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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mission Accomplished

This past week was an emotional one as I attended 3 funeral/memorial services.  One of the services was for a man who had spent the last several months battling several serious health issues.

At his funeral, He was described as "patient, kind, never mad, soft-hearted, innovative, and having a great sense of humor.  Even though he said he didn't have a perfect marriage, he said that he never went to bed mad at his wife.  I'm positive that these qualities and practices had a huge factor in his marriage lasting 69 years!  When he became ill, he had one goal in mind:  make it to 70!

He passed away, surrounded by family, on the day of his 70th Anniversary!

Being a military man, the phrase "mission accomplished" was used at the funeral to describe his marriage.    What an incredible example of dedication, faith, family, trust, focus, pursuit, and love.  70 YEARS!!!!

"For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church.  
He gave up his life for her." 
Ephesians 5:25

In a society that often disregards and quickly forgets wedding vows, I would like to thank Dick Loehr for showing us what it means to live this verse.

Well done sir.  Mission Accomplished.

Stay strong.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Remember Who You Are

This morning, I had the incredible privilege of being a part of a "Changing of Command" ceremony for a Navy friend of mine, Commander Darryl Anderson.  Commander Anderson has been serving our country for the past 32 years as a sailor in the United States Navy.  Today, he was given command of all Naval Recruiting at the Miami station, the largest recruiting post in the southeast United States.  He's an outstanding man, husband, father, and servant of both our country and the Kingdom of God.

During the ceremony, one of the Commanding officers gave the sailors a challenge:

"Remember who you are.  Remember what you stand for.  Remember and work hard at the important task at hand."

What a challenge to everyone, whether they are a sailor or not.

Remember who you are!  God's children.  Protected.  Provided for.  Sought out.  Sacrificed for.  Blessed.  Invited.  Instructed.  Empowered.  Guided.  Taught.  Tasked.  Nurtured.  Forgiven.  Loved.

Remember what you stand for!  God.  His Kingdom.  His Son.  His Holy Spirit.  Truth.  Life (in it's fullest).  Integrity.  Purity.  Holiness.  Righteousness.  Freedom.  The hungry and thirsty.  The poor.  The sick.   The least.

Remember and work hard at the important task at hand.  Loving God.  Loving others.  Everything else is based off of these two basic tasks.

Thank you to Commander Darryl Anderson for the incredible honor of praying at your Changing of Command ceremony.  Congratulations, and thank you for serving our country for the past 32 years in the United States Navy as well as serving our God.  You are an example to all of us.

Remember who you are.  Remember what you stand for.  Remember and work hard at the important task at hand.  Stay strong.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Motion

An object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force!  


Thank you Sir Isaac for that nugget of knowledge known to most as Newton's first law of motion.  Basically, if you are moving, you will stay moving unless acted upon by something.  This is true of physical things, but I think Newton's law applies to spiritual things as well.  


God wants us heading in His direction.  That's no mystery.  That's why He created us.  When sin entered the world, He immediately put a plan in motion to redeem us through the sacrifice of His Son.  That would be the "unbalanced force" that can potentially change us from moving in an unhealthy direction.


We are all moving.  We are either moving towards God or away from Him.  What would your life look like if you were wise enough, courageous enough to move towards Him?  Get real practical...what would it look like for you to take one step towards Him?  He calls us to "Follow Him" in Matthew 4...it all starts with a step.  What would that step look like for you?


Belief?  Repentance?  Acceptance?  Baptism?  Tithing?  Forgiving?  Serving?  Loving?  


The greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  He tells a sinful woman to go and "sin no more," and commands us to be perfect like God is.  Those things seem pretty daunting, and can cause many people to turn away and not think they are worthy or will ever be good enough to follow Him.  


Guess what...nobody is worthy.  Nobody is good enough.  That's where God's grace, mercy, and forgiveness kick in.  God knows we are sinners in desperate need of cleansing and took care of our unworthiness on the cross.  Now, the invitation awaits anyone and everyone who would choose to step towards Him.  He's waiting with open arms.  Will you take the step?


As you think about what your step looks like, consider this prayer of David:


"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Psalm 139:23-24

You are loved.  You always have been and always will be.  God has and continues to pursue you.  Will you open your life to Him?  He's done everything He can.  Now, it's time for you to take the first step.  Stay strong.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Promised Land

In Numbers chapters 13 & 14, Israel was standing on the border of the Promised Land.  God had delivered them from over 400 years of slavery and given them hope, purpose, direction, and freedom.  They were no longer a tortured and enslaved people, and they were ready to enter the land God had promised to them.

They sent in 12 men to check out what the land looked like.  When the men returned, they gave their report.  It started out good as they talked about what the land looked like (filled with fruit...a land flowing with milk and honey), but the report quickly turned bad when they focused on the negative things they saw there (fortified cities, armies, weapons, and mean giants).  Their conclusion, the land was pretty and nice, but impossible to take.  God must have wanted us to die out here in the desert, so let's ditch Moses and Aaron and go back to Egypt.  Let's forget about what God delivered us from, who He made us into, and revert back to what we are used to (slavery), no matter how bad it is.

Two men (Joshua and Caleb) disagreed with the other 10 who offered the bad report.  They both went and spied out the Promised Land.  They saw the fortified cities.  They saw the armies.  They saw the weapons.  They saw the giants.  However, they didn't forget God's promised.  Their faith is evident in their report and plea to the people of Israel:

Numbers 14:9 "Do not rebel against the LORD, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the LORD is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!"
Two choices:

  1. Choose what makes sense according to the world around them.  Trust their eyes.  Trust their ears.  Trust what others around them claim to be true.
  2. Choose what makes sense according to God.  Trust Him and what He claims to be true!
Unfortunately, the nation of Israel chose number 1, and they never got to live up to their full potential.  They never got to enter the Promised Land because they rebelled against God.  Sure, the Promised Land was dangerous and filled with enemies, but they didn't trust that God would truly be with them and care for them, even though He had just delivered them from Egypt.  That choice cost them their potential and their lives.  Instead of being the generation that took the Promised Land, they spent the next 38 years slowly dying in the Wilderness.

Obviously choice number 2 is the right choice.  But choosing to trust God and enter the Promised Land isn't an easy choice.  It might be dangerous.  It will surely not keep you in your comfort zone.  You will have to depend on Him.

What's your Promised Land look like?  What has God got in store for you this year?  What could He accomplish through you if you are willing to trust that He has your best intentions in mind?  Will you fully trust Him and realize the full potential you have for Him this year?

You get a chance to be part of God's amazing story.  Don't revert to your past or settle for what this planet is offering you.  Trust God and live for Him.

Stay strong.