I never thought of that

Children-cookingRemember when you’d be asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  For some of us, people are still asking us that question decades after our pre-teen years.

I vaguely remember answering that I wanted to be a chef or pilot.  Then came the days where being a songwriter and a rock star were all I could think of.

If you’ve ever eaten my cooking you’ll know I’m not a chef, the closest I’ve ever gotten to flying a plane was to sit just behind the cockpit. The dream of stardom and writing hit songs died at some undefined moment.

Looking back on those many decades I’ve experienced things I could have never imagined.  Like so many of you, there have been times of elation and seasons of tragedy.  There are also countless days that seemed “average” but, were filled with potential to be truly great.

The big lesson for me today is to find and dwell in that sweet spot of gratitude mixed with awe and wonder.  This isn’t so much a matter of intellect or information but experiencing life in all of its fulness today.

It is easier to relax into each moment when I lay as a foundation a deep acknowledgement of just how great and good God is.  He has revealed Himself to me in ways that are unmistakable.   He has done for me what I never could have done for myself.

I love the promise that God makes when He says, “Seek me with all your heart and you will truly find me”.  He’s not hiding from us, but inviting us to come up to Him.  To look beyond what you can ask or think.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 NASB

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Slow progress

Feb2013snowWe woke up to a lot of snow Saturday, February 9, 2013 in the Northeast.  My first thought was to clear a path for our dog to get outside because that’s where I wanted him to do his thing.  Then I looked at our cars and started making a path towards them and around them while I cleared them off.  I had my iPod going and listened to great teaching and the current songs we’re singing at church.  That was just phase one.  There was still the driveway, walkways and the roof to clear.  It’s Monday morning and I’m still not really “done”.

During all of this I started to think about how long it takes to break ground, plant seed and harvest a crop.  My mind also drifted back to the nine months we experienced waiting for each child to be born.  Expanding this out a bit, I remembered first learning a musical instrument and how many years it took to be able to improvise.

This was an important process for me to go through.  Some of the issues in our lives seem so pressing that we lose perspective.  I like the motto, “This too shall pass” as it keeps me in a place where I can accept what’s going on and press on with the life I’ve been given to live. It was also great to find a place of gratitude for all of the progress that has been made over the years.  Sometimes we forget that as well.

The Scriptures are filled with various names for God.  I’m especially drawn to the Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End.  He is eternal and unchanging.  Think about that for a moment.  This is the rock of our salvation.  He is the ever present help in times of trouble.  The past, present and future are in His hands.  Relax in His everlasting arms.

2 Peter 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

Debatable

There were some things I remember my father being pretty certain about. Duracell batteries were the best. Ford cars are not reliable. Miller beer gives you a headache. Elvis Presley couldn’t sing. As far as Dad was concerned, these were truths born out of his experience. Some of his opinions shaped my own.

I worked at Duracell and learned that while all batteries weren’t identical, the device you use the battery in can determine how well it will perform. I never owned a Ford so, I have no opinion there. Miller beer did give me a headache and so did many others. And Elvis, well I choose not to say what I think there. 🙂

While we may be opinionated about a lot of things, God is more interested in where your heart is than anything else. This one truth has changed my way of looking at things. I am more interested in pleasing Him than winning an argument.

God is always right. He is always just and true. He has offered you His life and His heart. Put down that gun.

Proverbs 21:2 People may be right in their own eyes,
but the Lord examines their heart.

Finding your place

As a young kid, I used to be very insecure. Somewhere in my teens I looked for a way to be accepted. Sometimes it was through healthy things like working hard at music. I had hoped to “make it” someday and leave a mark on the world for centuries.

This morning I’m thinking of all that I have to get done and someone jumps in the shower before me. My first inclination is to be frustrated and angry. Then, I remember how that has never served me well so, I try to make the best of the situation.

When the actions of people in my lie dictates my serenity I realize I’m in the wrong spiritual place. I’m learning to accept the things I cannot change and to change the things I can. God gives us the wisdom to know the difference.

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Jesus demonstrated humility by entering humanity and suffering at the hands of men. He knew this was coming and humbly submitted Himself to the plan of redemption. Now He sits at the right hand of the Father in glory.

James 4:6-8 But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say,
“God opposes the proud
but favors the humble.”
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

Hold on

How many times have you watched a movie where someone is hanging on by their fingernails from some precipitous height hoping to be rescued? If you’re like me, the tension you feel watching these scenes has been diminished by seeing them so often. You just sort of know how things are going to turn out.

We’ve all been faced with very difficult times in our lives. Holding on to God’s promises can be very trying when you’re staring at your ugly circumstance. Yet, God does not lie. What He promises He does. Sometimes, all I need to do is look at the evidence of my life to see just how good God is. The surest way to be rescued is to hang on until the end.

Abraham and Sarah were promised a child and at the age of 100 still hadn’t received that bundle of joy. Abraham is credited as righteous because he believed God could and would do whatever He promised. No one can live by faith for you. This is your choice, your decision. Trust the One who is trustworthy.

Romans 4:16-25
New Living Translation (NLT)
So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.

Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.

Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.

Out of gas

My brother once told me a story of driving home one night only to discover his gas tank was reading empty. So, he prayed continually for the rest of the trip home and was amazed at how he had driven all the way with no gas left, just a prayer.

This weekend we had a very busy schedule from Friday night through Sunday afternoon. When I finally got home yesterday I crashed from exhaustion. Later on, I was irritable and didn’t handle a certain conversation in a very loving way. I woke up today regretting that interaction.

My first cigarette left my squeamish. My first night of drinking had me vomiting. Our body tells us what’s good for us but, we often don’t listen. I needed rest this weekend and I kept going to my own harm. Will today be any different?

LORD, I want to live at your pace.

Matthew 11:28-30 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Trust God above all else

Isaiah 40:26-31

Look up into the heavens.
Who created all the stars?
He brings them out like an army, one after another,
calling each by its name.
Because of his great power and incomparable strength,
not a single one is missing.
O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?
O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?
Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

Psalm 20:7-8

Some nations boast of their chariots and horses,
but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.
Those nations will fall down and collapse,
but we will rise up and stand firm.