Sunday, June 28, 2009

Peace, Be Still


If “joy” is the fruit of the Spirit that brings spiritual “satisfaction,” then “peace” is that which brings spiritual “contentment. Paul tells Christians that prayer is an essential part of living a life of peace – one that is free from worry (Philippians 4:1-9). Is God really big enough to solve our problems? Yes. When we bring our concerns to the Lord, we need to believe that He is! There is just no place for an insincere prayer – the Father wants our hearts and minds. Prayer brings the “peace of God” to us; it guards our hearts and minds, the two areas that are prone to cause us to worry…wrong feelings leads to wrong thinking, and vice-versa.

Once, when Jesus was traveling by boat with the disciples across the sea, a great storm came upon them. Jesus was asleep, but the disciples woke Him because they were terrified. Jesus said to them -- you of little faith...and He calmed the sea (Matthew 8:23-27). The mind is powerful, and yet, is easily persuaded to fear. Just as the disciples became afraid, so it is also easy for us. Even in the midst of the storm, the Master of the tempest was in control. It is so easy for us to allow Satan to keep our minds focused on negative feelings, emotions – hurt, fear, anger, self-pity, worry and the like. This is precisely where he wants us, and if he is able to keep us there, then he has us…our hearts and minds. This is a dangerous place for our spirits and souls to be. Jesus says, “Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). We need to know that peace is not the absence of trials, but a quiet confidence and contentment within, regardless of circumstances, people or things.

Paul tells the Corinthians to bring every thought captive…and under the guidance of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 10:5). Since Satan wants to corrupt our minds, we must submit or surrender our thoughts to God. This is why Paul goes on to say that Christians should spend their time dwelling on things that are respectable. Holiness is something of a lost virtue, in many respects, today, but if there is an spiritual quality that is continually brought to the fore in the Word of God, this is it! And this does not mean that we can always avoid what is unpleasant, just that we should not focus our attention on dishonorable things. If it has virtue, it will motivate us to do and to be better; if it has praise, it is worth commending to others. Right thinking does not just happen automatically, it is the result of daily meditation upon the Word of God. Worldliness and sin bring us stress…holiness and purity allow for peace. The “peace of God” is one test of whether or not we are in the will of God.

God is so good. He knows our hurts, fears and anxieties, and He takes care of our needs.
Just as gives joy when good things are happening around us…He also provides peace when the going gets rough. In his famous song, Scott Krippayne writes – “sometimes he calms the storms that swirl around us and brings us peace; other times, the storms continue to swirl, but God, through His Spirit, calms his child.” God brings us peace. Even when there are physical wars and rumors of wars, God can bring spiritual contentment. Let’s take our minds off of things that rob us of peace. Allow God through His Spirit to set you free…and be at peace. Blessings,


Friday, June 26, 2009

Coming to a Finals Near You


Is the NBA about marketing?...NAW. :-) Say it ain't so -- Shaq to the Cavaliers? You've got to love it. I say...let's just skip next year's regular season and all playoff action in 2010 and just deliver the Finals that everyone and their Uncle Fester wants to see -- Shaq and LeBron vs. Kobe. I would say it except, the Magic complicated things a bit by signing Vince Carter...oh, and there is the bit about KG coming back. Still, there is NO WAY that this destined matchup is going to be avoided. Talk about mega-millions being made...this is made for TV, Pay-Per-View, name it. It's going to happen -- book it! Blessings,


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Huge Upset


It probably does not mean much to alot of folks in our country, but the U.S men's soccer team's upset of Spain today, 2-0, in the Confederations Cup -- a lead in to next year's World Cup -- was huge! It is not unlike the "miracle on ice" hockey upset in the Olympics of 29 years is that big, but the venue is smaller, so it will not get that kind of run. A little perspective -- Spain is the #1 team in the world...and had a 15 game winning streak, and 35 games without a loss coming into the Confed Cup semifinal today. Spain outshot the Americans by 2-1 and had 3x as many corners. Also, the U.S was 0-3 all-time against Spain.

NOBODY, that I am aware of, gave them a chance to win this game. This was supposed to be it for the Americans...good tournament -- went farther than they were even supposed to go, but...then, the unexpected! So, hats off to youngster Altidore and veteran Dempsey for a couple of monumental goals and relative newbie, Tim Howard, for playing an exceptional game in the goal...putting the U.S. team back on the map, at least for the time being. One more to go -- beat Brazil! Blessings,



