1977, the worst memory in my high school days was the disco era and mostly that horrible song that was constantly being played on the radio –  Stayin’ Alive.  Having two left feet and a fear of looking like a fool I both feared and loathed dancing, and that is still the case now.     For the past four weeks, though after experiencing my $31,000 Life Flight helicopter ride I cannot get the song out of my head.  Why not, I’m alive and should not be or at least should not be without serious afflictions from the stroke.   tap here if you missed the miracle story.   30 days later,  I find myself on twice daily dog walks steppin’ to the tune of Stayin’ Alive!

Your welcome to those who loved Stayin’ Alive   and it has brought back great memories.   Sorry, to those in my circle who are being tortured now being unable to erase the reel playing in your head right now.  My neurologist said in a stroke you lose 2million brain cells a minute until treatment.  I was hoping the ones that I lost would have taken out all the songs I hated and every bad memory experienced and left behind nothing but the good ones, no such luck.

I did some research * and found the gist of this song and the movie Saturday Night Fever.  “Like the film, the song is about much more than dancing and having a good time. It deals with struggle and aspiration; making your way in the world even after you have been kicked around. John Travolta’s character in the movie is a young man working a dead-end job who feels alienated by his parents. Dancing is his form of expression, and weekends are his time to let loose.”   * Songfacts

Although it seems like a happy upbeat positive tune to dance to – the lyrics are not.  Honestly the only words I understood were  “Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive,” nothing else.  Thus for those like me I’ve taken the liberty to post all the words to reach the theme and have a full understanding:

Lyrics to Stayin’ Alive 1977

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk,

I’m a woman’s man: no time to talk.

Music loud and women warm,

I’ve been kicked around since I was born.

And now it’s all right. It’s OK.

And you may look the other way.

We can try to understand

The New York Times effect on man.

Whether you’re a brother

Or whether you’re a mother,

You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.

Feel the city breakin’

And everybody shakin’,

And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.

Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.

Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive.

All Repeated twice.  It ends with the following repeated four times.

Life goin’ nowhere. Somebody help me.

Somebody help me, yeah.

Life goin’ nowhere. Somebody help me, yeah.

I’m stayin’ alive.

It doesn’t get much more depressing than to end a song telling us Life is goin’ nowhere and has a cry for somebody to help me as I am barely stayin’ alive, does it?   Having been very reflective lately, I bring my thoughts for others to ponder and bring purpose to all of us who are facing death at unprecedented numbers.  Percentage wise it is not apples to apples to compare years and centuries past but here in the U.S. we know that the pandemic has already taken more lives in 2021 than in 2020 and worldwide the total has reached a staggering 3.8 million covid deaths.   Yet, downplayed we know that in the U.S. drug overdoses  and murders are at an all-time high.    Life goin’ nowhere.  Somebody Help me!.  How do we keep on stayin’ alive?

Saturday night fever’s movie theme found its solution in escaping on weekends at the dance halls.  What’s yours?

For my family and me we found that we first need to take care of ourselves and fight hard to survive and stay alive.   Brain health was a primary battleground as both of our kids were plagued with some issues of nerve damage from most likely my exposure to chemicals in the Army (Agent Orange and chemical agents at 3 posts).  One also dealt with PTSD from my sister’s murder.  My wife and I also had to overcome the loss of three children while trying to help ourselves with depression and anxieties.  We’ve been fightin’ to stay alive for quite some time.

People often say things happen for a reason, I agree.  To me nothing is an accident and often the things that happen to us are for a chance to bring betterment to society and live for a purpose.   Our kids and we have found ourselves volunteering at pet rescues, pregnancy centers, human trafficking missions, addiction and suicide prevention groups.   My wife signed on for a near full-time role with a domestic violence rescue group called Turning Point.    A fitting name for what many need, a turning point.

The struggles and oppression in our world is heavy and real, but crawling in a hole and hoping they go away fixes nothing, there is much more purpose in life to live for.  I end part one of this post with a quote from a Russian novelist in the 1800’s.  He was battling a changing world where Karl Marx was writing ‘The Communist Manifesto’ in a country battling not only disease & sickness but similar patterns of governments not only here but also across the world pushing agendas of government control.  On the opposite side was the author of ‘Crime and Punishment’ and ‘Notes from the Underground’ who said:

“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I have some challenges to fix my heart that caused the stroke.  The Cardiologist gave half a dozen options + a heart-health plan to go with it to get it to where I can live another 20-30 years.  Two of the easier options have failed so far.  Oddly, one of the choices is doing nothing.  I have spoken to and heard about a number of people who have chosen that exact option, unbelievable.  It is kind of like the people who continue to smoke after a lung-cancer diagnosis or keep the same eating habits when near diabetes.  Let the AFib have its’ own way and hope a stroke never comes again, despite the odds.   Doing nothing to me is slow suicide.  Many people now are battling for their lives with covid or from side effects and other heavy difficulties caused by this pandemic and a crumpling world.  We can do nothin’ or add up how important living for ourselves and those we care for is.

