Showing posts from August, 2013

Time to be free for good!

How many of us can really say we have excellent "stick-to-it" determination at the beginning of a project or task?  Most of us, right?  We don't usually start out a task with "I don't think this is worth finishing, but I'll start it".  In fact, we usually will say something like, "This is a big task, it may take me more than one day to accomplish, but nothing ventured, nothing gained."  Freedom is often the result of determination.  If you have spoken with a former of prisoner of war, they will share the things they held onto in their minds, hearts, and spirits which helped them make it through till their release.  If you have ever spoken to someone who has escaped in these circumstances, you will hear of the tremendous determination and doggedness required to carve out the tunnel, find the break in the wall, or similar.  You know, I think true freedom is based on how determined we are to get and keep the truth inside us.   “If you stick with

What's eating at you?

Too many times we allow anxiety and worry to be the "governing" factors in our lives.  My mom is a good "worrier".  We always used to say if she had nothing to worry about she'd worry about not worrying about something. Truth be told, many of us worry about stuff God already has dealt with, is taking care of behind the scenes, or just doesn't really want us focusing on in the first place.  Essentially, when we worry, we are putting our trust in something very untrustworthy, or have already done so.  Now, I am going to say something a little weird here, so pay attention - worry has a "spiritual" root to it.  Most of us would think of it having a "natural" root, but essentially, when we engage in the practice of worry, we are really admitting our resource is in something or someone other than Jesus.  Therefore, worry has a "spiritual" root - one which we need to get hold of!  Anytime there is misplaced trust, we will have worry.  

Ugh! Another redo!

My daughter writes a blog about crafting.  As part of her blog, she takes numerous photos, posting the "how-to" images for those who might like to make something she has created.  It is a tremendous blog.  A few years ago when she undertook this endeavor, she began the process of posting these photos without realizing how much "space" they would occupy in her storage, the advantages to various forms of "naming" the photos, etc.  She didn't know what she didn't know.  Ever been there?  I think we all have.  Yesterday, she posted something about the hours and hours of work it was taking to "archive" her posts / photos and the necessary work of renaming some of them in order to aid in those interested in "searching" for various projects.  Obviously, she was frustrated with the "re-investment" of time this was taking - time which could have been spent engaging in other creative work.  I quickly messaged her back a short an

A culture of love

We encounter Jesus in all different ways, but the "easiest" way to encounter him is through the life of another.  Whenever we see and feel Jesus "lived out" through the life of a human being, we connect to him in a manner which we can really wrap our heads around.  One of the hopes Jesus had when he left his disciples on this earth to go back to living with his Father in heaven was the idea of close, intimate fellowship with other believers.  He knew the power of this closeness - the strength in the "numbers", so to speak.  For this fellowship to be really, really good, we need to remember it involves a couple of things like unity, partnership, and participation.  Try to get anything done where there is a lack of unity, a working in silos, or a simple lack of disregard for another and you don't get very far.  In the most literal sense, Jesus showed his disciples the cycle of believing and belonging.  There is something which stems from our beliefs - i

Another call into the "yet unknown"?

How many of us can say we are "goal-directed" individuals?  If you have any bent toward being a Type-A personality, then you might just engage in this goal-setting more than you realize.  Too many of us rely upon the "checklists" we create as a means of keeping us "on task".  Why?  Mostly because our minds are too filled with "stuff" to keep on task without them!  Sometimes the hardest goals we have are the one God is after in our lives.  Why?  Simply because they are often revealed in the test or the trial (the challenges), not in the "lists".  In Genesis 12, Abraham is asked by God to pick up and leave his entire "known world" - his country, his home, and his family - in search of a country God would show him.  Most of us have lost the "pioneer" spirit quite some time ago, but whenever you set out in a direction which points to the "not known" or "not yet known", you are a course often establish

Dwelling or Indwelt?

Two things identified in scripture really have more to do with the recipient than the giver - love and forgiveness.  You might even add a third - grace. These three things are actually given away - they require a giver and a receiver.  For anything given to have value, the receiver must view it in the light it is given.  For example, you may give me a few pennies.  Now, to me, pennies may not seem like a big deal, but if they were your last few pennies in this world, the significance of the gift is much different, isn't it?  From the vantage of the one giving them, they were giving their all.  From the vantage of the one receiving them, until they recognize the value from the giver's perspective they really don't value the gift as much as they should. Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be o

Bearing or casting?

