Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

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WHAT I LIKED – April 13

April 13, 2013

The following are some of my most favorite internet waves from my surfing the web the last couple weeks.

QUOTE:

As we grow in the knowledge of God’s holiness, even though we are growing in the practice of holiness, it seems the gap between our knowledge and our practice always gets wider. This is the Holy Spirit’s way of drawing us to more and more holiness. ~ Jerry Bridges

FAITH:

I love testimonies of our God’s amazing mercy and grace.  I love to hear of the wonderful road to salvation that he draws his children along.  My Journey: Atheist…to New Age…to Christ.

Depression is a battlefield of faith.  This is a wonderful reminder that God is with us when we are low.  “He will care for us while in our despondent state, but He will not allow us to remain there. He will tell us to get up and eat. Then, He will tell us to go. He has prepared works for us to do, whether it’s raising a child with special needs, homeschooling different ages of kids, working to support a family, caring for a sick relative, bringing a meal to someone who just suffered loss, praying with someone who has been abandoned by her spouse, or sharing the gospel with friend. Though spiritual depression can seem so paralyzing, we must, by His grace, get up and go, and He promises to be with us.” Struck Down but Not Destroyed

I am a fan of the reality TV show Duck Dynasty.  This presentation of the gospel makes me like Phil Robertson even more.  Duck Dynasty Star Phil Robertson Preaches a POWERFUL Sermon – Perfect For Easter!

POETRY:

The wonderful saving work of Calvary!  Upon a Hill

We so desperately need to get past the masks that we create.  Mask

INSPIRATIONAL:

Most of you will have probably seen this video but it is worth another watch.  It is a good reminder to look beyond ourselves.  Little Jack Hoffman an inspiration to Nebraska football

WRITING:

This article gave me some very good food for thought.  My writing is more along the lines of what these individuals do not like; “…narratives with emotional hooks, bolding and italicizing things occasionally, metaphors, potent images, rhetorical questions, and so forth.”  It is good to be reminded that we should work to follow the example of Biblical testimony in our writing. “Biblical testimony is not intended to subvert the intellect, but engage it, as well as the more affective dimensions of our souls. Paul gave his own testimony to be sure, creatively used potent imagery, and so forth, but then gave a sustained biblical argument that can be followed, disputed, and wrestled with.”  Somebody Stop Me If I Start Doing This (A Thought on Blogging)

TRIATHLON:

This is a skill that I need to work on.  I started to swim off into oblivion on two occasions in my last open water swim.  Thankfully, the folks in the canoes were kind enough to alert me to my poor route choice by banging on their boats but I did waste a lot of precious strokes.  The Right and Wrong way to Sight and Breathe

It is good to remember that triathlon is a competition that involves complete fitness.  Our training should include more than just the swim, bike, run.  Strength Conditioning, A Triathletes Secret Weapon

CYCLING:

This is the best and most honest answer as to why cyclists are so inclined to seek out the razor.  Why Shave Your Legs

I had never really thought that much about what all my muscles are doing in terms of biomechanics.  The idea that our minds start searching for different muscle combinations to perform a task when fatigue starts to set in is fascinating.  It explains why the 10% rule is important.  The 10% rule is the principle of not increasing distances by more than 10% at a time.  Injury is more likely when you rip off big chunks of great distance.  The reason might be is that you are relying upon these other muscle combinations that are not conditioned for that sort of stress.  Injury: an incorrect solution to the human movement problem

RUNNING:

I know that there are people out there who love to run.  I can appreciate the benefits of running but I cannot say that I love it.  My issue with running is the first ½ mile.  It  is sort of miserable.  No matter how much warming up or stretching that I do (and I have tried the spectrum from none to 30 minutes worth of running preparation), that initial start is a battle between my body screaming in protest and my mind whipping it forward.  This article is not much help other than the reality of – Just Deal with It.  6 Tips to Push Past the Pain

SWIMMING:

Here is just a little history lesson that I did not know.  The History of Freestyle

This is so true and counter intuitive.  The more I relax and work on gliding through the water, the faster I go.  I am no Alexander Popov but he is a great example of how to get through the water fast.  Swim Slowly to Swim Fast like Alexander Popov

GARDENING:

There is something comforting in knowing that even experienced gardeners in making a successful garden have to remember this article’s direction – mass and scale.  6.  The Best Gardening Advice- Practical Experience

CRAFTSMANSHIP:

