Dip Cone Hair and Simple Life

891d3-conesThis is a picture of my hairstyle a while back.

Yes, the dip cones to the left are an exact representation of my hairstyle.

I’d like to say it’s more “Jimmy Neutron” than Dairy Queen to increase my “cool factor,” but that’d be stretching it.

This isn’t on purpose mind you – it just happened that way. Hair got a little too long, a little too free with the gel and…voila! DQ Dip Cone hair!

I noticed the DQDC resemblance in the mirror, and told a couple of friends “Look! I have dip cone hair!” to which one responded, “you absolutely do – did you do that on purpose?” “Yes! And tomorrow I’m going for a Hunger Buster belly!” OK…sooo not really.

I want the simple life.

A church member with a biting wit was giving me a hard time just two days before. In response I emailed her – “I’m leaving the ministry… getting a job at Dairy Queen in Gonzales (my daughters and I go to that DQ when at a friend’s ranch in the area). I will be their new “dip cone” guy. I dip the cone and then turn it upside down before I hand it to the customer. Then I smile sweetly (I’m good at that). That’s the life for me. No harassment. No stress. Just honest simple labor .”

Sweet, sweet lady. In response she emailed back “Is this the part where I say, “You’re good at being a dip?” The love of the Lord was all over her.

It got me thinking though.

Great job dipping cones. Nothing else to do. No complications, no worries. Just fill the cone, dip it, turn it upside down before handing it over. Creamy perfection.

And if you do it right…everyone loves you. People all over town saying “love the dip cone guy!”

My life isn’t like that at all.

There are regular complications, issues, and…you can do the right thing, and sometimes people will still hate you for it. Jesus mentioned that we should expect that.

And life is never free of stressors. Even the dip cone guy has stress. “Red alert! Red alert! The chocolate’s too hot! I turned the cone over, and it plopped onto my shoe!” Then he’s banished to the fryer and a life of chronic grease induced clogged pores and Crisco hair. Talk about stress.

What I really want, is a Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego kind of life.

They were told if they didn’t worship the king’s statue they’d be thrown in the fiery furnace. Their response?

Something like this: “Hate us – we don’t care! Throw us in the fiery furnace – we don’t care! We won’t worship your statue!”

That is so bold and excellent. I want to respond like they did! BUT…I want to already know beforehand that it is reeeeaaally gonna be OK.

Like God is whispering in my ear “I’ve got your back on this! Act a little more uppity! Wave that freaky dip cone hair around and say something like ‘whether God rescues me or not, I don’t care! Cause I’m one faithful bad mamma jamma!’”

That’s NEVER happened to me.

God does tell us beforehand that He’ll always be here and never forsake us (Deut. 31.6). But it seems that more often than not, He shows up (great Biblical point coming…wait for it…wait for it…) while we are in the fire. He shows up in the middle of our inferno and carries us safely through.

That’s what He did with Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego:

He (Nebuchadnezzar) said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” Daniel 3:25

Not hurt. Not burned. God with them.

Are you in the middle of a fire right now? Look for God. He’ll be right there with you and will never, ever leave you.

Amen amen.

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What I do When I’m Hammered

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GREAT hammer!

Oh wait – you didn’t think I meant “hammered” as in inebriated, intoxicated, wasted or drunk did you?

So sorry.

I meant, “hammered” as in, “emotionally hammered,” “hammered by life,” “down in the dumps,” “feeling really low.”

What do you do when you feel like giving up? When you can’t go on? I could tell you all the usual stuff:

1. Man up (I like that one! Seems so, “manly.”).
2. Your grandparents had it worse (true – many were risking lives in wars that covered the globe and faced a depression without “government help” (oxymoron anyone?), so quit whining.
3. The sun will come out tomorrow (what if it doesn’t?).

But none of those helpful comments get me through. Here’s what does:

Hammer it out with God’s Word.

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Example of, “stating the obvious.” But fabulous artwork!!

Why God’s Word? Let me first state the obvious. About God’s Word, you see, it’s umm, how do I put this? It’s hmmmmm….oh I know!

It’s God’s Word.

Don’t let your familiarity with the phrase, “God’s Word” undermine its power. When we say “God’s Word,” we’re saying a lot.

The Bible says it’s “God breathed.” It’s “powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword.”

God spoke, and there was light.  God spoke, and the world came into existence.

So God’s Word is kind of a big deal. And it can change you, your insides, your outsides, all of you.

