Archive for July, 2011

I saw something today that reminded me that there are times in life that I give up to quickly.  You see, I saw life where I thought it no longer existed.

Several weeks ago my in-laws traveled to our house and brought with them several plants for transplanting.  One of these plants was a three foot tall black walnut tree.  I was pretty excited about the tree and knew exactly where I wanted to plant it.  So I dug my hole and planted my tree.  In an effort to further baby my tree along I even put mulch around its base.  My family and I dutifully watered our yards new addition.

Yet all the watering and babying of our new friend seemed to prove hopeless.  The leaves all fell off within a week.  After the leaves fell off, the branches started to curl up at the ends.  To look at it, you would have sworn it was dead.  Yet all the while, my family and I faithfully watered the tree.  Then last week my said to me, “I don’t think it made it.”  She had grabbed on the branches on the tree and it simply snapped off in her hand.  Together we reached the same conclusion: it was dead. 

I made plans to remove the tree.  After all, why mow around something that is dead.  I never did remove it.  In fact my wife and I went away for two nights for our anniversary and today I mowed around it again.  This time I noticed something that had not been on the tree when I had looked at it last.  About four inches off the ground several small leaves were shooting off the side of the tree.  I could not believe my eyes.  I excitedly announced my findings to the whole family and we joyfully inspected the tree together.  After our inspection I filled a watering can and gave my little “dead” tree a nice watering.

I was thinking as I was watering the tree: I sure am glad I did not dig this up last week.  It reminded that sometimes we give up to easily in life.  We just aren’t quite patient enough.  The real reason my tree survived is not because I am patient.  Rather it is because I procrastinated.

In life there are many things that take a long time to take root and produce fruit and I am not just referring to trees and other plants.  Spiritual growth, friendships, love and a host of other things are often given up on to quickly.  Yet instead of giving up and throwing these things away (like I was going to do to my tree) we need to continue to faithfully water and baby these things along.  You never know, you might just be suprised what can happen if you don’t give up so quickly.  I know I was!

Surviving Your Serengeti:
7 Skills to Master Business and Life
By: Stefan Swanepoel
Surviving Your Serengeti by Stefan Swanepoel is an easy but extremely interesting read. Because the book is set up in what the writer refers to as a fable format it is presented in an easy to follow story format. Yet this book is so much more than a story. It combines the beauty of the African Serengeti, the story of a frustrated couple and at the same time highlights seven skills that important to all of us in everyday life. The constant flow of the story and the beautiful description of the Serengeti plains will make it hard to put the book down.
Upon picking the book up I was not sure what to make of it. I typically do not read things that are in a fable format. Yet after just reading a couple chapters I decided to read the rest of the book with a pen in hand. I highlighted several thoughts that jumped off the page to me. I must say after reading the book, I am quite impressed. It is not as though I read anything new or groundbreaking but the manner in which it was presented really got me thinking. I even walked away from the book with several quotes from the book that I plan on hanging up in my office and sharing with others.
At the end of the day, would I recommend this book? Most definitely yes! While Swanepoel’s credentials are impressive and he is clearly a gifted leader, this book can be helpful and challenging for everyone in all walks of life. This book will not only make you want to be a better person but it will also make you want to plan your own trip to the Serengeti!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

In God we trust is a statement that all Americans are very familiar with. The statement …And may God bless America is another statement we are well aware of. It is one that ends nearly every presidential address as well as many other speeches that politicians give.
While I long to be part of a country that acknowledges God in all that we do, I am not convinced that these statements truly reflect the heart of the nation I proudly belong to.
It is a true statement that God can bless whomever He chooses. However, when one studies the Scriptures, one will find that most of God’s blessings are contingent upon the faithfulness of His followers. Yet the inconsistency of what many politicians (and Christians) practice does not really line up with their calling on God for blessing.
There are many places in Scripture that follow the theme of Malachi 3.7 where the prophet Malachi writes on God’s behalf “From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes, and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you.”
A section of Scripture that I am drawn to as I consider the concept of returning to God in order that we might receive His blessing is found in Isaiah 1.18-20 where the prophet Isaiah wrote the words, “‘Come now, and let us reason together’, says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool. If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.’ Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
My belief is that we are not eating the best in the land. Yet many Christians have settled for what they believe to be “good enough”. As long as sin is allowed, blessing is withheld. If we desire to eat the best in the land then we must, as Isaiah wrote, consent and obey. It is my belief that God is waiting to bless those who will stand up and say “Yes I will be faithful”.
The restoration of a God honoring nation does not begin with government. It begins with God’s people choosing to be faithful. Choosing to stand out from the crowd and call sin, sin and do what is right in the eyes of God rather than of man.
The spiritual revival of our nation starts with you and me. It is time we as a nation stop using God’s name in vain when we say “God bless America”.
The Christians of America need to stand up and say what the writer of Hebrews said about Moses in Hebrews 11.25. They need to say, I choose to endure the ill-treatment with the people of God rather than enjoying the passing pleasures of sin because I have an eternal focus (vs. 26).