Posts Tagged 'prayer'

Chasing Jesus

I am proud to present to you a guest blogger. Richard Gill. Yes Richard is related to me. He is my youngest brother in whom I am very well pleased. Not to take away from his bio, below, but his story is one that is quite a journey. A true chief of sinners to righteous servant story. A man after God’s own heart!

Biography:

Richard Gill lives with his wife and family on a small ranch in Oroville, CA. He enjoys riding his Harley, spending time with family and tinkering with the endless building projects that are required around the ranch and at his work as a contractor.

His heart’s desire is to help other men like himself to recognize and then answer the warrior call of our one true King…Jesus Christ.   http://ransomedhope.blogspot.com

Chasing Jesus

Life is so hard at times that I wonder if I will ever make it through to the 555352 squinting eyeend. God says in his word that he is here for us, but at times it seems like he is nowhere to be found. Those same men that promised me in the past that they would be there for me have all instead chosen to judge me. Every step I take seems to end with more questions than answers.

If God does care as he says then why have I ended up here?

In life it is not easy to pursue Jesus. To be passionate about Jesus we have to give up everything of who we are, and deep down inside, most of us don’t want to do that. But God will accept nothing less than our complete surrender to his Son.

Jesus requires us to be who we have been created to be. He doesn’t promise us it will be easy, only that “there” is where we will find true joy. Notice that he doesn’t use the word comfort.

The first thing that happens in our pursuit to find Jesus is he will bring up the sin in our lives so that we can repent and let go of the past. Then he places a new hope and promise before us and expects us to step up and do what we have been created to do. With Jesus there can be no half way, he always expects us to be the “us” that God created us to be. Just as with his disciples he will accept nothing less, he expects our best not our worst.

To chase Jesus is the easy choice, to find him is much harder. The more we pursue Jesus the more we see our inadequacies. Sadly, for many these inadequacies are too hard to face, so many will choose to leave that area untouched inside of them, so they can pursue a more normal relationship with God.

The problem here is this new relationship is not with God at all, it is with an idol they have placed the name of God upon, called religion.

To chase or pursue Jesus requires everything from us. With Jesus there is 1313655 roman helmetno “other way” to go; only his way matters. This is why so many fall away, they see his way as to hard.

What does the word warrior bring up in your mind when I say it? For most of us I think it is a picture of a strong man with big biceps, wearing armor, and either swinging a sword or shooting a gun. This same man has to continually be able to be placed in the most dangerous places and situations, usually around those that want nothing less than to kill or torture him.

Sadly to say many choose the easy road before they have ever been in even one battle.

God is calling out his warriors, not those that have chosen the easy road. Jesus is training an army for war and, make no mistake, you will either learn to fight or you will be left for dead. To use our armor as his chosen warriors we need to know what weapons have been given to us to use.

How do you think that we find this out?

Jesus walked this earth, Gods very Son, to show us the way. All through the New Testament his words are recorded so we can know him better. So all we have to do is read about him, listen, and meditate on his words. Then we can model ourselves after what he said we should be.

To know Jesus is to know the father, to know the father is to know our true selves.

So now we have no excuse, no easy way out, no man made kingdoms to hide in. Jesus died and requires all of this from us and much more, because he knows anything less will lead to our destruction.

By the way it will be hard for us to pursue Jesus, but it will also bring us more joy, happiness, and peace then we have ever had in our lives. To accomplish this will take everything that you have inside. It will require you to give up friendships at times, to give up money, to give up fame, to give up yourselves.

In days of old, even in recent times, to be called a warrior meant that you have been judged as worthy to hold such a title. It meant that you have on your body and mind the scars from training that made you who you are today. It meant that you would be trusted with protecting the kingdom. In many civilizations there was no greater honor then being 1057875 chatrapati shivaji maharajchosen to be a warrior. In fact many kings were actually proven warriors seasoned in battle.

The battle being lost meant more than just defeat, it meant that your family and friends would be placed in bondage for years or even their lifetime under the enemy’s control.

This is why it is so hard, you will have to fight…

You will have to forget about the past, so you can see the future that God has for you.

One thing is different though, with Jesus we have been given something that other warriors didn’t have, a King that will fight for us, when the battle is at its fiercest.

So today my hope for you is that you will fight with everything inside of you, to be the warrior that Jesus has called you to be. The warrior that God himself created you to be, even before you were born.

