Posts Tagged 'Provision'

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

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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

Lesson of the Itsy Bitsy Spider

When my daughter was very small, she had a favorite song she would sing, very loudly, often for hours at a time.

 This song is one most, if not all, of us know very well. “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”. Just mentioning the song has many of you singing it right now.

 Like many children, my daughter, when she was first learning the song, replaced some of the correct words she could not remember, with something else so she could continue the song.

 In her case she added the words “whumpa whumpa”. Here is how it went:

 “The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout.

Down came the rain and washed the spider out.

Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.

And the whumpa whumpa spider went up the water spout

Down came the rain…..”

The effect of this addition was, it created a closed loop that never reached an ending. On long road trips, this became quite annoying for her brothers who had to sit in the back seat and hear the never ending song. Eventually, eliciting a desperate plea to “make her stop!”

It’s funny how we now look back and cherish some of the annoying things our children do because it is part of what has made them uniquely who they are today.

As fathers we sometimes add a “whumpa whumpa” to how we live our lives.

Physically, emotionally, and spiritually we add a “whumpa whumpa” and get locked into a never ending loop of responses, actions, reactions, thoughts, and etc. This “whumpa whumpa” causes those around us, as well as us, to become frustrated with the way our lives are going.

We keep doing the same things over and over without seeing any change in our lives. In fact, like the siblings in the back seat on a long road trip, we find ourselves digressing into destructive or argumentative behavior and not growing in a positive way.

Many of the American Indian tribes believed that life is a great spiral beginning at birth and ending in the afterlife joined with the Great Spirit. The expectation was always that what you see today you will see again in the future. The trick is that as you complete each circle, in life, you should not be seeing things from the same perspective. You must see things from a higher vantage point or you are not moving closer to the Great Spirit.

If we use our Father God as our example of perfect fatherhood, we will find ourselves constantly searching for new pearls of wisdom to become better fathers. As we seek we will learn more about our Father God and be drawn closer to Him.  Thus we will spiral ever closer and as we complete each circle in life, we will see the past in a different way,

Like when we look back on the annoying actions of our children and cherish them as part of what makes them uniquely who they are, we will be able to look at the things we face today and cherish them, no matter how bad they seem today, as what is forming us into better fathers who are more aligned with the perfect Father God.

Do not allow the “whumpa whumpa”, in your life’s moments, to lock you into a never ending loop of immature fatherhood.

Break free and climb the water spout again.

En Servicio Como Padre

Dave

H.O.P.E a Pathway to the Future

Over the past few days I have watched the world news with a new perspective. In the past it would just make me angry to see how the people of this world are being manipulated by a few people in high places.

How could the people of today so easily buy into the arguments that are so obviously tainted and presented in a way that supports the views of a few, while the world, as a whole, is in such pain?

Have we no hope? Then, it hit me; there must be a message in hope we are missing.

As I prayed about hope, a new perspective began to form in my spirit. Hope, although a state of mind is also a metaphor for a process each of us must go through. The world as a whole is in one of the steps of H.O.P.E., but each individual must seek to get through all steps if they can fully understand why they are here on this earth.

I will begin by explaining the four steps;

H – Hosea 10:3

“They go around saying, “Who needs a king? We couldn’t care less about God, so why bother with a king? What difference would he make?” (The Message)

In this step we believe we are capable of everything. We have all the knowledge we need and we are full of self love, self confidence, and pride. We believe we have most, if not all the answers and anyone who disagrees with us is ignorant or at least unenlightened. We are the masters of our lives and have full trust in our own ability to govern and direct our lives.

Many people throughout history have been is this step. I believe that is where America was just prior to the Great Depression. Laws had little meaning; authority of any kind was just a hindrance to what the people wanted to do. Spending was out of control and people thought the end of prosperity could never end. But it did.

The people of Germany were in this stage just prior to World War II. They managed to come out of the debt and demoralization of a loss in World War I and were now well on their way to becoming a world power. No one would ever step on them again. The Jewish people in Germany, and all of Europe for that matter, were some of the most prosperous people in the world. Their skills and influence were unrivaled anywhere, no one would lie to them, they were too aware of the world around them. And along came Hitler.

