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When Wings Make Flight

I woke this morning thinking of the importance of using our time well. I actually wrote a long post, but I got to thinking about items from this post from 6 years ago. I believe this makes the points I want to share just fine. Have a blessed day.

areliablefaith

The most wonderous and perhaps the most hazardous period in a bird’s life is when it first learns to fly. Given wings by the Creator a bird is meant to fly. Yet in those first few days of flight a young bird is liable to find itself on the ground stranded and within reach of cats and other animals that are more likely to swallow it than help it back up into a tree.  New believers are a lot like those young birds.  Entering a life changing relationship with the Lord gives us wings and prompts us to desire flight.  But it is dangerous to believe we are ready for all the world, the flesh, and the devil are going to throw at us now that we are on God’s side opposing them.  We must realize that becoming a believer in Jesus Christ means we are at war.  The verse, “the devil prowls like a roaring lion…

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Hearing God

I’m taking a few moments to revisit some previous posts. I would love to hear others share how God speaks to them and guides them in living a life of faith.

areliablefaith

I had never really thought about it too much, but as I was speaking with a wonderful brother yesterday, he asked me exactly how God spoke to me.  I had related the following story to him.

When we moved to Tennessee we owned a house in Louisiana that we had purchased 4 years earlier.  The economy in Louisiana was in a decline when we moved and houses were not selling.  We had no money to purchase a home with until our house in Louisiana sold.

We looked at houses in Tennessee on our first visit to the area in January.  The realtor had our list of “needs”, our list of “wants”, and the price we could afford when our house in Louisiana sold.  He showed us 20+ homes that first visit focusing upon our needs and the price range we gave him.  None of the houses enticed us.  At the…

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Psalm 27:8 “My heart says of you “Seek His face! “  Your face, LORD, I will seek”.

Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”

Today we begin a 9 day road trip down the West Coast from Seattle to San Francisco.  We actually made it to Tacoma last night.  As with most of our adventures I am anxious to get started. I am ready to rush out and conquer the trip. Too often I slip into the attitude of a “task to be quickly dispatched” rather than “a good meal to be savored.” We head to Seaside, Oregon from Tacoma today. Along the way we will visit Cape Disappointment, Washington. Now if you’re like Lisa you just scrunched up your face and thought “Disappointment? Why do they call it that? And who wants to begin with disappointment? “

It’s funny but I never even considered the odd name until Lisa posed the question last night. I popped out the first logical thing that came to mind. “Because a lot of ship wrecks have happened here which is a very disappointing thing.”  She believed me. I hope I’m correct and we’ll try to find the answer.

As I sit here I realize that a lot of people seem to live in perpetual disappointment. I think of Eeyore, the donkey character from Winnie the Pooh. For Eeyore life is a perpetual grey. Eeyore lives in the same world as the ever optimistic Pooh, but their comprehension of that world couldn’t be more different.

I believe that’s a truth that makes the admonition from today’s scripture so powerful. I could follow through with my first inclination to rush through the day ticking off tasks.  But unmet expectations, detours, and changes could easily cause me to miss the Cape and just end up at disappointment.

When we seek the LORD first and we wait for Him, He meets us and He transforms us. Instead of our goal being a completed task list by days end, it becomes the sacred journey with Him and the people He places in our path.

And that my friend is the journey I want to take.

All of you on this trip with us are special friends and family. We love you and we are so thankful you are in our lives. I hope (and pray) that what we share will make you laugh, smile, think, and perhaps touch your heart.

 

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The Lord knows what we need.  He always, always does.  The real question is do we respond when He says, “Let Me give you what you need.”

This week marks my 10th straight week of travel for work.  I signed up for it.  Actually I like to see new places, meet new people, tackle new challenges.  But 10 weeks is a long time to be away.  A few weeks ago the Father brought me to one of those – “Let Me give you what you need” moments.  It was a tremendous encouragement to me.  But over the past few days I have realized the message of that moment was given not just for me, but to be shared with others.

It started on a Friday night.  I had traveled all week.  My wife and I sat down together and watched a melodrama we like called “Heartland”.  We watched three episodes and to be quite honest with you, I was upset with the amount of drama going on in the characters lives as I went to sleep.  Now I know it is bit silly to get emotionally invested in fictional characters on a TV show, but what was happening wasn’t totally fiction.  You see I know people who are hurting just like those characters.  I also love people who can’t seem to consistently make wise decisions and that hurts me too.  I cannot unplug from the problems of the people around me and the show that evening touched a resonant chord in me.

After a restless night of waking, praying, dosing off for a few minutes only to wake and begin praying again, I finally fell asleep around 5.  I woke at 7 with a start.  It was like I was shaken awake.  And I immediately sensed the Lord whisper in my spirit, “Come let Me kiss you.”  I have three grandchildren and they know me as Papi.  When they come over, particularly if we have been apart for a while, the homecoming has plenty of hugs and kisses.  It was with that same sense of excitement that I got up and slipped into the front of the house.

I left our dark bedroom, slipped through the lighter kitchen and into the living room.  When I turned toward the east facing front of the house, the brilliant sunshine reflecting off the china cabinet struck me with tangible force.  I was drawn to it.  As I stepped into the warmth of the sunshine I felt the Lord embrace me and I knew the reality of the Father holding his child, me, and giving him a kiss of pure love.  I don’t know how long I stood there just soaking up the Lord’s gracious love.  After some minutes, I started making a circuit back into the darkened kitchen and back into the light.  For six or seven circuits I would just stop and soak in the sunshine and the Father’s assurance of His love for me.

