Choosing is the toughest thing for me to do. Do you feel that way? If I'm at a restaurant that I've never been to, I don't just glance at the menu to pick a meal. I normally spend 5-10 minutes peering over the pages, and when the waitress returns for the second or third time, I choose. I walked into the Atrium YMCA the other day, and they have like 10, or 15 treadmills, and I have to look them over before I choose which one, not to see if they work, but picking the one I like, even though they're all identical. Now I don't pray before I choose a meal or a treadmill, nor do I call a wise mentor or relative to ask what I should eat, or should I exercise to the left or the right of the room. I eventually pick and do. I don't get frustrated over small decisions, but I sometimes question myself as to what was so difficult about something so petty? My ability to choose anything today, is reflective of my rash, knee-jerk deciding past. Many decisions I made as a young adult, or through my years of living outside of grace, as an alcoholic, were painful enough to cause me to make even the smallest decisions with cautious care. Anything major, is prayed about, and discussed with people I deem as wise.
"Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail, take good counsel and watch them succeed. "
I do realize that sometimes the person I deem as wise has no knowledge of what I may be deciding. But I still hear what they have to say. Where you and I make the mistakes of life is by thinking we can figure it out without help, just too full ourselves, you know the word, prideful. Or taking the "its my business" attitude. We also make the mistake of hearing good advice, but disregarding it. Don't be a dope, ponder carefully the advice before you leap into action. History is full of those who had good counsel but continued on and failed miserably. If you are looking at a major purchase, a home, a new car, or making a career move, talk to someone, or maybe several before making the decision. Above all pray. Ask God for direction, ask Him to put people in your path that have the wisdom in helping you decide. You probably won't hear a thundering booming voice, but if you are serious in your petition to Him, it is wonderfully strange how people just appear that have the understanding of how to help.
"I call Heaven and Earth to record against you today: i place before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose life that you and your children will live." Deut.30:19 (MSG)
"If you decide that it's a bad thing to serve to worship God, then choose a god you'd rather serve-and do it today. As for me and my family, we will worship God." Josh.22:15 (MSG)
Life is choices. We have hundreds of decisions we make daily, most from habit, and we don't even realize there was a decision made. There are decisions that are permanent, and affect everything and everyone in your life. Some are not. If you have the terrible habit of not bending, a person of principle, make sure your principles are not eternal-life effecting. Why? Because you have influence. Wouldn't you rather know what your personal standards and beliefs are solid, true, researched facts...researched personally by you? Your beliefs will more than likely be adopted by your children, and those close to you. Example: If your opinion is that the Bible is mere stories, there's probably nothing to it, and it turns out your right, it is of no consequence. But if you're wrong, its of the greatest of consequences. You're influence may be the key to your children's eternal destiny. Are you good with that? Choose wisely, ask God, get advice from those you deem to be spiritual, then make your eternal choice. I pray you choose Him. Thanks for choosing to read this today, God bless and keep you all, Keith.
Who truly understands grief and sorrow? We never think of ourselves being the one that causes the family to gather. One day it will be. None of us really give deep thought to our own passing, and I really feel that doing so would take us into a depressed state that may be difficult to recover from. I can focus on my home in heaven and think of those questions that believers have like; I wonder who I'll see first, my brother, grandpa, grandma? Or, I wonder what I'll see, the beauty, splendor, the sounds? But to think of family members broken, crying and empty, knowing they will never see me on this Earth again, I'll pass, think of things pleasant, what's on the agenda today. I do think some pondering about my eventual demise is healthy. It is when family and friends laugh about things I may have said and silly things I may have done, I can smile. And thinking of the legacy of doing good, causing laughter, and never stop learning how to do things better for God and man, these things cause me to think of that day in a positive light. My friends, it may be a nice thought to leave a truckload of money and goods for loved ones. (something they can fight over) But to leave them with a desire to be better at everything, giving their lives to pleasing God and finding ways to help others, is priceless.
These thoughts come to mind when we lose loved ones. Our family has yet another loss. My wife's cousin, James, just 40, gone. To see the family gathering again in what seems days apart does not feel real. The questions are coming in, the room where family sets stunned, and the heavy sense of anguish, all of these being experienced anew. Where is God? He is where I expect Him, right there with us, sensing the loss as well.
