Secretariat is considered by many to be the greatest thoroughbred of all time, with the rare ability for both stamina and speed. Unlike most horses, the more Secretariat ran, the faster he would get. In 1973, he became the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years, setting race records in all three events (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and the Belmont). These records stand today. He was known for still accelerating in the final quarter-mile of his races. What was his secret? After he died, an autopsy revealed he had been born with an enlarged heart. Hmm? What a great principle! A big heart can help us run hard towards the goal, even to our last days. “Jesus, give us big hearts to follow hard after You!”
Expectations are a funny thing. We can’t live without them and eventually we realize we can’t live with them. They’re fun when they’re met…debilitating when they’re not; and frankly, unless they’re God’s expectations for us, they may be exactly what we don’t need. I can’t meet your expectations of me and you can’t meet mine for you. But, perhaps the worst thing about expectations is believing that we haven’t met Gods, or that He hasn’t met ours. But the truth is, God’s relationship with us is NOT based on “expectations,” it’s based on “acceptance.” God loves who He created us to be, and the main reason He wants us to change our behavior is because some of the decisions we make distort who we are created to be. Accept God’s love for you, and then your expectation of Him will be filled with trust.
Marriage Protects Women
Contrary to conventional wisdom, one of the greatest benefits to women is a God-ordained institution called marriage. It can protect a woman from being taken advantage of by a man who wants the benefits of a relationship without the responsibility. Even the United Nations in its “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” declared rightly, “the Family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society…” The only challenge to this sentence comes when we are deceived into thinking we can re-define what a family is. God defined marriage and family for all generations: “…a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24, ESV) May we each find the protection we long for by aligning ourselves with God’s inspired order for our lives.
When Jesus said, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one,” (John 17:15, NIV) He knew this would require great discernment on our part; to know what thoughts are from God and which ones are deceptions sent to seduce us. Mixed messages, though subtle, are rarely missed messages; in their content we find their intent and the motive behind the words. The airwaves are filled with mixed messages that deceive the naïve. That’s why we must, as Jesus admonished, be as wise as serpents, but harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16) Test the intent behind the words that come your way. Do they give you a greater desire to do the will of God, or are they mine fields laying in wait to draw you further away from His best for your life.
Umbrellas and Sponges
How we relate to the stresses of life can lead to peace or pressure. Nothing can rock me unless I allow it. I am the gatekeeper; the thought processor, the embracer or resister of all that life sends my way. At times, I need to be an umbrella, deflecting the insecurities and fears that try to drown my thought life. At other moments, I must be a sponge; moment-by-moment absorbing God’s Word, allowing the presence of God to soak into my thirsty soul and spirit. I am an umbrella for the stress and confusion around me, but a sponge for healthy experiences that draw me closer to Jesus and all the good He intends for me. The Bible promises, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3, ESV)
Faith or Fear
Faith and fear have one thing in common, neither one has happened yet. No one can superimpose either filter on how I process my life. I can expect a blessing or a burden. I can wrap my arms around the truth or snuggle with lies. The truth is, there is an all-powerful, all-loving Father in Heaven who before I breathed one breath wrote a perfect script for my life. When I combine my faith with His faithfulness I will
learn to trust Him, and my experience of life will take my breath away. The Bible says, “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one…” (Ephesians 6:16, ESV) No weapon formed against me will prosper unless I choose to let it. Faith or fear, it’s always our choice.
Eat Dirt or Humble Pie
Whether I eat dirt or humble pie is always my decision. Humility has been defined as “having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.” No one can humble me. Humility must be my own preference. Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion determined that an object will stay in motion as long as no opposing force is put on the object. Winds that are close to the Earth’s surface are less intense since friction has reduced their wind speed. If I humble myself and bow to God, I will be less tossed about by the winds of adversity. Whether I stand proud or bow humbly will most certainly affect my quality of life. I choose to bow to my Creator, for only then can He lift me up above the more unsettling winds of life.
Grateful Not Entitled
I heard a joke that had some truth to it. “I’m OCD and ADD, so I want everything perfect, but just for a little while.” It’s pretty funny, but also somewhat true. We are all hard-wired to want what we want when we want it, and an exceptional blessing can easily become an expected pattern. A friend of mine mentioned that his stepdad, who had little contact with him, cut off all communication because a Christmas invitation one year became an expected invite every year. When this did not occur, the entire relationship was discarded. I’m grateful that God never discarded me when I was far from Him, and I try to live as if nothing is expected from God and others. When something extraordinary takes place, feel grateful and not entitled.
Revelations From Heaven
Revelations from God are never birthed in time and space, but bloom forever in Heaven. I have had many lesser thoughts that have a shelf life of nanoseconds, but the God-inspired revelations that came as lightning bolts of truth, these are the thoughts I will cherish throughout eternity. The Bible says, “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89, NKJV) “Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long.” (Psalm 119:97, NLT) We will cherish revelations from God forever, because the Word that had no beginning will likewise have no end. The Word that became flesh and walked among us is even now seated on the very Throne of God. It is this eternal Word that reaches out to enlighten us each and every day. God speak! We are desperate to hear you.
You Go Sleep With God!
A three-year old little girl came trembling into her parents’ bedroom in the middle of the night. Shaking her mom she said, “Mommy, I’m scared,” The mother, barely awake, said, “Go back to your bed, Sweetheart. God will be there with you.” After considering what her mom said for a few moments, the little girl responded, “Mommy, I’ll sleep here with Daddy and you can go in there and sleep with God.” It’s a funny story, but with a good point. At times, each of us need a god with skin. That’s why being a safe parent is so important. We are often the first representation of what God is like for our kids. The Bible says, “Then little children were brought to (Jesus) that He might put His hands on them and pray.” (Matthew 19:13, NKJV) Pray over your children. Be the “god with skin.”
Life usually doesn’t turn out the way we expect, and that can be very frustrating, especially if we’re looking at the wrong thing. The wrong perspective is invariably our naïve preference, our attachment to the way we think life should be, as if, out of all options, we could ever know what’s best. We don’t! Never have and never will! How could we? We can barely focus on our present, but God sees past, present and future continually before Him. He’s already chosen the best possible plan for our lives. It’s called His will, and the only way to experience it is to trust Him. If we can trust God, and see our lives through His eyes, our lives will always, absolutely, turn out for our good and for the best.