do I do with that side of me when its rearing??
That’s where BLESS comes in.
When I sit alone that night, sit quietly before my Jesus, and put myself to the side, I walk through the keys in BLESS.
My heart can quickly change and respond to this man.

I know there is more for him.
I know God wants him thankful.
I know God has done so much for him to be thankful for.

But I also know there is something inside him that has that bound up.
Setting him free is not my job.
Loving him with the love of God is my job.

BLESS helped me do that.

I remember that he is my Father’s precious son, His pride and joy, and I walk thru each letter of BLESS in my heart until I can enjoy that brother for who he is, as he is right now.
Unconditional.

The rest will be up to God.
I do know this… this man will be set free.
This man will know what it’s like to sit at the table and have a tidal wave of thanks take over him.

Yes, Jesus will come to dinner that day.
It would be an honour to be there.

But for tonight, I am thankful that I walked out my test and didn’t let my mouth, my self righteousness, and pride get in the way and do more damage.

Lets really learn to love them as they are.

Lets meet them where they are and see them as He sees them.

Then we will be the ones being BLESSed.

Excerpts from CHAPTER 2

Excerpts from CHAPTER 2

How do I get this Love?  How do I use this Love?

And the questions of all questions,
could it really be genuine coming through someone like me?

I needed to understand.

I desperately wanted to become that person that would be so filled
with the love of God that it would just ooze.

I wanted to somehow, in some way, make some sort of difference,
no matter how unseen, in lives that crossed my path.

But the ugly reality remained; I fell horribly short.

When I was quiet and honest before God, I would find my heart
being occupied with yours truly; my worries, my plans,
my thoughts, mine and mine alone.

I knew it wasn’t how it should be, I knew from all my years studying and
enjoying the Lord that was not what He wanted for me.

Forget what He wanted for me, it is not what He requires of me.


***************************************************


My reality was, that this ugly stuff was inside me,
ready to pop up without any warning what so ever.

When I looked at what I should have been,
I would have curled up in a ball in discouragement and quit except for one thing.

When you receive this, His command to walk in the same
unconditional love stops being impossible.


******************************************


You will be equipped to love them as He loves them.
With complete adoration.
With so much passion you could sing and dance.

It is true.
It is happening to me, daily
They will see love in your eyes; hear it in your voice.

When you are face to face.  You will be captivated.
They will be the most important person in the world in that moment.

Your plans, your worries, pains, pre-occupations
will be the furthest thing from your mind.

You will see only them and you will see all of them.
Every moment of everyday.
Every encounter.

Your own busyness will slow down and
you will see these people as they really are.

Broken and precious.

Your thoughts will be no longer consumed with yourself.

You will take all of you up to the foot of that cross,
turn your back and walk away.

You knew you were not your own, but now you know you are safe.

You are free to give love away, fearlessly.