Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Love my Coat

"I love that coat!" my co-worker exclaimed as we watched a dog-walker walk by our office window.

"Oh, my gosh! Wow! I love Golden Retrievers and that is a gorgeous coat on him."
I replied.

"I was talking about the woman,Dave!"

That's what so great about each individual,we carry our own perception and creative viewpoint on just about everything,including God.

One of my favorite books is simply titled Son!,written by
John Sheasby. Within this book Sheasby reminds us that:

"We have been predestined to be the sons and daughters of our loving Father. And our service to Him is not the basis of our acceptance nor the purpose for our redemption. It is the fruit of a relationship of intimacy with our Father."

Sometimes those of us who follow Christ forget we our sons and daughters of Christ; and many times think of ourselves and act like we are slaves. What has happened is we have disconnected ourselves from God within our relationship with Him. We may be okay with Him and everything is right with the world on Sunday, but when Monday comes we stray back to our former selves and therefore lack the trust we may have had in God on Sunday.

The national Christian music radio station K-Love started the new year with a 31 Day Challenge to listeners. To listen to nothing but Christian music and worship music for the whole month in hopes of listeners seeing a change in their relationship with God and with others.

For a couple of years now I've been in the habit of listening to worship music on my way to work, so when I get to work and throughout my day I find myself connected to God. The work day is less stressful, peaceful and I let absolutely no one take that joy away from me. It's kind of like wearing a new coat everyday.

And as a result of staying connected to Christ I've seen blessing after blessing in every area of my life the last few months. I know,and feel,and live like I am a son of the Most High.

Max Lucado reminds us:

"If we want to see an overflow of God's favor, we have to learn to pray bold prayers and ask Him to fulfill our highest hopes and dreams."

I believe that's what any son or daughter of the Most High would do.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Quiet Zone: Give Peace a Chance

One of the great places to find peace is at The Quiet Zone which can be found inside the giraffe house at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo. During the winter months these lengthy, peaceful creatures are confined to indoors. The house is small but quaint and on any given day you will find someone just sitting in there watching, meditating,and forgetting all of the outside world. Ahhh,yes...peace, a great place to be at but sometimes hard to find.

When John Lennon sang "just give peace a chance" he was referring to world peace. But there is something to be said for giving peace a chance within the intervals of our own daily lives. Medical doctors even suggest that finding a quiet time within our busyness is quite healthy.

And as for the spiritual side of peace, God asks us to find that time alone with Him; to shut out the cares of this world and seek after Him. A valiant effort on our part can do wonders in our walk with the Lord and with our faith.

There are also two great examinations that we can take part in during this quiet time:

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. (2Cor.13:5)

And ask the Lord:

O Lord, examine my heart and my mind. (Psalm 26:2)

Giraffes are a great reminder that peace is available to everyone. We just have to be willing to choose to partake in it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

John 3:16 and the Fearless Honey Badger

So..what could John 3:16 and a honey badger possibly have in common? They both were taken notice of before and during football games this past weekend:

1. The scripture verse of John 3:16 was seen by over 30 million viewers who watched Tim Tebow continue and unfortunately end his amazing season.
Focus on the Family ran a 30 second commercial during the first half of the game,showing a group of young children reciting this most widely used Bible verse:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

2. Coach Jim Harbaugh used a video of a honey badger as a motivational tool before his San Francisco team played the highly favored New Orleans Saints. And his 49'ers won in dramatic fashion in the last seconds.

Harbaugh has used the fearless honey badger before crucial games this entire season, and it has been quite effective.

The honey badger is known as one of the most fearless animals. It will take on a venomous snake and defeat it and then eat it, will steal food from a leopard, and will even stick his head in a bee hive to eat the larvae. You can catch some amazing videos of this creature on You Tube.

Jim Harbaugh was teaching his team to take on the persona of the honey badger:who will do anything for food, even if it means taking it from another animal. Harbaugh's team had a league high 38 takeaways(interceptions or fumbles) this season.

Imagine if all of us believers in Christ lived out the persona's of John 3:16 and the honey badger:

1. Loving everyone just as Christ loves us.

2. And becoming fearless like the honey badger as we:

refuse to let the enemy steal our joy

refuse to let circumstances get in the way of our praising God

and by choosing to live the way God asks us to live, trusting Him in all things.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What the heck is Going on?

