For a Seattle morning, it doesn’t get better than this.
We have had a pretty lame summer this year, but the last week has been beautiful. That is, if you think beautiful is a lack of rain and lots of sunshine. It has been quite different than the weather that we have had the rest of the summer.
On days like this, I sleep with my window open in my bedroom, and wake up to the smell of the outside and the coolness of the morning. I find that when it is sunny, and dry and warm, I wake up with a different spirit.
I wish it weren’t that way.
I am not trying to take the fun out of today- but here’s the reality- the dreariness of a cold dark wet morning is looming right around the corner. Ask any Seattlite and they will tell you. Its sunny, but rain is around the corner.
The truth is that the weather shouldn’t dictate my happiness.
Every day, regardless of weather, should be started positively with a spirit of expectancy. Its a spirit that says “God, I know you are going to do great things today, and I want to be part of it”.
I was reading the psalms this morning and found this verse ” In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice, in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (psalm 5:3).
The important part of that verse is this- “I lay my requests”. I think that is the key to a great day- connecting with God and letting him know your desires for the day. Don’t be afraid to talk to him about what is going on or what you need. Because, here is the second part of that verse- “expectation”.
Expectation is assurance that something is going to happen. Its not just that you have made your requests to God, its that you expect that He is actually going to act on that request. That great things are going to happen in your day because you have connected with the creator of the Universe, and He will move.
Have a great day today and every day when you talk to God every morning and expect Him to move. Don’t just merely trudge through the day and get by- spend time with God and watch your day flourish regardless of the weather.
Sunny is good. But its not the only way to have a great day.
Expect God to MOVE!!!
I think computers are pretty smart. Maybe too smart. I’m not saying that we are half a step away from our computers becoming self aware, but they are definitely smarter than the Apple IIe I used back in the day to play Oregon Trail.
I’m not sure if you have figured this out yet- but your browser for the world wide web ‘learns’ over time. Yep. If you search for something on google or something like that, your computer has ‘cookies’ that file away what you search for and then ‘they’ put forth advertisements that ‘they’ think you will click on. (you can clean out your cookies by the way).
Its rather interesting to see what advertisements come up all the time for me- some of which totally apply to me, and some of which do not.
Disneyland- I see Disneyland advertisements every single day. I am sure there is someone in the home office who is personally sending those because they know “The Krachunis family will eventually come, keep putting those up”. The ads say things to me like “its not too late for some summer fun!’.
Netflix- I’m already a customer, but apparently they know I’ve been searching for alternatives, so they must be trying to keep me.
“Maple Valley Mom Makes $1,734 a month sitting at home”- I have been seeing this one for years. I haven’t searched for this one before, but sure, I’d love to make that much money for doing nothing. Haven’t clicked yet, but it just may work.
Cruise Deals- I searched about some cruise stuff a while back and they are still trying to get me.
Camera Stuff- I am always looking at camera stuff. New lenses, new flashes. All that gear is fun to look at.
All of these attempts to advertise to me have yet to influence my purchase. Maybe it will overtime, but as of yet, I am holding strong. This is what I will say-
They are relentless, and they have learned what I like. Or at least what I search for on the internet.
What’s the point? 2 Corinthians 2:11 says “in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes”. Satan is somewhat like your web browser. He learns what you like and what you will gravitate towards so he uses it against you.
Let me explain- as sure as there is a God, there is the Devil. In the spiritual realm, the forces of evil do whatever they can to to try to entice us to stay away from the things of God. They will use whatever they can and do whatever is necessary to pull us away from the Lord.
We must not be unaware. We must not give in.
So how do we do that? Be aware that you are being enticed. Pay attention to your ‘triggers’ that pull you away from God and stay away from them. If there are things that you do or places that you go that pull you away from God, don’t do them, or don’t go there. Its that simple.
Its a scheme of the evil one. Be aware of it. Put some simple controls in your life to keep you from those things and you’ll find that your spiritual life stays more in tact.
Some of you may have heard- I have signed up to be a soccer coach for my 8 year old daughters team.
She has never played soccer, and neither have I, so this experience is going to be rather interesting. To tell you the truth, I am a little nervous.
