Tag Archives: bible

Aging Well

Aging well is something that can be hard to do.  When it comes to physical activity, the world is your oyster when you’re in your twenties. Then you find that the older you get, your body takes longer to do what it used to do so quickly.  And it takes longer to recover.

We just bought a new house (new to us anyway) and this weekend was the “Big Move”.  Needless to say, I am very thankful for friends and family!  We had some good help but we were all feeling it by the end of the day Saturday.   As a result, I have noticed a couple of things about aging well that I’d like to quickly share with you.

Because of these recent events, it is in the forefront of my mind that I feel physical exertion more now that I’m older (a very young 46).  Just as significant, I have found that it takes longer for my body to recover from it as well.

The most important observation I have made regarding this concept of aging well would be this:  Aging well is totally a mind game.  I truly mean what I said earlier.  I am a young 46 years old.  How many people consider themselves old at that age?  More than you would think.  How many limit themselves and what they can still do with their lives by what they tell themselves on a daily basis?

It’s a spiritual law that God addresses in the Bible.  There are many scriptures about the power of our thoughts and the words we choose to say.

Think about it.  And change what needs to change in your own life so that you can live as God would have you live.  Healthy and vibrant and free!

Talk to you next time, my friend.

A Crutch

“It’s a crutch.  Your faith is a crutch you use because you’re emotionally weak.”  There are some who believe this about anyone who has faith in any belief system that’s not “rooted in science”.  But why do they say that?

There is so much emphasis right now on equality.  When it comes to a belief system, many say they approach this the same way:  “Believe whatever you want to believe, man.  It’s alright with me.”  But it really isn’t.  Not when they find out what the Bible says.

Sure, we all have the right to believe whatever we want to believe–about anything–but that doesn’t mean that we’re right about it.  Many years ago, most people believed that the earth was flat.  Were they right about that?  Was that considered a crutch?

So what am I getting at?

My uncle on my Mom’s side of the family isn’t expected to live out the next 24 hours.  What happens to him when he dies?  It’s a question we all must face.  And many run from that question because they’re scared of what the answer might be.  But force yourself to face that question for just a moment…..

Let me mention a foundational point that Jesus Christ taught.  Anyone who genuinely accepts Jesus into their heart as Lord and Savior and lives out the rest of their life with that realization has an eternal home with God in Heaven.  That person is known as a Christian.  When that Christian dies,  his spirit enters into Heaven, just as Jesus said it would.  A promise.  From the God of Heaven to every human being on Earth. So why not believe that?  It’s too good to be true?  We don’t want to be accountable for our sin?  The list of excuses is many.

My Dad died in a highway accident four years ago.  He loved Jesus with all of his heart.  I know I’ll see him again (and my uncle).  Jesus promised me that in the Bible.  That is living hope!  Why not believe that?  Is that a crutch?

Bottom line, a person is going to believe what a person wants to believe.  If someone believes that faith in God and His Word is a crutch, so be it.  No one can change what someone else believes.  But what will change a belief?  A willingness to see what a person has been previously unwilling to see.  Personal revelation of something  (like the Earth isn’t flat after all).

I would leave you with this example.  Let’s assume for a moment that I am a Christian and you are not.  If you are right and I am wrong–there is no God; the Bible isn’t true; there is no life after death–than you’ve gained nothing and I’ve gained nothing.  When we die, we die.  End of story.  But if I am right and you are wrong, I’ve gained everything and you’ve lost everything.

You couldn’t be gambling with any higher stakes than that.  Is it worth it?  As we are told in Deuteronomy 30:19, we have the ability to choose life and death, blessings and curses.

Choose wisely, my friend!

Potential

With the Olympics underway, it is naturally fitting that something ought to be said about what we are all to witness over the next week or two.

You may or may not know that many Olympic athletes not only undergo intense physical training, but also–and even more importantly–they undergo intense mental training.  Why do I say that the mental training supersedes the physical training?

Because it all starts with a thought.