Tebow mania strikes again! Tim Tebow pulls out another miracle this past Sunday in a playoff game. The first play in overtime he throws an 80 yard touchdown pass to beat the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers.

As the media has been having a field day with this and hyping Tebow's every miraculous move the last few weeks; and with the obvious interjection of "Is God playing favorites,here?", there are only ten words to describe what the heck is really going on here:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.- Philippians 4:13

Tim Tebow is literally silencing his critics and letting his walk in Christ do the talking.

For those who don't follow football and to those who question whether God can or can't be involved in an actual athletic competition, here's the jest of it:

For all the accolades Tebow has received in his collegiate career, playing in the National Football League is much harder and a different brand of football than playing in college. Right from the get-go when Tebow entered the NFL draft, 99 percent of the football critics and coaches said he was lacking in quarterback skills and would never become successful playing pro-football.

I guess he's proving them wrong! Tebow spends 30 minutes before and after each practice working on the fundamentals of being a pro quarterback. By doing this he has won over his teammates and his success on the field has inspired them to simply believe that when they are down a comeback is still possible, no matter how insurmountable the lead.

As for the notion of "Is God involved in his success?" the answer is simple:

We know that God does not intervene in a competitive sport choosing one team over the other; but God is making a statement through Tim Tebow. God is intervening with Tebow's learning process of being a successful quarterback by helping him excel quickly in the learning of the fundamentals,and that success is coming to fulfillment on the field of play. He is showing the doubters that in Christ you can overcome obstacles and succeed.

And his talents are no different than any talents we may possess. Whether we are a singer, a dancer, a tennis player,or a pianist, we can be successful as long as we put the hard work into it and believe not just in ourselves, but in a God who has given us those talents and is believing for us. Philippians 4:13 should be the standard by which we live by every day.

In Tebows collegiate days he was famous for wearing eye black with John 3:16 inscripted under his eyes.

In this past Sunday's contest:

Tebow passed for 316 yards, averaged 31.6 yards per pass, and the fourth quarter was viewed on television by 31.6 million veiwers.

This should give us something to think about until this weekend's game.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Undefeated Talents

This past year I witnessed:

1. A death defying cat who walked a high-wire act.

2. Some dogs who could jump rope with a human.

3. A man water skiing atop 2 dolphins used as his ski's.

4. Tim Tebow, known as the Jesus Quarterback, defying critics and taking the country by storm.

5. And... seeing my own photographic talents exceed my expectations in one giant swoop.

What do all these acts have in common? Talent.

The animal acts I was able to view were at San Diego Sea World; and the Pets Rule Stage was the greatest highlight of my visit. All of the dogs and cats used in the show were rescued from animal shelters. Some of these animals were discarded by owners who thought they were untrainable. It is amazing what you can train an animal to do just by showing it some love, tenderness and care.

Tim Tebow is known for: having a deficiency in quarterback skills but making the most with what he has,that plus being a Christian and not being afraid to show it to the world as he gives glory to God on every touchdown.

Tebow came in to start for the Denver Broncos after they started the season 1-4. They won 7 of their next 8 games. Tebow took them on a wild ride rarely seen in sports, and out of those 7 wins: 3 were won in overtime, and the other 4 wins were
come-from-behind victories in the last minute.

As for my photography, God opened many new doors for this talent that I do not take lightly. A published photo in an annual book of some of the best photographs taken, a new website to sell my photos, and new adventures in displaying and selling my work in a few stores.

Talent is an interesting word. We all have been given talents to use at our disposal, and it is up to each of us to fearlessly go about using those talents and not let anything stand in our way. Thomas Edison is known to have gone through hundreds of failed light bulbs until succeeding.

I believe all of us can succeed in our talents if we don't take them lightly, don't overexpose and flaunt them with an attitude, but accept and use them graciously.

Don't be afraid this new year to use those talents God has given you, and it's okay to fail because you will eventually succeed. Just don't give up!

This man is like a tree planted by the rivers of water, which gives its fruit at the right time and its leaf never dries up. Whatever he does will work out well for him.
-Psalm 1:3