The musician cannot begin his performance until the craftsmanship has completed his.  The Art of Making, Alma Flamenca

AMAZING:

I don’t know how this dunk is even possible.  Doug Anderson dunk

I love videos of the earth from space.  They always remind me to check my perspective.  We have been blessed with an amazing world to live in.   Time-Lapse | Earth

I did not get any new home construction ideas from this article.  However, it is pretty incredible how they hewed this monastery into the side of a mountain.  Vardzia Cave Monasteries

PHOTOGRAPHY:

I love the colors of this photograph.  Pawel Kucharski

If hands could tell a story, then I am sure that these hands have a long tale to tell.  Robert Muller

HUMOR

There is just something about puns, even bad ones, that make me chuckle.  Puns for Educated Minds

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WHAT I LIKE – April 6

April 6, 2013

The following are some of my most favorite internet waves from my surfing the web the last couple weeks.

QUOTE:

“The happy ending of the Resurrection is so enormous that it swallows up even the sorrow of the Cross.” – Tim Keller

FAITH:

I was so encouraged by this reminder that Jesus came to be the New Adam.  It is because Jesus is the new Adam that we can be restored back to our original place and purpose in God’s plan. Is there any greater treasure than this?  And it is a gift to any who will acknowledge the grace of God, accept the words of Christ, and receive eternal life.  Adam doesn’t live here anymore…

This is a beautiful prayer of faith from centuries ago.

“O God of the highest heaven,
occupy the throne of my heart,
take full possession and reign supreme,
lay low every rebel lust,
let no vile passion resist thy holy war;
manifest thy mighty power,
and make me thine forever.”  Regeneration: A Puritan Prayer

This article is a wonderful reminder of the effectiveness of the gift of prayer.  “God made us in His image — with the ability to speak into existence things that are not.”  Effective, substantial prayers

POETRY:

I love the stanza, “You are the light that makes my heart rejoice!”  It is so very true.  We desperately need the filling of the Lord’s Spirit.  Fill Me With Your Spirit Once Again

This is such an encouraging telling of what real forgiveness is like.  Forgiven

INSPIRATIONAL:

Amazing grace is indeed a sweet sound.  It makes me cry like a baby every time.  Amazing Grace

This story is a wonderful reminder of the golden rule and not to let the little stuff get in the way of the glorious stuff.  The Wooden Bowl

RUNNING:

This is a really good article on how to pick the right running shoe.  It actually convinced me to go into a good running shoe store and have them do it for me.   How to Choose A Running Shoe

TRIATHLON:

This is a good reminder that training with other people will encourage us to keep going or get going again in our training.  There are no excuses.  Tri to be Inspired

My current problem is not packing ten pounds of stuff onto my bike.  My problem is the ten pounds that I am packing around my waist.  However, I found this article helpful because it makes you think about what you really need on a ride and what you are doing to all the careful engineering of that expensive bike you’re riding.  Nutrition,The Bike, and Aerodynamics

SWIMMING:

I am not even considering doing this swim but the photo in the article is great.  You have to check out this open water swim.  Wild Swimming On The Jurassic Coast!

This article has some very good thoughts and instruction for good swimming technique and avoiding injure.  Swimming Shoulder Injuries – Thumb Entry or Not?

CYCLING:

This article has some very helpful tips on how to get faster on the bike. I need to try the isolated leg training.  I am pretty sure I have a lot of dead spots in my pedal stroke.  5 Ways to Boost Your Average MPH on the Bike

GARDENING:

This is just cool.  I have no idea how you would decorate around it but I would be willing to give this treehouse its own room.  The smallest treehouse in the world

I don’t know if I could go this far.  It just seems the opposite of why you were just taking the shower.  I guess I need to get over linking moss and fungus together.  Natural Moss Bath Mat

CRAFTSMANSHIP:

I just love to watch talent doing its special thing.  I wonder how many similarly amazing artists out there that we may never hear about.   O.K., So Craftsmanship Isn’t Dead Yet

AMAZING:

The weather has been very nice this last week so I was thinking about taking my mountain bike out for a ride in the desert.  Unfortunately, the forecast is for wind and rain.  I will just have to wait to knock the rust off of my mountain biking skills.  This video shows off Danny MacAskill biking skill.  I don’t know how it is even possible for him to do some of the things he does .  Calling what he does biking just does not seem appropriate.  There must be another term because what he does and what I do are not the same thing.  Inspired Bicycles – Danny MacAskill April 2009

PHOTOGRAPHY:

This is a beautiful photograph of a lake in South Carolina.  I am looking forward to summer and getting back up into the mountains.  Bluffton, South Carolina

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WHAT I LIKE – Mar. 30

March 30, 2013

The following are some of my most favorite internet waves from my surfing the web the last couple weeks.

