Our New Home

Our New Home
I love all the summer greenery around our home!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Be Dumb!


When I went outside with the dog first thing this morning something was different.  The sky was bright blue and cloudless, the weather was a little cooler than normal, the humidity was way less than over the last week or so, and there was a slightly cool breeze flowing through the yard… But that wasn’t it!  As I stepped off the deck onto the patio I suddenly realized that it was soooo quiet!  The only sound that came to my ears was the familiar and melodic notes of a Cardinal singing somewhere in the trees.  IT WAS SO PEACEFUL!  And you know?  I needed that…

Piper had been less than receptive to swallowing her breakfast this morning.  So after an extended period of time, trying every trick in the book in order to coax her along, she finally partook of a good amount of food.  But me… Well, by the time I was satisfied with the amount she had consumed, I was physically and emotionally spent!  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again!  I’ve worked many different jobs in my life, many times holding down two and sometimes three jobs at once…  But NOTHING compares to the extended homecare of a loved one… especially when that loved one is the most special thing in your life!

Not that I am complaining, because I am honored for the responsibility to care for my sweetie, but there are times like this morning when the body and the mind are screaming at you and a variety of negative thoughts are pounding at your brain! 

I had placed one of the extra chairs for our dining room set near the sliding window quite a few months ago.  At the time it just seemed like a convenient spot for the chair, but I soon came to realize that it is actually nice to have the chair in that place, so that on days like today, I can sit there while I catch my breath and re-center my resolve, as I put the lease on the dog before taking him out in the mornings!

On this day I took a little extra time as I fought to keep my mouth shut from complaining or saying something that my faith walk would later regret!  And the whole time I sat there, my faithful four footed companion simply stood in front of the slider looking at me with his big brown eyes seemingly saying that he was feeling my pain!  Finally with a purposeful push, I stood myself up, opened up the door and led the dog outside.

So it was in the midst of all that personal drama in which I stepped into the quiet solitude of our beautiful, tree and vine lined yard.  The quiet of the morning just seemed to suck out the pain, the questioning and the pressure that I had just endured!  It felt… RESTFUL!

When we went back into the house a few moments later, I fed the dog, poured myself a nice hot thermos cup of Starbuck’s Carmel coffee, and plopped down in front of my computer and my Bible study program.  The word “rest” had struck a chord in my mind so I did a word search and soon found myself absorbing the truths behind a section of Psalm 37:7 where the Psalmist declares: “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him:  fret not thyself because of ________…”

When I read that much of the verse I simply thought, “…because of… WHATEVER!  That is whatever negative thing that is giving you trouble at any particular moment in time!  For me that whatever right then and there was my morning experience with my bride.  Following a hunch, I looked up the original Hebrew for the word “rest” and discovered that the very first meaning is, “To be dumb!” 

Well, I was a little taken back with that definition, but once I looked up what a modern dictionary has to say about that word, I couldn’t help but agree with Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.  One of the meanings in the Oxford online dictionary describes the action of being “dumb” as “to simplify or reduce the intellectual content of something so as to make it accessible to a larger number of people.”  So in my case this morning… as well as in this entire chapter of our lives as we face the threat of disease in my wife’s body, to be “dumb” is to simplify, reduce or just not allow all the intellectual, worldly arguments concerning Alzheimer’s to confuse our childlike faith in the Word of our God!

I had to laugh at this point as I recalled that an individual had once implied to our son that I was being “dumb” in the early care of my wife, for they thought that I wasn’t doing anything to help her… when in reality I had many different irons in the fire researching the disease, looking for the best medical care we could get, and applying for financial benefits… while all the while attempting to handle her increasing physical needs… They just didn’t know all that I was doing behind the scenes!  Looking back now, with this current information, I guess I should call them up and thank them for the compliment!

So… that extreme quiet outside of the house this morning was just what the doctor ordered!  Have you ever had one of those stressful times when the good Lord just seemed to intervene and give you exactly what you were needing… even if you didn’t know what you needed at the time? 

