Our New Home

Our New Home
Fall is in the air!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Foggy Skies!

TGIF!  Yes, it is finally here.  The day that presents itself as the opening act to the weekend drama has arrived.  And in our neck of the woods the day was introduced with a shroud of fog and gloom.  As my wife and I sat at the breakfast table a few moments ago, I caught myself daydreaming about the overcast skies and the upcoming forecasts of rain in the next day or two.  My dreamy thoughts got me to reminiscing about the past…

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to apply for a position with the company that I was working for, in their new manufacturing facility in Oregon.  Having been born and raised in Santa Rosa, California, I was excited about the possible change in sights, sounds, church, the overall feel of the new area, and in making new friends.  Well, everything was progressing well until my wife did a little bit of investigating on her own.  It turned out that the area that we would potentially be moving to received more rain than we were accustomed to in sunny California!  At this time in our marriage we had a little baby boy, were expecting another child and had plans to grow by at least a couple more in the ensuing years.  The prospect of staying home alone, in a new town, in the rain with a growing family while I was off at work did not necessarily excite my wife!  So, needless to say, I quickly yielded to my wife’s desires and withdrew my name for the position change.

Except for our brief foray into the flatlands of Oklahoma, my wife and I have been living in Northern California for our entire lives.  I can honestly say now, that I can’t think of anywhere else that I would rather live.  (I’m sure many people would say that about the areas that they live in also!)  We have a normal summer weather pattern here where it is foggy until mid-morning when the sun will break through in all it’s glory and burn away the overcast.  This event always gets me to thinking about the glory of God breaking through a troubled situation that we may be facing in our daily lives.

When I first get up in the morning (like today) it looks pretty dreary and bleak, but experience has convinced me that the sun will eventually come out and the cloud cover will dissipate, leaving behind a bright blue sky and a few puffy white clouds.  Just before I sat down to write today’s post, I took a jaunt down the lane outside our little cluster home to toss a few bags of garbage into the community refuse container.  On the way back I glanced up between the trees and cheerfully observed that old Mr. Sun was making his appearance. Right on time!  With the forecast of rain that I previously mentioned, I was beginning to think that it might not clear today.  But obviously, God had other plans and continued to do what He does best and brighten our days!

The same is true with our trust in His word.  Past experience should convince you that He WILL come through just when you need it!  Even though the fog or cloud cover that the situation casts in your way may be thick, remember that “with God, all things are possible!” (Matthew 19:26 King James Version).  So forget about the fog, forget about the rain and allow His Son-shine to shine brightly on whatever you may need today!  Have a great weekend.  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What BRIGHT Things am I expecting today?”

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gee, This Stuff Really Works!

The writer of the Biblical book of Hebrews gives us the classic definition of faith.  The Gods Word translation of verse 11:1 reads “Faith assures us of the things we expect, and convinces us of things we cannot see.”  Yesterday I wrote about how I was standing on the EXPECTATION of God’s word working for us concerning the improvement of my wife’s negative symptoms, and you know what… today we have just what we were expecting!

My wife awoke with a smile on her face and a cheery “Good morning!”  She got out of bed with little assistance and ate a full breakfast.  She is now patiently waiting for me to finish writing this post so that we can go to the library!  Isn’t God good, and true to His word!  (Remember Hebrews 6:18 where it unequivocally states that “God cannot lie…” Gods Word ©)

Faith is God’s “Modus Operandi,” or in simply English, it’s the way that He operates!  When one examines the scriptures they will find the clues that show that faith is the way by which our Heavenly Father dispenses the blessings of our salvation.  Hebrews 11:6 says that “No one can please God without faith. Whoever goes to God must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”  (Gods Word ©)  The King James Version emphasizes the last part of the verse by adding the descriptive word “diligently” to the “seek” part of the statement.  The word “seek” actually means to search after, to crave or to demand.  

You can see that the writer was making the point that faith in God and His promises is a commitment that we should not let go of if we EXPECT to have our requests met.  As one of my children recently remarked to me when she witnessed the positive conclusion to one of her faith projects, “Gee Dad, this stuff really works!”  (Her meaning was that even though she was fully expecting to receive her answer, that she was still humbled and blessed by God’s goodness and faithfulness to His word!)

What are you expecting today?  Are you standing on the promises of God’s word and fully expecting to see the results that you are believing for?  Good for you, “because we can trust God to keep his promise”  (Hebrews 10:23 Good News Bible) Now that’s something to be thankful for and to shout about!  Have an EXPECTANT day.  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ha! Ha! Ha!

You may think that I just might have lost it here but, I had a rotten night’s sleep and I am rejoicing in the Lord over it!  Huh?… you might say.  Well, let me tell you a story. 

