Only In Michigan

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It’s May! Woo HOO! Historically, this is the time of year when April showers give rise to May flowers, in all their brilliant varieties. Tulips offer my favorite color schemes. I remember moving into my parents’ home on 12th Street, when I was about 4 years old. The family who’d owned the house before us planted tulips in the from yard planter box. Every year, in May, those bright-colored flowers would spring up. It was always a sign of new beginnings and warm Spring days to come.

So how come I’m still wearing my thermal underwear in 2017?! Why did I see actual snow flakes in the rainstorm that attacked my job-site trailer, this past Monday?! Why in the world am I still confused on whether to pack my winter jacket in the morning, or take a chance on the local weather man guessing wrong…again?! Why am I still in Michigan! This is the only state in the union where one can leave the house wearing a goose-downed coat at 7:00am, and return at 5:00pm wearing shorts, a tank-top and sneakers!

I think that’s it. Nothing spiritual about this rant. I needed to vent for a moment, simply because I started the day battling early-morning frost, ended up stripping two coats and wiping sweat from my brow this afternoon. I’ve got family in Daytona Beach, Florida. Perhaps it’s time to consider a Southern Exodus…

Working & Walking

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Before I go into any actual devotional rhetoric, let me brag on our God for a moment. He is so faithful and awesome. The Lord always blesses me with pleasant surprises, helping me to glorify his name.

Earlier today (while at work), I trolled WordPress blogs for good reads and inspiration because my writing has been stunted this year. What can I say? I’m experiencing a dry spell, and the well could really use some replenishing. During my random searching, I discovered “When I’m With You…Whitney Ibe Blog!” and was instantly smitten by this brilliant blog created by a faithful sister in Christ. After reading a few of Whitney’s blogs, my spirit was willing…but my flesh proved to be weak. For the bulk of my lunch hour, I stared aimlessly at a blank Word screen trying to force a story into existence. Finally, I conceded defeat, shut down the blank document and went on about the business of my profession, wondering when a time would come when I could leave this line of work behind for something better suited toward writing for the Lord.

After work this evening, I stole away to my favorite prayer closet to spend time with the Lord. The iPod was plugged into the Bluetooth speaker. My bible was set on my bed. The sounds of rainstorms filled the air. I hit the floor, but at some point during my prayer-time, I dozed off. Personally, I think it was the thunder and rain pounding through the speaker. I awoke frustrated but determined to at least get my read so I sat up and stretched. Opening my bible to the next chapter of Acts, I never made it five verses into the chapter, before the Lord showed up with inspiration. I stopped reading, opened my laptop, and immediately began typing.

Acts 18:3-4 (NKJV) – “3So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. 4And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.”

The Apostle Paul was a Pharisee of Pharisees. He was a learned man of Scripture. He was a former terrorist who had completely souled out to Jesus. He performed miracles of healing and even raised the dead during his missionary trips. He was…a tentmaker by trade. Family, pastor-brother Paul was a regular Joe with a day job! Yet, somehow he managed to consistently make it to church every week and preach with such boldness that he led Jews and Greeks to the Lord! Man, I really felt led to share this revelation because somebody out there is seriously questioning what God is doing in their life, in regards to the profession they find themselves in.

Throughout the New Testament, we see examples of Paul’s tremendous effectiveness for the kingdom of God. But these two verses in Acts also proved that Paul was merely a man who—just like us—needed to make a living. His tent-making profession may not have directly helped him to further God’s purposes, but it sure did help him eat, I’ll bet. And his day-job never hindered his ability to preach the Gospel and win souls to Christ. God blessed Paul with that specific skillset and profession, to help support himself.

Maybe your day job isn’t glamorous. Maybe you’re questioning the Lord’s purpose in positioning you right where you are, professionally. Maybe you’re frustrated with long hours or little pay—or both. Remember that God knows exactly where you are, and can use you in your profession. We simply have to live out our Christian walk, even on the job. Let me close this with a true story.

Last October, I was placed on a construction site as the Engineer’s site representative. I was to work closely with the site’s Superintendent—a feisty, foul-mouthed youngster with a loud personality and the girth to back up his temper. A few days into the project, I wondered what the Lord’s plan was for sticking me with this young man who, at first glance, shared nothing in common with me. But, as time and the project rolled by, I learned some things about my young friend. Frank had grown up Christian, and though his language might tell otherwise, he remembered a few things about scripture. I never had to pressure Frank, or hit him over the head with the bible. But, little by little, he grew curious about whatever he saw in my life.

Last week, Frank came to church with me, and fell in love with the Lord. He has a light in his eyes today that I’ve never seen before. Two days ago, he purchased a new study bible through Amazon, and seems excited about its arrival. For the last few days at work, we review his bible trivia app during lunchtime. Best of all, Frank is planning to shut the job down at 3PM this coming Friday, so that he and I can make it to church at 7PM, to celebrate good Friday!

I did nothing, family. This miracle’s glory belongs solely to God! I simply went to work every day. Paul held his day-job and still won souls for Christ. The Lord can use you for his purposes, right where you are. Some preachers are called to full-time ministry, but for us regular people, God provides a means of supporting ourselves in addition to the call on our lives. Never doubt where he has you. Maybe you are there to fulfill his purpose.

