Archive for February, 2013

i recently learned that the U.S. standard railroad gauge (distance between rails) is four feet, eight-and-one-half inches.

My first response was to ask, “Why such an odd number?” Because that’s the way they built them in England, and American railroads were built by former British railroad builders, was the answer i found.

But wait for it… Why did the English adopt that particular gauge? Because the people who built the pre-railroad tramways used that gauge.

Why… were they in turn locked into that gauge? Because the people who built tramways used the same standards and tools they had used for building wagons, which were set on a gauge of four feet, eight-and-one-half inches.

Why were wagons built to that scale? Because with any other size, the wheels did not match the old wheel ruts on the roads.

“So who built these old rutted roads?” Having fun yet?

The first long-distance highways in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The roads have been in use ever since. The ruts were first made by Roman war chariots. Four feet, eight-and-one-half inches was the width a chariot needed to be to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses.

Sir Issac Newton’s First Law of Motion says, Everything continues in a state of rest unless it is compelled to change by forces impressed upon it.

It seems like each day i am being stirred up to a state of unrest, a compelling to be changed by the Force of God being impressed upon me.

It’s been said that the only people who LIKE change are “wet babies” …and even they aren’t too excited about it.

A J Cronin a renowned story-teller said, “Life is not a straight and easy corridor along which we travel free and unhampered , but a maze of passages, through which we must seek our way, and sometimes while lost and confused, but always, if we have faith, God will open a door for us, not perhaps one that we ourselves would have thought of ,but one that will ultimately prove good for us “

Change has been around from the very first man…  Adam – having the garden to himself then to having to share it with woman.

Mark Twain – Adam’s Diary – MONDAY.–This new creature with the long hair is a good deal in the way. It is always hanging around and following me about. I don’t like this; I am not used to company. I wish it would stay with the other animals….

Eve – Life in the garden to life outside the garden. Genesis 3:13 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children;

Maybe “that’s the way it’s always been” isn’t the great excuse some people believe it to be.

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Every once in a while i come across some suppossed factual information regarding the topic i am posting on. i meant to share this when i was specifically sharing about regret, but somehow i missed posting it so before i get to far away from the topic i thought i’d share it today.

Do Men and Women Differ in The Things They Regret?

Studies on gender differences in regret show the increased value that women put on relationships and how women have more difficulty disengaging attention from past relationships. Overall, 44% of women surveyed had romantic regrets, versus just 19% of men. This result may also reflect men’s greater tendency to replace lost relationships quickly with new partners. In this study, those not in a current relationship, understandably, had more regret over past ones.

Do People Living in the U.S. Experience Regret More Than in Other Cultures?

Research studies have compared the experience of regret in cultures such as the U.S., where individuals have more choice over their life’s course, versus in cultures with arranged marriages, where family have much more control over life choices. Not surprisingly, regret is much more commonly experienced and reported to have more positive aspects by young people in the U.S. People in collectivist cultures, which deemphasize individual choice, have less of a basis for blaming themselves for negative outcomes. They had no other choice, so they may as well accept the situation and make the best of it.

Do People Experience More Regret When They Look Back Over Long Periods?

Other research has compared regret over different time periods. Over short time periods, people are more likely to regret actions taken and mistakes made, whereas over long time periods, they are more likely to regret actions not taken, such as missed opportunities for love or working too hard and not spending enough time with family

There is a web site dedicated to people who want to share their regrets. This is one of many, which all have the same tone and sentiments. All i can say is that i never want to be in that place and if i ever am i want it to be as short a time as possible. Oh, and i don’t want to be at the other end of anyone with this type of regret.

“I regret not being skinny or pretty enough for you. I regret that every time we are together I just wish you would kiss me the way you do in my dreams. I regret every time you say we are best friends, because all I want is to marry you and have your children. I regret every time you text me, I get excited and I regret every time you invite me to hang out. I regret working next to you every day because just seeing makes my heart hut. But most of all I regret the first time you asked me to a baseball game and we started our friendship because had you never done that I wouldn’t live every day of my life wishing you were mine but knowing you don’t want me like that, so I have to wear a mask and pretend I want you to have a girlfriend and that I’m happy as your best friend.

First, Please forgive me for every malicious thing I am going to write, because I genuinely… Hate You…

I regret ever meeting you and letting you into my life. I regret letting you treat me like a doormat and a disposable piece of trash. I regret the years of tears wasted on someone that emotionally manipulative and so selfish….

