Admittedly some weeks writing something to Blog about is difficult. I would like to say that there is always inspiration, the Holy Spirit has lit me up with the fire of awesome faith, but truth is, it is often a struggle. Especially after writing for four years.
On the other side of the coin, writing is therapeutic and it allows one to bare their heart and soul in words of joy, sorrow or true inspiration. It is life lived through pen and paper, or in modern terminology, riding on an icloud. It is a privilege and honor to be able to communicate with you this way and though I am not with you often, I am with you in these words and in spirit.
So we could say that doing this is Blog-if-ication. If I can come to you this way it is a verification of our relationships from now and in the past, it is newness, it is memories, and it is quite similar to scripture in that it is written transcript of what we think, feel and experience as it relates to God. Each week a new story is unfolding, a new event has captured our attention and it is no longer an if because it is real life drama.
That is why I look at the Bible as putting you and I in the parable or passage, making it resound within our hearts and carving a new notch of progress toward understanding each time we write about how the Lord worked with us to accomplish great things or great changes.
Not only is it an honor to come to you, but it is an honor to come to you on behalf of Him! No matter how I feel, what has happened that day, I try to always write a message that reflects His words in a real and positive light. So to close out this week...........
God is more than able to handle any problem you have, He is far more than adequate to point you in the right direction, He is beyond comprehension to take your depression and anxiety and turn it into joy and peace, He is totally equipped to bring you the finances you need to meet your needs, and He is impressively strong to build your character and courage.
Let Him have his way with you, and you will find the way to Him! That's not a story I need to write about, He already wrote it.
I remember as a kid reading MAD magazine, seeing this phrase used often, and it brings me to the current state of many of us. Worry sucks the life, the energy and the enthusiasm out of us. It can paralyze us if we let it dominate our thoughts.
Of course there are many scriptures that give us reasons not to........."do not worry about tomorrow, because today has enough problems of its own".......this is probably the easiest one for me to remember. But the nature of us as humans is that our first instinct when faced with a life altering situation is to react with instinct to handle the immediate, but when things slow down it really hits us. What about tomorrow?
All of us handle this in different ways, but for me, I can handle a ton of stress, but somewhere in the middle of it all, it overwhelms my spirit and I have to go into the war room of prayer. Usually lasting a few hours, I have to remind myself, who is in control, how far I have come, and that God never gives me anything I can't ultimately handle through His divine guidance.
But it was in times like this in the past that I made bad decisions. To drink, to drug, to let having sex calm me down, to shop too much or to just do something crazy. Not so any more but to be totally real, the thought does cross my mind every now and then. What, Me Worry? No problem, I could just run from it. Problem is, when I stopped running, it was still there.
Now I find this at work, God finds a way to bring us through all the stress and our sometimes worry. Not sometimes, but always. Yesterday, today and tomorrow he is the answer because worry is only a word to Him to use as a reference because He knows our nature. He knows that even someone like the apostle Paul can stress to the point of despair. He knows you and I, no matter how strong we think we are, can sometimes buckle under pressure.
No more MAD magazine, but surely God is the author of those words and he says them to us in the middle of the battle, What, Me Worry?
“How do we continue making a fearless and searching moral inventory?”
I so naively asked this when leading our Across the Bridge class discussion a few weeks ago. A humbling answer came to me this week.
Wednesday afternoon I was accidentally broadcasting live on Facebook for 30 minutes. What this means is that for 30 whole minutes my phone was picking up everything I was saying and doing for anyone who was online to hear. Thankfully it was mostly broadcasting the ceiling in my office, but still.
It only stopped because I got a desperate call from my son, “Mom! You are Facebooking Live! And you have been for 30 minutes!” I was actually outside writing down bus numbers when he had started calling me. My friend heard my phone ringing and was worried when she saw that Josh had called me several times. My other friend brought me my phone and took over my duty so I could call Josh and see what was wrong.
I immediately stopped the broadcast and deleted the video. I was embarrassed. I was afraid my son was embarrassed for me, too. Yet, he turned around and posted the whole story on Facebook. Instead of shaming me, he told the whole world (well, all our FB friends) what I had done and that he was proud to be my son. He is confident I would never say anything I would not want overheard by everyone.
