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How are you?

handshake

How are you?
How are you doing today?
How’s it going?

These are questions you get asked many times each day. If you are like most, you reply quickly with the same answer you always give.

Fine, how are you?
I’m good, how about you?
OK, and you?

These questions have become customs in our culture. They are as common as the handshake and almost as meaningless. The handshake used to be a bond or a promise. It was a guarantee of a man’s word. “Let’s shake on it”. Today the handshake has been replaced with a 14 page contract drawn up by lawyers. A handshake today is a mere pleasantry, something you do upon meeting and greeting someone. When someone extends their hand to you, yours automatically extends to meet theirs, it’s customary. In the same sense, we say “Hi” or “Hello” as an expression of greeting. It comes natural, we don’t have to work on remembering to say hello when we greet someone. Hello, in itself, requires no thought from the person to whom it was directed. It doesn’t ask anything of them, it is simply a pleasantry. Somewhere along the way we added “How are you?” to “hello,” but we really just lengthened the pleasantry.

Let’s be honest, out of all the times you have said, “Hello, how are you?” or “I’m fine, how are you?” how often do you really mean: I’m concerned about you. I love you and care about you. I really want to know what is going on in your world because I want to know if there is a way I can help. Now before you answer, let’s all remember what our day to day life is like. We are all very, very busy… multitasking, jobs, kids, school, traffic, etc. Take a quick look at your calendar… How many entries are listed for an honest response to the question, “How are you?” Do you really have time for three people a day to actually tell you the truth? In fact, do you really have the time to tell anyone the truth when you’re asked? Do you have anyone in your life that you trust enough to tell them the truth if they asked?

Imagine with me for a minute that Jesus is sitting across from you right now. He lovingly smiles at you and says, “Hello, how are you?” What is your response? Do you answer the same way you do when everyone else asks? The Creator of the universe has just asked how you are. What do you say? What do you trust Him with enough to share with Him? God is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, He knows all things, and in fact, He knows how you are doing right now better than you do. Do you know how many hairs are on your head today? He does. He already knows any and everything you could possibly share with him and yet He asks you… He gives you the choice and the opportunity to talk about anything you desire. Let’s imagine further that Jesus speaks again asking, “Is there any hurt place in your heart you would like Me to heal? Is there any area in your life right now that needs encouraging? Is there anything you would like Me to speak to? Is there anything at all I can do for you… or are you OK?”

Now our mind begins to race. Jesus has just asked me if there is anything He can heal, encourage, speak to or am I OK. Almost like He was heading out to the store and said, “I’m going out to get a few things, do you need anything, or are you OK?” Do I trust God enough to ask Him for help? Do I trust God enough to admit to Him those places in my heart that have been hurt? Do I trust God enough with the areas in my life that have been beaten down and need encouraging? Do I have time to sit and talk?

Making room for people might be tough… Making room for God is vital.

Matthew 7:7-12 The Message
Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?

If Faith Is A Muscle

A group of us just started a workout called CrossFit yesterday and while it was a lot of fun we are all moving slower today due to the soreness. (Pain is probably the more appropriate word). It got me thinking how strengthening our muscles is similar to strengthening our faith.

What happens when we work out? We stretch the muscle beyond its current shape and in some cases actually break the muscle down a bit, then we become sore as the muscle repairs itself (as it’s growing bigger and stronger.) The end result is a stronger muscle as long as it is continually worked. We all know how easy it is to get out of the exercising habit!

I wonder if God works out our faith this way. Faith is like a muscle, it gets strengthened as it is exercised and like a muscle without exorcise it atrophies. The thought that occurred to me was this: How many times has God begun to answer a prayer in my life by exercising my faith? AND in that process how often has it made me “sore” and I back off from following though? …This post is probably just for me :0)

Benefits For Having Children Early

You don’t hear very many good reasons do you? Most of us (me included) would advise young married couples to wait. Kirsten and I have three children ages 23, 18 and 12. We had our first child when we were 21 and having two kids close to that age now I hope they wait a while. We thought we we’re pretty smart at the time but looking back we were in love, dumb and broke. HOWEVER! I did find one good reason today to have children young. By starting early you wont have children still young enough (as you age) to say everything that comes into their mind… things like “Daddy your eyebrows are turning gray”.

How Close Is Heaven

Sometimes it seems very far away doesn’t it? As I was reading in Genesis 21 where Abraham was sending Hagar and her son into the desert, heaven suddenly got a lot closer to me. There they were in the desert… Dry, Hot, Alone… their water and food ran out and they both began to cry.

Then in Verse 17: God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.”

The angel never left heaven and yet was close enough to Hagar to have a conversation. We are told that the angel called to Hagar from heaven and said to her. SAID to her. Not yelled… not screamed… not shouted. “Said to her”.

How close is heaven? Much, much closer than we think. It’s close enough to touch and interact with. Have you touched heaven today?

Sticks and Stones

On the playgrounds of our youth we all heard the old phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It may have sounded good, but unfortunately the words did hurt, especially if they were from a parent or close friend. A truer saying may be, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words . . . can wound forever.”

 “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.“ Matthew 10:14

Paraphrasing: Just as you are not taking any physical possessions with you, be careful not to preserve or store up harsh words or persecutions.  Shake the dust from your feet and leave the words and negative seeds behind.

A hurtful word said to you or about you is never imposed on you, it can only be accepted by you. As soon as you claim it or take possession of it, you have given the devil some substance to work with.  A hurtful word, once accepted by you, gives the devil a seed to grow pain, resentment, bitterness and anger. Are you holding on to any words from the past? Shake them loose!

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