Everything you do with your life and in your life first begins as a thought; your body simply follows through with that thought, bringing into the physical realm what was first in the mental realm.  Our thoughts define us as human beings.  That’s why there are true stories of twins born in the slums of a city where one chooses to do something big with his life, rising above his circumstances and achieving his Dream, and the other chooses to remain where he is, his circumstances dictating to him a fruitless and pointless life.  You may have heard the phrase, “Either way, you’re right”.  That certainly applies here.

But it’s even more than that.  Listen:  You were created to be so much more than you are!  God sees your potential and celebrates it; Satan sees your potential and fears it.  Why?  Because he knows that you have been made in the image of God Himself with God-given potential and the ability to see that potential through to achieving truly astonishing things; and that if we fully understood what that really means and how successful Satan has been at duping us into believing and accepting as truth the charade that is all around us, he would totally lose the hold he has had on humanity since the fall of Adam.

The sooner you are able and willing to see through the smoke screen Satan has thrown up, the sooner you will be able to fulfill the Big Dream God has put in your heart.  And we all have one!  Some of us are already doing it; others are in the process of achieving it; yet others are just discovering that they have one and can even do anything about getting it.  The amazing thing is, there are plenty of examples of people being successful at what they do without even having a relationship with God.  That shows the innate power to create and achieve that God has put inside each one of us (there are spiritual laws from the Bible that those people are using and they don’t even realize that that’s the source).  But the clincher is those same people could have been far more successful and achieved far, far more had they done so with a vibrant, ongoing relationship with the living God of the Bible.

So where am I going with this?  We will see many athletes achieve some amazing things, some of them fulfilling their life-long Dream of winning a gold medal in the Olympics.  But what is your Big Dream?  Do you even know?  Whether you do or not, are you willing to include the God who made you and gave you all that potential?  What you do with your life will take on far more importance and have far more significance with a much farther and long-reaching effect if you do.

That’s truly making an eternal difference with your life!

Try it.  You’ll like it!

A Goal Becomes A Milestone

It took my wife and I longer than most usually do to find each other (shared in “How We Met”).  As a result, we are at ages 46 and 44 (respectively–no reason to let you know which one of us is the older one since carrying on about it and really even mentioning it at all would mean that the chances are highly likely that the woman is the older one so since it is my responsibility to keep that type of sensitive information unknown I won’t say anything about it either way so that you can’t possibly tell which one of us is older and the true identity of all parties is kept hidden as it very well should be in a situation like this) with two boys, the older one being 12 1/2 and the younger one being a little over 11.

Our older son, William, is built like his Uncle Brad:  stocky, tall and ruggedly handsome (as awkward as it is to describe my Brother-In-Law that way).  We could tell even at the ages of 2-3 that William was going to be on the tall side.  So much so that all through his childhood, he’s been a head taller than any of the other kids around him.  As a result, it has been his focus–nay, his quest, his life’s mission, his God-given purpose at age 12–to surpass the height of his Dad.  Now, growing up, it was my brother who ended up being taller than my Dad.  As we both got into high school, it was evident to all of us who the taller son was going to be.  (And, as a side story, we wrestled all the time as kids [remember the story about Max?].  But when he got to being taller than I was and I could no longer pin him to the ground for Max to play with, I became uninterested in such suddenly childish things to do.)  So I never experienced the heady sensation that a son being taller than his father can bring.

William asks for hugs all the time.  So, last night being no exception, he asked and I gave.  Only this time, something was different.  It felt like I was hugging someone taller than me.  Now, it must be noted here that for the last month or so, he’s been hovering at a 1/2 inch shorter than me–my height being 5’8″–and this fact noted a mere 3 weeks ago at Uncle Brad’s house of all places.  So I bring him out to where his mother is in the living room and have her check us out.  She begins to laugh and gasp and generally make a scene as she tells us that not only is William taller than I am, but he’s taller by a good inch and a half!  Here’s what she saw:

