Sunday, October 22, 2017

Grief of a Missing Friendship

I’m trying something different today and doing a video blog.  Let me know what you think.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Reoccurring Theme

Tonight I had the privilege of spending some time chatting with someone to whom, up to this point, has just been an acquaintance.  Fortunately, we had a chance to connect tonight and have a much deeper conversation about life and just some of the things that we have both experienced in the past and really created a connection that felt both natural and refreshing.  More on that in a second.

About twelve years ago, I worked with a man that introduced me to the whole idea of life as a journey.  He explained to me about how life is a path that we were on and people would come and go on that path because their path would align with ours for an unknown amount of time and then the paths sometimes separate and go different directions.  Other times, the paths continue along the same journey together.  He told me that either way, we need to understand that the paths of others are intended as part of our journey through life to help us grow and develop personally and to allow us the privilege of impacting someone else's journey.  It is the way that God has designed us to be connected together.  I've never forgotten that lesson and have held it close to my heart ever since.

In my daily devotions, I have been working through the book of Proverbs and I have really had some thought provoking verses jump off the page at me, but the one from yesterday's devotion was Proverbs 16:9.
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
 We can have all the wonderful plans in the world of where we want to go and what we want to do, but ultimately, it is God who determines what happens along the journey of our lives.  His divine plan of who is going to enter or exit our journey as we continue to move forward in this life is intentional and He has purpose for everything that happens in our lives.  THAT'S CRAZY!!!  He knows ahead of time when someone will come into your life and totally change the direction you thought you were going to go or change your perception of what is important or not important.

The truth is, we should be asking Him each and every day how He wants to use us today to further His purpose in our lives.  We should be looking to Him for guidance about where He wants us to go; who He wants us to talk to and what He wants us to say.  You never just know how God will use you to change someone else's life without you even knowing it.  You never know what someone else might be going through and how your interaction with them might be the difference between them thinking they can't go any farther in their journey and them realizing that they can make it through this difficult leg of the journey.  You never know how you might be the person that causes someone to rediscover their purpose in this life.  You also never know how someone else might be used to help you see things just a little bit differently.  You never know how God might use someone else to give you a hope when hope seems so far away.

So back to my conversation tonight.  I'm not so sure who that conversation was supposed to help, but for some reason I believe that both of us had a moment where we knew that God has something bigger in store for the both of us and that he used our paths crossing to remind us that He still cares for both us.  I look forward to seeing how this journey continues on but I'm definitely more aware tonight of this reoccurring theme of "journey".

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Loyal Journey

Yesterday, I had a co-worker for the past three years move on to another opportunity with another company. She was very dedicated to the company in her time with us but some people would say that she wasn't very loyal for leaving so quickly. This couldn't be further from the truth. 

I made a point of voicing to the rest of our staff that her years of service has no indication of how loyal she was, but rather, her efforts every time she came to work was the true indication of her loyalty to the company. When we give our all each and every day to further the success of those we work with/for, that's what truly shows where our loyalty lies. I've known people that have worked for companies for decades but never have a good thing to say about the company they work for or the people they work with. Often, these same people are the first to take advantage of the company or "play the system" to get ahead. 

In Colossians 3:23, it states: "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." Often at work I forget the greater purpose of why I am there. I also often forget Who put me there. 

Today in my devotions, I was reminded of that very thought about Who put me in the position I am in doing what I am doing. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 16:33, "“We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.”(NLT) We can think that it is because of our efforts that we get where we are in life, but ultimately, God determines where we end up because He has purpose for each and every person in this world. Just read the rest of the chapter and you'll quickly discover how true that is. You have a purpose and God cares about you. That is so humbling the more you think about it. 

So the next time you're heading into work, remember that you're not going there by mistake. There is a reason why you're there and you never know how God will use you in that opportunity. Also, remember to give your best effort and to be a loyal employee no matter how long you work for a company. It might just be the tool God uses to move you to the next step in your career. 

As for the employee I started off mentioning, I wish her all the best and thank her for her loyalty over the last three years. I know her new employer is very fortunate to have her and they will benefit from what she brings to the table. Best wishes. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pulling Weeds

Today I had the lovely job of pulling dandelions from our lawn so that I could kick off the season of cutting the grass. I obviously wanted to do a good job because the more I got out now would hopefully mean the less I would have to pull out later. More on that in a second.

This year will mark our 5th wedding anniversary. I love my wife dearly and I want to make sure I do everything I can to make our marriage as happy as it can be. Because of this, I've started a daily reading plan on YouVersion called, "The Five Love Languages for Him". I want to put all the efforts in that I can now into doing my part in our relationship to hopefully make it the best it can be as we continue on this journey together. It doesn't mean there won't be bumps in the road, but at least when we hit those bumps we will have a strong relationship to handle that rough road.

I'm not going to lie, like pulling weeds, it is a lot of work. There may be times when you have to go back and work on the same area again and again but in the end, the result will be a healthy relationship that will stand the test of time.

As for my lawn, I'm sure I missed one or two weeds along he way but I have a whole new season to work on whatever pops up. I'm just grateful I've got a lawn to pull weeds from.

