Archive for January 2014

Eyes 2 See

January 22, 2014

It’s kinda funny, in a way, the things we see.  A friend recently posted a picture of an interesting building and quizzed his readers, “Do you know where I’m at?”  The responses were varied, and some were quite humorous.  Amazingly, several responders correctly identified the location.

But my very first reaction to the question, “Do you know where I’m at?” was, “English 101!”  There were a couple of other comments about that grammatical structure of the question.  My actual post to the question was, “No, but keep looking around.  You’ll recognize something familiar eventually!”

Another somewhat comical answer was, “Behind a dirty window!”  There appeared to be some kind of haze in the picture, and may well have been taken from indoors.

Well, some of us saw the question.  Others saw the quality of the photo.  Still others, the majority, saw the building in the photo, and made their guess accordingly.  Yes, it’s kinda funny, sometimes, what we see.

The challenging story in the Bible of the man named Job comes to a close with his awesome declaration:  My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. (42:5)

A personal experience with the Living God changes our perspective; our worldview, our understanding of faith and religion, our acceptance of others, and a true picture of ourselves.  It is one thing to be religious, but quite another to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  In Him, we go from hearing to seeing; from knowing about Him to knowing and experiencing Him.

Paul Baloche penned these lyrics which shout out my daily desire: Open the eyes of my heart Lord, open the eyes of my heart; I want to see You, I want to see You!

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Aggression CAN Be Good

January 14, 2014

I conducted a quick, simple test a couple of days ago by entering the single word “aggressive” in my web browser.  With only two exceptions, the results pointed to something negative, such as how to handle an aggressive animal.  Many of the suggested articles either changed my search to “assertive” or compared the two terms.  I ran the same test for images, and without exception, the pictures were of mean or mad looking animals and people.  This certainly follows our society’s idea about aggression – assertion is okay, aggression is bad.

I have enjoyed watching the bowl games this year, and now we’re ready for the NFL playoffs.  I can just hear the coach before the game talking to his players, “Okay men, let’s go out there and be assertive!”  No, he wants his players to be aggressive on the football field; play to win.  And I believe Jesus has called us to an aggressive faith when He commanded us to go into all the world and make disciples.

The fisherman will have little success if he sits casually in his boat waiting for his trophy to leap into the bucket.  Instead, he uses many kinds of lures, fish finders, depth finders, rods and reels, time, and energy.  He is aggressive in his quest for a trophy catch.

Why not challenge ourselves to be aggressive in 2014.  Live an aggressive faith.  Practice aggressive outreach.  Be an aggressive witness for Christ.  It is not God’s will that anyone perish, but that all come to repentance; yet, how much longer will He wait?  Will we be desperate, deliberate, and aggressive for Christ?

RESOLVED

January 7, 2014

At a very early age my son decided that making his bed everyday would be a good new year’s resolution.  He kept that resolution not only for that year, but for all the years he lived at home.  However, most of us seem to have the notion that resolutions, like rules, are made to be broken.

Recently I heard someone say that they do not make new year’s resolutions because perfection cannot be improved.  There are others who have what they call a no-fail resolution, such as watching more televised sports, or eating more pizza.  Then there was the guy whose no-fail resolution was to resolve that he would never make another new year’s resolution!

Many years ago I made a new year’s resolution that I have used annually since that time:  I resolve to be the best I can be and do the best I can do with what I have under whatever circumstance I find myself.  I suppose that is my own version of Paul’s Philippians 4:11…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

I heard someone say that they don’t know what this year holds, but that it has got to be better than this one.  Well, I would not guarantee that fact.  Turning the page on a calendar does not magically rearrange our life events or circumstances.  What we can do, however, is give ourselves to the sovereign rule of the One who knows what we will face and exactly what we need.  In the words of the Psalmist,

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

HAVE A GREAT 2014…Blessings, Steven J Callis

 

I LOVE A PARADE!

January 6, 2014

I Love a Parade

Steven J. Callis

My favorite of all the holiday parades, it is officially called “The Rose Parade presented by Honda,” previously known as the Tournament of Roses Parade, or simply the Rose Parade.  Running since 1890, the Rose Parade has an incredible history, and remains among the top attractions among parades across the nation throughout the year.

While it is linked to the collegiate football Rose Bowl, the game itself did not become a tradition until 1916.  There was a game played in 1902, called the Tournament East-West game, but there were no more games in conjunction with the parade until the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day 14 years later.  It has been played annually ever since. The game in 1902 was added to “help fund the cost of staging the parade.” (Wikapedia)

The annual parade habit for my family when our children were in school was the community Christmas parade.  Like many community parades, we enjoyed fire trucks, police cars, bands, beauty queens, floats, classic cars, church groups, scout troops, motorcycles, clowns, and of course, Santa Claus.

I always loved the bands, especially the ones in which my kids marched and played.  They enjoyed it, too, in that it was all for fun without the stress of performance and competition.  They dressed in uniform, but were allowed to wear Santa hats if they so desired.

I would arrive early because the band had a call time an hour before the start of the parade.  This allowed me to get a good parking spot, sometimes close enough to watch the event in a lawn chair from the bed of my truck.

As much as my kids seemed to enjoy marching in the parade, the downside was that they did not get to see the parade.  They missed the cars, the antics, the floats, the clowns, Santa, and yes, even the bands!  They chose to BE rather than to SEE.

Marlo Thomas is quoted as saying, “My father said there were two kinds of people in the world: givers and takers. The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better.”  It is true that givers sometimes receive, and takers sometimes give, but the label of which Danny Thomas spoke seems to describe the learned propensity of a person’s heart.

The 2014 Parade of Life is underway.  You and I will be given several opportunities each day to either be an onlooker or a participant, an observer or a player.  Let’s keep the generous spirit of Christmas alive this year by taking a positive, active part in the parade rather than watching as it pass us by.