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." Ps. 116:15 (KJV)
That word, precious, means "costly." It cost God when loss of life occurs, in ways we won't comprehend until we're present with Him. When Jesus was coming to the end of his ministry, and the cross lay just ahead, a dear friend of his died. Knowing that those seeking his life would be at the families home to grieve, he went anyway. "Lord, if you had only been there"....those questions were there for him back then as they are now. Jesus wanted to know where his friend Lazarus was laid. Then, Jesus wept. The passage says earlier that he groaned in his spirit, and was troubled. God is affected when anyone passes, he is sorrowful daily, but for us, only when we're related closely in some way. There is good news...Jesus stood, as a man grieving for his friend, in front of that tomb of Lazarus. As God he called out, "Lazarus, come forth!" Lazarus did, all were amazed, grief was laid aside for another day. Jesus said, "I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE!" And He is. As Moses stood before the burning bush with questions of how he could stand before Pharoah, the most powerful man in the world, and tell him to let God's people go, and who sent him, God said you tell him, I AM. And He is. He may grieve with us, feel our hurts, but He also has the final say. He is the Resurrection, He is I AM. I Am whatever you need. Today the family needs peace and comfort. That is what He will be.
My last entry may have been a little glum for some who prefer not to think about end times. I want to add a similar historical event that really breaks my heart thinking about it. In the book of Jeremiah, (he is known as the weeping prophet), tells an end-time story that does indeed end an era of Israeli/Judean history. God had warned the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah, through the mouth of His prophets, to turn back to Him, stop chasing after heathen, dead gods. Stop having immoral orgies in the temple, and crowning evil kings to rule them. Turn back to Him and follow his laws and He would heal their sin-sickness, then restore the peace and prosperity they knew in David's reign. But they wouldn't. Israel fell first, taken away from their land. A little more than a century later, judgement came to Judah, God had enough. They were near their end and Jeremiah was telling them what God was allowing to happen to them for their wickedness. But God is so merciful. God told Jeremiah to tell the people that they were being exiled as their punishment for 70 years. But read what God says.."I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out-plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you a future you hope for. When you call on Me, you will find Me, when you come looking for Me, when you come and pray to Me, I'll listen. Yes, when you're serious about finding Me, and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." GOD'S DECREE! Jer.29:11-14 (MSG) He will not stop reaching for His people! His heart has been broken from the centuries of their disobedience and neglect. They wanted to have their way, even though their way took them down the slope from living in a powerful nation, to a broken down wicked people, that deny their wrongs. They were taken away from their inheritance.
Does any of this story relate to us? I believe it does. Aren't we doing these same things? We began as a nation whose leaders were men of prayer and devoted to freedom. Our laws, laid out in our constitution, were designed to be a people whose freedoms were a guarantee to all men. American was not perfect from the beginning. Slavery and the mistreatment of native Americans had to be dealt with. Yet God blessed us and made this country the most powerful in the land. We were a godly nation that regarded education high enough, that through a certain Christian group, which began to teach children to read, so they would learn to read the Bible, and know how to resist wordly temptations, and public education spread through the land. Yale, Harvard, Princeton, etc, were all designed to educate people to take the Gospel into the world. Today these schools are no longer serving that purpose, and deny the very God who guided the people to build them. Our leaders our are always religious before elections, to get a vote, lobby groups and special interest groups intent on wiping Jesus off the lips of every believer, and ACLU does more to protect the ungodly and immoral's feelings, and defends those who despise God, His Word and ways. So, do you think it relates?
Still He doesn't stop reaching, He doesn't stop warning. Please don't tell me that God doesn't exist because of calamities, or famines, and say, how could a God of love do this? Well why don't you ask Him? The people who normally make those statements probably have never given a penny to those little starving children, or to calamity relief. Calamities and famines hurt God as well. He sends His kids in first thing too. The first on the scene to any world catastrophe is Operation Blessing and Matthew 25 ministries, so please, take His offer to you without your criticism. He reaches for you, don't keep rejecting for a self indulgent way of living your short time here. Reach back. Don't let the times deceive you, thinking surrender to God's way of doing things is boring, a hum-drum life. It is living life to the fullest, including freedoms, peace, and joy. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
With the year 2012 approaching, many people that never gave thought to the "end of the world" are now doing so. Sparked by the discovery of the Mayan calender not going past 2012, the dark economic forcasts, and the media giving the recent "rapture" prophet coverage, (which they always will do to discredit faith), people are really concerned. Even some "science type" personalities are having real concerns about the direction of things they thought were proven facts, but are in question. That being the fact it's impossible to travel beyond light speed, but now that is in question after the super collider and the neutrinos arriving beyond that speed in Italy. (that is something for you to look up, keywords super collider, I don't have space or time to explain it here) And also cell discoveries causing some to panic over the crumbling pillars of biological evolution, due to dna/rna findings. (Again no time, or space for that here, keywords human cells, dna findings) Some reasons are real reasons to be concerned, some aren't. People who decide they are worried enough to change their way of living, will normally look in the Bible for direction, and for what to look for regarding events leading up to the end. Their first stop is the book of Revelations. After a little frustration they close the book, and hope for the best. If you want to know what to look for, start in Matthew 24. Jesus was asked by His disciples what the signs would be.
