The pastor of the church Leanne and I attended on Sunday did a ten second experiment in the middle of his sermon. After reading Psalm 46:10, he glanced at his watch, not saying a word. This awkward silence felt longer than ten seconds, but he was trying to prove a point. The next portion of his message illustrated how most adults are afraid of silence, drowning it out with noise from some form of electronics.
My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him, Psalm 62:5.
Back in high school, silence was never a good thing on a date. Despite my fears of stuttering, I tried to say something funny to keep a conversation going. From a relational point of view, silence is either a sign of boredom or a lack of compatibility. As an adult, my own silence is usually a byproduct of shear exhaustion. While I enjoy talking, I don’t mind the silence as much as it gives me time to reflect upon life.
Set a guard, O Lord, before my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips, Psalm 141:3.
According to the Psalmists, a collection of chapters written by different authors, silence is symbolic of a mature faith. When you don’t like your job or work, anyone can become great at procrastinating. Yet, the more time you kill in idle adventures, the less time you have to connect with and stay in tune with God. When you’re talking over someone, it’s hard to listen. Even if you’re afraid of the silence of being alone like Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, when the Holy Spirit speaks God’s message, it’s clearer in the silence.
The expression “You had me at hello” comes from a classic scene from the 1996 film Jerry Maguire. The context of this saying by Renee Zellweger to Tom Cruise who plays Jerry Maguire begins early in this movie. Renee plays a little known secretary, Dorothy Boyd, observing from a distance the man who built a high powered sports agency firm where she works. When Cruise develops a conscience after talking to one of his client’s sons, this inspires a new mission statement. Unfortunately, this new philosophy results in Jerry’s firing. Upon his departure, Dorothy is the only employee who is willing to quit her job, joining Cruise to start a new sports agency. This loyalty causes Jerry to marry Dorothy before debt and failure results in their separation. When this failed business venture finally has it’s first break through, Cruise has no one to share this great news with. Thus, Jerry finds himself in the middle of a room filled with divorced women, hoping that he can salvage his marriage.
So he went and forced himself on one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 He would have gladly eaten the [carob] pods that the pigs were eating [but they could not satisfy his hunger], and no one was giving anything to him. 17 But when he [finally] came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough food, while I am dying here of hunger! – Luke 15:15-17
The Bible has it’s own version of you had me at hello. During a series of three parables, Luke illustrates how these analogies by Jesus illustrate how heaven celebrates individuals who turn back to God. The parable of Lost Sheep reveal how God searches after sheep, lost souls that go astray. The parable of the Lost Coin suggests that angels in heaven celebrate each time people make a U-turn back to God by repenting. The most famous example follows a younger brother who deserts his family, squandering his inheritance on wild living. When his money runs out, this prodigal is forced to become a slave at a pig farm, longing to eat the pods fed to the herd. From God’s perspective, when wayward souls come to their senses begging for forgiveness and mercy, the Lord embraces you at hello.
I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] treat me like one of your hired men.”’ 20 So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him, Luke 15:18-20.
No matter how far people stray from God today, it’s never too late to say hello. The prophet Jeremiah is often referred to as the weeping prophet. When the Lord continues to urge you to tell Israel of bad news, it’s hard to remain positive. Yet, while writing the Book of Lamentations, Jeremiah provides a glimpse of hope. Lamentations 3:19-24 contains the subtitle Hope in Relief of God’s Mercy. This passage unveils the biblical promise that God’s compassion never fails, new every morning. Therefore, whether this blog finds you in a state like Jerry Maguire, a wandering sheep or a prodigal that has gone over the deep end, the Lord is waiting for you with open arms. Luke’s depiction compares God to a retired senior citizen sitting on his front porch, waiting for his children to visit. As soon as you make that final turn back in the right direction, God the Father runs to meet you half way, welcoming you home.
Rod Tidwell is a fictional character played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire. Tidwell is a veteran wide receiver in the National Football League who is about to become a free agent, looking for one final contract to secure his families financial security. Tom Cruise plays a hot shot sports agent who is fired from the firm he helped built. Thus, Cruise is left with one client, Tidwell, whose main request is “show me the money.”
