Getting Ready for School

This is how we get ready for school.

 

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These Campaign Promises Have Been True For Thousands of Years.

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Placing your faith in what a person promises will fail you many times over in this life. This truth is fresh in our minds from presidential elections filled with campaign promises that will fall well short of expectations.

Empty promises can leave us hurt, confused, unprepared and frustrated. They damage relationships and leave us unsure about who to trust.

God knows this is a problem for us.

He even goes as far as telling us not to swear we  will do something.

“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”‭‭ (Matthew‬ ‭5:37‬)

After all, we are just a bunch of dustballs (Gen. 3:19), who knows if we will even be around to fulfill our promises? “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (‭‭James‬ ‭4:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

How is that for some sobering perspective? This is why we should say, ““If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”” (‭‭James‬ ‭4:15‬)

By contrast, God makes promises that he keeps. His people can count on these promises as truths that will come to pass. It is interesting to note that while grace and forgiveness are a free gift to all accept it, no one can earn their way to heaven, these promises ask for an action before the reward is given. Almost like, “If you do this, then you will get this.”

So what are they? Hint: They’re big! You may want to bookmark the ones listed below. The best news is they are available to anyone who chooses to put God first. (Romans 3:22)

 

PROMISES

1. He will always be there for you

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have,because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5

2. He has a plan specifically for you!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

3. He will make you stronger

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41: 10

4. Troubles are guaranteed but through Christ we have peace

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

5. All that is good, is yours.

The lions may grow weak and hungry,
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Psalm 34:10 

6. Evil will run from you

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

7. Know peace once and for all (You know you have been searching for it)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:6

8. Promised benefits

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Galatians 5:22

What is your response to God’s promises?

There is Something Great Ahead of You.

“You have amazing things ahead of you!”

These were the words spoken to me many years ago. Not just from one person but many. They all said it in their own way and they all said at different times. The baseball coach, basketball coach, the English teacher, the history teacher, the mom, the dad, the swim team coach, the pastor and even friends! I can’t get over how many people have spoken into my life and still do to this day.

When is the last time you looked at someone into their eyes and said, “You have amazing things ahead of you!?” Isn’t it up to us to shine a light on their path to make that possible? Shouldn’t we be hopeful for the future by knowing we have a part to play in it?

Hey, the future of our country and children do not rest solely on them. It’s up to us to plant the seed that will one day grow into something more than we could ever ask or imagine.

 

Your Direction, Your Story.

Path

According to Nike+ the life of my current running shoes is just about over. On a recent run along a beautiful bike path in Florida, I noticed a harder-than-usual impact on my feet. Thanks to Steve Jobs and the folks at Nike, this is the first time in my life that I have been able to source my shoes’ mileage. My app showed them clocking in at just under 400 miles.

As I ran, I began thinking about the great number of stories these shoes could tell.  They would speak of half marathons, the Disney Marathon and unforgettable landscapes in Hawaii and Colorado. They would remember the treadmill on the 28th floor overlooking the Miami cityscape. They would reminisce of sand crabs running back into their holes on a dirt-packed trail in Vero Beach, FL.

Yes, shoes tell great stories.

  • The sturdy Keds shoes of Grandma Gatewood are on display at the Appalachian Trail Museum telling the story of her 2,170 journey becoming the first woman to thru-hike the famous trail at the young age of 67.
  • It is estimated that the sandals of Jesus walked over 20,000 miles during his lifetime (from the ages 4-33).
  • A new pair of shoes are crowned king as the smelliest shoes in America in a Rotten Sneakers Contest, a contest that began in 1975 in Montpelier, Vermont. The shoes are owned by kids 13 years-old and younger and the winners often reveal amazing stories about their journeys in their tattered and rotten shoes.
  • The famous red ruby slippers that can be seen at the National Museum of American History of Washington D.C. These shoes represent much more than the Wizard of Oz film. They speak of a journey in search of finding your heart’s desire only to discover that you don’t have to look any further than your own backyard.

What would happen if we envisioned what stories our next shoes would tell next? After all, Jesus knew where his sandals were going and Grandma Gatewood was ready to hit the trail before she laced up her Keds. What if I determined where my shoes would take me instead of strapping them on and seeing where they led?

This is your season. Choose your direction and run.

Plant. Water. Grow.

Grow

We are co-workers in God’s field each with but one purpose.

One plants the seed. One waters it.

God makes it grow. (1 Cor. 3:7)

There is beauty in understanding that we serve a great purpose in God’s kingdom.  As I read through 1 Corinthians I thought of the small garden boxes we built in our backyard. I made each of the 4-foot boxes out of cedar boards, filled them with soil and each season our family decides what we are going to grow. Occasionally our 5-year-old, Emma Grace, uses a small tin can to help me water them. Aiden and Evan will help to pull weeds.

