The little things count

Unless you are honest in small matters, you won’t be in large ones. If you cheat even a little, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. Luke 16:10

This verse came off the page at me this morning because it’s the small things that are most likely to trip me up. Not the big ones. I mean, I’ve never cheated on my wife. Never robbed a bank. I don’t cheat my boss. I give him a hundred and ten.

But it’s easy to rationalize the little matters. Cut a corner here or there. Who will ever know? No big deal. No one is hurt. If I take an extra five dollar deduction on my income tax, the government won’t grind to a halt tomorrow (not that I do).

Here is the irony. If I cheat someone, that person is not necessarily the one who is hurt. But I am.

If I steal a little two cent trinket from Bill Gates, trust me, he won’t be hurt. But every time I look at it, I’ll know it was stolen and I am hurt. I’ve undermined my character. Forfeited my integrity. And that makes me less of a person than I should be.

And God passes me by on the promotion.

Throughout the Bible, honesty is a major issue with God, after all, His name is Truth.

It should be an issue with you and me as well.

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They all look alike to me

He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds. He counts the stars and calls them all by name. Psalm 147:3,4

galaxy.jpgAt first glance, these two verses don’t seem to connect. They seem disjointed. But maybe not. In fact, I think verse four actually validates verse three.

There are billions of stars and for the most part, they all look about the same. Yet, God knows each one by name. As insignificant as some distant star is on the backside of the universe, it is important enough to God to have a name. He made it and it has purpose.

How much more is He attentive to the person who suffers the pain of a broken heart? They are not forgotten. Not lost in the crowd. They are not cast aside like worthless trash, although that may be how they feel. To Him, each person is priceless.

Like the stars, there are billions of people, yet he knows each one by name. Each has significance. Each life has value.

… for I am fearfully and wonderfully made… Psalm 139:14

He knows your name, my friend, and He cares about your needs. “He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds.”

Keep your trust in Him today!

Hidden between the lines

desert2.jpgThe whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sinai, traveling from place to place as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Exodus 17:1

Discovered this little passage a while back. It’s the kind of verse I would  normally fly right over the top of. But something between the lines caught my eye.

It seems to be saying that sometimes, God intentionally leads us into dry places. Look at the context. The Israelites were following a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, and it led them to a place where there was no water.

I’m not sure about you, but in my life, I have times I feel close to God. Other times, He’s light years away.

I love it when my time of devotions is sweet. God is speaking to me, encouraging me, giving me direction. I feel His presence in my prayer life.

But other times, just to be honest, I’m dry inside. Devotions are tedious. Prayer is laborious. Your time with the Lord is about as exciting as kissing your sister. (Sorry about that, Carolyn!)

Usually in the dry times, I blame myself. It’s my fault. I must be crowding God out of my life. He’s displeased with me for something I’ve done.  

But could it be that, like way back then, He is leading us into a place where there is no water?

See, it’s easy to live victoriously when everything is going well. Our faith soars when we are experiencing the blessings of God, when He is answering our prayers.

But during the dry times, all we have to hold on to is our faith. But the faith that really pleases God is the faith that remains strong when nothing is going right, when God is a universe away.

True faith evidences itself in the realm of the unseen.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

I don’t like the dry times but I have come to learn that in those times, God is often doing His greatest work in my life. And if I will remain strong in my faith, well, like in the days of the Children of Israel, a major gush is just about to happen.

Anyone seen my sun glasses?

Flipping through some old journals, I found an entry dated 9/23/04. At the time, I noted, I was visiting Mom and Dad in Spokane.

Quote: “I found a Starbucks at last. Thank goodness. I was starting to go through withdrawal. It’s been three days since I had my fix.”

Anyone have the number for Betty Ford’s clinic?

But I like the passage I had written down that day:

And those who are wise, the people of God, shall shine as brightly as the sun’s brilliance, and those who turn many to righteousness will glitter like stars forever. Daniel 12:3

That is something we can all aspire to in 2007. I know I do. And I believe God will give us wisdom as we find ourselves in His Word.

As we draw closer to Him, the clouds roll back a bit, the sun shines through. Oh, there are still  stormy days but something just tells you the sun will shine again.

Looking forward to a great 2007!

