I Lost My Wallet

I lost my wallet.  I had it yesterday.  I had it when I got home.  I went to leave this morning and . . . .

I asked my wife, Betty.  Have you seen my wallet?  "Yes, I saw it last night.  The cat was playing with it."  I don't know what the look was on my face, but it motivated everyone to find that wallet fast.  But still Nothing.  

Betty had a 10 am appointment she could not miss so we had to leave.  All the time I am thinking, "Where is that wallet?  Where is that wallet?  Where is that wallet?" I didn't have a panic attack, but I knew that wallet was somewhere.  This was starting to stress me out?  

When we got to church, I headed straight for my desk.  Nothing.  No wallet.  So after Betty's appointment.  Back to the house.  

Upon our arrival, I asked her, "Where did you see it last?"  "The bedroom" she answers.  So away we go.  We looked under the bed (for the 100th time).  We looked under the couch, again.  We looked under the chair, again.  So, the next step is obvious.  Clean the room!  

Isaiah 41:10  Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Again, I didn't have a panic attack.  If the cat ate my wallet, he would be in bad shape.  So outside of that, it's in the bedroom somewhere.  

But when I was doing research for this blog, I was overwhelmed with the number of articles about panic attacks.  While I wasn't having one, I do know what they are.  We've all had one at one time or another.  That feeling you get when life is out of control, spiraling downward and there seems to be nothing you can do about it.  The old adage, "It isn't the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop."  begins to haunt you.  Or, "You don't bounce back, you just go SPLAT!" sounds like a real possibility.  

So what do you do? 

Don't fear.  Fear will lead you to anxiety.  Research the Bible and discover scriptures you can believe in.  You will be surprised how the Word of God will bring comfort to your need. 

Give God control.  Yes, this is the hard one.  But ask yourself this question.  How are things going now that you are in charge?  No so good?  Then you have nothing to lose by letting God have a shot. 

Remember, the ending is good.  Paul said that if you die, then you are with Jesus.  So that's a bad deal?  Now if you die and you haven't repented of your sins and given your life to Jesus - well, your bad day is going to get a lot worse. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I'm giving you control of my life today.  AMEN 

Oh!  Where was the wallet?  As we started to clean the bedroom, the first thing I picked up was the shoes I wore to church yesterday.  I saw something in them, and sure enough, it was my wallet.  Betty perked up and said, "Oh, yea!  Now I remember.  I put it in there for safe keeping."  

I'm The Problem

I was talking with someone the other day (someone smarter and wiser than myself) about a problem I'm facing.  He asked me.  "What do you think the problem is?"  I answered quickly.  I'm the problem.  His response was great.  "Well, that eliminated half the battle, and I have already reached first base."

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.

You can accept humility or be humiliated.  They are not the same thing.  

Accepting and embrace humility is to honestly embrace your life as is, faults and all.  It is to admit that you need God and that without Him you have no hope.  Humility makes to pretense about who you are.  Humility takes a servants approach to life (notice I didn't say, slave).  You want to help others from the goodness of your heart, not because you are better than them. 

Being humiliated is the process of being exposed as a fraud in some way.  That isn't to say that every area of your life is fraudulent.  (Even though most people assume that.)  But it is the painful removal of layers of shellac (pride) that you have used to cover up the truth.  

Humiliation can be private between you and God.  It can happen in a close, personal relationship.  It can even be very, very public.  It is always painful.  

Admit you are the problem.  When you go ahead and embrace it - it can't hurt you.  

Welcome the wisdom of those willing to invest in your life.   Pray for people who have, "been there and done that."  Pray for people who will hear from God to help you.  Pray for God to give you the wisdom to grow.  

Be determined to change.  Without this determination, you will never change.  You have to be willing to make the sacrifice and even endure some pain to discover who you really are in Christ. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I willingly submit my life to you today.  AMEN.  

It's Time to Laugh

Psalm 126:2-3 Then our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with joyful songs.

A man dies and is met by Peter at the pearly gates.

Peter says, ‘You need 100 points to make it into Heaven. Tell me all of the good things you’ve done and I’ll give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in.’

‘Okay,’ the man says, ‘I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart.’

‘That’s wonderful,’ says Peter, ‘that’s worth three points!’

‘Three points?’ the man exclaims. ‘Well, I attended church all of my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service.’

‘Terrific!’ says Peter, ‘that’s certainly worth a point.’

‘One point? OK, well I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for the homeless.’

‘Fantastic, that’s good for two more points,’ Peter says.

‘TWO POINTS!’ the man cries. ‘At this rate, the only way I’ll get into Heaven is by the Grace of God!’

‘Come on in!’

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, thank you I can laugh. AMEN 

Your Brain Is Stupid

I've said this over and over, "Your brain is stupid."  No, I didn't say that you have a low IQ.  It's just that your brain does things that in the end make you go, Hmmmmm!

