This weekend my sweet friend lost her brother in a tragic car accident. I was out of town when I heard the news. On my 3 and a half hour road trip back home, I had a lot of time to think, and one thing that kept coming to mind is how investing in friendships is not always glamorous. When we choose to invest in people’s lives, we make a commitment to take the good and the sad. If I get real with myself, I’m not so good at taking the sad, but I think God uses these situations to build and form even stronger relationships for His glory. Praying that we…that I…will be intentional about forming lasting and authentic relationships.
Love is… February 18, 2009
What is love? It’s so hard to tell now a days what love really is. The world’s view of love is all too often distorted from the Love that God commands us to have. We use the word “love” so loosely (oh, I just love so and so’s new “you fill it in”) that it’s lost its meaning. I’m all too guilty of it myself. Love is not merely a word. It’s an ACTION word. I like that song that says, “Love is not a fight, but it’s something worth fighting for…” Too many of us go around saying that we love God, but it’s not displayed in our actions toward others. The following verses (I’m paraphrasing) say that we cannot love God (haven’t seen), if we hate our brother (have seen). There’s no way. We cannot do one without the other. God says that it’s impossible. It’s easy to love someone we like, but do we love the hard to love (the school bully, the irritating co-worker, the homeless man on the street corner, the abusive spouse, etc.) ? Lets ask God to help us love the tough to love. Take action… Go out of your way to show love to someone that you find hard to love!
1 John 4: 16-21
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Contemplation # 7 January 29, 2009
I’m sitting at my desk as usual when I hear, “Ah ha, I found what I’m looking for.” Wondering what all the commotion was about I looked to see my coworker holding a pink eraser in her hand like she had just won a gold medal. That got me to thinking… Do children even still know what an eraser is? With our world being so technologically advanced I can’t help but think how primitive an eraser seems. I looked up at my coworker and grinned, all the while thinking, “Man I haven’t used one of those in forever.” Then I realized just how small the world is becoming. It used to be that if we ever needed to contact someone we would phone them or write them a letter, which may take a week or more to get there, but with new technology like the iPhone, Macs, digital cameras, email, facebook, blogs, etc. we can send and receive data in a matter of seconds from pretty much anywhere in the world. It’s pretty amazing if you think about it, but it’s also pretty scary at times to think that our personal information is out there for the whole world to see. Now a days everything is stored on the computer in some form or fashion, and even though we may say delete it’s not as simple as using an eraser and poof the words magically disappear. I’m sure there’s ways of retrieving that deleted data if the right person gets a hold of it.
Where is this leading… With all this technology that allows us to interact with the world, what is the message that we are sending to others? Billy and I have been watching this show called True Beauty, and it’s about all these people that are competing to become the Most Beautiful Person. What they don’t know is that they are being watched on hidden cameras by the judges to not only rate them on their outer beauty, but also their inner beauty. Once a contestant gets voted out they find out what the show is all about. That really made me change my perspective. Any random person passing by can capture your actions with one simple click on their phone, and in that instant your face is out there for the whole world to see. Are your actions being captured in a way that bring glory and honor to God, or do you need to take a long hard look in the mirror? I think we all need a refresher once in a while.
Really? = Contemplation # 5 January 14, 2009
It’s sweeping the nation. It’s that time again when the worst/best singers, drama queens, psychos, etc. crawl from the woodwork. Yup, you guessed it. It’s American Idol season 8. As I watch all the different people stand in front of the judges to show off their “talent” I can’t help but wonder why a lot of these people’s friends and family haven’t let them in on the secret… that they can’t sing! I’m like, do they listen back to themselves to hear what they actually sound like?! I love the show, but sometimes it just makes me go, “Really?” I mean I don’t think I’m the best or worst singer in the world, but I can count on my friends and family to be truthful with me about whether I sound terrible and am making a fool of myself. I think that’s what someone who loves you would do, but apparently someone didn’t get the memo. It’s just funny the lengths people go to have their shot at stardom.
On the flip side, AI has given a select few their break into the music biz. People who would’ve probably never been discovered had it not been for AI have recorded hit songs and records. AI really is a showcase of all sorts of different talents, good and bad, and it has made it possible for someone as plain as me to have a shot as being a star.
You may not be destined to be the next American Idol, but whatever your talents are use them to the best of your ability. God has given each one of us a set of talents and gifts that are unique to our makeup. Don’t try to force yourself to be someone that you’re not designed to be. You know what you’re good at and have a passion for, and if not then have someone that you can count on to tell you the truth help you list your strengths and weaknesses.
