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
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 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
Jul 052017
 

I stopped by the Dunkin Donuts on the way to work this morning and bought a dozen donuts.  I left with 12 of my favorites, but no blueberry donuts.  I like blueberry donuts.  But Dunkin doesn’t make one.  They make something called a blueberry donut, but if you look at the ingredients, you may notice one ingredient conspicuously missing.  You guessed it.  No blueberries.  In my opinion, you can’t make a blueberry donut without blueberries. 

I guess Dunkin makes a donut with some blue food colored specs and a bit of artificial flavoring and they call it a blueberry donut.  They can call it whatever they want.  It’s not a blueberry donut.  Maybe this bugs me because it seems like false advertising. It feels untruthful, and a little arogant. As if you can make something true just by declaring it so.  It reminds me of one of my favorite Shakespeare quotes: What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

 There is an amazing truth in that statement.  A realization that it doesn’t matter what you call a thing or what you may pretend it is or isn’t.  The truth of what it really is still remains.  It’s true of donuts, roses, and people.  

 Posted by at 2:17 pm
Jun 252017
 

It seems like it’s been raining in Atlanta for a month.  Truthfully, it’s only been about a week of rainy days.  But when sky’s are grey and the rain won’t stop, sunshine seems like afar away memory.

A week of daily downpours has our yard a muddy mess.  The ground can’t soak up any more water.  The grass is being washed away and we almost have a swamp in our back yard.  We’ve had a lot of rain.  But what we haven’t had, is a wet basement.  I am very thankful for the dry basement.

In times past, this much rain would have surely caused a small lake to form in my den.  This year, at least so far, we have avoided it.  For sure God’s grace and mercy is involved, but I think He has also helped me avoid it by other means.  Namely, hardship, experience, and preparation.  

The hardship of drying out a basement multiple times over the years has taught me several things.  The first is that drying out a basement is a real pain in the butt, so I don’t want to do it if I don’t have to. The second is that I have to be diligent about preparation.  I can’t procrastinate.  If the gutters are full of leaves and overflowing, and if downspouts and landscaping don’t send the water away from the house, I’m in trouble.  

This year, I’ve been on the roof cleaning gutters several times, even once or twice in the rain.  It beats dealing with a flooded basement any day.  But it’s really hard to make myself do it sometimes.  Especially if there is no rain in the forecast.  Here’s a word of advice: Sooner or later, there is always rain in the forecast.  Do yourself a favor.  Fix the gutters while the sun is shining.

 Posted by at 7:31 am
Apr 292017
 

This morning I woke up with a different perspective on life. I have often heard people say that life is a gift. But this morning, for the first time, it really seemed that way. God has created us as eternal beings, then he gave us this existence on earth as a temporary gift to see what we will do with it. It’s a little bit like we just got married, and God gave us a trip to Fiji as a wedding present. Someday He will ask us “How was the trip?” and we will all answer to Him. Perhaps when we meet others in Heaven, our story of how we used the gift of this earthly existence will be the conversation starter… just before we move on to the real discussion of the wonder of all that God has in store for us.