Thanksgiving 2016

First I want to express my condolences Ron Blood and family for the loss of his grandson and to Arne Thompson for the loss of Jodi, Arne’s wife. Also praying for Andrew and Aly as they all go through the grieving of close loss. May God comfort you and show His grace and kindness to you in this hard time.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

That is a good place to start your Thanksgiving. Take some time to be intentional at thanking God, not just on Thanksgiving Day but every day. There is so much to be thankful for. You can start with God and thank Him for Who He IS. Get a piece of paper out and start writing down Who He IS and His character and attributes and personality traits. We can spend a lot of time on this and it is good. Slowly thanking God for each one.

You can be thankful and give thanks for your family and the people God puts around you. Then give thanks for your health; your home; your work; your abilities; etc… There is so much to be thankful for. We need to have a heart and life full of thankfulness. It is one way to keep us focused.

Now this will have a price. You are going to have the enemy, the devil, attack. He will try to make you ungrateful and discouraged and bitter. Don’t get trapped in his game. It is good to write down a list of things so when he goes on the attack you can read them and remember the good which God has blessed and given us.

It is also important for us to be in fellowship with other believers and in church if we want to have a life of thankfulness. It is vital for us to be in the Bible, in the Word. I know many who sing or listen to solid Bible based music to help them in their prayer and life of thanksgiving.

Have a plan! Live it out.

Happy Thanksgiving and have a great day rain’ in the SONshine,
Todd

Clear!

Oh, wait, maybe not.

That was heart-wrenching to watch Sunday. I rarely get to see any NASCAR races but last week was an exception. I got home and there was about 120 laps left so we watched it. We were pretty excited to see Matt take the lead and looking good. It looked like he would make the championship round and even looked like he was going to get the win. Few if any know what it is like being a NASCAR driver or spotter. I certainly don’t but that had to be intense and nerve-racking. I know this affected other drivers too and their part in this incident as Matt and team went to the lead and then wrecked and were out.

As I have thought about this I have been given a clear word picture. This is not, I repeat, this is not to judge Matt, his spotter or other drivers in any way. It is only a word picture that teaches, at least a lesson for me and hopefully for others.

The green flew, Matt drove off hard and fast and beat everyone down the front straightaway. As they dove into one the spotter says clear. Matt’s spotter did not have all the information he needed to make the call. He did not see that Kyle hit Bowman and knocked him forward with more speed than anticipated. Matt, hearing clear moves down into Bowman and is sent out of control, wrecking, into the wall.

Let’s take Matt’s spot in this story and think about the car as our life. We’re going along thinking if we work hard and drive hard we will get the win, heaven. We are listening to someone and think it is the right voice, the voice of the Holy Spirit. We are going along with others in life and we look pretty good. As things start to unfold, we find some of those people are going to help wreck us instead of lift us up and draw us closer to the LORD. When combined with who we listen to we make a mistake and are sent wrecking in life. Instead of winning in life we find ourselves wrecked by our choices, our sin separating us from God for eternity.

Can you see how important it is to listen to the Holy Spirit and not the world or even self? Do you see how important it is to have solid Christians around us? Do you see how important, even vital it is that we are saved and in step with the LORD?

Just take some time and think about that. In Matt’s case there is another season, another race and it is just racing. In life we each have only one life to live and if we miss salvation the consequences are eternal. I don’t want any to miss out on that. God offers His salvation to all who will admit to sin and confess Jesus as LORD. Don’t miss it.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

Election 2016

First I want to thank each and every person that is serving or has served in the armed forces. We have so many freedoms because of your sacrifice. I thank the families also as I know they too have sacrificed as their loved ones serve. Thank you!
As you know I have stayed away from the political talk. I really struggle with what has happened with the two big parties and where they are today in leadership. I think it is pretty weak. With that being said I was surprised to hear when Clinton lost with the polling numbers we were given over the last several months.
To me the defining moment of this election cycle was in early September when Clinton used the words deplorable. I think that is when she unknowingly kicked the hornets nest that lead to her defeat. We know in an election many awful things are said and Trump said his share of things that were demeaning to many but I want us to think about Clinton’s statement one more time.
You know she was right, well partly right. She said “half. ” She should have said “all” and then she should have said not only Trump supporters but all people. Now you are thinking I am mean and crazy and some other words and thoughts that are not very kind but stick with me a minute.
What does the word deplorable mean? “Causingor being a subject for censure, reproach, or disapproval; wretched; very bad:” (dictionary.com) God says about each one of us we have wicked hearts and have sinned. (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10-12; 3:23) But here is the difference from Clinton and God, (Ok that sounds silly. There is no comparison). God offers hope to those of us that are deplorable. He offers salvation, forgiveness of sin, and redemption. It is the coolest and greatest thing. He extends His love and grace and mercy out to us and offers His gift of eternal life.
Now here is the challenge. Jesus makes that offer but you have to accept it, receive it,  and be willing to follow Him with a changed heart and life. Will you, have you, called out to Jesus?
Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

