My Bobsled Prayer

I found the following prayer today. I wrote it several years ago, when I was in a time of inaction and need, and apparently in a rather silly mood. Welcome to …

My Bobsled Prayer

I don’t know what to think, or what to do. I don’t want to move unless it’s Your will, but there is no recent sign of that will. Because of it, I am immobilized. Stagnancy has slowly killed my hope for change and willingness to risk. I am in a vicious cycle. 

Psalm 139:5 “You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.”

Go ahead and push me, God. Move me in Your will. Create walls like the bobsled track, so that my thoughts, sense of purpose, and actions are contained tightly within the boundaries of Your will. Hem in my flaws and weaknesses, my insecurities and fears, my wanderlust. Contain my ideas, words, ambitions, interests … everything that makes me, “me”. 

Joshua 1:7 “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.”

Create conditions within me, and beyond me, that assure success in pleasing YouPosition me in Your will. Propel me. Place containment walls close to assure correctness, righteousness, focus of vision and action, godliness and accuracy as I ride the bobsled run that is my life. 


YouTube credit and rights belong to Michelle Long:

Published on Mar 5, 2014 – She wrote, “First runs with the Go Pro Hero mounted to my helmet. Top speed would be between 120-125km/hr for this run.”

You Have My Respect

Originally posted on Cindi Gale:

People are complex beings. Yet we catch mere glimpses of another’s life and draw conclusions about him.

Only by knowing the mind of God about a person, can we be accurate in understanding him. Or let a person who knows himself inform us, as long as he is self-aware and willing to confide.

We have another option to gain insight: observing behavior. Religious people call it “judging others by their fruit”. But be careful — if we’re not mindful of the environment a person is in, their “fruit” can mislead. What if he is in a God-appointed time of winter, wartime, or injustice?

tree in winter for blog pgIs it possible for him to satisfy our need or desire to judge? A person in winter is struggling to survive, not bearing tasty fruit. He is wrapped up and withdrawn to survive the frigid, dangerous climate. He will only open up and bloom when the climate is warm, welcoming…

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When You Know a Fool

Proverbs 26

Wise Sayings About Fools

26 Just as snow should not fall in summer, nor rain at harvest time, so people should not honor a fool.

Don’t worry when someone curses you for no reason. Nothing bad will happen. Such words are like birds that fly past and never stop.

4-5 There is no good way to answer fools when they say something stupid. If you answer them, then you, too, will look like a fool. If you don’t answer them, they will think they are smart.

Never let a fool carry your message. If you do, it will be like cutting off your own feet. You are only asking for trouble.

A fool trying to say something wise is like a drunk trying to pick a thorn out of his hand.

10 Hiring a fool or a stranger who is just passing by is dangerous—you don’t know who might get hurt.

11 Like a dog that returns to its vomit, a fool does the same foolish things again and again.

12 People who think they are wise when they are not are worse than fools.

18-19 Anyone who would trick someone and then say, “I was only joking” is like a fool who shoots flaming arrows into the air and accidentally kills someone.

23 Good words that hide an evil heart are like silver paint over a cheap, clay pot. 24 Evil people say things to make themselves look good, but they keep their evil plans a secret. 25 What they say sounds good, but don’t trust them. They are full of evil ideas. 26 They hide their evil plans with nice words, but in the end, everyone will see the evil they do.

 


Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)Copyright © 2006 by World Bible Translation Center

Dream Big

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Originally posted on Cindi Gale:

As I walked at a track today, a coach worked at one end of the adjacent field, his young son played on the other. The boy sprinted, head down, football tucked at his belly. Zig-zagging left and right, he reached the end zone, did a little leap, and raised the ball overhead.

“What’s the score?” I called out.

“Fourteen to nothing!”

“Who you playing?”

“The Cardinals! Game’s over. I won,” he answered.

“And you are … ?”

“Packers!”

