Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The 'Garment' that speaks...

Imagine with me that every word you spoke, or every thought you ever had about yourself, became a garment for you to wear? (Laurie Beth Jones)

It was a question I came across recently that seemed to sum up the last 36 years of my life. At the top of the list of some of the greatest sins we could ever commit is a lack of confidence and belief in our own selves.

How is that possible?

God made us and created us in His own image. He chose us. He believes in us…
               (on and on the list goes)
And yet, we convince our own selves that something is wrong. . .something is just not right. Scripture says, “…out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” We have allowed this thought process to fill our mind and heart so much, that we actually convince our own selves that we are masking this sin.

(Maryland Snow)
Forest Hill, MD
Where does it lead?

To a place where no one can truly believe what we say. To a place where trying to please people is more important than telling them what they ‘need’ to hear. To a place where you are always the victim and never the problem.

To put it bluntly – It’s bondage in its greatest form. You can never be led because you are unable to lead your own self. Your marriage, relationships, and acquaintances will remain good…yet never make it over to greatness. True success in life will always remain out of reach because of the gray area that has engulfed your world. You will look in the mirror and it’s always someone else – you can never point the finger in the direction it belongs.

You cannot give your way out of this. You cannot serve your way out of this. You cannot talk your way out of this one. It is an addiction. . .and the first thing you have to do with an addiction is admit that you have a problem. It is a mask that can never truly cover up what is on the inside.

(Central Park)
New York, NY
Freedom awaits those who humble themselves and stop. Stop allowing your lack of belief in yourself to ‘victimize’ you. Your wife is waiting on a leader. Your husband needs his teammate to stand with him. Your children are longing for their hero to stand up. And this world has been waiting on the Jesus that only you can show them by what your ‘garment’ is saying.

The sooner you start seeing the sin in this, the sooner repentance can begin. 
I can personally guarantee: this is the greatest Christmas gift you could ever give yourself. Because there is nothing like the freedom of walking in the light. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Is it Right?

Anger is for the most part tough to suppress. Many of we human beings are built like steam pots...we begin the process of heating up until finally we spew hot air everywhere. 
You don't have to act like you are perfect and never struggle with this emotion. Believe me - everyone around can see and sometimes feel the force of your 'steam'. 

It is truly amazing how may times we spew that anger towards our creator. We claim to be this great man or woman of faith - we take that step off the cliff of our 'comfort zones' to show what a brave spiritual follower of Christ we are - we speak to anyone who will listen that we are willing to go wherever He chooses to take us...and THEN. Then He chooses to take us 'there', and we get angry. 

(Inner Harbor)
Baltimore City, MD
From the time I attended my first S.S. Class, Jonah has always been one of the most intriguing lessons in the Bible. I mean, this guy got swallowed by a fish. If that is not intriguing, then you cannot be intrigued. 

God told him to go to Ninevah to preach to the city that judgement was coming because of their wickedness. He refused. He got on a boat. He was thrown overboard. He was swallowed by a great fish. He cried out to God. Fish spits him out. NOW he is willing. He preaches to the city what God said He was going to do. They repent. God shows mercy to them and doesn't destroy them. JONAH GETS ANGRY. 

After all I've been through getting here to deliver your message, and You show mercy?! 

(Jonah 4:1-3) NLT
This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry.  So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people.  Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.” 

Then God (in Vs. 4) made a statement to Jonah that has challenged my world as of late: 
"Is it right for you to be angry about this?"

(Walkway - Inner Harbor)
Baltimore City, MD
We take these obedient steps to follow Christ and 'things' appear to get worse.
(All the while it 'appears' for others that mercy is continuously shown)
After all I've been through to get to this point, things are not working out the way I had planned. 
Look God...my future is on the line here. 

I guess I enjoy reading about Jonah's life so much because I can relate to his way of thinking. It was so selfish. Jonah was so concerned about his stuff, that he couldn't see that it is always about 'others'.  

