I’m that guy who’s out on the 24th and wrapping things minutes before the gift exchange, so right now I am cruising. No need to panic just yet…I’ve got plenty of time. I always think it’s more exciting with the panic and road rage I’ve grown so accustomed to.
Truth be told… I could live without all of the craziness.
Unfortunately, I don’t hide my feelings very well (understatement). So much so that my wife sometimes teasingly refers to me as “Scrooge”. But she knows me better than anyone else… she knows that I am not a “scrooge”. I love to give presents. I love to give them and watch my children and grandchildren open their presents. I admit I am not a fan of the process, so much so that I defer to my wife to do the buying but I have no issues with doing the financing. I just really believe that my reactions to the Christmas season can be misinterpreted.
So what is my problem? What is it that keeps me from really enjoying the Christmas Season?
I’ll tell you…
I don’t like the process of me receiving gifts. Strange right?
I find it awkward. Uncomfortable.
I am always the last to open my gifts and I just would rather open them up at a time when I am alone. I know that that could get interpreted as being ungrateful (which I never feel) or maybe that I am taking away the enjoyment that someone would get when they give me a gift. My intention is to not encourage either one of these reactions. So what is my problem? Why do I struggle with the process of accepting and opening presents that have been given to me?
This is not something new to me. I have always felt this way. I do not remember a Christmas or birthday that I was looking forward to opening presents that were given to me. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember a Christmas where I ever really asked for anything or was hoping for a certain gift or toy. To the best of my recollection, I have never made a list and I most certainly never “expected” anything. I don’t say these things to sound noble or selfless… it is just the truth of how I honestly feel and how I am.
I know that most people won’t get or understand this. But after I resigned from my job and made a career change in 1994, I had to reinvent myself. I felt like a complete failure in life. I had never really had anything in life as far as material things go… so it wasn’t like I had lost a lot of “things ” in this life.
But as a result of that event in my life, I have learned some valuable lessons in life. First of all, I am here to tell you, you never know where life is gonna take you. You leave home, go to college or start your life and you do the best you can. In that process it is so easy to get lost in this old world and forget who you are and where you came from. It is so easy to start believing that material “things” are more important than they are and you equate success to having “things”.
I don’t want “things”. I could have a nice big house (with a nice big mortgage) and I could have the new car sitting in the driveway. I don’t ask for them because I don’t want them. I have indeed re-invented myself and I have learned that having success and living a great life aren’t the same thing. You know? Success might hand you everything you ever thought you wanted… but nothing will keep you from a great life more than chasing after things and comfort.
We all work so hard to create a comfortable life, but most of us get chained up in the process. And once we finally do get comfortable, we wouldn’t possibly consider changing course because of all we could lose. We make most of our life choices based on mortgage payments, car loans, insurance, and our 401K.
I choose to have a great life as opposed to having “things” that might be considered having success. My happiness is found in my wife, children and grandchildren.
That is not to say that I haven’t enjoyed the gifts I have received over the years. It is just I never expected them and most certainly were not taken for granted.
I guess it’s because my favorite Christmas presents I have ever received have not been neatly wrapped in paper and sealed with ribbons and bows. My favorite presents have not come in boxes and as matter of fact… I struggle sometimes to remember physical gifts that have been given to me.
The gifts I remember and I cherish are the ones that hardly get noticed. At least not noticed by anyone else except me. I received one these gifts this weekend. Our grandsons were spending the day with me and my wife. I was holding Brody (4 months old) as he drifted off to sleep and when I looked down to see his sleepy eyes close, I was warmed with the love I have for this child. My gift this year for Christmas is the opportunity to hold him in my arms and etch that memory in my mind and in my heart. These times will pass me quickly and soon this little boy will grow up and move past having his grandpa hold him as he falls asleep. A wonderful moment in my life. A gift. A gift I don’t take for granted. A gift I don’t want to forget. A gift that is better than anything I could possibly open in a box. A gift not wrapped up in ribbons and bows but is more beautiful than my words can convey. These are the moments in life that you hold on to. That was one that I will remember as long as God gives me the ability to do so.
