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Friday, November 4, 2016

Guidance

Shared from the Living the 7 Habits app: Guidance means your source of direction in life. Encompassed by your map, your internal frame of reference that interprets for you what is happening out there, are standards or principles or implicit criteria that govern moment by moment decision-making and doing. Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Broken Hallelujah

This morning at church, our praise team sang a song called "Broken Hallelujah" by The Afters. It got me thinking about trying to live a God-directed life. No matter how much I try, how noble my aspirations, I will always come up short. And what God does is, He takes my weak, broken, feeble attempts to honor Him and accepts it.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Learning to Pray

When we want to learn how to do something, we need a teacher
Kids learn how to ride a bike from someone who knows how to.
You learn the tasks at your job from someone else.
In my life, prayer is a lot like that. Prayer is mot something I have a natural inclination to do. Even the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.
More recently, I have found myself drawn to prayers that have been written. It's not so much about using the words, as much as developing a prayer pattern. Another thing about learning something is you may start mimicking the teacher, but eventually, you develop a style all your own...

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Lessons Learned

Over the past several years my marriage has ended, as well as other relationships.  I have come to two conclusions...

1. When it comes to relationships, never never never settle for someone who "will do." Always go for the one you don't want to be without, instead of someone who will keep you from being lonely.

2. Never allow  someone to settle for you. You know what I mean. You should never be Mr. or Miss Right Now.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Power of Story

What is it about a story? 

How can words on a page or words spoken by an actor on the big or small screen have the ability to create such longing?

What is it about Castle that so desperately wants to fight against all obstacles to have the love demonstrated by Rick & Kate?

What is it about the Harry Potter series that makes you long to be a hero, albeit an unexpected one?

What is it about The Shawshank Redemption that makes you so desperately believe in hope, even when your circumstances dictate otherwise?

What is it about stories that challenge our thoughts...our feelings...our dreams...


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dolphins!

This morning, I was sitting on a beach in North Carolina, keeping an eye on my two younger children. As I gazed across the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean, dotted with fishing boats and yachts, I noticed several shiny gray shapes. Dolphins! I was actually observing wild dolphins! I yelled to the kids, "Look! Dolphins!" By this time the dolphins had re-submerged, and my children went back to digging in the sand.
This exchange had lasted only five or ten minutes, but it was long enough for me to come to two realizations. First, observing these magnificent creatures took my mind off all the worries and stresses in my life. Have you ever noticed how God uses His creation to refocus our lives? For that brief moment in time, my mind was focused on those dolphins, and on my own little miniscule sliver of creation known as my life.
Second, it was almost a role reversal between my children and myself. Here I was, at 36, excited and in awe of something wonderful. I was almost like a little kid again. And when I was expressing my wonderment, the kids looked up, saw nothing, and went back to what they were doing. It was kinda what we parents do when our children want to tell a tale of wonder, and we go back to reading the paper, or watching the ballgame.
Let us noit forget to hold on to that childlike sense of wonder and awe at creation.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lessons In The Night

This week has been absolutely horrid! I'm not going into any details, nor will any be provided upon request. Suffice it to say that this week, my world has been completely shaken up. I've been asking the usual questions, about why all this is happening, and spending a good deal of time in tears. In the midst of this, I was reminded of how God "comforts us in all our affliction" (2 Cor 1:4a, ESV). I know God is more apparent in our trials than when things are going well. I have probably prayed more in this last week than I have over the past year. Through this trial, I have discovered a few things. first, trials are an opportunity to either distance ourselves from God, or run to Him. Second, trials are an opportunity to either give up, or to have our resolve strengthened. Finally, trials remind us of what is needed, as opposed to what is wanted. Though I am still in the midst of this trial, I can see a deeper reliance upon God's grace, a strengthened determination, as well as what is really important in life. continued prayers are appreciated, as I will be praying through this time as well.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spritual Fitness

