Who Do You Trust?

I caught myself thinking that life would be way easier if I had things figured out earlier. Yet, the more I got things figured out the more I realize that I don’t have things figured out. Are you with me?

Even though there are events in our lives that are naturally out of our control, most challenges and disappointments in life are self-inflicted. Do you agree?

Are you a victim of a lack of knowledge or is it a lack of guts to make the tough decisions that have a personal cost?

The good news is that the God of this Universe is a God of second chances. He yearns to be in relationship with us. He’s not driven by neediness. He is driven by love. His love includes a care for our welfare in both good times and bad.

If you have read the Bible before, you may know about David. Once a shepherd boy who became a mighty, yet soap-opera-ishly flawed king of Israel. And being a king meant that his decisions would affect a region of the world and all the people in it. His decisions would shift world history.

For all that David would get wrong, he knew who to go to when he was in trouble. He wrote,

“I look up to the mountains- does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!” ~Psalms 121:1-2 NLT

Whenever I’m close to the mountains, I tell myself that my trust isn’t on my own wits and skills. My trust isn’t on the little wealth that I have. My trust isn’t in man, whether it’s my employer, the stock market, my healthy lifestyle, my prescriptions, my political leaders, nor my news media. My trust is in God first and foremost. My help comes from the One who made heaven and earth! How about you?

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.

Life getting you down? Here are things to look at.

img_0564Here is an encouragement to you if you are in one of life’s storms or currently battling depression. Here are some things you can “look at.”

Look at your watch. This will be your reminder that trials are temporary. Sometimes, you even have a say-so in how long the trial will last. Storms don’t last forever. All storms end at some point.

Look at the bigger picture. It is way too easy to keep your head caught up in the crisis or trouble. Take a step back and choose too look at your storm with a bigger perspective. Make a decision to thoughtfully respond instead of reacting out of emotion.

Look around for others. You are not alone. You were never meant to do life alone. As much as you would could claim that your situation is unique, most likely a family member or a friend has gone through something like your situation and can provide a listening ear or encouragement.

Look up. The first opportunity that you have, go outside. View the expanse of the sky. Feel the breeze on your face, Listen for signs of life even if it’s a car driving by. Your sigh can be one of relief instead of despair. We all wish there was a magic wand to wave over and evaporate every challenge in life. There isn’t, but there’s good news.

The Scriptures say that there is a God who sees you and knows you by name. If you have never done this before, lift your hands towards Heaven and open up your hands and ask God to take the heaviness that you are under. If you have never asked God to help you, then ask. If your challenges have a name or names, like names of kids, say their names verbally. God knows them.

Allow yourself the chance to be surprised. The result may not be an instant miracle. However, when you are the one who changes in the midst of the storm, then the victory will last way after the storm is done.

How much should you plan your child’s future?

What should the extent of your role be in shaping your child’s future? I know that debate has always existed about picking your child’s profession and even their eventual spouse. Let me share some biblical perspective in response to my own questions to express what I think should be part of the foundation of your parenting.

I’m just trying to figure out my own life! Don’t they just figure things out? Do I have to actually specifically plan for my children?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” ~Jeremiah 29:11 NLT.

Sounds like a no-brainer. I think most parents have dreams and hopes for their kids even before they are still in the womb. God has specific plans for us. Parents should have actual plans for their children’s future. Part of your own personal plans for your future include plans for your children.

To what extent should I plan?

“Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.” ~Psalm 127:4 NLT.

You have been given the authority by God to choose the direction of your children the same way a warrior points an arrow towards its target. Start by choosing the direction. Even though higher education is changing rapidly nowadays, I am planning for my children to get as much education as possible after high school to give them a number of options in life to find their own career path. 

Where do I point my arrow?

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” ~Proverbs 22:6 NIV.

You decide where to point your arrow. My opinion is to start with God’s way as outlined in the Bible. That may sound too broad or ambiguous, but for those who consistently read the Bible know that the ways of the Lord are very clear and defined. I believe that the words in the Bible are not just mere words and wise sayings. Yes, in a practical sense, the Bible is the manual for living.  More than that, Scriptures are words from the Almighty Himself. His words supernaturally give life to those who find it. Start your children off the way they should go.

What if I choose the wrong direction?

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

The list of decisions you make seem endless. School? Which school? Should I pay for private education? College? And what about dating? When? Sports? Dance? Music? Friends?  You make the plans. Don’t get stuck at every fork in the road. God will shape your decisions when you make them. Are you willing to let Him? Pray. Pray a lot. Pray for your children. Pray with your children. They have desires and talents. It’s your job to find out what those are dreams and gifting are and help guide them with the decisions. Ask them. Watch them. I have twin daughters. Their big brother played soccer for years and was good at it. I thought that it would make sense for my daughters to play soccer too. The girls hated soccer. They lasted one season.  Now one does ballet while the other does MMA. My adult son works in his art department at work designing their web. It started over ten years ago when he asked for an notebook and pencils to draw.

What about the money? How much money?

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” ~ Proverbs 13:22 NKJV.

Lastly, you need financial resources for your children’s future. You’re providing now, but go beyond the current needs. God says to leave and inheritance to your children, and it  should extend to the grandchildren. That requires planning.

I won’t be picking out my children’s spouses nor their career paths, but I can help them get meet their goals.

I appreciate your thoughts and comments below. Happy planning!

 

Respect the Lord. His blessing includes your family.

A verse and a short commentary before I do my churchy duties.
I found this verse to share at a baby dedication yesterday,
“How joyful are those who fear the LORD-
all who follow his ways!
You will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
How joyful and prosperous you will be!
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine,
flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees
as they sit around your table.
That is the LORD’s blessing
for those who fear him.” ~Psalm 128:1-4

God is worthy of respect and reverence. He is after all God. However, he is a God who always looks to bless. Think of the blessings in this short passage you just read: joyful, prosperous, fruitful, vigorous. I love that part of the family. Wife and grapes? That’s a win. Children around my table like healthy trees? That’s another win. I encourage you to look to engage with God like this and be ready for Him to bless you and your family.

Remember the Cross

One of my pastors preached a simple yet powerful message at church this weekend about remembering the cross. Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh and foretold that because he loved us, he would have to sacrifice himself on a cross for the sins of the world. Then he did just that. For those who believe that Jesus came back to life and choose to wholeheartedly follow him, they are free from their past and can move forward in life into eternity with God.
As a husband, father, son, brother, co-worker, friend, or whatever roles you have in relationship with others, it is too easy to live with guilt of all the failures in the life and all the damage that resulted. That doesn’t have to be the case. If you believe in the message of the cross then remember that today is a new day, forgiven and free from being trapped by the past. Walk forward with God like when you first believed. If you don’t believe in the message of the cross, then carefully examine why you don’t. It is the very thing that matters most in this life and the one after.

A new morning means new mercy


The Book of Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “… His mercies never stop. They are new every morning…” (NCV)

A few times during the week, I’ll get up before dawn to surf with a few friends. When I get a moment I take a picture of the sunrise.  I’ll keep doing this to remind myself to keep thanking and trusting in God even as this world keeps getting darker. One more morning means more mercy-filled day to live out. Ray, Rich, and Dave, thanks for being my surf homies. Have a great weekend everyone.