Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Same Thing

"A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out." Prov 25:28 MSG

Epiphanies can really hurt sometimes.  Self evaluation after those epiphanies makes me want to crawl in a hole and never come out.  Why?  Because when we have an epiphany, a realization, an Ah-Ha moment in life, most likely that means God is prompting us to change something in our lives.  That has been happening to me for a long time now, but one of the most painful of all realizations came to me this morning. 

First off, I am dead tired.  Soddy Daisy, Chattanooga, Jasper, Hixson, Chattanooga, Dalton, Augusta, Dalton, Soddy Daisy. I spent 18 and a half hours yesterday on a whirlwind flying/driving extravaganza.  I literally rolled into my house at 2:30 this morning only to have to get back up at 7:30.  That's when the pain started, not from any headache or hangover, nor sleepless night or cold.  No, no, it came from God, his Holy Spirit. 

I literaly had a conversation (one way mind you) with God this morning on the way to the airport, and you know what I heard:  looks like someone needs to re-wire a little bit of themselves.  I'm not talking a full on overhaul, I'm talking just a small little re-route.  I pleaded with God, arguing that this was the way he had made me.  I thought I heard a laugh but wasn't sure.  What I heard was confirmation that I really was being moved by the spirit.  Time to act.

Remember these words:  self-control and self-discipline are the same thing.  Anyone who tries to split hairs is either an English major, or someone who doesn't want to face the fact that they lack both. That's what I realized this morning:  I kind of lack a little bit of the same thing these 2 contractions represent. I'm not talking full on no self control, can't keep my brain mouth filter in check, let my thoughts always get the best of me type of self control.  I'm talking, get your but in gear, stop procrastinating and get something done for your God, family and friends kind of self control. 

Picture this.....................(and I will paint that picture over the next few posts)


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Love You Uncle Steve

"........The man went back and began to preach in the Ten Towns area about what Jesus had done for him....." Mark 5:18-20 MSG

Dear Uncle Steve,

I saw you a while back.  You were in the hospital, bed ridden and eating ice chips because you had some stomach problems.  I'm not sure the doctors ever figured out what caused you to have such problems, but they assume it was the new chemo drugs you went on. 

Chemo-therapy- what a familiar word, yet so foreign to those of us blessed enough not to have to go through it.  We don't know the pain, the suffering, or the shear will it takes to finish the day as strong as possible after completing a round with this stuff. Even now, you fight with the new stem cell treatment. You are an inspiration to your family Uncle Steve.

When we were growing up, all 10 nieces and nephews were the targets of your constant sarcasm and quick wit.  As much as we hated the "2 Steves" and what it meant to endure a family gathering under the constant barrage of comments, antics, and jeers, I wouldn't trade a single minute of that time with you, for anything in the world.  I'm not sure you know the impact you have had on my life.  If I have never told you before, I am going to tell you now.

Uncle Steve, you are an inspiration to me.  Your ability to fight this cancer, to wake up everyday and fight the good fight against this disease has brought life into perspective for me.  As I get older, time really begins to speed up and I look back with fondness on the times we spent together at many a family gathering.  I have not been the best nephew the past few years.  There are times we have gone months withouth speaking to one another, but for some reason, now, now that this nasty disease has taken hold of you, I feel compelled to reach out and say emphatically, I love you.  I love you more than ever because now I see a man who needs to know what his nephew never told him.

As I close this letter Uncle Steve, I want you to know the 2 things I pray most for you:  that this disease will leave you like the demon possessed man in the Bible verse above and that you will be able to go out and tell everyone about the miracle of how your disease was healed, but most of all, I pray that you have come into a relationship with Christ.  I pray for you Uncle Steve because I love you.  I love you now more than ever, and I hope I am not too late in telling you this. 

This family does not need to miss you yet so please fight hard everyday.  If you agree to fight hard, I will agree to pray everyday until the doctors tell us about the miracle you are.

