It’s almost Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving – The day of the year that we all stop for a brief moment (long enough to eat a huge meal), and spend time with family. What could be wrong with that?

Well, many families look forward to the get together, but almost all people dread that one person, or that one thing that will be said or done, and perhaps ruin the whole day. But why? It’s a ritual, a tradition, maybe a habit that seems to happen every year – and it just wrecks the whole day for everyone.

This year, I ask you to look past that. Look instead to the positives!

If we consider a larger event, say 2000 years ago, Jesus didn’t dread what His Father would do when He was on the cross. Jesus knew that He had a job to do: to pay a penalty we could not afford. He knew that His Father had a plan, He knew His Father would turn away from Him, yet Jesus still stood proud and did it.

Sure, He was dismayed at first, and prayed fervently almost all night that there would be another way, but in the end, I believe He knew that there was no other way. And when it came time to be Thankful, He gave all Thanks and Glory to God, for He knew that God the Father had a better and bigger plan than what He could pray for.

He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. – John 19:30

So, this year, don’t dread that obnoxious Uncle with rude body sounds or that mustache-lipped Aunt with snide comments about how fat you’re getting…, instead, use the joy in your heart that Jesus provided to allow you to enjoy your Thankful weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Fire Evacuation plan!

I’ve learned a great deal about building code as I finish my basement. But one thing that I’ve learned above all is that the code is there for our protection. It’s not meant to punish the electrician, the plumber, or anyone else. And it’s not just there to protect the home owner from shoddy work.

It’s there for specific safety reasons to protect our lives and our property.

Take for example, the amount of wires that are allowed to be inside a junction box behind your electric plug. There is a limit to how many wires can come in/out of that box to prevent overheating and reduce the risk of fire. It’s a safety regulation.

There are codes on how many nails should be in boards that hold your walls up. Even code on how and where to place windows. Specifically, there is a code to address the requirement for an exterior window or door from every bedroom in your house for evacuation in case of fire. Even a code on the minimum size of such window and the distance from the floor it must be!

So why is this important. Well, for safety, it’s the law. We must abide, because these are the constraints that experts have placed on how to construct houses in order to properly be protected.

There are even experts that remind us that we should have a Fire Evacuation Plan, describing where your family will meet in case of fire, an assembly point so to speak outside the home, and across the street.hell-fire-burns-for-eternity

Do you have a fire evacuation plan? Not just for your house, but for your life and your family’s life?

In this case, the plan consists of Jesus, and nothing else. He will protect us, not only in case of fire, but from the fire that is real and described quite dreadfully in Revelation.

There will be a day when we are all judged. That day will result in one of two outcomes: an eternal life in Heaven with Jesus, or an eternal death in the lake of fire. Which do you choose?

Make a plan today to save yourself through Jesus! He already showed us how, just accept Him and His plan for your eternal future.

Do you hear what I hear?

I know that I’m really rushing the season in this year, but for some reason, I’m already in the mood for Christmas. I guess it’s really a good thing though. It’s obviously better than being a “Bah Humbug”-er.

So with the onset of Christmas (yes, I’m not giving in, it’s here!), it’s time to sing Christmas songs! And one of those songs is Do you hear what I hear? by Carrie Underwood. Click link @ left to listen.

Said the night wind to the little lamb – do you see what I see? …
Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy – do you hear what I hear? …
Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king – do you know what I know? …
Said the king to the people everywhere, Listen to what I say….
“He will bring us goodness and light.”

And here we are, a people that have been told all these things. Why then, don’t we go about our lives telling others what we’ve heard, what we know, what we have seen Jesus do in our lives?

I’m just as guilty if not more guilty than you. So, how can we change?

Four!

golfGOLF: Not a game that I would ever play (I don’t think). Take a small ball, hit it as hard as you can, toward a little bitty flag hundreds of yards away, then chase it, find it on the green, or as I suspect mine would be: in the rough. Once you find it, Hit it again! Sounds like a great game for a dog, but not me. Fetch Fido!

