Stuff

How much is enough?

And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. Luke‬ ‭9:3-4‬

My family has lived in our new house for 15 months. We’ve finally placed pictures on the walls and figured out what furniture goes in which room. It feels like our “home” now.

Hollianne and I had a revelation over the weekend. While we downsized our possessions when we moved across the state, we’ve somehow- in just over fifteen months- started accumulating more “stuff.” Our attic is filling up. The closet in our basement is crowded. Our pantry is packed…and we are thinking about doubling its size.

Some of the happiest people I know are those with very little in terms of worldly possessions. Missionaries who have dedicated their lives to living with (and serving) the poor. People who have committed to living in rural, impoverished areas to improve conditions there….or social workers who are fighting poverty and crime in urban areas.

Its time to refocus. Our purpose has nothing to do with finding comfort through worldly possessions.

We are not called to be comfortable.

We need to invest in relationships. Good, nurturing relationships that spread the love of Jesus.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” 1 Timothy 6:6-9‬

My prayer for this weekend is to focus on what I truly need- rather than what I want. I need a renewed attitude toward sharing the hope of Jesus and His message of forgiveness and love. This is what will bring contentment.

Please let me know how I can pray for you.

God bless.

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Everyday is a birthday

Last week I had the honor of celebrating a special birthday.  A close friend of mine became a “first time” dad…and I had the opportunity to visit his daughter soon after her arrival home.

Hollianne and I offered to deliver dinner.  Selfishly, the offer to provide food was just a means to an end…as we wanted to see their new baby!

She is perfect.  Big, beautiful eyes, smooth skin and delicate features.  Just perfect.

She’s a blessing, but she is blessed too.  She’s got an incredible mother and father that will provide for her physically, emotionally and spiritually.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

We have that same blessing.  We have a Father who designed us, loves us and wants what’s best for us.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I’m officially closer to 50 than I am 40.  And when I look in the mirror, I don’t see smooth skin and any delicate features…but plenty of lines and battle scars.

But I have that same promise of a heavenly Father who cares for me.  And you do too.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  2 Corinthians 5:17

We all have the opportunity for renewal each and every day.  Thank God.

Let me know how I can pray for you this week.

God bless.

 

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Not so easy like Sunday morning…Daylight Savings Time.

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I’ve dreaded this day for the past month…when we “spring forward” and lose that precious hour of sleep.  My kids are cranky and my head hurts during the transition.  But this is short-sighted, as the spring season represents some of the best examples of God’s sovereign majesty.

This is one of my favorite pictures.  It represents three generations of my family doing one of our favorite springtime activities…fishing on Kentucky Lake.  My dad (Big Keith) took me as a child, and he and I have passed along a love of fishing to my children.

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It’s not just catching fish.  It’s the act of fishing.  You have the beautiful waters of Kentucky Lake.  There are incredible trees that that surround our portion of the Big Sandy River.  The dogwoods and redbuds are exploding with color.  There are sounds…water slapping the side of our boat, fishing line whistling in the wind, and the soft cries of hawks and other birds in the air.  Winter’s bitter temperatures can no longer mute the enthusiasm of the birds and the splendor of the trees.

On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.  Psalm 145:5

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Fishing represents a calming, pleasant experience for me.  Not lost in this satisfying experience are God’s fingerprints on everything.

You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.  Nehemiah 9:6

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Springtime symbolizes renewal.  And the ultimate renewal comes from an experience with Jesus.

But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.  Job 12:7-10

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May you take this day to experience the sights and sounds of the coming spring- and also to thank our God for the renewal He offers every day through His son Jesus.

God bless you.

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Renewal

UT Martin graduation

I love going home to West Tennessee.

I had the pleasure of heading to UT Martin to assist with commencement earlier today.  One of the most satisfying moments while working in higher education is witnessing a graduation ceremony. There are lots of moments to celebrate in one’s life- and college graduation is one of the greatest.

My job was to welcome the graduates into the University of Tennessee family.  I congratulated them on their achievement and commended them for their perseverance.  Many had experienced some sort of hardship.  They had all encountered obstacles.  Some took a quick route to their degree…while others had to delay their journey due to illness, finances or other unforeseen struggle.  Their journey to the degree was irrelevant at this point, however.  They were graduating and moving on to a new set of experiences. I stood on that pine wood stage and witnessed these students enter a new chapter of their lives.  They were renewed.

So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the hints that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:16

We have all struggled.  We’ve all encountered stress and strife.  But Jesus Christ offers us the opportunity for renewal every day.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,…  Ephesians 1:7

What a blessing to have the promise of a fresh start through God’s love and unending grace.

Congratulations to all new graduates across our country this December…and thank God for the forgiveness and renewal offered every day through the blood of Jesus.

God bless you.  Let me know if I can pray for you.

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