Yesterday my wife had a pretty good day.  She continued to show positive signs of improvement as she was getting used to the stronger dosage of medicine.  She ate a full breakfast, some at lunch and demonstrated a bit of an appetite at dinner as she partook of the majority of what was on her plate.  Everything went well when we retired for the evening, read through 50 of the 100 scriptures that we have concerning God’s truth on healing, and dozed off… until about 3:00 AM.  Then she got very restless in her sleep and had tremors on and off, keeping me awake, until I finally got up around 6:30 AM.  When I glanced back at my wife, I could see that she was going to be pretty much out of it when she awoke.

I literally stumbled down the stairs, forsook the coffee and went right into the study.  From there I immediately dove into the book of Colossians and began to re-study everything that I had learned yesterday.  As I poured myself into the Word, I could literally feel my strength returning.  The extra hour or so that I had in today’s fellowship with the Lord was just what I needed.

Just a little while ago as I was speaking to a friend about the morning’s events concerning my wife, I realized that the devil had just shown off his hand!  For at the conclusion of my time with the Lord, He had told me that the healing that He has begun on the inside of her (Mark 16:18) would soon be visible on the outside.  It is with that EXPECTATION that I faced today and on which I began to laugh as it became clear to me that the devil tried to cloud the Father’s reality with a last ditch lie.  A lie that I refuse to accept!

So now do you see why I am choosing to rejoice?  The devil is the father of lies (John 8:44), and if he is trying so hard to get it to look like my wife is slipping away, then the TOTAL opposite must be true!  Especially when the Bible clearly states that Jesus came to give us abundant life (John 10:10) and to heal all that are oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38).

Ha! Ha! Ha!  Go ahead… say it with me!  Ha! Ha! Ha! – Say it especially if you have the enemy of our souls attempting to throw some lie your way!  Ha! Ha! Ha!

Oh… I feel better.  How about you?  Have a great day.  “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His Might” (Ephesians 6:10 KJV) and “Rejoice in the Lord always!”  (Philippians 4:4 KJV)  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What GREAT TURNAROUNDS am I expecting today?” 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Who Me?"

I awoke just before 6:00 AM this morning with a splitting headache.  As I rolled out of bed and determined to do something about it, I began to verbally agree with what the Word says concerning the healing of our bodies (check out Acts 10:38 for starters!).  After a few steps I found myself concentrating on a portion of the scripture in Philippians 4:7 that I wrote about last week.  What came popping up was another twist on the word “guard” where it says that God’s peace will “guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.” (Gods Word ©) 

That little voice inside of me spoke out and said, “What does a guard do?” and my instant response was “protect.”  I then thought that in order to securely “protect” someone, a guard usually needs to be in close proximity to the individual in order to assure an instant response to any potential threat.  I also saw that the most efficient and effective guard would have to know the habits and overall personality of his client.  I would also think that the guard would need to be on familiar and positive terms with the one he is charged to protect.

This line of thought then led me to an incident that happened to us as we were driving away from the Tulsa airport soon after we arrived for our daughter’s wedding.  I had just driven the rental car away from the airport and onto the highway when I noticed a flashing blue light off to my right side.  Glancing over my shoulder, I noticed that we were passing an on-ramp and assumed that the light was emanating from some unseen traffic stop in that direction.  Suddenly I looked over to my left and noticed a Tulsa police cruiser pulling up next to be with the policeman pointing in my direction.  I quickly checked my speed, shrugged my shoulders and pointed incredulously back at myself and motioned as if to say “Who me?”  He nodded his head and pulled behind me as I slowed to the side of the road.

Needless to say, I was a little taken back and fumbled in an unsuccessful bid to find the button with which to lower the window. Finally I went for the door handle just as the officer opened the door.  He started to sternly ask me if I “noticed how dark it was in front of me” when he looked into the back seat where our two smiling daughters were sitting, stopped in mid-sentence and began to laugh.  He turned his gaze back to me and must have noticed my puzzled look and asked, “Is this a rental car?”  I returned his chuckle and said “It sure is!”  He then leaned inside, found the switch for the headlights and turned them on.  He laughed again, told us to “have a good night” and walked back to his car shaking his head!

I think that it was how quickly he arrived on the scene, along with his caring and humorous attitude that the Lord wanted me to see this morning.  The officer was there to “protect” us from injuring ourselves or someone else since we were driving without our lights on at 9:00 PM in the evening.

Our relationship with Jesus, through His word, should be that close and that instant so that His peace is always there to “protect” us from any difficulty that we may face.  Whether it be a situation we have with others, a test at school or an ache in our body, His peace is the “protection” we need to quickly find the correct solution.

