Durable424. What’s that Mean?

20141018_103456

Some readers have asked me, “What do you mean by durable424?”

By durable I mean resilient, strong, enduring, true, able, remain, unrelenting, courageous, determined and faithful.

Let me be clear. There is a huge difference from being durable in spirit and being hardened in heart. (But that is another conversation.)

Whether you are an athlete slogging through long, torturous hours of training and sacrifice; or you are a parent suffering through long nights of anxiety over a wayward child, durability is one of your defining qualities.

A durable spirit is the key. Physical endurance and emotional toughness are secondary to a durable spirit. As a person of faith it is my experience that durability is possible, not by determination or will, but by faith. Determination requires grit and effort. This exhausts me. It wears me out leaving me feel like I can’t.

The human heart can suffer many things and continue to survive out of pure will. My goal is to walk with you through the pits and falls, hardships and fellowships that life brings. That you walk life out of an abundantly durable spirit, not as a survivor; rather as an overcomer! You have likely encountered more difficulty already than you had planned for. I would suggest by the shear fact you are still here reading deeper, that you are more durable than you have imagined.

What about 424? Every day, in 24 hour cycles, life calls us to new challenges. The truth is you are durable. In this moment. Not you in yourself, but you in Jesus Christ. He has made a way through faith for indestructible life to build new reality within you. Through the exchange personal identity is no longer based on parentage or ancestry, but on the nature of Christ in you. Every moment let the reality of that truth be present. Let that reality birth new responses to old challenges. Let the reality of Christ in you be your hope of glory and a better future.

The writer of the book of Hebrews (7:14-15) referring to Jesus’ power to overcome and endure states it to this affect- that a priest has appeared..

“…one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.” From the Greek the original means indestructible, indissoluble. The Message Bible refers to “the sheer force of resurrection life.”

This is Spirit and Life. The new nature is durable for every point of test or trial. For now. For 24. For 7. For 365.

Durable424 is a state of being.

  • It is worshiping when others worry.
  • It is praying when you’d rather pout.
  • It is staying connected when it’s inviting to leave.
  • It is trusting God for breakthrough when blaming, accusing and complaining is more popular.

Durable people trust and wait for God to speak or God to move first.

With Him, you can be durable.

Advertisements

Reality. Check.

Treadmill control 20150120

Reality.

I will be honest, I have been slacking in my exercise and fitness plans. Recently, I made some adjustments and have chosen to focus with renewed commitment and energy on returning to a “more fit me”. It didn’t take long to reveal the test results of just how unfit I really was. Shortness of breath. Very low endurance for the distance. Carrying a few saddle bags of weight. It left me feeling worn out, out of sorts and out of shape! That reality check about my physical condition caused a spin off question. Just how fit is my faith? My spiritual condition? I mean, it seems things are speeding up and pressing toward critical mass.

I am just a little past half time in my life. Like you, I have suffered my share of challenges, losses and difficulties. Like you, I have failed sometimes but, overcome most of the time. I will be quick to admit there were times when the heartache and pain were a more than I expected and sometimes unexpected. There were times when I wanted to give up. Stop. Quit. What’s the use? Let me just live my life in peace. Reality, now is the time to dial up faith, courage, desire and passion!

God’s answer to Jeremiah’s complaint comes to mind,
“If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” Jeremiah 12:5 NIV

The same words translated through The Message Bible are even more poignant, “So, Jeremiah, if you’re worn out in this footrace with men, what makes you think you can race against horses? And if you can’t keep your wits during times of calm, what’s going to happen when troubles break loose like the Jordan in flood?”

The writer of Hebrews sites a time of shaking will come that will shake all that can be shaken… [for what purpose?] to reveal the Kingdom that cannot be shaken (12:26-28).

Check.

The Scripture suggests that there will be a time when the race will be accelerated, as when the horses are released. There are times when a safe, orderly society will be less orderly and downright dangerous. Times when trouble breaks out and the enemy breaks in like a flood. What will be our response? Are we fit for the challenge? Will I be among the faithful who can endure?

