Sexual Schizophrenia

So the Boy Scouts (which I love) have decided the word “boy” in their name is the negotiable part of their endeavor. The Girls Scouts of America are furious (battle for market share). Many others are too, sighting this as one more example of gender-bending in our culture. Used to be, everyone (even five-year-olds!) understood that girls and boys were different, and both could benefit from same-sex role models and mentors.

But we are suffering a sexual schizophrenia.

The sexual mores of the day are schizophrenic, contradictory and irrational. Consider the following, and then I’ll tell you WHY they are that way:

This: Mike Pence is a FREAK and TALIBAN for setting boundaries with women to make sure he never pulls a Weinstein (abuses or is accused of abusing or being inappropriate with a woman).
But also this: Harvey Weinstein is HORRIBLE and AWFUL for doing the exact OPPOSITE of Pence.

This: Weinstein must be run out of Hollywood because he is the devil!
But also this: He was excellent as long as his letching was secret. His board, his company, and enough others knew about it that it made it into the script for 30 Rock, with that part written by Tina Fey. And everyone was ok with it.

This: Meryl Streep is HORRIFIED by Weinstein (although she called him “God” a few years ago at an awards ceremony.
But also this: Meryl Streep LED a standing ovation at the 2003 Academy Awards for Roman Polanski, even though everyone knows that he drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl, then fled the country. So she and Hollywood are on record as applauding a pedophile fugitive from justice.

This: Hillary Clinton on Weinstein: “I was just sick. I was shocked! I was appalled. It was something that was just…intolerable.” And to be fair, she’s echoing what many on the left are saying about Harvey Weinstein. That is excellent.
But also this: Hillary Clinton on Bill Clinton (Harvey’s twin brother from a different mother-done all the Harvey stuff): the man I call husband, my lover, icon of the Democratic Party and the best President ever (not direct quote- just an innocent assumption since their marriage has lasted so long). And to be fair, she’s echoing what many on the left are saying about Bill – “best President ever.” Conspicuously missing? The word “intolerable.”

This: The Feminist Movement: “I am woman, hear me roar! In numbers too big to ignore! Keep your hands off our bodies!”
But also this: The Feminist Movement: “Hey brother, give me some cash for my birth control pills! Pay for my abortions! I can’t pay! I’m just a woman!”

This: Hollywood and the literary world love Stephen King and have made two movies based on his book, It. Super popular. And King is praised for tweeting that the President has a “severely *** ******* mind.” Yayyy Stephen! He’s a literary genius AND he’s talking truth to power!
But also this: In King’s book, It, SIX 11-YEAR-OLD BOYS HAVE SEX WITH AN 11-YEAR-OLD GIRL to defeat the evil (all caps means I’m yelling)! And apparently, it goes on for pages! It’s fair to say King really is something of a pedophile. And apparently, child rape, sexual abuse, and sexual violence is common in King’s writings.

This: Christians are flat-earthers and anti-science.
But this: California passed a law saying there are three genders.
AND ALSO THIS: Everyone knows the number of gender is like…382. Or 63. Or 23. Depends on which of the 695 million google results you click on. Which is insane and unscientific.

LAST ONE:

This: If you BELIEVE you’re a pirate, want your eye gouged out so you can wear a patch, want your leg amputated so you can wear a peg leg, AND 50% people with your condition attempt suicide, everyone agrees you have a mental disorder. Even in today’s PC culture, you’d be called crazy. Sympathy worthy. But still crazy.
But this: If you’re a man and BELIEVE you’re a woman, AND 50% of the people with your condition attempt suicide, real doctors – not mad scientists will happily amputate the male part of your body and pump you so full of hormones no one will ever accuse you of being “hormone free” or “NON-GMO” or “organic.”
AND ALSO THIS: People will be outraged that you can’t compete against women in sports. Or serve in the military. And people will demand the military pay for your amputation.

______________________________________

The list of conflicting and irrational beliefs about sexuality and sexual morality is never-ending. But the question that screams to be answered (at least in my head) is:

WHY IS IT LIKE THIS?

Simple. We have an enemy. And Jesus said he seeks to, “steal, kill, and destroy.” And he loves to use sex to do all three. Why does he use sex?

SEX IS THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE.

Not everyone finds some form of murder enjoyable. Not everyone finds some form of lying enjoyable. Not everyone finds cursing God, rebelling against parents or stealing enjoyable. So Satan’s reach on those things is somewhat limited.