Many people who know me know I've started on an exercise program called P90X. It combines intense workouts with a balanced diet. As I am going through this rigorous exercise regimen, it reminded me of something Steve Farrar wrote in his book, Point Man. Steve states how prayer is a lot like exercise. When we exercise, we plan when we will exercise, where we will exercise, what exercises will be done, making sure the exercises are being done correctly, and accountability.  This is almost identical to what we do when we pray. We need to carve out a block of time to pray. In other words, we need to prioritize prayer. We needs to have certain place where we pray. I'm not going to give a certain place, but place that is quiet where you can focus on God is essential. you need to have a prayer list. This allows you to focus your prayer, and not let your mind wander. We need to be utilizing Scripture, so we know we are praying within God's Will. You also need to be accountable for this, as any true change can only come if you know someone is pushing you along, as a trainer would in exercise.
Prayer is essential in the growth of a Christian. As we pray for God to work in our lives and the lives of others, it develops our spiritual muscles. We are strengthened to do the work He has called us to do.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Good Cleansing

A couple of weeks ago, I did a full body cleanse to remove toxins and excess waste from my colon. I will tell you it was not a pleasant experience, but I have felt better since then. In fact, the other night, I was able to eat fish without running to the bathroom for the first time in several years. And for those of you who ever wondered, the rainbow trout at Red Lobster is absolutely delicious!
This cleanse got me to thinking how we need to be cleansed spiritually as well. David was Israel's greatest king. He is known as the man after God's own heart.  But he did something that would serve as a turning point in his life, and in the life of his subjects. Instead of going to lead his armies against the Ammonites, he stayed at the palace in Jerusalem. One night, he noticed a woman bathing. More than noticed, the Bible says "the woman was beautiful to behold." You could almost see the drool run down his beard as he ogled her. As many of you may know. The woman was Bathsheba,and she was married to Uriah, one of David's soldiers. Well, David slept with Bathsheba, and got her pregnant. Instead of confessing his sin, David tries to cover it up, by sending for Uriah, and hoping the husband and wife would share in matrimonial bliss, and no one would be the wiser. Instead Uriah, who was a Gentile, refused to have better sleeping arrangements than his fellow soldiers. So David orders Uriah to be a sitting duck at the battle,and make sure he dies. After Uriah's death, Bathsheba moves in with David.
Though David thinks he's now off the hook, God sends Nathan to David to let the king know that his sin was not unknown to God. As Nathan shows David his sin, the king repents. The result is David writing Psalm 51. He begs God to cleanse him from his sin. He pleads with God to be given a clean heart.He begs that God be merciful towards him.
This Psalm acts as a spiritual cleanse. it reminds us that no matter how gross our sin, God has the grace to cover it. In the film Amazing Grace, there's a scene where William Wilberforce is speaking with his former pastor, John Newton, who has gone blind. Newton reminds his young friend that "I am a great sinner, and Christ is a great savior."
Some people reading this are dealing with sin. Some may feel as David did, that "There is no soundness in my fleash because of your anger, nor any health in my bones because of my sin" (Ps 38:3, NKJV). You only have one option. You need to admit your sin to God, and trust in his grace and mercy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Necessity of Accountability

For a little over a week, I have been working at getting rid of some weight. In order to be healthier, I needed to drop about 95 pounds. The first thing I did was not to figure out an eating plan or exercise regimen. One of the first things I did was to start spreading the news that I was wanting to lose weight. Why in world would I do that? It's simple. The more people know that I'm trying to drop the pounds, the less likely I am to be making unhealthy choices.
Whenever you set a goal, accountability is crucial. If you are trying to overcome an addiction, you need someone to help strengthen you. If you are trying to beat debt, being in a class will help encourage you. If you are trying to lose weight. you need someone to push you along during the difficult times.
In the Bible, especially in the New Testament, you rarely see someone acting alone. Jesus had His apostles, and He sent them in groups. Paul almost always had a companion, whether it was Barnabas, Silas, Luke, or Apollos.
The writer of Ecclesiastes had it right. "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him--a threefold cord is not quickly broken" (4:9-12, ESV).

