In John chapter five we are told that Jesus comes upon a man that has been paralyzed for thirty eight years. He asks him a question, “Do you want to be made well?” His reply, “Sir I have no one to put me in the pool. Every time the water is troubled, I make my way down but someone steps in front of me and I get cheated out of my miracle. Jesus then says to the man “Take up your bed and walk.” This was a totally different approach to his problem. He was being faced with a proposition, “I need you to forget about your past, push beyond the problems and entertain the possibility of what can happen in your life if you follow my procedure.” He was being asked to do some possibility thinking. Robert Schuller in his book, “Peace of Mind through Possibility Thinking” says: “A possibility thinker is a person who, when faced with a mountain does not quit. He keeps on striving until he climbs over, finds a pass through, tunnels underneath, or simply stays, and turns his mountain into a gold mine with God’s help. A possibility thinker looks for all the possibilities in every situation instead of impossibilities.” This kind of thinking is reflected in the gentleman I read about recently who was panning for gold and found a large diamond worth $3,000 dollars. Dan Fagnan's friends thought he was "a fruit loop" for panning for gold near his home in St. Croix County, Wisconsin, but the amateur prospector kept on. He found the expensive jewel in a wet pile of sand and rocks excavated from 120 feet below the surface. A close friend was digging a well and invited him to sift through the piles of debris. Dan could have said, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Yet he saw something no one else could see--potential success. Maybe you are like the paralytic who faced one disappointment after another. Maybe all you see before you is a pile of rubbish. Why not take another look in the midst of those circumstances; through the power of possibility thinking you might just uncover a miracle.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
What would you guess is the most common command in Scripture? It is not for us to be more loving or less prideful or to be sexually pure. The single command that occurs more often than any other is the two words—FEAR NOT. Why does God command us not to fear? Fear is the number one reason people fail to get out of the boat and the one reason they as Peter stop in the middle of their walk on the water. Fear will sink us faster than anything else. Trust and fear are battling for our heart all the time. Eventually one will win out. That’s why we must always monitor the source of our fear. This emotional feeling can be good. On the one hand it is an internal warning cry that danger is nearby and we had better take action and remove ourselves from harm’s way. On the other hand it can stifle our trust causing us to live lives of spiritual boredom. No wonder God repeated the command. His will is that we walk in daring faith which is just as contagious. Let me give you an example. This past June Brody our five year old grandson and his sisters came to stay with us for a week. While here we went to the neighbor’s pool for a swim. I kept telling him not to go in the deep part of the pool. I said, “Son you can’t swim and I might not be able to get to you if you go under.” He replied, “Papaw I can swim.” I said “No you can’t” and repeated this several times while we were swimming. He continued to answer by saying, “Papaw I can swim.” The next week we took the entire family, (thirteen of us) to Hilton Head for vacation. One evening I came out on the porch and saw Brody diving in the deep part of the pool swimming to the side and making his way back out. When he got out with goggles pulled down over his ears and water dripping off his entire body he said, “Papaw I told you I could swim.” Indeed he could. Although I had tried to dampen his spirit, he stepped into the water without the emotional instability that paralyzes so many of us. In him I saw the epitome of the words “fear not.” God must be pleased when we obey His command and He sees the same spirit in us.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Life is filled with strange events and I had one of those on Sunday. After the morning services we made our way to lunch and then quickly returned home. This gave us just a few minutes to rest before driving to the church for a scheduled 5:00 o’clock meeting. I thought “a short nap would be just the thing to provide that extra boost of energy before reporting back for duty.” Once awake, I began to pray for the evening service. Phyllis asked, “Are you ready to go?” My reply was, “I’m getting there.” The meeting was at the forefront of my mind. It was not forgotten, but for some weird reason I surmised my departure time would get me to the church twenty minutes early so there was no need to rush. Once again, my wife asked, “Are you not leaving you’re going to be late.” It was only at that moment that it registered with me. Through a miscalculation of the time it dawned on me that I was not going to arrive early but was actually going to be ten minutes late. Panic hit. How could this happen? How could I have made such a mistake? Needless to say it was embarrassing to enter a room filled with new members and offer my confession. This experience reminded me of the passage in 1 Chronicles that states there were men of Issachar “that had understanding of the times to know what Israel should do.” It seems as if we are now seeing our nation mesmerized by politics and moral instability to the point that it has lost all sense of time. Those given to serious spiritual intuition know that the meeting scheduled by the Father with the Son is imminent. Yet, we see people running to and fro feeling no sense of emergency. It is quite apparent that they have miscalculated the time without realization that they are running late. To save embarrassment it is my prayer that we as a nation, church and people will regain our spiritual equilibrium. I pray we will regain the insight of the sons of Issachar and understand where we are and what needs to be done that we may show up on time.
