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Showing posts from June, 2016

Learning vs. being taught

It was Winston Churchill who once said, "I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught." Boy, isn't that the truth! I like learning new things, but there are a whole lot more times I resist being taught more than I'd like to admit! Life is full of teachable moments, but not all of us are great at actually engaging with the moments. According to scripture, a good student is one who "closely observes" and then "follows instructions".  A good student will not only follow instructions, but he will observe so as to emulate or "reproduce" the behavior / actions of the one he is observing. I like watching those cooking shows on TV, but do you know how many of those recipes I actually make?  Zero!  I don't even come close!  What they do provide for me is a seed thought of how I might make or use something differently than I had in the past.  Oftentimes, this is a means of learning we may not really count on happeni…

Cling isn't accidental

Because he clings to Me in love,I will rescue him from harm;I will set him above danger.  Because he has known Me by name, He will call on Me, and I will answer.  I’ll be with him through hard times; I’ll rescue him and grant him honor.  I’ll reward him with many good years on this earth and let him witness My salvation.  (Psalm 91:14-16 VOICE)

These are God's words - his promises to keep us safe, rescue us when we are about to slip into some harmful pursuit, and to be attentive to our voice as we cry out to him in the honesty and integrity of heart willing to be open to him. They are words of commitment to those of commitment.  Nowhere does God say, "If you get it ALL right, I will be there for you."  In fact, these words imply something quite different, for we come upon harm, realize danger, finding ourselves needing to call out for rescue, and even counting on him for the extension of our days because we are not always in the right place, doing the right thing, open to…

Did I just paint myself into another corner?

"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn."  (Harriet Beecher Stowe)  There is many a tight place in this world, isn't there?  Where I might find myself "confined" in a tight space, you might not - it all relevant to the individual in that particular predicament.  It is often more of what we do, who we turn to, and how we choose to manage those tight spaces which will determine just how easily we are going to be "released" from them!

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone; my salvation comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my deliverance, my citadel high on the hill; I will not be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2 VOICE)

Once in a while I like to turn to these shows which highlight those who have chosen to "live off the grid" in remote parts of Alaska.  I used to live in Anchorage,…

Don't lecture me

I saw a quote once that remarked about our parents having taught us everything we know. The problem stipulated in the quote was that those same parents didn't teach us everything THEY knew! This is so true of parenting - we teach our kids and teach them again - only to realize somewhere down the road we haven't remembered to teach them something we learned at some earlier point in our lives. As a grandparent, one of the advantages I have is that of being "quieter" in my living - able to observe with a power of insight I didn't take the time to stop to share when I was younger. As a parent, I was busy, busy, busy - especially since I was doing this alone! Now that I am a grandparent, it is as though I can just enjoy the time I have with the grandchildren without having all those external factors weighing in on me - at least most of the time!

Teach a child how to follow the right way; even when he is old, he will stay on course. (Proverbs 22:6 VOICE)

I used to th…

Take a stand - for love

Winston Churchill once said, "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." He also said, "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."  Jesus said, "Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others." (John 13:34-35)  As good as it is to "take a stand", it is far better to stand in such a way you actually draw others to the one who demonstrated love for all of mankind. As good as it is to be courageous, taking the lead and being the hero, it is far better to know those you are leading in a deep and genuine way.

The Great Preacher of peace and love came for you, and His voice found those of you who were near and those who were far away.  By Him both have access to the Father in one Sp…

Make those moments

"You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)  I used to have a teacher who frequently reminded us, "There is no time like the present", especially when giving us a big assignment or sending us on our way to discover things we were studying firsthand.  In essence, he was reminding us of the desire to put off what needs to be done today and how much that impacts the benefit out of what it is we could realize if we just did it.  I have never been a big procrastinator, liking to just "get er done", unless the project ahead of me was just way too big for me and I was a little more than uncertain about how to tackle it.  There is some room for "pre-planning" and getting oneself in a position or posture to tackle what lies ahead, but when that "pre-work" gets in the way of us moving at all, it isn't good! 
Whoever pursues justice and treats others with kindness discovers true l…

