Thursday, November 21, 2013

Children's Children- "True financial planning begins with eternity and works backwards."

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
    who walks in his ways!
 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
    you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
    around your table.
 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
    who fears the Lord.
 The Lord bless you from Zion!
    May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
    all the days of your life!
 May you see your children's children!
    Peace be upon Israel!

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, but the sinner's wealth is laid up for the righteous.

I've been thinking quite a bit about leaving a legacy these days. Maybe it's the amount of time I spend thinking about financial intelligence, maybe it's the coldness of winter or maybe it's that the grand-babies will be here for Christmas and I think about what kind of country we are going to leave for them.

Regardless of the reason it's stuck in my brain, there is a call for us to leave earth a better place than when we got here. We can talk GMO's, Obamacare, central banks and the stratospheric topics but I believe on a more granular level there are things that don't seem so far from reach that we can do as we pass the baton to the next generation, but it takes purposeful thought and planning on our parts.

It's not all about money and living and leaving life is more than a monetary issue but the unfortunate part about life today is that we need money to live. There aren't many who are living on 1000 acres, that have a alternative energy source and are truly off the grid enough to go without having some sort of monetary transaction on an on-going basis; it's just where we live and it doesn't seem to be changing direction anytime soon. Plain and simple- we need money.

But again, it's not all about money and how would it be if money was something low on our list of things we had to think about? How would it be if your organization needed to raise $1m to purchase something and your family could plunk down half or all of that because you believed enough in the endeavor to be that benevolent? That could change things around the board room table or the kitchen table.

Imagine what it must feel like to think and give on those kinds of levels without having to wonder if you were going to make it next year. Imagine if that was you right now; maybe it is and if so, good for you. Seriously.

But for most people they are not living in that kind of world they are living in the world that saw 6 million people in the US fall into poverty since 2004. That's not the kind of legacy we want to be leaving.

So what kind of legacy to we want to hand down to future generations? If it's not all about the money but they will need money to live and give where's the balance?

My dad never really had lots money and I have never had what would be considered lots of money either, though neither of has been without basic necessities. Growing up there were lots of chores to do, we worked in the berry fields and the picked green beans, we canned lots of things each year to stretch the dollars, though we didn't know that then, and just generally lived on a lower budget than some other folks. 

One of the things I learned from my dad without him ever "teaching" me was generosity. We didn't have a lot but everything we had was open to those who had need. I remember us bringing grocery bags full of produce that we grew in our garden to church to share with others and how excited dad was at Christmas to give some very special thing that cost way more than was necessary but was what one of the kids wanted; like the year I got a new 10 speed.

What are your children's children going to learn from you and what are you going to leave for them to deal with? Are they going to be dealing with the weight of a mess or the weight of having big shoes to fill? Are they going to be dealing with trying to survive financially or figuring out the best ways to increase the inheritance you have left for them to manage.

Just the other day I had someone say, "I don't want to leave my kids a bunch of money because I want them to know how to work". Are you kidding me? I wanted to slap this person-but I didn't. I've had enough money to know that it's still work to be a good fiduciary. Just because someone has way more money than they can spend in a lifetime does NOT mean that they automatically don't know how to work, in fact they probably understand hard work more than someone who doesn't have any money.

Our job is to set up the next generation for success as much and in every way possible. Whether that's in teaching them to be good stewards of the money, earning lots of money, being generous, making as many disciples as God allows, building schools and churches that are full of God-worshippers or showing them that leaders serve and sacrifice, in all those things and more we are to leave them something to build on and with.

I leave you with this quote:

"True financial planning begins with eternity and works backwards." 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Here and Now

Doing things that make little difference is unfulfilling. 

How can we bring value to the lives of the greatest amount of people on this planet while we have breath? 

I've had so many blessings already in life and what I'd like to do is share what I've learned with others so they can experience the same joys. Making a product that adds some benefit to other's lives is fine but I'm looking for more than that. More than something that is a benefit today but will grow dim tomorrow.

