TCSC Ep 11 – Bullets For An Appetizer

It’s a funny how your mind works in a crisis. I imagined a conversation with my supervisor. “How did you spend New Year’s Eve? You watched the ball drop you say? My spouse and I were pushed out of a plane over a canyon.” I told you I’d get back to that.

Monty and I, through his amazing surprise, we’re able to celebrate Christmas, but New Years was another story. He said goodbye December 26, and I went back to my undercover work. The next couple of days, I thought I had hit a breakthrough.

I had found something that would give me the leverage I needed to turn one of the minor players against one of his bosses. It turned out, it was a setup. Although I didn’t know it until we were to meet in a small restaurant outside of the city. It was an ambush.

Before I got to the door, I was hit on the head, muffled, and blindfolded . Then thrown into the passenger side of a car. It took off at a high rate of speed, and I heard shots, and felt swerving. I was angry, tired, and confused. When the blindfold came off, and I saw my captor, I was thoroughly surprised.

A lot of Mother-In-Laws have wanted to tie up their daughter-in-laws, mine had actually followed through with it. “Don’t look so surprised dear. It was either this, or let them serve you bullets for an appetizer.”

One Verse

One verse. There have been days, complete periods of time, where one verse carried me. It’s not always the same one of course. Some days it’s from my daily reading, if it’s not invested in, it can’t return to you, or from days passed.

A lifetime of reading God’s Word, the new practice of a new believer, or a re-committed one, is more than routine. It is a lifeline for your future peril. A lesson for our not yet given children. A shoulder for future burdens, and for current anxiety. Prayer, reading God’s Word, and Fasting, which we all must do more of, are the cornerstone of today, and the building blocks of tomorrow.

Whether you set goals, or make resolutions, make time daily for a Heavenly conversation, and consistent time away from the table. In 2018, you may or may not lose those ten pounds, learn to play the clarinet, or go back to college, but you can do something life altering.

Five minutes in daily prayer, two chapters at least daily, and regular fasting will make more of an impact than you can ever imagine. You’ll find that prayer becomes part of your thought life more throughout the day. A battle will arise, and a verse will come to mind that is a perfect defense against it. Fasting will not only temporary subdue the flesh, it will help to keep it in line throughout the rest of your year.

I challenge you in this new year to come. Do these three things daily. A year from now, you’ll find these three commitments, we’ll make you richer in spirit, give you more peace in the storms of life, and make you more productive in every area of your soul and life.

Goals – The Hammer, The City, And The Plane

To set a goal, is to set a boundary. That is what the word means, it’s from Middle English meaning limit or boundary. It may seem counterintuitive, but think about it.

A finish line is boundary, a limit to the race. Once you achieve that goal, you are no longer bound by the same limits. It’s time to set a new goal.

We are coming to the boundary of December 31. Some will cross it having successfully crossed the finish line of the goals, or boundaries they set last year. Others will step from 2017 to 2018, still hoping to achieve the dreams of 2016, 2015, or even 1999. Most of us will be a mixture of the two.

I doubt we have achieved every goal we set last year, and that’s ok. Should we have done better, most likely. Yet, you and I can’t change our progress from yesterday to today.

We can however, step up our consistency today, reaching into tomorrow. Once there, we can do it again. Goal setting is wonderful, anyone can do it. Goal achieving requires consistency.

The old adage slow and steady wins the race is true. It’s not because of the level of the speed, but the level of the steady pace. A moving man will get somewhere, a person standing still will go nowhere. So don’t knock yourself for what you didn’t do.

Instead, figure out what you can do each day, to get to where you want, or need to go. I’ve got some goals I set for 2018. Some are improvements on last year, some are goals I failed in last year, and some are new opportunites and challenges that I didn’t see coming last December.

A ninety year old man, who used to be a carpenter, was too weak to drive a nail into a wall in one sitting now. He remembered what he used to do, but wasn’t about to allow it to stop him from doing what he could. So, each morning, and each night, he hit the nail once, as hard as he could. In three days, on his ninety first birthday, he hung the picture.

That picture, was of the city he had always wanted to visit, but told himself he could never afford. There was something about hanging that picture though. It didn’t happen over night, but on his ninety second birthday, he and his family stepped off the plane and into the airport of the city in the photo. Next year, his goal is to fly the plane. He won’t start flying, he’ll start with the manual.

Plan. Gear up for 2018, get your mindset ready, and then read page 1, with page 2 in mind. Before we know it, we’ll turn the page on another year, better than when we opened it.

Stephen On Boxing Day

Today is a day that traditionally celebrates both Boxing Day, and the Christian martyr, Stephen. A man who went from caring for widows, to witnessing and giving his life for The Gospel. It’s fitting, that the day after Christmas, people remember a man who ran with the message of it.

Today isn’t the First Work Day after a holiday, or a back to drudgery day. Rather it’s an opportunity to practice the teachings of The One we honored December 25. No, Jesus wasn’t born in December 2,000 years ago, but we should honor His birth, Life, and purpose every day of the year.

So don’t let anyone depress you about today. Rather let the fire that empowered Stephen to see Jesus every day, do the same for you. Box up some of the blessings God has put in you, like joy, kindness, and love, and give them to someone today. Make their day after Christmas a day they also remember a follower of The Christ, not for who we are, but for what He has birthed in us!