Archive for April, 2010

image When you drive a car down a hill in the mountains, things can get a little tricky and if you aren’t careful, can even get totally out of control as momentum takes over. If you are carrying a lot of weight in your vehicle, or the road is a little slippery, it can be much worse. If you are driving uphill, and your load is heavy, sometimes it is all you can do just to get up that hill, and it is hard to get there without stalling or losing traction, possibly even slipping backwards. That is why cars have different gears. If you try and go downhill while in high gear, you will go too fast and lose control. If you try and go too fast uphill in the wrong gear, you can stall out, or just not have the power to get to the top. The solution? Downshift. Drop down to a lower gear, which aligns you with the proper speed and the proper power to get the job done, whether it is to control a downhill pace or add power to the uphill path.

Can you see where I am going with this analogy? Life is a lot like driving that car up or down the hill (life has it’s ups and downs, right?). Sometimes we are speeding along on a downhill slope and things just start to get out of control. Other times it is all we can do to make it ten more feet through our life because it is so hard to proceed when we are carrying a heavy load. The same holds true for our life as it does with our car. Sometimes we need to downshift! As a Christian, we need to periodically slow down, shift our pace down just a bit, and we will inevitiably gain power for the journey.

Jay is constantly on us to spend time alone with God. That is one way we downshift. Another way is to intentionally slow down, examine all your ministries and activities, and adjust your load so that the journey becomes more solid for you. I have been doing that lately, and I had forgotten just how much better life and service is when adjusted to the right pace, in the right gear. I was going so fast down hill, I was missing what God had on the roadside for my life. When I was headed uphill, I found the burden I was carrying was too much and began to fail at times. Neither one is good. Keeping the right gear and pace is something we have to intentionally do.

So my challenge for you this week is to pull over to the side of the road and look at what gear you are running in. If you need to downshift, do it intentionally, just as Jesus did at times during his ministry. You will enjoy the ride at a more reasonable pace. Now lets go enjoy those hills! Have a great week!

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Someone sent me this today.  I LIKE IT!

"I’m Drinking from my saucer"

I’ve never made a fortune, and it’s probably too late now.
But I don’t worry about that much, I’m happy anyhow
And as I go along life’s way, I’m reaping better than I sowed.
I’m drinking from my saucer, ‘Cause my cup has overflowed.
Haven’t got a lot of riches, and sometimes the going’s tough
But I’ve got loving ones all around me, and that makes me rich enough.
I thank GOD for his Blessings, and the Mercies HE’s bestowed.
I’m drinking from my saucer, ‘Cause my cup has overflowed.
I remember times when things went wrong, My faith wore somewhat thin.
But all at once the dark clouds broke, and the sun peeped through again.
So LORD, help me not to gripe, about the tough rows I have hoed.
I’m drinking from my saucer, ‘Cause my cup has overflowed.
If GOD gives me strength and courage, When the way grows steep and rough.
I’ll not ask for other blessings, I’m already Blessed enough.
And may I never be too busy, to help others bear their loads..
Then I’ll keep drinking from my saucer, ‘Cause my cup has overflowed!

image

My wife Sandra and I are watching the TV series "24". We avoided the live versions and instead are watching from the beginning (sans commercials!). This week there was a scene where a mother was talking to her daughter. The daughter had created a situation by making some bad decisions that had landed them all in some very hot water. The daughter said to the mother, "I am sorry — I hope you still love me". The mother replied, "No matter what you have done or will ever do, I do not know how to do anything else but love and forgive you". Wow — pretty powerful stuff, and I have to say it mirrors exactly the way I feel about my children. It does not mean I do not get upset with them or condone all their actions, just that no matter what — I will love them — there is no other option for me.
God’s love is the same way. No matter what I do, he always will love me. If you think I am stating the obvious, then think again. Consider this verse:

Romans 8:38-39 (New International Version)
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separ
ate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Read it again. And again. And again. And again. It says nothing nada, never, ever, or forever can separate us from that love. In other words, it says there is no other option for God than to love us completely. Please let that sink in and guide you. Do not ever let anyone or anything lead you to believe God is not there with you, loving you and holding you. He is. There is no other option for Him.

