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Fall is defintely in the air!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Delight


De*light:  \di-lit, de-\ 

“To effect with great pleasure; to please highly;
 to give or afford high satisfaction. 

 Delight is a more permanent pleasure than joy,
 and not dependent on sudden excitement.” *

Last night I had a quick catch up session with our youngest daughter in Oklahoma.  She was explaining everything that had been happening to her and her husband since we last talked a couple of weeks ago.  Then with a burst of excitement she proceeded to fill me in on her first two ballet students and all the antics of their first two lessons in her studio that Jeremiah and her set up in their garage.  You have to understand that this is a long time coming dream that has come true for her.

JoAnna always took her ballet seriously as a little girl up through her high school years and beyond.  As she got older she began to talk about her dream of starting her own studio, and although some in the family did not take her seriously, she stuck to her guns and is now in the beginning stages of seeing the fruition of that vision.  Her heart’s desire has always been to not only teach her students the physical intricacies of the art of ballet, but to also minister to them as they go through the trying times of life as young ladies growing into maturity.   She and her husband have already been ministering to the Jr High youth in their church and she is now able to expand that one on one ministry to her ballet students.

My heart swelled as JoAnna shared her success story with me.  I don’t think that I could be more proud and delighted with her in the consummation of this dream.  I have always tried to encourage our kids to pursue their dreams no matter how outrageous or different from the mainstay of thinking on the lines of career paths that they may be.  I believe that if God has put a vision in your heart, then you need to follow it and see where He is leading you.  And while I believe in a good education, I also understand that pursing the goal of a good college education is not the only ticket to success in life.

I was reminded of all this as I re-read Matthew 3:17 this morning.  “And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”  (NKJV)  I wrote yesterday about the revelation of how this view of Jesus by the Father is also the view and/or opinion that He has about you and me.  Today I continued my study on the same theme and began to see that this is the perfect example of God’s grace.

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary explains that when the author used the term “well pleased” he was trying to convey God's “absolute complacency once and forever felt toward” His children.  The commentary goes on to express that “The English here, at least to modern ears, is scarcely strong enough.  ‘I delight’ comes the nearest perhaps, to that ineffable complacency which is manifestly intended.”  You see God’s “delight” in us is a once and forever, absolutely settled in heaven fact to Him!  There is nothing that can change His mind.

Our heavenly Father “delights” in us not because of our own performance in life, but because of Jesus’ perfect actions in the total consummation of the Old Covenant requirements established through Moses.  II Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  That’s His grace and it based completely on what Jesus did for us, and once again, that is how our heavenly Father sees us!

Over these last three years I have had many false judgments and accusations come against me, but you know what?  It doesn’t matter one bit!  I have (finally!) learned that the only thing that matters to me is God’s judgment of me, and according to His Word, I am a “delight” in His eyes!

I think that most of you would agree with me when I say that children are a “delight” to their parents.  Sure there are times where they may do something that we would not have done, but when push comes to shove, they are still a “delight” in our eyes.  How many times have you mentioned the word “kids” to someone and were immediately inundated with multiple photos of their children as they whipped them out from their wallet or purse before you could blink an eye!  Just think about how fast our heavenly Father shows off yours and my pictures before the inhabitants of the heavenlies when He discusses His kids with them!

So, take some time this weekend to remember your status as a favored and “delightful” member of God’s family.  Allow the thought of His “delight” of you to fill you with the overflow of His love and then go and drip on someone around you!  Have a great weekend.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Who's DELIGHT am I expecting today?”


* Webster’s 1828 dictionary

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Am I Really a Fool?


This morning as I was reading in Hebrews chapter twelve where it discusses the importance of keeping our focus on Jesus as the initiator and the completer of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), I was impressed to start reading through the Gospels again just to see how Jesus reacted to the daily situations of life about Him.  When I got to Matthew 3:17 a bright light suddenly went on inside me as I read: “Then a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love – my Son with whom I am pleased’” (God’s Word ©)  The thought that illumined in my mind was that “This is what God also thinks about me!”

In Ephesians chapters one through three the Apostle Paul tells of who we as believers in Christ.  In a nutshell one could say that when God the Father looks at us He sees us as being “in Christ.”  Or in maybe simpler terms, He sees Christ when He looks at us!  In I Corinthians chapter twelve Paul outlines how we are all part of Christ’s body and all play a vital role in the spreading of the Good News in our world. 

When someone looks at another person’s hand or foot, they do not usually think “well, there’s a hand or foot,” they normally will associate that hand or foot with whom it belongs to.  The same goes for our Father in heaven when He looks at the parts of Christ’s body here on the earth.  He sees us all as part of His beloved Son!  So… when the Father makes a statement about being pleased with His Son, He is also making that statement about you and me!

Wow!  Let that thought get down inside of you!  I know that there have been times where I have really felt like a fool because of the way I may have reacted to something or to someone.  Then there are the times I may not have taken the opportunity to be a blessing to someone else by uttering a kind word, or by not stopping and offering assistance when they sat in their car stalled on the side of the road, or by not following through on a promise…  The list could go on and on, but you know what?  God never sees you or me as a fool, as being stupid, lazy or forgetful!  I Corinthians 13:7 says that God’s “Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.”

He never gives up on us, even when we are tempted to give up on ourselves.  The next verse says that His “Love never comes to an end.”  (God’s Word ©)  And you can depend on that solid, unshakable truth today!  God is looking at you right now from the very throne room of heaven and He is saying: “This is my son (or my daughter), whom I love – my son (or my daughter) with whom I am well pleased!”

So then, the next time that you are tempted to get down on yourself, think about how your heavenly Father thinks about you, smile and quickly reject your self condemnation.  Then go out and pass that love onto to someone else.  Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Friendship


After I helped my wife to bed last night, I walked quietly through the darkened house that was illuminated only by the starlight that drifted in through the two large windows that sit up high near the peak of our cathedral ceilings.  As I stood in the middle of the living room I glanced around the room and began to think about all the responsibilities that rest on my shoulders.  I was a little at awe at how everything was getting done and longed for the able-bodied assistance of my best friend and confidant, my wife.   Then as I walked into the hallway a gentle voice whispered in my ear saying, “You’re not alone and you have another best friend who is with you wherever you go.”

