That Scared Me

So last Sunday, a table fell on my daughter's foot.  She is a dancer.  It would be the same as a pianist breaking a finger or a singer losing their voice.

All week long we have been caring for it.  Allowing it time to heal and recover.  But there was a nagging question.  Are there any broken bones?  As far as we could tell, no.  While it was bruised, no signs were indicating a nasty break.

Then, someone, last night said, "You better have an x-ray and make sure.  If there is a break, the next time she dances she can cause permanent damage."  I saw the panic in my daughter's eyes.  So this morning, after a few phone calls, we found someone who would see her.  Thankfully, no broken bones.  Even the doctor said, "Wow you really bruised it!"

Now all this week I have been saying to God, "You need to take care of Anneka."  He has been saying back to me, "Don't worry, the foot isn't broken."  I honestly believed that.  When I went to the doctor, I honestly believed that.  When he said, "It isn't broken." I thanked God.  So why get the x-ray?

Some of you might say, "For your daughter's peace of mind." You would be right.
Some of you might say, "For your wife's peace of mind."  Again, you would be right.

But it wasn't a lack of faith that led me to the doctor's office.

In the Old Testament, in some instances, when God healed you of some disease, you had to go to the priest and have it confirmed.

In the New Testament, some of Jesus' healings were confirmed in the same manner.  At the temple by a priest.

"See that you don't tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them." Matthew 8:4 NIV

In the New Testament the blind would see, (proof) the deaf would hear (proof) and the lame would walk (proof).

Seeking proof and confirmation of God compassion expressed through His power and healing virtue isn't a sin.  Which leads me to my point.

What miracle are you proof of?  What has God done in your life that proves He still does miracles today?  What is it that He has done physically, mentally, financially, relationally, spiritually or emotionally that expresses His great love for others.  Who are you telling about it?  Write it in the comments below and let us know.  God is still on the move today.

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, let me be proof to this world that you are still alive and care about us.  AMEN

I Wouldn't Think About It If I Were You.

A few years ago I was giving birth to a kidney stone.  If you don't know, it is one of the most excruciating forms of pain any human can withstand.  A urologist told me once, "Take a golf ball, put it in a common water hose and try to blow it out."  Pretty accurate.

Well, I went to the hospital in hopes of finding some kind of relief.  The doctor comes in, checks me out and orders some tests.  I asked, "While we are waiting for the tests, could you give me something for the pain?"  "No," was his answer, "We have to confirm that you have a kidney stone before we can give you any pain meds.  If I were you, I wouldn't think about it, it only makes the pain worse."  Then "poof" he was gone, and I was left thinking about it - A LOT!

But he was right.  If I thought about it, it got worse.  But if I had someone to talk to and joke with while waiting for my test, it seemed to make the pain more manageable.  A nurse came in and said, "We're going to run the test, I'll hurry those results up, and we're going to get you those pain meds."

Now I am in a really cooperative mood now.  Let's go!  We enter the room where the test is to be conducted, and I notice that there is a large number of people for this test present.  Someone has decided to use me as their ginny pig to teach new nursing students.  Everyone is going to get a shot at finding that kidney stone.  AHHHHHH!

Find it they did.  Over and over.  The test was done, and they confirmed what I knew.  There's a rock the size of a small mountain stuck in my plumbing.  With that, I was wheeled back to my spot in the ER.

The doctor shows up and says, "Well, I don't have your test results yet."  Maybe it was the look on my face or the tone of my voice, but I said, "Listen, there is a herd of nurses somewhere around here who have all taken a very good look at it.  A few even celebrated when they shouted, 'There it is!  There it is!  I found the stone!'  Go ask one of them!"  He chuckles at me and says, "That's good enough."  With that, a nurse dances, literally dances, into my assigned area with syringes in hand.  YES!

Ecclesiastes 7:8 The end of something is better than its beginning. Patience is better than pride.

I could have become impatient, lost my temper, acted ugly and made a scene.  I could have just got up and left.  I could have complained about every detail of my experience.  What would that have got me?  Nothing.  

I needed to have patience.  But it wasn't patience with the process.  (Even though we do need to practice patience with the processes of faith that God is doing in our lives.)  But we need to exercise faith with the people that God has placed into our lives to help us.  You can think about the pain, and that will only make it worse.  Fear will make it bigger than what it really is.  But being patient with the people God has placed in your life will help you out of the pain you are experiencing in your heart, soul, and spirit today. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, help me to be patient with other people today.  AMEN  

Timing is Everything

The old saying that "timing is everything" is true.  Ever tried to give your order at the drive-thru only to hear the static voice from the other end say, "Can I take your order?"

Change is inevitable.  I've said before.  You can choose the change that you desire, or change will pick it for you - badly.  But the question always is, when and how?

