Monday is a Special Day…It’s My Second, Ninth Birthday

Every Day We Get Second Chances, Don’t Wait Until You’re Smacked in the Head

That’s right…it’s my second, ninth birthday. Most people don’t get to have two birthdays a year, but I’m one of the fortunate ones.

There’s my original birthday…the day in which my mother gave birth to me. And then I have a second birthday…the one in which I got a second chance at life.

Too many people live their whole lives never finding their purpose. My second birthday helped me to find mine.

Let me explain. On December 6th, 2012, I was working, standing on a plank, approximately 8’ above the ground when it broke. Luckily, I don’t remember any of the ordeal from the time that I was measuring for a piece of wafer board until I woke up in the hospital three days later…

As I recovered from the fall, I realized this situation could have ended differently. I was still here for a reason.

God wasn’t done with me yet.

Some of us are a little slower than others and it takes a board upside the head, to get our attention.

As I was watching one of my favorite Christmas movies a few days ago I was thinking about why it is that I liked it so much…. then I realized that it was the opportunity for second chances. It was like my fall.

It’s never too late to start building a better life.

The movie, A Shoe Addict’s Christmas (Not a title that most guys would probably have on their movie list.) is about a woman, Noelle, who accidently gets locked in a department store where she works. While waiting to be rescued, a quirky woman named Charlie appears. Over the next few days Charlie, Noelle’s guardian angel, helps her rediscover the life she has been avoiding, by visiting Christmases past, present and future. (Sounds a little like another movie, doesn’t it?)

We’ve all had situations that we can look back on and wish we’d done different.

We can’t change the past, but things we do today will affect the future.

In the movie, Charlie tells Noelle a story. You’ve probably heard it (or some variation of it).

It goes like this, there was man who was out in the snow. Someone came by in a sleigh and offered him a ride. The man refused. He said, “God will take care of me”. Later as the snow continued to get deeper another man in a sleigh came by and offered to help. Once again, the man refused. “God will take care of me.” The next time a sleigh came by the snow was up to the man’s chin. For a third time the man declined the help and said, “God will take care of me”. Then the man is in Heaven and asking God why He didn’t save him. God answers, “I sent three sleighs and you ignored them all”.

Don’t ignore the sleighs that God sends.

I love Christmas movies. They offer us a perspective that too often is overlooked in real live. They are a great example of God’s love shared through people in the world.

My wife and I like Christmas movies so much that we make a long list (currently 146 and growing) and we implement a plan for watching them. (I also love making plans 😊) Besides that…there won’t be any NACAR races to watch until early February.

My friend Shep and I talked about the Christmas movie list which prompted him to compare Christmas movies with God’s love in his most recent Monday Morning Moment. (Follow this link to Shep’s post)

All of this is to say, that if you’re still alive…it’s not too late. You don’t need a second birthday to make changes in your life.

Be aware of the sleighs that God sends. Don’t wait until you’re hit in the head with a board.

Be Patient, the Day is Coming…You Can Count on it

The Heart of the Advent Season is the Coming of Christ

We live in an “I want it now” society. We’ve been spoiled by the speed at which things move at. Instantaneous access to the internet on our hand-held devices, drive through restaurants, etc. Not that there is anything wrong with efficiency, but in the process, we’ve lost the ability to wait patiently.

This sense of immediacy makes us a demanding people.

It seems that this has always been the case. Throughout the Bible people were unwilling to wait for things to happen according to God’s timing and inevitably they would have to wait longer. They would take things in their own hands and then pay the price.

Jerimiah speaks to this in Chapter 33. He is sharing a message with the people. It was the promise of Jesus’ coming. They were feeling hopeless, and Jerimiah gave them hope.

Early on, Jerimiah was a preacher of righteousness, in the last chapter of his book, he speaks words of comfort. Before the people needed to be confronted, now they need to be comforted. Before they needed words of judgement, now they need words of grace. Before they deserved condemnation, now they need hope. So instead of offering a word of punishment, Jerimiah offers a word of promise.

Behold the days are coming.

Jerimiah uses the phrase, “The days are coming.” throughout his book. This is God’s promise to us of Christ’s coming. This doesn’t mean everything is going to be easy, it just means that that we’ve been promised something better.

During a live presentation of the Wizard of Oz the good witch Glinda was being lowered on to the stage when there was a problem, and she was left hanging above the stage. When something like this happens during a live performance there’s not much the actors can do other than improvise and wait patiently.

