Middle Age Ramblings

Where I Share My Thoughts On This Journey Called Life

Learning To Trust

One of the hardest lessons for me to learn in my Christian walk is learning to trust God in all situations. Not a blind trust, but a trust developed through experience. Yet, I need to be reminded constantly of the Father’s consistent working in my life.

I remember many years ago when my children were younger, we went through a tough time with my job. I was working for a major furniture manufacturer when business took a downturn. It got so bad that we were only working 3 days a week. I was out looking around our small town for  a second job and wasn’t finding one. I finally realized that God was trying to tell me to trust Him. To be patient and rest in Him. It was amazing to watch God work through other Christians and sometimes in ways that I couldn’t understand to meet our needs.

Proverbs 3:5-6 became very important in my life because of this season in my life.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do  not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths. ESV

There are times in our lives though that we don’t think about past victories and we fail to remember how God has helped us in the past. Maybe we should follow more closely the commands that God gave the children of Israel when he told them to teach the children in their household the truths of God’s law and the way God helped them get to the promised land.

It’s difficult to learn to trust God completely. In our culture, individualism is encouraged. There is pressure to look out for number 1, ourselves, and not think about others. We as followers of Christ, must learn in these difficult days to trust in God for all of our needs. We must realize that God, not the government is the source of all we have. It’s difficult to learn. I’m still working on it, but god is faithful to remind me daily of all He’s done for me. I just have to listen.

Please share some of your experiences in learning to trust God in the comments below.

 

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A Leadership Void

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 26th week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I’ve been watching some of the bickering this week over the government shutdown in Washington. I’ve got to admit, these people don’t have a clue about what is best for the country

 

I could give you my opinion on the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as some call it. I could even give you my opinion about the debt and the federal budget. I’m not going to here. That’s not what this is about. You can ask me and I might tell you privately, but not here.

 

When you study the people who were instrumental in the founding of this country, you find something that is missing in Washington today. Not just in Congress, but all the government has this problem.

 

If you read the stories of the founding of The United States, especially the debates around the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, we find some heated debates between the delegates. One central theme remained the same throughout. All of the delegates wanted what was best for the young nation. They knew they were not going to win every debate. Each man seemed to know when it was time to compromise and give a little for the good of the country.

 

That’s just one small part of being a leader and showing leadership in tough times. We face some difficult problems in this country. These problems won’t be solved by the political party that has the power not being willing to compromise. Leadership means being willing to listen, willing to compromise, and must realize that you can’t have your way all the time.

 

We have a leadership void in Washington. No one seems  willing to lead and do what’s best for the country and our future. We need men and women like those who founded this country. I’m afraid there is not any of those kind of leaders left.

 

What is your opinion on the leadership void in Washington?

 

It’s Hard To Slow Down

Saturday with Friends and Family  028

I’ve been trying to slow down. Between work, church, and other activities I have  found it very difficult to do this. Even though I have felt that God was leading me to do this for my own good, I have found it difficult to do.

However, I have to slow down now. I have battled the Shingles for about a week now. The pain is bad enough, but the fatigue has been horrible. I have slowed down this week.

Since I work from home, I am able to leave the office several times a day and get some rest. I had gotten to the point where I would work all day, help my wife fix diner,  then after dinner go back into the office and work until 8:30 or 9:00 at night.

Now I leave my office in the back of the house at 4:30 and I don’t go back to it unless there is a deadline on a job that I am about to miss.

I actually take time to rest now and I don’t work on Saturday, which used to be an every Saturday occurrence.

We live in a society where many people are driven to excel to the point of pushing themselves to exhaustion. I have done this for a couple of years.

Through these experiences, there are a couple of things I am learning to do.

1. I have to learn to say NO!

Learning to say no in a nice way is important. When I get several thing pulling me in different directions, I have to learn to set priorities and say no to the others.

2. Make extra time during the day and the week to rest.

God took 6 days to create this universe and then rested on the 7th day. This wasn’t because God was tired, He was setting the example for all of us to follow. Our society moves so fast, and stays so busy that it is difficult to make time to rest. I know some people who claim they cannot just sit around and do nothing. I would suggest a hobby that is not stressful to do. I have found hobbies to be very restful.

Maybe some of you have other suggestions on how to slow down your life? Please leave a comment with your suggestions.

I Need Your Help With A Project-Part 1

A modern Western worship team leading a contem...

