What a Day!

Relaxing

G.P.Avants

“But beloved do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day.”

                                                                                      2 Peter 3:8

 

Today was great! I took a day off to catch up on rest, take a bike ride, and finish up plans for the last week of school. Every once in a while it’s nice to get pressing things done and over with.

God has an amazing day coming where I think He is using to finish pressing that history has left undone. The Bible does day that to the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. When Christ returns there will be a time called “The Day of the Lord”. In that one day He will basically set everything right before the end of the story. What makes that day special is that there is no night as we know it and it lasts 1,000 years. God is the keeper of time and eternity. He is not on a rush and He won’t let one tiny thing go unfinished.

helping-hands

What a day that will be. I wonder if those who have missed out on things in this time, will be able to do it in that say? Those unfinished stories, conversations, or tasks that something kept us from might be finally completed before the sun sets on that day.  I can think about all the places I couldn’t go because of money, or the time to sit down and listen when something else has my ear. In many ways God is preparing us to step into Eternity, which last forever and is different than Time in many ways.

It’s just like God to bring history back to where it all started. I can breathe easier knowing if something doesn’t get done now, maybe it’s planned for that special day.

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Outfoxing the Foxes

Foxes

By G.P.Avants

Catch for us the little foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards.”

                                                Song of Songs 2:15

Sure they look cute and harmless. That’s what they want you to think as they eat you out of house and home. Little things that are sly, quiet, and in the long run totally destructive. Those foxes!

In the Song of Songs, Solomon gave a lot of descriptions of life. He compared the loving relationship to the unconditional loving relationship God wants to have with us. The Lover (who is the Lord) tells his Beloved (us) to catch the little foxes that ruin his garden. The way the Lover describes the garden is like the most cherish, peaceful, and intimate places God wants to share with us.

baby foxes

Those foxes are small yet, they do their damage and things don’t grow the way they should or not at all. Little things? Can these be worries? Maybe its things in my life that I keep secretly in a closet that I think aren’t that dangerous. Is it maybe a slothful part of my life that I slip into time and time again? Bad habits? Inconsistency?

Sweet-foxes

If they are so small why is God so concerned about them? One reason might be is that they slip under the radar and systematically work on bigger things. They can be a button that when pushed, sets me off and undoes so many other good things. Isn’t Solomon the same guy who wrote about a fly can ruin the ointment?

I get irked by my son not emptying the dishwasher. I get irritated by him sitting on the computer and not getting up and doing it. I let it eat at me and I lose my cool. It turns into a fight and ruins my witness to him. If I don’t let it go it can hurt others in my household, neighborhood, and community. How’s my garden after that fox does his damage?

Fox

Show me how to catch those little foxes. Lord, I pray for wisdom to let you remove those irkings. Thank you for letting those obsessions go! I want to be able to keep my relationships green and fox-free. May you find things growing that you planted, Lord, and be happy with what you see.

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Posted in avoiding temptation, Change, foxes, God, Jesus, save from sin, Spiritual fitness, spiritual strength, temptation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to Bring Down a Giant 

Iron Image
By G.P. Avants
I am looking at a giant among men right now. It was once a mighty foe and struck fear in the hearts of its enemies. It was free, a master of its own destiny, and seemingly unchallenged by any other power under Heaven.  Those who were under the giant’s protection never had a better friend or more powerful ally. But the giant’s enemies never rested. They knew the giant’s land was bountiful and its storehouses full. They knew the only way to rob it of its wealth was to slowly weaken it from the inside out.
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They began by making the giant lazy. He was lulled into a false sense of security which caused him to lower his guard at the borders of his land.
The lure of gold and gain was their next step. The giant’s enemies were sly and got the giant’s heart more desirous of wealth then for the people he protected.
They slowly poisoned his food, got him addicted to unnatural highs, and in time brought the giant to a hazy stupor.
Iron_Giant
The people under his protection  began fighting amongst themselves. The land began to wither and produce dry tasteless food. Slowly, one compromising step at a time,  the giant’s enemies watched for a day when they could imprison the giant and make him do their bidding.
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The giant is on his knees and his fate is uncertain. Those who love the giant are hoping this time of humbling will get him praying. No matter how big a giant or a nation becomes it will never be great without God’s strength.  Maybe, like Job in the Bible, this powerful figure had let pride and self hide  heartland. May God help US, a giant in the land, find its glory when it seeks to be one nation under God again.
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Can I Try That?