Today raise up the battle standard with the name of Jesus upon it, this is why we are here, for this is why we were created, and for this is why we will fight.

The Name of Jesus…..

Philippians 3:13 (nas)
Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

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Just Another Magician

Just before the turn of the 19th century into the 20th century, there was a young man by the name of Erik Weiss. Erik was born in Hungary the son of a Rabbi, and immigrated to the United States, with his family, one of 7 siblings. The family settled in the state of Wisconsin, and later moved to Harlem, New York.

At the age of 9, Erik took a job as a trapeze artist and called himself “Erik, the Prince of the Air”.

As a young teen Erik became interested in the art of magic. He started out with simple card tricks and soon found himself performing in dimeking spades museums and sideshows. To earn a little extra cash, he often doubled as “The Wild Man” at the circus.

Erik’s proficiency in magic increased and his tricks became more and more complicated.

At the age of 25, young Erik met a man who would change his life forever. This man was a talent manager who was impressed by a trick in which Erik would escape from a set of handcuffs. This talent manager advised Erik to concentrate his efforts on escape acts and booked him on the Orpheum vaudeville circuit.

After many years of exceptional stage success, Erik Weiss died on October 31, 1926, from a ruptured appendix. Thus ending the life and career of “The Great Houdini”.

Contrary to the belief of many, Houdini spent most of his life debunking the claims of magicians who claimed their powers were supernatural in nature.

houdinichains4sm smallIn the end, the memory of The Great Houdini became synonymous with the very thing he fought against. An annual séance in conducted, to this day, on October 31, Halloween, in an attempt to raise the spirit of Houdini.

Houdini’s vocation is representative of a long line of magicians, sorcerers, and witches that can be traced back to the Chaldeans of ancient Babylon and ancient Egypt before that.

In ancient Babylon a young Jewish boy given the Babylonian name of Belteshazzar was counted among the magicians, sorcerers, and Chaldeans serving King Nebuchadnezzar.

In this story, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that troubled him deeply. He called his most trusted magicians to him and demanded they not only interpret the dream, but that they also tell him what the dream was in the first place.

When the magicians could not do it, the King was angered and ordered all the magicians killed. Young Belteshazzar was counted as just another magician and thus included in the order to be killed.

But Belteshazzar was not just another magician. Belteshazzar was known, in Hebrew, by the name Daniel, and was gifted by God with the ability to interpret dreams.

We all know how it ends, Daniel goes before the King, accurately and in much detail describes the dream, gives the interpretation to the dream.
Daniel and his three friends are placed in positions of high leadership to rule over much of the kingdom. They are spared the death ordered for the magicians.

In our society today, we are all asked to be magicians of one sort or another.

At work we are all being asked to perform magic and do more work as those around us are downsized due to declining business. And in cases where the business is growing, we are asked to do more as the business can’t yet afford to hire more help.

In our private lives, we are asked to do magic with our shrinking paycheck. The price of groceries, gas, clothing, and other life essentials continue to soar and our paychecks don’t.

Today we can choose one of two routes. We can be like the magicians called before King Nebuchadnezzar and cry out that there is no hope. It is an impossible task and no one is able to succeed under those demands. Or we can be like Daniel.

We can refuse to be counted as just another magician and take those things to God in prayer.

In the end, God is the Creator of all things. He is capable of stretching our paychecks and He is able to turn our stressed work situations into blessings beyond our wildest imaginations.

Of which will you choose to be counted? As just another magician, or, to be a definer of dreams and a ruler of nations?

The choice is yours.

En servicio como Padre

Dave

MEDIOCRITY

Mediocrity is something I have struggled with most of my life. It is something that has created many missed opportunities and immeasurable heart ache for me and my family.

Recently, a good friend approached me and asked if I would accept a guest on this blog. This is something I would not do lightly. But Colonel Paul Longgrear, US Army retired, is a man who shares my heart for the fathers of this age.

Paul is a true American hero and I recently had the honor of attending his induction into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame. His story is an extraordinary one and one Google search will show you why I enthusiastically said yes to Colonel Paul’s inquiry.

Please read his words and insights closely. He is a man I have personally learned a great deal from.

En servicio como Padre

Dave

MEDIOCRITY – Paul Longgrear

Years ago our family lived in a county with two school systems. The two high schools were only four or five hundred yards apart and from the start were arch rivals even though one was only nine years old.

