Monday, January 18, 2016

I Pee Peed In The Potty

Last week at the conclusion of our Sunday service at church, I was standing around like we do, talking with friends when one of my favorite kids came up to give me a hug.  I then heard her tell her parents her little brother pee peed in the potty all by himself in his class.

After hearing this news, I leaned down to this little three year old and asked him if he had indeed pee peed in the potty all by himself.  His smile was from ear to ear as he loudly exclaimed, "Yes!  I pee peed in the potty all by myself!"  Of course others heard him state this, and it became a big celebration for him, and he excitedly told anyone and everyone he saw of his grand accomplishment.

Time passed, and I gathered my things to leave for lunch, when I saw this little tyke running up to total strangers and with the enthusiasm only a child can bring, sharing his big news.  I had to smile as I watched the reactions on both his face and those of the total strangers.  Then it dawned on me, I had seen this reaction before.

I had to chuckle, because this enthusiasm of a three year old who had just pee peed in the potty was the same enthusiasm I had seen in men I've been around when they did something they felt deserved recognition too.  I believe this is something hardwired into the male species; the need for recognition of a job well done.  We, as men have this need to be recognized for what we do.  

Unfortunately men tend to draw their value as a person from what they do, and if they don't get the recognition they feel they deserve, then they can spend their entire lives trying to find it in other places.  Trying to prove to themselves and others they are worth something.  Looking for this self-worth in the wrong place.

All of my worth comes from Jesus, and what He has done for me.  It's who I am in Christ which is the most important thing, not just the accomplishments and achievements I've managed.  Really, you can line up all of my accomplishments and achievements, and they would be worthless next to the reality of who I am in Christ.  I'm not saying we shouldn't take pride in our work, or the things we do.  What I'm saying is they shouldn't be our primary focus.

Finding out who you are, what you have and what you can do in Christ should be our priority.  Because once we figure all of this out, then we'll truly be fulfilled, and will have something we can tell everyone about!

For the Kingdom and the King!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

To Those Who Are Forgiven Most

I was doing my usual Bible reading this morning and came across the story about when Jesus was invited to eat at a religious leader's home. A woman who was a sinner came in to the house with an alabaster box of ointment, and the Bible says with many tears and using her hair she washed the feet of Jesus and anointed his feet with the contents of the box. The story goes on to say the religious leader said within himself, "If Jesus knew what manner of woman this was, he would not allow this."

Jesus then tells the man a story about two people who owed debts; one large and the other small. Both debtors were forgiven of what they owed, and Jesus asked which one would be the most grateful. The man replied, "I guess the one to whom the largest debt was owed." Jesus congratulated him on the correct answer, then turning to the woman said to her, "Daughter, your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you."

I found something interesting in this story; the woman, when she heard about Jesus being at this man's house for dinner showed up to anoint the feet of Jesus.  Now I don't know about you, but if I'm throwing a dinner party and a stranger shows up, I'm probably not going to let them come in and accost my guests. This makes me wonder, how did the religious leader know she was a sinner, and why then if he knew this did he allow her to come in?

The skeptic in me thinks maybe he knew she was a sinner, because he had been one of the men who was visiting her?  After all, Jesus said there were two debtors in his story. Perhaps the woman was not the one with the greatest sin in the story he was telling? Maybe he was talking about this religious leader? Just a thought.

What this story made me think of, is all of those people out there who are living without Jesus in their lives, and how I treat them. Am I like this religious leader who, knowing people who are in sin, and just stand back looking down piously on them thinking to myself doesn't Jesus know what they do? Do I help them find the truth about who Jesus is, and what he can do for them? Or do I remain silent?