In just a matter of seconds, I had gone through a lifetime of emotions - from deep concern, to tremendous relief, to embarrassment, then gratitude and humility. Then I had to finish writing down bus numbers.
Later I began to think how this incident might really help me continue a fearless and searching moral inventory. How would we live if we knew all our words and actions were being broadcast live? Then I realized that it is not the fear or the embarrassment that galvanizes us to change – it is the grace and the confidence that God has in us that sends us to our knees in gratitude and repentance. It was Josh’s faith in me that had me gulping great tears while monitoring the bus lanes. It is his love for me that makes me want to be as good a person as he thinks I am. This I think might be the gospel
We thank God that things were not nearly as bad as expected with recent Hurricane Matthew. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Haiti and others closer to home impacted by this bad weather. Which brings up a point, nothing can stop a Hurricane except the mighty power and grace of God himself.
Last week we experienced a major change in personnel at our dealerships (Hyundai & Toyota) which amounted to our own internal Hurricane. Things were turned upside down by firings and resignations. Those of us left have been grasping for the end of the storm for over a week and we are counting our losses, finally ready to move forward.
When things like this in life occur, we are often dazed, confused and looking for answers. Think of the people in Florida who one day gaze out at the incredible sunset and calm waters of an ocean retirement villa only to be three feet deep in water in their living room the next day. Seemingly all is lost.
Yet we all know the story of Jesus calming the storm when his disciples were scared, so we can call on our faith in the storm stopper with confidence that the severe weather will subside.
But if we are under the illusion that a Hurricane will never come, we could be devastated by its ferocity. Think of the apostles and others who have experienced great persecution for their faith, certainly they knew where their faith would lead them, not into the dining rooms of comfortable folks or the speakers podium at a conference, but instead directly into the eye of the storm.
The key for us is that no matter how much destruction our lives experience, never give up. When the disciples awoke him they asked a question we might also ask, "Don't you care if we drown?". His response, to calm the storm, and ask a question in return that we all have to answer when our lives are rocked by a Hurricane.
"Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
We never quit because we know that in the end, we win. We never quit because Jesus did not jump off the cross when it became agonizingly difficult. We may stagger around for awhile, but we never quit because he is the only one in recorded history to calm a violent storm.
To Him, a Hurricane is just another wind that blows toward heaven!
Yesterday's events at our dealership only heightened my desire to write this blog sooner. Two good friends and fellow employees lost their jobs, but the good news is that both are talented people and will soon land another gig. While we all want to believe that life can be stable, we must learn to enjoy the good times because as Jesus warned us, things can change quickly.
It is so easy to build our lives around relationships, jobs, money, and sometimes noble, but not the right causes. We think we have a plan, maybe we asked God to bless it, instead of asking if it was right to be in this place, that relationship or to be so fanatical about Georgia/Alabama football, we just went that way, never asking direction.
I say all of this because in my present job with many responsibilities, I can easily get off track, getLost In Space!
The Bible times get cut short, the prayers don't seem as meaningful, you get short with other people, you can't sleep as well, and a few choice words even slip out of you mouth from time to time. Yes, been there done that recently! But fortunately in learning the process of the Steps, there is one that the guidance of the Holy Spirit has helped me master.
Step 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it!
I love how they included the word promptly because they knew we could keep putting off something like this. It must be done now, not later! Recently I read a quote about how the ancient Hebrew Law only focused on "having no other gods before me" as the basis of finding good moral behavior. I understand that thinking because anything we put before God becomes a form of idolatry and takes us away from our intended purpose. We get Lost In Space with no active GPS!
So the balance of life, learning not to put too much importance in anything other than a great relationship with the Lord, will sustain us when it all comes crashing down in divorce, loss or catastrophe. The gods we have mistakenly followed will have no empowerment over us if we know who is God and who is not. It all comes down to this.....
If we don't know what planet to land on, we will always remain orbiting around in darkness, forever Lost In Space!
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.