Showing posts from May, 2012

A little weeding time

Have you ever observed just how easily weeds grow and how terribly much work tending a garden seems to require?  It just does not seem fair at how easily the weeds sprout up all over the place, while coaxing one rose bush to bloom requires dead-heading, careful watering, and regular fertilizing.  A typical lawn may require hundreds of dollars a year just in "weed-preventer" chemicals!  What is up with all these weeds? God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, " He throws caution to the winds,  giving to the needy in reckless abandon.  His right-living, right-giving ways  never run out, never wear out."   This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy i

Running to, or running away?

Distress - great pain, sorrow, or anxiety - it is the condition of such acute pain or suffering which is characterized by our extreme need.  When we think of distress, we often think of something which "drives" us to do something we might not otherwise have considered.  In fact, there are two paths we take in our distress - the one ends in further misfortune, the other in seeking help for a way out.   Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.  (2 Corinthians 7:10 The Message) Paul lays it out quite well for us in this passage - distress that drives us to God turns us around.  It "rights" our focus and gets us on the right path again.  In fact, no other "solution" for our distress will ever bring us the satisfaction and peace God affords as we bring it to

Thrill-seekers unite!

I have never been too excited to ride a roller-coaster.  In fact, I'd stay and watch as others enjoyed the "thrill" of the ride.  Why?  There is just something about sailing at speeds I have absolutely no control over which makes me stop to consider the risk!  If I have no control of the speed at which the thing carries me, then I have no control over when it stops, either.  In other words, I am out of control. You're addicted to thrills? What an empty life!  The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied . (Proverbs 21:7 The Message) There are some people "addicted" to the thrills life offers.  They live for the moment.  The problem with being a thrill-seeker is found in understanding why we seek the thrill - the immediate emotional response which produces excitement.  The issue is not in the emotion it eludes - but in the reality of the emotions being  only  for a moment in time compared to the span of time we call "life".  Thrill is produced by

The stirring of my heart

If you have ever been in love, you might understand what I am about to say - no one else captivates your attention quite the same as the one you hold in such closeness in your heart.  Even if you have never been "in love" with that special man or woman in your life, you likely understand this statement - where the heart is, there is your focus.  Over the past several days, I have felt God directing me to focus on the heart.  As most may recognize, to teach, one has to be taught.  Therefore, if you are picking up on anything in my blog, you are likely to know God is continually dealing with my heart.  In turn, he is dealing with my focus.  How about your focus?  Is he dealing with yours, too? Your profile turns all heads,  commanding attention.   The feelings I get when I see the high mountain ranges —stirrings of desire, longings for the heights— remind me of you,  and I'm spoiled for anyone else!  (Song of Solomon 5:7 The Message) I love this passage because it speak

The devil is in the details!

How many times have we heard the idiom, "The devil is in the details"?  Did you ever realize the origin of this idiom actually went:  "God is in the detail"?  Quite a difference, huh?  There is more than one difference here - do you see it?  First, the biggest is God vs. the Devil.  But...look at the subtle differences.  With the devil, it is the "details" (plural) which is the focus.  With God, the word is "detail" (singular).  This is not a mis-type.  It is the original form.  I wonder if the devil gets us so wrapped up in the details so we will miss the detail God is intending for our present focus?  One of the most recent forms of this idiom is:  "The truth, if it exists, is in the details".  Maybe you don't get very excited by understanding the origin of the various idioms we use so freely, but when we stop long enough to examine them, we see some interesting stuff.  With this in mind, let's launch into our scripture:

It is time for the news!

In today's electronic age, we seldom resort to "snail mail" as a means of keeping in touch with others in our lives.  I am quite guilty of this myself.  It is not that I have lost the ability to write a letter, place a stamp on it, and walk it to the mailbox.  It is the "immediacy" of email and instant messaging which makes it all the more appealing to me.  In the past, the "news" we'd share about changes in our lives would come via the postal service, arriving to the recipient days after the "news" was indeed "news".  In the military, we had mail call.  It was a time when we'd all gather around in hopes of one link to home in the form of a small envelope filled with "news" and maybe even a little token of love.  In turn, our loved ones would hurry to the mailbox when they'd see the familiar mailman's truck passing by.  We all want to know the "news" of another's life. Does it sound like we

What's growing in your pitri dish?

