1 Timothy 6: 17

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.

Will you let me just gloat and praise God today? I had a marvelous day yesterday. I was supposed to go to the beach this week but just couldn’t work out my schedule. So, my consolation prize was to get to take my mountain bike out for a ride yesterday. I haven’t ridden my mountain bike in a long time.

The day began with a picnic lunch seated next to the river. The birds frolicked about as the river serenaded us with its gentle tune. The weather was perfect and some of the trees beginning to lose their leaves. I love riding through the forest in the rain of falling leaves.

As I began to ride, there was a gentle fall breeze. I was exultant in the beauty, the weather and how good it felt to pedal that bike. It felt good to breathe, as if I had not breathed in days. The world slowed down for a little while and the peace of the Lord reigned supreme. My legs felt powerful as I pushed the bike down the cinder path. It was an experience of sheer delight.

I wish I could tell you that I had some amazing revelation while I was out there or that God spoke in my ear the whole time, but, He was uncharacteristically quiet. None the less, it was so clear that He was with me and that this was the day the Lord had designed for me.

It was a time of enjoyment; a time the Father gave me to enjoy all the good things He has done for me and the many things He has provided purely for my enjoyment. It was a time of personal ministry where the Lord met my needs and nurtured my inner being.  We had a wonderful day together and though I was tired, I was also surprisingly refreshed by the experience. I found a new place for the Father and I to meet in the pictures of my mind. By the way, when you find those beautiful places by the river, in the mountains or at the beach, take a picture of where you and Jesus sit so that when you get home you can revisit that spot together in your mind.

So, I have no great epiphanies to give you today, no sage advice. I have only an insight. We have heard it said that sometimes you have to stop and smell the roses. That is so true but sometimes the roses are a bike ride in the mountains, along one of the oldest rivers in the world, which actually flows north instead of south. God has created all these wonders for us to enjoy so enjoy them and give Him thanks. And just think, if He would create all that just for your simple enjoyment, what else will He do?

No Solo Success

Proverb 11: 14

Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.

There is no such thing as a self-made man, only one who’s ego is out of control because there is no success without guidance. Victory is in the abundance of counselors.

Recently I rode, what was for me, a big bike ride. It was only 32.5 miles but it went uphill 3000 feet. That was the most climbing I have ever done. The Shenandoah Park service closed a section of Skyline Drive for one day to all motorized traffic. It was a great opportunity to get out on that scenic road and experience the beauty and grandeur of the mountains. I was so happy to have accomplished that ride but in the sober moments of life and indeed even out on the road, I was equally thankful for all the people who helped me.

You know, cycling can be a lonely adventure and I was all alone on the mountain that day. No one could help push the pedals around but I was never really alone. First, my Father was with me and I was grateful for His presence. In truth, though, there were a lot of people pushing me up that hill. Many people gave me encouragement in the days and weeks leading up to the ride and that really did help me. There were times when I was concerned about the ride but there was always someone there telling me that I could do it.

That isn’t all though. Riding in Georgia a couple of weeks before I met a woman named Varina who shared her knowledge of nutritional gels with me and gave me lots of good advice. Then there was Dr. Goldberg who coached me on nutrition and hydration. Mike, the owner of the local bike shop, spent a lot of time with me, encouraging and teaching me. Then, where would I have been without Diane who drove me to the beginning of the ride and picked me up on the other end, having to go around, of course, because the road we were all riding on was closed to cars. And then there were my prayer partners, who prayed for me and for my ride. I honestly wonder if I could have succeeded in that ride without even one of these blessed people. While it may have appeared I was on my bike alone, isolated on that mountain, the truth is that there was a team of people who helped me up that hill.

Wouldn’t it be something if I arrived at the top to declare what a great solo success I achieved? It just is not true. Additionally, all of the people who prayed, taught and encouraged learned from others. We are all standing upon the shoulders of those who have gone before. Even the technology of nutritional products these days is well advanced of what was available only a few short years ago.

That is how it is with life. We can go further faster today because of those who have gone before and because of all of our teachers, parents, coaches, encouragers and prayer warriors. I thank my God for each of you. Every encouragement you give keeps casting additional seed through the people you have blessed. I am thankful for all of the experiences my friends have learned from and for the time they have spent becoming educated. Truly no one of us is an island and even in the isolating alone times, it is good to remember all of the people who have contributed to the successes of your life.

You are never alone because your Father is with you but you also carry with you the prayers and encouragement of many people. In abundant counselors you find the victory because success is a team sport.

More Power Please

Psalm 68: 35

O God, You are awesome from Your sanctuary. The God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to the people. Blessed be God!

You are getting a lot of Psalms and Isaiah this week because these two books, along with the Proverbs, are where I go for strength and encouragement. The Psalms are a good place for you to look for our Father in a time of need.

I need strength and power so I journeyed into the Psalms to find a promise I can hang my hat on. I have taken on a bicycle ride that is a bit of a challenge but like every aspect of my life, I expect Dad to be a full partner for this ride. I need Him to supply the strength and power and I will supply the legs. That sort of ends my commitment. Just like in my work, He has to do all of the hard work. This is an arrangement that is working very well for me and is what He wants my role to be. I know because I asked Him. I felt a bit guilty that I was expecting Him to supply all the strength and all of the power but He told me that is where He wants me. He wants me to rely on Him to provide for my every need. Wow!

I have three BIG guys. Why would I want to do the hard labor. That just does not make sense. Father, Son and Holy Spirit have this covered. And, oh yeah, my part? Well, that was praying about it before I committed myself. If Dad said, “No,” then I wouldn’t be doing this.

This applies in every single area of life. When things present themselves, before we say, “yes” we can go to the Father and ask Him. He manages the resources which include our time and energy. He also knows which things move us forward and which will set us back. We are such rugged individualists that we often forge ahead. “Damn the torpedoes. Full steam ahead.” Well, I am beginning to think that individualism may be at the root of a great many of our social, familial and even personal problems. In fact, I am beginning to wonder if it is sin. Regardless, your Father is here to carry the heavy load for you. He has all strength and all power. He is all we need.

Hey, remember to scratch out the name Israel and write in your own. That is your proper standing in this New Covenant.