Read that passage. Here is what Jesus said to look for, I'll break it down:
There will be deception............People will say "I am the Christ" (annointed) deceiving many
There will be wars. Pestilence. Famines. Earthquakes in various places. These are just the beginning.
Followers of Christ will be given over to them and persecuted, and killed.
Followers of Christ will be hated because of His name.
Followers of Christ will themselves be offended by each other, and betray each other.
False prophets will rise up and fool many.
Because of wickedness, and lawlessness, the love of many believers will become cold.
Sounds bad doesn't it? Some unbelievers, or false prophets may say "its always been this way." These events have been like this since man's fall. That may be true, but not this scope, not of this nature. Some of what Jesus said in this chapter happened in 70AD when Jerusalem fell, some argue. But not of this scope or nature. These events will devastate all peoples of the world. American Christians love to think that God will not give us over to wrath, true, wrath will not rule us for long. We love to think in terms of living out our lives in peace and pleasure, and I hope you do. Please explain why 170,000+ followers of Jesus were martyred last year alone. If you aren't persecuted and despised for Him, check your faith, as Paul said. Aware of persecution or not, we are under attack by many groups, i.e. ACLU's constant attack on anything godly, Supreme Court rulings, claiming "separation of Church and State", the term that isn't in the Constitution the media and its plan to always show Christians in a bad light, et al. Those with designs on Christians demise haven't become violent, yet. There are more passages, by Peter, Paul, and John in regard to "end times", let's look at one more. Paul's in 2 Tim. 3, is even more expressive in what to watch for:
I last times there will be much difficulty, people will be, (see if any are familiar)
lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents,
ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self control, brutal,
not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
Having the form of godliness, but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
Paul does go on with more about false teachers, but I think that is another topic we all as believers should follow and discuss. We have enough in these few passages to see a mirror of the days we are living in. The Bible is full of warning signs, predictions that give us fair warning. Sorrowfully, many do not feel the Book is relevant for our day, it is just stories. Those people have probably never looked into it, but taken someone else's word for it. They will account, as will we. Events pointing to the last days are more magnified by troubles that fill our society, unemployment, or economic downslides, we think, "something bad is about to happen," or "something's got to give." Maybe we should "give up, surrender." Surrender ourselves to God's plan through Christ. Read Romans 10:9,10, or John 3:3, 16-17, that will show you how. I don't know that we will suffer persecutions, and actual blood letting as so many believers have throughout the centuries, but I know my stand this moment if it does happen. I'm ready, are you?
I think if I had to go through life with a choice of having one book to read, without any doubt, it would be the Holy Bible. There is so much wisdom for living within its covers, but most importantly, it is the story of redemption through Christ Jesus, God's unending love for humanity, the crown jewel of creation. Inside of the Bible, the Old Testament, is a book of Proverbs that I try to read it every day. I was told years ago that Proverbs has 31 chapters, one for each day. If I were to read a chapter per day that I would have more understanding and wisdom for living. And I do believe that, it has helped me in working on staying clean and sober, and helped me help others, and I am very grateful for the advice. There is something that really bugs me about Proverbs. Every time I read a passage about the wise person and the fool, I seem to be the fool, or, have the fools characteristics. What's up with that? Here's an example:
"A fool vents all of his feelings, but a wise man holds them back." Prov. 29:11 (NKJV)
"Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him." Prov. 29:20 (NKJV)
I must admit that it really makes me feel foolish, no pun intended. I never slow down and think about these passages before I speak. I normally will say what's on my mind even if I'm blunt, or frank when talking with someone. And if I hear something on the news I don't agree with, or if someone says a statement as fact and I know its wrong, I tend to say "that's wrong, get your facts before you speak, okay?" Wow, who's the fool? I wasn't even invited to the conversation. Even last night at work, two men were talking and I butted in and asked, "who are you talking about?" So I then, after my mouth has already moved, vocal cords made the vibrations, prompted by my brain, then I remembered these Proverbs. A little too late, isn't it? I'm beginning to think my mouth is an involuntary muscle in action, or my thought process is much too slow. But this is the purpose of reading these daily. I would not have been aware of my actions without having read this godly instruction.