His invisible coach told him to take a rest (those were his exact words), so I was the fortunate recipient of some football information: He didn’t play on a team yet; flag football starts in third grade, pads in sixth; he wants to try all the positions, but when he plays his first game in sixth grade he wants to be the quarterback.

That’s five years away, for a kid who hasn’t…

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Teeter Totter Like You Ought

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.  Romans 12:3

teeter totterTo better understand Romans 12:3, I imagine a teeter totter. If we think of ourselves more highly than we ought, we hit ground hard on one end. If we lack self-respect and don’t think of ourselves as highly as we ought, we hit ground just as hard on the other end.

With God’s help, as we find our correct balance, whatever is in our lives that applied weight to either end shows up like never before. If those weights won’t allow us to obey God and assume our rightful new balance, they will have to go.

At the very least, they must keep a respectful distance so we can teeter totter like we ought!

Kim McMillan, author of “When I Loved Myself Enough”, put it this way:

“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits – anything that kept me small. My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.”

On the other end, Shannon L. Alder envisioned a road instead of a teeter totter, in a cautionary observance that misguided “love of self” leads to arrogance:

“When you think yours is the only true path you forever chain yourself to judging others and narrow the vision of God. The road to righteousness and arrogance is a parallel road that can intersect each other several times throughout a person’s life. It’s often hard to recognize one road from another. What makes them different is the road to righteousness is paved with the love of humanity. The road to arrogance is paved with the love of self.”

Balance. God, help us find it, and maintain it all the years of our lives.

Coached to Excel

Consider God’s influence on people’s lives. Consider his influence on YOUR life. Imagine him as a great coach, teacher, or parent. He knows what you’re capable of. He knows what is still uncovered or undeveloped within you. He knows how to coach that potential to excellence and success.

Young Baseball Player Waiting on SidelinesWhat coach, teacher, or parent wants his capable child or player to aspire to something minimal?  What kind of coach of a gifted athlete says, “Well kid, I’m dreaming big for you. I hope you can get off the bench for at least ten minutes during this season.”?

Great coaches, teachers, and parents are adept at assessing our potential and nurturing it to fullness. God, of course, is perfect at it. He knows our potential; he’s the one who put it in us. He never dreams small for us. He is satisfied when we develop all that we were meant to be. He wants us to succeed in a big way. He’s not satisfied until our capabilities have been drawn out, nurtured, and developed to maturity. He loves seeing you gratified, thriving in the fullness of who you were meant to be.

Until we reach our potential, he cajoles, pushes, disciplines, encourages, and (if we’re stubborn or immobilized by fear) he’ll even push us into situations to show us we can do it. He’s not coaching you to be a benchwarmer—he’s coaching you to excel. It is not a good day when one of his kids is languishing on the sidelines—it’s a good day when one of his kids is peaking in their potential. THAT is what God calls a good day.

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Hear the coach’s speech: “You are exceptional. Let me show you what you are capable of; what you haven’t experienced yet. You are a diamond in the rough. You have untapped potential within you. We are going to uncover your abilities, talents, gifts, skills, insights, and more. Let me show you how you can gain mastery, accomplish much, and express your strengths superbly. Raise your expectations to match mine. Don’t settle—think excellence. Form habits of excellence, so I can give you success.”

It’s never too late to change attitudes and habits. Think excellence, let God be your coach, and show the world what you can do. We need your distinctive influence and glorious achievements.

Knock, and the Door Will Be Opened

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Since the USA recently legalized gay marriage, social media has been abuzz with opinions on the topic. I intended to defer to greater minds, and to those it affects directly, but the following Facebook post by an acquaintance pulled me into the fray:

There seems to be some confusion brought into the Church about whether Gay people will go to heaven. Apparently, God Himself has something to weigh in on this subject (for those with ears to hear what the Spirit says to the Church).

