Prayer as Part of A Great Week

Checking things off the to do listThis week was very good, actually it was great.  Great is a relative term, so in comparison to all other weeks in recent memory, the current week stands out as amongst the best.  Being a habitual ‘box checker’ (which means that I make a list of items to accomplish and then check them off the list when completed), this week encompassed many boxes that were checked.  But the week also had a good feeling to it as well, and some excitement to make it special.

The weather cooperated by staying warm in the daytime to the mid 90’s and cool at night in the 50’s.

We reached some major milestones in the completion of my book, WARRIORS – Every Man Matters.  The writing is essentially complete, absent only the table of contents, title page and a few needed Bible quotes.  Of course, we are discovering that writing the book is only the beginning of the process; next comes publishing and selling.  We also approved the cover design, and received two very good endorsements that we will include the book. (These were some very big boxes to check).

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Consistency: The Formation of a Habit

God's love is a ConstantI have always been a big fan of constants; my viewpoint must have evolved during the many hours of math class I have taken since high school. In any math equation there can be three potential parts: a number, variable or constant. A variable is something that varies (math names are pretty easy to follow); for instance, the time that the sun rises is different every day. It varies. The price of gasoline varies with respect to where it is purchased, and when.

A number should be considered a constant; the number nine is always equal to nine. (Duh) Other well-known constants in math are the speed of light (as in E=mc²), 186, 282 miles per second, or the fact that there are always 360° in a circle. There are never 359° in a circle; it won’t happen because it is a constant.

I am trying to make the release of my blog a constant every Monday morning, but there have only been twelve occurrences, so we cannot call it a constant yet. Of course, that begs the question: How many times does an occurrence have to be exactly repeated to be considered a constant? My guess would be that something would have to repeat in exactly the same way an infinite number of times to be known as a constant. It could never vary.

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A Heavy Load and a Soft Heart

Burden on your backWhen news agencies speak of “The Recovery” it is done in general terms, often with little regard to specific effects on individuals; like you and me. It is too difficult for national organizations to extract the minuscule detail of individual circumstance, yet it is the sum of the individual stories that create the overall picture.

We all have different stories; our realities of the moment sway with job conditions, family drama, graduation excitement, bank balance; the list of factors and events molding today’s focus are as long as the line outside Toys-R-Us on Christmas Eve. Most of the events that encounter us today will be good; we are managing our lives to be good, often great. Some of the stuff that happens today however, will not be good; it may even be downright lousy.

Parts of today will put a load on your shoulders, and some of yesterday may still be hanging on, adding more stress to your back. That is okay, life wasn’t meant to be perfect all the time. One of the great tests in life is learning how to embrace the good of today while not letting the bad drag you down. When we learn how to live in the good, it is like we have beaten the bad; the headline in our personal daily paper is about the good parts of the day, and the bad stuff is relegated to a small column on page 8.

A few weeks back I wrote about the importance of a positive, outward focused attitude. My thoughts today are similar, but the emphasis is about two important parts of the body; your back and your heart. The negative load that we carry today (grief, worry, physical pain, fear, depression, anger) is initially supported by our back. That long, narrow portion of the body comprised of bone, muscle and nerves is designed to keep us upright; head held high, eyes forward and up.

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Dis’si-plin: Christianity is a Daily Habit

man reading bibleDiscipline is an act that is often misunderstood, always needed, but too rarely embraced. It means, “To instruct a person to follow a particular code of conduct or order.” Or it can mean, “Training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character,” and finally, “Control gained by enforcing obedience or order.” It is derived from the Latin word, disciplīna, which means teaching or learning.

The Latin version is easier to accept: teaching and learning are positive actions that can be fun and rewarding.

Then again, Webster says: correcting, molding, enforcing, code of conduct, and perfect mental facility; this version of discipline should be on the library shelf next to beatings, natural root canal, and toe nails: infected.

At least, that is generally my initial reaction to having discipline dumped upon my shoulders, whether by myself or another. I know that kids resist discipline because they are kids, and even though resistance is futile, their genetic code seems wired to fight back against the tyranny of going to bed at 9:00 pm on a school night. Perhaps my mind is wired to believe that the possibility of enjoyment is diminished in the presence of discipline.

  • Why have two cookies when four are in the jar?
  • Why do 50 sit-ups when it takes less time to do 25?

Why not yell S— at the TV when the Giants blow a three run lead in the 9th. Come on, three runs? And, it’s not like the kids haven’t heard you cuss before.

Brush your teeth, change the oil in your car, pay bills on time, save money, tithe, walk the dog … the list of discipline required actions is as long as your day. My keen sense of deductive reasoning then tells me that some degree of discipline is required for all our actions. So then discipline is not bad, it is just always here, tapping us on the shoulder, reminding us of the results when we ignore its warning, and the benefits when we listen.

Chaos can reign when discipline is ignored (if you have a 14 year old child look in their room to see what I mean). Talk to any athlete and they will tell you that discipline is the corner stone to winning. Having a disciplined approach to work, family, or health doesn’t guarantee success, but it is always a requirement.

So what about our Christian life? If discipline is so large a requirement to be successful in the rest of our life, the same reasoning must apply with God.

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