Monday, June 22, 2009

Down to the Wire


The United States Golf Championship, aka the U.S. Open, ended today...on a Monday...uncharacteristically. This was due to the torrential rains, on and off -- Thursday through Sunday, that had grounds crews regularly squeegeeing water off of the greens. Tiger was the prohibitive favorite coming in, having won the Memorial tournament a couple of weeks ago, and he played well, but...he couldn't make a putt that mattered to save his golf life and ended up even par, four shots behind the winner. Ahh, but there was some great drama, as Phil Mickelson, the sentimental favorite came roaring back on the back nine to tie for the lead. But, Phil is just bit by the 2 bug, as he had a couple of bogeys late and finished tied for 2nd -- the record fifth time that he has been second in the U.S. Open. Then, there was David Duval, the last #1 player in the world that anyone can remember before Tiger, back in the mid-90's. He is currently ranked eight-hundred and eighty something in the world, after having fallen on some serious golf hard times over the past several years. He also finished tied for 2nd, his best finish in a tournament in years. And, he couldn't have picked a better tournament to do it in. Here's hoping he is all the way back. This leaves two relative no names -- Ricky Barnes, and Lucas Glover. Ricky had a commanding lead at the end of the third round, but like so many young golfers who have big leads going into the last day, he couldn't maintain it and fell into a three way tie for 2nd. And this leaves...drum roll, please -- Lucas Glover. Lucas who? Is he related to Danny or Crispin? Probably not. But, hey -- the win matters to him and his family. He had one career PGA win before this weekend...and now he has two. And #2 will always keep his name in lights to a degree, because it was a major championship. So, hats off to Lucas Glover...he withstood a hard charge from a number of players -- some of them quite notable, as mentioned -- and won going away. Good show! Blessings,


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Public Prayer and Culture


I try to be discerning as to when and how many of these particular messages I there is a fine line of sorts between being convicted and coming across overly dogmatic and militant. This one sent to me by a friend stands out to a degree. You may have seen it...if not, I hope you can appreciate it. I can appreciate this person's conviction, whether I would word it differently or not...perhaps, but the intent is understood.

This is a statement that was read over the PA system at the football game at Roane County High School, Kingston, Tennessee, by school Principal, Jody McLeod.

"It has always been the custom at Roane County High School football games, to say a prayer and play the National Anthem, to honor God and Country." Due to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, I am told that saying a prayer is a violation of Federal Case Law.

As I understand the law at this time, I can use this public facility to approve of sexual perversion and call it "an alternate lifestyle," and if someone is offended, that's OK. I can use it to condone sexual promiscuity, by dispensing condoms and calling it, "safe sex." If someone is offended, that's OK. I can even use this public facility to present the merits of killing an unborn baby as a "viable means of birth control." If someone is offended, no problem. I can designate a school day as "Earth Day" and involve students in activities to worship religiously and praise the goddess "Mother Earth" and call it "ecology." I can use literature, videos and presentations in the classroom that depicts people with strong, traditional Christian convictions as "simple minded" and "inornate" and call it "enlightenment."

However, if anyone uses this facility to honor GOD and to ask HIM to bless this event with safety and good sportsmanship, then Federal Case Law is violated. This appears to be inconsistent at best, and at worst, diabolical. Apparently, we are to be tolerant of everything and anyone, except GOD and HIS Commandments. Nevertheless, as a school principal, I frequently ask staff and students to abide by rules with which they do not necessarily agree. For me to do otherwise would be inconsistent at best, and at worst, hypocritical... I suffer from that affliction enough, unintentionally. I certainly do not need to add an intentional transgression. For this reason, I shall "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's," and refrain from praying at this time. "However," if you feel inspired to honor, praise and thank GOD and ask HIM, in the name of JESUS, to bless this event, please feel free to do so. As far as I know, that's not against the law----yet."

One by one, the people in the stands bowed their heads, held hands with one another and began to pray. They prayed in the stands. They prayed in the team huddles. They prayed at the concession stand and they prayed in the Announcer's Box! The only place they didn't pray was in the Supreme Court of the United States of America - The Seat of "Justice" in the "one nation, under GOD." Somehow, Kingston, Tennessee remembered what so many have forgotten. We are given the Freedom OF Religion, not the Freedom FROM Religion. Blessings,


Monday, June 15, 2009

Stargate Update


I had the opportunity to watch the two Stargate movies that came out in the past year -- Ark of Truth and Continuum. They both lasted about two hours...and neither turned out as I expected. If you have not seen them and are intending to do so, do not read any further, as there are some spoilers. The first movie, Ark of Truth, attempts to tie up all of the loose ends with the story concerning the Ori and the Ancients. I guess I had my expectations up for some great plot and huge climactic battle, but it never materialized. In fact, I would say that the movie was slightly hokey, rushed and something of a let down...I would give it a B- if I had to grade it. On the other hand, Continuum was an attempt to settle an old score with the last of the systems lords, Bal. I had just the opposite feeling about this movie. I expected the same old parallel universes, predictable theme and plot kind of story...and this is not what happened. Even though it did take you on the parallel universe tack, I thought it was creative, had good action and several plot twists. But, then, I like parallel universe stories. All in all, I would give it an A-.

The jury is still out on Stagate Universe, of course, the new series due to come out in a few months. It stars Robert Carlyle and Lou Diamond Phillips. After some initial excitement about a new Stargate series -- even one with something of an ST Voyager theme -- I have some concerns. After reading reviews and seeing some previews, it would appear that the series is going to lower itself to the level of many of the over-sexed shows on television today...appearing to be similar in spirit to the Battlestar Galactica series. I hope that this is not the case. My greatest dream for the series is that there would be fresh new ideas from writers and not the same old retread concepts one sees from all of the ST series and previous SG series -- but then, just how much can be done with the sci-fi genre as we know it? I guess we will continue to see. Blessings,


Saturday, June 13, 2009

What Have You Done For Me Lately?