There are so many things that I have been able and look back on my life and actually see changes. Here's an example:
"Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him." Prov.26:12 (NKJV)
I may seem like a know-it-all to some people, mainly if I have an answer to a question, but I know today how little I do know. I am well aware of my lack of wisdom in so many areas of life. One thing I do understand, God had to allow me to go through every moment, every heartache, and so much brokeness, to bring me from a life of alcoholism and drug use and sit me where I am today in Him. I have been unwise and wasteful with the life I've been given. God is so faithful! Every one of the Proverbs point me to be better in every area, and to really mature in my walk with Christ. Take the advice I was given. Read the Proverbs daily, or get them on audio to hear them in your car, or as you work around the home. Wear them out. Though you, like me may get perplexed thinking you aren't making progress, but keep it up. Don't tell yourself you don't like to read, take the few moments each day and become aquainted with real wisdom for living, God's wisdom. Thanks for reading, may God bless and keep you all, Keith.
How do you like to be talked to? Loud enough to hear, in language that's understandable, I'm sure. Our language has changed in dramatic ways over the centuries. We speak using approximately 600 words. The Oxford English dictionary estimates there are 250,000 words with inflections in the English language, 47000 are obsolete, and around 20% are in use. Each year it seems that a new word comes into use and every public speaker, news anchor, reporters, etc. want to wear it out. I'm one of the last to know what the word means and by the time I fully understand it...the word is out and a new one arrives. A good example is the word dichotomy. It was on everyones lips some years back, seldom heard today. I found out what it meant a week or two ago. Seriously, our usage of the language today is limited, and dramatically changed, I am grateful. To think of me talking to you like this, "howst art thou this morn, didst thou sleepest well in thy bed chamber?" Or, "please, I pray thee, givest thou me thy thought. Art thou goodly?" I butcher the English of today bad enough. I would have massacred the old. You don't want to be talked to that way, do you? Well, I really don't think God does either. I'm not in any way tring to make a person who talks to God in Ye Olde English feel wrong about it. Some feel that speaking King James version to God is respectful. That's ok if you feel that way. My personal feeling is that I talk to God as my friend, or as I would my friend. He is not far away in the heavens that I need to yell at Him. He is present always, in me, next to me, beside me, and before me.(that may be confusing, if so, strike it from the record) I also don't think to Him. Mind thoughts directed toward God is meditation, in my way of thinking. Verbally speaking to God as a friend changes the face of prayer. To say to God as I get up in the morning, "Good morning, Lord! Thanks for the sleep, You're always good to me, what's up today?" I don't have to be formal and get a spiritual face on, just wake up with Him being the first on my mind, and in gratitude. I ask Him for direction, protection, and turn my will and life over to Him. You can pray however you choose, but pray..and believe He hears. Prayer without faith is a wish.
"Pray all the time." 1 Thes.5:17 (MSG)
So many people who have the addiction to drugs, and to alcohol, are encouraged to pray when they arrive in AA or NA meetings, but cannot. The main reason is they don't know how. They also feel God has no use for them and surely wouldn't listen. I, as others do, tell them to just ask. Just speak to God as though you were speaking to a friend or family member, He's waiting to hear from you. The real enjoyment for me is to watch them as they learn to pray like He's their friend, and He is, the best of friends. They don't pray with anyone present, but alone, with God. As they come to understand, and prayers are answered, they develop the habit, and do so daily in faith. This is not for those recovering, or just the church goer, but for you too. We should speak to God all the time, ask Him to fill you with wonder, to be your all, to protect your children, spouse, family members, and friends....and even your enemies, yep, I said it. Pray for the company you work for, others you work with, for the nation, the leadership(I did say your enemies), your neighbors, and everyone.
