Meeting our needs

Today, September 16th, I received the New Hampshire tourism book that I ordered.  On May 20th, Diane and I headed to Hew Hampshire for about 10 days of vacation there.  I ordered a NH tourism book about May 1, assuming 3 weeks was enough time for them to send it to me.  It turns out it took 4 1/2 months.   We did research online and talked to locals after we got there.  We received some great recommendations and had a great trip, no thanks to the New Hampshire tourism bureau.

When I set out to write today’s blog post, I thought I was going to make the “there’s a sermon in this” point out to be something about being too late.  I even titled the post “A Little Late”, before getting to this point and realizing I needed to change it.  The lesson I believe the Lord is giving me in this is that He made a way for Diane and I to have a great trip to New Hampshire, in spite of NH Tourism dropping the ball.  He provided other ways.  And what that means to you and me is twofold.  First, sometimes we get opportunities to glorify Him and be an answer to someone else’s prayers and we drop the ball.  We have regrets when we miss opportunities to be a blessing.  You can be sure that God already knew when we were going to fail.  We were not the Lord’s last hope.  He was not holding His breath hoping you were going to come through.  If He wants a need met for others and you or I fall short, He will still accomplish His will.  We will just miss out on the blessing.  And secondly, if there is a way you think God should or will handle things you are praying about, remember He does not necessarily meet your needs in the ways you think He should.  Hang in there – He is always doing something.  He will supply your every need.

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Posted in Hard times, Obstacles, prayer | Leave a comment

Evgeni Malkin’s Dog don’t care

Diane has a calendar with Pittsburgh Penguins hockey players and their pets.  As I walked by and looked at it this morning, Diane said, “I need to turn that to September.”  Mr. August was Evgeni Malkin and his dog Bailey.  Malkin is a famous hockey player.  If he were to walk through a crowd at a Penguins game, everyone would want a picture with him and an autograph. He would be swarmed with attention.  It crossed my mind that Bailey is not impressed with Malkin’s fame.  Bailey loves Malkin unconditionally and just because.

Today’s blog is just to remind you that the love God has for you is the same.  When we put our faith in Him, there is nothing you can do to make Him love you more and nothing you can do to make Him love you less.  He is not impressed with earthly fame.  He does not need us to be anything more than His children.  And He loves us whether we are coming to him with a handful of dandelions or we are covered in mud…. or both.

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Worth the wait

In March I bought a little bag of Dahlia bulbs at Aldi’s.  I planted them in April and gave some away and kept one.  All summer I have watched it grow to about 2 feet tall, all the while waiting for a flower.  In early August I had nearly given up.  It looked like I had grown a 2 foot tall weed.  As a matter of fact, had it come up in the perennial bed, I would have pulled it up and thrown it away.  But finally, after five months, three little bulbs appeared.  And for the last several days every time I walk in the house I pass the prettiest flower I have ever grown and one of the prettiest I have ever seen.  It sure took a lot of patience, but it was worth the wait!

I often feel the same way when I am waiting on God to act.  I know the Bible says, and I do believe that His timing is perfect, but man, sometimes I grow impatient.  This flower is a reminder to me that sometimes the greatest things require the most patience.  If you are waiting for God, I pray you hang in there.  Keep praying, keep hoping, and keep trusting.  He has perfect timing.

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Peace in who you are

29 year old NFL quarterback Andrew Luck shocked the sports world on Saturday night by announcing his retirement.  The owner of the team said Luck walked away from an estimated $500,000,000.  That is 500 million dollars.  He said Luck had made about $100 million in his career thus far, so I guess he will likely be OK.  Many players hang on and do whatever they can at the end of their careers to play one more year.  Most people do not remember that the Steelers’ Franco Harris played his final year with the Seattle Seahawks.  Joe Montana hung in there and went from the 49ers to the Chiefs at the end of his career.  Tom Brady is 42, still with the Patriots and wants to play as long as he can. Each person has their own reasons for continuing to play or for retiring.

In Luck’s willingness to walk away from being an NFL quarterback, there is a lesson to us as Jesus’ followers.  We must be careful about where we find our worth.  Sometimes we can mistake what we do with who we are.  Some married couples identify as parents so much that they are lost when their kids grow up.  Some people go into depression when they lose their job because their job became who they were.  Pastors of churches often struggle when they find their worth in the ministry and realize they are unable to please all of the members of the congregation.