I regret you never being hit by a car… I regret that no woman has ever put you in your place… I regret that you mother and father decided to come together and create you… The world would be a better place if you were never born… I regret that you were never raised to respect people, especially women… And at the end of the day…

If you were lying in the middle of the road dying and I was the only person able to help… I’d walk over your body, spit in your face and finish the job.”

Let me close with this thought, “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”

“To the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favorable wind.”— Seneca

There is a movie called “Under The Tuscan Sun” that Ann Marie loves and i enjoy because of the lessons within it. i have to look for these lessons, as they do not just jump out. This will not make much sense if you have not seen the movie but it helps me make the point of vision and foresight in regards to persevering and staying away from regret and would, coulda, shoulda.

The most meaningful part of the movie for me, comes when Frances is in conversation with Martini, the Realtor who helped negotiate the purchase of the villa, whom she has befriended. She moans and groans about her circumstances, wondering if her life will ever turn around and she will feel a sense of home.

He says to her: “Signora, between Austria and Italy, there is a section of the Alps called the Semmering. It is an impossibly steep, very high part of the mountains. They built a train track over these Alps to connect Vienna and Venice. They built these tracks even before there was a train in existence that could make the trip. They built it because they knew some day, the train would come.”

Someday my train will come. Each day, i awaken and like, Frances, find myself “standing at the crossroads.” wondering which way to turn. i question why my life circumstances appear as they do at the moment and what steps to take to have them blossom more fully into what i desire. i gaze backward and see when and where i have laid the train tracks in ‘”impossibly steep” mountainous terrain. i notice, with gratitude, who it is that has worked on the railroad with me, swinging the hammers, pounding steel into rocky ground. i question what it is that has me knowing eventually that ‘Vienna and Venice’ will connect and that the train will arrive, carrying on it the work i was born to do. Each day, like Frances, i celebrate God’s gift of choice that embraces me, the beauty and magic that i encounter, noticing the messages that arrive, ushering me into His “presence” in which “unmistakably good things can happen… even late in the game.”

“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be. Your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.”— James Allen

i do not imagine that God actually ever considered woulda as in, i woulda done it this way but Jesus wanted to do it that way. I do not imagine that God ever said, I coulda done this and maybe it would have turned out better. And i certainly do not see God saying ,i shoulda made ed different and just maybe. i am also quite convinced that God does not have any regrets about creation and that’s including me, so there must be an alternative and today i will share what that alternative may look like. Mind you i am not saying that God is pleased with everything as it is.

PERSEVERE: To persist in or remain constant to a purpose, idea, or task in the face of obstacles or discouragement. Be persistent, refuse to stop;

There’s a bird sitting in a tree watching as a caterpillar makes a very slow ascent up a barren peach tree. The bird asks sarcastically, “Why are you coming up here? There are no peaches on this tree.” The caterpillar, lumbering along, says in a most assured manner, “There will be by the time I get there.”

i go through a tough time and i get all panicky; then the Lord stills the storm and i think, “Thank God that’s all over. I’ll never have to go through that again! i’ve learned my lesson!” And two weeks later, there is another storm. But this time since i’ve been through it once, you would think that i should respond a little better and a little quicker. Define a “little”

When i persevere, something happens to me on the inside that i need… i develop inner strength. i LEARN! i acquire experience – i acquire ability – i acquire skill.

When i persist, remain constant to the purpose, or task,  in the face of obstacles or discouragement i recover life. This sounds like God, He persists, He remains constant to the purpose, or task, IN THE FACE OF OBSTACLES OR DISCOURAGEMENT!

That’s what the word says! “Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. I’ll show you how to recover your life.” TAKE! To get into my possession by force, or skill. It will not come by coincidence. It won’t just happen. Jesus says, you must purpose to develop inner strength and to LEARN, TAKE!

Matthew 11:29 Jesus says, “Walk with Me and work with Me — Watch how I do it.”

David said in Psalm 16:9 I’m happy from the inside out, and from the outside in, I’m firmly formed.

How am i firmly formed? James 1:2-4 Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations (PERSEVERE). Be assured and understand (PERSEVERE) that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience (PERSEVERANCE) have full play and do a thorough work (PERSEVERE), so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed (PERSEVERING) [with no defects], lacking in nothing.

i need to possess HOPE. (To look forward to with confidence or expectation:) Jesus says, I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.

