Monthly Archives: January 2013

Wheel or No Wheel?

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When I was a kid I loved being outside – this hasn’t changed much!  I loved riding my bike, building forts, playing with the neighborhood kids, playing basketball, jumping rope and just exploring the neighborhood.  I still remember when I upgraded from my Big Wheels and got my very first scooter.  Now this wasn’t a razor scooter (didn’t have those back then) and it wasn’t a Hoveround (wasn’t quite old enough for one of those, although I do remember when someone gave one to my dad and we used to race it in the office parking lot, but I Imagedigress).  This was an awesome scooter that I placed one foot on and used my other foot to propel me to speeds that I was sure would result in a speeding ticket if a policeman had radar in our neighborhood.  It was mint green, with white wheels and sparkles all over the paint job!  When I was riding that scooter I felt like I was flying!

When I was a kid I also loved to swim.  I learned how to swim when I was about 4 years old and I made a vow to my family that I would conquer the slide when I was 5 so on my 5th birthday they were asking me if I was ready and I responded with, “I said I would go down the slide when I was 5, but I didn’t say when I was 5.”  I believe I braved the slide the day before my 6th birthday!

One day when I was about 8 years old, my sister, Jana and I were in the pool and I had a marvelous idea. I loved my scooter and I loved swimming, so I thought, why not merge the two and see what develops, seems like a great idea! Right?  I ran to the garage and got my scooter (which, by the way, I had just recently washed and waxed, no I am not kidding, I washed my scooter and my bike all the time, gotta keep it classy for the neighborhood, y’all!).  I lowered my scooter down into the pool.  Our pool, like most, sloped from shallow end to the deep end.  I stood on the scooter in the shallow end and waited for it to start to move down the pool.  I had to give it a push and even then because of the resistance of the water, it didn’t move very much.  I was disappointed and I couldn’t believe that no one had ever invented a water scooter, I mean it seemed like a perfectly legit invention to me-I guess that’s more of a jet ski, and yes, I have a story about that, which you can read here.

My sister had decided to get out of the pool and we had a rule that no one could swim alone, so since she was the big sister and calling the shots, I had to get out too.  Problem…my scooter was severely waterlogged and I couldn’t lift it.  I tried and I tried but to no avail.  I did not have the strength to get the scooter out of the pool.  I looked at Jana and said, “Can you please help me get my scooter out of the pool?”  She replied with, “Amber, I’m already dried off, you can do it.  Remember, dad always says ‘where there’s a will there’s a way.’”  I thought she was being ridiculous and she was saying things that my 8-year-old brain did not understand.  I responded with “Jana, I don’t care what dad says, there are 2 wheels on this thing and there’s no way it’s coming out.” I didn’t understand the phrase “where there’s a will there’s a way” and I was misinterpreting “will” & “wheel”. I just took it literally and thought she was talking about wheels and I had two on my scooter.  Finally, Jana helped me and we got the scooter out of the pool.  Little did I know that my dad would choose to tell this story in churches all over the place!

The Bible talks a lot about we as people not having enough strength and it’s true we do not.  Just as I needed Jana’s help to retrieve the scooter from the pool, we need God’s help so much more to face this crazy thing called life.  Life can throw you curve balls in a second and His strength is what we must rely on.  The Bible never says that life will be easy, or that after you become a Christian that all of your problems will disappear.  In fact, it says just the opposite.  Jesus says in John 15:18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”  In Isaiah 43:2 we read “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”  These verses never promise us that all will be peace and happiness; in fact they deliver just the opposite.  God tells us that we are going to go through trials and difficult times, but that He will be there with us every step of the way!  What a promise!  We have the God of the universe, the Creator of the world, the Maker of the Heaven and Earth to rely on!  Take that promise with you today!

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:19
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 40:17
“As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer, do not delay, O my God!”

Deuteronomy 31:8
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

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A One-Two Punch by Claire Choisnet (Guest Blog)

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I love fighters.

No – not the likes of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” whose drama exhausts me before their commercial promo is even half over. This respect I have is aimed at a much different kind of brawler.

ImageThe admiration of a good fighter must stem from when I was in 8th grade. You see, that was the year my parents, three younger brothers, and myself took karate together…as a whole family. Talk about dangerous! Not only were my brothers launched into a free world to expound every ounce of their boy-energy by means of kicking, punching, and yelling – but my parents willingly mixed that with me: a hormonal, self-conscious middle-schooler who had no control whatsoever over her emotions.  One night of practice is forever seared into my memory. This night we were sparring, which, in my 8th grade brain, was a fancy way of telling me to “fight to the death!!” Our instructors paired us up and I was paired with…the eldest of my three brothers. He is two years younger than me, but had recently surpassed me in strength, so I was…prideful. This was my chance to show him up in public and I was frantically thinking of every way possible to do that as I strapped on my protective gear to my hands, arms, shins, and (most importantly) my head. My right fist took the first shot – BAM! – his shoulder went back and my pride went through the roof…so high in fact that I was blind-sided by what happened next: the beast was unleashed. Before I knew it – POP! – my chin; WHAP! – my arm; BOOOOOM! – his foot seemed to go completely through my stomach. All of a sudden I realize I’m hunched over, arms covering my face and head until I can’t take anymore and start feigning actual serious injury, hoping to prey on his compassion for a tiny, little, helpless girl who happened to be his sister. That’s right – I cried “uncle.” Though my body hurt a bit, no physical pain lasted half as long as the memory of his gleeful grin knowing he’d soundly won.