After some time, I found myself just staring out the back of the house to where the sun’s rays were turning the early spring morning into one of golden clarity.  And the Lord spoke one more time.  “I am not through with you.  The best is yet to come!”

That, my friends is a balm for a road-weary soul.  That is a promise I can and will hold on to.  That is a promise for everyone who puts their trust in Jesus and then pursues Him with all their heart.  He wants to be found by us.  He desires to fill us with good things.  He will transform our heart to become more and more like His heart if we diligently seek Him.

And God, my God is new every day.  The creator of the universe is able to do abundantly, amazingly more in and through us than we can possibly imagine.  All He is asking is for us to take our Next Step with Him.

To reach out when He whispers, “Say hello to that person.”

To take the time to listen in love to that hard-to-love person God has put in your life.

To read His Word because you realize it contains the Word and words of life.

To be the spouse you know God is calling you to be.

To live a prayerful life even when busy-ness threatens to overtake you.

To slip out of bed when He says, “Come let Me kiss you.”

 

Be blessed my friend and realize you are the blessing God wants to bring into someone’s life today.

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Always be ready.

I was not raised evangelical.  In fact the denomination I was raised in, Episcopal, was referred to as the “Frozen Chosen” by evangelist Billy Sunday.  Talking about faith, particularly speaking from the heart, speaking with passion, was NOT something I witnessed growing up.  That is not a value statement or a condemnation.  In fact I knew many Episcopalians who practiced the faith in very real, very devout ways.  It was just not a normal experience for people in the church I grew up in to speak about the faith… unless they were paid clergy.  And even then it was primarily a cerebral exercise more than a discussion that engaged the emotions.

So when I came to faith at age 23… in an Episcopal retreat called Cursillo, I was on fire for God, overwhelmed by a love and passion for Jesus and others, yet without a natural outlet to tell my story.  I can distinctly remember my Dad laughing good-naturedly and telling me, “Yeah, some people think that new Christians need to be locked up for a few months right after conversion so they don’t scare everybody to death.”  I believe I took that in the right way… that I needed to be sensitive to where others were and approach them in the right manner.  I also realized that was a very “Episcopal” thing to say.

Thirty two years later I’ve made plenty of mistakes both being too bold and being too timid in sharing my faith.  But along the way I’ve learned a few things that I think the Father would have me share with you.  As always we cannot go wrong with looking at Jesus, modeling what He did, and seeking to follow the Holy Spirit in speaking and doing as He leads.

  1. Beginning our day in intimacy with the Father sets the stage for our engagement with others.  When we start with time alone speaking with God, reading the Word, and allowing His Spirit to brood over us and work within us, we are spiritually prepared for the meetings with others we will have through the day.
  2. Keeping an open heart to the Holy Spirit will make us sensitive to the needs of others.  Today I was in a trade show for the consulting firm I work for.  I gave a presentation this morning (which for all intents and purposes was my main reason for being here) and then I manned the booth to meet potential customers as they walked through the exhibits.  On multiple occasions today as I stood at my booth awaiting someone to walk up the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to pray for divine conversations.  I did and sure enough, they happened.  (That is the real reason I was here!)
  3. Divine conversations have a two critical components – a listener who is receptive and a story-teller who is sensitive to the Lord’s leading.  I talked business about 85 – 90% of the day, but the 10 – 15% where the Holy Spirit opened the door were amazing.  This is an area where I have often erred either being too strong or too soft in my delivery, but today it consistently flowed.
  4. Our job is not to convert people.  Our role is to be obedient to the Lord’s leading and faithfully share from the Word in us and the life experiences He has brought us through.  It is the Holy Spirit’s job to bring people to conversion.  Yes, there will be times when we are there at the point someone makes a decision to give their life to Christ.  This is a glorious experience and true blessing to be a part of, however we do not need to take too much responsibility.  Our responsibility is simply to be obedient to the Holy Spirit’s prompting.
  5. This life is a prelude to something greater, something more real.  It is the door through which we pass to get to our ultimate home.  This life is not inconsequential, but it is also not our ultimate destiny.  The relationships we have here are the one thing that appears to have a link on through to eternity.  That belief helps me to hold onto the things of this life lightly, the relationships in this life more firmly, and the faith in Jesus most tightly.

It was a God-day and a great day.  I was able to hear other people’s stories, engage them where they were, and in a number of instances share God’s love through telling God-stories.  I sit here with a light and joyful spirit thinking of how good God is to allow us to participate with Him in His work to reach people wherever they are and draw them closer to Himself.  He is soooo good!

I pray you have a day full of divine conversations.  Be blessed and be a blessing!

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Michael is a TV news anchor in our area.

Although I have not directly experienced the challenging life he lived through, I understand the truth of what he describes. My heart goes out to all who are in the twisted normal Michael describes and I pray that the sound wisdom he espouses will be heard and heeded.

Enjoy.

Michael Cogdill

What some parents don’t want to remember their children can’t forget.

I’ve turned fifty, yet the child within me can’t help but remember.

In a small house in Arden, North Carolina in 1964, my mother tried to wake my father from a deep nap on the living room couch. Beer likely fueled that nap. I would soon learn even one or two lubed the gears of violence within that beautiful man.

But I was too young to know that then. I was a little past three years old. This ranks as my first memory of childhood.

My dad sprang from the couch, straddled and pinned my mother to the floor, and beat her so hard with his open hand her head thundered off the hardwood. She fought him, hard. Screamed for him to stop. I joined her. My cries fused with hers from where I stood, no more than six…

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