Job 8:13 says “That’s what happens to all who forget God… all their hopes come to nothing.” i get tired, i get worn out, i get burned out when i forget God.

There are times when i want to improve my circumstances but don’t want to improve myself. When i do improve everything gets better. Improvement does not happen automatically.

The law of diminishing intent applied to perseverance simply states that the longer i wait to persevere instead of doing it now, the greater the odds are i will never do it. And if i do not persevere i will be left thinking, woulda, coulda, shoulda or even worse regretting.

These are stories, from the bible, that i am looking at today. i am unsure how to share my points other than to bold the places where i… yes i would consider woulda, coulda, shoulda, or regret. Such as, i coulda picked better disciples or i shoulda picked a better purpose for coming to earth. How about i woulda done it different. And what of regret for how things appeared to be turning out, all that was given out of love for these people. The closing today is kinda (Get it kinda, woulda, coulda) my one line summary for these posts.

1. Matthew 26:17-25 On the first of the Days of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare your Passover meal?” He said, “Enter the city. Go up to a certain man and say, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near. I and my disciples plan to celebrate the Passover meal at your house.’” The disciples followed Jesus’ instructions to the letter, and prepared the Passover meal.

After sunset, he and the Twelve were sitting around the table. During the meal, he said, “I have something hard but important to say to you: One of you is going to hand me over to the conspirators.

They were stunned, and then began to ask, one after another, “It isn’t me, is it, Master?” Jesus answered, “The one who hands me over is someone I eat with daily, one who passes me food at the table. In one sense the Son of Man is entering into a way of treachery well-marked by the Scriptures—no surprises here. In another sense that man who turns him in, turns traitor to the Son of Man—better never to have been born than do this!” Then Judas, already turned traitor, said, “It isn’t me, is it, Rabbi?” Jesus said, “Don’t play games with me, Judas.”

2. Mark 14:32-42 They came to an area called Gethsemane. Jesus told his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him. He plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony. He told them, “I feel bad enough right now to die. Stay here and keep vigil with me.” Going a little ahead, he fell to the ground and prayed for a way out: “Papa, Father, you can—can’t you?—get me out of this. Take this cup away from me. But please, not what I want—what do you want?” He came back and found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, you went to sleep on me? Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert, be in prayer, so you don’t enter the danger zone without even knowing it. Don’t be naive. Part of you is eager, ready for anything in God; but a nother part is as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”He then went back and prayed the same prayer. Returning, he again found them sound asleep. They simply couldn’t keep their eyes open, and they didn’t have a plausible excuse. He came back a third time and said, “Are you going to sleep all night? No—you’ve slept long enough. Time’s up. The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up. Let’s get going. My betrayer has arrived.”

3. Luke 14:48-50 Jesus said to them, “What is this, coming after me with swords and clubs as if I were a dangerous criminal? Day after day I’ve been sitting in the Temple teaching, and you never so much as lifted a hand against me. What you in fact have done is confirm the prophetic writings.” All the disciples cut and ran.

4. Matthew 27:35-50 After they had finished nailing him to the cross and were waiting for him to die, they whiled away the time by throwing dice for his clothes. Above his head they had posted the criminal charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews. Along with him, they also crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s Son, come down from that cross!” The high priests, along with the religion scholars and leaders, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: “He saved others—he can’t save himself! King of Israel, is he? Then let him get down from that cross. We’ll all become believers then! He was so sure of God—well, let him rescue his ‘Son’ now—if he wants him! He did claim to be God’s Son, didn’t he?” Even the two criminals crucified next to him joined in the mockery. From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. Around midafternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Some bystanders who heard him said, “He’s calling for Elijah.” One of them ran and got a sponge soaked in sour wine and lifted it on a stick so he could drink. The others joked, “Don’t be in such a hurry. Let’s see if Elijah comes and saves him.” But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed his last.

In closing, If it seems like I’ve been lost in ‘lets remember’, If it seems I’m gettin’ older and missin’ my younger days, well you shoulda known me much better, cause the past is something that never got in my way.

i tend to become restless and preoccupied with only one thought, when will this be over? Of course i am referring to circumstances that are not going in the direction that i believed they would and with each instance there is the opportunity for woulda, coulda, shoulda. Yet on the other side if i had not moved in any direction, i am left with the nagging question of “What if?”