If you are loving and believing God today I am so thankful and encouraged. I am encouraged because I know you have been made fit for this time. Jesus exerted great effort in order to save my soul. It is that effort that I rest in and labor from. He saved us from ourselves; from our tendencies toward failure, disobedience and weakness. We have been granted a new status before the King of the Universe. We are now partakers of His divine Nature for His Glory! On my own from my old nature I could not perform nor achieve. As a new creation in Christ, now I can! We were born for more than an ordinary life. We were born to go beyond, to live in that reality as an Over-comer!

Christ in you, the hope of Glory. Under any conditions. Reality. Check.

Tragedy in the Game of Life

Some would say that the game of football mimics life. Certainly, like the game of football, everyday life has its opponents and challengers, setbacks, scores, injuries, competition, wins and losses.

What happened in the world of football the other day with the murder/suicide of Jovan Belcher, linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs was not just a tragedy in professional football, but it is a real tragedy in everyday life. Our prayers are with the two families left with loss and for the young child who lost both parents.

While I know such events are charged with many contributing factors, the questions mount around such a devastating loss of life. What was going on in one man’s personal life that he found no place to decompress? What amount of private pain would be so intense that it would find its way out in such a horrific fashion? Are events like this a sign of a deeper problem? A problem, not just within professional sport, but also within our way of life? Is there anything anyone could have done to help?

We have been stunned repeatedly by explosive acts of violence coming from the unsuspected. From being bullied to deep hidden offense, from school yards to corporate offices tragedies like this have occurred.

Obviously life is not without pain. When in everyday life we encounter colleagues, coworkers, neighbors or family do we remain silent and “tough it out” in private pain, or is there any safe place or are there any safe people out there where one can find release?

Quarterback Brady Quinn, of the Kansas City Chiefs, in an interview said it like this. “When you ask someone how they are doing, do you really mean it? When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you really telling the truth? We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook, and that’s fine, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half the time we are more preoccupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual relationships that we have right in front of us. Hopefully, people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they are revealing on a day-to-day basis.”

Some time ago I was greeted by a fatherly friend with a grin, “How are you doing, you liar?” Shocked by the well meaning question it awakened me to the tendency that most of us, myself included default to that of “appearing to have it all together”.

Maybe the real tragedy in the Game of Life is that we have lost connection with our selves and one another. We choose to be strong and successful rather than risk appearing weak, overwhelmed or having questions but no answers. We are convinced that everyone is doing just fine, so why shouldn’t I?

Let’s be candid and straight with ourselves and about ourselves. No one should have to suffer in silence or alone. Suffering is a part of the human condition. But, hope is the antidote.

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God.” Psalm 42:5

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts.” Romans 5:5

Here are five suggestions to help you or someone you know to live in hope:

  1. Find something in your life to laugh about! It could be good news or bad news like you’re late for work, the car has a flat, a brilliant sun rise, something you said, or your boss gave you an unexpected raise.
  2. Find someone to laugh with! It could be anyone.
  3. Choose to be candid and open about disappointments by putting it into words. Use your words, you liar! (see above)
  4. Develop friendships with people who accept both the beautiful and the ugly in your life (all of us have both), and who believe the best is yet to come.
  5. Hold to an attitude of abundant anticipation. You are bigger than what happened, and you have a choice in what will happen. Keep looking up and looking forward.

Your life is no game! Your life is precious!

Upgrades in a Downgrade

Change doesn’t have to be random, chance, unexpected or beyond you and you are caught off guard!

You make a difference. Your faith and words are mighty and moving by virtue of the work of Christ. Differentiate yourself based on facts found in the finished work of Jesus! The past is over. The new has come. You are the new! His power works mightily in you.

Though most change seems to be sudden and instantaneous don’t ignore the fact that a process has been in place often going on behind the obvious. The process, be it long or short, brings about the change. Every process has a cause, a beginning, a trigger. Life gives power to thoughts, habits and processes. Our goal is to no longer give birth out of our past! New Life gives birth to new thoughts, new habits, new processes and innovations.

