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Monday, March 23, 2015

Right Smack Dab in the Middle...


I realized earlier this past weekend that my wife and I have always desired to be right smack dab in the middle of whatever activities we have pursued throughout our married lives.  Sitting in the stands or even on the bench as spectators has not been a welcomed option.  We have always preferred to be playing in the game… and as I looked back over the years, I also noticed that we most likely tended to be in some sort of a leadership role while playing in whatever game or activity it was!
As I was discussing this with Piper this morning, I suddenly was spell bound with the thought that this positioning as leaders started from the time we first became an “item” back as seniors in high school!  Do you think that maybe this was all part of Papa God’s plan for us?  That thought definitely hit me hard while standing still, frozen in place in the unfolding of this revelation while frying an omelet for breakfast!
Don’t get me wrong.  I had some opportunities of leadership roles during my elementary school years, but I really didn’t have much self confidence in those early days.  Looking back today, I can see how all that seemed to vanish when Piper and I got together.  In the spring of our senior year we teamed up with our good friend Mike and took a leadership role for the Italian booth in the school’s first ever Ethnic Fair (Mike and I also got some heat for driving the Italian sports cars we arranged to be displayed in front of our booth a little too fast on the way from the dealership to the school…).  Later that year Piper and I spearheaded and directed the planning, purchasing and Barbequing of the chicken for the Teacher’s Appreciation Dinner.  If I am not mistaken, we also helped to decorate the halls for a few of the senior dances that year.  We even got our picture in one of the business sponsored ads in the back our yearbook.
Piper was also very involved in the marching band while I was active with the Key Club.  The same was true for our participation with Piper’s church youth group.  We quickly assumed leadership roles there and followed the same pattern following graduation with “Faith Action” the church’s newly formed College Career group.  (Guess who came up with the name?  Yep… it was Piper.  She is good at naming things including one of the two churches we helped to start many years after that!)
In Philippians chapter three, the Apostle Paul tells of his desire to be found right smack dab in the middle of a life dedicated to Christ.  He recorded that “I threw it (those things that I once considered valuable – from the previous verse) all away in order to gain Christ and to have a relationship with him.” (Philippians 3:8-9 God’s Word ©)  I get the picture that following his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus, that Paul literally jumped into Christianity with both feet and never looked back!
I think that is exactly what happened to Piper and I.  Some of that may have had to do with our childhood experiences.  My Mom was always very adventurous.  She had a glint of joy in her eyes and was primed and ready to take a chance in life.  My Dad, on the other hand was NOT!  He was very conservative.  My Mom would talk about them purchasing some property and my Dad would always squash the thought!  I recall one of his favorite retorts being: “we can’t afford it!”  (Of course later on in life some of that conservatism paid off as he provided well for his family, did purchase some investment properties and he and my Mom traveled a fair amount after us kids were married and then left an amazing inheritance for us kids.)
From what I have come to see, I think Piper also faced some similar lines of thought as her parents talked and dreamed of special things but that is as far as it usually went.  Some of our closest times were in the immediate years following our marriage when we would spend Saturday afternoons talking and dreaming with her folks in their living room while we sipped hot cups of Sanka decaf coffee.
I believe that by the time Piper and I tied the knot in marriage, that we were ready to not just think and dream about things but TO DO them!  When it came to our Christian walk we early on began to take Papa God at His Word!  If He said that He would supply all of our needs (See Philippians 4:19) we decided to put Him to the test!  Early on in 1977 we prayed earnestly for direction, felt His peace and made our first big purchase as a couple and drove home one day with a brand new Pacific Blue Datsun 280 Z sports car.  We stood strong in faith with that one and actually were able to make extra payments on it each month!  If His word said that by Christ stripes we were healed (I Peter 2:24) we stepped out in faith and prayed over each other and then later on our kids and believedand saw His healing demonstrated.
And you know, some 45 years later… not much has changed!  I must admit that while some of our (what we’ve believed to be) faith-led decisions have not always been popular with some of our relatives, we have made it our life goal to seek, listen and faithfully obey when we sense a call of the Lord.  I believe that this confident expectation in the Lord and His Word is what is empowering us to see the power of Christ’s resurrection manifested in Piper’s body in bringing about a total and complete healing for her (See Philippians 3:10).
I believe that this kind of confident expectation (called FAITH – Hebrews 11:1) is the same power that will work for your benefit in ANY situation you face today!  I guess I just believe that if you’re gonna do something, that you might as well do it right and with all the earnestness of your heart!  So jump in the middle of the fray today!  Grab hold of the Word of Papa God that you can faithfully stand on and expect His Word to work for you… Expect a miracle!
Have a great week.  Stay in tune and in faith to God’s Word and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

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