Have you ever wanted something really bad? Not something that you need, something that you want. Now, I know that there is a huge difference between the two of those, but I think that at some time or another, we all have something that we want.
I got a new camera last summer and since then I have always wanted to get a new lens for it. Not a lens that I needed, but a lens that I wanted. Let’s be honest, I didn’t even need the camera.
I may be a little different, but when there is something that I want, I zone in on it like a laser beam. I’ll sit on the computer and read reviews and price shop it. I’ll talk about it at the dinner table and lament about how different my life would be if I had what I wanted.
Typically the people around me get bored about me talking about it.
So I really wanted this lens for Christmas, and Crystal told me that I could get it for my birthday, so I waited. When February rolled around, I asked her if I could order it and she said ‘no’ because we didn’t have the money.
I figured she was messing with me and was going to surprise me, so I let it go.
Yesterday was my birthday. When I woke up in the morning, you’ll never guess what Crystal got me- nothing. Not a thing. Not a card. Not a gift. No lens. I was a bit sad. I know I don’t deserve it, but I really wanted it and was somewhat expecting it. When it wasn’t there, I was a bit sad. OK, and a bit upset. Not a lot- a little.
So what did I do? I went on Craiglist, found someone who was selling it and sent them an email telling them I would meet them and buy their lens. Dang nabbit- it was my birthday and if no one was going to buy me that for my birthday, I’d break my piggy bank and buy it myself.
I sent the guy the email- but he didn’t reply. But here’s what did happen- Later in the day the UPS guy came and delivered my new lens! Crystal and the kids had chipped in and bought it for me and surprised me!
What a great gift.
It made me think though- how often do we get ahead of other blessings in our life. How many times do we want something, or need something and instead of praying about it and waiting on God to bless us with it do we go and do it ourselves. Sure, I’m talking about a gift here, but I think that the principle still applies- don’t get ahead of your blessing. Sometimes you have to wait for it and if you go and do it yourself, you miss out on the surprise and the blessing.
Don’t get ahead of God today. If there is something that you need or want, pray about it and leave it alone. Your blessing will come. You may just have to wait for it. Don’t be impatient.
There is no reason to get your blessing yourself off of craigslist.
ps. here’s a pic with my new lens from last night.
I don’t smoke the Devil’s cabbage. I have never even tried the stuff. I never even saw someone smoke it until I was in the Army. I never spent time with people who did things like that I guess.
I do pay tithes though. I’ve been doing that since I was High School. I fully believe in it. It is a cosmic thing that most people don’t understand, but I do. I love paying tithes.
My brother sent me this video yesterday that is funny and sad at the same time- You can watch it here-
If you don’t want the spoiler- watch the video before reading on- but here’s what happens. Its on Family Feud and the question is “Name something that people pass” and the first guy says “a joint” and its the 5th answer on the board. On the other side, the lady answers the question to beat him, and says “the collection plate”.
Passing a joint got more answers than passing the collection plate. Collection plate was the 6th answer.
I can’t lie. Its a funny clip, but it struck a chord in my heart, a sad one. Not only did less people say ‘collection plate’ versus ‘a joint’ but the overall numbers were, out of 100 people, 8 said joint, 4 said collection plate.
Now listen, some people may say that that a preacher talking about tithing is like a dentist handing out candy at Halloween, but I do not see it that way. The truth is that every single person in this world loves their money and regardless of who says it- they don’t want to give. They want more money and hate to give away any dollar that they don’t have to. Look at the world- people turn in coupons for 25 cents.
To them, they see giving to the local church as an antiquated system that no longer applies. Somehow the church does what it does, the money comes from somewhere, but they are not sure where.
Understand this- every single church in America that you see. Every full time pastor that you meet. Every Salvation Army truck that drives by- exists because people give. Its the only way that it works.
Passing a joint never saved a soul. Passing the plate does it all the time.
If you attend a church you need to tithe. If you don’t attend a church you need to find one to give to.