I am dancing

“But being examples to the flock.”

                          1 Peter 5: 3

I love to see people of different races doing something together. To me this is cool stuff. Here’s an example. A young American girl befriends an Indian girl. She sees her friend do a traditional dance from her country. Her American counterpart is entranced. She asks her friend, “Can I try that. Will you teach me?” Her friend to teach her the dance. After some practice, both girls perform the dance for their families. Two different cultures share an experience and both are richer for it.

Japanese dancing

For me that’s a taste of Heaven when people learn from each other’s unique cultures. I can see people sharing things that they have learned from others. I can see those who have missed out in this life getting to enjoy things that some of us have been used to doing.  Have you heard of Asian Fusion? How about how the Vikings use to visit countries and assimilate new things into their culture? It doesn’t have to be fear to learn about other cultures.

M Culture

Yes, there are many who want to keep separate cultures apart from others. We see that in some ways with the new influence of the Middle Eastern countries into the American culture. As Americans we want to hold our values, heritage and cultures intact while allowing new influences to blend in. Is that easy?  You do the math. That is hard when some cultures are more resistant to change as well. I can hear the head-butting sound commencing. You can get a cultural impasse.

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However, as a believer in Christ we have a whole different framework to think about. We are called to be fishers of men. Jesus said go into the whole world and make disciples. Heaven is made up of every culture on earth, yet somehow united in their love for God and His kingdom. So, no matter how much we don’t understand how different opposing cultures can blend. God does and really isn’t that who runs the show anyway?

culture-kids-dancing

Okay, this might sound a little hokey but, it’s kind of like the end of it’s a Small World ride. The different cultures have mixed up, colors, culture, and music. In Heaven this will be a reality far better than any multicultural program that we can come up with. There people not only get along they are true family richer for their distinction and diversity.

internationalschoolkids

Posted in American History, Assimilation, Biblical People, Change, cultures, discipleship, endurance, eternity, Fishers of Men, God, God's Kingdom, International Students, love, Multicultural, people, Purpose, responsibility, Social health, Spiritual fitness, spiritual strength, The United States of America, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Here, There, Anywhere

waiting

“If they obey and serve me, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.’

Job 36: 11

I am slowly learning to appreciate the moments in life. I was always guilty of being somewhere else when I should have been content with being right here, right now.

When I wished I was with a group of people, nobody came around. When I wanted to be alone and have it quiet, that’s when the phone rings and everyone comes knocking on my door. Doesn’t that sound crazy? But it’s true.

waiting-too

Things don’t always turn out the way we expect them to. Something needs to change. As usual it means I need to change. That’s what I found that God is after.

He wants me to have the same attitude as His Son, because in Christ I am. Most of the miracles Jesus did, or the interactions He had, didn’t fit into His schedule. They came as He was on His way somewhere else. There were times He was resting and people came flooding around.

He surrendered His will to God and let Him fill out His schedule. Jesus was never in a rush, was often interrupted yet, accomplished all the Lord set out for Him to do. Though He may not have always known why, He knew God had a purpose with all the inconveniences.

Purchase this image at http://www.stocksy.com/50871

Even now, I am waiting on my wife. She has company that probably needs to talk. I am watching her son after a long day at work. I want to get to my writing, have a nice quiet dinner with my family, and get some down time. It’s probably not going to happen that way. I wish they would go home but, God knows what He’s doing. I don’t want to spoil something that God has cooking. Again, it’s my attitude that needs to change.

I need to be content here, there, or anywhere the Lord puts me. I can’t always control my circumstance but, I can control my behavior, my response to it. I am going to go now and have a quiet dinner to myself. I will talk to you later and tell you how things are going.

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Posted in Biblical People, Growing in the Lord, patience, people, timing, Uncategorized, Waiting | Leave a comment

Jesus Wept

“Jesus wept.”

John 11:35

jesus-wept

My son always jokes about memorizing Bible verses. He said he took the time and effort to memorize the verse, “Jesus wept.” Of course, we had a laugh and I rolled my eyes at his dry sense of humor. Then I sat back and thought about some of those nuggets God placed in His Word. Each one weightier than their small size and chocked full of deeper meaning.

