Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wherever You Go

Today was "Grandfriends' Day" at the school where our children attend. We are living in a society that can no longer just have "Grandparents' Day" because the family has broken down so much from the traditional unit that a name to accomodate all situations had to be created. So just to be politically correct, we have "Grandfriends' Day."

Grandfriends' Day was specifically for the six grade class today, and comprised about an hour and a half of breakfast and other events, including a book fair. Luke knew that none of his grandparents lived in town, and that they could not go, so he had asked me if I would join him. I had a meeting early in the morning, but I stopped by for a few minutes to take him to the book fair. I did not feel too bad for not being able to be there for all of it, because I knew that Luke was still going to be taking a special guest.

Last night, when it was time for our devotional, Luke told me he had decided who he was going to take to Grandfriends' Day. Surprised, and knowing he had no grandparents close by, I asked who it was that he had decided to take. He said, "I am taking Poppie," and with that statement, he reached over to his bed-side table and took out a wallet size picture of my father. This was a picture taken of my dad when he worked for the school system several years ago. At some point, we had given this picture to Luke and he had kept it. For Luke, and for all of us, even though his Poppie is now gone, he is still always with us in a genuine sense.

Our relationship with our heavenly Father is similar. As Joshua took the reigns from Moses to lead Israel across the Jordan and into the promised land, God told him, "Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:7-9).

Whether it be by the things God has taught us in the Bible, or simply the relationship we have been able to develop with our Father in this lifetime, it is good to know that we are truly never alone. We have a loving Father who cares for us who has not chosen for us to ever be completely on our own. He gives us the courage and the power to tackle all of life's problems, but behind the scenes He is ever with us, loving us, guiding us, correcting us, and sustaining us. There is not a day or an event that takes place in this life that He is unwilling to be a part of - we just have to choose to take Him along.

As I left Grandfriends' Day this morning, I looked down at my son whom I love and admire so much, and I asked, "So, did you take Poppie with you today?" He looked at me, and smiled, "Yeah, he is in my pocket."

I could not think of a better place for him to be...

"...for He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" ~ Hebrews 13:5

Monday, November 12, 2012

Keep Looking

My mother lost her diamond solitaire 30 years ago. It was her engagement ring from my father. She used to take her rings off in the evening and set them on the arm of an expensive chair they had purchased for the house. One night the ring fell down into the chair. They tried to get it out but had no luck retrieving it. They didn't want to tear the chair apart, so they decided to look later. Over the years we have had unsuccessful attempts in locating the ring.

We moved in 1985 to a different house 5 hours north. In the move we discovered that the bottom of the chair had been torn. This made us lose all hope that we would ever find it. My parents moved again across the country 7 years ago - still no ring. I remember different times over the years we had searched for the ring in the chair. It was almost like a legend - that maybe one day a diamond ring might appear from a chair that was getting worn out and old. Maybe a complete destruction of the chair would produce a diamond - or something like that. I think sometimes you just hold on to a false reality because hope is powerful and you desperately need to hope in something.

With my father's recent passing, and my mother's decision to sell the house, a yard sale weekend commanded one last examination of the old chair. So my sister and my wife decided to completely tear the chair apart, even if it meant separating every piece of the chair. They tore and they busted and they ripped...and with a final rip an object flew from the chair across the room. It was my mother's engagement ring that my father had given to her many years ago. It was the reappearance of the legend!

My mother said that the immediate reaction of my wife and sister would be likened to that of two 13 year-old girls at a Justin Bieber concert. From a Bibilcal standpoint, it reminded me of what Jesus said about the reaction of the finder of the lost coin, or the treasure hidden in the field, or the pearl of great price. Jubilation!

One thing is certain. It is important in life for us to keep looking. If you have a dream, realize it. If you have a goal, reach it. If you have spiritual potential - fulfill it. If you have anything out there that is going to continue to make you work - then go and get it! This is God's will for us. This is hope. This is living. This is Christ in us.

We sold the chair in the yard sale - price: $5.00.

"Hey, Dad, you'll never guess what we found today..."

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." ~ Matthew 7:7-8

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lay-ups Should Be Easy

You have seen it before. A player is all alone with the ball heading to the rim for a lay-up - they should make it. If they make it, no big deal. If they don't make it, it is replayed as a failure on the news. Lay-ups are supposed to be easy.

We have many lay-ups in life that we are supposed to make:
  • Love for God, His Word, and His church
  • Love and compassion for the human race
  • Love in our homes and for our families
  • Hard work
  • Fair treatment of others
  • Proper time management
  • Proper priorities
  • Patriotism and sacrifice
We are speaking in terms of our investments. Where are we putting our hopes and dreams and energy? Although the Bible does not use the word "invest" or "investment" - it does use the phrase - "Lay up." Our lay-ups speak volumes about our character and our long term goals. Many people are making investments that will provide little or no eternal returns. So please consider...

"Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes" - Deut. 11-18

"Receive, please, instruction from His mouth, and lay up His words in your heart." - Job 22:22

"The wise lay up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near." - Prov. 10:14

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal." Matt. 6:19-20.

You are running down the court and the ball is in your hand. This is your moment. The team is depending on you. This is the most makeable shot you will ever take. It is a lay-up. It should be easy. It is a shot you cannot afford to miss.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness..." - Matthew 6:33