John 5:39 “You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.

HERE I AM, STANDING RIGHT BEFORE YOU, AND YOU AREN’T WILLING TO RECEIVE FROM ME THE LIFE YOU SAY YOU WANT.

Why am i not willing to receive? i say i want it but won’t receive it? If i want a new shirt i go out and get it. If i want a new car i find a way to make it happen but this verse says that i won’t receive the life of God that i say i want.

The words from John 5:39 say that my head is in the Bible constantly because that’s where i think i’ll find eternal life. BUT I MISS THE FOREST FOR THE TREES. If i am getting these words correct then it’s not that the Bible isn’t important but it is not where eternal life is gained, it’s in a personal relationship that i will find my life. If i want no regrets then i must find a daily, deep, personal, intimate relationship with the Father who is standing right before me. How many times do i miss His presence because of His word? i’d rather read the word than sit quietly, motionless in His presence. i know that takes some thought to grasp. The word is very important to me but not so much for my personal relationship with the Father, but as a learning tool to guide me and show me how i am to “Be.” The relationship is face to face, personal an intimate.

Here’s what i know about me and thus i can make a prediction for me. If i do not follow Christ daily, it is doubtful i will follow him at all for long. My recent lapses of daily time with Him are proof enough for me.

As i am coming to the end of this topic there is a couple that if anyone would think would, coulda, shoulda or have a sever moment of regret it would be in the story of Ananias and Sapphira. Peter confronts Ananias with his crime in verses 3-4.  He says, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit …”  And then at the end of verse 4 he says, “You have not lied to men but to God.”  i would say with almost 100% certainty that at that moment woulda, coulda, shoulda was consuming his thoughts. “Perhaps i shoulda done this differently” coulda been his exact words? In the moment where he was dying i’ll bet he had lots of regret if he was aware of what was taking place.

Here’s the heart of the matter.  The crime in this text is not that this man and his wife kept back some of the money.  Their crime is that they lied to God.  In these verses we see an unambiguous reference to the deity of the Holy Spirit.  He along with the Father and the Son is eternal God.  Ananias and Sapphira lied to God the Holy Spirit while attempting to make themselves look better than they were.  It is the sin of hypocrisy.  Peter says to the husband, “Didn’t (the field) belong to you before it was sold?  And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?  What made you think of doing such a thing?”  If Satan cannot destroy the church from without, he will attempt to destroy it from within.  “They wanted the credit and the prestige for sacrificial generosity, without the inconvenience of it.  So, in order to gain a reputation to which they had no right, they told a brazen lie.  Their motive in giving was not to relieve the poor, but to fatten their own ego.”

Hebrews 3:12-13 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

i am to “Exhort one another daily.” How can i do that if i am not living for and in Christ daily? Why is this important? Proverbs 25:26 Like a muddied fountain and a polluted spring is a righteous man who yields, falls down, and compromises his integrity before the wicked.

“All The Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas Layin’ In The Sun, Talkin’ ‘Bout The Things They Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda Done…
But All Those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas All Ran Away And Hid From One Little Did.”

3.  “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”

Living a life of regret can express itself powerfully in my emotional life if left to be dominated by the unhealthy emotions that I described yesterday, for example, fear, frustration, and anger. Unfortunately, culture does not encourage a healthy emotional life in which i have the opportunity to truly understand my emotions and their causes, whether positive or negative. A life that aims to experience no regret inspires me to be thoroughly in touch with all of my emotions, whether hurt and loneliness or love and excitement, and frees me to have the courage to express those emotions in ways that are genuine and that enrich my life.

4.  “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”

Is there anything more important to a happy and healthy life than meaningful relationships? According to research, the answer is no; relationships are the single best predictor of happiness. Yet, a risk-free life makes fulfilling relationships a near impossibility because relationships are, by their very nature, risky and filled with regret. Also, this mobile, fast-paced, and technologically connected culture often doesn’t leave time for relationships to grow and flourish. Rejecting regret frees me from these inhibitions and allows me to pursue and continue relationships with gusto.

5.  “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

Happiness, of course, is the supposed bottom line. What’s the point of life if it can’t be filled with joy, contentment, excitement, and everything else that accompanies happiness. Yet, when i live a safe life, it individually and cumulatively ensures that i won’t find happiness because everything related to that secure life isn’t remotely associated with happiness. When i take the risks necessary to avoid regret, i clear the path to happiness.

