Aug 312010
 

 

Have you heard the expression, “Cowboy Up”? It usually means something like, “Tough it out” or “Be a man” or “Grin and Bear it”. It has to do with standing up for yourself and pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. Dusty jeans, dirty boots, sweat, aching muscles, and getting back up. There was even a movie entitled “Cowboy Up”,  released ten years ago, starring Kiefer Sutherland and centered around professional bull riding.

Have you ever said something like this, “When they come at me like _______, I can’t help it. I have to say_________. I’ve got to be honest, right?  It is the most natural thing in the world to respond in kind, to speak the way we’ve been spoken to. It seems fair. It’s almost like the Golden Rule, right?

King Saul was chasing David through the desert. David used to work for him and Saul liked him, right up to the point when he realized that David had been anointed by God to be the next king.  That can certainly be a downer in a working relationship!

David, always a strong and charismatic leader, soon had 600 men gathered around him as he stayed one step ahead of Saul. 

In this story, Saul was pursuing David with 3000 to David’s 600. After moving through some pretty rough country, Saul tired and went into a large cave to rest. What he didn’t know was that David had chosen that very cave to hide in! He and his 600 were lining the walls of the cave in the darkness. As Saul dropped off to sleep, David’s men told him, “See, this is clearly a sign from God. He has put Saul into your hands!” David crept up to Saul and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.

Then, his conscience kicked in. “I never should have touched the king. He was anointed by God as well!” He did nothing to harm Saul and prevented his men from acting as well.

When Saul awoke, minutes or hours later, we don’t know, he left the cave only to hear a familiar voice behind him calling his name and proclaiming innocence.

When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud.  “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly.  You have just now told me of the good you did to me; the LORD delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me.  When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the LORD reward you well for the way you treated me today.  I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands.  Now swear to me by the LORD that you will not cut off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.” 1 Samuel 24

Interesting! Looks like there’s been a little power shift. What an admission for Saul, David’s mortal enemy, to make!

It was the power of God in David that kept him from killing the very one who was trying to end his own life. He was able to take the high road and lead his men to do the same.

You might be faced with challenges or temptations that are more than you can handle at this very moment.  God is anxiously waiting to see what you will do. Will you turn to Him for strength? God loves it when I pray, “I can’t do this by myself. I need You!” He is waiting for the chance to power you to speak and act, not in the way that seems natural to us, but in His way. That’s the way to get real power in your life, power to do things that you never would be able to do on your own.  Don’t Cowboy Up, Pray Up!

adapted from devotional shared at CBMC 7/23/09 and family August 2010.

Aug 182010
 

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait

These powerful words by contemporary Christian artist, John Waller, are shared in a very meaningful and moving way in the movie Fireproof, where the leading character learns about doing the right thing, moving forward in obedience even when those actions are seemingly unappreciated and unrewarded.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9,

“I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.”” Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

My parent’s generation looked for Jesus’ soon return, assuming that He would come long before they had families of their own. But here we are, two generations later, still waiting.

Are you asking God to change circumstances or people in your life? Are you on standby, waiting to do and act until He fixes everything? I challenge you to strongly move forward in obedience today, serving, worshiping, running while you wait for God to work in your life. Serve Him today by serving those around you. Worship Him today by making an offering of how you live this day. Run the race of the day today with excellence while you wait……

8/15/10 shared during a celebration for my parents as they reach fifty years of married life.  God bless you, Mom and Dad! You are Jesus’ hands and feet to me, my family and to so many around you.  Serving and worshipping faithfully while you wait!

adapted from what was shared in the workplace 3/16/09

Aug 132010
 

You can’t have enough flashlights! I have lots of them and still find ones that I want. I have heavy 3 Dcell MagLites. I have tiny 1AAAcell lights. I have headmounted lights. I have one powered by squeezing a lever. I have one that you shake back and forth that actually holds a charge! The newer ones have very bright LED bulbs that are very efficient. The batteries seem to last forever. Often, however the batteries seem to end up going bad or missing.

Using a flashlight at night can be so helpful and maybe even comforting as we see the area in the beam lighted up so clearly and brightly.  One downside though, everything outside of the beam seems even darker. Also, when I turn the flashlight off, my pupils, so constricted from reacting to the bright light, don’t allow me to see much of anything at all!

My oldest daughter and I love to spend time on our farm doing almost anything, work or play.  We particularly enjoy walking across the farm, hand in hand, in the dark. without a flashlight! After leaving the circle of light from the car or house light, our pupils become huge, reaching out to gather the light from the sliver of a moon, or just from the stars, just the way the Creator built us to do.

At first, everything seems very dark.  Soon, vague shapes of trees, fence posts, horses, and other objects begin to appear. as we get further and further in distance and time from our self-made light, the shapes become clearer and more distinct.  Leaves on trees, wires on fences, ears on horses slowly appear.

Her hand in mine and mine in hers keeps her steady when she stumbles. And yes, when I stumble! The minutes go by.  We are amazed at how bright the world around us becomes by starlight.

Let him who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the LORD
and rely on his God.   Isaiah 50:10

 Every time I try to supply the light in my life, I run into trouble.  Things seem bright at first, but it blinds me to most of the world around me. And when my light inevitably fades, I am left to stumble through my days dangerously crashing in to things, a danger to myself and to those around me.

 Have you ever been tricked into walking in your own light? Do you feel like you are in the dark some times? On this very day, Friday the 13th, superstitions and darkness spread even more. Are you feeling oppressed by the darkness, overwhelmed and unable to see your way? Great! Then God has you right where He wants you, right where he can work with you. Flooding your life with a light that touches every step and every person around you. All you have to do is turn off your pitiful flashlight and open your eyes wide. Your Father will do the rest. Day or night, storm or calm, His light never changes.

Father, give me the power to turn off my flashlight and walk in the dark, trusting You to light my life.

shared 8/13/10 and 11/10/14 in the workplace.

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