Monday, November 23, 2015

It goes without saying…



Recently I was with one of the residents from the Courtyard, a place where Christian students can grow in their faith in their independence from mom and dad and in how now should they live. Time in a car either with college students or your children, especially when they're young, yields interesting tidbits of information.  As I was letting this young man off at the Courtyard, he turned to me and said, "It goes without saying… Pause well maybe… my time here at the Courtyard  (eight weeks so far) has made a tremendous impact on my spiritual growth."  He took the time to thank us for providing this important place for him... for his fellow residents, too. 

It didn't surprise me what he said, as I often witness residents growth in these college students' lives, in general and also their spiritual walk with God. But what I did take away from this brief encounter what is the phrase that I had not heard for a while "it goes without saying".

That little phrase as been running around my head for a day but seemed like a week. I have heard it many times in the past and fewer times in the present and I'm not sure if it is because people are not using that phrase or they're just doing it, 'letting it go without saying' anything about what they're thinking, what they're feeling, what moves them to action to change themselves and transform the world.

So, I am trying to check myself to determine if I ever 'let things go without saying'.  Do I ever let things go without saying with my wonderful wife, Kim, or our children, especially because they're adults and away from home.

Do I ever approach Jesus or my heavenly Father, with an attitude of "it goes without saying"? Thanksgiving is this week and I believe Americans, in general, do not practice a heart of gratitude about their lives. Husbands and wives get in a rut and let many things 'go without saying' how much they appreciate the other; how much they appreciate the love and respect of the other.  Children, today, use the words 'thank you' as if it were the most common thing in the world to say... "It goes without saying", so why bother. 

"It goes without saying…" is a kin to somebody else will do it; somebody else will tell of its importance, somebody else will support the work being done, somebody else will give their time and energy to invest in others.

This Thanksgiving, and every day going forward, let our speech be filled with positive things said to family members, spouses, friends, a wait-person, a receptionist, fellow workers or students; those things that, a day earlier, we would have lived out the phrase, "It goes without saying..."


The COURTYARD. www.CourtyardLife.org


Friday, October 12, 2012

Distracted

Distracted

If your life is anything like mine, it is filled with distractions that take me off a planned course or out of a peaceful slumber.  Ringing phones, barking dogs, visitors, flickering lights, or even a rumbling stomach can take your focus off one thing to the urgent beckoning of another.  


After 75 days, the rain is falling once again and there are power outages, plugged street drains, and accidents caused by slippery, oily roads.  Some of these things are expected or at least should be.  But what struck me the most today was the word and the meaning of "Distracted".

When there is music playing in the room, I find it difficult to write because my mind follows the tune and the words even as the room now is filled with a woman singing Hosanna in Mandarin.  Random thoughts flood into my mind.  Tilley, the faithful Yorkie sits on the top of my recliner as I lay out resting my back and she proceeds to lick my ear... she is informing me she wants or needs to go outside.  I must be easily distracted because even the thought of my hot chocolate cooling too fast before I drink it, causes me to pause and decide on what I'm going to do in the next few seconds.

You probably didn't even notice I stopped and took a slow draw on my Starbucks mug from Amsterdam.  Each and every day, our life is filled with distractions, some good, some bad, some annoying, and some just plain irritating.  Today, Americans like myself pack our days with so much in them, even good or fun things, that we race at a self-imposed speed to get it all done and we forget the real reason why we are doing whatever it is we are doing.  We many not even have enjoyed it and if it was vacation that finished without a relaxing awe... that is just plain wrong.

One of the busiest schedules are moms that care for the house & children (not to mention working a job to make the ends meet).  As a working dad up until 8 years ago, I had a busy schedule with my job, but it was fairly organized and the 10 hours or so were accomplished with the end in sight and a drive home to the family.  But for my lady, that was a different story, I won't even try and go into all the things that Kim did, but the results are three fine, grown, mature, wonderful children prepared to create a legacy that far exceeds anything that I did at work.  Though I was involved with our children and desired even more as they grew up, Kim deserves the medal of honor for going beyond the call of duty.

In every one's life, distractions come and how we cope with them varies to the types and intensity of the distractions themselves.  The world is full of distractions and marketers jobs depend on turning a distraction into a sale of whatever product they are hocking at the moment.  Radio, TV, billboards, magazines, newspapers, the Internet... everything is vying for your attention and we succumb and are drawn in because of our flawed self nature.  We want a new iPhone 5; we want a new 50" LCD TV to watch the game on... We want....  We need... We have to have...  Can't live without...

