Monday, June 25, 2012

First Things First

I read the story of a woman bought a parrot in a pet store. She wanted companionship, someone to talk with. The next day she brought the parrot back and said, “He won’t talk.” The store manager asked, “Does he have a mirror in his cage? Parrots love mirrors.” She bought a mirror and left. The next day she came back and said, “The bird is still not talking;” “How about a ladder? Parrots love ladders. When he is happy he will talk.” She bought a ladder and left. The next day she was back complaining that even with the mirror and ladder the bird was not talking. The manager said, “I know what you need, the bird wants a swing. He’ll be happy when he has a swing and he’ll talk. She reluctantly bought a swing and left. Sure enough, the next day she was back. She had a sad face. “The parrot died,” she said. “I’m sorry,” the manager said, “please tell me did he ever say anything before he died?” The woman replied, “Yes, in a weak voice he asked me, ‘Don’t they sell any food at that pet store?” Have you ever been guilty of putting the cart before the horse? I know I have.  Sometimes we are so anxious to see the sub sequential things in life that we forget to take care of the essential. Jesus knowing our human tendency looked at his disciples and gave them a word of instruction. “Men always keep your priorities in order. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.” The truth is we cannot accomplish anything in the natural until we have properly taken care of the spiritual. Feeding our lives spiritually is what provides the companionship, communication, and consistency of the Holy Spirit. The Dove will only speak as we keep first things first.   

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Being a Successful Father

In his book, God’s Psychiatry, Charles Allen tells of a mother who carried her little boy to the zoo. He was asking about each of the animals, and when he saw some little ones in a cage, he asked, “What are those?” The mother told him they were little wildcats. He then asked, “Why are they wildcats?” Allen responds, “We know the answer. Their mamas and papas were wildcats.”  Children are most often a reflection of their parents and they live their lives according to the principles they see in them. Because of this it is so vital that fathers be proper role models.  As I reflect over my life, I am thankful God allowed me to have a father who gave me the proper example to follow. Being a dad myself, I realize the challenge this presents. Life is filled with all kinds of difficulties which provide numerous opportunities for one to demonstrate what fatherhood should not be.  My father faced more than his share of these yet remained steady keeping the faith. He showed me that it could be done and encouraged me to do the same. He also provided the means by which one leaves such a legacy. The strength comes by honoring and seeking the heavenly Father.  I like what General Douglas MacArthur once said in reference to this.  “By profession I am a soldier and take pride in that fact.  But I am prouder to be a father. My hope is that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from battle, but in the home repeating with him one simple prayer, “Our Father which art in heaven.”  This is a memory that should be etched in the minds of all our children. It’s not optional but comes with the responsibility of being a successful father.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Need a Cleansing?

While on vacation at the beach a few days ago my daughter gave me what is called an Herbal Cleanse.  Through reading the instructions, I learned that this is a metabolic cleansing system intended to move food residue through the body more efficiently, optimize digestion, improve the skin tone and provide an enhanced feeling of mental alertness.  As I understand it, if this process is completed every three months, I will feel like a new person. This sounds like something I really need.  Who doesn’t want to feel better, look better and most of all remember more. Where has this stuff been all my life?  And just think it comes in a box, is moderately priced and has simple instructions.  You would think that a person should be completely satisfied with such a marvelous gift.  However, while meditating on one of my morning runs, the thought came to me that I needed something more than an Herbal Cleanse. This covers the physical part of my life but what do I do about the spiritual.  You see, I find myself daily in need of a cleansing of the body, soul, and spirit.  As these thoughts were bombarding my mind, my attention was drawn to the ocean and the thrashing of the waves.  It suddenly dawned upon me the power that lay within the force of the water.  Nothing really stands in its way. It cleans out, pushes aside, and purifies everything it comes in contact with.  No doubt this is the picture being suggested when the Holy Spirit inspired the words found in Acts 3:19.   Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”  Also, in John 7:38, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” These verses suggest that God has a cleansing process and when the proper instructions are followed one can receive a Divine Cleanse by the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s great news; now I have the physical and the spiritual covered and all that is necessary is the proper implementation. How about you? Need a cleansing?   

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Level of Importance

I read a joke recently and thought it noteworthy enough to share. “Two Musicians’ in a major symphonic orchestra were discussing who they thought the LEAST talented musician in the band was. One of them said; that’s easy. See that guy standing in the back? Well, we just put two sticks in his hands and we call him a Drummer. The other responded; well, if we take one stick away, we call him a Conductor!” While funny, this joke suggests that we often make the mistake of trying to compare ourselves to others in respect to importance. This is not a new paradigm. The disciples wrestled with it often.  Much of their time was spent discussing position.  However, when we begin to assess the value of others we’re most likely to find that some are not nearly as important as they think they are and others are not as insignificant as they view themselves to be. I think this is the point Paul was trying to make in 1 Corinthians 12.  He spent the bulk of this chapter expressing the importance of our body parts, comparing them to the spiritual body.  His motive was to teach the church that God made all of us with importance.  Granted there are some that have talents and gifts that others do not have, yet the lack thereof does not make a person any less useful to God. Your inadequacy in one area is only the opportunity to succeed in another.  Don’t underestimate yourself and your ability. You were made for achievement and greatness. It does not matter whether you carry one stick, two sticks or none in your hand you are a part of God’s great symphony. So, rise to the occasion and let your voice be known; God demands it and you deserve it.