Mark

Striving every day to know Him more.

Jan 062018
 

I have a cold.  Snotty nose, stuffy head, scratchy throat, miserable nights trying to sleep and breathe, and all that stuff.  It’s a nuisance and an inconvenience, but it’s nothing life changing.  I’ve learned over the years that colds come and go.  There is nothing you can do but take some medicine, drink plenty of liquids, get some rest, and go on with life.  Whining and complaining does no good.  It only makes you feel more miserable.  It’s best to go on about your day, tissue in hand, and live life knowing that one day soon, this too shall pass.

Knowing its only temporary seems to be one of the keys to living through a cold without complaint.  If I were to contract a cold and someone told me it would last for years, then I think I would complain.  I would whine, pout, feel sorry for myself and ask God why He allowed such a hardship in my life.  But the common cold that lasts a few days, that I can handle.  I know it will be over soon and better days are around the corner.  I know I can beat it.  I am confident my immune system will soon get the upper hand and the cold virus that seeks to invade and infect me will be eradicated.  The hardship is temporary.  In the end, I win.

I am trying lately, to take that attitude about bigger things.  Compared to eternity, this life is so very short and any hardship I face is only temporary.  With Jesus as Lord, God is in control.  And in the end, I win.

Dec 192017
 

My printer is broken.  It comes on when I push the on button.  It receives the print commands from my computer.  It even prints beautiful pictures… if you can get it to feed the paper.  That’s the part that is broken.  The part that pulls in the paper.  So, I am spending too much time these days trying to push the paper into the printer at just the right time so that it will print.

You might be wondering why I don’t just get another printer.  I have enough money.  Or I could even put it on my Christmas wish list.  The problem is not the ability to get another printer.  The problem is the inability to use all the extra ink I recently purchased, just before the printer broke.  If I get a new printer, I’ll have a whole stash of useless ink.  And that bugs me.

I hate wasting things.  Wasting money, time, or opportunities.  Sometimes I am haunted by the thought “What if I am wasting my life?”  I don’t know where the right balance is for being content in my current state, and pressing on, striving to win the race.  They often seem like opposing lifestyles to me.  But if I take a bigger picture view, I must say that I see most errors occurring on the side of striving and pushing to get ahead. 

The Bible is full of examples of people that screwed things up by NOT being content; by striving to make things happen instead of waiting on God.  Abraham, Moses, King Saul, King David, to name just a few.  Meanwhile, God tells us in his word, “Be still and know that I am God.”  I need to be content to follow God, moving, or waiting, at His direction. Pushing the paper before the printer is ready just makes a crumpled mess. 

He says, “Stop your striving and recognize that I am God! I will be exalted over the nations! I will be exalted over the earth!”   The Lord who commands armies is on our side! The God of Jacob is our protector! (Selah).    – Psalms 46:10-11  NET

 Posted by at 7:00 am
Nov 282017
 

Perhaps I need to be less concerned about doing more FOR God, and more concerned about doing everything WITH God.

 Posted by at 7:18 am
Oct 272017
 

Jay lived on an island with a large tribe.  His complex culture had evolved over the centuries and included religious practices that were also complex, and at times, difficult to understand.  Jay didn’t think too much about it.  He just followed the culture’s lead and worshiped in a similar fashion to the vast majority of his tribe.  He worshiped many gods, as did most of his tribesmen.  Not even knowing the gods’ names, he just followed the rest of the tribe and made his sacrifices like everyone else.

He did at times wish life could be simpler.  Worshipping so many gods kept him busy.  They constantly harassed him, wanting attention, demanding he sacrifice for them.  They all yanked him about like a fish on a hook.  Though he didn’t know their names, he could feel their pull.  There was the god of Others’ Opinion.  The god of “Jay is in Control.”  He was closely related to the god “Have it My Way.”  Then there were Appetite and Desire gods, and their very powerful relative, Lust.  The Fame god, Pleasure god, Power, Riches & Security god . . . the list was way too long.

On his stroll through the streets of Manhattan, Jay walked past the Madison Avenue Baptist Church.  He was thinking about his to-do list and the sacrifices the gods were demanding this week when the joyous singinging of the worshipers in the church caught his attention.   He took a quick glance at the church sign.  “Love the Lord God with all your heart.  No one can serve two masters,” it said.  He stopped for a moment and pondered the meaning of it.  What a simple minded bunch, he thought.  Did they not know about all the other gods? As he resumed his walk, his thoughts went back to his to-do list and the sacrifices all the gods required.  His shoulders slumped a bit and his once purposeful steps degenerated into a slow shuffle.  Life would be so much more peaceful, so much more joyful, if I could serve only one god, he thought.

