Rocking Chair or Beanbag?

Which do you prefer? Which are you?

Before I elaborate on why I ask the question, let me explain that I love a good rocking chair. There are not many things better than sitting in a nice wooden rocking chair and rocking for what seems to be endless minutes, or maybe even hours. Anytime I find myself in a rocking chair, I instinctively begin rocking. I just like those chairs.

But when it comes to bean bags, they seem so versatile. They are soft, moldable, cozy, and nowadays even provide a little more support to sit upright if you so desire. You can mash them down or lay on top of them. The large ones are even great for cuddling up to your child or loved one. Bean bags just seem so adaptable that they can be used in a variety of seating positions.

Now – why do I blog on chairs? I’d like to compare ourselves to a chair. What kind of chair are you? Are you the rocking variety or the beanbag type?

God has a plan for each of us; He has plans for rocking chairs and beanbags. Rocking chairs seem a little rigid – not very flexible. They are great at what they are designed for, but a person can only use them for that one thing. Beanbags, on the other hand, kind of go with the flow – they’ll function however needed to suit a child’s (or adult’s) needs.

Do you allow God to mold you like a beanbag into the need He has at that moment? Or are you stiff like a rocking chair and insist that you only be used in one way?

It’s that time of the year when churches reach out for volunteers to help in the coming school year. The positions they have open may not suit what you believe is your talent, but don’t let that hold you back. Be a little beanbag-like, and allow God to mold you into something new this year!

trust in . . .

Today I had the opportunity to drive a new 2016 vehicle. Quite simply, it seemed to work the way any other car works today. Push a button, change gears, and off I go. But then….as I drive down the interstate, the music lowers, and “beep, Beep, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, Beep, beep,” then the music returned. A few miles down the road, and again: “beep, Beep, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, Beep, beep.” On and off every few miles, this beeping is driving me crazy, what is wrong with the car? Have I left the emergency break on? Is there a setting I forgot to change, or what?

Finally, I realize that the car has blind spot (BLIS) detectors – that must be it! Nope. The BLIS lights work fine, and then…. I realize the car is equipped with lane changing notification warning “beeps.” That’s great – but it sure would be nice if I knew ahead of time that crossing a line would cause the car to beep at me.

Several miles later, I get on a stretch of interstate and decide to use cruise control. Even cars from 20 years ago had that – that should be easy enough to use. I get to the optimal speed and hit the “set” button. No problem – I’ve got this new car thing all figured out!

As I drive down the interstate, I eventually get blocked in the right lane behind a slow moving truck, but before I have a chance to hit the brakes, my car has already begun to slow down. Did I hit the brakes without realizing it? No, the car has slowed to the exact pace as the one in front of me, and is keeping at a safe distance! When I’m no longer blocked, I change lanes (beep, beep….), and the car mysteriously speeds back up to my original cruise setting – all of this automatically controlled by computers and sensors.

Now I’m familiar that Google, Apple, and other companies are experimenting with self-driving cars. It’s only a matter of time until they are in every city nationwide: cars that are built to make driving safer as well as less of a participative event.

backupThe only dilemma is that most people don’t yet trust self-driving cars fully. Sure, it’s one thing to trust blind spot detectors, self-adjusting cruise control, and even back-up cameras, but we’re not ready to fully trust a self-driving car. As a matter of fact, I get it. We don’t trust the computer to be as safe as we can be as a human. In reality, the car (aka computer) is only doing what another human has programmed it to do. Why should we trust man?

We can’t even trust God fully. We state on our money that we trust God; our founding father’s put it in the Declaration of Independence; but it’s evident that today’s government doesn’t trust God and has actually walked away from Him.

But what about us? Do we trust God fully? Or do we only trust Him as much as we trust back-up cameras in our cars? Do you trust God with your future, what’s ahead of you? Do you trust that if you commit to God’s direction in your life that He will control the speed and destination that He has laid out for you? Will you allow Him to be your self-adjusting cruise control and set the speed of your journey through life? Or will you only trust Him as a back-up camera, with decisions that are already behind you?