BUT EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON…had their start as the result of a man and a woman (no other genders involved) engaging in sex (invitro is still the joining together male/female genetic material). It’s 100% universal! And God designed it to be awesome, to cause a man to “leave father and mother and cleave to his wife” in a physical and spiritual union called “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24, Matt. 19:15). There’s no other relationship on the planet like it. And it’s excellent.

So just like hacking a program which is in every computer, Satan can hack into the God-designed sexuality that is part of EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON, and wreak horrific havoc on…anyone.

Women and children carry the carry the brunt of the physical, emotional and economic destruction. I’ve never heard of a female Bill Clinton or Harvey Weinstein. 99% of rapists are men (important-only a small percentage of men commit rape so don’t fear all men. But it’s almost exclusively a male club). Vast majority of pedophiles? Men. When men become predators instead of protectors, they inflict much more damage to women and children than vice versa.

But men are destroyed too. Satan leverages them so that they give their most productive selves to wicked evil like predation, trafficking, pornography, adultery, pedophilia and slowly die in dissipation.

The Answer

There’s only one answer, which drives most crazy. The only solution that fixes everything? Embrace God’s design for sexuality. 100%. And like abstinence before marriage, it works every time it’s tried. Here it is:

Celibacy (meaning singleness and abstinence).

Or one man plus one woman, in marriage, for a lifetime.

Giving themselves entirely to each other. And giving themselves to no one else – not physically, emotionally, not spiritually. Not abusively, not violently, not in power plays, not in any way.

That’s the design. It’s bad (but accurate) math, because One plus One equals One flesh. And it works beautifully. It fulfills wonderfully. It protects innocence, love, men, women, children, and society. It protects the innocent and defends the defenseless.

God’s design won’t be embraced by society any time soon – and everyone struggles with it. But just remember if every man and women did it, there would be no Weinsteins, no battered and abused women. No broken families.

So protect your sexuality. Give it to God. And refuse to be part of the craziness.

 

 

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It’s NOT the Wind and Waves that will Sink Me (and how NOT to sink)

We often think it’s the wind and waves that will sink us. Or the hurricanes or the floods. Or the disease and destruction.

Wrong. Dead wrong.

Follow me here (Reader’s Digest version):

Matthew 14, Jesus walks up to the disciples on a boat. In the middle of the rough sea.
Disciples: “It’s a ghost! Run away run away run away! No, wait – we’re in a tiny boat! Nowhere to run!!”
Jesus: “Nope. It’s Me. Don’t be afraid.”
Peter: “Let me walk on the water too!”
Jesus: “Come on.”

Peter does. Peter is EPIC– out of the boat going to Jesus walking on the water (obviously not as epic as Jesus…don’t have a cow).

Since Adam and Eve, nobody had ever walked on water, and nobody has done it since. ONLY Peter! And ONLY because he took a great step of faith. I want to be Peter!

 

But Peter, walking on water – begins to sink. One second he’s strolling across the water like it’s nothing, the next second he’s about to drown. Between those two events, only one thing happened: Peter saw the wind and the waves. He focused on the wind and the waves.

This is so significant! Consider: 

  • Jesus didn’t disappear. He’s still right there. In front of Peter.
  • Jesus didn’t lose His divine power to sustain Peter. He’s still God the Son.
  • The wind and waves didn’t, “just appear.” They were there all along.
  • The wind and waves didn’t, “all of a sudden obtain destructive powers.” The power was there all along.
  • The wind and waves didn’t even increase in intensity.

The only thing that changed? Peter’s focus.

Peter quit seeing Jesus, and he began seeing the wind and the waves.
He begins to fear the wind and waves more than he trusts Jesus.

And he sank.

Which leads to a powerful truth:

It’s not the wind and the waves that will sink me, it’s how I THINK about the wind and the waves.

In this life, it’s not the flood that will sink you, or the destruction, or the job loss, or the bad circumstance, it’s how you think about that thing.

“That’s not true David! There are things you can’t control – like storms and floods and hurricanes and disease! And they WILL sink you!”

Wrong. 

Even death can’t sink the person who has put their faith in Christ. Because they know that death is not the end.

That’s why Paul, when dragged out of town, beaten and left for dead, got back up the next morning and went right back into town. That’s why (according to tradition) Peter when faced with crucifixion, instead of losing all hope, or begging for mercy, or crying like a four-year-old, asked to be crucified upside down because he didn’t consider himself worthy to die like Jesus.