Monday, October 8, 2012
This past Friday we had a celebrity come to town. It was the much anticipated visit of the presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. I decided this was an event that required my presence. If he loses nothing is lost except a few hours of my time. However, if he wins I will be able to say I had my first and possibly only close encounter with the president of the United States. Needless to say the crowd was overwhelming. The lines were long and the weather was warm. Each person patiently waited as they made their way through the path that led to security and eventually the grandstand where Mr. Romney would speak. I decided to take my position in the back overlooking the podium in order to get a good camera shot. Little did I know this was the place security had chosen to usher in the anticipated person of interest. I along with others stood with cameras in hand waiting for his arrival. The door would open and you could hear the gasp of people thinking this was the moment. This exercise was repeated over and over for almost an hour. By the moment Romney finally appeared the audience was ready. He entered to the chants of “Mitt, Mitt, Mitt!” The actions of the crowd needed no interpretation. Their likely choice for president now stood before them and they were excited. I thought this must have been the way the people felt the day Jesus entered Jerusalem. His visit had been announced and the people stood all along the streets hoping to get a glimpse of the one they thought would be their king and deliverer. Thunderous shouts and palm leaves came from everywhere paving the way for the grand entrance of Jesus the Messiah. Although amazing neither of these events can be compared to the next visit of the Lord of Lord’s and King of King’s. The heavens will be filled with the sound of a trumpet’s blast; then will come a voice unlike any other. The shout of the archangel declaring “the hour has come I now introduce to you the one and only Son of the living God.” While this announcement will be as brief as the “twinkling of an eye,” it will have eternal significance. Immediately all that is physical will be changed for eternity. From all indication the prophetical tremors are warning us that this visit is imminent and the expressive voice of the Spirit is urging us to get ready for heaven’s Celebrity.
Monday, October 1, 2012
If you haven’t noticed lately our cultural and technical language has changed. Once upon a time the word “gay” was used when describing a sense of joy but it means something totally different now. Our children instead of saying, “I’m sorry” now say “my bad.” Or when referring to a good thing they will say “that’s bad.” A knife is called a “shank” and the greeting “Hi what’s going on” is now “Wassup.” Even worse, in the technical realm words have become mere abbreviations. OMG is “O my god,” ILY is “I Love You,” and OMW is “On my way.” Back a few weeks ago I came to grips with my ignorance of this new language. People both male and female started sending me messages signed LOL. My naïve translation of these letters led me to conclude they meant “Lots of Love.” While rewarding myself for figuring out the code, this interpretation left me feeling a bit uncomfortable. I wanted to reply out of courtesy but using these letters as a closing signature just didn’t feel right. Now I know I’m a lovable guy but what if the female on the receiving end of the email or text misunderstands the intent of the message. Even greater was my concern of responding to a man with this terminology. Maybe it’s all me but that just doesn’t seem very manly. Needless to say I felt ignorance being rubbed all over me when I learned the letters actually mean “Laugh out Loud.” That mistake caused me to reflect and rejoice over the language God uses. He speaks neither in slang words or abbreviations. He says what He means and means what He says with clarity. What is His message to us? “I love you with an everlasting love; Call unto me and I will answer; I will never leave you nor forsake you; Trust me and lean not to your own understanding.” If you are like me you realize you don’t have to be the sharpest person in the room. All you need to know is when God speaks He always chooses the right language.