The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Forbidden Fruit

When I worked at Love Field Airport there were two men that seemed to have no interest in dating unless they were married. Of course, both of them had been married several times, but in-between marriages they seem to have little interest in women. This was the intrigued of the Forbidden Fruit. I want what I’m not supposed to have.

There are many who believe if we had no laws then it would eliminate desire. Let’s say America declared a “No Law” week once a year. Do you wonder what would happen? I know we would see the full depravity of mankind. Murder, rape and theft would be totally out of control.

This is where it all started. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2”16-17 One tree out of many and Adam couldn’t resist it. So why did God put a tree in the Garden of Eden they were not supposed to eat? God didn’t want mindless automatons’ worshipping Him. He wanted us to choose Him over evil.

He still wants us to do that today. God doesn’t want us to serve Him out of rules and regulations or without choice. God wants us to love Him and for us to have a desire to serve Him. ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind. Matthew 22:37 So is the law bad? What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. Romans 7:7 In other words, the law is like a map to a mine field showing us where and what to avoid because of danger. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” Romans 7:8

There are many that believe that since we are in the New Testament age we are no longer under the law. Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? Romans 7:5 Jesus came to help us fulfill the law, not to do away with it.

Forbidden fruit is the sweetest poison you’ll ever taste. Consequence is a bitter medicine to make us healthy by leading us to repentance.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Most of my life I worked so hard for the acceptance of others to the point of losing my identity, my morals and my beliefs. I was afraid to have my own thoughts in fear of rejection. I wanted acceptance so bad that I was used much of the time. The desire for acceptance is extremely strong in everyone. Another word for acceptance is “Love.” We all have the need to be loved and we will go wherever we seek it. It reminds of the song, “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.”

People will always be drawn to someone or a group who will accept them. Naturally we are all drawn to groups with similar interest, but I’m talking about acceptance based on physical appearance, financial standing, color, family, background or even sin. The opposite of acceptance is our greatest fear and that’s rejection.

Do God and Satan accept people? Yes! God accepts all people, but He will never accept sin. Satan accepts the people and encourages the sin. God’s acceptance leads to life and Satan’s acceptance leads to death. Many times God’s people tie the sin with the people and refuse to accept the people. Satan will gladly accept those into his fold.

The truth is to accept and love everyone, but to never accept their sin. I’ve known several people in my life who were living in a sin that was destroying them and their life. I was upfront and honest with them and told them the truth. I told them that I have always loved them and that will never change, but I cannot accept their sin nor condemn them for their sin. To love someone doesn’t mean we have to put a stamp of approval on their behavior. There are those who are afraid of losing the person (husband, wife, child or friend) so they compromise instead of standing firm.

Pride will keep us from loving the ones who are struggling and who do not meet our expectations. By some reasoning we feel since we are not doing what they are doing we must be better than they are. You will see many examples of this in the Gospels with the Pharisees. Many profess Christianity in their words but not in their deeds. In church they do all the right things and say all the right things, but when it comes down to living in truth, then that’s another story.

If someone is lost in a dark cave we cannot push and shove them to the exit. We need to lead them out, but it’s so much easier when we know the way. Sometimes it’s the blind leading the blind. We cannot demand that they find their own way out, but we have to patiently lead them and this can be difficult. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Ephesians 1:6

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Cup

A cup has many functions and meanings, but how we use the cup is mostly for containing liquid or even solids. We can put all types of things in a cup. We can use it to contain coffee, sodas, tea or many other beverages, but it can also be used to contain poison, urine or other types of undesirable liquids.

One of the points I’m trying to make is a cup is neither good nor bad. It can have all kinds of usage. The cup is just a cup. What is put in the cup doesn’t change the cup itself, but it does change how it is perceived.

Many believe when they get to heaven there will be a scale to weigh our good deeds and evil deeds. Depending on how the scale is tipped will depend on our destination. So if we do a lot of evil deeds then we will go to hell and if we do a lot of good deeds then we will go to heaven.