O – Obadiah 1:7

“All your old partners will drive you to the edge. Your old friends will lie to your face. Your old drinking buddies will stab you in the back. Your world will collapse. You won’t know what hit you”. (The Message)

Human failings; those in whom you thought you could trust; let you down. They didn’t just let you down; they dropped you, and then turned against you. In this step you learn about treachery and betrayal. You found that you did not have all the answers as you thought in the earlier step, now you put your trust in someone who thinks like you. Perhaps it was a catchy campaign slogan, or maybe it was similarities in human endeavor. What ever the connection, you put your trust in another person or group. They turned against you like a jackal after a piece of meat.

I have seen a lot of people in this step in the Church. Even more lately in the business world, with the layoffs and the wild fluctuations in the economy. Putting your trust in another man is doomed to turn out badly and leave you hurting.

P – I Peter 1:22

“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart” (NKJV)

In this step you enter into obedience. You finally come to the point that you no longer trust in your own ability to make the right choices. You recognize that there must be something more than what you have experienced in life to date. You have failed yourself, other people and theories have failed you, now you must recognize your weakness and turn to the power of a God who is never changing. Consistency and security are the major drivers for you to seek out some relationship with God.

You are looking for healing and you find it in the arms of a loving God.

E – Emanuel

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel” (which being interpreted is, “God with us”). (KJ21)

This is the realization of hope. When you finally come to the realization that God is truly with us, when He becomes more than a great and terrible entity that no one can look on much less touch, when intimacy with Jesus becomes reality in you life. This is hope.

God with us means so much more than the name Mary gave a baby. God with us was the proclamation of the journey every man must make from that day forward. The journey through every step of HOPE ending with a personal and intimate relationship with the God of all creation. The journey that moves from love of self to real love.

Someone very close to me, who lives on the other side of our great country, must have been touched by the same spirit that encouraged this blog. In her blog, Joy In the Morning, she writes about the death of hope. But it is, in the end, the realization that “the death of Hope in reality is the death of what I thought should happen and the resurrection of what truly should be”.

There in lies the truth about hope; it is a journey from self dependence to complete dependence. This journey is the process called H.O.P.E.

En servicio como padre
Dave

Continue reading ‘H.O.P.E a Pathway to the Future’

Bowling and the American Way of Life

Do you ever feel like you are on a game show called “Bowling for Recognition”?

The purpose of the game is for you to stand right next to a bunch of your fellow workers as your boss rolls one ball after another at you until he knocks you down.

If you happen to be the last one standing, then, you get some recognition.

Much in the American way of life has begun to feel that way for countless Americans. No matter how hard you try, there seems to be someone rolling that ball at you.

The outcome of this way of life is loss of pride, self respect, confidence, and our willingness to step outside the boundaries to try something new.
What I see happening in the life of Americans, is a slow abdication of our desire and ability to create.

With the loss of creativity comes the inability to dream. Without dreams we loose the ability to get excited about the possible. Once we loose the ability to consider possibilities, we begin to focus on the material. Focused totally upon material items, man now becomes enslaved to the means by which he acquires material goods, and finally, man becomes less creative.

Each successive cycle, from loss of creativity to loss of creativity, take us further from a relationship and understanding of the Creator that made us.

As we draw further from the Creator, we feel less sure and more vulnerable. Being more vulnerable creates stress. Stress layered upon stress, creates and unhealthy environment and sickness and/or depression take their toll on the human body.

The American way of life has become a series of chain reactions much like the bowling pins. One falls, striking the next and the next until a huge part of what we have known is missing.

Too many of us have made this American way of life a god to us. “To have and to hold”, in the marriage vows, has taken on a material tone. We have become less spiritual and more material with each successive generation.
The hopelessness of the situation has caused many to seek relief in the form of anger, drugs, sex, alcohol, gambling, atheism, and the blind vote for anyone who promises change.

The answer to the whole situation is unbelievably simple. If we return to where we started, back to where creation began, we will find the answer. You see, creation is the beginning of life, and in life there is hope, and in hope there is promise, and in fulfilled promise, there is joy, and in joy there is more life.

In the beginning; “God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, And, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.” God created human beings; he created them godlike, Reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.” Then God said, “I’ve given you every sort of seed-bearing plant on Earth And every kind of fruit-bearing tree, given them to you for food. To all animals and all birds, everything that moves and breathes, I give whatever grows out of the ground for food.” And there it was. God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good! It was evening; it was morning – Day Six”. (Genesis 1: 26-31; The Message)

It is good, so very good! Get off the receiving end of the bowling alley. A relationship with God, returns us to the heart of Love and Life.

En Servicio Como Padre

A Father’s Provision

I have been receiving a great deal of email and prayer requests from this blog lately.  It seems to me that many of God’s people are under attack in many ways more than they have been in past years.