What if?
What if we could do something for others that would truly change their world from today forward? What if after meeting with us others walked away changed forever. What if that change was so significant that they had to share it with others who were also changed. 

Helen Keller said, “Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another's pain, life is not in vain.” 

There is so much pain in the world, so much suppressed anger and fear. There are also those who, in oblivion, walk through life thinking that everything is going to come out fine even if there is no preparation for what is to come; both in this life and the life to come. 

We don't know what tomorrow will hold, for us personally or for the planet. We are to prepare as best we are able, to not live in fear of what may or may not come and to go about our business as if every success we have depends on us while praying that God would bless all we are doing. There's no room for pride in this life because it's all a gift and we are just the receivers. 


Some get great wealth and little happiness. Some get the opposite. Some of the most joyful people I have met were lepers in Ethiopia living and gathering food in the city dump. Who is most blessed? The one who has great wealth and no joy or the one who has joy in all circumstances? Wouldn't it be awesome to have both, not either or?

Jesus came that we might have life and to have it in abundance. It's interesting in that passage, John 10, that He dumps that right in the middle of many "I lay down my life" statements. Do you suppose He's trying to say that bringing abundant life requires laying down our own? 

Those who hoard wealth miss so much blessing in their own lives. Hoarders actually mess up the economy. As strange as that sounds, those who keep for themselves stop the economic flow. Being generous actually helps the economy and it certainly help the giver, as it is more of a blessing to give than to receive.  

Helen Keller also said, “If the blind put their hands in God's, they find their way more surely than those who see but have not faith or purpose. ” We are not necessarily to have faith in people because people are going to let us down. We are to have faith in God that even when others do let us down that He will make it right and take our labors and give them purpose. 

The Toll Collector
What kind of purpose can the toll collector have? Really, think about this one. The person who sits in a little box and collects change. But when you pass by the one who gets their purpose in that spot you understand exactly what I mean. Are we that person or are we the kind that is lost in thought, lost in bills, lost in our own relationship issues and misses the 1000's of opportunities that pass by our booth each day?

“I wonder what becomes of lost opportunities? Perhaps our guardian angel gathers them up as we drop them, and will give them back to us in the beautiful sometime when we have grown wiser, and learned how to use them rightly.” Helen Keller again. We can only hope that we get a second chance at some of these.

We are told to number our days as that brings wisdom. So thinking about the future is good for our souls but not to the point that it make us pessimistic or fatalistic. We have much to look forward to even in the midst of the craziest storm clouds on the horizon- and there are some serious clouds brewing for us these days. "Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope.” Yup, HK.

How could she be so prolific in optimistic quotes? She had joy inside of her circumstances rather than desiring to be beyond them. 

God gives us each a torch to carry through life. I'd like mine to be bright enough to shed light into a few generations. What's your purpose and are you making the most of it today? What if we CAN change the world and we miss out because we are too busy? How can combining our purposes increase our world changing opportunities?

Are you ready to change the world? We got start somewhere/sometime. It might as well be here and now. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Privileged Position

King for a Day 

If you think about what landed the king to the position and what kept them there for any length of time then being a king had to be somewhat scary.

There were kings who inherited their kingship and those who took it by force. Some gained it because someone in their family passed away and some lit there because a relative was killed. Some went to the neighboring kingdom and took the position from the previous monarch. 

For those arriving on the throne via the violence method it had to be scary putting your head on the pillow each night. Who could you trust? What was going to happen in your world today that would end the trust that you once had?

Royalty and Responsibility

This says nothing of the responsibility that came with the position. Let's say you landed on the throne by the most honest and upright method- now what? All these people are looking to you to provide for their needs. All these people are complaining about paying you to build an army to protect them all the while you are trying to balance what to pay the soldiers who are leaving their families to protect the freedoms that the others enjoy at home each night while the soldiers are off fighting. 

There had to be some amazing things that came along with the territory but being the king was probably not all it was cracked up to be. And once you were the king how did you get out of that role? Someone came along and took it from you. It could have been by the sword thrust into your own body or into all those around you leaving you no option but to submit yourself and all your subjects to the next ruler. Could there have been anything more humiliating than this?