Personally as I always have before, I’m gonna fight and do whatever it takes to keep Stayin’ Alive.  How about you?

Now don’t leave yet unless you so choose.  There are some deep spiritual reasons for us to fight to stay alive.  Read on if you want to hear a spiritual battle reason for Stayin’ Alive!  It is not just a song. 

If this is your first time visiting Average Joe’s Portico, every post is written in two parts. You have just read the portion challenging the mind, body, and soul.  In The Portico, I seek to tap into your spiritual side, but only IF YOU DARE.  Tap the Red Line Below to hear the Part 2 Spiritual side of the story.  (For additional info – read the ‘Do You Dare’ Tab)

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Repeating my earlier statement – Personally like I always have before, I’m gonna fight and do whatever it takes to keep Stayin’ Alive.  How about you?” 

I will make the assumption everyone reading now knows that Jesus was killed by the Roman government at the request and twisted stories concocted by the religious leaders of the Jewish religion.  Noting it was the very same religion that Jesus Himself was totally dedicated to and followed closely.  Sometimes our biggest health and life battles come not from the outside world but inside the ministries we support. 

In addition, such happened with Jesus the night before He was tortured and killed one of his own church members turned on Him.  Then a fight ensued…

Luke 22:47-51    47 And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him. 48 But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49 When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.51 But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.

Matthew 26 added this statement- 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? ” (to wipe out these awful people)  Jesus had the power to ninja the people and the world, but chose a different path.

Jesus immediately squelched the sword fight and did another miracle, His last as a human on earth, by healing one of the people who came to have Him killed.  Jesus’ ways were never the same as man’s and his defeat of enemies was like no other and is our calling too.  I beseech you to read this post of mine later for a full understanding(Six Reasons)

Jesus lived out exactly what He said, as we know He was beaten without a fight, stripped of all His clothes, and hung on a cross to die for this world.  He as we know and believe came back to earth alive proving He defeated death.  That is worth thinking about….  

But before that, this happened:

So they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus concealed Himself and left the temple.” John 8:59

“Once again they attempted to seize Jesus, but he escaped miraculously from their clutches.” John 10:39

Then, Jesus did the miracle of all miracles, raising a human being from the dead:

John 11:40-45, 53-55:    “But Martha, the dead (Lazarus) man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”  Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe? So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me.  You always hear me, but I said it out loud now for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.”  Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

Holy moly, of all things, Jesus raised a man from the dead!   They had seen him turn water into wine at a wedding celebration.  They saw him feed thousands of people from a few baskets of loaves and fish.  They had seen him heal the blind, the lame, the deaf, people with Covid (oops sorry leprosy) and more.  These miracles drew people to God.   Yet the second after seeing a man raised from the dead this is what the religious people who loved power and money wanted to do to him.

John 11:53-55:   “ So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.54 For that reason Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but left there and went to the district that borders on the uninhabited wilderness, to a town called Ephraim; and He stayed there with the disciples.”

As the news spread about Lazarus, a truly real transformed life a resurrected one, many people who heard of Lazarus put their faith in Jesus.   An amazing glorious event took place. However, with a miraculous glory situation, what we do not realize is there will be opposition and even danger. As this is what happened to Lazarus.

 John 12: 1-11    Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom He had raised from the dead. So they gave a supper for Him there. Martha was serving, and Lazarus was one of those reclining at the (read more on Lazarus, the post provides interesting insight on ‘reclining’ Lazarus)  table with Him. Mary took very expensive perfume of pure oil, and she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair, and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. ……

 ‘A large crowd of Jews learned that Lazarus was there and they came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead.   So the chief priests planned to kill Lazarus also,  because on account of him many of the Jews were going away from the Jewish teachings and believed in Jesus following Him as Savior.

For the rest of His time on earth, Jesus had the difficult task of avoiding people who wanted to kill Him.   Lazarus was also in the same boat, for the crime of being healed, well more than what happened to me, he was raised from the dead.  His reward from the people was being despised all the more by the jealous religious people, the ministers, who sought their own glory (never doing it for God although their lips would piously utter such a phrase). 

