Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Helping Me to Remember What's Important

One of the best things you can do with a preemie baby is to hold them (often skin to skin). And this week I've spent hours holding my little preemie girl Camille. As I've held her I've told her about so many things. She's heard all about the Lord, her family, our home, what everyone does and all of the friends she's going to have, just to mention a few. But there's something about holding a baby that's just shy of 3 pounds. You have a lot of time to think. As I've held Cammie this week I've realized how crazy and busy we can allow our lives to get. If we're not careful we can allow deadlines, meetings, stress and everything else to dominate and control our lives. Holding a preemie in the NICU can really cause you to thing about life and what things are important (or what should be the most important). I know this little girl is going to be so good for me. She's going to make me think about things (and she hasn't even said a word yet) about things we don't think about enough. I look forward to our special times together and how she's going to challenge me to keep my priorities right. Thank you for all of your prayers this past week. Camille is doing well and last night was transferred to a hospital NICU much closer to our home. Hopefully it won't be too long before she comes home :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Lot Can Happen In A Week...

Today is my first blog post in a week. And what a week it's been. Yes, I'm exhausted, but so much has happened. It all started with one of our 3 weekly doctor visits. But at last Mondays visit my wife was admitted to hospital 6 weeks early. A couple of days later and I'm holding my precious 2lb 15oz baby girl. She's incredible! Tiny, but feisty and very focussed. It's strange holding something lighter and smaller than most dolls. But this one is definitely a keeper :) My life has changed and will never be the same. This little girl has stolen my heart. It's funny how God can have different plans than we expected, and at the same time He knows exactly what's going on. It's going to take some getting use to, saying I've got 4 kids. And yes, our Christmas photo will be different having 3 teenagers and a baby. But you know what, I'm so excited. I can't wait to see everything the Lord has in store for my little Camille :) What a gift from God.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Learning From Mistakes

Everyone loves to get it right. Everyone loves making the right choice. Everyone loves to nail it. But as we all know, getting things right doesn't happen every time. It sure is great when something does come together and works as it should. Or perhaps the time invested into something pays off. But often results are not what we expected. Perhaps you get a C when you were expecting the A. Unfortunately many people will only see this as failure. When a result isn't what was expected, you failed. Right? Wrong! If you're willing, there's so much you can learn from failure or a result you weren't expecting. Many people view failure as fatal and won't try again. I'm so glad that I never had this mentality. I've failed in many things, but the gold found in that failure is learning from it and becoming all the more wiser and stronger from it. Sometimes it's little things and at other times, big things. Learning and growth can come from failure. When you do fail, which is inevitable, beware of fear and discouragement. They always seem to appear when we fail. Don't listen to their lies and don't be afraid to get back in the saddle. Learn from you mistakes and failings, and you'll be a better person for it.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Could You Really Say This?

It seems as if everyone wants to be a leader in some realm or another. Remember a leader is simply someone who leads others. I was reading a little this morning and some of Paul's words really jumped out at me. In Philippians 3:17 he says, "My friends, I want you to follow my example and learn from others who closely follow the example we set for you." I've already said that a lot of people want to be leaders, but when you think about it, do you really want to follow their lifestyle? Paul is essentially saying to people, do the things you see me doing and live the way I live my life. Unfortunately, many people would be foolish to tell others to follow the life they live. If things in your life aren't right, why in the world would you want others to do the same as they follow you? One of the most important things that people can do when it comes to leadership preparation is leading themselves well. If you can't lead your own life well, how do you expect to lead others? Although many have tried to do lead others with things in their life out of order, most of the time it ends with failure and can deliver a devastating blow to others. If your goal is to be a leader and want others to follow you, start by leading yourself well and having a life that others could follow. Just like Paul, we should be able to tell others to follow our life as a pattern for theirs, and we can start today by leading our own life well :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

SavIng Others

A Maryland man is today being hailed a hero because of his actions. His 16 foot boat with 5 people aboard was off the Maryland coast when it got caught in a storm. It began taking on water and eventually capsized. So he decided the only chance they had was for him to swim to get help in the rough waters. Battling a renown storm tide and rough waters at night, he made the more than 3 mile swim in 5 hours, making it to shore at 1am. Once finding help the emergency responders and Coast Guard responded, rescuing the rest of the crew ages 70, 43, 9 and 3. It was a miracle everyone survived and I can't help but think of the bravery of this man. He put his life on the line for the sake of others. When asked why he chose do to what he did, he said it was his only chance to save his loved ones. I'm sure his family and friends will be forever grateful for his actions. This story also makes me think of Jesus, who chose to die on a cross so that others could live. He was the only one who could save a lost and dying world. And just like this man who swam for hours to save his loved ones, the reason Jesus did what He did was because of His love for us. As John 3:16 tells us, "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." Thank you Jesus for saving me :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

