January 20 – Let the Game Come to You

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Often we try so hard to figure out the how’s and why’s. And that is what’s so hard to “unlearn.” The good Lord has promised, confirmed, and reiterated time and time again His will and intent when it comes to meeting our needs.

But stop just a second and consider: Did you eat today? Most of us did. And if we were in dire need, many of us have answers waiting in the wings. Truth of the matter is, the lot of us shudder at the thought of leanness.

And yet the very thing we are afraid of is the very thing that will set us freer than we’ve ever been.

Here’s a slice of my personal experience on the matter. If you let go, your needs will be met and come to you, as you need them and when you need them…maybe even at the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute!

There is a force at work (the economists call it supply and demand) but its undercover name is trust and obey. When you have nothing to depend on but Him, He becomes all you will ever need.

 Cast your bread upon the waters. For you will find it after many days. Ecclesiastes 11:1

 Biblical Meditation: Philippians 4:19 My God shall meet all of your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

January 3 – Mighty Mites

 

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One of my dearest friends in the whole world and his precious wife have found themselves in a tremendous battle. To some, their situation looks pretty tough. But I tell you, there’s nothing like hard times to bring to light those who truly love you and stand with you.

My buddy’s the sort of guy that served his country, paid his dues, and wouldn’t ask anybody for a single penny. He believes in hard work and helping others. So, when he found himself swimming upstream and holding on to his wife’s hand for dear life, it was all he could do to keep his head above water.

Well, out of the blue, people from where he works started strategizing on how they could get involved and help remove some of the financial burden. They started collecting change in mason jars! Now, I am told that a pint-sized mason jar might hold $30 or more of random change. That doesn’t seem like a lot when you are talking about serious medical bills.

But it is an extravagant amount when you consider why people would give. My own children, when hearing about the jars, filled their own share. All because they, like everyone else involved, wanted to let my friend and his wife know they were not in this fight alone.

After the fact, I couldn’t stop thinking about the power of the widow’s mite in Mark 12. Often, I viewed this passage as a plus for the “have not’s” and a minus for the “haves.”  But that all changed for me. No, I began to see that Jesus was showing the disciples the power of “from the heart” giving.

The widow didn’t have a lot of surplus when it came to money.  But her heart said, “It’s the least I can do to give what I have to the Master for His service.” And it is that spirit, I am convinced, that I have witnessed in these precious souls pouring out their change for my buddy. So, today, may you and I be most encouraged. Whether our giving is big or small, when it comes from the heart, it is extravagant in the eyes of God.  

Sitting across from the offering box, he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins-a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave  what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford-she gave her all.” Mark 12:41-44 (MSG)

Biblical Meditation: Mark 12      

January 2 – Waymaker God

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Sometime ago an old wise man told a story that touched me deeply. It literally changed my life. He said growing up as a country boy in the South, his family was poor. He was the oldest of several brothers and sisters and his daddy had passed away before he reached young adulthood.

He was a good-sized lad and could handle most of the “manual” tasks for his mama. So he planned on staying home with her after he graduated high school and working. But his wise mama had told him as far back as he could remember that God promised her he had a special plan for her son and He would make a way for her boy to go to college.

And although there were many great men in his day that made tremendous impact on him and his community who never had formal education, his mama was adamant God’s plan for him involved college.

So the day came. She loaded him on the greyhound bus and sent him on his way with his lunch sack in hand. He had no money. He knew the power of his mother’s faith. He had watched her go into the kitchen with just one chicken from the backyard and feed him and all his brothers and sisters, with leftovers to spare. But somehow, this was different.

He said when he got off the bus, all he knew to do was just go get in the enrollment line. Now he had been a good student in high school. He was at the top of his class and he had been accepted to this college. But now it was time to enroll and pay tuition. As the line got shorter and he found himself close to the registrar, he felt a tap on his shoulder.

The gentleman looked stern as he asked him his name. Startled and convinced the man had come to remove him from the line because he had figured out he had no money, he reluctantly stated his name.

The man told him to get out of line. As he prepared to protest and plead his case, the gentleman stopped him dead in his tracks. “Your tuition has been paid in full. And there is a work study job awaiting your arrival. So, get out of line and come with me.”

Just like that, God made a way out of no way. And fortunately, I’ve now lived long enough and had an ample amount of my own “by faith bus rides.” I can confirm the old man’s mama was ‘right on the money.’ God is a WAYMAKER!

Today, if you are dry, desperate, confused, frustrated, afraid, discouraged, or alone, the prophet Isaiah beautifully solidifies this promise about God as he so long ago assured his people that God would make a way. He doesn’t forget His precious ones. Ever!

Isaiah 43:18-20

18 “But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. 19 For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. 20 The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and owls, too, for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed. (NLT)

18 Do not [earnestly] remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. 20 The beasts of the field honor Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen, (AMP)

18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. 20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.