Sorry if I’ve offended you. I just don’t get the “sport” in golf. However, there are many people that claim it’s relaxing, challenging, even fun. Whoa! Hold up.

So, what’s the point here? The bottom line is that just because I like (or don’t like something), that doesn’t mean everyone else will like it too.

The same is true for religion, or as I should say “Christianity.” More than likely you are a devout Christian if you are reading this blog. If not, then maybe you stumbled upon this site by accident. Either way, we need to all recognize that we are opinionated as humans.

We most always think our opinions are right, or we wouldn’t think that way. But despite what we think, we need to honor the opinions of others as well. In the US, we have freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, petition, bear arms, and freedom of religion. This specifically grants all US citizens the right to practice any religion we choose, or to practice no religion at all.

To that end, however, Jesus taught us very specifically that He is the way, the truth, and the life. Despite what the Constitution grants us as Americans, only Jesus can grant us entry into Heaven. And because of that, He has also given us the command to go and tell others about Him, in an attempt to save their life.

We do have to follow the law (that of the US which grants religious freedom to all), but also to follow Jesus’ commands which grants freedom only to those who accept Him. It is our responsibility to balance those constraints and freedoms properly. Who will you tell today about the ultimate freedom from slavery and freedom in Heaven with Jesus?

Singing in the snow…

Singing in the rain…I’m singing in the snow!

Oops, I guess that should be “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow.”

Today, I am returning from a week-long trip in Canada. And although it’s been cold all week, today when I arrived at the airport, it finally began to snow. And although it’s not expected to stick, it signifies that the end of the year is upon us.

As we age, we find that what older people tell us in life generally comes true.

One of those sayings is “Life sure does go by quickly!”

I think by age 30, the years start going quickly. And by the time you’re 40, the years are quickly passing by.

This year, I am trying to do my best to spend my life in more valuable ways, appreciating what God has done for us, and how He shows His love for us.MerryChristmas

Throughout this week, I enjoyed the beautiful nature views during my scenic drive across Canada. I enjoyed the wonderful music that God provided through talented musicians on the radio. And I enjoyed the blessings of technology as I got to see my family via smartphone every night even though I was over 1000 miles away.

There are so many things that God provides in life, that it’s just so hard to enjoy half of them. In fact, I don’t think we enjoy even 10% of God’s glorious gifts to us.

However, I’m thankful that this time of the year is upon us, because it serves to remind us of the most precious gift He ever gave, and that’s Jesus.

You may not be in the Christmas spirit yet, but it will be here before you know it. And I’m anxiously awaiting another celebration of Jesus’ birth. Merry Christmas!

Beautiful!

What do you want?

What will you do with it, if you get it?

And what do you have to give?

Beautiful by Dan Bremnes <click link @ left to listen>

Lord I give You everything
Anything You want from me
Take my past and my future
I lay it at Your feet

Yeah
I’m after Your heart
You’ve stolen mine
I give You my all ‘cause You gave up Your life
I’m not who I was
Simply because
Oh, You set me free

And You
Changed me from what I used to be
Opened my eyes
Now I can see
You’re making this life so beautiful
And You
Making me who I’m called to be
Rescued my heart
Now I am free
You’re making this life so beautiful
So beautiful

This interesting prayer to God is a great way to start your day!

Happy Veteran’s Day!

American Heroes IIIt’s Veteran’s Day? What does that mean? To many people, especially those that have lost a loved one in a foreign war, it’s a day to stop and reflect on that loved one’s loyalty to their country and to us, the people that they have protected.

To others who don’t honor our armed forces, they don’t see the value in respecting a soldier. However, as the poem below implies, “it is the soldier” that provides these freedoms to Americans that allow them to have opinions, even if they are wrong.

Take a moment today and thank a Veteran for their selfless service in protecting your life and freedom. After all, Christ gave His life so that you can have freedom.

It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.
Attributed to: Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army

13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. – Galatians 3:13-14

It’s Friday – TGIF!

TGIF – wow, that’s a term we hear pretty often, but do we really mean it? Are we truly thanking God for it being Friday, or are we just so thankful that the week is over, that we aren’t really thanking Him, but are just glad the weekend is here?