I am no therapist, but Andrew Luck’s willingness to walk away from football leads me to believe that he does not find his worth in football.  I read in an article that he is a follower of Jesus.  If that is true, it makes more sense that he could walk away from football, because he would be first and foremost a child of God.  When we see our worth in what we do or in affirmations from others, we are crushed when those things wane, which they all eventually will.  But when we see ourselves as beloved children of the King of Creation, that is enough.  So whatever failings, whatever disappointments, whatever is taken from me, whatever I am called to walk away from, it does not change who I am.  And who I am is a child of God.  That is where I find my identity and where I find my worth.  There is peace to be found what you can repeat the song lyrics, “Jesus is all the world to me”.  He will never let you down.

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God is doing more than you realize

Sometimes I begin to work on a blog post and when I get to three or four paragraphs in, I realize it is not a blog post, but Sunday’s sermon.  That happened this morning.  I got so far into the blog post and realized that God was doing more than I had realized.  So I cut and pasted what I had written into a word program and will go back to it later today.  God always reminds me that He is doing more that I realize.

Today is a brief blog post, but do not mistake brevity with unimportance.  I am guessing that most of you, like me, need to be constantly reminded that God is doing more than you realize.  And that is especially comforting when it looks like He is doing nothing.  He never does nothing.  He is always doing something.  And it is always more than we realize.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. ~ Ephesians 3:20-21

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In need of an inside cleaning

This morning I could tell the sunrise was going to be special.  It took me a long time to realize a sunrise is just a sunset in reverse.  Right after the most beautiful sunsets, in minutes the most brilliant skies turn gray as the earth turns further away from the sun.  Sunrises are just the opposite.  When there are cloudy gray skies with some clearing to see the sky, the earth turns toward the sun and the gray skies give way to cotton candy colored pinks and blues.  In anticipation of the sunrise this morning, I saw the church playground as a wonderful vantage point.  I could get about 8 feet higher in the air by climbing into the playground playset.  When I climbed the steps and stepped inside the fort like playground, I saw it needed washed.

It looks good from the outside, but I had never seen it from the inside.  It would be a great illustration for the Scripture when Jesus warns the Pharisees about doing things to look good on the outside, while their “inside” is filthy (Matthew 23:27).  We all have the same “filthy” problem – we all need cleaned on the inside.  And unlike the playground, where just about anyone could climb up in there and clean it, it is impossible for any of us to clean ourselves on the inside.  Some would say it is impossible, but we know with God, all things are possible.  If you have been forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus, you are clean on the inside.  Do not let that old enemy, the devil, convince you otherwise.  If you have not, you must realize your “I try to be good enough” thought process of thinking you have done more good things than bad… well, it can never clean you on the inside.  Only Jesus can do that.  And He will.  Just ask Him to.

Dear Lord Jesus,

I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave to give me life. I know You are the only way to God. So now I want to quit disobeying You and start living for You. Please forgive me, clean me from the inside out, change my life and help to live for You. I pray in Your Name Jesus. Amen.

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What others think

I took some interesting classes when I went back to college in 2004 to get my undergrad degree.  Among them were a couple of photography classes.  Even though I had been taking pictures for a couple of decades, I still learned a lot.  Some helpful photography tips follow.  Putting your subject to the left or right of center is visually more appealing than centering the subject. This picture of the sunflower has the sunflower centered, but within the sunflower are three bees.  They are subjects within a subject and the bees form a triangle.  Subjects in a triangle are received well in photos.  There is also something called the “rule of thirds” which you can look up on the internet.  This photo is a good example of the rule of thirds.

What is most conspicuous about this photo is that it looks like we have pink plastic flamingos in our yard.  We do.  There are two of them.  They are there because they belonged to Diane’s sister, who passed away five years ago.  We bought them for her as a joke a long time ago.  Many people would consider them tacky.  Most of you would not be caught dead with plastic flamingos in your yard.  They are special to us.  We do not care what people think.

We live in a society that is more concerned with what others think than what the God who created us thinks.  Most of us will go along with whatever makes us acceptable to society, even when it is contradictory to what the Word of God teaches.  We should pause and ask ourselves once in a while, “Who am I trying to please?”  My prayer is that I am less concerned with what others think and more concerned with what the God who created me thinks.  And I can only know what He thinks by going to the Bible. Who are you living to please?  Yourself?  Others?  Or the God before whom you will one day stand?

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