Context of Meditation: Isaiah 43:1-21

March 3 – Middle of the Road

“Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Proverbs 30:7-8 NIV

Having an abundance of anything increases heightened awareness. Awareness of people, places and their things, or lack thereof.

Being always responsible for making sure motives and maneuvers are above board can promote paranoia and allow bitterness and self-preservation to set in. And sad to say, this has happened to many a man who didn’t have a dime.

Too much time, too much praise, too much chocolate, whatever! We don’t do “too much” very well. One very wise and wealthy soul once shared with me his secret to a well-balanced and prosperous life.

“Lorenzo, when I feel like grabbing, that’s when I start giving by the boat-load. Because when I don’t, stuff and status get in the way of what matters most, i.e., the ones I love.”

I have no idea where today’s good word finds you. But chances are, you have amassed a wealth of something. Let God help you be honest about it…quit denying it, for crying out loud. Then, devise a plan to get back to center.

It’s ok to be loaded with good things. But it is unhealthy to be “bloated” with the weight and the worry that too often clings to those “things.”

Happy traveling!

Lorenzo

January 28 – Soul Interest

He who by charging excessive interest and who by unjust efforts to get gain increases his material possession gathers it for him [to spend] who is kind and generous to the poor. Proverbs 28:8

You don’t have to search very far to find accounts of shrewd businessmen who amassed great wealth and power. Or of those whose families turn and philanthropically share it all with the very people he used to get rich.

But what’s not so prevalent is insight into the “soul” interest and unjust efforts we common folk make every single day. Selfishly, we can be guilty of taking advantage of situations and circumstances privy to us without a thought of how it affects another.

In an effort to do better for ourselves, we steal time from our family. In an effort to advance at our work, we pursue another person’s position. And in an effort to have someone in charge that we like, we speak ill of those we don’t agree with.

Today’s proverb isn’t just about the rich getting richer and their money being given away. It’s about precious moments and precious people that are ours to love and cherish. Because if we don’t, someone else will come along and get that job done. And all that we worked for will possibly be lost.

Lorenzo

November 21 – Rich Man, Poor Man

The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
 the righteous run to it and are safe. The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
 and like a high wall in his own esteem. Proverbs 18:10-11

Fiddler on the Roof is truly a classic work. If you haven’t seen it or it’s been awhile, today’s proverbial thought might spark an interest.

Tevye the milkman is the father of five daughters and desires a better life for them…if only he were rich!

If I were a rich man,
Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum.
 All day long I’d biddy biddy bum.
 If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn’t have to work hard.
 Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
 If I were a biddy biddy rich,
Idle-diddle-daidle-daidle man.

He describes all the wonderful things he would buy and all the “special” people he would associate with and all the servants his wife would order around. The song is amazing!

And there are many of us, right here in the good old USA, who live as if Tevye’s song is the theme music playing in the background 24/7. More is only enough until the next shipment of more than enough comes in.

So we stack it, and stuff it, and want some more of it until it forms a wall around us. We feel safe. The economy goes south, we’re safe. Unexpected medical emergency, we are safe. Natural catastrophe, covered.

But we forget, wealth is based on what already exists. Its value is relegated to intelligible humanistic appreciation. If I have apples and no one wants apples, I have nothing. History is filled with “riches to rags stories” brought on by “unforeseen events.”

The Name of the Lord, however is quite different. How can a name protect you in times of unrest and upheaval in the world? Where can you spend it and what is its’ net worth? That’s just it.  Though it’s not from here, it created here! When you boil everything down that man has accomplished since the beginning of time, it doesn’t even come close to “buying the vowel” that holds His Name together.

If you’ve got a good thing going and it allows you to feel like you’ve made a difference in the world, great! Keep up the good work.

But don’t forget. Safety is in the tower, not behind the wall.

November 5 – Roll On!

Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed. Proverbs 16:3 AMP

Good ideas come a dime a dozen and I have dreamed up my fair share. Like when I decided after career day in the sixth grade I would become a geologist! Not a bad idea, and the monetary potential had me seeing dollar signs. However, reality set in a year later when my love for math and science was a bit waning; really nonexistent…I was too busy talking! Too funny, right?!

If you are reading this and you’re old enough to remember some “days gone by,” you, too, can attest that often we think we know best when much too often we’ve had to bump our heads to get the message. “That door is closed”!

So I share this proverbial wisdom I’ve gleaned over the years in pursuit of the “open doors” with the utmost humility. My posture, when pondering an idea or new concept or potential “door of discovery,” is patient procession. I used to accelerate zero to sixty with the new-fangled fancy racing through my mind…not anymore. Usually, the full picture is usually days from clarity and the obvious pitfalls are not so obvious.

Patience allows God time to take center stage as Author and Director. That’s what “Roll On” is all about. I make my will wait until His Will is revealed! And any time I have been so willing, the plan and the pursuit works out beautifully.

If today finds you frustrated with another good idea gone wrong, be not dismayed. You weren’t being paid to direct this show anyway. You only have a role to play. So, flip through the script and play away.

And let the rest of the mess…just roll on!