Darkest before Dawn

Psalm 42:11 … Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Attitude is always shifting. You can never be sad or happy any longer than you want to be. Our moods pass as mysteriously as they come all from our own doing. We’ve to only look within for a short amount of time to know the answer is not there. True answers always comes from above. False hope and choices are a dime a dozen if you look straight ahead and rely only on yourself. None of those solutions truly satisfy like God yet it seems every single last one of them must be put to the test before I acquiesce.

 

Dark Days

Cloud of despair seems to be hovering around me today. Not sure where it comes from but it is zapping me of all my desires for anything … even my ability to nurture my spiritual needs seems to be running on empty. No rhyme or reason but the feeling is so very real and difficult to shake. Defies explanation or examination and I’ve felt it coming on now for a few days but have been unable to head it off. Today it seems to have really settled in to my conciseness and won’t let go. Must plod along forcing my actions while battling my mind as to why the reluctance and apathy. I think this is the “new” depression or the old depression manifesting itself in a new form to bring me back to where I was. Stay the course there really is no other choice.

Pride can delay Purpose

I think I know the way. I am prideful that my way is the right way. Pride tells me that I know my way is also the best way to get me to where I want to be. Strange how we all have a natural yearning to have our own way about things in this world. I’m certainly guilty of that. However, it is especially disheartening when it carries over to God. A God that I know loves me and knows best for me and then along come my plans … my way of doing things to complicate his purpose being fulfilled in me.

If I could just stay out of it. He knows I like to take crooked roads to get places and that a straight path is what I need to be on to get to his place. It’s some how like I think I know best when that can’t possibly be yet I keep insisting on planning and leading any way.

Proverbs 16:9 – In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

That is a very humbling verse right there. Being humble in life with others can’t be achieved until you can first humble your self before your Lord and submit to his ultimate control of your life. Only humility can soften my soul enough to make me useable to God to accomplish his purpose in me. Humility is without a doubt one of the toughest lessons to learn in life but a necessity to combating our pride, which when left unchallenged, would result in the delaying of fulfilling God’s purpose for our life.

How do we make sure there are no delays? We humble ourselves to the Lord … and

Proverbs 3: 5) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6) in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Father, please take away my prideful ways

PC – April 15′ 2013

I have finally been scheduled for Prostate Cancer Surgery on May 28th 2013 at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville Tennessee. That’s way longer than I want to wait but apparently that’s the next available slot so it will have to do. Hopeful the surgery will be successful in removing my prostate and all the cancer as well as not leaving me with any unwanted side effects. Time will tell … now more waiting.

Being Consistent

Attended a Goldwing Motorcycle Rally and Ride-In in Roger’s Arkansas over the last few days. Just got home last night from this road trip and it covered about 1,850 miles.

It was a ton of fun and I saw a few old friends and made many new ones. However, I’m not at all happy with my behavior while there. My old self with many of my old habits were just to easy to fall back into and were on display to my shame. As the old saying goes “If you lie down with dogs you’re going to get up with fleas”. The only true test of one’s faith are your actions not your words especially when you are outside of your established schedule and familiar environment. Sadly I found it much easier in this environment to give into my self center-ness and petty needs again and tended to put God on the back burner while I had a good time without. A truly faithful servant must be the same where ever they are at all times. Nothing should ever change who you belong to and who you are in God’s view and you should act accordingly. There are no vacation days from God’s spirit. In the end there is no place to hide, no excuse good enough … nothing you can do but be convicted by the truth of your actions. This little road trip taught me that I must be the same no matter where I’m at or who I’m with. I can’t let circumstances change who I am or who I’m becoming in Christ. That journey must continue unabated no matter where I find myself or who I’m with.

Psalm 139:7 – Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 

PC – April 9′ 2013

At long last I got the call from my surgeon at Vanderbilt Hospital today and they have finally heard back from the doctor at John Hopkins Hospital in Maryland. He confirms my biopsy sample is in fact Cancer with a Gleason score of 3 + 3 or 6. He’s evidently a renowned Doctor in this field so looks like I will probably be moving forward with the surgery soon. My surgeon says there’s a 6 week wait to get in for prostate surgery. A shame we lost an entire month with the mix up on my biopsy but he says as long as we get the surgery done within 6 months of the initial diagnosis, which was Feb 1st  it will be fine. Got to get it done. I’m sure everything will be fine. Just taking it one day at a time and trusting God will make it all good in the end.

Big/Little Brothers

Finally a perfect 70 degree Spring day with blue skies for a change arrived here in North Western Tennessee. Spring has been late arriving this year and this day gave me and my Little Brother Mitchel (Big Brother/Big Sisters Org) the perfect chance to take a day long ride together on the motorcycle that we had been trying to get in for some time. 55F2EC04-F98E-404C-869E-F5FED54B1A84.pngMitchel is pictured here about to blow an unarmed recreational boater clear out of the water at the River Garrison which is part of the Fort Donelson National Battlefield along the Cumberland River in Tennessee.  I made Mitchel a deal that if he let me give him a history lesson about the Civil War history of Dover, Tennessee and Fort Donelson National Battlefield during the first part of the day we could stop by my place in the afternoon and I’d let him school me on the X-Box. In the interim we put the Goldwing through its paces and covered about 200+ 5AE68805-E9D7-413F-B2DA-60AA98B1937A.pngmiles together and had a wonderful time that even featured a Ferry Ride across the Kentucky Lake. He had lunch and talked and had a great time sharing time with each other. Mitchel and I have been paired up since the beginning of the year and we’re slowly becoming good friends. We see each other every couple of weeks or so and just basically hang out together doing stuff for fun. It is truly a blessing for me to be able to give some of my time to Mitchel and he’s teaching me a multitude of things as well. I know God is wanting us all to slow down some in our busy lives and take the focus off of ourselves just for a second which I often have difficulty doing. This is a wonderful positive in my life that I treasure greatly. I’ve learned that as we grow spiritually in our faith it’s important to show love to everyone we can and we should always try and find as many opportunities as we can to share God’s love with others. Look around … chances are you just walked by someone today that could have used your help. I’m on the look out everyday now for a chance to show God’s love to someone. We always have the means with us to help others … we just resist because we think we don’t have the time. My eyes have only been truly opened to this truth recently.