To Provide and Protect

Think about this, I actually do all the time. You are in a position of leadership and all your people are looking for you to protect and provide for them and now you are unable to do that. You were, at one time, at the top of your game and all of a sudden the game has changed and you're no longer at the top but rather at the bottom. The problem is, the people are still looking to you for guidance, direction and leadership and you might wonder what kind of leader you are yourself. 

They say you never stop being a parent and this analogy may have been true for the kings as well. Once a king, always a king; until death do you part. 

As I think about kings in Biblical times rising and falling, sinning and confessing, falling down and getting back up, I am struck with the notion that being a dad, boss, leader or king comes with almost all the same weight. Your people are looking for you to lead even if you feel very unqualified and inadequate. 

Royal Requirements

The thing that woke me up in the middle of the night to write this is the following; we all have cycles and we often have no idea where those are going to lead us and our people. Our people are looking to us even when we have no idea what to do ourselves and so when that time comes what does God expect from us?

I think it's in this passage from Micah 6 

“With what shall I come before the Lord,
    and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

It seems that at the end of it all God knows exactly how much we don't know or can't carry and so He dialed it down to this- Be Just. Be Kind. Be Humble. That seems too simple but maybe that's His point. 

Whether you're the king or a servant the time may come when you are saying in your heart or even with your mouth, "God, what do you want from me?" and the answer may be as simple as this; "but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God." 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Insurmountable Obstacles in Our Path to a Joy-filled Life?

Friend, have you been feeling the weight of God's hand on your life? Does it seem there is no end to the pressure He is inflicting, the pain you're enduring or the burden you are carrying? Have you been crying "uncle" and yet it still comes? You are not alone and in fact you are in great company.

Many of our heroes have been under this kind of trial at some point in their life; Job, David and Calvin to name just a few.

After months of painful, bodily suffering the last words of John Calvin were, "Lord, You grind me to powder, but it suffices me because it is Your hand."
After learning of the loss of all he held dear, Job's response was, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
David said, "I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for You are the one who has done this!" Psalm 39:9.

Realizing that it was 
God's chastening hand on him, David didn't complain. There was not a silent sullenness, or brooding, but a quiet acceptance without protest.

AW Pink said, "When we are in our right minds, we shall have nothing to object against God's dealings with us, or dispute with them. God is sovereign in the acts of His providence--and therefore an important branch of our obedience unto Him lies in suffering His will, as well as in doing His will. That obedience is evidenced by refusing to repine against Him by the utterance of any impatient words."

Wow, those are hard words. Words that cut deep. The pain of our trial is real; sometimes more real than we could ever have imagined we'd go through. It does also seem that God likes to pile it on, that it's not just one thing but that they come in droves and sometimes we are not able to get the first wreck cleared from the freeway fast enough and all of a sudden 20 more cars come crashing into the first wreckage. 

What do we do when this happens? What is the proper response? Or maybe a better question is "what is the proposer perspective in these situations?"

Pink goes on to say, "Shall vile dust and ashes censure the providential dealings of the Most High God, or impugn His goodness? Let all God's treatment of us be both wondrous and righteous
 in our eyes." That's a different perspective.

We often see these trials and hardships as "bad" things in our lives and yet if we will finally realize that all the things that God gives are blessings, perfectly planned and administered to His children at just the right time and in just the right dosage, we will have grown to a point where these things truly are "light and momentary afflictions" rather than insurmountable obstacles in our path to a joy filled life.

"If our hope is in God for a happiness in the eternal world--then we can well afford to reconcile ourselves to all the dispensations of Divine providence concerning this world." Matthew Henry

Again, once we will realize that all our afflictions are appointed by our loving heavenly Father all of our complaining should stop. It's not by chance that the cars are piling up on the freeway but rather perfectly sent to His children at the exact right time for our good and His glory. 