But let’s keep it simple:

You’re emotionally hammered.
Life has just dropped on you like a ton of bricks.
You’re not sure if you can get up tomorrow.
Or even keep going today.

Or maybe you’re not that low. But you are having a stressful day. This is still the best route. Trust me.

You can type this on your notepad, take a screenshot on your phone, and make it your wallpaper.

Find a verse that speaks to your situation (google, “Scriptures on God’s promises” or whatever). A great example is Jeremiah 29:11. Powerful verse about God’s plans for His kids. Write it on a card. Or make it your wallpaper on your phone.

During the day when:

tension rises,
anxiety increases,
worry creeps in,
or panic sets in…

…pull out the card or your phone, and displace those feelings with what God has said. Read it out loud or to yourself. Then say it as a prayer to the Lord. Say, “I believe.” Repeat it. And let it sink deep into your soul.

And as you do this, try to do it with the innocent trust of a child. With the trust you imagine a child feels when coming to a loving parent or to Jesus. 

I seem to remember as a child being told that the Bible was God’s Word. I was amazed – what an awesome book! I couldn’t set another book on top of it. I couldn’t let it get dirty. I treated it with serious and severe reverence.Who wouldn’t?!?!? It’s God’s Word for goodness sake!! What a precious and priceless and incredible gift!

Take that piece of paper or notation on your phone, and in the midst of anxiety or stress or worry, hang on to it. Grip it like grim death. Trust it like nobody’s business. Repeat as many times as necessary – all day long.

You do that, and  God will use it to change your thoughts, and renew your mind and hammer out anxiety and worry and panic.

Instead of getting emotionally and mentally hammered, hammer out the voice of the enemy, with the Voice of the Lord

Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. 
Proverbs 30:5 

God Speed,

David

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Want To Know The Future?

As a kid, I was fascinated by fortune tellers. I wanted to know the future!!

If I knew the future, I could tell how things were going to turn out so that I could avoid danger,  have all the answers on tests, and go into the future and buy a newspaper, go back to the present time and buy all the stocks that would increase 1000%.

The Wizard of Oz and her Crystal Ball

Aunty Em Aunty Em YouTube
Heartbreaking…makes me tear up!

The witch had a crystal ball, and she could see Dorothy in it. Awesome.
The witch had flying monkeys. I wanted to BE a flying monkey. Awesome.

But remember? The flying monkeys scoop Dorothy up and drop her off at the witch’s lair, and while alone, Dorothy peers into the crystal ball. She sees Auntie Em in the crystal ball saying, “Dorothy, where are you? Dorothy?”  She starts frantically trying to answer, “Auntie Em! Auntie Em!”

I just watched it on youtube and got seriously emotional. SO heart-wrenching! Truly masterful movie.

Aunty Em Aunty Em YouTube (1)
Bone. Chilling.

Anyway, Auntie Em disappears, and the witch appears in the crystal ball mocking Dorothy!

BONE CHILLING!!!!

Kind of stuff that will give a five-year-old nightmares.

Imagine my disappointment when I went to see a fortune teller at a grade school carnival, and the crystal ball was just clear! No images being televised in that crystal ball. At. All.

On top of that, the “fortune teller” (probably someone’s mom) didn’t tell me anything worth knowing! Something like “I can see a little blond haired boy who will one day grow up and get married.” That’s it? You old crone! I want my money back!

Fortune Cookies Lie
I loathe fortune cookies. “Why the extreme language, David?”

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How is that a fortune? It’s NOT. #defensivedrivingcookie

BECAUSE THEY DON’T TELL YOUR FORTUNE. I haven’t had one in 10 years that said: “tomorrow this or that will happen.” Instead, it’s things like “don’t stick your head in gopher holes.” THAT’S NOT A FORTUNE. THAT’S A PROVERB. IT’S A PROVERB COOKIE!

Got one from Panda Express the other day (I love their food). It’s said, “Don’t look back. Always look ahead.” THAT’S A DEFENSIVE DRIVING COOKIE!

Horoscopes-SHEESH
Looked up my horoscope – total miss. It was just all proverbs and, “You’re going to have a new love (as in a person).” Married so I’m good there. Thought, “Maybe it will be a new love in the form of a new pet, or new deodorant, or new hair gel.”

Nope. 100% miss.

BUT – the website had a link: “VIRGO – click for your guilty pleasure food.”