QUOTE:
 “Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.” ~ John Bunyan

FAITH:
I appreciated this article on what the Church should be based on the Priesthood of the Christ.  You need to follow the links and get a cup of coffee because it is a bit long but well worth it.  Mission and the Priesthood of the Christ

We have such a special gift in our Bibles.  This post is a reminder of ten things the Bible tells us it will do for us.  10 Things the Bible Can Do

POETRY:
This is a wonderful reminder that Jesus did not seek a home for himself while in this world.  He Had so Little in this World

Such an encouragement from Psalm 73:28 to see our Lord on each new day.  Each New Day

This is a poem that I like so very much for speaking of the truths of stumbling along the narrow path.  Stumbles and Skinned Knees

INSPIRATION:
Beautiful photograph and reminder from Psalm 91:1-2 that our best protection and shelter is in Christ.  Gods Shelter

I smile every time I read the opening lines, “Don’t be a well that withholds, Be a well that overflows”.  A needed reminder from Numbers 21:17 to be the wells that we were created to be. An Overflowing Well

RUNNING:
I want to get my running speed up.  I had my first real outside run of the season and realized that speed is not my issue.  When I get back to that point, these are some really good tips for getting back home quicker. 5 Tips to Run Faster

SWIMMING:
Swimming can get a little monotonous.  So I am always looking for new combinations of workouts.  These two sites are great about mixing things up and have a wide variety of workouts.

Chino Valley Masters

PTS Sports Coaching 

TRIATHLON:
I am not even remotely close to overtraining; particularly after this last week of only two workouts.  However, the indicators of overtraining discussed in this post are really good to be aware of.  Overtraining are you a Victim

GARDENING:
Dinner in this garden has to be a unique experience.  I just hope the salad course is not self-serve.  Outdoor Living Garden Table

PHOTOGRAPHY:
Makes me want to go to Alaska.  Ocras Surfacing in Alaska

CRAFTSMANSHIP:
I thought the mechanical man from the movie Hugo was made up.  I guessed wrong.   Just watch everything that has to happen to draw a simple picture.  I am unconvinced that a single cell could evolve to match this mechanical man, which is much less than all the amazing things that the human body can do.  Alexandre Pouchkine by François Junod  

I did not even know that people were allowed to carve with ivory.  This is about the world’s premier ivory carver.  The detail is amazing.  You have to see the tiny ship rigging that he makes from ivory.  David Warther Carvings Museum

AMAZING:
So you think you can fly?  Well I guess you can.  The best wing suit /skydive

Andy McKee amazes me by the amount of sound that he can get out of an acoustic guitar.  Andy McKee – Guitar – Drifting

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MOTIVATED FOR WHAT? – Dec. 11th

December 11, 2012

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” Mark 8:36

I read this quote, ascribed to Dr. Robert H. Schuller:

“The only place where a dream becomes impossible is in your own thinking.”

I about gagged on this giant lard of wishful thinking nonsense.  It is just not true.

American IdolI sing horribly flat.  It is an impossible dream for me to be the next American Idol.  My thinking is not what is limiting my vocal career.

However, there is a deeper attitude in this type of positive-thinking plea that troubles me.

Just think about what the motivational speaker is selling.

If you just achieve your goal then you will be fulfilled and happy.

There is a premise built into messages that our happiness is limited by unfulfilled dreams. The gospel preached by motivational speakers is that the highest aspiration to achieve is the attainment of your dreams – being all that you can be.

That is a horrible thing to encourage.   It is not true.  My happiness is not limited by the fact that I have not achieved all my dreams – that I have not lived up to my potential. In Christ, I can be joyful in all circumstances.  That truth makes “being the best me” as the fountain of happiness an unworthy dream.

It is a false gospel.

 Motivation is a tool; not a destination. The most important aspect of motivation is that it propels us in a direction. Being very motivated to pursue a dream straight to hell is a horrible thing. The destination is what matters.  What your dreams are is what matters; not how you obtain them.

What if you obtain all of your dreams but you forfeit your life?