That voice and that truth that was uttered deep within me, brought an instant peace to my heart and mind and a visible smile to my lips.  It was as if Jesus physically stood in the hallway with me and put His arm around my shoulders.  Except for my wife, I am not usually real comfortable hugging other people or have them hug me, but the impression of His embrace lifted my spirits and refurbished my stock of faith to go on.

This morning as I spent time in the Word, I found myself looking at scriptures about friendship and ended up in James 2:23 where the writer talks about God’s relationship with Abraham.  The God’s Word translation says, “The scripture passage came true.  It says, ‘Abraham believed God, and that faith was regarded by God to be his approval of Abraham.’  So Abraham was called God’s friend.”  The thought of being God’s friend in conjunction with the words that were spoken to me last night intrigued me.

The verse previous to the one above stated that “Abraham’s faith and what he did worked together.  His faith was shown to be genuine by what he did.”  (James 2:22 God’s Word ©)  So, if you look at friendship through the eyes of those two verses, I can see where my faith has been approved by my heavenly Father and He therefore considers me His friend.

Has my faith always been the rock-solid standard that is never moved, never shaken and never questioned in the midst of all that we have faced over the last few years?  Well, if you have read this blog in the past you know that the answer to that question is “NO!”  There have been times where my faith has jiggled and where questions have popped into my mind, but those experiences were quickly dispelled by the knowledge of the truth of His Word and the personal experiences of His love.

God knows our intentions and our hearts and as demonstrated to me last night, He is always there to comfort us, to pick us up if necessary, and then set us off on the right path again.  Romans 8:37 declares that “The one who loves us gives us an overwhelming victory in all these difficulties.”  (God’s Word ©)  We may not be perfect yet, but He is!  He is our friend and “A friend loves at all times…”  (Proverbs 17:17 NKJV)  He will always be there for us. 

When I finally got into bed last night I still had that smile upon my face and the warm peace of His presence, knowing that I never walk alone… and either do you!  Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Liberty


Do you remember how free or liberated you felt as you walked out of the classroom on the last day of school each year?  For some reason I always remember one particular year in Junior High.  I am not even sure what grade I was in, but I clearly remember plopping down on my bed after walking home and glancing over at the pile of school newspapers that I had collected over the course of the year.  It was a warm spring day, the sky outside my window was bright blue with a few lingering white clouds and my heart was literally leaping with joy!  It seemed like the possibilities for that summer vacation were limitless and that nothing would be impossible to achieve.  The thoughts of the endless hours of playing baseball at the local elementary school with the neighborhood kids, the football games in the street, the adventures biking with good friends, and the ability to do whatever I wanted to (after the daily chores were completed!) danced around in my mind!

Well, things are a little different now…  I’ve grown up and have responsibilities that do not necessarily allow me to do whatever I want to do, whenever I want to do them.  In fact, my daily schedule is now pretty much dictated by the needs of my wife.  But, as I discovered this morning, I still can rejoice in that same kind of freedom or liberty that I felt back on that first day of summer vacation in Junior High.  James 1:25 says “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (NKJV) 

According to Thayer’s Greek Definitions of “liberty”, this verse means that as believers we have the freedom “to do or omit things having no relationship to salvation”… but there is a caveat declaring that “true liberty is living as we should not as we please.”  The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary adds to this thought by stating that the perfect law of liberty refers to “the Gospel rule of life, perfect and perfecting… The principle of love takes the place of the letter of the law, so that by the spirit we are free from the yoke of sin, and free to obey by spontaneous instinct.  The law is thus not made void, but fulfilled.”

That explanation is what makes the Christian walk so special and so liberating to me.  The perfect law of liberty makes the relationship between me and God very personal.  I may be a free moral agent, but my love for God and maybe more importantly, my understanding of His love for me, makes me instinctively want to do what is right in His eyes, thereby freeing me from the bounds of the law as well as from the bounds of the world system in operation all around me.  Talk about freedom!  The temporary freedom that I felt on the last day of school is a fleeting moment in comparison with the eternity of freedom we have in Christ through His finished work!

Now I can wake up each morning, no matter how I feel, no matter what I am facing, and no matter what curve might be thrown my way and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my possibilities in life are limitless and that nothing is impossible to achieve.

I am living within the unending boundaries of the perfect law of liberty, and as a believer, SO ARE YOU!  Wow!  Let that sink in for a moment here!  A reality of this magnitude cannot help but etch a permanent smile on your face!  The Message Bible paraphrases James 1:25 by saying “But whoever catches a glimpse of the reveled counsel of God --- the free life! --- even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or women of action.  That person will find delight and affirmation in the action!”

So… respond today to that call for action and find the new freedom and a sense of delight and affirmation that only He can provide!  Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Monday, September 24, 2012

Autumn


Wow!  I find it hard to believe that summer is over and that the autumn season officially began this last Saturday.  I think that the reality of the change came to me as I was longingly looking at some beautiful tall Redwoods that line the parameter of the golf course across the street from our neighborhood and noticed that some of the large Maple trees nearby were sporting their fall red and golden hues. 

This season of the year seems to clearly announce its arrival with a definite change in the air about us.  It just feels different.  It even smells different!  Over the weekend the wind started to blow and with it the leaves began to drop along with the constant ker-plunk of acorns falling from the multitude of Oak tress that surround our house.  There is a unique cool crispness that’s in the air as the sun begins to peek over the nearby mountain ridge in the mornings and in no time at all we’ll have to grab a sweater before we venture out after dark!   And even though the summer months are by far my favorite time of year, I must confess that the first few days of autumn always flood my heart with warm poignant memories.

I recall the numerous trips that my wife and I would take with our kids to an apple ranch west of the nearby town of Sebastopol and walk through the orchards, grab a cup of steaming hot cider as we perused the unusual trinkets, boxes of freshly picked apples and other items in the gift shop that takes over one of their barns during the harvest time.  On the way to the car we would frolic with the kids with a romp through their funky little kids play zone outside the barn.  Then there was the huge Harvest party at the church, the fantastic Thanksgiving dinners with the relatives and finally the joys of the whole Christmas season.

