Monday, April 23, 2007

Proverbs 27:17

Proverbs 27:17- “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

We have issues, don’t we? We have problems and things and feelings that get in the way. We sometimes don’t get along.

Sometimes, we feel like we are on a desert isle, devoid of any other life save our own. We feel alone, trapped. And sometimes, we make prisons of our own, by holding on to hurts and feelings that we should have given up.

And sometimes, we just want someone to hurt as bad as we perceive that we hurt.

But God has a different way, doesn’t He? He tells me that my friends are the people who sharpen me; who keep me from losing my edge in this world. They keep me keen and sharp so that I can continue to do what God has placed me here to do in life.

A friend can be anyone-a spouse, a parent, a person unrelated to you except by the circumstances that bring you together. Whoever your friend is, and whoever you are a friend to, there is an obligation implied in that relationship. It’s one to be a sharpening stone, and not a dulling edge.

We get hurt quite easily, and it causes us to backpedal on our walk and those around us. It causes us to want to withdraw into ourselves. Or worse yet, to lash out at those who hurt us to make them feel pain.

As a friend, I have an obligation to tell you that’s not the way we’re supposed to be. The biggest problem the Christian church faces, in my opinion, is Christians.

We can be the kings and queens of “Do as I say, not as I do” thinking. We are our own worst enemies. It can keep us divided and hindered in our walks and our effectiveness.

Sometimes, when we need to talk, we can’t or won’t. It would be seen as a sign of weakness, or we don’t want to burden others with our problems. But if you look at that verse, God doesn’t say that.

It works, because God said so. A woman in our small group last night said that, and it struck me. (Thanks Angela!)

God said so, that’s why.

I don’t know why, I just know Who. He said it; that should be enough.

So, who do you need to sharpen yourself against today? Who needs to be sharpened? Let’s start trying to learn to be there, one for another, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Be blessed in the Lord.

Bo J.

Monday, April 09, 2007

2 Timothy 4:18

2 Timothy 4:18-“And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”

Another Easter Sunday has come and gone. If you look around and listen, you will kind of find that this is another New Year’s Day for Christians. It shouldn’t be, but for some it is.

See, Easter is a chance for us to reflect on what it means to be a Christian. It’s about the Person we identify with, and are SUPPOSED to be growing closer to being. It’s about reviewing the ultimate symbol of love and sacrifice for us.

Did we learn anything from it? Do we ever? Is it just another Day in the ritual that our Christian walk has become?

Easter Sunday is closely followed by back to work Monday. The grind begins anew. And all the spiritual and holy thoughts from yesterday are somehow forgotten, in the hustle and bustle of today’s world.

Look at the verse above. Read it and dwell on it.

To me, it means that Easter Sunday is more than just another day. It’s the day the Lord delivered me and bridged the gap for me to be one with the Father. And I should praise and exalt Him forever. The facts from yesterday should change my life today and forever.

But I get bogged down. I get surrounded. The world washes over me, and it’s easy to forget about celebrating the fact I am going to Heaven, when I’m still in the world.

In Acts 20:22-25, Paul is recounting his life at the end of his ministry. He is seeing the end. But in approaching the end, he imparts this word of wisdom to me. He tells me that he NEVER regretted the things he went through in his service of Christ. He NEVER counted his own life dear to him when looked at and compared to the eyepiece of eternity with Christ.

God delivered him, and preserved him for His Kingdom.

What God did for Paul, He can, will, and HAS done for me. And He has also done it for you.

I have learned that if I serve Christ, my life is to be poured out for Him as a drink offering. When I gave my life to Him, I gave my life to Him. That statement may look strange, but if you read it carefully, you can get the meaning.

It’s NOT mine anymore. The things I go through are not MY trials. They are His trials; they are the world’s reaction to His presence in my heart.

We have been promised deliverance. We have been promised a place in Heaven. We have been promised eternal life with Christ our Lord.

Jesus, help me to walk in this today. Use my brothers and sisters in Christ to remind me and help me to be a reminder to them of Who we serve. It’s a race, and we’re in it to finish.

Be blessed in the Lord today.

Bo J.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Matthew 7:11

Matthew 7:11-“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

I’ll be the first to admit that I am NOT the greatest Dad in the world, or the poster boy for husbands. I muddle along like most, doing what I can to keep from messing up my children’s lives TOO much.

Sometimes, though, I mess up and actually do something good for once. This past weekend, I think, was one of those times. I got to take my ten year old daughter on her first trip into Neyland Stadium.

Now, some of you don’t get what a big deal this is for me. If you don’t like football, or any sports, you may not understand. But this was an EXPERIENCE for her. She has never been inside a big time college stadium.

See, the Orange & White game was this past weekend. It was a chance for U.T. (that’s Tennessee, Randy, not Texas) fans to get autographs from their favorite players. It’s also a chance to watch the squad scrimmage and get a look at the players for the upcoming season.

My daughter REALLY wanted to go. I know some of the dads out there are tearing up, thinking about how she is going to make some guy a fine wife one day. She understands the importance of sports in a balanced diet!

Anyway, I work the games (when I can), as a Red Cross volunteer. We man the first aid stations, and render medical assistance to the fans in the stadium. We get to go to the games for free, get wonderful seats (if you have enough time to sit in them), and all the stadium hot dogs you can eat!

Well, I surprised Kaitlyn on Saturday. God gave me a wonderful idea, and then He made it happen for her and for me. She is going to be working with me, as a runner for the different command posts during the games. She gets to work with Dad, and I get to help her carve out some great memories.

The thing that really made this special, however, was Saturday. We got there before the field opened up for the general public, and had our Red Cross first aid station team picture taken. She also got to be in that. Then, I just sat back and watched my daughter take in the entire view.

It was amazing, just watching her face; seeing all the emotions playing across it. She was dazzled. It reminded me of the first time I was there, and the first time I took my wife there as well. She got to do so much that day, and I was proud to be a part of it.

That’s kind of how God is with us, isn’t it? He knows and sees everything, but I like to think that He gets a little giddy the first time we get really get a handle on how much he loves us. When we take our first spiritual steps, to maturing into a Christ-centered adult, He is there for it all.

He smiles, and takes pictures, and just generally feels really proud. I wonder if the angels get tired of hearing about how proud He is of all that we accomplished today. I marvel at how many times He picks me up after I have scraped my knee or had an accident; how He kisses it and makes it all better.

He watches over me, as if I am His very own child.

We forget that, sometimes, don’t we? Just like our kids don’t always know that we love them, even when we scold them, God loves me. He sometimes has to let me go through things when I am being bull headed, in order to let me know that He DOES have my best interests at heart. I may not know it at the time, but if I pay attention, I will see it and understand.

Just like with my daughter.

And if you walk with Him long enough, and follow and do what He asks you to do, I think he lets you see the WHOLE stadium. I think he walks you to the 50-yard line, and lets you stand on the Power T. Then, like I did my daughter, He lets you tell others where you are, and that you wish they could see the view you do.

And He stands back like a proud Father, and gets a tear in His eye, as He realizes that His child is growing up. And He is so very, very proud of you at that moment in your life.

Don’t forget your first view of the stadium.

Be blessed in the Lord today.

Bo J.


(See photos that go along with this story here: http://good-times.webshots.com/album/558477352CTEQJz)