The only way we can get into heaven is we would have to be perfect and I know I’ve already blown that chance as well as everyone else. Eternally the cup is the problem and it needs to be exchanged for a new cup and the only one who has that is Jesus Christ. This is the perfect cup we need to exchange for. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Matthew 16:26 Before a person accepts Jesus into their heart their cup is headed for hell. It doesn’t matter how clean or dirty their cup is at the time. The same thing applies when a person who has accepted Jesus into their heart. They receive a new cup bound for heaven from that point on and it can’t be taken away. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. John 10:29

The Blame Game

The blame game is definitely nothing new. It started at the beginning of creation with Adam and Eve. Adam said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12 In one sentence Adam blamed God and Eve for his sin. Adam believed he had absolutely nothing to do with it.

There are those who blame others for everything and those who are willing to take the blame for everything. Then there are some who may accept some responsibility. If you never accept the blame or always accept the blame you will probably end up getting married to each other. Either situation will keep a person from growing and maturing.

Why do people blame? To justify their actions and behaviors. If I can blame someone for my behavior then I don’t have to take responsibility for myself. No matter what happens to us in our life or who does what the bottom line is how we respond and not react. However, the way we respond to it will definitely reveal our maturity. It continues to amaze me how far some will go to justify their sin. We live in a country that promotes and encourages people to not accept responsibility for their actions. As long as there are people willing to accept the blame there will be someone there to let them.

I remember watching the TV show Home Improvement when Jill had done something wrong to Tim. Tim had finally convinced himself that it must have been his fault for a problem they were having. Jill had come to the realization it really was her fault. When Tim came home they both said they had something to tell each other. He forced her to let him go first so he took responsibility for the problem. Then when he asked her what she was going to say she said, “It was anything important.” So she let him go ahead a take the blame for something that was her fault.

People love it when we take the blame because they feel it releases them from any responsibility. It really doesn’t but it makes them feel that way and it keeps them from growing.

Why is growth so important? If you are a parent, then you will see this analogy more clearly. Imagine if your children stopped growing and maturing somewhere around 2 years old and they weren’t potty trained. For the rest of your life this is where your children remained. At that age they are cute, but cute only last for so long. I was glad to see my boys mature, become independent and move out.

Now how does God see us? He wants to mature spiritually so He doesn’t have to deal with our pettiness. Are we maturing and moving forward or are we stuck? Sometimes people will see our immaturity as cute, but before too long we will lose friends quickly.
We may justify ourselves with us and others, but never with God.

Freed from Prison

There was a man named Joe who hand committed grand theft auto and was caught, tried, convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison. Finally the day came for Joe’s release from prison. Within the first day after his release Joe was arrested again for the same crime plus he robbed a few liquor stores at gun point. Joe once again was tried, convicted and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Joe lashed out angrily at the court and protested he shouldn’t have to return to prison because he had already been there. The judge looked at him and said, “Joe, you paid your debt to society the last time you were in prison and you were released. However, when you were released, you were free to live in society and abide by the law, but you chose to commit crimes once again. You were not freed to do whatever you wanted; you were freed to do what was right.”

Does this sound familiar? So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we've left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn't you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land! This symbolizes the freedom we received through the blood of Christ.

That's what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we're going in our new grace-sovereign country.

Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin's every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ's sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That's what Jesus did.

That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don't give it the time of day. Don't even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you've been raised from the dead!—into God's way of doing things. Sin can't tell you how to live. After all, you're not living under that old tyranny any longer. You're living in the freedom of God.

Facing Fear

Several years ago when I worked in Dallas I was coming home from work. It was a normal routine of driving home and everything was fine. Then as I was approaching a major intersection a car ran a red light and caused a five car wreck which I was one of the cars in the wreck. I wasn’t injured, but a little shook. My car had some damage, but not too bad.

For the next couple of months when I would pass that intersection I would slow down and check twice before going through. It took a month or so before I was able to go through that intersection with ease.

What happened that night was a fear was placed in my mind, but after that the fear had become unrealistic. The truth was I could have had another accident at any other time and many other places, but the fear I had at this place was now unrealistic. Most people didn’t have a fear of this intersection. Why? Because they hadn’t had the same experience.

A person who has ever been in a tornado will always have a greater fear and respect for tornados than someone who had just seen them on TV. The same goes for a person who has had their house broken into, a woman that was raped, a person that was mugged and so on. Any kind of trauma at a certain place or situation can leave a severe fear.

