When Your New Housemate is Rude…

We’ve got a new housemate.

It’s of the four-legged variety.  We’ve recently adopted a rescue dog.  His name is Mack.

Mack was abandoned by his prior owners.  He’s still a puppy…only 18 months old, but already over 100 pounds.  Mack is going to be a big one.

Despite being orphaned, Mack is a loving guy.  He’s loyal and playful.  He loves to be with our kids and follows Hollianne around the house and yard like a house cat.  He and I love early morning runs around town.  He’s been a great addition to our family.

Well, almost.

Mack does have a flaw.  He’s a drooler.  And by drool…I mean an epic drooler.

It’s especially bad after he eats…or after exercise.  Bless his heart.  And to relieve the annoying presence of this substance, Mack will whip his head back and forth- and sling the drool all over trees, shrubs, furniture and…yep…humans.

It’s been a tough adjustment.

We’ve almost got the perfect pet.  Good-tempered, loves people, enjoys exercise, loyal and protective.  But a drooler.  It’s tough to overlook.

Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. Ecclesiastes 7:20

Isn’t Mack like all of us?

We’ve all got imperfections to our character.  For some of us, we are well aware of these flaws- and know what we need to do for improvement.

Perhaps we have a temper.  Maybe it’s jealousy.  Still others struggle with pride or lust.  Or maybe it’s a strained relationship that we are unwilling to address…or forgive.

There are other flaws that we can’t do much about.  Perhaps it’s a physical limitation or an illness.

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  Matthew 5:48

God is perfect- and he made us “perfect” through the sacrifice of His son Jesus.  He also calls for us to strive for perfection- despite our flaws.

God calls us to work on those imperfections that we can address.  And we are also called to examine the good in others- and be willing to accept the things that we- or they- cannot change.

Even if it requires living with a little drool.

My prayer is to have the awareness and wisdom to work on my flaws this week.

And let me know how to pray for you.

God bless you.

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Adopted

I want you to meet my new friend, Ben.

Ben is a nine-year old black Labrador Retriever.  He’s had a rough year.

His owner died two weeks ago.  He’s had cancerous cysts removed from his legs, which have left some debilitating nerve damage in his hindquarters.  Ben has gained a lot of weight and has developed arthritis in his front shoulders.

So when we met last week, the dog I encountered was overweight, limping and in incredibly poor health.  And depressed.  He really missed his owner and the family farm where he grew up.

Hollianne and I agreed to foster him, as Ben had no place to go.

We were prepared to deal with the health issues,  but Ben’s depression was the saddest part.  He wouldn’t look us in the face.  Ben simply wanted to sleep or just sit by the window and look outside.

Sound familiar?

Life is hard.  We face sickness and sadness.  Unexpected blows hit us at every turn.  People disappoint us.

But there’s one constant for the believer.

For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.  Galatians 3:26

God loves us.  He sent his son, Jesus, to provide salvation for the sinner and hope to the downtrodden.

For my father and mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.  Psalm 27:10

We have hope.

Ben’s demeanor has changed quite a bit over the past week.  He loves getting exercise with the kids.  Our veterinarian has prescribed some medicine to help with his physical ailments.  But best of all, there’s a renewed sparkle in his green eyes and a constant wag in his tail.  The personality is coming back quickly.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  John 14:18

When you are weary- remember the one who has promised hope for all of us.

Please pray for us as we try to care for Ben.

And let me know how to pray for you.

God bless.

 

 

 

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Disconnected 

I’m not even thinking about the holidays.

I’m winding down one job and transitioning to another. My new role is with the same university system, but it’s a different position in a different city.  I’m traveling the state’s highways and interstate this month.

A lot.

The days are filled with meeting new people and saying goodbye to others.  Packing up one office and opening another.

It’s left me feeling…well, disconnected.

This transition has preoccupied my every thought.  My prayer life has suffered.  I’m not as engaged with my wife and kids.  I’m certainly not as focused on my daily Bible study.  I haven’t spent time with friends.

I’m not much fun to be around either.

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

I realize that I’ve fallen into a trap.  I’m so preoccupied with all these changes that I forget about the ONE that helps us navigate life’s journey.  Jesus wants our focus to be on him.  He will help us realize our purpose…establish our plans.

Life on this earth is about constant change, but there is one absolute for the believer…

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

My prayer this week to to focus more on the aspects of life that REALLY matter…my faith, my family, my friends, my neighbors.  If my focus is on Jesus- then the other pieces of life’s puzzle will come together.