Someone who really understood trials and difficulty said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”  Helen Keller

"God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it!" Hebrews 12:10-11

Our tendency is that we are often focused on the present time rather than the future harvest and so we complain about, and run from, the plowing and sowing in our lives and the harvest  of righteousness and peace never comes.

May we have joy in ALL circumstances, whether the highest high or the lowest low. May we be able to say with Habakuk,

"Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer's;
    he makes me tread on my high places." 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

4 Little Words

This past weekend I was at a conference. Conferences can be anything from a yawner to time to get us really excited about something. The anticipation of a certain time can also set the tone for what the results will be of the time we spend. That's the way it is with lots of things in life.

Have you ever noticed that when you are dreading something, most of the time it is not as enjoyable as it could be? Or when you are really looking forward to something that it seems to be almost magical.

That tells us something about how important our mind is in the entire process. Looking at the positive can really make a difference. That is what I'd like to talk about here.

While away I had the privilege of being with one of my relatives, David. We are cousins and I am almost 10 years older than he, but in many ways he is a lot farther down the road. This is certainly not to say that he acts old but he has worked hard on his own personal development and I can say that the one thing that he is is an encourager.

I was really looking forward to going to this conference just to work on myself and to talk to a couple of friends. I went with the idea of encouraging others and hoped that I would also be challenged myself. To be encouraged by another would be a bonus.

There happened to be around 6000 people at this event and David is one of the leaders and even though we are related I don't expect him to come and talk with me all the time. 

I walked in and found a seat and he was walking close to where I was and he came over and gave me a hug and said, "I'm really glad you were able to make it". Encouraged.

Later on in the event I had talked with him about a couple of things and he sent me a text a few hours later and said just 4 words. 4 words that I need to use more often together. 4 words that as I think of them now have really encouraged me. "I believe in you".

As strange as it seems that an old guy like me needs to be encouraged it's true. I understand that if I need the encouragement then there are also many others who will need the same kind of words.

When was the last time you encouraged someone with these kind words or something similar? 
When was the last time someone said something like this to you?

Did you feel like writing a blog post:) about how it made you feel? Probably not but that's what I like to do. Did it put enough wind in your sails to allow you to pass it along to someone else?

We are all in this together. We need to get great at these kinds of things. One other thing. You might be surprised at who is more encouraged when you encourage another. We give and we get back.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Look at Your Thumb

Could it be that the distance across your thumb is a measurement for something significant?
Could it be that this same distance could actually represent you and I?

What in the world am I talking about?

The saying "There is not 1 thumbs width in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry "Mine" should stir up some kind of emotion in all of us. Lately I have been thinking about this more personally- meaning that same thumb's breadth is ME. He cries "Mine" over me. Could this really be? If it does then what implications does it have on me today?

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!" 

James Smith said, "All things? Yes! Everything that happens to the Christian is directed and overruled by God's special Providence for his good! The experience may be very bitter--it may lay him very low and try him to the core; it may keep him in the dust for a long time. But it will do him good--not only in the end, but while it lasts.

Nothing could be better for you (and me)! You and I may not see it now; you may even feel as if you never could think so--but the time is coming when you will bless God for it."

You love God--and God loves you with an infinite and eternal love. You came to the cross as a poor sinner--and you looked to the Lord Jesus to be your perfect Savior. This proves that you have been called according to God's purpose. You are one of God's beloved ones, and as such--you may have the assurance that all things . . .
  light and darkness, 
  health and sickness, 
  hatred and love, 
  prosperity and adversity, 
  life and death--
will work together for your good!

Dark clouds bring rich blessings--and sharp winters introduce fruitful springs. Even so, sore troubles often precede the sweetest consolations. Your present affliction--whether it is . . .
  sickness of body,
  trouble of mind,
  crosses, or
  whatever else
--is working for your good. It will work for good in the future, and it is working for good now. While your heart is bleeding, and you are tempted to think that all is against you--all is working together for your good!

Dear Lord, I do not see how my affliction can be good for me. But help me, Lord, to accept it as such by faith--so that I may receive what You have for me through it."

