Friday, March 30, 2012


Who wouldn’t appreciate the opportunity to have a do-over on some things in life?
In sports: when a team loses by one or two points, the commentators will go back to a play that if the team had only done something different, they might have won the game.
In relationships: many individuals could say, “If I had only reacted this way, we might have survived that crisis.”
With our present circumstances: If we had only done this or that, we would not be where we are - doing what we are doing.

If only we could have a do-over.

While reliving those life-altering moments, we fail to realize that in reality they were
life-halting moments. Possibly because of a decision, a reaction, or a choice, we have remained in that exact spot … for that is where a part of us died.

World War II Memorial
(Washington, D.C.)
I love what Mark Batterson said yesterday in his blog: 
He said, “There are some battlefields that I’m not meant to die on.”

Life is one fight after another. It is one choice after another. It is reacting to the circumstances that roll into our world every single day.
Mistakes are made in the heat of battle. Situations arise that are beyond our control. Many times, storms take from us the things that we hold so dear.
With this understanding, there must be a pro-active decision made in the deepest part of our hearts that says, “I will not die here.”   

(Forest Hill, MD)
What battlefield have you been lingering on for long enough? That decision – That storm – That mistake … you were not meant to die there. 
Some have been fighting the same thing for years, and can’t figure out why they are unable to defeat their foe. Tragically, in the end, they surrender and they die there. 
Don’t be a casualty of the choice to surrender to what seems overwhelming … get up and fight your way off the battlefield.

For you were not meant to die there.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Where do you Stand?

It is amazing how we often times take the simple things for granted. 
For instance: being able to stand on your own two feet. I found out this past week what it was like to lose this ‘simple’ blessing.

Rolling right along with life, paying no attention to the warning signs, my body let me know that it was not well. Accompanied by strep throat, some overlooked things in my diet caused me to be standing one moment and then coming to myself on the floor the next. 
Please notice the word from the previous sentence - ‘overlooked.’

Inner Harbor
(Baltimore, MD)

Each of us has so many things that go overlooked on a daily basis. My body let me know quickly that there were things that needed immediate attention because of what I had overlooked.
This caused me to pause along this path that I am walking daily to wonder, ‘is there anything else I am overlooking?’ For life is not afraid to sweep our feet right out from under us to get our attention.

So the question must be asked, “Where do we stand?”
Where do we stand:
- In our relationship with Christ. Do we choose Him and die daily to our own way?
- In our marriage. Does our companion KNOW without question, that other than Christ, they mean more to us than anything else in this world? Do we put genuine focus into the daily needs of our spouse?
- With our children. Are we missing in action? We are blessed with the gift of being a dad or mom, yet we are held hostage by our own choice to give time to other ‘things’ we deem more important.  
(Forest Hill, MD)

Are we willing to do inventory before we get knocked off our feet? Warning signs are there…we just have to look for them. Stop allowing yourself to believe that it cannot happen to you. Don’t overlook the warning signs that trouble is ahead. Find out now where you stand…because what is taken for granted will someday knock you off your feet.   

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It Matters

Not only have I heard it, but I’ve also said it more times than I want to remember.
Questions such as:
Where would you like to eat?
What would you like to do?
Where do you want to spend vacation?

Those questions quite often lead to the response: “I don’t care. It really doesn’t matter.”
Then we get upset when someone chooses something that we really didn’t want. When you think about it, we are some messed up people. J

Battery Park
(New York, NY)
Unfortunately, we treat our ‘process’ with God the same way. I think many times God simply wants us to care about where we are headed as much as He does. When ‘it’ doesn’t matter because God is going to do what He wants to do, prayers become purposeless. 
When we get a complexion that God is for us, but He also must have something against us…fasting loses its meaning. 
When we just don’t care, joy is stolen from our lives because our emotions are regulated by the happenings we experience.

Following Christ is all about surrendering our will to His, but that is not an excuse to just start living like ‘it really doesn’t matter.’ There is a scripture that I am putting to memory this week that seems to fit here: Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” Living righteously is a choice to care. Caring enough to live above reproach. Caring enough to not be affected by the happenings around you so much that the joy of life is stolen away.

Rockefeller Center
(New York, NY)
The point is - deep within us, it does matter. That is why we get bothered when someone does make the choice, but we really wanted something else. God would love to give us our hearts desire, but we choose to give the impression that we really do not care.