This passage of Scripture has kind of opened a can of worms for me I think. It definitely given me something to think about. I want to be more like Jesus and less like the religious leader in this story, I mean I know I've been forgiven for much, so I need to go and let others know too.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Truth or Fact

What do you do when the Bible says one thing, but the things you are seeing in your life say another?  One is the truth and the other is facts.  Is there a difference between fact and truth?  Absolutely there is.  Facts are what you r senses tell you, what you see, feel, hear, taste and can touch.  While truth is what you know, but cannot explain why it works.
What makes this difficult at times is we live in a world which is dominated by sin and still under the control of the devil; the enemy of all truth.  One of the things which he and his cohorts do is manipulate situations around us to get our view off of the truth and onto facts.
Going to school for so many years, we learned two times ten equals twenty, this is a fact of multiplication. Then we learn in church the truth about giving; how if we give away, we will get more in return.  It doesn’t make sense does it?  If I give the church ten percent of my income, this seems like subtraction, but in God’s Kingdom it is actually multiplication.
The enemy will then use facts on our brains to try and tell us what is real.  I understand facts are real too; when I look at my bank account and see the numbers dwindling, I realize this is a fact and there is no denying it.  But then I see the truth of what the Bible says about how it is God who makes my needs a reality when I give, and I realize regardless of what facts my bank account may be screaming at me, the truth is God has my back and is taking care of my needs.
And on a side note, I have a job, work hard at it and am watching what I’m spending too.  I’m not just out there living it up and blowing all my money.  I’m being a good steward of what God has given me.  I don’t believe for a minute we should go out, buy everything we see and then expect God to swoop in and save the day.  End of rant.
There is a story in the Bible which illustrates my point I think.  You’ve probably read it before; it’s the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  These three Hebrew young men were taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and ended up serving as some of his advisors.  It came into the heart of the king to make a giant golden statue, and to hold a big celebration.  All the leaders of his lands were ordered to attend, and when they arrived they were instructed to bow down to the statue as they heard the music playing.  Anyone caught not bowing would be thrown into a fiery furnace to their death.
The time came, all were gathered together and the music sounded.  Everyone bowed down, except the three Hebrew men.  They had decided they could not bow down to an idol if they were truly followers of Jehovah.  Of course they were brought before the king, and given one more chance to bow; which they refused to do.  This made the king so furious he instructed that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than ever before.
What I really love about these three guys is what they told the king.  They said, “The God whom we serve is able to save us from your burning, fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand O king.  But even if He doesn’t, know this, we will not serve your gods or worship your golden statue.”  Talk about courage in the face of death.  Awesome!
Well the king instructed the army to tie them up and throw them in the fiery furnace, which was so hot the men who threw them in died instantly.  The story goes on to say when the king looked in he saw four men walking around in the fire.  He called them out, and when they were examined they were not burned, nor did they even smell like smoke.
When they were standing there waiting to be thrown in the fire, the fact was they were going to die, it was staring them in the face.  The truth however was what they chose to believe in the moments before being thrown into the fire.  This story was given to us as an example of how we are supposed to live our lives.  What is truly amazing about this, is these three men didn’t have the Bible we have today, nor were they born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit.  How much more should we be living like this then if we are born again and have the Holy Spirit?  Just a thought there you know.
Well I’ve encouraged myself this morning to rethink my place in God’s Kingdom, and how I’m doing things in my own life, how about you?  The next time I’ve got facts staring me in the face, I’ll accept them for what they are; facts, but then I’ll put my trust in the truth of God’s Word instead.  For the Kingdom and the King!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Home Alone

In the movie Home Alone, the young boy Kevin is accidentally left home alone by his family as they travel to France for Christmas. While I am neither a boy, nor have I been left behind by my family, this year does mark my first as a father with no children living at home on Father's Day. And you know what? I'm okay with this. 

Don't misunderstand me, I love my kids very, very much. It's just as a dad, one of the many jobs I have is to prepare them to find out what God wants them to do in the Kingdom, then go out and become productive members of society and leave the nest. It's a bitter sweet job too, because in order for them to do this, they have to leave and go out into the world.

I say bitter sweet, because in order for them to reach their potential they have to go out where I can no longer protect and watch out for them. As their dad it has been my job to make sure they were loved, had what they needed and showed them how to follow God. But now it is my job to pray for them and guide them with insight when they ask for it. 

