Archive for July, 2007
July 31st, 2007 | Comments Off | Posted in » My Life / Family, Pictures
It’s day two of photo week. Today, I’m featuring a few miscellaneous shots of my kids around the resort.
First up, it’s Jenna. You’ve gotta admit, she’s one heck of a cute fishing partner.
Here’s Allison, swinging and playing with her feet.
This one is of Jeffrey, as it’s getting dark outside. I just thought the composition of this one was cool.
Lastly, it’s Jenna again… by the campfire. I love how the light from the background is distorted by the fire’s heat.
July 30th, 2007 | 1 Comment | Posted in » My Life / Family, Pictures
Given that I’ve got plenty of vacation pictures to choose from (well over 600), I’m dubbing this photo week here at Toward the Goal.
These are from our Monday outing to Branson Landing… a little bit of fountain fun!
July 22nd, 2007 | 1 Comment | Posted in » Christian Living, My Life / Family
As I’m sitting here in my cabin on the first night of our vacation, listening to Jeffrey and Jenna
playing sleeping in the next room, I’m reflecting on a truth that became quickly apparent this evening as we arrived at our cabin… expections and reality don’t always align.
Well, let’s put it this way… when I made reservations at the Lakeshore Resort here on Lake Taneycomo, I didn’t realize they had an “annex”, and certainly didn’t expect to be staying at such. From the time we arrived, struggled to figure out why the map ownership left for us didn’t match the layout of their property, realized we’re actually a couple blocks up the road, finally found the “annex”, and were a bit shocked to discover the great pictures on their site didn’t quite match the reality of their annex… our reaction changed from sheer elation of the prospect of staying in a quaint little cabin just a stone’s throw from the lake to the shock at the discovery that we’re staying in a 70′s-ish cabin that’s more of a BB gun’s shot from the lake.
You got it. Reality didn’t match our expectations.
Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m not upset about this. It took a bit of adjustment upon discovering that the condition of our cabin didn’t quite match the suite Nancy and I stayed in last time we visited Lakeshore, but we’re happy here. The colors of the cabin are a bit outdated, the appliances and fixtures were obviously not installed yesterday, but it’s well-kept, clean, and perfectly functional for our purposes… actually quite nice. It just didn’t match what we had expected.
It’s interesting how our life experiences with God are like our experience so far at Lakeshore. We have some preconceived notion of how He’s going to work in our lives… what He’s going to do… what we need Him to provide… how He’s going to reveal Himself to us. We want Him to meet our needs OUR way, and find ourselves disappointed to find He won’t be treated as a servant.
It takes time for us to step back, get over our frustrations, and open our eyes to the reality of His provision. When we really see, we’ll note that His gifts are always perfectly adequate to sustain us, moreso… always, in reality, exactly what we NEED.
As for the frustration part? I think it goes away if we’re wise enough to match our expectations with His reality. I’m still working on how to make that happen.
If any of you figure it out, be sure to let me know.
July 20th, 2007 | 2 Comments | Posted in » My Life / Family, Pictures
Biking has rapidly become one of our favorite family activities. It’s fun anytime, but especially cool when you’ve got a beautiful sunset to enjoy as the kids ride (and no, not just because it gave me an idea for this week’s Friday Photos!).
There’s just something special about seeing God’s handiwork in both my kids and in the heavens above simultaneously!
Anyway, here’s Jenna on her tricycle (she’s REALLY getting good)…
And Jeffrey… obviously having fun.
Here’s a couple more of just the sky and clouds…
July 16th, 2007 | Comments Off | Posted in » My Life / Family
Anyone got any recommendations for podcasts?
What’s your favorite?
July 9th, 2007 | Comments Off | Posted in » Christian Living, Quote of the Day
I ran across this quote about a year back, and recently came across it again. Good stuff about the kind of relationship we should have with God.
The vine clings to the oak during the fiercest of storms. Although the violence of nature may uproot the oak, twining tendrils still cling to it. If the vine is on the side opposite the wind, the great oak is its protection; if it is on the exposed side, the tempest only presses it closer to the trunk. In some of the storms of life, God intervenes and shelters us; while in others He allows us to be exposed, so that we will be pressed more closely to Him.– B. M. Launderville
July 8th, 2007 | Comments Off | Posted in » Christian Living, Devotions / Bible Studies
Today’s Sunday School lesson was taken from the “I am the vine” passage, found in John 15. We tried to get a handle on one of the key concepts of Christian living today… abiding in Christ. Just what does it mean to abide in Him, and what does it look like in our lives?
A tough question, without a doubt.
John 15:1-11 (NASB)
1“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.”
2“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”
3“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”
4“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”
5“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
6“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.”
7“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
8“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”
9“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.”
10“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
11“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
Based on the Scripture passage, it seems to me that there are three major “R’s” involved in abiding in Christ: recognizing our need for help, relying on Christ, and resting in His care.
Verses 4 and 5 make the first two “R’s” clear… without Christ, we’re nothing. Without Him, the vine, sustaining us… we, the branches simply wither and die. We can’t survive without Him… much less bear fruit for God’s Kingdom.
That always seems so crystal clear in my life… anytime I try to do anything for God in my own strength, I fail… often miserably. But when I recognize my need for Him and continue on to the second “R” of abiding… relying on Him… I find I’m able to bear fruit. My connection with Christ keeps me strong… gives me wisdom… gives me the ability to do whatever it is He asks. My life begins to reflect Christ more and more.
The third of the “R’s”, though, is the hardest of them all… resting in Him. Verse 9 makes it clear that abiding in Christ allows us to experience the fullness of God’s love for us. Verse 11 makes it clear that doing so allows us to experience complete joy. Yet so often, we try to tackle things on our own, even knowing these things?
We’re so foolish. God wants to be actively involved in every part of our lives… even the supposed trivial things… yet we fail hundreds of times a day to allow Him to help. Yeah, it seems silly that God would want to help us find our car keys, or that He’d want to help us finish a task at work when time’s short… but Scripture tells us He knows the number of hairs on our heads. That’s a trivial detail (for most of us), but He cares.
Why then, do we shut Him out? Why do we fail to abide in Him… to remain connected to Him constantly through the kind of intimate relationship He desires with us? Why do we so often cut ourselves off from life-giver we so desperately need, not only to survive and thrive, but to experience peace and joy in all things?
That’s the million dollar question.
As much as I’d like to be able to boil Christian living down to simple formulas, it just doesn’t work that way… even if they are brilliantly alliterated…