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Lamentations 3:20-27 The Message (MSG)

It’s a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God

I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
    the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
    the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
    and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left.

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
    to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
    quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
    to stick it out through the hard times.

Don’t Forget To Be Friends

Life gets big, fast, and sometimes all too confusing. 

Remember when things were simpler when it was just you and him, or maybe you and her?

Hey, did that actually happen or was that a mythical moment with a mythical couple?

Why just this morning the SUV has left the driveway at least three times, and that was before 9:00 am; not once would you have been presentable had you been pulled over.

It’s called life. Not a prison, sentence, or punishment; it’s a full-on privilege.

I know you needed a moment, I just wanted to remind you of that. We all do.

We started out as friends; we liked spending time together. I would do crazy things to get to be with her and see her smile. Even if I only got five minutes during her lunch break and then have to drive back to where real life happened, I did it for fun, for friendship, for love.

We’ve seen others succumb and lose their focus. It could have happened to us. Somehow we picked up a little tidbit. Somehow we learned to push back on the rapid, the consuming press of time, schedule and appointments. We learned that we have to be friends and stay friends. Working on friendship in the middle of life is no easy task, but we’ve been able to do it up until now and determinedly we’ll do it into the future.

You can too. Stay friends.

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Monday Morning Blues

It’s Monday morning and who wants to go to work? Really, who wants to leave their weekend behind and embrace the repetitive mundane?

Well, that is indeed one way to look at it.

Or, we can adjust our thinking. Why would we want to do that?

Monday is going to happen whether you are on board or not; whether or not you jump in with your game face, or drag in, hauling your coffee with your IV hookup.

The fact is you can choose; what a great gift. You can choose to live with a good, great, or excellent attitude, or you can choose not to. Too much for a Monday morning? That’s why I waited until now to send this.

Choice is a gift from God. I think he holds it as one of his highest values. He must; it is what makes us human.

Don’t give your choice away to someone or something that will marshal it for another cause. You’ve been given the gift, so use it.

Choose.

Choose to live well, to hope strong, to have faith that God has ‘got this’ and knows where you are at, and what needs to happen next.

Don’t settle for being pushed around by a Monday or anything else that wants to usurp your gift.

You get to choose. So, choose by choice, not by default or any other imposed criteria.

We get to make a choice, so, Happy Monday! You are alive and ‘Get to.’

Address The Mess Series: Emotional Duct Tape

 

I had just turned 50. My wife and family gave me an amazing birthday gift of a Fly-In-Fishing trip into Ryan Lake Alberta, in the Canadian Shield.

I, in turn, bought a place for my son as a graduation gift and we coerced a friend to come with us. The three of us had the lake, lodge and three brand new boats and motors to ourselves for five whole days.

The very first day probably not even an hour on the lake and my brand new fishing rod snapped. Yup? I was angry. I was fortunate in that I had brought an old faithful spare rod.

We had a fantastic trip, and I have tons of stories about it.

The last day we needed to use up our supplies and did I tell you that the friend that I brought was a chef? Let’s just say it was an amazing week, and we ate like kings. But, this last day we had to use our steak, veggies, apples, whip cream and oatmeal. So, Peter made an apple crisp pie and baked it on the BBQ. The only thing I had to do was use the wisp and get the whipping cream whipped.

The whisk was taking so long and not seeming to produce much, so all of a sudden an idea hit me. I call it a Red Green moment.

I had a reel that wasn’t being used, Duct Tape for an emergency and a wisp that could use some torque. Within minutes there was pure whipped cream sitting there waiting to add the fifth star to the restaurant review in the middle of nowhere.

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We laughed, ate, and laughed some more. The only thing missing was our wives, a maître d and a bottle of wine.

Duct Tape is made for a moment of need. It isn’t usually meant for a long-term fix.

It just occurred to me yesterday that we have tried to use Emotional Duct Tape to solve long-term problems.

I want to also explore this in future posts.

