Thursday, October 6, 2011

What Will They Say About You?

"Technological Icon...Innovator...Silicon Valley Legend...Inventor...#110 on the Forbes Billionaire List...Mastermind...Titan of the Digital Era...Thomas Edison, Jr."

These terms are all used to describe Steven “Steve” Paul Jobs, Co-founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Apple, Inc. 

Mr. Jobs was blessed with so many abilities, talents and gifts and he put them to great use. Through his inventions, he was able to touch almost every aspect of a person’s life: from the office, to the home, to music, to movies…And the lists go on and on. 

Even if you do not own an Apple product, you would have to live on another planet not to recognize his name. To put it in a nutshell, Steve Jobs is one of the most influential men of all time. What a profound life! 

Mr. Jobs, passed away yesterday, October 5, 2011, at the young age of fifty-six. 

It is almost unimaginable to think that with all his gifts, abilities and talents that his life’s story is finished. The curtain has gone down. His existence, a crescendo of accolades and prominence, is now over. Just like that. It is hard to visualize that that is the end. 

With all the media circuits buzzing with eulogies and observations of the great life of Steve Jobs, I too am reflecting - but from a different vantage point.

 “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…” (Luke 12:48).

For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.” (Psalm 149:4)

Prestige to the degree of Mr. Jobs' usually comes with a high price to pay. Look at prominent political figures when they first take office. They are refreshed and excited about the task at hand. Their shoulders pushed back with confidence. Their youthfulness resonates. They are excited about the future.

Fast-forward to just a year after them taking office. Their hair is tinged with more grey. There are more lines in their faces, showing signs of aging. They may even walk less upright than when they first started. The toll that stress takes on their lives is undeniable. They make daily sacrifices. Spending time with their family takes a backstage. Their circle of friends grows smaller.

Now think about the lifestyle of Steve Jobs. I am no medical doctor, but I am sure that the stressors, sacrifices and pressures described above were probably one hundred percent greater and probably contributed to his premature death. 

As a layman, Mr. Jobs was able to achieve the unthinkable and the impossible. Can you imagine that level of greatness, multiplied by infinity and illuminated with Christ? Now, we are talking about “unstoppable”! 

Without Christ, someone who seems to be unstoppable as they achieve so much is merely a speck in time on the grand scheme of things.

Matthew 16:26 says “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

I do not claim to know if Mr. Jobs was a born again believer or not. (Although I did read that he was a practicing Buddhist up until the time of his death). I do know that if he did not accept Jesus Christ into his life as his personal Lord and Savior and as the one who died and rose for his sins, I know that this is, in fact, where his life ends. He also can’t take anything with him that he acquired along the way. 

So I ask you this: How will your eulogy read? Will it be a listing of all the things that you have achieved? Will there be mention about you being a born-again believer? Will it say that you died in Christ? Will it mention that you will live again? Will your life be lived with a purpose and in God’s plan?

I’ve heard it said before that “he who dies with the most toys wins…” but I say “he who dies is dead – without Christ!”



Thursday, September 15, 2011

God of Explosive Abundance

"Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 

Today I walked to the water cooler. In normal fashion, I placed my red, Berith water bottle on the water tray and pressed down on the blue lever eagerly awaiting the refreshing, clear liquid that would quench my thirst. 

Instead of the normal flow that I have grown accustomed to, the water slowly drizzled out of the spout, indicating the water in the big blue plastic container was running low. I looked at the water bottle and could only see some water in its neck, which didn’t look like enough to fill my 18 ounce bottle.

After looking around at the breakroom, hoping that one of my male coworkers would enter and do the honors of changing the water bottle, I remembered that I was the first and only person in the office so early in the morning. Instead of hauling another water bottle out to replace the one on the cooler, I decided to check again to see if I could get more. 

So I pressed the lever once more. This time, there was a slow flow of water into my bottle. (You could probably envision this better if you knew how thirsty I was and how much I didn’t want to change the heavy water bottle). Because the flow was so weak, I figured that even if my bottle was only filled a quarter of the way, it would tide me over until someone else arrived who wanted to change the bottle.

While the bottle filled, I gazed out the window and thanked God for the sunshine and the blue skies. Today was going to be a good day – I could feel it. After saying a few words of thanksgiving, I looked down to check the water level in my bottle because in the background I could hear that the water was still coming out.

