January 5 – Coming Through!

 IMG_1923

I read a quote one day. “Remember: God sends children through you, not to you.” I remember thinking out loud, “Wow, that’s good!” It wasn’t until years later, when I was holding my own precious babies, that the quote really jarred me. All of a sudden, I felt out of control and powerless. Their destinies are in the hands of the One who sent them.

Dr. Luke’s historical account of the child who would one day be known as John the Baptist is quite insightful. What an entrance he made into the world! An angel pronounced his birth, a woman past the age of childbearing carried him, and a daddy who couldn’t speak declared his unexpected name.

So, you knew this baby was on his way to the top of his class and would surely be the next High Priest of Israel. On the contrary! The Bible says he lived in the desert. This great man was hidden from mainstream society most of his days. For all practical purposes, he was a social misfit; I mean the guy had a diet of grasshoppers and wild honey!

But, at the proper time, God brought his purpose to light. Everyone then and now can see and receive the precious Gift of God because he followed God’s plan for his life. Maybe you wonder if your “spirited child” will ever get it together. Be encouraged.

Our children are in His grasp. To Him, they are time capsules set to go off at the proper time. Indeed, they have landed on this planet through you, but always remember to Whom they ultimately belong!

 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel. Luke 1:80 NIV

 Biblical Meditation: Psalm 127

Advertisements

January 4 – What’s Your Name?

green-name-tag

I grew up in Midland, Texas. We moved away when I was 12, but it is still “back home” to me. If you went there and interviewed some of my old buddies, you wouldn’t find out much. This is not because they have been sworn to secrecy.

It’s because they know me by my nickname, “Jude.” My mom says that the old Beatles song, “Hey Jude,” described what life would be for me and those I encountered.  I would “take sad songs and make them better.”

 It wasn’t until we moved to Oklahoma that mom required me to start using my birth name. I will never forget that day as long as I live. I felt like I had put on shoes that weren’t mine.  To me, “Lorenzo” was my dad, not me.

Oh, how I struggled! Teachers would call roll and I wouldn’t even answer because I wasn’t accustomed to my real name. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I encountered the power of my identity. I was reading this passage in Luke around the Christmas holidays and there it was.

It jumped off the page. “And you are to give him the name John.” The next few verses described why his name had to be John. It was all about the purpose for which he was born. At that moment, I went and looked up the meaning of Lorenzo Leon.

The meaning of Lorenzo is “crowned” and Leon is “brave lion.” I have to tell you I laughed when I read that my name meant “crowned lion.” (I put my first and middle name’s meanings together.) I saw myself as anything but a lion, let alone a king. But that is right were God nailed me between the eyes.

God planned before the ages for me to bear that name for His purpose in the earth. And even though “Jude” had a place in my life, it did not adequately describe my destiny.

What’s your name? Find out the meaning and post it somewhere you will see it daily. Start calling yourself by the meaning. There is a great book I use that gives scripture connotations so I can quote God’s word over my name.

The book is called “The Name Book” by Dorothy Astoria. If you are anything like me, you will be overwhelmingly surprised at how insignificantly you’ve viewed your name and contribution in the sight of God.

God wants all of us to know He plans to use our name in the service of His Kingdom and we or no one else has a right to discount it. So, let Him unlock your name today and introduce you to the you He sees.

11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. 14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” Luke 1:13-17 NLT

 Suggested Biblical Meditation: Luke 1

 

January 20 – Buttered Bread

The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever protects their master will be honored. Proverbs 27:18

My boss, Sandy, called me to come in on my “off” day. This was my first official “paycheck” job. And most of the time, even at 14, I was happy to get the extra hours. But some buddies had invited me to go catch a movie and hang out at the mall.

I let her know I couldn’t, let them know I could, and the next thing I knew I was unemployed.

No, I didn’t get fired for not going in to work. My manager was truly understanding. She just didn’t know the company we worked for was in the process of filing bankruptcy.

This made an impression. Though I can’t say I have always been the best hire, I can say I valued any person for whom I worked and I strived to do the very best work I could.

A boss or company is a blessing. Whether I prefer the work I’m doing at the time, it still provides a means of support, continued learning and personal advancement.

In my estimation that’s “butter” for the bread of life.

And when my attitude is right, the butter is abundant and the bread is worth the spread!

