Friday, February 28, 2014

Identifying Waldo

Last week’s challenge on laughing daily has led me to some unusual places. I am pleased to say there was a lot of laughing along the way.

However, if you were to tell me that this week I’d be writing about a quirky little guy who dresses in strange attire, I would have thought you were strange.  Yet, here I am … in the wacky world of Waldo. 

Welcome new friends this week from:
(the USA) Florida, Texas, Minnesota, Nevada, Ukraine, South Africa, Kenya and Spain (yeah!).
More people joined us on the Inward Journey humor challenge last week.  Did you share some good belly laughs with someone?  I hope so. Keep praying for your brothers and sisters of faith following Daily Favor from around the globe.

Don’t miss out on this week’s challenge (below).  Q & A section.

What makes Waldo, Waldo?
I really don’t know how I stumbled upon this, but it may have been in my research on the word "journey". What I discovered is that Waldo too has taken a fantastic journey that has carried him all over the world (much like this blog).

For those who aren’t familiar with this unique character, he first originated in the United Kingdom in 1987 as Wally, but become Waldo in America. 

Since the first book was published people are drawn to this individual who has traveled his way around our planet.

I started thinking about what things help us to identify this loner that we have come to recognize?  So I asked my husband a few questions.  He was a little concerned with my sudden interest in Waldo, and like a good wife, I didn’t tell him.

What makes Waldo stand out from the crowd?  His glasses.”  Now that response wasn’t what I expected. For me it was his hat and striped shirt.  He later said, “That too.”

What makes people want to find him? “He’s likable … different.”  Hmm, really.

What makes him likable?  “He’s so friendly and nice.  There’s nobody like him. People want to be like him.”  OK, now we’re getting somewhere.  I was taken by him saying others wanted to be like him though. That was a bit “weird” don’t you think?

There are reasons why we can identify Waldo and it has to do with things that are characteristic to his personality and no one else’s. The writer designed Wally to be a one of a kind figure that was fashioned just for him. 

When I took in all the information, I realized why God led me to Waldo.  (Yeah, I know.) It seems His children are in the midst of an identity crisis.

Identify Theft

Several years ago my sister was the victim of identity theft. It was a complete nightmare for her. It took so much work to get it straightened out and much prayer. 

Why would someone want to steal her identity? The fact is she had something they wanted that was unique to her.  God’s kids have been victimized continually, but it isn’t from humans.

Without realizing it, believers are being subject to having their identity questioned and stripped away by satan.  They have allowed him to come in and remove their credentials as children of the most High God by giving in to the ways of the world.

In 2012 someone made a comment about a person who had left earth for Heaven. It really disturbed me because they stated that they never knew the person was a Christian.  He had succumbed to the things of the world and left no traces of whose child he was.  No identification as a citizen of Heaven could be found.

I don’t know about you, but I want to stand out in the crowd like Waldo or Wenda should I say, his female counterpart.

Will the real Waldo stand up?

We are living in a world of false Waldo’s. Christian’s are living as the world does with no identification marks on them.  You cannot pick them out in a crowd.

How has this happened?  A red herring has been planted in the midst to confuse them.

If you have ever looked at the Waldo books, you will notice that there are many “wanta-be” Waldos that are cleverly placed throughout the pages. 

Our eyes are drawn to them thinking they are the individual in question, but in fact, they are “plants" to dupe the seeker on purpose.

The devil devises red herrings in our lives to mislead or distract us from the most important things. He leads you away from the things of God intentionally so that you will fall into sin.  By doing this, you never reach the fullness of God or receive favor to become what He designed.

Satan has convinced believers that they need to look like and act like everyone else to fit into society.  The problem is that we don’t belong to this society, but are citizens of a new world – God’s.  It’s no wonder we get so discouraged.

You're Not Waldo & He’s Not You

In every book in the Waldo adventures, the character is set among hundreds of people who have something in common with him. 

Some are dressed so much like him that it’s hard to pick him out from among the crowd. 

Still, there can only be one true Waldo, right?

Let me ask you the same questions I asked my husband, but with you in mind.

What makes you stand out from the crowd?  Is it your personality, clothing, the people you hang around with or your financial status?

What makes people want to find you? Are you likable and perhaps a bit different?

What makes you likable?  Is it your outgoing personality, suave looks, fashionable attire or outlandish lifestyle that makes people like you?

How courageous are you to wear the same thing like Waldo, day after day?  Kooky glasses, floppy winter hat and stripes don’t make for being “cool” if you follow my drift. 

These things make a person different, unusual, peculiar and unique.  They identify a person, yet somehow we love Waldo.  Why is that? 

