Devotional Tuesday – The Vortex

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For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Inside of every God’s man there is a living, breathing whirlpool of supernatural power.  Through prayer, our faith is placed in a powerful person and in His promises. Consider these promises: “Because he loves me,” says the Lord; “I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name” — “I will never leave you” — “I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him” — “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to proper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” — “‘I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.” — “call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” — “I will respond personally and reveal powerful truth.” All these promises come from his mighty Word.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

God’s man has a clear invitation to tap into God’s personal storehouse of power and purpose.  Just as the Colorado River was waiting for Arthur Davis to harness its power, God is waiting for us to tap into His awesome strength.  The reality, for many of us, is that we are either clueless to the personal benefits of prayer and faith in His promises or too hurried to slow down and get into the practice of prayer and the reading of His promises. We need to “think different,” as the Apple computer ads say.

Father, You ”acknowledge my name”. How much more time do I need to acknowledge Your name and the mighty vortex of your promises.

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Devotional Tuesday – Daily Consistency

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There I will meet you and speak to you; there also I will meet with the Israelites, and the place will be consecrated by my glory. Exodus 29:42-43

Having a consistent walk with God is a challenge for most Christians and it is no different with me.   I have been walking with God for almost 20 years (hard to believe it has been that long.)  During that time my consistency with finding time for God has ebbed and flowed.  As disciplined as I can be in some areas of my life it is awfully hard for me to be consistent with my time in prayer and the word.

It is something I have once again attempted to improve in recent weeks.  It is certainly challenging doing so with a one year old running around demanding your attention anytime you aren’t focused solely on her.  However, with all the stress in my life I can’t afford to not find time for God right now.  That is why the devotional below had such a tremendous impact on me this morning when I was reading it.  I hope for those of you who also struggle like me in this area you will rise to the challenge and make efforts to be more consistent.  For those of you who are consistent I applaud your efforts, dedication and planning prowess.  Enjoy!

Have you set up your tent yet?  In the days preceding the Exodus, God established a special place to meet with Moses and the Israelites.  He called it the Tent of Meeting; it was here that He said the words of our scripture verse above. Where is your Tent of Meeting?  For me it’s the brown chair downstairs in the living room.  That chair is where I read this passage a year ago and recommitted myself to a daily time with God.

My friend Darren was the first to jump in the water at a small group meeting I had with my small group while discussing consistency in our daily quiet times with our Creator. Darren said “Every morning, I get up and show up to work on time, I am prompt for my appointments throughout the day, and I’m always on time for my son’s baseball practice after work.  On weekends I like to get up at the crack of dawn and be the first off the tee so I can motor round the course. But one appointment I could never keep was the one about reading my Bible on a regular and consistent basis.  I made sure I kept my appointments with everyone else, but with Jesus, I was never on time. How sad is that?”

“So what did you do about it? I asked. “I finally got on track with a steady quiet time with God by doing three things: having a plan, setting a time, and having a place to do it uninterrupted.” Consistency is a very large key to starting your day with God’s perspective.  Don’t leave home without it. God deserves to be your first appointment don’t you think? This is pretty much common sense. Without your Creators’ perspective it can be a little dangerous facing your daily circumstances. Make your coffee and make God your first appointment every day. God is never late, He is waiting for you.
Father, you are the most important and urgent appointment of my day.

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I Hope My Daughter Will Be Brave

 

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Being a father to a little girl, who will one day be a smart and beautiful woman, causes my mind to race a million miles an hour at times.  I didn’t grow up with sisters (or brothers) and feel I have a greater obligation to my daughter than I might if I had a son.  I am not saying that is right or wrong just how it feels in my heart.  At the very foundation of those feelings of course is a desire to protect her from all the evil and bad things out there in the world.  It isn’t possible to do so, but any father worth his salt is going to try his damnedest.

Despite all the progress we have made in the world I recognize that Samara is likely to face a number of battles she shouldn’t have to. Some of those will be due to her sex and some because of her ethnicity.  Many of those battles are things I have not had to face personally growing up, nor have I had to face them as an adult.  I am not sure how well equipped I am to help her with some of those potential challenges.

As a father I pray that she is both book smart and street smart, beautiful, compassionate and loving to others.  I hope as she gets older she finds more happiness in the day-to-day of life than I have been able to.  Even now when we are together I tell her to never stop dreaming, never give up on what you want and to always be kind to others.  I tell her to be fearless and brave.

It’s the last one I want to emphasize here..  Whether you are a man or a woman there will be fearful times, moments when you doubt everything you have ever believed, opportunities to shrink back and live less of a life than you deserve.  I want Samara to be brave and courageous in the face of fear and doubt.  I want her to trust in her abilities rather than the words of others.  It doesn’t matter to me if she wants to be an astronaut, doctor, lawyer, professional soccer player, teacher or magician.  All I want is for her to do whatever she wants, to the best of her ability and to do so fearlessly.

Bravery comes in many forms and has many uses.  Whether it is the confidence to go in to her bosses office and negotiate a raise or to stand-up to a significant other who isn’t treating her properly, she will need to be brave.  Perhaps it will be bravery to enter a field that is under represented by women or ethnic minorities.  It could be the courage to try out for the varsity hockey team (or any team.)  It doesn’t matter what the situation.  I hope that Sharlay and I are able to teach her to seize those  opportunities and to move forward even in the face of fear.

