Remember when we were kids or maybe the last time you did this with your children or grandchildren, those moments when we held a string in our hand and high above us soared our kite and we ran with the wind whipping in our face? Imagine an eagle soaring in flight riding with the wind and acting as if it were a 747 in flight.
The wind can propel us, hold us back, or tear down what we have built because it is just the wind and it is. The only thing we can do is run with it, get out of it and run to shelter, or build something strong enough to withstand it. Bottom line, it is much easier to run with it than run against it, even though the truth is we will never totally know which way it is blowing.
Confused? Please let me clear it up in spiritual terms. God made the wind (Gen 8:1), Solomon said we often chase after the wind in futility. (Ecc 1:14) Life always throws strong winds in our face. (John 6:18) Jesus is the only one who could can calm the wind, and it obeyed him. (Mark 4:41) So we could ascertain from all of this that what I said, that we never know which way it is blowing, but we do know who can control it, and it's definitely not us.
The conclusion, we need to run with the wind to stay in step with the one controlling the wind. Listen to the words of John 3:8......
"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it came from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the spirit".
Like the day we ran with that kite, running with the Lord every day takes us in directions we cannot ever imagine or plan for. Don't let it surprise you if he changes your "To Do" list, and if he does and you run with it, you'll be running to him. And if we resist, well I think you know the results as we have experienced that many times, because once we give our lives to him, we become his proverbial kite to fly.
And, we cannot fly if we are grounded against the wind!
Running With The Wind, Glenn
We hear it in a Sunday song, we see it on the TBN network, maybe we say it ourselves sometimes, hopefully often. But last night took my breath away. I was stunned!
My grandson Logan received an award (as did just about all the grade school kids), but he was thrilled that he was getting one. It was for good character exhibited in class and at school. Others got perfect attendance, etc. I got there just as he got his award, and he was smiling from ear to ear. Afterward, he pulled me aside and said "Papa when I got it I said Praise The Lord". Wow, it made me feel awesome that he chose those words over any variety of others he could have said.
Made me think what influence we have on those around us by the way we conduct ourselves, by what we believe in and how we invest ourselves in others rather than letting the world revolve around us. As a grandparent my influence on Logan is mostly encouragement and playful, leaving most of the discipline to his Mom. But, every time we get the chance he comes to Campus with me and those beautiful folks in our children's ministry have an incredible influence on his demeanor. He sings, he is an encourager himself, and he remembers what he heard. I am sure they uttered that phrase many times in children's worship......Praise The Lord!
As for me, those words come out of my mouth almost automatically when he blesses me, and occassionally when I am under duress. That's right I accept both the good and some of the bad moments of life, knowing he is with me, but it is just more difficult to have a great attitude when you are under fire. There are great days and moments we would soon like to forget, but in every moment the heart of God beats within us through his Holy Spirit. I would bet that God wants to reward us for our faith whether we are Pre-K or Pre-historic-K!
More importantly, think of how great our attitude would be if we could utter those words no matter what our circumstances? Takes some practice, as I am still a work in progress, but hearing my grandson say it just accelerated my learning process.
Take a moment now, or at any time and say those those 3 beautiful words because He is really the one who deserves an award!
Praise The Lord..........
"Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing until it gets there" Josh Billings
I may be the worst case of Attention Deficit Disorder on on record. That's why I do well in my profession, especially at auctions where there are many things going on at the same time. It keeps my attention locked in on what my purpose is. I stick to it.
KFC says we do one thing, and we do it right.....chicken! They must because they have been around since I was a child. Jesus of course had one purpose, to save mankind, and despite the opinions of others and having to overcome many challenges, he fulfilled His mission.
For us, the key is to find our purpose, our passion in life, and to stick to it. Like my oldest daughter Tara, mother of 3, but holder of a Masters Degree, who spent many years doing social work before becoming a full time Mom. She never gave upon her desire to help people after insuring her own family was secure. Today she is Executive Director of Family Promise of Brevard, FL, which keeps homeless families intact and works with them to find jobs, housing and independence.