Lorenzo

(P.S. If you haven’t seen my wife’s post about eating real butter, check it out.  We didn’t intend to write in tandem but it happened. 🙂 Here it is:  justafamilything.com

January 16 – Fat Cats

One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet. Proverbs 27:7

I had a bunch of well-to-do kids in my cabin once who didn’t seem to prefer any of the good food coming out of the kitchen. Every day they complained and protested.

I just smiled. I knew what was about to happen.

This same group of young men elected to participate in a three-day wilderness excursion. We would hike, climb, bathe in the river, sleep under the stars and eat over a camp fire. They thought the trip sounded great.

We left out early, right after breakfast, and most of them did their usual “picky bottom” routine and didn’t get much to eat. By the time we got to our destination and had camp set up, it was lunch time and my boys were hungry. But since we were roughing it, lunch was a piece of fruit, a handful of raisins, some nuts and a granola bar. They killed it!

The afternoon activity consisted in a five-mile hike up the side of a mountain and several hours of repelling.

Our dinner that night was campfire burritos with no fancy fixings. But you would have thought these guys had died and gone to heaven. We had some picante packets for them to give it a little flavor, but the burritos didn’t last that long. I still laugh about that!

Hunger is a necessity when plenty has devoured the will to want, to work, to appreciate, to honor. History is littered with great men, great women, and great nations that have it so good, they get fat and fail to remember what got them there.

This isn’t the work of the Father. If we stay intimately connected with Him and His way of doing things, He will make sure a humble dose of “hungry” is served up on a daily basis.

This is just because a real Father knows when you give a child all he wants, he never learns what he really needs has always been right there.

Lorenzo

December 1 – A Little Goes a Long Way

Discipline your son while there is hope, but do not [indulge your angry resentments by undue chastisements and] set yourself to his ruin. Proverbs 19:18

Our first son is crafty and has been that way from his day one. If he sees it, he wants to touch it and examine its “components.” Early on, this meant stuff got broken and misplaced, often. Man, I would get sooo frustrated!

“How many times have I told this kid not to mess with other people’s stuff…my stuff?” This seemed to be a constant thought from age 4 to 14.

But when I saw these incidents as the teaching moments they were, he received guidance, for the time being, very well. Training was my job and learning and exploration and discovery was his.

Thank God for proverbial wisdom like today’s to keep me from harming his budding passion in an effort to establish boundaries of respect.

Now sixteen and very skilled in the attributes of hands-on craftsmanship, this young man has indeed made some marvelous discoveries that I couldn’t have found in a million years. And my whole household benefits from them daily.

Many of us read these words and agree with the biblical insights of Solomon, but our day of “discipline” is past. Our kiddos are grown and the effects of our chastisement or the lack thereof is forever etched.

Not so. That’s the beauty of Godly counsel. The moment you “get it” you can begin to apply it in the form of prayers delivered on behalf of the matter you face. And it can and will transform even the most hopeless of cases. Totally miraculous!

Your children are the letter you write to a time you will never see. So as long as you are breathing, don’t put down that pen. And even though it has no eraser, unforeseen adaptations are allowed and encouraged…they make the best kind of story!

September 2 – I Know!

The wise shall inherit glory (all honor and good) but shame is the highest rank conferred on [self-confident] fools. Proverbs 3:35

Over the years, I’ve worked with several groups of young people. Something happens to them from 12 to 15 years old. Wow, it’s like night and day! One moment, they are all ears and “directable.” Then all of a sudden, you are dumb and they know everything.

What’s crazy is they think they’re normal and they’ve always been smarter than you. They have no clue that in about ten short years, they will wake up from this fairy tale when life starts to “pack a punch” and realize maybe they don’t know as much as they thought.

Whether I am young or old enough to know better, self-confident pride is a great way to provoke what my grandmother called a “bought lesson” from Big Daddy God! And here’s the reason why. He loves you. No parent or caring adult wants to see even the foolish of kiddos utterly destroy themselves all for the sake of being right.
At some point, the bluff will be called and a day of reckoning will happen. Then the One who really knows will let you know! Personally, I’ve seen some of those days. . . and these days, I prefer the wiser response, “I don’t seem to know, Lord. Please help me. Oh, and thanks ahead of time!”