Given what I have seen and the prayers, Marsha and I have been raising up for many of my readers, I thought it might be helpfull to revisit a post from last year.  Entitled simply “Provision”, it seems this post is relevant to where many are today.

Please keep in mind that God is the provision for all of our needs:

Provision

As I was reading the Lords Prayer, in Matthew 6:9-13, I was struck by verse 11.  In this verse it says “Give us this day our daily bread”.  I began to think about my greatest fears as a father.  High on the list is that, as a father, I would lack in the area of provision for my family.  I can’t think of anything that is more degrading than for it to be said “he was not a good provider”. 

The world today, is full of judgments.  We see it in our work environment, in our childrens sports events, in our church services, everywhere we turn.   We have become a society of judges.  Gary Carpenter, in his lesson “Distinguishing Provision From Stewardship” relates the following: “The Holy Spirit reminded me of my paternal grandfather’s farm and how each of the sons and daughters had work to do every day as “their assignment,” their “contribution” toward the common goal of “reaping a harvest.” All of the children knew that the harvest belonged to grandfather. None of them had the mindset that the harvest, even a portion of it, belonged to them personally.

However, they also knew that when the dinner bell rang every night, they each got to sit and dine from grandfather’s table not because they had “served him well that day,” but rather because they were grandfather’s children. Grandfather expected them to eat from his table until they were full. Their provision was not proportioned to them based on their “performance” that day on the farm.  No, they were expected to take all they wanted from his table simply because they were his children.”

Who among us would hold back, from our children, any part of what we need to survive because they didn’t work as hard or as long as we thought they should? 

Provision in this form is a military term which has to do with a supply of food or other necessary items.  These items are stored up and used as necessary to maintain the ability of the troops to do battle.  When the provisions get a little low, supplies must be brought in so the troops will not fail for lack of provision.

 This is the part where fathers begin to break into a cold sweat.  We think that if our supply lines are ever cut, we will be marked for all eternity as a poor provider.  What we fail to realize is that it isn’t about creating something to replenish the provisions, it is about knowing where to go to assure there is a steady and sure supply line to our provision.

We try to make it about us.  We make it personal.  We fear we will be labeled a failure.  In reality it is about how we assess our situation and communicate it to the person who can deliver it to our storehouse. 

Fatherhood is an art.  It takes practice and sometimes failure to be be great.  The art is in knowing that provision is always there. The application comes in trusting God for all our provision.

 En servicio como padre

Dave

Have I Loved Them Enough?

Today, as I was mowing my lawn, I began to think about my children. Each is so different from the other, no two of them the same. Each child given unique talents, unique looks, and unique heart. Each one finding success in a different and unique way.

As I thought about each of them I realized I loved them with all that I have. I would do anything for each of them. I know, if I needed to, I would put my life up to protect them. The depth of my love for each of them is yet untested, even though I have loved them for such a long time.

It’s really all I have to give each of them. I have a home on some property. I have a small amount of money they will inherit when I pass on to be with my Father and my fathers who have gone on before me. But these things will stay here on this earth and will be subject to the corrosion of time, and the gyrations of the world economy. They will end or lose the power to comfort and bring peace to my children.

As I think about my children, I remember my father and mother. I was one of eight children, and my parents worked hard every day to provide food, shelter, clothing, and transportation for each of us. As I grew older and moved into adulthood, my parents also grew older and both passed on before me.

All that my parents worked for was divided and distributed to all of my brothers, sisters, and me. This was a small amount and, although all they had, it didn’t make a difference in my standard of living. It would not sustain me and my family for very long if it was all I had. It was not the physical things they left behind that were most important to me. It was the Love they put into me, and my siblings, every day of my life while they were alive.

It is my parent’s love that has given me riches greater than I could ever imagine. I knew that the love of my father and mother was so great that they would put their lives on the line to protect me.

I pray my children know how much I love them. Have I told them often enough? Have I showed them through my actions and my words?

As I have said many times, I have learned that the greatest Father of all time is the God that I serve. He has provided every physical thing that I enjoy today. He has provided every thing I use to support my family. He would not and does not withhold anything from me. He has held up and given up his life for me. It is His love that I try to emulate and pass on to those around me.

As I think about my children, I know I have loved them. I know they know I love them. I try to be transparent in my love to them.

I ask myself, “have I loved them enough”?

Only time will tell.

En servicio como padre
Dave


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