Archive | August 2011

Forgiveness in Stone

Two friends were walking through the desert, during some point of the journey, they had an argument; and one friend slapped the other one in the face.
The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand.  Today my best friend slapped me in the face.
They kept on walking, until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath.  The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but was saved by the friend.
After recovering from the near drowning, the friend wrote on a stone:   “Today my best friend saved my life.”
The friend who had slapped and saved the best friend asked, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?  
The friend replied ‘when someone hurt you we should write it down in sand, where winds of forgiveness can erase it away’.  But when someone does something good for you, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.  

Learn to write your hurts in the sand, and to carve your blessings in stone.

God’s Rosebud

A new minister was walking with an older, more seasoned minister in the garden one day.  Feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was asking the older preacher for some advice.
The older preacher walked up to a rosebush and handed the young preacher a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing off any petals. The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older preacher and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the will of God for his life and ministry. But because of his great respect for the older preacher, he proceeded to try to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact.
It wasn’t long before he realized how impossible this was to do. Noticing the younger preacher’s inability to unfold the rosebud without tearing it, the older preacher began to recite the following poem…
“It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of God’s design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.”
“The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so easily,
But in my hands they die.”
“If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God’s design,
Then how can I have the wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?”
“So I’ll trust in God for leading
Each moment of my day.
I will look to God for guidance
In each step along the way.”
“The path that lies before me,
Only my Lord and Savior knows.
I’ll trust God to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose.”

Just a simple little reminder to let go and let God unfold your life.

3 Reasons Why Change Is Good

I have a love/hate relationship with change. If things stay too stagnant for too long, I get terribly bored. When too many things change all at once, I find myself desperately seeking comfort.

Recently, my life has seen a lot of change, and it’s mostly been positive. I am genuinely happy about it all. Yet, I found myself building a fort out of my living room furniture in silly efforts to feel like I’m 10 years old again. When I was still using the fort days later, I knew, perhaps, I was feeling a bit unsettled.

Have you felt that way? Like your life is a carousel that’s spinning  and you just want to get off? Believe it or not, change is good for you. Here are a few reasons why.

1). Changes makes you flexible. Being stubborn and resistant to new things will make a normally stressing situation even more so. Change helps you be fluid and go with the flow.

2). Change makes you smarter. If things never changed, you’d never learn anything new. And every time you learn a new skill — even if it’s just how to adapt — you are that much smarter than you were yesterday.

3). Change reminds us that anything is possible. It’s easy to think that anything that’s stuck will always be that way (i.e., the career that won’t lift off the ground or the marriage that’s coasting on neutral). But when you see things change, whether it’s in your life or some one else’s, it’s encouragement to know that nothing stays the same forever.

Passive Husband

“So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, ‘I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.’ He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat.” 1 Kings 21:4

A passive husband is a poor leader. He lacks leadership for his wife, his children and his work. His passivity may be a result of many things. He may be stuck in neutral because he feels overwhelmed. The thought of doing anything locks him down. He may be unable to function as a leader because he didn’t get his way. If he can’t do things his way, he will not do them at all.

He may be passive because his dad was passive. This is the only role model he has ever known. A man may be suffering from chronic passivity because his confidence has been crushed. He has never recovered from a traumatic event that sent him into a sequence of bad choices. Or, a man’s lack of action may be a combination of these or other reasons. He is like a turtle perpetually stuck in his shell, afraid to come out and face the realities of life. He may be going through the motions of life, but something is missing. The fire to engage life has been extinguished, or is only flickering at best.

If that describes you, it is time that you awoke from your slumber of irresponsibility. Your wife and others have covered for you long enough. You are on the verge of losing what you have worked for all these years. More importantly, the respect of your wife may be quickly vanishing, and your credibility in the community may be eroding. Now is the time to take the reigns of your responsibility and do something. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Eventually, however, you need to lead. This is your role and calling from God as a husband, a father and a man. Leaders are made, not born. Indeed, this is probably a huge faith issue for you. Nevertheless, these are opportune times to model, for those who love you, explicit trust in God. He understands your apprehensions about leadership. Your heavenly Father is your leader. You can lead, because He leads you. Lead as He leads you. Model His leadership. You cannot improve on the leadership style of Jesus.

Because He leads you as a servant, you can lead as a servant. Because He leads you with humility, you can lead with humility. Because He leads you in love, you can lead in love. Because He leads you with patience, you can lead with patience. Because He leads you with compassion, you can lead with compassion. Because He leads you with purpose, you can lead with purpose. Because He leads you with courage, you can lead with courage. Because Jesus led, dependent on His heavenly Father, you can lead dependent on your heavenly Father.

The Holy Spirit is the leader of your life. Submit to His leadership—He will move you from passive to active leadership: a leader led by the Holy Spirit. When you are led by God’s spirit, you will lead. It is as natural as falling off a log. Yes, you will fail along the way. But it is better to fail as a Spirit-led leader than to do nothing in your own strength. This requires faith, especially for a husband to take a risk as a leader. Faith overcomes fear and failure. Your leadership at times will let down your wife, but she will love you even more as she experiences your leading in love.

Giving her everything she wants is not leadership. Giving her a husband led by the Holy Spirit is what she needs. Trust God to take care of her wants. You give her what she needs. A passive husband sucks life from relationships. An engaging husband gives life to relationships. Be a life- giver by trusting God with your leadership. Lead for God’s sake!

When Life Is No Joke, Laugh Anyway

God made laughter to show us that things are seldom as bad as they seem. 

Laughter liberates and laughter uplifts. When laughter comes into a life, nothing is too difficult, nothing can defeat us. We can survive the noonday sun and the darkness of death and the grinding boredom of dailiness and still find life exhilarating. Other things in life change color like chameleons on plaid, but laughter is always ornament, always grace.
Laughter is an antidote to dualism, a necessary foundation of mental health. To the one who laughs, life is good, the world is good, goodness is the ground on which we walk. No dualism here, no fear of body or soul, no rejection of the tattered truth of our existence. Just gentle, gentle wholeness tenderly handled, lovingly held.

Finally, laughter enables us to live in a highly structured world without falling prey to the manacles of the mind that blind our eyes and cement our hearts. Laughter gives us the freedom of the Jesus who taught babies and poked fun at Pharisees and told winsome little stories, spiritual jokes, about women who would not let pretentious judges alone. Day after day he smiled his way from one theological absolute to another and left the world with enough to smile about until the end of time.

Once we learn to laugh and play, we will have come closer to understanding our laughing, playing God. The God of ridiculous promises is a God who laughs, a God to be laughed at and laughed with, until that moment when all pain washes away and only the laughter of God is left to be heard in the heavens.

There are some things that must always be laughed at in life:


Scripture Meditation

My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me? Why do you remain so distant? Why do you ignore my cries for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief. Yet you are holy. The praises of Israel surround your throne. Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. You heard their cries for help and saved them. They put their trust in you and were never disappointed. (Psa 22:1-5 NLT)

Prayer: LORD, some days, I feel this way too – alone and abandoned. The feelings are real, but the reality is that You will never leave me or turn a deaf ear to the cry of my heart. Help me look beyond the feelings and trust You in the dark times as well as the good. In Jesus’ name, Amen.