We are still learning. We tried growing corn and cucumbers with minimal results. Our carrots and any herbs we plant not only thrive but we get great use out of them. Since we began doing this four years ago we have both success and loss. Yet, there is still a sense of accomplishment in it. There is a sense of purpose that compels us to plant the following season.

A farmer I am not, but any farmer will tell you that it takes faith to plant, water and wait. It takes spiritual wisdom to understand that while grains of dirt become stuck under the beds of our fingernails, it is our Creator that makes it grow. We are reminded in Genesis 2 that at one time no plant had sprung up on earth because God had not sent rain to the earth. Once he created Adam,  God planted the great Garden of Eden and the great partnership began.

There are times in my career life when I have been planting and watering and have had great joy in doing so. There have been seasons when the planting and watering simply felt like, well,  just work. Then, there is waiting. Waiting for God to make it grow. This is not only the season I am currently in but its characteristics–patience and faith–need the most growth. In this realization, I have joy in knowing that I am exactly where I need to be.

Many are in this same season right now. We are faced with two choices. We can choose to listen to the world and its direction for us. The world will tell us that we aren’t good enough, we are failing, we aren’t loved and supported. The world will give us reasons to doubt and to show anger in place of love and forgiveness. We are not perfect, so we will experience times of doubt, temptation and loss of purpose. However, I don’t serve a god of doubt, temptation and loss of purpose.

I serve a God of love, hope and purpose so that in Him, we do not have to “grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)  I will choose a path of greater spiritual gain. This path produces perseverance, character and hope. Let our purpose and faith in God guide us into our next season.

Lord, let us find purpose and faith as you guide us into our next season.

 

Further Reading:

  • Genesis 2:4
  • Isaiah 61:3
  • 1 Corinthians 3:7
  • Galatians 6:9
  • Romans 5:3

#grow #purpose #purposedrivenlife #donotgrowweary #beautyfromashes #transition #transformation

 

Move Me

Not many people know the name of Ananias. He was a disciple of Christ shown to us in the book of Acts, Chapter 9. Jesus told him to restore the sight of Saul (Paul). “But Lord, I have heard many reports of this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people,” he said. As if Jesus didn’t already know. Guess what Jesus said?

“Go!”

I wonder how many times God has told me to “Go!” but I stayed just where I was? I can easily count dozens of those times. Hey, I had plenty of excuses like “that doesn’t make sense,” or “the world is telling me differently” or my favorite ‘go-to’ excuse, “that is not a comfortable or convenient move for me right now Lord.”
I wonder how many opportunities I have missed. We serve a God of amazing change. He wants us to be a changed life so we can change lives. He loves us to meet us exactly where we are but changes our hearts so he can move us to where we should be.
Thank you for never giving up on me Lord.
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24

#DontStayTheSame #DontWait #ChangedLives #bookofacts #changedlives 

Look at What God Told Me on This Resurrection Sunday

“When you walk, your step will not be hampered; and if you run, you will not stumble.”  – Proverbs 4:12

I decided to go for a run just a little while ago. Running has always provided me with an opportunity to pray, yet I’m no marathoner like I want to be. You can take that literally or figuratively. 

On this run I apologized to the Lord for thinking about some of my own issues on a day that is really about Him. I turned the corner, walked a block and looked up. The picture on the left is what I saw.

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I wish you could have seen it from the angle I first did. It was even better defined then what the photo shows. Then it was gone. We have been here for 5 years and I had never seen that shadow cast before.

It could have been His reminder that today is exactly about my issues. And yours. Or it could have been a reminder that in everything He is with us.

Our kids often ask us if we can see God. I love this question. There are so many scriptures to point to, so many things in life to reference and creations of this world to point to. I love this question because it tells me they are searching for Him. Just yesterday, Nicole was in the elevator at Real Life and Pastor Justin Landrum got in.

“Is that Jesus?” Emma Grace asked. Nicole was somewhat prepared for the embarrassment as we had seen Justin walked past us earlier and Emma Grace shouted “Jesus!”

It is a tough thing for a child to understand the spirit of God. It may be even tougher for an adult to understand. Or maybe we just want Him to physically be with us all of the time; I’m not saying He doesn’t visit with us in that way from time to time.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16

I’ve really enjoyed these moments over the last five years when God has personally spoken to me. It seems to be happening more and more lately; or at least I hope it is happening more frequently. Maybe He is not speaking to me more at all. Maybe I am simply a better listener. I am hoping we are all learning to be better listeners. After all, we have a lot of questions but He has even more answers.

Either way in this case, it is what I needed to ‘hear.’ Maybe seeing IS believing.