There is no such thing as a distraction — it is us who get distracted by giving things our blind attention.
~ Mooji, Vaster Than Sky, Greater Than Space
“Even in holy places, there are people working to make noise and to help you celebrate your own noisiness.”
Mooji, Vaster Than Sky, Greater Than Space
“Religion hates difference, it feels threatened by a questioning heart
and quickly attempts to suffocate freedom to think outside the box!”
Tales from the Couch is Dave Vaughan’s interpretation of his journey with God. Dave is honest. If you are open to questions, exploring life with God and open to the now, then you will love Dave’s stories. If your identity is wrapped up in having everything figured out, the tales may be frustrating. However, you may just get whacked by the Spirit and enjoy it anyway. Give it a read. It is a roller coaster ride that Dave has traveled so far. He shares his earliest memories of encounter, revelry, religious bondage, and the sweet life of encounter the new wine has to offer. It was a fun read that offered several nuggets of wisdom to ponder along the way. Dave does not get preachy. He just keeps it real. I like it!
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Quit the blame game and let the Lord lead the way
Does this ever happen: a player does not show up for all of the practices, doesn’t give his best effort, doesn’t learn the plays and blames the team and coaches for poor performance? Do people ever waste time at work, gossip, give less than their best, then get irate with their boss when penalized and/or corrected for their performance? How often do we want to enjoy the blessings of God without learning and trusting His ways, yet get annoyed, frustrated with and/or blame Him when we experience the consequences of ignoring what is best? Does this describe others that you know? Does this describe you?
There was a king of Israel that was guilty of this. He brought misery and hardship on himself and the nation of Israel because of it. Ahab and his wife Jezebel rejected God’s commands for Israel and incurred a 3 year famine (1 Kings 16:29-17:1). The famine was so severe that the king was faced with killing his own animals because there was not enough food and water to care for them. King Ahab knew he rejected God’s ways and was aware of his sin, but he never accepted responsibility for his actions or changed.
After 3 years of famine, God told his prophet Elijah to visit King Ahab and rain would return to the land of Israel. When Ahab finally saw the man of God, do you know what he did? Ahab did not repent, apologize or ask how he could change. Instead, he blamed Elijah for the famine (18:17)! Thankfully, God restored rain to the land, but Ahab still did not accept responsibility for his sin at that time. As you read about Ahab’s life, you will observe that he was hard to please, whined a lot and brought sorrow and pain to a lot of people.
It is always in our, and others’, best interest to trust God. Pride, our ego, wants us to believe we can reject wisdom, ignore the source of life, and make our own way. Sadly, this will come at the expense of others and our own well-being. We may not always see that immediately, or how it always happens, but it does. We bless ourselves and other when we learn from our mistakes, take responsibility for our actions and change. Don’t be the person that never learns and always blames others. God is willing to reveal where you have trusted the blame game more than Him. Ask God to show you the areas of your life where you resist His instruction. Praise God, He will lift you up from the valley of blindness and show you the way (James 4:10).
How many children and grandchildren continue negative legacies? Whether it is character traits, behaviors, or line of work, it is not uncommon for children to follow in their parents’, or people they respect, footsteps. Children may not follow their dreams and make something more of their life because of what their parents and family demand. I’ve known of kids that did not go to college because their family discouraged it. The children gave up what was best because they believed they had no choice.
Breaking tradition and not going along with others’ expectations is not always easy, especially if it affects people we know, love and respect. It is difficult to stay motivated to change when everyone else has given up, never tried, and are content to go with the flow. This is not uncommon. However, the blessings of breaking the cycle are far superior to maintaining a life that hinders, hurts and holds us back.
Asa reigned in Judah for 41 years. He inherited a deplorable legacy. His parents and grandparents were idolaters. For years Asa’s family led the people of Judah away from the Lord to worship other gods (1 Kgs 14:21-24; 15:1-3). This angered God, and Asa’s family and the nation of Judah reaped the consequences (14:25-28; 15:6-7). When Asa became king he had a choice to make: follow his family or break the cycle. Thankfully, Asa broke the cycle (1 Kings 15:9-15). In order to bring the change God wanted, he had to remove his grandmother from her position of authority and destroy what his family built honoring other gods.
Yes, Asa rebelled against his family’s wishes. According to the world, you could say Asa dishonored his family. Sometimes, on the surface, honoring God may look like you are dishonoring your family and peers. Realistically, doing the right thing is the greatest honor one can bestow. People will not always like or understand the choices you make. You may even be resented because of your decision to break the cycle. Remember this: God is never against you breaking the cycle if it honors and respects Him.
Honoring God is the greatest blessing you can give your family and friends. Any cycle is worth breaking in order to bring that to fruition. It can be scary, and it may require a lot of change and sacrifice. Breaking the cycle may even lead to hurt feelings, anger and division. Be clear about why you are making the change, and lean on God every step of the way. When you second guess yourself, remind yourself that it is never wrong to do the right thing. Break the cycle!
The greatest gift ever given is Jesus. I don’t know if it is possible to adequately express His enormous impact. Instead of using my words to try, I thought I would share others’ words about Jesus as recorded in scripture.
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins (Matt. 1:21, KJV).”
“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end…’Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!’ (Luke 1:31-33, 42 NIV).”
“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord…’Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased’ (Luke 2:10-11, 14, NASB).”
“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah: because out of you will come a leader who will shepherd My people Israel (Matt. 2:6, HCSB).”
“When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him (Matt. 2:10-11a, NLT).”
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel. (Luke 2:29-32, ESV).”
“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this (Isa. 9:6-7, NRSV).”
You are blessed.