Our anger can grow so blinding, that we forget THE work that God is doing through us. 
We (I do anyway) like to think that when we take our leap of faith into Gods plan that it is all about us. God is going to make me this. God is going to use me to do that. The 'blessings' are just going to come pouring in on my terms. 

Then God starts doing the REAL work in us...and we get angry. 

"Is it right for you to be angry about this?" (via Jesus Christ)

Thursday, October 13, 2011


It’s no secret that I’m a picky eater. Where I get it from, I have no idea. From early on, I can remember wanting my cheeseburgers with nothing but meat and cheese. My food can’t touch when it’s on my plate.
Subway sandwich-makers dearly love to see me come in because my sandwich is always the easiest to fix. Just get the bread…slap on some cheese, turkey meat, and bacon…and I’m good to go.
My salad (if you can call it that) consists of bacon bits, cheese, eggs, kidney beans, and fat-free thousand island dressing. (stop laughing!)

It is amazing though how that my pickiness has drifted into my every-day journey with Christ. There are just some things I don’t want to eat. Would it be good for me? Sure. Would I possibly find out that I actually enjoyed it? Sure. But somehow I make up my mind…I am not taking that in.

National Mall
(Washington, D.C.)
Apparently, deep down, I expect that my walk with Him is always going to be filled with sunshine and roses. But when my ‘food’ starts running together on my ‘plate’, I just want to take it to the sink and not eat it.

David said in, Psalm 34:8:’ O taste & see that the Lord is GOOD: blessed is the man who trusteth in Him.’ (KJV)

You see, we can gorge ourselves when our meal is prepared the way we like it. But when it comes to having to ‘suffer’ through one we just don’t like, we nibble around the edges…nibbling just enough to hold us until we can later run through a drive-thru and get what we really want.

Conowingo Dam
(Darlington, MD)
Sometimes God doesn’t give us exactly what we want or how we want it. There are moments when a ‘dish’ is served…that we didn’t order. Yet, it’s God’s way of knowing what’s best for each of us. He never said that everything was going to taste good…He simply said to trust what He gives you, and then you will see that He is good.

Go ahead and consume Romans 8:28: ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’ (KJV)


"Duties are ours, events are God's; When our faith goes to meddle with events, and to hold account upon God's Providence, and beginneth to say, 'How wilt Thou do this or that?' we lose ground;
(Samuel Rutherford)

In following Christ, we can’t be picky eaters. Taste and see…you just might be surprised. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Go ahead....Jump

Confidence is such a difficult thing to battle with. It is like a never-ending roller coaster that can’t stop making the loops, round and round and round. You climb slowly…you ‘top out’…then back down you go, and around the loop our lives continue to roll.

Where confidence shows itself outwardly is in the fact that, many times, we can’t look others in the eye. A few years ago I had the privilege of meeting a hero of mine. I did not realize he was going to be at the same event I was at. And out of nowhere, I turned the corner and came face-to-face with him. I was introduced to him, and literally could not look him in the eyes.

Sometimes it seems as though a person’s greatness makes them better than us. And we all know that’s not even close to the real case.

But I have come to realize that the greatest battle with confidence comes not when dealing with someone else…it’s in the inward battle that we can never seem to completely defeat.

(Forest Hill, MD)
Failure. Doubt. Worry. Reached the end of our rope. Back against the wall. All these symbolisms of where we often find ourselves tears at the very fabric of our inner self-worth to the point where we can’t even summon enough courage to look our own selves in the eye. What we lose sight of in reality though is, what it does to our faith.

We won’t take giant leaps, because ‘what if…’
I’ve tried so many times before but I can’t…
No one really believes I can, so…

I’ve had to really work, as of late, to convince myself that I really can’t do it. Sounds weird, right? In truth, this is genuinely what faith is all about.

As a husband, father, and man (and I stress the ‘man’ part), I always think that…I can work this out. Half the time I can’t even look myself in the mirror…but I’m still determined that…I can work it out. I’ll figure something out.

