Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dogs with an Attitude

The other morning a Beagle was looking at me with those sad puppy eyes as if to say,

"Why are you looking at me so funny, Mister?  Can't you see I am cold and frigid, and my Master just had to take me out for a walk as if I had nothing better to do on this cold, blustery winter day!"

During my high school athletic years, our Cross Country team would jog our way to practice through a neighborhood. One of the houses at the end of a dead end block had a small York Terrier who carried with him a big bark. The dog was tied to a very long leash, but not quite long enough. Everyday we would  jog by and this dog took to flight, chasing us down with his loud yippee bark. He took to flight because he forgot he was on a tight leash. He would go as far as he could as if to chase us down, then once at the end of his leash, he would get yanked back. Day after day this dog did the same routine, and day after day he kept getting yanked back. This small dog carried with him a big attitude, he did not care what size he was, he still kept after us as if he were a Rottweiler or Pit Bull.

One of my favorite winter activities is taking photographs at a local sled dog race. It is not enough to just take photos of these amazing dogs, but to be able pet every one of them and see the gentle nature that they present. But once the first team of dogs gets hitched to their sled, look out! The rest of the 40 dogs or more begin to howl and literally leap for joy. They know that it is almost time for them to get hitched to a sled and begin to run as fast as the wind. Watching their display of exuberant joy at wanting to get out there in the woods and run crazy is a sight to behold.

So, which one of these 3 dogs with an attitude resembles you most?

For myself it is definitely the sled dogs and their go and do attitude. I am one of those people who likes to stay active and not be tied down for any prolong period of time. Although there are some days where I may represent the Beagle and want to just take it slow, especially during  some of the bleak days of winter.

Attitude is everything and plays an important role in each of our daily lives. So, whether you consider yourself one that resembles a Beagle, a York Terrier, a sled dog, or maybe even a Pit Bull; attitude matters.

If you are a believer in Christ, don't be shy or timid like the Beagle. Carry with you an attitude of a York Terrier, a sled dog, or a Pit Bull. But remember, as a York Terrier you are not on a leash, it is the enemy who is on a short leash.

Remind yourself:    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

If you own a Beagle, take comfort in knowing I too love Beagles. I never met a dog I didn't like!

For more encouraging Word from the Bible checkout www.biblegateway.com

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dr. Seuss was Smart!

I learned there are troubles
Of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead
And some from behind.

But I've bought a big bat
I'm all ready, you see.
Now my troubles are going
T o have trouble with me!

This is just one of the many quirky tales of wisdom from the beloved Dr. Seuss. I like the way he challenges children with words that will build them up to face adversity.

It's a troublesome world.
All the people who are in it
are troubled with troubles
almost every minute.

Just tell yourself, Duckie,
you're really quite lucky!
Some people are much more....
oh, ever so much more...
oh, muchly much-much more
unlucky than you!

The words you speak can be powerful, but that's just it, you need to speak them.
Words can build you up or they can bring you down. In my last post I mentioned about speaking God's Word over your situation or difficulty. God's Word reminds us that His Words are sharper than any two-edged sword, and we are to renew our mind with the Word of Christ.

If we crawl into a hole when a crisis arises and spit out the "Whoa is me" that just opens the door for the enemy to come steal your joy, and he will pick on you until you are blue in the face and want to pack it all in and live inside that hole.

But take heart my friend, for God is still faithful:
  If we have no faith, He will still be faithful for He cannot go against what He is. (2Timothy 2:13)
When we remind ourselves who we are in Christ by speaking God's Word, and remind ourselves that the greater One lives within me, then all things are possible.

If you don't have access to a Bible to read more of God's Word, click on the link on my home page to

For more witty wisdom from Dr. Seuss, checkout his book Seuss-isms.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Faith as Simple as the Flip of a Switch

"Oh no, we are trapped! The road ends here and the enemy is on our tail. What should we do?"
exclaims the tour guide on our Hollywood movie set tour at Universal Studios.

"Why, I'll just flip this switch and part the waters and we can move on safely,"
says the tour guide answering himself.

The above picture shows one of the special effects, the parting of the Red Sea, used in the 1956 classic film
The Ten Commandments.

I've been to Hollywood's Universal Studios several times and touring the old movie sets never gets old, no matter how many times you've done it. This is one of my favorite movie set effects that is shown here. And it often reminds me of how easy it actually was for God to part the Red Sea for the Israelites to escape.

 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.
- Hebrews 11:29

So, it was by faith the Israelites were able to get through. But faith was the one thing the Israelites struggled with the most.
God provided so much for them when they needed it the most (especially food) during their 40 years in the wilderness, yet they still had trouble trusting Him. God once even called the Israelites a stiff-necked rebellious people. After seeing miracle after miracle you would think that their faith would've been perfect, but it wasn't.