When we desire to create the future, how do we really do so? Thoughts and habits are the tools by which we change and build a better future. Is it time to upgrade your tools? Giving yourself to prayer, regular connections of fellowship and remembering that the new has come are essential habits in your tool bag.

You aren’t a victim any more.

Let’s build together as we build with our Maker.

Home, Sweet Homelessness

I’ve had the opportunity work in team to benefit homeless men in our region providing temporary housing, food and counsel. I am familiar with the frustration and hopelessness they face.  I have also been able to spend brief times in the mission field. One time not too long ago I was in a foreign land and gone from home for three weeks. During those three weeks my passions and enthusiasm were on a curve. Early on the excitement was about the mission and the needs of the locals. Later into the three weeks I found myself bent in another direction-toward home. I recall the last couple days feeling an overwhelming urge and expectancy for going home.

There’s no place like home. Like Dorothy’s stay in Oz, home has a will always call our name. After being gone from home for varying lengths of time the cathartic effect of new faces and new places begins to wear thin and we begin to pine for home.

Where does that longing for home come from? Do we all long for home or is it just the few? I think most of humanity carries an amount of yearning, longing, craving to return to the familiar boundaries of home. There arises this deep sense of homelessness. From timid college freshmen to battle hardened soldiers. From runaways to the rich and famous on the walk-ways each has a void that refuses to be filled called Home.

It seems quite reasonable to conclude that this craving and longing for home has been passed down through our physical and spiritual DNA. It came from the very beginning of creation and the time of Adam and Eve in the garden. As migratory birds cross land and sea for thousands of miles in answer to the instinctive calling deep inside, I believe our Creator has given us a similar passion to arrive at Home.

Think of it like this. Our first parents were at home in The Garden of Eden. Lush, green, well watered, comfortable, environmentally controlled with sufficiency of all things including no sense of any fear nor need of any kind. Their luxurious accommodations included regular walks and conversation with the owner, developer of the estate—God himself.

Then, the day came when Adam and Eve lost it all. (Genesis 3:23,24) Because of disobedience, Creator God separated them from Himself and from the Garden. They were removed from the Garden on the spot. Their circumstance were immediately altered. Instantly, they were homeless.

Since then, in the processes of life generations have been born who have lived with a sense that Home is out there somewhere. The writer of Ecclesiastes said, He has put eternity in their hearts. Family and friends do us fine for awhile. Yet, deeply within there is a need for home; a need that cannot be satisfied with the natural or the ordinary. Throughout all humanity there has been an ongoing search for home.

There has been no satisfying remedy until Jesus Christ came to establish the dwelling place of God.  Now through Jesus Christ the longing for Home, the filling of the eternal can be satisfied.

Naturally we think that home is a place that I move into. However, this unanswerable and eternal empty place, this spiritual place is called Home wherever Christ moves in. Here in the human heart eternity meets the Eternal.

In this way we all have been homeless. Thank God for my homelessness! My need with its passion and pursuit brought Jesus home to me! Oh, Sweet Homelessness is now Sweet Home!

Do you want to live like that?

Happy Independence Day! Value this Birthright

Why not show your gratefulness for the birthright of freedom we have received. We have freedom not because we’ve earned it. Someone else did that for us. Vigilance is the price of freedom. Today I am thankful for the vigilance of our military and to those valiant warriors of faith who fight daily for personal freedoms in the media, courtrooms and taking a personal stand for righteousness and justice. We will keep these rights only if we retain a passion for liberty’s cause with a humble heart.

Here is a prayer from the floor of Congress in 1776 that would work well for us today! Let’s pray it with fervor and courage today and everyday!

“Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves
and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn;
Grant, we beseech Thee, that we and all the peoples of this land
may have grace to maintain these liberties in righteousness and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.”

Prayed on the floor of the First Continental Congress, July 4, 1776.