Who’s riding along with you?

If you squint your eyes hard enough (I mean really hard!) you might to see a young boy fishing on the stern of the windsurf board while his dad used the wind to navigate to the other side of the bay. It reminded me that people are tied to our journeys in life. Those people can be those who are close to us. Those people can be those we have never seen before.

The fact is that we all have influence on others. Some are directly affected and some are indirectly affected. Are you intentional about who and how use your influence? Yes, you do have influence whether you accept it or not. As you are heading to your next destination or goal who are you bringing along with you? Who gets to fish at the stern of your board?

I still get to…

With one kid already a grown-up and 2 more just about to enter their teens, I am milking up the moments I have with them in this stage of their lives. I recently went with my ladies to the closest beach to catch a sunset. As I watched them let the end of the shorebreak touch their toes, I realized that I still get to the watch them play.

I was formulating my list of “still get to’s” to maintain a thankful heart. I don’t know of any scientific studies to support the benefits of being thankful. I just know from experience that having a grateful heart is good for the soul. I know you have experienced the same thing.

I still get to see my children play at the beach. I still get to sit with my wife and talk about a tv show. I still get to drive a car that works. I still get to eat a couple of fish tacos with a co-worker because that means that I am employed. Since I do have a job, I get to get ready for work and take a shower as warm or cool as I want it.

You get where I am going with this? Having a healthy perspective of your life means you’re likely to have a healthy soul. A healthy soul contributes to your overall well-being. God’s Word says so in 3 John 1:2,

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”

Now it’s your turn. What are your “I still get to’s?”

When Things Go Wrong

I found this wreckage (in the photo above) one early morning while on a work project. Can you imagine waking up to seeing your car totaled and crushed between 2 other cars?
 
Accidents happen. If you live life long enough you will encounter challenges, crisis, and unfortunately even tragedy. However, it is how we respond to these events that set the course of our lives.
 
Be encouraged. God is not taken by surprise. That’s why the first course of action is to pray. Although we shouldn’t approach God is if He were a genie with 3 wishes, He is a Creator who seeks to be a Father to His creation.
 
There’s a passage in Scripture that gives us a glimpse of the heart of God, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7
 
God cares. They Creator of this universe and all that is seen and unseen cares about you and me as individuals. Are you willing to trust Him with the things you are concerned with? Are you willing for Him to be in charge of the direction of your life?
 
Pastor and writer Charles Swindoll said,
 
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
 
Are you willing to let God help you with the 90%?

A Conversation for Hearts

A poem for all hearts this Valentine’s Day…

A word to the young,

Yours can be fooled

Usually when you’re foolish

Wreckless and never ruled.

A word to those who are gray,

Before you lay to rest

Stop pining for yesterdays

And make today your best.

A word for the lonely,

Don’t be offended by my tone

Sharing your journey is a choice

So is staying alone.

A word to the lost,

Open your eyes

And commit to find your way

Instead of living on lies.

A word to those who are filled,

Help us sift the truth from the tales

Warn us about chasing after empty dreams

And remind us that love never fails.

It’s time to make a comeback!

Fishing can be a joy. It can also be very frustrating. Part of fishing is failing to catch a fish. Does it keep us from fishing? For many people, including me, yes, I admit.

Failure is a part of life. Some failures hurt more than others. Losing a pick up basketball game may not hurt as much as losing a business venture. Losing a friend’s phone number may not hurt as much as losing a friendship. Divorce, termination of employment, failed investments are just a few of many events that we may experience. They can be devastating, and the effects can last a lifetime.

If you’re like me you’ve been told since you were a small child these words, “Don’t give up. That’s actually Bible talk.  Proverbs 24:16 says, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again..”

First, call it like it is. If it’s a failure, then that’s what it is. Humility is the antidote for denial. Denial may be an automatic first response. Take the time to thoughtfully own it. Own your mistakes and misjudgments. Wouldn’t you agree that most failures are the result of self-inflicted wounds? If you’re like me, most of my mistakes aren’t really mistakes. They are results of poor judgement and decisions against wisdom. If so, then “man up.” Own it.

Second, draw out the lessons to keep yourself from repeating the errors. Most likely, your issue is a heart issue not a thinking issue. As a person gets skilled in fishing, he switches to a different bait when he realizes the current bait isn’t working. It’s probably time to switch your method of doing things.

Next, make a plan to make a comeback. Be determined to comeback. Then plan it out. Get counsel from friends and mentors who can tell it to you straight. It may not be the exact same endeavor as the one that failed. It may not be the same relationship that you once valued. Count it a comeback.

If you don’t go fishing you won’t catch a fish. Be willing to fail before you succeed. Failure is part of the process. Those you fish know this very well.

To get some divine inspiration read about how Jesus restored Peter even though Peter denied even knowing Jesus when Peter was confronted about his relationship with Jesus. Peter had previously claimed that he would lay his life down for Jesus. He willfully failed Jesus. Jesus already planned to give Peter a second chance. Don’t you love second chances? You can read this account in the John 21 here https://www.bible.com/bible/116/JHN.21.nlt

Your feedback is important. What is your call to action? What are you going to do that’s different. It’s time to make a comeback.

Don’t DIY your life. DIWG

Don’t DIY Your Life. DIWG. Do it with God.

As I watched this elderly man walking the streets of L.A., I remembered a Jewish Proverb:

A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. ~Proverbs 16:9 NKJV

We were never meant to do this journey alone. DIY home projects or car repairs are great. I just fixed my toilet this morning by looking on YouTube. It took me 2 minutes! Don’t DIY your life.

God has blessed us with a free will and a creative mind to take amazing adventures and accomplish great deeds, but He had always intended for us to be in a relationship with Him. In that relationship with Him, we can see the world with a wider lens. We can see the bigger picture. We can find His purpose for us.

I can start with a simple prayer today, “God, show me the way I should go today. I want to know you and your purpose for me.” It’s possible that seemingly nothing earth-shattering will change for you immediately afterwards. However, it’s more about yielding to the One who supplies the very air you breathe.

This is what Jesus taught his followers about the daily things we worry about.

“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.’

Read more in context here https://www.bible.com/bible/116/LUK.12.22-31

Don’t DIY your life. DIWG. That is, Do It With God.

“And the very hairs on your head are all numbered”

“And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.”

Just a thought form a portion of Scripture found in Matthew 10:30.

If the Creator of this universe knows you to the level of detail that He knows the exact number of hairs that you have on your head, do you think that it’s possible that God cares for you?

Let God’s promises shine on your problems

“Let God’s promises shine on your problems.” ~Corrie ten Boom

Corrie and her family helped many Jews escape the Nazi holocaust by hiding them in her house. Corrie actively helped refugees in the Dutch underground until she was eventually caught by the Nazis and imprisoned for her actions. She survived a depth of darkness at the hands of other men that few of us will ever experience.

Here’s one excerpt of Scripture that comes from the songbook of David, who was no stranger to challenges. He wrote in Psalm 103:2-5,

“Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”

I can only imagine that these words may have been some of those promises Corrie shined on her challenges as she risked her life hiding refugees, including the time she spent imprisoned in a concentration camp.

Take some time today to look up some promises to shine on your life today. You already have a few to start with. We may not be destined to hide refugees in our home, but there are people you can bless today with kindness and generosity.

Feel free to add your own promises that you think will help other readers in the comments below.