Missing Words

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“Aey, hey guy! Where on earth have you been? Everyone’s been asking what happened to you!”

“Aw, you know; life. Sometimes you grab hold of something new and before you know it, the luster of the ‘newness’ morphs the thing into a distraction from your true love.”

“Uh…okay. I mean…everyone needs a break every now and again. But man, you dropped off the face of the planet for a minute there. Did you go on a nice vacation anywhere?”

“No.”

“Alright. Maybe you were tied down by work. That gets a lot of people sidetracked.”

“Work’s been busy, but no.”

“Hmm. Okay, kid’s extra-curricular activities kicked in. Spring is upon us. That’s gotta be it, eh?”

“Uh, no.”

“Zumba Classes?”

“What? No! Is that still a thing today?”

“Pilates?”

“No.”

“Jazzercise?!”

“Are you serious?”

“YES!”

“No.”

“Dude! I don’t understand, and you’re not giving us anything! What keeps you away  for so long? What ‘new thing‘ could possibly keep you away from us?”

*sigh*

“C’mon, c’mon! What is it?”

“It’s…it’s nothing really. Nothing I can’t handle. I could quit any time I wanted.”

“Spit it out, man! We’re dying to get back into the swing of things. You’ve got to let us into the loop! What’s got you all bound up?”

“…”

“Is he seriously going to ignore us? I’ve got some wonderful seasonal ideas.

“Maybe he’s afraid of us.”

“No, I’m not afraid.”

“Maybe he’s f%^@in’ p!$$ed off at one of us!”

“Not angry either,”

“Maybe we don’t make him happy anymore…”

“You’re still fine by me, gray. Okay guys, you really want to know where I’ve been?”

“Yeah,”

“Yes!”

“F%$# YES!”

“Yes?”

“By all means, tell us.”

“Video Games.”

angry emoji

{ The moral of this little story is simple: don’t let distractions take you away from the joys of writing. “Titanfall 2” temporarily pulled me away from my passion. If you don’t use it, you may lose it. }

 

 

 

 

 

This Valentines Day

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Love is in the air; or is it really? Valentines Day is traditionally the time to get close to your sweetheart, and remind them of how much they mean to you. But what about those couples–particularly longevity couples–who look at it as just another work day? You know who I’m talking about. Maybe it’s Mr. and Mrs. Jones down the street, who have been married for 30 years. We always see him or her, but never him and her together. Perhaps we’re talking about Mr. and Mrs. Smith who have seen 20 years of marriage, and now only pass each other in the hallway on their separate ways to another one of their kids’ activities. Maybe we’re thinking of Mr. and Mrs. Bailey, over on Peach Street, who have been married for 11 years now. Everyone in the neighborhood admires their big house and flashy cars. But, everyone knows that while Mr. Bailey works crazy hours, Mike the mailman visits the Bailey home frequently. How much mail do they receive in a day?!

Marriage is work folks. Tonight, I’m not talking about the kind of work required to avoid confrontations. No, I’m talking about the kind of work needed to remind your spouse that he or she is still important to you. Deep down, we all want to be desired. In the beginning of our relationships, it’s easy to be desirable because everything is fresh and new. As time marches on, we have a tendency to become distracted by everyday life, and it’s unwavering demands. Moms, once hot little numbers dolled up specifically for our attention can wake up to find themselves the sweatpant-and -hoodie bus driver for the kids. Dads, once the sexy masculine-suited hero with eyes only for you (lady), overnight find themselves relegated to wearing that favorite yet horribly faded and frayed college T-Shirt, plaid shorts and flip flops to every place you two go.

Don’t get me started on intimacy. What’s that anymore?

(Okay, we’re all adults here, so I can go there…)

It used to be that special time you both looked forward to sharing, where your bodies were each other’s personal playgrounds, and there were little to no boundaries. Yet, as the years of marriage glide by, the intimacy for some couples morphs into a job for one partner, and a simple means of sustaining an otherwise boring existence for the other. And we wonder why infidelity is destroying marriages everywhere.

We have to fight for our marriages. Sometimes that fight takes place in the safety and security of our own homes. We have to fight the world around us, to save and secure our marriages.

  • Date Nights
  • Planned Dinners
  • Impromptu Getaways
  • Midday Lunches

We need to do these things with our spouses to keep the love strong, and to let them know thy are not only desired but needed. It’s important to date your wife, or to cater to your husband every one in awhile. Don’t give them any reason to look for attention outside of your arms.

And for Pete’s sake, have sex with your spouse! Be involved and remember the first time. Christian folks wanna get all uppity and prudish, when it comes to this subject. You better make love to your spouse, and quite regularly! And it better NOT be a one-sided deal, either. If you think I’m being crass, then you need to read your bible:

1 Corinthians 7:5 (NKJV)

Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

I know a brother in Christ–yeah a brother in Christ–who struggles with pornography, because he and his wife are not intimate. Satan will find a way to wreck our marriages, if we refuse to fight for them.

So this year for Valentines Day, I challenge you, dear readers, to take a good long look at your spouse. Remember that first look into their eyes and rekindle the flame. It may take effort for some of you, but it’s worth the work.