Go ahead….make my day 

I’m gonna have to brag a little.

Our daughter, Carson, is a senior this year.  Her high school announced the Senior Superlatives earlier tonight.

You remember the Senior Superlatives, right?  The infamous peer awards voted on by the senior class.  Most handsome and beautiful.  Best dressed.  Best athlete.

(I dreaded the Senior Superlatives when I was in high school.  I would have never been voted handsome, best dressed or the best athlete.)

Carson brought one home that made my heart smile.  Our baby girl was awarded “Most Likely to Brighten Your Day.”

Wow.  Most likely to brighten your day.  What an honor!

I shouldn’t be surprised.  Carson has a genuine care for others.  She has an infectious laugh, a big smile and loves the underdog.  She just has a presence that picks up your spirit.  Carson has an innate ability to sense when something is wrong- and try to do something about it.

But isn’t that what we should all strive to do?

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

We are called to encourage and edify others.  But it doesn’t stop there.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  Galatians 6:2

If we are to bear one another’s burdens, we need to do more.  It’s more than an affirming smile.  It requires an investment in people.  We need to increase our awareness of the needs of others and make a point to engage in their lives.

We need to engage with others in meaningful ways.  It takes effort.

You can learn a lot from your kids.

Please pray for me to be more aware of how I can help lighten the load of others.  And please let me know how to pray for you.

God bless.

 

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Homesick (or Home sick)

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I got sick on a business trip this week.

Simply put, I was hit by a nasty virus late Monday night and spent the bulk of the next twelve hours in a fetal position on a hotel bathroom.  Fever and chills soon followed.  I could only think about getting home.

The normal six hour drive took me over nine hours to complete.  It was a miserable way to tour the state- a stop at approximately every fifty miles.

My temporary contition was minor considering what others are currently experiencing.  I have friends who have serious conditions and are struggling daily to live.  But my illness was a great reminder to all of us who suffer.

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:29-31

We all struggle at some point. Maybe it’s stress.  Sickness.  Depression.  Work struggles.  Family strife.

These conditions are a reminder of two things.

First, we have a God of comfort and peace.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30

And that while our lives on earth seem important, there’s a better place that’s prepared for us.

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.   Revelation 21:4

Our suffering on this earth is temporary.  There’s a place of peace, joy and comfort in Heaven.  It’ll be the ultimate homecoming.

Please pray for me to fully heal from this stomach bug.  And let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

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Standing in Nothing But Your Underwear

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I interviewed for a job last week.

The most daunting task on the entire schedule?  The candidates were assigned a topic for a 30 minute presentation.  All members of the university family were invited…students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members.   The auditorium would be filled with people.

The presentation would be fun.  What followed was the interesting part.  There would be an additional 90 minutes of a question and answer period.  Any audience member could come forward and ask questions of the candidates.  The comments did not have to relate directly to the presentation- but could focus on any aspect of the candidate’s career, background or thoughts on issues of the day.

I asked a few trusted mentors how to approach this portion of the interview.  They provided some advice, but basically told me that there was no real way to get ready.

One even remarked, “there will be a time during this process that you’ll feel so vulnerable and exposed…sort of like standing in public with nothing on but your underwear.”

He meant that when we subject ourselves to public scrutiny- there’s risk involved.  You might get asked a question or to comment on something that you normally wouldn’t discuss.  It’s the ultimate in transparency.

It wasn’t all that bad, as it turns out.

What if we approached our relationship with Jesus with the same view?

O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.  Psalm 139:1-4

Think about it.

Jesus knows everything about us. Every thought, every word, every action.

I rarely think about that.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

Even though He knows all our flaws- He loves us anyway.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  John 10:10

We have unconditional love and support from our Savior.  We need to let go of our fears and relentlessly pursue a relationship with Him.

He’ll never leave us feeling bare or exposed.

Please pray for me to seek the relationship with Jesus that He desires and deserves.

And let me know how to pray for you.

God bless.

 

 

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Working on your marriage on Labor Day

I was nursing a cup of coffee when my cell phone rang early on this Labor Day morning.

It was an old friend that I had not talked to in some time.  We caught up for a minute before he got to the true meaning of his phone call.

His marriage was in trouble.

I was stunned.

I probed a bit.  It seems that life had just placed one barrier after another between them.  His focus had been on his career.  Her focus had been on the kids.  She had suggested counseling some time back, but they found excuses to not get help.  It wasn’t one thing…it was a culmination of years of negligence to their relationship.

Now they were strangers living in the same house and they didn’t like each other anymore.  Resentment was living in both of their hearts- and both of them had become selfishly stubborn.

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Philippians 2:3-4

He thanked me for listening- and asked that I pray for him today.  I told him that I would pray for healing and reconciliation- and that they would be able to climb over any pride or misgivings they had about counseling.  I asked that he pray about it too.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28

Marriage is work for all of us.  Our relationships need daily, continual attention.

We need to pray for and with our spouse on a daily basis.

Please pray for my friend on this Labor Day.  And let me know how to pray for you.

God bless marriages everywhere.

 

(*this post was published with permission)

 

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The Walking Dead

Several members of my family are fans of the television show, The Walking Dead.  Apparently we aren’t the only ones- with over 14.2 million people who view the apocalyptic series each week.

While the show involves zombies- viewers will tell you the plot centers around the “living”…human beings trying to survive and reestablish order.  The zombies are a dangerous backdrop. They have no independent thought…the zombies simply “exist.”

I sometimes feel like a zombie in terms of my faith.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  2 Corinthians 5:17

I know what I need to do.  I need to be active in my faith…reading, meditating and studying God’s word.  I need to share the good news of Jesus with others.

But I often fall short.  I allow life’s events to distract me.  My days can become driven by work, family concerns and general busyness.  Before I know it- my Bible study and prayer time suffer.

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.  Would that you were either cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.  Revelation 3:15-16

This verse always hurts my heart.  Jesus doesn’t want me to be lukewarm in my daily walk.  He demands action…heat…passion.

Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  2 Timothy 1:13

My prayer this week is to keep my focus – and minimize distractions that keep me from living a full life in Jesus Christ.

Because a zombie-like walk through life leads to a dangerous path.

Please let me know how I may pray for you.  God bless.

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