Look up the word "worry" and you will find the first definition is the condition of tormenting YOURSELF.  In other words, worry is not something another "inflicts" on you, it is something your own mind brings you!  It may come as no surprise to you the twenty plus words which carry some similar meaning to "worry": anguish, apprehension, concern, doubt, fear, headache, misery, misgiving, pain, problem, uncertainty, uneasiness, woe, annoyance, care, disquiet, distress, disturbance, heartache, irritation, nagging, perplexity, pester, plague, torment, torture, vexation, and trial.  Wow!  Just look at all these words and then begin to evaluate just how many of these describe a condition of heart or mind which WE bring on ourselves and maintain by our own rehearsal of the thoughts! Worry weighs a person down;   an encouraging word cheers a person up.   (Proverbs 12:25 NLT) No wonder we end up feeling totally and completely "weighed down"!  It is qu

Modeled Behavior vs. Displayed Power

Some of us think issues which come up in life are really ours to deal with.  We set off in pursuit of the solution, almost without thinking - simply because we have "handled" it before, or we think we can handle it now.  We have the "power", but we lack something more important - the "love" behind the action. The trouble with this kind of "do it and get it done" mentality is our lack of enthusiasm for the task - and the lack of sensitivity to those who are affected in our "handling" the task!  If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.  (I Corinthians 13:2 MSG) There are many great points within this thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians, but one of the most salient is the idea of doing things, being in relationships, or giving ourselves to things without the love behind it.  We revea

Meet my other brother Larry....

Have you ever read a portion of scripture so many times, you just gloss over it because you think you are already "familiar" with it?  What happens is we tell our brains we already know the "story".  It is like when we asked mom or dad to read us the bedtime story for the 2,000th time!  We didn't need them to read it out loud because we could have just looked at the pictures and told THEM the story!  It wasn't that we memorized it - we remembered enough of the details to "tell the story".  I like to go back to some of my favorite portions of scripture frequently because they have challenged me, given me hope, set my thinking straight, etc.  I count on what happened before to give me something "new" this time around.  The most amazing thing about scripture - it almost always does this when we come with an open mind and a seeking heart! God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of

Past invading your Present?

Someone once told me the enemy of the present is our past.  In other words, we fight battles with our past more frequently than we fight battles with our present - but we do it in the "space" our present is suppose to occupy!  Chew on this one a little.  Our "present" has a purpose, but we occupy it with the things from our "past" which still gnaw at us.  I wonder just how much of the present we miss because we are so focused on the past?  The only thing changeable is the present - the past is forever just that - past.  Why then do we spend so much time focusing on it?   Now  God , don’t hold out on me,   don’t hold back your passion.   Your love and truth   are all that keeps me together.   When troubles ganged up on me,   a mob of sins past counting,  I was so swamped by guilt   I couldn’t see my way clear. More guilt in my heart than hair on my head,   so heavy the guilt that my heart gave out.  (Psalm 40:11-12 MSG) There are many reasons we are d

You don't deserve it, but...

Have you ever been faced with unwanted reactions from another - you present something and then you almost immediately get a reaction back which is out of proportion to what you requested?  How about saying or asking something and then finding out someone is talking behind your back about what you said?  If you are living and breathing on planet earth, you probably have experienced some kind of reaction from another, good or bad, which you somehow felt was just not what you'd thought you'd receive.  It is part of human nature to somehow be a little less agreeable at times.  We aren't always as sympathetic to another's position as we probably should be.  We sometimes exhibit behavior far from compassionate - almost bordering on disinterested and/or totally judgmental.  What we do with these reactions when we receive them often determines what the course of the relationship will become.  Reject them.  Form walls which separate and drive away intimacy.  Give into their nega

Junk drawers beware!

I remember hearing my pastor teach about what we model vs. what we say. It goes without saying, we often model something different from what we say. The "modeling" we "do" is sometimes louder than the "modeling" we give in the form of advice, shared knowledge, etc.  Wisdom is the application of knowledge - wisdom is "modeled" knowledge.  If you have ever begun a project like spring cleaning your junk cabinet or drawer, you will appreciate this illustration. When you clean the first cabinet, rearranging all the stuff which haphazardly finds its way into the shelves over the course of the year, changing the shelf paper to freshen up the look, and close the first cabinet door, you soon remember there are twenty or so other cabinets which need to receive all the stuff you took out of the first which did not belong!  You go onto the second one, not just content to put the stuff in there in no particular order, but you undertake the same venture with t