Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Today I Have; Always I Have


We arrived at our cottage yesterday for an extended stay. It's been between -5 and -15 degrees Fahrenheit before the wind chill here and let's just agree to say it is cold. Maybe not as snowy as Boston or cold as Minnesota, but I really don't need to compete, I just know it's cold!

So after the drive, I walk in to start the furnace and … nothing.

Uh oh.

I was in immediate investigation and maintenance mode; and I had to make a call fairly quick. If the furnace doesn't go on, we head home. There are certain things we can work around (mainly thinking water issues) but heat is not one of them. I can't unpack the luggage and family and hope that the furnace kicks on as the sun sets on a day as cold as it was … and still is. A fire in the fireplace is cozy, but hardly effective against so much cold and so much house.

To save you the drama, I was able to diagnose the issue, restart, and got it running. Right then and there I was relieved … vacation was saved and can now begin! But what if I find out we have a frozen water line? No problem … it will thaw. We have heat!

Indeed we did have water issues, and it came to melting snow to thaw pipes (as we ran out of bottled water, aside some we saved for drinking) but I was already relaxed. Did I mention we have heat?

After a few hours I got it to break free and we had running water … well … some … and all cold … but we can drink, make coffee … and flush! =)

I'm happy!

A while later we broke the hot water lines free … and filled the tank! Now we have hot water! Well, at least in one faucet!

Then it was the hot water in the tub that sprung free ... a hot shower! What a treat!

Then it was the kitchen sink!

Then it was the dishwasher!

All in about 24 hours … it was like surprises and little gifts every 6 hours or so.

And now? All systems go and a vacation ahead of me.

I wonder if I would be as thrilled, relaxed, and appreciative if the furnace didn't have any issues? If the water lines weren't frozen, and the faucets ran, and the showers were up and running, and we were running a dishwasher right from the start?

"One of the most amazing revelations of God comes to us when we learn that it is in the everyday things of life that we realize the magnificent deity of Jesus Christ." - Oswald Chambers
So am I saying God broke my water lines free to bring me comfort? (then what about the busted pipes and havoc it caused down the road at my cousins' place?) ... my point isn't the pipes, the water, or the heat. My point is how something like that got me to focus on the every day moments of life ... and how Jesus does not play a starring role on a show occasionally. He is the show itself. It got me to slow down enough to see Him again. Perhaps next time when I do have to turn around and head back home I will remember these very words I write now. He's the same yesterday as He is today as He will be tomorrow.


Today I have heat, but I will always have Jesus.

His,
~Matthew

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fighting For It ...


Have you ever wanted something so bad that you figuratively clawed your way to get it, or at least try? You just had to have it ... you wanted it so bad ... you fought, earned, pushed, and kept persisting until you had it; or maybe the fight rages on.

For some it may be their career, a relationship that you are trying to save, that cancer that you are determined to beat, or even something recreational like that dream vacation you always wanted for your family that you are working and saving to finally have.

So that by any means possible ... you may attain it?

Paul felt that way too ...
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 
(Philippians 3:8-11 ESV)
Not only does this attainment sound like a lot more than a magical prayer, it reminds me of my focus and what I fight for. Do I desire Christ that much? Do I count everything I have lost as rubbish, so that I may gain Christ? Does my life reflect comfort, or commission?

This is not about guilt, it's about what we fight for; it's about Love.

May we find new energy and passion today for our Lord Jesus ...

His,
~Matthew

Dieting and Jesus

Warrior Dash, 2012 (Michigan)

Ok, perhaps I'm click-baiting a bit with a title like that, but it really is where my train of thought went today as I started my morning as I made breakfast.

This time of the year is the busiest for me at work, and this year is the busiest I've ever had, and this week was the peak. Unfortunately, it's not a sharp peak, so I may be up here gazing at the clouds for a bit ... but I digress.

I made a decision today to stop destroying my body with lack of exercise and nutrition. I'm not changing anything radical, just going to choose a healthy lifestyle. I know ... I've said that before ... but this still is not the point of my post so forget my past failures (I have).

I then started to think about my body in general, and the expression(s) "You've taken ___ years off my life!". Sometimes said in jest when my children scare the goobers out of me, or sometimes quietly I say it to myself when I get on the scale, or examine my food intake.