 

Here is the connect to my recent book, Path Out-Eliminate the Swirl

(Here’s how you can get a copy. https://philsovdi.com/book-offer/)

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Joseph Series: Dream Killers Become Dream Makers

They were all there, all the dream crushers, dream killers, dream stealers all bowed in the form of Joseph’s older brothers, just like the distant dream.

Oh, you’ve met them. You’ve had them stalk your present with your past. Some of them are sitting right now in the swirl of your mind. They are once again saying, “Impossible, you’ll never amount to anything, you’re too small, too big, too dumb, too poor, too…” Fill in the blanks with your own DK’s.

These are the haunting voices that daily narrate our lives from a place of obscurity. No, we’re not actually listening to voices, just thoughts, shadowed, unbridled, invasive, hostile, and uninvited thoughts. These thoughts were placed into our world at delicate, vulnerable, unprotected, and unsuspecting moments.

There, Joseph stood before his unaware brothers with his chance for retribution. He could have had their heads, their lives, their future and they wouldn’t have even known what hit them. Instead? Joseph’s forgiveness flowed.

He did process them through checks and balances; he had to know that he was facing the real reformed deal, but forgiveness had already been granted.

Somewhere between cistern and prison, Joseph forgave his brothers. We know he did, we just don’t know when he did because of this moment when he could have paid them back.

It was all the crap that Joseph’s brothers threw at Joseph that set him up for his present position and authority.

Sounds almost Messianic!

Maybe even a foreshadowing?

Joseph Series: Finally A Chance

Somewhere around year eleven Joseph finally got his break, or so he thought.

He, once again, was successful in the prison that confined him. On this particular day, two more guests (his perspective) came into the jail. From their perspective, it would have been the roughest day of each of their lives. The king was ticked at them, and they were thrown away, just like Joseph.

After they had been there a while each of them separately dreamed, but both on the same night. They didn’t know, but they were in the presence of a dreamer just like themselves. Joseph saw them in disarray and offered help. “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.” (Genesis 40:8, NIV)

Joseph had learned something. He was no longer the interpreter of his dream or the dreams of others.

It’s hard not to attach your own spin on things. Most of the time I find that I try to interpret my life, but Joseph realized that after eleven years he was not the interpreter of dreams. He could have them, as can I, as can you, but God was and is the interpreter.

It went well for the first guest the cupbearer, and it went terribly wrong for the second, the baker. After three days the interpretations came true, the Baker died, the Cupbearer was restored, and Joseph was once again forgotten.

Interpretations do belong to God, but so does timing and we don’t like that. We feel forgotten, lost, alone and frustrated. If we could fast forward the calendar five years and we could ask Joseph if he was okay with the timing, he probably would be, but not that day.

What are you waiting on? What is the long-standing dream of yours that is on hold? What prayer or plea appears to have ‘No’ as the answer?

What if there is a perfect moment coming?

You may want to wait.

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Joseph Series: Mess to Message

In a day of High-Speed Internet, anything short of instant is too long! To think that I used to think my 486 was fast compared to my XT, I just dated myself.

Wouldn’t you just like to wake up to success tomorrow morning? I would. I would love to take the mess of my life, my over-the-top struggle and just watch it vanish in Disney moment. Who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, that is not how gown-up life works.

It sure did not work that way for Joseph. He had to process his life, as do we; we really don’t advance, indeed grow and change, until we do.

Throughout the narrative, Joseph was referred to several times as successful in all that he did. That wouldn’t have been my version of success, I could easily come up with several other words, but from God’s vantage and perspective he was growing and changing even though, from mine, his life seemed to get worse. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem to make sense to me, but God isn’t waiting for me to catch up or for my permission to get or give understanding.

We might even concede to handling the ‘Process,’ but make it happen now. Don’t make me wait until growth happens or seasoning takes place.