This morning I needed rest… I needed to “dumb” down all those tired, stressed out negatives that wanted to scream out and simply “REST” in the Lord.  At that moment I needed the comfort of His Words, the comfort of His love, and comfort of His peace, “which goes beyond anything we can imagine, (and) will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 God’s Word ©)

Well, I feel better… How about you?  Got a need that is stressing you out today?  Then I encourage you to seek His REST!  You might even want to write down Psalm 37:7 on a strip of paper inserting your own WHATEVER in the verse and carry it around with you this weekend!

So with that…Have a great weekend, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Whose REST am I expecting to experience today?” … or with the new information I’ve given you… “How “DUMB” am I expecting to be today?”

Thursday, August 17, 2017

What's in the News?


I got a little frustrated first thing this morning after taking the pooch out.  While Fiver checked out the neighbor’s yard for the squirrel he usually chases down the fence line, I noticed that my zucchini plant had a beautiful yellow bloom.  So I ran back into the house and grabbed my camera, only to be denied a sharp picture as my lens fogged under the pressure of all the humidity that filled the air!  Therefore, instead of having a clear, bright print, I ended up with a photo that looks like it was taken on a typically foggy morning on the Sonoma County, California coastline!  On the positive side though, it did remind me of the many enjoyable times my wife, family and I experienced on those wonderful, rugged beaches!

The fogging of my camera lenses as well as my glasses has been happening a lot with the recent surge of muggy mornings out here.  I have also noticed that there seems to be a lot of fogged lenses in the minds of many of the mainstream news agencies!  A quick look over the Yahoo news site recently showed about six negative articles concerning our president, numerous articles criticizing the Fox News organization, and a couple of stories explaining why Christians are biased, racist and out of touch with modern society!  Quite a way to start one’s morning off, wouldn’t you say! 

I often wonder if there are areas in my own life where I am predetermined to see things through a fog because of past experiences or incorrect teaching.  With everything that we have gone through in dealing with the various aspects of the disease that has attacked my wife’s body, I have had to take a long and hard look at most everything I have believed and stood for.  I think that is why I am so sensitive to what is going on in our society.  How certain sides of the political spectrum tend to see things through a predetermined set of filters that fog their understanding of someone who has a conflicting viewpoint.

As I consider all of this from my Christian perspective, I am drawn back to Acts 13:41 where the Apostle Paul writes, “Look you people who make fun of God!  Be amazed and disappear.  I will do something today that you won’t believe, even if someone tells you about it.” (CEV)  Through this verse I see the folks that write the derogatory articles about my beliefs and realize that they really aren’t making fun of me, but of God!  And then I get excited because the Lord promises us that our generation will see some other things that He is going to do that will literally blow the critics away!

Or as The Message Bible puts it, “Watch out you cynics; Look hard --- watch your world fall to pieces.  I’m doing something right before your eyes that you won’t believe, though it’s staring you in the face.”  God in His glory and might is doing something right now that many are clearly missing!  It is happening all around us, but just about none of it is being reported by the media.

My Christian brothers and sisters are walking in joy and peace in the midst of the turmoil that is being stirred up by those who just don’t have a clue!  But as Believers, we do have a clue!  When I get frustrated over what I keep reading in the mainstream news, I have to turn off the computer, the TV or the radio and look to scriptures like 2 Corinthians 2:14 and declare the Lord’s promise, NOW thanks be to God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” (KJV)

Whew!  Take a moment and say the verse out loud a few times… Ah… isn’t that better!  I’ll take God’s Word on any subject, on any situation or any current news event over anything recorded in the news.  How about you?

Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, take a deep breath and ask yourself… “Whose Word am I expecting to believe today?”

Monday, August 14, 2017

Happy Birthday & Expect the Extraordinary!


As far as I am concerned… today is a miracle day!  It’s Piper’s birthday!  Now let me explain a little bit here… Back in January of this year, after a worrisome couple of days at the hospital, I wasn’t real sure that my lovely wife was going to make it to her next birthday.  That’s why we asked our four kids to fly in to spend a long weekend alone with her back in February.  It is also why we enlisted the assistance of the Liberty Homecare and Hospice Services.  These folks have been great and have become like a second family to Piper and I.

