Monday, February 28, 2011

Waiting around...

Some of life’s greatest masterpieces come with age. Time is a wonderful healer – experience-giver – and teacher. This principle is ingrained in any individual who has ever lived.

There is a word that goes with time though that this generation is not in any way a fan of in many cases…TIME = WAITING.

Don’t you despise it?
You set an appointment at the doctor. You show up on time…yet, you wait.
You gather all your items at the supermarket, roll your cart to the front of the store…and there is the line. Waiting.

This is the reason for drive-thru windows, Little Caesar’s Hot-N-Ready Pizza, TV dinners, instant coffee, and cell phones. We want what we want and we have been brought up in a world that has basically provided ways for us to have it. 

Where I have often run into ‘issues’ is when I try to put this label on my walk with Christ.
All the cliché words fit here: Each of us…Pray. Fast. Sacrifice. Give. Love. Worship. Honor. Live for. And because we do these things, we then expect God to not make us wait when we ask for something. How could He? After what I’ve given?!

We soon forget that:
Joseph had to wait for what seemed like ‘forever’ for his dream to become reality.
David was on the run, while waiting, before the prophecy of his anointing came to fruition.
Ask Daniel about waiting around in a den with lions.
The 120 gathered in the upper room waited – then waited some more before the Holy Spirit fell upon them.
The lame man at the pool of Bethesda was not healed on the first day that he camped out there.

I think you are getting the idea. There is no doubt that there will be moments spent waiting while God refines and sometimes redefines our process…But the question that has been rolling around in my head is what do we find ourselves doing while we wait?

(Art Museum - Federal Hill)
Baltimore City, MD
Do we take our toys and go home to pout because we didn’t get what we wanted when we wanted it?
Or are we content in the process? The process that leads us down paths that are not familiar. The path that blinds us in our natural eyes by not knowing exactly what He is doing or how He is working.

Be encouraged today. Don’t fret on your journey, for when the time is right, you will be called from the waiting room to the place of your destiny. You cannot control the TIMING…but you can control the TIME. What will you do while you wait?

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Step Down

Reading back through some older material of mine, I have been getting worked over concerning the content of my character. Unfortunately, many of us get caught in the trap of the defensive mode instead of the offensive. What I mean by this is, instead of working through the process of building our character, we spend much of our time defending why we are the way we are.

I came across a story recently where a judge that had sat on the bench for about seventeen years was put on trial for a personal matter. He shared that before this trial took place, he had become arrogant because of the position he had been in for so long. While sitting in the judge’s chair, he began to feel ‘above’ others. He had the highest seat in the courtroom and began to look at life this way. But as the trial progressed, his lawyer called him to the witness stand, and he said that as he began to testify, his perspective on his character began to change dramatically.  
He said, “stepping down just two short feet from the judge’s pedestal to the level of everyone else made me realize my perspective was way off.”

In life we have all been guilty of judgment. This leads to comparing our character, as to how it lines up, with others. If we feel that our makeup is better than that of others, we become defensive when Christ begins to work on us to be and do more.

The scripture says….He that compares himself to another is not wise.

We must grow out of this defensive mindset when it comes to our character and get to building. It has been said that this ‘body of work’ takes a lifetime to build, and one wrong decision to destroy. Often times, playing not to lose (defensive mode) will cause you to do just that.

Building character is not about playing it safe. It is about humility. It is realizing that sometimes the blueprint needs to be adjusted…and we adjust it. We will get to a point where we spend no more time trying to defend the why…because we are too busy building.

Climb down off the pedestal and stop attempting to fill a role that is meant for only ONE. If you spend all of your time in the chair of a judge, then there is no possible way for you to look UP where your help comes from.

Don’t delay…let’s get to building.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Gift of 'US'

October 10, 19__ (smarter than finishing that date!), Christ's greatest gift to Larry Hill was placed on earth. I did not know it at the time but His craftsmanship was preparing the other half that would complete my humanity.

