Tuesday, November 22, 2005

OLD Daniel in the Lion's Den

Earlier in the fall, I enjoyed leading a group of men on a study in the book of Daniel. Now, I was born at Georgia Baptist Hospital (baptist at birth!) and have heard the story of Daniel in the lion’s den a lot of times. However, this fall, I learned something that I had missed all along.

All my life, I had pictured Daniel as a teenager when King Darius served him up to the lions for lunch. However, let’s do the math:

According to the Holman Bible Dictionary, Daniel was transported from Judah to Babylon in his early youth 605 B.C. The text does not indicate his precise age, but let’s assume he was in his early teens. Daniel remained in Babylon under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar (604-562 B.C.), Evil-Merodach (561-560 B.C.), Neriglissar (559-555 B.C.), Labashi-Marduk (555 B.C.), Nabonidus (555-539 B.C.) (who left son Belshazzar in charge while he was away), Cyrus (539-529 B.C.), Cambyses (529-522 B.C.), and finally, King Darius I, (522-486 B.C.).

If Daniel were, say 12 when exiled in 605, and were put into the lion’s den sometime after 522 B.C., he would have been in his 90’s when he faced the test! Daniel was faithful for nine decades – no wonder he had confidence in God.

The lessons you learned as a child take on new meaning with your life experiences. You learn new things. You have new frames of reference. When was the last time you read an old, favorite Bible story? Why not read it again with a goal to learn something new.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The grass is taller under the trampoline

We were out playing "glow-in-the-dark-football" last night and were finding ourselves dodging bird feeders, trees and the trampoline. Deciding to leave the trees where they are, we chose to relocate the bird feeders and trampoline. This morning, the circle of tall grass clearly indicates where the trampoline once stood. And I've already put the lawn mower up for the season...

A couple of weeks ago, I heard a song on the radio. I began to explain to my daughter that its important to be careful what you put into your head - what you listen to, and what you think often about (meditation). She looked at me with a puzzled look that seemed to ask, "What brought that on?" The puzzled look became a look of horror as I began singing along with the radio: "I remember when rock was young...."

Yes, I'm almost ashamed to admit, I remember the lyrics to "Crocodile Rock." And if I sat down at a piano, I just might be able to play it as well. There were some cruel jokes my high school years continue to visit upon me.

Ok, to sum it up, you have to be careful what you put into your head - and life. It takes work to keep the grass mowed in the hidden places. But its important to do both, for you never know when the trampoline will need to be moved, or you'll find yourself singing to yourself... Out loud... In public... Something you wish you could forget....

As Paul admonished in his letter to the Philippian church:

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable - if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise - dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8 HCSB)
Have a great weekend.

Friday, November 11, 2005

How much is riding on your Maxxis?

Do you, like me, take tires for granted. That is, until you're coasting down the Sidney Lanier Bridge... watching your speedometer creep up to 40 mph... in a crosswind... across the expansion joint... hearing a pop and hiss... feeling the rear tire get soft... on a bicycle?

That was my experience today. Just one of those things.

Thankful that I was able to coast to a stop, I walked to the bottom of the bridge to fix the flat. (Hey, some may say I'm dumb for being on the bridge on a bicycle anyway... but, I'm smart enough not to try a repair on the shoulder...)

As I rode home, I reflected that I normally do pay attention to tires, keeping them inflated, rotated and balance (unbalanced tires can sure be an irritant - but, that's a post for another day.)

I try to pay attention to other things as well - time with God, family. Rest. Exercise (well at least I want to...) 'cause I know what's riding on my "Maxxis" - me. And when the hazards come, as they surely will, I want to maximize my chance of success.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

1st Grade Smiles

Is there anything "cuter" than a first grade smile? You see a young girl or boy and you think "she (or) he looks like about first grade..." Then she opens her mouth and there's that big gap! You say "you sure are big for a first grader!" and the smile grows wider, the shoulders are thrown back and you can watch her spirits lift.

Then there's the tongue... pressed against the back of the teeth, it bulges through the gap. Oh, and milkshake straws just seem to fit through the gap.

Mischief and giggles. Both escape through the gap. As does the amazement and wonder that the little one is growing up.

Somehow, I think Jesus had a cute "first grade smile." Perhaps he was called the Aramaic equation of "snaggle-tooth." And he met it in stride. Laughing all the way to eternity.

What's the parallel in the Christian's life? What can God see that is tangilble evidence of our growth? I wonder if He looks at us with a similar pleasure. Thots?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Church Signs (an occasional series)

On a church sign: "Aspire to Inspire before you Expire"

We all have aspirations don't we? ambitions, desires, ultimate and lofty goals. To aspire is to stretch your wings and soar.

Inspire. That's a word that has meaning far beyond the way it's sometimes used today. To inspire is to "fill with enlivening or exalting emotion, stimulate to action or be the cause or source of something." I think there are people I'll meet today who need to be enlivened, spurred on to action and, if I fill that role for them - inspire them, will achieve great things as a result.

Uh, oh. Expire. We don't want to think about it do we? But our time is limited. Once a minute passes, it cannot be reclaimed. Our lives, minute by minute, are opportunities to inspire others. don't miss the opportunity.

"Let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works" is a phrase found in the Bible (Hebrews 10:24). That seems to be a good word.

Join me in making it my ambition and goal to encourage and enliven others now, while we still can!