When my two-year old grandson Indiana says to me, “Grandpa… ready…set… go…” I know he is asking me to line up all his cars on the floor and play cars with him. We will spend the next 1/2 hour or so pushing them across that wooden floor to each other and with each squeal of “ready…set…go!!!” that Indy yells out, I will push each car at his command. Each one a gift and a memory for me. He too will one day move on… and soon enough will be asking me for the car keys to drive me somewhere. Hopefully, I will be around for that one… because it too will be a gift and a memory for me.
I have received some special gifts from my family over the years that will always be precious to me. I have a special gift that I carry with me everyday and that gift is clearer in my memory on each Christmas Day. These special gifts are the memory of when my children have used their own words and looked me in the eye and told me they loved me. That is the only present I want or need. That present is priceless. They are the ingredients to a great life.
As I stated, I choose to have a great life as opposed to having “things” that might be considered having success.
Tis the Season… yes… we are closing in on another Christmas. How might your Christmas be different this year if you stopped and considered not spending so much of your time and choices pursuing and buying “things” and focused on the important aspects of this life?
This year, give your family and those you love in your life something they can’t give themselves. Write a handwritten note to tell them you love them. Look them in the eye and tell them thank you and that you appreciate all that someone has done for you in this life.
I can assure you, this Christmas there are no greater gifts you can give.
Even after all these years, I’m learning that God’s will isn’t a path clearly marked out for years to come, but instead it’s guidance for the moment. God’s will and direction for life are much like a GPS. ”In .3 miles turn left…” The directions of the GPS are as you need them.
Walking with God is much like that. It’s not a course revealed for the next 40 years, but a walk of steps and turns and moments. Each day is a new day of walking with God and finding His will for you in the moments, in the encounters of your life. The course, as it looks to you, might go around in circles for a bit, but God has a plan and it’s only revealed as we come to each turn in our course.
We don’t need to know the route, we simply need to obey the prompts of the sweet voice on the GPS and soon we arrive at our destination. God’s Spirit works in that same way as we walk with Him through the day. We may not know all the turns and twists in our route, but simply need to trust the guidance we receive as we walk with God through the moments. Walking with God is a fascinating adventure. You never know who you will meet, where you will go, but it’s never boring.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Prov. 3:5-6
It snowed a little today.
The first true sign of winter and the perfect beginning to the holiday season.
I really enjoy the Thanksgiving Holiday.
When I was a kid, I loved it because my Mom would make every single thing I loved to eat all at one time. But the older I get, the more I appreciate the exercise of deliberately slowing myself down enough to consider how truly incredible life is – and to give thanks for it all.
I have a great job. I’m so grateful for it. My bills are paid and there’s a little left over…thank you.
My wife and I are healthy and so are our kids and our grandchildren. May we never take that for granted.
I find it easy to say thank you to my Savior Jesus Christ. There isn’t a day that passes that I don’t thank Him for the salvation He provided on the Cross of Calvary.
However, I sometimes lose focus on all the people who are part of my life. I think about work friends and people who have contributed to my life. At times, I find myself taking them all for granted.
So this Thanksgiving I want to turn my head and heart to the people who fill my life. I want to thank those that have walked this road of life with me. I want to thank those that have shared these days with me.
Mentors and protégés. Old friends and new.
So, with a heart that’s full of thanks, I didn’t want to let the holiday pass by without thanking you, my friends, for all that you’ve contributed into my life.
If you’ve ever made me laugh so hard you made me forget for a moment that I’m an adult or the problems in this life…Thank you.
If you’ve held my feet to the fire, kept me accountable, reminding me that I am not perfect and sometimes I am wrong… Thank you.
If I’ve ever forgotten my problems in your presence because you have taken them on as your own in prayer… Thank you.
If you’ve trusted me with your secrets and made me feel safe enough to share mine… Thank you.
If you could make a list of my weaknesses and failures, but don’t… Thank you.
If you tell me the truth, even when I don’t want to hear it… Thank you.
If you encourage me even though I shouldn’t need it… Thank you.
If you’ve forgiven me at least once… Thank you.
If you’ve ever taught me what I didn’t know, given me a shot when I hadn’t earned it, or guided me when I felt lost… Thank you.
