Sunday, February 9, 2014

Pressing In

It is much easier to act like a Christian than it is to react like one!
The above quote by Mark Batterson really resonated with me this morning as I was enjoying quiet time by the fireplace with our faithful dog Sydny. At first it struck me with an obvious initial meaning and then I was reminded of something I shared with Julie recently. 

The quote in itself certainly is true is it not? We can go along our merry way being close with our Father right up to the point where someone ruffles our feathers. So many subjects out there to argue about. Politics, religion, sports, any news item in our 24/7 world. How about a bad boss? Most of us have enjoyed that wonderful experience. Many are dealing with it right now. As I was returning to Jesus the last person I had to dig deep and find forgiveness for was a Director that I worked with for eight years. I would not mouth the words forgiveness when in my heart I hoped he was homeless living under a bridge wearing a tacky Christmas sweater somewhere. But in time I believe it is as simple as this. The more residence of Jesus I allow in my heart the more fruitless stuff like the resentment of someone I will probably never see again moves out. I can actually pray for that man now and mean it. And if that is not God I don't know what is.

We all have families and they can be the most difficult to react as Jesus would have us too. We can hold on to the patterns that can be rooted so deeply in family lore. Once you are labeled in a family isn't it hard to ever be anything else? Or, once we brand a family member in one way do we offer them the grace to change?

Don't we all have our hot button behaviors that rile us easily, regardless the offender? Mine is don't talk down to me. I don't care how smart, rich, religious, or beautiful you perceive yourself to be. My first reaction is not good in these situations and my second is usually not much better.

The second part I saw in this quote is not about how I react to people as much as how I react to situations. I guess it has always been rooted in my personality that I react a certain way to obstacles that suddenly emerge. It is not a horrible way to deal with these challenges. I just think there is a better way.

Step 1. Obstacle appears from nowhere. 
Step 2. It knocks me back and all I can see is this problem.
Step 3. I start to gather myself and think of solutions to the problem.
Step 4. Hey, wait a minute. Lord, you can do all things and you can assist me in dealing with this problem. You can even bring good to this situation.

Now I may mouth the words to Step 4 during the Step 1 phase but that is uttered with my mouth and not with my heart. I am still seeing only the problem.

This is me and I have been this way for a long time. Except for a long period when I didn't care about Step 4 at all. And if I did it was to blame God for yet another failure in my life. I wasted much of my life in anger.

But I no longer accept that this is who I am. I will accept that it is who I have been but I am leaving the door open to God to help me change. 

(Ephesians 3:20)  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us

Where I want to be is this. Problem emerges from nowhere and my first  inclination is to press into the Father.

Father this situation has suddenly come about and I do not have the answers to solve it. What I choose to do is lift it to your capable hands and trust that you will see me through it. You will find the answer that right now I can't. You will give me the strength, courage, and wisdom to walk through this place. You will even bring good to this time that right now I may not be able to see. I trust You completely with this matter and all things. You love me and I am your child. I am comforted in the knowledge that I do not walk alone but You walk with me. 


The year is 1967 and Wilmington, NC, like much of the nation is embedded in racial turmoil. Bret Marin and Money Wilkins, two boys on the cusp of manhood meet on a basketball court where each earns a measure of respect that leads to an improbable friendship.

Bret’s life is constructed around his love for his little brother Alex and hatred of their cruel wealthy father.

Money Wilkins possesses no external luxuries but thanks to his proud black father, Clarence, a builder of houses and lives, he has the greater riches. When his beautiful sister Teke visits it sets off a series of events no one could foresee. The most chilling being the dark night the Klan appears.

The River Hideaway

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