That rental car was a confusing little compact.  I never did figure out how to change the radio stations!  But I did have the peace of mind to drive it with assurance and in safety throughout the rest of the week that we had it.  To me that is just like the “protection” that the peace of God offers us.  While we may not always know every little detail or function in our daily lives, we can rest assured that He is guiding us safely through and cause us to be able to do “everything (successfully) through Christ who strengthens me!”  (Philippians 4:13 Gods Word ©)  Stay tuned and keep asking yourselves… “What am I expecting today?”

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Proof Is In The Pudding!

Good Monday everyone!  I have great expectations of good reports from each of your weekends!  We had a good Saturday and Sunday also.  I have to report that we have seen gradually but progressive improvement in my wife’s adjustment to the stronger medication that she has been taking.  Today has been the best day yet.  She arose easily, had a good breakfast and we took a morning walk around the lake in the middle of our little community.

Say, I wanted to share a couple more things about our daughter’s wedding in Oklahoma a couple of weeks ago, before I move on to new ground.  Last night I spoke with JoAnna for about an hour.  It was the first extended conversation that we have had since they returned from their honeymoon.  We spent the majority of the time reviewing all the events before, during and after the wedding ceremony.  As I mentioned last week, the special day climaxed in a BBQ with the immediate family , JoAnna, Jeremiah and some of their closest friends.

JoAnna and I spent a good amount of time talking about how we felt as we walked down the aisle.  She mentioned that she thought that she would be extremely nervous, and had pre-decided to just focus in on Jeremiah as he stood on the platform with the Pastor.  Instead, as we stepped out of the back room and began our walk, we were both immediately brought into a subtle peace as we were taken in by all the happy, smiling faces that were gazing our way.  To me it felt like we were surrounded by close and encouraging family and friends within the comfortable surroundings of our home.  JoAnna said that she just wanted to stop at every row and individually thank each of the people for coming!

Another set of thoughts that ran through my consciousness during that short walk up the aisle with my little girl, was that from this point on, life for JoAnna would begin a whole new phase, while the last phase of her life was coming to an end.  It was not a feeling of loss or fear though.  It was a content vision that started when she was born around 3:00 am in the morning on that wonderful day in May of 1989, progressed through the Homeschool years, the Christian school band that we were connected with, ballet, church drama skits, playing in both the youth and adult  worship bands, attending Bible school with me, and then recently when she lived on her own while attending the third year School of Worship program at Rhema Bible College and grew in her blooming relationship with Jeremiah.

That very familiar scripture in the book of Proverbs that I am sure that every Christian parent depends on, which states: “Train up a child in the way he (or she) should go: and when he (or she) is old, he (or she) will not depart from it.”  (Proverbs 22:6 King James Version) shot right up to the forefront of my thoughts as I pronounced the opening prayer at the wedding ceremony and then sat down with my lovely wife.  Over the years, there have been a few individuals who have questioned the way that we raised our children and also felt that our excursion to Oklahoma a few years back was a large mistake.  As I partook of that ceremony between our daughter and her godly husband to be, I had to laugh at their unfounded concerns.  As the saying goes, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” which simply means that “something has to be experienced or utilized in order to prove how good it is” (For more info on this phrase see: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=the%20proof%20is%20in%20the%20pudding)

As I witnessed the union of our daughter and Jeremiah, I could not have be more content with, and more sure of the positive nature of our family’s past, as well as with the amazing patience and faithfulness of God as He has guided us through the last 36 years. JoAnna has grown into a confident, intelligent young women who is very sensitive and obedient to the leadings of her Heavenly Father.  As I proudly sat on that chair in the youth room at Destiny Church in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, I could only envision a bright and prosperous future for Jeremiah and JoAnna Irvin.

Parents, let me encourage you to never let go of the plans, pursuits and dreams that you have for your children.  Listen to the Lord, do your best and then leave the rest to Him!  There will always be naysayers who may disagree with the path that you believe the Lord has directed you to take your family on.  Remember though, that your responsibility is to the Lord and to your kids, not to someone who is not walking in your shoes.  The final proof will be in the fruit that develops in your children’s lives.  Fulfill your responsibilities as the gardener who trims, guides and supports their growth and them sit back and enjoy the harvest when it is time for them to leave the family home.  Stay tuned and keep asking yourselves… “What GREAT Things am I expecting today?”

