Monday Blueprint Madness

This is a cleverly integrated stairwell/bookcase. It appeals to me because there is no waste. This is how my life feels right now. Nothing wasted. Every minute is busy and occupied. Hopefully that which occupies my time is worthwhile. Sometimes I wonder.

I’ve been thinking about my compulsion to reach my destination rather than enjoy the journey. I’ve been taking the stairs at work (4 flights) instead of the elevator. It’s good exercise, surely. I wonder how much different the experience would be if I were climbing a stairwell lined with books. Initially, I’m sure I would slow down. My ADD nature would cause me to stop and look at titles, occasionally pulling a book off the shelf and considering its merits. I have a stack of “to-reads” to prove that I’m easily baited.

How many trips up/down the stairs would it take for me to become numb to the color, texture, thickness, height…the overwhelming variety of tempting treasures? How long before I became immune to the distraction and returned my focus to the destination? The door at the top of the stairs that takes me to my office or the door at the bottom that leads to freedom at the end of the day – they too easily become the center of my thoughts.

Life is similar. What’s next for me? What’s behind the door at the top of the stairs? I’m learning the importance of taking in my environment, considering the colors and shapes of all that surround me. Appreciating and stopping to investigate that which intrigues and titillates. Slowing down and not being in such an all-fired rush all of the time.

God, help me to enjoy the journey of this life and to stop speeding through it in my rush to my next destination. Thank you for all that you put before me to distract me and to give me pause.


Sunday’s Study: Judges 8

Gideon’s story continues with his final battle with the Midianites and his pursuit of kings Zebah and Zalmunna. When he asked the people of Succoth and Peniel for aid and they declined, he promised vindication which he later delivered.

For reasons that are not explained, Gideon melts down some of the plunder from his battles and creates an ephod – an idol. It’s a mystery to me because Gideon is presented as a righteous man, doing right by God and his people. After successfully liberating the Israelites he turns them down when they ask him to become their ruler. “The LORD is your ruler,” he says. Yet he creates an idol which becomes a snare to his family.

Are there idols in your life that snare you and draw you away from wholly worshiping God? Do you let the TV or computer rule your life – taking time away from prayer, worship and study? How about shopping or working?

Where do these activities fit into your life? How you spend your time is a reflection of what you value. None of us is perfect, but we should strive to be who God wants us to be. It takes effort, no doubt, and diligence as we guard against things (and behaviors) that can become a snare for us.

God, help us to keep You as the center of our focus. Protect us from anything and everything that traps us and distracts us. By Your grace,

Thirst for Wisdom

Foolish people have no desire to learn or to gain understanding from others. They delight in airing their own opinions. Have you ever been around someone who seems to talk for the sake of talking?

I’ve learned the flip side of this, which is that some want to make sure you understand their point before they will give consideration to any point you’re making. It is easier to play back their point than let them keep stating it and that often appeases their need. But sometimes that doesn’t work. You have to let them see for themselves that their point is not valid.

I’m dealing with a foolish person at work. I know that fools can learn but I don’t know how to predict when they will learn. I think I would be a fool to continue to rely on a fool.

In my search for wisdom I must accept that in heeding the wise words found in Proverbs 18:2, I must allow that if I don’t want to be a fool I may need to recognize fools for what they are and steer clear!

This image may serve as a reminder – think of the spider as a fool who ensnares others with their foolishness. If we let ourselves get caught, if in our patience we wait for the “spider” to change its ways, we can expect to lose ourselves in foolishness.

Tips for Better Living

I interrupted my lap-swim because I was overtaken by the desire to capture this image. I’m reminded of the message “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance….Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:2-3,12)

I’m well into my 3rd week of swimming laps. 30 minutes every day but Wednesday. Wednesday I end up too pressed for time but I’ve been faithfully making time every other day for this commitment. Some days I’m not much in the mood for this effort at the start of the exercise, but by the end I’m feeling refreshed and always better for my persistence. Or should I say “for my perseverance”.

In life, I’m also persevering in the face of trails. I’m also seeking the elusive “silver lining” – the sense of glory that surrounds us when we not only survive but emerge triumphant after a period of trial.

Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that by keeping the faith, remaining diligent and persevering I will receive the ultimate crown in your glory. Praise your name!

Monday Blueprint Madness

This morning I’ve been thinking about honesty and the importance of presenting things as they are. It doesn’t matter how this mantle is situated, it doesn’t change the location of the fireplace. Reality doesn’t change as a function of how we present ourselves.

I’ve found myself challenged recently by the need to reflect back to an individual a reality in which they are off-center. I believe it is important for them to know they are off-center. I don’t think it’s fair to surprise people with the consequences of their imbalance without first making them aware of the situation. This fireplace can do nothing about its situation. As individuals, we can. Through prayer we can access the Almighty and through Him all things are possible. Whether the individual changes or his circumstances change – I’m hopeful.

And for myself, I pray that I am an effective mirror – reflecting in truth the reality that needs to be shared.

Sunday’s Study

In today’s study we learn of Gideon’s battle with the Mideanites. God used 300 of the 32,000 Israelites to defeat the mulitudes (Mideanites, Amalekites and all of the other eastern people) who’d gathered in the valley “as thick as locusts”. God tells Gideon that in order to ensure humility in the Israelites, He reduced the number of warriors going into battle. Sometimes we may have our own “forces” reduced in order to ensure that we remain humble and rely on God in all things. And to ensure we give credit to God for all that we are able to accomplish.

God, our Father, perfectly equips us for all we are called to do.

Happy Father’s Day!

Café Chat June 20th

Today’s topic:

Name 3 qualities or characteristics of a good/close friend.
Explain why the qualities or characteristics you listed are important to you in your friendships.

For someone to be counted as a close friend, they must be honest and faithful – faithful to God above all else, faithful to themself and faithful to others.

We are all prone to stray from God and there is no expectation that anyone on earth is perfect. But trust is a key element of the bond between friends and trust is not possible if the relationship is not founded on honesty and faithfulness.

The ulitimate model for friendship is found in our relationship with God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit). In spending time with Him, in seeking Him, in looking to please Him we develop the skills we need to be a friend to others.

This has certainly been thought-provoking.

NOTE: I am hoping to get honest, faithful feedback on the changes in my blog format. This is a work-in-progress but I’m very interested in your comments.