Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Perspective on Pain and Suffering...

Sometimes I think we live in a world where we try hide and cover up pain and suffering. 

We all do it, but here's something to consider....

Jesus’ disciples and those who were with him at the time of his death did NOT necessarily anticipate that Sunday was coming! They heard Jesus' words and the foretold prophecies, but today, being Holy Saturday, those things had not happened yet. We know they happened as readers of the story, but did they know it, as real people in the story? 

We read it and believe in it while some do not. Those who were there watched it all happen up to the point of today, Jesus is dead and in the tomb. They are presently in the darkness and in sorrow, not aware of what is coming in the morning. Sure, they heard it being foretold, but did they really believe it? While we are running towards Easter morning, they are in the valley of death steeped in sorrow. 

We do this often when those around us are in the valley of pain and suffering. We treat them as if they can't see past the pain. We hurry them up to Sunday morning! When we do this, we are robbing them of some valuable healing in the midst of the pain. Sure, it's nice to know deep down that our Sunday morning is indeed coming. But we don't know when, we have no control over the pace of the healing of others. What we can do is walk though the pain with them and let them set the pace. Their Sunday morning will arrive when it's time, on their time and not ours. 

Let's remember to be present with others in all we do, even if it's not fun and comfortable. Healing comes after the pain...

Perhaps this perspective of pain and suffering will help us go through it when it comes. Whether it is ours or it is someone else's, we must let it be and just be present. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Quest for Power and Control

I want it all and I will do what it takes to get it!

Mankind has always been on an excruciating quest for power and control. We want to be in control of our daily life. When we are not in control, we become troubled and we take measures into our own hands. When we feel like we are losing power over something or someone, we become arrogant in the name of greed. Man wants money, power, sex, and control in life. Man wants recognition, success, glory, and authority in life. Man will do what it takes to get these things when they are lacking. Mankind left to its own devices results in a catastrophe on all levels.

When we stop and take a look at the Biblical story, and see how God deals with man's need for power and control, we see a different perspective. We see a humble and powerless approach that involves submission to God in all things. When we submit our entire being to God, we win! There is no desire for power and control when God is in total control. Take a look at a few scriptures that point us in the direction of trusting in God instead of ourselves. Read through them and see what God is trying to say to us about our quest for power and control.

"Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act"
                                     (Psalm 37:5 NRSV)

  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, 
    and do not rely on your own insight." 
(Proverbs 3:5 NRSV)

Trusting in God requires our all. It requires all of our strength, all of our might, and all of our soul. Any and all resources we have are to be placed into the hands of God. We do things everyday in the name of love and in the name of being right. Both are important, but without God being in control first, they are in vain from the very beginning. We are not entitled to anything in the universe. Not even the blessings we often worship and call a 'gift' from God! God decides the existence of our universe. God gave us the very breath of air we are taking in everyday. Our attitudes of entitlement and arrogance are blinding us from allowing God to be in control. Once we learn to have a submissive attitude before God, we will see that God is in control. 

God is involved in our lives daily. God brings comfort and strength to us when we need it. Our frantic quest for power and control brings on many anxieties and worries into our lives. We always want more and we are not satisfied with the results. No wonder we have so many physical and mental health problems, we are trying to play God. Humanity was not created to play God. We were created to worship and serve God. My prayer today is not for power, control, or a normal life. My prayer is that I may learn to let God be in control of my life. I must let go of my greed, arrogance, and selfishness and give it over to God. 

Where can you begin today? Where in your life are you attempting to be in control? Begin in that area and give it to God one step at a time. Pray about it always, read what the Bible says about it, and let it go...

Know your place before God.....Trent

Monday, January 9, 2017

My Invisible Life..

We all have seasons of doubt and times when we are in the 'wilderness' of our lives.

When I was running from what I was called to do in my life, I worked as a janitor in Lazbuddie, TX for about 6 months back in 2004 (I think). I worked Monday thru Friday 7am-4pm and 8am-12noon on Saturdays. I learned lot about myself, people, and life in general. I was 'invisible' and worked a lot while the building was empty, so God and I talked a lot.  My breaks were spent hidden in a closet in between rooms or underneath the bleachers of the gymnasium. Nobody knew where I was and no one was ever looking for me except for the Superintendent or the Principal. Once in a while someone would call upon me to clean up a mess or to 'attempt' to fix something. I was invisible, but I was fine with it as well. 

My invisible life was my wilderness and I was fine with it. 

As I walked the endless halls with the dust mop,  I would just talk to God and ponder my purpose in life. Some days,  I would drive God crazy with my questions and on other days, I was silent. It was a different silence, a real darkness, not one of evil, but rather one of just simply nothing. I had nothing, was nothing, and wasn't going anywhere. I was invisible and that was fine with me.

