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Archive for February, 2014

Have You Heard God Whisper?

February 28, 2014 3 comments

Have you ever heard God whisper?

I normally have some noise going on in my life.  It might be something Read more…

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , , ,

And A Painter Paints

February 27, 2014 4 comments

It is early morning as I write this.  I’ve been up for a while now, but the sun has yet to come up over the mountain, nor shine through the back windows of our home.

Everyone else is still asleep.  It’s our day off, though Lauren has to go to her part-time job a little later today.  I got up at the same time as any other normal day.  I tell people this sometimes and they shake their heads.  They don’t understand, and truth be told, I don’t fully understand it either.

For one thing, I wake up at the same time everyday.  Once I do, I can’t go back to sleep.  My mind begins to move, to work.  I think about everything I want to do, everything I want to write.

The question, if I wanted to ask it, might be what makes a writer write.  What makes someone want to do this so much that they would rather put their fingers to the keyboard more than almost anything else, definitely more than sleep.

What makes a writer write?  Or a painter paint?  A musician to play?  I think that is the common thread with artists and creatives.  There is something deep within them that causes them to want to produce their work more than almost anything else.  They feel more alive when they are creating their art than when they are doing almost anything else.

I’ll let you in on something.  When I do this, when I get up early before anyone else, when it’s just my keyboard and me, there is another important element that joins me.  It’s the Lord.  This becomes an act of worship that is difficult to describe to anyone who doesn’t experience something similar.

The painter understands.  The musician gets it.  I even know some deer hunters that empathize with what I am describing.  When a person practices the craft they are called to do, they feel as alive as they ever have in the midst of producing their art.

Maybe you get it.  You’re a gardener.  Digging in the earth releases something deep within in you, an act of worship that is as powerful as any other act of holiness of which you are a part.

You like to fly fish?  You practice your cast over and over.  You can instinctively see the deep pools where the trout hides waiting for your fly to strike.  And when you catch your day’s limit of fish, you bless the Lord for what He has given.

I don’t know what you are called to do.  I just believe that there is something that summons you, something so strong you will neglect, no have to neglect, many other things just so that you can do it.  So that you can worship in your own unique way before the Lord.

I encourage you to find it.  You may have to throw a lot of spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks.  Once you do you will wonder how you ever were able to get by without it.  That’s why I get up early to write.

And a painter paints.

What makes you feel alive more than anything?

What’s The Point Of Prayer?

February 26, 2014 2 comments

There are days that I sit down to my keyboard and begin to write.  I have an idea that I want to push through to create a post.  I have an idea that I love and I want to get it down.

So I go to work.  I write one hundred, perhaps half more of that, and then it stops.  There are no more words.  It’s as though I have been headed down a clear path only to find myself facing an insurmountable obstacle.  I can go no further.  No matter how hard I try or how much I want to , I can’t scale that wall.

I turn back to where I came from.  Other paths are there to take, other options that might lead me to my destination.  Some trails peter out quickly.  Others let me meander along to the point I don’t know where I am any longer.  Some how I manage to get back to the trail head, retracing my steps to where I was.

*****

It doesn’t just happen with my words that I try to type.  It happens with my prayers as well.  I will run down shorts paths, long ones, twisty trails.  Some are as bright as day.  Still others are as dark as night.  Sometimes all I know to do is cry out.

What’s the point?

The Bible assumes we will pray.  The Lord says we will.  He says, “When we pray” do it like this and like that.  We are  made to pray.

*****

At some point I realize what the point it.  It isn’t easy.  No lightning bolt strikes.  No writing is seen on the wall.  It’s just a small feeling, not even a voice.  It tells me He has been there all along.

The post I write?  It isn’t about making sure that I have another piece to publish.  It’s about Him.  It’s about  knowing Him in a new way each day, something that draws me closer to Him, something to share with others that will declare Him.

Prayer?  It mirrors this.  It isn’t about who or what you pray to or for.  It isn’t about how your words find themselves stuck to the ceiling one day or flying to the stars the next.  Our prayers are about Jesus and the relationship He brings.  It’s about drawing near to God to see Him draw near to you.

What the point?

That’s the point?

What do you think the point of prayer is?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , , ,

What Is Your Passion?

February 25, 2014 10 comments

I’ve written before about my friend, Roscoe Morgan.  He’s a world-class mandolin player.  He was also my mandolin teacher for a time that I took lessons.

When he was young, Roscoe would play for hours upon hours, neglecting almost everything else.  He would often even forget to eat.

Looking back at my time playing the mandolin, I realize that I didn’t have what Roscoe had when it comes to the mandolin.  I’m not talking about talent, though that is certainly the case.

I didn’t have the same dream when it came to playing.  I didn’t have the same calling.  I didn’t have the passion.

No, I’m not distinguishing between those three.

Jeff Goins wrote about his friend, Shane, in his book, The In-Between.  Shane was a guitar player in the same band as Jeff at one time.  Jeff also played guitar?  What was the difference between them?  Shane practiced constantly, crawling in the back of the van and playing scales while they drove down the road.

What are guys like Shane and Roscoe willing to do to pursue their dream, their call, their passion?

They take so much delight in what they are doing that they are willing to give up other things and limit themselves in pursuit of the dream.

What they’ve realized, even if it’s subconsciously, is that they cannot be a jack of all trades, master of none.  They have decided to forego a lot of things in order to master their passion.

Jeff Goins decided he would be a writer.  He wouldn’t just say that he wrote things.

Rosco Morgan decided he would be a mandolin player.  He wouldn’t just play the mandolin.

Shane decided he would be a guitar player.  He wouldn’t just play the guitar.

These men decided that they would go all in  for what they were called to do.

What’s your dream?  What’s your call?  What’s your passion?

Have you sold out to it?  Are you pursuing it with everything?  Would you give up eating to spend a little extra time doing it?

I believe that we are all called to something that will grab our passion this way.  We may not have discovered it yet.  That doesn’t mean that it isn’t out there waiting for us.

It may take some time.  You may have to throw several things against the wall to see what will stick.  Keep throwing until you determine what it is.

Are you a jack of all trades, master of none?  Or have you figured out what your passion is?

 

Money

February 24, 2014 8 comments

There are a few things that we all need.  Food.  Clothing.  Shelter.  Basic needs for all of us.  We all like to eat.  We need clothing because no one wants to see us naked.  We all like to sleep in the warm and dry.

There’s only one way that most of us can supply ourselves with those things.

Money

No, not the Pink Floyd song, though that’s what it’s about with its old cash register sound.  We all need money.

We go to work so that we will be paid with money.  Our employers charge money for their services.  Even our churches need money.  My church needs $853 just to turn the lights on each week.

No matter where we turn we need money.  Gas costs money.  Food costs money.

Money.

Money For Nothing

Let’s face it.  There’s a whole lot of stuff in our homes that money has bought that amounts to nothing.

We could call do inventories of the things we own only to find that much of it really amounts to nothing.

It could be a magazine subscription or old clothes that we hold onto because we can’t bear to let go of them.  It’s different for all of us.

Money Can’t Buy Me Love

Money can buy many things.  Like The Beatles sang, “Money can’t buy me love.”   Do you know what money can buy?

It can buy happiness.  Money can definitely buy happiness for a time.  What it can’t buy is joy

Money can do many things for us.

It just can’t do what Christ can do for it.

Have you ever tried to depend on money for happiness?

God Given Dreams

February 21, 2014 1 comment

When God created the world and created man, He talked with Adam and gave him a task.  Adam had one thing to do.

Be fruitful.  Multiply.  Fill the earth.  Subdue it.

I realize I listed four things there, but that is just one thing from God.  It’s one command.

It’s also something much more.

This is the dream that God gave to Adam.  It was his purpose.  It was his call.  All the same thing.

Of course, it was interrupted by the Fall, so the fulfillment of it wasn’t carried out and Adam lost this dream when he ate the forbidden fruit.