Too much of a good thing

boise-field.jpgNever thought I’d see the day. I’m actually maxed out watching football. Must of watched 89 bowl games today. They had bowls I never heard of, in places I couldn’t find on a map.

And what’s with the blue carpet at Boise stadium? I kept trying to adjust the color on my TV. I mean, I’ve heard of blue grass in Kentucky but blue artificial turf in Boise?

My wife and I began the day with breakfast at a favorite coffee shop in Waikiki, the Wailana. We seldom go into Waikiki, it’s such a zoo, but the Wailana makes really scrumptious macadamia nut pancakes so we went early and beat the tourists. I drown them (the pancakes not the tourists) in a mixture of coconut and maple syrup Mmmm!

What? You don’t have coconut syrup where you live?

Spent some time reflecting on Oh-six. I lost my mother in April. She was ready to be with the Lord but it was still hard. Then our youngest left for college in August so it’s the empty nest for my wife and I.

What will Oh-seven bring? Can’t say. But I found a verse that jumped off the page. Think I’ll sort of adopt it for the coming year.

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord is the one who goes before you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:8

I can say from past experience, He has never failed nor forsaken me. You either. And He’s not about to begin now.

Let’s keep our faith and trust in Him.

Trust in the Lord with all our heart… in all our ways acknowledge Him.

If we will, He will direct our paths.

Resolutions

I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans for your welfare… to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 

new-years-hawaii.jpgHauoli Makahiki Hou (How-oli Mah-kah-hee-key Hoe) – Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year again. Time to make my New Year’s Resolutions.

Number one on my list for 2007 – I’m going to get organized. I know I’ve said it before, but somehow, I just feel this is my year. I’m going to make it happen!

Dream on, Del! Never happened before. Never will. No way.

How about something more doable. This coming year, I resolve to keep my car clean. Inside and out. That’ll make my wife very, very happy. She is obsessed with riding in a clean car.

My wife is actually afraid to ride in my car – afraid something might crawl up her leg.

She keeps her car so clean you can eat off it. My car? Well, you can eat off it too. There’s usually a couple old french fries on the floor. Maybe a bag of half eaten Chicken McNuggets in the backseat. Yep. Lot’s of good eats in my car!  

But seriously, I do have one resolution for 2007. Not so much a resolution. More a goal.

My goal is to spend at least a few minutes everyday, all 365 of them, reading God’s Word and journalling. I don’t want to miss a single day.

You see, the day I miss might be the day the enemy tries to trip me up. Finds a chink in my armor. Exploits a weakness. I must continually fortify myself against his attacks.

But that’s the negative side of the coin. On the positive side, each day I spend in the Word is an opportunity for God to speak truth into my life. An opportunity for me to draw closer to Him. And that’s an opportunity I don’t want to let slip by.

Why not join me this year? How’s about we do it together.

Lets go for “Three-sixty-five” in “Double-oh-seven!” 

And if we make it all the way to the end, next year we can go for three sixty six!

Who made the muck?

For every man must die. His breathing stops, life ends, and in a moment all he planned for himself is ended. But happy is the man who has the God of Jacob for his helper, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the God who made both earth and heaven, the seas and everything in them. Psalm 146: 4-6

muck3.jpgA few days ago, I watched a panel of “experts” debate the subject of evolution vs. intelligent design. As I listened to the evolutionists espouse their views, it occurred to me that it must be very depressing to be an atheist.

Think about it. Here you are, convinced that you evolved out of primordial muck. Now, after millions of years, you have reached the absolute height of the evolutionary process…. then suddenly…. YOU DIE! You cease to exist. It’s over.

Evolution has taken you as far as it could go. But it could not find a way to counteract aging. It could not overcome death. Worse yet? It could not find a way to continue your existence beyond death. You close your eyes and cease to exist. How depressing is that?!

As I watched the program, I found it amusing. Those who were arguing evolution got worked up. Their tempers flared. They hurled insults at the other side. And I thought to myself, if all you have to look forward to is a state of non-existence, why get so passionate about it? What difference will it make in the long run?

Today’s verse says,

“Happy is the man….whose hope is in the Lord his God, the God who made both heaven and earth….”

Now, that is something to get passionate about! That is something you can zealously defend.

Oh, and by the way, the passage answers another question the evolutionist must certainly ponder:

Who made the muck?