We need to do what we can and be patient with things that we have no control over.

We live in a fallen world. We can’t change that, but we can control how we live in it. We aren’t perfect, we are a people under construction.

Enjoy this season of Advent and the coming of Christ as we celebrate Christmas time.

We’ve Been Commissioned to Build God’s Kingdom Here on Earth

The Question is…What Are You Going to Do About It?

As Christians we are supposed to be God’s builders here are earth. The problem is that most of us don’t bother to look at the Blueprint and we don’t build according to the Architect’s plan.

We all have our idea of what we expect it to look like.

This plan has never worked very well. In John 18:33-37 Jesus went before Pilot because the people were expecting something else…they missed Him. Pilot expected something else…he missed Him.

Pastor Lee shared the poem And So They Missed Him that explains this pretty well.


They were looking for an adult, but He came as a little infant Babe,
and so they missed Him.

They were looking for a lion, but He came as a Lamb,
and so they missed Him.

They were looking for a warrior, but He came as a Peacemaker,
and so they missed Him.

They were looking for a king, but He came as a Servant,
and so they missed Him.

They were looking for liberation from Rome, but He submitted to the Roman State,
and so they missed Him.

They were looking for their temporal needs to be met, but He came to meet their spiritual and eternal needs, and so they missed Him.


Good intentions don’t make a difference…it takes action.

God has given us everything we need to build His Kingdom, but it’s up to us to do something.

Robert Pierce was a Baptist minister that found himself working with the Youth for Christ in China. On one trip, he met Tena Hoelkeboer, a missionary teacher, who presented him with a battered and abandoned child. Unable to care for the child herself, Tena asked Pierce, “What are you going to do about her?” Pierce gave the woman his last five dollars and agreed to send the same amount each month to help the woman care for the child.

He was deeply affected by the wartime poverty and human suffering that he witnessed in both China and Korea and in 1950 he founded World Vision International.

World Vision International is a service organization that meets the emergency needs of missionaries. It is active in more than 90 countries with a total revenue including grants, products and foreign donations of USD 2.90 billion (2019).

When Robert gave the five dollars to Tena, he didn’t know what this would become. He just followed God’s Blueprint and started building.

Don’t miss His plan for you.

Study the Blueprint and start building!

If You Don’t Want to Feel Stupid for Eternity…Don’t Waste Your Life

There’s a Limited Amount of Time in This Life, So Spend it Wisely

Knowing the future is less about knowing and more about doing. None of us know what’s going to happen tomorrow, next week or next year. We can only control what we’re doing right now.

Things we do now, affect the future, either for good or bad…it’s up to us.

There was a man that lived in Hawaii that loved major league sports. The problem he had was the time difference from the mainland to Hawaii. The games would be delayed and broadcast on TV in the evening. He would listen to them on the radio during the day and then watch the delayed broadcast in the evening.

This meant that he already knew what was going to happen. This affected his feelings and involvement when he watched. We need to be engaged and involve in life.

In Mark 13:1-8 Jesus tells His Disciples to, “Be careful and not let anyone fool you.” He gives them a list of things that will happen before the end. “There will be fighting and times of no food. There will be earthquakes and all sort of troubles.”

Things that have already happened multiple times throughout the history of the world.

Jesus continues to list all the terrible things that will happen before He comes back. Throughout history there have been people predicting the end. Their record isn’t very good.  Whether the end is our dying or Jesus’ second coming is not the point.

The thing to focus on is how we live this life.

In the 32nd verse of Mark 13 He says, “No one will know when that day or the time will be.”

So, if these things are going to happen before the end…and they’ve already happened, then why haven’t things ended already? Good question.

Things we do know are

  • We don’t know the future – We can plan, but we need to be willing and able to change. We need to be flexibly rigid. Fear of the future gives us something to blame. It gives us an out for being responsible. We need to learn from the past, look to the future and live in the present.
  • We need to make the most of the present – If we know and trust God things will work out. This doesn’t mean sitting around waiting on God to do things. It means knowing God and following His directions. We are His hands and feet here in the world.
  • God does know the future – If we know God’s character…we know His intentions. We get to know His character by reading His Word and talking with Him. We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. Romans 8:28

Too much of the time we float through life with no clear plan or direction. This is not how God wants us to live this life. He wants us to actively participate every minute of every day.

We can choose how we will live this life…how we will use this gift we’ve been given.

Preparing for the end times is simple. Trusting in God and having faith is what it takes. If we don’t waste this life, we will have a much better eternity.

