Monday, August 2, 2010

Pulling the Leash Tight...

I was walking my dog the other day and Max kept on stretching the leash taught, extremely taught, to the point that he was literally choking himself. I kept pulling him back and asking him, “Why do you do that? Doesn’t it hurt when you choke yourself? Why would you do that when you can walk right here next to me and NOT hurt yourself!?”

The next morning I was driving to work and I accelerated to 70 MPH and hit the cruise control. The second I hit “set”, I passed a speed limit sign…65 MPH. Almost immediately I heard my own words to the dog the day before, “Why do you do that?” I saw in my minds eye the dog stretching out the leash, and then I saw a police car about a ¼ mile in front of me. I touched the brake pedal to release the cruise and then I heard that still small voice… “You KNOW the speed limit is 65, you drive this route EVERY DAY. You KNOW you will only gain a few seconds in your drive to work, yet you CHOOSE to break the law.” As I passed the police car, lights came on and my heart skipped a beat, “Surely he is not going to pull ME over, I wasn’t speeding THAT much…”

By the grace of God, he wasn’t after me, he was after the guy who was passing me while I was speeding. But the experience brought something to light for me. I give my dog freedom the length of his leash. God gives us all the freedom we want. He doesn’t like to see us leave his side, but he won’t stop us if we choose to do so. He will call out to us, he will send people to point out the err of our ways, but he will not stop us from making bad choices. However, He ALWAYS provides us with enough knowledge to make the right choice.

For me, the right choice is to set the cruise at 65 MPH. And I MUST use cruise control because everyone else is moving quicker and it is far too easy to just “keep up with traffic”.

I found it interesting that the following day I overheard two Christian friends of mine discussing the issue of speeding on the highway… One posed the argument that it was unsafe to travel at 65 MPH when everyone around you is doing 70. He was rationalizing his sin. AND he was using the safety of his family as his justification for doing so, even though he ignored the other side of the argument that it is easier to lose control at 70 vs. 65, and the results of an accident at 70 vs 65 will be more severe, etc. Another Christian brother commented that “God hasn’t convicted me of speeding. When I feel God telling me to stop, I will.”

I immediately realized that God was definitely convicting me in the area of my speed on the highways, but after realizing that, I am now asking myself, “Why?” I know speeding is wrong, so why did it take a conviction from God to get me to do something about it? And in how many other areas of my life am I living on the edge? Sinning “a little bit” because “I can get away with it”?

God help me to see those areas of my life where I am not walking immediately by your side. Help me to see where else I have ventured away from your standard and justified my actions in some way that is really no justification at all…

Until His plan for me is complete…
Paul


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Giving… Why is it so hard to do?

Why is it so hard for us to give? We all enjoy Receiving, but many of us (myself included) wrestle with giving.

I have been wrestling with this and have come to the following conclusion… We find it hard to give because giving has an inherent sense of loss. We Lose whatever we give away, never to get it back again, and in today’s modern world we learn from a young age that losing is BAD, and winning is GOOD.

None of us want bad things, we do not enjoy losing anything. We want good things, and there is nothing wrong with that. We want to WIN and there is nothing wrong with that either. God himself wants good things for us, and he tells us to live for him like a man running a race to win it. God WANTS us to be successful.

What we need to understand is that according to God, Giving is a good thing. So God wants us to give. Not because He is punishing us, but because He wants only the best for us. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” God even goes one step further, not only doe he love a cheerful giver, he also says in the very next sentence, “And God is able to make ALL grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

So God has basically promised us that when we give with a cheerful heart, he will insure that we will have success in the things we do. (We need to remember that God's definition of success and our definition of success are often different, but that is a subject for another blog!)

We must change our thinking from the ways of the world…. Giving = Losing
To think like God… Giving = Winning

Until His Plan for me is complete...
Paul

Friday, July 16, 2010

First Post...

I have decided to start blogging about my beliefs.

I was raised in a Christian Family, and I fully hold to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While I am a Christian, I am also a Husband, a Father, a Business Man, a Photographer, and I hold many other "Roles" and wear many other hats.

I have decided to blog about my beliefs and how those beliefs affect the other things I do. I have gotten into several "deep" conversations lately, and have decided to begin writing some of the thoughts, challenges and questions that have arisen from those discussions.

I don't know how frequently I will write, but I am going to set a goal of two posts per week. We'll see how well I do.

Until His Plan for me is complete...
Paul