Wednesday, July 26, 2017

First Fish

My "blue zone of happiness" keeps expanding.  After five years hearing everybody's fish story, I finally gave it a try at a pond just three miles from our home.  My mentor, Avery, a grandchild of some close friends who built the pond, showed me her techniques and they paid off.  The first bite was too big for my line and it snapped.  I caught four blue gills in a row while sipping an imported wine from Spain.  My wife captured this shot before I released my first fish.  Thank you, Avery, for the lesson.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Why Judging is Best Left to the Judges

One of the biggest benefits of my day job is the time off I'm granted to attend weekly church services.  I'm often asked by others, "did you get a good message today?"  My pastor is an ex-school teacher and he has a special way of making his talks easy to understand.  Here's a summary from his last talk:
  1. Evil exists.
  2. Don't judge others.
  3. There will be a judgment day.
The "other side" is really good at distorting, confusing and manipulating.  They try to convince people Hell doesn't exist, hence, there's nothing to worry about – like judgment day.  Clever marketing, I must say.  Sorry, I'm not buying.

For me, the highlight from Sunday's service is the point about judging others.  My pastor said only God can properly judge because he has all the facts.  We don't.  I'm going to do my best from now on to leaving the judging to the judges.  Have a great day.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Your Talents are Like Seeds

Talent – Natural aptitude or skill

You don't have to worry about your talent – you were born with it.  There's no need to acquire it because you already possess it.  It starts out in raw seed form.  Not all seeds sprout at the same time and that's okay.  What's not okay is refusing to nurture your seed.  You are responsible for the watering, the weed abatement and the pruning.  Keep in mind why you were given this talent.  It's really not for your benefit, although it will bring you much personal satisfaction when you develop it.  Your talent is meant to help others. 

In case you think your talent is insignificant, ask yourself what happens when your TV loses a pixel on the screen.  Yep.  One missing pixel devalues the whole picture.  What good is 4K technology when there's a line thru the screen?  Water your seed.  Take care of your pixel.  Don't worry where you are or what the others are doing.  Your role is important.  Let your talent shine.  Have a great day.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

God Speed

Godspeed, when used in a sentence, is an expression of goodwill for someone beginning a journey.  Today's message is about splitting Godspeed into two separate words:  God speed.  This alters the meaning.  I must admit to you I often rebelled against God speed in my younger days every time the speed limit dropped because I didn't really know it's the best way to make every endeavor in life turn out according to God's will.  You see, not only does God have a plan for your life, He's also designed a complex time line for your plan.  Often times, there are periods where nothing appears to be happening.  I have a lot of trouble with the 15 mph traffic zones but there are important lessons and sometimes God needs us to slow down.  Other times, everything appears to be moving at the speed of light.

Jesus tells us in Isaiah 55:8, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.  If you truly want to understand God's speed, read the Bible.  Take it slow.  There are hidden gems in every chapter but if you go too fast, you may miss these treasures buried between the lines.  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God's plans and God's timing for your life.  I wish you Godspeed today and God speed.  Have a great day.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Mother Nature Gives Respite

The heat index in my part of the world hit 110º yesterday while I was driving home.  The wall of black clouds near my destination looked ominous and threatened my plans for a barbecue with my wife.  My wife urged me to be careful driving since there was yet another tornado watch in my community.  What happened next was like watching the parting of the red sea.  I caught up to the tail end of the storm at my exit on I-80 and noticed a sudden temperature drop of over twenty degrees.  The outside temperature gauge showed 79º which couldn't be any more perfect for barbecuing wild salmon. 

Mother Nature has been so fickle lately.  My best friend in Arizona notified me about a family who was wiped out by a flash flood that struck our favorite watering hole in the mountains.  He told me a ten foot wall of water instantly killed all ten people who were trying to cool off.  He was hiking in the area just 48 hours before the tragedy and warned visitors heading to the watering hole about the dark clouds in the distance.  "A flash flood can come out of nowhere," he said prophetically.  The hikers seemed unconcerned.  Please take a moment today and pray for this family and all others who may be struggling with adverse weather conditions.  My wife and I are thankful for Mother's Nature's respite and her timing couldn't have been any better.  During my prayer of Thanksgiving, I included my gratitude for all the new friends I made during my time away.  God is good.  Have a great day.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Moving Mountains

My youngest brother gets all the credit for his ability to move mountains.  He's been doing it all his life.  He's the guy gracing the front cover of all the magazine shoots for the world's largest producer of heavy duty construction equipment.  He's really good at what he does.  There's another kind of mountain we have in our lives that Jesus talks about.  These spiritual mountains won't budge no matter how big the tractors are.  I know the secret. The nonbeliever will never find it.  The believer must be willing to give up everything in order to discover it. Are you ready?

Let go of everything taking up space in your heart that was meant for Jesus, open the door and let him in.  Expect his remodeling and his renovations to be painful, even humiliating at times. Your friends may think you've lost your marbles. The truth is you may lose everything including your marbles. Whatever you do,  make sure Jesus remains in your heart.   And when others see you moving mountains,  don't ever take the credit.  Acknowledge the one who is doing all the work.  Have a great day.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Remember This When You Get Knocked Down

Jesus fell three times. The Son of the Most High God fell three times. I believe he wanted to be an example for all of us.  Someone close to me took a couple of spills recently and broke a couple of bones. I felt powerless.  Falling down stinks. What's important to remember is what Jesus did every time he fell.  He got back up. He knew what was ahead on his journey and he got back up to face it. The last time he needed help.  Isn't that true in most of our trials?

If you're facing a crisis today and you feel like you can't get up,  ask for help.  Reach out to Jesus. He hears every prayer. He may not give you what you want or expect, but he will give you what you need.  Have a great day.