At some point, both Peter and Paul realized that a beating or even death could not sink them – because they were consumed with Christ. They knew that Jesus would sustain them – even through death – and greet them on the other side.

So whether you are taking a giant leap of faith for Jesus, or encountering the wind and waves that we all face living in this world, the goal is to be so caught up in Christ, with eyes so fixed on Him, that…

We

don’t

sink.

We keep walking on the water…with Him.

So get out of the boat, walk on the water, and always always always – keep your eyes focused on Jesus. He will never let you let you down and never let you sink.

Jesus said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

Amen amen.

 

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Focused

 

When Your Soul Is Crushed

What do you do when life threatens to crush your very soul? All along the Texas Gulf Coast, people are dealing with the some of the most heart-wrenching pain imaginable….losing everything, unable to even go to work, losing loved ones in the hurricane and flooding. And Florida may be in for the same kind of heartache.

When devastation hits you it’s sometimes easy to turn from God – and that’s precisely the wrong place to be.  I have no magic words or simple answers for what folks are going through, but these four things might be of help – be sure and read to number four:

#1. Remember God is good. 

He created everything, and He created it good. Why? Because He is good.

Adam and Eve brought sin into the world, and that corrupted EVERYTHING. Even creation.

Right there in Romans 8, God says all of creation groans to be set free from the corruption. 

Jesus gave Himself to make us good again. Because He is good.

Think sin is no big deal? Get a grip on this:

IF there were no sin in the world, there would NEVER be a hurricane, a flood, or death. All is a result of sin corrupting God’s good and excellent creation.

Every time you see a horrific death, a terrifying flood, or a powerful hurricane, stop and think, “God is good, and sin is horrible.”

#2. Remember God is near.

Phil 4:5 says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” That was the whole point of my last post here.

God is near, and He knows WHAT is around the corner, but even more than that – HE is around the corner, around the bend, up there in the future in that land we call “uncertainty.“ And He is always able to take care of business.

Where you are right now,

God was here yesterday.

Where you will be tomorrow,

God will be there. He is good, and He is near.

But I get it.

Some days you get up and think, “I don’t have the emotional, physical or spiritual strength to make it through today!” And I’m sure there are folks all along the Gulf Coast and in Florida right now who feel that way. So you have to understand…

#3. God will provide as you go

Most often God does not provide before we go, but as we go.

The Red Sea is a perfect example: the sea didn’t part until they got there. I’m sure they felt great stress with the Egyptian army bearing down on them. “What will we do? We are going to die!” No – when they got to the Red Sea, God used Moses to part it, and they walked across on dry ground.

Same thing happens Luke 17. Ten lepers cry out to Jesus for healing. Jesus tells them to go show themselves to the priests who served as the health inspector and could declare them healed.

But they weren’t healed at all. They STILL had leprosy!

Why go the priest? They’ll just be told, “You’re going to die!”

But they went. And the Scripture says as they went, not before, and not until, but AS they went, they were healed.

In the same way, God who is good and near will provide for you in

good days,

bad days,

hard days

and disastrous days –

as you go.

HE will provide the emotional, physical or spiritual strength to make it through today, the help you need…along the way.


But I understand…

it’s still hard to believe this information when your heart is breaking and your soul is crushed, and you really are in a bottomless pit. And so do this…

#4. Preach it.

But I’m not a preacher!

Sure you are. Everyone preaches. The question is, what is your sermon? God preached a sermon in the garden, and so did Satan.

You preach to yourself all the time. But what is your message?

David preached to his own soul: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 43:5 (ESV)

I heard Steffany Gretzinger say, “Sometimes we sing something because we believe it because we’re sure. And sometimes we sing UNTIL we’re sure.”

Sometimes we sing until we’re sure. 

That may be a word from the Lord for you today.

Maybe the devastation is strong in your life, and you want to believe that God is good and God is near, and God is powerful, and He is going to provide for all the uncertainty in your life right now – you WANT to believe that…

…but it’s not your experience right now.

Preach it to yourself! Cry out, “My soul – why are you cast down. Hope in God – ever will I praise Him! Ever will He be good to me! Ever will He be my salvation. God, You are my rock and my salvation and my strong tower in the storm!”

Maybe you’ve been singing the wrong song, preaching the wrong sermon, thinking the wrong thoughts…change your tune!

Sing it and speak it and preach it and keep on until…you believe it.

