New-Fangled Possibilities

Growing up, I loved watching “The Jetsons” cartoon.  And I never thought I’d live to see the day when there was an actual flying car… but I saw one on the internet recently which built and tested in Europe.

Growing up, I used to love shows like Star Trek and Buck Rogers.  Again, I never thought I’d live long enough to see the day when people could communicate via video and audio over handheld devices… but I FaceTime with family regularly.

Now when I see a transparent screen on a tablet or a floating hologram computer screen on a movie, I realize that, before my boys graduate high school, they could be using such technology… as we travel across the country in our family’s flying car.

Recently I was watching one of those “Anne of Green Gables” TV shows when I heard the character Matthew Cuthbert say, “I reckon every new idea was modern once… until it wasn’t.”

What once was new to all of us before Steve Jobs pulled an iPhone out of his pocket and introduced us to the new world of smartphones containing phone, camera and computer all in one is now old hat.  Everyone has one… even kids.  They have even created a simple version for elderly folks who may not be ready for all the bells and whistles.

The same is true when it comes to the challenges in our lives.  Often, we can’t even imagine how we could overcome them.  We don’t see how we could get well… or get out of debt… or get an “A” in that class… or get that spouse.  We are limited by what we know and have experienced.

But God is not limited.  He knows all and has experienced all. And He has all creative ability within Himself.  So He can bring something to the table in an instant which is a game-changer for us.

Adam had never seen or imagined a woman when God gave him Eve.  Noah had never built a boat or seen rain when God spared him and his family.  Moses had never seen a sea part when God opened up the Red Sea and led the millions of Israelites through on dry land.  Elijah had never had birds bring him food till he camped at Kerith Brook.  The disciples had never seen someone stop a storm with their words… or heal the blind with mud… or feed the masses with the minuscule… or raise themselves from the dead… till Jesus.  But after those experiences, those people knew that God has ways of doing something even when we don’t.

God is ready, willing and able to step into the course of our lives and bring something we have never thought of… never dreamed… never imagined… never entertained as possible to change our situation completely in our favor!  So instead of sitting around singing, “Gloom, despair and agony on me,” today, try inviting God to work His power of the new and unexplainable in your life.  You may not see a way, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way.  With God, nothing is impossible!

Just pull out that smartphone… although you’re probably reading this on it, and so it’s already in your hand… and remember that every new idea was once modern… until it wasn’t.  Then ask God to do something new in your life, and one day down the road you’ll see that there really was a way… an answer… a solution.  What was new in this moment will be a lasting foundation to believe for other new help in the future!

You’ve Got A Friend In Me

In the words of Michael W. Smith, “Friends are friends forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them.” (You’re welcome for that earworm. Go ahead, download it and enjoy it. You know you want to.)

Obviously, outside the Lord, my wife (aka, PR31) is my best friend on this planet.  And yet the Lord has blessed me with some other great friends.  Some of those friendships are only for a certain season of life, and then they shift over into a more casual acquaintance type friendship.  But others are for a lifetime.

I’ve discovered that the bonds of deep friendship are forged in the fires of shared adventure and adversity.  I want to share about one such friend in this post…

We have traveled to other states and other countries together.  We have ridden in cars and vans and buses together. We have flown thousands of miles together.

We have spent time in private conversation and stood on platforms in front of hundreds together.

We have laughed together. We have vented. We have cried together. (Granted, I cried more than he did because I’m a crier and he’s not.). We have talked about our joys. We have talked about our frustrations and struggles.

We have made some extremely difficult decisions together.  And we have struggled over the simplest choices of what to eat.

We have spent weeks together at a time. We have spent moments together.  We have shared early mornings and late nights.

We have “snuck out” of the housing compound with a missionary in Central America to get my friend some chicken strips and French fries so that he didn’t have to survive on skittles and tootsie rolls.  And we have “ridden our favorite ride” at Six Flags (Johnny Rockett’s restaurant) for more than six hours when it was just too hot to chase teenagers around the amusement park.

We even remained friends when I accidentally leaked his secret dating and probable engagement to the young lady who is now his wife during a late night snack with twenty other people.

What this is all adds up to is a deep bond of friendship which has been forged in the fires of shared adventure and adversity.  Proverbs 17:17 tells us, “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.

That’s who he’s been to me… always loyal… a brother.  I wouldn’t be half the man I am today without his friendship in my life.  This friendship is for a lifetime.

