Second Best

With 20 years in the construction industry , there is no doubt that every facet of the work is grueling . From the seemingly mundane task of “rolling out” the tools at the beginning of the day to “rolling em’ up” at the end , to the stress of trying to both please the client while maintain affordability to promote future business ..and of course, lets not forget the pure physical exhaustion that comes from doing all day what most do at the gym for an hour( I’ve always said that you gotta be a fool to pay for cross fit training when you can can come work for me and get PAID while you TRAIN!…but I digress) – It’s beyond tiring …beyond exhausting…its draining , in every way.

My wife often said earlier in our marriage that “The world gets the BEST of you , and we get the REST “…And for a long time she was right… sometimes , she still is. In the last few years I have focused on whats REALLY important , what I’m REALLY working for – Our family. The bible says ” If a man wont work  , let him not eat”(2 Thes.3:10) and I believe that to be true ,like the rest of the Bible…But when work is put before family , then the family suffers – and I fail not only as a Husband and Father ,but as the Spiritual leader of my home… I made a decision several years ago to not make my family “Second Best” ,but rather give them “My Best” , and not “The Rest”…but even like this , like many of us – I still fail….

How?

Because If I put My family first and work Second – WHERE DO I FIT GOD INTO THE EQUATION?

Does my God deserve any LESS than FIRST in my life ?Did he HOLD anything back from me? Did he not give us HIS BEST?

Give my God “3rd Best” in my life? – God FORBID

This however , is where many of us end up..Trying to fit God in…. in our ” EXTRA “ time…and its a DISGRACE. ….Ok , so the answer is moving God into “Second Place”...right?

Second Best looks like it ought to work ,but it never does. Second Best feels warm and comfortable ,but leaves us cold and unfulfilled. If we settle for Second Best ,we will never TRULY be satisfied – with Second Best we are destined for failure.

In so many ways we have accepted “Second Best” as an acceptable shelf to sit God on and only come to him when its convenient for us… and this also is a DISGRACE.

You see , the TRUTH is – when I put God FIRST before EVERYTHING ELSE – it gives both a proper order to my life as well as PRIORITY…How So?…

Example 1 – As I have already stated , the line of work that I chose often leaves me with a lackluster attitude to bring home to say the LEAST…but , if I love God MORE than my wife and kids – I will dig down deep to find the guy they NEED me to be for them when I get home… Not because I want to – but because GOD SAID TO! Colossians 3 :19 tells me to “Love my wife and not be harsh with her” and in 1st Peter 3:7 it says
“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an UNDERSTANDING way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”…. These are commands because they are NOT easy.

Example 2 – Knowing that I will not always be able to uphold the commands above because of my own weakness , there is an understanding on my wife’s part…. You see – if she loves God MORE than me ,then the days that I can’t uphold these simple commands , the days that
I let her down , the days that I am SIMPLY UNLOVABLE – not only will she love me anyway..but she will STAY WITH ME…(Titus 2:4-5)

With divorce so common in our country today  , its evident that many don’t follow this principle ,but that will be a different post 😉

The Truth IS – when I put God FIRST – then my family is NOT “Second Best” ,but rather an extension of me , and I in them….united in the love of Christ and service to our Creator..

While the road to this point in our lives has not been so black and white , it never the less continues down this path – focused on him and by extension each other..Learning ,growing ,forgiving and loving… It has been a difficult path at times ,but the best paths are…

As we plan to leave the construction industry behind us to focus on working for the cause of Christ – I cant help but think that these past 20 years will only aid us with the lessons we learned along the way about putting our priorities in line and leaving “Second Best “, where it ought to be….behind us.

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Baggage

Baggage….

Problems = Opportunities
Obstacles = Challenges
Struggles = Strength
Weakness = Patience.

Most people run at the first sign of difficulty…I’m not most people. As long as people gather in one place , there will be problems. For me , a problem is simply an opportunity to teach.. an obstacle simply becomes a challenge , and through these challenges and struggles that are rooted in weakness ,comes patience and strength… and then understanding….and ultimately Glory to God for his purpose has been accomplished.

Its not about THIS life , it’s about being EFFECTIVE in this life…

Mathew 28:19 says – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”..

He doesn’t say “Preacher Go”… he simply says – “Go”… that’s me , and you..

That’s ALL of us.

In “going” , we will encounter people with more baggage than Samsonite and more excuses than the desert has sand.. We will also encounter people within the fold who have issues and are either in denial , or ignorant…. There will be kids that have parents with issues , and Parents whose kids have issues and every other imaginable combination of issues ,problems and baggage – BECAUSE EVERYBODY HAS IT…

Put that baggage down…and walk away from it…

One of my favorite quotes says ” And the day came when the risk to stay the same was MORE painful than the risk to CHANGE”

…but make no mistake –

It WILL be ugly ,because SIN is UGLY…It WILL be dirty , because SIN is DIRTY…it WILL be difficult , because SIN makes EVERYTHING DIFFICULT… It may even be PAINFUL ,because sometimes CHANGING IS PAINFUL….

Because when you invite the Devil to a fight – He – SHOWS – UP..

..and he will make it DIFFICULT.

BUT..

… If we have faith..and hope… and LOVE – These problems become opportunities ….and through PATIENCE – We gain our brothers and sisters..!!
We can help each other carry that baggage to a place where it can be set down and forgotten(Galatians 6:2)..
We are able to help mend the broken hearts with the Love of God , and with that SAME love create bonds with each other that are stronger than STEEL…and the fight will have been WORTH IT..

….I have been called ….and I will answer… I WILL FIGHT….
Study the bible with me! The invitation is STILL open.. 😉
Read 2 Timothy 4:1-8

Knowing the Difference

Knowing ABOUT God and KNOWING God are two entirely different things…KNOWING the difference is the key…

The Psalmist tells us how he delights ,meditates and loves Gods precepts all though out Psalm 119..
In verses 15 -18 he says ” I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.. Do good to your servant, and I will live; I will obey your word. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law..”

And then again in verses 159-160 he says ” See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your love. All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.”

David here is pining… nearly begging for God to give him instruction… begging for him to be constant in his life…and DELIGHTING in it..

Do WE do that? Are we THANKFUL for God’s teaching , or do we despise it?

Be honest with yourself….but if the answer is the latter , we are in trouble.

We give our kids RULES or TEACHING because WE KNOW WHATS BEST FOR THEM ….not to be mean or unjust ,but the exact opposite. We give them teaching and boundaries because we LOVE them and we KNOW whats over there where they “aren’t allowed”…and we want to spare them the pain of it… and in return we know that they love us back by obedience to our teachings.

Although they may not understand them at the time , if our kids follow our rules they come to KNOW us and our LOVE for them in a much deeper and meaningful sense… and when they have grown and have their own kids – THEN  see what we saw –  THEN  they will understand and KNOW our love for them was stronger than imaginable, and that the “rules” were a pure expression of love…maybe the purest!

So,where do you think this pattern came from?

Gods teachings aren’t burdensome…they are a PURE  expression of HIS love for US….and our response should be nothing less than total obedience.
David KNEW the difference in KNOWING God and knowing ABOUT him… and it convicts me to try harder.

How bout you?

Study the bible with me…

The invitation to Study the Bible is still open…. 😉