Motivational speakers should encourage us toward the right dreams.  We should be more concerned with what our dreams are then on how to obtain them.  All dreams are not created equally. We can waste our lives chasing the chaff of worthless dreams.

This is what our dreams should include:

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34

If your dreams do not include being a worthy and faithful servant then beware of what you are motivated to gain.

PRAYER: Lord, You are the only one that I should be motivated to pursue. Forgive me for chasing unworthy dreams. Forgive me for over-valuing myself and my dreams in comparison to your surpassing worth. Father, change my heart so that my dreams are worthy of the calling that you have given me. Create in me a pure heart that can see this world for what it is and desire you more than anything else.    Amen

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CONNOISSEURS OF ABOMINATIONS – Dec. 6th

December 6, 2012

“And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15

A good friend of mine is headed to a very unique convention with his family. They are going to a show organized by the American Hereford Association. I understand that it is a pretty big deal in the certified Hereford world.  They actually take cattle into the convention rooms of a casino for the show.  You will hear the bellow of cattle mingled in with the ding of slot machines and the clatter of chips. I want to go just to experience the clash of senses. However, the only folks that will go to this Hereford show are people who are into Herefords; a rather small niche in the world.

I am amazed at how many niches are out there for us to be engrossed in. Just look at the schedule of a major convention center and you will begin to get an idea of the magnitude of minutia that we can exalt.  Our esteem is cloaked in words such as: aficionado, appreciator, connoisseur, collector, fan, expert, specialists, and devotee.  There are a lot of fascinating and wonderful things in this world to be “into”.

I am a fan of College (American) Football. The regular season is over and I am anxiously awaiting the feast to come – bowl season! I am planning on gorging myself on College Football throughout December and a little bit of January.  However, just on glance at the spectacle of College Football or any major sporting event and you will see a lot of exalting among men and women.michigan_stadium_big_house_2_small

Does that make College Football an abomination in the sight of God? I cannot come to any other conclusion then “yes”. The Superbowl, World Cup, World Series, Rugby World Cup, are probably all abominations in the sight of God. Abominations not because there is anything wrong with sport but because of where men exalt sport in relation to God. However, abominations are not limited to sport.

We have an incredible ability to make the wonderful into the horrible. When does something become bad? When does the thing that we are really “into” become an abomination in the sight of God?

I don’t know. All I know is that it can and does. It seems to me that the best test to discover an abomination in our life is the preference test. This is a mind experiment that requires complete honesty. We need to examine the things in our lives and ask ourselves whether we prefer that thing more than God. If you were to have to choose between that esteemed “whatever” and God, which would you pick? This gets to the heart of an abomination.  God knows your heart and he knows my heart. We are not fooling God; just ourselves.  Therefore, we have to examine our hearts.

We need to be brutally honest with everything in our lives. Consider your job, career, house, bank account, reputation… what if you had to give those up to follow Christ, would you do it?

What about friends, family, spouse, children… do you value them more than God? We can make one of the greatest blessing from God, our family, into something horrible when we place them above God.

For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. There is no escaping the directness of that statement.

What are you exalting this day?  How does that compare to your esteem for God?

PRAYER: Lord, give me eyes to see. I don’t want to deceive myself.  Lord, I don’t want anything in my life that is an abomination in your sight. Forgive me for exalting some of the things that you have given me, gifts from you, blessings from you, to a place of preference. That was never my intent. Thank you for showing that to me.  I give those back to you to the praise and glory of your name. Lord, take once again the place of preeminence in my life.    Amen

Image from http://sportige.com/top-10-ncaa-football-stadiums/

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A TWISTED TWIG LIKE ME – Dec. 5th

December 5, 2012

“…and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree…” Rom. 11:17

The cold winds of the present season are beginning to blow. Leaves have mostly fallen in preparation of enduring the coming winter. Now, I can clearly see the bones of these living canopies that shielded us through the harshness of summer.  I can now be fascinated by the numerous little homes of our feathered friends that were built in secret.

The bones of shade trees show why they are so marvelous; without good bones a tree cannot become magnificent.  The branches of a tree provide the necessary structure that forms a trees shape and allows the architecture of a glorious tree to be revealed.CLF - Olmstead Parks

Christians are part of a glorious olive tree (Hos. 14:6) but not naturally. This tree was not our own.  For us gentiles, we don’t belong there. We have been grafted into the people of God. We are by nature, wild olive shoots.

