Monthly Archives: October 2012

Cross Training

A Chip Off the Old Block

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many.” (Isaiah 51: 1-2 NIV)

Legacies. Some families have legacies that are rock solid. Polished marble. Smooth granite. Generation after generation follows God. They know all the right answers and have all the right questions. For others of us, well, we’re more like the cracked uneven stones in the path behind the house and dysfunction is more the norm. We follow God knowing at times more what not to do than what to do. God reminds us in Isaiah if we seek God and pursue righteousness, our heritage reaches beyond the immediate family to a spiritual legacy from a spiritual family of fellow believers, those who simply believed what God said and obeyed Him. Their simple faith and obedience opened doors to marvelous things.

You have to love God’s math. “When I called him (Abraham) he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many.” God’s hand on a life makes all the difference. He chose Abraham and He chose you: “Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn;”

The rock? The Rock. Solid. Storm-withstanding. The cornerstone. The Rock of ages.

The quarry? Hebrews 11.

And our Rock and quarry are not static. Peter speaks of living stones being built into a spiritual house. We have a purpose and a legacy of our own to pass to future chips from the quarry. What is your calling? Abraham had one. Though he fell many times, he clung to the Rock, skinned knees and all, and his one became many. Ask God to show you your place in His temple. You are a living stone and little chips are watching.

Questions for the Week:

1)      Describe your family legacy. What would you change in creating your own legacy?

2)      Who has encouraged you most in your spiritual journey? A biblical character? A friend or mentor? How?

3)      To whom will you leave a spiritual legacy?

4)      What legacy do you want to leave?

5)      How can you be intentional about building such a legacy?

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Cross Training

Consulting the Pro

We conclude our exploration of Proverbs 23:23 with a look at Joshua and understanding.

“Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.” (Proverbs 23:23 NIV)

What separates the weekend golfer from the golf pro? Knowledge and understanding. The whys behind your hook or slice or, in my case, the giant divots you leave at the driving range. The golf pro gives information, perspective, and know-how. We choose how to apply it.

Joshua had been instructed by God to completely wipe out the peoples living in Canaan. Jericho and Ai had fallen and the word was out. The remaining kings in the land rushed to join forces.

Except for one.

The Gibeonites hatched a plan to form a treaty with Israel. They prepared their delegation to look as though they had traveled many miles and hoped to be perceived as an ally, not a threat. Old Clothes. Worn shoes. Moldy bread. These guys were thorough, but then, their lives were on the line. Note the Israelite response:

“The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD. Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath. Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them.” (Joshua 9: 14-16 NIV)

Oops.

Joshua had truth, wisdom, and discipline in his bag that day. He knew God’s plan and why it was necessary. He had the discipline to follow the plan, even if it meant marching around a city seven times. (Really, God?) What he lacked was knowledge. God was at Joshua’s side and he simply didn’t ask for additional information. Israel suffered the consequences.

You walk life’s course with the Pro as well. Every shot can be your best. All you have to do is ask.

Lessons from the Pro:

1) Can you think of a time when God provided information you didn’t have, but needed?

2) Have there been times you needed information but, like Joshua, didn’t ask?

3) How would have the additional information changed things?

4) Why didn’t Joshua ask God for help in this matter? Is it difficult for you to ask God for help? Why? Is it a time thing or something else?

5) When have you asked God for help and He came through?

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Zuno’s Pick

Zuno’s Picks for October:

Detective LaRue: Letters from the Investigation Written and Ill. by Mark Teague

Sophie’s Masterpiece Written by Eileen Spinelli, Ill. by Jane Dyer

White Tiger, Blue Serpent Retold by Grace Tseng, Ill. by Jean & Mou-sien Tseng

The Wreck of the Zephyr Written and Ill. by Chris Van Allsburg

The Popcorn Dragon Written by Jane Thayer, Ill. By Lisa McCue

The Princess Gown Written by Linda Leopold Strauss, Ill. By Malene Reynolds Laugesen

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch Written by Eileen Spinelli, Ill. By Paul Yalowitz

My Mama Says There Aren’t Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures, Demons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins, or Things Written by Judith Viorst, Ill. By Kay Chorao

The Jade Horse the Cricket and the Peach Stone Written by Ann Tompert, Ill. By Winson Tang

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Cross Training

Reading the Green

“Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.” (Proverbs 23:23 NIV)

We’ve examined truth and Eve and discipline and Cain. Today we focus on Abram and wisdom.

Reading the green takes many factors into account: slope, the speed of the green, the grain of the grass. Green conditions and experience aid the golfer in lining up his putt. We often take the same approach to spiritual shots: logic, facts, conditions, experience.  Yet God offers a decision-making aid of a higher level—wisdom. Wisdom is God’s perspective on a matter. It provides a new level of expertise and takes His master plan into consideration. It’s like having the course designer as caddie.

