So many of us walk around day after day living our life the same way under the same circumstances, yet we expect somehow for this day to be different. We wake up saying "Today may be better", yet we ourselves do nothing to help steer the day in a different direction. We wake up with the same attitude each day. We expect to get cut off in traffic, we expect to get skipped in line at Walmart, we expect to have customers at our job that aren't happy. Then we expect that these things will once again ruin our day.
Well take a look at this picture taken this past Saturday in Port Gibson's Lake Hamilton. Here is a lake full of despair, yet this flower decided to be different. This flower lives in the same circumstances that all the other flowers live in, yet it is full of life and reaching for the sky!
That is the lesson that God wanted me to see this weekend. He wanted me to know and to share with you guys, that we control our own attitudes. We control our own reactions. Even when we are living in a world of ugliness, a world of rudeness, we control how that affects us.
Next time you are cut off in traffic, next time someone jumps in front of you in line, next time that customer is rude, say to yourself "You will not bring me down today." No matter what this world throws at you, you have a God who loves you and his attitude toward you will never change. Now go and have a joyful day!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Once upon a time I was on a very lonely road. Going through life, going through the motions but always feeling an emptiness inside. Something was missing. I had money, a college degree, and a great family, but it never was enough and I never felt complete. Then one day it all came crashing down. But that's not the end of the story. So let me start at the beginning...
Growing up my life was kinda like this picture. No color, no joy. The people around me were like these trees. Just as weak as I was and feeling like they could break at any minute. Potholes and broken roads were at every turn. I burned a lot of bridges with people that I held resentment with. For the first 30 years of my life I was living this Hwy 80 life, when there was an entire Interstate 20 right next to me.
Then one day it all came crashing down. I was working three jobs. My regular job and also trying to run two small businesses of my own. You see, I wanted to be rich. To have power and notoriety. I lost my businesses and almost lost my family. My beautiful wife and two kids were ready to walk out the door. I deserved it. I was a terrible husband and father that only thought of himself. I was "doing all this for them" to give them money and "things". But that's not what they wanted. My pride and desire to have worldly things had consumed me like the vines on this building until one day my legs literally collapsed from underneath me.
Some of my friends had been trying to tell me about this "other life". This "I-20" life that was focused on others and not myself. That was focused on happiness and a contentment that didn't involve power and money. They told me that Jesus loved me and that he could help me.
They invited me to church and welcomed me and my family with open arms. I took baby steps at first. I just committed to going on Sunday's at first. I didn't make any major decisions or become this Jesus freak. It just felt right and it felt like I was finally on the right track and the darkness I felt for so long finally started seeing light again. Those dead trees that had been all around me starting growing vibrant leaves and the new life of green surrounded me.
Salvation Is Here
Then one day it happened. I had just left church and it started to sink in. I heard a message that Jesus had died on the cross for me. I never really knew what that meant until that night. It meant that before Jesus there was no way for a sinner like me to get to heaven. But because Jesus died on the cross I had a way to get to heaven. I prayed to Jesus and told Him that I know that I am a bad person, that I had done a lot of sins in my life. I told God through many tears that I was sorry and that I needed him to come into my life.
It was just that simple, and suddenly that emptiness and void that I had felt for years was overflowing with joy and peace. I was a new man at 30 years old. I felt like a kid again. A kid not afraid to look silly. To raise my hands in praise. I felt clean and like I had a new start as a new child. I felt like God had taken away all my guilt, my shame, my sin. He let me start over again, and even though I still fail sometimes, he is faithful to forgive me and now I know he will always love me.
It's been over 12 years since that day. I'm still not rich monetarily, but I am rich in so many other ways! I thank God everyday for rescuing me. I thank Him for saving my marriage, and for teaching me how to raise my kids. I love him and talk to Him everyday. I call on Him when I'm tired, when my daughter takes off down the highway on her way back to college, and when the sunrise comes over the horizon and I start snapping pictures. My life today is kinda like this picture. With Jesus up high in the sky, I am below trying to be a reflection of Him.