Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Pool

Let me begin by asking the question "what is your biggest problem at present and how is it hindering your life?" In John chapter 5 we are introduced to a man that has been sick for 38 years. When Jesus sees him and asks if he wants to get well, he responds by focusing upon his biggest problem. He says, "when the water is troubled I have no one to put me into the pool." Jesus was offering this man an opportunity to be healed but he was preoccupied by the pool. He like many was focused upon the wrong thing. Too often our problems become our pool, which limits our lives. The problem becomes the focus of our lives. It becomes our pet and each time we are challenged to move beyond it we grab it and say "you see I have this problem." It is easy to blame our problems for where we are in life. According to the Bureau of Standards in Washington a dense fog covering seven city blocks to a depth of 100 feet is composed of less than one glass of water. That amount of water is divided into about 60 billion tiny droplets. Yet when those minute particles settle over a city or a countryside they can almost blot out everything from your sight. Many Christians today live their lives in a fog. They allow a cupful of troubles to cloud their vision and dampen their spirit. Anxiety, turmoil, and defeat strangle their thoughts and limit their potential. Jesus offered the paralytic the opportunity to move beyond his pool. He took the deal and received physical and mental healing. Jesus offers us the same; the ability to move away from our problems and into the realm of promise. I'm ready, aren't' you?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Attaining Maturity

My wife and I just returned from spending a week with our daughter and grandchildren. Needless to say we were very busy. A part of my responsibilities for the week among many was escorting the kids to school. It had been a long time since I had run the family taxi. Immediately the realization came to me that I had become far removed from the everyday skirmishes that transpire among siblings. All the memories returned as I heard statements like, "I called the front seat first, move over" and "That's my shirt you're wearing." It all came back to me. These are the kind of things that cross the boundary lines of every generation. The reason being is immaturity. While we expect this out of children, we don't expect to hear it resonant from adults. But yet such things remain a part of our vocabulary. This is especially true in the church world. Is that not a major reason for much of the disunity in the body? We want to be first. We want position and we don't want anyone wearing our gift. Was this not the issue Paul was addressing in Ephesians 4 when he emphasized flexibility and versatility in the body? Through forbearance, meekness, and long suffering we are to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" and strive to become the "perfect man." This means that at some point maturity is to be attained. When this happens we find ourselves acquiescing to the point of yielding to others in prayer and preference that the body can be a proper display of Christ. While achievable, it may be easier said than done. May God help us all as we engage in the process!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Blessing

This week my wife and I are taking a few days of vacation. We are headed to Olive Branch, Mississippi to visit with our daughter and the grand babies. We are so excited because it has been several months since we have seen them. The mere fact that we get to visit will be a celebration within itself. However, added to this excitement will be the opportunity for us to participate in a wedding ceremony and to welcome into our family a new son-in-law. For me an occasion such as this provides the opportunity to speak words of blessing. In a world where curses are unleashed daily through the use of inappropriate words it is refreshing to change the atmosphere by speaking blessings. It is a well known fact that our words can light up a room or bring incredible darkness. They can produce hope or hopelessness as well as fear or faith. In light of this, it is so important that we be prepared to say the right things. So in my preparation I came across what is called the "Irish Wedding Blessing." I thought how great it will be to speak these words over my family. But even greater was the thought of what a privilege it would be for me to speak it over those who read this blog. Although it is intended for a specific audience, I close by offering this as a blessing to you and your family!
May God be with you and bless you
May you see your children's children,
May you be poor in misfortunes,
Rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness,
From this day forward

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rising out of Difficulty

We often find ourselves in the midst of difficulty. How we respond makes all the difference in the world as to whether we sink or survive. I read a story a few years ago that put a new perspective on the subject for me and I thought you might enjoy it also. A farmer had a mule that was old. He decided not to shoot the mule but to put him in an old well and bury him alive. Every day or two he would come and dump stuff into the well. The old mule would just shake it off day by day and move up a little bit higher. The final day arrived and the farmer came along with a load of rocks and tires. He dumped it in. They fell on the mule and hurt the mule but he shook it off and stood on it and said "this well is not my limit." He stepped on the stuff jumped out of the well and ran across the pasture, stopped at a stream and drank some water. He looked up at the farmer and said, "you tried to bury me but you only gave me stepping stones to success." Our difficulty can be the grave that buries us or the platform that saves us. As troublesome as it may be, let my encourage you to shake yourself and rise above those things that would try to bury you and keep you from your destiny.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Curve in the Road

A few years ago some friends and I decided to go on a motorcycle ride. What should have been an enjoyable day turned out to be one of misery. The morning was spent riding in heavy rain. And if that wasn't bad enough later in the afternoon I failed to negotiate a curve, which resulted in my losing control and winding up in a field. There I lay with scratches, a hurt back hurt, but even more an injured pride. As I reflected upon my experience I thought about a statement I had heard, "A curve in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn." Needless to say I had failed to make the turn so I asked "how did this happen?" This led to several conclusions that I applied to my accident and eventually to my spiritual life. First, was the possibility of speed. Maybe I was going too fast to make the turn. Most of the accidents we face in our journey with God has to do with speed. We simply fail to slow down and hear what he is saying to us. Second, was the aspect of preoccupation. Was I so preoccupied with the things along the road that I failed to pay attention to the basic principle of safety; that is to stay on the road itself. This happens also in our walk with God. We become so engrossed in the blessings and manifestations that we lost sight of the main thing; God himself. The final possibility had to do with relaxation. Had I become so relaxed in my ride that I dozed for a brief second which led to my losing control. The threat of this is all too common in the spiritual realm. That's why we are admonished in scripture to be "alert" and "awake" at all times. It only takes a second to face disaster. Whatever the case, from that day on I determined in my mind that I would slow down, remain focused, and stay awake in order to negotiate the curves before me. What about you?