In a sense, all of us have experienced the best and worst at times.  Moments when it just seems you will burst with excitement leave you feeling totally encouraged.  Then, almost without notice, another moment comes, bringing weight seemingly beyond your ability to carry it.  I have no idea why life has to be so much like a "pendulum" swinging this way and then the other at times.  With the highs and lows come opportunities.  We are given new insights into the tremendous blessings we have in life.  We are also given insights into the "old habits" we "count on" to get us through.  Sometimes, the old habits are more of a hindrance than a benefit. All of you, slave and free both, were once held hostage in a sinful society. Then a huge sum was paid out for your ransom. So please don't, out of old habit, slip back into being or doing what everyone else tells you. Friends, stay where you were called to be. God is there. Hold the high ground with him at yo

Words of the Heart

What makes you stand out from another in a crowd?  Lately, I have been observing all kinds of things which make folks stand out.  Things like those into multiple body piercings - loops dangling here and there, chains connecting this to that, and studs outlining their facial features like eyeliner. Okay - it makes a statement, but not the one I want to make.  Then there are the ones who clamor for the latest of fashions - skirts shorter this year, towering on six inch spikes of death (better known as "heels"), and gargantuan purses truly capable of accommodating the proverbial kitchen sink.  Again - not my cup of tea.  So, what is it we desire to have on display? Is it our fashion sense?  Is it our need to be noticed?  Is it the "shock-factor" we give our onlookers?   A wise person gets known for insight;  gracious words add to one's reputation. (Proverbs 16:21 The Message) Solomon offers us one insight into our "display" - get known for your insigh

A little too close for comfort!

Most of us have never experienced the type of persecution which lands us in jail for our testimony of Christ.  In fact, many of my readers actually luxuriate each day in our "comfort" of living in a country which promotes religious freedom.  Over recent months, I have observed the largest percentage of my readers shifting from the US and Canada to some of the countries where religious freedom may not be as available - such as Russia, Slovania, Indonesia, India, and Saudi Arabia.  In fact, the most "hits" have come from Russia over the past 60 days.  I can only praise God for the expansive audience the internet allows!   A few days later Felix and his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish, sent for Paul and listened to him talk about a life of believing in Jesus Christ. As Paul continued to insist on right relations with God and his people, about a life of moral discipline and the coming Judgment, Felix felt things getting a little too close for comfort and dismissed him.

Strip down!

Our pastor recently asked us to keep this passage before us as a reminder of the fact we all run a race.  As he shared, some run a direction all of their own choosing, but the run alone.  As a believer in Christ, we run in a race alongside the greatest runner of all times - Christ himself.  If having his example (pace-setting) before us was not enough, he left us with a huge crowd of "models" who also ran the race and won.  We can learn much by considering how they ran. Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in

May I have a word with you?

If you have ever found yourself thinking, "I wish I hadn't said that", you are probably in good company.  Most of us have experienced some moment of remorse over poorly chosen words.  We just had no idea of the impact they'd make when they were actually spoken. Irresponsible talk makes a real mess of things,  but a reliable reporter is a healing presence.  (Proverbs 13:17 The Message) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  (Philippians 4:8 King James Version) Well, now this certainly says it all!  I discovered this topic has some of the most content in looking up passages about "words", "speech", and "communication" in the scripture.  Since we all probably find ourselves in the category of "irr

A Driver's Education Moment

In high school, I took the infamous Driver's Education course.  For quite some time we sat behind the banks of simulators, working through various scenarios we might encounter on the roadway.  Before we could get behind the wheel of a real automobile, we were exposed to various "tests" of our responses, awareness of danger, etc.  When we finally got behind the wheel of the Driver's Education vehicle, it was an ominously important step!  We were DRIVING!  But...guess what?  There were two steering wheels, two sets of brakes, and two accelerators!  So, in actuality, if we weren't driving "well", our instructor could "take over control" of the vehicle - overriding what we were doing in order to keep us safe! Real help comes from  God .  Your blessing clothes your people!  (Psalm 3:8 The Message)   I would like us to imagine our life today in a similar manner.  We all have some "simulator" training - then the "real deal" co

Unlimited spending!!!!

My daughter recently posted a silly little question on Facebook.  She asked why she could not have unlimited spending at two of her favorite shopping hangouts.  One of her friends posted back:  "Well, the Bible says, 'Give and it shall be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together and running over.'  Start buying me lots of stuff and you will be crazy blessed!"  Now, I know this was a humorous response to silly question, but I liked the idea it prompted in my mind about today's blog!   Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It's way over our heads. We'll never figure it out.   Is there anyone around who can explain God?   Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do?   Anyone who has done him such a huge favor  that God has to ask his advice?  Everything comes from him;  Everything happens through him;   Everything ends up in him.  Always glory! Always praise!    Yes. Yes. Yes. (Romans 11

Not another "stay-cation"!

It is almost the end of the school season and many families are beginning to make their plans for summer vacations.  Some will choose to laze around the lake, taking in nature in all its beauty.  Others will head for far away family, renewing the bonds and memories which the miles have imposed in their separation.  Yet, others will clamor for the long lines of the amusement parks and thrill of riding the latest rides.  Whatever the location, the purpose of the time is "to get away" from today's hassles and to enjoy some time in a moment of "escape".  I daresay, we "leave" in order to "renew".  Some will use this break from school as a time to pick up family and belongings, moving to a totally new place in the country.  Jobs, family demands, or other opportunities influencing their decision to "move on". So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we've left the country where sin is so