So there it is the top 5 reasons people dying say are regrets. Personally i have tried to embrace every opportunity i have come upon. Of course, many of those opportunities led to dead ends and, in some cases, heartbreak. Naturally i feel disappointed (oops there’s that word) that they didn’t turn out the way i wanted. But that feeling of disappointment is mild and short-lived compared to the feeling of regret i would feel if i didn’t take the shot. At the same time, along with the sadness at the failed opportunity, there is an upside. i usually feel a certain satisfaction in knowing that at least i went for it and gave it my all.

Along with regret is a question that will gnaw at me for every missed opportunity and chance to take action that passed me by: “What could have been?” “What if?” i don’t have a crystal ball to gaze into, to see what would have happened if i had let go of my fears and gone for it. Of course, good things don’t always happen when i take action, but i’m going to argue that more good things happen when i go for it than when i run from it. Even if things don’t work as planned, at least i know and, with that knowledge, i don’t spend my living (and dying) days wondering what could have been.

At the end of any given day, the past year, when I retire, or on my death-bed, i want to look back on my life and be able to say “i left it all out there.” i can only do that when i am not afraid of life. And the only way to not fear life is to believe that regret is the worst emotion i can feel.

Don’t stress what coulda or shoulda happened..because what DID happen prepared you for what’s GONNA happen!

i am not a woulda, coulda, shoulda person. When whatever happens, i usually can accept it and usually learn something from it. They say that everyone has regrets in life. While that MAY be true i have a difficult time in stating any regrets i have. i struggle to think of what or how i would do things differently. If the word is true and everything comes from God, goes through God and ends in God then i find it difficult to have regrets or live a life based on woulda, coulda, shoulda.

The worst emotion i can imagine feeling is woulda, coulda, shoulda, what if, or regret? At Onething Campus i hear people express lots of different emotions. Some are wonderful such as joy, excitement, pride, and inspiration. Others are less positive including fear, frustration, anger, and sadness. Yet, the one emotion that i consider to be perhaps the worst of all emotions is regret.

What is regret? It’s the idea that i wish i had done something differently. There are no dress rehearsals in life, no opportunities for do-overs. i get one shot at life, so i might as well accept that there will be a bunch of “woulda, coulda, shoulda” when i look in the rearview mirror of my life.

The issue of regret is very personal to me because one of my goals in life has been to experience as little regret as possible.

Regret can involve action or inaction. Life presents all kinds of opportunities. i then have a choice whether to embrace or reject each opportunity. i can take a leap of faith and risk failing. Or i can keep my feet firmly planted on the ground and seemingly ensure my safety, while also missing out on what the opportunity had to offer.

i know a lot of people who have deep regrets about what they didn’t do, an idea not pursued, a job not taken, a relationship gone bad.

I came across a blog recently written by a nurse who takes care of dying patients. The post described the five regrets that she heard most frequently from her patients:

1.  “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

This regret is perhaps the most fundamental because it lies at the heart of leading a rich life. So much of the lack of meaning, satisfaction, and happiness that people experience can be boiled down to the fact that they are not living a life that is consistent with their true selves, values, and goals. This creates a tension that can lead to an unfulfilled life.

2.  “I wish I didn’t work so hard.”

I actually have mixed feelings about this regret. I think that if i experience regret #1 and i am in a career that isn’t aligned with who i am, then, yes, i will feel great regret for having spent time working when i could have been devoting my time to activities and people that i value.

At the same time, if my career is one, that i have great passion for, it is a source of satisfaction and pride, and i feel productive, valued, and connected, then this regret may not be relevant. As with most things in life, it’s probably best to strive for a life that includes engaging work, interesting avocations, and nurturing relationships.

The words in the following story, “Lessons From The Geese” should make me pause for a moment and invoke the thoughts that there is something here to learn., Something to be remembered. But for how long will those thoughts become actions? What the geese do they do by instinct. Is what i do to others by instinct, or is it something i’ve learned? The Word is full of instruction, and examples of how i am to treat others., yet it is often a struggle.

But what’s gone wrong? What’s tearing at relationships? i remember a day when people actually came to our home for dinner, Now we sit in loud restaurants and try to have quality conversation above the noise. The lack of time has replaced intimacy for casual relationships.