Would you believe that my bottle was almost filled to the brim? I had to actually remove it from the tray and stop the water flow so that it wouldn’t run over.

As I walked back to my desk, obviously excited because my thirst would be quenched, I thanked God for providing more than expected. Then my thoughts flashed back to Jesus feeding the 5000+ with “only” two fish and five loaves of bread. I am sure that when people looked at the meal, they had second thoughts about leaving and probably questioned if they were going to even eat – let alone get full. But I can imagine the loaves being sliced (nice-sized pieces too) and the fish being cut and it just never running out. Not only that, but there were left overs as well!
I know some may think, ok relax girl, it was “only” water. But would you say that if that was the last drop of water you thought you were going to get? Think on that!

God of Explosive Abundance shows out again!



P.S. - To read the account of Jesus feeding the five thousand with two fish and five loaves of bread, read Matthew 14:14-21.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Stop Trippin'!

Person A was all excited about losing weight and she decided to share the information with Person B. (Ok, for the flow of the story, let’s call them “Tina” and “Tammy”). So this is how it went:

Person A (“Tina”): “Hey girl, look at me! (Tina turns around in a circle so that her friend can get a good view.) Do you notice anything different?”

Person B (“Tammy”): “Um. Did you change your hair? Wait. You lost weight!?”

Tina: “That’s right! I started two Sundays ago. So far I’ve lost about 17 pounds!”

Now let me give you some background: Tammy and Tina are good friends. They talk almost every day. Tammy was even in Tina’s wedding. They go way back.
Tammy has lost about 45 pounds in the past year or so. She eats in moderation and exercises regularly. Tina has been on yo-yo diets and fads for as long as they have been friends.

Let’s continue:

Tammy: “You look great and I commend you for the weight loss! I am proud of you for being able to stick to it.” (Tammy gives Tina a hug). “But that’s a lot of weight to lose in two weeks. Are you remembering to eat? I don’t want you starving yourself to lose weight. The key is eating healthier and exercising.”

Tina (IN OFFENSE): “You are such a hater, Tammy! John, my new man, has me on this special diet and he’s telling me when, what and how much to eat. He lets me eat anything green and I drink this special juice. He also got me a free pass at the gym and tells me what exercises to do! He’s been off and on this program a few times and does it whenever he wants to lose weight. So I don’t need your advice!”

With her feelings hurt, Tina storms off.

So Tammy, confused by why her friend is so upset, comes to me and another person ("Sarah) and here is our conversation:

Tammy: “… and then she stormed off. Do you think I was wrong for telling her the truth? I am definitely not hating on her progress. She’s my friend and I want to see her succeed. I just want her to do the right way. I know from past experience that you have to eat right and exercise to lose weight, so I was just sharing that with her.”

Sarah: “Honestly, this would have made me feel salty as well. She’s all excited and hyped up off of her initial loss and you tell her ‘Great, BUT…’ Yeah, my feelings would have been CRUSHED. When you admit a loss to someone you hope they will be motivating and optimistic, ya know? Not that you were wrong in your assessment… you could have let her go on. When she came back for help, then you could have told her the right things to do.”

Tiffany: “Yeh, but Sarah, wouldn’t you expect a true friend to tell you the truth, even if it hurts — especially since you have seen their proof that what they are telling you actually works? Why would she wait for her friend to fail before telling her the truth?”

And enter my *Whoa*ment…

In the past few weeks or so, my Heavenly Father has been using every day situations like this one to bring the Word of God to life. In that brief exchange with these two women, God confirmed things for me (and convicted me at the same time):
·         Wisdom is learning through someone else’s experience! If someone close to you has been in your shoes and offers you advice, even if it hurts, listen and take heed – especially if you have seen their track record and know they have been successful. It may save you a lot of energy, time, grief and, perhaps, even money in the long haul! (Proverbs 1)
·         There is always opportunity for someone to take offense but that doesn’t mean that offense has to be taken! Tina believed she was helping her friend by offering her advice. But her friend took it the wrong way and stormed off in offense. You can’t control other people, just how you react to them. (Stop Trippin’) (Matthew 18:7)

·         Lie not one to another… A true friend should always tell you the truth in love. (Colossians 3:9)
Now, that my Father has made the Word even more plain, the next step is for me to be a doer! Part of being a good disciple is learning (and doing)!

No matter if you learn from my blogs or through another person, get an understanding of His Word and apply it your life!