So many times in life I am guilty of saying “Thank God for….” I don’t know if you’ve been there, but sometimes that just comes out of my mouth out of habit – more than out of an appreciation to God that something has happened.

An example is “Thank God traffic wasn’t bad last night when I….”  – Did I really mean that?

Do we really acknowledge that He, “GOD,” is in charge and really over-seeing all these actions on earth?

so that from the rising of the sun
    to the place of its setting
people may know there is none besides Me.
    I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I form the light and create darkness,
    I bring prosperity and create disaster;
    I, the Lord, do all these things. – Isaiah 45:6-7

It’s so hard to comprehend sometimes that God IS in control. That it is HE that is causing things to happen. But Why?

Not “why is it hard to comprehend,” but “why does HE care to be involved in our lives” to that extent?

I think the simple answer is because He LOVES us! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t understand HOW He does all this: maintains the whole world, the interaction of man with man, man with animals, and man with nature, but I know He does.

And I think it’s because He wants us to feel His presence:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in His love He will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zeph 3:17

Therefore, the next time you say, or hear someone say, “Thank God…” or “TGIF” – let it remind you, and truly stop to Thank GOD!

let’s have a beer (really?)

Today, I had the opportunity to witness (that sounds bad, because we truly have EVERY opportunity, EVERY day to witness).

However, I wanted to relate this story because I think it may encourage some of you. And might help me improve my witness.

Today, I’m escorting a visitor from France (we’ll call him “Mr. French”). Another American here (we’ll call him Corey) joining me in meetings today asked Mr. French to dinner, and said, “let’s have a beer – I know all the good beer joints in town.” Mr. French seemed interested, commented positively, and then looked at me as if to say “will you be joining us?”

I politely replied that “I’ll be at church tonight, you’re welcome to join me” and then jokingly I added “I know all the good places to pray in town.” Obviously, this was met with some hesitation and quick reflection on their part.

While it may not have been the most appropriate comment from me, it also spurred further comments from them.

Mr. French replied “My god is always with me” while Corey said “my god doesn’t take attendance.”

Right now, I’m sitting here trying to figure out what God might have me to say next. I’ll be with each of these colleagues for the next 10 work hours. We’ll see where God takes this….

What do you think? Was this a good witness? Did it cause them to stop and think, or did it turn them away from God?

Choices….

Choices – you have an option! Whether you are playing a game, buying a car, or simply picking out clothes for the day, you have a choice on what happens next. Will you play a domino that best fits your strategy for offense, or play one as a defensive tactic? Will you buy or lease a new car, or continue to patch your old ragged, oil leaking vehicle that you bought in 1992? Will you refuse to wear white after Labor Day, or conform to the norm and follow fashion guidelines?

Despite how much we think we don’t have a choice, we have choices every day.

A good example is that old shirt that my wife hates to see me wear week after week to work. “You can’t wear that again, it’s 10 years old.” Despite my wife’s best effort to get me to be more fashion conscious, the true fact is that I CAN wear it again, and I will (against her well-intended better advice).

But Why? Not why will I wear it, but why do we sometimes think we must conform to societal accepted norms and behaviors?
As I recall, Jesus specifically objected to many of the cultural norms of the day. In fact, I’m pretty sure he wore the same garments every day, without worrying about what others might say. So WHY and HOW did our society change so much that things that we should have choices about, we now weigh in to what the world accepts before making a decision?

Another good example coming to everyone’s house soon will be during Christmas: the black Friday sales and Christmas rush to buy the most famous toy for the 2014 season. Will it be Lego Fusion? Razor Scooters? Or maybe retro-Firby? Captain America? How about Atari-4D? Will you get sucked into the mix and stand in line for hours just to make sure that your child will get that much desired Christmas list fulfilled?

I don’t know about you, but I feel myself being influenced WAY TO OFTEN by the world. I wonder, what can I DO that will change not just me, not just how others see me, but how can I influence others to stop being influenced by the world? I know, that’s probably a paradox in itself, but hopefully you understand where I’m coming from!

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2