Let's address when.  At the risk of oversimplifying let's look at 2 significant reasons to change.  Pain and God said so.

When you surpass your threshold of pain, you will change.  That's why you see some people making changes to their lives as often as they change their socks.  Low threshold.  It's also the reason why you see some people live in painful relationships or careers for long periods of time.  High threshold. 

Ask yourself this.  Where is your threshold and do you want to go there?  If the answer is no.  Then, now is the time to change.  

God said so.  When God directs us to make changes in our life, He means now!  Rarely it is convenient or comfortable.  Think of it this way.  Your driving down the road and someone loses control in front of you.  You radically and suddenly drive the car to avoid becoming part of the accident.  Gives new meaning to the song, "Jesus take the wheel."

Now, how do you do it? Proverbs 14:22  Do they not go astray who devise evil?  Those who devise good meet steadfast love and faithfulness.

Know your God-given priorities.  If God doesn't put your priorities into the right order, you will most likely put them in your selfing order. 

Believe that God will bless His priorities and pray for a plan of action.  Don’t assume anything.

Faith is a process.  Trust the process and be patient.  Submitting to Gods plans from a heart of humility will get you farther than the best laid plans of mice and men. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, help me to change and help me to make the right changes.  AMEN  

Go To Church Like It's 1955

I wasn't around in 1955.  I didn't show up until 1963.  But our kids had a 50's day back in kids church.  There were costumes, root beer floats and a lot of fun.

Then after service, we baptized 3 people in water.  Every step of faith that people take is a reason to celebrate.  We had a great day.

But this got me to thinking.  How much has changed in the church since let's say 1955?  Hymnals became projectors, mimeograph bulletins became morning brochures printed in full color.  Pews became chairs, and now you have to have a website.  I'm not saying that any of these changes were terrible.  Their not.  Time changes things.

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8

God tells Abraham to pick up everything you own and move.  "Where to God?" asks Abe.  God says, "None of your business for right now, just walk in that direction.  I'll let you know it when you get there."  

I'm sure that there was a lot of praying within the first 100 miles, 200 miles, even 300 miles.  Then the praying probably went to Sarah asking, "Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?"  

Being part of a church is a lot like traveling.  Like Abraham, you're going in the right direction (because you are following God).  But farther you go, the more change you will see and experience.  

Recently, I drove from Florida to Washington DC.  Along the way, I saw some places where I thought, "Hmmm, not so bad."  Then there were some other spots in the road where I thought, "You know, I think I'll drive another 20 miles."  But I didn't allow one bad spot in the road to ruin the whole trip.  

Follow God, He knows where He is leading His church. 
Don't focus on the rough spots.  They too shall pass. 
Change will happen because God will always lead His church where people need Him the most. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, help me to have the faith of Abraham and lead me where You want me to go.  AMEN  

Blink and Miss It

James 4:14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

I got up this morning at 7 am.  It is now 8:42 pm.  WHAT HAPPENED? 

Losing a day is one thing. Losing a lifetime, that's something else.

A hospice nurse wrote a book entitled “The Top Five Regrets of The Dying.” Here are her findings.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
We all have regrets.  But the regret of losing one's own life is horrible.  

Mark 8:36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

In a few hours, it will be Sunday here in South Florida.  I'm going to encourage you to do a few things tomorrow that steer you away from these regrets. 

Get up and go to church.  Don't attend church.  Immerse yourself in the worship.  Ask the Holy Spirit to speak into your life about your life. 

Discover what God created you to do.  Most people say something like, mother or father.  While this is true, there is more.  Ask God what else is there.  

Encourage someone tomorrow.  A smile.  A compliment.  An encouraging word.  Pray for someone.  

Ask God for joy.  Don't focus on happy.  Happy is fleeting and unreliable.  The joy of the Lord will give you what you need. 

Count your blessing then thank God for them.  True you worked for them and paid for them.  But who gave you the talent?  Who gave you the job?  

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I don't want to leave this world with regrets.  Help me to get my priorities lined up with Yours.  AMEN  

Smile! No Really!

Your assignment today is to look someone in the eye and smile.  No, not that creepy smile you have that scares small animals and children.  The genuine one that lets people know that you care.

British researchers determined that one smile will give you as much pleasure as 2,000 bars of chocolate.  A - Smile away and B - who ate 2,000 bars of chocolate?

Proverbs 15:13 A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.

A glad heart.  Well, that speaks to attitude, not circumstances.  It's about trust, not control.  It's about faith and never about fear.  

Start your day with gratitude.  If you are reading this in the morning, then stop and choose one thing that you are grateful for right now.  

Choose to improve your attitude.  But Russ!  You don't know what I am going through right now!  True, but I do know one thing.  It will get a little better if you just - smile.  

Smile.  Go ahead and do it.  Just do it! 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, encourage me today and allow me to smile at someone who needs it.  AMEN