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Which means that he grew two inches in three weeks.  To say he was ecstatic is an understatement.  Whooping, hollering, smack talk (something about being the tallest man in the house now…I don’t know, I forget…) and other indecent behavior emanated from this 12 year-old that I now literally have to look up to.   If you find this hard to believe, coming from such a sweet-demeanored boy, here’s some hard-core proof of the preposterously out-of-place and distasteful behavior that I was subjected to last night:

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See what I mean?  You know, you think you raise them right–respect for their elders and all that–and this is how you are rewarded.  What’s a guy to do??  How do I live this down?  Thankfully, I don’t want to.  I couldn’t be more proud of our two boys and the mighty men of God that they are growing up to become.  I must say, it does feel oddly milestoneish having one of my sons taller than me, especially knowing that the height difference and the heckling that will come with it is now only going to get worse.  I say “oddly” in an effort to describe that sad feeling that comes with the significant events of a child’s life that remind you the little boy isn’t a little boy anymore.  But I wouldn’t change that for anything.  I love our family!  The God of the Bible is the center of it.  And everyone sees that.  I love that about us.  We’re not perfect.  Just genuinely seeking to walk with God as close as possible every day of our lives.  My boys see that example and the benefits that it brings, and they are far more likely to set that example for their own families one day.

Yup–choosing to walk out this life hand-in-hand with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit certainly has its advantages!

A Hare-Raising Experience

Today is Easter.  Happy Easter to you!  What does that really mean though?  Does it mean, “Hope you get lots of candy and colored eggs!” or does it mean, “Today’s the day Jesus rose from the dead!”?  Where do these two juxtaposed meanings for this holiday come from?

We have the German Lutherans to thank for the origins of the Easter Bunny.  Much like the person of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny is something of folklore legend, who left a child colored eggs, candy or toys (or any combination thereof), depending on how good or disobedient the child had been.  This first appeared in literature in the 1600s, so it’s been around for awhile.

On the other hand, we know about Jesus Christ through what the Bible describes, as well as what literature sources outside of the Bible tell us (these were written by local historians of that time period, some of which are not Christian at all).  Here’s an interesting fact about the Bible:  It is a compilation of 66 books, written over a period of 1500 years in 3 different languages by men who lived on 3 different continents, many of whom lived many years apart from each other and never knew one another.  And yet, there is a common theme that runs through every part of the Bible:  God creates mankind in His image; mankind falls and sin enters the human race; mankind tries to redeem itself and fails time and again; God sends His Son to redeem mankind; those who receive the gift of Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection and ascension will be with Him forever.*

Does that sound like a fairytale to you?  I can understand why.  I think our society is conditioned to believe that just about everything is “too good to be true”.  But it runs deeper than that for two reasons:  One, the human race has a very real enemy who hates us because he hates God, and as a result, he does everything within his power to destroy our lives; and two, that “sin nature” that’s in every one of us doesn’t want to admit that we even need any help at all, and–if you’re honest with yourself–it results in a person refusing to give up the sin in their life.  So, once again, it all comes down to a choice that is completely up to each one of us to make:  What will we do with Jesus?

Do you know that even historians who are Atheists acknowledge the historical authenticity of the Bible?  That there are historical documents in existence that put first-hand-witness accounts of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension within ten to twenty years of the actual events?  It astounds Christian and Atheist historians alike.  The empty grave speaks for itself.  No one has ever been able to legitimately explain it away.**

Does the Easter Hare have such a background?  I think you know the answer to that.  The life of wholeness and peace and joy that you have been searching for your whole life is right in front of you in the person of Jesus Christ!  So what will you do with Him?

*From “Good Or God” by John Bevere

**From “The Case For Christ” by Lee Strobel

Reflection And Vision

It’s that time of year again.  Through the fun times with family and friends, there has probably been a growing sense of something drawing to a close and something else starting anew inside each one of us.  Whether they want to admit it or not, everyone is–at least to some degree–reflecting on the previous year and looking ahead to the new one.