But through all the ups and downs… mostly downs for a few months there, we kept on believing, kept on saturating Piper with God’s Word on healing and kept on expecting the extraordinary.  Then after a while, she began to stabilize and hold her own… and that’s where we continue to be today!  And here it is some eight months later and she is celebrating her 64th birthday!  The Nurse Practitioner was here earlier this morning to do her second 6 month evaluation on Piper who gave us a little smile as the nurse wished her a happy birthday with her wonderfully friendly thick southern accent!

I find it difficult to believe that my favorite gal is 64 years old!  I have known her since she was sixteen (Hummm… maybe even 15!)  and we started dating a month after her 17th birthday.  So this makes the 46th birthday that we have celebrated together!  And I am continuing to believe that we will spend many more together... not just in eternity, but on this earth as well.

Wow!  You talk about growing up together… I’ve noticed that one of the common themes of many of the Hallmark movies is the couple that dated in High School, broke up and then get together many years later.  When they discussed “what happened?” the common reason is that “We were so young… just kids.”  And that’s when I look at Piper and burst out laughing.  Now, I’m not saying that this isn’t a real scenario for some folks… but it sure wasn’t for us!

When I think back upon the early days of our marriage, I can only remember good times with lots of fun experiences, lessons learned, and the beginnings of a faith-filled life together!  You might ask… “Would you do it again?” and without hesitation I’d give a resounding “YES!”  And I am SURE that Piper would reply the same.  I always tell my wife that she started out as a real “cutie” and grew into a beautiful women who just seemed to get better looking and sweeter as time went on!  I also let her know, in no uncertain terms, how blessed and honored I am to have been chosen (by God) to be her husband.

Yesterday the Pastor was talking to the parents during “Back to School Sunday” and spoke of an anonymous quote that he had heard that said in effect, “As parents our actions have a more lasting effect on our children than our words.  That if there is judgement, criticism and complaining coming from the parents, the kids will have it in their personal lives.  Likewise, if there is lots of love, encouragement and joy, then the kids will also demonstrate those characteristics in their adult lives.”

I felt that the second part of that quote accurately described my Piper.  I told her the other night of how blessed and fortunate I thought our kids are to have had a Mom like her!  Like I’ve said before, Piper made family life fun!  She turned every opportunity into a learning experience, always spoke encouraging words and loved to turn a frown into a praiseful smile!  I can now see those same traits in each of our four children.  And you know… I believe that the best is yet to come!

In the Old Testament book of Habakkuk, chapter one, verse five, the Lord speaking through the Prophet declares without hesitation: “Be amazed and astonished.  (for) I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if it were reported to you.” (God’s Word ©)  In the New Testament, Paul brings that same verse into the modern church age and repeats it almost word for word in Acts 13:41.  And when you think about it, he makes similar claims throughout his writings including his faith bolstering encouragement to us believers in Ephesians 3:20 where he states, “God can do anything, you know, far more than you could ever imagine, or request in your wildest dreams!” (The Message)

So yeah, I believe that Papa God still has many more works that He wants to accomplish through us and in us… as well as in and through each of you!  Remember, physical circumstances don’t necessarily mean a thing, when you place your trust, your faith and your lives in the hands of the Lord by walking hand in hand with Him by the truth of His unfallible Word!

So HAPPY-BLESSED Birthday Honey!  You’ve been a blessing to just about anyone who has been fortunate enough to cross paths with you! – If you read this today, and have had a funny or encouraging encounter with Piper, please leave a reply to share with all of us!

You know dear readers…  I am sooooo looking forward to the SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARY that the Lord is promising to do in our day… How about you?

Have a great week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Whose EXTRAORDINARY WORKS am I expecting to SEE today?”

Friday, August 11, 2017

Kingdom Sounds


When I walked into the kitchen first thing this morning to brew a pot of fresh coffee and prepare Piper’s morning medications, I could hear the joyful songs of birds singing outside the window over the sink.  For a moment or two I was kind of mesmerized by the melodic sounds while I stood looking out the window across our backyard.  Then a few minutes later as I re-entered our bedroom and began to softly sing a morning praise song that I had made up long ago and sing to her every day, I slid up the blinds on the window and was greeted with the sights and sounds of our side yard that borders a forested neighborhood commons area.