Why is it That We Don’t Think What We Have to Offer is Worth Anything?

Even The Smallest of Things Can Make the Biggest Difference

Feeling that we have nothing to offer is the perspective of most people. God has given each of us a purpose to fulfill and when we don’t…we’re letting Him down.

We have this mindset that if we aren’t doing some huge earth-shattering thing that it isn’t important. This is s a lie.

This self-defeating perspective is something that Satan uses to keep us from fulfilling our God given mission.

The importance of small actions used for the right reason is made clear in Mark 12:38-44. Here Jesus explains this to His disciples when they watch the poor widow give everything she has to God, while the rich leaders, teachers and lawyers make a big spectacle by giving only a small portion of what they have to God. Their focus was on the wrong place.

This is about priority…not quantity.

In Matthew 6:19-24, we’re told that we cannot serve two masters. Where our focus is, that’s what is the most important to us. A priority is only one thing…not multiple things. It’s up to us to decide what that one, most important thing is going to be to us.

If we are faithful in our giving…God will use it to do amazing things.

Oseola McCarty was born in March of 1908 and moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi as a child. When she was in the sixth grade, her aunt (who had no children of her own) was hospitalized and later needed homecare, so McCarty quit school, never to return. She later became a washerwoman, like her grandmother, a trade that she continued until arthritis forced her to quit in 1994.

McCarty’s grandmother died in 1944, followed by her mother in 1964 and her aunt in 1967. McCarty never married or had children.

What she earned from washing clothes for others was not much, but she was faithful with it. Her focus was on the right thing.

Even before dropping out of school, McCarty was taught by her mother to save money. Over the years she opened several savings accounts at various area banks, eventually she appointed a trustee of her trust and executor of her estate.

With the assistance of a local attorney, for whom she had done laundry, and the bank’s trust officer, McCarty set out the future distribution of her estate. She set aside 10% for her church, 10% each for three relatives, and 60% for Southern Miss. University.

She stipulated that the funds should be used for students, preferably those of African American descent, who could not otherwise attend due to financial hardship. When news of McCarty’s plan was made public, local leaders immediately funded an endowment in her honor. The amount was estimated at $150,000.00, a surprising amount given her low paying occupation.

This small thing that Oseola did…made a huge difference in other’s lives.

God can make big things out of little one…if we’ll just give them to Him.

We all have talents and gifts. Give them to God and prepared to be amazed at what He does with them.

Big things are built out of small pieces.


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What is True Love and What Does it Look Like?

Life is Full of Difficulties, But Love Makes It Easier to Get Through Them

We all experience difficulties in life. Some are more severe than others. Sometimes these situations can suck us down into depression and we just want to hide under the covers and stay there.

This is how Naomi felt after their family moved because where they lived was experiencing a famine. Then after moving, her husband died. Her sons both married and then a few years later they died. This was a lot to handle.

Then Naomi heard that the famine was over. She still had family there…so she decided to move back. Her daughters-in-law decided to go with her. Naomi told them they would be better off staying there with their families. Ruth, one of the daughters-in-law was having none of it. She loved Naomi and was going with her.

Ruth told Naomi, “Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you sleep, I will sleep. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God. Where you die, I will die, and that is where I will be buried.” Ruth 1:1-18

Life is full of difficult decisions, but they are much easier when we have the support from people we love and that love us.

This is what true love looks like.

Too often, we associate love with romance and forget how much more it is. It is so much more than the romantic love. There are four types of love

  • AffectionAffection covers an array of loves. The care of mother to baby is a picture of affection. It relies on the expected and the familiar. “Affection almost slinks or seeps through our lives. It lives with humble, un-dress, private things; soft slippers, old clothes, old jokes, the thump of a sleepy dog’s tail on the kitchen floor, the sound of a sewing-machine…”
  • FriendshipFriendship is the love dismissed. “To the Ancients, Friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves, the crown of life and the school of virtue. The modern world, in comparison, ignores it.”  Friendships have begun faith movements, developed entire areas of thought, and contributed to many projects from art to business.
  • RomanticDifferent than friendship, lovers, “are always talking to one another about their love” and “are normally face to face, absorbed in each other.” There’s a reason Scripture teaches this bond of man and woman, from Genesis onward, is the picture of God’s love for the world, Christ for his bride, the church. When we discover afresh that romance is more deeply set than the drivel served up by our culture, then we will more rightly hold our spouse in the model of unconditional love.
  • CharityThis is our chief aim, the unconditional love of the Father given to us through his Son. Affection, friendship and romantic love are each the training ground for charity to grow. We are made to love and we are in want of it. If we play it safe, we are not living out the Gospel, but burying the coin in the safe ground, as the parable says. We are taught in the Scripture to love those who are broken, not for some vague humanitarian effort, but to make disciples of all nations, “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Jesus is love. He is what true love looks like.