On my, “pleasure food,” it couldn’t have been more wrong. Here’s what it said:

1. “You don’t often overindulge.” That’s wrong. I do, at least weekly.

2. “When you do, it’s minimal.” Ridiculous statement. IN WHAT UNIVERSE DO YOU MINIMALLY OVERINDULGE? If it’s minimal, it’s not overindulging.

3. “Your favorite splurge is chocolate-covered strawberries.” I don’t like them. The chocolate breaks off, it goes all over the place, I don’t know what to do with those things.

I love to overindulge on chilidogs! Chili cheese fries! Big marbled steaks! A pound of brisket on butcher paper eaten with my hands! Funnel cakes!

I’m getting so tempted just typing this.

What does God think about all this?
In case you’re wondering, God has a strong opinion on all of this stuff.

He says in Leviticus 20:6, “I will also turn against those who commit spiritual prostitution by putting their trust in mediums or in those who consult the spirits of the dead. I will set My face against that person and will cut him off from his people.”

Harsh!

In Acts 16 there’s a fortune teller. And the reason for her success? She’s demon possessed. Once Paul casts the demon from her, guess what? She can’t tell fortunes anymore!

Bottom Line:
Fortune telling, horoscopes, palm reading, crystal balls…all demonic. And that’s not hysterical talk! It’s just what God says in black and white.

But why do we want a fortune teller? Because we’re lack confidence – in the future, in the present, in life! We are AFRAID. We think, “If I could just know the future – then I’d have peace.”

#1. No, you wouldn’t. Because then you’d know exactly what to worry about.
#2. You never will know the future – it’s a fantasy. So quit wasting emotional and mental energy on fantasy.

Instead, do this:
Trust God. Put your faith in Jesus. He knows the future. He knows the past. He’s not bound by time, but called Himself the, “I Am.” Meaning before Abraham 4000 years ago, He was, “I am.” Right now He is, “I Am.” 4000 years from now Jesus will be the great, “I Am.”

It’s all present tense to Him. And Romans 8:28 says He’s working all for good for everyone who is His.

Trust Him. He’s got this.

Amen and amen.

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Best Bible Story Ever-When God Comes to Dinner

Hyperbole alert – I may have overstated that title – all the Bible stories are excellent! But for at least two reasons this one is great. I love Genesis 18, which Ray Stedman called “When God Comes to Dinner.” I just love the picture of God coming to dinner as a man.

First Reason this is a Great Story: Angels show up. And so does God. 

Abraham is hanging out one day, and three men walk up and have dinner with him. They start talking, and as the conversation unfolds, it becomes apparent that one of the men is actually God in disguise (some would argue the pre-incarnate Christ, but that’s a subject for another time). The language changes from “they said” to “the Lord said.”

Boggles the mind.

 
This story is not in Genesis 18. But I am Laughing Out Loud at it right now.

Now Hebrews 13:2 says we should show kindness to strangers because you never know – you could be in the presence of an angel. Whoooaaa. You could be buying a Big Mac or a Venti coffee from a guy and he’s actually an angel. A real life angel who FLIES through space and time and has actually been in the presence of God in a way I haven’t (Although he probably covered his eyes and feet (Isa. 6:2)). But that thought is a big hairy audacious deal.

Now to be clear, the other two men who come to see Abraham are, in fact, angels. So Abraham encounters not one, but two angels. And you gotta admit, any Bible story with angels is a great story.

But wait! It’s a lot more than that. The third person is God Himself! How amazing to be talking to someone and realize all of a sudden, “hey, this is not just some regular guy, this is like, THEE guy, the ONE, that like, MADE me!”  Remarkable.

Abraham had an awesome day that day (except for the fact that God told him He’s going to destroy cousin Lot’s town of Sodom).

Second Reason this is a Great Story: God says –
Nothing is too hard for Him.

God tells Abraham that next year Abraham and Sarah will have a boy. Sarah overhears from inside the tent and laughs to herself (she’s 90). Silently. And God hears the silent laugh (that is sooo like God…hearing even silent things).

And the Lord asks Abraham (and somehow Sarah gets in on the conversation) why Sarah laughed. And here’s where I laugh:

Genesis 18:15  But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He (the Lord) said, “No, but you did laugh.”

Hilarious. “No, but you did laugh.” So matter of fact. So straight up. And I read it as said completely emotionless and deadpan.

 
Actually, average person would have to wear flame retardant pants 11 times a week.