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So, let’s look at the context of that verse. One of Jesus good friends, Lazarus died. Jesus was told his friend was sick and still delayed coming to help him. Jesus waits until word came that Lazarus passed.   By human perspective He had the worst timing. He was late. Lazarus could have avoided this illness with one word from the Great Physician. His sister Martha, the strong one, was a hot angry mess and her sister Mary, the kind and sensitive one, was broken down in tears of deep sorrow. It has been four days so the whole town knows the entire depressing story. It was pretty much a scene filled with as much human tragedy as the Son of God could have stepped into. As Jesus took it all in mind, soul, body, and spirit, then, Jesus wept. Nobody would blame Jesus for exhibiting such powerful emotions. People watching this commented how much he loved, Lazarus and then wondered why He didn’t prevent this moment.

What happened next blew everyone away. He told the folks standing near Lazarus’s grave to open up the grave. He had been four days already. Can imagine in that hot dry climate how the putrid smell would bring everyone standing by to tears?

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Was Jesus still crying when He commanded Lazarus to come forth? Did anyone notice? The One who left the Glory of Heaven and the presence of God knew something no other living person knew. This world is a grave in itself. Lazarus had shed the mortal coils of this life. He was in paradise with all the others who had put their trust in God. Lazarus had gotten his reward and then was called back for a moment from that eternity of bliss. I wonder if he and Jesus shared a “huh?” look between them? I can hear Lazarus asking why he is back here…now.  As they both looked at the crowd, the shock, the tears, the proof of other’s faith, the lightbulb came on. (Or should I say the candle?)  Lazarus was a living witness of salvation. Even though it hurt to come back, He had an opportunity to help Jesus, just by sharing his story, to bring others from the dead of this world, into life eternal.  Tears for a moment, but joy for a lifetime and beyond. Jesus wept, because He knew what missing home really meant.

The Bible

So, next time you come across a verse like Jesus wept, try and see it though Heaven’s eyes and not your own. I hope God’s living Word speaks to you in the moment you need it the most. May you also catch those deeper meanings that will strengthen your faith and prepare you for the days to come.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bible Verses, Biblical People, Easter, Jesus, Jesus Wept, lazarus, Resurrection, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There is Never Wrong Time to Write Part 2  

writers

 

Writers do need time of solitary time to write. As a social person that part is tough. I give myself an hour a day during the week, a couple hours on Saturday, and take a break on Sunday. Sometimes, no, all the time, it can be tough to sit alone, when my family is laughing and playing without me. (As I am writing this post my new puppy, Skylar is sitting with her head cocked to one side, blue rubber ball in her mouth, waiting to get my attention.) The words need time to form and so do the people in my life.

alone

Maybe I am the odd ball here. I assume that when you think of a writer you think they are introverts. They love their solitary time. Maybe there are other extraverts like me, who struggle with time away from people. Either way, we have to make time for both people time and alone time. I guess there is balance here, too. No matter what kind of writer you making time with people is essential for two reasons.

friends

One, because people give you ideas for writing. You get the best stories, ideas for character names, and great descriptors from spending time with real people. You can create a character in your mind, but without a dose of reality or realia, they can be  flat and empty. Put real stories, facts, and emotions, and you have very believable characters meeting you on the page.

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The second and most important reason, is people are the reason why we right. Our writings are there to reach people and encourage them, not the other way around. Our goal is not to ignore people to find time to write, but rather to use our writing time as a door to spend time with people either face-to-face, or plant a seed for them to be reached and have a relationship with God. One of my goals as a writer is to talk to my readers and encourage them right where they are.

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I hope this helps. You also have people like me who will push you on to write. Let me or someone you know keep you accountable to write. If God has put this passion on your heart, you need to follow through. Make the time, read, use your time wisely, put yourself in places that stimulate your ideas. Get someone to keep you on track. Write on, brother or sister, we are rooting for you.

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Posted in beating stress, companionship, creativity, endurance, extraverts, fellowship, gifts, introverts, people, solitary time, Talents, Uncategorized, Writers, Writing | 3 Comments