If you’ve shared with me the benefit of your hard work or challenged me to think beyond myself or this day… Thank you.
If you say nice things about me behind my back… Thank you.
If you see something good in me that I can’t quite make out for myself just yet…Thank you.
I’m grateful for you. Not just the regular “let’s hurry up and eat” kind of grateful. I’m profoundly thankful for you.
As I consider my many blessings, I count you all among the greatest of them all.
For old friends who’ve left an indelible mark that can’t be erased by time or distance, and new ones that carry a key to a door that’s been locked to me.
For friends who feel like family, and family I’d choose as friends, I’m grateful and keenly aware of how different life would be – and I would be – without you in it.
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!!!
I learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life staring into a pit of red Virginia clay.
I was living in an apartment in Lynchburg and I was having dinner at a friend’s house. He was a local contractor and was heading up the construction of a large building in the area.
After dinner he was still talking about the huge project he was responsible for and was showing me prints and artist renditions of what the finished building would look like upon completion. It was obvious that he was so proud of the project and even though they were only three weeks into the project he asked me if I would take a ride with him to see the construction site.
Of course I said yes and soon we were on our way to see the progress of the project.
As soon as I stepped out of the car, I could tell something was wrong. There was nothing to see. No frame, no walls. No bricks, or shops. Nothing at all.
What had they been doing for three weeks?
“Unimpressed?” he asked. (I must not have been hiding my feelings very well.)
“Looks good to me…What did you expect to see?”
“I don’t know…At least some framing. It seems like a long time to not have anything done.”
He looked back at me over his shoulder and smiled, but kept walking.
I was about to learn something that had led him for years.
I knelt beside him and looked into the hole. It must have been at least fifteen feet deep. And as I looked closer, I began to see it was part of an elaborate series of trenches forming a perimeter around where the building would soon sit.
He took a few minutes to explain how it all worked together and why this hole was different from the next. He told me they’d fill them with concrete and metal stakes that would secure the building in place.
When he was finished, he looked me in the eyes and said,
“You always have to build down before you can build up. You’ve gotta dig deep if you want to build high. Your most important work is the work you do before anyone notices or cares…It’s what makes everything else stand in the end.”
“I hear you, but isn’t this a bit overboard? Seems like you could have done less and be halfway done by now.”
“Maybe…but someday a storm’s going to come. They always do. And you gotta decide up front how big a storm are you going to be ready for. The time to prepare is way before it shows up.”
Even in that moment, I realized he wasn’t just talking about the building. He was talking about what we build with our lives. He was talking about how God can use us in this life to further His Kingdom.
I may not have fully understood at the time, but the years since have certainly made his point clearer.
The bigger your dream, the more you want to be used of God, the deeper you have to dig to make it happen. And it doesn’t matter how impressive things might seem above the surface. If the foundation isn’t solid, your beautiful building, or career, or life will end up crooked, sinking and failing in time.
It’s all about the foundation. It’s about what’s underneath it all. It’s about how you’ll hold up in the storm.
The same is to said of your walk with the Lord. Do you want to be used of God? Do you want to make a difference in this life? Your walk must be formed with a firm foundation and the most important work is the work on your foundation you do before anyone notices or cares. Your foundation must be built on Jesus Christ. It is only that which has a strong and firm foundation on Him that lasts.
If I am completely honest, this is a very difficult lesson in life for me to write about. I am aware of the cracks in my foundation. I am acutely aware of the failure in my life that can be traced back to the foundational weakness I had in my Christian walk all those years ago.
I have spent the last fifteen years of my life repairing those cracks in my foundation. There’s still so much work for me in the coming years. Even after all this time, God still shows me where He wants me to repair the foundation in my life.
Because a storm is coming. They always do, you know. And the ground beneath you must be able to support the weight of the hope inside you. Your life must be firmly set upon the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ.
But understand this… The bigger your calling, the deeper you’ll have to dig – the longer you’ll spend in quiet preparation before anyone seems to notice or care about what you’re building.
Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
I Timothy 6:19
If your foundation is sure, pay no attention to what things look like today. Keep going – keep building. Brick by brick. Stone by stone. And in time, you’ll find that what you once thought was impossible is now reality…it will stand against the storms of life.