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for [the hands of] the righteous, Proverbs 13.22.
As part of a small group Bible Study, my wife and I have to create a detailed budget to track where our money is being spent. Upon completion, this spreadsheet will reveal what each of us value in life. While the majority of our paychecks are spent on a mortgage, food and utilities, other interests will be unveiled by previous expenses. I am not sure what the final results will uncover, but I am sure there are areas like fast food and golf that need to be reduced in the future.
Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it. The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender, Proverbs 22:6-7.
According to the Bible, King Solomon is one of the richest and wisest to walk the face of the earth. Thus, as this man shares some advice about financial matters in the passages above, its important to reflect upon this information. Solomon places an emphasis on leaving a financial legacy for your children and grandchildren. As this process is ongoing, Solomon urges individuals to educate your children about money. Whether this is through allowances, chores or saving money, these practices help shape what your offspring value in life. In other words, Solomon is asking what do you value? If you want to know, show your spouse where your money is being spent.
There are certain expressions, quotes and sayings that have become synonymous with Hollywood films. Whether its “show me the money” in Jerry Maguire, “how about them apples” via Good Will Hunting or “you can’t handle the truth” from A Few Good Men, these scenes seem to transcend time. While these classic lines are proclaimed by fictional characters, one of these phrases is a touchy subject for demons.
You believe that God is one; you do well [to believe that]. The demons also believe [that], and shudder and bristle [in awe-filled terror—they have seen His wrath]! – James 2:19
On the surface, demons are spiritual entities associated with the devil and evil. According to the Bible, one third of the angels in heaven exercised their freewill, backing Lucifer’s plot to exalt himself. This coup against God the Father was immediately exposed, resulting in their expulsion from heaven. Upon falling to earth, these fallen angels have aligned themselves with the devil, aka Satan, formerly the archangel Lucifer. This former angel of song uses a plethora of sneaky methods to hide that which is true. Corruption, deceit and lies are sown to delay the inevitable, the wrath of God.
Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, “Legion”; because many demons had entered him. 31 They continually begged Him not to command them to go into the abyss, Luke 8:30-31.
While Jesus’ earthly brother explains why demons believe and fear God, a first century doctor goes into further details on this subject. The Bible refers to the abyss as the regions of hell, a bottomless pit, a place of eternal suffering without ceasing. This fact serves as a clear and present danger for fallen angels. Demons can’t handle the truth because hell is their eternal destiny. From their perspective, the more souls they can drag down with them, the better. In view of this spiritual reality, test everything you hear with the Bible so that half truths will be exposed and the truth will set you free.
I heard an interesting sermon last weekend, a quick summary of the three most basic stages in life. The first compared birth to a chicken hatched from an egg. This initial period of infancy forces children to be dependent upon your mother and father, guardian or parents. The early years involve learning how to walk, talk, eat and becoming potty-chained. From a spiritual point of view, the young emulate their parents, for better or for worse. Until the age of eight teen, give or take a few years, children remain in the nest at home until each is ready to fly or nudged.
Joseph is a fruitful bough (a main branch of the vine), A fruitful bough by a spring (a well, a fountain); Its branches run over the wall [influencing others], Genesis 49:22.
If anyone is struggling to find a significant other, there are a growing number of dating sites to find an ideal match. Going back to the earliest days in history, God created men and women to procreate the earth. Thus, once a certain level of maturity is reached, college students begin to search for a soul mate, seeking to be matched in Holy Matrimony. However, there is one disclaimer: This stage in life is optional as the apostle Paul urges godly believers to remain single if its God’s will for your life. Nonetheless, the majority of human beings seek a suitable helper in life. As Tom Cruise once said in Jerry Maguire, “you complete me,” in reference to his wife.
