Friday, April 27, 2012

Thankful for Little Things

My youngest daughter, Carrie, is having a hard time. That's understandable because her husband recently broke a vertebra in his back and is home recovering from spinal surgery. That in itself is difficult because he is facing a long recovery, and can't do anything to help around the house.

Every day something new happens that she has to deal with that keep piling up and adding to her burden, like the sink disposal goes out, the iphone quits working, and the e-mails don't go through.
You know the frustrations. We've all had them. "When it rains it pours" and she's had a gully-washer at her house.

She called me this morning in tears because her 16 month old daughter fell out of her little rocking chair and gashed her forehead, and she was on her way to the doctor. I assured her these kinds of things happen to little ones all the time and she would be ok.

But I could tell my daughter was at the end of her rope. (She lives 4 hours away so I can't be there to help her.) I prayed on the phone with her and asked God to give her strength to make it through this and all she has to deal with today. I claimed the promise for her, "as thy days so shall thy strength be", Deuteronomy 33:25, and assured her that she could do "all things through Christ who gives her strength", Philippians 4:13.

Then when I got off the phone I prayed some more. I asked God to show up in a real and tangible way and make this easier for her to deal with, since she was beyond overwhelmed. She didn't call the doctor, but was just going to show up, hoping it would be quicker than the emergency room. I thought that at the least, she would have a long wait at the doctors, and at the worse, they would tell her to go on to the emergency room.

But God did answer my prayers and He did show up in real and tangible ways. When she got to the doctor's office they put her immediately in to see the doctor. The doctor told her the baby wouldn't need stitches. He pulled the cut together and put some tape on it. He said it might leave a little scar but nothing to worry about and it would heal quickly and well.

My daughter called me back to relay this news and she was feeling better. I told her to focus on the little things that went right each day and not on the little things that went wrong. There are always little things in each day to be thankful to God for. I need to remember this myself.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

God Gives Greater Grace

My youngest daughter's husband fell and broke a vertebra in his back Saturday while camping. He had spinal fusion surgery last night and it appears successful, although he will have a long and painful recovery, six months to a year. On top of that, he does not have health insurance. He runs a handy-man service that his step-father owns and like many small businesses they cannot afford insurance. I'm so worried for them because they have my two little granddaughters to care for, and they hardly have enough money to buy groceries and diapers, much less pay off a huge medical bill.

But I'm not going to fall into despair. I'm going to pray for them. I'm going to surrender this to God. I'm going to fall at the feet of God and beg for mercy and grace for them. I'm going to believe that when we have great problems then God has greater grace. "But He gives greater grace", James 4:6. I'm going to trust in God's unfailing love. "But I trust in Your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because He is good to me", Psalm 13:5-6.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Doing The Right Thing

A little drama unfolded in the area where I live this past week. Actually, it was a big drama. I live in an area of the "Bible Belt" and an area where "Football is King" and these two collided and caused quite an explosion.

The head football coach of our university's team (who is married and has four college age children) made a series of very poor, selfish choices. In a week's time he went from being on the pinnacle of the world to experiencing a long and painful slide to nothingness.

It all started with a motorcycle ride on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The motorcycle crashed on a curve and ended up in a roadside ditch. The coach ended up with broken bones and lacerations. He was transported to a hospital and released four days later with casts on his broken bones and a brace on his neck.  He oversaw spring football practice on the day of his release from the press box and all seemed well in our little college town.

But, alas, the truth has a way of coming out. When the state police released their report it was discovered that there had been a blonde woman half the coach's age riding on the back of the motorcycle. The coach had told everyone point blank that he was riding by himself.

It escalated from there as these things have a way of doing. It was found out that he had recently hired the woman for an administrative position on his staff that 139 other people had applied for. And that he had given her $20,000 for an undisclosed reason.

Our athletic director put the coach on unpaid leave while he sorted through the whole sordid mess. Our fans polarized into two camps: those who wanted to keep him regardless of what he did so we would have a chance to compete for a national championship; and those who thought that honor and integrity were more important than winning and wanted him gone sooner rather than later.

Praise God, our athletic director did the right thing. He fired him immediately, at a loss to the coach of several million dollars a year salary, stating that no one person was more important than running an honest program and that the student athletes needed a coach that could be trusted. Unfortunately, doing the right thing doesn't happen often enough in college athletics today.

I told this story because I think it's a good illustration that God's way is the only right way to go. When a man (or woman) tries to go his own way, the temptations of the flesh and the pull of the world are too much to overcome, and you will end up losing everything that matters.

"Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts", II Timothy 2:22. NLT

"Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth. Give me purity of heart, so that I may honor you", Psalms 86:11. NLT

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cross Gazing

This week, I'm going to spend more time gazing on the cross. I can't think of any better way to spend my time. When I gaze on the cross:

*I realize that I am less than nothing, that no good thing lives in me except what I have because of Jesus.

*I realize that because Jesus lives in me, I have all things; he is the remedy for all my ills, the solution for all my problems, the fulfillment of all my longings.

*I see a love so lavish, so vast, so all encompassing, that it takes my breath away and knocks me to my knees.

*I see a body that raised up to take the full measure of punishment so that I wouldn't have to take any punishment for sins I've committed.

*I see unmerited favor, unexplainable riches, grace that looked upon the mess of my life with lovingkindness and faithfully transformed it into something beautiful.

* I see the end of my dead end life that was going nowhere good, and the beginning of a great love that opened my eyes, softened my heart, and set my feet on a solid path.

*I see the precious blood flowing off of His pierced body, and I want nothing more than to drink that glorious blood until all that's left of me is His blood flowing freely through my body.