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Prince of Darkness Grim, We Tremble Not For Him

This post's title comes from the classic hymn "A Mighty Fortress," penned by leader of the Protestant Reformation Martin Luther. In this hymn, Luther reminds us that we have no reason to fear the wiles of Satan and his minions. In the more recnt worship song, "He Reigns," made popular by the band the Newsboys, we are reminded that the leader of all those who oppose God tremble at the prasing of El-Shaddai.
Some of you may wonder why I'm speaking on this particular subject. It's very simple. It seems that we have forgotten who the dominant force in our lives is. Those of us who are among the people of God, those who have trusted in Christ, we have a form of schizophrenia. According to author and seminary professor Steve Brown, one out of three men in the church are addicted to some sort of pornography. We walk about as though everything is just peachy, and forgetting that Satan "prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Pet. 5:8, ESV).
Luke gives an interesting story in the book of Acts regarding spiritual warfare. In Acts 19, Paul was preaching and healing diseases and exorcising demons in the city of Ephesus, in modern day Turkey. Seven men, whose father was Sceva, the Jewish high priest, saw that Paul was commanding spirits in the name of Jesus. These men decided to try this, and so they approached a demoniac, and declared "I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims" (v. 13). The demon inhabiting this one man responded by giving these seven fools a major league butt-kicking.
In the epistle written by James, we are told to submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee. But in order for Satan to flee, we must first submit to God. We must acknowledge God's lordship in our lives. Once we've done that, we must resist the devil. Only then will Satan flee

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Birthdays

Today is my birthday. I want to thank all my facebook friends for their birthday greetings.
The reason fir this post is due to a comment I heard from a co-worker yesterday regarding birthdays. He made the statement that a birthday just means you're one year closer to being dead.
How is that one goes from counting down the days to our birthdays (and half-birthdays) as children to dreading them as a reminder of our mortality? Personally, I love birthdays, and not just mine. I enjoy celebrating with friends and family the day of their birth. This past April, my wife and I attended a birthday party with a theme based upon one of my favorite shows, "The Office." Every year, our kids telll us what kind of birthday party they want, usually a comic book hero or action character for the boys and princesses and Barbie for my daughter.
How do I view today? I view it like any other day. Today is a gift from God. I need to make the most of it. As the psalmist said " This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it (118:24, ESV)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone. As many of you are off spending time with family and wrapping the last of the gifts, don't forget to take some time to reflect. This is the day we celebrate God taking on human form. The one whom the prophet Isaiah saw and as a result pronounced a curse upon himself came to earth as a baby. The same Yahweh who declared to Moses that no man may see and live, came to earth.
Let us also remember that Jesus was born to die. The same prophet declared this baby would one day be beaten, abused, and ultimately put to death to pay the penalty for our sin.
In our celebration, let us remember that Jesus, the God-man, lives!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thoughts on Losing a Pet

We woke up this morning to see our dog Ella had escaped from her cage and was hit by a car overnight. I used to wonder how in the world people could mourn of the loss of a pet. I mean it was only a dumb animal, right? I get it now.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sometimes I Think of Abraham...

The title for this post comes from "Sometimes By Step" by the late great Rich Mullins. A short while ago, I was reading about Abraham in Courageous Faith by Ed Hindson. Jews, Muslims, and Christians all point to Abraham as the father of their faith. We cannot deny the importance of Abraham in history.
As much as Abraham is to be admired figure, i can't help noticing how God tells what a screw-up he was. He was promised a son, so he and his wife, Sarah work it out to give him a son through Hagar. While it seemed to be the perfect solution to Abraham's heir problem, it opened up a can of worms, as Ishmael's descendants, the Arabs, have a radical hatred for the descendants of Isaac, a son later born though Sarah.
In order to save his own skin, Abraham told Sarah to lie twice about being his wife.
Example of faith? Father of the faithful? Why is this screw-up heralded as a great example? Maybe to show the rest of us screw-ups that it doesn't take perfection to honor God. Sometimes it takes believing that God is who He said He is, and He will do what He said He will do.