 

Practice

First, my heart has been heavy with the killing of more police officers this week. I am praying often for the families that I know that serve and for the families, departments and friends of the fallen officers. This is weighing heavy on my heart. I cannot imagine what they are going through as they send their loved ones out to protect daily.

What do you learn if you just goof around in practice? Not much is right. How often do you just skip practice? How about if you make no changes after the first round of practice and you know the car is not good for the day or night? Things just will not go well doing that, right?

It is interesting to think about that in life. If we just goof around and let things unfold however they will unfold, in the end we see a lot of emptiness. Instead we have to be looking for change, change done by the Lord and the Holy Spirit. We have to be committed to repentance and revival. We have to be committed to the Word of God. Then, we have to practice obedience. Do you practice obedience? Are you committed to the LORD? Are you serious and intentional?

Proverbs 20:23 Unequal weights are an abomination to the Lord, and false scales are not good.

Two echoes in a single verse. One, is being honest and truthful. Two, we are back to that word, “abomination” Again, God is still very serious about truth and honesty.

Proverbs 20:24 A man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way?

I know we just covered this but God again reminds us our steps, our plans, our actions are important.

Proverbs 20:25 It is a snare to say rashly, “It is holy,” and to reflect only after making vows.

Look at both parts of this verse. First, an echo on our words and the damage they can do. Second, a warning not to just jump into things before really thinking about them. We need to be about prayer before actions. How are you at this?

Proverbs 20:26 A wise king winnows the wicked and drives the wheel over them.

There are so very few godly, wise rulers. Looking through history they are few and far between. This is one thing to look for in a wise rulers, they separate and discern good from bad. DO you see that in anyone around right now? Do you see any rulers looking to God for truth and help in leading? I don’t.

Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.

Hear this well! The LORD searches and knows each one of our thoughts. There is no hiding. No escaping His sight. He even knows what is in our heart.

Proverbs 20:28 Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king, and by steadfast love his throne is upheld.
We could change this country with one God-fearing person leading. I wonder if that will ever happen?

Proverbs 20:29 The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.

Both young and old and all in between have value. Never forget that.

Proverbs 20:30 Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.

We need to be cleaned from the inside out. We need to be pure, an acceptable offering like is spoken of in Romans 12. Are you that kind of offering?

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,

Todd

Would you? Have you?

Have you seen the guy that is about to go out and stopped him because there is something wrong with the car? Or the guy that gets stopped because a buckle is loose. I have seen several times when other crews have helped another guy that if they did not help would have been or could have been a damaged car or driver.
I have several family members and friends that work in hospitals and emergency services. They want to help others and that is what they do.
So what happens if the driver will not stop and get the help that is needed? They get hurt right?
What about those that are in the medical field? What if the patient will not listen and if they would listen there could be a good outcome? If they don’t listen death is right ahead.
We would feel bad that they did not listen and were safe right?
Well, think about this. There are millions of people that have heard the gospel and turned a deaf ear and numb heart to the LORD as He calls them in. What a sad deal to think that the rejection of Jesus will lead a person in to hell for eternity. The first example could be serious and so could the second but the last example is more than serious, it is vital, it is critical. I hope no one reading this is in that category but there is a chance there is. If so, please turn to Jesus in repentance and humbleness. Place your faith and trust in Him.

Proverbs 20:12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.
God has given us hearing and sight and wants us to use them responsibly. What are you listening to? What are you watching and seeing? What are you filling your heart and mind with?
Proverbs 20:13 Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.
We have talked about this prior in Proverbs. There is a balance needed between too much and too little sleep. It would be worth your time to really seriously consider where you land on this.

Proverbs 20:14“Bad, bad,” says the buyer, but when he goes away, then he boasts.
Here again is an echo on how to conduct your business. Are you honest and truthful in how you do business? If you sell by weight are you honest on the scales? If you bill by the hour, are you honest about the time spent on the project?

