Chapter-a-Day 1 Corinthians 10

TelevangelistSo, my very dear friends, when you see people reducing God to something they can use or control, get out of their company as fast as you can. 1 Corinthians 10:14 (TM)

I can’t stand televangelists who spend all of their time asking for money. When I come across one I turn the channel as fast as I can. They spend all their time using God as something they can control. "Send me ten dollars and God will bless you with a hundred!" they will promise. God becomes your personal cash cow – a talisman – a good luck charm.

God is not a genie in a bottle. While He does care about our hearts’ desires, He also cares more deeply about our heart condition. When He controls our hearts, our desires are true. When our hearts are filled with greed, envy and selfishness  – then our off-course desires are greedy, envious and selfish.

God is not in the business of making us what we want to be, but what He calls us to be: loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle and self-controlled.

Is God controlling me or am I trying to control God?

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and AHS Librarian

Listen to Taylor from Romania!

Brasov_romaniaI was bummed to wake up this morning and find that I’d just missed a call from Taylor. It came on the heels of an e-mail from her team leader. All is well. Taylor, who sounded a bit like she was ready to get this whole trip over with a week ago, mentioned that she would be kind of sad to come home.

Tonight is their last night of ministry. They will be performing drama in one of the parks. Tomorrow they will worship with their host church and head to Brasov (see picture) for a free day of tourism before heading to Bucharest and beginning the journey home.

I’ve uploaded the voice-mail for any family who would like to hear it in her own sweet voice:

Download taylors_voice_mail.wav

Slowing Down

Playhouse_crittersWhen Wendy and I have travelled to the Playhouse on the lake, it’s always been for a long weekend – at best. While those long weekends are always enjoyable there is always the feeling that you just got unpacked and it’s time to go home. That’s why we’ve been looking forward to this week, when we could spend several days enjoying ourselves on the water.

It’s been raining on and off the past the past few days, so we haven’t gotten out on the lake much. What we have been doing is a whole lot of nothing, and that’s something we don’t experience too often. Yesterday morning we sat on my grandparent’s memorial glider rocker on the deck and watched all the critters around the bird feeder [I took the accompanying photos as I sat there – click on it for a larger image]. We have a young Mallard duck who has been following us for the past few days. He hopped up on the dock Wednesday morning while I was doing my quiet time and sat there about three feet away expecting a hand out. Yesterday he waddled up the yard and stood just feet away from Wendy and me as we sat on the glider looking for more free grub. We’ve dubbed him "Fred" as in "Freddie the Freeloader".

As we sat on the glider, Wendy lay her head against me and began to nap. I had this overwhelming sense that I should be doing something. I consciously told myself that the only thing I had to do was to sit, rest, and enjoy the moment. The sense of needing to get up and get busy eventually passed. I was reminded of a lecture by Dallas Willard in which he talked about rest as a spiritual discipline. I get that. Rest is something I have to work at it. In that sesne, I AM working hard this week 😉

Chapter-a-Day 1 Corinthians 9

Finishing_the_marathonI don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself. 1Corinthians 9:26-27 (TM)

I had the television on last night and heard mention of the average life span for an American male. It’s been right around the 72 year mark for some time. Which means, at best, I’m on the backstretch of this marathon called life. Most people spend years not giving much thought to the finish line of life. You are young, you are strong out of the gate, and you are running hard….to where?

Death is a subject that most of us would rather avoid, but the truth is we will all finish this race someday. There is no guarantee when you will cross the tape. Some will live well beyond 72, and some will cross the finish line well before that. What if I’m in the homestretch and I don’t even know it? Am I running this life aimlessly? Am I running sloppy with no thought to how I finish?

Marathons are not generally won in a photo finish. Marathons are won by the person who trains and gives careful thought to his or her pace, strength, timing, body, and desire throughout the race.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and rbackowski