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall Equinox

Well folks, it is official.  Today is the last day of summer!  I have always been one of those people who wish that summer would never end.  Since I am an outside type of person, it is my favorite time of year.  The crisp bright mornings, warm afternoons, summer flowers, delicious home grown vegetables, and daylight extending to almost nine in the evening just seems to cause my imagination to flourish and my inner peace to bloom.

And speaking of peace, this morning I was reading about how the peace of God “which goes far beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:7 Gods Word ©)  In an interesting explanation, Adam Clarke in his Commentary on the Bible, says that this peace is “That harmonizing of all passions and appetites which is produced by the Holy Spirit, and arises from a sense of pardon and the favor of God.”  As I perused that thought it dawned on me that God’s peace is the GLUE that holds us all together!

Let me explain.  At one point yesterday, I felt like everything was about to come apart in my life.  Recently my wife started taking a stronger medication and has had some very negative symptoms as her body adjusts to it.  By the end of the evening, the increase in tremors, sleepiness and blank stares just kind of threw me for a loop.  My natural inclination was to YELL out, PUNCH a wall and THROW in the towel.  But something inside of me would not allow me to respond with those damaging (to my faith) reactions.  Instead, I stuck to my guns (hummm… interesting statement.  The Bible says that God’s word is sharper than a two edged sword, and probably a lot more powerful than any gun!), and kept confessing what I knew to be God’s truth on the matter at hand.  I must admit that I didn’t necessarily feel any better, but yet I knew that it was the correct course for me to pursue. By the time we headed up the stairs to our bedroom loft, she was a little more responsive and God’s peace had begun to permeate my heart as well as our home.

What the Lord showed me this morning was that while He has given us our passions, appetites and feelings, the devil will try to over exaggerate them and use them against us as weapons to “rob, kill and destroy” us. (John 10:10)  God’s peace, on the other hand, is the GLUE that keeps our emotions healthy and in line so that we can operate with “the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16) and keep our balance in this life.  His peace helps us to keep things in the right perspective even when the current view in the natural doesn’t look too promising.

So, as we celebrate the Fall Equinox today, which is the time of year where the day and night is somewhat balanced in their duration, let us also celebrate the BALANCE that the peace of God gives us in our daily lives.  Be one of those folks who amaze those around you when you fail to let your emotions overcome you during the turbulent times you may experience this coming fall and winter.  Let His peace be your GLUE and that which attracts those whom you amaze and then introduce to the balanced message of Christ.  Have a terrific weekend!  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What GREAT THINGS am I expecting today?”

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day Dreams

Two times, last week, while driving down the familiar streets of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, I found myself day dreaming and missed the turn to my daughter’s home.  In my mind’s eye I was blissfully unaware of current events and was simply driving home to the place where we last lived over two years ago while I attended Bible School. Isn’t it funny how easy it can be to seemingly slip right back into where we used to be… Or is it?

I got to thinking about this as I was meditating on Colossians 1:13 today.  In this passage Paul writes that “God has rescued us from the power of darkness and has brought us into the kingdom of his Son, whom he loves.” (Gods Word ©)  He is telling us that we have been taken away from our old way of life, and placed into an entirely new realm.  The part of the verse that caught my attention was the phrase that the Gods Word translation relates as brought us into…”  To me this did not sound as strong a rendition as the King James’ “and hath translated us into…”  According to Thayer’s and Strong’s, the word “translated” in the Greek means “to remove from one place to another, to depart from (this) life or to seduce.”

As I went further into the definition of “seduce,” I saw the strength of the truth that Paul was trying to convey to his readers.  While normally observed as a negative happening, the power of this thought explodes when we relate it to our transition from the power of darkness into the absolute beauty of the kingdom of light.  According to Webster, “seduce” means to “draw aside from the path of rectitude and duty in any manner”  “Rectitude” is further defined as “the exact conformity to the truth, rules, conduct and the law prescribed” for our conduct.  Therefore you could say we were “seduced” away from the powers of darkness through the vision and truth of the beauty, power, and freeing kingdom life that is only to be found in the Good News of Jesus Christ!

Think about that for a moment.  In relation to this direction of thought, I could say that my wife’s wonderful, joyful personality, beauty (freckles and all!) and wholesomeness of her heart “seduced” me away from my current direction of life at the time, into the new course (that I am sure was clearly orchestrated by the Lord’s divine will for both of us) that we are still walking in today.  It was an action that totally changed my entire perspective on life in a matter of months!

Would I ever want to go back to my former way of living?  Not on your life!  Could I ever go back to my former way of life even if I wanted to?  No, because things would never be the same.  The years of my life’s experiences have molded me into a different individual.  I now know more, think on a higher plane (since being saved, attending Bible school, choosing the vocation of a pastor, being married, raising a family etc;), and I just look at life with a lot more complexity than I did 41 years ago.

