Something’s Missing

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God spent 6 days speaking creation into existence. Go back for a refreshing on the even in Genesis 1-2.  All He did was speak and what He wanted to happen, happened. At the end of each day, He declared that what had happened… “Was Good.”

Except the last day. There was something that “Was Not Good”. On the last day, something caught his eye. He wasn’t as pleased with the work that He had done, as He was the previous days.

What was it?

The man He had created was alone.

To resolve the problem He proceeded to extract a rib from Adam and create the first bride…Eve.

In the book, Creating Community: 5 Keys to Building A Small Group Culture, Andy Stanley echoes an observation John Ortberg on this topic.

What is stricking is that the Fall has not yet occurred. There is no sin, no disobedience, nothing to mar the relationship between God and man. The human being is in a state of perfect intimacy with God. Each word he and God speak with each other is filled with closeness and joy; he walks with God in the garden in the cool of the dy. He is known and loved to the core of his being by his omniscient love-filled Creator. yet the word God uses to describe him is “alone.” And God says this alone-ness is “not good.” 

Sometimes in church circles when people feel lonely we will tell them not to expect too much from human relationships, that there is inside every human being a God-shaped void that no person can fill. That is true. But apparently according to the writer of Genesis, God creates inside this  man a kind of “human-shaped-void” that God himself will not fill.

No substitute will fill this need in you for human relationship. Not money. Not achievement. Not busyness. Not books. Not even God Himself. Even though this man was in a state of sinless perfection, he was “alone.’ And it was “not good.”

~Ortberg, Everybody’s Normal

WOW!

I have never really thought about this in that in that way. I’ve always read and shared this passage from a marriage perspective.

I remember a story from my Childhood Development Class in college about a study of two groups of babies. For the first few months or years of their life, they were cared for differently by their nurses.

The first group was only given the necessities for physical health in care, food, changing, bathing, and as little human connection as possible. The other group received all the physical needs met with equal amounts of nutrients and diligence as the first but were also held and played with.  Over time the first group grew sicker while the second group thrived.

What was the deciding factor?

CONNECTION.RELATIONSHIPS.

As humans, we actually not only desire…but need human connection and interaction. We need relationships to survive. We need relationships to thrive. Our relationships help direct the course of our life. Our relationships help provide the support, encouragement, and even correction that we need in life.

How are your relationships? I’m not saying you have to have 1500 friends or followers (I’m not talking social media.) Do you have anyone that you can call? Do you have anyone that can call you?

Do you have those 1,2 maybe 3 people that are in your inner circle? You’ll have acquaintances. Looking back at Jesus’ earthly ministry, we know he had 12 disciples.  But then he also spent extra time with Peter, James, and John. They  were in His inner circle. They saw things and had conversations that the others didn’t. It’s okay not to let everyone in. But let someone in. It can be scary. It can be awkward. But it’s also necessary.

 “It is not good for man to be alone.”

This is my Reward

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Photo albums are  becoming a thing of the past. When my girls are grown, I wonder how they will look through our old family photos. I even wonder how my grandsons will look through them. (See what I did there…grandsons…I’m banking on that!). I was looking through pictures tucked away on our laptop and came across this beauty.

This is one of MANY shots I took while attempting to get a few pictures for our Christmas card in 2014. (We didn’t get one out this past year. It’s so hard to be consistent with that!). Taking pictures with children is almost impossible, especially when they are yours. Props to all the professional photographers out there!

I may get in trouble for posting this …but it deserves its space.

I met Jennifer when I was in 5th grade. We had just moved to a new town and her family lived down the road from mine. We rode the bus together, were in the same classes, and I COULD NOT STAND HER. She got on my nerves. Little did I know, that 12 years later she would become my wife, mother of my children, and my best friend. I joke that she was my Elementary Enemy that became my HighSchool Sweetheart and  is now my Wife for Life.I knew that I was the best she could do and I didn’t want her to miss her opportunity. (Right!)

I love this picture of our girls with their mother.

As men, it can be easy for the momentary frustrations and exhaustion of our daily responsibilities to hide the reward that we’ve been given. If we are not careful negligence creeps in and steals the value our greatest gifts. Nothing can ever be more valuable than our family. We have to be intentional, stop, focus, and pursue our wife like we once did. We have to be intentional, stop, reflect and be thankful for them and our children (even when it feels like they’re not for us.) That’s our challenge. That’s our responsibility. That’s our gift!

Even if it’s not your personality, not your thing, or whatever your excuse is. Put that excuse aside. Let your wife know how much she means to you.  Put a note in her sock drawer (or any other drawer). Put a sticky note on her steering wheel. Write a note on your mirror with dry erase marker. At the very least send her a couple of text messages. You’d be surprised the huge difference a small gesture can make.

Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil.

~ Ecclesiastes 9:9

 

reLAUNCH (again)

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I’m reLAUNCHing my blog…again. I was recently able retrieve my original .com address instead of the previous .net. I’ve been blogging on and off for the last 10 years. More off than on, to be honest.  For some reason, I keep getting drawn back to it. I’m in the process of seriously rethinking what I want to write about, how can I add value to your life, and most importantly WHY I want to write.

Until then, feel free to take a look through past posts here or at my previous blog www.findingmoore.blogspot.comI’d also love to connect with you via Facebook, twitter, or Instagram.

TV’s from Target

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Soooo….How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was pretty awesome. Good times with friends and families…AND LOTS OF FOOD.

The following foods spent a little time on my plate at one of three meals before taking a trip down my gullet: Blue Berry Muffins, french toast, bacon, dressing, turkey, ham, tatter tot casserole, green beans, black eyed peas, mashed potatoes, cream corn, macaroni and cheese, chocolate pie, coconut cake, peach cobber, and caramel cake…plus I kept my digestive system primed with an occasional Recess Peanut Butter Cup between meals.