(Inner Harbor)
Baltimore, MD
But it has taken my present reality to realize, ‘you can’t figure this one out’. Why? Because I’ve literally taken a leap off this imaginary cliff where only God can catch me. Living where I can figure things out, is the safe place to be. I really don’t have to depend on God’s miraculous power when I stay in the place ‘I know.’

I understand we have common sense for a reason, but when was the last time you took such a God-impressed leap of faith that you couldn’t figure out what was next? Where if He doesn’t come through, then you are through. If He doesn’t perform a miracle, then where is your answer going to come from? It’s no wonder we struggle with confidence because we really are not convinced that the Maker of all things…will come through.

(Forest Hill, MD)
Get in front of the mirror. Get your head up. Speak into your life that you are His, and that you can do ALL THINGS through Him who strengthens you. Lose your confidence in your own abilities – get them out of the way – and jump…

Larry’s International Version:
With God…there’s never a dull moment. (Vs. 1 – Chapter 1)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Afraid to Speak

Much has been said about the fear of public speaking. It is found at the top of the list of things we human beings are afraid of. There is just something about standing in front of a group of people whose eyes are solely focused upon you, then opening your mouth to speak.

I recently viewed a documentary on the legendary NBA star Larry Bird. During his junior year of high school this basketball star took an F in an English Class because he refused to give a short speech in front of his peers.

Some people can talk every second of every day, yet freeze when they are put in front of a group. But whether we want to come to grip with this fact or not, it is still a reality: Our lives are always on a stage. Eyes always focused on every decision, every dream, and every word said.

The question we should be asking ourselves daily is, “What is my life saying?” What do my relationships hear from me? What about my kids…my companion…my friends. . .what am I speaking into them from my stage?

I’ve come to realize that this fear of ‘public speaking’ has often kept me from being the authentic me. Will my circle like what they see and hear? Will I be accepted? What if I make a mistake? Everyone will see because the lights are focused on me. This could very well be the reason that our world is searching for genuine leaders today. The seats have become so crowded with individuals who have made the decision to climb down off the stage and out from under the lights, because accepting the call to ‘live publicly’ is just too costly.

By doing this we miss incredible faith-building opportunities.
We miss 'doing for one what we wish we could do for everyone'. (Thanks, Andy Stanley)
We miss letting our companions and children see us make mistakes and grow from them.
And in the end, we fail to experience the beauty of showing those who follow how to live on the stage.

You may decide to go sit in the seats, but understand...that still speaks. Get up there, dads. C’mon, moms, our little girls need to see how to live. Husbands and wives, let your marriage show this world true love. Students, let your campus follow somebody instead of just having another face in the crowd. This world needs more to get over the fear, climb back up on the stage and just live. One way or the other, your decision will speak louder than you will ever know. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where's your fruit?

I’ve never been much of a fruit guy. I would eat an occasional apple, some cantaloupe, pineapple, or a banana. I have never been guilty though of turning down a chip or two, but we can discuss the intricacies of junk food at a later date.

In Matthew 21, we find Jesus on the road with His disciples headed for Jerusalem. On so many occasions, I feel we Christians fail to keep in the forefront of our minds that while Jesus walked the earth He was both divine and human. He needed sleep…He (I’m sure) got splinters while working as a carpenter’s son…

(…and just to chase a squirrel here, I’ve always wondered if a bee had the guts to sting Him? If so, I want to meet that bee.)

(Baltimore Police Station...from 'The Wire')
Fell's Point - Baltimore, MD
In Vs. 19, we find Jesus walking toward Jerusalem and He was hungry. He comes upon a fig tree that had leaves on it, but no figs to eat. After seeing this Jesus said, “May you never bear fruit again!” It then immediately withered up.

In absorbing this passage, I’ve been forced to evaluate my own life. How many times has my life been so covered in leaves that others were just convinced that I was fulfilling my God given purpose? The problem was that the closer others got to me, the more they began to realize that there was no fruit.
I can parallel my life to this fig tree in so many ways. Had I known Jesus was going to be passing through my life on certain occasions desiring to use me for a specific purpose, I would have made sure that things were in order.

