Think Long

Continuing from yesterday’s post with thoughts about calling from Catalyst (see here).

Today’s lesson is very simple but also very hard.

Think Long.

That’s it.   Don’t look at tomorrow, don’t look at the next day, don’t think about next Sunday.  (Disclaimer – you do need to think about those – but they aren’t the focus of your calling).  

God spent literally thousands of years working out the plan that began when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden.

It says in the Bible that to God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day.  

If God thinks that way, why should we, when thinking about what God is calling us to, think of shorter time frames?    God might spend 20 years preparing you for something.    God had Moses spend 40 years in the desert preparing him for his role in rescuing the Israelites from Egypt.  

So, Think Long.   As you are contemplating what God might be calling you to, think big and think long.

Then you will be thinking more like what God does.

And isn’t that what IT is all about?

Tom

Grief–a Many Shaped Obstacle

I’ve had the opportunity, no the privilege, to talk with a number of people lately (present company included – I talk to myself sometimes) who are walking through various valleys of grief and for a variety of reasons.   It has taught me a number of things about the types and “manners” of grief……

There is the most obvious and most difficult grief – grief over the loss of a loved one.   Whether that be a parent, child, family member, friend, it really really hurts.     It’s a valley that you walk through and you don’t come out of it the same as you were when you went into it. 

Then there’s the anticipated grief – the grief of knowing that your loved one is battling a disease and won’t win.   The outcome is clear but the road is clouded with fog.    The grief is happening already at that point.

There’s the grief of what could have been – when you realize that your dream is never going to be fulfilled.   That’s a grief that is of a different dimension, but it’s grief none the less.

Then there’s the grief of decisions.   The grief that comes from realizing that decisions that you made or decisions that others made are going to forever have an impact on the life (lives) of people you care about it.

So, what have I learned?

No two people grieve the same – and that’s okay.    Everyone needs to handle their grief in their own way and on their own timeline.

Rarely can someone reciting platitudes from the Bible make someone who is grieving feel better.    Most of those who are grieving know those promises – but that’s not the time to remind them of the promises – they will fall on deaf ears or they will make things worse.    What they need most is just to have you be there.

My son’s therapist taught us this one – “It’s okay to “be with” your feelings for a time.”    Don’t feel like you have to get “over it” in a certain time period.   Allow yourself time to grieve what or who was lost.

Hold on to the hand of the One and very often the only one who understands your grief.   Jesus understands it and can handle your grief, your anger, your frustration.   Bring it to Him.

And while you are holding the hand of the One who understands, when the worst of the grief has passed by, ask Him the question,  “What now?”

God, what would you have me do now?”

Praying for those who are feeling these levels of grief today, especially those who taught me these lessons about grief.

May God comfort the souls of all who grieve…….

Tom

Holding On Too Tightly?

I Corinthians 2:9  However, as it is written:   “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard,  and what no human mind has conceived” –the things God has prepared for those who love him.

Think about it – God has more, better and bigger things planned for those who love Him. 

But how often are we holding on to the “good” too tightly so that we miss out on the “great?”

How often do we turn down opportunities so that we can stay comfortable?

How often do we say, “I can’t do that……  What if……?”

God has big plans for all of His people.   Are we holding on too tightly to what we have? 

What do I have to let go of to truly experience God’s greatness and His great plan for me and my future?

What do you have to let go of?

Tom

The Wednesday Before Thanksgiving – Another First

It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I was at work and it was about 1:00. Suddenly it started snowing hard – big fluffy lake effect snow. The type that comes down at a couple of inches an hour.

My wife called me, “The kids were down for their naps before the snow started, but I think you might want to be home when they get up and see the snow for the first time.”

So I did.

They came downstairs from their naps and looked outside. Their initial reaction was that the sky was falling. This big white stuff falling out of the sky – kind of scared them.

But then we all put boots and coats on and went out and played in it. Then they realized that it was okay and actually kind of fun.

9 years later, they are typical Michiganders and think that it snows too much and for too long…….

But the first time was precious…….

Calling–Not by Phone

I’ve talked to many people over the years who have asked us the question, “Why did you adopt and why did you adopt from Haiti?”   My short answer is, “God called us to.”

I read an article recently on Catalyst that touched on some very important thoughts about being called.   Whether it’s called to the ministry, called to minister to others without being a full time occupational minister or called to other things, the article has 8 very important points.   I’m going to share one point a day – but you can read the entire article here.

Live for the Applause of Nail-Scarred Hands.   How does the saying go,  “you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”    So, live for the applause of Nail Scarred Hands.   Live your life and your calling to do what Jesus would want you to.

That means that you don’t need to be concerned about what other people think.    Do what God want you to and the rest will take care of itself. 

That means that you need to spend more time making sure that what you are doing aligns with God’s Word and less time making sure that it keeps people happy.

That means that whatever you do needs to have a heaven –based perspective in it.   You’re doing whatever God has called you to in order to make a heaven bound difference, not a superficial earthly difference.

I believe Building 429 says it well…….