Something my friend Bob Welch said this past weekend got me thinking. He said, almost in passing, as we were talking about one thing or another that believing God is real and living like you believe God is real are two very different things. Yea I thought to myself, they sure are. I think if we are really honest here we all to one degree or another are guilty of treating God like a candy dispenser. Sure, we go to church, yes, we are good people, and we look like we are doing everything just right. But how much time do we spend digging into gospel and trying to gain real understanding of how God wants us to conduct ourselves in this life. Do we seek God’s will whether it is uncomfortable or not? Or we do believe in God but go about living our lives like He does not exist? Because in all honesty, sometimes just acting like a Christian is much easier than really being a Christian. I don’t think that God intended His only purpose in our lives to be making us happy. Why do we tend to think He can’t change us, or that we can handle whatever the current situation is better than He can? Or why do we flippantly think He doesn’t have the power to overcome the situation so we go off in our own direction conjuring up our own remedies and fixes? I think we can safely call this putting a bandaid on a gushing wound. Its only a matter of time until we bleed out and are no longer able to function. Does that sound like we are severely limiting the effectiveness that God has in our lives? Does that sound like the plan God intended? In effect, are we living as Christian’s in name only? Ok, ouch, I get the point. Believing in God, and even acting like a Christian are really not the same thing as being a Christian. I believe we tend to take our Christian coats on and off just like we change our wardrobes each season. We have certain Christian garments we put on when we are acting like a Christian but when things are rolling along smoothly we slip them off until the next turn of rough weather rolls in. We pull our church clothes out of the spiritual closet every Sunday morning but rarely put them on the other six days of the week. Are we guilty of emulating Christ like behavior, you know things like being kind and compassionate, generous and helpful. But are we doing so without the work it takes to make sure our spiritual center stays strong and available. We can be kind and generous and good people, and still not be living as true Christians. If we are honest most people we know are “good people”. We can be all those things and still not be Christians in the full meaning of the word. However, we spend a whole lot of time (come on admit it, you know I am right) going through the motions of what we think a Christian should be or how a Christian should act. And you can be dang sure we are watching others to make sure they are “doing it right, more so than we are focusing our full attention on what God wants of us. A little attention to building an intimate relationship with Him goes a long way. To take my eyes off what others are doing and concentrate of His goals for me, His plans for me and His directions to me that seems like it might be more what He wants from me. I like what John Bevere said, “If we are going to be authentic and relevant, we must embrace truth and allow it to transform us at our very core. Maybe we should stop acting like Christians, and just be Christians. Dottie ……………………and so I ride
What’s wrong with this picture?
I think that almost all women and men must at one time or another think these things about their spouse.
Our wedding day seems a lifetime ago and the road we have traveled has been anything but smooth. Yet we walk this road with a passion, dedication and a destination that seems preset for us but not necessarily the best road for us .
I have come to know you completely and yet at times I don’t think I know you at all, you are a complex and sometimes hard person to get close to. When you let me close, it is a wonderful place to be. The problem is, It seems I spend a lot of time either sitting at the bottom of the wall you have built with such complexities or scratching and clawing my way over to where I know your heart must be waiting, only to find that there is yet another detour.
Give me the map, I am waiting for the map.
Some days I don’t think you have changed me one bit but the honest truth is you have changed me forever. You can see what is good and true in me but at times, you have trouble forgiving me for those very things.
You are who I was born to love, you are who I need to love, yet you are not who I expected to love. I expected white picket fences and happily ever after. The reality is we are having to work very hard at the happily ever after part of our story. Should it be this hard?
Without you there would be no me and yet, there is a fierce independent fire burning inside of me that screamed to be acknowledged by you. I want to be one with you but at the same time I want my uniqueness acknowledged and celebrated.
My likes, hopes and dreams are different than yours. That does not make them wrong, it just makes them different.
So why do I write these things?
Because they are true, because they are things that we think about every day.
Reread those words. Where is the focus? Me Me Me Me……………………where is God in this scenario?