Doing more than enduring

"Sometimes you get to what you thought was the end and you find it's a whole new beginning." (Anne Tyler as seen on www.facebook/tobymac) 

This is so true - we think we finally make it to the "end" of something only to find a new door opening where one is closing, another roller-coaster loop to traverse just when we thought we were done with "all that fun", or something totally unexpected and phenomenal that wows us and leaves us breathless in awe.  We might have even uttered the oft familiar words, "When will this ever end," and hoped with all our might for some resolution to come quickly. What we are wishing for is just for some "break" so we can catch our breath again.  We know the pressures will come again because as sure as we count on the peace, there is more of whatever gives us grief somewhere lurking just ahead!  Some authors will tell you as one book comes to an end for them and it is finally sent to the presses for public…

I need a little shoring up

Be strong and brave, and don’t tremble in fear of them, because the Eternal your God is going with you. He’ll never fail you or abandon you!  (Deuteronomy 31:6 VOICE)

Moses was about to "pass the baton" to Joshua, and in preparing for his leaving of this earth, as well as the future leadership of the Israelite nation, Moses gives final instructions to carry on without fear.  Great armies, vast in number and strong in "fighting force" would stand in their way, but greater forces would rear their ugly heads most of them knew nothing about.  Forces like stubborn pride, unyielding discontent, and unbridled lust.  Forces which indeed, if unchecked quickly, would lead to their fall as a nation.  I think Moses had a foreshadowing of this, since one of the very last things he did while on this earth was the recording of the words given to him by God so they could be brought out long after he had gone as a reference and reminder of all God required and promised. Charles Stan…

What are you losing?

What are you losing by chasing what you are chasing?  Some of the time we chase stuff we think will "enhance" our relationships - like dream vacations, that next level at our job, or even all the sports games we can possibly enroll our kids in.  Most of us would benefit from someone helping us to just sort things out so we could see which ones will actually make some positive impact in our relationships before we get too far down the road.  In order for the advice of any adviser to actually "stick" in our lives, we have to believe it is more "valid" than the direction we have been taking up to this point.  We have to trust the adviser to steer us in the right direction - not just to give us a plethora of choices.

Really, what profit is there for you to gain the whole world and lose yourself in the process?
(Mark 8:36 VOICE)

We chase, but do we consider the cost before we set out on the chase?  We desire a bigger home, but do we consider the upkeep, taxes, fu…

Time to just share...

Look, all of you are flawed in so many ways, yet in spite of all your faults, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to all who ask!  (Luke 11:13 VOICE)

Jesus just didn't mince words when he addressed his disciples or the religious leaders of the day.  He was approached one day by his disciples, just after he had finished praying.  Their request - teach us to pray the way you pray.  His instruction - get close to my Father and just share with him.  In essence, he points them first to the importance of the relationship - for all good communication really starts with the relationship.  Then he turns them to the specifics of the types of things we might want to bring to God as we communicate with him in an attitude of prayer.  It isn't so much that we kneel, raise our hands, or even than we remember all the "dear God" phrases.  It is that we open our hearts so we begin to bond in relationship with t…

You following me?

Those who live right are good guides to those who follow,but wrongdoers will steer their friends down the wrong path.  (Proverbs 12:2 VOICE)

"A blessed thing it is for any man or woman to have a friend, one human soul whom we can trust utterly, who knows the best and worst of us, and who loves us in spite of all our faults." (Charles Kingsley)  I doubt there are too many of us who actually want to make someone go down a path where harm awaits them. We might see a particularly calloused and hardened criminal, thinking they have done such atrocious things, but do we want to see them take others down that path with them?  No, we want to turn them away from those choices in order to help them see there is a different set of choices they could be making.  We want to be the kind of friend who will be a "good guide for those who follow".

