What’s your weather today?

 

 

Dr. John Ed Mathison

By John Ed Mathison

The weather plays a big part in how we live our lives every day.  We dress and plan accordingly.  We can complain about the weather, but complaining doesn’t change the weather.  The weather is what it is.  We can’t change the weather, but we can be prepared to cope with it positively!

   2017 was the costliest year ever for weather related disasters in the U.S., reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Three huge hurricanes and a couple of wild fires combined caused much discomfort, danger, and a huge cost.  Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria plus thirteen other weather and climate disasters cost citizens of the U.S over 306 billion dollars!

I learned a new term, “bomb cyclone,” a few of months ago when this unique weather condition hit the Northeastern U.S. It caused wind chills as low as 100 degrees below zero in New Hampshire – that’s cold!  On the same day in Australia, they had the most catastrophic heat wave in eighty years when temperatures hit 117 degrees Fahrenheit – that’s hot!   A six mile stretch of highway in Victoria melted into soft sticky asphalt.  Same day – different weather.

   The stories that have come out of 2017 show a lot of folks who complained constantly and had a terrible year – while others decided to let God help them make their lives meaningful during these tragedies.  I’ve told many of these stories in the one minute devotional I do every morning on several radio stations and on Facebook. 

   I was attending a social function on a recent Saturday night.  The person had invited about 35 friends to a cookout.  He gathered everybody together on his front porch when it was time to eat.  He commented that he appreciated everyone being there and then revealed that it was actually his birthday.  He said he invited everybody because they were friends, but he had especially invited me because he needed someone to say the prayer.  (I looked around, and I could understand that.)  He then said that the main reason he invited me was to be in charge of the weather.  I quickly reminded him, “I’m in sales, not management.”

   There’s truth in that statement.  We need to stay out of management.  We can’t control things.  We can’t manage the universe – God is in charge of that.  God is in charge of everything.  Our greatest pleasure in life comes when we accept God’s ownership of everything, and then find our place where we fit in to make our lives count in his universe.

   Everything we face today – including the weather, God is in charge of it.  Our task is to get out of the management business and be more effective in the sales responsibility.  We are to let our light shine – to be the salt of the earth – to be the light of the world.  (Read Matthew 5:13-16.)  We are to share the Good News of God’s love for every person.

   I read somewhere that God is in charge of the flowers and trees – I am in charge of the seeds and weeds.  That’s a powerful truth.  When we learn the basic responsibilities of what God does and what we are to do, life begins to take a new dimension.  Abraham Lincoln once said, “Everyday I want to look for an opportunity to pull up a weed and to plant a flower where it might grow.”

   The weather is not your enemy – it’s God’s gift to you to be used in a productive way.  I once heard someone say:

   “Whether the weather be cold or whether the weather be hot –We’ll weather the weather whatever the weather, Whether we like it or not.”

   Let God help you make this a great weather day!

A Post Resurrection Temptation

 

 

Dr. John Ed Mathison

By John Ed Mathison

Following several resurrection appearances, Jesus gave a great promise to His people.  They were scared, frightened and had little sense of direction of what they should do.  His promise transformed a group of fearful followers into a fearless fellowship that went out to change the world!

   That promise is recorded in Acts 1:6-8 when Jesus said, “And you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, then you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  That promise was that they would always have His power and His presence in everything they did.  It also contained the purpose for their continuation of His work as they became His witnesses.

   But after making that promise, Jesus disappeared into a cloud, leaving them staring up into the sky after Him.  As they were straining their eyes for just another glimpse, two angels appeared and said, “Why are you standing here gazing at the sky?” (Read Acts 1: 9-12)

   It was natural for Jesus’ followers to desire one more glimpse of Him.  They were probably hoping He would come back in a few minutes.  They were wondering if He had any other word to say to them.  They were standing there “sky gazing.” Then the angel told them to quit gazing and start going to fulfill the mission Jesus gave them. 

   It’s a lot easier to gaze into the sky than it is to go and fulfill God’s purpose.  Sky gazing is a pretty good pastime of the Church today.  It’s easy to sky gaze and talk about how things used to be.  It’s easier to discuss how Jesus disappeared.  It’s easier to debate some of the things that He said.  But in today’s world it’s time to stop sky gazing and start going about the mission that Jesus left for us to do!! (Tweet that!)