People want to change the world and to do that it takes money. Sure, you can go pick up trash in your neighborhood, but at the end of the day, someone has to pay to take that trash to the dump. Everything costs money.
Am I being self serving? I don’t think so. I’ve got all I need. I’m not trying to line my pockets. I’m trying to encourage you to step out in faith and see what God does with the finances of people who give. I saw this video and thought- “man, I sure hope the blog readers are a higher percentage than the Family Feud crowd”
Reflect on that today. Ask yourself where your heart is in regards to giving. Give more. It will change you and the people around you.
Sin. It is the only three letter word that is a four letter word. We all struggle with it. We all do it. For some people. the reality of sin and the dealing with it is not the most enticing part of the spiritual life of the Christian. To some, its passe to talk about sin.
I’m old school. I’m stuck with the idea that is what its all about. Dealing with our nastiness and rooting it out.
Now, I’m not an iphone user. I’m not ‘hip’ enough for that. I’m a blackberry guy, but there is a new app for Catholic iphone users that they can use to prepare themselves for the rite of confession.
You can read the story here-http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2011/02/09/forgive-me-iphone-for-i-have-sinned/ its an interesting concept.
I’m not going to spend time on this blog discussing the differences between Catholics and Protestants and the process of confession. What I am going to do is say what needs to be said- sin needs to be dealt with.
Some of you may say “Pastor Matt! This is a blog about omelets and working out! Don’t infect it with a diatribe about the evils of sin!” But we can’t hide from the reality of sin my friend. It’s something that needs to be addressed. However quip. However uncomfortable.
Now for me to spend a large amount of time discussing the ramifications and implications of sin and to outline a process by which you can be forgiven would be daunting. Lets keep it real. Let’s get down to gist of it. This is some good stuff folks. Stick with me here.
1. Sin is stuff God doesn’t want us doing (as outlined in the Bible).
2. Jesus paid the penalty on the cross for those sins.
3. We have to admit to God our sin and need for Jesus.
4 We then turn away from it and stop doing it.
There. I said it. App or no app. I got to keep it real. But this should be encouraging. This should be a great blog. Sure, there isn’t a fancy little app you can take with you today to confess your sins, but you can spend some time with God today talking to him about what you shouldn’t be doing and receive some forgiveness for it. Don’t let another day go by with the weight of guilt and shame looming over you. Talk to God about it and be freed from it.
It’s what Jesus came to do my friend. Believe it.
Honestly, did you really not know you shouldn’t be doing it? Doubtful. Most of know the stuff we shouldn’t be doing. The key is to admit it, confess it, receive grace and move on.
Be blessed today. Spend a few minutes with the Lord talking about some stuff you need to talk to him about. You’ll find your burden a bit lighter today.
And you don’t even need an iphone!
Have you ever heard of a place called Beth’s Cafe in Seattle Washington? It has been featured on the televisions shows “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” and “Man v. Food”. The reason Beth’s Cafe has been featured is because they serve an omelet that contains 12 eggs. Its enormous and indulgent. Most people order it to share with a friend or 3. It more food than one person should eat in a sitting.
When you order it, it comes with your choice of stuff to go inside, a heap of hash browns, and toast. The hash browns are all you can eat, if that isn’t enough food for you.
Yesterday, we went there with some friends from church and some out of town guests from Mississippi. We figured that Beths’ would be a place that would personify the Seattle experience- Old, Loud, Crayon drawings, good coffee and huge omelets. I’ve only eaten there one other time in my life, so when it came up as a place to go, I agreed.
The guy I was with encouraged me to get the 12 egger. He said we could both eat them and see who could finish it. I had heard about the 12 before, but never ate it. So yesterday I thought I would try.
Initially when they bring you the tray the meal is served on, the portion looks daunting. I like eggs. I like hash browns, but about half way through that thing it ceases to have the same level of culinary satisfaction that it did in the first 50 or so bites. My approach was to start at one end of the plate and work my way across- taking equal portions of egg and potato. Eventually I worked it down to where there was about 1/4 of the order left.