Lessons From Geese

As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird following. By flying in a formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if the bird flew alone.

When i  share a common direction and sense of community i can get where i am going quicker and easier because i am traveling on the thrust of others.

Acts 2:1. 42,46,47 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of: bread, and in prayers. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone, and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.

Lesson: If i have as much senses as a goose, i will stay in formation with those who are headed where i want to go. This means i must be willing to accept their help as well as give mine to others.

Galatians 6:2,10 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies at the point position.

It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, i am interdependent on others skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources

II Corinthians 8:13, 14 For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality, that at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that at their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that their maybe equality.

The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Lesson: i need to make sure my honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater.

Hebrews 10:24, 25 And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up stimulate and incite to love and helpful deeds and noble activities; Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together as believers, as is the habit of some people, but admonishing, warning, urging, and encouraging one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.

When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help protect it. They stay with it until it is able to fly again or dies. Then they launch out on their own with another formation, or catch up with the flock.

If i have as much sense as geese, i will stand by others in difficult times as well as when they are strong.

I Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it records no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects. always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. LOVE NEVER FAILS!

So am i left to conclude that i must be a silly goose?

 

 

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, but only saps today of its strength.

There are times when others have better words than i do for where i am at any given moment. This is one of them. Perspective makes a difference. i owe David Ryser a debt of gratitude for the words that follow. While this is not new being reminded is always beneficial.

THE QUESTION that CHANGED MY LIFE  – by David Ryser.
A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school of ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with Jesus and to become voices for revival in the Church. I came across a quote attributed most often to Rev. Sam Pascoe.

It is a short version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this: Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise. Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old–barely out of diapers–and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, “An enterprise. That’s a business.” After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha’s raised hand, “Yes, Martha.” She asked such a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?” I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, “Yes.” She continued, “But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”

The room went dead silent. For several seconds no one moved or spoke. We were stunned, afraid to make a sound because the presence of God had flooded into the room, and we knew we were on holy ground. All I could think in those sacred moments was, “Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.” I didn’t dare express that thought aloud. God had taken over the class.

Martha’s question changed my life. For six months, I thought about her question at least once every day. “When a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?” There is only one answer to her question. The answer is “Yes.” The American Church, tragically, is heavily populated by people who do not love God. How can we love Him? We don’t even know Him; and I mean really know Him.

… I stand by my statement that most American Christians do not know God–much less love Him. The root of this condition originates in how we came to God. Most of us came to Him because of what we were told He would do for us. We were promised that He would bless us in life and take us to heaven after death. We married Him for His money, and we don’t care if He lives or dies as long as we can get His stuff. We have made the Kingdom of God into a business, merchandising His anointing. This should not be. We are commanded to love God, and are called to be the Bride of Christ–that’s pretty intimate stuff. We are supposed to be His lovers. How can we love someone we don’t even know? And even if we do know someone, is that a guarantee that we truly love them? Are we lovers or prostitutes?

I was pondering Martha’s question again one day, and considered the question, “What’s the difference between a lover and a prostitute?” I realized that both do many of the same things, but a lover does what she does because she loves. A prostitute pretends to love, but only as long as you pay. Then I asked the question, “What would happen if God stopped paying me?”

For the next several months, I allowed God to search me to uncover my motives for loving and serving Him. Was I really a true lover of God? What would happen if He stopped blessing me? What if He never did another thing for me? Would I still love Him? Please understand, I believe in the promises and blessings of God. The issue here is not whether God blesses His children; the issue is the condition of my heart. Why do I serve Him? Are His blessings in my life the gifts of a loving Father, or are they a wage that I have earned or a bribe/payment to love Him? Do I love God without any conditions? It took several months to work through these questions.

Even now I wonder if my desire to love God is always matched by my attitude and behavior. I still catch myself being disappointed with God and angry that He has not met some perceived need in my life. I suspect this is something which is never fully resolved, but I want more than anything else to be a true lover of God. (DITTO)

In closing i ask myself, what is it going to be? Which am i, lover or prostitute? There are no prostitutes in heaven, or in the Kingdom of God for that matter, but there are plenty of former prostitutes in both places. Take it from a recovering prostitute when i say there is no substitute or unconditional, intimate relationship with God. i must choose.