Ever noticed that the one most important thing, or at least should be, is the easiest for us to ignore? No matter if you are Billy Graham or the President, or a homeless alcoholic, we all need God in our life more and more.  When was the last time you were distracted by God to do something or think about something; and did you?

We ALLOW and even WELCOME some distractions to cover up how we feel or where our life is heading, but almost always those are distractions from the world and not from God.  We  tend to hide from God or count it as indigestion because we don't know His voice spoken directly, through others, or even in some media like music; we are going so fast at our lives that we run right through Jesus trying to get our attention.  We fail to walk slowly and see people for who they really are with eyes like Jesus; we don't want that type of distraction, we want to be entertained.

When it is all said and done, people are waiting to be loved and you just look the other way.  Not this distraction, only the distractions that I want.  Not God, not People; can't someone else do it because I don't have time, energy, talent, or right shoes.  You and I are really great at making up excusses but Jesus said this when asked which of the commandments was greatest:


"YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.'   "This is the great and foremost commandment.   "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'  " On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."  Matt 22:37-40  NASU

We wonder what is wrong with the world and the answer boils down to these two principles; Love God above all else and love others in the same way.  This type of love that loves beyond even beyond loving our self, isn't easy and is impossible without the Holy Spirit working through us.  But these two things we avoid doing.

Maybe next time you pray, you will ask God to distract you from the immediate thing you are doing to STOP and know Him and do as he asks.  I can't think of a better distraction than one from the Creator of the Universe; one who loves me more than anything else.  And the good thing is that He never gets tired of us showing Him how much we love Him.  Get distracted by Jesus as soon as you can.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

When All Else Fails


There is a lot of political ads and talking heads trying to make their opinions and views known, but this is where I'm at with all of it.


I care less about who the next President will be because God already has that taken care of; but I still need to vote.  Check this out...

Daniel 2:20-23

"Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him. 
21 "It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men 
And knowledge to men of understanding. 
22 "It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
 He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells with Him. 
23 "To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise,
For You have given me wisdom and power;
Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You,
For You have made known to us the king's matter." 

It is more important that I am friends with God and close to him than it is for me to be friends with athletes, stars, heroes, the famous, the rich, the powerful because nothing comes close to the Creator God.

I don't have to do everything, I just have to do what God tells me to do.  Everything around me can crash in, but if I really, really trust in an omnipotent God, than what else do I need?  Countries and currencies can fall, but the Name of the Lord will endure forever.

When all else fails in your life, God never will.  

Friday, August 17, 2012

He removes kings and establishes kings

There is great peace of who shall run America in the future when you understand that the God of Heaven is the one who "He removes kings and establishes kings".  It does not matter if they are a good or bad ruler; if they are a coward or a warrior; if they have fiscal control or loose pockets and least of all, if they are of the Republican, Democrat or Independent party.


In 586 B.C. God gave the power, authority and victory to King Nebuchadnezzar over Jerusalem and all of Judah.  The captives were taken back to Babylon.  God did this because the people of the land had turned their hearts away from God and to false gods including consumer materials, sexual abandonment, and many things other than the one True God.

This, fall, God will give to America who HE wants that America may once again recognize that HE alone is great enough to decide what is best for us.  All the campaigning in the world cannot come close to God's ability to orchestrate the outcome.  

When Nebuchadnezzar desired to give Daniel praise and glory, Daniel sidestepped it and reflected all the glory to His God, My God.  
 
Daniel proceed to interpret a vision for Nebuchadnezzar, but said this to the King

"Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him. 
"It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men 
And knowledge to men of understanding. 
"It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
 He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells with Him. Daniel 2:20-22 NASU

Daniel was placed high in the government, as was his three young friends; not as king, but in public service.  We need people in government that serve not for money or man's praise, but unto the Lord of Hosts.  

What can be do?  We can humble ourselves and pray.  God's chosen King (a man birthed from an adulterous act" said this:  

"Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: "I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place." 2 Chronicles 7:12-15  NKJV

It is never too late to pray.

Monday, August 13, 2012

My hero, Daniel

It has been a long time since I sat down to write; for those that follow this blog, thank you for checking back.