Recently, I heard that Valentine's Day should not be so much about saying, "I Love You"...Valentine's Day should be about showing, 
'I believe in Us!' 
Belief in something causes you to love it unconditionally.

We, in our humanity, struggle often with belief in our own selves. 
I can't...I don't measure up...there is no way I can accomplish that...etc.
And for this reason we miss out on some of life's greatest opportunities to do things that we were never meant to do alone anyway.

(Luckiest guy on the planet!)
I have been guilty of leaving my best friend and partner standing off to the side while I felt like I needed to fight the battles meant for the two of us on my own. Call it protective instinct, pride, or selfishness...that matters not. 
I am guilty.

So on this day set aside to celebrate Love...I choose to give the gift of 'Belief in Us' to 
Susan Ellen Hill. Far too many times we go into battle 'against' our partners instead of 'with' them. 
In reality, those battle-tested moments are the ones where the road to genuine belief and love is forged.

God created that special someone just for you so that you didn't have to walk this road alone. Get rid of the ego and allow your 
'God-created gift' to take their rightful place beside you and get to fighting aliens. These kinds of movies end with the two battle-tested individuals walking away at the end 'together.'

To the love of my life Susan...I believe in US!  I'm honored you let me be your co-star. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Consent to be Moved

Trees can be moved. It is not a process that I would want to be in on, but these majestic homes for birds can literally be dug up and moved to another location. While it is proven that relocating a two-to-three-year-old tree can add so much to the value of any piece of property, the toll it takes upon them is often overlooked.

In order to give the tree a chance to survive the shock of moving it out of its normal surroundings, the movers have to be so careful that the roots are not harmed in any way. Some trees survive - yet others can't take the trauma that the change has brought to their setting. It all depends on whether the roots are willing to adapt to their new surroundings (deep beneath the surface) or not. 

Forest Hill, MD
All we can see of the trees are what is above the surface. When one is moved, soon after, we begin to see evidence of the shock that was thrown into its system. The tree will go through many stages before it is known whether or not it is going to survive the process.

A recent acquaintance reminded me of a statement just last week when he said, "sometimes we have to just grow where we are planted."
We humans resist change most of the time. Some of our roots are so deep that we go around living out the old song that says, 'I shall not be, I shall not be moved.' And Christ has all His tools out ready to shake your world out of lethargy by moving you somewhere 'new' in Him.

What does it cost you though?
Your outside might get a little ugly.
The sick feeling of uncertainty might take such a hold that you wonder if you are even going to survive the journey.
A new environment will cause you to have to dig deep within to see what you are really made of.

Wouldn't it just be easier to stay where you are? To not have to endure the pain of the new place that God wants to plant you? Sure it would. But the value that you could have added to that special piece of 'property' will sit empty and unaffected because you decided...
"I'm not moving."

"We are left in awe by the nobility of the tree.
* Its eternal patience
* Its suffering caused by man and sometimes nature
* Its witness to thousands of years of earth’s history
* Its creations of fabulous beauty.
It does nothing but good. With its prodigious ability to serve, it gives off its bounty of oxygen while absorbing gases harmful to other living things. The tree and its pith live on. Its fruits feed us. Its branches shade and protect us. And finally, when time and weather brings it down, its body offers timber for our houses and boards for our furniture. The tree lives on".
                          -George Nakashima (reknowned woodworker)

The great ones that live on among us were willing to pay whatever price it meant so that future generations of Christ followers would not be afraid to take GIANT leaps of faith for His sake. They proved it by giving all until it hurt.

Forest Hill, MD
Grow? Yes.
Let your foundation be secure? Absolutely.
But God help us never to secure our roots so deep in 'our' place that God can't take us to His. 

If He chooses to mess up your root system and move you around to unfamiliar territory...then, Grow Where You're Planted. You might just be adding ten times the value to a world around you.    

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