Before my eyes the leaves on the trees shimmered under a slight breeze and a bright blue sky, fallen leaves bespeckled the lawn, and a beautiful red Cardinal flew from the backyard and disappeared into the protective cover under the canopy of trees.  When I finished Piper’s morning song, my heart swelled as the hidden Cardinal sang his song that seemed to be a continuance of the melody that I had sung to my wife!  I had to stand there for just a few more moments and continue to soak in the beauty of the sight before my eyes and enjoy the sounds that seemed to enrapture my entire being!

Do you ever take the time to enjoy the sounds around you in morning?  Earlier in the week I had been texting back and forth with our oldest son whose family had just spent a few days in the Plumas National Forest in northeastern California, at one of my most favorite places on this whole earth!  As we reminisced about our many family camping adventures there, we wholeheartedly agreed that there is nothing more enjoyable than rising early in the morning and sitting at the camp table with a fresh brewed, steaming hot cup of coffee while enjoying the natural sights and sounds of the still quiet campground in the middle of the forest with the birds singing, the critters skirting around, the sound of the morning breeze fluttering the tops of the tall trees, and the sight of light smoke still rising from the previous night’s campfires around the campground.

Ah… all those memories as well as my experiences this morning can’t help but remind me of the sights and sounds of God’s kingdom!  I heard a song leader on the radio yesterday talking about how the move of the Spirit of God amongst His people is always predicated by sounds… sounds of the kingdom.  I don’t remember if I had ever heard that before, but as I began to think about it, I recalled many examples throughout both the Old and New Testaments where the sounds and/or shouts of praise did come before the move of the Lord. 

Take for example the story of Paul and Silas as they sat shackled in the jail at Philippi.  Acts 16:25-26 states that, “around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God. The other prisoners were listening to them.  (when) Suddenly, a violent earthquake shook the foundations of the jail. (and) All the doors immediately flew open, and all the prisoners' chains came loose.” (God’s Word ©) 

Acts 2 tells the story of the coming of the Holy Ghost and details the event as a “sound like a violently blowing wind.”  I Corinthians 15:52, 2 Peter 3:10, Revelations 1:15 and Revelation 14:2 tell of last days events and speak of that which will be heard describing it as “the sounds of the last trumpet, a roaring sound” and “the sound of raging waters.”  (God’s Word ©)

The Old Testament is filled with examples with my personal favorite being when Joshua commanded his army to quietly march around the walls of the imposing and impenetrable city of Jericho seven times.  Then they were told that when they heard the sound of the priests blowing the rams horns to “shout because the Lord had given them the city.”  And when they did shout “the wall collapsed and the troops charged straight ahead and captured the city” (Joshua 6:8,16, 20 God’s Word ©)

Let me ask you a question that you can ponder this weekend.  Is your life, your home, your relationships with others and the events of your daily activities filled with kingdom sounds?  When things don’t go as you thought they would, do you fill the atmosphere with kingdom sounds or do other noises flow from your mouth.

I had just begun to help my wife with her protein breakfast drink this morning when she suddenly seemed to lose interest in swallowing the liquid in her mouth.  After I tried all the regular tricks that I use to motivate her, to no avail… I began to get a bit frustrated, but you know… I wasn’t about to give in, so instead of voicing the noise of my frustrations, I instead opted to voice the sounds of praises unto our God!

Well… she didn’t respond right away, but I persisted.  At one point I glanced over to the dog sitting sentinel at the front window as he turned back toward me with a look on his face that was almost daring me to say something that I might regret!  But again, I didn’t give in but smiled and continued to sing when FINALLY she began to swallow again… and actually consumed a good portion of her breakfast! 

So… needless to say, the sounds of the kingdom in our house tend to prevail over other noises… Why?  BECAUSE THEY WORK!  How about you?  What sounds prevails in your home?

Have a great and PRAISEFUL weekend as you fill the atmosphere of your life with the kingdom sounds of praise… and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What sounds am I expecting my neighbors to hear coming from my house today?”