The normal thing we usually do is to avoid these places or situations allowing the fear to control us and grow even stronger which sometimes becomes debilitating. The only way I know how to deal with these fears is to face them and deal with them in truth. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 If I would have changed my route to and from work I would have never overcome my fear of that intersection. As I said, it didn’t go away the first time I went back. It took several times. Even to this day I can’t help but remember that intersection when I go through it, but when I do there is no fear.

You cannot bring the fear to you; you have to go to the fear. If you bring the fear to you it just intensifies the fear. You have to face to fear. Something else I noticed was when I had to go into work for a meeting during the daylight hours everything looked so different at that intersection and it lost its power. In Jesus was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4-5

Fear has paralyzed me for large part of my life and has kept me from doing so many things and it has caused me to cheat myself and others. Fear makes us selfish. Are there any dark places in your heart you are afraid to face? Then I suggest you take the light with you. I guess what I am saying is who is suffering because of our fears? Who are we neglecting? What are we not doing because of fear?

Church for Sale

I just wanted to invite everyone to our next Sunday service and to let you know that if you by your tickets in advance they are cheaper than at the door. We have nothing but the best quality entertainment for everyone and our ticket prices are very competitive with all the other surrounding churches in the area.

We also have a guarantee that our pastor will not preach over 20 minutes and he will stay on topics that make you feel good and uplifted before you leave. We are always trying to bring in the top notch performers to make your visit with us a very spiritual experience.

Each individual ticket only cost $15, but if you would like to look at our package deals you can purchase them by the month for savings as well as additional savings if you purchase by the year. I want to add that your tithe cannot be accepted as a form of payment. Your tithe needs to be in addition to your purchases. For Example:

Monthly - $50.00

Yearly - $550.00

Just for service attendance.

We have the special package deals that include Baptismal Services as well as the Lord’s Supper.

Monthly - $65.00

Yearly - $700.00

These prices also include Vacation Bible School, Special Events, Christmas and Easter presentations.

I hope you realize that I’m being facetious or am I. Every day I feel that the church is selling out a little more. I know this above may be humorous, however is it really possible that it could go this far. I hate to tell you this, but it has already happened. Maybe it’s not in the church that you attend, but in other churches.

People are looking more and more at churches as a smorgasbord. They are looking at churches that allow them to drink, fool around, curse, doesn’t frown on homosexuality, shack up or just let’s them do whatever they want. You may think I’m kidding, but I have talked with some of these people. One woman told me that she used to go to a legalistic church, but now she’s going to a grace-filled church and she can do whatever she wants. Of course, she was still enduring the consequences, but “So what!”

I heard someone on the radio say this the other day. I feel the church has changed it’s focus to where the congregation is the audience, the musicians are the entertainment and the pastor is the conductor and we hope God will join OUR service and bless it. However, it should be that the church including the musicians are the worshipers, the pastor is the leader and God is the audience.

For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

I feel the church is ran too much like a business with it pastor as the CEO, the staff members as the president, vice-president, the deacons are the board of directors and the church are the unpaid employees of the corporation. This was never God’s intention. I asked a pastor the other day what his thoughts were on the present day churches. He said. “I believe the pastors are giving the people what they want and not giving them what they need.”

God wants us to serve Him with our hearts. He didn’t put us on this planet to be entertained and to look for warm fuzzies. We have a job and a purpose to serve Him, not to be served. Jesus paved the example for us. He didn’t come to rule, but to serve. We need to love and encourage one another. Our time on this planet may be short and I know I long to hear… Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness! Matthew 25:21

Are You a Pleaser?

Most of my life I was always a pleaser, mostly a pleaser to my self. I thought I was actually pleasing people and I was the one of the biggest people pleasers that ever lived. You see, I didn’t like myself very much and so I thought if I could please everyone they would like me and say nice things to me. That would be a nice fix for a short time, but as time went on I needed more. However, if I didn’t get the praise I would become angry. I used to lie to others and mostly myself saying, “I just like to give to people or I like to do what I can to bring a smile to a person’s face.” The worst thing was I actually believed this.