There was a man who had came over to our table and took a picture of my meal before I started eating it, so i thought this would be a great time to go introduce myself, and stretch my legs. I went over to his table and said “The Lord told me you’re from Arkansas”.
The man looked at me like I was looking into his soul. Then I said, “or your hat told me”.
We had a great laugh, but our conversation was short lived. I returned to the plate, and forced down the last little bit of cold eggs and browns. I did it. I ate the whole thing.
Now, I know that it was gluttonous. I know it was indulgent. But for some reason, I wanted to eat the whole thing. I had heard about it since I was child growing up in Seattle and I wanted to see if I could do it. I could.
I was laying in bed this morning thinking about what spiritual ramifications that a story such as this. I found two.
1. Over indulgence of anything is bad. Moderation is the key.
2. Luke 11:11-13 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Sure this isn’t a huge spiritual blog today. But I figured you would like to hear about the omelet and see some pics
Heard a great story this morning that I wanted to share with you. It’s pretty neat.
At my friends work, there is a guy whose wife is dying of cancer. Its not going well at all. Well, because of the situation, a lot of the guys at work are chipping in to take this guys shifts so he can be at home with his wife during this time. Its an awesome gesture. To take someone elses shift for them, not get paid for it, allow the guy to get paid, so he can get time with his wife during a horrific time.
If only everyone could work at a place that made that feasible. Its a special situation, but great none the less. I’m not sure how many people I would know that would step up to work for someone without pay, but there are guys doing it. Love in action.
So there was a shift that needed to be covered, and my friend took it for this guy. The reason why? My friend told me that he didn’t know what the future held in his life, and he knew if something like that was in his life, he sure would love for people to step up and take care of him. So he did it.
Here’s where it gets good. With no expectation. With no hope. With no demand. He got a totally unexpected overtime shift.
Now I’m not sure how your finances are or how you make money, but I don’t know many people who would look down on a opportunity to make a few extra frog skins. For people who need or want the extra, the opportunity to get it is a blessing. And in a career field where overtime isn’t a normal thing, its a huge blessing.
This is what I love about it- My friend loves God. He serves him diligently with a pure heart. He loves and serves people because its the right thing to do. He served this guy in the midst of his despair, not because he wanted a blessing, not because he hoped he could make some extra money because of it. He did it because it was the right thing to do, and indirectly he got a blessing from it.
I share that story as an encouragement today. Sometimes I think we forget that God is watching us, that he knows what we’re doing and where we are at. Other people may not pay attention to what you do for others, but God knows. God sees.
Think about that today as you go about. Look for opportunities to bless other people and watch what happens in your own life. I would expect that at some point its going to come back around to you, and you’ll be on the receiving end of a blessing.
Be blessed today. Go love on someone.
I’ve been a wee bit sick for the past few weeks. Nothing huge, just a nagging cough and sniffle that seems to not want to go away. Last night, I couldnt’ help it. I took some NyQuil- Ok, it wasn’t NyQuil, it was the WalMart brand of Nightime Cold Remedy, but If I said, I took WalMart Cold Remedy instead of saying NyQuil, it wouldn’t pack the same punch. Plus, NyQuil is like 2 dollars more. We buy on the cheap.
Anyway, when I take that stuff I have CRAZY dreams. They never make sense and always leave me scratching my head when I get up in the morning, wondering what they were all about.
Last night, I dreamt about a water leak in the roof of a house. In this house, which didn’t have an old roof, water was dripping in from the ceiling, onto the floor. In my dream, I remember watching the water drip slowly, and then drip very fast. I ran to find a bucket, which was not easy to find, and placed it under the drip.