There is a little-concealed phrase in the great biblical ‘Hall of Faith’ that is easily missed. It says, “…whose weakness was turned to strength;” (Hebrews 11:34, NIV) the quote is an operational key for life. God uses weakness. Did you hear that? I know you read it, but did you hear it? God uses weakness, then, now, in your life and mine. Stop for a moment; read that last sentence out loud so you can hear yourself saying it; grabbing this concept is so crucial for your equilibrium and wellbeing. It means that the mess, the screw-ups don’t’ have to remain that way. It means that just as Joseph came through and out, you can too.

You can experience a transformation from mess to message. You can leverage your past for success in your future, but even better than that, you can leverage your past for someone else’s future.

Just because it isn’t instant doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Your life can be an incredible message.

Stay in the game!

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You Don’t Have To Live; You Get To!

500 Metre Storm

Weird: try to explain it.

In the case of an accident, by the time you would be able, the evidence would be gone. No pictures; there wasn’t time; at 100 kph it was done almost as quickly as it started. It was a full on blizzard for something that lasted little more than twenty seconds. It was a band of weather crossing the road. By the time anyone could investigate, it would look like you just lost focus in normal conditions.

I was driving and then all of a sudden there were white out conditions. The car that was plainly visible in front of me disappeared in a moment. For a moment the road and defining lines were gone. At that moment, with the wrong set of circumstances, there could have been a mishap.

At that moment, in that flurry, what do you do? There are no manuals, time, or instruction videos immediately available. What you know is what you’ve got. Who you are is who it is. I backed off the throttle, stayed steady and cautiously proceeded.

Sometimes that is the way that life hits. In a moment, everything you know is gone, compromised, and jeopardized.

Emotional white outs, do they happen? Sometimes we want to run; we just want to bug out. Those are moments when we need to stay steady, back off the throttle and cautiously proceed. In about the time that it takes to breathe it’s gone and done. The only one who knows how precarious it was is you.

And one more thing, actually he’s not a thing he is a he. The Holy Spirit, if you let him, has promised to be your guide. Think about that, an internal GPS that comes with the instructions. “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” (John 16:13, NIV)

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You Don’t Have To Live; You Get To!

Go for the Colour

I love the extravagant splash of Fall colours. The sun rises or sets and the field narrows, it becomes targeted by cloud cover and the brilliance becomes breathtaking; oranges, yellows myriads of green all exploding on the nearby hills.
But then, there is also the bland and the barren in copious amounts. The scorched black and grey, brownish and overcoming, all-encompassing reminders of a terrifying day; The ‘Beast’ took its toll. So we are left with a painful reality that both exist, beauty and the ‘Beast.’
Where will you look? What will capture your focus?
It is impossible but that you will see. It is totally a choice as to where you look
Go for the colour. Go for the splash!

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Focus – Look Where You Want To Go

From where do you draw your direction?

Where is it that you get your lead?

We live in a culture that bombards us and presses us to take our lead, our directives from what is before our eyes. It’s called advertising. It’s called ‘News.’ It’s called trending.

So, what is before your eyes?

Maybe, like a widely represented group in Canada, your answer would be social media or news media.

All too often I think we are cultured to fit, flow, and move with the pack. Given just enough information to ‘help us’ develop our opinion we move onto the next media onslaught.

Focus is everything in our context; where we are looking is where we are going. That may not seem like a big deal until you wind up at a place that is not okay then you scratch your head wondering how you could be so far off track.

The principle is ‘Look at where you want to go.’ This phrase is true in the Martial Arts; as my son has been instructing me, look at where you want that kick to land. It is also true in professional driving, ‘look to the horizon of where you want to go.’

Our look, our ‘set’ is paramount.

Why not set your eyes, your focus, and your vision now, before you find your life off course?

Maybe this blog finds you off course. You can change your trajectory with a new focus.

David, the giant killer/King, did it. Psalm 16:8

Paul, the Christian persecutor, found his focus and became the forgiven propagator and prolific author of the Christian faith. Philippians 3:13b-14

Maybe today you can find your focus, your set, and your target?

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You Don’t Have To Live; You Get To!