I watch in sadness today while many are covered in leaves but there is no visible fruit to be seen. It is all about the position I can obtain, or the payment I can receive for my services…it’s the look. What do others see?
Forget what I am hiding. Forget that I cannot afford to let others get to ‘close’ to me. I’ve simply got to keep God and everyone else at a distance … I’ve got leaves to protect.

(Inner Harbor)
Baltimore City, MD
You ever wonder why you don’t get anywhere? You ever wonder why your relationships, your spirituality, and your life never advance? Ever wonder why contentment evades you and judgment fills the void? Jesus just might have stopped ‘watering’ your soul.

Christ hungers for you to become all that He desires for you to be. He makes it a point to pass through our days…and He is always looking for the fruit.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Luke 10:38-42
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 
40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I have read about this particular occurrence many times before, but the four words found in Verse 40 really did a number on me this morning. Martha did a wonderful thing by opening her home to Jesus and His disciples.
As any of us would do, she wanted everything to be perfect. I can imagine that she was reaching way back into her cabinets to pull out the best dinnerware she had. Items that otherwise would be left lying around were being thrown into any available space to give the appearance that her home was immaculate. 
And the food…’If only I had known in advance that Jesus was coming, I would have made sure that I had the choice selections from the market.’

(Fell's Point)
Baltimore, MD
 The nervous energy had to be pumping through Martha’s veins.

But her sister Mary just sat down at the feet of Jesus to listen to what He had to say. How could she? The most important houseguest you could ever have is sitting in your living room…and you just sit down to listen?

This is where Verse 40 comes into our story and relates to us even today. 
Jesus had shown up in her home and Martha got distracted from what was most important. Jesus did not need what she could do for Him…She needed what He could do for her.

(Inner Harbor)
Baltimore, MD
How many:
- Distracted ‘could-be’ mentors are out there today?
You could be used mightily to speak words of guidance into others lives, but…
- Distracted husbands / wives?
Your spouse longs to be heard, loved, and communicated with, but…
- Distracted Pastors?
You are so caught up in the ‘preparation’ of what you think needs to be done that you miss what is most important.
- Distracted mom’s / dad’s?
T.I.M.E. It is all our children want, but…
- Distracted friends?
Our circle clamors for genuine honor and respect from us, but…

Jesus does not need ‘us’ quite as bad as sometimes we think He does. His plan, will, and purpose will be accomplished with or without our actions. As He told Martha, “…few things are needed – or indeed only one.”

Look around and evaluate where you are today. You just might be distracted from what is most important and not even know it. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Move. Forward...

I drive my middle son crazy. He is a little worrier who believes anything I tell him. That is not a good combination when it comes to hanging around with me. J The other day I was driving backwards out of our long driveway and Grady asked, “Why are we going backwards?” In all sincerity I said, “It’s a new thing daddy is trying. We are going to go all the way to the restaurant 
going backwards.” (I know, I’m terrible) 
As only a mommy can do, my wife stepped in to settle him back down by letting him know that daddy was just kidding. 

In everyday life though, I wonder how many people live their days looking in the rearview mirror instead of through the windshield? So many do not like what they see in front of them so they choose to look back to the good ole days. Many others do not want to face the oncoming struggles that it will take to move beyond what they have been chained to, so they look back upon a past that continues to affect their present. And still, others do not have the wherewithal to watch where they are going so they just drive around in circles.

(Forest Hill, MD)

Taking the time to remember where we came from will affect our present, but keeping our eyes focused on the road ahead is of utmost importance.

Jesus said in Luke 9:62, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Far too many wrecks are occurring along the road of life for this very reason. Then we put the blame squarely upon the shoulders of God when it was truly our own decision to not keep our eyes focused in the right direction.

A stern warning was given when God said, ‘Remember Lot’s wife.’ (Luke 17)
Don’t get caught looking back to things that were meant and intended to be destroyed.

(City Pier - Broadway St.)
Baltimore, MD
It’s worth the struggle. It’s worth every obstacle. Run this race with patience and keep your eyes focused on what lies ahead.

