**Signal Lost**

Remember when this little guy would pop up on the TV screen? By the time I was old enough to realize what was going on on the tube, this was not as prevalent, but a nuisance nonetheless. 

Growing up in the country, we didn’t have satellite or cable. Our stations came over the air, from the translator in Childress. We had a whopping six stations: the big three, Fox, PBS and a wildcard station that varied with the mood of the translator operator. 

You always hoped and prayed those two weeks out of the year when the operator went on vacation that they remembered to keep the tower on. If not, us country folk watched static for seven to 10 days. 

When that happened, it was a crippling feeling. I mean, television was our lifeline to the outside world. Don’t get me wrong, we played outside A TON, but nothing replaced Saturday morning cartoons or weekday afternoon cartoons following a hard day at school. 

Sometimes we would lose signal, not because the operator wasn’t there, but because our antenna got blown a different direction. (It sucked going out to tune that thing. Yelling at your brother to make sure it was right, ugh!)

I was just thinking that we have a lot in common with that antenna than we think. We have a connection with God through His Son, Jesus. It’s not a physical connection, but a spiritual one. Kinda like those signals beaming to out antenna. 

There are times where our signal is clear, which is due to consistant communication, prayer, worship and reading the Word. We are getting what we need and things are all good.

Jeremiah 33:3 says that when we call into Him, He’s gonna show us great and mighty things that we don’t know anything about. You think you’ll get that without being tuned into Him?

But there’s a flip side to this. We tend to lose our signal with God. That could be through complacency, temptation or just flat out walking away to do our own thing. 

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.

James 1:14-16 ESV

You see, that solution to keeping that signal a strong one is simple enough on paper, but we don’t live life on paper. We war with our flesh, the words of our peers, etc. 

I know sometimes it seems like your prayers don’t get any higher than the ceiling. That your signal to the Lord is so weak that you just about give up any and all of the things that once made your relationship so strong. Look at this verse:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4 ESV

As these temptations come, and they will, we should not let them affect our signal or communication with our Creator. According to the verse above, we should be steadfast in our faith and our stance with Him. 

For more on this topic, drop some comments below. I would love to hear what you think. Y’all be safe out there. 

Our Cardboard Existence 

Have you ever worked with cardboard? It’s stiff, rigid and virtually unworkable. You can cut it into some pretty sturdy shapes. But once it’s cut into that shape…good luck changing it.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that we have become cardboard worshippers. We are stiff, rigid and unwilling to change from what we have cut ourselves into. The bad part about it is that we don’t even realize that it has happened. 

We walk through the doors of our place of worship, we glad-hand our way to our seat (God forbid anyone take our “spot”) and when the service starts, we become stiff and stale like one of those John Wayne cutouts. There is no worship. No engagement between us and the God who so desperately wants to have that relationship with us. We are too preoccupied with our phones, our clothes, who to attack next on Facebook and what kind of crap that person on the other side of the sanctuary is talking about us. 

Every week, we get two chances (or more) to gather with our fellow believers at the feet of God, a luxury that some people can only dream of, and worship unabashedly. But it is often taken for granted because it doesn’t fit into our cardboard existence that we have crafted for ourselves. Many are content just showing up, warming a seat and improving our stock in the eyes of our fellow man. 

This behavior isn’t new. In fact, Paul wrote to Timothy about it in 2 Timothy 3:1-9. 

“Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.”

‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:1-5‬ MSG

So what do you do? Paul had the solution just a few lines later. 

“But don’t let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.”

‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:14-17‬ ‭MSG‬‬

We have to be at constant war with our flesh so that we don’t fall into the trap that the devil has set for us. We have to engage with our God on a daily basis in our prayer life and quiet times. When it comes to worship, we should whole-heartedly give ourselves over to Him. Press in and glean from the Word that is set forth to us by God through your pastor. 

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Hebrews 4:16 NLT

With the world going just about as crazy as ever, now is the time for the Church to be as active as ever. To be lovers of people rather than lovers of self.  To pray and seek His face rather than seeking our own. To serve rather than wait for service. 

Take you cardboard life and trade it for a clay one, ready to be molded by the Potter’s hands. 

Thanks for reading. Likes, comments and shares are always appreciated. Y’all be safe out there. 

Why write?

I like to write. It’s kind of a passion of mine. For a while, I thought I was doing pretty good…well, a few weeks ago I got put in my place. 

You see, I started writing this blog back in January and I was all jazzed up about honing my craft and wanting to get people to read it. I’d spend countless minutes every day looking to see what views I had, where those views were and how I could increase my digital foot print. wanted to get people talking about what I wrote and what I thought. But I was wrong. 

It all came to a grinding halt a few weeks ago right before writing “When words just aren’t enough.” I was trying to figure out what to write about this particular topic and God said, “Why are you worrying about that? Are you writing for you or me?”

It blew me away. I had been doing me for so long, I forgot about doing it for Him. It reminded me of some lyrics that Lecrae sang in his song Background

So let me just shadow you, let me trace your lines

Matter of fact, just take my pen, here, you create my rhymes

‘Cause if I do this by myself, I’m scared that I’ll succeed 

And no longer trust in You, cause I only trust in me

I had to be reminded that I’m here to play the background, not sit front in center.

God has sent us here for a purpose, to further the Gospel. That means whatever we do, we should do it to glorify and edify Him. That includes our time, our talent and our treasure. He has gifted me with writing; therefore, I’ll use that to further His kingdom. Am I super awesome at it? Maybe not, but at least I’m using it to further the Kingdom rather than in the world. 

In Isaiah 43:7, it says that God created us for His glory! And 1 Corinthians 10:11-12 in The Messge Bible warns us about trusting in ourselves and not leaning on God. 

“These are all warning markers— DANGER!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.”

All that being said, I don’t write these blogs for you, the reader. I write them for God with hopes that you’ll be encouraged and share it with someone else. That’s how the Word will spread. If it doesn’t apply to you, move on. If it challenges you, press in deeper. If you can’t care a hill of beans about what is here, don’t read it. 

So, whatever you do, whether it is turning a wrench, pushing papers or tending to your children at home, glorify God with it. You’ll be blessed. 

Thanks for reading! Y’all be safe out there.