Tuesday, April 29, 2014

JFFT – The Target

I was reading about snipers yesterday and how when these snipers are getting trained. They are taught that they have one shot sometimes. Depending on the mission if it's more than one shot they could either scare away the target or give away position etc. In these missions they are told no matter the wind speed, climate or precipitation you have to adapt. Every sniper has a partner aka a spotter who is trained to help the sniper to set his scope according to distance and weather. If the wind is heavy then the sniper will have to shoot opposite of the wind in order to use the wind to his advantage. We would think those things would ruin the mission, but the sniper says “I’ll just have to make a few adjustments”. It's how we perceive things, that’s going to matter in this mission.

In this mission to heaven we get one shot! We get one life to live, so God said if you’re going to live for me, you better make it count. If it's windy you’re going to have to adapt and make the best of every situation in life. Just like the spotter helps the sniper; we have a pastor that is our spotter telling us not to set our affections on the things below. Preaching to us, telling us how to aim for the right things, so that we can hit the target. Instead of complaining about the conditions, the sniper adapts; as we should. Turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones. We aim for the wrong things and expect God to say “mission accomplished”. No we need to aim for the devil, because if we can hit that target, then we hit the main target and that's going to heaven.

In Jesus name if we are going to live for God, then let's do it with all our might.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Submitted by : Jon Davidson

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Man Child

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. ~ Mark 10:13-15

Sometimes, while I am out running or biking, something will 'take me back' to a time in my youth. A certain smell, like fresh cut grass, will bring a flashback to the days of my childhood. The feeling of the summer breeze against my face will remind of the days of summer when all I did was ride my bike and life was contained within this capsule of splendor and awe. What happened? What happened to the 'awe' of life? Where did the splendor and beauty of life disappear to? It seems somewhere between the teenage years and adulthood, the luster of life has faded into this greyness of just living without having really lived. It seems like the laughter is gone. Any silliness has departed into an abyss of everything serious. Playfulness has since been deployed beyond the routine shores of living, while the 'moments of life' soldier along just staying afloat. Maybe its just me...maybe its just my life and what I am feeling, but when was the last time you really stopped and looked beyond the moment and into the beauty of God's creation? I find myself so intent on working to get the bills paid and fulfilling my obligations 'to the man', at times, I can't seem to see the forest for the trees or even the trees for the forest.

The other day, I was watching my three year old daughter play in the backyard. She ran to and fro. She was in her own little world. Everything she came into contact with was a fascination. Flowers, rabbits, trees, and the grass under her feet. At different times she would see a bird and give chase. She would look at the bird and look at me, and say, "Daddy, I am going to catch it!" Then...I caught myself...even as the words came out of my mouth..."You can try, but you never catch that bird"...I caught myself...the all knowing adult squelching the youthful zeal of childhood fantasy. In her mind, she believed she could 'catch' that bird. She would race after it and of course the bird would fly away, and yet again she would try to catch the next bird that landed nearby. Yet, in my regimented life, I found myself extinguishing her childlike fantasy. There in my words, I felt the gap...not the generational gap, but the space between losing my childlike faith and my adulthood mentality of being realistic. You know...the matter of fact, cold hard reality that life is life, and there is no place for chasing your dreams.

As I spoke those dream dashing words, I felt myself cringe. Have we lost touch with the connections? Earth to man and man to creation? Has the same technology we worked so hard to 'free' us,  now enslaved us to its demands? Entrapped within its cocoon of 'safety', has the world become an ominous foreboding place that can no longer contain a place for childhood dreams? Walt Streightiff said, "There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million." As a child, I can remember the days being long. From morning to dusk, I would splash through the manifold manifestations of an awesome God. Walking in a mid-summer's downpour was not a bad thing, but an incredible sensation of being alive. Everything was an exciting adventure. From laying and playing on the dirty ground with the ants, to those late summer nights, feeling the dew form on the grass, while staring up in wonderment and awe at the billions of stars in the midnight sky. Life was real. Its beauty was unsearchable and the quest to have it revealed to my childhood investigations was unquenchable.

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." ~ Abraham Lincoln ~  I am not talking about throwing away all responsibility and acting as a child. I am not advocating becoming a dreamer without action. I understand the dangers of folly and foolishness. The Apostle Paul spoke of 'putting away childish things' when he had become a man, so I understand the idea of maturing and growing up. But life it seems, or should I say, living has been lost in this intense pursuit of things and the hectic pace of the 'rat race' has us looking for cheese in all the wrong places. It seems we end up living to work rather than working to live! Zig Ziglar said, "If standard of living is your major objective, quality of life almost never improves, but if quality of life is your number one objective, your standard of living almost always improves." In our pursuit of living we have seemingly forgotten how to live. Consumed with gaining, getting, and gathering...the luster of living has waxed dull. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "It is not length of life, but depth of life." Could it be possible the 'depth' of life is in the way a child views the world? Has our one dimensional pursuit of life suppressed the childlike three dimensional brilliance of the world around us. Think about it. When was the last time you stopped to 'smell the roses'? When was the last time you laid on the dew soaked grass and looked up in wonder at the billions of stars in the sky? When was the last time you rolled down a grassy hill? When was the last time you walked in the down pour of a warm summer's rain? When was the last time you jumped in a mud puddle? After reading these questions, you may think them to be childish and immature, but I wonder. Not because we question the 'maturity' of doing such things, but at the loss of having that childlike spontaneity.

In the Book of Revelations the Lord talks of a man child. There is a place for the child to still reside within the man. A place where faith in the impossible overrides the reality of the logical man. I believe, still trapped within us all, is that little child who still feels he can 'catch that bird', no matter how many times you may fail in your attempts. This is the place where all things are possible because creation clearly reveals the invisible hand of the One who holds the strings to the substance of life and the only thing that can seemingly cancel our ability to 'see' impossible possibilities is our logically inclined minds.

I wonder...I just wonder...if part of losing weight and playing 'the game' has been lost in all our logic and reasoning. What if we opened up the closet door and let the 'child' within begin to run again? What would happen if we allowed that childlike fascination to trample through the corridors of our minds again? What would your world turn into? Would you go lay on the grass and feel its prickling texture? Would you go for a ride on your bike? Would you sit next to a delicate flower and behold its beauty? Would you play hop scotch, draw on the sidewalk, have a water fight, or just stare up at the clouds and point out imaginary shapes and images? Personally, I don't think its a question of whether or not the world would become a different place, but the real question is...can you even let the child out of the closet?

Submitted by: Elder David Green