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Make no mistake, marriage is tough business and if you think you are going to sail through it without God’s help, you would be wrong.
We can be the strongest individuals on earth but for a marriage to prosper and grow, there needs to be three persons present………you, your spouse and God……….AT ALL TIMES.
We might pride ourselves on being loners but within the confines of marriage, two is the highest earthly unity we can experience, and two strands often unravel. Inviting God to join our marriage gives us unbreakable heavenly three stranded unity.
So add that third strand to your marriage, don’t stop by just letting the strands touch each other, let them entwine, intermingle and become tightly woven. Watch how your focus switches from me, me, me to you, ME and God.
We will be strengthened by what is now unbreakable.
Life is measured by defining moments.
You live through, learn from and apply to them to your life. Some will serve as lasting lessons some are temporary.
Loving someone with Christlike love (John 15:3) became a real and living thing to me this weekend. It is no longer simply an abstract thought, I have real examples to draw from.
Philippians 2:3 was put into real life practice as long awaited plans were changed simply because there was a friend in need. I cannot adequately explain what it does to a hurting heart to be gathered around, placed in Christian protection and unconditionally and unceremoniously really, ministered to. No blame, no words of what it cost them, simply unconditional pure and healing love.
To be held up emotionally and to be ministered to spiritually gives strength where you think you have none and encouragement when you are feeling nothing but defeat. Hearts are impacted and needed words are delivered with truth and grace.
True christian love shares genuine caring and concern, christian love involves acting and doing and expecting nothing in return. Christian love lets you wail your agony ( for awhile, lol ) without fear of judgement or criticism.
Jesus said, “…Love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12). I have heard that scripture many times, I have told others that scripture many times. I have never saw that scripture in action, until now. The reality of those words are much more beautiful than the theory.
I was thinking about Ephesians 1:6 and what it means to be truly accepted for who you are. To be accepted not in spite of who we are but because of who we are. What a wonderful thing to watch and to receive!
To be accepted and acknowledged fully felt like snuggling in warm blankets and being able to fully rest. To be assured of understanding without judgement but with compassion and tenderness is a gift offered with grace.
This is for true Christian friends. You know who you are. You comforted at a time when comfort seemed out if reach. You made me a better and stronger person. You lent me a hand you gave me my smile back you showed me honesty and clarity. You did that without expectations and you did that unconditionally. You showed me Christ’s love and for that I thank you!
……….and so I ride
Note to Self- You may read if you need to think about keeping commitments also J
Commitments are not just words you say, they are actions you keep. Wow there’s a thought, think about New Years Resolutions. By definition a commitment is a decision to do what needs to be done, whatever the cost. Read that again…….whatever the cost.
That seems like it should be easy but I am ashamed to say that I am as bad as anybody else in offering a commitment but when the time comes to fulfill that obligation, any excuse will do.
There are lots of areas in life this can pertain to, promises to ourselves, promises to others, when you get a pet you make a commitment, when you get a drivers license you make a commitment, the list is endless. How often do we find ourselves slipping or completely ignoring the commitments we make?
We promise ourselves that we will save money by not eating out so often but when we have had tough days at work we say, well just this one time. Then at the end of the month you realize you have eaten out more than you have eaten at home. You make a commitment to help with something for a friend but when the time comes you are too tired, to busy, etc. Our pets don’t get walked and exercised like they should and we continue to break the laws when we drive, texting and driving, prime example.
You get my drift. If it doesn’t seem like a priority at the moment, more than likely it won’t get done, no matter your previous commitment.
I’m not calling anybody out here, this is strictly being written for me and a certain commitment I made that I don’t feel I have been living up to. I am writing this morning about a commitment I made by joining CMA.
I think it is pretty common to join an organization and have good attendance at first but soon it slips on your priority list for one reason or another and as it goes lower and lower on the list participation drops. Is that fair to the organization as a whole and is it fair to the fellow members of the organization? Probably not.
With your commitment of joining comes responsibility, but lets back up a bit.