I need your help. I am working on a series of post about worship, both private and public worship. I have served for several years as worship leader, some of you call it song leader, at North Ripley Baptist Church in Ripley, MS. As I work on preparing this series, I am planning on writing several of these posts over the next couple of weeks. Each post will have at least one question, some may have more. Each question will be about some aspect of worship. You can  take part in the discussion by responding to the question in the comment section below.

I would love to have responses from many denominations and beliefs to get a broader perspective on the subject.

 

Today’s Question:

In your own words, define worship.

Or, What is worship?

 

Thanks for your help,

Mike Turner

Middle Age Ramblings

 

 

Love Cares For Others

My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18 NKJV

This is one of those verses of scripture that prompted my last post, “Old Bibles”. I was reading in 1 John 3 and the Holy Spirit kinda hit me and said, ” Pay attention!”

I had not underlined this verse in my Bible even though I had underlined several verses around it. I read this verse a second and third time. As I thought about this verse, god began to show me that while I talk pretty good about the Christian faith, I do after all teach a Sunday School class of young adults, sometimes I have a problem with application of what I have read.

How many times have I walked past someone with a need and didn’t stop to see if there was something I could do? or how many times has someone asked me to pray for them and I say that I will, but then forget to follow through and pray?

Father, help me to realize those opportunities to serve, to be your hands and feet. Help me to stop and listen. Help me to show others that you are a God of love and compassion. Amen.

 

Old Bibles

I was looking at an old Bible that I used several years ago the other day. I noticed as I thumbed through, that I had underlined several verses and even whole passages in that Bible.

As I read, I noticed something. The passages I had underlined were all good, but they were also very positive . I read some of the passages I didn’t underline and ouch! That hurt! I realized that the passages I had not underlined were more convicting than the passages that I had underlined.

I guess I need to be more careful when I underline passages in my Bible. Maybe I should ask myself the question, Why am I underlining this passage? In what way does it speak to me or in what way does it attract my attention.

Is there a promise to claim? Is the passage pointing out some sin in my life that I need to correct? I came away from the experience with a different attitude about underlining verses in my Bible. I still underline, but I make sure that it’s nit just the good stuff I underline, but also the stuff that points out things I need to correct.

 

If you’re a person who underlines or marks verses in their Bibles as they read, have you paid close attention to the verses you are underlining?

 

 

 

It’s Been A Crazy Week

Well it has been a crazy week. It all started last Friday afternoon when I got a call from my wife about three in the afternoon, which is odd for her. She told me she had just been laid-off from her job. That could have bummed me out, but all of a sudden a peace came over me and I knew in my heart that everything was going to be okay.

Things were pretty normal over the weekend. I still was not in crisis mode over this change that had come to our lives. My wife had a job interview on Monday, and we were very hopeful.

Then the bottom fell out as far as my work. Deadlines were looming and I couldn’t get anything accomplished. Then the computer system went down! This went on for two days! I was stressed out!

I have read all of this stuff about turning your problems over to the Lord. Let Him handle your problems, your stress and , your crisis. Let me tell you, that’s easier said than done.

The tough part was trying to not allow my wife to worry. In the meantime, she got a call offering her the job she had interviewed for earlier in the week. That was great! it took some of the load off my mind, but I still had not been really worried about her work situation. I knew it was under control. Nothing else was working right.

This has been an exhausting week. I’m glad it’s over. I’m also glad I made it through and didn’t hurt anybody. You see life happens and when life happens to a follower of Christ, we are automatically under the microscope. Everybody wants to see how we’ll handle the situation.

I didn’t do so good this week. Don’t be so surprised. If more of us who follow Christ were honest and open about our sins, maybe, just maybe the world could see less of us and more of the Jesus who saved us, and who continually picks us up and cleans the mud off of us when we fall.

Please share your experiences below.

 

Made To Crave

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual , so that you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:2-3 NIV

I’m a grandpop now, by the way, there is nothing like it. I remember well what it was like when my daughters were small. When they got hungry, they would let you know it. If we were a little slow getting that bottle ready they would tune up and let us know to hurry up.

Just like a baby craves milk, followers of Christ should crave the reading of the Bible, God’s inspired word. I believe that just like a little child starts with milk and then moves on to soft food and then, after they get teeth, to more solid food, I believe that we as followers of Christ should be progressing in the reading and studying of our Bibles.