But what does that really mean for you and I?  Some people out there genuinely don’t care about this.  Come what may, they’re simply focused on their next paycheck so that they can party some more.  I’m sure you’d agree that if that’s all they want out of life, they’ve already reached their goal–with nowhere else to go from there (and if that’s where you might be, just know that “You can’t get there from here.”)

I think most of us, though, are keenly focused right now on where we’ve been and where we’re going.  So what does that mean for you?  I’m all for expressing my sense of humor, but there’s also a time for expressing some meaningful questions:  Where have you been?  And where are you going?  I wish I was face-to-face with you right now–as we walk this northern trail together in our snowshoes!–because I would love to hear your answers to those questions.  Maybe you don’t even have decent answers to either one of them right now.  That’s OK–at times, I haven’t either (and for years, the answer to that second question constantly eluded me).

This is just my opinion, but I can assure you–based on many years of experience (remember, a person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with a theory)–that there is a world of difference between a person trying to figure out the answers to those questions on his own and another person relying on the God of the Bible to reveal those answers to him.  If you don’t believe that, don’t be offended that I do (because I’m not offended that you don’t).  We simply respect where the other is coming from, right?  Many of us believe different things.  That’s our God-given right and ability:  Choice.  But it’s at that point that everything separates and branches off into all kinds of different directions.  So how do you know which one is the right one?  Is there more than one?  These are things no one likes to address or bring up–mostly because they make people feel uncomfortable, and who likes to feel that way?  But doesn’t everything begin there?  If we’re truly honest with ourselves, we have to admit that there is a void inside of us that we are constantly trying to fill with something or someone (even if it’s filled with nothing but ourselves).

I’d like to avoid a deep and philosophical exchange today, but given this contemplative time of year, wouldn’t you agree that it’s almost unavoidable?  Regardless, I trust that you can at least see this:  Everything has to have a foundation.  If yours is shaky, whatever you build on it will fall (Jesus told us that).  He also told us that everything bears fruit……everything.  If you take an honest look at the lives around you–including your own–those that show the healthiest and largest crops of fruit are going to be those that have a vibrant and intimate walk with Jesus Christ.  (A couple of things to note:  look deeper than the surface at the fruit you notice in others’ lives; it may not be as healthy as it looks.  And secondly, note those key words: vibrant and intimate.  It’s sad but true that many of us know plenty of people who claim to have Jesus in their hearts that live dull, lifeless and boring lives.  Rest assured:   That is not what truly having Jesus in your life is like!  It is the most exciting–and dangerous–thing you could ever decide to do.)

As you look behind you to glean what you can from your previous year and look ahead to what potentially lies before you, are you going to choose to go at it alone?  Because if that’s what you want, God will honor that (just know that it was never meant to be that hard).  Maybe you’re even struggling with the feeling that life is ultimately meaningless and pointless.  If all we’re living for is to try to better ourselves and those that live around us, what lasting value does that really bring?  Don’t you know that you were meant for so much more than that?  Wouldn’t you like to reach the end of your life and know that you fulfilled everything you were meant to fulfill with it?  And then to hear the King of Kings and Lord of Lords tell you, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  Enter into the joy of your Lord!”  Talk about an eternal purpose!  That certainly gives your life true meaning.

I am excited for you!  What will your life look like in a year?  What are you really living for?  What changes will you make this year that could have mind-blowing, far-reaching effects that you can’t possibly imagine?  Let me know what you think and let’s find out together!

Guitar Man

Our oldest son has been interested in learning to play guitar for quite some time.  We recently bought him a “starter” guitar and he couldn’t be more excited about it!  What makes it even better is his Dad knows how to play and he’s almost as excited to learn from me as he is to learn how to play the instrument.

I’ve played acoustic guitar since I was a wee lad of 13 or so.  I learned on my Mom’s guitar (couldn’t even begin to tell you the brand name, but it was a small one and served its purpose well).  She didn’t get it out much, but when she did, she’d sing John Denver songs or children’s songs that my brother and I would sing along with.

