Time for reset

 

Venza

I drive a beautiful, blue, cross-over Toyota Venza.  This car runs smoothly, and is comfortable.  Recently, the dashboard of my Venza lit up.  Many orange lights were flashing.  These included the check engine light, the oil change light, and the flat tire light.  I panicked, as I did not understand what was wrong with the vehicle.  I drove the vehicle to a nearby car repair shop.  The shop owner told me to leave the vehicle at the shop so they can run some diagnostics on it.  The next day, I received a call informing me they would need to order some parts to fix the car.  Two days later, and a couple of hundred dollars later the vehicle was repaired.  So, I thought. A few days went by, and then the dash board lit up again.  The lights would not stop flashing.  I thought they had fixed the problem, but the vehicle was still acting up.

I took the vehicle to a different shop this time.  They informed the sensors in the vehicle were malfunctioning.  They would order new sensors, and install them.  I left the vehicle at this shop for a few days.  When I went to get the vehicle, the flashing lights had stopped.  Everything was working well.  I paid, and drove away.

Toyota Pasadena

A few days later … you guessed it …  the dash board lit up again.  The bright orange lights were flashing.  I was frustrated. Someone reminded me that since I drive a Toyota Venza, I must take it to a Toyota dealer.  The manufacturers know exactly what’s wrong with their product.  I drove my car to the Toyota of Pasadena shop. The helpful, courteous technicians asked me to wait as they ran diagnostics on the vehicle.  After a few moments, the technicians told me to come back after a few days.  When I returned, the car was as good as new.  No more flashing.  I asked the technicians what had been the problem.  They said cars these days have computers which need to be reset occasionally.  They simply reset the computer, and the car was fine.

In our lives, we all face challenges.  We all go through moments which drive us to seek help.  Life just does not work well at times.  Finances do not add up, children go rebellious, or relationships go sour. We sometimes face health problems, depression, sin, or death of a family member. We seek help which might temporarily fix the problem. Yet, we still feel empty, lost, confused, or frustrated.  Positive thinking, good vibes, or following the inward light, does not fix the problem.  Human effort, new age thinking, or self-help books come short.

We are the creation of the Creator, God.  He knows what’s best for us. He knows our function.  He knows our purpose. When life does not work, we need to go back to the Creator, to be reset.  We need to take what’s not working back to God. Our souls need to be refreshed by God.  When you have tried it all, it’s time to take yourself to God.  When all is not working, call on God.  Whatever challenges you are facing, take them to God.  He has the remedy.  He has the solution.  He is the remedy.  He is the solution.

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This is Why I Do What I Do!

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It was at the end of a long, tiring day.  With the remote in my hand, I was TV channel surfing, as I reclined in my comfortable favorite chair.  The toll of days packed with leading social services programs, music ministries, women’s ministries, youth programs and seniors Bible Study activities was weighing me down.  Suddenly, Rutendo interrupted me with what she called the best news of the day. I thought this was her gimmick to get me to listen to all her stories that never seem to end.  I did not listen to hear although I could see her lips move.  All I wanted was to relax.

At the corner of my, I noticed tears streaming down her cheeks. “This must be a serious story,” I thought.  “Wait a minute, start from the beginning again.”  I pretended to have been listening, and was just wanting to see if I heard correctly.  On other days, this is when I would have gotten the lecture on how much I do not listen.  Today was different.  In-between sobs, she smiled as she began to relay the great story.  Before she concluded her story, I, too, was in tears.

What had happened to make us both cry?  Gabby is a 10-year-old girl who started attending youth programs through the advertising in our area.  Although Gabby smiles and laughs like all kids, she and her sisters miss their mother.  They 27-year-old mother incarcerated, and she is pregnant with twins.  Gabby and her little sisters live with their aging, ailing grandmother.  The girls witness various men visit the house to drink, smoke, and engage in diverse illicit activities, with the girls’ uncle. No one Gabby’s family is gainfully employed.  No one in Gabby’s family has finished high school.  There are no positive role models for Gabby.

Sunbeams

On this Wednesday, Rutendo showed Gabby, and the rest of the Sunbeam girls, our wedding pictures.  Gabby stood up, in front of the whole Sunbeams group and said, “I would like to have wedding like yours, Captain.”  She went on to say, “Also, I want to go to college to study to be a lawyer. I do not want to have children before I get married. I do not want to get married before I finish college!”  How can Gabby have such a dream when her background works so much against her? We, at The Salvation Army, are her role models.  This is what The Salvation Army does best – giving hope and dreams to children like Gabby.  I will do whatever it takes to prepare the future for Gabby.  I might not be there to see Gabby walk across the stage to receive her Law degree someday.  I might not be there to see Gabby get married in a glorious fashion, but I can help her attain those dreams by setting an example for her.  Jesus is in the business of transforming lives – Gabby’s is just one example.

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“Pass me the Kleenex,” I said to Rutendo as I tried to look away from her.  I praise God that I am a Salvation Army officer who has been entrusted with the dreams, hopes and futures of such children.  This is why I do what I do. I am a conduit of grace to God’s children like Gabby.