Autumn is also the time of year where I take an account of where we have been over the last year.  What went well, what not so well.  What lessons I’ve learned and how to avoid any similar missteps in the months ahead.  Then I begin to look forward to the New Year and start praying in earnest over our goals and plans that will go into action after January 1st

As you begin to look back over the last year and then forward into the new one ahead, I would encourage you to take the words of the Apostle Paul to heart as he shared a lesson with the church at Corinth.  He taught them that the greatest way to overcome any evil, any set back and any attack is through the actions of LOVE.  In conclusion he said that LOVE “Trusts God always, always looks for the best” and that “LOVE never fails.”  (I Corinthians 13:7-8 combination of the Message Bible and NKJV)

One of my favorite and most meaningful things that I like to do whenever I preside over a wedding service is to look deep into the eyes of the couple standing before me and say those all inclusive words that “LOVE NEVER FAILS!”  They are not only the key to a successful long, lasting marriage, but also for each and every one of the plans and activities that we pursue each year in our daily lives.

Have a wonderful autumn season.  Enjoy the change in the weather, the turning and falling of the leaves (and even raking them up!), the cool, crisp morning and evenings, the fires in the fireplace, snuggling with a loved one, holding a warm cup of coffee, tea, hot Chocolate or hot apple cider in your cold, wind blown hands, and giving thanks to God!

Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Friday, September 21, 2012

To Know


Well this morning started out a little bit better than yesterday.  At least I was alert enough to find a comfortable light weight jacket to help spell the cool of the morning in the house!  Last night was the third or fourth night in a row that I did not sleep well and I was pretty worn out as I slid from under the covers today.  With a hot cup of coffee in hand, I tackled my morning Bible study and found myself returning to I John chapter four.

The sixteenth verse read: “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us.  God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him.” (NKJV)  What immediately caught my attention was the author’s intention of the word “known” in the verse.  It infers that we have a very intimate relationship with God, as that of between a husband and wife.  The Message Bible paraphrases the scripture by saying “Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God.  We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.”

The revelation of that intimate relationship with God just seemed to overwhelm as I sat in the quiet solitude of my study this morning.  I leaned back in my chair, closed my eyes and just enjoyed His presence about me.  This was especially meaningful to me as I have been having a difficult time lately handling the absence of the special intimate, “as one” relationship that my wife and I have always experienced between us since our early days together in High School.  (I just realized today that it was 42 years ago this last Saturday that she and I officially started dating way back in 1970!)  That look that just says it all, the quiet words of love and understanding, the holding of hands, the embraces, the joint laughter, the endless hours of conversation that have never ceased since day one, the unity of thought, action and purpose, the extreme pleasure of just being alone together anywhere at any time… all of these things have temporarily been stolen from us with the onset of the attack on her health.

But as I sat in my chair in the presence of the Lord, I realized that I have and will continue to always experience that wonderful oneness with Him!  It really doesn’t matter what may come against us in this world, nothing can separate us from “knowing” the love that He has for us.  One of my favorite scriptures lately has been from Joshua 1:5 where the Lord declares that “I will never neglect you or abandon you.”  (God’s Word ©)  People, places and things may depart from you for a season, but He is always there, 24/7 – 365 days a year.

If any of this rings a bell with you today, then I would strongly suggest that you find a quiet place to be alone with Him this weekend and let Him overwhelm you with His presence, His love and His healing, restorative powers!  “KNOW” that He will never neglect nor abandon you.  Have a great weekend.  Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting TO KNOW today?”

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Replacing The Blahs...


This morning was not one of those days that you want to write home about.  I had a weird night, didn’t sleep much and woke up feeling like I had just unloaded a truckload of bagged soils from the Home Depot, where I used to work, by hand!  When I rolled over and attempted to focus on the clock, I finally figured out that if I wanted any time alone with God that I had to get up NOW!  So I turned, plopped my head on my wife’s side, told her that I loved her and that I was going to study the Word for a little while.  Then I summed up all the courage I could muster, gave the sleeping dog who was all stretched out next to my wife a quick pat, and dragged myself out of the bed.

I felt like I was moving in auto pilot as I made the coffee, turned on the computer and fished around in the study closet for some kind of coat since it was a little chilly in the house. It wasn’t until I had sat down at my desk and attempted to jot down some notes that I realized that I had put on my extreme cold weather jacket that I used to wear during the snowy winter days while working on the job outside in Oklahoma.  The sleeve was so thick that it made writing fairly cumbersome, but I was toasty warm, felt too lazy to get up and change it and just put up with the inconvenience!

I was thinking kind of sluggishly as I glanced down at my Bible and didn’t really know where to begin, when the words from an old hymn that had been floating in and out of my head for several days loomed loudly in my mind.

“To God be the glory, great things He has done;
 So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
 Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
 And opened the flood gate that all may come in

 Refrain

 Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
 Let the earth hear His voice!
 Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
 Let the people rejoice!
 O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
 And give Him the glory, great things He has done.

Verse 2

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
 To every believer the promise of God;
 The vilest offender who truly believes,
 That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

 (Refrain)

 Verse 3

 Great things He has taught us, great things He has done,
 And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
 But purer, and higher and greater will be
 Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.”  

 (Refrain) *

As I worshipped the Lord through the verses of this timeless masterpiece, I physically felt my energy increasing, my joy returning and my purpose for life re-firing within me.

“Great things He has taught us, great things He has done,
 And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;”

Suddenly the tired fog and lethargy that had captivated my being just moments before, lost its grip upon me.  I had a new and stronger power about me!

“Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
 Let the earth hear His voice!
 Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
 Let the people rejoice!
 O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
 And give Him the glory, great things He has done.”

As I looked up to Him I witnessed a new strength, I gained a new focus, and I was ready to take on the new day!

“But purer, and higher, and greater will be
 Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.”


Have a GREAT day.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What ‘GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE’ are you expecting today?”




*  Words: Fanny Crosby in Brightest and Best, by W. H. Doane and Robert Lowery  
   (Chicago Illinois: Biglow and Main 1875), number 118

   Music: W. Howard Doane

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why Not?


As I was helping my wife to get ready for the day this morning, I began to consider my just completed Bible study time and the words “Why Not” popped into my mind.  After a few moments the familiar phrase gained some recognition as I remembered that it was a line from one of my favorite movies when the kids were growing up.  The 1979 Disney Movie entitled “The North Avenue Irregulars” is a zany story about a widowed new Pastor, his kids and a group of wacky women parishioners who take on the gambling syndicate in their hometown.  It stars a great combination of well known actors including Cloris Leachman, Karin Valentine (a former Miss Sonoma County- I might add!), Ruth Buzzi, Michael Constantine, Alan Hale Jr and Edward Hermin, who were in their prime when this was filmed.