Countdown Calendars

Calendar-countdownWe’ve all used them, whether physical or purely mental. Counting the days until….

Whether it was counting the days until high school graduation, until your wedding, or until a special vacation arrived, countdowns keep us focused on “the prize.”

The fascination with crossing off days as the special event draws near provides a sense of joy that generally can’t be replicated. But what if – what if you didn’t know when that special day was coming? What if you knew that special day was coming, but didn’t know when it would be here?

Would you still feel joy by crossing off days? Would you feel like the day would ever come? Or would it feel as if it would never arrive?

I’m afraid that most of us would not feel the same joy crossing off days to an indefinite target. Not knowing if it was tomorrow, or next week, or maybe 10 years off may hinder our joy and rip the excitement from us. And that’s why I believe we are not excited about Christ’s return.

“you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Matthew 24:42

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angles in heaven, nor the Son.” Matthew 24:36

The excitement of Christ’s return should be FOREFRONT in our minds, causing us to witness non-stop. Yet, because we don’t know when it will occur, we are not excited about it. But, just think for a second, CHRIST IS COMING BACK! And He’s coming back to fulfill His promise of building a place for us to share as His heir:

“we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” Romans 8:16b-17

So what are we waiting for? Let’s celebrate His return. We know He’s coming back, let’s not worry about when, and let’s live for Him!

Christ died for us, let’s LIVE FOR HIM!

The last words of a great leader

When we gather around a family member who is taking their last breaths, we seem to desire two things. The first is to let them know how much we love them and that will miss them. The second seems to be a need of some words of wisdom – any nugget of information that can help us live a better life.

King David, a true leader, even in God’s eyes, may or may not have had the first occasion – we don’t know if his son Solomon said anything to him in his last moments – it’s simply not documented in our Scripture. However, he did have the second occasion.

In his last moments, King David said to Solomon:

“I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. And keep the charge of the Lord your God; to walk in His ways, to keep His statues, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses.” – 1 Kings 2:2-3

Sometimes, we seem to take these types of words lightly – thinking to ourselves, that makes sense, we ought to do that – it would probably benefit us to do that. What I find interesting is that not only did David tell Solomon to do this, he told him why:

“that the Lord may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,’ He said, ‘you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.” -1 Kings 2:4

That’s a pretty powerful message that God gave David. If I were to translate it: ‘Hey, if you follow Me as your King, your family will remain King for generations.’

Normally I finish my blogs with a challenge, a summary, or closing. But not this time, you decide how this one ends….

If…

In the wake of recent national events, I thought it was pertinent to communicate the following Scripture:

2 Chronicles 7:14 – if MY people who are called by MY name, HUMBLE themselves, and PRAY and SEEK My face and TURN from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.*

The only question then is, will we do it? As a nation, will we humble ourselves, pray, and seek Him?

It begins with me…, and you…, then everyone else. Don’t wait for the next person, or you’ll be waiting a while. But if we each are the first to start, maybe we can begin a revolution!

*Capitalization mine

 

The Bible discourages working out!

OK, so that got your attention? I compare that to how some atheists twist and turn Scripture for their benefit.

So, the question is: does the Bible really talk about exercise? Of course it does!

Bodily exercise profiteth little – 1 Timothy 4:8a (KJV)

So, if we understand that correctly – it purely means we shouldn’t work out right?

Well, not really…. We know our Doctor’s and it seems any health advocate encourage physical exercise, so let’s put this in perspective and read it again (this time in a different translation AND in context):

Physical training is of some value….
but Godliness has value for all things,
holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. – 1 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)

So, if we put it in context, it’s very similar to the passage in Luke 14:26 that reads “hate your father and mother” – which was really meant to compare how much love we should have for God.   It’s not that we should hate our parents, but relative to how we love God, the love for our parents doesn’t compare. Jesus follows this statement in Luke 14 with a metaphor that reminds us that we must follow through on our discipleship and commitment to the Lord above all else.

In 1 Timothy, I believe Paul is doing a similar assessment: in comparison to how we ought to train our spirit for the Lord, any training for our body doesn’t compare, relatively speaking.