People relate to Waldo because he doesn't pretend to be someone else, and isn't afraid of being himself.  He is what he was created to be - different, kind, outgoing and unique.

Christians have lost their identification tag that says, “I belong to Jesus.”  Instead of standing out in the crowd as Christ followers, we often meld with the world hoping to shed a little Jesus light on a few passers-by.

I’d like to give you a heads up … you’re not Waldo and neither am I.  God has created us uniquely to be the person He designed, formed and patterned us to be.  He never intended for us to be conformed to a world where you would get lost in the crowd and look or be like everyone else.

There’s only one you and you’re it. God intended it to be that way on purpose.

There's Always A Sign

Take heed to the inner stop signs of the Holy Spirit, and think about which ones you have been missing.  Look inward and ask what would  I do or say if Jesus was in the room right now?

Stop dressing like the world and get a new look; your look (hopefully you won’t pick the House of Waldo for your wardrobe).

Stop going to the places the world goes.  Jesus may have dined among the unsaved, but he didn’t party with them in bars.  Nor did He send confusing signals. Remember you are to ask for wisdom.

Stop giving in to pressure just because others may be doing something. You know better than to do or watch something that isn’t Christ like.  We’ve taught our kids to “Just say no.”  If they can do it, so can we.

Identifying with Waldo

"Stop, I'm not interested."
I was so proud of a post I read this week where a man bluntly turned down a woman’s inappropriate comment by simply saying,

“I’m married and don’t accept hugs and kisses from others.” 

His wife may not have seen it, but God and others did.  He was my Waldo that day, because it made him stand out from all the others.

Last night I took the "Waldo check" as I was sitting in a class for Storm Spotters.  We were all there to help the community during emergencies, but there was one woman who stood out from the crowd and people were drawn to her.

She was nice looking, had great hair and dressed very well.  When it came time for a break she darted up to the instructor and insisted he look at her information.

As a teacher I knew how much he needed that break, but she didn’t care. She took up all his time and he never got a rest.  Toward the end of the class when there was a Q & A time, of course she had something to say.

"You false Waldo … red, herring, red herring!” I thought.  Come to find out she was a storm chaser, not a storm spotter for N.O.A.A. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).  She led the class the wrong way, and at first they listened because of how she looked.

There was no one to blame but us. We should have realized that she wasn’t there to help by her actions. 

She had misled and directed us away from the true meaning of the course. Instead of understanding that we are to direct people away from danger, she was pushing others into it with her unprofessional tactics.

When the class was dismissed, no one talked to her.  As we were leaving, I looked at her and said to myself, "You're no Waldo!"   I wasn't judging, I was just observing.

Standing out from the crowd is actually what we should be doing, but not to make us look good or steal God’s glory.  Our "unusualness" is to bring people to the Lord and not into the dangerous arms of the devil.

Let's look at it in another way. What if that lady was there to help and had it all going for her.  The class would have thought she was special and blessed.  Our way of thinking would be entirely different, because her individuality was used for good not selfishness.  That would be a right reason to stand out in the crowd.

Be Your Own Character

It’s time believer’s become the “Character” God created them to be.  A one of a kind, stand out in the crowd, likable, want to be around person.

Start taking back your unique, wonderful identity.  You are you and that’s the way God likes it (I feel a song coming on here …)

Start embracing the inner person God created and loves. 

It’s not about the past.  This journey is about getting you to the goal of discovering the individual God wants to have a relationship with daily.  Get to know you like God knows you.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have past away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)

I love new things don’t you?  There are some “antiques” that are nice, but for the most part I’d rather deal with new things.  God has given us a new start with salvation and a new approach (A.N.A.) for completing our journey.

Discovering the “new” things is part of the identification package as belonging to the Kingdom of God.  Grace, favor, mercy and blessings are all wrapped up in that Kingdom package, but the devil doesn’t want us to identify it as such.

This Week’s Challenge:

Be on the lookout for the false “Waldos” in your world. 

Are they originals or not? 

What is their intention?

Then, let the inner you ... the one God created, out of the box.  Take a chance on being that only one like you that people can pick out in a crowd as “the peculiar one.” 

There is a reason we are to be “Waldo like” meaning separate, different and unique.

“But you are chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation (God’s) a peculiar people.

Here is the reason: that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness (sin) into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9 NKJV)

Our church sings a song called “I Belong to Jesus”, and every time we do the place comes unzipped!  The song reminds us of all we have and should be then energizes us into action.

Since we belong to Jesus, everyone who comes in contact with us should recognize and identify us as being His.

We are free from sin and free to be what the Lord wants us to be.

