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.

 

 

Don’t Forget to Clean the Lint Trap!

Have you ever forgotten to clean the lint catcher thingy in your dryer?

clean-the-filter

It’s called a lint trap. It traps the lint into a confined space so it can be easily removed. Hopefully before starting any fires!

It is recommended that the trap be cleaned after every dryer use. Safety first! =-)


The season of Lent is almost here. Ash Wednesday, March 6, marks the beginning of Lent. Over a month later, 40 days later, we arrive at Easter.

Disclaimer: With my background, I have never intentionally observed Lent. It was not something I was taught while growing up. My comments about Lent are based upon my observations and conversations alone. If I get something wrong, I apologize. Please feel free to provide correction in the comments.

Now that I have cleared that up, let me ask a question:

How is a lint trap connected to Lent?

Keep reading and we can make that connection together!

For my purpose here, I will define Lent as I understand it:

Lent: a season of prayer and fasting to grow in relationship with God.

As I stated, Lent is not in my personal history. But I like the idea.

As a follower of Jesus, growing in relationship is my primary goal. God is largely unknown to us, but He wants to reveal Himself to us. The Bible makes this clear that God has provided access to Himself. All we need to do is to accept that gift and press in!

Lent seems like a great way to accomplish this goal!

But there is a trap! No, not a lint trap but a Lent trap! (see the connection?)

Matthew 6 describes people who have fallen into the Lent trap. Here is the first verse:

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

He, Jesus, goes on to talk about prayer and also fasting. This passage contains the Lord’s Prayer as well.

The summary goes like this: when you pray, fast, give money, serve etc., do it for God, not the approval of man. There is no reward for showing off for people. God honors those whose motive is pure.

It seems that some people can observe Lent but for the wrong reasons. They give up meat on Fridays. Perhaps they forego sweets. But why? Just because the church said so?

I want this post to address the heart of the matter. If you observe Lent or not, you can still fall into the Lent trap.

Why you do something can be just as important as what you do.

In case you are wondering, I am going to observe Lent this year. First time for everything!

I have my list of things that I will do or not do. I am ready.

list making

As we embark on the Lent this year, do it for God. He wants a deep and fulfilling relationship with you. And frankly, that is what we need also!

So in the midst of your prayer, fasting, giving, etc., make God the priority. Do your best to avoid the Lent trap!

One last thing before I sign off. If you are curious or wondering what the 40 day journey of Lent looks like, come follow me on mine.

I will be posting every night during Lent. Let us share in God’s goodness together!

God bless you in your endeavors this year!

 

A stone and it’s waves

Christmas time…celebrating a birth. The Christ child laid in a manger. The star showing the way. We all know the story, right? Hang on a minute and we will get to that very story.

But first…

Two weeks ago, I had a conversation with a good friend. It seems that every time we talk, something good comes from it. Thanks Nick!

One of the take-aways I had from the conversation was about influence.

We all have influence in our lives. Like a shadow covering the edge of the light, we don’t always see the influence we have on people. Why is that? Does God hide the influence so that we don’t see our total impact on people? Not really sure.

Imagine a stone. Now throw that stone into the water. What happens?

ripples

We have all seen it. The stone creates waves. Those waves are like influence. 

Some thoughts of mine regarding the stone and the waves:

  1. The waves all originate at the place where the stone entered the water.
  2. The waves are uniform in size and shape going out from the stone.
  3. The waves will continue until they hit the land.
  4. The stone, after creating the waves, sinks.
  5. The waves, once began, cannot be stopped, only redirected.
  6. Bigger stones make bigger waves.

Let’s bring this together now.

We are the stone. At least that is the way I feel that God designed us. We were made to splash! Waves of influence are the destiny to which we have been called. 

Will I let God toss me? Once I make that decision, God pulls back His mighty arm and lets go! Can you see Him throwing rocks?

Now that I have been thrown by God, my life is not my own. See Galatians 2:20.

Here is the catch, I am meant to sink. Rocks do not float.

I don’t mean sink as in fail. What I mean is that God uses a rock to create waves.

Waves equal influence.

Okay, back to the Christmas story. I want to recall a few “rocks” of historical note.

Mary.

Joseph.

The shepherds.

The Magi.

King Herod.

Baby Jesus.

If you look in the waters of our history, you can still see waves radiating outward from these rocks. 

God is using the influence of these rocks to impact you and me.

And it is about time we realize that we too, are making waves.

The choice is yours and mine to make. Let God throw you today!

Are you this one?

rock

Or this one?

ripples

 

 

 

Quitting?

Ever want to quit?

Feel like throwing in the towel?

Too difficult to continue?

quit_red_2011

I answered yes to these three questions this week.

But there is something that just won’t let go.

And I thank God Almighty for never letting me go.


I was drawn to Philippians 3. Paul writes a few verses about perseverance. He says that he strives. He will press on. There is a goal and he wants to get it.

I had to read it about 4 or 5 times before it started to sink in.

Next week I will unfold it more but here is the nugget for today.

Life is bigger than you or me. There is always more to what we are experiencing at the moment. There is purpose and even destiny. God knows.

I leave you with a quote from Doc Brown. If you are not sure who that person is, just watch one of my favorite movies, Back to the Future. 

back2bto2bthe2bfuture2bquote

So until next week, press on!

Three Ps in a Pod. part 4

I hope you have been enjoying this Three Ps in a Pod series. It has been very fulfilling for me to write it! =-)

Olive Garden breadsticks. Can you smell them? As you know, (if you have read About me) I wait tables at the Olive Garden. Hopefully, you have eaten at an OG and enjoyed your experience. There is something about the breadsticks that I want to share. Insider information, if you will.

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Breadsticks are served with every meal. You don’t even need to ask. They just appear. Here is the rule: the first time breadsticks are served, the number of sticks needs to equal the number of guests plus one. So, if you and your friend come in for lunch, I would bring 3 breadsticks to the table. If you ask for more, I only need to bring two.

That rule has always befuddled me. Why bring that extra breadstick? What is the reasoning behind it? People usually just fight over it anyway. Why the number of guests plus one? I don’t get it.

What is the purpose?

Have you guessed the last P in the series?

Pardon.

Peace.

Purpose.

As always, let’s go back to 2 Corinthians 5. Here are verses 18-20,

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sin against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors,…”

We are ambassadors. And therein lies our purpose.

Our purpose is the reconcile the world back to God. Does that seem overwhelming? Are you strong enough to handle such a great task? Can I complete this mission on my own? NO! That is why we are ambassadors.

  1. An ambassador for Christ is a citizen of heaven. Even though we live, eat, breath, work, and play on this earth, our homeland is in heaven.
  2. An ambassador for Christ speaks on Christ’s behalf. Everything we say and everything we do should reflect the one who sent us.
  3. An ambassador for Christ has authority because of Christ. You and I may be surrounded by enemies. We may be in the direct line of fire from the evil one. Attacks could be (and are presently) coming from all sides. But we speak with the authority of one who has nailed the powers of this world to the cross!

AmbassadorsForChrist

There you have it. Purpose. God did a great work in us so we could go out and do a great work for him.

It all started because He loved us.

So if you have been reconciled to God, consider yourself an ambassador for Christ.

And don’t worry, he has your back. You are are covered in the blood.

Go with confidence and let God do the rest.