If I am being honest I have no idea how to do that.  I fear that in the complacency of each day teachable moments to show her courage and to instruct her on being brave will go by unnoticed.  I worry that in my own life I won’t be a good example of bravery or courage to her.  Worse than that I am afraid I won’t even realize the example I am setting until it is too late.  As a young person it took me a long time to take risks and be brave because that wasn’t something I was encouraged to do.  In fact it was often the exact opposite.  It certainly saved me broken bones (I still haven’t broken any bones in my body…yet) but it also made me afraid to play football in school which is something I still regret to this day.

I came across this Ted Talk recently and as part of this post I wanted to share.  It touches on a few of the issues I mentioned above and who doesn’t love a 12 minute Ted Talk?  Click here to watch the video or play it in the background and just listen.  Many years from now I hope that Samara will say to those who are listening that her father taught her many thing but above all of them he taught me courage and how to be a brave woman.  I love you more than anything in this world Samara.

Until tomorrow, make it a better day!

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Devotional Tuesday – Gambling with Your Future

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

It’s easy to achieve a form of Christianity that presents well.  In fact, when a mutual friend, Clay, introduced me to Joel at Starbucks, I was impressed with Joel from the start.  We seemed to connect immediately.  We talked for an hour about our faith, our lousy golf games, and, also the emerging trend in medicine since Joel was a doctor in town.  He made several statements that suggested a spiritual maturity in his walk with God, including his desire to connect and grow his marriage and his family.

After our first meeting, Joel started coming to my Thursday morning Bible study, where he grew tight with the men at his table.  Technically, the guy was a model Christian.  Tragically, however he was about to experience the folly of an 80/20 life. I later learned from Clay, and later from Joel himself, his dilemma. He was talking a good game and putting himself out there as a guy who was working his faith, but at the same time he was feeding a gambling addiction as fast as a grandma feeds nickels into a slot machine.

What started off as a willful but innocent diversion — the game of blackjack — now enslaved him as he spent nearly every available moment figuring out how to save his house, his medical practice, and his marriage.  His future lay perilously in the hands of creditors.  The next time I saw Joel he was a broken man, living out the consequences of an 80/20 life.

As Paul warned Timothy, many men serve their own interest “by having a form of godliness but denying its power.” In contrast, when God’s man is tempted to enter 80/20 territory, he does what God would rather have him do — even if it’s less convenient or not nearly as fun. It’s called self control, it’s a gift of the Spirit. Accept the gift, after all He loves you — right?

Father, You are the best, “What a friend we have in Jesus”

Fashion Friday – Spring Essentials

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Dressing for Spring weather can be a challenge wherever you live. Some days are hot, others are cold and sometimes they are both. Not only that, but you often have to contend with the wind and rain one part of the day and sunshine in another.

As always we are hear to help!  There are a few basic fashion essentials you will need to survive the Spring weather.  As always the reasons the following items are essential is because you can often mix and match all of these to stay cool or stay warm.

Button Down

If you are a regular reader of this column then you know the Button Down is a year-round staple for your closet.  However, given the challenging weather conditions in Springtime it makes this staple especially important.eton-shirts-paisley-print-white-slim-fit4

You can wear this under a sweater or lightweight jacket in the cold mornings and then rock it by itself when the weather warms up.  Of course it is Spring so you get extra fashion cred if you wear bright colors.

Five Pocket Chinos

I have to be honest; I don’t care too much for Chinos.  I do own two pairs but I don’t wear them frequently.  However, they are nice from time to time when I am tired of wearing denim or when I want to have a slightly more relaxed experience at work.  They are constructed just like jeans but obviously are made with lighter-weight and office friendly fabric.  They are a good transition item if you need to go to an after work event that is more casual than your current office policy allows.  Wear them with a nice sport coat while at work and then without the coat you will fit in nicely at any happy hour you attend.

Polo Shirt

You aren’t going to wear this on a chilly morning however this is a great item to have in your closet as the weather gets warmer.  I am sure I have over a half dozen in my dresser at home.  For Spring, bright colors are always in style too.  Avoid blacks, browns and whites.  This is a classic look for Spring and works at casual and semi-casual events, just make sure you know how to use an iron (please!)

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This is also one of the easiest ways to look good in the Spring without having to try to hard.  A polo, jeans and a nice pair of loafers and you are set for whatever the day is going to throw at you.

Spring Sport Coat

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Bright colors, bold checks, breathable fabrics. A lightweight sport coat will serve you well from spring through summer, providing the perfect option for warm-weather weddings, days at the office, or an impromptu Derby party.
Lightweight Sweater
Even though it’s warming up outside, leaving the house without some insulation is a strong sign of poor decision making on your part. Spring’s iffy weather demands dressing in layers—so if you invest in one item this season, trust us, this should be it.
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Not only that but if you work in an office environment like I do they usually have the A/C working all year long so it is always good to have if you find yourself seeing your breath in the office.

Loafers

Loafers are the epitome of nonchalance. All you have to do is slip them on and you’re ready to hit the town, cruise the lake, or breeze through a casual workday in style (socks optional!)
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That’s it! Enjoy your weekend!

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