Sarah lies because she’s afraid. 
Before we think too poorly of Sarah, according to one Notre Dame study, the average person lies 11 times a week, even though it’s not God calling them out. But God hears it every time, just like He heard Sarah’s silent laughter.

In the face of Sarah’s disbelief, God asks a rhetorical question. In verse 14 He asks “Is anything too hard for the Lord?

Great question. Yay God!

If God spoke our entire world into existence, then making a barren woman pregnant is pretty much a cakewalk*.

And apparently, Sarah considered this, because somewhere between her lying and cynical disbelief and childbirth, Sarah believes. But you only know this by reading ahead.  How far ahead? Like 58 whole books ahead to Hebrews.

Hebrews 11:11 says: By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age since she considered Him faithful who had promised.

Somewhere between Genesis 18:15 and Hebrews 11:11 Sarah must have considered that question “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” And she came to a most excellent conclusion: no. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. And He keeps His promises. Even the seemingly impossible ones.

Nothing is too hard for the Lord.  So you believe.

Believe and ask the question: What in your life is too hard for the Lord?

  • Your marriage?
  • Your attitude?
  • Your heart?
  • Your friend who is far, far from God?
  • Your kids?
  • A sin that you cannot overcome?
  • Your circumstances?
  • Your grief?
  • Your pain?
  • Your home?
  • Your job?
  • Your country?

What if? What if when God said, “is anything too hard for the Lord?” He was speaking a truth that applies not just to Sarah, not just to Abraham, but a universal truth that applies to you too? What if you woke up tomorrow, or next week or even next year, to discover that nothing is too hard AND He keeps His promises?

 For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him (Jesus). That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 2 Corinthians 1:20

God shows up. And nothing in your life, nothing, is too hard for Him.

Amen.

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I Like Big Buts and I Cannot Lie

13692630_sHey! If you read that and thought I was writing about something else and some song is stuck in your head, that’s on you and your poor music choices! And, I’m sure I have no idea what song that might be…just saying.

First of all – small buts (our “buts” will remain lower case through this post to designate their smallness). We all have what I’d call small buts. And it has nothing to do with your diet.

Here are a few examples of small buts:

  • but what if God doesn’t come through?
  • but I worry all the time!
  • but I’m afraid if I give to God, I won’t have enough!
  • but I don’t have time to serve God!
  • but my life is just going crazy; I can’t get to church.
  • but I don’t know if God will do what I ask.
  • but they won’t like me if I talk about Jesus.
  • but Sunday School ethics don’t work in the real world.
  • but I’m scared about the future.
  • but I’m not motivated.
  • but I don’t have all the answers.
  • but I don’t know where to start.
  • but I can’t.
  • but I’ll fail.
  • but I’ve lost hope.

You get the idea. And honestly, it’s implied in all of those buts, “I don’t trust/believe God” and/or “I’m not sure He’ll come through in the end.”

I’d summarize the above mindset this way: God is small. And I am all. Meaning, “I’m all I have, and God can’t take care of business.”

But David! One of those on your list is my but, and my but is HUGE! Big as a double-wide! And I don’t like my big but!”

No no no no no. No matter what your but is, it’s a small, tiny but. You just think it’s big because you lack perspective.

Check this out: I feel really small on an NBA basketball court, and I feel REALLY big in a preschool room full of toddlers.

That’s all about perspective.

If you’re comparing your but to yourself, your friends or the world around you, your but may seem big. But it’s not.

What’s bigger than your but (no giggling)?

God’s BUT (all caps to indicate it is large).

God wrote a book. It’s FULL of big BUTS (over 50). Life-saving, wonderful BUTS!

BUTS like:

BUT God remembered Noah and dried up the earth. Gen. 8:1
BUT God saved David from Saul. 1 Samuel 23:14
BUT God wakes me up, fills my lungs with air, puts a beat in my heart and keeps me alive day after day after day after day. Psalm. 54:4
BUT God is the strength of my heart. Psalm 73:26
BUT God brought me up from the pit. Jonah 2:6
BUT God raised Jesus from stone-cold dead to alive forever. Acts 13:30

Those are all live-or-die BUTS.  “BUT God” is a powerful phrase!

It turns reality upside down.
It saves the day.
It makes the bad good.
It makes the tired strong.
It makes the old new.
It makes the dead alive.
It makes the future bright.

“BUT God” changes everything.