As the story line goes, when the men of the church, in fear of retribution, refuse to assist the Treasury Department in the building of a case against the mob, the Pastor suggests the faithful women who regularly volunteer at the church.  At the first hilariously funny meeting between the two Treasury Agents and the church women that is held in the Children’s Sunday School room complete with miniature tables and chairs, the Agent in charge thinks that the request is absurd and says it wouldn’t work.  The women and the Pastor all begin to talk at once and the second agent finally relents, looks at Marv (the supervising agent) and says “Why Not?”

I won’t tell you the whole story as I would encourage you to watch the film (It is actually available at Walmart.com, Amazon, The Disney Store and at Overstock.com).  It is especially enjoyable when you view it in the mind-set of the late 1970’s with a thought to the clothing styles, film technology of the day and the whole culture of that period.  The movie still causes me to break into uncontrollable laughter with its various array of clich├ęs, car chases, CB talk, Presbytery stereotypes, and slapstick comedy. 

In the end the assistant agent’s “Why Not” overrode the Lead agents “What If” and the women had their time in the glow of victory as indictments are brought against the mob, and as a key force behind the Presbytery’s decision to re-open the North Avenue Presbyterian Church. The movie concludes with a scene of a service in front of the burnt out shell of the church (gotta see the movie to find out why and how this happened…) as a “Monkies” look-a-like band begins to play and everyone rejoices… complete with kids dancing the "Twist!"

It was actually the power behind the idea of “What If” that brought meaning to my Bible time today and triggered my walk down memory lane in the context of “The North Avenue Irregulars.”  As I continued to study God’s Love in contrast to Fear in I John 4:16-21, I came to the personal realization that “Godly LOVE is the answer to all my questions!” While I froze and meditated on the powerful revelation of this statement, I heard the following thought:

“Any situation, any need, any question, any relationship, and any person that is  
 approached with the complete absence of fear will be boldly and confidently and clearly faced and resolved within the realm and sphere of God’s unlimited, unending provision and grace.  In this mode of operation we become an immovable and undefeatable force for God.”

This is God’s LOVE in action!  When you look around at popular media sources today, you begin to see that one of the underlying suggestions (that is normally unspoken) that is used to motivate the general public to make decisions, is based on the question of “What If.”  And most times the “What If” relates to a negative event that might occur if you do not choose correctly.  Think about that for a moment.  How many times, when you are considering a course of action, do you stop and consider “What If?”  Now, don’t get me wrong here, sometimes that is a helpful step.  But too many times it is the death blow to a course of action that will cause you to step out in faith and directly into God’s unlimited, unending provision and grace.

As a simple example, I have come across countless individuals, over the years, who stay stuck in a job that they hate, one that is zapping them of their zeal for God and life and hurting their family life as well, simply because they are afraid to step out and trust the Lord when He has given them a clear vision to follow.  The “What If” has stopped them cold!  I’m sure that each of you can think of many examples of the faith destroying “What If” in your own life as well as in the lives of those around you.

What is the answer?  The answer lies in Marv’s yielding to his partner’s “Why Not!”  “Why Not” trust the Lord and the truth of His Word?  “Why Not” take that first step of financial, emotional and personal freedom and see Him “supply all of your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus?” (Philippians 4:19 KJV) “Why Not” cast off the hopelessness of what medical science may say about the sickness that’s invaded your body or a loved one and see the miraculous manifestation of “by whose stripes you were healed?” (I Peter 2:24 NKJV) “Why Not” let go of anxiety and sleepless nights and “cast your care upon him; for he careth for you?” (I Peter 5:7 KJV)  “Why Not” throw in the towel on fear and despair and witness His promise “to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us?” (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV)


                                                      “WHY NOT?”


Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fuel For The Fire


Late Sunday afternoon I finally had a few moments to relax, so I sat down in the comfy recliner near the patio window in our living room, propped up my feet and turned on my new lap top.  Ahhhh… peace, quiet and maybe just a little bit of fun!  I am still learning the ins and outs of my new computer and as I was going through the list of installed programs I noticed that I had not yet registered the lap top with the manufacturer.  I read through the instructions and then began to type in the required information.  After I had filled in the blanks I hit the “submit” button and waited for the “accepted” confirmation.  But, instead of being accepted I got the red “rejected” notice.  The explanation code stated that I did not put in the proper Manufacturer’s code and serial number.  This was somewhat strange in that the correct numbers were pre-filled in.  Nevertheless I cleared the lines and typed in the identical numbers listed on the back of the computer.

When I received the same error notice, I began to get a little frustrated.  By the third time I was past frustration and into complaining about and then criticizing not only the manufacturer in general but also the individual who wrote the program!  By this time I was well past the thought of getting some time to relax, and decided to quit before it got worse and begin preparing the Barbeque.

Yesterday as I was cleaning up the breakfast dishes, I had a few thoughts about a recent conversation that I had with a family member.  In that conversation the other individual had asked for some information that I had already given to them numerous times in the past.  When that replayed in my mind I began to shake my head and laugh.  Then came the revelation that I had alluded to in yesterday’s post.  I instantly realized that my judgmental reaction of laughing and shaking my head was a reaction brought on by fear, just as my reaction to the complications with the computer program was on Sunday.

Huh… you might be thinking?  Well, as I stopped rinsing the egg off of the plate at the sink, I saw that if I was trusting in the Lord, I would not have gotten fearful in that I was wasting my precious free time on Sunday, or by the fear that the other individual in our conversation that morning had either forgotten our previous conversations on the same subject or did not think it or me important enough to remember the information or for that matter, where they had already written the info down before!  This may sound kind of silly, but it is true!

Think about yourself for a moment here.  What is the REAL reason behind the times that you might complain about something, or make a negative comment when someone cuts you off in traffic, or be critical of another person’s reactions to a situation that concerns you, or when the Pastor gets a little too close to home in a sermon or when you hear that someone said something very negative about you to someone else?  Perfect love would lead us to forgive, be positive or look for the best before any opposite reaction would occur.  I John 4:17 says that love gives us confidence in the face of judgment, “because as He is, so are we in this world.” (KJV)

That “perfect love” that does away with fear (I John 4:18 NKJV) not only has to do with how others deal with you, but also with our response to them as well as to ourselves! It would seem that critical words, complaining, judgments, raised eyebrows and the Ah-Ha! attitude are all fueled by fear.  So why not simply take away the source of the fuel and extinguish any potential fires of anger, frustration and hurt?  And the lesson that I learned was that it all starts and can end with me – NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE ELSE SAYS OR DOES!