Move. Forward.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Bucket...

Ever feel like a bucket?

A nice big storage device used to hold everyone’s stuff that needs to be carried around. We are tied to the end of our rope, constantly being let up and down by the pulley of life (Corny line …. I know).

You ever wonder why life is full of its up’s and down’s? 
How many times have we hoped, dreamed, and wished for the simple act of consistency? Why can’t I live about mid-way between the mountaintop and the valley? That way, I’ll never be too high or too low.

Fells Point (Baltimore, MD)
If you plan on making a difference in this world though, you are never going to stay in one spot long enough to get comfortable. And if you are really doing life, some of it is spent on top and…well (no pun intended), you know where the other times lead.

This is where I begin to really feel like a bucket dangling from its rope…when I’m being let up and down into a well. This is where it is imperative that we gain an understanding that our lives must have moments where we are lowered in order to be refilled again.
The reasons are many:
* Anyone can become dry in this world we live in.
* Life can become so overwhelming that we settle into comfort mode, just existing instead of really living.
* We can get so caught up in giving to others, that we eventually begin running on reserve because we don’t take the time to fill our tank back up to the point of overflowing.

Even Jesus had to step back from ministry and rest. Even He had to humble Himself. He went through moments of utter agony in order to be an overflowing ‘well’ of hope to this world.

S. Broadway St.
(Baltimore, MD)
So you see, being the bucket is not such a bad thing. We just have to be willing to endure the trip down in order to be filled to serve our God-designed purpose to our world.  
Our ‘bucket existence’ should be faced with joy.
Isaiah 12:2-4  (NLT)
2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation.”
3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
4 In that day you will say: “Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Don’t worry if you feel like you’re in a downward spiral…you are just a bucket that needs refilling, not only for your own sake, but for the sake of those you influence. Put God in charge of your rope, and face wherever you are with joy.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thanks Coco

When it comes to the imparting of wisdom, Conan O’Brien is probably not the first person you would name to gather such enlightenment from. But in a recent commencement address to the 
Dartmouth Class of 2011, he shared this insight about his 
recent life-happenings:
“It is our failure to become our perceived idea that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound re-invention.”

He went on to say that “whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment, you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.”

(Rocks State Park)
Jarrettsville, MD
I look back over my grade school years and laugh at what I ‘thought’ needed to happen in order for me to be successful. 
My teenage years bring even more laughter as I look back on them. Don’t laugh…you were full of that craziness, too.
And as an adult, disappointment has shown itself time after time.

Yet, through all of this, I find myself growing more original everyday. It is an old statement but rings so true: Most people are born original, yet they die a copy.
The question that each of us must answer is, how do we handle circumstances, disappointments, and misfortune?

The importance of these moments comes down to our perspective. 
So many become just another statistic when they turn away from what is so clear, right in front of their eyes. The very opportunities that should bring clarity to our lives instead push us further into a purposeless existence.

The world doesn’t need another _(fill in the blank)_. 
The world needs YOU.

(Lone Brown Cow)
Forest Hill, MD
You have specific gifts that God placed inside of you before you were even a glimmer in your parent’s eyes. You have things to accomplish that would blow your mind if God revealed it for you to see. 
This all comes down to God’s time and the mysteriousness in which He works.
What might feel like the greatest disappointment you have ever endured might just be your ‘moment’ to find your originality.
Failure may have followed you like a shadow…so do you quit? Or do you take each of these moments to forget what the crowd is saying and do what God put you here to do?

Thanks, Coco, for the reminder. I’ve got some re-inventing to do.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Happy Climbing

While on a recent run at one of our local state parks, I came to the realization that I do not like going uphill. On this rocky terrain you have to keep your eyes about two steps ahead to dodge sharp rocks that are located on the dirt path.

If all running were downhill, everyone would do it, right? 
Some would do it just because running downhill would be easy…others would because they had no choice. They would get going and before long, they would be breaking speed records because they couldn’t slow down.