If God is pleased with our individuality it’s time we learn about the person He created for Himself.  You are His Holy ground.  He loves and adores you!

This week take back what belongs to you through Christ – your IDENTITY.  Be your own Waldo.

I Belong to Jesus

Until next time, identify how God favors you.

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Maybe you don’t know the Living God that I know, but would like to have this kind of favor in your life also.  Click on the above tab “Tell Me” for more information on becoming a child of the Savior.

Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy. A.N.A. logo by J.C.Penney, Inc.
Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provide by Gateway Bible
Image credit: GoogleImages or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified
Image: Journey  Comic Strip  Herring  Chicken  Man  Storm Chaser  Character Chart  Wally Wikipedia

Friday, February 21, 2014

Stuck on H

For the past few weeks a few things have been stuck in my thinking. 

I thought perhaps the Lord was trying to get something amazing across and lavish me with His favor for spending more time with Him.

It got intense a few days and I just wouldn’t let it go. Thoughts of healing, hope and the heart were subjects I was dwelling on, but through it all God was showing me something I didn’t expect.  He wanted me to lighten up, take a time out and give it a rest!
We get so tied up in the struggles of this world that there doesn’t seem to be a time to find humor in anything.  When that happens, it’s a sign that we haven’t trusted God, and we are casting all our cares on our shoulders instead of His. 

OK Lord, I got the point. 
There’s a remedy for this according to scripture.  Contrary to what some people may have been taught God does have a sense of humor.  I can prove it; take a look at cats!

Welcome new friends this week from: (the USA) Tennessee, Virginia, New Jersey and Portugal, India, UK and Malaysia.
There was something “funny” going on this week.  Did you feel it? Our Inward Journey is about to get brighter.  Keep praying for your brothers and sisters of faith following Daily Favor from around the globe.

Don’t miss out on this week’s challenge (below).  Q & A Section

Been Doing It
Apparently we took a new approach in the way we “do” things without realizing. This may seem a little out of season so I’ll have to explain.  Let’s go back in time to 2009.
We have gone from setting up a 9+ foot tree to a small 4 foot tall Christmas tree ever since we began caring for pets with special needs.  The tree we use now can easily be moved from one area to another and doesn’t have any breakable ornaments on it (no hooks either).

The tree was resting on a small table and placed in another room every time we left the house.  In 2009 the Christmas tree wasn’t displayed until a few days before the holiday.  Not being able to enjoy it for that long, I decided to take it down at the end of January (2010). 
Due to my mom’s home going we were called out of town, and would be gone for several weeks due to a blizzard. (see here)

Being backlogged with work upon our return home, the tree remained in the bedroom on a dresser.  For the next three months we had round the clock care for my diabetic dog, so the tree stayed in place.
During that time I began using it as a nightlight.  I rather liked the soft white twinkle lights.  Most of my writing is at night, so it was nice to be able to see without using a flashlight.  The tree didn’t bother me at all.

It Looks Weird
Here it is four years later and the tree was still on the dresser.  That is until last night.  Zoe is a 3 year old kitty that is undergoing medical attention for about 10 months. 
She got into the bedroom and played demolition on the tree, causing it to flip flop onto a space heater on the floor.
I was working at the time when I heard this crash, but didn’t know what it was.  As I rounded the corner I saw three little contributors (Zoe, Izzy & Yancy) scatter.
When I saw the tree dangling from the cord all I could do was burst into laughter. Summoning my husband to come take a look I asked him to grab the camera on his way into the room.  By the time he got there the accused were nowhere to be found.

Working on our challenge of being excellent before the Lord. (from January 31, 2014 blog)
I had already decided it was time to take down the tree and actually get a small lamp.  Zoe was helping me keep my commitment or should I say, she helped put my plan into action by rushing things along.  How kind of her!
Last night when I went to bed it just looked weird … all that space.  You can even see the wall now. 

Topsy Turvy
Seeing the tree in its topsy turvy state reminds me of how my life has felt at times when nothing seems to be going right.  Finding the humor in the situation was healing to both my husband and me.

All the tension of the day drained from us and we let the comical side emerge.  Humor ministered to our souls.

Caring Less
The Bible says that having a cheerful heart (laughter and a good attitude) does a body good as if it were taking medicine for healing, and indeed it was just that last night.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” (Proverbs 17:22 NLT)
People get so serious that we sap the life out of all that is around us.  By doing this, we go against God because we aren’t acting in faith.
If you’re having a tough time of things right now, look at a cat. They really take the Word of God seriously and could “care less” about what’s going on around them.  To “care less” is to have less care, because they have no fear. Basically that’s the root of scripture isn’t it?

