What is it?

Looking through my journals and email, I found out that I was wishing for a lot of good things to happen. I claimed to be “hoping,” but I did not/could not be confident the desired outcome would happen. That is not what hope is about. Hope is more than wishing. [Want to know more? Click here.]

Thursday, July 31, 2014

God's in Charge

Today I read a couple of good reminders in Proverbs 20. These reminders tell me that ultimately God is in control of our lives and we can trust Him to work out all the details.
Verse 22: “Don’t ever say, “I’ll get you for that!”
    Wait for God; he’ll settle the score.”
Verse 27: “God is in charge of human life,
    watching and examining us inside and out.”
So, I don’t have to worry about getting my way or getting even with someone when things don’t go as I expect or hope for. All I have to do is wait for God. He’ll take care of the details and settle the score. It may not happen in my timing or even in my lifetime, but eventually, God will settle the score and everything will work out according to His plans.
God can do that because he is in charge of human life. He’s watching and examining each person inside and out. He knows what is best and will work to make everything work out according to the best possible plan, even if I don’t see how something could be the best possible plan.
Both of these verses remind me that my plans may not be the best plans. Only God knows what is best and what the best settlement of the issues may be. I might think I know, but I don’t really know. If I think I know what are the best situations, or course of events, and things don’t work out the way I think they should, I end up angry. I usually end up angry at God. But if I realize that God is in control and in charge, then I can be at peace in the midst of trying situations knowing that ultimately and completely, God is working everything out for the best.
Today I pray God would give me the calm and peace I need to accept life on life’s terms and on God’s terms.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vacation Thoughts

We are on vacation this week. So there will be no real article this week. I thought I’d write this note so that those of you who check my site regularly wouldn’t wonder what is up with no post. I’m not sure how many people regularly read my blog because I rarely get comments. But I’d like to think there are at least a few regular readers who would miss my blog if I didn’t post something.
Hope you are all having a wonderful summer and that you find time to take a little vacation from your normal activities. Have a good week.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Godly Leader

I’m still gleaning tidbits of wisdom from the Proverbs. This week I read Proverbs 16:10 – 15. In The Message, those verses talk about some characteristics of godly leaders:
10 A good leader motivates,
    doesn’t mislead, doesn’t exploit.
11 God cares about honesty in the workplace;
    your business is his business.
12 Good leaders abhor wrongdoing of all kinds;
    sound leadership has a moral foundation.
13 Good leaders cultivate honest speech;
    they love advisors who tell them the truth.
14 An intemperate leader wreaks havoc in lives;
    you’re smart to stay clear of someone like that.
15 Good-tempered leaders invigorate lives;
    they’re like spring rain and sunshine.

I noticed that a couple of the verses talk about leaders being people who motivate (vs. 10) and invigorate (vs. 15) others. I want to be that kind of leader, but I fall short in many ways. I don’t think I mislead or exploit others but I don’t think I’m very good at motivating them either.
There are things about being a good leader that I do try to follow. For instance, in verse 11, it talks about being honest in the workplace. I try to be honest in all my dealings with people, whether it’s in the workplace or in my private life. I also like to think that I abhor wrongdoing of all kinds and that I live based on a moral foundation. I also like to think that I speak with honesty. I’m not sure how that translates to cultivating honest speech from others. I guess by my example of honest speech it might cultivate honest speech by others.
I like the warning in verse 14 about staying clear of intemperate leaders, those who wreak havoc in the lives of others. I’ve known some leaders like that, I do my best to avoid their presence as much as possible. Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid such leaders. I’ve encountered them in the workplace and in those situations I try to do what they indicate should be done, without compromising my own personal integrity. It’s a fine line sometimes.
Mostly this passage of Scripture led me to pray about being a good leader, a God-tempered leader, that is like a spring rain and sunshine to those under my authority or guidance. I’m more aware of what it means to be a godly leader now that I’ve read this Proverb. With God’s help I can, hopefully, be the kind of leader He wants me to be.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Prudent Evaluate

I’m still making my way through the book of Proverbs. There’s an abundance of sound thinking in every verse so I could probably talk a little bit about every verse that I read. However, today the verse that stood out to me was Proverbs 14:15 which says, “The gullible believe anything they’re told; the prudent sift and weigh every word.” [The Message] Or in the NASB, it says, “The naïve believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps.”
Being gullible or naïve is not a positive thing according to this verse. I know many people who are gullible and believe whatever they read on Facebook or see on television. That can get us into trouble in numerous ways. In my life, it often means getting my hopes up where there should be caution. I want to believe the good I read or hear. I think we all do. However, God’s caution in this passage of Scripture is to weigh and sift everything we hear or see.
The question is not whether it’s true or not, although that’s part of it. The question, for me, is whether it lines up with Scripture or not. That’s how I evaluate the veracity (truthfulness) of the things I hear and see. It means evaluating the source of the information I’m getting. For me, the only reliable source of information is the Bible. There are friends, mentors, pastors, and some acquaintances that are generally trustworthy, but even they can get things wrong sometimes. I don’t think they intend to relay false information, but they just may not have all the facts in a given situation.
Right now in my life, I am weighing and sifting the truths put forward by social system. We have a situation in our lives that demands rigorous honesty, yet the powers that be are unwilling or unable to be totally truthful with some of the participants in the situation. Where is my role in this situation. I want to make sure I am only speaking truth – but I don’t know what the truth is. So I also have to sift and weigh what I say along with what I believe in order to make sure I’m not leading anyone astray.
Whether I’m listening or talking, I need to be sure I am getting to the truth of a situation. The only way to do this is by bringing everything to God in prayer. And waiting patiently for His answers. That takes a lot of trusting. I pray we all can decipher the truth in the situations in our lives.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Power Outage

There’s nothing like the loss of power in one’s life to help simplify your existence. That happened around here this week and as a result, I was unable to use the computer to write or post a blog article in a timely manner. One storm rolled through and the electricity was out for about 35 hours, just enough time to force us to a hotel for the night.
I did not really have time at the hotel to write a blog article while I had electricity. Yet I did find a way to check my email and Facebook page. I found that I really missed the connection to people that I so take for granted in my life. The temporary loss of power reminded me of how fortunate I am to have all the conveniences of modern society. Gone are the days when you have to handwrite a physical letter, address an envelope, put a stamp on it, and take it to the post office to be mailed when you want to communicate with people. I’m just old enough to remember those days. How the times have changed.
We now have almost instant correspondence with those we wish to remain in contact with. Even without power in my home, I was able to text my son, Facebook message a friend, and check my email via my iPhone. I didn’t even need a wireless connection to do it. I’m sitting here debating whether this is a good thing or not. In some ways it makes communication easier and more rewarding. Yet letter writing with pen and paper is becoming a lost art. I cherish the few correspondence I get from friends and family that arrives by traditional mail service. I usually display the cards and notes on my desk so I can reread them and enjoy them many times over. I wonder if others would appreciate such correspondence from me.
The power outage gave me something to think about. And reminded me to be thankful for all that I have. I could look at the loss of electricity as an inconvenience that I’d rather not have to deal with, but today I choose to see it as the reminder it is: we have so much to be thankful for. However, I’m also thankful that we were only without electricity for 35 hours and that we are now safely back in our home.