Black ice

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I’m tired.

The ice, snow and freezing temperatures have worn me completely out.  The kids have been out of school for two complete weeks, and we are all feeling the effects of cabin fever.

Britton, our nine year old son, has been fascinated with the talk about “black ice”.  How can such a thin, transparent layer of water cause such havoc across the state?  He’s noticed abandoned cars and trucks stuck along the roadways, seen semi trucks jackknifed on the interstate and heard the warnings to cancel travel.  Black ice is bad news.

There’s an analogy to be made.  Sin can create an equally dangerous situation in our lives.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.  James 4:17

If we are honest, we’ve all got patches of black ice in our lives.  Those bad habits and the dangerous thoughts that can cause us to stumble and fall.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.  1 John 1:8-10

We are imperfect people…born sinners.  I am worse than most.  But we can realize our brokenness, ask for forgiveness and the strength to do better, and rest assured that we have a loving Savior who will protect and keep us in His arms.

Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  James 4:7

Read His word.  Obey His commands.  Invite Jesus into every facet of your life.

The presence of Jesus…it’s the best de-icer around.

God bless you.  Please pray for me, and let me know if I may pray for you.

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Frozen moments

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I had a sneak preview of the future recently.

Carson, our daughter, was honored to be selected as a member of Knoxville’s Junior Assembly Class of 2015.  It’s an award based on grades, activities and leadership.  The culminating event involved a formal dance.  The women wore white formal dresses. The men wore tuxedos.  It was a bit fancier than most Saturday evenings spent by the Carvers, I can assure you.

Carson looked stunning.  She and Hollianne had picked out the perfect dress.  On the day before my baby girl had played a hard game of basketball in her West High uniform and athletic shoes, and by the next evening she was transformed into an elegant, beautiful young woman in a white winter formal and heels.

The highlight of the evening for me was the Father/Daughter dance.  The dance only lasted five minutes, but it gave Carson and me the opportunity to talk about her day, her year at West High and share a funny moment or two about growing up in the Carver household.

I wanted to freeze this moment in time.  Frozen.  Yes…I wanted time to stop.  I suddenly realized how fast time was passing.  Today she was a high school sophomore, but in her beautiful dress and in this elegant location I couldn’t help but think about a possible wedding day in the future.

Today’s events are too quickly becoming yesterday’s distant memories.  Where had the time gone?  I wished that the days could slow down.

It reminded me about the importance of the moment.  Every moment of every day.  My sudden feelings of melancholy regarding my daughter did not develop all at once, but over a lifetime of moments.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

We are called by Jesus to be relationship people.  We are called to love others…to invest in their lives.  We need to take time out of our busy days to create moments with the others around us.  Neighbors, teachers, brothers, parents, co-workers…all of these people deserve patience, love and support.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.  1 Thessalonians 5:11

Let’s pledge this week to invest in those around us.  Let’s create moments with others that can turn into lasting memories.  As Jesus followers, we owe this to one another.

Please pray for me, and let me know how I may pray for you this week.

God bless.

Keith

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Obligated to share

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I live in a home with a wonderful wife, three great kids and a needy dog.  It’s just crazy at times.  Five people and a hyperactive mutt residing in one small space.

There are struggles with sharing bathrooms, the kitchen, the television and even closet space.  The boys don’t like to share toys and Hollianne gets frustrated when she can’t find a favorite blouse- only to find it kidnapped in Carson’s closet.  I get grumpy when the family has consumed all the coffee creamer or my vanilla bean ice cream.  And I hate sharing the remote.

While we often get frustrated with the inconveniences of sharing, we actually have it pretty good.  The kids have enough toys to keep the whole neighborhood happy.  We all have clothes to keep us warm and comfortable.  And I’m almost embarrassed to admit that we struggle over “shower time” in the mornings when we have three full bathrooms.

We are blessed.  Many around us, however, aren’t.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16

We live in the most prosperous nation in the world, but take a look around.  If we open our eyes we’ll see others across our neighborhoods, cities and region who are not as richly blessed.  Single parent families.  Families struggling to obtain the basics and barely keep their families fed and warm.  The unemployed.  The underemployed.  Good people just down on their luck…and the breaks keep going against them.  These folks are right in front of us.

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?  1 John 3:17

We have an obligation to help our neighbors.  It’s a command.  Jesus and his followers preached the need to share throughout the New Testament.

And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”  Luke 3:11

My prayer today will be for an awakening…a new awareness of those around me in need.  People I can help.  Families that I am commanded to love with a generous, giving heart.  No matter the situation, I always have plenty to share.

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”   Luke 6:38

Pray for me…and let me know if I can pray for you.

God bless.

 

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Walk like an Egyptian…

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Sometimes I can be so stubborn.  I’ll admit it…I’m stuck in my ways.  My old habits and ways of thinking are often hard to change.

I have spent some time in the book of Exodus this week- and it’s given me some new insight into my resistant nature.  Moses had pleaded to Pharaoh on multiple occasions to let his people, the Israelites, leave Egypt.  Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, however, and despite plagues of frogs, gnats, flies, livestock, boils, hail, locusts and darkness- Pharaoh still would not let Moses and his people leave.  Egypt had been devastated with disaster upon disaster!  It finally took the tragic death of the firstborn of all Egyptian families for Pharaoh to relent and allow a passage out of Egypt.

During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up!  Leave my people, you and the Israelites!  Go, worship the Lord as you have requested.  Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go.  And also bless me.”  The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!”  Exodus 12: 31-33

It was a pretty drastic wake-up call, for sure.

Upon reflecting on this situation, I realize that I’m truly no better than Pharaoh.  There are so many areas in my life where my heart has been hardened.  There are relationships that I need to mend.  Situations where I’ve been hurt and I need to forgive and forget.  Times when I have had the opportunity to show mercy- but my stubbornness and pride wouldn’t allow it.  In Pharaoh’s case- God had hardened his heart.  I don’t have this excuse.

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.  Proverbs 28: 13-14

Let us all search our lives (and hearts) for those areas where we need to change.  And pray that we have the courage to address these areas.  I need your prayers in this regard.

As always, let me know if I can pray for you.  God bless.

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