I am going to have 9 little players who are going to be depending on me to teach them the basics and lead them to victory. I could honestly have an Olympic hopeful on my team and one day they could be standing at some podium and say something like “I owe the foundation of my excellence to my first coach, Coach Matt” or “I never thought I could achieve heights such as this when I started with the worst coach I had in my career when I was 8 years old”.
This is serious business here.
But there is part of my plan for success that I am going to share with you, that I think applies to other areas of your life that may encourage you. Here it is-
1. Find Someone Better.
No, I’m not saying the team needs a better coach, but already I am contacting and talking to other coaches that have done this before who can guide me. I know that my chances for success are that much better if I ask for help from someone who knows more than I do.
2. Read something.
Books- they have existed for a long time and still contain valuable knowledge to teach us things. I am reading books about soccer and ingesting as much information about it as I can. I heard a phrase one time- “Leaders are Readers”. Text is a great way to learn.
3. Set Realistic Goals.
Initially, I was thinking about going for the youth soccer world cup, but then I came to my senses and figured I would settle on everyone learning something, and everyone having a good time. Winning is fun, but playing is fun too. Sometimes we set our expectations so high that we don’t enjoy the moment.
4. Be Committed
I know before I start that at some point I am going to want to quit. It will probably be about half way through the season when it is cold and rainy and things aren’t going as well as I expected. But now, before I start, I am committed to seeing this to the end, no matter what.
Now, this is for my soccer team, but I am sure that there is some area of your life that you can apply this to also.
Set a spiritual, emotional, physical or financial goal today and stick to it. Realize that God wants to help you through the process, that there is something you can learn and that you’ll be better on the other side because of it.
I do not believe that you need to live your life to please other people. That is a fruitless exercise. You cannot please everyone, that is obvious.
But there is a component of living this life that we have to interact with our fellow humans. Through that, inevitably others will form opinions of us based on what we wear, what we say, how we act, and how we speak.
What we do conveys what we are about.
I was thinking about this yesterday when I was sitting in a fast-food restaurant watching a young lady holding her cat.
That’s right. She was sitting there, having lunch, trying to keep her cat from crawling all over the place.
I’m not going to go into great detail about what she looked like, but from where I was sitting, and what she was wearing, and what she was doing, I got this sense that she was somewhat rebellious. This wasn’t a kitten. It was a full grown black cat that she was walking with around her neck.
Cats are okay to use as clothing if they are alive nowadays I guess.
Dead cat pelt around neck = bad. Live cat around neck = good.
Here’s what I’m saying- and this is from the pastor who wore a Seattle Seahawks jersey as his uniform for the day yesterday- if we have something about us that becomes a focal point of our life that everyone looks at, it defines who we are to them.
The guy who wears all camouflage all the time is probably a hunter. The guy wearing the full body spandex suit is probably a bicyclist. The person who constantly talks about politics is probably into politics. You get the picture. What they are doing, or what they talk about all the time begins to define who they are.
They are now known as “the hunter” the “bicyclist” or the “politically charged guy”.
Or “the lady with the black cat around the neck”.
All that stuff is well and good and fine and all that but here is my issue- is that what those people want to be known for? Is that what they want to be remembered for and be identified with?
In your life, is there something that you are allowing to dominate your persona?
Step back, and think- how would most people describe me? By what am I known?
Here’s the best part- you can be known by what you choose to identify with and what you choose to identify with will define who you are.
Decide today what you want to be known by and live it out.
Even if its a ‘lady with a cat around your neck’.
I don’t know what it is, but somehow, my kids know how to soak me for a few buck every chance they get. It is always a dollar here and a dollar there. Buy me this and buy me that. Those little trouts need to get a job I tell ya.
So last night the kids coaxed me into getting them a “slurpee” (which is code for any slush type drink). They said that they wanted to go through the drive through at Burger King, rather than have to walk into the AM/PM and get the drinks that way.
I was all for it. The Icees at BK are only a buck. The drinks at AM/PM are twice that.
Except deep down in my heart I knew that the ulterior motive behind my children’s culinary choice was that they would have the opportunity to up sell their dad to getting more off the menu then they bargained for.
I’m no dummy. I know the trick. Its the “Dad I’m so hungry I haven’t eaten in weeks I’m going to die” ploy. Or they “don’t you love me enough to get me just one small thing off the dollar menu” ploy. I’m a softie. I always give in.
