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Thursday, September 18, 2008


What a crazy week this has been. Last Friday I was in Michigan with Dr. Lazar of Lazar Spinal care. I've assumed the position of Director of Counseling. I will travel to Michigan once a month to handle the counseling needs of his practice and to be on his hour long radio show. When the radio show is available for "streaming", I'll let you know.

While there I prayed for the victims of hurricane IKE. Ialso thought about their desperate problems when I had to drive home in the rain. Sunday was a beautiful day here in Ohio and I began to work on blogs, books, articles and cleaning up a messy office.

Sunday afternoon, Ike made his presence known in Ohio. We didn't see a lot of rain, but the winds were awful. Power went out all over town. We were one of the lucky ones that kept power cable, phones or Internet.

Monday, Ron left for work, hoping he wouldn't sit around all day and I grabbed the trash can to take it to the street. There was no way I could drag my trash can to the street until I carved a path through the apples.

We have two lovely apple trees on our property. The apples aren't good for snacking but they make wonderful apple pies or applesauce. There was a good crop this year, but most of it now lay on the ground. I grabbed a rake and began herding them into a pile. Herding is definitely the right word because they often escaped my rake and tried to run down the driveway toward the street.

Since it was prayer time anyway, I prayed as I raked. I prayed for neighbors who were chopping down trees and calling insurance companies instead of chasing apples. I prayed again for the victims of this horrible storm. But then, God gave me a lesson of faith while staring down at bruised and broken apples.

Why had so many beautiful apples with great potential, left the tree that gave them life? Oh, I know the scientific reason - but for the sake of a spiritual analogy, let's take this in a different direction.

If those apples had stayed on the tree, they would continue to get the nourishment they need to grow and become all they were meant to be.

Instead, when life got hard - when the winds pelted and hurt - when they were tossed around and pushed to the limit of their endurance - they let go. They decided that being calm and still was more important than reaching their highest potential.

Those perfect (at least some of them) apples hit the ground with a thud. They were calm. They were still. But forever.....they will be bruised. They will never know the success that could have been. They will never again feel the nourishment of the life giving tree. They will not be able to grow beyond this point. Are they useless? Absolutely not. They can be picked up and used. I can cut out the bruised area and slice them for pies or applesauce.

Unless....I don't have time to get to them for a while. Everyday that I wait to deal with the bruises, the decay spreads. Even now while I'm writing to you decay is making it's way through the "good" areas of my apples.

Even though I took about 15 pictures of the apples to document the different lessons I learn that day, for the sake of time I'll stop and explain what we have so far.

Jesus is the tree of life. No matter what storms come our way we "must" hold tightly to the life he brings. Never give up, never let go, never let your mind imagine that anything is better than being with him. Even pain is better with Him than on our own. Even chaos or storms are better with Him than on our own.

The moment you let go of Jesus, you fall. And when you hit the ground, the problem you have been avoiding will hit you full force.
It will cause a bruising and a sore spot that will only get worse. And....the horror of your situation will be multiplied because you are surrounded by others that are bruised. You won't find comfort or real answers from any of them. Life on the ground is no better. You may be stepped on, run over with a car or simply pushed around by a crazy woman with a rake until you are dizzy with sorrow.
The only way to see clearly is to look up. Gaze on the strength of the tree and the life it gives. Admire the apples that chose to stay close to the tree. Watch them grow and become all they were designed to be.

Just like me, the Savior still calls to those who lie on the ground. He loves them. He picks them up and uses the good in their lives to fashion a new purpose and a new plan.'s the apples left on the tree that will enjoy the greatest blessing. They will understand the depth of Timothy's words in 2 Timothy 4:7

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

We all have bruises. I have many of my own. None of us can be perfect. But there is one point that can't be served through my analogy.
Jesus has the ability to cut out the bruised portion of our life and re-connect us to HIS tree. We can go on and be all he called us to be. We may have to suffer some consequences - but we can become even better than we were before.

So thanks IKE. I had a lot of apples to pick up, but I also renewed my faith. As I pray today, I hope you will join me.....

"Thank you God for accepting me as I am. Thank you for healing my bruises and making me whole again. Please reconnect me with your life and help me to be all that I can be. I'm holding on a little tighter now because I see how very much I need you.

Thank you for giving me one more chance to be the Apple of your Eye. I love you."

God loves you,


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