Through her efforts, and that of more than 300 volunteers and 13 Church congregations, many families have gone from homeless to homebound in an average of 28 days. She took over when this program was flawed and with her passion and leadership has created much excitement to get on this bandwagon of success in Brevard County. Not only am I and her family proud of her, but there is a veteran single parent and his 3 kids who are being interviewed nationally about how this program has worked for them.
Point is, KFC could expanded to burgers, what if Jesus just got tired of carrying the weight of our sins around? Maybe Tara could have chosen to be a Real Estate agent? Thank God all of that didn't happen, and because of it, our lives are better.
How about you, have you found your purpose, the thing that brings out your passion for life? Do you have the ability to stick to it despite whatever odds you are facing? Even the postage stamp cannot insure delivery, but it has paid the price for it, and fulfilled its purpose.
Now consider Jesus, he paid the price, will you accept His delivery and your deliverance?
Stick To It, Glenn
No, I haven't relapsed, this is a song from a bygone era by the Mighty Clouds of Joy (check it out on youtube). Used to be I danced at a disco in a long ago, far forgotten stupor, but as Will and I discussed this morning, it has far greater meaning to us today.
With all that is going on now, it is hard to find inspiration that truly gets us excited about our faith. Yes, the Bible provides instruction and inspiration, but it also reminds us of our faults and our troubles that will certainly occur. Movies (Son of Man), motivational preachers and daily devotionals help, as well as personal stories of faith that was found while lost.
For me though, there is nothing like a song to inspire, and being an obsessive compulsive person, I usually play the same song over and over until it runs its course in my brain. Coming down the road to ATL I wore this song out, and it definitely reminded me how far God has brought me from way, way gone. It also gave me a boost of faith to realize these men made this song in an era when similar songs talked about all the wrong things. If there is such a thing (David) as dancing in the spirit, that was me coming up I-75!
How about you, what inspires you? What song rings your spiritual bell? Need a lift, instead of riding that other high, check these guys out, and if it makes you want to dance in happiness over your faith, we won't tell anybody!
Oh, the Mighty High they are singing about is the Spirit of the Lord......"listen to my story, ride the mighty high"! Credit where credit is due, and thank you Jesus for not giving up on us!
"Take the load off your mind, ride the mighty glory.....he's so good, he'll set you free".
The struggle in life is always to find a happy medium to live in. Many of us live for the highs and dread the lows, but if we are to be healthy, we must learn to stand on level ground. Then we can handle the rest life sends our way with much more strength.
They used to say about Braves Hall of Famer Tom Glavine that he never changed expressions, you couldn't tell whether he was winning or losing.
He was the same cool under fire guy no matter what the situation.
David, the man of God who had some great ups and downs, wrote this in Psalm 143:10, "Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good spirit lead me on level ground". Maybe he learned from his mistakes that living for the great days only gets us in much trouble. We can get caught up in how right everything we think is going and lose sight of the erosion in our soul because we are living by the wrong spirit.
He follows that verse with an admission, "For your name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble". In other words, not a question of whether we are in or experiencing trouble, but when. And when the when hits, who can keep us on level ground?
Enough said, may The Lord lead your way in all circumstances!
Looking down at my odometer it dawned on me that's how many miles I had driven in the last week. That's roughly also how many different things I thought about while driving that far. Such as why situations overcome our faith? Or, why the climate this year is so whacky? Or, like why so many folks have recently relapsed?
Not just alcohol and drug relapse, but also a relapse of dysfunctional thinking. Why do we fall back into those behaviors instead of changing the way we think? Is it a spiritual condition or the reflex reaction to panic about our situations? While we talk about the 12 Steps, do we emphasize enough having a personal relationship with the Lord? And, do you have one with him, and if so does that prevent you from any of what I just spoke about?
Bottom line, we make choices that are sometimes influenced by our situations and others, but are always our choices. Instead of pointing a finger at this or that, it needs to be pointing squarely at us.
While in a motel room during that journey, I also saw a video of Jesus being tempted by Satan in the desert, and it was a great enactment of what might have been. What struck me was how they portrayed Jesus being weak and hungry and definitely exhausted. This is where our rubber meets the road, where we are most vulnerable. What did he do? Quoted the words of his Father and used those words to overcome his weakness.