Contemplation # 4 January 12, 2009
The other day Billy and I were watching these youtube videos of people who claim to be “faith healers”, and as a Christian I was appalled by how many people believed in this stuff. I don’t know your view on the issue, but I’m somewhere in the middle on the issue if not a little toward the other side. Don’t get me wrong I believe miracles happen, and Jesus and His followers performed miracles, but I think the main reason Jesus performed miracles can be seen in Mark 2. In the beginning of this chapter some men bring a paralyzed man to Jesus, and He tells the man that his sins are forgiven because of their faith. The Pharisees saw this and asked themselves how he had the right to forgive sins because only God in heaven could do that. Jesus knew that’s what they were thinking so He told the man to get up, take your mat, and go on your way home. This was to show that the Son of Man had the power to forgive sins here on earth.
I think people today are looking for a quick fix, and that’s why these self-proclaimed “faith healers” are so appealing. My thoughts are this, if we have placed our trust and faith in God, then don’t we have the ability to heal just as much as these people who get up on stage and yell a few “BAM, BAMS” as the person falls immediately to the ground. In Matthew 17 Jesus tells his Disciples that if they have faith as small as a mustard seed, then they can say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move. So why do so many people believe these “faith healers” are the only ones with a direct line to God. I’m just a little skeptical of the true motives of these types of people.
So whether these “faith healers” are real or false only God and they know, but I urge you to do your own research, and don’t just rely on my opinion. I just think that the main reason Jesus performed miracles in his time was to show others who He truly was, but I think today a lot of these people who claim to have healing powers and claim to be prophets and prophetesses are putting on a show and do it for their own glory. I mean just listen to some of the things they say and watch their actions. Did Jesus and His followers go around shaking their heads like a tazmanian devil and yelling nonsense and use words like “BAM” be healed?! I don’t see much support for it in the Bible. That’s more characteristic of demonic possession.
Whatever your opinion is on the issue, I hope you choose to place your faith in the One true God and not some person who claims to have the one stop cure it all shop or anyone else or anything for that matter.
My Office Party = Contemplation # 3 December 8, 2008
This weekend was my work’s Christmas party. This is my second Christmas with True Line, but if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about the boss and his family is that they are very generous. Our party was at the Mayflower, a seafood restaurant, and we could order anything off the menu that we wanted. Not only was the meal paid for, every child got a Christmas present (toys or gift certificates) and every adult got a little something (women got the bags shown above and men got Swiss army knives). This is just one incident of why I am thankful for the job that God has provided for me. Billy and I have been blessed. I may not be doing what I went to college for or what I desire to do, but I’m trying to see the significance in why I have been placed here. Maybe it’s to show my synical co-workers that marriage is not a big flop, that there’s more to life than just work, or that living your life for God does not mean boredom and irrelevance. My desire is to please God and show Him to others, and I think He’s allowing me to do that where I am now. That doesn’t mean I don’t dream of doing other things. I like Louie’s analogy: ‘every life is like a boat with a sail and our job in life is only to hold up the sail… not be the wind. He said that Jesus taught us that the wind blows where it wants and that we don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. He said that there is nothing worse than doing life or ministry by rowing. The problem with rowing is that we might be going at it hard and fast at 66 degrees North, but the wind is blowing 19 degrees South and that is how most of us live and so it shouldn’t be surprising that we are tired… and lost.’ So if the wind pushes we will go, but if it’s still we will be too.
Contemplation #2 November 25, 2008
So Sunday night Billy and I watched the AMA’s. We love watching these types of award shows so that we can see the latest in audio and visual technology, plus we get to make fun of all the crazy looking outfits and singers. It really is disappointing that nowadays a person doesn’t have to be all that talented to have a hit record. The AMA’s had all sorts of out of tune, just out right terrible, performances by big name artists. The crowd screamed and cheered and some even gave standing ovations. I was speechless, and not in a good way! That same night we went to see Shaun Groves perform at Bluefield College. It was a great performance by a talented artist and singer. It was an intimate setting with no big light shows or fire shooting out from the stage. Just a down to earth guy who loves to share his love of music and his God. He’s the kind of artist that good music is made of. I just don’t get it. I mean anyone with any inclination on how music should sound and feel has to know that it shouldn’t sound like the performance that Annie Lennox gave, and yet the audience seemed to love her. I mean I’m no genius here, but even my tone deafness can tell that that was a terrible performance, and her’s wasn’t the only one. I just think we often overlook the little guys in the music industry, and it really is a shame. Check out my man’s blog for more on this.