An Incredible Story

You may not have heard the name Steve Gleason before, and if you haven't, you need to know about this amazing man. He's a hero in the city of New Orleans because of the punt he blocked in the Saint's first game in the Superdome following Hurricane Katrina. He gave the city something to cheer about. There's even a statue outside the stadium of him blocking the punt, named "Rebirth." What Steve Gleason gave the city of New Orleans was a moment of rebirth, encouragement and hope, following an event that devastated the city. Steve Gleason was an NFL football player back then. An athletic, strong and passionate man. But nowadays Steve Gleason is a very different man, since ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, has taken control over his body. It has affected his body, but definitely his spirit. So many things have been stripped away from his life, but there are some things that it can't. His love for his wife, his son and life in general is incredible. He may need an automated wheelchair to move and a computer to speak for him, but his attitude is contagious. I think about how often we can have bad attitudes or choose to have a bad day because of what happens to us. Then I think about people like Steve Gleason and how he chooses to make every minute count. How are you going to live today? Full of wrong attitudes or bitterness? Or will you to be thankful for life and live every minute to the fullest? Thanks Steve for showing us what things are important in life and encouraging us. Check out the following recent story about him. Unfortunately Steve has now lost the use of his body and voice, but there is a spirit within him that cannot be quenched!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Trying to Go Through Trials Without Him

I was talking with a good friend of mine a few days ago who is going through an incredibly difficult season in his life. As we were talking, I couldn't help but notice the strength of his faith. His words seemed to bring hope and life in whatever he said. Then he made this comment to me, "Lee, I can't imagine going through what I'm going through without the Lord." That comment really got me to thinking. Everyone goes through challenges and trials, but not everyone has the Lord to walk with them through it. In my own life and some of the difficult seasons I've walked through, if it hadn't been for the Lord encouraging me, strengthening me, comforting me and at times lifting me up, I don't know how I would ever have made it through. Verses 16-19 of Psalm 18 are some of the most deep felt for me that the Lord continues to bring my way through difficult seasons, "You reached down from heaven, and you lifted me from deep in the ocean. You rescued me from enemies, who were hateful and too powerful for me. On the day disaster struck, they came and attacked, but you defended me. When I was fenced in you freed and rescued me because you love me." If you are going through a difficult season with things that are too big for you, don't forget they're not too big for God. Turn to Him and put your trust in Him. You don't have to walk through things alone. Live on the promises that are found in His Word :)

Friday, July 5, 2013

So Much Drama

If you hadn't noticed it, our culture is one that's filled with drama. And not only that, but people seem to be consumed with it. They can't get enough of it. Whether in politics, sports, news, relationships, schools or the workplace, drama seems to dominate. All you have to do is watch the millions of tweets and Facebook posts that deal with this. It's like people can't get enough of it. Lately I've been thinking about all the drama that goes on around us. Am I going to be consumed with it? Am I going to be on the edge of my seat waiting for the next thing that happens around the world? I don't think so. I think it's beneficial to be knowledgeable about things, but not to let them dominate your thought life and time.  To me there are too many things that are way important than simply drama. In days where my time is precious, I'm going to focus on those things that I should, and drama isn't one of them. I think Jesus words in Matthew 22:37-40 are what I'm going to focus on, "Jesus answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.” All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets[a] are based on these two commandments." Are you going to allow the drama all around you to dominate you life? Or are you going to focus on loving God and loving people? I know what I'm going to do :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What People Are Willing to Pay...

One of the fun things I've been doing on vacation has been selling stuff on Ebay. Not only have I been selling, but I've been looking. I think about things that I have and then I do searches to see whether or not I can find them listed on Ebay. What's not surprising is finding my items, but what is surprising is how much people are selling them for. Recently I purchased a leather briefcase at a yard sale for $2 and the identical bag is for sale on Ebay for $225. I begin to think if people would actually pay that much for items and the answer is yes. I can't help but think about the value of you and I when it comes to God. We are priceless to Him and are the very reason He sent Jesus Christ to die for us. Items are one thing but people are another. We are so valuable to Him. Yes, we're priceless! We live in a world that frequently devalues people, but in God's eyes we're the most valuable thing in the universe. Today, you may not feel like you're worth much, but that's only a lie. You are priceless :) Britt Nicole's song says it all so enjoy it

Monday, July 1, 2013

Curves On the Road of Life

If you're anything like me, it's easy to map out a course and move forward. But sometimes what I think is the right way, actually may not be true. It's easy to think we know the way to go and that the direction we're moving is the right way. What I've personally experienced in my life is that being a follower of Jesus Christ means that sometimes the direction your heading changes. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." My responsibilities are to trust Him, acknowledge Him and to not lean on my own understanding. His responsibility will be to direct my paths, making them obvious and straight. Sometimes the path I'm on seems to be going in circles without any specific direction. This is not God's doing, but mine. So often the curves, loops and bumps are my doing and not God's. I can take such comfort in God's promise found in Proverbs 3:5-6 and am so thankful for Him directing my paths and making them straight :)