Paul used strong words to explain our move from one kingdom and power to another.  He made it clear that we could never go back and be satisfied with that old lifestyle again.  The same is true with each of us in our current lives.  Sometimes we think it would be terrific if we could go back to the way things used to be.  Believe me, I had some of those same thoughts run through my mind when we were back in Oklahoma. (Then, I stepped outside into the hot, humid weather!!!)  Not only did I consider thoughts of the good times we had back there but also the realization that my relationship with my daughter would never be quite the same as it used to be.  For she is now married and joyfully and expectantly following the vision she and Jeremiah believe God has given them to pursue.

So, do I give in to self pity, or choose to rejoice at the Great Expectations that God has for my future that He has hand crafted just for me?  Once again… It’s a no-brainer!  I expectantly continue to look ahead, and so should you!  Remember, God looked back at what He had created in Genesis 1:31 and said that it was “very good!” (Gods Word ©)  Nothing has changed since that time.  What He has made for you today and tomorrow is still “very good!”  Therefore, let go of the past and forge on into the wonderful life that our loving Heavenly Father has planned just for you.  Don’t get caught in a daydream and miss the turn to God’s best laid plans for your life!  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What GREAT things am I expecting today?”


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On Being "Cool!"

As I was contemplating today’s post, I thought back to something that an older gentleman who had lost his wife to Alzheimer’s bluntly told me.  He said that the first thing that I needed to do was to lose my pride.  At the time, this statement took me by surprise, and I simply laughed at and shrugged off the suggestion.  Today, as I look back over the last year or so, and especially after our recent adventure to Oklahoma, I can see that his comment was right on target!

The seasoned Apostle Peter told us in his first epistle to “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”  (I Peter 5:6 King James Version)  This experiential knowledge came from a man who probably stuck his food in his mouth more than anyone else in the scriptures.  It also comes from one of the most influential leaders in our Christian history.  And it is probably the greatest lesson that I have learned so far in this journey with my wife.

I have always prided myself on being able to be “cool” in any situation.  Whether it be an accident on the manufacturing floor at Hewlett Packard/Agilent where I worked for twenty years, a youth with a broken arm after taking a spill on the hill at snow camp, watching the emergency doctor sew up my young son’s bleeding head while trying to hold up my wife as she was getting ready to pass out, or quickly quieting a steaming argument between co-workers, I’ve always had the God given knack to be calm and help to efficiently handle just about anything that popped up.  That is until now!

The incident on the plane that I wrote about yesterday, another one that happened while boarding the plane at the Phoenix airport on the way home, and the everyday events like shopping and even getting in and out of the truck, have been completely eye opening experiences and one’s with which I have felt totally helpless and totally embarrassed with.  Maybe my reaction would better be characterized as “being humbled!”

I think that I have learned more about myself throughout this entire adventure in faith than anything else!  I have come to see that my entire, total and complete dependence has to be on the faithfulness of the Lord and the integrity of His word.  It has really hurt me to see the looks on people’s faces when they turn their gaze upon my wife.  This happened over and over again while we visited friends that we hadn’t seen for over two years in Oklahoma.  As I have mentioned before, my wife was always a vibrant, cheerful and encouraging force wherever she went.  The transition has been difficult to witness and the pain is relived every time we see someone we haven’t seen in a while.

And you know what…  There is nothing that I can do about it.  I can’t cover it up, I can’t joke it off and this is one time that I can’t fix it!  But there is Someone who can, and His name is Jesus.  What I’ve learned is to take Peter’s instructions and simply humble myself, to continue to depend on the power of God that is working a healing and a cure in my wife’s body to continue it’s work and let the light of God reign in and flow through me to the other’s that we come in contact with. 

How are you doing today?  Is there anything happening in your life that you feel you have no control over?  My suggestion is to follow the pro’s advice.  To put all your emotions and pride aside and to do as the Apostle Peter suggested and “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God THAT HE might exalt you in (His) due time.”  After all, He sees the whole picture.  He always has perfect timing, and our job is not to please man but to please Him.  Have a great day.  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself…  “What GREAT things am I expecting today?”

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Angels In Disguise?

The one part of my normal routine that got all out of whack during our stay in Oklahoma last week was my daily study time with the Lord.  Now… that is not to say that I didn’t have a special time with the Lord each day.  It was just at a different time, in a different place and without my usual compliment of study aids that I’ve kinda grown accustom to having at my finger tips. Today was really the first day that felt like I’d finally got back to my comfortable routine! 