Wow…writing that I feel…well disgusting. But..HEY don’t judge me. I was thankful for each biteIMG_20141128_172423.

Black Friday used to follow Thanksgiving, but now it IS Gray Thursday with stores opening up on Thanksgiving while offering tremendous deals. I participate in neither one….although my wife has been shopping Black Friday for over 20 years. I’m okay with that…it’s a tradition for her family.

Now, I could go on a rant about how awful shopping on Thanksgiving is…but enough people do that. Instead I intrigued or maybe disturbed more by an article I read about the number of TV’s Target sold nation wide between the hours of 6-8pm on Thanksgiving. I’m not even offering an opinion about the retail store itself. You can read the whole article here.

1800 TVS PER MINUTE FOR TWO HOURS!!! Yes you read that right.

So let’s do the math…

That would be 216,000 TVs over the course of 2 hours. If the average cost of the TVs sold was $300 each (granting some were cheaper, some were more expensive, and I want to be conservative), then the total spent on TVs at Target nation wide from 6-8pm is….$64,800,000.00 spent just ON TELEVISIONS.

According to FeedingAmerica.org, who responsible for the The Second Harvest Food Banks, that would provide 64,800,000 meals for families in the United states…2.5 times more meals than what they were able to provide to families in 2014. Or it would be enough money to keep them operational at today’s capacity for 2 years.

I wonder how many meals will be eaten in front of those new TVs over the next few weeks while others in our country won’t eat at all…many of those children.

I’m not preaching or pulling a guilt trip. I have been blessed with a nice house, plenty of food…and a pretty nice TV. But I know I also forget I have much more than many others that I pass on a daily basis and take those things for granted. Do the math…Think about it and be thankful!

And…What’s our excuse

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I think perspective is one of the greatest assets that any of us can possess. The lens in which we view our world, relationships, and circumstances play a huge role in how we respond and react in life. Most of the time, our lens is clouded by pride, selfishness, and envy; building the “level of satisfaction” with ourselves on how we view the successes or failures of others. We often measure what we can and can’t do or have and don’t have with those around us. And the feelings we have turn out to be momentary and circumstantial.

And then there is this young man….

Some seriously practical take-aways from this…

1. Instead of focusing being upset with what you can’t do or don’t have…focus on enjoying what you can do and do have.

2. Find ways to move things from the “can’t do” category to the “can do category by making adjustments.

3. Surround yourself with high quality people who you enjoy being around.

4. Find things to look forward to.

5. Never miss a party!

The Apostle Paul also put it another way in his letter to the Philippians.

I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me

Now…what’s our excuse?.

Hour after Hour

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Have you ever noticed how some hours seem to creep by and others fly by at Mach speeds? I often agitate Jennifer, my wife, because I have a tendency to constantly look at my watch when I become impatient or pressured.Casio_F-91W_5051

I bought a new watch a couple of months ago for my trip to Africa. I didn’t want to take one of my nicer watches. This one is nothing fancy. It’s a $15 Black Casio Digital Watch. But a great feature that it has, is an hour chime. At the top of every hour the watch gives a little “beep beep,” informing me that another hour has just passed. Needless to say, most around me don’t like it when they hear the sound.

To be honest, it has helped me keep better track of my time. (I know…that’s what watches are for…duh. Stay with me)  Most who know me, know that I’m probably not the best planner and scheduler of my time. I’m doing better, and have bouts of extreme success and extreme failure. This watch has become an “everyday” accessory for me.

When I hear the little “beep beep”, I’m reminded that another hour of my life has just passed.

Did I make the most of that hour? Did I squander it? What did I accomplish?

It also indicates I’ve earned a new hour to do something with. What I am going to next?

It helps hit the reset button on my productivity. If I find myself declining toward the end of the hour, slacking off and I hear the beep…I pick it up for the next hour. If I’ve been hammering away and didn’t even notice the hour pass; I take a quick break….but not too long…as a reward.

It helps to keep track of what you do in a day, but it can be a bit overwhelming to manage your whole day when it comes working on various projects. The “beep beep” helps slice up your day so you can evaluate each hour and re-calibrate for the next hour.

It’s been extremely challenging and encouraging. I encourage you to set up some system, whether it’s for 30, 60, or 90 minutes, that signals you when an allotted amount of time has passed. But, don’t just acknowledge that time is passing, recognize what you need to do next! I’d love to hear your experience.

Now…if I can just remember to disable the chime when it’s bed time!

And THAT is What Happened!

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Have you ever heard someone telling a story about something that was supposed to happen…and then after telling the story, they reaffirmed that it actually happened by stating,

“And that’s what happened!”

Have you ever told a story of something that you thought was going to happen?

And then it DIDN”T happen!

One thing I’ve learned that I can count on, is that when God says something is going to happen you can bet that it’s going to happen at some point. He doesn’t hold back or break His word.

I was going back and reading through Creation this week and found a phrase after each declaration God made on each day. The phrase is…

“And that is what Happened.”

This phrase shows up six times alone in the first chapter of the Bible. Every time God stated what he wanted to happen each day…”that is what would happen.”

This phenomenon moves beyond creation. With Noah, his family was saved. With Abraham, a son was provided. With Moses, manna was provided. With Joshua, the walls of Jericho fell. With David, the Philistines were defeated. With Jesus, the sick were healed and sins forgiven.

It’s part of God’s character.

We often forget that and get frustrated because of the timing between the “speaking” of the promise and “happening” of the promise. But we have to remember that God’s promises are irrevocable and He is bound to His Word.

Which means, for God’s promises in your life, when all is said and done…the final statement will be…?

And THAT is What Happened.

So don’t lose hope, don’t give up…That promise He made is going to happen!