And someday… you will be just what God intended you to be.
Over the course of the past week, I have been engaged in the preparation for employee evaluations. And in that process, I have to fill out my own personal evaluation to turn into my boss. It is a self-evaluator tool where you have to write out where you think you are in relation to your job goals and performance. My boss then takes that information and we meet to see if we are on the same page as far as these goals are concerned.
As I made my way through the questions, one question caused me to pause and stare at the blinking cursor for quite a while. I started to second guess myself… Do I be honest and say what I should or do I say what I think they want me to say? What to do? If I’m true to my word, I gotta own it. It’s a hill I’m going to die on. So I had to go with the honesty.
I might be strange, but if you know me, you know I don’t care about titles. I never have. I’m not in this game to get as high as I can on some corporate ladder. As I told my boss, people won’t discuss that at my funeral. They WILL remember how I treated people, how I loved my family and my wife. Was I man that was true to his beliefs and to his faith? That is forever. Titles are not. They fade.
That being said, have you ever established the hills that you would die on? Do you know where the line is where you won’t cross?
That is why my family and my wife is a hill I will die on… EVERY… SINGLE… TIME. I will always choose my family and my wife over my job each and everyday. That being said, I am thankful that up to this point in my life, my employer has not made me choose.
My professional goals at this point in life have changed over the past few years. My professional goal at work is to ensure that my wife is taken care of. It is my sole purpose as far as my job goes. This may sound like an odd professional goal, but I believe I am a failure at any professional position if I am failing as a husband and my responsibility to make sure she is taken care of.
My children are adults now. They are 28, 27, 22 and 20 respectively and they are all moving on in their own lives. They have to own their own destinations in life and to how they get there. While I understand that I will always be “Dad” but my job to raise them is over. All I can do now is give advice… I cannot make them do anything. I also have two grandsons, Indy and Brody. The job to raise them is also not mine… it is that of my daughter and my son-in-law. I get to enjoy the benefits of just being “Grandpa”.
Family is a non-negotiable in my core beliefs. So to work a job and a position that fits my professional goal is something I am very thankful for. The job to raise my children is over. My job is now focused on my wife. I accepted that responsibility to take care of her when I said,”I do” and it is now primary for me until I take my last breath.
Filling out that evaluation for my boss, I was reminded that sometimes, when you know your non-negotiables in life, you won’t always have to die on that hill.
But sometimes you will, and it will always be worth the fight.
“Get up!!! We’re leaving in 30 minutes.”
“You heard me. Hurry up!”
I was home for the summer from college. I was staying the night at my church youth leaders house. Bob was up to something, it was 4:30 in the morning but I’d learned by then not to ask questions. I threw some clothes on and met him at the car 30 minutes later.
“Where are we going?”
We drove in silence for the most part. I finally had enough gumption to ask again, “Where are we going?“ He just sat there driving… in silence… with a silly grin on his face. I couldn’t help but laugh and say, “You’re crazy. You know that, right?” The surprise was a blast, but it was also driving me nuts. “So you’re not gonna tell me anything, are you?”
Eventually, we reached Interstate 75 and headed south… I tried to use this to pry out some details, but his lips were sealed.
I slowly drifted off to sleep and the life lesson had already begun. I just didn’t know it yet.
Bob pulled the car into a rest stop a few hours later. “Get Up!!! Your turn to drive.” he shouted at me as he shook me out of a deep sleep.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
I moved over into the driver’s seat, “Destination?” I asked getting agitated.
With that silly grin still on his face, he pulled his hat down over his eyes and pretended to drift off to sleep without saying a word.
“Des-ti-na-tion?”, I said to him, even more agitated.
I put the car in gear and started to drive onto the freeway waiting for him to answer.
Finally he did…
“You don’t know where you’re going?”, he asked.
“No, I don’t!!! Could you…?”
I asked him, “What do you mean and what was this was all that about?”.
He laughed at me and said, “This is priceless! The look on your face is perfect! Just like I planned it.”.
I’m sure I did look stupid and puzzled.
“I don’t get it.” I stammered.
“Consider it my first gift to you.” he responded.
He turned in to me and took a more serious tone.