Don’t get caring less confused with carelessness or not caring, and I’m not saying pets aren’t concerned about their owners.  What I am saying is that they don’t care about material things of this world.
Zoe wasn’t a bit interested in the cost of the tree or whether it would damage anything if it fell.  Actually, the only thing that I’ve noticed she values is her relationships and isn’t that what we should value also?

Our inward journey should be concentrating on how our relationship with God stands.  Have you ever talked to God about the funny side of His world?  I’ve often wondered about it, and have spoken to Him with some of my ponderings.
Many people think of God as being this stuffy, bossy Deity that only wants to thrust punishment on those who get out of line.  If we studied the Bible we would realize that’s not how He operates at all.

As a matter of fact, we know He does have a fun side because He has attended a few parties and festivals that have been recorded.  I’ve often wondered if He laughed when He caused the donkey to speak or at some of the names Adam called the animals.
How funny was it that Jesus told His disciple to go get the tax money out of a fish’s mouth?  Can you think of some things that He did that must have freaked people out, from the conversations we read in the Bible?

Does He ever call the angels over and say, “Hey, watch this.” as He does the extraordinary?  In my opinion, He has set the humor radar high when it comes to the life of a cat.
I suppose the moral of my lesson is:

"Never put off until tomorrow
what a cat can take care of today."

This week’s challenge:
Find humor in the little things and relax.  Laugh a little!
Laugh with God. 
In your quiet time find things you can laugh about with the Lord. It won’t be as difficult as you think, trust me.  

"God made me laugh."
Genesis 21:6 tells of a time where God caused Sarah to laugh when He did a miracle in her life.  Everyone else thought it was crazy for her to have a child at age 90, but not God. 
Now He could have given her that child when she was younger, but didn’t.  I imagine there were some belly laughs going on don’t you think?
Laugh at yourself. 

Learn not to take everything so seriously.
Yesterday morning is an example of learning to laugh at your own shortcomings.  This was a conversation between my husband and me:

Him: “Lily is on the couch.  It’s her new morning thing.”
Me: “I’m not avoiding you!”

I have no idea what I thought I heard, but obviously it wasn’t what he said.  Our morning began with laughter because it reminded us of what Jeff Allen had said about his wife. (I put the clip below for you.)

It wasn’t about what he said, but about what she thought she heard him say. 
Laugh with someone.  

My husband and I laugh a lot. It’s not something we planned along our journey, but just happened. 
For years I’ve told him he missed his calling when it comes to making people laugh.  I tell him there’s no excuse, because I give him so much material!
God doesn’t want us stuck on anything. Frustration, confusion or tension isn’t in His make-up. 

As we’re working through this journey it’s important to realize that we’re not going to learn everything at once.  Our time spent with God will develop day by day, and pressing forth sometimes means stopping to take it all in for a spell.

Instead of watching those old reruns or drama programs, take a week off and focus on the humorous side of life.  If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few clean Christian stand-up comedians that you can watch on You Tube or rent a DVD from your local library.
I’ve selected seven, which is the perfect number of God and gave you the links below for you to watch throughout the week.
If we are to grow closer to the Lord, we need to learn more about our creator.  God is the One who created laughter and our sense of humor, so it stands to reason that He also lets out a chuckle or two doesn’t it?

What are some things that make you laugh?  Why not share them with the Lord?  After all, He’s the One that programmed the mind of a cat.  Now that’s funny in itself.
“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, “the LORD has done great things for them.” (Psalm 126:2 NKJV)

Humor is a gift from the LORD.  Use it for His glory so others may see the great favor and blessings He has done for you.

If My Nose Was Running Money - Aaron Wilburn

Until next time, favor God’s gift of humor.


7 Days of Humor

Tim Hawkins: Hand Raising and Hand Sanitizer (I actually went to a church that did this)
Mike Williams: Stupidity Is A Gift Part 1 and Part 2

Jeff Allen:  "Happy Wife, Happy Life" and "Marriage Counseling" (this is the one I was referring to earlier)
Bob Stromberg: Shadow Puppet and My 50 Year Check Up  

Check Messages throughout the week HERE.

Follow Favored1 on Facebook, TwitterYou Tube and Squidoo Articles.

Maybe you don’t know the Living God that I know, but would like to have this kind of favor in your life also.  Click on the above tab “Tell Me” for more information on becoming a child of the Savior.

Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy. A.N.A. logo by J.C.Penney, Inc.
Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provide by Gateway Bible
Image credit: Google Images or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified
Image: Time Out  Back in Time  Laugh at Yourself  Pets Laugh  Cat Relaxing  Topsy