Jun 112018
 

God always shows up.

When I’m in the middle of the battle, I don’t see it.

I’m busy swinging my sword, or running for cover, or hiding from the enemy, so I don’t see it.

In the middle of a battle, it’s tough to see everything that is happening.

But when the battle is over, and you begin to put together the picture of what happened… how the battle was won… When the history of the battle is written, the last line of the story will be, God showed up.

 Posted by at 1:10 pm
Apr 132018
 

I have been thinking about success lately. Some people have it, some people don’t and I am often uncertain of the category in which I belong. In trying to figure out if I had it – indeed if I even wanted it – it became apparent to me that I must first discover what it is.

I think we often equate a successful person with successful actions. A person who is very good at something, who can accomplish great things, is often considered successful. But I think a man who can often accomplish what he sets out to do is not necessarily a successful man. Hitler was a successful leader (he managed to rally millions behind his loathsome cause), but does that make him a success? I think not. The two things can go together. I can be a successful manager AND a successful person, but I do not believe I need necessarily be both.

I suspect the world is full of people who think themselves a success when all they really are is a failure with a talent.

 Posted by at 1:17 pm
Mar 242018
 

The Gardener’s Handiwork

It almost looks like ghosts have invaded my yard.  Sheets and blankets hunch over my precious budding trees and bushes as if to cuddle them in a protective embrace.  A few unseasonably warm days have tricked my poor plants into blooming.  They know that Spring is on the way, but they have failed to account for Winter’s last gasp of chilly breath.  It happens almost every year.  There is nothing I, as gardener, can do to change the weather, but I can do some things to protect my precious plants from its effects.

Sometimes I wonder if the problem with the plants and the early spring freeze is because we have planted plants in the wrong place.  Am I trying to grow fruit in a place that is too cold for it?  Would my blueberries and apple trees fare better if they were planted further south?  Or would they then just bloom even earlier, still risking the cold?  Maybe I could plant them where it never freezes, but then how would I enjoy my fresh apples and blueberries this Summer?  I want my fruit near me, where I can watch it grow.  See it produce.  Enjoy it and share it.  So, when needed, I’ll protect it from the cold, fertilize it, prune it, and defend it from the bugs and critters that try to steal my blessing.   It’s what any good gardener does.

“. . . my Father is the Gardener . . .”  John 15:1

 

 Posted by at 7:30 am
Feb 272018
 

Sam and I went to downtown Duluth, GA last night because that was the location of the nearest place to make a change to his cell phone service. While we were there, a lady (and I use the term loosely ) came in.

Life has happened to her. She can not look back to how she got where she is. It hurts too much. She only looks forward to the next drink, the next fix. Something to make the pain go away. Where will she get the money, what can she do? Her life is a mess. The cruel rewards of her lifestyle display their ugly result on her mottled skin. Like her feet, her soul is bare. And yet, Jesus loves her. Jesus died for her. If she could only see it. Her life could change.

How can I be the hands and feet of Jesus to her? A burger and a ride home seems so inadequate.

 Posted by at 2:36 pm
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 it’s 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. God has designed my immune system so that it 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