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

DIY


We have an area off our back deck between the deck and the lawn that I’ve been wanting to do something with ever since we moved in a couple of years ago.  The center piece of the area is a small pond that the former owners put in.  Other than that, it is filled with grass infested rubber ground cover. 

Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day thinking about and praying over a multitude of ideas that began to flow through my head for the design of the area.  First I dusted off my mechanical drawing skills learned in Jr High, and drew out the shape of the area with accurate measurements of its dimensions and placement of the pond.  Then I began to dream about potential themes, plants, river rock and other décor.

Over the weekend I had ordered an 8’ decorative windmill which will be the anchor for one side of the project with the pond on the other side.  So with that in mind I spent a few hours on the web looking at a variety of ideas and garden décor possibilities.  At the end of the day I had settled on a type of coastal scene around the pond surrounded by river rock, some coastal grasses and a 36’ light house that will blend into some small mounds around the windmill with more grasses interspersed with summer color plants.

After trying to find small decorative furniture that would fit into the area, I got a little frustrated and then had the revelation that “Hey!  I can make the other decorative items with my new saw and wood working tools!”  Any you know… that idea felt good!  We not only can design the area but also make some of the décor for it!  Talk about making it personal!  Then I spend the hour before dinner looking up blueprints for small garden benches, bird houses and other ideas… and my excitement grew in leaps and bounds!

As I thought about my adventures yesterday while helping my wife with her breakfast today, the idea of Doing It Yourself projects popped up in my mind.  And then, for some reason, the picture of someone being deceived into thinking that they are doing something on their own, or for a particular reason while in truth… they are not, followed suit.  I thought about how many things in today’s society seem to be turned totally upside down when compared to the Biblical standards that were the norm for our society not too many years ago!

For example… I caught an interview on the Tucker Carlson show last night where he was talking with an individual around the topic of Global Warming.  At first I thought it was kind of funny and then I straightened up on the couch and sat with my mouth wide open as the man being interviewed went on and on… and didn’t make any sense the whole time!  He seemed to be talking in circles, had no substance of proof for his outlandish statements of doom and gloom and then got angry when the host attempted to qualify his ramblings of the truth.

Then there are the leaders within certain political groups that are pressing their ideals of equal rights by presenting laws that make all kinds of immoral and what would normally be seen as unsafe and hazardous situations abound for our country’s women and children and their families alike.  And these politicians have the nerve to stand in front of a public audience with a straight face while they intellectually argue their points… while many of us in the country look at them and say “What are they talking about?  Have they totally lost it?”

Well, I don’t think that they have lost it… I believe that they are just being deceived.  Revelation 12:9 brings some clarity to the situation by telling us who is behind these twisted interpretations of the truth.  The Apostle John tells us about “That ancient snake, named Devil and Satan, the DECEIVER OF THE WHOLE WORLD…”  In the original Greek the word translated “deceiver” means “to cause to roam from safety, the truth, or virtue; to lead aside from the right way.” (Strong’s and Thayer’s)

Like I said, many folks in the world are simply being deceived into thinking that what was once right is now wrong… That what was once considered an unsafe situation is now okay as long as no one gets offended!

After all my research and deliberations yesterday, I am confident that our garden project will be the culmination of ideas that I prayed over and worked through and will be a part of the personalization of our property.  It will be an honest to goodness DIY project!

In our society today, I see many that are fooled by “the deceiver of the whole world” into wrongly believing and proliferating ideas that are not theirs and are not ones that they most likely, in their right minds, wouldn’t even agree with!  Now, granted, in the context of the scripture, our verse is talking about those who have not made Jesus Christ the Lord and savior of their souls.  As Christian’s we are not under the authority of the evil one, but all of us probably have areas in our lives that haven’t yet been totally surrendered to the Lord… and it is in those areas where deception can pop up!

So what’s my point?  First of all, know that all is not lost in our modern society.  Revelation chapter twelve tells all about the final failure of the Devil and his lies of deception.  In the end, God’s righteousness triumphs over evil!  But in the meantime… It might be a good time to look over the things you stand for, the things you say and the thoughts you have and look for signs of deception.  If you find some, just turn them over to the Lordship of Jesus and those lies will have to go!