Jesus and Lazarus had the job of Stayin’ Alive!   You know what; all of the Disciples and Apostles thereafter also had the same job.  Not of living in fear and hiding, but living brave, living bold telling of God’s truth, performing miracles.   The price all of them ultimately paid was losing the earthly life that so many fear, yet they did it boldly to the glory of God.

Avg Joe Observations –

  • Jesus knew Judas was a crook and was going to betray Him. He did nothing about it and did not worry about it
  • But at the same time, the disciples were well taken care of and fed. When food ran out, He did a miracle to feed them and 5,000 people, twice.   He put a coin in a fishes mouth to show He’ll provide money if we run short.  God does provide in both normal and miraculous ways, even though thieves steal from us at times.
  • Jesus was under a death threat for a while – but He stayed away from the danger until the time of his destiny
  • Jesus did the practical at times to keep from being killed.  Somehow, he was teleported or something to escape more than once.  That I would say is called God’s supernatural protection. I believe God provides us with supernatural protection all the time.  But we should not test it anyway, think of the movie GroundHog day, trying to kill ourselves because we know God will either raise us from the dead like Lazarus, or we go to heaven, is not wise.  God is not playing life games nor should we.  Recall the anti-God took Jesus to the top of a building and used a Bible verse to convince him to throw himself off of it, Jesus response was ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’

—- It was important for Lazarus to stay alive and protect his miracle. Think about that… —-

o    Lazarus job was to stay alive and glorify God because of the miracle that happened to him. The anti-God wanted to eliminate the proof of the miracle

o    If you healed from drug addiction and say ‘It is a miracle I’m still alive’, the anti-God controller wants you back on drugs, it is your job (with God’s help) to stay alive, stay clean, preserve your testimony

o    If you were freed from alcoholism, the anti-God wants you off the wagon, stay away from places that will take you back to slavery, you are proof of God’s freeing you from the addiction, take precautions to keep your testimony and stay alive

o    If God freed you from an unhealthy lifestyle deteriorating your body, stay away from the situations that created it and focus on not only a healthy body but also a healthy mind to protect your miracle that cured you.  If you did nothing to cause your health situation as happens too many, and God does a miracle, let it be known like Lazarus did, bring glory to God.  Meanwhile if there are things the doctor says to stay alive, do it and keep stayin’ alive!

o    If God freed you from the slavery of anxiety, depression, no self-acceptance, cruelty, etc. that lead you to a lifestyle of a thief, murderer, adulterer, or whatever-er, stay free, protect  the miracle as others are watching to see if  you continue in victory.  In addition, for sure stay alive.

o    If God healed you of a sickness or injury, do your best with His help to stay healthy, the devil wants to stop you and will try. Personally, I was healed of a neck injury years ago.  It may sound silly, but I still go out of my way to not have the injury return. 

o    I was miraculously saved from dying of a stroke.  I now have the task of doing everything I can, and already some of it is expensive and time consuming.  The docs want me to do some things that are very risky and causes great fear, especially for my wife,  to Stay Alive. 

The Apostle Paul’s near last written words to the churches simply tell us that we are only on earth because of God’s Grace, so live it well.

“Grace (God’s undeserved favor) be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with undying and incorruptible love.” Ephesians 6:24 Amp

 Our time can come at any moment, so why worry about when that will be.  In this simple but extremely profound line from Paul, he hits the word Grace.  It means we should be grateful and in a constant state of praising God for what He did for us, undeserving as we are.  Worship Him often, love Him with all your heart as much He loved you enough to do a miracle and save you! 

With that high note that comes from being loved and knowing it, our job is to love everyone as Jesus did – without corruption.  Corrupted love is doing ministry for fame and power, for money, to take advantage of people, to seek vengeance for your past disguised as ‘tough love,’ and prove how great you are.  No!  Do incorruptible love.  Tell truth. Bring healing.  Do Good.  Tell people about the miracles God has allowed you to partake in or even performed directly for you.

Instead of merely living a day to make the most of it for yourself, live it with purpose as if it is the very last day you will be here.  Make all relationships and conversations ones as if they are your last words like Paul ended his words delivered to the Ephesians.  Respond as Jesus did while dying on the cross in the worst of circumstances – He recited out loud the thanksgiving and praise Psalm – Psalm 22.  Even while dying He worshipped God the Father.

Do it with undying incorruptible love and keep Stayin’ Alive!!!!

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