"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession with thanksgiving be made for all people-for kings and all those in authority,(that would be the President and all our leaders on every level), that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." 1 Tim. 2:1-2 (NIV)
Who covers your children in prayer? your spouse? parents? We should...just speak to God for them. I will tell you that prayer doesn't always mean quiet conversation either. We raise our voices to friends or family if we need their help, or we get into trouble. When we relate how someone does us wrong we become animated too, don't we. You can raise your voice to God as well. See David's psalms, he says with regularity, "God help me now! help me immediately! Don't delay!" There are times you just talk and cry, or talk to Him in laughter, the key is, talk to Him. James 5:16 says, "...The effective FERVENT prayer of the righteous man avails much." (NKJV) The idea is pray, just speak to God, tell him all about it. An old hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus has a line in the chorus that says; "o what peace we often forfeit, o what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer."
I thanketh thee all for thy readership, Thy God blesseth and keepest thee, thy servant, Keith.
My grandaughters, Natalie and Ava
I spent some time today with Natalie, (left), and had a good time with her, per usual.I'm always amazed at things they say and do. Lately, some things have been on my mind that are troubling, in regard to children. When I'm fortunate to spend time with them, I want it to be a time they will not forget. That's what has been troubling me. Most of their lives I have been in recovery, attending meetings and events, and the limited time I spend with them is mostly fun and games, trying to make them laugh. Today as I watch most of the youth scrambling to find heros to worship, events to attend, and constant on the go madness the parents endure, I'm thinking something is really wrong here. We have become a go go go society, with a pass to ride all over the world via the internet. Kids can learn and see everything the world has to offer in seconds, just a click or two away. But hurry up, we have soccer practice, and then the haunted house to get to. As they grow, it doesn't get easier. One has a home game, the other has a game on the other side of the county, and the exspenses to make all of this happen takes two incomes. In reality, very few of these events are necessary, but the children want them, and we both agree its good. And I agree, it is good. But back to my troubled thoughts. Where is the teaching and guidance at? By the time we get home the parents crash on the couch, and the kids become fixed on the video games or TV. Those two love watching the kids. TV shows love to teach your children, and are pros at it, they do have an agenda. If you really knew that, you would cut activity to about a fourth of what you're doing now and every day of their life you would be teaching the standards you believe. Who teaches kids about faith, what being cool is all about, what or who to avoid, how to pray, to enjoy reading and love learning. Or who tells them about an honest days work, how to be mannerly, or to talk in mixed company?
Here's a big question. Do your children know anything about you? I don't mean about their image of you, how you can leap tall buildings and carry 1000 lbs. in each hand, but the real, feeling, caring, hot-tempered, or fun-loving you? Furthermore, have YOU taught them to know that there is a transcendent loving Father above, that gave his best for them?
I asked Natalie some questions today about what she wanted to be and this and that. But then I thought, "these things that trouble me about youth won't go away without my trying to teach Intro to God 101 to her, or don't just stand there thinking about societies youth problems, do something!" I'm thankful that my daughter and her husband have given the kids a knowledge of God, and I by no means am tring to say different, but as a grandparent, I have a part. So I gave her some Bible basics about the Old Testament, (the Bible facts I put on my stats page), and then asked her, "which number is bigger, 70 or 70,000,000,000? Of course she said the larger number in a condescending manner, after all, she is 7. "Well, that 70 represents your time on the Earth, the 70bil is a short version of forever. If you give God these few 70, He offers you the 70bil +." I explained. She knew that too, of course. (good job Sara, Chris) If we do not take the time for these things, or lessons. If we do not teach them our tenets and values, by the time they grow into adulthood, the Bill Mahers, Richard Dawkins', the whole gamut of humanist, atheist, and agnostics will have taught them their unproveable doctrines of emptiness in Darwinism. These days are precious, they are short. It's our decision what to allow to enter our childrens minds. There may be a time in the near future where teaching your beliefs to your children may be against the law.
In Deuteronomy 6:7-9, here is what God said to Moses, to tell the people how they should teach thei children, actually vs.6-9, "And these words I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and shall be as frontlets for your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (NKJV) Sounds to me that God may have meant what He said, not to punish them,but to protect them. He even told Israel that if they would follow and obey Him diligently, that He would drive sickness and diseases away from them...and much more. Your choice, my choice, who will mind the children? Let's choose the larger number and take our offspring with us. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all, Keith.
I had no intent of blogging today, working midnights tend to take a lot of drive out of me, I feel lazy. But as I woke up this afternoon, I thought of areas of my life that I struggle with, and these thoughts, (I prefer to think of them as truths), came streaming in and I thought I'd like to share them.
