Shock and awe was a phrase used by the press to describe a military battle. In my hometown last week it took on an entirely new meaning – thunder and lightening. We had one of the best natural sound and light shows in my lifetime. We even had inch long hail to go with it!
Now, this was fun and exciting stuff to me. Yet, the same situation caused fear and trembling in many households throughout our area just like it could have in Noah’s. Neither he nor his family had ever seen rain before they entered the ark. These storm clouds could have had a few extra curricular activities in the sky going along with them. This experiential unknown lasted for 40 days! Shock and awe could have turned into fear and trembling if not for the truths God gave Noah. Noah put up his shield of faith in God’s promise that He would keep Noah alive and well through it all.
Now, what would happen in Noah’s household when it started to rain again? Don’t answer that just yet. Keep in mind, the only time they saw rain it was a destroying factor. Rain = Bad could be their thinking. Or they could choose to rewrite that equation: Rain = God keeps His promises. The first equation brings fear and trembling, shock and awe. The second brings peace and safety. What did God tell Noah to do? Focus on the second. In fact, God actually gave Noah a way to remember His promises as well, a rainbow.
It’s the same situation – stormy weather – with two entirely different results. Your victory and peace depends on where your focus will be. You can focus on the challenge or the solution. It’s your choice. Choose today to put up your shield of faith (the truths God gives you as you read His word) to re-write the equation for victory.
Set “FREE” Nowww
I heard this phrase today on sports radio. I know it sounds harsh, so let me explain. Let’s say your drug of choice is food. Then let’s say that your life is getting hard or your expectations are not getting met (see yesterday’s entry). Where will you turn to meet your expectations, an apple fritter?
Doesn’t that sound pretty dumb? It doesn’t, but at the same time it does. Psalm 115:4,8 states, “Their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” Think about that. You become what you worship and you worship what or who you turn to when life disappoints you.
If you turn to the fritter to meet your need for fulfillment, the Bible says you will become like that donut. Your face starts turning a little lumpy. Your hair begins to have a glaze like shine. We must drive this picture into our brains – our bodies turning into an apple fritter! You become what you worship; and in this case, it’s an apple fritter.
Sounds stupid doesn’t it? The dictionary defines stupid as: slow to learn or understand, and making poor decisions or careless mistakes. When we forget what eating that donut did to us the last time we ate it and keep choosing it over exercising the truths of God’s Word, we become addicted to stupid. Why? We’re failing to learn! We’re repeating the same poor decision because an apple fritter cannot bring us what we’re looking for in life – love and fulfillment.
Exercising the truth in the Spirit’s power will set us free from the addiction to stupid. As we choose to trust Jesus and His Word, we become addicted to smart! Choosing Jesus to meet your needs is not always the easiest choice to make; but, in the end, it’s the smart and most fulfilling one. Unless of course, you love looking like an apple fritter.
S“E”t Fre“E” Nowww
Expectations. Desires. Dreams. If not filtered can spell disaster! Here’s why. How do you feel when your expectations are not met? Lousy. What happens when you don’t get what you desire? Upset. How do you react when your dreams don’t come true? Frustrated.
Lousy, upset, and frustrated can lead to your drugs of choice. They can also lead you to take a step back to filter them through the truths of Scripture. One leads to disaster. One leads to better decisions to get what you’re really expecting and dreaming of – being happy and fulfilled.
My BIG reading this morning showed me something about expectations. The moment our first parents sinned, a huge curse entered the world – painfully hard work with little hope of a good return and strained relationships. This is what we should expect, nothing more or less…without Jesus.
Ask yourself this, if you find yourself at the doorstep of your drug of choice, “Am I standing here because my dreams, expectations and desires don’t line up with Scripture?” If so, it’s time to exchange them with the truths the Spirit gives you while you listen to Him in the Word. Let the Lord put His desires in your heart and you’ll never be disappointed again. He will meet those expectations (Ps. 37:4), which drives you closer to Jesus and further away from doorstep of your drugs of choice.
S“E”t Free Nowww
A friend and I ran our one and only marathon quite a few years back. So far back, in fact, I had a full head of hair then! You can see my buddy poking his head out over the right shoulder of the guy in front.
We ran with 3 goals in mind. We wanted to finish (1) without walking (2) under 4 hours (3). We had to train separately due to our busy schedules. Yet, every time we saw each other we’d ask, “How’d you do?” We trained the best we could when the big day arrived. You can see the smiles on our faces…but we were just starting!
Over the course of this “race,” he wanted to quit and the Lord used me to keep him going. Then he returned the favor. Our bodies hurt from the pounding of 26 miles 385 yards. Yet, we hung together until we crossed the finish line – 3 hours 58 minutes 39 and 43 respectively. We couldn’t have done it without each other.
Life is a marathon. Just as we had to choose to train, each person has to choose for themselves to “practice” the truths of God’s word to become like Jesus. Just as we set our goals, each person has to run the entire course, which means taking one step, making one decision, at a time. Just as marathon is completed in thousands of steps, we make thousands of decisions to become like Jesus, not just one. And I hate to admit it; life has its painful moments just like a marathon.
We can’t run the race for each other, but we can run it together. Life is tough, who is encouraging you to fight through the pain to keep running? Life has its challenges, who is challenging your “quit” thinking? If you want to cross the finish line with hands held high in victory you must choose to run the race with another believer. It’s your (plural) race to run together.
Set Fre“E” Noww“W”
I was reading one of those feel good stories today that piqued my interest. It was about a pitcher who struggled to make it in the major leagues. One of those struggles was a bone spur that severed his tendon and ruptured ligaments in his knee.
One day while feeling sorry for himself during rehab, “a beautiful young girl walks in.” She was limping badly. She was a star soccer player on her way to play the game on a college scholarship when she lost her left leg to amputation at the knee and much of her right calf to a terrible accident.
The major leaguer said, “That’s when I lost it. The good Lord was like, ‘Wake up, dude.’ Perspective. Is baseball, your livelihood, the worst that can be taken from you? No, this girl almost lost her life. Losing her leg was a blessing.”
She lived that same perspective. She stated, “I was born normal, and I’m having to adapt to a different situation, a different way of life. This is my normal now. I’m used to it this way. This has been a blessing in disguise. I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve become a really good person, and I’ve been able to do a lot for others.”
Indeed she has. She not only touched the life of this major league pitcher, but her college teammates as well. Her coach honored her scholarship where she went on to make national headlines by playing goalie in a game with her prosthetic leg. Her coach had this to say, “She was someone who more than lived up to her end of the bargain when it came to changing the program.”
We don’t choose our gifts and talents. They’re given to us. We don’t choose our physical attributes. We’re born with them. We don’t even choose life’s accidents. They simply happen. We do choose, however, whether we will walk with and become more like Jesus no matter how we were born or what happens along the way. Here’s a truth for your filter: when you’re weak, He can be strong for you. It’s your choice to let Him.
Set Free No“W”ww