I have wild Russian Olive shoots that spring up in my pasture.  I mow them down.  I don’t even consider grafting one of those nasty twisted little twigs into one of my charished shade trees but that is exactly what God has done with us.

God has taken me, this odd, twisted, twig, full of thorns and sap, and inserted me into his people. He made me part of his magnificent tree when I had nothing to add to it; when it seemed like all I would do is distract from it. That was his plan. He made me part of the tree of life and I had nothing to add to it. That is how he builds the structure of his master piece; a master piece that reveals the architect of a glorious people built by the hand of God.

The majority of the time I feel like that odd, twisted, shriveled twig growing out of the side of an otherwise magnificent tree. However, look closely. The grandeur of the tree is made up of innumerable, imperfect and twisted branches that together serve the purpose of bearing fruit for the one who planted the tree.

There is not a branch in this tree that does not belong there. God is the master horticulturalist. Every branch is where he placed it, for the purpose he intended. This wonderful tree is loved, nourished, and pruned by his skilled hand; He knows what He is doing even when He grafted in as twisted of a twig as me.

PRAYER: Lord, My gratitude is beyond words. Thank you seems so insufficent.  Lord, you have made for yourself a people, not because they were special or powerful or numerous. Lord- you chose a people to reveal how glorious you are.  Thank you for making me a part of your people. Thank you for making me a child of God, and if a child then an heir; an heir of God and fellow heir with Christ. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of revealing your glory to this world that so desperately needs to see you.    Amen

Image from http://rosehaigler.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/best-types-of-trees-to-plant-for-your-yard/

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BENEFITS OF A HYDRATED SOUL – Dec. 4th

December 4, 2012

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1

I have been a little preoccupied with water for a while. I read an article that being well hydrated should be part of every fitness program and that guys need to be drinking three liters of fluids per day and ladies need 2.2 liters per day. That is the minimum.  If you are working out, pregnant, breast feeding, sick, or live in a hot/humid climate, then you are supposed to drink more.  Dehydration results of falling below those targets which can have an assortment of health consequences.

I don’t want to experience those consequences so I developed a hydration plan – it consists of me drinking a lot of water. I am at work most of the day. Therefore, my plan has been to down 2/3 of my minimum fluids requirement at work.  I have a big glass to divide it all up. I have to drink four glasses before lunch and four throughout the afternoon.

Wow! That is a lot of water. Other than nearly wetting myself when a phone call went too long, it has be uneventful.  However, my company needs to start budgeting for carpet since I have significantly shorted the life cycle of the carpet between my office and the restroom.  If this is what normal fluid consumption is like, then maybe being a little dehydrated is not such a bad thing.

I have learned a several things from my little experiment:

  1. Being well hydrated and road trips are not a good combination; when your body is well hydrated, those fluids flow right on through. I realized that I regularly walked around a little dehydrated since the strategic location of restroom facilities has not been a concern for me.  Those fluids don’t normally flow through as they do when I am focused on being hydrated.
  2. It is too late when we rely upon thirst to indicate a need of fluids. Thirst is a physiological urge that comes from our body working to regulate a healthy fluid level.  However, it is a backup. Under normal conditions, most fluid intake actually comes through the normal courses of our day. (eg drinking with meals or at work breaks, water in food). To be able to drink my allotment, I had to drink when I was not thirsty. When I wait to be thirsty, I am already dehydrated.
  3. My “thirster” was out-of-whack.  I think that my body had adjusted to functioning in a partially dehydrated state.  Since I have been working at being hydrated, I get thirty quicker. It is not what I expected but I have found that my body is now more sensitive being under-hydrated and my “thirster” kicks in sooner.

My little water experiment got me to contemplating the hydration of my soul. I think we all can relate to the psalmist’s prayer for the thirst of his soul to be quenched by the abiding presence of the Lord. However, I wonder if our thirst is the same as the psalmist’s. He proclaimed a thirst accompanied by an earnest searching for his Lord. We know from the other Psalms that David drank daily from the deep well of the scriptures in his searching. I don’t see a lot of Christians earnestly seeking God like the Psalmist. That makes me think that the Church is full of dehydrated souls.

I wonder if our “thirsters” are out-of-whack.  The thirsting of the Psalmist is that of the well-hydrated man who is habitually filling himself with the scriptures before the sense of thirst strikes him.  Today, many believers are normally dehydrated and seek God only when their comfort has been jarred by need. I think that many Christians are so perpetually dehydrated of the presence of the Lord that they don’t even know what normal should be like. They hear the plea of the Psalmist and relate that to their own experience but their thirst has become accustom to being perpetually dehydrated; accustomed to a parched life. It is out-of-whack.

