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Fasting means to deny yourself of something.

I think of denying myself of anything and I get anxious or feel entitled.  That is me. I want what I want when I want.  I am selfish.

Our church and the churches in our area are doing a fast the next 21 days. This is an awesome opportunity to grow closer to God. What you would fast is your choice. But fasting is talked about in Isaiah 58 and many other places in the scriptures.  Jesus said, in Matthew 6:15-17, when you fast.   All of this gives me pause to check myself.

I have fasted often… But not enough for me and not for the right reasons.

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So, I have been a father for over 30 years.  If you have been a father (or mother probably more importantly because mothers carry all children even longer than us guys and bear pain we can’t even imagine) you know what this parenting means, especially that of a teenager….16 year old..and a daughter….I have 3 of them (daughters) and one son.  All but one are over 16.   It is first an honor.  I cherish being a dad.  There are few relationships as precious as that of a parent.  I am proud to be a parent of all my children but…this does not change the difficulty of being a parent…..of a young child…..like I once was…..and am in many respects …. still am….a young child…Immature….me…and my children….still growing up….together.

As my wife and I dealt with just normal issues of being a parent with one of our children…I just began to think about me….the selfish part of me….that part that is so self centered…..yes, I thought of me as a child and not a parent…..that part of me that wants to take and not to give, … that part of me that wants it all my way and not any other way…..I began to see what it all meant.  If I am honest with myself…there are times that I don’t want to go to work, to get out of bed, to answer any emails, to talk on the phone…..to not want to have to speak to anyone….I want it my way, in my time, like I want it…..and many times….alone.

God is in charge of our lives, whether we want it or not.  God loves us so supremely that he gave a part of himself so that we could have life forever with him….  

Then I came back to my responsibility.  A parent.  But in love, my wife and I shared with our child what we know God had for her.  

Just like with me….it is up to me…whether I accept or reject God’s plan for my life.  So it is with all of my children.  Accept or reject what God has for us…for me, for my children, and for you.  

God is awesome in my family.  

Confederate-flag

I was a young guy in Flagler County in southern Florida when I grew up.  Rebel Flags were …..well cool.  I went through school de-segration in the 60’s and I remember the fights and the dissension and the…..well…..division between black and white.  It was not pretty.  I was young and confused.  I did not understand the black vs. white thing. I was 8 years old.  I did not judge by color….yet… because many of my friends were….black and were white….  An old lady….Armeila Hall….a black lady was always at my house….and she was in charge until my parents came home at 5pm.

I am driving home tonight and on the road to our subdivision, and I am 55 years old,…I see a truck with a brand new Rebel Flag….Confederate Flag….the stars and bars…fresh…red and blue…13 stars…..2 bars….and I think of what it means to me now….  It is no longer cool.  It is no longer “southern pride” to me.  It speaks of  division.

Then I think of Jesus.  What would he want in my life….not yours….but mine….  Jesus wants unity in my life….Jesus wants to be all to all.  He wants us to love one another….despite our color, our differences,  out divisions.    This Rebel Flag….well, woke me up today.

Have you been out of touch with life and just working to get things done?  I have.  In Romans, Paul talks about how we should work to assist those that are not mature…..and to not argue about disputable things….well, that is me.  It is actually all of us from one time or another.  We all have times of immaturity and do struggle to work things out.  So it is with all of us.  The scriptures tell us that while we were yet in sin, Christ died for us.  That is so very real for me.

OK.  I thought about what Tiger said.  I wondered if he was genuine or if this was to try to get back many of the millions of dollars he lost.  I wondered if it was a check list that his handlers gave him to do to get back on task.  I don’t know and it is not for me to judge.  I have enough problems of my own. 

It sort of reminded me of one of those checklists in the bible that I wonder if I measure up to.  It is in Galatians 5 19-21….it is for people that say they are Christian….(now Tiger said he followed Budda….so he is deceived already)…this bible list is for us folks that say we follow God.  It lists stuff that, according to the record…are obvious….sexual immorality..check, impurity…check,…debauchery…..check……it goes on,….hatred,…check, … discord,…check… jealousy….check….(hitting quite a few now for me)…fits of rage….check….and this scripture ends “with the like.” 

So, I am not too overly concerned with Tiger as much as I am with me.  The scriptures say that these acts of the sinful nature are….well, obvious. 

So, Tiger is got some problems…..no doubt…. but so do I.  It seems that Tiger is messed up…..but so am I.  My buddy Mike Ellis says that he is….in progress.  Tiger too….me too. 

Got some stuff you are involved in that is not really peachy keen?  Some stuff that needs tweaking?  Me too.  I am ….. in progress.  Like Tiger..like Mike..except my God is able to cleanse me of all unrighteousness….unlike Tiger’s.

louie

I am at that precipitous place in my life where I am not wanting to change.  I am sort of in a groove in my life where sometimes, I just want to embrace the status quo.  But, I know, deep down, that the status quo is not the place to be.  I know that if I stay where I am….I am stagnant. 

I recently bought a Mac Book.  I am sick and tired of my windows based computer that gets slower each day……I have to constantly clean for viruses and have to all the time do a sweep….it is….well, status quo…and irritating. 

My blackberry and this whole RIM is aggravating me to no end too.  Down during Christmas…..go to the site and try to figure it out and obviously…they do not really want me to figure it out….so I uninstall and install my email accounts again and again…status quo.  I just want this stuff to work. 

So, I bought a Mac Book.  I am sort of playing with it…but it takes energy to get going in it and learn a new system….a new dock….different ways of doing stuff…trying to get e-sword on a mac….just challenging…not figured it out yet.

God has also been pressing me….out of my status quo….been pushing me to look at things a different way…. He has been wanting me to do some new stuff and I am not your spring chicken nor am I in my comfort zone when I am changing.  I like my old smelly, old way of doing things,.. my comfort zone.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says that if anyone is in Christ,..he is a new creation… this new means to refresh….to redo,….to be updated, to be different….it is a constantly changing thing….not necessarily an easy thing….it says that the old has passed away….it is …well stagnant…..God does not want stagnant…he wants fresh…like going from PC to Mac…at least for me.

louie

I really like being a dad.  It is, however, a double edged sword.  I want to teach and train my children…..but if they do not understand or obey me,…then I have to discipline them.  Thus the 2:44am text.

I have a teenage daughter that is supposed to bring the phone in at 9pm but she does not always do it.  Now, let there be no doubt about it…she is a good daughter….an overall obedient daughter…..a good grades daughter…. a loving daughter….an I love to be around her daughter….an I am proud of her daughter….but…sometimes I forget about the 9pm phone curfew and it gets away from me.   

I was reviewing the phone records as they related to short tempered teenage daughter and not being ready to go to school on time in the morning daughter and I found the texts up to 2:44 am on a school night.  Now, I wanted to react by just taking the phone, still a very viable alternative,….then God began to talk to me about all the 2:44 am stuff in my life…..the 2:44am attitude,… the 2:44am thoughts,….the 2:44am unbelief…the 2:44am unforgiveness…..and quite frankly,….the 2:44am disobedience in my life. 

So, I am going to deal with this like God deals with me….that is teaching me about being faithful in the little and then Him giving me more….and if this does not work ……. like it sometimes does not work with me….then…I discipline…… like God does with me….not necessarily pleasant….but none the less effective…yep ….. I will take the phone….. like God has taken mine….

Faithful in the little…..2:44am texting.  Some semi-long stories in the bible in both Matthew and Luke….but worth the read.

louie

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