Nov 26, 2015

It's Time To Make Some Noise!

It’s Thanksgiving 2015; at least for those of us who live in the USA. It is a day to give thanks to the One who has provided it all for us.
It doesn’t matter whether it has been a good year or not, the Lord is still worthy of our praise. In fact when we praise the Lord for what He has done, we can actually turn our discouragement into hope.
So, my friend, sing! Sing your best, sing from your heart; He is worthy of it! And, He isn't more impressed by how great we sing or not, He listens to what we are saying through our heart.
And the cool thing is, when words elude us, we can pick up an instrument (even a pot and pan) and make a joyful noise to Him!
So set aside time and thank Him for all that He has done for you; He really is good.
It's time to make some noise!
Praise God in His holy house of worship,
Praise Him under the open skies;
Praise Him for His acts of power,
Praise Him for His magnificent greatness;
Praise with a blast on the trumpet,
Praise by strumming soft strings;
Praise Him with castanets and dance,
Praise Him with banjo and flute;
Praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum,
Praise Him with fiddles and mandolin.
Let every living, breathing creature praise God!
The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Nov 19, 2015

One More Game

It’s getting colder outside here in Minnesota and the chill that runs through my body isn’t just from the dropping temperatures. No, it is excitement because soon the outdoor hockey rinks will be open for business; which means I will be playing hockey on an outdoor sheet of ice!

Yes, I can play indoors pretty much any time of the year, but having grown up on the pond (as well as playing indoors), my passionate heart for the game always is pulled to choose outdoor ice. Because once again (in my mind), I am ten years old, skating at the pond across the street from my childhood home…

Some say that the older we get the better we were; oftentimes spoken by athletes who are living vicariously through their children’s sporting events.

But I say that with hockey players who play WAY past their prime; “The older we get the harder it is to play as good as we once did!”

And so I am currently preparing my body for one more game; one more winter season of outdoor hockey. 

I do this by spending my time in the gym lifting weights and building my endurance using an elliptical machine, hoping to get it ready to be able to play with the young bucks trying to dethrone me. 

I use the change in the weather to acclimate my body to playing outside by driving around with the windows rolled down in my vehicles, and by continuing to wear flip flops and no hats or gloves even though it IS cold outside. 

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, all those concussions are starting to have an effect!  

As I write this today, I must confess that I don’t feel as ready to go as I would like to. I don’t feel as young as I once was. I don’t as strong as I did in my youth.

A contributing factor is that this year’s preparation time hasn’t gone as well as I would have liked it to go. Usually by this time I feel good enough to play and would normally be playing indoors. But a lingering cold has delayed the process and I have had to struggle to get up to game strength as I prepare for the battles and skirmishes that I will face on the ice. 

And so my confidence is a little low at this time; after all, I am fifty seven years old. And questions bark at me such as; “Do I have one more game left in me?” or “Can I be as good as I was?” or “Is it even possible for me to be as strong today as I was then?”

Time will tell as I will soon hear the drop of the puck and my questions will be answered.

There was a man in the Bible who pondered similar questions. His name was Caleb. You can read his story in Joshua 12:6-12.

Caleb is an eighty five year old man and for forty years he had been preparing for a battle that one day he would face. Forty years he had been waiting for what was to come and here he was at the age of eighty five still preparing for his skirmish.

Forty years he had to do nothing but prepare, because when he tried to do what he was supposed to do (fight a battle), he was out voted by ten men who were too afraid that they couldn’t do what they were supposed to do because the other team looked way too big. (See Numbers 13) 

One day he went to his leader and friend, Joshua, and said;
“…here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in.” (Joshua 12:11)
Just as strong today as he was when he was forty; man, what kind of supplements was he using? What was in that manna that he had eaten for forty years?

The answer to his question can be found in verse twelve;
“It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said.”
His confidence was not in having spent forty years in the gym lifting weights and building his endurance. His confidence that he still had it in him was based in who the Lord is. His confidence was in the Lord.

Psalm 46 tells us that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…” and “The Lord of hosts is with us…”

For our part He is telling us to simply; “Be still, and know that I am God;

I don’t know what battle faces you today or how well prepared you feel to face it…But let me assure you that no matter what your condition is, this skirmish doesn’t need to be all about you! You and I daily will face them, but we need not do it alone; the Lord is waiting and available to help us. Ask Him.
"Keep your stick on the ice; I’m pulling for you!”

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