My children are adults now; they are married and have started their own lives with their spouses. It's a great time in my life as I watch them make their way in the world. My prayer life has amped up too, because I don't want them making the same mistakes I made when I was starting out. 

One of the things I've noticed the most, is how quiet my house is now. My wife and I live here, but the noises we've grown accustomed too over the past twenty some years are gone. I remember thinking once how nice it would be when the kids were gone, because I wouldn't have to listen to the fighting or pestering one another. I've heard either Micah or April yell the name Noah when he'd did something to them so many times I wanted to scream (and did so on more than one occasion). And now I'd give anything to put up with this again.

In the book of Ecclesiastes it says for everything there is a season, and I'm just in another season of life; one I was unprepared for. As I mowed the yard yesterday I couldn't help but think about my youngest son Noah, and how he loved to mow. I also thought how he would still be living at home had he not killed himself 5 years ago. Yet one more thing I was unprepared for, but forced to deal with.

And this is it I think for dads, our children come into our lives fully dependent upon us for everything, then as they grow and mature they need us less and less. And if we're not careful we can lose touch with them because we feel as if they don't need us any more.When truthfully this may be the time they need us the most. Just because they've become adults doesn't mean they know everything now. There are still going to be things they need to learn, and can only learn from us because we've been there.

So while I may be home alone on this Father's Day it doesn't mean I am alone. Not at all, I've got the greatest kids out there, and they are impacting the world for God's Kingdom daily. They are doing the things I've trained them to do, and I'll be here for a long time to help them learn the things they still need to learn too. 

I'm a blessed man, because I had the opportunity to raise Micah, April and Noah. And they still make me very proud and I love them SO much!!! For the Kingdom and the King!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Strange Days For This Knight

I am half a century old, well actually a few years older to be exact. And in that time, I've experienced my share of of joy and sadness, successes and failures, and made more than a few friends and enemies. Thankfully way more friends than enemies; enemies may be a bit harsh, probably more likely people who just don't like being around me. And I've done it all from my home state of Oklahoma.

I've been a follower of Jesus for more than half of my life time. I wish I could say all of my life, but I came to the Lord later in years. One of the things I'm most proud of is my children have known and walked with Jesus all of their lives, and they did not have to experience or go through some of the stupid things I did. They've had challenges of their own, but not to the degree I had at their age. 

In all this time following Jesus, I've never once questioned Him in regards as to whether or not He knew what He was doing, even in the darkest hour of my life when I lost my youngest son to suicide. But for the past several months I must admit I've been in a bit of a funk when it comes to the things of God. This is not to say I don't believe in Him any more, I do, and this will never change, it's just I find myself in a very strange place these days.

My wife described it once as wanting the Lord not to leave her, but also not get too close either. You know, just stay at arm's length.This is what I've been feeling too, and  it's a weird place, on the one hand I want my Father to pull me into a loving embrace, let me know I am safe and all will be well in my world, but then at the same time I want to flail my arms and scream and run away. 

It's such a weird sensation too, one I've never experienced before. I'm usually the guy with all the answers, but lately my mind has been a cloud of confusion. And before you say it, I know where confusion comes from, I just don't seem to have the easy answer of how to get out of it this time. It's easy to have the answers for other people when you're on the outside looking in, but when it's your head in a fog, then it becomes a different story. Oh, I know the answers are still the same, but it seems to be more difficult to actually put them into play for yourself. Wow, that sounds hypocritical doesn't it? 

And to top it off, it's not as if I've got a bad or rough life either. I've got it good. I've got a family who loves me, a good job, and friends; really good friends. I just don't know what's going on here. Maybe the answer is I've taken on the care of this world more than I should. Jesus said in the Matthew 6:19-34 for us not to worry about the things we need. He talked about lilies and birds and how much more God cares about us than them. Maybe this is where I've been, too concerned with the needs of the day, and less about the Kingdom of God. After all verse 33 says to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness above all else, and He will give us everything we have need of.