The older school dominated the younger school all nine times they played in football. The old school played for the state championship three times and won one of them. At one point they racked up a 29-1 record and won seven region titles. They excelled at football and the newer school was only mediocre.

In spiritual parlance we might consider the word coined by Jesus, “lukewarm”. If one is not going to do his best at something, he might want to not attempt it in the first place. Does this mean mediocrity is bad? Is striving for excellence always good?

If one has to revert to the flesh to achieve excellence; excellence would probably be bad.

Is it better to be a sluggard or turn to sin to win?

Behavioral performance can be based on genetic influence or it can be learned through environment. If a man is born into a family of over achievers, he will be influenced just by being a member of that family. On the other hand if that same person is born into a family of under motivated members he again will be influenced by that environment. He may flow with the character of the family or he may defy the norm and be just the opposite in either case he is influenced by that environment.

Whatever the influence or cause, excellence is refusing to settle for less that one’s best. Mediocrity, on the other hand, is settling for the minimum that will suffice. “If the deadline is 3:00 P.M. why get it completed earlier”, the sluggard might ask.

When I decided to leave my home state of Arkansas to seek my fortune, I followed Horace Greely’s advice and went west to California. Within a matter of days I had a job at a large Los Angeles area lumber yard. Because I had a couple of years of college, the boss put me in charge of the stall that contained small lumber and ply wood.

He assured me it was a mess and challenged me to try and get it straightened out within a couple of weeks, if possible. I had two summers of experience in the lumber yard business and within three days had everything in order. Why did I do that? My mother raised me to work hard and she was the hardest working person I knew. Hard work was not an option in our family, it was the expected.

My wife and I raised three children who were all very good workers and have done very well for themselves. I was always a poor performing student because I was academically lazy. As a result, I was determined my children wouldn’t be.

Our oldest child was diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age, the second child never had to crack a book in school and the third labored to meet his, self-imposed, classroom goals. I am honored to say that all three are college graduates and one has a doctorate in education. The one with the learning disability was assured that she was as smart as her brothers and the same results would be expected of her.

Which of them do you think has the doctor’s degree? The laborer, he refused to be mediocre.

We had the same standards for each of them; do your best! I learned as a child that too much pressure to perform could cause a student to cheat. Life taught me, excellence can never be achieved by lowering moral standards.

There are no shortcuts to excellence. Diligence and determination mixed with perseverance are the ingredients necessary to fulfill what God has placed in all of us. It should also be noted that talent will not assure excellence. If very talented people accept less than their best for themselves, they are mediocre.

Remember the schools we mentioned at first. The difference was attitude. When the two schools walked on the football field it was obvious which team thought they would win and which team only hoped they would win. The coaches convinced the first team they were going to win every game because they were prepared to win through work and preparation. During the week they practiced smart, hard and long.

Leadership is the key to creating an environment of excellence and overcoming mediocrity. Whether one is a manager, a coach, the parents of children, or commander of a military unit, leadership is the key.

Leadership is nothing more than motivating someone to do what they are supposed to do. How well they do it is determined by how motivated they are.

There are only two ways to motivate; inspiration or intimidation. Think about by which of these ways you are motivated. Now think about how you motivate those around you.

We will discuss this in the near future.

Monotony breeds familiarity

A few days ago, my wife and I were talking about some of the people we have met. You know who they are, the people who have lived their whole life in the same area. They have never traveled outside their state, many not outside the county, and a few not outside the city they live in.

In the course of our discussion, my wife expressed something that pricked me deep in my soul. She said “monotony breeds familiarity.”

As I pondered this thought, the picture of these people came to mind. rocking chair They seem to have a very limited view of the world, in many cases they have a negative view of people outside their general area, especially those from outside their geographical region.

The monotony of seeing everything the same way day in and day out has created a familiarity with the things around them that breeds distrust, even anger, with that which is different.

I am reminded of Saul in the book of I Samuel. In this story, Saul comes to a woman who has a familiar spirit in an attempt to get in touch with the prophet Samuel who died earlier.

Saul sunk deeper into disobedience with this action and it cost his life and that of his sons.

When confronted by Samuel with the question; “why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul’s response was interesting. “I am in great distress” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has turned away from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets of by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.” (I Samuel 28:15)

Saul was acting the same way and making the same choices for so long king spadesthat he no longer was aware of how he was conducting his business. His life entered into a form of monotony. He came to the point that he could not make a decision for himself. When his prophets no longer could advise him and Samuel was dead, he turned to a familiar spirit to come up with answers.