Think about it… Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”


Monday, September 17, 2012

The Green Lantern


Over the weekend we had free HBO offered on our satellite TV service.  With that in mind, I went through the listings to see if there was anything that my wife and I might enjoy watching.  Usually I find one or two movies that look interesting and fit into our personal movie viewing standards.  One of the few movies that I ended up recording was the comic book superhero movie from last year entitled “The Green Lantern.”  It was the premise of the movie that captured my attention.  The movie centers on the comic book characters that form the “Green Lantern Intergalactic Corps.”  In the story “the Ring” which is the power behind the Corps, recruits its first human member and he is soon called upon to defend mankind from Parallax, a super-powerful being who feeds on fear.

The whole concept of a force that feeds on fear went hand in hand with my recent blogs on the subject of living in Godly love.  It would seem that fear is the direct opposite of love.  As I look back at the attacks on my personal character over the last few years, I can see that fear was the driving force that I came up against.  I John 4:18 says that “there is no fear in love.”  (KJV)  Vincent’s Word Studies states that this literally translates as fear is not.”  In other words, it has no existence in love.

Daniel Webster first defined fear as “a painful emotion or passion excited by an expectation of evil.”  Thayer’s explains the original Greek meaning as “dread or terror.”  As I thought on these definitions this morning, I began to realize that fear can be caused by a myriad of reasons including an overwhelming dependency on money as an answer to most problems (see: I Timothy 6:10), the threat of not being in control of a situation, the unknown, impending evil, the thought of having one’s own little world upset by possibly having to be personally involved in another’s difficulties, or the rejection of others by not being liked, trusted or accepted.  Each of these events played a part in the attacks against me and in the way in which I responded to them.

I would have to say that fear is the power and force of the devil that comes against us in this life.  The evil power that threatened the world in “The Green Lantern” was finally defeated through the efforts of those who would not yield to the fear that it manifested and thereby took away its source of power.  The same could be said for Christians in the world today.  It is like my comment about Christians being the “Shock Absorbers” in the world. (see “POWER” 9/11/12) The buck should stop with us!  If we stop reacting to other’s fear with fear, then the power of its negative impact is reduced to zero!  Another thing that I personally and painfully began to take note of today is that our responses of fear can take many different forms.  I’ll discuss these a little more tomorrow, but for today I’ll just ask you to consider becoming an elite member of the “Green Lantern Intergalactic Corps” and walk fearlessly in the midst of the intimidating attacks of fear that come your way, thereby annihilating its power in its tracks, and replacing it with the powerful love of Christ!

Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourselves… “What FEAR am I expecting to annihilate today?”

Friday, September 14, 2012

Jell-O!


I kept finding myself throughout the day yesterday, singing the first few lines to the second verse of a children’s song I had written for a play back in the late 1980’s.  For the life of me though, I could not remember the rest of the verse nor how the rhyme went together.  I finally text our older daughter in North Carolina as she had sung the song in the play, as well as helped me to lead years of Children’s Church classes and VBS song services  where we sang and acted out the song.   Later in the afternoon she finally replied… imagine, she actually kept me waiting until she was off from work!  I’m joking of course, but I can see the smile on her face as she read the text and recalled all the fun times we had with that song!

“Now, I don’t jiggle like Jell-O,
 When the pressure comes I just get mellow,
 ‘Cause I trust in the Word where I spend my time,
 And everything comes out just fine!"

You can probably tell that I love to rhyme the lines to the songs that I write.  It’s not only fun, but it helps the kids to remember God’s Son.  Oophs, there I go again!

This morning those lyrics came dancing right back into my mind as I read from I Corinthians 13:7 where it says that Love “never stops hoping.” (God’s Word ©)  It just so happens that the word rendered “hope or hoping” in most translations actually means “to expect.” (G1679 - Strong’s)  So one could read this exhortation as “Love never stops expecting.”  But that brings up the question as to what are we to be expecting.  Well, to answer that in the context of the chapter, you would have to say that “Love never stops expecting God’s best.”

So what does that have to do with jiggling like Jello – EVERYTHING!  I’ve related over the last few days how surprised and negatively I reacted to things that were said against me in the context of my wife’s health situation.  What I did was to “jiggle like Jell-O!”  When the unexpected pressure came, for once in my life, I did not get mellow!  My mind, my insides and my blood pressure began to jiggle!  How should I have responded according to the song?  I should have just become mellow BECAUSE I expected God’ best and that everything would come out just fine!

God’s love would have had me to expect the best for those involved and for the outcome of the situation without any concern for myself, because I could rest assured that God was taking good care of me.  How do I know that?  Because it says so throughout the pages of my Bible, and since that is where I spend my time, I should have been expecting everything to come out just fine.

Well, I’ve learned my lesson well, ‘cause now I know that God is swell.  I’ll think twice before I jiggle, because that will just cause a ripple, that in my life could have been avoided without any strife.  I will expect God’s best, and let Him do the rest.  For His love is far above, all things that I might selfishly bring.

Have a fun weekend.  May each day and each activity rhyme with the words of His love for you.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What RHYMES am I expecting today?”  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Open Door...


In the quiet of the night early this morning, I laid in bed thinking about various things when the familiar scripture from Proverbs 3:5-6 began to play in my mind. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
 And lean not on your own understanding;
 In all your ways acknowledge Him
 And He shall direct your paths.”   (NKJV)

As I mused over the verse, I began to slowly whisper each word one at a time, pausing to think about what I had just spoken out.  After a few times through, the second part of verse five seemed to stand out.  “And… lean… not… on… your… own… understanding.”  Suddenly a little voice began to speak from deep inside after I repeated the phrase.  As I tuned into that voice it said, “Which the devil will flood your mind with!”  I sat still for a moment as I absorbed the statement and then realized the point.  The devil loves to have an open door by which he is more than happy to flood your mind with thoughts that are contrary to God’s thoughts, thoughts that are contrary to His Word.