Heroes are few and far between these days; real heroes.  Real heroes are those ordinary men that step up to do extraordinary actions.  These are not stars as their actions are not for fame; real heroes are not saving the world in one hour on some television show, heroes leave a legacy of accomplishments not entertain.

Reading the book of Daniel again today, there are a couple of points that forever influence me to live bolder.

1.  Daniel resolved to not eat the Kings rich food, but to ask God to bless him and his 3 friends.

2.  The walk that is set apart for God is better when joined by buddies.

3.  God doesn't share His glory; Daniel did not accept God's glory, but directed everything back to Him.

4.  It isn't wrong to find favor in God's eyes or those that He places in positions of power & authority.

There are others, but these are in the first two chapters.  To live a life for God is to live it for nobody else.... not even self.  Whose your life being lived for?  What is important in life to you?  Where are you going to spend your time, energy and resources?  When are you going to bow your head and your heart to your Creator?  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A New Time

Time is the most precious thing that we consider ours; without it we cannot enjoy loved ones, read, eat, or even breath.  Many things are measured in time; MPH, beats per minute, lunch time, day we are born and the day we die.  Isn't it interesting that we have no ability to make more time; if we waste a few minutes here or there, so what?  SO WHAT, I mean if those were your last few minutes would you waste them?  We only have so many minutes.  I looked up how many a computer thinks I have... 557,206,220 seconds left according to deathclock.com  WOW, that's only 17.5 years left.  


Well, at first that seems really disturbing, but then again, the way things are going and my physical condition, I'm not sure I need more than that.  Here is what I know for sure, only God knows when I will die.  My life is in His hands and not mine.  He doesn't look at things the same way we do and I know that my life here is only a time of refining my character and making my decision who I am and whose I am.


A "new time" started many years ago, 49 years ago, I was born again into the Kingdom of God.  Not all, but most, of that time has been spent in humble service to my King.  Like many a wayward child, I had my moments of wanting my own way, but soon came to my senses and asked for my King's forgiveness which He did not withhold.


We rarely use the time we have well and waste so much of it.  I encourage you to love the Lord God, Creator of this earth with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as you do yourself.  If you really love someone, you will make sure they know that the straight path into the Kingdom of God is Jesus Christ and there is no other way.  The path is straight and it is narrow, but it leads to a life that never ends in "A New Time".

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Taking a Break But Have Hope

For you that have been following my blog, thank you.  I will be away from access for a period of time and need to take a pause on writing.  I will let you know when I have resumed writing, but for now, thanks for following.


For a short last entry, let's look at hope.  No other emotion can sustain life more than hope.  Anger and revenge can motivate you only so long; self-confidence in your own abilities will go along way; but HOPE is a driving emotion that propels beyond human ability through the toughest of circumstances.


I have a friend whose college-age son has a brain tumor that continues to return; often times with great speed.  Assisted in prayer by her friends and hope in Christ, as the great healer, Hope continues to hold her up as she faces the hospitals and the news that is often negative.


Men and women who have found themselves in the most desperate situations of peril have survived due to hope; usually hope in God.  These are life changing, life enduring times where there is no where else to turn.  It is then that we turn to our Creator; even the most devout atheist and agnostic call out to God when "all else fails" them.  


Hope can take us miles beyond what we can normally walk; Hope can sustain us with joy through years of chronic pain; Hope can enable us to get through the loss of a child, a sibling, a parent or friend.  Lack of hope can take us to suicide, depression or unhealthy habits - searching for some meaning in life.  


Hope is not a man-made emotion; it is built in everyone by our Creator, but some have never accessed it.  They see no future; see no life beyond this world... but there is; there is another Kingdom that springs with hope.


Hope is what drives me through every day; Faith is what allows my hope to be so real.  For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. Rom 8:24-25 NASU  Knowing that those that place their faith in Christ will spend eternity in a place prepared for us is my sustaining hope.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  For by it the men of old gained approval.  By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. Heb 11:1-3 NASB  


If you are going though a difficult time, your faith in Christ can sustain you.  Don't worry that it is a crutch; those that are broken need help to heal.  The best time to place your trust, faith and hope in your Creator is right now; you will grow in Him and when the difficult time comes like a storm... and it will come, you will be ready to hold tight to the Savior of the World.