Websters defines monotony as 1: tedious sameness 2: sameness of tone or sound. (m-w.com)

When we become so accustomed to the same things, actions, places, words, etc, life becomes tedious. If we don’t take reasonable action to change monotony, we become indifferent to the things around us. As a result of this indifference, we let our guard down and our enemies take advantage of us.

We don’t see it or hear it because of monotony. By the time it becomes apparent to us, we have no idea where to turn. This is where familiarity becomes our enemy.

We choose the comfort of familiarity and reject a new or different way of approaching our issues.

God created man in His image. (Gen 1:27) As such, He endowed us with all of His attributes, including the ability to create. Satan, on the other hand, was not created in the image of God. He doesn’t have the ability to create and must use what already exists, that which he is familiar with.

If the enemy can keep us tied up in familiarity, he can keep us from realizing the victorious life that God has created us to live.

Monotony breeds familiarity, and familiarity coaxes us into a life of inactivity and, ultimately, a sub-optimization of what God has created us to be.

Wake up! Break out of monotony before it is too late.

En servicio como padre
Dave

Forgot your password?

“Enter with the password ‘thank you’ make yourselves at home, talking praise, thank Him.  Worship Him.  For God is sheer beauty, all generous in love, loyal always and ever”( Psalms 100:4-5 The Message)

 “The username and password entered do not match.  Please enter correct username and password before proceeding”.

 How many times have you seen that message, or one like it, splashed across your computer screen?

 My mind races, it can’t be the username; I usually use the same one!  It has to be the password, what password did I use when I set up this account?  For the life of me I can’t remember.  I enter one password after another, but none seems to be the right one.  What was I thinking?

 After some time I resort to the link just below the login box.  “Forgot your password?” the helping hand most men avoid as a sign of utter failure.  After all, are we that lame, we can’t remember the password WE created?

The next screen asks us to answer a couple of questions: 

“What was your Mothers maiden name?”  I don’t remember giving that information to this site!  “What was the model of your first car?”  Why do they care?  I cover my sense of failure with sarcasms.

 Finally, I get the message; “Your password was sent to the email on record.”

 Today’s technology has provided a simple similitude.  If we want to experience, or access, the knowledge, tools, pleasures, or relationships offered beyond where we are now, we must have the right password.

 Just as passwords open sites in cyberspace, the password, thank you, opens doors for us in our spiritual walk.

 The United States is one of only a few countries that have a holiday specifically for the purpose of saying thank you.

 Given this emphasis, consider two of my recent experiences:

I stood holding the door as, one after another; the young ladies who made up the cheerleading team, their coaches, and chaperones, stepped off the bus they were traveling on, and passed through the open door into the restaurant ahead of me.  Saying not a word, as they passed, they now stood in line, waiting to be seated.  There were approximately 30 in the group.

 After dinner, my wife and I crossed the street to do s little shopping at the local Target store.  There I encountered a young father struggling to load a few 12 packs of soft drinks on his basket without getting too far from the baby resting in the basket.  Seeing his struggle, I stepped in and helped by moving the products into his waiting basket as he stood silently and watched.  He went on about his shopping as if nothing had happened.

 Although not a scientific study, or even a good representative sample, these two incidents reflect a spreading insensitivity, on the part of persons in our western culture, to the need to acknowledge acts of kindness.  We have forgotten our password, — thank you.

 For the life of us we can’t figure out what it is.  We want what is beyond the login screen of our spiritual life.  We struggle to open the site with every material activity or gift we can think of, but we can’t think of the simple password.

If we continue to concentrate on our own self-interests, we will never know the wonders that wait beyond our present state. 

Romans 15:1-7 gives us clear direction:

Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status.  Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”  That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it.  .Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next.  May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all.  Then we’ll be a choir – not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!  So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it! (The Message)

As we celebrate our Thanksgiving, think about how we might live up to the charge of Romans 15.  Don’t make it easy on ourselves, look inwardly and ask others, “How can I help?”; when someone, even a total stranger, serves us in some way, repay their kindness with acknowledgement. 

Think about all the God of all creation has done for us.  What sacrifice He made for us, His constant presence doting on children He adores. Acknowledge Him in everything. 