   The book of Acts is named Acts of the Apostles because it is a record of how the apostles acted.  It’s not about how they thought positively or creatively – it is about how they acted.  They went out to witness and to serve. 

   It is easier to gaze than to go.  Sometimes our gazing takes the form of “God’s just going to do everything.”  If we think God is going to do everything while we do nothing that is not faith but spiritual stupidity.  We must know that God’s part we cannot do – and our part God will not do!

   One of the old comedy routines of Bill Cosby was called “Noah’s Ark.”  There were two hippos that were being herded through the door of the Ark, and God said, “Wait a minute, Noah, both of those are male.  We need a female.”  This infuriated Noah.  He complained that it was difficult to turn a hippopotamus around in a boat, much less take him out and round up another one.  God said, “I don’t care. Get another hippo!”  Finally, Noah shouted in desperation, “Why don’t you just change one of them?”  God’s next words were, “Noah, how long can you tread water?”   Don’t ask God to do what He told you to do!

   Sometimes we do our gazing in the form of procrastination.  It’s easy to put off a responsibility for another day.  I heard that Satan called a board meeting of leaders in hell.  He said, “We need to come up with a new strategy for causing havoc on earth.  Do you have any suggestions for a new means of reaching people for our side?”  One devil suggested telling people there is no Heaven.  Another had a better suggestion – tell people there is no hell.  Then the prize-winning suggestion that was judged to be most effective was – tell them there is no hurry. 

    The time is urgent.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “If Jesus returns tomorrow, then tomorrow I’ll rest from my labor.  But today I have work to do.”

   Stop sky gazing and start going to accomplish God’s mission!

March Madness Coaching Life Lessons Part 3 of 3

 

 

Dr. John Ed Mathison

By John Ed Mathison

Coach John Wooden was an all-American basketball player and a straight A student at Perdue.  Academics and athletics formed his background for coaching.  But his most effective coaching came from the fact that he knew the real meaning of life.  Wining for Wooden wasn’t scoring more points – it was knowing and following God’s will.  He said he always wanted his players to be dependent on God and to have Jesus in their hearts.  That’s a real winner!  Here are more lessons:

   1. Coach Wooden never complained about tough situations.  When he went to UCLA, his teams had to practice in an old barn.  Before practice he had to sweep the floor to get rid of the dirt from the Physical Education classes that were held in the building.  They played their games at whatever venue in town was available.  He never had a home court advantage.  He didn’t complain – he just started winning games despite the conditions.  He always believed that you do not permit what you cannot do to interfere with what you can do!  A great lesson for life!  Read Philippians 2:14.

   2. Coach Wooden loved his players – but he did not spoil them.  Of the 180 players who played for him, he knew where 172 of them lived and worked.  They constantly called him for advice.  But he didn’t spoil them.  He wanted his players to be disciplined enough so that when the game started, they were ready to meet any situation.  He didn’t want his players expecting to have time-outs during the game to ask for his advice.  He had coached them.  He said, “Once the game started I didn’t want them to need me.” 

   3. He would often say, “If you give players too much, they don’t really appreciate it.”  He would also say, “If people are hungry, give them fish, but after they’ve eaten teach them how to fish.  Don’t keep giving them fish – that would make them dependent on you for their food.”  It’s never good to take away anyone’s independence.  The only dependence Coach Wooden wanted his players to have was to be dependent on God. 

   4. He wouldn’t allow any profanity.  His discipline was to be in charge of their words as well as their emotions.  If a player used a word of profanity, he was done for the day and for the next game.  He would also remind them that if they never told a lie they would never have to remember what they said.  Read Ephesians 4:29.

   5. Coach would tell his players to never be afraid of making a mistake.  If you don’t risk making a mistake you’ll never be able to face success.  He said that a player could make mistakes and not be a failure if you are giving your full 100% effort, which includes preparation and execution.  You’re only a failure if you give your all, and then blame someone else for your mistakes.  When you place blame, you’re making excuses – when you’re making excuses you can’t adequately evaluate yourself and failure is inevitable.  You will make mistakes – just be sure you make the right mistakes.  Read Hosea 4:4.

   6. He always taught that being a Christian takes a personal relationship with God, which only comes through faith in Jesus Christ.  He would ask people, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”  He believed that his faith was more than something he said – it was also what he did.  Read James 2:17-19.

How coachable are you?