Bad Words #3

Next week I will be on a large cruise ship in the Caribbean Sea. I have never been on a cruise before so I am excited. Even though I normally post every Tuesday, it is not going to happen next Tuesday. In June, I will pick up my posting again.

cruise ship

In thinking and preparing for the cruise, I had a thought about a bad word. For a better idea of the context for this post, please go back and read Bad Word #1.


Cruise. There are two main things I think about when I hear that word. Cruise ships and cruise control. Well, three things…Tom Cruise also.

  • The idea of getting on a cruise ship is easy to understand. We will be stopping at three different ports. After all of this, we come back to the States. There are an itinerary and a plan for all the time that we will be on the ship. Everything is accounted for on the trip.
  • The second idea is using the cruise control in a vehicle. Nice feature for someone like me who tends to push the speed limits. Setting the cruise helps me to stay within the acceptable limits. It makes long trips much safer! =-)

By now, you might be wondering what the bad word is for this post. You can probably guess it. Cruise. That is the bad word.

Let me ask you some questions. What if the cruise ship did not have an itinerary? What if there were no scheduled ports? No GPS? What if, you got onto the boat and just started cruising. No destination in mind. No agenda or plan. Just cruising. That is when cruising is bad.

There are times when I feel like I am cruising through this life. Not the good kind though. Do I have a plan? Do I have scheduled ports of call in my life? Am I following a Divine Captain or I am just floating along the sea subject to every wave? Does this ship that I am on have a purpose and a specific destination? Or, do I just blindly walk into everyday without and purpose or destination?

Friends, you and I do not have to just cruise (in the bad sense) through this life. I am so grateful that God does have a plan. He does have a purpose for me. He does have GPS. He does know where this boat is headed.

I am filled with Hope today as I write. Just like the cruise I am taking next week, there is a plan. I know when things will happen. With God, I know the plan. Maybe not all the details but God is in control. He authored my life and the plan for me.

So if you find yourself cruising through your days, there is hope. You can get back on track with God. I will close with some famous verses to bring hope to you today:

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:10-14

Noah 2.0

Hello Friends!

So my last post was…it was bad. Not that I said anything I didn’t think was true but I just didn’t say much. No substance, just fluff. My goal today is two-fold:

1. to add some substance to the fluff 

2. to challenge anyone reading to open their own Bible and begin reading

 

1. In the movie, Noah, there were errors. In the ark, there were 7 people: Noah, his wife, his oldest son and his wife, his two other sons, and the bad guy.

The bible says that there were 8 people; Noah and his three sons and their wives. See Genesis 6:18.

2. In the movie, the wife of the oldest son gives birth to twins while sailing on the ark.

The Bible, in Genesis 9:1, God says to multiply and fill the earth. There were no ark-born children.

3. The last discrepancy I want to make is about the Watchers. In the movie, these creatures were angels that came to earth to be with humans. The couldn’t show their true selves so God clothed them in rock and stone. They looked more like something you would find in a Lord of the Rings movie.

In Chapter 6 of Genesis, there is talk of the Nephilim. This can be better read giants. But they were not clothed in rock and stone.

 

There were more examples but for now, that seems like enough. On to the application.

Noah and the Ark is a literal story. It really happened. Besides being an actual event, it is also a symbol of something that is yet to come.

God wanted to destroy the world because of all the wickedness that He saw. He also saw that Noah was righteous. The Ark saved all the righteous people and destroyed the wickedness.

When Jesus arrives on the scene many, many years later, He is also an Ark. Because of the sin that all humans are born into, God wants to destroy that sin. He is holy and just so He can’t stand to look upon that sin. Jesus is the Ark so if someone is in the Ark when the flood (judgment) comes, they will be saved.

 

So by faith, you and I can be saved today. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

 

I challenge you to pick up your Bible and read the Noah account. Besides being a great story, it also gives us hope that God, who is loving and just, has made a plan for us. If you find yourself wondering or questioning, ask me or someone you trust. There is help and hope for you.

 

By the way, there is plenty of room for all of us. See you on the ark!

My Haiti Experience; Chosen…part 1

I think that one of the greatest privileges we have as humans is the free will to choose. Choose what? Anything and everything. My clothes for the day or where I will eat dinner tonight are choices that are common. Sometimes I need to choose things that are more important, like summer activities for my kids or where to spend a tax refund. Every day is filled with all types of choices! And I get to make whatever choice I feel like making! When I choose something, or when the final decision is set, it means that I have already gone through a mental course of filters and biases. Example: we had macaroni and cheese for dinner. Here are some of the filters and biases that I would have had to process through to make that decision.

  1. What food is available to me right now?
  2. Am I feeding myself or my family as well?
  3. How much time do I have?
  4. Do I feel like taking the time to make something?
  5. Is this food healthy?
  6. Do I have vegetables to go with the main dish?
  7. What will my family think about this food?
  8. Did we have this food in the last week?
  9. What did I have for lunch?

Do you see what happens here? Every decision is the result of going through this process. I would guess that most often, this process is very fast or even unconscious. The more difficult the decision, the more time is spent in the decision-making process.

 

So what does this have to do with Haiti? In my first two articles, I explained the ideas of God creating me and then calling me. In this post, I will lay out the thought of God choosing me. And with help from one of scripture’s most well-known characters, I think that I will be able to make the case that God specifically chooses people for carrying out His will.

 

If you recall, I explained how God called me into the ministry. At that time, I did not know specifically what He meant. The calling was a beginning. I was now on a certain path heading in a certain direction. Today, twenty some years later, I know much more about what it is that God has called me to do. In fact, one of the things that He has chosen me to do is to start writing. God’s choosing me to write is part of my calling. See the distinction? I can be chosen many times while living out my calling. So let’s get to the Bible character I was referring to earlier and analyze this story.

 

Perhaps the most famous story that comes from the Bible is Jonah and the Whale. David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lion’s Den, and Noah and the Ark are also quite popular, but I think it is safe to say that Jonah is in the top three stories for sure. If you would like to read it for yourself, click here. I think you will find it beneficial to follow along.

 

God had called Jonah to be a prophet. Simply put, God would direct a prophet, like Jonah, to a certain location and instruct him or her to give a certain word, “Go here and preach this message.” Sounds pretty simple. I like Jonah because he shows us what happens when we exercise our free will and make a choice that does not line up with what God asks.

 

God instructed Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh. (1:1-2) This city is located on the banks of the Tigris River. It is literally hundreds of miles from the Mediterranean Sea. There was great sin and wickedness in Nineveh and God wanted to see these people turn their hearts to Him.

Jonah

Side note: God is ALWAYS on the lookout for people to turn their hearts to him. Back to Jonah… But Jonah did not think this plan was very good. So he got into a boat and headed west. (1:3) It was not enough to just not go to Nineveh. It was not enough to stay where he was staying. It was not enough to rent a boat. Jonah wanted to go to the other side of the known world! Tarshish was a port city in Spain that was on the Atlantic Ocean! This was about as far as you could get from Nineveh. Wow! It would be like God calling me to New York so I buy a plane ticket and fly to Los Angeles. Jonah went west instead of east when God spoke to him.

 

Have you or I ever done that? God asks us to do something but we refuse or try to ignore it. Does that work? Do we really get away with it? We might think we do, but as we will see, God sees all, and a storm is brewing on the horizon.

storm 2

And for more on that storm…check back within a week or so. But for right now, enjoy the smooth sailing.