Thus it is that although you might have thought you were going to have a reason not to work out, instead, this passage very clearly shows (when read in context) that we should work out, BUT even more so, we need to prepare our bodies spiritually for our life to come.

 

[Some other Scripture passages on body health: Psalm 18:32-36, Romans 12:1, 1 Cor 9:27, 1 Cor 6:19-20, Eph 5:18, Hebrews 12:11-13]

Feeding the 5,000

It’s not every day that we see God feed 5,000. In fact, despite the fact that you may believe that story, you’ve probably never seen that done. Me neither, well, not for 5,000….

It was a Wednesday evening, probably 5 years ago or so. We had scheduled a Wednesday Night meal for church members, as a Youth Fundraiser. It was a simple plan, prepare spaghetti for just about 50-60 members or so. Well, unfortunately, as things would have it, the water didn’t boil fast enough, and by 4:45, we realized that we would not have enough spaghetti ready in 15 minutes for the adults, who had already begun to gather prior to the 5:00 planned meal time. What could we do?

We essentially had no option (we thought), except to tell the adults that the meal would not be ready on-time. In the meantime, we continued to plan the rest of the meal, getting the bread on the table, the sauces in the buffet line, and so on. And then it came time for the moment of truth – the pasta.

As I took the first (and only) pot of cooked spaghetti and emptied it into the large bowl, I noticed that the amount seemed to grow exponentially. I don’t know how to explain it (other than God) that this measly little stock pot had miraculously overfilled a commercial sized serving pan. If I remember correctly, we had emptied 2-3 boxes of pasta into the stock pot, but as I poured the pasta into the pan, the heaping mound grew larger and larger, enough to feed practically everyone in line. In the meantime, we had plenty of time to fix the remaining pasta needed, and had several boxes of pasta left over.

In a moment of what we believed was a crisis, God had shown us first hand that the feeding of the 5,000 is still possible today (even if it wasn’t quite as many people). It goes to show, that God is still in the business of miracles.

FYI – the scripture referring to the original Feeding 5,000 miracle can be found in Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, and John 6:1-15.

The voice….

I thought it was appropriate this week with the Sports Camp Theme “Undefeated” …

“the waves are calling out my name
And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. ‘Boy, you’ll never win!
You’ll never win!'”*

If you’ve never heard the song VOICE OF TRUTH”, by Casting Crowns, I encourage you to take a few minutes and listen HERE”.

While the waves (and the world) tells us we may never win, the good news is that God has a different plan for us.

“the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
The voice of truth says, “This is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth”*

God has, and always, will a plan for us; a plan to win. You see, despite how many “failures” we may have in this life – they don’t count, because the ultimate victory is God’s. He has already won the only fight that matters.

There is only one fight that we must be obedient to now, and that’s the fight for God’s glory. Through witnessing for Him and telling others, we can defeat Satan, and win all the battles that we have.

“I will choose to listen and believe….the voice of truth”*

*Lyrics by Casting Crowns

What did God give you?

“I’ve made a mess of me
The person that I’ve been lately
Ain’t who I wanna be
But you stay here right beside me….
And I need you.”*

Those words could easily be said by anybody to God. But instead, these words were written for two people in love.

“Cause God gave me YOU for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
And for when I think I lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God Gave Me You?”*  <–click HERE

Just a little over 22 years ago I had the opportunity to enter into marriage with my beautiful bride,God_gave_me_you a relationship that God put together. A relationship that grows stronger day by day. But through it all, I still manage to screw it up sometimes.

“There’s more here than what we’re seeing
A divine conspiracy,
That you an angel lovely
Could somehow fall for me…
And I need you!”*

Thank you for being mine Kimberly! Even in my failures, you still love me. I will ALWAYS LOVE YOU!**

For those of you out there, I want you to stop and think. What did God give you? . . . and are you treating that lady, …that man, …that child right? I know I’m not. So I need to do better.

*Lyrics by Blake Shelton
**Open Heart by me 🙂