Let me give you some suggestions that have helped me over the years as I have developed a habit of regular Bible study.

1. Set aside a specific time. Some of us are extremely busy. It’s easy to let life crowd out our reading time. If you have to, schedule Bible reading and study time into your calendar each day, and set a reminder to insure that you don’t forget.

2. Set aside a specific place.

3. Make certain you have good conditions for reading. This means eliminating anything that might distract you from that task. Also make certain that the lighting is good, the temperature is comfortable, and that you have a good chair to sit in while reading.

4. Get a good translation of the Bible that you can understand. My favorites , in no certain order are:

a. New King James Version

b. English Standard Version

c. King James Version

d. Holman Christian Standard Version

I’m sure there are other suggestions to help you to do a better job of reading the Bible. Remember, we are made to crave the Word of God.

What are some ideas that have helped you with your Bible reading time? Share some of them in the comments below.

Sunday Dinner

Cornbread, collard greens, macaroni and cheese...

Growing up in the south, some of the best times as a family were around the kitchen table as we shared a meal together. It was a time of great food, conversation and fellowship. It was also very loud. Why? Because everybody was talking at the same time usually. The number of conversations going on at any one time depended on the number of people at the table.

But the center piece of the table was the food. Not gourmet food either, but some of the best tasting, simple food you could imagine. Everything from fried chicken to fresh vegetables that had just been picked from the garden the day before. By the way, the chicken had run around in the yard the day before too.

Every Sunday, we went to my grandmothers for Sunday dinner. She always had a table full of food. She expected whoever showed up to eat all of it. Of course as soon as dinner was finished, we would place a tablecloth over the table with the food still on it.

The adults would go and sit in the living room for more conversation, all us kids would go out into the yard and run and play, no video games back then. Many times about middle of the afternoon we would slip back in the house, lift the corner of the tablecloth up, and get us a cold piece of chicken and a cold biscuit. There is nothing better.

The tradition continues today. Almost every Sunday after church, my family heads over to my mom’s house for Sunday dinner. Now its my mom and dad, my 2 daughters and their husbands, and of course our 2 grandsons who are always the center of attention. We are all trying to eat healthier these days, so we don’t have fried foods as much either. But there is still nothing better for Sunday dinner than good food, and good conversation.

 

That is one of my favorite childhood memories. What are some of your favorite memories? List them in the comments below.

 

How To Read The Bible More Effectively

In my last post, I talked about three things you can do to help you live a more focused life. The first thing I mentioned was reading the Bible every day. I thought in this post, I would give everybody some things that has helped me down through the years with Bible reading and study.

I know there are many Christians who attend a church from time to time, but who never pick up the Bible and read it. If you are a person who does that, you are missing out. There is no way you can find God’s direction for your life without knowledge of the truths in the Bible.

Some of you are going to say  that you don’t have time to read. I have found out that I don’t need to miss my time in God’s word. I have become convinced there is more to this life than just sliding through life barely getting by. the only way to be truly successful in life is to find your place and direction for living from the Bible.

Let me give you some ideas of mine that will help you as you begin to read your Bible each day as part of your plan to find direction or focus for your life.

1. Pick up your Bible and read it! I know that seems redundant, but read it! You can’t learn these truths by osmosis.

2. Schedule a definite time each day to read, preferably the same time each day. If you have to schedule it into your calendar or planner do it. Whatever you have to do to get the habit of reading the Bible daily started.

3. Pray before you begin reading. Ask God to open your mind to see the truths found in His Word.

4. Meditate, or think about what you are reading. Engage your mind into the process.

5. Keep a journal in which you write down the reference for that day and some of the things you observed out of the passage you read.

6. Keep it simple at the beginning. Don’t think you have to read a chapter or more each day. Sometimes I just read a small section of a chapter or some days even one verse.

7. Review what you have read several times during the day. Meditate on what you have read.

If you have never been a daily Bible reader and you don’t know where to start, let me give you some suggestions.  If you need some thing practical and down to earth, try the book of James. If you want to learn more about the life of Jesus try Luke or John. If you are looking for practical advise for life, try the book of Proverbs. In fact, one thing I like to do in Proverbs is when we start a month that has 31 days in it, I like to read a chapter in Proverbs everyday.

That gives you a few suggestions on how to read the Bible. I’m certain there are many other suggestions that others may have.

What are some suggestions you may have for reading the Bible more effectively? Share them in the comments below.

 

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