The Sun Is Always Shining

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Welcome to 2019,..new day,…new year,…new beginnings for one and all!

How was 2018 for you?

Thankfully I didn’t get too retrospective on New Year’s Eve as I’ve been battling a traditional end of the year cold,…with everyone else it seems. Sniffle, cough, sniffle, sip tea, reach for a tissue, and sniffle-cough some more. It’s life.

However there is always something to be thankful for. Yes, 2018 had its challenges, but Praise the LORD, there were joys, and lots of answers to prayer as well.

The sun, you know is always shining on the other side of the clouds. Or for me, after I lost my father, it was helpful to remember that Every Storm Runs Out Of Rain,…but I didn’t want to post a picture of rain clouds for the new year. Hello,…let’s start out 2019 as cheerfully as possible,..even if one is sniffling and coughing – ugh.

So the beginning of the new year is already here, and if you are having any regrets about 2018,…or even previous years here is some encouragement.

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” – C.S. Lewis

The ‘start where you are’,…really spoke to me as it seemed to shut the door nicely on past regrets. Everyone has regrets, we wouldn’t be human, if we didn’t. No one is perfect, and that’s no shock to the LORD.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
 He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.

Psalm 103: 9-14

Dust? Hello,…only the LORD can refer to us as dust and make it sound like a compliment!

“High as the heavens,” — that’s way beyond the clouds, or even our solar system. How many zillion light years is that? It’s a bunch,…and it’s comfort to know such love is available to us for the coming year.

2019 is a blank slate. No doubt there will be challenges, and joys. Why do we always seem to forget the joys so quickly while those gloomy challenges seem to linger like a mid-winter head cold? On those gloomy days look up,…our view may be dark clouds,…but above those clouds the sun is always shining. 

Happy New Year,…may God bless and keep you!

 

What Are You Waiting For?

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“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” – Proverbs 13:12

What are you hoping for in life?

Or a better question would be, “By what measure do you gauge the fulfillment of your hopes and dreams?”

Even as I write early this Monday morning I can hear a chorus of birds singing outside my office window – beautiful and lulling – perfectly in tune. Only there is no choir master, each bird is singing their own song with all of their heart. I can only assume there is no comparison, “Oh no! That bird in the elm sings so much better than me,…perhaps I should stop singing.”

Have you ever used comparison to stop exercising a gift? I have, years ago when I was attempting to formate a lucid sentence and failed,…again, and again,…and again. My hope was to be a writer, and I was looking for instant success, quite unaware I had already achieved my goal. Writers, write. That’s why I couldn’t stay away from the pen and paper,…as this was even before I had a keyboard.

If you write, you are a writer.
If you run, you are a runner.
If you play basketball, you are a basketball player.
If you sing, you are a singer.
If you dance, you are a dancer,….I think you get my drift.

There is joy in discovering and developing your passion, your talents, your purpose. The Lord is not arbitrary. There is a reason why you are wired the way you are wired be it for art, music, sports, carpentry, finances, medicine, teaching,…ect.

However comparison kills motivation.
Success measured by worldly standards is not attainable or sustainable. So many who are successful by the world’s standards are utterly miserable.
Why are the successful so heart sick?
Success doesn’t fulfill their longings,…their hopes,…their dreams.

Tree of life,…i.e. salvation, won on calvary means that your worth has already been decided. YOU are priceless. Your gifts have worth, because you have worth. It’s all a matter of perspective for what you are hoping for, longing for, dreaming for,…is already yours.

What are you waiting for?
If you are a writer, write.
If you are a singer, sing.
If you are a runner, run for the glory of God.

Remember that classic scene in Chariots of Fire?

Eric Liddell, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast, and when I run I feel his pleasure.” 

“You can glorify God if  you peel a potato if you peel it to perfection.” – Rev J.D. Liddell. 

Have you peeled any potatoes lately?

“Whatever you do, work at it all all your heart, as for for the Lord, not human masters.” Colossians 3:23

30 Feet To Safety!

 

Can you see the little neon green worm dangling from a silken strand? My little guy and I spotted it on our early morning walk, and of course had to stop for a photo-shoot. You can’t tell, but the little worm is dangling over the middle of the road with the nearest tree branch 30 feet in the air!!!

