Okay, I know we are not to believe in Magic. What do you call it when you can make something appear or disappear? Is there magician school? Are there books, websites, places where rabbits are trained to come out of hats? I don’t know anything about it, but have been very amazed and impressed by professional illusionists. However, I’ve been fooled and been depressed by disillusionment just the same.
Well, magicians study and are trained to trick the naked human eye... but what if we COULD have actual magic powers?
What would you do? Let’s leave the religion aside (don’t gasp!) and I’ll come back to it but what would you do? Perhaps shrink yourself into the size of an earpiece and hear everything someone was saying? Or travel through magical glasses and see everything someone else can? Um...no thanks on both. I think social media does a pretty good job at that already. How many tears have your name on them because of a rant you or I took at the expense of another? I can say my name is on text messages that I wish I’d never sent...guilty! That’s why I decided I wanted a magic wand!
If I had a magic wand, I would keep it so busy. I would be waving that thing to do undo my history I’m not proud of. It’s one thing to make a mistake but to keep making it becomes a pattern that ends in sin. Once we see the sin, we can repent of it and ALWAYS are forgiven. But...we have to bear the fruit of our repentance.
Matthew 3:8 states, “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance“ (ESV). I like the New Living Translation, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.”
In other words, one “I’m sorry God” isn’t going to be enough. (I have said many for the same thing over and over) I’m hardly self-righteous but also know God isn’t some tyrant. He just knows the path to being free and whole and wants us to stay that way. My magic wand wouldn’t produce a consecrated life, but my whole-hearted desire and doing so can. Try as I might...I am trying!
As for everyday life, I’d use the heck out of that wand! I’d be waving it in so many directions, I’d create a wind. “Get busy magic wand with my housework, laundry, prepare meals, grocery shop, schedule my life perfectly with no surprises.... make wrinkles and extra CoVid pounds disappear (no judgement, many of us eat our feelings) I would also make the lie disappear if I had tagged that sentence with ...besides, the gyms were closed!
I would wave a wand to write for me when I had writer’s block and most definitely, do any of the technical and social media stuff. My wand would work my cell phone and all devices that leave me bewildered and begging my kids for help.
Speaking of kids, I adore mine and would take a bullet for them without a thought. But let’s be honest, parents, we’ve been quarantined and nerves can get raw. What would you want to do with your magic wand?! I know the homework would be done and the kids would never fuss because they are busy loving and helping each other! They would be telling you that you need to nap because you do too much and they appreciate it all. Even adult children would tell us how our sacrifices are beyond their human comprehension and maybe, they will thank us with a great condominium in our elderly years. I just turned 60, so, start planning, magic wand!
Admittedly, I think I’m getting lost in my fantasy!
But, there is another way I’d use my wand; I would leave something special under the pillows of those whose words bring comfort. During this past year, as I have grieved the loss of my dad, I had no idea how the simplest words that came from a truly sincere place of love, brought such comfort. I would think, “They really care about me to take time to ask.“ I will always remember how that felt...always, always.
What a soothing, healing balm words of lovingkindness can be. It feels like aloe on a sunburn! Honestly, It’s like a Mary Poppins dose of love when there is so much sadness.
I have also gained such a profound respect for the medical profession or anyone required to wear protective gear for hours; that’s one among many things I admire. But, one thing that masks block is a smile to a friend or stranger and don’t we all need that?! We need to be friendly, and in order to show ourselves friendly, it is going to take other creative ways now!
There is so much negative banter and hate-filled debate these days. In all of my years, I’ve not seen anything like it; and though there are some genuine, sincere, tough, necessary conversations to be had, emotions have a place but we must be careful. Debates are fine, arguments and disagreements can be useful and informative IF, and that’s a BIG IF, we stay on the subject and off of people or one another in destructive ways.
In a marriage relationship, it’s easy to drift off-course and start going after the past or character flaws whether or not the topic is losing or gaining steam. Let’s face it, we know what buttons to push depending on the reaction that we are after. I have no shame in declaring that I have been guilty! I’ve deflected, interjected, objected, rejected, and other thoughts of “jected”! Like riding in a car and having a disagreement with my dear spouse and wishing his seat had an eject button to send him straight through the moon roof! (In my defense, I would hope for a parachute.) Thoughts can be just as bad as words which can foster passive-aggressive behavior with silence. In other words, fighting is fighting!
I may be right but I actually lose if my opponent is bloodied and bruised. Where’s that balm then?
In other instances, I may be wrong, but I can win. How? When what matters most is wanting peace over winning — to me, to us, to our household and most of all, to God. Saying I am wrong and I am sorry will disarm any weapon used in any argument. Where do you go from there? How can you retaliate against an, “I love you”? How do you look at someone and want to keep fighting then? Love wins because it was meant to. GOD IS LOVE.