”David, you’re an adult now. The world’s about to change for you, and you gotta be ready. When you’re a kid, you go wherever somebody else tells you to go. You don’t have much of a choice. But as an adult, not only do you get to choose, you have to choose. If you don’t, life or someone else will choose for you, and you probably won’t like what they come up with. You gotta know your destination and have a plan for getting there.”
I took it all in as he continued.
”It’s a lot like planning a trip. What’s your destination? How are you gonna get there; who’s going with you? You gotta know what it’s gonna cost and ask yourself if you’re willing to pay that price. You won’t always be, and you’ll choose a new destination. Once you decide, you gotta get packed and ready. Do you have everything you’ll need once you get there? Are you equipped? If not, what are you gonna do about it?”
We kept talking throughout the rest of the drive. He shared some times in his life when he’d planned well, and some times he didn’t. He told me where he thought I might be headed and we talked through the questions he’d laid out for me.
By the time we got to Florida, I’d learned a lesson that has guided me ever since. It’s up to me. No one’s going to hand me the life I’m here to live. If I want it, I need a plan.
Of course, I have lived a lot of life since then, I’m well aware that even when we have a plan, things don’t always work out as we’d thought. But I’m also convinced that course correction is much easier than flying aimlessly, no particular destination in mind, hoping we end up somewhere nice.
It was one of my most memorable trips I have ever taken – a great trip, just Bob and me.
Cancer took Bob from his family and me over four years ago. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. I still haven’t erased his phone number off my phone. I keep it there and try to fool myself into believing that I could call him and have a conversation just like the one we had on this trip all those years ago.
Sitting in that car trying to figure out where we were going and having him just look at me with the stupid grin on his face, just waiting for the right moment to teach me a lesson. I’ll carry that moment with me for the rest of my life.
I find that the lessons that Bob taught back then are more and more important to me with the passing of time.
Where are you going? What’s your destination?
When and how do you plan to get there?
Who’s going with you? What will it cost you to try? Are you willing to pay that price?
Are you equipped for the journey ahead? If not, what are you gonna do about it?
The other day I was talking to a good friend of mine about blogging. He was asking if I took a special class or studied it in college. I had to be honest and tell him that my English teachers would find it rather hilarious if they knew I was keeping a blog and writing on a regular basis. Let’s just say I wasn’t the best student (as evidence by the frequent rate with which I destroy grammar and the English language on this blog). Sure, I’ve dreamed of writing a book one day, but whenever my thoughts get semi-serious, I bail. A blog is so much less intimidating.
So why even keep a blog?
In 1862 a 16-year-old kid named William Ralph Featherston put pen to paper to write a love letter of sorts. I like to think that if blogs existed back then, William would have just written a post and clicked “publish.” But there were no blogs so his letter went unnoticed. William would pass away at the age of 27. Three years after William passed away, a man named Adoniram Gordon put music to William’s “Love Letter” and got it published in a hymnal the same year. You may know the love letter by it’s official title…..
My Jesus, I Love Thee
My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus ’tis now.
I love Thee because Thou has first loved me
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus ’tis now.
I love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus ’tis now.
In Mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
Near as I can tell, William Ralph Featherston has no idea that his love letter ever made the impact on the world that it did. Just today, the words of that love letter have been rocking my world as I heard the song. I’m just one of the many, many people who cherish this old hymn. I’ll never get to meet William this side of heaven. I’ll never be able to thank him (or Adoniram Gordon) for putting it together. Yet it’s words have impacted my life.
His poem is so much more than words on a page.
At the end of this road, I guess that’s the goal of this little piece of real estate on the internet too. I don’t have a platform, vision or even mission statement. I’m not looking to write books or sell advertising space. I guess I just put it to paper (or the web) like William did all those years ago.
My greatest hope is that my kids and grandchildren will forever have an archive in my own words to look back on.
Hopefully they see my heart.
Hopefully they read my thoughts.
Hopefully they’ll know that for me… what I write is more than just words on a page.
Face it. We all were a long way from kindergarten. We were slowly learning that growing up isn’t always easy.