And then keep on declaring His goodness and nearness and provision to yourself over and over and over again and don’t quit doing it. Ever.

And the day will come when He will wipe every tear from your eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. Forever.

Amen amen amen amen.

 

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The Secret to Brave

(Misleading title alert! It’s not a secret. It’s on the pages of the best selling book of all time.)

It’s a dog eat dog world.

Get all you can, can all you get, and poison the rest.

Look out for #1.

Power up.

Take no prisoners.


All true statements. That is, they are true if God is not near. 

  • If He’s not near, I can’t afford to be gentle, and neither can you. Because you HAVE to look out for yourself.
  • If He’s not near and everyone’s wringing their hands, so am I.
  • If He’s not near and I fear, I get emotionally hijacked and run…or power up.
  • If He’s not near and things are getting dicey – take control! Take control and run over anyone in your way.
  • If He’s not near, in marriage, there is one goal -victory.
  • If He’s not near – His promises all through Scripture? Just words on a page.
  • If He’s not near – my prayers? Talking to the ceiling.
  • If He’s not near – my emotions – probably intense in areas like anger and anxiety. Probably limited in areas like love and peace.

If God’s not near, 
                          my universe is small, 
                                                          I’m at the center, 
                                                                                  and it’s all about control.

But What If God IS Near?

Most folks who memorize the Bible memorize Phil 4:6 – “Don’t be anxious about anything…” We love that… that’s a great command from God with a great promise.

Great verse – great verse. Known it since I was in high school.

But right before it…equally excellent. Phil 4:5:

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”  

Catch that?

“The Lord IS near.” As in Matthew 1:23, “…they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

HE is NEAR. 

That means I can AFFORD to be gentle. Gentle flows out of brave. Here’s why:

 If the Lord is really loving and compassionate and He really has this whole thing under control and He really really knows the number of hairs on your head and He really really knows when a sparrow falls to the ground, and all that knowledge and attention to detail is directed at you – and He’s near…then brave is in the bag, and gentle flows out of brave.

Be brave

The Lord is near.
So brave is in the bag.
And gentleness flows out of brave.

But what in the world does it mean to be gentle? Can be confusing. If I just do a simple word association – when I think of gentle I think of:

  • A lamb. I don’t want to be a lamb.
  • A stuffed animal. Like that creepy talking bear (click link) on the fabric softener commercial.That’s not good.
  • A door mat? No.
  • A wimp? I don’t think so.
  • A picture of a mother cuddling her new born baby taken with one of the soft glow filters so the picture looks slightly out of focus. I’m just not sure how I’m going to pull that off.

Here’s gentleness (male perspective – most get the female 
perspective on gentleness):

  • When everyone is wringing their hands in panic – the gentle man is calm.
  • When everyone is about to come to blows, the gentle man is calm but strong.
  • When the walls are caving in and the storm is blowing and it’s time for action the gentle man is in control of his emotions, confident, ready for action… and still gentle.
A gentle man is safe. Not safe and defenseless.
But safe for his wife, his kids, his friends, his coworkers.
Safe because he’s brave.
Brave because he knows that God has got his back.
He knows that the Lord is near.

 

A gentle woman is safe. Not safe and defenseless.
But safe for her husband, her kids, her friends, her coworkers.
Safe because she’s brave.
She’s brave because she knows that God has got her back.
She knows that the Lord is near.

 

Here’s what nails it for me (mentioned in previous post): 
Teddy Roosevelt said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
You can afford to speak softly when you have that big stick and you know how to use it.

How much better to speak softly because you walk with a big God? 

You can be a brave man or woman, who is safe and gentle for others to be around, because a BIG God has got your back.

So let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord really is near.

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Man Up!

Lots of confusion about what it means to be a man these days (and at least since the 1970’s). A few years back a political campaign thought the “pajama boy” ad lead_largewould really get men psyched up about discussing health insurance (this ad brought to you courtesy of estrogen!).

Hot chocolate or pajamas are fine but what Einstein thought THAT would inspire men? It was immediately ridiculed to death (a sign of some sanity out there).

And maybe in part, a reaction to the pajama man-child culture, “Duck Dynasty” beards Untitledhave become all the rage. Add military service, and a sleeve of tattoos…you look like you eat nails for breakfast!

I saw a guy with a fierce beard at the gym. For three weeks I thought he was completely jacked! Then realized he was actually skinny to moderate. But the aura of that beard just shown around him like some testosterone infused cloud.