I saw one of those posts this morning wherein someone was expressing something they felt deeply.  The post simply read: "The person w…

Be still, get calm, really see, & finally understand

“Be still, be calm, see, and understand I am the True God. I am honored among all the nations. I am honored over all the earth.” (Psalm 46:10 VOICE) Stillness isn't always part of our days, is it?  In fact, most of us don't take time to recognize that the trees have grown absolutely still, without any evidence of even the slightest breeze ruffling their leaves. We don't even miss the sweet songs of the tiny birds until someone calls it to our attention. In the stillness of those moments there is usually something "brewing" - hence we get the term the "calm before the storm".  Ranchers, farmers, and those who work in the outdoors have learned to pay close attention to a change in the weather which comes with a very eerie stillness simply because they know it could be building into something they will be having to do significant clean up after if they aren't adequately prepared.  Maybe we'd do well to pay attention to the times God purposefully &q…

Do or wait?

People go about making their plans,but the Eternal has the final word.  Even when you think you have good intentions, He knows your real motives. Whatever you do, do it as service to Him,and He will guarantee your success. (Proverbs 16:1-3 VOICE)

Not every plan is a good one.  Heaven knows I have had a good few which just didn't pan out the way I'd hoped!  More than once I have had to go back to square one and start again, not because I didn't have what I believed to be "good plans", but because my plans didn't factor in something along the way. At times, I lay in bed awake at night and think of ways I could make something better.  I have limited space to create a workshop space for myself without building another free-standing shed in the back yard.  Last night was one of those nights I was laying there trying to think of ways to keep storage in the garage, but also give myself some surface space to work on larger projects. I was thinking of a "Murphy st…

Prep matters

There are two paths before you; you may take only one path. One doorway is narrow. And one door is wide. Go through the narrow door. For the wide door leads to a wide path, and the wide path is broad; the wide, broad path is easy, and the wide, broad, easy path has many, many people on it; but the wide, broad, easy, crowded path leads to death. Now then that narrow door leads to a narrow road that in turn leads to life. It is hard to find that road. Not many people manage it.  (Matthew 7:13-14 VOICE)

Do you know anyone who walks so close to the line that they are actually trying to straddle the line?  I used to jump up on any surface like a curb, short block fence, or even a log across a river just to see if I could make it across without falling off.  It was like being on a balance beam - really requiring focus and attention to where or how you planted your next footstep. I even used to jump up on the beam in gym class because of my fascination with it.  When the "beam" was …

Don't see the glitz

"Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too." (Will Smith)  We live in a world of people - everywhere we look, we are surrounded by people, of all walks of life, all manner of beliefs, with a full range of ideas, hopes, and disappointments.  We don't inhabit this earth alone - no matter how far we go to isolate ourselves, or how introverted we become - people are still going to be living life on this earth with us.  It behooves us to find ways to understand their hearts, see their hurts, appreciate their struggles, and to  invite them into our lives rather than pushing them further and further away from it.  We don't have to understand all of the other person's challenges, choices, or commitments in order to understand they are created beings struggling to find their way just as we are.

Those who have understanding hearts hunger after knowledge, bu…

Avoiding continual recalculation

I will praise the Eternal in every moment through every situation. Whenever I speak, my words will always praise Him. When I needed the Lord, I looked for Him; I called out to Him, and He heard me and responded. He came and rescued me from everything that made me so afraid.  (Psalm 34:1,4 VOICE)

In every moment - through every situation.  IN suggests while being fully immersed in the moment.  THROUGH connotes there will be an end to it, even though we may not see it immediately. I know from my own experience, some things just seem to hang on and on, never really appearing as though they will ever come to an end.  As I come to this realization, I have to recount these words - not everything will end as quickly as we may like it to end, but God is with me THROUGH it, while I am IN it, and therefore, I will be able to endure it.  I just need to learn how to navigate IN it so I am able to see my way THROUGH it to the other side.
Navigation is half the battle.  To navigate just means we h…