Now I’m hoping you can follow this, and hopefully you can- We get to the window, and I tell the kids that they get the one dollar drink and they each get one item off the dollar menu. That would bring the bill to about 4 bucks.
At the order microphone, I ordered 2 Icees, a burger king single stacker and a Small fry. The total on the screen is over 7 dollars- the screen flashed so fast that if I hadn’t seen it, I would have missed it, but they gave me a double stacker ($2) vs a single stacker ($1) so I said, I only wanted a single stacker, not a double, so she says she will have my new order total at the window.
We get to the window, I give her the debit card (crystal and I were in conversation at this point- also the kids are loving each other so loudly that it is distracting) so I am not really listening- I just pay and we go. Enroute Gabe exclaims “We got an extra burger” which turned into “Isn’t it wrong to keep this if we didn’t pay for it Dad?”
Crystal checks the receipt. We paid for 2 burgers 2 Icees and a small fry. The total was over 6 dollars.
What? How the sam hill did that happen? I’ll tell you how it happened- either I wasn’t clear enough, or they didn’t hear well enough- the order change on the burgers was wrong and here’s the kicker and the point of this blog- apparently when you ask for a ‘small fry’ you don’t get the smallest order of fries that they have to offer. You get the order of ‘small fries’ that costs 1.79. If you want the smallest fries that they offer you must have to ask for the “BK Value Fries” which are 1.29.
I got hosed for an extra 1.50 at least. I’m sure of it.
But as we were driving away, I was thinking- that’s kind of like our prayers. We are not clear. We don’t listen. We don’t ask for specifics. How can we expect God to bless something that we are not asking specifically for? Shouldn’t our prayers be specific?
We ask God to ‘bless us’ but then we don’t let him know what area specifically we want the blessing or in what way. God wants to bless us, but we need to let Him know specifics. Sure, he may in his wisdom choose something else for us, but at least from our end we will be clear. If there is something you need or want, make sure you’re being clear.
Are you praying specific prayers? Are you letting God know exactly what you need? Be as specific as possible and see what God can do with that prayer. You will see that your prayers will get answered in a different way than before.
Trust me and trust God on this one. Get specific. You might be missing out on $1.50 more of blessings.
I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed sometimes. It takes a while for me to ‘get something’ that God is trying to speak to me. Often, I am either not listening, or not paying attention (sounds like High School) to what He is trying to say, or I am choosing to not listen.
I haven’t written the blog in about 7 weeks. I know. I’ve been a slacker.
A few weeks ago, I was in Pasco, Washington, and was at a family friends house. I met this lady who introduced herself and said “Hey, where has the blog been?”.
What? Someone other than my mom reads the blog?
About a week ago a new couple came to visit our church on a Wednesday night they told me that that had been reading my blog and decided to come to church, but hadn’t seen in it a while so they decided to come to church and see if I was still alive.
Yesterday my friend Chris put me on blast on Facebook and encouraged me to get back at it.
I think I’m getting the point. I’m going to get back to the blog.
Laying in bed this morning, I was thinking about what my blog return was going to be. Should it be epic? Should I quote a bunch of scripture? Include a picture? Lots has happened in the past weeks, but one theme kept coming in my head. This theme was directed towards me, but I’m sure in your life, it applies also-
The little things you do matter.
I’m no superhero. I have been known to give into self-defeating self-depreciating self loathing thoughts. When that happens, I beat my self up and think that the little things I do don’t matter. I begin to think that they are fruitless and pointless. I believe the lie that the little things have no value, when the truth is that they do matter.
The little things matter in my life and they matter in yours too. I’m sure of it.
God can strategically use your personality and your connections to bless someone else’s life. The trick is that you actually have to do it. You have to talk to those people at work that you pass by every day. You have to encourage that neighbor who doesn’t have any close family. You have call that person that has been on your mind. You have to write the blog Matt.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that what you do in other people’s lives doesn’t matter. It matters a lot.
Live that out today. Find someone to encourage and someone to bless. Don’t worry about if they will receive it or not. Just be obedient to who God wants you to be and you will find that you will be blessed in the process. Think about something that you used to do that you thought was fruitless and start doing it again.
The little stuff you do matters. I’m sure of it.
I’ve missed you