*****

God appeared to man not long after.  The world was wicked.  God gave this man a job to do.  Noah had one thing to do.

Build an ark to save himself and his family.  A few animals too.

For one hundred years, Noah worked on this task.  He built an ark.  A boat, something that no one had ever seen.

You can imagine the snickers and questions that Noah got.

The flood came and Noah entered the ark.

The dream that God gave Noah was accomplished.

*****

God later appeared to another man.  He talked with Him and gave him a task.  Abram had one thing to do.

Go.  To a land.  A land I will show you.

This was the first dream that God gave the future Abraham.  Later, God changed his name from Abram to Abraham and gave him the dream of producing a son of promise.

*****

God appeared to an 85-year-old shepherd in the desert.  Moses saw a burning bush and approached it.

God told Moses to go back to Egypt and lead his countrymen out to the Promised Land.

After some resistance, Moses did what he was asked.

He encountered a pharaoh who was not keen on letting millions of slaves go.  Not to mention that the millions of slaves were not keen on leaving what they knew for the unknown.

Moses persevered and led the Israelites into the wilderness on the way.

God gave Moses a dream to lead a nation back to their land.

*****

David was just a shepherd boy who had fought lions and bears for his sheep.  God chose him to be the next king of Israel.

He fought and slew a giant.  He served the first king for years and survived his tantrums and tirades.

Finally, he became king and fought for Israel to have peace from all of its enemies that surrounded them.

God gave David the dream of being a king.

*****

God spoke to a bible professor while on sabbatical writing a book.

He impressed on the professor that he would not merely be studied, but proclaimed.

He gave the professor a dream that  God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

He developed an idea he called Christian Hedonism, where our joy is pursued through God.

God gave John Piper the dream of being a preacher.

*****

God is speaking to you.  He has something that He wants only you to do.  He wants to give you a dream, a dream just for you. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t building an ark or anything like these other people

God had a dream tailored just for you.

What dream has He given you?

Categories: Christianity, Faith

Developing An Appetite For God

February 20, 2014 3 comments

Once when I was little, we had macaroni and cheese for a meal.  It seems like it was at a picnic, but I was young and it is one of my earliest and vaguest memories.  I can’t swear to that being the truth or not.

What I do remember, though, was that I got sick.  I threw up and the macaroni and cheese was the culprit.  At least in my two or three-year old mind it was.  My reaction?  I never wanted to eat macaroni and cheese again.  I still don’t.  The memory returns every time I smell or even see macaroni and cheese.  I get nauseous at the thought of eating macaroni and cheese.

I cannot develop an appetite for macaroni.

*****

I went through one of those phases when I graduated high school.  I was a good kid, but decided it was time to have some fun and do some things different.

I began to drink a little beer.

I remember that first drink.  It was terrible.  So was the second and third ans so on.  I wondered why anyone would want to drink the stuff.

The next time, it still tasted bad, but not nearly so bad as the first.  It gradually got better and better until I longed for it and desired it.

I developed an appetite for beer.

*****

It has been the same throughout life with a few other things.  Chocolate.  Diet Mountain Dew.

I have an appetite for a few things.  I desire them.  I long for them.

I think it’s the same with God.

In our natural state before coming to know Him, we have no appetite for Him at all.  Nothing will stoke our appetite so that we desire  God.  It’s like macaroni with me.  We are born with a sickness that makes us nauseous at the thought of God.  On our own, we won’t desire a taste of Him at all.

What’s the cure?  How do we overcome this?  How do we develop an appetite for God?

He gives us the way in HI word.  It’s a scripture that I use time and time again in this blog.

O taste and see that the Lord is good.

Taste him, even when you don’t want to.  Taste Him again.  And again.

Try your best to founder on Him.  Try to fill up on Him.

He will be like the manna He sent the Israelites.  Enough for each day

He will be like the quail He sent them as well.  So much that we can’t believe it.

He is the Living Water that Christ offered the woman at the well.  We will never thirst again.

We will finally have an appetite.

We will develop an appetite for God.

How is your appetite for God?