Proverbs 3:28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—when you already have it with you.

Building Blocks that Crumble

7597076-human-building-blocksJust as a corrupt contractor uses some inferior material here and there to construct the cornerstones and building blocks for a building he cares little about so do I use inferior material, sin, to sometimes construct the cornerstones and building blocks of my life that I claim to treasure so much. Sure there are many good strong building blocks in my life I have made and am continuing to make more but not near enough to compensate for those blocks made with a mixture of sin that inevitably will lead to a structural failure in my life at some point and eventually collapse everything back to where I was. For you see when a building crumbles from the inferior material used in it’s building blocks for the construction the momentum of that collapse takes all the good building blocks down with it during the fall.

Same with a life built with some inferior material. All is left is a pile of rubble when it collapses. The bad brings down the good and our faith wanes. Best intentions laid to rest while a great despair and guilt sets in that you have to start over and that it is futile to continue. No amount of good blocks will suffice if enough bad ones are allowed to mix in with them. Can not sin and good co-exist if the sin is less than the good? As much as I wish they could they can not by choice but will through our sinful nature. The sooner I accept this fact and act on it the sooner my life will be the best it could possibly be although perfection will always escape me. Do I want to build a life made strong to last eternally or am I content with short term temporary gains and pleasures that are easily performed and provide little if any lasting change or true happiness. Oh for the temporary pleasure my sins bring I fear I forfeit my future and my building will collapse. With every sin a hairline fracture unnoticeable is seeded in the construction of my faith. The Lord is our rock, no doubt, so our foundation is secure but the builder is weak in deed.

PC – April 2′ 2013

Another week gone by and still no movement to get my biopsy sent to John Hopkins until today when I had to get involved and call Quest Lab directly myself. No excuse as to why no one had done anything for the last week on this only that they were just today going to be Fedex out. This time I have a tracking number. Patience is trying me. The good thing is I up for it and trusting God to keep me. Will just have to be my own best doctor and stay on my own case myself to make sure things get done.

 

Expanding my Spiritual Horizons

cma image

I attend my first CMA meeting yesterday. This is something I have been considering doing for awhile now in hopes of meeting more believers. I feel the larger my christian support structure is and the more friends that I can make that are on the same journey as me the better success I will have. Plus it involves motorcycles and riding and as many of you know that’s a strong, almost too strong, of a passion God has placed in me. I figured I’ve ridden so much for so many years for all the wrong reason, my pleasure only, why not ride for a purpose that is aligned with my faith. So I went to the Clarksville, TN Chapter meeting last night to see first hand the type of people and find out more about the organization and what they do. Meeting any new group of people is always a little daunting because we never know how we will be accepted or if we’ll even fit in. My growing faith has made that easier for me lately because now I try hard to embrace everyone I meet daily in love and that always makes for a good friendly starting point.

I felt welcomed right away and many conversations ensued as we enjoyed a meal together before the meeting actually got underway. I was amazed by the love that was in that room and their genuine desire to spread the word of Jesus. It was obvious to me they not only loved motorcycles and riding but loved the Lord as well and were using their love for motorcycles as a method for expressing that love to support each other and all the people they meet on the open road. Their programs are varied by chapter and locality and also nationally. I won’t list them all here but here is the web site if you’d like to check them out for yourselves http://www.cmausa.org/

At the end of the meeting and as we were closing in prayer I was especially moved by a story one of the members told about a particular Bible verse that had changed his life when he was just 19 years old. It had to do with anger and how he learned to over come his and how we all can learn to do the same. The Bible verse was 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 verses 4 – 7. The NIV version translates it this way

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

He issued a challenge to us that was given to him when he was 19 that changed his life. He asked us to take that Bible verse and substitute our names where you see the word Love in that Verse and live it for the next 30 days. As God is Love and we strive to be like Christ in Love it’s a natural extension that can have a profound impact on how we live our lives. For example here is the same verse that I have rewritten for me on my white board in my office that I may see it each day first thing and try and implement.

Donnie is patient, Donnie is kind. He does not envy, he does not boast, he is not proud. He does not dishonor others, he is not self-seeking, he is not easily angered, he keeps no record of wrongs. Donnie does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Wow … pretty powerful spiritual medicine if you ask me. Now try the substitution for yourself and see if in 30 days it doesn’t change you. Amazing how timeless the words in the Bible are if we can only see the truth within it.

Amazingly I had a chance to practice right after leaving the meeting as I started heading home to Dover on my motorcycle. Two cars rushed by me and one swerved right into my lane as they raced along oblivious to other drivers around them. I was able to brake and avoid him but the anger rose within me. The old me would have sped up and caught that guy and let him know with one of my fingers what I though his IQ was but then I remember that verse and instead I backed off the throttle and let go of it. Not sure I’ll always be able to do that but now I have new ammunition in my heart to live the verse above that was personalize for me tonight. As I continued my ride home I had renewed hope that the anger within me could be controlled from above. What a great day. I think I’ll be seeing more of these folks and this organization.