It has become somewhat rabid...if you are a pro sports coach. Win today, for you may be gone tomorrow. It is not about next year anymore, it is about this week. Mike Brown led the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA team to a team best 58 wins and was even named coach of the year. Yet, he did not do his best job in the playoffs and the Cavs lost to the Orlando Magic. A couple of days ago someone wrote an article somewhere...this is all it the effect that Mike Brown could or should be fired. It took about a millisecond for ESPN and all other networks to pick up the story and run with it. Who says the media doesn't drive sports? Now, I doubt that Mike Brown is going to be fired this year...but a slow start next year or early playoff exit, what with LeBron and all the hype -- and he's a goner. Still, all it takes is some folks getting on the media driven publicity bandwagon for a coach to get run real quick-like. Professional sports has truly become a pragmatic society in every respect. I appreciate what you did for us yesterday, but it ain't working long. Thankfully, there are some franchises, like the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, MLB's St Louis Cardinals, and others who value longevity, and it pays off over time. Patience, patience! :-) Blessings,


Friday, June 12, 2009

Great Wisdom

Another Pickles...good stuff. Blessings,

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Umbrellas and Faith


It became something of a joke at the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Memorial Day weekend. The race had already been postponed to Monday, Memorial Day, because of heavy rain on Sunday. The race had been postponed a couple of times during the day on Monday…and once past the half-way point, the race could be called off. Still, after a day’s delay, the fans had been waiting patiently -- dealing with the rain -- for the race to go the distance.

So, here was David Reutimann, the leader of the race after 227 of 400 laps were completed, when the rains came, once again, and the race was halted. Many were hopeful that the race would get back under way, but not Reutimann…he and his crew chief wanted it called off so that he could be declared the winner. One of the things that kept catching my attention were the announcers who kept saying…where is his faith? – He has no umbrella out. Now, this could be because he enjoyed the rain and would not mind being soaking wet, even if it meant that he would have to climb back into his 180 degree cockpit and finish. Fortunately, for him, the rains just kept coming, the race was eventually called off and he was declared the winner. But, this rainy season story does illustrate an interesting fact…and it does raise a question -- do we really take Jesus at His Word, all the time? Do we really regularly exercise humility of faith?

Many years ago, a drought in the South threatened crops and livelihood. In a small Kentucky community, a minister implored his congregation to come together for a special service…to pray for rain, and thus get relief from the drought. As the people began to fill the farmer’s field where they were all meeting, the preacher said, “In the Bible it says…the prayer of faith is answered.” “Yet, I don’t think that you people really believe that rain will come,” he continued. One of those assembled who spoke for many of them said, “We are here aren’t we?” “True,” said the preacher, “but where are your umbrellas? If you were here to pray for the gully washer that we need, you would have brought your umbrellas!”

This is the position that we find ourselves in from time to time in our faith. We say, “I believe,” but will I really crawl out on that limb knowing that it is going to hold up? We need to truly believe that the Lord can handle our cares, concerns and crises. In fact, we must know that the Lord is big enough to deal with our lives completely. It is often crises that focus us on what really matters in life. And it is through difficult experiences that we really find our direction. Blessed are we if we trust in the Lord for direction, believing in that which cannot be seen – this is truly the essence of faith. Life makes so much more sense for folks who seek the Lord with humility…and the result is that we can certainly have confidence in what direction that we’re ultimately going . Blessings,


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Will There Be Magic?


The Team -- No. Don't think the Magic can overcome Lakers home court advantage. Also, how many times do we see the team that lost in the finals the year before come back and win it next year?...excepting the Buffalo Bills, of course. Besides, Kobe is on a mission. And don't believe a cotton picking thing he says about it not being about winning a championship without Shaq. This is EXACTLY what it is about...pride and ego. This is why I can't stand him...or the Lakers. I didn't mind the Lakers of old, but there are too many primadonnas playing today. Speaking of which, I have a whole lot more respect for LeBron, but...he did disappoint by not showing up to shake hands and do the expected media interviews following the Cavs semifinal ouster -- be a better sport next year, win or lose.

The Horse -- maybe...the odds are 2-1, but I am betting against Mine That Bird and Mr Calvin's opportunity for a jockey triple. There have been too many losses in the Belmont over the years by horses that were favored. I don't believe the filly would have fared any better. Hate to be a kill joy, because I hope MTB does win it for Borel...but doubting it.

The Player -- YES! This has got to be Roger Federer's year to win the French Open and get the monkey off his back. Nadal is gone, Djokovic is gone...he beat up on Monfils, who beat Roddick the other night in the, this has got to be his year, doesn't it? If he can pull it off, Federer will tie Sampras for most Grand Slam wins (14) and do something that Sampras never could -- win one on the clay of Roland Garros. This would have to make Federer the best of all time, with due respect to Agassi, Borg, Lendl, Laver...and Sampras. Blessings,