(Rocks State Park)
Jarrettsville, MD
There are a couple of principles I think we can learn from facing uphill experiences.

1. Many times God puts uphill slopes in front of us to slow our hiney’s down.
The pace of life can pick up when our dreams begin to become evident. Excitement and passion overtake us to the point that we take our eyes off of Him (you know, the one who orders our steps), and we put it on our own abilities.
Have you ever been smacked with the reality that you have become so consumed with other ‘things’ that you have neglected those closest to you? Without the test of an uphill climb, you might have never slowed down enough to be able to see what mattered most.

2. Don’t try to push it too hard.
So many want to ‘hit’ the hills as hard as they can in order to get over them as quickly as possible. That is why the road is littered with abandoned dreams because so many individuals simply ‘burned out.’ It is a rule for all runners that when you run difficult trails, you MUST pace yourself. We can’t get caught up in the fact that a 
30-something’s mom passes us on the trail…while pushing her twins in a stroller. You must continue at your pace. Everything is going to happen in God’s time regardless. The “race comes not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.” (Eccl. 9:11)

3. Realize that what goes up, must come down.
We should all keep in mind that after we’ve endured the grind on the way to the top, the other side is always waiting to lead us back down. These are gliding moments that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Enjoy them, but keep your feet steady and maintain your pace. Don’t let the next hill come because you had to be slowed down.  

(Runners in the Inner Harbor)
Baltimore, MD

I am grateful for every uphill climb. Without them I might be further down the road, but miles away from His purpose for my existence. 
Happy climbing…

Monday, June 6, 2011

'I Overslept'

I was awakened this morning by way of a phone call from work. I wondered why they would be calling me at this time of the morning, but then my eyes went up to where the clock is located on my phone. I immediately had this sinking feeling fill my body as I realized it was 6:08 am, and I was supposed to be twenty-five minutes from my home at 6:00 am. I do not own a helicopter, nor do I have access to one of those rocket cars, so the first morning of my work week began in a fury.

The more I have pondered my course of action that started this particular week, the more it got me to thinking of opportunities and situations that I have ‘overslept’ through. The numerous times I've gotten so caught up in 'I, me, and mine', that I have lost focus on what is most important.

(Inner Harbor)
Baltimore, MD
This past week taught me a valuable lesson as it pertains to this principle. My father was out for a Thursday afternoon motorcycle ride when a vehicle came into a curve at the same time he did. The problem was that the vehicle was also in his lane. By God’s protection he escaped with only a few broken bones and a whole lot of scrapes and bruises. When I received the call about the accident, we didn't know the severity of his injuries or if he was even going to be all right. 

Here I am, 1,600 miles away at work. Reality. I was just with him the day before. Was that going to be the last time I saw him? All those thoughts begin to go through my mind, and I was quickly reminded about what is important.
The only thing I wanted to do was just tell him, “I love you.” Sure, I’ve said it a thousand time before, or maybe even a million…but this moment was different.

I have found myself being sure that I’ve talked to my dad every day since then, and I have made a commitment within myself that I will not close another conversation with the people I care so deeply for without saying those three important words.
I’ve begun to focus on how many alarms I have slept through because I wasn't focused on what is most important.

A man by the name of Samson found out the hard way. Countless times he fell asleep in the lap of Delilah. Alarms were going off everywhere trying to re-focus him on the most important thing…his Nazarite vow. After numerous opportunities for him to re-focus, Delilah finally got the secret to his strength. And while he ‘slept’, Samson would eventually be faced with a reality that would cost him his life.

(Forest Hill, MD)
What dreams are you pushing off because you are just too apathetic to wake up and do something about them?
Who in your life are you neglecting because you are so focused on yourself?
Is your relationship with Christ at a place where you can truly say and show, 'not my will but yours be done'?

If not, hopefully alarms are ringing by now in your ears. Too many have went into such a deep sleep that they are able to subconsciously turn the alarms off. Don’t wait until your reality check shows up…because by then, it just might be too late.