Placing the bucket under the drip was fruitless. The water came faster and eventually overtook the bucket. But in my dream, I just went looking for another bucket. I never went on the roof and fixed the leak. I just kept getting buckets expecting that the leak would stop. In the dream, I never fixed the root problem of the leak- I just fixed the symptom that the leak had caused.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Yesterday, Crystal and I were talking about how people don’t want to face reality. How there are numerous people whom we know who are in situations that they are either ignoring, or unwilling to face. I wonder if that’s why I had that dream. Was it the conversation that we had yesterday that influenced this water leaking dream?
The dream and the conversation have value. There are alot of people who tell themselves something about their situation because they do not want to embrace the reality of the situation that they are actually in. I don’t know if it is because of fear or because what they need to fix seems so insurmountable, but they just don’t want to face what is actually going on in their life.
You would never sit in a house filled with smoke and tell yourself that the smoke will just go away. You would realize that the smoke was somehow connected to a fire. Then, you would respond.
What’s the point? Is there an area of your life that needs immediate attention that you are ignoring or pretending doesn’t exist? A health concern that you are afraid to diagnose? A relationship problem that needs to be addressed? A money problem that you should be working on? A life situation that if not addressed will get worse? A spiritual issue that you are denying?
Get to working on it. Quit denying it. It will not go away. It will get worse until you admit it, face it, and embrace it. Then, with God’s help he can assist you in navigating through the process of making it right. Ignoring it will not make it go away. If you ignore it, it will get worse.
Here’s another part of it. The people who are your closest friends see and recognize that there is a problem and want to help you. But you’re not letting them by denying that the issue exists. Be honest with them and watch how they respond to help you through the root problem that you have. Not the symptom of the problem.
I know this blog is a little heavy today, but its real. Ask God if there is some lie that you are telling yourself because there is a reality that you don’t want to face. When he tells you what it is. Work on it.
A ‘how to’ of disciplining children is an activity that has been discussed through every generation. Why? Because the world keeps producing children and they have been, and will always be unruly and in need of being reigned in. That’s why people who write books on child rearing do so well. Parents are always looking for ways to better discipline their children.
Here’s a story about a lady who is getting in trouble with the law for using hot sauce on the tongue as a training tool for her kids- you can read it here-
I’m not saying I agree with her 100% for what she did or how she does it, read the story and make your own conclusion. Its an interesting story. Raises some good questions.
As a child, by my mothers hand, I was spanked with a wooden spoon. I had my teeth brushed with liquid soap. I got “the chicken neck”- which was a grab of flesh my mother used to do under my brother and I’s chin to get our complete attention when we were being disrespectful. I was put on restriction. I was told no. I was not allowed to talk back. I was forced to do chores. All of that, and somehow I turned out okay and never have sat in the back of a police car.
I think learning to discipline children is an important step in being a good parent. I think some parents are way too lenient with their children. You can’t reason with a 3 year old. They don’t understand a ‘talking to’. They understand swat on the diaper holder. In my experience, the parents who do not exercise their God-given authority over the God designed seat cushion that we all posses, will suffer long term consequences of unruly behavior in the future. Call me archaic. I think this method works with young children.
Here’s the main point- parent or not- No matter what our age, people don’t like limitations and order. From the time we are children we desire to do what we want when we want. When someone tells us not to do it, we get upset, and if we don’t learn as a child that there are limits to what you are allowed to do, we will become over indulgent self-serving adults who expect the world to serve us.
This is not good. God loves us and desires for us to love him. In that relationship, there is the greatest measure of freedom that one could experience. But in that freedom is a call to self-discipline that we must embrace. If we were not disciplined as a child, I think this is harder as an adult to embrace self-discipline.
If you’re a parent- do yourself a favor and discipline your children- As Proverbs 13:24 reads-“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them”. There is nothing wrong with setting limits on your children. In the long run they will love you and appreciate you for the discipline. They are not your friend. They do not have to ‘like you’. Discipline them now and in the long run they will love and respect you more for it.
What was your discipline like as a child? Too much or not enough? I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts.