Tuesday, May 26, 2015

One Peace at a Time

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
- Abraham Lincoln
 While sitting at a stoplight on a nice Spring day last week, windows rolled down and music playing, I was able to view a variety of peace within that corner. On my right sat a beautiful park where kids were playing on the swings, and childhood laughter filled the air. It was a childlike peace.
Within the confines of my car, music filled the air; it was a comfortable peace that I sat in.
  In front of me turning at the stoplight was a funeral procession. A completely different kind of peace. 
My thoughts then began to roll through my mind:

I wonder who this person was being laid to rest.
Did that person know Jesus?
Did they die a quiet, peaceful death? And is the family at peace?
Or was this an unfortunate tragedy where surely there may have been no peace?
Did they lead a quiet peaceful life?
Or was this person a leader, someone who made a profound impact on the world, or even just in his own little community?
It's been awhile since I've ever thought about the many varieties of peace and what they may entail in just one ordinary day. That childlike peace those children had while playing in the park, how many of us would give to have that kind of peace everyday? Not a care or worry in the world, as they are just trusting in their mother and father to provide and care for them.
Suppose that person that was being laid to rest led a hard life, knew Jesus, and can now finally rest in peace, how many of us would like that after living a long, hard life? 
No matter what we endure through life there are many ways to peace. Not just an eternal peace after we have graced this planet, but an exuberant, joyful, restful  peace just for today.

Are you living in peace today? For this moment? Or find yourself in need of some peace?

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Phil.4:6,7)

Peace is simple, but sometimes we forget how simple it can be.



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Recess or Field Trip?

"Never kid a kid who hasn't had his recess."
  - T.J. Detweiler, Recess character

On a recent morning walk I ran into some fourth graders who were being taught from a forest ranger the art of fishing. It was funny to be able to pick out which kids were fishing for the first time, and even see the look on their faces after catching a fish, and not knowing what to do next. Oh, the joys of being on a field trip.

Here are probably some of the most favorite words for any grade school or middle school kid:

Field Trip
Snow Day
Spring Break
Summer Vacation 

And what do all these have in common?  They are a break from the monotony of a busy day, a busy week, or a busy season. Now, don't all of us need this at one time or another within our hectic schedules? You don't necessarily have to be a kid to need or enjoy a field trip. I love going out and having fun and taking a break from everyday life. C'mon, who doesn't?  In order to succeed at anything in life there needs to be
peace and joy, this is what gives you the strength to move forward.

 So, if you find yourself overwhelmed with the struggles of life, remember,
recess is always a possibility.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bad Company

"Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company." - Mark Twain

Ahh, who doesn't love a good Mark Twain quote? He has always been one of my favorites because 
he shoots from the hip; speaks his mind in a variety of ways. I believe here Twain is saying that the company you surround yourself with has an influence on your life, the choices you make, and the future path you go on.

In a recent conversation with my brother we spoke of our past friendships and how some of the company we kept weighed us down from where we should have been headed to at that moment in time. Yes, it is the company we keep at different intervals of our life that has an influence on all things pertaining to life. How many of you have hung around people who were negative, made bad choices, brought you into a bad situation, or weighed you down from moving ahead? 

An obvious biblical character who had it rough with the company he kept was Moses. Even though God chose Moses to lead the Israelites to the Promise Land, how many times do you think Moses .thought to himself these people are driving me crazy. For all the times they complained of lack of food and water upon their travels and even when God delivered to them more than enough, they still found time to complain even more. In fact, God even refers to them as stiff-necked, rebellious people.  

I have hung around people like that in the past, and let's just say it wasn't pretty. Sometimes it is best to sever ties with those around us that bring us down, unless your like Moses and God has called you to lead them. Good luck on that one! I've been in relationships where I've had friends that I have helped out numerous times, but after awhile it got to the point where they were taking advantage of me, so I chose to sever ties with them. This is one subject I know many of you can relate to.

 Hanging around the wrong crowd can also change the identity and character of who you are. Those negative words they may speak in front of you can influence negative thoughts within your own self; straying you away from who God intends for you to be.

When Face Book first started out, people got addicted and it became a popularity contest where some had the goal of trying to see how many FB friends they could get. Yes, Face Book is great for interacting and building relationships, but it is the company you keep. 
Do they have an influence on your thought process?

Are they infiltrating your mind with negativity or crud?

Have a political agenda and try to change your opinion on matters?

I like to surround myself with people that carry a positive attitude, have the same likes and dislikes in a variety of areas that I am familiar with, and approach life in a humorous way, not changing the identity of who they are, yet remaining humble. Face Book carries a lot of weight on what we feed our minds with. Most of my FB friends have no agenda, are Christians, remain positive, and post words of encouragement to others. This is the kind of company that I personally want to be in.

Here are some of my favorite quotes on the company you keep:

Bad Company corrupts good character

If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas

Make sure everyone in your boat is rowing and not drilling holes when your not looking.

 If you want to identify someone's character, examine the friends he sits with.

Life becomes easier when you delete the negative people from it.

You are who you are by virtue of the company you keep.

Remain who you are. Don't let others dictate your thought process, change your mood, your attitude, 
your character. 

 As Dr. Seuss would say,

"Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!"

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Athletes Lives Matter

"Being human is being a lot of things at the same time."
 - Matthias Schoenaer, Belgian Actor

Whether you are a celebrity, an actor in a sitcom, a musician, a professional athlete, or Joe Smith working in a factory, we all have one thing in common: we're human and we make mistakes. When it comes to athletes making millions of dollars to play a kids game, we tend to not care when they make a mistake or dehumanize their own condition. But, we all love a comeback story, don't we?

 Scott Darling is the backup goalie for the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team. His path to success received attention after coming in after the first period of a recent playoff game, and saving close to 40 shots in a game that went to double-overtime and ending at 1:30 am. Scott is a local Chicago boy who had a battled alcoholism while in college. After getting kicked off the college hockey team he decided to make a life altering decision by going into rehab. Darling was an up-and-coming goalie who was destined for greatness. After beating his addiction he found his path to success a hard one, trying to convince people he was worthy of a shot at being a professional hockey player.

Scott Darling played on nine different minor league teams before finally getting a chance with a pro team in the Chicago Blackhawks organization. His decision to defeat alcoholism has paid dividends for him, not just on the ice, but in life itself.

Baseball player Josh Hamilton battled with drug addiction for many years. After some rehab he found Jesus, became an all-star with the Texas Rangers, and took them to their first World Series and another one after that. The Rangers organization had also placed people around him to help him in his struggle with drugs.

After being traded to the Anaheim Angels two years ago, Josh had a relapse in his drug addiction while in recovery from an injury. The Angels showed no remorse for Josh and his addiction and traded him back to the Texas Rangers before the start of this 2015 season.

 The Rangers wanted Josh Hamilton back not only for his talent, but to help him with his addiction.

I love those teams that place people and doctors in the lives of the players within their organization that struggle in certain areas of life. After all, even athletes are human.