I mentioned in the blog a few days ago that in the midst of the personal attacks against me that “I found myself continually rehearsing what had been said or done and then wasted additional time planning my counterattack!”  (See “POWER” 9/11/12) That is exactly what that little voice inside of me was talking about!  In my natural response to the hurtful words, I immediately began to lean on my own understanding.  Once I opened the door, the enemy of our souls was glad to fill the space with thoughts of “poor me” combined with a little anger and revenge mixed in!

The proactive answer to this situation is found in verse six by acknowledging Him in all your ways.  Once again the Message Bible sheds a little clearer light on this direction by saying, “Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.”

In John 10:27 Jesus made the comment that “My sheep know my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (KJV)  When those negative thoughts came into my mind I knew that they were not God’s, but I was so frustrated, surprised and hurt that I allowed myself the luxury of self pity.  But believe me, it was no luxury!  It was a trap and I fell in head first!  Then on top of having to deal with the words that were spoken against me, I had to deal with the feelings of remorse for the way I responded.  And the devil just loves to add to those feelings as well!

But thank God for His grace!  He is quick to forgive when we finally see the light and make the turn back to him and besides that, He promises to forget our transgression.  (See Jeremiah 31:34)  Isn’t God good!

As I lay enveloped by the pillow of His love in the darkness of our bedroom that was illuminated by the shadow of the lamp post on the walkway outside our window, I began to laugh and nod my head saying “Well, that’s one lesson I definitely learned the hard way!”  Just think what trouble I could have avoided if I only listened to the One voice I knew was the right one to yield to!  So maybe I can save you a little extra pain and anxiety by sharing this story and encourage you to acknowledge Him in all that you do by listening “for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go…”

Have a great Thursday!  Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What GOOD REPORTS from HIS VOICE am I expecting to hear today?”

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

White Noise


In my twenty year tenure with Hewlett Packard and its spin-off Agilent Technologies, I spent the majority of the time in the position of a Process Supervisor.  In that role I supervised various production areas within the Fabrication section of the manufacturing division in Santa Rosa, California.  One of the last operations that I supervised was in the CNC Machining Center.  This was a big organization that took up a whole floor in the largest of the four buildings on the site.  I shared responsibilities with three other supervisors in the Milling side of the shop. 

My desk was located right on the floor with the large machines separated by Herman Miller panels.  Over the three or four years that I was part of that team, my hearing took a beating as I was uncomfortable wearing hearing protection in my ears and felt like my head was in a box when I wore ear muffs.  I finally found a head set that electronically filtered the loud noises that didn't make me feel like being in a box, but by then the damage was done.  Over the years since then, my hearing has greatly improved, but I still am bothered by loud background noises.  Sometimes it is a little difficult to clearly hear on the phone when the TV or radio is on in the room, and there is nothing like the peace that fills the room after we turn off the house fan when the evening coastal breezes cool down the city on a warm summer day.

I got to thinking about background noise when I read from I Corinthians 13:1 this morning.  It says, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”  (NKJV)  My first thought concerning this statement from the Apostle Paul was that without Godly love, I am just adding to the noise in the world.  But as I pondered this, the term “White Noise” came to mind.  Simply said, “White Noise” is sound at a particular frequency that cuts through background noise because it contains a great amount of high frequency content.  Many sirens that we hear on emergency vehicles are designed to emit “White Noise” because it makes it easier for the listener to pinpoint the location of the approaching vehicle.

I think that “White Noise” would be a more accurate comparison to actions without Godly love.  It is not just a normal part of the background, but it stands out!  When I was in the shop you could quickly discern a sound that was out of the ordinary, even though there was a constant drone of audible activity.  It could have been a broken bit, an extra hard material or a cutting tool making contact with the metal at the wrong speed.  What ever the reason, the loud noise immediately tattled on the problem.

Over the last few years I have been in the situation where the “White Noise” was prevalent in my communications with a few people in the context of my wife’s and my needs.  These few would be quick to offer suggestions but slow to demonstrate empathy to our situation.  It was rather evident in some cases, that the individuals involved did not really want to be a part of the solution to our need.  It was both amazing and confusing to me to have my emotional outreach for help be turned aside by the listener and see them quickly change the direction of the conversation.  It was like the sudden intrusion of that loud and unusual sound emitting from the machines in the shop that caused you to stop what you were doing and take notice.  I have since come to realize that it was simply an action taken that could keep them somewhat aware of but yet comfortably disconnected from the situation.

The Message Bible seems to be a little more distinct in its modern paraphrase of 1Corinthians 13:1.  It states that “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.”  This wording tends to clearly define love as an action taken, not just as a quality that one may possess.  And the idea of a creaking rusty gate makes me cringe with the remembrance of the screech of someone’s fingernails being dragged across the blackboard in school!  You know what I mean?

This vivid lesson on love has made me intensely aware of my own reactions and response to other people’s needs.  Due to this personal experience, I want to make sure that I am not that screeching fingernail on the blackboard of someone else’s life.  I want to see that my actions are not just “noise” of any volume in their lives, but a kind and reassuring, non-judgmental voice, a helping hand, or an empathetic listening ear when other lives have been turned upside down.  How about you?

Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

POWER!


I mentioned in the blog yesterday that I wanted to share some of the lessons that I have been learning about love over the last few weeks and months.  The sign posts that have been pointing to His love seem to be placed on every corner of my life!  They pop up in every situation that I find myself in the midst of!  One of the interesting details is that most of the situations are not ones that I have caused of my own volition.  Most have been the results of the attack on my wife’s health and then the recent difficulties with my Mom’s fall and subsequent passing.  All of these hard times were generated by other individuals in their response to these events, many times because my current responses or life choices in the direction that our family went over the years were different than theirs.

As I thought about this in recent days I came to the realization that I had never experienced this depth of personal attack before.  I tend to have an easy going personality.  I enjoy a good laugh and like to make people comfortable and happy.  The intensity of the negative words toward me and/or the lack of any response from some that I thought I could depend on really sent my world into a tail spin.