Maybe herein lies the answer. Perhaps I've been looking more at what's going on around me, and less focusing on the Kingdom of God and living in the righteousness Jesus purchased for me. If this is the case, then when something shows up and tries to take my focus off of the Kingdom of God, what should I do? Put the focus of whatever this distraction is back onto the promises found in the Bible. For instance, if my bank account is saying I've got no money, the truth is because I'm a tither, God will supply all of my needs, wants, desires and dreams according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus. And if my body doesn't feel like it should, the promise is by the stripes Jesus took on His back, I am healed, and so on.

I still feel as if my head is in a fog this morning, but I do believe I may be on the right track as to getting it out and continuing this walk in the victory Jesus won for me through His death, burial and resurrection. Sometimes all it takes is for me to write what I'm feeling in order to get a little direction in my life. Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King! 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Healing Is The Children's Bread

I've got something to say today, which could possibly be misinterpreted, or at the very least misunderstood, and because of this I want to apologize in advance if this happens as you read my post. I feel very strongly today about talking about this subject but as always my desire is to encourage, strengthen and help others walk closer to Jesus. Rather than get upset with me, I would relish the opportunity to sit down and discuss this further with you in person, perhaps over coffee.

There are only two subjects I've ever discussed which have lead to heated debate; speaking in tongues and healing. Today I want to talk about healing. It seems if you watch any television lately, about every other commercial is for some type of new drug which is going to fix everyone. Of course the myriad of side effects a person has to deal with in order to achieve the healing is amazing, if not comical at times. Case in point, one of the erectile dysfunction drugs could cause blindness; all my life growing up, people said young boys could go blind if they played with it, now it seems it is true.

And what about Now you can go online and search for what symptoms you are having and self diagnose. And let's not forget the drug stores shall we? Have you noticed one going up on every corner in your home town? Within a mile in my town we have two of them, pharmaceuticals are big business nowadays. I met a young man who was in medical school once, I asked him why he chose it and he replied, "So I can make a butt load of money!" You may have heard it said, if you want to find the source of something, "follow the money". Well there is money in the health industry, at least until the government controls it.

I'm reminded of something Jesus told His disciples when He sent them out into the world, "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give." In Jesus Kingdom, healing doesn't cost you anything, it is truly free healthcare. If He has given us the ability to be healed for free, then why do we persist in running to doctors? Am I saying I'm opposed to doctors and medicine? Absolutely not! I'm thankful for doctors, and the medicine which helps people to get better. My question is why do we run to doctors and medicine before running to Jesus?

Now this is what I'm really wanting to say, it may make you mad, but if it does, ask yourself why? As I said, I'm not opposed to doctors, but why do so many Christians encourage other Christians to seek medical help first and help them build their faith second? If Jesus promised us healing through His death, burial and resurrection, then why are we so quick to send people to the doctor? Let's look at a passage of Scripture for a minute about a lady Jesus referred to as a dog to see something.

Matthew 15:21-28; Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to Him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly." Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to Him and urged Him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." The woman came and knelt before him."Lord, help me!" she said. He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to the dogs." "Yes it is, Lord," she said. "Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table." Then Jesus said to her, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed at that moment.

The first time I read this I was appalled at what Jesus said to the woman; after all He called her a dog. But upon further inspection and reflection of this passage, I see He was really trying to figure out where she was spiritually. She didn't get offended at being called a dog, she immediately continues His analogy to make her case. And in return, He says she has great faith, which caused her daughter to be healed. Obviously greater faith than His disciples, because they just whined to Jesus asking Him to get rid of her. 

What I'm going to say next has gotten me into trouble in the past, because I was misunderstood as to what I meant. In Scripture, if you will look closely to the Gospels, you will find Jesus saying numerous times, "Your faith has made you whole." or something similar to this. Jesus has provided the healing, but it is our faith which acquires it for us. Jesus has already provided the answer to any sickness, disease or demonic problem, it is up to us to receive it, by faith.

