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August 29, 2016

On Course—His Course

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.

Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you….

Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you.

You take over. —God’s applause!”

Romans 12: 2-3 (The Message)

I wonder why we originally felt the need for a mirror. I suppose it’s because from the beginning of creation our focus was often on ourselves. Think back to Adam and Eve—doing what they thought best versus what God advised. Their focus was themselves, and probably looked for a reflection to see what they looked like in the nearest pond.

Of course a mirror is a handy tool, using it as it reflects back our image—at least on the outside—so we can arrange a shirt collar, get a tie on properly, put makeup on in the right places and amounts, brush our hair, and deal with many other personal matters.

But a mirror also allows us to take a moment to look at ourselves, and perhaps look within a bit, consider our uniqueness, and to meet ourselves fresh and new each day. To spend a moment to look at ourselves. Deeper. To look and think about what’s within us.

To take a moment to honestly evaluate where we are in our journey toward becoming all God created us to be. To be reminded of what we need to change and to begin to move in that direction, so the next time we take a look—that the needed change is no longer on the list of things to do.

There’s a great quote attributed by some to Socrates and others to Ralph Waldo Emerson, which says—

An unexamined life is not worth living.” (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

August 22, 2016

25,000,000 Absent

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Attributed-Edmund Burke, British House of Commons

If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust swarms to eat up all of your crops, or if I send an epidemic among you,

then if my people will humble themselves and pray, and search for me, and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear them from heaven and forgive their sins and heal their land.”

II Chronicles 7:13-14 (TLB)

I shared that quote by Edmund Burke with you before. But taking a look around—beginning at home, our communities, state, nation and out to the countries around the world, it’s clear to me that I need to share it again.

Never has the truth contained there been more applicable than today, and the passing of another day has done nothing to minimize the haunting truth resonating in those words.

I wondered as I posted our American flag this morning if simply hanging our nation’s symbol of all we stand for, and can be in the world, was enough to move me past the point of “doing nothing.” Hanging the flag was, after all, a statement of what I believed. I wonder if just identifying and commenting—or in some cases, criticizing—what should be different in our world, our nation, communities and individual lives was enough. I wonder whether it would be enough, if we all hung our flag. I suspect not.

Think about this for a moment with me.

In the last Presidential election, held in 2012, in the United States of America, approximately 25,000,000 Christians did not vote. Let me share that again—Twenty-five million Christians chose not to vote in a Presidential election in the United States of America! (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

August 15, 2016

A Culture—of God?

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill,

I laid me down and slept and awaked, for the Lord sustained me…

Thou, Oh Lord are a shield for me, my glory and the lifter of my head.

Thou, Oh Lord—Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

I’m sure it won’t take you by surprise when I suggest that little children seem to have an innate sense and trust about all things and values which are innocent and eternal. Yet things change as they grow, as they seem to hear and notice everything else in the changing world around them. We can only hope that what they continue to hear and see are things which would honor and glorify the God Who created them.

My younger Granddaughter, Ellie Kate, demonstrated that sense of innocence and trust in the eternal a few years ago.

We had just finished another day helping our children unpack boxes as part of their move to Gainesville. Mimi had just given Ellie Kate her bath, and was now working her toward bedtime—while Ellie Kate employed as many delaying tactics as possible to forestall the inevitable.

And so as part of that bed-time process, I went into her bedroom to say goodnight, get lots of hugs and kisses, and to pray for her. Always, and as part of my prayers for both Granddaughters, Hannah and Ellie Kate, I pray that God would keep Angels around them to protect them and care for them. They have heard me pray that for as long as they have lived.

As I finished praying—calling forth Angels and all—Ellie Kate looked up at me from her bed and with a confidence born out of security, love, protection and perhaps even through her direct line to God and knowing the things of God which He provides for our lives, she offered these words of assurance to me:

Gran, don’t worry about me. Take care of yourself. I have Angels around me.” (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

August 8, 2016

Never Left Behind

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.”

Matthew 18: 12-13 (NIV)

My Godson, Kevin, is a major (just selected to be pinned Lt. Colonel next year) whose role now in the United States Air Force is to spearhead the effort, along with his counterparts in the other US Armed Services, of finding all those Americans who served our nation and are still missing in action from various wars and conflicts around the world.

It is who we are, and should be, as a nation. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

August 1, 2016

Wasted Moments or Lives of Impact

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…

a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…

a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2, 4, 6-8 (NIV)

In his book “Don’t Waste Your Life”, John Piper re-tells a story first published in the February 1998 edition of Reader’s Digest about a couple who “took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.”

Piper wondered at first if it was a joke—a spoof on the American Dream. But it wasn’t. It was reality—and tragically, Piper shared that their dream was that you:

Come to the end of your life—your one and only precious, God-given life—and the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells.”

Think about that, as they look up into His face, with hands outstretched toward Christ, and say: “Look, Lord. See my pretty shells.”

That would be a tragedy. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts
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