What does the Bible say about our commitments? Lots – and words about commitment are not minced. Numbers 30:2 says if a man vows a vow to the Lord, he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. Ecclastiasted 5:4-5 says not to delay paying our vows, it is better that you don’t promise rather than promise and not pay. Perhaps Psalm 89:34 says it best. I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
It doesn’t get much plainer than that. If you make a commitment – keep it.
I guess what makes me write about this today is the fact that I have been incredibly busy at work, there is a grant due, we are in the process of moving our school and switching fiscal agents. You know, life happens. In the meantime, I have been letting my commitment to CMA slip. Last night I missed a ride. Last winter I seldom made Bible study. I always claimed to be to tired, to stressed from work , etc. there was an excuse a day.
Last night stress from work was affecting my tummy so I opted to stay home. I could have rode, but I chose to wallow in my stress. I guess that means I didn’t trust God enough to ask for the strength to do what I made a commitment to do. Ouch and I apologize.
There are times we genuinely must miss functions and everyone understands that but when you start missing more than you are attending maybe it is time to re-evaluate what is going on.
Lets make some comparisons here.
Humans: We are too tired to go to meetings, to go on organized rides, to show up and promote the cause of the Kingdom.
God: For God so loved the world He gave His only son…………….John 3:16
Humans: Can’t afford to ride or eat with the group because I had a few to many stops at Starbucks this week.
God: God decided to save a lost world. The cost was the cruel, despicable death of His only son.
Lets face it, there is power in a gathering of our members, I have seen it work. There is especially power when we ride and our colors are blowing in the wind. When we chose to forsake the gathering for selfish reasons, we forfeit a portion that power.
When we choose to disobey and not honor our commitments the effects are much more than is apparent to the eye. As Christians others are watching us, if we don’t think the early morning CMA meeting is important enough to go to, others are watching. They could very well chose to take the same opinion. Thus we lose potential members.
If we don’t make every effort to make the rides we have made a commitment to, others will think it isn’t important enough to do either. I can hear the rumble, well the members of that club don’t seem to like to attend the meetings, I think I will find another club.
Yes, we can grow weary. Yes, motivation will grow dim. Yes, we will put other things in the more important category than fulfilling our commitments to CMA but we have not yet been the ones who witnessed the shedding of blood of the innocent one, for our salvation. Sure we know there was great suffering so that we might live eternally, but knowing is different than taking it to heart and living like we “know” it.
What Christ has done for me, what Christ does in me and what Christ well continue to do for me, that should be enough motivation to get out there and fulfill my obligations.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light’ ” (Matt. 11:28–30).
………………..and so I ride
I remember when I bought her. It was the best day ever. She taught me things about myself that I didn’t know existed and she brought things out of me that had lain dormant for many years. I found courage, freedom, pride, independence, my voice and a love for the road. For that I’ll always be grateful. But it was time to move on, or ride on as it were.
Is it any wonder then that standing in that parking lot with my two bikes, knowing she might be going to a new home that very night, that I was hit with the most bittersweet feeling I have ever known.
When Mr New Harley Owner drew cash out of his wallet I knew my time with Glitter was over. I had a feeling just like when we leave the dogs at the kennel, you better take care of her “or else”! But my worries were short lived. His comment upon leaving was “I was always the short guy on the Honda, I have waited years for this.” At that moment I was thinking to myself, alright dude! This is a good fit, you are gonna love your new bike! Take her home and start polishing that chrome!
I turned around and headed for “Honey”. Her and I, we have a God given mission. Not that Glitter wouldn’t have gotten me down the road in fine style, she would have.
With motorcycles, if you are in your favorite Harley dealership just browsing and “she” catches your eye. Well forget it, you are going home with a new bike. Doesn’t matter that she was a tad bit more than the shirt that also called your name or the outrageously priced purse, call it the itch, call it spontaneous, call it destiny, call it crazy, it is what it is. You are ending the day with a new bike.
So to Glitter, thank you for what you allowed me to learn about myself and to Honey, get ready , we have a mission field to conquer, you,me and God.