It was 1973 and I was twelve years old. I was a seventh grader at Rocky Ridge Jr. High and this school year was going to be significant for me. This school year I wanted to change. I wanted to impress everyone. I was no longer an elementary student. I had arrived… I was a seventh grader… bulletproof and 10 ft tall. Well… actually 5’1″ and 85 lbs. but still ready to take on the dangerous world that is known as Junior High.
I spent the entire night before trying to pick out which clothes I was going to wear on that first day of school. Like many events in my life, I tried to imagine what it was going to be like. I was armed with my witty comebacks and cut downs that are typical of the Junior High language. There was going to be a “new” me and I was sure I could pull it off. I wanted to be part of the “In Crowd”…the “Cool Kids”. All I had to do is get off to the right start and impress them.
There are a lot of things about junior high life that might seem simple to an outsider, but they’re not. Take the 15 minutes before homeroom every morning. What you do with those fifteen minutes says pretty much everything there is to say about you as a human being.
If you were cool, you had places to go, people to see and if you weren’t, you’d start to wonder who you’ll sit by at lunch.
Regardless of where you went to school, a junior high school cafeteria is like a microcosm of the world. The goal is to protect yourself, and safety comes in numbers. More specifically “groups”.
You would have your group of “cool kids”, a group of “smart kids”, you have your “athletes group”, and in those days, of course, you had your “hoods” and your “nerds” groups. Then you had a very small percentage of kids that did not fit anywhere in these groups. That is where you would find me… ostersized by all groups… even the hoods and the nerds. I just didn’t belong.
In our little school in Ohio, these groups were even more splintered by the fact of where you lived. I was a “town” kid and there were rules that you had to follow. For example, there were no less than five different subgroups to each these larger groups.
Let me explain… you had:
- Kids that lived in town. (Oak Harbor)
- Kids that lived in Graytown.
- Kids that lived in Rocky Ridge. (Ridge Runners)
- Kids that lived along the Toussaint River. (Toussangers)
- Kids that lived South of the Portage River.
Note to the reader: It is not my intention to cause any strife among those that belong to any one of these subgroups, both past and present… but this is how I remember it.
Kids from Graytown, generally accepted the Toussangers and the Ridge Runners, but did not get along with the in town kids. Toussangers did not get along with the Ridge Runners, but accepted the in towners. Ridge Runners did not get along with the in town kids. As for the kids from south of town and the Portage River…they were not accepted by any these groups.
Now that is how it was in the lunchroom…but make no mistake, only people from Oak Harbor can say bad things about fellow Oak Harborites. Like your family, you can say what you will about your brother but have some one else say something and there is a price to be paid.
So, as a fact of my junior high school, who you are is defined more or less, by who you were sitting next to during lunch.
In short, my initial 15 minutes in my home room that first morning did not go well and I found myself trying to find a place to sit in the lunchroom. After what seemed as an eternity, I saw an empty seat. It was a seat next to the same kids I hung out with from my neighborhood. I had not made the earth shattering change that I thought I would pull off.
In 7th grade, who you are… is what other 7th graders say you are.
As I reflect on my life in Junior High in 1973, I am reminded that hometowns are like family – the shortcomings, the flaws, the arguments, the disappointments are all there but it is the love and the loyalty that what make us who we are. In this world of inconsistency and doubt, I have learned that home is what you make it. Most small towns in the late ’60′s and early 70′s were all about the same. They were stuck somewhere between a fast changing world outside it’s boundaries and the need to hold on to the values that made that small town special. Sure, some towns may have been a little bigger, and some may be have been a little greener… there was only one real difference. Only one of them… was yours and Oak Harbor, Ohio was mine.
The funny thing, forty years later, I still have fond memories of a little town in Northwest Ohio but it’s hard to remember the names of kids I spent so much time trying to impress.
A lot happened that year.
The New York Yankees were purchased by a Cleveland businessman, George Steinbrenner for 10 Million (Really!).
A president started the year with the fanfare of the inauguration only to end the year stating, “I am not a crook!” …it was the beginning of the end for his presidency.
Roe vs. Wade overturns a States right to ban abortion.
The world’s first cell phone is used for first time.
Pink Floyd’s DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, one of rock’s landmark albums is released.
