Browse Month: January 2017

When life is the pits…

Have you ever uttered the words “that’s the pits” or the more commonly used phrase today, “I was thrown under the bus”?

For those who enjoy Formula One racing, you know how strategic pit stops are in the race. A seven-second pit stop can make the difference between winning and losing the race. Most of us see pit stops as an inconvenience, we prefer to avoid them because we see them as a disruption toward our final destination.

The Old Testament character Joseph teaches us a lot about pit stops. At the age of seventeen, he was thrown into a pit by his brothers who were motivated by intense hatred and jealousy toward him. Ultimately they sold him to merchants for twenty shekels of silver, who in turn sold Joseph to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaohs’ guard.

What can the pit teach those who have been forsaken by family, mistreated by a boss, or have been used by someone else for personal gain?

1) The Pit Prepares

Your pit stops, which are temporary, can prepare you for success. If you will trust God in the pit, others will trust you because they will see that God’s favor is with you.

2) The Pit is Strategic

Don’t see your pit stop as a delay, view it as God’s opportunity to display His favor, success, and strategic responsibility for your life. Joseph’s pit strategically prepared him to live in Potiphar’s house. When Potiphar saw that the Lord was with Joseph, he became his attendant, taking care of everything that Potiphar owned.

3) The Pit Protects

Joseph’s journey included a stop in prison, where he was forgotten about for more than two years. The seduction of Potiphar’s wife and her fabricated lie that followed landed Joseph in prison. Even in prison, the warden saw the favor of God upon Joseph and put him charge of all the prisoners, and all that was done there.

On your journey toward success, there will be those who will try to seduce you. That seduction may come in the form of sexual advances, the lure of financial gain, or the enticement of corrupted power. Your choice to flee from those temptations may even lead to false accusations against you, but herein lies the power of pit stops. The pit teaches you to put your trust in God’s plan so that you will not cave into the seductive traps of life. If God can pull you out of the pit, He can pull you out of the place of temptation!

Finally, don’t let the people that put you in the pit keep you in the pit.

The pain of the past and your unwillingness to forgive those who have offended you will keep you in the pit they put you into. The very people that put Joseph in the pit pulled him out! Let the offenses of others be the very thing that pulls you out of your pit! As you begin your week, choose not to live in the pain of past hurt, instead, let God heal those hurts and use them to pull you out of your pit to the freedom of a new life!

Until next Monday…
Don

“I don’t feel like it…”

13525505_303034746697959_1632941623_nDo you ever wake up on a Monday morning and think to yourself, “I don’t feel like it”!

This morning, I woke up and thought, “I don’t feel like going for my morning ‘ralk’ (my word for a combination of running and walking). Those are the mornings that you have to push yourself, get out of bed, get the running gear on and go out the door. Maybe you woke up this morning and thought, “I don’t feel like going to work”.

I suppose that is the difference between procrastination and discipline. Procrastination puts off to tomorrow what you should do today. Procrastinate on going to work without a legitimate reason, and you will soon find yourself looking for a new job! Discipline is based on your present reality and the initiative to do what is necessary to make your day effective. I suppose I could have laid back down in bed this morning and put off my “ralk” until tomorrow, but I must tell you that getting up and going out for my four-kilometre run and walk has given my day a wonderful jumpstart.
If I am totally honest with you, writing this blog was not easy today. I told MJ that I really did not have anything to write about. Then I got thinking, why not write about the fact that I have nothing to write about. My decision to write was motivated by my wondering about how many may feel the same as me. It is my hope that “my musings” will help someone to get over the procrastination hump and get a disciplined jumpstart to your week.

I love how The Message paraphrase’s Matthew 6:30-34

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Mt 6:30–34). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

So, on this first day of your work week, get up, get going, make the best of your day and let God take care of your tomorrow. Not a bad blog, if I do say so myself, especially for someone who got up this morning and felt he had nothing to write about!

