Saturday, May 31, 2014

Like Mike

Proverbs 31
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Or for rulers to desire strong drink,

Michael Jordan was a basketball legend.  I was just a little kid when he was playing ball, but I remember that there was something amazing about how he played the game.  He made me want to dunk the ball.  I’d try and I’d jump and one day I finally touched the net.  So I kept trying and I kept jumping and one day I finally touched the backboard.  But no matter what I did, I couldn’t touch the rim, nevermind ever actually dunking the ball like Mike.  I can’t be like Mike and dunk the ball. 

I can’t drink, either.  Well, technically I can.  I’ve done it, and been pretty successful at it.  Some folks can drink, scripture doesn’t expressly forbid drinking, and that’s good for them.  But for me, I can’t be the dad I need to be, the husband, the godly example, the godly man I need to be and drink.  It trips me up and gets my focus off God.  It’s hard to explain.  Something in my spirit just isn’t at peace with it, so I can’t do it.  No biggie.  I can’t dunk either.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Case XX

Proverbs 30
5 Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
My dad collects pocket knives. His favorite ones are from the W.R. Case and Sons knife company. The company still makes the old timey pocket knives like the ones Grandpas have seemed to always carry. I have a few of them myself. They have a very cool old school kind of craftsmanship. On the tang, or base of every blade, “Case XX” is stamped. If I'm not mistaken, the story goes that the XX part came about as the temper, or hardness, of the blade was tested. After the first test, a guy would stamp an X onto the tang. Then another guy would test and if it passed he would stamp an X as well. The blades were tested. Double tested to meet the standard.

God’s word is tested. Tested more than just twice, his word has been tested since creation and has stood the test. Every word has been tested. The ones we like and the ones we don’t like, his word never fails. He is our shield, and there is no shield bigger, or more powerful, or stronger, or durable, or loving than our shield. Put your X on God today by telling someone how he’s stood the test and been your refuge.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

By the power of Grayskull

Proverbs 29
19 A slave will not be instructed by words alone;
For though he understands, there will be no response.

That's right my friends: He-Man. When I was a kid, He-Man was king. If you’re not familiar with it, Google it. You’ll thank me later. I had the little action figures. I even had the He-Man castle: Grayskull. It had a drawbridge and trap door. It was awesome. There was even a movie. There’s this one scene in the movie where He-Man is getting whipped by one of Skeletor's minions with a whip. Not just lashes from any whip, but lashed with a laser whip. A laser whip! Total awesome.

This verse got me thinking: Has God ever whipped you? He’s whipped me. Not with a laser whip, but with pain, and with the consequences of my actions. Has God ever whipped you? Just like a good parent will discipline their child, I believe God disciplines us so that we’ll not forget the lesson he’s teaching. What's the best thing to do in that situation? Respond. God doesn’t discipline us to show us how big and bad he is. All creation already does that. He doesn’t even do it so we’ll feel bad and remorseful. If you have a true understanding of sin, you probably already feel those emotions. He does it to bring about a response. Sometimes without pain, we'll understand, but not respond.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Guitars, Drums and Rock and Roll

Proverbs 28
4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
But those who keep the law strive with them.

I love playing music. It’s just been a part of me for such a long time. My mom says I could play the guitar when I was 4 or 5. My grandpa bought me a little guitar and taught me how to play chords. I picked it up again when I was 12 or 13 and it’s been with me ever since. My favorite music: rock music. I knew every Nirvana song by heart as a teenager. Taught myself to play drums by listening to Dave Grohl on Nirvana albums. My favorite guitarist for a long time was Slash of GNR fame. Me + Rock Music = Peanut butter + Jelly. True story.

But God kept nagging at me. Keeps nagging at me. Who do you praise? As musicians go, I wasn’t praising godly men. We’ve all got our flaws, but most rock stars seem to revel in theirs. And that made it easier to revel in mine. I had a hard time reconciling my musical heroes with God’s word. So, my thought for the day- Who do you praise, and who do you strive against? It’s something I have to keep working on, but I have to make a daily choice to praise what God says is praiseworthy.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My Nemesis: The Alarm Clock

Proverbs 27
14 He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning,
It will be reckoned a curse to him.

The alarm clock. If you could travel back in time and pick a fight with anyone, who would you choose? My vote: the guy who invented the alarm clock. Just kidding. Mostly. I’ve been out of town since Friday. It was amazing: 4 days with my wife and kids, fishing, kayaking, clean mountain air, mountains & trees, seeing my brother and parents, lots of good food, no phone, no TV, no internet, and most importantly- no alarm clocks.