 Posted by at 1:30 pm
Oct 072017
 

Proverbs says to trust in the Lord and don’t rely on your own understanding. I think I often try to do the first part while ignoring the second part.  It’s more like “I’m trusting you Lord to help ME figure it out.” One big problem with that approach is that it leaves no room for God to do something bigger than I can understand.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5‭-‬6 NET
http://bible.com/107/pro.3.5-6.NET

 Posted by at 8:47 am  Tagged with:
Sep 122017
 

Have you ever thought about the difference of being conformed vs transformed?  You can conform a square peg to fit into a round hole by cutting down the corners and forcing it in.  If you transformed it into a round peg by completely re-making it, that would be a whole different experience.  The conforming process forces something to be other than it was designed to be.  The transforming process makes it something entirely new.  The conforming process results in compromise and corruption of the original.  The transforming process results in a new creation.  A bonsai tree is the result of conformity; continuous tiny cuts and confining the roots to a tiny container, until you stunt the tree growth and force it to stay small.  A giant Sequoia tree is the reslult of transformation . . . a tiny little seed transforms into a gigantic wonder.

I want to be transformed, not conformed.

Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.
    – Romans 12:2 NET     http://bible.com/107/rom.12.2.NET

 Posted by at 1:37 pm
Aug 252017
 

I’m taking a big risk today, living life on the wild side, throwing caution to the wind, and doing something absolutely crazy.   I took my precious cell phone out of its case and left the house with it unprotected.  That’s right.  As I write this, my cell phone is sitting on the table at Wendy’s with no case, no rubber cover, not even a screen protector. It’s wierd.  I feel vulnerable and liberated at the same time.  The screen is so smooth and bright.  The phone feels so sleek and light in my hand.  It slips in my pocket like it’s coated in butter.  I love it.

Do you ever think about how strange it is that we shop for the sleekest, nicest aluminum-framed bright-screened phone then promply engulf it in a giant rubber encasement and a screen dulling plastic film?  We do it because it’s precious to us.  We don’t want to damage it.  So instead, we don’t allow ourselves to enjoy half the qualities that made it precious to us in the first place.  It reminds me of Ecclesiastes.

I’ve been reading the book of Ecclesiastes lately, and I think it could be summarized like this:  Cell phones wear out. All cell phones break sooner or later.  Enjoy it while you have it.  Make the most of it.  Use it to the max.  But treat it like it belongs to God, because it really does.  And look to God to provide something even better when this cell phone dies.

 Posted by at 2:19 pm
Jul 242017
 

Here is a headline from today’s tech news…

A Wisconsin company will let employees use microchip implants to buy snacks and open door

The article, found here, explains that employees will have chips implanted in their hands so they can purchase snacks and gain access.  Here’s a snippet from the guy who provides the technology:  . . .  Westby speculates on a future where RFID chip technology is used for “your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities,” . . .

That was just published.   Now compare it to something published around 2000 years ago:

The second beast was empowered to give life to the image of the first beast so that it could speak, and could cause all those who did not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He also caused everyone (small and great, rich and poor, free and slave ) to obtain a mark on their right hand or on their forehead. Thus no one was allowed to buy or sell things unless he bore the mark of the beast – that is, his name or his number.  – Revelation 13:15‭-‬17 NET

I will let you draw your own conclusions, but consider what a little more hacking and identity theft might do to public opinion regarding implanted chips.

 Posted by at 2:12 pm
Jul 122017
 

The Bible is full of examples where God saved people from evil intensions, rescued people, conquered armies, etc.  My problem is that I often don’t recognize my personal battles as modern day versions of the same thing  The book of Psalms is full of scriptures about how the Lord will vindicate, rescue, deliver, help to conquer . . .  but do I realize that applies to me?  He can rescue me from the evil person who is battling me on the job, at the office, in the market place and community, just like he rescued David from the evil people that wanted to take his life.

This doesn’t mean that bad things will never happen to me in life. But I do think that the principles of victory in the Bible apply to me just like they did for David or Samson or Paul. My adversary may be called George instead of Goliath but my God is the same yesterday today and forever.

 Posted by at 7:45 am