Shake Well Before Using

Vickie Lynn Hogan Marshall was a forty-something, blonde bombshell. She said she was considered a Miss Goody Two Shoes back in high school. She worked at Wal-Mart and then she was “discovered” by the CEO of Guess Jeans. He loved how she looked so much like Jane Mansfield. She had everything a girl could want, money, looks, and even a dose of business acumen.

She also had very bad judgment which ultimately led to her death.

Her husband was 60 years older than her and he only lived a year after they married. But, she had never had anyone to love her just for herself, who didn’t care what other people said of her and she loved him for it. Even so, she was interviewed by the FBI to determine if she had planned to murder Pierce Marshall, the motive being billions of dollars. The marriage had only lasted a year before Marshall died, and though it so short, she thought she was entitled to half of his billions of dollars and fought her stepson all the way to the Supreme Court over that money.

Give a person a lot of money, lose any restrictions and there goes a walking time bomb. Vickie listened to the call of the world, and became mesmerized by the world like some cobra charmed by the charmer. We all know who that charmer is.

She was addicted to drugs and alcohol. She had a physician who was recently acquitted for giving her medications and her boyfriend was convicted on two counts of prescription fraud which was like her reaching from the grave to affect the lives of those still living.

She lost her son Daniel from a drug overdose while she was in the hospital after having her baby. She died without knowing who the father of her daughter was. Her trials were many and made harder because of the choices she made. Sexual intercourse outside of marriage was a regular activity. She was stalked, she was laughed at because of her reality show on E!, and she never achieved that acting career she craved so desperately.

But, her trials were really no different than what you and I face day to day. It all boils down to choices, and if you are breathing, you have problems. We all have problems. Some people’s problems seem bigger than other people’s problems. They are not.

If you asked Anna Nicole Smith, born and married Vickie Lynn Hogan Marshall, if she had problems she would have focused in on the struggle with her stepson over billions of dollars. Did she consider her drug use a problem? Did she consider that her attorney/boyfriend was fraudulently securing drugs for her a problem? Did she consider her son’s drug use a problem? She did consider the photographer Larry Birkhead a problem and moved to the Bahamas to have her daughter?  Did that solve the problem? She died before knowing for sure who the baby's father was. The paternity fight continued on after Smith died and DNA proved once and for all that Howard K. Stern was the father. Was that struggle over the baby? Really? The baby has a father, no mother and no billions. Greed can make us do crazy things.

Until addictions are recognized as problems, they are not considered problems. Until the god Satisfaction is recognized as an idol, we don’t see the problem.Greed, self-anything, and desires which are not godly cause problems without much help until we recognize the base cause. These are uglies within us that rise to the surface, often surprising us with the intensity. They are difficult to deal with until we lay them upon the altar of God and ask Him to help us conquor them. There are other kinds of troubles which have nothing to do with bad choices or bad thought processes.

There are several reasons for problems. One reason is that they are common to man. 1 Corinthians 10:13 You have been put to no test but such as is common to man: and God is true, who will not let any test come on you which you are not able to undergo; but he will make with the test the way out of it, so that you may be able to go through it.

Troubles follow every human. They serve a purpose in the Lord. Yes, to even those who are not Believers. Most of the time, it takes bringing an unbeliever to a place so low that the only way to look is up before it finally registers that God is the solution to the problems and cares of this world.

Troubles put a person to the sun test. In Paul’s day, potters would fire a pot and if it cracked, would melt wax into the crack which would conceal the flaw. The heat of the sun would melt the wax out of the crack revealing the flaw. That is where the word, sincere comes from. Sun-tested. Flaws exposed. The difference is that we have the power and the choice to bring our flaws to God to be worked on, smoothed out, fixed, or skimmed off so that all the silver left after the firing is pure and reflective of our Lord.

Another is the Thorn-in-the-side, purpose. Put there for us to not to concentrate on the pain of the trial but to recognize whence our grace and strength comes. It is there to reflect God’s glory to the world.

Another purpose is to be the witness by the response to the trouble. Do we react like the seed that fell in the brambles? Get all choked with the cares and worries of the world? Or do we put down our roots, confident in the fact that God is much greater than any problem or trouble? The world sees how we react to our troubles and that can be a much more powerful witness than any spoken word.

Remember, an extremely good teacher once said, “Sometimes God must shake well before using.”

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