Healing can be acquired for every sickness or disease through faith in Jesus Christ. Sometimes I think people have a hard time with this because it is so easy. It's like Nahum who was told to go dip in the Jordan River seven times to be healed of his leprosy. He got mad because the prophet didn't come out and tell him what to do himself, and the instructions, though simple, sounded stupid to Nahum. It took his servants convincing him to go do what he was told. And the outcome was new skin for the diseased skin. 

It can be like this for us as well, we feel some type of problem coming on, but instead of trusting God at His word, and using it to build our faith, we just run to a doctor, pay money (even a small co-pay) and wait for the medicine to do it's job. Jesus provided the answer for every sickness we would ever encounter; our faith. But here is the kicker, we have to believe His Word over the word of this world. And like I said earlier, every other commercial is for some type of medicine, we are being bombarded with the world's answer to sickness; a pill.

What I am not saying here, is that if you are sick you have little or no faith in God, not at all. I remember once when I was working in my dad's shoe store, this man came in and wanted to sell me cancer insurance. First off, I was irritated this guy had come into our business where we sold shoes to people and was trying to sell me something instead. Never a good idea, but as graciously as I could I told him no thanks. Being a hard sell salesman, he asked my why I wouldn't buy it. My response was I am a Christian, and I don't plan on getting cancer.

His face contorted, and it was obvious I had made him mad, which was never my intent, I was just stating the facts as I believed them. He said, "My mom was the greatest Christian there ever was, and she died from cancer!" To which I responded, "I'm sorry, that's a shame, but she didn't have too." Okay in hindsight, maybe my last comment was a bit brutal, I was a new Christian and lacking a little bit in tact, well he turned around and stormed out. I really wasn't trying to upset the man, I just felt sad she had died of something which Jesus had delivered her from.

I think we should all spend time in God's Word and find out what it says about healing, faith and what we need to do in order to obtain what is already ours as Christians. Whose report will you believe; the world's or God's? Jesus says it time and time again, "YOUR FAITH" has made you whole. And faith is the things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) Seems the answer has been here all along, maybe we just need to focus more on what the Word of God says and less on what the world is screaming.

For the Kingdom and the King!!!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Changing the World One Peanut Butter Burrito At a Time

I'm all about changing the world, and I've heard it said the way to do this is one person at a time. Well I inadvertently may have been doing this without even knowing it through a peanut butter snack. Several years ago I was hungry and decided to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but when I went to the cupboard, I realized I had no bread. Now there is nothing worse than having decided on a treat to only find out you can't have it. 

As I was putting the jelly back into the fridge with a frown on my face, I noticed a package of flour tortillas and thought, why not? Smearing the jelly and peanut butter on the tortilla and then rolling it like a burrito, I went to the living room and enjoyed my snack. What I discovered is I actually like peanut butter and jelly on a flour tortilla over bread way better. 

Move forward a few years. While at work one day I was in my office having one of my peanut butter burritos when one of my coworkers sat down to talk to me. He saw what I was eating and asked what it was. When I told him, he said, "Gross!" To which I replied, "Have you ever tried one?" Since he hadn't and I had an extra one, I gave it to him. He fell in love immediately.

I work with a lot of Mexican men, and when they heard what I was eating said it was disgusting sounding. I asked them as well if they'd ever had one, but they all said no. Well this week, one of the guys said it sounded disgusting again, so I told him I was going to bring him one. I gave it to him, but didn't see him again until the next day, when he stopped me and told me he really liked it. He told me when he told his wife about it, she also said it sounded disgusting but she made him some fresh tortillas so he could have another one. He asked his seven year old daughter if she wanted one, and she fell in love with them too.

When my boss heard about them, he too said it sounded disgusting, but when I handed it to him this morning and he ate it, he was singing a different tune. He had told his wife last night and she also said it sounded gross, but something tells me he may be having them in his home from now on too. 

It seems I've impacted three families and done so all through something I found out about through desperation, but have added to my snacking delight. If you think it sounds disgusting too, before you just dismiss it, try one and see if you don't agree how great these are. Only don't use a corn tortilla, that would be disgusting. Won't you help me change the world? Try one, then pass it on. For the Kingdom and the King!