I like to think that I am an expert on faith because I've had to trust in God on numerous occasions in my lifetime. But no, my faith is still being perfected, each and every day. That is why the difficulties and struggles we go through are important; it's what builds up our faith and our character in the Lord.

When it comes to faith my Pastor often reminds us to: Distrust our senses and collaborate with God.

I always like that constant reminder. So, how do we collaborate with God?

1. Within the four Gospels of the New Testament Jesus taught the Disciples to call those things that are unseen as seen.
Simply, believe in the impossible.

Mathew 19:26- With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

2. Confess with your mouth, speak God's Word over every situation in your life. Your words can bring you up or they can bring you down. it's your choice. When you speak God's Word over your struggle you are actually building up your own faith in what God says.

Remind yourself of 2 Corinthians 1:20- For all the promises of God are Yeah and Amen.

3. In Mathew 21 Jesus speaks to a fig tree and it withers. Then His Disciples asked Him, 
"How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" 

And He answered them, "If you have faith and don't doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ' May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive."

The story of the Israelites wandering through the desert for 40 years is one of the greatest messages to build up one's faith. They saw miracles yet had several momentary lapse of faith. If you don't have a Bible you can click on my link on the home page for BibleGateway and read the Israelites story.

If you find yourself in front of a Red Sea or there's a mountain in your way remember:

Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Do You Hear What I Hear?

"Kaboom!" as the 200 year old tree in the middle of the forest falls to the ground.

The definition of sound is: what is or can be heard.  So, if no one was in or near the forest to hear the kaboom when the tree fell, did the tree in fact make a sound went it came tumbling down? This was the argument I caught on the radio on an obvious slow news day. And better yet, it was a sports radio station that I was listening to. Hmmm, what does listening actually mean?

A couple of times a week I drive past a Hearing Aid Center which has had this message on their marquee for over a year now:  We fix hearing, not listening

This message has intrigued me for quite some time and I think I have finally cracked the code!

There is a huge difference between hearing and listening.

Hearing is a sense by which sounds are perceived, or perceived by the ear.

Listening means to try to hear; understand or follow.

So if you were to go to this Hearing Aid Center and receive a hearing aid to help you hear, you may still have trouble listening. It takes more than just your ears to listen. You need your mind and your heart to help in the process of listening.

One of my favorite books in the Bible is the Book of James. It is such a simple Book with such a basic message: Do not be just a hearer of God's Word, but a doer of God's Word. In fact, James gives 54 clear commands to his readers to let them know how to practically do what they say they believe.

And therein lies the answer to our problems. Are we just hearing ourselves read the Word of God, or are we actually listening to the Word of God by putting it into practice in our daily lives?

Sometimes we all fall into that rut of having a momentary lapse of faith in our daily struggles. But if we listen to God's Word with the intent of putting it into action, our faith increases.

Who would've thought: listening, so much more important than hearing.

Just a note of thanks to my readers, last month my blog was viewed by over 400 people. Thank you!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Give to Love, Love to Give

Mother Teresa once said, "The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it."

I think that resonates well with what took place during one evening at the Urbana Mission Conference of 2012 where 32,000 caregiver kits for Aids workers in Africa were built. It truly was a sight to behold.

In Africa 32 percent of the population is infected with Aids. If your local church is interested in building some of these kits you may contact World Vision for more information.

Although here in America we may look at our failing economy and all of its failures and think that we have it so bleak, but it pales in comparison to what is going on in most parts of the world. Sometimes we become complacent with what we have and take for granted the simple things in life such as: heat, safe drinking water, a hot shower, and food. Next time you visit the grocery store, stand at the end of the snack and chips aisle and just glance at what we have access to. Maybe even do an Irish jig and burst out in a song of praise to God. We are definitely spoiled and I think that it is good to be reminded of this from time to time.

A recent Missions letter I received gave out 7 principles to live by to make 2013 the best ever, these are all taken from
Ephesians 5:15-21:

1. Live in wisdom.

2. Live making the most of God given opportunities.

3. Live understanding what God's plan is for you life.

4. Live continuously filled with the Holy Spirit.

5. Live joyfully.

6.  Live giving thanks for all things.

7. Live being Christ-like in our relationships.

My hope is that in 2013 you and I both can begin to live out these seven principles, and not take for granted the things that we have.

Choose to be that miracle to someone in need this year.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

   May the love and peace of God fill your hearts this new year.

May you find joy in your giving to others this new year.

May all your dreams be fulfilled this new year.

Happy New Year!