Jul 26, 2012

Swimsuit Ready

Swimsuit season is in full swing. It is the time when we brave the elements (and the stares) and go swimming. But something is wrong; simply put you are not ready to show yourself at the beach. What happened?

You spent all last winter putting on extra pounds (to keep warm during the cold winter). Not feeling confident enough to pull on a swimsuit; your plan was to get to the gym and work out so that when swimsuit season was here, you would be fit and ripped and toned; or at least fit into a swimsuit that didn’t look like it was formerly used as a circus tent!

You knew that a bit of exercise would help you tone and lose excess weight, and also feel better about yourself.  So you rose (with the best of intentions)and set your goal; “Gotta work off that holiday weight!!!!”

And suddenly, June was here and you knew that swimsuit season was very close; I guess that the “All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet” was much closer!

And now you find yourself facing the hot summer months of July and August wishing that you had heeded the warning last spring and that you had taken the time to prepare when you had the opportunity. Now you look for ways to keep yourself hidden simply because you are not “swimsuit ready”.

It may be a bad transition, but in a similar way in God’s Word (the Bible) we are exhorted to take time to get ourselves ready so that when we are needed we will be ready. Did you catch what I said? Let me put it another way (using the Apostle Paul’s word. He said; “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2 NKJV)

He also challenged us to "Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth." (2 Timothy 2:15 Amplified Bible) 

The writer of Psalm 119 put it this way; “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11 NKJV)

Take time today to “exercise” your will by spending time reading the Bible to get yourself ready for where life will take you next. Don’t be caught off guard; the next season will soon be upon each of us. Will you be ready?

These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11 NKJV)


Jul 19, 2012

A NEED FOR DISCERNMENT

What is wrong with us people? Ok, not all people, but those who feel the need to post every thought, word, or deed they think on FaceBook using (seemingly) no discernment. 

This past week on FaceBook, I’ve read posts in which a person threatened to “punch their boss in the face” and in the same post wrote the name of the place where they worked!

I’ve also read someone’s post who admitted that they had willingly done damage to a vehicle after getting angry with the vehicle’s owner. They even wrote the name of the store where this crime took place and admitted guilt!

I read another post where the writer (who is a Christian) admitted that they were going to ‘get very drunk, get into a fight that would land someone in the hospital, and themselves in jail’. The post was ‘peppered’ with swear words that even ‘non-Christians’ don’t use on FaceBook.

I’ve seen cartoons and photos and ‘humor’ posted (again) by Christians that would bring us great embarrassment if they were put up on the overhead screen at church during worship; especially if our name was attached to them. 

And, I would like to tell you that what I saw others had posted were by not only those who sit in the pews. I read posts by pastors admitting drinking wine, beer, and strong alcohol...not just ‘tasting’, but in excess! And, admitting that that was what ‘they were looking forward to do after a long week of hard work”

Wow, what were they thinking! Do they not think that people read their posts?

The Apostle Paul wrote; 
“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.” (Ephesians 5:2-4 NKJV)

Hey Christian FaceBook users; we need discernment! Discernment is one of the most important qualities to develop in life.

Discernment is the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is not clearly seen or easily distinguished. It means to have keen perception or judgment, the faculty of discerning; discrimination; acuteness of judgment and understanding. the act or an instance of discerning.

The writer of Proverbs in the Bible tells us to: “…incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding."  and to "cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures” (Proverbs 2:2-4 NKJV).

He also tells us that Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, but a man of understanding walks uprightly.” (Proverbs 15:21 NKJV)

My dear friends; STOP BEFORE you write or post on FaceBook. We are responsible for what we say. Jesus, our Lord and Savior told us:

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.  But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.  For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:35-37 NKJV)


Jul 12, 2012

Lost the Plot

Have you ever watched a movie that was already started and part way through the story and you had no idea what was going on? 

Have you ever watched the second part of a movie trilogy or television series in its third year and because you haven’t seen the earlier episodes, you feel as though you can’t seem to understand the plot?

Have you ever woken some mornings wondering; “So what is this life all about?” or woke up in the middle of the night wondering; “who I am I?” or “where I am I?” 

Have you ever felt as though you were playing some role, seemingly orchestrated by a director, but you didn’t have a script or that you somehow lost the plot?

