I was planning on going fishing tomorrow in my big boat, but I have lost the key for it, the one that starts the outboard motor, the only one I have. I went fishing with it last Monday, and I am sure I took the key out and put it in my pocket, but I can’t find it. I looked every place I could think of that it could possibly be, and no key. What is really aggravating is that I probably put it somewhere so I wouldn’t lose it, and I just can’t remember doing it, or where I put it. I worked myself up onto a pretty good lather over this thing as I got more and more disgusted with myself for losing it, for not getting a spare, for my apparent senility, and on the list goes.
Well, I have decided that I can put my 9.9 horse power trolling motor on and get by. We fish right from the ramp so we will troll using my electric trolling motor and not get to far away from the ramp, and come back with the trolling motor. We probably will catch a ton of fish.
Now I am talking to myself, or more accurately lecturing myself for getting so agitated about this deal. It has been awhile since I have let myself get so upset about something so unimportant. It will probably show up in a couple of days, and then I will remember where a I put it. I will figure out how to get a new one, and then I will get 10 of them made!
There are so many good books to read, and so little time to read. One of the statements that I read years ago that I have kept as a motto of my life is “Leaders are readers, and readers are leaders”. A characteristic of good leaders is that they are always growing, and reading a key to rapid growth. I do all my reading now on my iPad using a “Kindle” app. My close up vision is getting so bad and with my iPad I can make the font big and the page bright, both which help a lot. I can highlight sections that I like and can use a special app to store highlighted sections of different books under a theme or topic that I can refer to at a later date when I need the information for a sermon or lesson that I am giving. God has chosen to communicate to us in a written form in the Bible, and He is the one who created us so He must know how we function best, and how we grow fastest. My Dad was in the Navy for over 20 years, and he retired when I was 12 years old. Up until then we moved constantly keeping up with whatever ship he was serving on, so I rarely had any friends and wasn’t involved in much outside of going to school and church so I read a lot. I remember going to the library with my mom and checking out a grocery bag full of books, and then getting a new bag full the next week.
I worked on my go-kart project today, with two of my grandsons who are both 10 years old. I had a bunch of 2 inch square tubing and they cut it up in the right lengths with a saws-all, and then sanded the rust and old paint off. I had a great time teaching them how to measure, mark, and cut the tubing, using a saws-all and a cut-off wheel. Proverbs 17:6 says it all, “Grandchildren are the crown of old men”. The entire time we were working I was praying for these two young boys to be champions for Jesus. I was also praying for wisdom that I would say just the right words to them to help them grow in character and in love with Jesus.
The character trait of diligence seems to be growing more rare in the general population. Every person is born lazy, some stay the way they were born their entire life, and others conquer it and become hard workers. Diligence as a character trait is more than being a hard worker, it is enjoying working hard. Diligence is more than simply working hard, it is working hard in pursuit of a goal, a dream. One of the problems that anybody has in being diligent is that working hard just to be working hard gets to be a drag. Most people are doing what they are doing for someone else so their is no personal goal motivating the diligence other than the hope of promotion or more pay. A true follower of Jesus has the potential of becoming a person with a very high level of diligence.
Colossians 3:23-24. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
A person who does everything he does for the Lord, desiring to please Him with the quality of their work and also with the volume of their work becomes a highly motivated person, and one with the character trait of diligence. The tricky part is that we can’t see or hear Jesus, so the motivation to please Him easily wanes. In order to become a highly motivated servant of Jesus we must grow in our faith in Jesus, and in His presence around us. We must grow in our faith that He sees every thing we do and that He is pleased with us when we do well, and that He is not pleased when we do poorly.
This afternoon I dug a ditch, from our house to my shop crossing our driveway twice. Most of the ditch was in our driveway which is packed gravel, and very hard to dig a ditch in. I used a big, heavy, very heavy long bar to pound the gravel to break it up some. After I would break up the gravel I would scoop as much as I could and then go back and pound it some more with the long bar, did I mention that this bar is very, very heavy. I finally got it all done and every muscle in my entire body was revolting, and calling me bad names. In the old days I had a couple kids dig the ditches, but the kids are all gone now, left me to dig my own ditch. Oh well, think of all the exercise I got today. I whistled while I gasped for air bent over wishing that the ditch would just did itself, but I worked really hard not to grumble and not to feel sorry for myself. I got it done just in time to head over to our Wednesday service and teach on the book of Hebrew.
I decided a couple of months ago that I was going to run the Thanksgiving Half marathon in Albany, 13.1 miles. But I haven’t been doing much to get ready for it. I ride my stationary bike which is way better than nothing, but running a half marathon requires that you run to prepare. I was just having a very hard time motivating myself to run, to train for this race and had about decided to skip it.
Then today, I got totally motivated to train and ran 2 miles tonight, and I am going to run 3 miles tomorrow night. I ordered new running shoes online, and in a few minutes I am going to send my $70 in to register for the race. What happened you ask? Well our daughter Shelley who lives in Fairbanks, Alaska with Philip, her husband and their 6 kids, called and for my birthday she is going to fly down and run the half marathon with me. Wow, what a thoughtful daughter. Shelley is young, runs, and is in great shape, and I expect that she will leave me in the Albany dust, but we will start together and I will keep up with her for a little while, I think😳.
Living the Christian life is called a race in the new Testament. Hebrews 12:1-2 says it beautifully “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”
God never intended for us to run the race of life by ourselves. Those who are part of a church family will do much better than those who are not.
The Bible has statements and commandments that on first reading, appear to be contradictory, but they aren’t if studied throughly and accurately. People will often bring these up, not as seekers of truth, but as those who want to run their own life, and declare God out of the picture.
The Bible says, “do not fear or be dismayed”, and it says it around a hundred different times. Psalms 19:9 says “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;”This phrase is used many times in the Bible as well. So we are to fear the Lord, but not to fear trials or trouble in our lives.
Another kind of fear that is commanded in the Bible in Hebrews 4:1, “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.” And again in 1 Peter 1:17. “If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth”.
A fear that I have every day is that people that I have taught, prayed for every week for years, counseled for hours, will fall away from following the Lord. The apostle Paul had the same fear and says, “I fear for you that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain.”
We live in a day and age where 75% of the U.S.population claims to be a born again Christian, but I fear that is true of only about 10%, and the other 65% are going to be so surprised at the point of their death. Eternity is a long time. Heaven and hell are very real places where very real people will spend eternity.