Where have you lost hope? Where have you given into worry? Where have you given up trying? Where has fear kept you from doing what God has called you to do?

For every small “but” you and I have, God has a bigger “counter-BUT”.

You say, “But I’m worried.” BUT God controls the future.
You say, “But I’m too tired.” BUT God gives power to the weak.
You say, “But I will fail.” BUT God always wins.
You say, “But what if God doesn’t come through?” BUT God always comes through.
You say, “But I’m afraid.” BUT God says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

No matter what small but is bringing you down, holding you down, keeping you from doing what God has called you do, God is bigger and badder and stronger, and is willing to act for His kids.

Remember I said it’s about “perspective?”

It’s NOT “God is small. And I am all.” That is the very definition of “stinking thinking” (thank you for a great phrase Zig Ziglar).

It is:  I am small. And God is all. 

God is all and proved His great love and willingness to act for you in this…BUT God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 

So every time a but enters your mind, or is spoken to you by some naysayer or weak faith person, that contradicts what God has already said, you answer back, “BUT God”…and you fill in the blank with God has said. 

And there is no bigger but than what God has said. He always gets the last word. And it’s always a good word.

Got it? Now go try something great for Him today.

Amen.

 

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Losing Hope? Keep Calm…

calm

I saw this everywhere in London a few years ago. It was designed by the Minister of Information in 1939 to encourage folks at the beginning of WWII.

After the war, the phrase was forgotten. A bookseller found a small paper poster like this, framed it, and put it in his bookshop. Customers started requesting it, so he printed some.

Then in 2008, with the economic downturn, this picture became famous. You can buy mugs, t-shirts, tea towels, and phone covers. The BBC, in a news story, posed the question “is this the greatest motivational poster ever?

I think right now…those are pretty good words.

There many good reasons to need a good word right now:

  • ISIS
  • Terrorists all over the world (latest in Germany today)
  • Energy jobs on the line
  • The full force of federal power used to force states to allow men to use women’s restrooms
  • The government forcing an Illinois high school to let high school boys use the girl’s locker rooms
  • A presidential election that includes a socialist, a candidate under federal investigation, and a bully who calls everyone names who opposes him. And the socialist is the most honest of the three (completely wrong but honest)!

All legitimate reasons to be concerned for the future of our world.

Keep Calm and Carry On

In the Christian life, those are great words. When we are anxious, upset, worried, panicked – we begin to wring our hands mentally if not physically. And when we wring our hands mentally, we often make emotional decisions, we get sidetracked in our walk of faith, we major on the minors and minor on the majors… and our hand-wringing demonstrates our lack of trust in God.

But we can Keep Calm and Carry On because…because…because…

God is still God. 

And He makes a lot of promises to you and me in His book (you know He wrote a book right?).

1 Peter 5:7 says, Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. On the cross, God put your sin on Jesus and put on you His righteousness. And in life, His command is to put on Him, your anxiety. Your anxiety will be IN you, or ON Him. So…

Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm. Don’t fret, don’t panic, even if the world is going crazy (it is)  – God is here. Don’t get sidetracked, don’t take side roads – No! No! No! Carry On. Persist in this belief that God is great and God is good and He is taking care of business. Keep Calm and Carry On.

Maybe your problem isn’t with the world out there, but you’ve lost hope in yourself, in your marriage, in your competence, in your kids, maybe you’re even doubting God.

You don’t know HOW you’re going to make it.
You don’t know IF you’re going to make it.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Phil. 1:6 says, He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it.

You say, “I can’t ever change! I keep failing again and again!” Abraham and Sarah – considered HEROES of the faith in Hebrews 11, TWICE posed as brother and sister – to the point that two kings almost took Sarah as their own! Not believing God for a son, Sarah sent Abraham to have sex with Hagar and he did it!  Royally messed up people.

But they persisted in walking with God…even through their failure. They persisted.

Your life will never be about perfection – not till heaven…it’s about persisting in the belief that Christ is king and He is great and He is good and He will be faithful to complete in you…the good work…He began.

God really has it under control…so you Keep Calm and Carry On.

Keep Calm. Don’t fret, don’t panic, even if the world is going crazy (it is)  – God is here. Don’t get sidetracked, don’t take side roads – No! No! No! Carry On. Don’t lose hope, don’t lose faith, don’t quit walking with God, even if you fail again and again (you will). Persist in this belief that God is great and God is good and He is taking care of you to the end.

Keep Calm and Carry On.

 

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