To say that “you have lost your plot” means you have somehow gotten off track and lost the focus of whatever you doing. It means you have somehow veered off from the main path and are going a wrong direction. 

The response to this epiphany varies. For some it is a feeling of confusion and disorientation. For others the response is apathy; not really caring what, when, where, or why.

My friend, this isn’t how we were meant to live; we were created for so much more. We were meant to live a life that can only come through relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ. In fact, that is why Jesus came. The Bible records Jesus saying;

Luke 19:10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

John 5:30 “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”

John 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

John 8:28 “Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.”

THEN WHAT ON EARTH ARE WE HERE FOR? Simply put, it is to love God and love others. With so many things competing for our time, let's stay focused on things with eternal significance!

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."


When you come back again
Would you bring me something from the fridge?
Heard a rumour that the end is near
But I just got comfortable here.
Sigh.
Let's be blunt.
I'm a little distracted.
What do you want?

Headaches and bad faith
Are all that I've got.
First I misplaced the ending
Then I lost the plot.

Out among the free-range sheep
While the big birds sharpen their claws.
For a time we stuck with the shepherd
But you wouldn't play Santa Claus.

Sigh.
Let's be blunt.
We're a little distracted.
What do you want?

Once we could follow,
Now we cannot.
You would not fit our image,
So we lost the plot.

Once we could hear you,
Now our senses are shot.
We've forgotten our first love.
We have lost the plot.

When I saw you for the first time
You were hanging with a thief
And I knew my hands were dirty,
And I dropped my gaze.
Then you said I was forgiven
And you welcomed me with laughter.
I was happy ever after.
I was counting the days
When you'd come back again.
We'll be waiting for you
When you comin' back again?
We'll be ready for you
Maybe we'll wake up when...
Maybe we'll wake up when
You come back again.

Lies.
Let's be blunt.
We're a little unfaithful.
What do you want?

Are you still listening?
'Cause we're obviously not
We've forgotten our first love
We have lost the plot.

And why are you still calling?
You forgave, we forgot.
We're such experts at stalling
That we've lost the plot.
Lost the plot

When you come back again
Would you bring me something from the fridge?
Heard a rumour that the end is near
But I just got comfortable here.

Jul 5, 2012

The Race of Faith

Cathy and I went for an early morning 3K run on Sunday. We walked a short portion to warm up and stretch out our muscles. When we got to the agreed starting place, I sprinted out ahead for a short burst, and then I stopped when I realized that we were not running at the same pace. “Go ahead and run at your own pace”; Cathy said, encouraging me to run as fast as I wanted to.

This past year, my cardio has been a combination of ice skating (all year long) and using an “Elliptical” machine. Playing hockey for most of the year and weight lifting several times a week had my lungs and legs in a great place. So, I should have had no problem running a 3K run; or so I thought.

Cathy and I do well walking together; after 32 ½ years of “dating” we’ve learned to walk hand in hand. But running, biking, and rollerblading we go at different paces. Because I am much faster than Cathy, we have discovered that it is much better for each of us to go at our own place. For example, when we roller blade, I will go eight miles during the same time that Cathy goes around five. And, just to be clear, Cathy isn’t slow, we just run at different speeds.

I quickly sprinted back to my speed and was happy with my run for the first eighth mile. And then, because of the heaviness of the humid air, my lungs struggled to get a deep breath. And I had to drop back to a fast walk; which meant Cathy quickly caught up to me and passed me by. I regained my lungs and a decided to once again take off a sprint past her. And then it dawned on me; if I would run behind Cathy, I could probably get into a good pace that would enable me to run without any stoppage. But, it would mean that I would have to dial down and run at her pace. 

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews (in the Bible) wrote in Chapter 12 that we should “run with endurance the race that is set before us…” The Greek word for “endurance” means; “cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy: - enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).”

“Consistency”, that was the word I was searching for when I ran. The writer goes on to say that we do this by; “…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”; sort of what I was doing by watching Cathy’s shoes to get my pace.

So, I ran behind her, looking at her shoes to get my rhythm lined up with hers and I enjoyed my run. I found that when I looked her shoes to get my pace, not my own, I endured the run better. I also found that at this pace I could actually see and enjoy the beautiful path along the Mississippi River and all of the wildlife. And, I looked forward to the next day or two when we would run this path again.

"Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now He's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Hebrews 12:1-3 The Message)