I understand this and yet there are times when I choose to look less favorably on those same things that HE is bringing into my life to prune and shape me for whatever may come tomorrow; whatever those skies look like.

May we live life today, enjoy the process, and encourage others in the fight for joy as HE works for our good. 

"We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope!" Romans 5:3-4

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Old Trees Vs Young Trees

Did you know that there are now many fruit producers in the world that replace their fruit trees every 7-10 years? 

While it used to be that if you planted and apple tree this year the only thing you had to do was prune it and collect fruit for the next 30-40 years, agriculturists are realizing that with proper training and pruning the fruit yield is better on these young trees than it is as they grow older.  They rip out the "old" trees and replace them with fresh ones that will produce more fruit faster.

Hmm. That seems a little harsh. One could argue that "it's a business and it makes business sense". 

We are not trees per se but our fruit production does come into question by the Master Gardener. What does He say about our production these days? Would His orchard be more productive with "younger" trees?

What kind of fruit is coming from our lives that is unique to an older variety that can't be duplicated by younger ones? What keeps us in the garden when our maintenance program seems like it's taking more work than the fruit production warrants? Sooner or later it becomes a "business decision" and the juice isn't worth the squeeze.

Jesus gives the analogy that The Father is "Vinedresser" and that He is the vine and we are branches. He tells us that the branches that don't produce fruit are cut off and thrown into the fire. Branches that do produce fruit are still being pruned to bear more fruit. That all makes perfect horticultural sense but what about in our personal lives?

Does 1 piece of fruit per year warrant pruning and not burning? Does the fruit that we produce change as we grow older? Seriously, when someone is old and grumpy and is costing thousands of dollars per month to keep alive, is this good crop management? What keeps someone like this from being cut off and burned? What kind of fruit production can we yield that is not only keeping us attached to the vine but producing more and better with each passing year?

These are questions that I am wrestling with. Why does God keep grumpy Christians around? What does an old Christian produce that young ones need? What does the Vine need that kind of fruit for? Am I producing the kind of fruit that warrants the effort to prune or is it better for The Father to start over with young plants?

John 15 wasn't written so we could gloss over the passage and say "yeah, yeah. I've heard all that before". Jesus said things so that we'd listen and obey. What kind of fruit are we producing that is so amazing it warrants the work to keep us on the vine?

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Story for The Ages

Who's for you today? Does it seem like you're in the fight by yourself? Does it seem like your friends have either left you on the battlefield all alone or they are powerless to come to your rescue? Are you in the battle but don't have anything to defend yourself with? Does it seem like you brought a knife to a gun fight? Don't despair. Your Big Brother is here to step in.

Read this below and remember that if you are a Christian this is your Advocate, your Big Brother.