Until next Monday…
Don

View From the Hill

img_1740Yesterday, as I sat in church, I listened as our pastor expounded on the first two verses of Psalm 121.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (NIV)

As I listened to him, I thought back to the days away over the Christmas season that I blogged about last week. Pictured in my mind were the hills that surrounded MJ and me in the magnificent valley we stayed in for three days.

Valley experiences give us an opportunity to look up to the surrounding hills. If there is no valley, there are no hills. If there are no hills, we never get a bird’s eye view created by the Maker of heaven and earth. How many of us wonder what the view would be like from the top of the hill, but never expend the necessary energy to get to the top? How many of us are so busy wallowing in the doldrums and difficulties of the valley that we never take the time to look up and enjoy the beauty of the hills?

One of the pictures attached to this blog includes MJ pointing to the hill that we had just climbed that morning. The action caught on camera is significant. Sometimes in the business of life, you need to stop, point, and look up to the hills that surround you. You need to make a conscious decision to leave the valley and take the time to climb to the top of the hill so that your situation is put it into perspective. How many never enjoy the view from the top of the hill because they expend all of their energy wallowing in their woes or trying to fix their problems in the valley?

Those who take time away from the valley and make an effort to climb to the top of the hill discover the protection describe by the psalmist in the remaining verses of Psalm 121.

“He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber…The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

By the way, the reality of life means that you will need to come down off the hill and return to the valley from which you came, however, the view from the top will put your valley challenges into perspective. The hilltop moments allow you to carry the promises of shade and protection back down into the valley.

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Take time this week to lift your eyes to the hills and remind yourself that your help comes from the Maker of those same hills. Remember, He watches over you!

Until next time…

Don

Our Quiet Getaway…

 

img_1733Just before Christmas, MJ and I sent our Christmas greetings and suggested that this year, more than others, we were missing family, friends, turkey, baking, and yes, even the white stuff that has been blanketing Canada with an intensity this year.

Instead of wallowing in our lonely feeling, we planned a get away from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day. The place where we stayed was in an expansive valley, sprawling with all kinds of walking trails, and surrounded by hills that came alive with the dawn of day.

Although the weather did not cooperate, we chose to make the best of our time apart. Christmas Eve, we walked the main street of Dullstroom and the trails that wound their way through the valley that was dotted with trout ponds around our accommodation. The cool, damp weather of Christmas Day, allowed us to use the fireplace in our room from morning till night. Through the marvellous venue called the internet, we spent one and a half hours on Face Time with our children in Canada, opening gifts, laughing at one another’s reactions, and creating incredible memories. For the rest of the day, we walked six kilometres of trail, sat and read a book and prepared ourselves to go out and savour an exquisite Christmas night meal. Boxing Day, MJ and I climbed the hill behind our accommodation. According to the health app on my phone, we walked 11.4 kilometres, climbed the equivalent of sixty-six floors and took sixteen thousand two hundred and eighty-eight steps.

Over the years, we have made lifelong memories of the times we had with family and friends, as we got caught up in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, and I must admit, I always enjoyed every minute of it. This year, we chose to quiet ourselves, enjoy each others company, and discover the tranquillity, refreshment, and rejuvenation of a quiet Christmas. In essence, we were forced to make every minute count of our quiet getaway.

On December 30th, I was taken by the Our Daily Bread devotional called “Time Alone With God”. It took on greater significance because MJ and I had just experienced time away with each other. I close this blog with an excerpt from that devotional. May it speak into your life at the beginning of 2017.

“It was a busy morning in the church room where I was helping. Nearly a dozen little children were chattering and playing. There was so much activity that the room became warm and I propped the door open. One little boy saw this as his chance to escape so when he thought no one was looking, he tiptoed out the door. Hot on his trail, I wasn’t surprised that he was headed straight for his daddy’s arms.

The little boy did what we need to do when life becomes busy and overwhelming—he slipped away to be with his father. Jesus looked for opportunities to spend time with His heavenly Father in prayer. Some might say this was how He coped with the demands that depleted His human energy…Jesus repeatedly helped multitudes of people, yet He didn’t allow Himself to become haggard and hurried. He nurtured His connection with God through prayer.”

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Until next time…

Don


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