Monkey and Banana

YOU have probably heard about a rather interesting method they sometimes use when trying to catch a monkey for the zoo. It seems that trappers take a small cage out into the jungle. Inside the cage they place a bunch of bananas and then they close it, locking the bananas inside. Now a monkey coming along and spotting the bananas, will reach through the narrow rungs of the cage and grab a banana. But he can’t get it out. And no matter how hard he tries – twisting his hand back and forth – he can’t pull his hand through the rungs while hanging on to the banana. And even with the approaching trappers he won’t let go of the banana. For the trappers, it’s simply a matter then, of coming up and grabbing the monkey. Now if you were standing there in the jungle, watching all of this happen, and wanted to save the monkey, you might yell in exasperation, “Drop the Banana!” 

 

 

 

This was taken from an article on Foundations Magazine. Here is the link for the entire article: “Drop the Banana!”


I wanted to start with article because it reminds me of me. I am the monkey.

The banana represents things that I want. It could be anything I desire. And, if I happen to obtain it, I don’t want to let go.

I would suggest that all of us can be like the monkey.

How much of our life is spent in pursuit of the banana? Just for fun, write down how you spend your hours and days. You just might be surprised or even shocked.

If you feel you want to let go of whatever banana is in your hand, good thinking.

If you can’t let go, now is a great time for the Word

I Peter gives some much needed insight.

Here are verses 3-5 in the first chapter:

“3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”  I Peter 1:3-5


We have a new birth.

We have a living hope.

We have an inheritance.

Why in the world would we want a banana?!?!

As much as I write this for you, the reader, I write it for myself.

If I could sum up the Christian life, it might be something like this:

Keep letting go of the banana and turning back to God.

But why would I want to let go when the banana is so fulfilling?

We have a place that is being prepared for us. That’s why.

It can’t be spoiled, ruined, or removed. There is a guard watching it. The enemy cannot taint it in anyway. It is under God’s protection.

And it is reserved for us.

heaven

I don’t really know what heaven looks like but I don’t need to know.

I just need to let go of the banana and trust God in the rest.

 

 

Advertisements

Anatomy of a Miracle

Miracles. What are they? How can they take place? What can we do to make them?

I think it is safe to say that anybody would welcome a miracle in their life. I mean, why not? Healing? Fixing of relationship? More money? ______________________?

Why do miracles take place? As far as I am concerned, God does a miracle as He sees fit. ONLY God can do it and He does not always explain the circumstances!

But I think we have a part. When following a cake recipe, it is important that you get all the ingredients otherwise the cake won’t turn out right.

cake fail

The difference between my wife and I decorating cakes! Ha!

While I am not baking a cake here, I am listing the ingredients for a miracle.

And for the miracle to take place, to actually happen, all three of these need to be present. Let’s go back to the Jordan river to see the Anatomy of a Miracle.

  1. A miracle consists of an Objective Impossible for you to Obtain. The Israelites had a promise given to them many years prior to this point. Literally, God had told them that He would take them to the Promised Land. They had their eyes set on an objective. We all need something that holds our attention. Call it a goal, desire, objective or whatever; you need to be looking at something ahead of you or you will never move forward. Flip the coin. That objective that you want-it must be impossible for you to get. For a miracle to take place, you first need to be looking at something that you cannot get on your own.  
  2. A miracle consists of an Obstacle Insurmountable for you to Overcome. There was a river in the way. A fast-flowing river that would prevent them from entering the Promised Land. Is there an obstacle in your way? Is it something that you cannot overcome? Good. You are on your way to a miracle. If you have a goal but something is blocking you then I see that you are two-thirds closer to God doing something great in your life. Whether that obstacle is a person, an idea, a negative thought, a physical thing, it must insurmountable for you.
  3. A miracle consists of an Opportunity Included for you to Obey. Yes, the dreaded ‘O’ word. The older I get, I keep coming back to the idea that all I can ever do is obey. That is all God asks of me. Yes, He wants my heart and mind but my obedience is that handing over of those things to Him. Every time I get stuck, I get an opportunity to obey. Standing before the river, the command was to step into the river. When facing an obstacle, do I obey and take the step of faith? For the Israelites, it was a literal step. For me, what is my step of faith? For you, how can you obey God today?

It is my opinion that someone would need all three of these”ingredients” for a miracle.

However, one thing I need to make clear is this: God can and will do miracles in His sovereignty. I can’t force God to do something. This might be debatable but I feel like God will do what He pleases when and how He pleases. That is part of what makes Him God.

Let me end 2018 with a recap:

  • A miracle consists of an Objective Impossible for you to Obtain. 
  • A miracle consists of an Obstacle Insurmountable for you to Overcome.
  • A miracle consists of an Opportunity Included for you to Obey. 

Or, just simply obey God with all your heart. No matter how small or unimportant it may seem, trust what God is telling you.

Who knows, you may be experiencing more miracles in this next year! So go ahead and take that step of faith!

step faith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

40 years or 97 days!

