iCan

canWe live in a fast-paced age marked by technological advances that have changed the way we live. Thanks to Samsung, people think of the Galaxy more in terms of a cell phone than they do the planets and stars.

As a child, I can remember being taught that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.  Today, however, many people think they can’t live without an apple, as in iPad, iPod, and iPhone.

While it’s true, that in some cases, technology has made life much easier, it has also made it more complex and less simple. With this in mind, let me share the simple truth of my iCan approach to life.

The basis of my iCan methodology is found in Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I believe I can:

  • Find the strength I need in times of trouble—Psalm 37:39: the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in time of trouble.
  • Find the confidence I need to face the challenges of life—2 Timothy:1:7: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
  • Find the light to lead me out of the darkness—Psalm 27:1: The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
  • Find the strength to persevere—James 1:2-4: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
  • Find the grace I need for today—2 Corinthians 12:9: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness

I encourage you to take an iCan approach to your life, and remember that, God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).

A is for Apple

apple-bobbing-boys-1920x675I was enjoying the sweet taste of apples long before I had ever participated in the homespun, spit-swapping, and germ-spreading, tradition of apple bobbing. Fact is, I almost drowned a time or two while I chased an apple around the inside of a water-filled wood barrel.

Apples are a tasty delight and a welcome addition to most diets, and they are also a definite plus to the pocket books of Washington farmers.  The typical orchard will produce 37,100 pounds per acre with a value somewhere between $12,500-$13,000.  The fertile ground of Washington contributes $18 billion plus to the state’s economy in apples alone.

When I eat an apple, my preference is Jonathan, Fuji, or Honeycrisp, but I doubt David had a specific variety in mind when he prayed: Keep me as the apple of your eye, and hide me in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 17:8).

As the apple of God’s eye, you are so special to God that:

  • He is aware of your sorrows—Psalm 56:8
  • He likens your prayers to the sweet smell of incense—Revelation 5:8
  • He floods your heart with His love—Romans 5:5
  • He blesses you with His mercy—Psalm 57:10

From out of all the orchards in the world, you are the apple that God has picked, and it is, “According to His great mercy, He has given us [you] a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you (I Peter 1:3-4).”

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry          ~Psalm 34:15

Death:  The Common Denominator

your-destination_0In 2005, Stanford University asked Steve Jobs to give the commencement address. During his speech, he made an interesting comment about death:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.

I find it interesting that Jobs, the founder of Apple, made a comment about death which is an apple-associated event.  To be fair, no one knows what Adam and Eve actually ate, but people generally think of the apple when they think of the Garden’s forbidden fruit.

Steve Jobs was right; death is the destination we all share.  Like it or not, death is the train that carries it passengers to destination death.

When Paul discussed death, dying, and the resurrection, *he said we all die due to Adam’s disobedience and sin in the Garden, but through Jesus all of us can live again.

While Adam’s way is the Path of Death, the way of life is the Am-Track Way or the Am-Way of Jesus: I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

When you get on board with Jesus, you experience the wonder of salvation, and its benefits:

  • You are justified by faith.
  • You have peace with God.
  • You have access to God.
  • You have a relationship based on the grace of God.
  • You can rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

When you consider your final destination, you should also, “Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us—He calls us children of God! It’s true; we are His beloved children. And in the same way the world didn’t recognize Him, the world does not recognize us either. My loved ones, we have been adopted into God’s family; and we are officially His children now. The full picture of our destiny is not yet clear, but we know this much: when Jesus appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him just as He is. All those who focus their hopes on Him and His coming seek to purify themselves just as He is pure (I John 1:1-3 ~The Voice).”

Death may be the common denominator, but Jesus is the uncommon Mediator, and He is the only way you should travel to your final destination.

*Read The Message for an interesting rendition of this passage of Scripture.

 

A Selfie Sentence: 3 Years in Jail

 

woodySelfie on a Stick is a company that sells a stick-like Bluetooth device that allows a person to take a self-portrait.  Sales figures from is company have shown a 3,000% growth in sales in November alone, and Nordstrom stocked their shelves with the Selfie on a Stick three times and completely sold out.

Invasion by  selfie stick has been such a problem in South Korea that the government has criminalized the unlicensed sale of selfie sticks, and anyone caught selling one faces a 3 years in prison.Selfie-Stick-Mann-Selfie-Fun-S7

The selfie stick is a sign of the times; it’s a time of self-presumption, self-consumption, and self-gratification that knows very little about denying self, taking up the cross, and following Jesus.

What’s the theme of your life?   Do the words of Frank Sinatra’s My Way describe you?

And now, the end is near

And so I face the final curtain

My friend, I’ll say it clear

I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

 

I’ve lived a life that’s full

I’ve traveled each and every highway

But more, much more than this

I did it my way

Your life motto should not be  “my way” but “Thy way.”  Instead of living a life that is posed for a selfie stick and an Apple iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy, your life should be lived for the glory of God and framed in the image of Christ.

To get a good picture, a photographer will tell you to think in terms of contrasts, light, lenses, and shutter speed.  To get a clear picture of who you are relation to Christ, ask you’re a couple of questions:

  • Am I conformed to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29)?
  • Am I focusing on the old self or the new self, and am I being renewed in the image of my Creator (Colossians 3:9-10)?
  • Are my eyes focused and fixed on Jesus or am I distracted by nonessentials (Hebrews 12:1-2)?

The next time you reach for your smartphone or a camera to take a picture, ask yourself another question:  Am I listening to God and living a life that’s a mirror-image of His principles?

I’ll close with these words from James: “Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like!” ~James 1:22-24 The Message