As I began a new study in my other favorite book of Colossians, I came across verse nine in chapter one, where Paul is praying for the church at Colossae.  Here he says, “For this reason we have not stopped praying for you since the day we heard about you.  We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through every kind of spiritual wisdom and insight.”  (Gods Word  ©) At that point I sat back and began to investigate the thought that I should constantly be aware of and/or looking for our Heavenly Father’s spiritual wisdom and insight, wherever I am!  With that revelation, I suddenly remembered a funny incident on our trip where I should have been looking for His insight instead of seeking my own answer to the situation at hand.

On the trip out to Oklahoma I had thought it best to see if I could book a flight where we would not have to change planes.  This reasoning turned out to be my first tactical error of the trip.  My second error in judgment came as a result of the first mistake. By not changing planes, my wife and I basically sat for five or so hours strait.  This resulted in my wife being fairly stiff and not too open to directions at the end of the flight.  Our plane made an initial quick jump from Sacramento, California to Las Vegas, Nevada.  Once in Vegas everyone except for about twenty of us debarked as the airline was offering special cheap flights to the gaming capital of the world.  The plane was on the ground for about twenty minutes.  New passengers came aboard and then we took off for the final leg to Tulsa.

But, before the new passengers began filing down the narrow aisle, I had my wife move from the aisle seat to the window seat.  My thinking was that she would enjoy watching the passing scenery and thereby stay more focused and active.  Boy was I ever wrong!  Instead of watching the outside world, she ended up looking at the back of the seat in front of her for the next three hours, which left her in sort of a dazed condition.  When the plane landed and it was time for us to get up, my wife would not budge.  So, being the mighty man of God that I am, who is sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, I grabbed her hand and attempted to quietly drag her to the aisle!  In response to my attempt at manhandling her, my wife simply grabbed the middle seat in a bear hug and would not let go!

Needless to say, I was quite flustered and did not know what to do.  I finally just sat back and let everyone else on the plane get off.  When my soft and gentle words of encouragement seemed to have little effect on my wife, I threw in the towel and uttered one of those famous emergency pleas to God.  I truly believe that God has a sense of humor as I can now imagine Him sitting on the throne watching my antics while chuckling the whole time!  When I finally came to my senses and yielded the situation to Him, He immediately took charge.  Suddenly one of the flight attendants appeared at my side.  This lady had been on the flight since Sacramento and was part of the original scene where we had barely made the flight (see yesterday’s post).  She had worked with my son to assure our safe passage on the plane, and had come by our seat to talk with us when we had landed back in Las Vegas.

She knelt down next to me and asked if my wife needed a wheelchair.  I just sort of leaned back in my chair and exasperatedly stated that she just didn’t want to leave the plane.  With that information, the wonderful flight attendant reached over to my wife, took her by the hand and said with her rich southern accent, “Well come on Honey, you’ve got a wedding to go to!”  My wife’s entire demeanor instantly changed and she broke into the biggest smile, stood up and walked hand in hand with the flight attendant up the aisle and out to the ramp.  I just sat there dumbfounded and finally snapped to when two young men dressed in tight jeans, boots, cowboy hats and the biggest, shiniest silver belt buckles I’d ever laid eyes on, came up behind me and asked if there was anything they could do to help me! 

This morning as I laughingly reviewed that event that occurred early on in our trip, I shook my head in amazement when I put it in line with the verse in Colossians 1:9.  If I had been looking for God’s insight at the beginning of the event, I probably would have handled it a lot differently and would have saved myself a lot of frustration and personal embarrassment.  You don’t realize how many stupid thoughts can go through your head when you try to work things out on your own accord.  Everything from “everybody on the plane is looking at me” to “they are going to think that I am accosting this women and have me arrested” flew through my mind in a matter of seconds.  And you know… thoughts like that don’t help you take command of the situation at hand!

What should I have done?  I should have been more aware of God’s hand in the situation.  If I had stopped at the first reaction of my wife’s and asked the Lord for help, I probably would have received different directions than the ones I tried and would have quickly and quietly calmed the situation and then solved the difficulty.

You know, it’s funny now, but it sure wasn’t then!  But, I am a quick learner and proceeded to do things a lot differently on the flight back home.  So, once again, let me encourage you to learn from my antics and mistakes!  Save yourself from much heartache and seek the Lord first!  Wherever you go, stay in tune to His leadings and directions. They can come from just about anywhere at anytime!  Who knows… Those two young cowboys and that sweet southern flight attendant just might have been angels in disguise!  You never know what God may have in store for you!  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What (crazy) things am I expecting today?”

Monday, September 19, 2011

We're Back!