And when the accuser of the brethren attempts to bring accusations against you to the Father, (See: Revelation 12:10) you can simply look to the throne of God and knowingly  say: “You got it wrong again Devil!”

Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What and/or Whose truths am I expecting to be living today?”

Monday, August 7, 2017

Who Are You?


With the current situation with my wife’s health, I have to be watchful that I do not spend very much time walking down memory lane!  Living in our past tends to obstruct the view we are painting, by our faith in God’s Word concerning her healing.  After a while, those memories also begin to hurt… and I’m talking about a deep heart-ache when I think too much on how my wife used to be, contrary to what I’m currently seeing before my eyes.  Once again though, I am thankful for the amount of Word that we have been pumping into ourselves, for time and time again I find that the emotional and at times very physical pain in me dissolves as my concentration changes from the thoughts of the natural to that of the supernatural realm.

In 2 Corinthians 2:14 the Apostle Paul tells us, “But I thank God, who always leads us in victory because of Christ.  Wherever we go, God uses us to make clear what it means to know Christ.  It’s like a fragrance that fills the air.” (God’s Word ©)  Once I yield my attention to the spiritual realm I catch a glimpse of our upcoming victory that the Word declares ALWAYS happens!

And you know… that’s the attitude that I like to carry with me throughout the day, whether I am in the house or out in public!  Over the years in ministry as well as in the secular jobs I have held, I have come across many folks who tend to live one way in their private lives, and a totally different one in public.  One of the many things I have learned in this war for Piper’s health that we are engaged in, is that how I live my private life, alone with her in the confines of our home and property, has to be the basis for everything else I do.  I strive on a daily bases to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10 ESV)

It is at home when I need to be strong for her and for me!  I do my best to take care of myself, but the greatest life style exercise that I have built into my daily routine is to get lots and lots of doses of the Word of life!  It keeps me going when things get a little rough, when there is no one around to encourage me or to lend me a hand! 

When we go out, I don’t have time to think about how I am acting in public.  To consider if the folks I pass in the store are hearing kind and Godly words emanating from me.  When we go out in the neighborhood, to the store or anywhere else… what you see is what you get!  What comes out of me in action, word or deed is who I am… The man that takes the time to get into the Word each and every day of my life.

I like how Paul put it in our verse from 2 Corinthians 2:14 where he says, “…Wherever we go, God uses us to make clear what it means to know Christ.  It’s like a fragrance that fills the air.”  The word translated “KNOW” comes from that word “ginosko” which describes a very intimate and personal knowing of Christ, as a husband and wife intimately “know” each other. 

This is a clear rendition of the young Piper I began to get to know in High School.  She didn’t necessarily use the name of Jesus very much in our increasingly longer and longer conversations, she just lived Him!  His nature just sort of oozed out of her.  You could see it in her bright, joyful eyes, in that killer smile of hers, in the carefree bounce in her step and even in the way she enunciated her words.  They just seemed to come across void of any judgement or criticism and encouraged anyone blessed enough to be within the sound of her voice!

What’s interesting is that to me, she seemed to be somewhat unique in the way she carried herself.  I didn’t necessarily see a lot of that “intimate knowing of Christ” in other’s that were close to her back then.  Over time I came to know that these folks were also strong Christians and loved the Lord, but yet seemed to not have the freedoms and joy that was the Piper I was coming to know and love.  For the others, their public life seemed to play out as if it was a scripted part of the movie of their lives.  It just wasn’t natural like my girl’s.  And over the years, as I have grown up in the Lord, I have come to realize that her life style is exactly the type of example that Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 2:14.

And back to Memory Lane… This came up as I was talking with Piper about this exact subject while preparing dinner last night.  I think Piper’s disposition was and continues to be all about the close and intimate relationship that she has always seemed to have with Jesus.  Like I said, it was never something she tried to be or actit’s just who she is… Whether she knew it or not.