Before we ever fail, do we ever quote those words at our situation, "Get behind thee Satan because my God is greater than your temptation.” Alcohol, drugs, bad relationships, money...all just symptoms of a relapse, not the cause. The cause is within us and usually stems from unresolved issues that make us want to bail out. In that video, Jesus looked ready to bail because of what he had to face from a human perspective, how truly needy he was at that moment, but at the last minute he called upon his Father's strength, not his own.
Not sure how many miles Jesus walked during those 40 days, but he spent 15,640 minutes in a physically weakened condition. My 2000 miles pale in comparison, but it gives me a glimpse of how difficult it is to keep our lives between the lines when the lines become blurry. The only thing separating us from another bad decision is the strength of our Father to clear up the picture, to correct our vision.
This all came together for me when I read a devotional I also picked up during those 200 miles..."Challenge yourself to see what comes your way as your way to become"...in other words, after overcoming temptations of the devil that came his way, Jesus became a redeemer. What can we become if we do the same?
After traveling from one tip of Florida to the other, I spent a little time on the computer trying to map out this coming week's business plan. Afterwards, thought I would catch the end of the NASCAR race (big Dale Earnhart, Jr .fan), when my grandson Logan asked me to play with him. As a younger, much less wiser man, I may have said wait until the race is over, I was too worn out. But now, in an enlightened state about what children need (the new baby gets most of the attention now), I said let's do it. And, after getting beat 2 of 3 games, I still felt very warm and fuzzy for doing something that made us both happy.
Shortly after, the right hand man of my boss, who shares a collector car collection with him, called to see if I could stop in at a dealership and look at one they have been working on for 5 months before they paid for the car... in Palm Beach. Well, life does have its rewards! Sometimes right after we do the right thing. Guess I know where I am going now.
What makes you happy? Are you doing it, or just existing day by day? I remember not too long ago wondering how I would pay the bills, whether I was even in the right profession? I remember the struggle of operating day to day. But even then, there was Across The Bridge, that made me happy being a part of it. It made me happy knowing I was doing something God was pleased with. All of us need to laugh, to recreate and to take some time to explore our passion or we are like that tree Jesus saw that withered away from lack of attention.
What I have found at the top of the happiness ladder is spending time with people who walk away after an experience with us feeling much better than before our time together. God wants us to treat other folks like we would treat Him, and leave them wanting more.
Jesus never solved all the problems, just enough that they kept following Him to find out more. We are certainly not Him, but we are his ambassadors who can spread goodwill, and leave others feeling warm and fuzzy that we care. Then they will usually ask what makes us so different, and come back to hear more.
So this week, let's make a difference to someone else, let's step out of the self box and into the arena of joyful living. Let us be Christ in the flesh to someone who needs attention who may not be getting enough.
Saying all that just makes me warm and fuzzy inside. So does going to Palm Beach!
This has to be one of the toughest emotions to deal with. You get knocked down by someone or something, and the next thing you know your mind plays head games with you. That's usually the devil, or the itty-bitty committee, as we call it, that is trying to dominate your reaction to the situation.
Tuesday I had one of those days, wrote down 75 vehicles to buy and ended up with 1. It was as if I had walked into the middle of a frenzy, nothing was going right. I left there a beaten man, all that effort and no results. I'm sure you can relate.
But, I must admit, The Lord has shown me where to find the strength to rebound, to wipe off the aroma of defeat and put on the hope of a better day. I read this in Proverbs:
"If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength."
Made me think of John the Baptist, Paul in jail, the disciples as they watched their Messiah die....they were down, but not out. Momentarily they suffered but the hope of faith and enduring a temporary setback help build character. That is something I totally lacked in younger using days.
So after reading the Proverb, I rebounded quite nicely the last two days, The Lord sustained me. Now I think, why would I ever let that committee meet in my head when all I had to do was cancel the meeting and go read a good wise book?
Down, but never out...He made us to love redemption!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.