After Naomi and Ruth got home, Ruth married Boaz, they had a son named Obed, who was the father of Jesse and Jesse was the father of David. This is the family of Jesus. The love that Naomi and Ruth shared changed their lives and the world’s.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

We come from a long line of Love. Go and share that love with everyone you can.

The Untapped Power of the Mind is the One Thing That Keeps Most of Us Stuck

But the Mind Can’t Do It Alone…it Requires Action as Well

Why is it that we doubt what we know? There are countless examples of the power of the human mind, yet we think… “this power only works for other people, doesn’t apply to me”.

Not only is this lack of belief directed at ourselves, ultimately it shows our lack of trust in God.

In Mark 10:46-52, there’s an example of the power of belief and acting on that belief.

The blind Bartimaeus is sitting along the road begging for money as Jesus goes by, he begins shouting. The people told him to be quiet. He shouted for Jesus to help him even more.

Jesus told him to come to Him.

He got up and went to Jesus.

Jesus asked him what he wanted. He said, “I want to see again.”

Jesus said, “Go. You are healed because you believed.”

This is the power of believing and acting on those beliefs.

Too often people find themselves in a bad situation like Bartimaeus and give in and give up. They feel angry, hurt, defeated or afraid and just stay there. It’s okay to have these feelings…just not to stay there. We can fight the pain, or we can accept it, learn from it and move forward like Antoinette Bosco.

During her eventful life, Antoinette “Toni” Bosco had plenty of reasons to feel abandoned by God. A mentally ill mother, heavy responsibilities early in life, a disastrous arranged marriage, the death of three of her seven children – the list is a painful one. But, instead of turning her back on God, she decided to embrace Him even more.

She attributed much of her ability to cope in these difficult life situations to her Italian father who came to America as a young man. He taught her, “To be good to people, to help people, never be cruel and never be angry.”

There was a point of suffering when she just wanted to pull the covers up over her head and hide from the world. She was telling herself; I just can’t get up anymore. Then she heard another voice…

If you think you can’t or you think you can…you’re right.

“I would not have gotten through my life without my faith. I do believe that the Lord Jesus is with me all the time.”

Bosco has learned that you never know what’s going to come next in life, but no matter what, it is essential to keep the faith.

“I know every day my prayer is “Be with me and let me know that You are with me,’” she said. “So far that has sustained me.”

Use the power of your mind, given to you by your Creator and start moving forward to fulfill your life.

It’s Time for “Hot Chocolatey Mornings and Toasted Marshmallow Evenings”

This is a Great Perspective for the Season of Autumn

Some people like the season of autumn…some not so much. Some people find the shortening of the days and the cooler weather depressing.

An example of this is the lady that noticed her husband becoming grumpy as the days got shorter and overcast. She noticed his mood was sulky and sullen and he was continuously pouting. It had been raining the last two days and she noticed him just standing there looking through the window.

She realized that if something didn’t change, she was going to have to do something. That’s when she determined that if it was still raining tomorrow, she would have to let him back inside.

We all have seasons that we like better than others. Some like the warm sunny days of summer. Others like the new beginning of the spring. Of course, there are those of us that like the slowing down that comes with the cold days of winter. And don’t forget the beautiful colors of the leaves in autumn.

Everything needs a season and there’s a season for everything.

Seasons are part of God’s plan as shown to us in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

Christopher Robin gave Winnie the Pooh a calendar as a way to track the days, weeks, months and seasons. The calendar stopped at each season, which lead Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit and Owl to explore the world around them and noticing the changes. Among them: the water in the pond becomes hard and slick to skate on when it gets cold in the winter and becomes refreshing and fun to swim in when it gets warm in the summer.

As is typical of Winnie the Pooh, he found the positives rather than the negatives in the changing of the seasons. This is evident in his statement about autumn.

“It’s the first day of autumn! A time of hot chocolatey mornings, and toasty marshmallow evenings, and, best of all, leaping into leaves!”