There were some college students at the church we attended who played acoustic guitar.  Well they put their heads together and decided to offer free lessons to anyone who wanted to learn.  There were probably around 12-14 other kids in there with me and 5 or 6 college students teaching us and we had a blast!  They taught us basics and then went into chord playing where we formed certain chords with one hand (which is placing certain fingers at certain places on the fretboard to produce certain tones from the strings) and strummed the strings with the other.  Once we got that down, we learned all kinds of praise songs and choruses together and eventually played for the Sunday morning youth services at our church.  I’m telling you, some of those songs sounded amazing with nothing but a piano and eight to ten guitars strumming along!  One of the college students went over to Japan for a few months and came back with a 12-string guitar that he bought over there for $80.  What was so amazing about that was back then, at least, that same guitar would sell over here in the U.S. for around $1000.  I’d say that was a good buy.

We would typically have the first part of our time together be practice and the last part be devotions of some sort (usually a few minutes learning something out of the Bible and then spending the rest of our time talking about it).  One night during this devotion time, one of the college students was reading a passage from the Old Testament and came across the word “circumcision”.  Then–still not sure why he did this–he asked us all if we knew what that was.  Well, that opened a can of worms!  It didn’t matter who did and who didn’t; between laughter and guffaws, we all agreed that he should expound on the subject at hand.  He pointedly refused and, with a very red face, told us to ask our parents about it (which, I’m sure, resulted in some very interesting conversations occurring in multiple households with some parents wondering afterwards what kind of Bible studying was being done in this “free” guitar class).

Interesting the memories that stick with you.

Along The Journey

So, we’re on our way north…..

The weather today feels like it!  It’s been pretty warm lately, but some very cool weather has moved in–only for a day or two though.  Might want your jacket on today.  Got mine on and a cuppa coffee in my hand.  I love this kind of  weather!

I wanted to share something humorous with you today, but I felt I was to go in a different direction.  You know how we’ve talked about God-given Dreams and the pursuit of them?  Here’s some food for thought to add to what we’ve already talked about.  And just a reminder, I realize that you might believe differently about the God of the Bible than I do, but just try this on for size and tell me what you think (isn’t it worth stretching your beliefs if it means the possibility of finding the reality of something better?)

God has given me a huge Dream.  He has shown me where I and my family are going, but not how we’re going to get there.  Just the way God likes it!  Why?  Because it puts us very much in a state of dependence on Him.  Trust.  Not in logic or reason–there’s a place for that, but not at the expense of Faith–but rather in God Himself and His ability and willingness to come through.  Again and again.  And every time that He does, it becomes easier to trust Him and what He is doing.

I’ve got some things going on in my life right now that quite frankly should have me stressing out.  But I have found that the more I choose to trust the God of the Bible, the easier it is to do so.  I have started doing this just like anyone else would:  tripping myself up a lot at first, but the more I have put this into practice, the easier I find it is to not think things and to just trust Him.  Period.  Not easy, but worth doing.  It sure makes life more simple with far less worry going on (also the way He likes it).  I’m not an expert at this–not by a long shot–but I’m well on my way.  And hopefully experiencing that walk with your company, which means you have chosen to do the same on this journey with me.  Very exciting!

I am also finding that the more I do this, the happier I am and the more I enjoy my life…right now.  It’s no wonder our enemy tries so hard to get us in that dark place and keep us there (remember that talk too?).  Oh, how much faster God’s plan comes to pass when we trust Him, not let our joy be affected and become stronger in every way through the whole process.  Satan realizes he’s wasting his time and moves on to somebody else who will cave under his pressure (he’s under a budget, you know, with limited resources; God…well, God has unlimited….everything).

Remember, you have the freedom to believe whatever you want to believe about this stuff.  But which way of believing is ultimately more productive and beneficial for you?  Jesus is very real–whether you want to believe it or not–and He loves you so much that He gave you the freedom to choose to accept Him or reject Him as your Savior.  Pretty simple.  But a choice with absolutely huge and incomprehensible ramifications.  So choose wisely, my friend…..