“Making the List”

Each day we walk around at work, shopping, doing chores, at home, or wherever your comings and goings take us we are bound at some point to pass by someone. Sometimes we look them in the eye and sometimes they look us in the eye or maybe neither.  Sometimes we give a salutation, sometimes not, but either way our paths pass by the other.

Why is this such a big deal? A better question to ask is; did you at least offer up a smile for the other person as you passed them?  For some people, depending on their life circumstances, forming a smile to share with someone is not an easy task.  In most cases I think most would agree that “we are just too busy to stop and talk”, but I would offer that as a Christian this is an open door to loving someone who needs it.

The one thing we probably all have in common as we pass each other daily is a “List”. That list is full of tasks, items and worries.  Spinning in our heads are the things we deem as important and worthy of our full and undivided attention.  Quick question; when was the last time we took the time to focus on those we love with that same kind of attention?

Speaking for myself I tend to forget things because of having too many things on my mind at once, so I try to write things down. There is one list though that I do not forget to fill out; my prayer list.  On that list go the names of people who are struggling, sick, hurting, or those who God has simply put on my mind to pray for.  In some cases, I don’t know why I am supposed to pray for someone, but I pray for them anyway; God will take what He needs from that if He is willing – I don’t question it.

My list or your list should not be a secret; let people know you are adding them to your prayer list. I have found that people react positively to this.  Most times I just put a first name or some initials and the topic to pray for so that they don’t think I am getting too personal.

As it concerns following up with them; I leave that to God. He will put it on my heart to ask how they are doing later.  In many cases I have had the person come to me to give me an update.  I chalk this up to God letting me in a little part of His plan; awesome!

As for me; if you find yourself talking to me and share your hardships or struggles with me – you just found a place on my Prayer List. Rest assured that I will be obedient to follow through with that prayer and more if required.  This list takes priority over all other lists in my pocket or in my head and I hope that by taking these simple steps we can learn to grow in our relationships with other people; showing that we genuinely care can help carry a burden for someone and in some cases, eliminate it.

What or who has the highest priority on your list today?

 

 

P.S. Don’t forget to put those closest to you on your list also!

“Valentine’s Day Prayer”

Thank you Lord for her I pray,

She is a gift like no other,

Lord, its Valentine’s Day.

 

Her heart is made of the finest gold,

She is a gift like no other,

Lord, its Valentine’s Day.

 

Please bless her life in any way,

She is a gift like no other,

Lord, its Valentine’s Day.

 

Never a heart has she left cold,

She is a gift like no other,

Lord, its Valentine’s Day.

 

My love for her I wish to display,

She is a gift like no other,

Lord, Its Valentine’s Day.

 

Guide me to be for her a better man,

She is a gift like no other,

Lord, Its Valentine’s Day.

 

Showing her my love; the plan for today,

She is a gift like no other,

Lord, its Valentine’s Day.

 

Joining us together was always your plan,

She is a gift like no other,

Thank you Lord for another Valentine’s Day.

“Where is Your Bucket?”

In my response to those of any political party or any affiliation to a group or groups who desperately oppose one another after our much disputed Presidential Election, I would offer the words of Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Compromise Speech given in 1895 on September 18th.

His words were directed primarily at newly freed African American Slaves and the South which in some part included the white population, but in my opinion he was speaking to the America as a whole. The country had just gone through a devastating Civil War and healing was needed in every corner of the nation, regardless of the color of one’s skin.

Our faith in God will and should always be the most important aspect of who we are as a people, but more importantly we should also try to understand that we may not always be able to control the people or circumstances around us. However, what we can control are those things we are responsible for as citizens of a community.  The healing takes place in the smallest of them and begins with the hard work that is ours to do, a helping hand and a smile.

Mr. Washington was telling us then to put our differences aside and simply work together for the greater good, thereby, improving our own station in life. He never promised easy, nor has God for that matter when it comes to what He has called us to do for His Kingdom.  So I will leave you with the story and some words from Booker T. Washington that I hope will bring things into some sort of perspective for you if you are struggling to move on, forgive, befriend or simply get back to some sort of normal in your life.

A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal, “Water, water; we die of thirst!” The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” A second time the signal, “Water, water; send us water!” ran up from the distressed vessel, and was answered, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” And a third and fourth signal for water was answered, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket, and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River. To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land or who underestimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man, who is their next-door neighbor, I would say: “Cast down your bucket where you are”— cast it down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded.

Cast it down in agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service, and in the professions. And in this connection it is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man’s chance in the commercial world, and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasizing this chance. Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour, and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws of life and the useful. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.” (Harlen, 1974)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/39/

Louis R. Harlan, ed., The Booker T. Washington Papers, Vol. 3, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1974), 583–587.

“At the Front Door”

How many times have you been at the “Front Door”?  The “Front Door” being that of a loved one, a friend, a stranger, school, work, etc.  Now ask yourself this; “How excited was I to be at that Front Door?”

