Archive for September 2008

Lighten Your Load

September 25, 2008

When our son, Jared, was about four years old, we went to Pink Hill for their “Farmer’s Day” Celebration. One event they had for the little ones was a “tractor pull.” They had little pedal-powered tractors with trailers attached. The kids would take off pedaling with all their might – with a concrete block in their trailer. About every 15 feet they would have a block added.  The great big grins soon changed into grimaces and then finally exhaustion as the load would just get too heavy and, one by one, they would stop. 

As I looked on, I thought how much like life that competition was. So many times, we go through all kinds of stuff and the burden just gets heavier and heavier until we feel like we are hauling a load of blocks. Except our blocks have names like failed dreams, guilt, regret and all kinds of other things we seem to collect along the way.

Wouldn’t it be great if someone would take all those blocks of burden away? God has promised us He would do just that. We must come to the point where we admit the fact that we can’t goit alone and trust in Him. When we admit we can’t “fix it” and call on Him, He stands ready to, as David wrote, uphold our spirit and gives us His joy in return.

A Challenge

September 14, 2008

Just a little over two years ago, I took a new assignment at work. I would be the coordinator and primary instructor for our Management Development Program. Part of the program as a physical fitness element, as well as a team building exercise was to hike up Mt. Pisgah just south of Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say, I didn’t make it to the top of Mt. Pisgah. My students were very gracious, and allowed that I had not had time to train for it, etc. But, the fact is I was out of shape and cardio-weak.

Shortly after that, I began to train – hard. It was hard, it was grueling and it was easy to find excuses not to workout. But, I did and the next fall I saw the view from the top of Mt. Pisgah. Eileen and I went up this summer. Lord willing, I will go back up this week.

It struck me that there are a lot of things in life like Mt. Pisgah. And, I wonder, if there is something you are currently facing like that. Let me just offer a word of encouragement – it’s worth it. Face the challenge be it physical, mental or emotional. Maybe there is a physical task like a hike, or a canoe trip or a run you think is just out of reach. Train, prepare and go for it. Maybe there is a class or degree you want to take or finish. Maybe there is a relationship which needs to be restored or a debt that needs to be forgiven.

The view from the top is worth it.

The Other Double-Standard

September 11, 2008

Mu

Much has been said in the past week about John McCain VP pick – Sarah Palin. She has been slammed in many ways which would not even be considered if she were a man. All of these issues have been raised other places and I’m not going to rehash them here – except to say that I think it shows how desperate her opponents have become.

However, I have watched with interest the “other double-standard” unfold largely ignored in the mainstream press. In the past few days I’ve seen national media reports direct attention to the fact that she was baptized in the Catholic church. Yet, we are told that Obama’s attendance at Muslim schools in Jakarta during his formative years was irrelevant.

The National press has made an issue of about her pastor’s views about the rapture (which can be supported through Biblical interpretation). Yet, when Obama’s pastor Wright said AIDS was introduced by the white man to get rid of blacks, we are told you can’t hold the congregant accountable for the preacher’s views.

I’m not surprised at any of this – I’m just surprised that some folks apparently think we are so stupid we won’t see through their (thinly) veiled attempts to direct public opinion.

His Eye is on the Sparrow (and the dove, and You)

September 4, 2008

Well, it looks like we here in southeastern North Carolina are going to get at least a small dose of hurricane Hannah.

We are gathering up the small items from the yard and porch, and doing all the prudent things we are to do to get ready.

But the real preparation for hurricanes, and all of life’s storms, is to set your anchor in the One Who is in control. We were reminded of God’s providential care during a hurricane several years ago. As we went through the preparations for hurricane Fran, we noticed a mourning dove had her nest in a pear tree in our back yard. We knew she would be in for a rough ride, but there wasn’t anyway we could help her. That night Fran paid us a visit and hit our area with a fairly substantial blow.

As we surveyed the damage the following day, our power was out, our home had been damaged by a tornado passing by close enough to suck the windows from their frames, shingles gone, but praise be to God, we were all ok. As we were cleaning up, we noticed the dove. She was still sitting on her nest, which was still in the pear tree.

What a night she must have had! But, through it all, our loving God had His eye – and hand – upon her. How much more will He watch over us?

He may not always calm the storm, but He will calm us in the storm, whatever that storm might be.