Many Christians in today’s society have forgotten they live in a spiritual war much more significant, intense, and devastating than a practice sparring activity. They have thoughtlessly left the Armor of God in a dark corner of their lives to rust and then are rocked when life’s battles leave them cowering with their arms covering their heads. So what do we do? An example to follow comes from David (future King of Israel) and his mighty men as described in 1 Chronicles 12:1-22. These men with David were “equipped…using both the right hand and the left” when they fought battles. They gave all they had all the time. They were not in the mindset of saving energy for later. If they didn’t fight with fervor, passion, and reckless abandonment there would be no “later”! “Mighty men of valor” from another country came to David, who were swift with the sword and had been trained for war. This is the kind of fighter I admire. One of my soul’s deepest desires is to remain well-trained for spiritual war so that I swiftly use the Scripture and Truth God has provided to win the battles before me.

The battle is not coming; it’s here in full force! What will you do?  Sit back and let others fight in your place? Be found crying “uncle” when others’ eternity hangs in the balance? Regardless of what stage of life you’re in, the time for training is now.eowyn_warrior

Two different kinds of people are reading this right now. The first are those who need to be trained. The “mighty men” who came to David’s aid were trained by the other soldiers fighting alongside them. If you need training, here’s some great news: God will train you as you prioritize spending time reading His Word, thinking about it during the day, and asking questions to others who also study the Bible.  Seek out people in your life who are committed to Jesus and the Word of God – meet with them and talk about how the Bible applies to your every day life. Now, if you’re sitting there thinking you’ve “totally got this” then back that train up a bit, because you’re the second kind of person I mentioned earlier. You have a God-given responsibility to pair up with the folks who need training and show them how God’s truth is walked out in real life. Show them how to go beyond just reading God’s word and study it, model godly reactions to hardship, how to confess sin and battle every day to turn from it, how to give love regardless of what you may get back in return, and much more. We all need further training from men and women of valor, passion, strength and undying loyalty, who have gained wisdom from God through their own battles.

Just think – Jesus has decided to use you as a warrior in His army. Be ready and honored to bear the scars and wounds of a battle well fought. Don’t live a life in fear with your arms covering your head as you get pelted.  Instead, my prayer is that God’s “zeal like a man of war” (Isaiah 42:13) will be seen in your life and mine, and that our wounds together will glorify God and prove a battle well fought.

ImageClaire currently lives in Plano, TX but maintains her love for University of Oklahoma football, as seen in this photo with her dad at an OU home football game. She enjoys her job in marketing research  and loves serving her church as director of a young singles class with Prestonwood Baptist Church.  She is one of my closest friends and I am blessed to have her in my life!  Follow Claire on Twitter @ChoiceNet

Spam (not the canned meat)

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ImageI work for Tim Lee Ministries (my Dad’s ministry) and one thing that I do is monitor and update our web site.  Whenever anyone leaves a comment on our web site, I am notified of it and I have to go in and approve it before it is on the site and made public to everyone.  A while back, my email started going crazy with these notifications!  We were getting all kinds of spam emails, everything from “get Viagra now” to “want free books?” I added a captcha to the web site, you know one of those things where the words are distorted, small, hard to read and might as well be in a different language but somehow you’re suppose to be able to read them in order to leave a comment.  Apparently they prove that you’re a human being and not a robot/alien/hacker/spam email!

The captcha helped a lot and we stopped getting spam almost instantaneously!  I just set down and went through the spam emails and marked them all as spam.  There were over 4,000 of them so it took a while but I can assure you it was the highlight of my day (I need a sarcastic font!)

As I was going through and marking “spam” and watching them instantly disappear into some unseen spam folder, I was reminded of how God does the same thing with our sin.  I only had to mark all of those spam messages one time and they were gone, never to be seen again.  Jesus died for all of our sins once.  If we get to where we cannot forgive ourselves and we cannot get past our past, we might as well tell God that when he sent his one and only Son to die, it was not good enough for us.  The Apostle Paul tells us that we needn’t crucify Christ twice.  He died, was buried and rose again to life and rules in power.  Through Him we have the SAME POWER that raised him from the dead.

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Once God forgives your sin, it is cast as far as the east is from the west and it is buried into the depths of the sea never to be used against you again (a little harder to find than a spam folder)!  This is only made possible by Christ’s death on the cross and through his great grace!  The act of confession itself is an act of grace on God’s part.  The fact that He made a way for us to come to Him is giving us grace! 

The next time that you’re deleting those pesky spam emails that we all get, remind yourself that your sins, once confessed to God, are gone forever and you are a new creation in Christ Jesus!

Psalm 103:12 “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”

1 Peter 3:8 “and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.”

Micah 7:19 “He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all oursins into the depths of the sea.”

1 John 1:9  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

2 Corinthians 5:17 “ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

“Our repentance does not get God’s love.  God’s love enables our repentance.” – Tim Keller

 

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This guy freaks me out.