Addressing the Droops

We could call it the “droops.”  It’s when the face sags.  It happened to Cain when his offering was rejected by God.  Abel was accepted.  Cain was encouraged to try again.  Not wanting to make this effort his demeanor changed.  Downcast is another word to describe the hurt.  It’s what happens physically to our face when discouragement walks through an open door and makes itself at home in our hearts.  This kind of dismay isn’t welcome but it’s hard to force out.  It’s triggered by a disappointing circumstance.  It snowballs and becomes larger and more pervasive until finally, it infects.  I’ve seen the dynamics on the basketball team I coach.  A bad pass leads to a double dribble that leads and easy lay-up for an opponent which leads to angry teammates turned against one another.  And that all leads to the droops on almost every face.  And its impossible to score more hoops than an opponent when we have the droops.  The result is the creation of a losing culture.  In Cain’s case…

Really walking with God as opposed to keeping God at the margins of my life.

I have a relationship with the living God.  It's only possible because of what God has done to make it so.  By His grace He saved me and adopted me.  And now, we talk.  Many times He does most of the talking.  Please understand that I know its His voice because of the Holy Spirit who lives in me and the total agreement of His voice with His Word.        He speaks to me in the morning, at high noon, in the afternoon and evening.  Sometimes in the middle of night.  I hear His voice while riding my bike (actually both bikes) when I sit up in bed to read my Bible and drink coffee, while I'm watching volleyball, football in the stands or on TV.  Anywhere and everywhere there's communication.        The other day I was sitting in the stands at a football game trying to enjoy the unfolding drama.  But while I was trying to watch football I was wrestling too.  Wrestling, not as a sport, but as a metaphor for struggling with my thoughts.  God interrupted my angry and frustra…

Devilish deeds

Grown men will do devilish things to get the upper hand in situations where power is at stake.  They will lie.  They will cheat.  They will abandon otherwise cherished principles to secure position and status.   We love control and are loath to relinquish it to another.   Call it the male ego.  It’s deplorable.  This is why.
      These battles usually take place in leadership contexts where followers are involved.People are hurt when leaders selfishly squabble over control.Trust erodes and organizations and individuals start to wobble under the weight of anger and distrust.      Good causes can be irreparably damaged.Reputations can be ruined.Relational poison is released into the air and people breathe the hatred.It’s toxic.It fills the atmosphere.Fresh air becomes hard to find.
But fresh air is available.  For those who imitate two kings.  One king is a man named David.  Pursued like prey as a young king-in-waiting, David refused to kill his victimizer when given an opportunity.  H…

dumb decisions

I’ve made dumb decisions.  I may or may not have realized how foolish the decisions were at the time.  You all know how we are as young people.  We can’t see an inch beyond our face and don’t or choose not to realize how consequential our choices really are.  One time I chose to join my friends in trying some chewing tobacco.  It was only a pinch between my cheek and gum.  The short-term and long-term consequences were dreadful.  The stuff made me nauseous and I was suspended for a basketball game for breaking team rules.   Some decisions are just dumb.  Failing to see the implications of my choices is often the result of not thinking through decisions carefully and thoroughly.  Like my dad used to say, “Think, before you decide.”      

     God would add, “Pray before you decide.”  Prayer in its purest form is an act of trust.  It’s depending on God’s direction which is inherently wise.  Abraham made some dumb decisions in his life and they’re revealed in the Bible for what the…

Hope for the Hungry, II Kings 4:38-44

What we’ve witnessed in II Kings 4 is that where Elisha is there is hope, life and in v 38, food.  While the nation suffers through famine the sons of prophets sit down to eat stew at the command of the man of God.  Even when the food is compromised Elisha commands the addition of an ingredient and foul food becomes nutritional again.  Is this the work of an especially gifted magician? 
Elisha is no magician.  In the previous story God uses him to bring the dead to life.  Magicians don’t do that.  And magicians often work out in the open to draw a crowd of potential paying customers.  Instead of a spectacular display of phenomenal power to impress expectant audiences Elisha closes the door behind him and prays to the Lord.  The dead child lives and is returned to the arms of his mother.  The Lord is honored and the work of Elisha on God’s behalf is validated. 
In the present story, the only witnesses to the miraculous are a group of hungry prophets.   This whole scene is not for sh…

Man Up, Men! II Kings 4:8-37

Man Up, Men II Kings 4:8-37
We’ll start with pointing out a contrast in two stories. 
Story 1 In the first part of the chapter (1-7) we encounter a poor widow.  She’s desperate and she goes to the right source for help.  Having lost her husband, she’s in danger of losing her children.  She pleads with the man of God who helps her start a successful small business to care for her family. 
Story 2 The second part of the chapter is about a well-resourced woman.  The story begins with the man of God receiving assistance from her.  By the end of the story it’s quite obvious that she needs him.  And by needing him the implication is that she needs God.  Both stories take us inside homes where the Lord is desperately needed to bring life out of death and chaos.  But a problem surfaces too.  God appears to be peripheral in the thoughts and actions of those who should be leading both family and nation.  We saw that very neglect in chapter 3 in the decisions of the king in national and inter…

Behind Closed Doors, II Kings 4

Behind Closed Doors II Kings 4
Let’s consider two desperate parents.  One royal, and the other common.  One who operates mostly in the public arena.  The other in relative obscurity.  Both highly vulnerable with real needs.  One who serves gods without eyes or ears.  The other a servant of the One true and living God, who responds to the trusting heart.
At the end of chapter three the king of Moab is militarily engaged and losing.  Tired of paying tribute he has rebelled against the king of Israel.  The king losing the income enlists support from two allies and the war is on.  The king of Moab finds himself desperate in the extreme. He holds to the adage that desperate times call for desperate measures and so he goes extreme.  He resorts to human sacrifice.  He offers his own son, and heir to the throne, in a bloody and brutal attempt to appease his gods and align them with his cause.  The religious excuse for cold-blooded murder generates such fear that all the combatants retreat to…