Prayerfully, I ask to be aware of what I say and do because, in the depths of my heart, God knows I don’t wish to harm anyone or furthermore, to see anyone harmed. We are never given permission by God to hurt one of His own. We may feel justified but we are not authorized...there is ONE JUDGE! So many intentionally or thoughtlessly hurtful words pepper the dialogue between us that the pain it causes is often all we remember when the dust settles.
Proverbs 18:8 states, “The words of a whisperer (gossip) are like dainty morsels [to be greedily eaten]; They go down into the innermost chambers of the body [to be remembered and mused upon]” Amplified Translation.
I chose that translation because it describes what happens when we listen to hurtful words whether they are about us or someone else. The fact is that we remember them and all of us can testify to that. I heard a psychologist say that it takes over 30 positive comments to erase one insult! That’s hard to fathom but when we really consider it, we are hugely affected by what we hear about ourselves, especially if it’s a lie and we are defenseless. Who can fight cyberspace or any conduit of untruth? Fear not, God can and He does if we just step aside and leave it to Him. The minute we engage, the word sparring begins and the fight ends in a draw because there are no points and no referee. The fans remain the fans and the haters remain the haters but regardless... SOMEONE is watching; no one is seriously listening when winning is the goal.
We often receive, accept and believe negative words as truth. However, God says a great deal about His love for His children and the promises He has for them. These are the words we MUST receive, accept and believe as THE ONLY TRUTH. When someone gives us a gift, we accept it and receive it then believe there was an intention behind it. To receive means to be given something. To accept means to consent to receive what is offered. To believe means to accept something as true. The process is very clear when broken down. Now, we can see how we have formed opinions about ourselves and others. (I encourage you, like me, to read that over again!)
This is why I wish I had a wand that had a giant eraser on the end. One of the words in that scripture is “muse.” It says we digest those words to be remembered and mused upon. I wanted to know what was meant by “mused upon”. The definition is a verb meaning to become absorbed in thought especially: to think about something carefully and thoroughly; musing about what might have been.
I was STUNNED at the weight of such a description! I looked at my own life and realized so many times I believed what someone said and mused upon it. I’m positive I’m not the only one! I believed the negative; I received the offerings from the deceptive lies of the enemy that I was so many things that weren’t true compared to what God had to say about me. Since I had no magic wand, I had to read THE TRUTH! What He says about me, He says about you! We have to defend ourselves with the knowledge of the scriptures. “Thy Word Is Truth” (John 17:17) . That phrase is proceeded first by “Sanctify them in the truth.” Here’s the part that takes some work and yes, I wish I had my wand! Nothing great, however, comes easy.
We have the truth so now what? Well this is the “in a nutshell” version! We must believe that the means of truth that sanctifies us is God’s Holy Word. To be sanctified is to make the decision that in all things we become Christ-minded; always aware of His presence. In doing so, we dedicate our three-part being to Him: Spirit (Heart), Soul (Mind, Will, Emotions), Body (The Temple of the Holy Sprit). As we continue to submit, then these parts are developed though devotion to our pursuit of knowing HIM thereby, operating in His wisdom, character and total love above ALL or ANYONE else and FOR everybody else before us!
Is it easy? No! Is it worth it? Yes! Where’s the finish line? Heaven!
This is an ongoing process throughout life but as I heard Kenneth Hagin Sr. once say, “It doesn’t require perfection, just a perfect heart which means a heart turned toward God with an attitude of wanting to be perfect like Him.”
That said, my magic wand can’t work but I can! My words can be ones of love that are encouraging and life-giving. I do wish I could leave something for all those who have encouraged and loved me though my messes, my sadness, my challenges and just me being me. I can return the favor, however; kindness is always like being wrapped in a comforter and we have “THE COMFORTER” to guide us with compassion and love for all.
In conclusion, when all is said and done, I want my words to be useful and wholeheartedly wish for ones with positive impact because people will remember one way or another. What if someone is having a bad day and I changed it? Maybe they were feeling so discouraged but said, “I remember when Joni told me I was such a wonderful person and had such value. She told me I had the grace that was sufficient to enable my gifts to do what’s before me! I remember when she said that and I believe it!” I don’t need a pulpit or a magic wand — just pure love.
I’m tearful just thinking of such a scenario because you and I can do that! We can “Be the change,” as Gandhi said in a paraphrased version of a much longer passage.
I pray they what I communicate is not in anger or an ugly reflection of my professed Christianity. Before I speak, may my words make a pit stop at the crew in my soul
(my big mouth-JKP translation!) before my Spirit waves the flag to get back in that race to win souls not trophies. Sure, others may pass me by but I found this quote by Jeremy Clarkson as an appropriate metaphor: “Speed has never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary, that’s what gets you.”
Now, let’s not muse about what you or I might’ve been! Do what you is in your heart and don’t allow anything or anyone to stop you! REMEMBER the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:26, “but with God all things are possible” AND no magic wand is needed! Even the words of the Beatles say so, “Love is all you need.”