Dehydrated Living

infusion ptcherNever have I been a good water-drinker.  I am not a person who is thirsty by nature; so if not careful, I will go long periods without drinking something.  My body has known a lot of dehydration over the years. Once while watching my son play baseball on a very hot summer day, I watched the entire game without drinking anything.  By the time I got to my car, I almost passed out.  The problem was dehydrated living.

Recently, I determined to drink more water.  Determination is wonderful, but it still requires follow through, which did not happen, so I continued to suffer from dehydrated living.

One day I discovered something called an infusion pitcher.  The infusion pitcher takes plain old water and infuses it with flavors from fresh fruits and vegetables.  After filling the pitcher with water, a cylinder is filled with fruits and/or vegetables, and put into the core of the pitcher of water.  The openings in the cylinder allow the fruit to change the taste of the water. Each new pitcher offers new taste and new refreshment.  I now go looking for a drink of that water.  The difference is the core.

So many people are dehydrated in life, and some of those people are believers, God’s people.  One can get up every morning out of the same old bed, eat the same old breakfast, drive the same old route to work, do the same routine things, come home to make the same old dinner, watch the same old television and go back to the same old bed, wake up and do it again the next day.

When walking with God, it is so easy to get into a perfunctory relationship with Him. Read a chapter a day in the Bible, go to the same old church, listen to the same old pastor, sing with the same old worship team, go home and do it all over again. That is dehydrated Christian living.  We have lost the core that flavors that walk and gives meaning to “taste of the Lord and see that He is good.”

At the core must be a presence of and reliance on the Holy Spirit.  When I invite the Holy Spirit to be present with me as I read God’s word, as I worship, as I pray and I walk through life, it destroys spiritual dehydration.   It’s easy to jump right in without first inviting His presence.  When the Holy Spirit is at the core, He will open heaven, and give victory from that which sucks the life out of us.  The Holy Spirit will continuously pour into our lives “springs of living water.”  Our lives are only as effective as what is at the core.  When the Holy Spirit and His fruit are at the core, the Word comes to life, worship is powerfully intimate, and we experience an overcoming life.

I’ve said goodbye to dehydrated living!  How about you?

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.” – Isaiah 44:3-4

Just Put Your Shoes On and Run

ShoesGaylon and I just returned from a few days in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where our son Michael lives.  We try to be at special events for our grandchildren whenever possible. Madison was having field day at her school, and then would be off for half a day. It was perfect – we could watch her participate and then have her to ourselves for a few hours. The field day had a Dr. Seuss theme, and it was interesting to watch the various events.  Madison is all girl!  I remember her telling me a few years back that she did not like any sport except for ballet. That’s my girl!

One event that really caught my attention was one requiring that the kids put on large clown shoes, big glasses and strap on a long tail.  After getting dressed, they held a stick with a spinning plate, and had to walk a certain distance, turn around and come back to the starting point.  Upon their return, they would take the outfit off and give it to a classmate who would do the same routine.

The children were divided into three groups, and the idea was to see which group finished first.  It was so funny to watch two of the groups in particular, as they awkwardly tried to run in the shoes.  After each student on the team had a turn, the kids moved farther and farther from the starting point, which made their course shorter and shorter. Their race seemed easier and quicker.  Only one group was returning all the way back to the start.  That one group just kept walking obediently, not paying any attention to the fact that the others were a few steps in front of them.

To our surprise the group that won, was the group that did it the right way.  They never got rattled by the fact that others seemed to have it easier, or were way ahead in the race.   Step by step, foot by foot they just kept walking the course that was laid out before them, and they finished the race victoriously.

How easy it is to think that the devil is a few steps ahead of us, and will keep us from winning the race, or how easy it is to think others are running their race with more ease than we are.  Our focus cannot be on the race of another.  All that is required to finish our race victoriously, is to keep walking.  Step by step with God, we walk the course set before us.

As writer John King said, “The Lord has a special individualized track for each of us. I’m not running your race, and you aren’t running mine.  I won’t be judged for you, and you won’t be judged for me, or anyone else for that matter.  The Lord doesn’t measure us against others.  Winning not only means making it to heaven.  Winning means making the Father proud.  Winning means walking out our faith daily.  Winning has nothing to do with how we measure up against others, it means how well we measured up against God’s plan for us.”

Just put your shoes on and run!

“Let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

Before You Panic

Push for HelpTony Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, is a great expositor of the Word of God. He is an excellent preacher.

Evans tells of being on an elevator in a high-rise building.  He said he’d never been particularly comfortable on such elevators.  There was something about riding up and down in a little box several hundred feet off the ground that has never sat well with him.  He worried that something would go wrong.

One day it did.  The car in which he was riding got stuck in between floors way up in the higher floors. He noted that some of the people in the car became frantic.  They began to beat on the door hoping to get someone’s attention.  Others began to yell in the hopes that their voices would get someone on the surrounding floors to come to the aid.  But nobody heard their noise or their cries.

Then Evans quietly made his way to the front of the car, opened a little door in the wall and pulled out a telephone. Immediately he was connected with someone on the outside.  He didn’t need to beat on the wall to get their attention. He didn’t need to speak loudly in the phone to receive their help.  He could have whispered and they would have heard him.

Evans said, “In this world, we’re going to get “stuck” in places we aren’t comfortable with.  Some people begin to beat against the walls, others cry out in dismay.  But the person who trusts in the power of confident prayer knows there’s someone on the other end who hears their call and comes to their aid.”

We can often find ourselves stuck in circumstances that are scary and out of our control. Before you panic, pick up the phone for assistance.

“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!  What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,  All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?  We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.  Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.”

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

The Thank You Wave

Thank you waveRush hour traffic in Birmingham is anything but a rush!  It moves at a snail’s pace, especially driving into our suburb of Helena.

Helena is a little community away from the hustle and bustle of metro life.  It’s safe, quiet and friendly.   The biggest issue with Helena is traffic flow early in the morning and late in the afternoon. There are just a couple of roads leading into our fair city, and none of those are four lanes.  When one gets off the interstate to drive the fives miles into Helena, it can take a while.

Often people are feeding in from side roads trying to get onto the main road, and it’s hit and miss whether a person will be nice enough to let you slip into the flow of traffic.  I try my best, when possible, to help someone on a side road merge into the main flow. After they pull in front of me, there’s such a good feeling when they throw their hand up in the air saying, “Thank you so much!”  That just feels good!

Recently, I was driving in heavy traffic, and I waved a car into the flow.  The driver merged in front of me, but there was no throwing up the hand to say thanks, no smile, just v-room and on his way!  He did not even bother to thank me.  He just wanted to take what I gave, and be on his merry way!

It is so easy to ride down the road of life, never cultivating a heart of thanksgiving.  If you don’t believe that, take fifteen minutes to read the Monday morning posts on Facebook! Posts like – “It’s Monday, and I have to go to work. UGH!”

It is easy to murmur, complain, or compare ourselves to others when things don’t go our way.  A spirit of ungratefulness can cause us to miss out on receiving what God wants to give us. That’s why we need to make thanksgiving a way of life.

What would happen if on Monday morning, we dared to post – “Thank you, Lord, that you have provided me a job!”  Or, “Monday is the day the Lord has made, and I rejoice in it!”

I propose a challenge.  All through the day and week, when we want to complain, let’s stop and give thanks to the Lord.  Like those people who throw up a hand to say, “Thanks, for letting me in the line of traffic,” let’s throw up a hand to say, “Thank you, Lord!”  And, yes, I mean literally wave a hand at God and say, “Thank you!”

Gratitude is a choice. Will you be a part of the thank you wave?

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.   Psalm 118:1