Romans 13:1111 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up

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Friday, June 3, 2011

REdiscovering the Aha

So many of us live our lives waiting on the ‘lightbulb’ moment. 
You know, that landmark occasion where all time stops and you say, “Aha.” The dream you’ve been wondering about and searching for has finally shown up and then all seems right with the world. 

If we could just move locations.
If only this job would open up.
If only this (fill in the blank) ….

It is the lightbulb moment we are all in pursuit of. 

(Forest Hill, MD)

Recently, I have been diving deeper into the book ‘Quitters’ by 
Jon Acuff. I have been challenged like never before to stop trying to ‘discover’ my dream or my path, and go back to working on 
RE-discovering’ things that I may not have been ready for earlier on in my life. Just because you or I have tried something in the past or went down a path our heart desired to go – only to have the door shut right in our face, doesn’t mean that we were wrong for attempting it. It just might not have been the right time.

God’s planning and preparation is so right and perfect. In order to do a job and do it well, we humans have to be trained and taught.

Federal Hill
(Baltimore City)
Could you handle a million dollars right now? (I know…I know, we’d all like to try) But truthfully, could you handle it if someone handed it to you, expecting nothing in return?

We all like to think we would pay off our bills, take a vacation, or invest it, taking appropriate measures to make sure it would not only last, but grow to secure our future. In reality though, most could not handle it. The reason being is…it hasn’t been earned, and we haven’t gained the learning needed to use it wisely.

Loch Raven Dam
(Loch Raven, MD)
You may have tried and failed. You may have had your dreams dashed and your heart broken. You might even (like me) feel lost many days, thinking the picture is never going to come together, and you have somehow blown your opportunity.

If so, instead of setting out on a voyage of discovery, why not turn back within and search your heart…your passion…your desires. As my dad often says, “stroll down memory’s garden” and you might just find your dream buried…right where you put it a long time ago.

Don’t wait on the lightbulb. Start digging and RE-discover that special place where your dream meets His plan.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Defending Peace

In a recent speech President Obama shared that in the best interest of negotiation between Israel and Palestinian, Israel needed to pull back to its 1967 borders with mutually agreed swaps. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that this would prevent Israel from being able to defend itself. He went on to make the statement, “A peace you cannot defend is a peace you cannot hold.”

I’ve wondered as of late as to why so many individuals live without peace? I realize we live in a day of so much uncertainty.
Financially, average American families are doing everything they can to simply make it from day to day.
Job loss is rampant all over our nation.
The norm is no longer the norm in our world. The very core of our lives is being tested in every way. So I can understand as to how so many live in an unpeaceful setting.

(Rainy Days)
But I feel that our lack of peacefulness goes far much deeper than the surface of what we see. Scripture does teach us (Hebrews 12) that only the unshakeable things will remain when turbulent times come. 

Marriages are in turmoil. Families are being broken and torn apart. I propose that doubt, worry, and pain is taking over the thought processes of more and more because so many have tried to build their peace with things that don’t last.

* Many have built their hopes around that certain rung on the ladder, while the ladder has been leaning on the wrong wall the entire time.
* If I could only date and marry him/her, then I know we will live happily ever after.
* Moving to that certain city…that would answer all my desires.

The problem with these, or any other reasons we could come up with, is that there is nothing in this world that will give us complete joy and peace. You might find yourself in a ‘happy place’ for a period of time, but let life happen, and our peace can quickly be turned into chaos.

(Inner Harbor)
Baltimore City, MD
Remember, “A peace you cannot defend is a peace you cannot hold.”

The only real peace you will ever have is when we develop an attitude that…we will not move our ‘borders’, no matter the cost. Voices around you might try to convince you that another way is best. Your own flesh might even try to deceive you into following the broad way…but the only peace that lasts is the one we can defend. You will never defend it with the things of this life.

(Back Roads)
Forest Hill, MD
Philippians 4:6-9 says, 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Wondering why your peace process is not working? Why not make a decision to change your motives and desires? I think you’ll find that kind of peace is truly defensible. 

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