By chasing after the kingdom of God and giving our best to live by God given principles, it forces us to care. Show the savior that this life He has given to you really does matter. He will then give you everything you need, to get where you desire to go.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Without Scars...No Story

There is something special about getting together with friends and reminiscing about old ‘war’ stories. I take great pride when someone notices the long jagged scar underneath my chin. I take them back to a time that I don’t even remember – I only have heard my family tell the story two million times. I fell down off a stool at the destructive age of two and split my chin wide open. Every year I come up with a higher number of stitches than it actually took to sow up my wound. I believe at last count it took 462 stitches in order for it to heal properly.

The scars are not usually what bother us, for it is the experience of obtaining those scars that we often times want to avoid.
Without the wound, there would never be a scar…without the scars, there would never be a story…

Time's Square Flag
(New York, NY)
In John 20, you can read where Jesus rose from the grave after His cruel death on the cross. He appeared to show Himself to His disciples, but Thomas was not there when He first appeared unto them. (Vs 25) So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

We live in a world that is filled with skepticism. Many individuals truly wonder how that Christ could love them after all they have done. There are those who doubt how that a companion or friend could actually change and become new after the life they have lived.

National Mall - Washington Monument
(Washington, D.C.)
With all of these questions abounding in the world, many Christians are afraid to show their scars…while many professing Christ followers refuse to endure the ‘process’ of maturing in Him because we rebuff being wounded.

Babies fall off of stools and get wounded. I’ve learned the hard way growing up that you don’t put your hands on things that are hot because you will get burned. Maturing in the physical realm is often painful because some things just have to be experienced.
It is no different in the spiritual realm. We come to Christ and are made new, but there are moments after we take up our cross and follow Him that we get wounded. We go back to the grace giver to be healed and scars are left to tell the story. Without wounds – no scars. Without scars – no story.

Your circle of influence does not need Mr. or Ms. Perfect. What they need to see is what Jesus has healed and made new. We need more Christians unafraid to be wounded, for a doubting world needs to see our scars and hear the story that follows.   

Monday, March 5, 2012

Give it a Shot

I am amazed when I look back over my life at all the things I have left undone. 
You know what I’m talking about. The: I meant to do this - The: I meant to get that done – 
The: I meant to reach out to that person.

Many of our path’s are littered with ‘meant to’s.’ We start out with the best intentions, but the unexpected shows up and turns our steering wheels in the opposite direction.

I heard John Maxwell say recently that many organizations are full of people that get ready…they aim…and aim…and aim…and aim. No one is willing to pull the trigger and fire.
Organizations, churches, marriages, and many individuals have been held back from greatness for this very reason. Many are still aiming, wishing, and hoping for greatness to just show up instead of focusing on what fixes the underlying issue.

(Bethesda Fountain)
Central Park - New York, NY
What is that underlying issue in your life that keeps you from pulling the trigger? For the most part, we are either afraid of success – or we are afraid of the ‘process’ that leads to success. So our lives are constantly filled with I MEANT TO’s. We might accomplish a task here and there, but we never reach the potential of what could have been.

After the death of Christ on the cross, Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, the sons of Zebedee, and two other of His disciples went fishing. Scripture tells us that they fished all night long and caught nothing. Jesus showed up (they did not yet know it was Him) and said, “Cast your nets on the other side and you’ll catch fish.” Here are seasoned fishermen who had fished all night and caught nothing. Yet, this guy walks up the next morning and simply says, ‘Have you tried the other side of the boat?’ They gave it a shot and more fish than they could pull in filled their nets.

(National Mall - Lincoln Memorial)
Washington, D.C.
There is a trait that these few men had to have had in order to experience this incredible miracle. Don’t think for one minute that these guys were not prideful in their work. They knew exactly what they were doing. They had no idea that this was Jesus who said to cast your nets on the other side. They could have made the decision to tell that individual standing on the bank, “Do you know who we are? Mister, we have done this for a living and have tried everything during the night. Who do you think you are to instruct us?” They could have…but they didn’t.

Humility caused them to give it a shot. Pride will keep you aiming for a good life. Pride will keep you hoping one day for a successful marriage, a successful family, and career. Pride will keep you from recognizing God’s voice as He speaks to you. Pride will keep you ready and aiming to accomplish this or that…but it will fill you with such doubt and fear that you will never pull the trigger. Pride will keep you from taking the shot.

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

Give it a shot, and don’t fear the success that follows.