And I am challenged today to be that kind of friend, not only to him, but to others also.  So let me challenge you… If you have a friend like mine, let them know today how much you love and appreciate them.  And why not join me in the quest to be that kind of friend to someone else?  Your friendship could be exactly what that person needs!

You’re Joking… Right?

One of my favorite movies of all time is… Rocketman.  In it Harland Williams plays the bumbling and yet brilliant Fred Z. Randall who, through a series of ridiculous events, ends up on the first manned mission to Mars.

Once clear of earth’s orbit, Fred accidentally ends up on a world-wide broadcast of a video call between the President of the United States and the astronauts.  The President asks Fred what it’s like up in space, and Fred replies, “From up here, the earth looks like a giant blueberry.”  The call ends with Fred leading people across the world in the song, “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands.”

What Fred portrayed in that scene is a known fact for all of us alive today… the earth is round.

But when Columbus lived, many people did not believe that now well-known fact.  In fact, most people believed the world was flat… even though brilliant minds had been suggesting for hundreds of years that it was round.

Yet Columbus believed.  He had faith. Oh, I’m not suggesting he was a Christian or that he was as perfect as some of our history books would portray.  Truth be told, he was wrong about much of what he thought.

But he was right about believing the earth is round.  He believed.  He believed so strongly that, though it took him many attempts to gain the financial backing and actually find a crew who didn’t think they would fall off the edge of the earth if they sailed too far, he persisted.

That’s what faith does. Faith motivates us in the face of doubt. C. S. Lewis wrote, “When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who runs in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind.”

Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”  And just five verses later, the writer of that letter tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith.

So ignore the naysayers today. Run the opposite direction when you know in your heart God has promised you that you are running the right way.  Just as Columbus was willing to put his faith in a round earth to the test, be willing to test that of which God has assured you. And one day we will be celebrating your accomplishments!

Super Guide

Our boys crack me up!  Awhile back, they discovered on their Super Mario Bro’s game that there is a mode called “Super Guide” in which the computer takes over and completes a course perfectly without any mistakes. At any point, they can take back over from Super Guide and keep playing themselves.

So, they do what they can do on the game and then hand it off to the Super Guide to handle what they can’t.  In fact, those crazy guys will let the Super Guide play an entire level, get to the end, and then they take control back and claim the flag at the end to complete the course.

About the time I begin to think that isn’t really fair, I also begin to think… isn’t that what God does for us?  Didn’t Jesus say that He would ask the Father, and the Father would send us the Holy Spirit to be a “Super Guide” who would help us through all the difficulties of life?

So often, having done what I can do and facing something I cannot seem to accomplish on my own, I turn to my Super Guide and ask Him to get me through to complete that leg of my course.  And while He does all the work, He let’s me claim the victory flag.  It may look like I’ve done it, but really He did all the heavy lifting.

I’m glad I have the Holy Spirit as my Super Guide.  I couldn’t do this life on my own successfully.  Today, I just want to take this moment to give Him the credit for overcoming all my obstacles, defeating my opposition and making me a winner.

If you look at your life today and find yourself struggling to overcome, why not ask the ultimate Super Guide to help you succeed as well?  He knows how to help you win in life!

Yes, You Can

When I have listened to or read material written by former Navy Seals, there is a recurring theme which comes up, and it’s this thought…

When Seals are trained, they are taught that most people think they are finished and therefore quit at 60% of their actual capacity.  Thus, you still have 40% in your tank to keep going and finish strong.

You and I, well, we can do more than we think typically.  If we will push past the mental and emotional barriers we have set for ourselves, we can do a lot more.

You can put up with that boss longer than you think.  You can be kinder than you think.  You can save more money than you think. You can extend more grace to your child than you think.

We all have challenges we’re facing in life. I’ve got mine. You’ve got yours.  We all wish life was easy all the time, but it’s not.  The thing is, we don’t have to tackle this on our own.

Paul wrote to some challenged people in Philippi and told them that it’s possible to do “all things” through Christ Who strengthens us.  That’s even more than the Navy Seals claim! In other words, no matter what you come up against, if you’ll keep Jesus Christ involved in your life, there won’t be anything too difficult for you to overcome.

So, let’s do a few more push-ups and eat a few less sweets. (Ok, maybe a lot more push-ups and forget the part about the sweets. 😜)  Let’s give a little more. Let’s help a little more. Let’s complain a little less.  In fact, let’s just remove the word “can’t” from our vocabulary.

It’s going to be a great week!  Let’s give it all we have… and then some!!!

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