But I’ve been around long enough to know that while looking manly is excellent, it is in no way indicative of “manliness,” or “maturity (see Anthony Scaramucci’s recent gutter tirade).” You really don’t know if you’re looking at a man or a scared self-centered child trapped inside man’s body.

So what is a man?

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13 (ESV)

WHOA! Now that is a manly verse. And God used Paul to write it.

Paul was an epic man:

  • First century Jew = epic beard.
  • Rugged to the core. Beaten for preaching and left for dead outside of town. Got up and went back into town. Kept preaching. Who does that??
  • Viper latches onto his arm. “Shakes it off” Taylor Swift style, right into the fire.
  • No use for quitters. Canned John Mark for quitting.
  • Didn’t run from fights. Instead preached radical (and true) stuff that caused riots.
  • No fear.
  • NEVER had a cat. Look it up. 2 Hesitations 2:6

Paul had all outward trappings of virility. But what are some of the things he would say are “manly?” I’m gonna give you two that might not often come to mind.

A real man:

1. Embraces his insufficiency. Even boasts about it.

“But I’m bad to the bone! I’m tough as nails! I have muscles, and my muscles have muscles! I post fitness selfies of my muscles all…day…long.”

Are you badder than prostate cancer? All the muscle tone in the world won’t stop it pajama-boy-3from killing you.

“But I meant mentally tough, David. I’m mentally tough! GRRRRRRRR!”

Really. Will your “mental toughness” keep Alzheimer’s at bay? No. In fact, it can steal every ounce of mental fortitude you possess, until you have no mind at all.

Undeniable truth of life:

there is no such thing as a bullet proof man (or woman).

You are NOT the biggest and baddest. God is.

After God told him His power works best in weakness, Paul of the awesome beard said quite famously:

I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)

Paul was a survivor who cheated death over and over again. But his success came from43766371_ml knowing he was weak and ordinary, empowered by a God who was strong and extraordinary.

Any man that recognizes his insufficiency and relies on the limitless power of the all sufficient Master of the Universe…is on his way to being a real man.

And a real man…

2. Can afford to be gentle.

I rarely hear that “real men” are gentle. Because it is a dog-eat-dog world! If it’s all on me, I cannot afford to be gentle. I’ve got to use all weapons at my disposal to get my way. I’ve just GOT to:

  • Get all I can.
  • Can all I get.
  • Sit on the lid.
  • Poison the rest. 

And of course, the natural extension of that attitude is sometimes a man becomes a human-hand-grenade-with-the-pin-pulled-out-ready-to-go-off-at-the-drop-of-a-hat. And NOT safe to be around. Never know when they’ll just…BOOM.

But Paul the riot-starting-viper-burner (Acts 28:5) says:

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Phil. 4:5

If God is near, has my back, really REALLY means things like Romans 8:28 He’ll-work-all-things-together-for-my-good-and-really-cares-about-me…

I can afford to be gentle.

I can afford to be gentle at work, with my family, with others. I can be safe for others to be around.

NOT passive. NOT defenseless. Willing to bring the heat when appropriate. But safe.

atticus_scout
Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird – gentle, proactive, strong, epic.

 Teddy Roosevelt said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

How much better to speak softly because you have a big God? You can afford to be gentle because you’ve got a God who is bigger than any stick.

So grow a massive beard if you want! Get ripped from head to toe! Shake off vipers! Do NOT under ANY circumstances take a picture in a flannel onesie whilst drinking hot chocolate! Good Grief!

And take these two truths on as your motto:

  • I’m insufficient but filled with a limitless all-sufficient God.
  • I can afford to be gentle because my limitless God…is near.

That’s the goal. Amen amen.

 

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Life Like a Toilet

I read a beautifully heart-warming story about a middle school in Oregon that was faced with a unique problem. Many girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the restroom. After they put on their lipstick, they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints.

Finally, the principal decided that something had to be done. She called all of the girls to the restroom and met them there with the custodian.

She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night. To demonstrate how difficult it was to clean the mirrors, she asked the maintenance guy to clean one of them.

He took a long-handled squeegee,

dipped it into the toilet,

then cleaned the mirror.

Surprise! The girls no longer put lip prints on the mirrors.

A mirror was made to reflect, not to kiss.

Truly life changing truth:

If you don’t get your purpose right, your life can be like a toilet.

Your purpose is multi faceted and involves your gifts and skills and experiences and personality, and it will unfold over a lifetime. BUT...if you do this every day – you’ll be on your way:

Every day seek to make Him look good.
And all will be good.