There — glad we got that settled! 🙂

Have a great week, and enjoy being fully loved.

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We all know life can be hard. Difficult things occur that are not of our own choosing and can sometimes propel us along paths we would never choose. We cannot control everything that happens to us each day, we can only respond to the circumstances life places us at times. When bad things happen, we seek (and need) RENEWAL.

There is hope everywhere folks. Hope comes in the form of possibilities and renewal. Every Easter, we celebrate renewal and fresh starts, and it always is uplifting and feels good. You cannot prevent renewal from being an option. Does that makes sense? Regardless of what happened yesterday, you can always experience renewal today — if you will look for it. God is in the renewal business, and I know that with all my heart. He offers us so many chances every day to start over, to do better, to step up, to step out. He gives us grace in bountiful amounts with no limits. Every day.

My mother got a call this morning that a long time spiritual friend and mentor had passed away. Her name was Dorothy McDowell, and she was a spiritual GIANT. When any event in the life of our family required prayer, we always called Dorothy, who we just knew had a direct line to God and knew how to use it! Losing Dorothy to this world is a great loss, but it is also a joyous event that we absolutely know is being celebrated in Heaven — and it offers me hope for renewal. Last week I included a link to the song, "I can only Imagine". Dorothy is not imagining today, she is seeing it all for real. She has experienced a renewal and a fresh start that all Christians hope and yearn for. Heaven is actually a better place because she is there adding her voice to that choir. How awesome is that? I thank God that I knew you Dorothy.

We certainly do not have to leave this world to experience renewal. I know that Dorothy experienced it every time she bowed her head in conversation with God. There are so many opportunities to experience renewal, and we need only look for them. Look for it in your marriage. Look for it in your relationships. Look for it in your job or a favorite hobby. It is an incredible gift that is there for us everywhere, every day. It would be a shame to miss it.
Have a great week — and seize some chances for renewal!

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My birthday is this week. On April 3rd I will turn 50 years old. I’m good with that, since I am a real believer in the seasons of life and embracing each one. I believe that God gives us special times at each stage of life that if we will look forward to them, we will not miss the blessings of. As I look back on life, I remember things.

A good friend of mine, Jody Sweeney, posted this on her Facebook page today:

"Yesterday was the 6th anniversary of the passing of our little dog, Sibby. I know it’s weird to remember something like that, but that little dog touched so many lives in her short life. (A friend) swore she was an angel, and I believe her."

Wow. Good memories mixed in with a feeling of sadness and some nice feelings too. Sibby was pretty special. This got me to thinking more about remembering (the result of which are "memories"). When we think of remembering, we tend to think of it as something in the past, but it is much more than that. For example, consider the following phrases:

"I remember my dog Sibby" (past memory)

"Remember to read your Bible today!" (present process reminder)

"Remember that on Sunday, we will be going to church for Easter service!" (reminder of future plans)

So memories can be past, present or future? Interesting. So I went in search of what God would have to say on this subject. Hang on — gotta pray about this one.

(pause for prayer, feel free to do the same yourself) Okay — I’m back.

Do not Forget. That is what I heard today. You "don’t forget", by cherishing knowledge, memories, and things to come. I’ve got a good memory for you to have that relates to your past, present and future. imageThis Sunday is Easter. Easter is the day that we celebrate an event that is so embedded in history that it must have truly been an incredible one. On that day, a man (whose story is an incredible event unto itself), overcame what is possibly the single greatest fear that humans have — death. He was dead, then he was alive again. Ponder that one for a moment please. We’ll be right here.

As we age, we start to fear loss. Loss of life, loss of relationships, loss of loved ones, etc. But if we remember what He did for us, the fear starts to lessen, and it turns into an anticipation of something we still have a hard time getting our minds a

round, but our hearts yearn for. Do you feel it, that small kernel of excitement at the possibility of what it will be like? We will resurrect also — God has asked us to remember that, to not forget it. We will be with him in a way that I can only imagine.

I remember.

I remember what he did for me in the past. I remember what he is doing for me in the present. And I remember what He has promised to do for me in the future.

I remember.

Have a great Easter week

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