Friday, July 21, 2017

Not Giving Up...


Did you grow up in a church where you learned Scripture?  Was it part of everything you did?  Did you memorize the books of the Bible and memorize important verses?

I certainly did.  And if you are one of those people you know that Psalm 119 is the longest Psalm in the Bible and that each one of the verses in it… all 176 of them, has some mention of God’s word in it.   Verses like “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” and “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee”  (can you tell I grew up in a church that used the King James?  :-)

I have been listening to the book of Psalms in “the Message”  In fact I listened to chapters 119 through 150 yesterday on my way to South Carolina.  It was a delightful ride as the way that Eugene Peterson paraphrases things often catches my attention.

Yesterday verse 92 caught my attention.  It says in the Message, “If your revelation had not delighted me so, I would have give up when the hard times came.”

That is so true in my life.   The words of Scripture that are hidden in my heart coming right to the surface when times are difficult and they convince me not to give up.  When I run to God and His word when I’m facing challenges, they get me through.


So if you have had a life where there have not been many hard times, I encourage you to start storing up scripture, delighting in God’s revelation, because when they come, and they will, you’ll have the ingredients that will keep you from giving up.

Delight in God's word.... and when the hard times come, you won't give up!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Picking Teams


Were you ever the last person picked for a team as a kid?  I always was.   Hated it when we chose sides in P.E.  because I was never one who anyone wanted on their team.

David talked about picking teams in Psalm 101...
I refuse to take a second look at corrupting people and degrading things. I reject made-in-Canaan gods, stay clear of contamination.The crooked in heart keep their distance; I refuse to shake hands with those who plan evil.I put a gag on the gossip who bad-mouths his neighbor;  I can’t stand arrogance.  But I have my eye on salt-of-the-earth people — they’re the ones I want working with me;Men and women on the straight and narrow — these are the ones I want at my side.
David had it figured out.  He knew exactly who he wanted on his team.  Maybe you are the same way.  You have an idea of the people you want on your team.

The interesting part of this for me is that we all have lists of how we want the people around us to act, but maybe we are asking the wrong question.  Maybe we should be asking, "Am I the kind of person that others want on their team?"

Am I making sure that I'm not crooked in heart, do I plan evil.  Do I gossip or bad-mouth my neighbor? Am I arrogant?

Am I a salt-of-the-earth person who is on the straight and narrow?

As I listened to this Psalm I concluded that it's my job not to look for good team members, but to be one.




Do You Believe You are Awesome?

A healthy self-image is something that psychologists will tell you is a good thing.   Of course, there are people who take it too far and get a little carried away... I'm probably accused of that at times .... but a healthy self-image is a gift.

But it's one of those things that you really don't have control over.... at least to start with.  It's kind of like metabolism, which if you know me well, you know I have issues with.   People who can eat whatever they want and not gain a pound .... well, let me just say that that is WRONG.  I'm not going to name any names here, but REALLY, PEOPLE!   

I remember about five years ago when Wilson was eating a super-sized triple whopper combo at lunch and I said to Bart, "Why is it that Wilson can eat anything he wants and not gain a pound and I can't eat anything without gaining Wilson.  Wilson overheard us and said, "Because God loves Wilson."  Little punk  :-)

THAT IS NOT TRUE.  I mean, yes, God loves Wilson, but He also loves of all of us who smell a triple whopper and gain 3 pounds.  He made us all.  And why He chose to have people have different metabolisms is beyond me.  But I digress.

Self image is the same thing.  Initially it is given to you by your parents and you didn't choose them.   It could be that your parents did not have the skills to instill it in you, or maybe they were in a bad situation during the first few years of your life that didn't allow them to give you the attention that you deserved.  Or possibly they did a great job, but you had a particularly bad adolescence and it was crushed.

You can't control the things that happened to you, but you can recognize one thing.    God made you glorious.   He made you awesome.  He made you wonderful.  He created you to be awesome.   All of life is a journey to learn that, to embrace it, to let it become part of who you are...

So today, if you aren't feeling so awesome, that doesn't matter much, because regardless of how you feel, you are.

Period.

 

A Shout Out to My BWC Family...

This is for all the people I call family who attended Bartlesville Wesleyan College or their antecedent schools or Oklahoma Wesleyan University, as it is now called...


Monday, July 17, 2017

Scared?

Going through something that scares you?  There are some verses in Psalm 91 that might be just for you:

Yes, because God’s your refuge,
    the High God your very own home,
Evil can’t get close to you,
    harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels
    to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
    their job is to keep you from falling.

Those are pretty amazing promises.   They are true.   I can hear you saying right now, "but......"  and then filling in the blanks.

We are tempted to think that if bad things happen to us that it is because God isn't taking care of us.  But He is..... He says that evil can't get through the door -- that doesn't mean that it won't come right up to the door and pound on it until you don't think you can take it any more.

And it doesn't say that you won't stumble, it says that if you do, the angel's job is to keep us from falling.

Look back at that last time when it SEEMED like evil was winning -- that it was standing at the door pounding.  Did the angels protect you then?  What about the last time you stumbled?  Were you able to keep from falling?

Those angels.... they aren't always going to protect us from the things that life sends our way.... but they will make sure that we don't hit bottom -- because God is good, all the time, and He's got us.

God's got you.   And so do his angels.  



Sunday, July 16, 2017

Reluctant to Buy My Novel?

Why not check out a section for free as an ebook and then decide if you want to buy the rest?

Just click here and use the coupon INTRO.   :-)




Just Keep Sowing...