Simple. Profound. Jesus said it this way,

 “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”  ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

A great prayer to start the day:

Lord, let everything I think, say and do today, make You look good.

Amen.

 

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Winning Gone Wild

Winning isn’t everything, winning is the only thing.   Vince Lombardi

AS a young kid our house was on a street half way up a hill. At the bottom of the hill, water would collect after rain. Often the water would sit for days or weeks and grow green algae in it. The water was so dirty that as a kid, I kind of assumed it was sewer water (it wasn’t).

About fourth grade, a buddy of mine (we’ll call him Mortimer) and I came up with a great game. We had an empty Coke can. This was when Coke cans were still made of tin. Pretty hard and impossible for a kid to crush.

To win, you had to hit your opponent in the head with a water filled Coke can, as he flew by on his bike as fast as his legs could go. Best game ever.

First up! Mortimer, standing on the curb, throwing that can at my head as I flew by on my bicycle!

It’s a miss. Nothing but air! My turn.

Mortimer rode by as fast as the wind. I hurled that can of sewer water with all my might!

Rats. Clear miss. His turn.

This went back and forth for a while with no winner. We were either a) really fast bike riders or b) kind of uncoordinated. You decide.

Then it was my turn to throw again. I reared back that tin Coke can filled with vile liquid. Mortimer flew by, his skinny legs pumping that bike as fast as it would go. I threw as hard as I could. Mortimer ducked. But not far enough.

14747486 - bam. comic book explosion.

I HIT HIM! I HIT HIM! SMACKED HIM IN THE SIDE OF THE HEAD I DID!

Oh, glorious day! I hit him! Praise the Lord! The victory was mine! I was the triumphant champion of the sewer water throwing competition!

What happened next was quite shocking.

Little Mortimer fell off his bike and lay in the street with a bloody head. He seemed to be hurt. Who would’ve EVER seen THAT coming??????? Not us! You’d have to be a fortune-teller, witch doctor or clairvoyant to guess that outcome.

Young broken-headed Mortimer was whisked off to the emergency room by his parents, and the fun was all over for that day (never fear – he was fine the next day but for some strange reason not in the mood for another round Coke-Can-Smash-To-The-Head).

We were so stupid 🙂

WINNING ISN’T ALWAYS THE BEST THING

Every day people go out into the world to win, without thinking through the consequences of winning. What will you win? What is the prize?

Wins the girl! Uh oh. The prize is losing his family, estranged from his kids because he happened to be married to another.

Wins the deal! Bad news. The prize is jail and/or the destruction of the company because the deal included normal business stuff you “just gotta do” to succeed (Enron, Arthur Andersen, Worldcom,  the list is endless).

Wins the job! Oops! The prize is kids losing the kids because the hours are not compatible with familial interaction.

Wins the promotion! Wow! The prize is a spiritual train wreck because there’s just no time for trivial and frivolous pursuits like Christ’s church or Christian community in a small group or Sunday school because this particular promotion requires you sacrifice everything for the company.

Wins the guy or girl’s hand in marriage! Yayyyy! Except the prize is a marriage that careens off into spiritual nothingness because the thought was, “they’ll join me in spiritual pursuits AFTER we get married!” They rarely do.

Wins fame and fortune! Uh oh. The prize is a string of marriages, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, craziness and sadness (read biography of any number of superstars).

Winning isn’t everything. It all depends on what you win.

It’s been said that you can climb the ladder of success only to find that your ladder is leaning against the wrong wall. 

WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO WIN?

You SHOULD run to win. You SHOULD live to win. But ask yourself, “Win what?”

Mortimer and I could’ve saved ourselves some pain and blood (his blood not mine) if we’d just thought things through BEFORE we tried to smash each other’s cranium with a can.

The Apostle Paul was all about winning. All of his life he pursued “the win.” But it wasn’t the right win until Jesus grabbed hold of him. Then, his race became very specific. He said,

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
1 Corinthians 9:25

There’s only ONE race that matters and ONE win that completely satisfies and blesses. And that’s the race of following Jesus with all our heart soul mind and strength. Loving Him, blessing Him, following Him. And He gives to all who run His race the prize that never fades, never flounders, never falters – the prize of life forever and ever with Him.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion
Hebrews 12:1-2a (NLT)

The way to win…is to run the race God has given you, and run it with your eyes always always always on Jesus.

 

 

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