Even as the grips of Alzheimer’s began to take over, she still exuded the nature of the Son of God.  For instance, there was the time while we were back in California at one of her quarterly appointments with her Neurologist at the Brain Health Center in San Francisco.  When her named was called I helped her up to her feet, as she was still able to walk with assistance, but was talking less and less frequently.  As we began to walk across the waiting room, one of the other patients in the room stopped us and said to me, “You’re wife has a very sweet spirit about her!”

Well, of course, that blessed the socks off of me, and it goes to show that Piper didn’t even have to say or do a thing, but simply allow His nature to shine through her!  Again, I believe that this is what Paul was eluding to in the above scripture.  Would that describe you?

Have a great week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What or whose nature am I expecting to exemplify through my life today?”

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Winning Team!


As I was helping my wife get ready for bed last night, I found that I could hardly keep my eyes off the TV in our bedroom.  Being as I am a San Francisco Giants baseball club fan living on the east coast, I have to watch the live broadcasts from the west beginning at ten in the evening our time!  To be honest, that was the entire reason that we purchased a little TV for the bedroom a couple of years ago!  Now I can lie in bed and watch the games before turning off the light for the night.

But I noticed that something was different last night.  After I had spoken the Word of God over Piper, prayed with her and then tucked her in, I realized that I was in a really good mood.  As I stepped into the bathroom to get myself ready for bed with my MLB app live streaming the game on my phone so I wouldn’t miss one play, it dawned on me… I was happy because the Giants were not only winning… but were winning big time! (the final score was 11-2, Giants over the A’s!)

You must understand that this has been a terribly disappointing season for my team.  I have continued to watch their games, but after a while losing gets a little old… you know what I mean?  I guess that I am just a bit spoiled as they have had a championship contending team for many years and this year’s efforts were quite opposite to what I have grown to expect!  So, their hitting on all cylinders last night was quite pleasurable.

Once I finally laid down on top of the bed to really get into the game, I had the sudden thought that it is a lot more fun to be part of a team that is winning than it is to be with one that is losing.  Now I know… most of you are probably saying “Well, Duh!”  But think about it for a moment in the context of your daily life…  As a Christian you and I are part of a winning team… and I can’t think of a better association to have… can you?

That thought immediately brought to mind a very familiar scripture found in 2 Corinthians 2:14.  The Message Bible renders this verse of Paul’s bold proclamation “Thank God!  In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade.  (And) through us, he brings knowledge of Christ.  Everywhere we go people breathe in the exquisite fragrance.”

I mean, just think about it for a moment… The Bible, the written Word and will of God for us, His children, declares unapologetically that IN CHRIST we have the ability to walk in victory anywhere we go!  Well, my Giants may not be having a Victory Parade through downtown San Francisco this year… but the infallible Word of God tells us that as members of the Christian team, we will march from one place to another in one perpetual VICTORY parade!

And you know… when I watched the Giants World Series Victory Parade in 2014, there was lots of noise in the streets, lots of happy, exuberant on-lookers and a whole world of baseball fans around the country that KNEW that the San Francisco Giants were the undisputed champions that year!

2 Corinthians 2:14 also infers that this is a similar reaction that the people around us will have when they see our victories IN CHRIST.  We most likely won’t be in an actual parade, but the amazement of our victories over the things that come against us each day in our lives, and our attitudes of joyful but yet humble adoration of the One who has led us in these victories will be seen and heard and be like a sweet fragrance to them!  According to Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries, the word translated “victory” or “triumph” depending on the translation, means “to make an acclamatory procession,” which the Oxford Online Dictionary defines as “a loud and enthusiastic approval, typically to welcome or honor someone or something.”

In other words, those who know you through daily interactions, will take note of the victories that you keep having and come to see, hear and smell them as loud, very vivid and fragrant demonstrations of Jesus Christ… and thereby draw them to Him… through you!

So yea… I like being associated with a winning team… Don’t you?  What colors will you be wearing this weekend?  For me, it will most likely be my new black and orange SF Giants hat along with a smile and an encouraging word that will show forth the goodness of the victories that I have IN CHRIST!

Have a victorious weekend, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Whose victorious team am I expecting to be actively participating with today?”