Here’s a video we played at our 44th Wedding Anniversary. I love this girl with All My Heart!
It seems at times our lives can be like a “Tug-O-War” with God. Sometimes we pull on the rope, sometimes it pulls on us. And, sometimes we give slack in the rope to God. Acting and believing we have given all to God. Still, we hold tight on the rope of this world and what it means to us. As Christians, the challenge is when we hold on to the rope, aren’t we’re still trying to control the outcome? The key is to let go of the rope completely. Let God do what God does. That’s scary to most. We could end up in a big ol’ “slimy pit” covered with the mud and mire of life if we let go.
Psalm 27:14 tells us to wait on the Lord. To be Strong and have Courage.
“Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”Psalm 27:14
Several months ago, we posted a blog called “The Key”. A story about how “Tug O’ War” was a great analogy for our walk with God. The other day, my wife Kayleen sent me this wonderful story about waiting on the LORD. The story quoted Isaiah 40:3. What a blessing it is when God sends the same message from different sources
“but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”Isaiah 40:31
In the story that Kayleen sent me, the author clarified the word Wait.
“The word wait in this verse is the Hebrew word Quvah. Quvah means to bind together of strings made on a cord or a bound primitive root, to bind together by twisting.”
Wow. In that scripture the word Wait means Rope. You could have heard me laugh all the way down the street.
It seems we are playing “Tug-O-War” with a rope tied to all the things of our earthly walk. When all we need do is to let go of the rope tied to the world…
Reach up and grab the rope called “Wait” that God is dangling in front of us.
Grab that Rope and don’t let go!
This morning I woke to find my children embroiled in the latest debate on abortion and racial inequality.
My first thought was to debate the issues. Then in prayer, God led me to know we need to bring this to him in prayer and trust him.
Here is my prayer request…
Please keep our children that are in the world and those that are “of” the world in your prayers. They are beaten down daily with the ways of the world and a desire to find comfort in conformity.
In the latest battle for hearts and souls, darkness is once again using the genocide of people targeted at specific groups in the form of abortion to drive hate, vitriol and divisiveness between family friends and loved ones.
We are not saviors, and we pray for our Savior, Christ Jesus, to intervene in their hearts and remove the scales from their eyes so that they can see abortion for the sin that it is; and bring understanding to their hearts so they will recognize the racial genocide that abortion is perpetrating in the name of freedom.
While it is tempting to debate the pros and cons, it is impossible to change beliefs with facts and data. Like the song says… “No wise man has the power to reason away, what a fool believes.”
Or, as 1 Corinthians 1:25 says,
“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
It is only our prayers and our God that can change hearts. Love you all, please pray for our children’s hearts.
God’s Got This, Grace Got You!
Aren’t we all looking for that Key? The Key that unlocks all the mysteries of life, that opens the door to an unrestricted life? One, simple understanding that lifts the burden of obligation? Ah, to never have to balance a check book again.
That perfect marriage to that perfect person. Complete acceptance in any social situation. Never wondering how I am going to do that, how do I fit in, or, what do “They” think?
Getting the key is oft times a monumental step, albeit daunting. Dad giving you the keys to the family car, the bank giving you the key to your first house. Your boss giving you a key to your first private office-or getting the key to your first business. Handing the keys to your car to your sixteen-year-old. Daunting indeed!
As Christians, because we are saved, comfortable in our eternal home, we often believe we have things completely figured out. Still, we need to balance check books, relationships with friends and loved ones can be difficult, and most of us can still fall victim to peer pressure. Knowing that we are a continual work in progress, Christians strive to be better every day. However, life can be tough. It seems we apply all we learn in Church, yet the world continues to punch us in the face.
Like most of you, my life has been full of problems, pressure, and conflict. For decades; through it all, God has been working with me, lighting my path. Teaching me to come closer to him and farther away from the stuff of the World. Looking back, through the turmoil, God has shown me a simple understanding that has helped tremendously in my life, eliminating a host of hardships.
Do you remember playing “Tug-O-War” as kids? Maybe you still play. It’s been a while for me, but it was one of my favorite games. A ruckus team sport that was usually played over a muddy pit. Initially we believed that the game was winnable only through brute strength. As our team got better, we realized it was more of a “head” game. Turns out that “Tug-O-War” was all about strategy and how to take the best advantage of the strength available. Our strategies always included “Psyching” out our opponents before the match. Mainly so that they would start the game doubting their abilities. However, my favorite move was what we called the “fake out”. That glorious move when all at once, our team would give some slack in the rope to the other team. Instantly, thinking they “had” us, the other team would often let up at the first sign of a relaxing in the rope. With a shout, our team would pull back with everything we had. “Hooking” them like a fish on the line. We won more matches with that move than any other.
You might be wondering what does “tug-o-war” have to do with a key to life’s problems? Think of it as a simple analogy of our walk with God. We start life thinking that our “Brute Strength” will get us through everything in life. Then, when we accept Christ as our savior and learn more about God’s grace. We learn that when things go wrong, we need to submit all to Christ. Do we submit? Completely?
Whether we are pulling on the rope; asking God for what WE believe WE need. Or, those times when we truly give it all to God, praying, “Your Will, Not Mine”. Still, aren’t we usually still holding tightly to the rope; fully ready to yank back when WE believe it’s needed. Isn’t “The Key” to let go of the rope? Truly give all our troubles and life to God!