But really, our bodies are not entirely like that are they? Yes, there are exceptions, but as I think about the amazing design of His creation I find it fascinating how our bodies actual heal. Cell regeneration, organs that remove and flush toxins out of our body ... it's all quite fascinating how we actually heal ourselves. We certainly can do damage, and some heal in areas that others don't. However as I eat my breakfast I'm refreshed by the idea that it's not "too late" to start eating healthy. It's not "too late" to give my body time to heal, recover, and rebuild. It's "too late" to become a runner again.

And then there is Jesus ...

It's never too late to walk up to the Healer of Healers and stand redeemed. Broken, bruised, nearly destroyed ... He still regenerates us. We are never too far gone. I pray it's closer to your next breath than last breath ... but may you breath out and profess a Name; a Name above all Names, that will breath life into you.

Already have? Then take a moment to refresh yourself of that Name. Find a quiet corner in your house, or take a moment in the shower alone ... smile ... you are a child of the One True King!

Healing,
~Matthew

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Today's Prayer


The past few days have been a bit challenging for me; spiritually, physically, and emotionally. I sit here thankfully able take some time this evening to recharge and recenter. As I do so I am reminded about all the light around me. The opportunity to work, the people I interface with, the smiles on the faces of my children, the uplifting and supportive nature of my wife, the privileges I have not only in this world and country, but the simple privileges I have in my home, like heat. So much ...

It's not just "being positive". It's a decision to quench His Spirit (1 Thess 5:19) of love, power, and self-control; or fan It into flame.  With a word, gesture, comment, or action, I can spread more of His light, or I can cast a shadow over It ... so tonight ... I just pray.

Father, grant me the strength to see You not only in me, but in my midst.
May I fan into flame through your Spirit the beauty and power of the Gospel.
May I represent you at work, home, and in the community in a way that shines your Light.
Let me never forget who I am, and Whose I am.
Thank you for loving me, so that I can share that love with others.
Strengthen me.
Increase my Faith.
Let me be an instrument of Your will.

Yours,
Matthew

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Seek, not Think

Some of the buildings along the Rhine

I had the privilege to travel to Köln Germany on business a couple weeks ago. It was my 2nd trip, and another short stay (only four days during the work week). I did however find myself wandering the town in the evenings after dinner just trying to explore and find some photos to take back and remember. The scenes were beautiful and something that I will always have to reflect on.

The Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)

The Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)

I've often been thinking lately (and sharing with others) that if it wasn't for intentionally getting out, I could have easily collapsed on my bed at the hotel after work, thought about home, and just went to bed. I however chose to take my camera, tripod, and walking shoes, on a mission to seek out the city as if on a quest; sometimes with specific places to photograph and visit. 

That is in fact what I want to talk about; seeking.

Many times in Scripture I come across passages about seeking; seeking Him, seeking peace, seeking His Kingdom. In particular one time Jesus was talking about worry, anxiety, and how we fret too much over the things of this world. We should be content knowing that God loves us and will care for our needs. He ends with a simple direction for our focus:
"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness..." (Matthew 6:33a)
Did you ever think about what it means to seek first the kingdom of God?

Seek as defined both in the current dictionary, as well as my favorite dictionary from 1828 written by Noah Webster, is as follows: To go in search, or quest of.

Search ... Quest ...

Laying in my hotel at night, I could have thought about the city, the sites, the opportunities, and the memories I could be creating. But instead I moved. I actively took a step to search the city, to make a quest of what I wanted to do, and set out to accomplish it.

This is how He wants us to be. Not just meditating on His kingdom, His Word, and what it looks like; but to actively pursue it!
"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things [that you need] will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)
This is not about health, wealth, and prosperity. It is about God meeting our real needs, some of which we don't understand or know we even need. However first ... first ... we must seek Him out, seek His kingdom, seek His righteousness." Not by sitting and pondering in comfort and complacency, but actively pursuing Him where we are planted, right now!

"Many of us refuse to grow where God plants us." - Oswald Chambers

This is not about waiting until your 10 year plan, 5 year plan, or next year plan comes to fruition. You are where God needs you to be right now. That is His plan ... now. So look around your home, workplace, church, and community, and see where He is wanting to use you to spread His kingdom message.

May we not just think of Him, may we actively seek Him.

His,
~Matthew
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