Sunday, June 28, 2015

Underdog—A State of Mind

A few days ago my son and his family came to visit. The day before making the journey he adopted a Great Dane. Of course this newest addition to the family could not be left at home by itself so he brought it along. If you know anything about dogs you know Great Dane’s are huge and can be rather intimidating. Two of our pets, Cassie and Tiny were terrified of the beast but not Coy. Although much smaller in size, he refused to allow our guest to make him feel inferior so he dug in and stood his ground. As far as he was concerned this brute had invaded his territory but would not be granted the privilege of becoming King of the Hill. That was his position and it would not be relinquished regardless the cost. Needless to say it developed into an interesting visit. But most of all the experience helped bring me to a state of reality—being an underdog is a state of the mind. It has to do with our thinking as much as anything else. For example Israel saw themselves as grasshoppers when seeing the giants of Anak so they were defeated before ever going to battle.  On the other hand, David saw himself as a champion before ever stepping towards the giant.  All of us will face insurmountable odds in life but just remember being an underdog is nothing more than a state of the mind. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Father’s Legacy

I had the privilege of spending a few days with my father this week.  Since he and mom live five and a half hours away our time together is a cherished commodity. At 85 years of age his step is getting much slower and his memory slipping. Yet dad’s mere presence demands such respect.  Throughout the years he has been a steady influence and an invaluable source of wisdom and knowledge. All the children know when we sit down together we will hear the same stories and will get the same reply from mom; “Honey you have already told them about that.” I’ve often wondered why life delivers such repetition. On the one hand it creates humor but on the other concern. But could it be that God in His infinite wisdom orchestrates such a plan because of purpose. Is it His intention that we hear over and over precepts that should not be forgotten? For instance, during this visit Dad chose to tell me again how he came to be appointed to his last pastorate.  It involved fasting, prayer, a vision, a demotion, and yielding to God’s will. To the natural mind these variables might seem insignificant, but not to me.  Somehow this time was different. Whether intentional or not, God allowed me to walk away with some truths that cannot be ignored. Here they are: communication with God is needed especially in times of transition; visions make clear those things that appear to be a blur; bigger is not always better; and there is no greater satisfaction than finding God’s will in life. For me those ingredients add up to the gift of a father’s legacy.   

Sunday, June 14, 2015

No Back Moves

In his book, “The Luggage of Life”, Dr. Boreham has a chapter titled, ‘Back Moves.” He begins by recalling an incident that happened to him in his own home.  He was sitting reading by the fireside.  His children were playing a game at the table.  Suddenly the quietness was broken by one of the children calling out sharply, “You can’t do that.  There are no back moves.” No back moves? Is this true?  While it may not be absolute with everything, it is in relation to life.  None of us has the luxury of living our lives over. If we could I’m sure there are multitudes of things we would change, but it’s just not possible.  That being said we begin to understand why the Holy Spirit inspired the writing of the oft quoted words concerning the sinful; “their sins and iniquities l will remember no more.”  When you can’t step backward the only other alternative is to move forward, and the initiative that allows us to do that is forgiveness.  It is only through this medium that we can go back in time and transcend the past. So, the next time you hear that all familiar voice whispering in your ear, “there are no back moves” tell him it’s not so. Bring correction by saying, “for you this is true but not for me.” The removal of those things formerly held against me has been made possible by Christ, the redeemer of my past, present, and future.”  

Sunday, June 7, 2015

He sat Beside Me

A few years ago I made a trip to Israel with my brother. Since it was such a long journey I booked our seats together and made sure mine was an aisle. The day arrived and we flew out of Knoxville without a hitch. However, when boarding our connecting flight I suddenly realized our seating was incorrect. For some reason everything had been switched.  Ken was near the window and I wound up in the middle next to a stranger who had the aisle--my seat! I’ve heard of people in church getting upset because someone sat in their place and on this day I was like one of those disgruntled members. The last thing I wanted was to spend thirteen hours crunched between two robust men. That within itself would have been enough but it got worse.  The man sitting beside me was completely inept when it came to personal hygiene. The sweaty body odor was so bad it made me nauseas. It took away my appetite and ability to rest with any sense of comfort.  Needless to say I was not a happy camper. I moaned, complained and thought “if I had a bottle of cologne this dude would be experiencing a baptism right now and it would not be in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Was I ever thankful when we landed and disembarked the plane. While remembering that experience a few days ago the Lord began to speak to me. He said “that’s exactly what happened to me when I entered earth and sat down beside you. The smell of sin was unbearable but yet I refused to change seats; and you need to know it was not out of obligation but because of love.” Having heard the Lord’s voice it gave me a whole different perspective and suddenly I was thankful that a stranger sat beside me. I realized once again it is by God’s grace that the repugnant is turned to righteousness, and the rank to the smell of the rose. For that I am forever thankful!