Along with the confusion came feelings of anger, unforgiveness and utter frustration that I didn’t know I had inside of me!  As a Pastor I have counseled countless individuals and couples regarding their similar reactions to what I have recently experienced, but up until now I can see that I never quite understood the depth of what they were going through!  Those feelings were so intense in me that they captivated my every thought and began to find their way into almost every conversation.  I found myself continually rehearsing what had been said or done and then wasted additional time planning my counter attack!  This was completely new to me and for a long time I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with everything going on inside of myself… much less in dealing with the individuals involved because most of them were family or friends!

The signs of God’s love that I began to notice as I traveled this new road just seemed too opposite to what my head was screaming at me to do!  Visions of my responding with sharp and critical words began to dance around in my mind!  Those thoughts were a lot more comforting to my natural side than the idea of smiling and turning the other cheek!  The one saving grace in those early days was that opportunities to “set the record straight” did not immediately seem to present themselves.  Days and then weeks would go by and by then I had cooled down and was more open to Godly reason, even though the pain was still pretty sharp.
Yesterday as I began a study on God’s love using I Corinthians chapter thirteen as a foundation, I had a sudden revelation.  In the course of reading, meditating, writing notes and just listening to the Lord, I turned to I John 4:8 where it states that “God is love.” (KJV)  Instantly I had the thought that if God is love then you could conceivably take every place in the Word where it says, God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit or the Word and substitute the word LOVE!  Then you could make declarations of your faith saying things like “I can do all things through LOVE which strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13 KJV-personalized) or “LOVE hasn’t given me the spirit of fear but of power (or ability), of love and of a sound mind.”  (2Timothy 1:7 KJV-personalized)

Looking at God’s promises in the light of His love in this way, opened a whole new door for me to accept the challenges of loving the unlovely in the manner in which He encourages us to do.  Walking in His LOVE will actually give us the strength we need to take the path He calls us to pursue.  Acting in His LOVE dispels any fear (in either you or anyone that you are dealing with) and gives you His ability to think and act as He does, even when your natural side doesn’t want to!  Responding in His LOVE gives you the soundness of mind to see through the hurt and be a vessel of His healing to everyone involved!

I once saw Barry McQuire in concert and always remember him making the statement that “Christians should be shock absorbers.”  In other words, we should be the ones – through the power, strength and ability of God’s LOVE-to, stop and reverse the hurtful words and actions of others in this world.  Romans 8:31 says that “if God is for us who can be against us?”  (God’s Word ©) That is a mighty powerful weapon for us!  Take that verse and put it to use today by confessing that “If LOVE is for us, who can be against us.”  When you think about it, LOVE was the weapon that God used to change the course of mankind 2000 years ago, and it is just as powerful for us today!

Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

 

Monday, September 10, 2012

The More Excellent Way


There is a scripture in I Corinthians 13:12 that begins by saying, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then…”  This portion accurately defines where I have been over the last few months and also points to where I am beginning to go in the future.  When we made the dramatic decision to make some changes in our lives last June, I did not have a clear vision but a “dim” view of where we were to go.  I just knew that it was time to go!

As I look back now I can clearly see the Lord’s wisdom in the need to make a clean break from some of the major activities and responsibilities that we were involved with.  It is kind of like that saying “You can’t see the forest for the trees!”  I had become so involved in what I was doing that I had lost focus on the greater call and plan of God for our lives. 

Over the years I have had a problem in letting go of things.  Whether it be a particular job I had, a course of action that I was following, or in just stopping and changing direction when things were obviously going down the tubes!  I am not a quitter and I always strive to successfully complete everything that I set out to accomplish.  But in a few incidents it has been to my detriment and/or of those close to me to whom I care for.  Does this sound familiar to any of you?

In the months preceding our changes, I had felt a definite stirring inside of me.  As time went on I began to feel an emptiness when I would complete my weekly responsibilities.  It was something that I had never felt in the midst of doing and being in the presence of the things that I have always enjoyed most in life.  I have come to see that many things today are totally different and new to what I have experienced in the past.  I think that is why it took me so long to let go.  On the positive side though, I do believe that it was still within the parameters of the Lord’s perfect timing.

Over the last three months I have been like the one who has been looking at his image in a smudged mirror and seeing only a dim reflection.  Recently it is as though someone has come by with a clean cloth and a bottle of Windex and has begun to clean the mirror!  Since I removed myself completely away from a church position in ministry and from some other responsibilities, I have started to gain a clearer view of the many lessons that the Lord has been trying to get across to me.  It is as if a helicopter dropped a harness to me and pulled me up and over the trees so that I could get a look at the entire forest!

It reminds me of our hikes around the Plumas National Forest in northeastern California.  I have always been enthralled with the sights and sounds of the forest as we hiked between the trees.  The animals, the birds, the flowers and other vegetation, the gorgeous quaking aspens, the brush, the ice cold mountain streams, the towering pine trees and then the deep blue sky that peeks through the canopy of tree tops.  But there is nothing like reaching the end of a mountain trail and standing in awe as the panoramic view of the entire forest as it stretches for miles in every direction.  There is one trail that we have enjoyed on many occasions where you can count up to seven different Forest Service fire lookout towers as you look in the spectacular distance in a 360 degree view as well as a sighting into the neighboring state of Nevada.

Now that I am looking out over the view of my life, it is becoming especially apparent that the Lord has been teaching me a lesson on His Love.  For the last few weeks, every time I have opened my Bible, read a book or attended a service, the subject has been centered around… you guessed it… God’s love!  Yesterday the Pastor began by sharing from I Corinthians 12:31 saying “And yet I show you a more excellent way.”  (NKJV)  That more excellent way is the way of God’s love that the Apostle Paul extolled in what has come to be known as the love chapter as found in I Corinthians 13.

I want to spend a little time examining some of the lessons about His love that I have been learning lately with you in this blog.  But for today, I will leave you with something to think about concerning a statement that was made yesterday.  The Pastor said that “Love is the correct use of your emotions (and of your subsequent actions or reactions to them).”  Roll that thought around in your mind and see if it lines up with the way you do things.  I have to honestly say that it hasn’t always been my first response to some of the accusations and actions of others that I have experienced over the last three years!  There are some definite areas of my attitude toward others that I have to adjust.  How about you? 

Have a good day.  Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Cloud Began to Lift...