Think about it.  You need a watch to tell time.  Why?  Your brain has no idea what time it is.

Your brain will randomly pick something to do, even though it's something that isn't that important.

According to Parkinsons Law, if you have a 1-hour task to do, but give yourself all week to do it, your brain will figure out a way to take the whole week.

However, your brain is absolutely brilliant at doing some very important things.  It keeps your heart beating, your lungs working and it protects you from danger.

Recently, a friend of mine went through a very traumatic situation.  They are ok but shaken up nonetheless.  Later, they heard a noise that reminded them of that traumatic situation and they froze up in fear.  There was no reason for them to freeze up.  There was no reason to be afraid.  The brain did what the brain does.  It sensed danger and went into overdrive.

We like to think that we are in control of our emotions and thoughts.  But like my friend, the reality is we respond to the things that happen around us.  Building on our previous experiences, our brain assumes what is going to happen next and reacts.  Sometimes this is a good thing.  Sometimes, it leads us down a dark path.

Fear is a powerful emotion that can enslave us.  Our fears can rob us of our future, our joy, and our peace.  I know people who never got married because they were afraid of getting a divorce as their mom and dad did.

I know people who gave away their authority as a parent or spouse because someone with authority had hurt in the past.  

2 Tim 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Notice that fear and self-control (or as some translations say, "sound mind") are in the same sentence.  Paul understand that fear would make you nuts.  That you couldn't have self-control or a sound mind with it.  Fear serves us well when we allow the Holy Spirit to be in control of it.  

PRAY: Dear Jesus, I do not want to be afraid or live in fear.  AMEN 

Notice The Little Things

Back at Christmas, my daughter got a new kitten.  We named him Loki.  The name fits him.  If I don't call him Loki I will usually call him Spaz.  He is a typical cat who on occasion will just explode and start running all over the house.

This morning I noticed that he was on the hunt for something.  In Florida, God only knows what it could be.  I looked and didn't see anything.  Thought the cat was spazzing out again.  Then a few minutes later my daughter pointed it out.  So I looked back.  He had found a spider.  Not just any spider.  The smallest, tiniest spider imaginable.  He was just fascinated by it.  I thought, "How in the world did you see that?"

Then the Holy Spirit whispered in my heart, "How many little details about life have you missed?"  WOW!

Matthew 10:29 - 30 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

You and I live in a world that is getting faster and faster every day.  We have more tasks and projects that we can manage with less time to do them in.  

God doesn't miss the details of your life.  Yes, He is the God of your lifelong purpose, the big vision, and eternal life.  He is also the God of subtle changes that will happen as you grow, the little issues that threaten your heart and the insignificant things that don't seem to matter. 

Stop and see.  Look around you right now.  What do you see?  No, really!  What do you see with your heart?  So many times our opportunities to see ministry are missed because we are not looking. 

You are more important than details.  The old saying is, "The devil is in the details."  I get it, and on occasion, I've agreed.  But God has never been thwarted by the details.  Especially yours.  

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, help me to see the little things today.  The things that really matter.  AMEN  

Pressure, Stress and Frustration

All of us are familiar with pressure, stress, and frustration. For example. As you know, I've had problems getting this blog into your inbox. I couldn't figure out what was going on. Then today, I discover that there were "spambots" signing up on my website to be, "subscribers." I venture that once they receive an email from me, they would turn around and use it to send their spam out to their lists. Therefore, some servers were flagging my email address, not my emails, as spam.

The solution seems to be getting a little more complicated than I desire for it to be. But I will keep you posted.

Now in the grand scheme of things, this isn't life ending, career melting, all destroying situation that would cause pressure, stress, and frustration.

But take into consideration Joseph who was abducted, sold into slavery, tossed into prison and forgotten. Maybe we should look at David who lived from cave to cave while King Saul hunted him like a wild animal. What about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who in the face of idolatry were going to burn to death.

But what about Jesus? Well, let's look at Matthew 26.

30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.As I write this blog, I am listening to some great worship tunes. Surrounding my environment with the praises of God lifts my spirits, even when I am facing significant challenges.  Worship Him.

39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
Jesus prayed his way through the most significant threat to His life.  Knowing what was about to happen, He sought the strength to see it through.

36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 
We don't see Jesus asking for a lot of help during His ministry.  But here, he desires to be with his friends and that they would pray with Him.  When you are stressed out, pray it out.  When you are under pressure, seek the help of those that will pray with you and share their life with you.

31 For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’Jesus relied on the Word of God frequently.  It was a strength of His ministry and life.  When you are under pressure, see the truth of His Word.  It will bring relief. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I'm under some pressure here so I will worship You, seek your counsel and wisdom.  AMEN