Rom. 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There are some hard things in the pipe for many people these days, including yours truly but look at these verses. Christ, our Brother is at the right hand of the Father making requests and pleading with the Father on our behalf. This is not some kind of distant relative that doesn't have any idea what we are going through and this is not the kind of person who has never been through difficulties Himself. He has been through every kind of trial, to the highest degree, and yet He didn't fail in those trials. This is the Savior we pray to, look to and believe in.
But what about my little faith? What about those days when I believe part way but wonder if He's going to come through for me? I mean I KNOW He will come through for you but what about my situation today? Isn't that where we often live? We know this, that or the other thing will work perfectly for others but maybe we're not completely convinced that it will work for us. We know God is good and kind because we've read all the stories and we've seen Him work in other's lives but will he do the same for us today?
There's a story about that in the Bible too. A father who loves his son very much and this boy is a mess. Mute, deaf and having seizures that throw him into the fire for as long as he's been alive. That's a hard thing for a father to watch. This man brings his son to Jesus' disciples because he's heard the stories. Whatever it took he was going to get his son there. 
Heartbreak awaits him as the disciples can't get it done. Wow, now that would be discouraging. All that he had seen and heard and maybe his case was out of reach for a cure. He had seen everyone else's cures but maybe...
Nope, he didn't give up all his hope. He was in this to the end. He was going to stop at nothing to make sure that his son got what he needed; a cure. So when the disciples couldn't pull it off he went straight to the top. He went to the man with the shining face, Jesus had just come down from the mountain, and he was going to take his son to Him.
There was doubt in his heart about the disciples. There was doubt in his heart about his own abilities and there even seems to be some doubt in his heart about Jesus' ability to make his son completely whole but he knew Jesus could do something and something was much better than where they were at the moment. 
He asks Jesus to do something; anything but he puts an "if" in the sentence. "If you can do anything". We can read the story and wonder what this guy was thinking- "IF". What, where's your faith man? Did he realize he was talking to Jesus, the Son of God? Probably not. He knew that there were a bunch of people that were sick and this "man" was healing them but maybe his case was too difficult and especially since these guys that were with him were healing people too and they couldn't seem to give his son any relief. This is a father in need of some answers and he is hoping that this "Jesus" is the final stop.
Mark 9:21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Jesus answers him. “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes." "Believe" in what or whom? Not the disciples. Not the words he had heard. Not the stories of other. Not the words he had read or had read to him in the synagogue but he needed to believe in Jesus; just Jesus.  
He is honest with Jesus. “I believe; help my unbelief!” He had lived a life of hardship, watching his son suffer, and he had seen the disciples inability to remedy his son and so Jesus is his last resort. Truly Jesus is his ONLY resort. He had faith but he knew it was wavering and he needed Jesus to give him the faith to believe all things were possible.
He was going to have a story to tell. This is a story for the ages and stories like this bring glory to God. This is NOT a story about a sick boy or a father with awesome faith. This is a story about Jesus healing someone, the boy, who may not have had any faith himself and a father who had some faith that Jesus could come to his rescue. But the story is not about having all the faith you need and that is what gets your need met. It's about Jesus taking the little faith we do have and increasing it right in front of our eyes so when we watch Him work we can tell generations to come what Jesus did.
This is a hard story for me to read as I know that many others see the little faith I have and think that I believe all the time; it's not true. I can relate way too much for my liking with this father. I hate that my faith goes up and down like a roller coast. I hate that I trust God implicitly one minute and the next it's like I never even believed. I have to talk to my soul all the time and I think that it seems childish that I am at this point of unbelief at this stage of my walk with Christ. Maybe it's that my faith is not childish enough.
A child believes their daddy is going to make it better  and can handle everything that comes their way. There is no over thinking going on with a child. They believe-period. 
Jesus can handle what concerns us today. He can increase our little faith but it requires that we go with the faith we have and at least ask Him to work on our behalf and on our faith. He is willing, able and excited to grant our requests to us so we need to stop thinking that He is good to all others and question whether He will be good to us. That last paragraph should be written in first person.
Ask. Believe. Trust. Get ready to tell some amazing stories about God's work on your behalf. I'll do the same. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

What's in a Square? All you Need for an Amazing Life.

A day. What makes a day a "Day"? 24 hours, 1/7 of a week or 1 earth rotation.

We often get hung up in the fact that there are weeks, months, years and even lifetimes. We sing songs about the weekend, tomorrow, yesterday and all the other squares on the paper on the wall that has more writing on it than many other things in our homes- the calendar.

What is the most important square on your calendar? The one that has today's date. Really that square is a microcosm of our life. It has everything we need packed into 1 earth rotation. Like a perfect "square" meal, a day has a balance of all that we need and with enough repetition we end up with an awesome body of work called "life".

Like a balanced meal there are also components of our life that make it balanced like work, trials, needs, joy, laughter and community. There is enough of all that in every day to fill that little square up, we needn't try to add more to this square from either the squares previous or the ones to come. They are also well balanced and equipped themselves. 

JR Miller, someone I quote pretty frequently said, "The very best we can do for any day, for the perfecting of our life as a whole, is to live the one day well. We should put all our thought and energy and skill into the duties of each day, wasting no strength, either in grieving over yesterday's failures--or in anxiety about tomorrow's responsibilities."