By the God of your father who will help you, and by the Almighty who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings lying in the deep that couches beneath, blessings of the [nursing] breasts and of the [fertile] womb. “The blessings of your father are greater than the blessings of my ancestors [Abraham and Isaac] up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; They shall be on the head of Joseph, Even on the crown of the head of him who was the distinguished one and the one who is prince among (separate from) his brothers, Genesis 49:25-26.
While the first two stages in life bring joy, the final one introduces a painful reality, death. Every year Catholic’s celebrate the first day of Lent by attending Ash Wednesday services. The purpose of this day is based upon words from the book of Job. After experiencing a series of trails in his life, Job responds with the words,” ashes to ashes and dust to dust.” This simply means that God created Adam out of dust and one day every human being will be dispatched, becoming dust overtime as your earthly body decays. Whether you celebrate a hatching, matching or grieve at a funeral, seize each moment that God gives you on planet earth.
As congress continues to debate the future of healthcare in America, there is a Texas two step occurring behind the scenes. The House of Representatives and Senate are revealing the first act in public through a display of anger, concern and tears. Despite putting on a good show, dirty dancing starts behind closed doors as government leaders are allowing healthcare lobbyists to write legislation which will ensure these companies and executives will make millions of dollars annually.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others, Philippians 2:4.
If you don’t believe me, here’s a slice of logic to prove my point. If Obama Care is so great, why would Democrats and Republicans exempt themselves from this program? As Jerry Maguire once said, “show me the money.” Well, if you follow the money, it’s interesting to find that most of these public servants end up millionaires before retiring. How is this possible? The dirty little secret is that anyone who is elected receives the best healthcare in the world. Meanwhile, average citizens are forced to deal with rising premiums, less choices and limited healthcare.
Just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved, 1 Corinthians 10:33.
While the main stream media spend countless programming hours chirping about Russia collusion with the Trump Administration, the real collusion is occurring between lobbyists and members of Congress. Since this fact conflicts with political talking points, the cameras attention are pointed in a different direction. Hoping that out of sight, out of mind will squash any attempts to reveal this truth, only time will tell the future of healthcare. Yet, if Americans sit on their hands without raising a voice, life could soon become like Charlie Gard who was denied emergency medical care, left to die due to a government run healthcare.
In this economy, its hard to imagine anyone having enough time or money to afford a week long trip to the West Coast during the school year. With a summer vacation road trip traveling across the country to the Grand Canyon and back already etched in my families distant memory, I didn’t think anything could compare. However, thanks to my extended family, most of our expenses were covered, opening the door for a memorable week in paradise.
This journey began in Ontario, not Canada, at the John Wayne International Airport in California. After a night in Corona, not the beer, rather staying with a cousin playing pool and embracing palm trees surrounded by mountains, it was off to the Pacific Ocean. Following my first In and Out Burger, without knowing about the secret menu, my feet first touched the chilly waters at New Port Beach before my daughter found a sand dollar adjacent to the Huntington Beach pier. An amazing meal at Ruby’s Diner even made the pelican poses for pictures before another scenic drive through the mountains toward Palm Springs.
Even getting lost and paying the same toll twice on 2 different scenic toll roads couldn’t damper my spirits, uplifted by the view of the Pacific in the background and the pictures engraved in my mind of the Coachella Valley from my honeymoon 17 years ago. A trip to Indian Canyons, the largest oasis in the world, was like going back in time to the days of Adam and Eve walking in the Garden of Eden. Hiking on these trails and similar vistas on the Lykkan Trail above Palm Springs was like re-enacting Moses’ voyage up Mount Nebo to see the Promised Land before his death.
My first trip to the Salton Sea, playing disc golf in Palm Desert and experiencing Monterey Country Club from the fairway, yes I did hit it straight, was like the icing on top of a birthday cake. However, like the classic line from Jerry Maguire, my vacation wasn’t complete until family arrived. As nearly 100 relatives came to La Quinta to honor Uncle Tom’s 80th birthday, the conversations I had, interactions with others and time spent with my own family completed me. Simply put, this trip was like a tiny glimpse of heaven, a week of paradise in sunny California.