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My first skateboard was home made. It was made from an ancient contraption called a “shoe skate”.
The old shoe skate attached to your shoe, and then you had a key to tighten it up so it squeezed on to your shoe. It slid forward and backwards to adjust for the length of your foot. That adjustment had to be tightened too.
I don’t know where my friends and I got the idea from, but we discovered that you could make a skateboard. I disassembled an old steel shoe skate, hammered the attachment “squeeze” parts flat, and then nailed the separated pieces on to a 2×4 piece of wood. I gave it a custom spray paint job, and I was off flying down hills with very little control, not to mention no flex in the board. The smallest pebble would send you flying.
Then came the clay wheels with trucks and ball bearings. We could steer now! What a concept. I spent many hours cutting out skateboard shapes from pieces of plywood, experimenting with different shapes to gain any advantage to help me have better control and do tricks. The experimenting with “mini flake” spray paint continued. The most tricks we ever did were slalom courses, wheelies, and 360 spins or 180’s. We were the dinosaurs of skateboarding.
Fast forward from the 1965 to 2009. Dad can still pull a 360, but son Jonathan can fly. The sport has come a long way, and I thoroughly enjoy watching Jon and his friends do their thing. I have even gotten over the fear of them not wearing helmets. I’ll jump on a new skateboard once a year, but I can’t imagine getting air and doing the kinds of tricks that Jon can do.
Still…it makes a dad proud.
It has been well said that wisdom is the right application of knowledge.
We may know that we ought to do something, and yet, for some reason, not do it. In my experience so far, not doing what I know I should do has always brought regret.
Conversely, I have never regretted doing what I have known I should do. Never once. I have always been immensely glad when I have done what I have known was the right and needed thing to do.
Jesus made this precept very clear to His listeners.
Matthew 7:24, 25 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”
Regarding one’s life with Jesus, He taught us that two things will prove a man wise.
1. Hearing the words of Christ.
2. Obeying the words of Christ.
It is a simple equation. It is not difficult to understand the mechanics of Jesus’ promise. Jesus said that every time we hear AND do His words, we are building our house (life) upon Him. He promised that though storms will come against us, our lives will stand if we have heard and obeyed His words.
I thank God for this promise. The simplest man can obey Jesus. To build on the Rock of Jesus, one doesn’t have to be popular, talented, or advantaged. The poorest man or the richest man are equal in this. Age makes no difference, nor does experience. This is Jesus’ wonderful promise to all who will hear and do what he says.
“Thank You Lord for this wonderful promise. May we see the simplicity, and yet the profundity of your Word. May we not be foolish in thinking that hearing Your word is all that is needed. May we be found obeying Your word, and being very glad as a result. The unbelieving world may think us simpletons, but may we be assured that building our lives on You is the wisest decision we can make.”
Can you dig it? That is a very “old school” phrase that people used back in the ’60’s and ’70’s. I don’t know about that personally. I read about it in a modern American history book.
Actually, I did live during that time, but I never used that phrase. I never thought it sounded as cool as everyone thought it did.
In 2 Kings, God told some people to “dig it”.
2 Kings 3:15, 16 (Elisha said)…But now bring me a musician.” Then it happened, when the musician played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. 16And he said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Make this valley full of ditches.’
Take a few minutes and read that great account found in 2 Kings 3, then come back and read this article.
You can find 2 Kings 3 here:
God did an amazing work for those people that day.
He not only brought them water, but He encouraged them emotionally and spiritually through this miracle, and then used the miracle to fool their enemies into defeat.
God did His part, but only after the people did their part. They could have come up with many reasons to not dig those ditches.
1. They were extremely tired and thirsty, and didn’t have the energy.
2. They were going into battle the next day, and needed to save their strength.
3. It didn’t make sense to dig ditches. Why couldn’t God just “make it better”?
4. It wasn’t part of their plan, and that wasn’t what they were there for.
But, they obeyed, and were blessed according to their act of faith.
Small trenches would have brought a small blessing. Larger trenches brought greater blessings. God blessed them way beyond their expectations.
All they did was dig holes. Not too glamorous or impressive. But God blessed their acts of obedience.
What are the very real needs in your life? What are the trenches that God is asking you to dig? Prayer? Forgiveness? Having a quiet heart? Reading God’s Word? What reasons might you be giving for not doing your part?
Many times, we believe we have legitimate reasons for not obeying God. Imagine how it would have turned out for these people if they refused to follow God’s instructions.
I’d love to hear from some of you about the trenches that you have dug, and how God has filled you with His blessings.