Hello everyone!  We have finally returned from our trek across the California mountains to the desert of Nevada and then east through the states of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to our final destination of Broken Arrow Oklahoma, in order to attend the wedding of our youngest daughter JoAnna.  Throughout the coming week I will share many of the events that we were involved with throughout the fun, but yet very busy six day adventure.

To be honest, I must admit that I was more than a little concerned and a little anxious about taking my wife on this excursion.  After waiting a fair amount of time, I finally felt a peace about it and purchased the airline tickets approximately a month before the date we had set to leave.  From that point on I was determined to press through any distractions that the enemy might set before us and attend this most important event.

A few days before we were to leave I remembered something that the son of the president of my Bible College had said to us in class one day.  He recalled, that when growing up, his Dad had always encouraged him and his sister to stand on Proverbs 3:4 where it states that we have “favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man.”  (King James Version)  Another version that I had read rendered this promise as “favor and a good report with man as you have with God.” At that moment of remembrance, I took hold of that verse and claimed it for all the stages of our trip, with special consideration for airport security and the various plane boarding’s.

On the day we began our adventure, all went smooth until we arrived at the Sacramento airport.  First we had a difficult time finding a parking place.  Once that was accomplished, we faced a rather extended line that snaked it’s way to the airlines check in counter.  After we progressed through that step we were surprised to observe an even longer line awaiting us at the security station.  I began to get a little nervous when I realized that we only had about 20 minutes to make our flight when we were at the half way point in this line.  As I sent my thoughts heavenward I continually received the peaceful reply inside my spirit that “it was going to be okay!”  I even kept my peace as a fellow traveler anxiously walked up the line repeating to all of us that he passed saying “I have a plane to catch in 15 minutes can I move ahead of you!”   For a moment there I thought the man in front of me might deck the guy, but the incident passed by smoothly.

Then just as all was beginning to look hopeless, a women security officer stepped up to the line near us and opened another entrance to the scanning area.  As we approached her I informed her of my wife’s needs and she immediately replied “I’ll take care of her.”  She whisked my wife and I through the scanner and had another officer stand guard next to a vacant chair so I could conveniently get her shoes back on after we went through the machine.  From there I practically dragged my wife through the terminal as the airline began paging our names announcing our last chance to board the departing flight.

As my forehead began to bead up with sweat, my older son (who just happens to work for Southwest Airlines at that airport) suddenly appeared and said “relax Dad, they’re holding the plane for you!”  Later on I found out that even the pilot had gotten involved when he heard of our plight by telling the gate agents that he could hold the plane for another five minutes and then make up the time in the air!  Whew!  You talk about favor!  The flight attendants even moved a few passengers around so that my wife and I could sit together.  Then the passengers sitting around us went out of their way to help my wife get seated and her belt fastened.

So… what was I sweating about?  God’s word said that I had “favor and a good report,” but I still allowed my natural side to get worked up!  Have you ever been there and done that?  As the plane began to rise up into the clear blue sky, I suddenly began to laugh at the absurdity of my actions.  I could have saved myself from a whole lot of anxious concern and a wet shirt if I had just fixed my attention on Jesus and His word.  (Remember Hebrews 12:2?)

Are you facing any potentially anxious concerns this week?  I would challenge you to learn from my adventure.  Find God’s word on the subject of your need, speak it out, stand on it and trust HIM to do what He says He will do!  Then sit back and "enjoy the friendly skies of United…" or in my case Southwest Airlines!

Have a great week!  It’s good to be back and I encourage you to stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Friday, September 2, 2011

On Vacation!

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!  I wanted to let you all know that I am going to be taking a couple of weeks off from writing this blog.  My wife and I will be going to Oklahoma for our youngest daughter’s wedding next week.  I’ll be refreshed, recomposed (after walking my baby down the aisle!) and ready to resume the blog by the 19th of September.  But before I go, I wanted to share a few thoughts on taking a vacation…

We’ve been talking about the sights, sounds and smells of Jesus for the last few days.  As I was re-reading the eight chapter of the Biblical book of Romans this morning, it dawned on me that the one connection that I had with this world system has been removed.  Romans 8:2 states that “The standards of the Spirit, who gives life through Christ Jesus, have SET YOU FREE from the standards of sin and death.”  (Gods Word ©)  Therefore I owe no allegiance to the normally expected ways of responding to the daily occurrences of life.  My obligation now, is to respond according to the dictates of Jesus’ example as described throughout the New Testament.

Yesterday I listed some of the things that Jesus left in His wake as He went through a town in Israel during His earth walk.  What kind of things were they?  They were blessings to the people He touched.  Everywhere that Jesus went He imparted life.  Think about that for a moment.  It didn’t matter where He was or what He personally felt like.  He still reached out and blessed those around Him.  Even on the bloody cross He reached out and brought life to the prisoner hanging next to Him and then made sure that His mother’s needs would be met after He was gone.