I received a disparaging email late last night and went to bed with a heavy heart due to the contents of the note.  It was written in response to an email that I had sent to a relative earlier in the day.  What weighed heavy on my heart was that much of the personal pain, stress and the constant drain of resources and energy that I had been sharing about with this individual over the last few months concerning my situation with my wife, was either misunderstood, not taken into consideration or pushed aside as if it had no real value.  I had retired for the evening with a cry to God as I unfolded to Him the myriad of frustrations that I felt, especially since it wasn't the first time, or the only individual who has responded to my current state of affairs in like manner.  I had a fitful night’s sleep and awoke under a cloud of concern and anxiety. 

I immediately began to pray and quickly got the coffee maker going so that I could make the most of my private time in the Word with my heavenly Father before the start of the day’s activities.  When I sat down at my desk and began to arrange my Bibles and note book, my eyes fell upon the Bible on the top of the stack that was opened up to Hebrews chapter ten.  As I read from it, many verses began to come to light including a portion that was actually quoted by Jesus from Psalm 40:6 where He said “I have come… I have come to do what you want, my God”  (Hebrews 10:7 God’s Word ©)  With that, I leaned back in my chair and called out to God in agreement with the verse and stated, “What do you want me to do Lord?”

Following a few moments of silent prayer, I continued bouncing around the chapter and received the directions to not “cast away your confidence which has a great reward” (Hebrews 10:35 NKJV).  Then came the clincher in verses 22-23 were the writer compels us to “continue to come to Him with a sincere heart and strong faith.  We must continue to hold firmly to our declaration of faith. (for) The One who made the promise is faithful.”  (God’s Word ©)  It was at that point that the words from that powerful hymn written in 1923 by Thomas O. Chisholm out of a heart of thanksgiving based on his experiences with God and Bible truth, began to flow from my lips:

“Great is They Faithfulness, O God my Father;
 There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
 Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,
 As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

 Refrain:
 Great is Thy faithfulness!
 Great is Thy faithfulness!
 Morning by morning new mercies I see
 All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
 Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

 Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
 Sun, moon and stars in their courses above;
 Join with all nature in manifold witness,
 To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

 (Refrain)

 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
 Thine own great presence to cheer and to guide;
 Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
 Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.” *

 (Refrain)

As I openly sang the song aloud, I noticed that the cloud of concern, frustration and anxiety began to fade away.  It was as though the sun had broken through the early morning fog that was present outside my window.  But it wasn’t a natural fog or the golden ball glowing in the sky. It was the Son of Righteousness rising up from within, with healing in His wings! (See Malachi 4:2)  As the pressure dissipated it was replaced with a calming and joyful peace.  Then my eyes glanced down to the next verse and I read: “We must continue to encourage each other to show love and to do good things.”  (Hebrews 10:24 God’s Word ©)

In that instant I realized that unless one has gone through the same heart wrenching experience as I have been living through, that they cannot understand and even be able to respond in the way I was wrongly expecting them to respond.  My response therefore, was to be one of encouragement and love with the example of doing the right thing toward them.  Maybe most people don’t understand the intricacies of my journey, but you know what… God does and therefore I am never alone.  I am never lost, and I am never without the helping hand of compassion and love of the Lord for:

“Great is Thy faithfulness!
 Great is Thy faithfulness!
 Morning by morning new mercies I see
 All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
 Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!”

Have a wonderful weekend as you meditate on and experience His faithfulness toward you.  Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”


*  Great Is Thy Faithfulness © 1923 Hope Publishing Company









Thursday, September 6, 2012

Stupidity...


Late yesterday afternoon I found myself multitasking by emailing some picture files to my father-in-law while setting up my new laptop in the bedroom so that my wife and I could participate in a live stream service from Oklahoma, and running back and forth to the kitchen to make sure that my wife was doing okay.  After hitting the attach button on my desktop to transfer one of the Sea Ranch files to my email, I hurried into the bedroom next door to see how the laptop was doing only to notice in dismay that it wasn’t starting up properly. 

That instantly got me frustrated as the computer isn’t even a week old yet!  Following the utterance of a few complaints, I noticed that my wife had come up behind me and I proceeded to tell her why I was not a happy camper!  At that point my only thought was of all the trouble it was going to be to have to package up the computer and send it back to New Jersey!  But it was the look in my wife’s eyes that silently told me to calm down and trust the Lord.  She didn’t have to say a thing… I knew exactly what she was thinking!  So, what did I do?  I humbled myself under the mighty hand of God (and under the mighty watch of Piper!), so that He could exalt me (by telling me what to do) at the right time, and I cast the care of the situation to Him because He cares for me and for my daily dilemmas.  (I Peter 5:6)

I had gotten myself so worked up that I couldn’t even get the laptop to turn off.  After casting the care to Him I calmed down and instantly remembered another way to turn off the power.  Then when I turned it back on a self diagnostic screen came up and fixed the problem.  At the same time I remembered that I had tried to load a new program the previous night and had to cancel it mid way through its elongated loading time.  I’m sure now, that it was that action that had probably caused the computer to not shut down properly and therefore had affected that afternoon’s start up process.

You see, it all had a logical explanation, but my immediate response of hitting the panic button set all logical reasoning aside.  My imagination went directly to the worse case scenario and it was down hill from there!  Thank God for my wife!  Who says that she can’t communicate?  She knew exactly what I needed and as usual knew exactly how to get that information to me!  Over the years I have become very aware of her sensitivity and accuracy in hearing from the Lord.  I’ve probably learned more from her when it comes to listening to the Lord than through any other experiences or sources.  It is exciting and encouraging to see that her Spiritual side is still active, perceptive and right on target!  I only wish that mine was working yesterday so I could have saved myself from much undue stress and frustration.

I think it just goes to show that the enemy of our souls knows exactly how to push our buttons!  After it was all done, I slapped my hand down on the glass table in our bedroom and began to laugh at my stupidity and the simplicity of the answer.  I also thanked the Lord for His faithfulness and the reality of His promise to never neglect us or abandon us.  (See Joshua 1:5)

What lesson can you take away from my experience of yesterday (besides taking an opportunity to laugh with [or at] me…)?  I guess it would be the railroad track safety logo of STOP, LOOK and LISTEN.  In other words, before you lose your cool and get irritated over nothing, STOP for a moment and remember WHO you are as a believer!  Then take the time to LOOK to God for His direction, and LISTEN and follow what He has to say.  Believe me, it will save you a lot of sweat, undue frustration and rise in your blood pressure!  So, stay cool today by staying in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What and how am I expecting to stay cool today?