So you made a choice that didn’t turn out as you planned and now you have to fix it? Sometimes that happens and it can be stressful.
You have a couple of choices, leaving well enough alone or forging ahead and doing what needs to be done. Sounds relatively easy right?
Yea except sometimes fixing a problem involves making the tough decisions and #1 admitting you were wrong, #2 hurting someone’s feelings. No one ever said doing what was right would always be easy, but if there is a right and a wrong choice, we are expected to go with what’s right even if it is the hard choice.
I guess the first thing to be done is to pray about it and seek Gods guidance and make sure your intentions align with Gods will. That may require delaying the decision and in most cases that is ok. I for one tend to be quick to take action but at times, that is not beneficial.
It helps to remember that my Father wants what is best for me, but not only that, He knows what is best for me. (Jeremiah 29:11)
So I return at this point to prayer. See what the Bible has to say about the situation, sometimes it is clearly laid out for us and all we have to do is obey. When it’s not I think that Psalm 119:105 is a good rule of thumb, dig into His word and use the principles you find there as a guiding light.
However none of this will do one ounce of good if you are not fully prepared to do as God wants you too. This is the point I tend to pack a lot of “what if’s” into the situation.
Obedience (no matter the situation) requires a willing heart and when that happens you can be sure God is going to show you the way. It boils down to trust again it seems, (Proverbs 3:5—6).
God will show you what He expects from this situation but you have to be willing to listen. Preaching to the choir here…………………..
Our groundwork should not be over at this point however, research, yes my favorite thing, gather all the information needed to make an informed decision and a decision that brings glory to our Father.
Here is the pesky part for me, weighing the decision and figuring out how it will impact others. Not every decision is popular with every person involved. This is really true when you are the boss and that sucks at times.
I think it is important to point out that good judgement and good decisions should be worked out between you and God first and foremost. Because the answers when asking someone if you acted with good judgement will entirely depend on who you ask.
Once you have walked these steps it is time to take the bull by the horns, gather the courage to do as God has revealed to you and “just do it” God won’t leave you to twist in the wind, He will be right there as you follow as you are being directed.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
“Indecision becomes decision with time.”
We are gathered in my living room this afternoon and of course the conversation rolled around to God and motorcycles. Riding season is upon us (thank gosh) and there are many things we should be thinking about.
We cannot forget to be safety minded when we ride and do all the bike maintenance to ride safely. We need to stay current with all the laws of all the states we ride in. We need to be mindful of those we ride with and ride safely in all instances. Good riding apparel is important to stay comfortable and dry and safe (and fashionable). There is a lot to think on when preparing for riding season, that is just the tip of the iceberg, or motorcycle as it were.
But yet something is nagging on me.
What makes for a good ride? Is a good ride “good enough”? If we truly are Riding for the Son, shouldn’t every ride start and end with that purpose?
We all know what a good motorcycle road consists of and how fun those twisties can be. But when you climb off your bike at the end of the day what have you accomplished? Yea it was fun but there has to be more we are to accomplish with the gifts and motorcycles God has given us than riding the twisties (though that can be exhilaration at its highest).
Speaking strictly of myself, riding to me is an extension of who I am now. God gives us all talents (whether we admit it or not, we all have a gift) and God places us in diverse positions in our lives to best use those talents. We had a very inspiring conversation this afternoon with some friends. I believe we are placed in different churches, in different situations and given different desires, motivations and passions to reach more people for Christ.
We just need to have the courage to step out with our convictions and trust God enough to know He is coming along for the ride and will see us through wherever our mission takes us.
During the summer months our “church” attendance is down but that doesn’t mean we aren’t out there being ambassadors of God. The nice weather gives us the opportunity to take our “church” on the road and reach out to those God has placed in our path. We are the “church” outside the walls.
Unconventional………yes, but nothing Jesus did was conventional, why do we think it would be any different for us?
Uncomfortable……….at times, but those are the times that we learn from.
Uncompromising…………………absolutely, when you are on a mission, you are on a mission. Period.
The best way to reach people for Christ is just be what God called you to be.