THOUGHT: Being thankful for right now....makes my tomorrow.
Paul stated in 1 Thes.5:18 "Give thanks in everything, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (HCSB) I notice in this passage he didn't say "for everything," he said "in everything." The situations we are in today, may result outside of our control. Perhaps bad news from a doctor, or loss of someone, etc. has happened. These I can be thankful through, not for. But for things that occur from day to day living that produce anxiety or frustrations, the moment I realize God's hand working and guiding my life, in that moment, I can be thankful. I learn and grow in maturity, both in my Christian walk and in sobriety. It seems this moment of clarity gives me insight into how God takes us through the seemingly darkest places to teach total trust in Him. I learn very little, or have little growth when I'm on the mountaintop, and evrything is going my way. In fact, there I tend to forget if I linger there too long. Nonetheless, I am thankful for both good and not so good times.
THOUGHT: Accepting the position I'm in.... promotes me further.
You and I may have some real complaints about our jobs, our relationships, our home, the car we drive, there may be many things we would love to change because we feel stuck, and know we could do better....if only. 1 Tim.6:7-8 "For we brought nothing in to the world, and we can take nothing out. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these." Beautiful thoughts but we seldom are content, we always want more, then we want more again, but better this time. Here is the reality. If I want change in my life, then I must accept where I'm at, what I have now. If I want a better job, I have to be grateful for the one I have. If I have no job, I need to be grateful for the job God has for me, or the fact I'm clothed and fed. If I'm having relationship problems, I have to accept where things are now, be grateful, and then that relationship will grow when I get out of the way and give it some "Sonlight." If I am without a relationship, I can show gratitude and find ways to serve others, and God will prepare a person for me, or repair me so I can be in a relationship. If I am unhappy with my residence, I can begin to see the good where I'm at, so God can take me to the next place. All of the things in life can improve as I do. Acceptance is key.
THOUGHT: Acknowledging my weaknesses....brings in God's strength.
That thought is conditional. I have to tell Him I'm weak, acknowledge and ask His help. God makes something from nothing. He makes somebody out of nobody. 2 Cor. 12:9-10 "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.....So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophies, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, I am strong." Paul gladly went through a living hell in life, to understand and have the power of God resting on him. Our acknowledgement of our inabilities when talking to God, is as though He says in response, "I'll get it for you child." He then gives us the help we need for every situation, and we know He's the source each time we're in trouble. We go to Him automatically, no questions.
I had these thoughts in my mind this morning, now I'm ready to go out and live them, but I wanted to share them with you first. I really pray these help you, and many others. Thankfulness, acceptance, and acknowledgement to God. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all, Keith.
What would the world be like without expectations? No inventions, gloominess, no prospect or possibilities for tomorrow? I believe mankind would still be in the dark ages. We live in anticipation of tomorrow, hoping tomorrow will be better, confident that change is coming, but that is seldom the case, isn't it. I make these plans for my day off, scheduled to the very minute, so sure of myself, but seldom getting the list accomplished. I continue to try every day off in spite of my constant missing-the-mark. You know what? That's okay, I'd rather shoot at something and miss, than aim for nothing and hit it. And besides, most of the reasons I may not finish my to-do list is for good reasons. Maybe a interuption from a friend in recovery, or going to see someone who needs a visit, or my normal...afternoon nap. Something very important that I have to remember is that there is no reason to blow an o-ring if things don't go as I expected them to. The more I come to that understanding, the more often my expectations are met.
When it comes to people however, I am not as forgiving. I try not to be demanding on anyone these days, which keeps me from over-expectations of what I feel they should do or not do. An example would be, I don't expect Senators, Repres, the President, well, anyone in politics to achieve much, and I'm never disappointed. I really just don't want them to break anything, leave it like they found it, and oh yeah, hey Bill, Hillary, could we please have the silverware back when you're finished? Today, in this United States, while the press is trying to decide who they want to run against Obama, I have refused to allow myself to be motivated by their manipulating words, actions, beliefs, etc, of the candidates into a circus in my head. I'm just going to pray. I think that politics may not be the best example for me to use. A better example is the closest ones to us. If I have expectations for how my wife and my future should go, we have to agree. If my aspirations aren't met by her, then I get frustrated, and trouble is the result. Instead of trouble, I should talk to her about my ideas so we can set mutual goals...and God will honor that agreement between the husband and wife, the strongest bond known. We can have too high of expectations for our children, based on intelligence or atheleticism. They may not share those ideas at all. I may have high hopes for guys I work with in recovery, that's not good, push them too hard, you'll push them out the door. The things we hope they grasp are the concepts of trusting God, helping others, and keeping their own side of the street clean. Do you place high expectations on your spouse? children? minister? friends? employees? If so, think about what you're doing, lower those expectations, don't toss them out entirely. You must have ambition for these, but keep it realistic. How about expectations for yourself? Get off your own back if you do. Life is life, we all have had these visions of grandeur that came to nothing so often, that we gave up any thought of our personally achieving anything.