The World Trade Center (Twin Towers) opens in New York City.
George Foreman defeats Joe Frazier for the Heavyweight World Boxing Championship, and the Miami Dolphins win the Super Bowl after completing the NFL’s only perfect season.
The Partridge Family introduced us to David Cassidy and Danny Bonaduce and Flip Wilson entertained America with the last of a dying breed … the variety show.
Archie Bunker introduced controversial topics and social issues each week on the show, All In the Family. These episodes usually ended up being a backhanded way of soapbox preaching of a liberal agenda. Shocking in its day, but by today’s standard it was mild.
And finally… we were shown the end of innocence on television, as the networks bombarded us with violent images of the Vietnam War as we sat at our dinner tables each night.
That my friends… was 1973.
As I sit here and think, pray, meditate on my life and what is swirling around me, there are some basic and simple things that always come up. Each day, each moment, no matter what is happening…I have to trust God and listen intently for His voice. I have lived long enough to fully understand that there is little in my life I can really handle on my own. My life is one that is dependent upon the God who made me. I am NOT an island…nor do I want to be.
I have written about it a number of times in 2013 because there are instances…like now…when I come to God for direction, for help, for answers and all I hear is silence.
There is a part of me that gets really frustrated at that. I want God to “jump to!” and answer my prayers, speak to me, make something happen! But when all I get is silence I have one of two things I can do,
1. I can get mad and stomp away in frustration. I’ve done that in the past and I’ve learned that that accomplishes nothing! or,
2. I can sit quietly and wait, trust, calm my anxious heart and be still. Listening intently for His voice.
It is the hardest aspect of my walk with God. To wait on God and listen for His voice is vital for my walk with Him.
And, as I sit here praying in the silence of God’s voice, I realize a few other things….God is calming me in the silence, calming my restless mind and heart. He’s dealing with my chaos so He can work. For some reason I often treat him as an order taker who should deliver my “products” faster than Amazon….instead of relating to Him as the God I worship.
I believe that He takes me through these times and to these places on purpose, so I can see HIS glory and listen for His voice. It’s only when I sit still that His still small voice can be heard over the roar of my world.
I live in a world of chaos, God wants me to rest in a world of calm. Sometimes that transition to a place of calm and peace is difficult. Sometimes the silence you have to endure can be painful.
Regardless of the noise of this world, I am really trying to listen.
It is no secret as to how busy life can be.
It seems…the older I get the faster things happen. The days just fly by!
As Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, “The sun rises and rushes to its setting.”
One day flies into the next and at times it all seems so futile, so meaningless. We ask ourselves, “Why am I doing this? Why am I here? Is this all there is?”
But the reality is that we avoid honestly answering these questions. We just rush through our days trying to accomplish something…anything.
Many people in an attempt to avoid acknowledging God’s place in their life, stay busy, thinking they are accomplishing something. Not knowing that none of it matters… without Him.
I have learned that God is teaching me to be still. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” God is there and He is not silent, but I have to be still. I have to be quiet, quiet my mind, my heart, my voice and wait on Him.
This week at work I was asked why I always post about my relationship with Jesus Christ. They said that they really did not want to read about it all the time and that people should keep their faith private. My response was to say that I didn’t really want to read a lot of things I see on Facebook and that I believe that what you post is a reflection of who you are. Good or bad… or whether or not you like it or not…this is who I am.
I love my wife, my children and my grandsons. I love Cleveland sports and the Ohio State Buckeyes. But my relationship with Jesus Christ is what defines me. No offense intended to anyone but I will make no apologies for it and will continue to post those things that define who I am.
Whether or not people read the words I write is really not that important. God knows the words I write because they are the words that reflect my heart. It has been a wonderful experience and I have no doubt that writing this blog was what I was supposed to do over these past five years. It was my purpose in life. It was what I was supposed to do and more importantly it was a way I could still share my faith and have a part in a ministry that could help others in their walk with Christ.
God forbid that we should think about purpose for our life!
When this life is over it’s not gonna matter how many people followed you on twitter, how many friends you had on Facebook, or how many likes you had on Instagram.
All that will matter is if you fulfilled the purpose God had for your life.
Because none of it matters… without God.