By the time they seek the Lord based on an out-of-whack thirst, many find themselves severely dehydrated. If you only seek God when you thirst for him then you are already parched. A well hydrated soul is the one that is drinking in the Lord when they are not thirsty.

There are several results of fully hydrating our souls on a daily basis:

  1. We can quickly respond in time of need.  We will not be in a critical unhealthy state so that we can respond appropriately to the various trials, temptations, suffering that we might face. We all will face various challenges.  We are better prepared for those challenges when we our souls are well hydrated in the Lord.
  2. Our desire for our Lord will increase. When we are regularly filling up on the Lord’s presence, our thirst for our Savior becomes more sensitive and reactive. Our thirst will be a better regulator of what is healthy for our soul.
  3. The Lord will overflow from us.  When we are saturated from seeking the Lord it is inevitable that it will come out of us (in a good way). I think that some folks are so dehydrated that every ounce of the Lord’s presence gets sucked up into their own parched soul. Our Father is so great that there is no limit to his presence. We need to be drinking deeply and that is when we will overflow into the world around us.

How is the hydration of your soul? Are you drinking deeply from the spring of living water?  There will be a day when we will no longer thirst. There will be a day when we no longer need to work at hydrating our souls but that is not today. Today, we need to be drinking before we thirst; drink deeply my friends.

PRAYER: Lord, You are the essential of my life. I will dry up and blow away without you refreshing me.  Lord, refresh me today – replenish me today. Father, I want to overflow with your presence; fill me with your Spirit. Give me a desire for you that is not my own.    Amen

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SHARK TANK – Dec. 3rd

December 3, 2012

“The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.” Luke 16:8

shark-tank-121There is a reality TV show called the “Shark Tank” that provides a glimpse of a world that most of us never get to be a part of. The show is about small business people with an idea or a product that are seeking investors, who are the “sharks”. These small business guppies are pitching their great new thing to the moneymen of the shark tank with hopes of obtaining a partner that will enable them to make a fortune. The problem is that these “sharks” are shrewd and they know the game better than most and the “guppies” of the show face a real risk of getting swallowed whole.

It is a fascinating look into the shrewdness of capitalism. One will quickly understand the axiom of “it takes money to make money” and why “the rich always seem to get richer”. The “sharks” are experts at identifying an opportunity. They also have the resources to act upon those opportunities.  That combination sets them apart. I have a MBA so I know the theories of that world and I work in management but I am not a “shark”. Whatever your opinion of these businessmen, one has to admit that they are very good at what they do.sharks

The Bible tells us that we Christians can learn a thing or two from these “sharks”. “Sharks” are primarily driven by a purpose of maximizing profits. Christians have a purpose – “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever”. Now, what if we believers pursued that purpose as shrewdly as a “shark” pursues profits?

Just consider all of the opportunities that we are provide to bring glory to God, how many of those do we act upon? Are we even looking for opportunities? Are we actively out there trying to make our purpose happen?  Do we even know our chief purpose? I am ashamed to admit that shrewdness does not describe my purposefulness. Lackadaisical may be a more appropriate word.

That is not the way it should be. We should know how to deal with our own generation. We all will face a day when we will no longer be able to use our wealth and gifts for our chief purpose.  Now is the time to be making the most of the opportunities that we have to glorify God and be “making friends” for the Lord. There is an amazing promise here in verse 9 of being welcomed into heaven by those individuals who we had a part of reaching for Christ.  Will there be anyone to welcome you?

There is still time to invest wisely and seek opportunities. Only the exceptional, will be called a shark. Let’s strive to be exceptional for our Lord. Let’s be diligent about our purpose and act as shrewdly as any shark with the opportunities we are given.

PRAYER: Lord, Thank you for all the opportunities that you have given me to serve you. Forgive me for “cherry-picking” the ones that are most comfortable to me. Forgive me for not considering which opportunity will give you the most glory. Lord, I want to be a good servant. Give me a heart to desire to be about your purpose in all that I do, every day, this very day.    Amen

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IT IS COLD OUTSIDE; COME ON IN – Nov. 29th

November 29, 2012

“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.” Psalm 61:2b-4

We had a strong storm blow through not that long ago. It was a cold driving wind that turned rain drops into stinging projectiles. In a pasture along the road home, I saw several horses out in the storm because they had no shelter. They had pointed their backsides into the wind, hunched their backs, and dropped their heads. Since there was no escape, they were miserably enduring the storm. I was thinking about those poor beasts as our garage door automatically opened and we silently slipped into the refuge of our home; fully protected from the ravages of the storm. I was very appreciative of my house.