If you are a Christian, you have at some point in your life experienced a “holy frustration”. You are wanting something good, something Biblical, and something that is inherently a blessed thing from God. It may be a better job, marriage, or a new ministry whereby you can serve the Lord.
You have good intentions, and what you want isn’t a bad thing; in fact it’s a good thing, but the frustration is that God doesn’t seem to be giving you the opportunity to experience that good thing.
I call that a “Holy Frustration”.
Frustration can lead to us blame people for our lack of opportunities and fulfillment. We blame society, the people in our churches, the pastor, our parents, our kids, or our spouses. We feel that others are holding us back from a good and godly thing.
When God explained how He would bring the newly freed Israelites into the Promised Land, He told them that it would be gradual, and that things would happen in stages.
Exodus 23:27-30 “I will send My fear before you, I will cause confusion among all the people to whom you come, and will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. 28And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite from before you. 29I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. 30Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.”
God wouldn’t drive the people out of the land all at once. That would leave the land uninhabited, and wild beasts would multiply, and create a different kind of problem for the time when the Israelites would eventually come to receive God’s blessing for them.
They needed to grow numerically in order to receive the blessing. God would create the opportunity for them, but they needed to be ready for it. If God drove out the inhabitants too soon, that vacuum would create a new problem for the Israelites.
The Israelites needed to “increase”, in order to have the ability to receive the blessing. Their numeric growth would be the result of their obedience to God.
Just before this promise to drive out the inhabitants of the land, God had instructed them about how to live.
Exodus 23:24-26 “You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their works; but you shall utterly overthrow them and completely break down their sacred pillars. 25“So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. 26No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.”
God would take away sickness, and no one would miscarry. They would grow. They would increase.
I believe that the application for us is this: We can have “Holy Frustrations” because we have a desire for something good and godly, but that opportunity is not coming our way. There may be lots of reasons for that, but consider this one reason:
What if you aren’t ready to receive that blessing? What if there is still a lot of growth that needs to happen in your character? What if you aren’t mature enough? What if you aren’t as ready as you think you are?
You may be wondering why God isn’t creating that opportunity for you.
(He might be mercifully saving you from a lot of pain and grief.)
God is probably wondering why you aren’t getting ready for it.
(As if God wondered!)
Having a godly desire is only the beginning of the process.
There also needs to be a consecration of self in order that the heart and life might be prepared for the responsibilities of that blessing that God has for you.
Getting married is designed by God to be a blessing. Getting married before you are mature enough often turns out to be a disaster. The same is true for ministry, job advancement, friendships, having kids, and buying a house.
Desiring a good thing is just the beginning of a holy process. Growing into that good thing is a non-negotiable. Maturity and readiness is mandatory, if the blessing is to be enjoyed. Otherwise, the blessing becomes a burden.
If you are experiencing a “Holy Frustration”, ask God to show you how you might not yet be ready. Don’t rush the process, and don’t desire the blessing more than you desire the One Who brings the blessing.
There is a lot of reaping and sowing that goes on in life, and this was definitely a year of joyful reaping.
This summer our two oldest children got married to their best friends. Sarah married her long time friend Caleb, and Chris married Melissa. We are so pleased with the choices of spouses our children have made. They love the Lord, and we are so blessed to have them as our children.
Debbie and I have been married almost 26 years, and a lot of sowing has been done. We have done what we could to raise our children to follow Jesus. We guarded them through childhood, prayed for them through adolescence, and watched them enter into adulthood and then marriage.
As the farmer plows the field, sows the seed, and cares for it, so we have made this journey with our children. We certainly made mistakes along the way, and undoubtedly could have done some things better. Yet, by God’s grace, we did not quit. We continued to entrust our children into the hands of God, and He has done this wonderful work in them.
We endured the plowing, sowing, and watering. We have been privileged to see the harvest of spiritual fruit that has come forth. Looking back over almost 26 years, this is a moment for us to enjoy, and be thankful for.
Debbie and I both know that it was and is God that brings these things to pass. Some parents put forth that same effort, and have yet to see the blessings. Some parents put forth no spiritual effort, and God still reaches into those children’s lives, and does something incredible.
The point that I wish to make is this: I am happy that we never quit hoping and praying for our kids. We have lived to see the blessings.
Not quitting is a great thing. Persevering is a great thing. Some blessings will come only by not quitting.
I am fully aware that none of these present blessings were ever “guaranteed” to us, but we are surely enjoying this wonderful season of God’s grace in our lives.