Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Little Things

Ever notice how everything is made of littler ones? Doesn’t matter if it’s a cloud or a boulder or a mountain or a house or a spoon or a river. You can always break them down into smaller components. Pieces, ingredients, chemicals, cells, molecules, atoms. I’ve been thinking, that’s kind of how all of life works, isn’t it? The big things are always made of little ones. That huge catastrophic event that forever changed your life was composed of little unnoticeable details and happenings. A decision to do something dramatic or important or radical always came about from smaller things that all combined to build the resolve to do it.

Character works the same way. Whether it’s bad or good character, it is composed of hundreds, thousands, maybe millions, of individual experiences, decisions, actions, and words, that changed who you were into who you are. The word character can sound kind of vague and intangible, but it really isn’t. We just don’t recognize the little parts it’s composed of.

At STEP Advanced this past June, we spent a lot of time talking about the character qualities of a real leader. And every time, our leader always gave us specific examples of how to build those qualities. One of the things I picked up is that character is really just a series of choices, subconscious or not, that slowly develop who you are. A kid that’s a notorious liar didn’t get the reputation overnight, but slowly as he learned to lie more and in bigger ways. A young woman who is known for having a servant’s heart didn’t get her reputation overnight either, but by repeatedly seeking small ways to look out for the interests of the people around her.

Something that I want to be remembered for is joy. I want people to be able to say of me that I went through anything and everything with a joyful spirit. But how to become someone who has a joyful spirit (especially if that someone currently struggles with minor depression and a fair amount of loneliness, among other things) is the troublesome part. [bunny-trail]Actually, the ‘how’ is always the part of anything that bites me. I don’t do well improvising.[/bunny-trail] How do you just *be* joyful? Do you pray and pray and pray and in the night God will come and give you a joyful spirit while you sleep? Pfft, obviously not. I can pray until I’m blue in the face, but I don’t think I’ll ever just turn around and discover that I’m joyful. Why? Well, God uses time and experiences and choices to build character, rather than just imparting it to people at their whim. You have to be committed to the long haul to build character. You have to recognize all the little choices that make up the character, and choose the ones that will build the character you want.

I have to decide to seek the joy in the little things if I  ever want to be known for being joyful in the big things. …And I realized this week that I don’t do a very good job of that. Lately I’ve kind of just let whatever emotion mess with me depending on the situation. And I had to ask myself… When I’m sick, do I seek joy from God, or just go with the flow and feel sorry for myself and slightly irritable towards my family? When I have to do something I’m not fond of, do I seek joy from God? Do I seek joy from God in the face of being treated in a hurtful manner? (I’m afraid at the rate I’ve been going I wouldn’t make a very good martyr…) If I want to be known for spreading joy, I first must have joy to spread. I first must find the joy in the little things.

What about you? What character quality do you want to be known for? How can you use the little things to become who you want to be remembered for?

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Categories: Ponderizations | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Do I or Don’t I?

I guess I must be a pretty good worrier. Doesn’t matter if the threat is real or imagined – I can still worry up a headache over it without much effort at all. It’s not worrying that I’m not good at. It’s not stressing about things that I’m so clumsy at. Recently I’ve had quite a few things going on (most of them nowhere but in my head) that my automatic response is to dwell on them and stress about them. The other day I was writing all the problems my brain had concocted, and it struck me – I had worked out all the ways the situation could be a problem for me…and I was prepared to worry about whichever way it ended up going. And I stopped and asked myself…where did my trust in God fit into all of this?

Because really, all my worries and anxiety boils down to a lack of trust that God’s got things under control. Doesn’t matter how wacky my brain is getting or how tiring life is – it all boils down to a simple question: Do I or don’t I believe His promises? I don’t care how complicated I think life is. I could simplify it a lot if I just remembered to ask myself that question instead of worrying. Has He not promised, and will He not also do it? If my God has proved Himself faithful to one so undeserving as myself, will He not also continue to do so? He is the same yesterday as He is today and will be tomorrow. I don’t have to worry about whether or not He will decide to work all things for good, because I already have His promise that He will. But do I or don’t I believe His promise? Maybe the worrying or lack thereof is a better answer than any I could give of my own accord. I don’t know about you, but I want my actions to say that I trust Him absolutely.

Categories: Ponderizations | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Live Like We’re Dying

Corrie Ten Boom wrote about one of her aunts, Tante Jans, who was dying and knew it. That knowledge spurred her on to use every last ounce of her energy in service to God.

And I wonder, what if I knew I was dying?

What if I only had a few months at most to live? How would I live those last pieces of my life? How much of my time would I waste on trivial things?

Truth is, no one has a guarantee of a long life; any one of us can die any day, and there’s nothing any one of us can do to change that. The only time we have assurance of is the here and now.

You could say it’s the only time we have to make a difference.

We can’t impact someone’s life in the future. We can’t touch a hurting heart “someday, somehow”. We can’t use our God-given gifts “eventually”. So we have to do it now. Like we’re dying.

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“If My People”

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard a lot of disturbing things about the state of the world in general, and of our country in particular. And, since Election Day happens to be this week, I figured this was as good a time as any to post this.

Fact is, we need to pray for this country. In earnest. Not just a “Please help this country, God” kind of prayer that only happens one time after someone tells you to pray, and maybe in a month or two when you remember that you were supposed to pray. (And believe me, I’m really bad about doing that.) We need to get on our knees and pray for this country day after day, as persistently as a spoiled cat that is hungry and wants fed even though he just got fed two hours ago. And not Vaguely, either. (Cats don’t run around whining that they’re hungry. They come and sit in your face and say FEED ME. That’s specific.) This country has specific needs, and we need to specifically pray for them, day after day after day.

We need to humble ourselves before God Almighty and ask for His forgiveness, for our country, for the church, and for ourselves. We have wandered so far from Him! We have become a nation of murderers, thieves, idolaters, adulterers, and liars. We have become a lukewarm church, and a people apathetic towards eternal things and passionate about temporal things. I tremble to think what will happen when we stand before God!

If you read any amount of the Old Testament, you see time and time again places where God destroyed nations because of their wickedness. Even Israel, whom He brought out of Egypt and for whom He lovingly picked out a fruitful homeland, whom He built up and blessed. When Israel stubbornly rebelled against God, He allowed the surrounding countries to invaade, destroy, and enslave them.

We’re no different from Israel. God brought us out of Britain (and other countries) and placed us on a totally different continent where we could flourish. America was founded on a solid faith in the One True God. Our government and our laws were built around that faith. We were once His people. And we have fallen so far! What used to be condemned as evil is now not only approved, but used to persecute the Christians who dare to stand up against it. And just as God allowed Israel to be destroyed, so we are on a course that is only headed for destruction.

Now is the time for action. Now is the time for the church to wake up, before it is too late. Now is the time for all who call themselves by the name of Christ to pray in earnest. Now is the time for us to seek God, while He may yet be found, and to call upon Him while He is yet near.

God convicted me a couple weeks ago that I need to pray for this country and for the church. I have not always been very good about doing it, (and there are days when “prayer ADD” kicks in) but my goal is that every morning I should get down on my knees and plead for this nation. To pray for the church, that all who call themselves by the name of Christ would also be convicted and seek God in spirit and truth, that God would get a hold of those who think they are Christians but don’t really understand what it means, and that they, too, would be counted among the faithful when the end comes, that the church would reach out to the unsaved in this country, and lastly, that if need be He would use me to reach people.

Now I’m asking you to join me in pleading for our nation, but more importantly, for the individuals within this nation who are still so very lost. I know prayer is not easy. Hey, it’s something I’ve really struggled with all my life! But we cannot afford to neglect it any longer. We must learn the persistence of a hungry cat, the persistence of the widow in Luke 18. (Or the persistence of a mosquito, if that gives you a clearer mental image.) Will you pray? Persistently and consistently and sincerely for repentance and revival in this nation, this church, and in yourself?

To wrap this all up, I refer you to Isaiah 55:6-7:

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

So I am asking you: will you join me? Let us earnestly seek God before it is too late.

 

 

If My people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14

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