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

May God bless and keep you during this busy time of year.  Please let me know how I may specifically pray for you.

God bless.

 

 

 

 

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What to Do when your Christmas is Blue…

‘Tis the season.

The holidays are a wonderful time of year for many people.  For others, it can be a difficult season.  One recent study reported that 45% of Americans dreaded the holidays.

Some believe that the end-of-year triggers a state of reflection…a time to think about the inadequacies of life or sad memories from the past.  Other studies have shown that shorter days and the absence of sunlight can contribute to the holidays blues.  Whatever the reason- we know that the holidays can be difficult for some.

Maybe its difficult for you.

What can we do to prevent the holiday blues?

Take some time off.  Take some time during the holidays to focus on yourself.  Exercise.  Read.  Spend some time in the morning in prayer or reflection.  Just 30 minutes a day of quiet time can recharge your batteries and keep you energized for the rest of the day.

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!  Psalm 46:10

Give back to a good cause.  Get out of your own troubles by helping someone else.  Volunteer at a homeless shelter.  Participate in an Angle Tree program.  Deliver meals to the elderly.  Do what you can to engage with others who are in need.  Helping others gives you a fresh perspective on life and your attitude toward the holidays.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Philippians 2:4

Reconnect with someone from the past.  Think about someone who has made a difference in your life.  Take 5 minutes and send them a hand-written note.  Call the distant relative who has been struggling with health issues.  Drop by and visit your former teacher who is now in assisted living.  Text your college roommate that you’ve not seen in five years.  Relationships are important.  The people that you contact will love the effort, and these holiday communications will benefit you as much as the recipient.

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

Always remember- this year and every year- Jesus loves you.

We often reflect on the birth of Jesus at this time of year.  I’m happy to celebrate his birth, but it’s equally (perhaps more) important to reflect on his sacrifice and death on the cross.  He gave His life up for you and me.  He allowed himself to be crucified so that we may be free from sin- and have eternal life in Heaven.  Jesus knew we would be broken…sinners.  But he loves us anyway.  No matter what we do- Jesus never leaves.  Draw near to him this holiday season.

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

Let’s pray for those who may be hurting this holiday season.

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

God bless.

 

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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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When you don’t know what to do…

Our 11 year old son, Britton, came to me with a question tonight.

While the decision wasn’t too difficult to talk though, I could tell that the question had bothered him for quite some time.

But we discussed it for a couple of minutes, talked about his options- and he made a decision on how to move ahead.  B walked away happy and content.  I, too, was happy…happy that he came to me for advice- and happier that I helped ease his mind.

Who do you go to?

We all have similar situations, don’t we?  We are faced with difficult circumstances.  We are presented with tough questions and choices.  We struggle with potential consequences.

If you’re lucky, you’ve got people to ask for guidance.  Maybe it’s a relative or close family friend.  Perhaps it’s a teacher or mentor from your profession.

I have these people in my life, yet pride often won’t let me admit that I just don’t have the answer.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.  James 1:5

I often wrestle with choices.  I struggle with trying to do the “right” thing that’s best for everyone involved.  And when I do this- I often forget that I have a loving, all-knowing God that wants to help.

Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.  2 Timothy 2:7

Understanding.  In everything.

My prayer this week is to seek God’s advice more frequently.  I want to present my mouth to God’s ear when I struggle with obstacles and challenges.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  Proverbs 3:5

And let me know how to pray for you.

God bless.

 

 

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Doubts

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I’ve got a good friend that asked for prayer last week.

He had a friend who developed a life-threatening illness.  His friend was facing death in his mid-40’s.  His friend had doubts…doubts about his mortality…doubts about his treatment.

My friend was heartbroken.  How can this be fair?  Why could this happen to someone so young?

John chapter 20 chronicles the empty tomb and the resurrection of Jesus.  It also described doubt and the need for faith.

Thomas, one of the twelve Disciples, hadn’t been around when Jesus initially appeared to a small group of followers.  As a result, Thomas publicly voiced his doubts about Jesus being raised from the dead. A week later the Disciples, including Thomas, were gathered and Jesus appeared again. This time he asked Thomas to feel the holes in His hands and the scar in His side.

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” John 20:27

We have to do that too. We have to pray for our faith to increase so we can stop doubting.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Through prayer and study, we can grow our faith and experience Jesus.  Faith brings assurance over doubt…and confidence over fear.

Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’   John 20:29

That’s faith. When we can believe in that which we cannot see.

Please pray for me to have an increase in my faith.  I want to feel, experience Jesus more.

And let me know how to pray for you.

God bless.

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