It would have been silly of me to park outside our garage. It would have been even sillier to seek refuge under one of our leave-less shade trees. I would have quickly been as miserable as those horses.  I would have been a fool since I had an escape to refuge only feet away.

You can have a refuge but you have to go in. A strong tower is only of value if you are inside of it. However, we are told in Luke 14:28-29 that there is a cost to strong towers. There is an issue with entering the strong tower of the Bible.  It is like getting through security at the airport. You are not going to get through with prohibited items.

We cannot enter the strong tower of our Lord with the prohibited passions of this world. “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33 We have to lay aside all of those things that we value more than the Rock of our salvation. Sadly, many are miserably bewildered as they are caught in a raging storm of our enemy, just outside the refuge of our Lord, clutching their trinkets.

Come inside, where the enemy cannot reach you.  It is so much better than miserably enduring. There is no trinket of this world that can match the treasures that await you inside the strong tower of our Lord.

PRAYER: Lord, Forgive me for clucthing onto valueless trinkets, thinking they are great treasures. You are the greatest treasure in all the universe.  It it through You that I can find value in all that you have created.  Thank you for being my strong tower. Thank you for protecting me from the stinging storms of this world. I will praise your name as the storms of this world pelt the outside of my faithful refuge. Amen

Image from http://www.panoramio.com/photo/72280416

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WHAT DO YOUR STONES MEAN? – Nov. 28th

November 28, 2012

“When your children ask in time to come, “What do those stones mean to you?”” Joshua 4:7

It is our hope in the next couple years to take a family vacation to Washington, DC.  There is just something about standing in the same place that history was made or walking through memorials that makes history come to life. My kids are studying a lot of US History. I want that history to be more than just stories in a book.  We want it to mean something to them. I want it to be a reality to them.

My wife and I visited that USS Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor. One grasps a much deeper meaning to the word sacrifice and appreciation for what prior generations have given us, when you stand over the watery tomb of those who have given it all in the service of their country.  After having been there, Pearl Harbor means more to me.  It is more than just a historical event by having stood there.  It is a reality to me.

That is the importance of memorials. They are important because we have short memories. They are important because what was real and relevant for one generation is usually less relevant to the next. This fact is even more important when we consider our faith. I don’t want my kids to live through my faith. I want them to come to their own passionate love of God.

There is a process that should concern every parent.  There is about a three generation cycle: one generation will be passionate about the faith that they have experienced directly; the next generation is luke-warm and follows the faith of their parents; the third generation falls away.  This cycle makes me concerned about my kids and especially about my future grand-kids. However, this cycle is not written in stone but it takes effort to break. It can be broken with memorials.

I need to be making specific efforts to create memorials in my life and the life of my family to ground us all in the reality of God’s faithfulness. I need to be active in pointing out to my kids that God is more than the abstract faith of their father. When God gets us through something tough, we need to make a memorial so that we will remember. When God blesses us, we need to make a memorial so that we will remember. These little reminders (a photograph, a nick-nack, a journal, etc.) are teaching opportunities for our kids. They are stones that will get our kids to asks, “What does that mean to you?”  Stones that will make the faith of one generation more of a reality to the next.

Our kids are watching our lives.  We are creating stones of memorials all the time to that which is important in our lives.  Ask any adult child, “what was important to your Dad; what was important to your Mom” and they will be able to tell you.  That is because every parent leaves stones of memorials to their priorities. The manner in which we live our faith is our kids normal. They will pattern their lives based on what we demonstrate as important. I want my kids to see a faith that is real so that they will seek a relationship with God that is real, deep, passionate…alive.  I want my kids to live a life full of stones of memorials that get their kids, my grandkids, to ask, “what does that mean to you?”.  That is a true legacy but legacies start in the present. It is time to gather some stones today.

PRAYER: Lord, I pray for the salvation of my kids; draw them to yourself; make their faith real and show yourself to them. Lord – prepare them to live a life that is glorifying to you.  Father – help me to be a father to them that points them to you; may my faith be a memorial to them of your faithfulness. Help me to live in such a way that they will want more of you. Amen

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