In my experience, it’s all about trust. Trusting God to take us by the hand, so that when we let go of the rope, we don’t fall. The more we trust God, the more we see Him do in our lives. The more we see Him do in our lives, the more we trust Him.
Throughout my life, when letting go of the rope and letting God have it, He has never let me down. When we weren’t sure where the next dollar was coming from, where would we live, how would we find food to eat? Giving it all to God, He always had our backs. Without fail. We weren’t dripping in money, gold, and diamonds, but He always provided.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”Matthew 6:33
Dropping out of High School, it seemed my life was never going to match my dreams. Scared and frustrated, my fear led me to give it all to God, asking for guidance and help. Looking back, it was that single event — dropping out of school — that led me to meet the love of my life, my bride for over 40 years now. Unquestionably, through some very tough times, God provided and ordered our steps into a wonderful and blessed life together. Recently, when giving up alcohol and pain pills. God led me to my knees, fearing the loss everything. Again, giving it all to God and begging for His help. He not only grabbed my hand taking me out of my addictions, but from that day forward, all desire for alcohol and thought of using opiates are gone. Wiped out entirely. That is the God Factor for me. When you give it completely to Him, fear, doubt, and anxiety go away. Completely. Like it never existed.
Planning things on my own, not giving it to God, always seemed to lead me into chaos. Sure, my thoughts and prayers were with God, always asking for help; but giving in to my plans and my understanding, not His will. Things might have worked, and sometimes even got better, but it was never without strife and disorder. Looking back, it was me holding on to the rope that created the chaos while working to control the outcome.
Letting go of the rope continues to be a battle for me. It’s ALL about trust and faith. Believing that God will grab my hand, place me on His solid Rock, and see me through. He has always been there for me.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”Hebrews 10:23
“Let Go and Let God!
God’s Got This & Grace Got You!”
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.Philippians 1:6
Is Your Glass Half Full, or Half Empty?
It’s Always FULL!
When we read how Jesus talked with the woman at the well saying “…whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Doesn’t it seem that, as Christians, we should strive to be full of the “Living Water” Christ talked about?
Every time we let anger and hatred in our hearts, it replaces joy and love. By allowing fear and doubt in our heart, it replaces hope and faith. When our hearts are full of anger, hatred, fear, and doubt, there is less room for God’s “Living Water”. Think of that proverbial glass of water that is either “Half Full” or “Half Empty”. Truth be known, the glass is “ALWAYS FULL”. Way back in eighth grade my science teacher taught a very simple concept, Displacement.
In a nutshell… although the glass might be only “Half Full” of water, the other half is filled with air. The more air pumped into the glass, the less water. The more water, the less air. Displacement. The water displaces air and visa-versa.
Our hearts are the same; always full. Sometimes it has more love than hate. Other times, not. The good news is that you are in control of what goes in your heart. Negative thoughts are generated in our mind, not the Heart.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
When we let dark thoughts take that eighteen inch trip from our brain to our heart, displacement of God’s “Living Water” begins. We must always keep our focus on Christ and His Love to ensure our hearts remain full of Love. As Christians, we are taught to Love People; including our enemies. Love is always the answer.
Growing up, being told what to do was just about the worst thing for me. After all, what kid likes to be told “clean your plate”, “do your chores”, or the worst, “Pick Up Your Room!”?
Is it any wonder that we would push back on something called Commandments? Especially Ten of them. For me, probably like most of my generation, when someone would mention the Ten Commandments, my first thought is usually of Charlton Heston on that mountain. Once I got that picture of Moses out of my head and began to focus on reading the Ten Commandments, all of the “Thou’s” and “Shalt’s” would get in the way. Being a casual (lazy) reader, it was so much work, like reading a different language.
Then, one day, someone introduced me to Matthew 22:37-39. Answering the question “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”. Jesus responded by saying, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” For me, that summed it up in a few, simple words.
Jesus was saying… “Love God, Love People”. Not a Thee, Thou, or Shalt in it! Truly words to live by.
Those four words are the essence of being a Christian. If all of us could only follow those two simple guidelines of love. Like the song says, “What a Wonderful World it would be”.
Going forward my studies showed that those simple four words, encompass all ten commandments. “Love God” covers the first four and “Love People” the final six. Wow! What would Charlton Heston have done with that? Can you see him standing on the mountain top with a lot smaller tablet? Maybe just an iPad? Certainly, it would have made for a shorter movie.
Growing up in the sixties was all about love. While some took it to the extreme with “Free Love”. Most believed it was all about loving one another in the biblical sense. Our culture was permeated with Love. It was in our music with songs like “All You Need is Love”. It was throughout our politics as well. Love one another was the basis of the Peace crusade and “flower children”. Sadly, greed and vitriol eventually engulfed the movement, replacing love with hate. Love was also the core of the Civil Rights movement. Led by Reverend Martin Luther King, he always led with Love and Peace including statements like…
“I love you. I would rather die than hate you.”
So often, today’s protests are full of division and hatred, making me think about those days in the sixties. It didn’t take long for a generation filled with love and peace to be “displaced” by hatred and viciousness. Today, in a world where it seems all are focused completely on themselves, there is one key element missing, Love!
Always Love! – Love Is The Answer!
Love God, Love People!
Here’s a video that we put together called “Love Is The Answer” featuring a wonderful version of the old Todd Rundgren song performed by Rumer. Enjoy!