Throughout my own life the “Front Door” has taken me to many places; each one a new story waited regardless if I had been through that door many times before. Within some of my memories I can still see my hand grabbing the door handle to open the door and enter the structure it happened to be attached to.

As I think through all the “Front Doors” I have been through, none excite more than going through the front door of Heaven, but until I get to that door, there are two that I look forward to opening; my own home and the home of my mother.

So now that you know which “Front Doors” I cherish you might think that I will ask you which “Front Doors” are important to you, but that would be too easy.  My question to you is; “Why are these front doors important to you?”  As you think about why, also think about how many times you have been through the “Front Doors” you love the most.

Regardless of your answers know that God is the one responsible for those “Front Doors” you cherish the most.  However, he is also responsible for those that challenge you and make you a better person.

 

I hope you never open the “Front Door” the same way again!

The Koi Fish Christian

 

 

“Today is Mine”

Today I read a story,

Today I shed a tear,

Today I am happy,

Today I am blessed,

Today is here.

The story I read this morning brought back memories of my own past, along with the thoughts I grew up every day.  Who am I?  Where do I come from?  What was my mother like?  Did she love me?  Why did she choose life for me?

These and many other questions used to rattle around my brain growing up, but there was always something steadfast in my life and that was my knowledge of God.  From a very young age I always had a sense of God, but never knew the true meaning until I went to Sunday School as a child.  It was like; “yeah, I know who God is.”  It was never a question, it was more a matter of fact for me.

However; for some children the same cannot be said.  Some of these children who were given up for adoption did not know God or know the love He offered because of adoptive parents who either did not care or were abusive.  For them my heart to this day still aches.

It is for these children, even today that causes me to share my own story of being separated from my mother at birth and our eventual reunion 46 years later on my birthday.  In this and many other adoption stories there is a story of hope and strength.

The story I read today reminded me of how God can take care of children even when the parent is not able to.  For those like the one in the story, they were cared for by loving parents who did they best they could with what they had.  Regardless of the things like food, clothing and a roof to live under, the one thing that a child must have is love.  Without it, all other things do not matter.

For those of us saved through our mothers, who in their condition chose life for us because they had hope; a hope for a child that they knew they could not properly care for even though they loved them.  For this we will always be grateful, because somewhere deep down they knew that there was something greater for us to do.  Whether they believed in God or not; it was His plan and not their own that put us where we are today.

So for those whose story includes adoption; never give up hope nor your will to live each day as a gift from God and your mother.

Today is now,

Today you will succeed,

Today you love,

Today you are loved,

Today is yours.

 

 

“Build Your Road”

Each day we roll out of bed and make our way (half awake) through the house to start our day.  First it is to the coffee pot or in my case downstairs to let the dogs out of their kennels so that they can start their day.  I must admit seeing their wagging tails does perk me up a bit.  As far as this scenario plays out I think you know the rest, because eventually I get into my vehicle and head to work.

As that day begins each decision we make no matter how small builds upon the path we are on.  For those who believe in God we believe that no matter our thoughts, it is He who guides our feet.  Now this does not mean we walk around like zombies waiting for the next message to come down from God and then act upon it.  This merely means that for us there are little clues or even large ones that help guide our feet; the rest is up to us to make the right decisions.

When I look at the things I decide to do, each one is a pebble to be placed in front of me that will create the road I walk on.  Some pebbles are bigger or smaller, but each one nonetheless causes the road to be built.

For some people the decisions they make will be some of the hardest of their lives and it might seem like that pebble they have to place down in front of them weighs a ton.  Regardless of its weight it must be put down; we are the builders of our road and at times we will have to ask for assistance.

If you find that the pebbles to be placed on your road are too heavy, know that God sent down a stone that is the bedrock your road is being created on.  Jesus Christ is that foundation and with Him all things are possible.  Knowing this we must also see those times when we are too weak and must ask for help; it is okay.  This is exactly what God expects from us because He has already directed someone to be on your path to be that blessing.  Allow them to be the instrument God has intended them to be by receiving the blessing God has intended for you through them.

So think for a moment about all the pebbles you have laid down to build the road you are on today.  Is it wide enough?  Is it smooth enough?  Does it have a lot of curves or is it simply straight?  Is it built on flat land or in the mountains?  Whatever the attributes of your road; no one road is perfect.  Each are unique to the builder which makes them all the more interesting, thereby making the travel on them a wonderful adventure with God.

Don’t worry about the width of the road too much because God will always make sure that there is enough room for someone to walk on beside you and behind you.

Have a great day builders!

The Koi Fish Christian

 

“A Prize Fighter”

Each day for me as a Christian can be like stepping into the boxing ring or octagon whichever your prefer. If we consider the challenges we as Christians face within the secular world that surrounds us, we at times will take some punches that cause us to reel or even buckle, but we still get up and face the next round.