You may remember in the movie "Finding Nemo" that Dory kept chanting, "Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming."  I can hear her voice in my head.

I've decided to replace that with "Just Keep Sowing, Just Keep Sowing" after Bart's sermon today.  He talked about the parable of the sower and he made one very good point.

He said that the parable isn't about the sower.  Or about the seed.  It's about the soil.   And we never really know what kind of soil it is.... but that's not the the issue.   The sower the seed are givens.  Regardless of the soil, we are supposed to keep on sowing.

This weekend I was kinda pouty.  I was looking around me at the results of the sowing I have done and not seeing much fruit.  In fact, it seems like there are is so little growth I am tempted to just stop and give up.

But I realized today that I need to stop all that.  God didn't ask me to make the seeds grow.  He didn't ask me to prepare the soil.  He didn't even tell me to choose the right kind of soil before I started to sow.   He just asks me to keep on sowing.

So if you are looking around and not seeing growth in the soil around you, don’t worry about that.  That’s God’s deal.  

Just Keep Sowing..... Just keep Sowing.  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Saturday Summary for July 15, 2017


It's Saturday again and the week has flown by.

Here are some highlights:

1)  We spent last weekend and most of the week shipping out books for the pre-order sale for my first novel.   I did the math today.  On a majority of the books I made 11 cents or less.  Guess I should have done the math before I did the free shipping AND five dollars off deal.  Oh well.  I hope that the enjoyment people receive and what they learn from the book makes it worthwhile.

2)  Cool stuff happening at work.  Can't reveal it all yet, but it is awesome.  AND it is going to revolutionize Virginia.... seriously.  Big vision, lots of work ahead, but cool cool stuff.


3)  Got to spend some time with some awesome people this week.  On Thursday Bart and I had lunch with Paul and Heather Mills.  If you know either of them, you know what a great time we had.  Dr. Mills has been my mentor and friend for over 30 years and every time I get to see him it is a blessing AND hilarious.  He is a HUGE part of who I am (but will tell you loudly that he does not assume responsibility for that!)  We have so many shared memories that are just phenomenal.  I had not seen Heather since she was about 21 so it was good to see her.  She's only 2 hours away so I am committed to seeing her more often.

4)  Yesterday Bart and I had brunch with Lewis and Carol Williamson.  Lewis is a pretty amazing breakfast food maker and we had a lovely time learning about life in the Bahamas .... it was really fun.
Then last night Bart had a hospital visit to make and we went out for dinner in South Boston.   It was a cool place and we really enjoyed it.

5)  I have been to the gym here in Danville every morning that I have slept here since June 22nd.  I don't know that I'm losing much weight, in fact I know I am not, but I am trying and it feels good to know that I am doing something about my health.  It makes me feel better.

Today Bart and Wilson are getting ready for the Missions trip.  I am busy trying to market my book in addition to some other work projects.   I'm in a bit of a slump emotionally and not sure why, but I'm sure it will pass!

A sneak preview:  This coming week I get to head to Atlanta to speak at NACAC and stop and see my friends in Central SC on the way and the way back.  Now THAT will be fun!


How Much Money Am I Making Selling Books?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Are you forgetting something?

Have you ever kicked yourself for forgetting something important?  Not literally kicking yourself, because that would be physically challenging to do it correctly, but mentally saying, "UGH!  I can't believe I forgot about that."

As Christians, we often forget the most significant things.   And the sad thing is that we are not the first God-followers to do that.   Some of the coolest things that God ever did He did for the Isrealites in the book of Exodus.  The Psalmist reminds us of what happened in Psalm 78:

They forgot what he had done—    marvels he’d done right before their eyes.He performed miracles in plain sight of their parents    in Egypt, out on the fields of Zoan.He split the Sea and they walked right through it;    he piled the waters to the right and the left.He led them by day with a cloud,    led them all the night long with a fiery torch.He split rocks in the wilderness,    gave them all they could drink from underground springs;He made creeks flow out from sheer rock,    and water pour out like a river.  
All they did was sin even more,    rebel in the desert against the High God.They tried to get their own way with God,    clamored for favors, for special attention.They whined like spoiled children...

God couldn't have done much more to show them that He was God and that He was going to get them through the mess they were in.  Splitting the sea, splitting rocks, providing food and drink from nothing...

And their response?  They sinned even more, they rebelled, they tried to manipulate God, and they whined like spoiled children.

Why?  Because they forgot what God had done.

If you are in the middle of a difficult season, it isn't your first is it?  Remember the last one?  What did God do for you?   Don't forget...

Don't respond like the Israelites!   Remember, God's got you like He did before.  He will always have you.  He never changes.

If you are going to forget things, don't forget this one thing:  God is faithful.  He always has been and He always will be.

So avoid the path of the Egyptians... don't sin, rebel, manipulate or whine.

Just remember.



Thursday, July 13, 2017

Is Something Not Right in Your World?


If you woke up this morning and everything was right in your world, you should consider yourself fortunate.  

Most of the time, even if we aren't looking for it, there is something that isn't quite right.   So if you are one of those people who has something not quite right going on in your world, I have a verse for you from Psalm 11:


God’s business is putting things right;
He loves getting the lines straight,
Setting us straight. Once we’re standing tall,
    we can look him straight in the eye.

I love this verse because it has a twist to it.  God loves putting things right.... but it often involves Him setting us straight.  

So today, pray that God puts things right... and be ready, because in the midst of that He might have to set you straight.