Around seven years ago I came to face this reality at LEBC. The giver/taker test was a real eye opener for me. All of this pleasing I had done earlier in my life lead me straight to depression. When I realized that I gave to receive appreciation or approval. I was giving for all the wrong reasons. Now when I hear someone make that same statement, “I just like to make people happy,” I immediately know where they are. If you want to test yourself to find out if you really like to give. All you have to do is give anonymously. If you can give without anyone knowing or without hints or clues, then maybe you are a giver. There was no way I could do this because I wanted kudos. Many say they like to give because it makes them feel good. That definitely is selfish.

Did I not love myself? Of course I did! I loved myself so much I thought everyone should think I was special. If I didn’t love myself then I would have relished rejection. I just didn’t like myself.

Over the last few years of growth I’ve learned to not be a people pleaser. In fact, I sometimes feel I’ve gone to the other extreme. I came to believe if I did something to please someone I was wrong. I even thought that I shouldn’t even try to please God because I thought that was wrong.

Then I realized something about pleasing and giving that has helped me a lot. It’s simply
the difference of having to please someone or God instead of wanting to please them. Not for my sake, but only for theirs. If I try to please my wife because it’s my job or I have to, then it’s not real. However, when I do it because I want to or out of love then it’s real. The same goes for pleasing God. If I do it only because I have to or to look good then I’m wrong. “The great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God's authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you—that's the agenda for rejoicing." Luke 10:20

I know that people will always try to look good in front of other people so they will have a good image of them. So many times this goes too far and we seek to please others more than God. Injustices are done, the truth is hidden and it’s all for such a small reward. “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Moving Forward

Several years ago I was getting to ready for work early one morning. It was still dark and I was getting dressed. As I bent over to put my shoes on I heard a quiet voice in my heart that said, “Let the dead bury their dead.” I rose up quickly and thought, “What was that?”

I knew immediately that it was a verse of scripture that I hadn’t thought of for years. Then I began to wonder what exactly that meant. I went on to work and while it was quiet and I was the only one there I looked up that verse in the Bible to see if I could understand why I received this message. It said, “When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." Another disciple said to him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead." Matthew 8:18-22

I remembered this verse and always thought it seemed kind of heartless. I mean for crying out loud, the only thing this guy wanted to do was bury his dad. Then the Holy Spirit explained it to me. You see, there’s a good chance that this man’s father wasn’t dead or even sick. In other words, it was just an excuse to not follow Jesus right now.

For the first time in my life God was becoming real to me and I wanted to follow Him everywhere. I wanted to take everyone with me that I could, but to my amazement many didn’t want to come with me. I’m talking about good Christian friends that would rather stay in their comfort zones. Many even thought I was crazy or had gone off the deep end. I was confused and didn’t know what to do. Jesus said, “If you want to come and experience exciting adventures with me, get on the boat.”

That day I had to leave many friends behind and even some family. I had to quit looking back and start moving forward. It broke my heart, but I’ve never regretted doing it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

House of Cards

I know all of you are familiar with this game and the metaphor it stands for, but just in case I’ll explain. A house of cards it built with caution and with care. The least little breeze, nervous twitch or sudden moves could cause it to come crashing down. One of the things that makes this project so unstable is it has a weak foundation. Then on top of a weak foundation there is nothing that is truly binding the cards together. It is done with delicate balance and one card leaning on another. If one collapses, they all go.

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." Matthew 7:24-27

These verses definitely apply to our daily life and defining our foundation. Is it on God’s Word or on all the flimsy things around us? However, I would like to take a look at them from the church perspective. In the last decade you all have seen a flood of the Mega-Church movement in our country. Many believe and want to believe that this is a great thing and finally we are getting it right. Look at all the people coming to church now. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14

Well, the truth be known the church really isn’t growing, it’s just shuffling around. Many of the smaller churches are getting smaller or going under because many of the members are all moving to the larger churches. They see the pretty building, many programs and of course free coffee at some. Very few people are coming to Christ for the first time in these grand buildings of God. That’s only the half of it.