Today is the first day back from vacation, and the greeting I get this morning is from the alarm clock. It was a bit of a jolt. It’s good that I got to work on time, but man, it was a rude awakening this morning.  And that got me thinking when I saw this verse. Getting to work on time is good. Blessings are good. There are things and actions that can be good, but done unwisely, they are received as bad things. Evaluate the best time and way to bless those in your life. One size doesn’t fit all.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Terminator or Protector?

For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
He says to you, “Eat and drink!”
But his heart is not with you.

Terminator 2. If you can grab the censored for TV version of the movie, you could do worse than T2.  For those that don't know, the terminator was a robot sent from the future that looks like a human being.  The terminator from the first movie is back, but instead of trying to kill the main characters, he's there to protect them. 

It's the exact same model robot.  All the insides and capabilities are exactly the same.  But the outcome is completely different.  Why?  They changed his programming.  They changed the way he thinks, and his actions were completely different.  Solomon says, "as he thinks within himself, so he is."  I've noticed that when I'm at my worst, my thoughts are farthest from God.  When I'm at my best, my thoughts aren't focused on myself, or others, or on things, but on God.   Terminator or Protector?  I think the difference is in what you focus on and what you think about.  Focus on Jesus.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Acts 28
But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, “Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.” However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. But they were expecting that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.

This is one of my favorite stories.  Paul had been through some hairy situations.  Beaten, imprisoned, hated by his own people, harassed at every turn, shipwrecked, and snake bitten (I hate snakes and would have screamed like a girl and hoped that nobody wrote about it), Paul had scars.  Through all the trials, God never let him down. 
The things we go through leave their mark on us.  Sometimes those marks open doors of opportunity to share the good news of what God is doing. You can try to hide them, which usually doesn't work for long, or you can use them as an opportunity to share how God has been faithful. 

How to Make Friends and Influence People

Proverbs 22:
11 He who loves purity of heart And whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.

I am the world’s most awkward person when it comes to making friends.  I’m friendly.  I hope; if I haven’t been let me know.  But I’ve never been an “I’ve got to have 100 friends” kind of guy.  Socially awkward around new people: Check.  It's not something that I really enjoy about my personality, so a while back I read the book “How to Make Friends and Influence People."  Honest answer: it really weirded me out.  To me, it was more of a manual on how to manipulate people to do what you want them to do.  Maybe I need to go back and read it again so that the kids will keep their rooms clean.  Kidding. Mostly.
God has a “How to Make Friends” method, and as well as I can remember, it’s a pretty far sight from Mr. Carnegie’s method.  It goes something like this: Strive to have a pure heart, and honor those that also strive to have pure hearts.  Love them.  Speak kind, courteous, and pleasant words.  That’s it.  No coming up with insightful questions.  No manipulation.  Be like a child of God.  I think if we can nail down those points, people would be drawn to us.  Not drawn by our intelligence, humor, looks, or any of that, but drawn to those God qualities and habits they see lived out in us.  God’s word even says the king would be our friend.  Go out and make some new friends today.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Funny Things Happen When You're Coloring

I was coloring tonight with my little boy, and he decided he wanted to make a book.  So he started writing and saying out loud what he was writing: "God loved us and sent his Son, 1st John 4:10."  Then he said something that really blew me away.  "Why did God send his Son, with the soldiers and the cross.  He loves us, that's why."
Wow.  And there I thought we were just going to color pictures.

He's Got Your Back

Yesterday was our 14th anniversary.  Woot woot. 

Proverbs 21:

31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
But victory belongs to the Lord.

He’s got your back.  Battle can seem like a pretty foreign concept to most of us.  Most of us have never served in the military, or gone to war.  But being a Christian is very much a life of battle.  We battle against the flesh as we seek to follow Jesus.  We battle against the society we live in as we seek to create a wholesome and holy lifestyle for ourselves and our children.  We even have a supernatural arch enemy that battles against us and seeks to destroy us.  Being a Christian is no joke, and it’s not an easy life sometimes.
But victory belongs to the Lord.  He owns it.  He commands it.  He lays it down wherever he wants and no one has the power to pick it up but him. And He is for us.  He loves us.  He loves us more than my baby girl loves puppies and baby birds.  He cherishes us.  We’re so precious to him that he gave his only Son to redeem us.  So, take heart.  No matter what battle you're facing, victory belongs to the Lord, and he’s got your back.