August 2 was 40 years ago! Reality says it was actually 97 days. It only seems like 40 years  but so much has happened. In fact, I had to re-read my previous 4 posts to catch myself up with my train of thought!

Click here to go back and catch up yourself. Thank you.

Real quick…the Israelites are on the verge of entering the Promised Land!

They had heard from God.

Jericho had been spied upon.

Joshua relayed God’s orders.

They were ready for that miracle.

They had even consecrated themselves.

Here is verse 5 of Joshua 3, “Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

If I may, I would like to speak of the “amazing things” the Lord can do.


Since my last post in early August, there has been a big change in my life.

I got a new job.

I still work at the Olive Garden part-time.

I still perform weddings.

But now, I get to teach science at a private Christian school!

Since this is twominuteswithtim and not twohourswithtim, I will spare the details.

The Lord did an amazing thing in my life.

The Israelites shuffled through sand for forty years before they got their miracle.

Me? It was only 28 years. God called me into ministry in 1990. You can read about that call here and here.

It just fits. Like that last puzzle piece. This job is a perfect fit for me. I am truly in awe of how God worked this out.

puzzle piece

But it has also been some of the most difficult work that I have ever done.

Listen to verse 10, “This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites.”

Going into the Promised Land meant they were going to war.

Sure, I can say that I am living in the promised land. I can also say that I am at war.

So while God has done so much to lead me here, there is so much more ahead.

Whether you are on the east side of the Jordan waiting to cross over or…

You have entered God’s promise for your life,

There is work to be done. We are at war friends.

More on the war and fighting stuff next time.

For now, just enjoy God’s faithfulness and don’t forget to sharpen your sword.

sword-sharpening-600x600

 

Crowd or Committed?

“I just wanted to slap them upside the head!”

At least that was the thought going through my mind a few days ago.

My wife and I had a chance to catch a movie. In the theater with popcorn. It is certainly a nice but rare occasion for us.

couple at movie

In the row right in front of us were some teenage girls. And they talked. LOUDLY!!!

After getting shushed at a number of times, they finally left. My wife said later that she would like to see that movie again because she missed parts due to the noise.

Those girls paid the admission price just as my wife and I did. They had a right to be in the movie. Popcorn was available for them as well.

But their attitude and mindset were very different from ours. Travel with me back to our story in Joshua 3.

Here are the first 4 verses to catch you up in case you missed my last few posts.

1Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubitsa between you and the ark; do not go near it.”” 

So here they are, just east of the Jordan river. How were they going to cross over?

The three ideas we have explored so far from Joshua 3. Click each for a new window.

Let go and let God be in control.

Trust God.

Put God first.

What is the next step?

Verse 5 explains exactly what that next step is for the Israelites:

5Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

One verse with two parts. Part two is for next time.

But I will speak to the first part. Joshua (relaying what God had already told him), told the people to “Consecrate yourselves…”

Consecrate…?

The hebrew transliteration is qadash, which is pronounced kaw-dash’.

This word is a verb. God wanted the people to consecrate themselves.

They had action to take. They were to set themselves apart from the world.

The word simply means set apart. Set apart for a specific purpose.

Think about the million or so people waiting to cross the Jordan. Were they ready for this message? Which ones were committed to serving Jehovah? We don’t really get those details but I am sure that there are some who were just part of the crowd.

Just part of the crowd. Am I part of the crowd? I think those girls at the movie the other night would have been “just part of the crowd.”

For me, I want to be counted in the committed.

Set apart for a specific purpose. Yep, that sounds better than just hanging out in a crowd.

crowd

Are you committed? Or are you part of the crowd?

If we let go, trust God and put Him first, then being committed is easy.

Start today. Wherever you are with God, start there. He has not moved.

And just a little encouragement to take with you:

That huge river you see in front of you? God created it. And it’s not too big for Him.

jordan river

 

 

Scrabble and 2018

Zombies…Zenith…Zealous…

These were my choices, at least the ones I thought of for today.

Honestly, all three of them had potential in them to wrote about.

And then it struck me. Z is the last letter. The end of the alphabet. The last one.

It is the letter that comes after all the other letters are spoken. A to Z.

And now for you Scrabble geeks…

The Word – Zee (The letter Z is spelled Zee)

The WorthRevelation 1:8 says it all, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

God is the beginning (Alpha) and the end (Omega).

Omega is the last letter of the greek alphabet

Everything started with Him and everything will end with Him.

My years here on this earth are just a short blip on the radar of all time.

He knew me before I ever drew a breath. My life is in His hands.

If you read the rest of Revelation, crazy things will happen.

But at the end of it all, God will be left standing.

And we can stand with Him!

I find great comfort in that truth.

The Work – We can get caught up in making resolutions and goals for 2018. The slate is clean so we try not to get it dirty again. That is great and all but it seems that it is just a matter of time before we fall back, break resolutions, or make a mistake.

But God is in the end! So let’s try to live with the end in mind.

Put your hope, faith, trust in who God is and live for Him. That is how 2018 is going to be the best year of our lives!

Thank you friends for taking two minutes out of your day to read these posts.

I am trusting God for amazing things in 2018, see you next year!

2018