My expections of my own life were never met, not even close. Like you, they were too lofty, too unattainable, because I wasn't emotionally or spiritually mature enough to reach them. I am not confident in ant of those goals, in fact, I have no interest in them today. Then I wanted wealth, today godly wisdom. Then I wanted fame, today I only need grace. Then I wanted a mansion for my family, today I want to leave a legacy of faithful service to God and man. My only regret is that it took so long to get to this way of thinking, and all of the unhappiness, and brokeness, a literal trail of tears.
There is one I can place high expectations on, He is unfailing. "Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him." Psalm 62:5 (NKJV) My parents, my wife, and I were talking yesterday. Mom and dad are 81. Mom has followed Christ lifelong, since the age of 8. Dad began his Jesus-journey at 17. Both of them can look you dead in the eye and say, "God has never failed us." In tears of gratitude I can tell you, He hasn't failed them. Through sorrow, sickness, and need, their expectations have been met, God is faithful and true. Jesus was watching many leave Him after He told those following what it took to be His disciple. He asked the disciples if they were going to leave too. They responded, "where can we go? You have the words of eternal life." And His words meet, no exceed my eevery expectation. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all, Keith.
I am sure that most everyone knows right from wrong. I think I'm wrong for thinking that. Some people really don't know that some things are wrong. It is learned behavior. Some people are taught that its okay to tell lies on an application for employment. Or, its fine if you take a couple of those tablets and pens home from work for the kids to use. Some say its good to to spread a tale on someone, they deserve what they get anyway. So if the end result is; you get a better job, the kids have writing paper and pens, and that person you can't stand is in jail for something they didn't do. Satisfied? Well what is wrong with any of those scenarios? There is always a ripple effect to everything we do. If I smile at someone and say hello, they normally do the same in return. If they don't, there is still a reaction, I normally feel that person is either stuck up or a jerk. If I yell angrily at someone, they yell at me, or someone else. They go around grumpy and take it out on others, who do the same to others, who do the same to others, and on and on it goes. Can you see the ripple effect on the above scenarios? The kids know the tablets and pens are from work, they think its okay to take what isn't theirs. You lied on your app and told others how you got on at the mill, they do the same. Giving false statements on another landed them in jail, get ready sorrow WILL come your way in one form or another. Don't think you ever get by in doing wrong. Every one who has been a drug dealer thought they'd never get caught, all the way to jail. Those that didn't get caught, have no remorse that they helped others get hooked and ruined the lives of many. These are just a few examples. Some things we don't even think of are a result of the ripple effect. The absence of manners in society, the lack of good behavior in our schools, the apathy of law enforcement in some cities, or the poor attitude in the work place are all examples of the ripple effect in society. Many of these start right in our homes, the children adopting mom or dad's attitudes. This has devasted our morals and values, not entirely, not everyone. But it would be foolish to think its not you and your family. Biblically speaking, it isn't called the ripple effect but rather, sowing and reaping.
"Don't be misled. No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest." Gal.6:7 (MSG)
What is the way out of this effect? Start by planting a different crop. Be an example of mannerly behavior around your kids. They will do the same. If you get a chance to slam dunk someone, paying them back for what they have done to you, skip it, don't be a fool, they will pay for wrongs like you and I have and will. Don't laugh at poor behavior and language, others won't either if someone takes the lead. Think of ways to make your job exciting, have fun if you can. If you're over other workers, think of ways to motivate them. And pray, pray everywhere, pray all the time, for all around you. Ask God to give you direction for causing a positive ripple effect to others. Once you start, and see the difference, others will follow starting with your loved ones. Here's what Paul the apostle said, "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on to dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle." Romans 12: 10 (MSG) If you and I heed Paul's advice and make a decision to live this way, the ripple effect will be unending. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all, Keith.