Who Is In Control?

Surrender: to yield (something) to the possession or power of another
Control: to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command

Let’s be honest; most of us like to be in control. We stress out when things seem out of our control. Growing up with two brothers, control was a big issue, whether it was who would ride “shotgun” in the car or would we watch cartoons or American Bandstand. It feels nice to call the shots, drive the car, hold the mic, dominate the remote, and plan out a detour-free itinerary for our lives.

Control becomes a major issue when we refuse to surrender control of our lives to God.  I’m like, “Hey God, I know you created the world, and exist outside of time, and are unquestionably wiser than anyone could imagine, but I just want to give you a heads up. You’re going the wrong way!”

Jesus prayed, “Your will be done,” right before His crucifixion; and our hearts, words, and lives should continue His prayer.

We cannot micromanage God, but we can trust Him. We can yield to His guidance, knowing He only leads us in the right direction.

We all get to choose. The options are confidence in our own partial understanding or surrender to the one who holds the map.

Married Like a Monk

Have you noticed that many marital arguments result from a disappointment with our spouses? We expect them to be something or do something and there aren’t or they don’t. We expect them to just know when we’ve had a hard day. We ask them, “What’s wrong?” and they say, “It’s no big deal!” but you know it is.

What if we sought a “monk’s marriage”? What if we decided that we would depend on God alone, expecting nothing from our spouse but entirely on God for all my needs, including emotional and relational need?

Then instead of resenting what my spouse fails to do or be, we will be overjoyed by every little thing they do. We would be filled with gratitude instead of resentment.

That’s why I want a “monk’s marriage,” the benefits of a being married to a godly woman, but with a monk’s attitude, expecting nothing, depending on God and being genuinely grateful for whatever my spouse chooses to bless me with.

The Big Picture

My wife loves putting puzzles together. She says it is relaxing. (I’ll take her word for it.) Sometimes when I walk into the room and look at the puzzle she has just started, I cannot tell what the finished puzzle will look like. I have to pick up the box to see the complete picture. 

Life is like a puzzle. (Can I get an amen?) Sometimes we try to make sense out of a situation when we only have a few “pieces” of the puzzle. As God allows more “pieces” to fall into place; life becomes clearer. Why God does not reveal the big pictures all at once to us remains a mystery. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, ” The Lord our God keeps certain things hidden…”

I love the song that Babbie Nelson sings,  “When you cannot see His hand, Trust His Heart.” That is very good advice. 

Missed Opportunity

WPamela Patrick White Artworke have all wondered at some point in our lives that if we had responded differently to a certain situation what would the outcome be? Choices can have tremendous results!

On September 11, 1777, an army of 12,500 British troops marched to the patriot city of Philadelphia, a detachment of green-clad marksmen hid in the woods. Suddenly a senior American officer rode into view. Captain Patrick Ferguson, reputed to be the finest shot in the British army, had his men creep forward to pick off any unsuspecting officers. But before the men were in place, Ferguson felt disgusted with the idea of ambush and ordered his men not to fire.

He shouted to the American officer, who was riding a bay horse. The American looked his way for a moment and turned to ride on. Ferguson called again, this time leveling his rifle toward the officer. The American glanced back before slowly riding away.

A day later, Ferguson learned that the American officer he let ride off was General George Washington. He could have easily shot Washington but thought it was not proper to shoot an “unoffending” individual in the back who was just doing his duty.

If Ferguson had taken aim and fired at the officer who turned his back and rode away, there is no telling how the American Revolution would have turned out. One decision could have changed history!

The John Wayne Syndrome

“John Wayne.” Just the mention of his name brings a mental image of a man’s man. He is the epitome of the rugged individual; courageous, strong, and never asking for help from anyone, no matter the odds. The concept of the ‘stand alone’ rugged individual is highly regarded in today’s culture.

To ask for help is often seen as a sign of weakness or a lack of self-confidence. I do not remember the “Duke” (or Dirty Harry) ever asking for help from anyone! That makes for a great movie but in reality, we DO need each other.

The Bible refers to Christ-followers as the Body. The Body (both physically and spiritually) is made up of many members which are dependent on each other. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. Sharing the load or asking someone for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of good judgment.

If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. (ECCLESIASTES 4:10)

…then the fog lifted.

On Sunday, 18 June 1815, one of the world’s most important battles was fought, the Battle of Waterloo. Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was seeking to conquer the world. He was opposed by the Anglo-led Allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington. After 4 days of the extreme fighting, Napoleon finally surrendered.

There was no way for the news to reach England except my ship. When a ship finally arrived in England they sent the message by the only means at their disposal. The ship communicated with those on land by the use of semaphore, a system of sending messages by holding the arms or two flags or poles in certain positions according to an alphabetic code. A fog rolled in and only part of the message that was read was  W-E-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N    D-E-F-E-A-T-E-D… 

They assumed the worst and news of Wellington’s “defeat” swept the country. When the fog finally lifted they received the rest of the message, “t-h-e    e-n-e-m-y.”

In life, Christ’s message to us is sometimes obscured by the “fog” of circumstance. Sometimes in our hectic pace, we jump to conclusions without knowing all the details. Proverbs 25:8  The best advice is to be still until the fog lifts!

What’s In The Box?

 

Dutch manufacturer Vanmoof’s bicycle business was really growing but unfortunately many bicycles were damaged during shipping. Creative director Bex Rad wrote on the company’s blog, “Earlier this year our co-founder Ties had a flash of genius. bike-in-boxOur boxes are about the same size as a (really really reaaaally massive) flatscreen television. Flatscreen televisions always arrive in perfect condition. What if we just printed a flatscreen television on the side of our boxes? “And just like that, shipping damage to our bikes dropped by 70–80%.” Apparently the shipping company assumed, by the picture on the box, there was an expensive TV inside.

How many times do we assume a person’s worth just by looking on the outside? The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16:7)  We cannot truly know a person without opening their “box.” It is only as we discover what is on the inside that we see a person’s worth and true value.