I find it interesting that those who are either not Christian or do not share in our resilience will make comments to criticize our belief, and yet when things get a little tough in their life or they find themselves with nowhere to turn they complain, blame and accuse others for their misfortune.

One of the toughest punches I receive are when I hear someone take God’s name in vain. I have to say that these have the hardest sting, and for those who use His name as commanded otherwise i do try to correct them.  Along with the correction I also offer up a prayer for them.

So each day as we step into the ring of life we as Christians must always remember that Jesus Christ has placed before us the one and true prize of redemption through which He stood in our place to not only fight for us, but also to take every painful blow sin could throw at Him.

Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already l obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: not forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Praise God in all of His wonderful glory!!!

“His Will or Yours?”

As I wade through my day and think of other things I would rather be doing, I also think of; what is it that God wants me to be doing? One thing that reminds me of how small my plans are is when I read in the book of Proverbs how man’s heart might direct his plans, but it is God who guides his feet.

Maybe what we as Christians should be concerning ourselves with is those who are out in the world standing up for Jesus, risking all for His glory.  It is easy to wrap our prayer lives up in our own little world, especially when we are continually asking for things that maybe we should not.  A better question to ask ourselves is; is what we are asking God for within His will for us or our will for Him?

Whatever we do it is our prayers and time studying the Bible that prepares us for each day; giving us the spiritual nourishment and strength to do what God asks of us.

Praise God and may the Kingdom of Jesus Christ reign on earth as it does in Heaven!

“Our Public Testimony”

Today I saw something that made me think of the status of Christians everywhere.  I witnessed a young lady sit down to eat a meal at a public eatery and before she ate any food she bowed her head and folded her hands.  I am assuming that she was thanking God for her food, but it also seemed as though she was trying to hide the fact that she was praying.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t always thank God for my meals when at the table, but I do thank Him at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day.  My practice may not be in with the best discipline, but I do thank God nonetheless. So, again, I am not without fault here.

What I would like to point out concerning how we conduct ourselves as Christians in public.  Starting with what the Bible says we are to never deny Christ or He will deny us; (Matthew 10: 32 – 33) 32. “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”

As we are human and prone to forgetting things I find it fortunate that through the grace of God we have Jesus Christ and the ability to ask for forgiveness, along with the ability to pick up the Bible and remind ourselves of what Christ actually said.  So being my own worst critic and quick to be hard on myself when I don’t do the things I should, I love the fact that God has a way of reminding us of what is important and that sometimes He doesn’t work in mysterious ways to keep us on track with our physical and spiritual life.

When it comes to our confession of faith in Jesus Christ we should only fear a few things; God, something that can destroy both the body and soul, and offending the Holy Spirit.  Nowhere in that list does it say to fear another human being.  In my own experience if someone is offended it is because they are trying to suppress the truth of God and are feeling conviction from God and instead of agreeing to or complying with it, they become angry or “offended”.

So to give a bit of a warning; if you happen to see me or another Christian praying prior to eating their meal, maybe as a Christian approach us and let us know that we did the right thing; everyone can use a dose of support from other Christians.  If you are not a Christian, then maybe take the time to ask the person why they pray; you might be surprised by what you hear.

Jesus Christ is the risen Savior and in this truth resides the living God that we glorify in all that we do.

Praise God!!!

 

 

“Where Do I Start?”

Not being a man of high intelligence or extreme complex thought I usually try to stick to what I understand best and will at times shy away from those things that I find too complicated or difficult for my brain to digest.  This does not mean I am not willing to learn, it simply means that I choose to live my life my way as long as it falls within the confines of what God has planned for me.

In the quest for a fairly simple life I have attempted to follow God in the best way I know how, but with all the self-proclaimed Christian denominations out there I find it difficult to discern which one I am supposed to follow or none at all. One funny thing though; I have recently learned of Theonomy and find it a curious perspective that has caused me to dive even deeper into my bible  There are many well-educated authors on the subject which also leaves me a very long reading list to tackle!

Discouraging at best is probably the best way to describe my experiences and none more discouraging than the lack of fellowship.  This is a difficult subject because at our jobs we are to keep those subjects hushed, but I never thought that as a Christian I would consider myself lonely as one. I am also not naive enough to think that I am the only person seeking knowledge and fellowship in Christ, so don’t assume that this my version of a pity party as it is not pity that I seek.

Through these searches and during this time of difficulty I am still thankful to God for the opportunity to learn more about Him and myself. I will also count it to joy for any amount of time I have to be in prayer and in God’s Word; through these I consider myself not wanting for anything.

So in summary what I am experiencing is nothing compared to those on the other side of the world being persecuted and killed for their Christian beliefs which leaves me in a position to be nothing less than thankful.  I am however, left with the task of prayer for them to have strength in love and perseverance through faith.