Smoking weed in San Diego

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I’m in San Diego for a conference this week.  I’ve enjoyed the city- especially the weather.

Yesterday I went for a run from the conference hotel.  I walked down to an intersection to cross over into a park- and was met by a strange odor in the air.  It was sharp, distinctive and permeated the air around me.  I looked sideways at two young men standing next to me and quickly determined the source.

These guys were smoking marijuana.  In broad daylight. At the corner of a busy intersection.

I was stunned, but it obviously wasn’t a rare occurrence for these two.  Isn’t this illegal? They causally talked and laughed while they waited for their bus.

The light turned green and I ran across the street into the park.  But I couldn’t get the thought out of my head.  It was just a strange sight.

I later found out that this wasn’t illegal at all.  If you are 21 and follow certain rules, public usage of marijuana is perfectly legal in California.  It wasn’t agains the law at all.

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:9

It made me think of my own life…and how my behavior and attitude might shock others.

The times that I show greed or envy.  The opportunities to show mercy- but I don’t.  When anger takes over my thoughts and I secretly harbor ill feelings toward others.

Thoughts of anger, greed or envy aren’t illegal, but they are unproductive.  When I display those tendencies, I can hurt others or diminish my influence as one who loves Jesus.

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. Philippians 3:17

Pray for me to be a better example to others.  I want to show Jesus in my life- even when  I think that no one is watching.

And let me know how to pray for you.

God bless.

 

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So mad I could spit

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I got fighting mad last week.

Actually, I didn’t have good reason to be angry.  No one had wronged me.  Someone had, however, mistreated one of my friends.  Malicious, false statements were directed toward my buddy (let’s call him Stan)- and when the guilty party was approached about it- he lied about being involved.

The truth eventually came out, however, and the offender confessed to their slander and the lie to cover it up.

Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.  Proverbs 12:19

I was mad.  Angry.  I couldn’t believe this guy could have such a lack of respect toward Stan.

A couple of days after the incident, I had a long conversation with Stan.  I asked him how this would impact his relationship with this fellow.  His response caught me off guard.

“I’m going to forgive him.”

And he had.  As we talked, I could tell that Stan had a sense of peace about the situation.  Stan said that this fellow had experienced enough embarrassment from being caught in the lie- and that was punishment enough.

Stan had released any anger and animosity that he felt from the situation.

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25

Stan had chosen to forgive.  And if he could do that, I certainly should let go of my resentment too.

Be kind to one another, tenderharted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32

My prayer is to have a more forgiving heart- and to ask forgiveness from those I’ve hurt.

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

God bless.

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Shots fired at home

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I seem to be on my worst behavior at home.

After a long day of work or a couple of days of travel- I’m often exhausted by the time I get to my house.

Our home should be a place of solace and rest.  A time to reconnect with my incredible wife and three great kids.  But I often let the stresses of the day continue to linger when I come home.

I can be short…dismissive.  Moody.  Quiet and reserved.  Withdrawn.

Dozens of tiring, negative thoughts preoccupy my mind and can keep me from fully engaging with my family- those that love me most.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  James 1:19-20

My behavior demonstrates a lack of spiritual maturity on my part.  My family deserves my best.

One of my favorite verses to help me cope is found in Proverbs.

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.  Proverbs 16:32

I’ve been spending more time in prayer on my drive home each evening.  It’s an attempt to give the stresses of the day over to God.  Jesus promises peace for those who honestly seek it.

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

No matter what you are struggling with- just give it up.  Ask for the help of Jesus and move forward with confidence.

Those that love you the most deserve it.

Please pray for me to be a better husband and dad.  And let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

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When your kid hurts

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My kid is hurting.

We’ve spent the better part of two years trying to diagnose and treat a sports injury for one of our children.  It’s been a frustrating 24 months…with one treatment followed by another in an effort to alleviate a painful, nagging condition.  We’ve driven to sports medicine clinics all across the state in an effort to find a solution.

We should count our blessings.  While it’s been frustrating, the condition is treatable.  There are many other children facing much more serious situations than what our family is experiencing.

You know the feeling.  Perhaps it wasn’t a sports injury for your child- but there are many “hurts.”  Maybe they’ve experienced disappointment or rejection from a difficult situation at school. Perhaps your adult child has lost a job or experienced stress with their family.  Regardless of the age or situation- it’s tough to see your kids struggle.

We want to protect our children- to shower them with love and take the hurt away.  This response is natural.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

Just like we long to protect our children, God cares and wants what’s best for us- His children.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 118:6

What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  Romans 8:31

While on this earth we will always long for comfort.  What a blessing that this help is unlimited and available to all.

Please pray for me to be more aware of those who need to be comforted. And let me know how I may pray for you.  God bless you.

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Skipping church…

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I skipped church this past Sunday morning.

That’s a bit unfair.  It’s more like I missed church.  I had been fighting a losing battle with a sinus infection.  My ears hurt.  My throat burned.  My head felt like it would explode with each cough.

Regardless, I missed church.  It was difficult to see Hollianne, Carson, JT and Britton leave for service without me.  Sky, our loyal dog, and I were regulated to the couch for the morning.

When you have to miss something that you normally take for granted, it hurts.  We are creatures of habit and we certainly don’t enjoy having our routines derailed for sickness or an unexpected event.

But there are other pieces in our lives that we need to skip.  Those pieces of personality or character that are damaging to ourselves or others.

Perhaps it is anger.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  James 1:19-20

Maybe we tend to struggle with pride.

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Philippians 2:3

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.  Romans 12:16

There are countless other struggles we might face.

Just because these traits are unhealthy doesn’t make them any easier to quit.  We know that we need to work on these things, but our pride and selfish nature push us to keep them at the forefront of our lives.

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  Colossians 2:3

If we are lucky- we have good friends who can help us when we need “adjustments” to our attitude.  At other times, we are self-aware enough to know when we need to change our behavior.  Regardless of how we become aware of our flaws- we need to ask Jesus for help.  We need to let go and let Jesus carry these burdens for us.  We should seek intentional, directed prayer to help us focus.  We have to ask others to pray for our shortcomings, too.

What do you need to skip in 2015?  I’ve named (a few of) my bad habits in the sections above.  Please pray for me to have strength to address these….and let me know how I can pray for you.

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.  Proverbs 4:25

And I look forward to worshiping with my family again next Sunday morning.

God bless.

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