When your best-laid plans put you in the Emergency Room

Yesterday began like most days around our home. 

Our two oldest children got up and out the door for a full day of school. Our youngest was headed on a day-long field trip. 

Hollianne planned to chaperone the field trip. I was to attend an all day meeting with Leadership Knoxville. 

My how things can change. Quickly. 

Within two hours of all of us leaving home, I received a text messsge from Hollianne. One of our children ended up going to the doctor’s office- and eventually to the Emergency Room. 

Hollianne’s field trip plans were derailed by his trip to the hospital. And I rushed from my meeting over to join them. We had gone from “normal” into a state of urgency. 

It all worked out. Our son received the treatment he needed and is feeling better. He will be fine in a few days. 

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.  James 4:13-17

The events of our day reminded us of how unpredictable life can be. Our best-laid plans can quickly evaporate into turmoil and uncertainly. 

As the passage from James suggests- our lives are truly a mist. The activities of our day seem important, but ultimately we aren’t in control. 

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

We should always keep in mind that God is in control of our lives. We should commit each day, each task, each plan to Him. We need to ask Him for guidance in all our plans. 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Let me know how to pray for you this week. 

God bless you. 

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Running away from your Bible

I’m a runner.

Well, ok…I like to think I’m a runner.  I’ve completed four marathons and a dozen or so half marathons.  But- my pace is slow, I’ve never won a race and my running form looks painful to the casual observer.

But still…I’m a runner.

I like the peace that comes from a clear head while running.  I love being outdoors and taking in nature.  I love the quietness of the minutes before daybreak.  I just love running.

There are many parallels between running and reading the Bible.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17

  1.  You don’t have to be very good at it to benefit from it.  Running is simple.  You just put one foot out in front of the other.  Walking becomes jogging- which becomes running.  After several months of training, the act of running becomes effortless.  The same is true with your Bible.  It’s God’s inspired word. You don’t need training to get started.  You just need to commit to reading, studying and praying over it.  A little bit of study leads you to want more.
  2. You don’t need a special place to do it.  In the past seven days alone, I’ve completed a three-mile run in a hotel parking lot, a four miler on a mountain trail and another run on an indoor treadmill.  Running is portable…you can do it anywhere.  It’s the same with Bible study.  You can study in the quiet of the morning or late at night.  You can listen to the Bible in your car between meetings.  You can download it on your phone and read it on your lunch hour.  It’s completely portable.
  3. The equipment is minimal.  In running, you just need a good pair of shoes to get started.  It’s the same with Bible study.  You don’t need anything but God’s word and a good notebook for observations and questions.  Just get going.
  4. It’s always better when you are training for something.  It’s true in running…if I have a race or an outdoor event to train for- I’m more motivated.  I have a goal.  The same holds true with Bible study.  If I’m teaching a class or participating in a study where I’m expected to be prepared- I work harder.  It’s good to have goals for your personal Bible study.
  5. You can enjoy it alone or with a group.  I love to run alone to clear my head, think about solutions to problems or to get in an uninterrupted prayer.  I also enjoy running with my family.  I’m blessed that we all get to race together- and enjoy training together.  When studying God’s word, it’s good to be alone sometimes to go at your own pace or study what’s truly interesting to you.  It’s also nice to have a group to discuss topics from the Bible…and to hold you accountable for study.

 

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Running legend Steve Prefontaine once said, “a race is a work of art that people can look at and be affected in as many ways as they’re capable of understanding.”

It’s the same as studying the Bible.  It’s a work of art.  If  you commit to it, God’s word will pour into you and make you a new creature…transformed. It will affect and change every aspect of your life.

My prayer this week is to be even more diligent in my study of God’s word.

Let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

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When your baby turns 18

Our oldest child, Carson, turns 18 years today. 

Birthdays represent many things. A time of reflection. A time to look ahead. 

Lots of big events happen this year. She’s going to vote in her first presidential election. She’ll graduate from high school and head to college. She’ll move out of our home and begin a life on her own. It’s a big year for Carson (and a tough one on her parents). 

So this birthday is “bigger” than most. It represents adventure for Carson. It represents a bit of melancholy for the rest of the family.  Carson is growing up. 

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 1 Corinthians 13:11

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22

My prayer today and for the next year will be for Carson to continue to grow and mature in her faith and relationship with Jesus. She’ll be exposed to the world in new, challenging ways- and I pray that she continues to keep Jesus first in her life…and her faith in focus. 

Carson has always been a great kid…and she’s become an incredible young woman. 

Today let’s pray for all the children in our lives. Prayers for strength, comfort and wisdom. They deserve it (and need it). 

Stop and think about a couple of children in your circle- and pray for them. 

And as always, please let me know how I may pray for you. 

God bless. 

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