I’ve been really confused about all of this because I was seeing some good things and the pastors were preaching some good things. However, something wasn’t right in my spirit. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I feel as if they are preaching at the congregation and not to them. They are preaching from the Bible, but not from their heart. Some may say I just have some kind of personal vendetta with the large church. I considered that too.

Along with the Mega-Church comes the expense of Mega-Millions to operate them. From what I’ve seen is these churches are using the Mega-Millions to build more elaborate buildings, (it’s called campuses now, not churches) expensive decorations and Broadway type productions for your entertainment. Oh, they do send a little money to missions and may provide some occasional program to help someone in need.

So where is the house of cards? As I said, it cost Mega-Millions to operate. Utilities alone have to be enormous not to mention salaries for 20 – 50 staff positions. People are starting to grow tired of seeing their giving being used for all these elaborate expenses as well as the unemployment continues to rise people don’t have money to give. Many of these churches are getting into serious financial binds and are getting desperate. They will begin to preach more sermons on giving or making frequent remarks about giving. To turn the heat up they will lay off 2 or 3 people in their staff to make everyone feel guilty about not giving more. I’ve seen this happen. The Mega-Church will eventually come crashing down.

The “Church” is getting weaker and the government is getting stronger. Why, because God has given the responsibilities of the church over to the government. Who is making a poor attempt to help the jobless, the health insurance problem, the elderly who can’t make ends meet or who comes to rescue those hit with disasters. Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met. Acts 2:43-45.

The unemployment rate in Texas is around 8%. That’s roughly 400,000 people out of jobs from a state with a population of about 25 million. This doesn’t include the many elderly, single mothers and many others who are hurting at this time. $25 million is the yearly budget for some of these churches. Could we not provide some supplement on insurance for everyone in need in our state? I’m not talking about a bailout. I’m talking about following God’s principles and let Him deal with healing our land. Then imagine if all the churches in their own states would do the same thing. Wow! People would start looking to the church and to God instead of the government.

So why won’t the church give? It’s simple, they’re self-indulgent and stingy. Some pastors would rather have body guards to feed their egos than helping an old widow keep her electricity on. I remember a time many years ago when Karen and I hadn’t been married that long and moved to a new town. I had a difficult time finding work and we didn’t have any money for anything. We had enough gas to get to our church, but not enough to get home. I talked to the pastor about our situation and he disinterestedly got someone to give us $5. He was only interested in those giving, not taking. It was also done in a way to make us feel guilty for asking for help. This is the same attitude I see now, but on a larger scale.

I know this is long, but I felt it was something that needed to be said. Some of you may disagree and that’s ok. All I can tell you to do is sit back, watch and wait. Right now I think the church could make a difference, but if there is not a change made soon there will be a high price to pay in the near future. We can blame the government, the school system, Hollywood or anything else we can point the finger at, but it all comes down to the Church. If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Norm

The other day I was watching a program on PBS that was interesting. It was a family who inherited a sailboat and decided to make a life of sailing around the world. The couple had been career people with college degrees, but got tired of the American routine of have a house, two car garage, two cars, schools, soccer games and the occasional eating out. They as a family, including their children decided to take a chance and go exploring. They home schooled or boat schooled and made port frequently and explored. When they got low on cash the husband would get a job doing just about anything he could until they made enough money to move on. The children would enroll in the local public school and learn a new language. They were very close as a family because they were all they had. It was definitely close quarters, but they learned how to adjust and realized they really didn’t need all that extra space. It was very interesting.

Of course all their friends thought they were nuts. Why, because they stepped outside the norm. Anytime anyone steps outside the norm they are considered crazy. Sometimes they might be, but first you have to determine what the norm is. What is normal? It is society as a whole doing the same thing and it could be right or wrong. To step outside of this makes your weird or a freak. It could also be termed as stepping outside “The Comfort Zone.”

The only encouragement these people received was from elderly people. They told them what they were doing was great because they said, if you wait to do all of this when you retire or have enough money, then you probably won’t do it. He said it was wise to do this while they were young and could. When you are old, then it’s too difficult, but when you do it when you’re young you will have the ability and something to look back on when you get older. He said, you won’t have any regrets as many do when they look back and wish they would have done this or that.