That’s what it is all about!  Most times it is just the little things that will bless those whose lives you touch.  Many times you won’t even know that you encouraged someone.  One night many years ago, when my wife to be and I were away at college, we went out to a local fast food restaurant to get a quick (and cheap!) bite to eat.  As has always been our custom, we held hands, bowed our heads and thanked God for the food.  A few weeks later we attended a meeting of a Christian group on campus.  During the opening remarks the leader asked if anyone had a testimony that they wanted to share.  One young man stood up and related how he had been downcast at work a couple of weeks earlier, when he looked up from behind the counter and spotted a couple praying over their food right in front of everyone at the restaurant.  He stated that their boldness and commitment totally turned around his attitude, encouraged him and helped him to be a blessing to the others he worked with that night.  As you probably figured out, that couple was my finance and me.

Like I said, most times it is just the normal things that we do as born again Christians that will leave a blessing in our wakes as we walk through our lives each day!  Now, what does all this have to do with taking a vacation?  It’s really quite simple.  This holiday weekend is the perfect time to take a vacation from the expected standards of this world!  Choose to leave behind the frustrations, anger and the desires to get back at those who may have hurt you and make the quality decision to impart life wherever you may go, no matter what the circumstances may present!  Be that cool breeze of fresh air that blows into a hot situation and allow the love of God to ooze from you as your presence brings peace, joy and encouragement to a hurting world.

Have a GREAT holiday weekend and we’ll see you in a couple of weeks.  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself… “What GREAT things am I expecting to be for others today?”

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Knight Rider - 2011


Last night I taught a mini lesson to the students in our Children’s Church class concerning the same subject that I have been talking about on this blog for the last few days.  When I spoke about leaving behind the sights, sounds and smells of Jesus they all began to chuckle.  After the sillies that followed, the kids openly began to share what they thought it would look like afterwards if Jesus had passed through a store, their school or their neighborhood.  They also understood the point and talked about ways that they could be like Jesus when they were out and about the city.

This morning as I reviewed some of their statements, I began to think about the recorded evidence of what Jesus had actually left in His wake as He traveled the land around Jerusalem.  Wherever He went His presence was verified through the many healed individuals, the forgiven sinners, the restored families, the full stomachs, the prosperous fisherman and by the confused and angry religious leaders!  These men were upset because Jesus didn’t respond to people’s problems in the ways the world dictated as the normal proper reaction.  Jesus didn’t condemn, He loved.  He didn’t teach a long set of Do’s and Don’ts, He forgave and healed.  He didn’t tell people to be warm and filled and then walk away, He met their needs!

The anticipation of Jesus coming to their towns caused the local population to come out with great expectations of receiving the love and miracles of God.  Instead of running to hide from fear of condemnation and/or retaliation from their religious and government leaders, they joyfully came out in great multitudes.

… And now we can do the same as He did in our cities and towns!  Jesus set that precedent when He said “I can guarantee this truth: Those who believe in me will do the things that I am doing.  (In fact) They will do even GREATER things because I am going to the Father.  I will do anything you ask the Father in my name so that the Father will be given glory because of the Son.”  (John 14:12-13 Gods Word © parentheses mine)

What are the GREATER THINGS that will mark your relationship with the Master in your neighborhood, in the stores you frequent, at your job, and in the schools you or your kids attend?  How will the people see Jesus through you?  Think about it for a few moments.  Does this depend entirely on your own energy and resources?  No, thank the Lord!  Remember Jesus said that I will do anything you ask the Father in my name…”  All we have to do is to be obedient to His leading and confident in the integrity of His Word, and then let the blessings flow!

Whoa… I can see it now!  A revolution of His love flowing through our neighborhoods, into the heart of the cities and then extending across the nation.  Sound a little far fetched to you?  I don’t think so!  It reminds me of the closing scenes of “Knight Rider”, my favorite TV series in the 1980’s, where “Kitt,” the customized black Knight Industries Two Thousand Pontiac Trans Am would zoom off into the distance with the deep voice of the narrator saying: “One man can make a difference!”

You and I can be that one man or women in other people’s lives today.  If you need a little kick start, just confess II Timothy 1:7 and allow His power to “Turbo Boost” you into making His mark in your world!  Stay tuned and keep asking yourself:  “What GREAT Things am I expecting TO DO today?”


PS:  I know what you’re thinking JoAnna… "Do we have to watch the re-runs of Knight Rider again?  Geez Dad…"