At the end of our lives others may look back and consider our "body of work", talk briefly about what we accomplished and what we were known for but they too will move on from that square and into the next one, which will have a balance for them as well. But that body of work we call life is not what we are to dwell on while in this square called today. We are to focus on this square and this square only.

The awesome part about this square is that it will not crush us in and of itself. There is a lot to do today but only enough to fill this day and we only have to carry today's trials and needs until the sun falls from the sky today and then we can rest. 

If we know that we only have to make it today there is no problem making it. Our issue surfaces when we are more concerned about the following squares and try to dump the things that may come then into today. We end up more worried about tomorrow and don't live today.

So live today like it's your last with all the enjoyment and work you can pack into it. Laugh a bunch. Work a bunch. Shake the world around you as much as you possibly today and then rest tonight. 

There may or may not be another square to follow so don't worry about that one. Just fill this square up. 

What's in a square? All you need for an amazing life. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Parts Flying Everywhere.

I have a friend who is the parts manufacturing business and he makes some pretty sophisticated parts for military aircraft. These are generally very small parts that make up a larger part that makes up another larger part. These are very specific parts with very specific intended usage requirements. 

There have been a few airplane crashed that make the news at times. It seems that the little black box is something they are after right off the bat and then there is a full investigation as to what went wrong. Often they take the complete aircraft back to a warehouse/hanger type location and spread it across the floor in schematic form to see if they can draw clues as to what was the real cause of the plane's malfunction.

I can't remember a time when the entire engine flew off the wing or the tail just ripped completely off. That is not saying that this has never happened but it is not the norm for sure.

Now the parts my friend makes may go into the engine to perform a specific task or in the tail area as a jack screw or something like that. If those parts are manufactured and not put with the whole plane they will never fly by themselves. If they could have a dream they might dream of flying but they have to get with the rest of the parts to make the engine and then be attached to the wing which is attached to the fuselage and then they can fly.

If the part goes into the engine and it doesn't work the engine will not function properly or at all and there will be failure on some level.

Our part of community is quite the same way. We want to fly and we want to contribute in some sort of large way that will make a difference and yet it is the little things that enable 'flying". In some sense or another we are all part of each other's flight. 

In bodily form no one really is excited about being the foot until the foot is badly needed to perform at the highest level to get the rest of the body somewhere. If the foot can't perform then the rest of the body is restricted in its movement and maybe doesn't show up.

What's your part in this world? Does it seem insignificant? You're needed no matter what you think at the moment. How can you be the best performing part God intended you to be? 

A Chainsaw NOT a Helicopter

It's always interesting and encouraging what and when God brings things into my life. This has been an extremely difficult time for me/us as of late and yet God continues to bring just the right bits of "light" to our dark road. Today is another of those times and it comes in a variety of forms and I'll show you one and leave some of the others a mystery at this moment in time.

This came to my inbox-

"Cast your burden on the LORD--and He shall sustain you" Psalm 55:22 

"The promise is not that the Lord will remove the load we cast upon Him, nor that He will carry it for us--but that He will sustain us so that we may carry it! 

He does not free us from duty--but He strengthens us for it. 

He does not deliver us from conflict--but He enables us to overcome. 

He does not withhold or withdraw trial from us--but He helps us in trial to be submissive and victorious, and makes it a blessing to us. 

He does not mitigate the hardness or severity of our circumstances, taking away the difficult elements, removing the thorns, making life easy for us--but He puts Divine grace into our hearts, so that we can live sweetly in all the hard, adverse circumstances!" JR Miller

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness!" 2 Corinthians 12:9

How then does He "Strengthen us for duty", "Enable us to overcome", "Help us to be submissive and victorious"? It seems that this happens in many ways. Sometimes it is through a timely, encouraging word, a random act of kindness, a gift of some sort or another or the knowledge that others are praying for us. 

He gives us what we need to make it through these times not get out of them; a chain saw to blaze the trail not a helicopter to snatch us out.