“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

I’ve overlooked the chastisements and judgments of her varied posts over the months since we met, as well as during a social event she invited me to, but this time stirred a response. I commented on her post, mentioning verses from 1 Cor. 13 about love, and God’s call for us to love, not condemn. Immediately, she sent me texts on my phone and private messages on Facebook, saying I was a voice for Satan, and an “accuser of the brethren”. I was still recoiling from those words, when she berated me at length on her post, including use of scriptures meant to silence a rebuttal.

Plenty of scriptures came to my own mind in support of love, but I knew they weren’t welcome. I typed a comment, “I have no words. I thought I was allowed a point of view. Why is promoting God’s love a reason to attack me?”, but it didn’t go through. I had already been blocked. Unfriended. Accused but denied a response. Rejected and ejected. Over and done in mere minutes.

The unjust and bizarre attack was meant to intimidate, silence and to shame me, just as the post was meant to do to gays. To be honest, I was shaken, especially by the amount of hate that was unleashed toward me. It didn’t escape notice that most of it was spewed offline where nobody could witness it. I had experienced a taste of the hatred that so many people endure from a few “Christians”.

Why does one woman’s behavior matter enough to address it in a blog post? Because this woman and her husband started and pastor a church, and additionally run an area-wide ministry to “lead leaders of the church”. How many others are being bullied, intimidated, accused and condemned?

So, in defense of the bullied, I challenge the bully …

What was the purpose of a post condemning gays to hell? Who was the intended audience for your “lesson”? It was a public setting, so I presume it was meant for any-and-all to read and take heed. I’ve wracked my brain for how it could be helpful to anyone, and have come up blank.

If people who are gay or lesbian read it, you created an illusion of a massive wall between them and God. Instead of hearing good news, such as John 3:17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him”, they are met with an impenetrable wall with a closed door, and this sign over it: “Condemnation Church.” Why would anyone want to enter through that door?

bouncer

Why do people who have received God’s forgiveness and grace themselves, play bouncer and dictate who is allowed to know God and who is not? Why not do as we are asked, which is love others as he loves us, and share indiscriminately the truths that have given us life?

God is not exclusionary, and the (door)way to him is not via people. People may present themselves as the hoop to jump through, but they are not Christ. Imperfect beings that we are, we often ignore what we want, conclude some issues in the Bible are obsolete or indicative of the culture of the time (such as owning slaves, or the practice of polygamy and having concubines), while insisting on the infallibility of the Bible when using scriptures that reinforce our current beliefs.

Why don’t we admit that we aren’t all-knowing? Why don’t we suspend judgment during times of change and controversy? It’s foolish not to, because our dogma and arrogance is very evident to others – we are but resounding gongs. We think we have the monopoly on all truth, and everybody else is wrong. We’re certain everyone notes our rightness, our superiorness, but all others hear is a piercing, clanging cymbal.

While we’re playing God, we are only helping the enemy’s cause, not God’s. We are the reason people are repelled from God.

We abuse God’s Word to puff up our pride, and flaunt our authoritative superiority over innocent people. We don’t even bother to ask God what his view is of others. We accuse people who don’t agree with us of not “having ears to hear” his Spirit, while it is we who won’t listen. We won’t humble ourselves and ask for God’s guidance, because if we do, we’re likely to be knocked off our pedestals — for he humbles those who exalt themselves. If we listen to him, he might tell us the very person we are condemning pleases him; he loves and approves of them; he or she loves him back and is malleable clay in his, the potter’s, caring hands.

He might unleash his wrath on us, not our victims, if we had “ears to hear”. So we don’t ask him anything, and we don’t listen. We keep busy, condemning.  We don’t even need God’s presence or direction; we already know which scriptures to use to ambush anyone who disagrees with us.

Still, somehow, the Bible transcends its misuse by humanity to represent God’s perfect nature. In the midst of those texts that mystify and divide, there are wonders to fill a lifetime. Instead of picking and choosing the scriptures to reinforce dogma, why not share the extensive wonders of God’s truths? Like this wonder:

All have free access to a loving God through a simple acceptance of Christ. Jesus wasn’t speaking of a select, exclusive group of people when he said,

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

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