We have the choice, we can be a single voiceless “taker” in this world, and remain forever locked in our present state with no hope of entering into something greater, or we can “join the choirnot our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem.” 

Remember your password – thank you.

En servicio como Padre

Dave

Your Favorite Veteran – Veterans Day 2009

Remember your Veteran

Once again this Veterans day I am providing a place for readers to tell the story of their favorite veteran.

Most of us had the unfortunate opportunity to have the ultimate sacrifice veteran have made over the years clearly broadcast and brought to mindcapt through the Fort Hood attack and the resulting memorial service. Horrible as it is, it was a clear reminder to all Americans.

Before you go, take a moment to comment on this blog about Your favorite Veteran. My readers and I would be extremely grateful and proud capt.e02fef37ab6a4123a0b6980f5717f832to read about those who have and still are putting their country ahead of their personal ambitions to make our lives a little safer.

I will lift each one up in a prayer of thanksgiving for their sacrifice, and pray for their good health and protection. I further encourage everyone who reads these accounts to do the same. It is the least we can do on this Veterans Day 2009.

God Bless you all and God Bless the United States of America

En Servicio Como Padre

Dave

Thanks to http://www.freerepublic.com for the Picture

Honor your father

Ephesians 6:1-4

1 Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, 3 “so you will live well and have a long life.” 4 Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master. (The Message)

As this Fathers Day approaches, I find myself reflecting on many things.  I think of my own father, how in many ways he was distant and a man of few words.  He was hard working and was skilled in so many areas I only wish, today, that I had spent more time with him learning from him.  He was not a perfect father, no, far from it.  He was quick to temper and often disciplined out of temper rather than strategic learning.  He was not formally educated and did not encourage me to excel in school.  He was not rich and was not a master of financial investment or budgetary restraint.

No, my father was not perfect, but he loved his children.  No matter how much discipline he meted out, or how much he would yell at us when we pushed his buttons, we all knew he loved us.

My most vivid memory of my father was on the day I was leaving to go into the military.  It was during the Vietnam War, and I left a perfectly good job to sign up for the military.  I was certain I would be drafted and would have little control over the branch of service I would enter, so I chose to get ahead of the game and enlist.  When I told my parents, they were livid.  They could not understand why I would enlist and not take my chances on the draft.  My mother was so mad she would not talk to me.  My father, trying to keep the peace in his own way, went to his work shed and made himself scarce.  I felt my whole family was against my decision.

Early the next morning I boarded a Greyhound bus headed for the big city of Phoenix Arizona where I would go through my final activities before heading off to basic training.  I said my goodbyes to my girlfriend the night before so I was by myself at 6:00 a.m. as I looked around the town of my birth for what could be the last time. 

From the bus window I scanned the small Arizona town until my eyes fell upon a man standing in the shadows.  It was my father.  I hurried off the bus like a salmon swimming up stream against the flow of others boarding the same bus.  As I walked up to my father, he extended a hand shake, his way of saying goodbye.  

He then reached in his pocket and pulled out a ten dollar bill.  It was all he ever carried.  To him it was his lifeline. He used that ten dollars to buy his tobacco and papers to roll his own cigarettes.  It was money he kept in case of an emergency.  With a family of eight kids and a janitors position, it was a lot of money to him.  With that he stuffed the bill in my pocked and said “thought you might need this”.

Those words though not eloquent or ground shaking in the least, were powerful to my soul.  My father took all he had and invested it in me, knowing I would not fail.  His few words were supportive in that he arose early and made his way to the bus stop in support of what I was doing.  In those few words he more than communicated his love to me.

I only saw my father a few times in the years that followed that night.  Life had taken me far from home and my visits were few and short.  One day as I arrived home from work my wife met me and said she just received a phone call that my father was gravely ill and the family was being called in to see him for the last time. 

I did not get home in time, my father died while I was in route, by train, to my home town.

Was my father a hero?  Was my father a master of fatherhood?  No, not in the eyes of any outsider who knew little of him.  But to me, and to my brothers and sisters, he was all of those things and more.  He was a man who sacrificed all to show his love.

En servicio como padre

Dave

Please take a moment to honor a father your have come to know as a hero.  Tell me and my readers about this father, in the comments below, and we will help you honor him this weekend in our prayers and thoughts.  Then email this link to others that they might also receive the promise of Ephesians 6:2.

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