I’m not trying to get anyone to go buy a sailboat and start cruising around the world. I for one don’t really have any interest in doing that and not even when I was younger. I have been criticized for many of the adventures I’ve had. That’s ok! It was mine to do.

What I’m really getting at is when you take a stand to follow Christ you will be criticized. I’m not talking about criticism from non-believers. I’m talking about fellow Christians. I’m not talking about becoming a radical. I’m just talking about doing it God’s way and listening to what He says in His Word. If you don’t believe me, then try it and see what happens. Christians don’t like being taken out of there comfort zones anymore that anyone else. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Matthew 16:24

Jesus never said it would be easy to follow Him. The norm in the church is not the same as God’s norm. Even though He never said it would be easy, He did promise to always be with us. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

Monday, January 11, 2010

What is Your Best?

The other day I stopped at a What-a-Burger to eat lunch after cardiac rehab. I know, I know, I shouldn’t have eaten there. That’s not my point. Anyway, as I was waiting for my heart healthy cheeseburger, I noticed this young woman which had Down syndrome that was an employee there. She was small and cute as a button. The more I watched her, the more impressed I was. I don’t know what all her responsibilities were, but while I was there she was constantly doing something. Sweeping, cleaning the windows or cleaning tables. I didn’t know it at the time, but she had a message for me.

Over the last year I have lost some abilities. I think I can do the same things I used to do and my mind sometimes tells me I can, but my body doesn’t agree. I know this is something we all have to go through as we get older, but sometimes I feel cheated because I thought I should have a few more good years left before I had to deal with this.

It only takes me a second to look around and realize that I’m really fortunate and I should be grateful for what I have. However, it’s still a process I need to face daily. I’ve struggled with feeling that I’ve lost worth and value because of some decreasing abilities, but that young lady taught me something.

God isn’t as concerned with us doing a lot, as much as He is concerned with us doing the best we can with what we have.

This could be financial, physical, emotional or spiritual and it is based on our abilities, talents and education and so on. Our goal is to do the best with what we have. This principle is mentioned in Mark 12:41-44 it says,

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."

Simply saying, give your best with what you have and don’t worry that you may not have as much as someone else. Our best can change daily and even throughout the day. I know I’m more at my best in the morning that in the afternoon. When I’m sick my best goes way down. All of us will be judged by God on what we were given, not what we think we should do or what someone else has. This is not just financially, but in all areas of our life.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

If Only...

I know that I as well as everyone else at one time or another have made the comment, “If only!” If only I would have finished school or college, if only I would have majored in something else, if only I would have never married this person and married another, if only I wouldn’t have gotten married, if I was only healthy, if I was more attractive or more popular, if only I had this job, if only I could lose weight, if only I would have never said…, if only I would have turned right instead of left. I think you get the point.

Let’s say for a minute you could go back and do it all again. Would you? What if you could go back, but you had no control on where, the time frame or who your family would be. Would you? Even if we could go back and change something we don’t like, who’s to know if that choice would be any better? Are you willing to take that chance?

Well the truth is we can’t go back. What is behind us is gone forever and there is nothing we can change about it. However, we have the ability to change the present, but not the future. Will we continue to worry and fret over matters we can never change and move on and start working on what we can?

I’m not talking about positive thinking; I’m talking about changing your focus. If you were to drive down the freeway constantly looking in your review mirror, then disaster is inevitable. It’s no different in your life. We learn from the past, live in the present and plan for the future.

I recently watched this movie called Mr. Destiny. He hated his life and regretted one fatal error he believed he had made in his past. If only he would have hit that ball. He was given the opportunity to go back and change his life. Now he was a successful president of the company he was recently fired from and now he was very wealthy. From a human point of view this was paradise. Then soon he learned that there were problems in this life too, only bigger. He realized his other life wasn’t so bad after all.

Do we keep whining about what choices or things that happened to us in the past or do we do something to make the best of what we have? It’s really not a matter of changing your mind, although it starts there, but it’s really a matter of changing your heart not as much as your circumstances. A good place to start is, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians4:11

When we exhaust all our efforts, then we realize it was Jesus all the time. The Bible talks about vain imaginations. Simply put it means, “dwelling on things that are worthless and a waste of time.” I think Paul puts it best, Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:5 Happy New Year!