Happy Springtime Everyone!!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Life Isn't Fair

My little boy has learned a new phrase, "It isn't fair!"  When things don't go the way that he thinks they should go, he likes to throw these words out as a blanket statement that somehow is going to sway my decision about what he wants.

I can think of many times in my life that I thought the very same way as my Little Man and somehow felt that o should get my way. Even in my adult years, I sometimes struggle to see how some people continue to get ahead my means of corruption and deceit and yet I struggle to make it through or get overlooked because I won't conform to a way that would question my integrity. It doesn't seem fair.

Today our pastor preached on the very subject of this blog. It was quite a compelling message founded in the book of Habakkuk. He went on to explore how in chapter one Habakkuk went indignantly to God with his disgruntlement over the nation of Israel's current state and put God in his place. However, in chapter two, it was God who put Habakkuk in his place for crossing the line with a Sovereign God. It made me think back to my son.

How many times have I had to correct my son for speaking to me with a tone that wasn't fitting or for demanding something above his entitlement?  There is a line (a gracious one) that my three year old is slowly discovering as he matures and I am helping him discover that my decisions are in the matter of his best interests. I want nothing but the best for him although he might see it as unfair at the time.

God wanted nothing but the best for Habakkuk and the nation of Israel although Habakkuk failed to understand it at the time. Once God showed Habakkuk His ultimate plan, Habakkuk recognized that he had crossed that line and needed to trust God and His sovereign ways.

For you and me, the truth is we need not look into our current situation and exclaim to God that, "Life isn't fair!"  We simply need to trust God and know that His ways are sovereign and that He has our best interests at heart. It may not go the way we think it should. He may use on orthodox ways of bringing our attention to Him, but His ways will always be best.

I guess the question I have to leave us all with is, are we so focused on what we think we want and deserve that we forget to be thankful for what we have already been provided with by God? Maybe one more: Are we so caught up with fairness that we forget to acknowledge His faithfulness?

Maybe we need to spend more time like Habakkuk in chapter three. Check it out!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Struggle

I am humbled by the number of people that have viewed this page. It boggles my mind to think that people all over the world have stopped to read my thoughts. Whether on purpose or by accident, people have visited this blog and have been very kind to me about my murmurings. 

The biggest struggle I have with this whole thing is when I think, "Who am I to be sharing my thoughts about my faith?" I so often fight with the sinful nature and whether I win or lose, I still don't understand why God has asked me to share my stories through this format. I am far from perfect or a model Christian. 

I'm not alone. In Romans 7, Paul writes of his own struggle with his sinful nature. He tells us:

14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

What do you struggle with today? What is it that holds you back following Christ wholeheartedly? Ask Jesus to help you in your struggle. He will bring you through. 

If you don't know Jesus personally, ask him into your heart by praying this simple prayer;
"Jesus. I acknowledge my need for you. I know that you are fully God, that you died for me and that you love me. Please forgive me of my sin and help me to live my life for you. Thank you Jesus for loving me."

If you prayed that prayer for the first time today, tell someone about it. Even comment below and let me know. I will pray for you as well. 

I'm grateful for all Jesus has done for me. It is by faith in Him that I will one day be with Him. Until then, I continue to fight the good fight as I press towards the goal. 

So, despite my failures, I will continue to share of the things that God is doing in my life. I'm not perfect, but I will trust God with my life and continue to struggle. It's worth it!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Learning to Breathe

My family and I are camping in a beautiful park in Ontario, Canada called Bon Echo Provincial Park. It has amazing scenery, great swimming and a demand for calm that is hard to fathom even when experiencing it. 

Today, we were out in my brother-in-law's boat, swimming in the middle of the lake. It was here that I learned to snorkel for the first time. To say that I was the source of my families laughter would be an understatement. I snorted more water than an elephant taking a bath. 

Just before leaving on vacation from work, things have been extremely busy. We have had tight deadlines, large demands and limited staff. Just when you feel like you have one thing accomplished, another large task gets dropped in your lap. It has meant many long days and labour intensive tasks. 

In chapter 3 of Ephesians, Paul finishes with a prayer that truly puts things into perspective:

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Sometimes in my Christian walk, I wonder: "Will I ever get it right?" and then I read a passage like Paul has written above and remember to take a breath and look to God to help me as my only source of strength and not my own ability. 

At work, I have had to take a step back, breathe and trust the team I work with to get it done and to think outside the box when situations seem impossible. I'm very fortunate to work with the people that I do. 

As for snorkelling, I need to remember to breathe (through my mouth) and just slow down and enjoy the beauty that lies beneath the waters. (That's a whole other post in and of itself). It all takes practice but eventually I will figure it out. Fortunately, I have a very patient and forgiving family that understands what it means to learn to snorkel. (I think they are still laughing though.)

Are you facing a struggle today? Do you have a bad habit that you think you cannot break? Do you have a situation that seems insurmountable? Read through Paul's letter and remember to take a breath. Sometimes, we forget that we serve a limitless God with our limited imagination. 

Take the limits off, breathe and watch what God can do. You will be blown away.