Let’s examine Abram and how he played a particular shot, God’s promise of a son. Genesis 12 relates God’s calling of Abram and his travels to Canaan. God told him, “To your offspring I will give this land.” Ten years later, God reaffirmed, “. . . a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” Abram believed and it was credited to him as righteousness..

Enter Sarai. Ten years have passed for her too and her arms are still empty:

“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, ‘The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.’ Abram agreed to what Sarai said.”(Genesis 16: 1-2NIV)

Not only did Abram miss the putt, the son God had promised, he ended up in the rough, and, boy, did things get rough:

  • When Hagar becomes pregnant, troubles erupts in Abram’s once peaceful household. (Genesis 16: 4, 5)
  • Ishmael was born and was prophesied to “live in hostility toward all his brothers.” (Genesis 16: 11, 12)
  • There is no record of God speaking to Abram for the next thirteen years.

So what caused Abram’s putt to break? Abram never consulted God regarding His preferred method of fulfilling the promise. Abram relied on common sense and the cultural norms of the day to make his decision. Offering a servant to a husband to enlarge the family was common and seemed logical to Abram in the face of Sarai’s barrenness. It was not, however, God’s plan. At the proper time, God fulfilled His promise to Abram and Sarai with Isaac. The conflict between Ishmael and Isaac began almost immediately and affects the entire world today.

God’s perspective—His wisdom—is a must to hole the putt.

 Lessons on the Green:

1) When has common sense resulted in poor decision-making?

2) How do cultural norms differ from God’s wisdom?

3) When have you sought God’s wisdom? What were the results?

4) How do you seek God’s perspective when you have a decision to make? How long do you give the process? How do you know when you have an answer?

5) How do the results differ from Questions 1 and 2? Do you feel differently after making the decision?

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Gayle’s Gable

Last month I read:

Miss Spitfire by Sarah Miller

Godless by Pete Hautman

The 39 Clues Books 4-7: Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson

                                       The Black Circle by Patrick Carman

                                       In Too Deep by Jude Watson

                                       The Viper’s Nest by Peter Lerangis

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black (Warning: Strong language)

Operation Red Jericho by Joshua Mowll

An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Eggs by Jerry Spinelli

Currently reading:

The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan

The 39 Clues, Book 8: The Emperor’s Code by Gordon Korman

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker

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Cross Training

“Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.” (Proverbs 23:23 NIV)

Last week, we examined truth and the story of Eve. This week, we take a look at discipline and Cain.

Home on the Range—the Driving Range

“In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4: 3-7 NIV)

Cain is like the golfer who sees the hole but aims elsewhere and then gets mad because he ends up in the trees. Really? Yet, God approaches Cain. Note—God is the injured party here, not Cain, because Cain rejected what God required. God still takes the initiative to restore the relationship:

  • “Why are you angry?” Cain’s anger is unjustified. If anyone has the right to be angry, it’s God. Cain disrespected Him.
  • “Why is your face downcast?” Cain retreats in anger because he didn’t get his way and had to experience the consequences of his choice. The fact that the relationship is broken has little effect on Cain; his conviction of sin and a repentant heart are missing.
  • “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” Cain knew what to do and chose to do otherwise. He decided how he would worship God instead of letting God decide what was pleasing to Him. (I know better than God, so I will do it this way. I know God said __________, but I am going to do ___________.)

God gives Cain a warning, “But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

Let’s look at what Cain has in his golf bag. Truth is there as is wisdom. God’s command and his perspective are clear.

What’s missing? Discipline. Cain needs to put in some time on the driving range. A few private lessons wouldn’t hurt either. Practice on the driving range allows a golfer to work out the kinks in his stroke. He can familiarize himself with different clubs. Body mechanics, the short game, all can improve with practice under a watchful instructor’s eye. God was available to teach and train Cain. Cain rejects His offer and his lack of discipline leads to greater sin and ejection from the course.

Lessons from the Driving Range:

1)                  Man will never master sin apart from a relationship with God. 2 Corinthians 5: 17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Why must God make us new? Is will power enough to master sin?

2)                  When we enter a relationship with God through Christ, God equips us with His Spirit. However, the body needs retraining. What tools does God give to teach us even before we hit the driving range? What have been most helpful to you?

3)                  What does the driving range look like for a believer? For me, it’s often life at home. How do you practice?

4)                  How about private lessons? Can you think of a time when God instructed you?

5)                  How does practice on the driving range carry over to play on the course? Does the discipline of practice or the lack of it affect your play? How?

 

 

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