Every season of the year and life has good and bad things about them. It’s up to us to choose which we’re going to focus on in each season.

We would all be happier if we looked at the seasons and everything else in life more like Winnie the Pooh.

Everything is always moving and changing.

The changing of the seasons is a way to physically see the movement of time.

It’s up to you to decide what your seasonal focus will be on.

What You Treasure the Most is Where Your Focus Will Be

Lack of Clarity About This Comes with a High Price Tag

Most of us have heard the story about the rich man unwilling to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor. Mark 10:17-27 This story often leads people to a misunderstanding of what God is asking of us. It’s not that God is against us being wealthy.

It’s about what’s most important to us.

This man’s focus was on his worldly wealth, not God. He had kept all the rules and regulations. But Jesus knew where his heart was. That’s why He tested him with this.

There are plenty of examples of wealthy people doing God’s work that aren’t asked to give up their worldly possessions.

It’s about where our focus is. Is it on the world or God?

Having spent our lives in the world it only makes sense that the world would be our point of reference.

Being rich is so much more than just monetary. Rich is also having a high value or quality. Being well supplied or endowed. This sounds a lot like something God would want us to have and would give us. He has given each of us a high value and qualities. It’s up to us to be focused and spend them wisely.

Having possessions isn’t limited to worldly possessions. Possessions are things possessed. We have been given so much more than just worldly things. We can possess skills, abilities, talents, insight, understanding, thoughts, ideas, etc. It’s our responsibility to use these possessions in the way the Giver intended.

The cost to being unclear about what we should be focused on first and foremost is expensive…just ask the rich young ruler.

We live in a time where we have more things clamoring for our attention than any other time in history. So many of these noisy things just pull our focus away from what’s matters most.

Like talking pants.

Everybody needs pants that tell them when they aren’t zipped up. Right? How novel. It is easy to be pulled away from the things most important. Don’t get me wrong…there are a lot of really fun and interesting gadgets and gizmos out there, and there’s nothing wrong with gadgets and gizmos. We just need to be clear about what our focus is on.

We can choose where our focus will be.

What will you focus on?

Open Your Eyes and Ears…You Don’t Want to Miss Out

Use Your Observances and Experiences to Build a Better You

You know how children’s curiosity is on the go nonstop. It’s runs wide open with no parameters. This is why as adults we have to keep them from touching a hot stove or chasing a ball into the street without looking.

On the other side, experience is a great education tool. Once you burn your finger you understand why not to touch that hot stove.

The 15th century proverb, children should be seen and not heard, originated in religious culture and was a part of that learning process. This was an effort to teach children to respect others, especially adults.

In Mark 10:13-15, Jesus tells His followers to not stop the children from coming to Him. This was an uncommon thing. At that time in history children were seen as non-persons until they became adults. They were to not be heard or seen.

Children shouldn’t be ignored or treated as adults…they’re children. They should be encouraged to be children.

As we grow up, we forget to keep this children’s eagerness to learn. We become stuck in the rut of life with our heads down shoveling our way forward.

We never look up to see God’s wonders that are all around us.

I see our relationship with God like a child’s relationship with an adult. He knows a lot more about things than I do. At the same time, He wants me to open my eyes and ears to the world around me. He loves it when I come to Him and ask Him questions.

We need to open our eyes and ears.

I approach my relationship with God as a mentor/advisor. Someone to ask questions of and get advice from, to help me build the best me. Too many people’s relationship with God is like children in biblical times. They try not to be seen or heard. This isn’t what God wants. He wants a relationship with us.

Pastor Lee shared some examples of billboards that show us God’s human side.  Here are a few –

  • “Come over to my house before the game on Sunday” …God
  • “You know that “Love Your Neighbor” thing? I meant that” …God
  • “Loved the wedding. Don’t forget to invite me to the marriage” …God
  • “Keep using my name in vain and I’ll make rush hour longer” …God

Recently my niece Hannah was having a chat with God while on her way to work. As she was asking if He was hearing her, she saw the small end of a rainbow. Okay she thought…is He hearing me or is this my imagination? Then the rainbow got longer. As she continued the conversation, it continued to get longer until it became a full rainbow.

Oh, but God didn’t stop there. Before He was finished there were two complete rainbows, one above the other so bright that she said they were the most brilliant and bight rainbows she had ever seen.

But this story doesn’t end there…

Hannah shared this with Pastor Lee and what do you know. He was looking at the same rain bow at the same time.

Open your eyes and ears…you don’t want to miss out.