Proverbs 20:15 There is gold and abundance of costly stones, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
Think about this country and the saying going around about knowledge increasing so fast now compared to years ago, what are they talking about when they say knowledge? What we want is to know Jesus. To know God. How purposeful were you today to know Him?!

Proverbs 20:16 Take a man’s garment when he has put up security for a stranger, and hold it in pledge when he puts up security for foreigners.
Again we are warned on who and what to pledge. What we tie our money to. Where we place faith. Are you careful or kind of freewheeling with these things?

Proverbs 20:17 Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.
Did you listen carefully to that verse? God gives us a clear word picture here that is hard to miss. “So don’t!”, I am saying to myself. How do you obtain the income you have and the things you have. Honestly or deceitfully? Critical question and answer.

Proverb 20:18 Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war.
I cannot emphasize this strongly enough or enough times, and again, speaking to myself more than anyone else – have good people around you. People you trust, that will look out for you, that will ask the tough questions, that will encourage you when needed,… The person that will be truthful in love. Not the person that agrees with you all the time because that too will be dangerous.

Proverbs 20:19, 21 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler. An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning will not be blessed in the end.
We have talked about it before but another echo, be careful around the talker, the guy that just never stops to listen. Remember, they don’t know they are foolish and the lies and babble is worthless. They are convinced they and their words have value. SO, speak the truth and escape if you know what I mean.

Proverbs 20:20 If one curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.
Echo and echoes back to the Ten Commandments. This teaching is not very popular right now. Honor your parents. God promises. Don’t miss it. Be a radical young person and obey and honor your parents.

Proverbs 20:22 Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.
Did you hear that warning, promise and statement?

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

Character Does Matter

I know we have talked about it before but like Proverbs I want to echo. Character is important. When you think of character what comes to mind? What do you look for in others? I want to see trust, humility, truth, honesty, gentleness yet a firm stand on the LORD and His Word. I want to see uprightness, integrity, strength, moral fiber that does not waver from agreeing with the LORD. Do any of those words sound familiar? They should. Most have been touched on in Proverbs if not harped on and echoed.
Now the tough question, you knew it was coming, Does God and others see those characteristics in you?

Proverbs 20:2 The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life.
Think of the privilege we have of living in the USA. We really cannot understand this verse like many people in many other countries do. They understand that so many are murdered by the government. We need to thank God for the country He has placed us in and pray for those in persecuted countries.
Proverbs 20:3 It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.
Do you have to get the last word (out of your mouth or mind)? Do you have to bark or bite back? DO you have to go tell ten people about the other guy or gal? Stop, it is sin and we don’t want to be known by it. It will not build friendships or trust.
Proverbs 20:4 The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.
We have to put the effort, the work in. If we want to change our life or family we have to get this. We can talk about change and even want it but until we put the fork down and put the running shoes on we are going to struggle with gluttony. Until we stop going to the mall, or web sites we are going to continue to over spend. Until we get the bottle out of the house we are going to keep drinking. You get the picture. It takes hard, focused, intentional work to see through to victory by the Lord and Spirit.
Proverbs 20:5 The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.
What is in your heart? We have talked about purpose and heart. Our words and actions are going to reflect what is in our heart. What do those around you see?
Proverbs 20:6 Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?
Will God find you faithful? Serious question? Answer honestly. Stop and think on this.
Proverbs 20:7 The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!
Eight times in Proverbs we are going to hit on integrity. Here we find a powerful statement. You can be a blessing to your children if you will be found as one known for their integrity. Don’t miss giving your children and family this gift.
Proverbs 20:8-9 A king who sits on the throne of judgment winnows all evil with his eyes. Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”?
How are you answering that question right now? Are you found pure? Truthful? What do you do if you answer, “No, I am not pure. No, I am not truthful. But I want to be.”? The first step is to confess the sin to God and accept His punishment. Then repent of the sin. That is to turn away from it and replace it with truth and purity. Find a good accountability partner and make sure you don’t put yourself in situations where the sin can fester. Remember the battle will be on so be prepared and don’t give up ground.
Proverbs 20:10 Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the Lord.
Back to that word – abomination. This time it is tied to honesty in weights and measure, business. God takes fudging the numbers seriously. Do you?
Proverbs 20:11 Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
Forget black lives matter. They do but that would be a half truth. To God every life matters. God also would say, “Character matters!” He is bringing us back to the purity and uprightness that was often spoken of in the beginning of Proverbs. Do you remember the questions? Do you remember how important this is to our LORD? Critically important. Vital to your relationships.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd