Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Does your Dad know you are here?"

"Does your Dad know you are here?"
Those words sent a shiver down my six year old spine and caused me to reevaluate my priorities. 
It was a Summer day in 1952 and like all summer days for children, boring. I had nothing to do, I thought, and my Mom's answer to, "Go out and play" seemed empty of promise until I realized she had not specified where "out" was. Out was a big place. Surely out included my friend, Johnny Tierny's house. It was only over the railroad tracks and along the creek a ways. I was pretty sure I could find it and the walk could be exciting.
Just as I was about to cross the railroad tracks I heard the voice of God - or so it seemed until I turned and looked up to see the Bank's president leaning out of his second story window. He was an Elder at First Church of Christ and like most people in that little town of Olive Hill, Kentucky, knew the "preacher's kid" by sight.
"Yes?" I answered though the question mark was probably very clear to Mr. King. It was the only thing I could think to say and immediately felt guilty. 
"OK, well, I will just call the Church Office and let him know you are alright." 
Up to that point in my journey I was focused on finding excitement. Excitement that I could not find in my own back yard. However, his offer to call my Dad completely changed my priorities. My new priority was to avoid the inevitable spanking for disobedience. "That's OK," I squeaked out, "I was just heading back home anyway" and I turned and began to run home. 
The decisions we make in life are based on our priorities for life. I have found if I keep God close to me, like Louie King six decades ago, I will be challenged to chose the more worthy path. It has proved to be just as exciting and on that same day while playing in the back yard I still managed to climb the Empire State Building and slay King Kong to save the day. Better yet I did not have a date with Dad's belt.
"...the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son" (Hebrews 12:6).

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It is not just a shepherd's staff

When Moses met God at the burning bush one of God’s proofs that He was with Moses was to have him throw his staff on the ground. “What’s that in your hand, Moses?”
“Uh, well, just my shepherd’s staff.”
“Throw it on the ground.”
“Ekk it’s a snake!” Ok maybe Moses didn’t say ekk but really, if it had been you wouldn’t you have said something like that?
“Now pick it up.”
“By the tail, of course.” God is so practical.
Moses had been carrying that staff for 40 years as a shepherd. It was his symbol of his personal power, protection, and provision for his flock. But from the moment he picked up that snake by the tail only to be holding his staff it became a symbol of God’s miracles in front of the Egyptians and the Israelites.
So the Question for you and I is this, “What’s that in your hand.” What skills, provisions, time, abilities and resources do we personally possess? What do we lean on as our source of power, protection, and provision?
Under God’s direction, are we willing to throw these things down? Release our control and ownership of them so God can change them before our eyes into whatever He wants to remind us that when we pick them up – though they look the same they are now signs of His power, provision, and protection of us?
When we open our hands to God we will have the privilege to be part of his miracles today. My thanks to Pastor Brian Kluth who wrote in his book, Open Handed Giving in a Tight Fisted World, “What may be our prized possessions, proven skills, personal positions of influence, prideful accomplishments, available time, or stored-up resources can become part of a living miracle when we yield whatever is in our hands to be used by the Lord.”

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How to avoid getting stuck.

"Don't drive through the field - just go around."
"Avoid large water puddles on the road."
"Check the depth of the river before trying to cross."
"When your vehicle length exceeds the width of the river crossing you will get hung up."
Those are only four of the instructions I ignored on my way to getting a Willy's Jeep so stuck so that all four tires could free wheel. Had I followed the instructions I would have saved countless hours, not had to assist in a baby delivery in a muddy field, not had to be towed by a Land Rover out of a river bed, and not had to excavate a dry river bed so my tires could touch the ground.
Following the instructions of wise counselors is a short cut to success. 
Fortunately, I have gotten better at listening to and even soliciting instructions from people who have done what I am attempting. My spiritual growth has been accelerated on more than one occasion by mentors who have directed me to specific books or articles. My relational growth has progressed at the same speed with which I gather advice from friends and family who know me well and see my flaws more clearly than I. My professional life has been better navigated because of the many ministers and professors who have written on experiences and issues I have not yet encountered.
We can all learn from wise counsel. Who are your wise counselors? Which one do you need to contact today for insight and correction. I find beginning the day with the most wise of all counselors, my Lord, opens my mind to the rest of the counselors in my life.
 Proverbs 11:14 
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. 
 1 John 4:1 
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.