30 Feet To Safety!

How did that little worm get into that predicament?
Did it fall from the safety of a leaf? Get pushed off by another worm staking claim? Or did it ignore all safety rules. Can’t you just hear a motherly voice chide, “Don’t be nibbling too near the edge of the leaf!”

My goodness, but it just isn’t safe to be dangling in the middle of the road. One car passes and it’s, “Goodbye little green worm!” – or even more likely there were plenty of birds flitting about from tree to tree looking for breakfast. Needless to say the little worm’s odds,…weren’t good.

However our little green worm seemed to have a lick of common sense. Despite it’s predicament it wasn’t indulging in a “Oh woe is me,” pity party. Instead that little worm was clinging to it’s lifeline.

What was required of that little green worm? Cling and climb, nothing else. No freaking out. No thinking up the ‘worse-case scenario.’  No looking down. The only way for that worm to escape its past mistakes was to climb forward to its future on that nice leafy branch.

Isn’t it nice to know the Lord doesn’t put helpless little worms on 30 foot trees without a lifeline? Safety for that little worm was built into its DNA. It only had to trust and believe that the silken strand would appear when needed.

Have you ever felt like you were dangling at the end of a rope? Do life’s predicaments have you feeling helpless and vulnerable? No matter how you got to where you are by your own accord, or others, there is hope.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

While watching that little green worm inch its way upward, I noticed it wasn’t paying any attention to anything, but its present task.
Hello, giant creatures were standing there talking about it, taking pictures of it, speculating on its odds of survive against that climb and all the hungry birds, but that little green worm didn’t stop and say, “Excuse me, I am climbing here, do you mind moving along?” – instead, it never wavered from its task,…from the one thing,…that would lead it to safety.

How easy is it for us to get distracted by our past mistakes, or present difficulties? How many pity parties do we throw? Or all those sleepless nights,…tossing and turning over desperate scenarios that will never come to pass. Instead we can cling to the lifeline of our salvation and unwaveringly press heavenward in Christ Jesus!

Takeaways

From a worm? Seriously?
Absolutely!

  • No matter what your predicament trust in the Lord’s provision! The Lord is gracious to build our faith. David didn’t tackle Goliath until he had conquered a bear and a lion, and I am sure that little green worm had had a test trial or two to assure its spinnerets were working for that safety line before it got knocked out of that tree.  “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
  • Don’t freak out! Cling to your lifeline: prayer, worship, scriptures. Find a scripture for your need. Cling to God’s promises! “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105
  • During your climb don’t look down! We’ve all made mistakes. Move forward, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
  • Keep your eyes heavenward. The world is going to try to distract you, to even frighten you, but never waver from your task. “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3: 13-14

    No matter where you are in life. Don’t give up. Keep clinging. Keep climbing!

Life’s Like A Gumball Machine

 

Can you see where this post title is going?

Gumball machines aren’t as numerous as in the olden days,…hem, hem, last century when you couldn’t turn a corner without running into one of these brightly painted machines. Dating myself here, but when I was very little, I could remember penny machines, and then inflation took them to a nickel,…dime,…and now it’s generally a quarter,…if not more for a treat.

Plunk in your coin,…twist the handle with hopes for your favorite color, as they all taste the same, and wait with anticipation as the the machine rattles,…open the nickel door,…and voila,..your gumball is delivered.

Is that all?

Yep, but it’s the entire experience that you are paying for. The excitement of never knowing what you’re going to get. 

Yeah, I know the post title was kinda self-explanatory.

Life’s Like A Gumball Machine. You put in your coin, but you have no idea what you’re going to get.

Now you have to decide which is going to rule your life. Insecurity or excitement? Can we truly be content with whatever comes out of that machine? What if you get blue, but you wanted red? What if your gumball is cracked, or incomplete? What if the flavors are changed? This last is completely hypothetical query. Gumballs have tasted the same for millennia, but it’s a remote possibility.

Can we be content in any circumstance?

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13

Can’t predict life anymore than we can predict what color is coming out of a gumball machine, but we can be confident in the knowledge that although, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it’s the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21

‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight,” Proverbs 3:5-6 Or in other words,…plunk in your coin with full confidence,…whatever life gives you,…will be for the ultimate best!