There was somewhere that I was not invisible, I was wanted, loved, and accepted. We lived with Marlana's parents during this time of our lives. We only had Timothy, who was around 1-2 years old. Marlana had a small tax service she worked for out of the house. So, it worked, we did it, and we grew as a family with the three of us and her caring parents. We were just two doors down from the school, so I was able to go home for lunch daily. It was convenient and nice to see them often. 

My invisible life taught me about God,  it taught me to listen to God, and to wait on God. 

Timothy thought I was awesome and loved to run the halls of the school with me often while I swept them repeatedly.  He taught me to take pride in who I was becoming at the time. Marlana supported me everyday and showed me what it meant to be faithful to those who mean the most to you through all the seasons of life. God taught me to just be, I couldn't go anywhere or do anything different at the time. My choices to run from my calling had put me into the situation I was in at the current time.

My invisible life taught me how to love, live, and trust in God.  

My Invisible life....I will not forget...ever!


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Three Things for a Messy 2017

Honestly, I do not like or enjoy New Years resolutions at all. They have a stench of legalism in my mind most of the time. We put them in place, talk about them, and we may practice them for a while into February. Our lives are messy and full of mistakes and failures, I'm not going to sit here and give you three things for an awesome 2017! So, I'm going to share a few things that will help us as we live our messy and fumbled 2017. Here are three simple practices that will get me through a messy 2017. 

The Practice of Silent Prayer

The Practice of Daily Bible/Spiritual Reading 

The Practice of Writing in a Journal 

These three practices are not the only beneficial ones out there. They have worked over the course of my personal journey through the years. You may have some specifics that work for you, focus in on them and see where they take you. Remember, it will be messy and you will begin over and over again. Be patient with God, yourself, and others as you travel your journey. 

Begin, be patient, begin again....Trent

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Heart of Thanksgiving...

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” 
(Lamentations 3:22-24, NRSV)

The outlook we have on our daily life is an essential element to living well. We have a wide variety of external and internal forces that are pulling for our attention. They are calling out to us in both negative and positive tones. The choice is up to us as individuals as to which one becomes the focus of our attention. What will we focus on in our daily lives this week? Do we focus on the negatives or the positives? One of these forces will win and become our perception.

Where is your heart this week as you spend time with family and friends over the holiday?  

Many of us are in a consistent struggle for possession of our hearts. We will have to choose which force to respond to as we hear them calling. Will the negatives consume us or will the positives save the day? Look closely at the steadfast love of God, his mercies, his faithfulness, and our hope. The depth of our hope will show as we decide who wins.  The negative will consume or the positive will save.  We all have a choice and only we can make that choice.

Chose wisely.... Trent

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Living Light!

A Living Light

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16, NRSV)

The kind of life we live matters.  The things we say and do are a reflection of who we really are as a person. Our true colors shine in everything we do. As Christians, we are different; we live differently than the rest of the world. While we love and encourage others daily, we live to be like Christ. Having the mind of Christ is a lifetime journey. Patience with God and ourselves will bring growth in our daily choices. It takes time and practice.

There will be times when we make mistakes and we regret our choices.  We must always remember to stop, re-center ourselves with Christ, and keep growing. I want to share an important practice to consider when we feel like saying or doing something we shouldn’t do.  

Begin by just stopping, stop what you’re doing and think about what you’re about to do. Then ask yourself if it is going to be beneficial to you or the others involved. Try this one step at a time and see what happens. You just might be surprised at how much you grow from it.

Be a light….Trent

Thursday, September 29, 2016

I'm Going to Miss Out!!

I have presented myself with a challenge this week.
Something hit me one day at a particular event this past week. I had my phone out taking pictures while the event was going on in front of me. It suddenly hit me that I am missing the event in order to take pictures. I am missing an opportunity to see someone I care about play, perform, or participate in something important to them and me.

So, I'm  going to try and keep my phone put away during events where someone I love or care for is participating.

I can get a few pictures, put my phone away, and enjoy the present.
Sharing pictures with others and posting the pictures can wait until it is over. I don't want to miss out on what is real and in front of me. I will take pictures and send them to family, friends, and post them on Facebook, but not at the expense of missing out on the present.

I will also be able to be present with those around me who are also watching someone they care about. I need to learn to share the time with them as well. We miss out on so much sometimes and we never even realize it. Whether it is at and event or just in daily life, we need to be present to those around us. This isn't about phones and technology but more about being present. It can be a book, magazine, newspaper, or anything like it that takes us away from the present.

  Presence is a gift and we had better be careful because we will not have it someday with that special person whom we are with or are watching. 

Be present….