With Love,


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Be Wary Who You Listen To

"Judges sell verdicts to the highest bidder, priests mass-market their teaching, prophets teach for high fees, all the while posturing and pretending dependence on God: "We've got God on our side. He'll protect us from disaster."  Micah 3:11 MSG

In my life, there have been many people I once considered close who I now consider far away because of the things I let them try and put into my head.  Some were friends, others were family, but all taught me one invaluable lesson in life: be careful who I let influence my heart and mind, especially when it comes to my walk with Christ. 

I can remember one person who constantly tried to justify to me that chasing after the finer things in life was great when we made sure we used it for the work of God.  And he was right, but what didn't line up with my conscience (a.k.a. the Holy Spirit), was that this person's chasing after God was not really used for the good of the kingdom.  It was used for self benefit, self promotion, and was really just a way to justify the love of money, versus love of God's people.

We have to be careful who we trust and listen to.  Know and study them and carefully look at their motives:  who is out for money and fame, or who is truly out to serve God?  Do they tell you how to conduct your life, or do they merely give you advice based on Biblical truth?

Those who cared most about what God was doing in my life never tried to tell me what I need to do in life and then start pounding me over the head with Bible verses.  What they did do for me was ask that I go seek and search for the answers myself.

Is it time to solely stop listening to others and begin finding the answer God intended for us to find.  Begin to read and allow God into your life.  Be authentic, and He will reveal the world to you.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Frog in Boiling Water

"Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds, walk away from their only true love." Jonah 2:8 MSG

I really hope God will not be mad at me over this post, but here goes.  For the past few weeks I have kind of been experimenting with what it's like to follow hard after God and then what its like to be lukewarm, you know just enough to get by.  Here is the one truth I realized as I got out of the shower this morning (I do a lot of thinking in the shower and while running):  my life starts to break down without that constant in my life.  I start to become grumpy, irritable, and mostly almost depressed.  I lose focus easily and I begin to channel my energies to the negative instead of the positive things in my life. It is the weirdest thing I have ever experienced.

Fall away from God for a while and I bet you will begin to see the same things in your life.  What's funny though is that this process does not happen over night.  It is a slow fade.  There is a song out there somewhere about the slow fade when you give your heart away.  When we give our heart away to other things in life- money, kids, work, busy-ness, sports, TV, internet, etc- we start to slowly fade away from the one true love we have in life- God and Jesus Christ. It's like the frog in boiling water-  put him in before the water starts boiling and he wont feel the hot water until its too late........

I have also learned over the past few weeks that there will be seasons like this in life.  Its not avoiding these seasons, but recognizing them and working hard to maintain the relationship with God.  Don't try and be perfect either, it will drive you absolutely crazy. Beleive me, I've tried it.  What I have been working on is picking myself up the next day when I fail to connect and start anew.  God doesn't want perfection, he wants authenticity with us. 

Time to focus and commit.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Use or Lose

"Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them." (Mark 4:25 NIV) As Christ followers, we need to understand be very important thing: the gifts and talents God has so generously blessed us with, are not ours to keep. They are ours to share and bless others with. I believe there is a deeper meaning here in this verse from Mark than what we normally read. Its time to share........ It's been a hard road over the past few years for me personally. I'm not talking problems and financial woes and the bad economy, although that has been a catalyst for the change. The road I am referring to has been one of finding out who I am as a Christ follower and what it means to really understand Gods word and spirit. This verse right here mindof sums up the road I am going down.....it's a road paved with dissapointment in myself, not in God......it's a road with a guardrail called the Holy Spirit who has been there to help nudge me in the right direction instead of letting me go off the cliff.....its been a road with lines that are sometimes blurred and not well defined where I run into oncoming traffic only to finally jerk the wheel back and get in the right lane.......there have been potholes on this road, but those potholes were the bad decisions I made by not listening to God and doing my own thing.......but most importantly, this road has been driven on in a car that constantly needs work, almost like my first car. I loved my first car nd put a lot of time and work into it. That's how I need to treat myself: I need to work hard on the Jeremiah Roadster so that no matter what life's road brings, the Roadster will be ready and equipped. So what does all this mean: don't keep what God has given you to yourself: God will take away all he has given you if you decide to be selfish with it. Is it time for you to use your talents for someone or something other than you? Freak