Crowned

It is the off season for local racers which means it is banquet season too. It is neat to watch the crowning of champions and hear their speeches and see them receive their trophies. The Bible talks quite a bit about crowns and in the next few verses we see it a few times.

Proverbs 14:18-21 The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. The evil bow down before the good, the wicked at the gates of the righteous. The poor is disliked even by his neighbor, but the rich has many friends. Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.
We see the contrast again. See who the crown goes too? The prudent. Verse 21 is a good reminder at this time of year. We are to be generous to the poor. We too often will buy gifts for those that have instead of those that do not have. Would you really think about that this year? There are many ways to give to the poor and many great ministries but please be careful that they really are using the money the way you want the giving to be used.

Proverbs 14:22 Do they not go astray who devise evil? Those who devise good meet steadfast love and faithfulness. 
What do you devise? Not what you justify! Stop and really think about that. We are really good about justifying our own thinking and actions. I’m right is the theme most of us live by. What would happen if we really measured it against God’s Word? Even better or more important is what would happen if God measured it in His truth? What would really be found faithful and steadfast in love?

Proverbs 14:23 In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.
Think about this. It is a good quick, simple reminder. Work is good. Straining is worth the effort. Be careful if you find yourself talking a lot especially as above, to justify your work or lack of work.

Proverbs 14:24 The crown of the wise is their wealth, but the folly of fools brings folly.
Remember the many verses that we have studied on wisdom. It is of profit, of wealth, true value but folly and foolishness the opposite. So as we talked earlier, do you have the crown spoken of here?

Proverbs 14:25 A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.
This is a serious problem I see all around. This world is full of lies and deceit. Oh to have the LORD move and reveal, expose the lies. It would change everything. Here is the challenge I give to you – forget about exposing others lies. Ask God to “expose my lies. If there is any deception in my life and words convict me dear holy God”. Seriously consider this.

Proverbs 14:26-27 In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.
We are back to the beginning (get itJ). Seriously, we are to the cornerstone, the foundation and key element, paradigm. If we miss the fear of the LORD in our life we miss everything. Go back and read some of the other statements surrounding this vital discipline. Look at what we find here – we get our confidence and a refuge; a fountain of life. The fear of the LORD helps us to turn away, to repent. Stop and really think about that. If we truly want to grow in the LORD and develop a strong, eternal value relationship with God we have to live a repenting filled life and we have to have a fear, an accurate view of the fear of the LORD.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,

Todd

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2015/2016

In racing we get to see some great celebrations. The big win, the first win, the last win, the hard fought come from behind win, the small under-funded team out of nowhere win. The list can go on. Every win should be special because they come at a cost and they don’t come often for many teams. We don’t see dominant 50 plus win seasons any more.

In life we celebrate too. They can be over different things in the family, at work, in sports, in the class room etc… Those celebrations should be special and meaningful. If we start to fake celebrate we will get really pointless.

I say all of this so that we would take a moment and think of two celebrations we see in the Bible:

1 Corinthians 5:8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
We see God calls for celebrations but He does want us to be careful. They cannot be self –centered and they cannot be rich man events if you know what I mean. They should be celebration of what God has done, not what man has accomplished. We see God instructed the Israelites to have many celebrations but each one had purpose. Each one pointed back to the LORD. Look at those last two words, “sincerity” and “truth”. As we have studied in Proverbs God points to the importance of truth throughout our life. Every facet of your life and my life should be filled with truth. Is it?
As we think about celebrations Christmas is a great one. It is reflecting and thinking about the birth of Christ Jesus and the impact in this world, more importantly the impact on each one of our lives. Stop and really think about that right now.

Luke 15:7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Luke 15:10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
Second thing I think about as I think about celebrations from a Biblical view is the celebration that goes on in Heaven each time a person is saved. What a great thing to think about right now. Do you know that day? Have you had the day of salvation, the day you turned your life over to God for His control. The day you confessed to being a sinner. The day you said with your mouth, “Jesus is LORD”. The day your surrendered to Him as LORD. The day you repented. I hope you have but maybe you have not. Right now would be a great time and day to stop and get serious with the LORD and cry out to Him. That first Christmas as a believer is unlike any other. I remember the intense sense of love that God really had for me in sending His Son. The truth became clear and meaningful.

So as we come to Christmas I hope you know this truth and you celebrate.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,

Todd and family

Interviews

Funny! That is what I think as I think about interviews in victory lane. I am sure as the guys or gals walk up to start the interview they have a picture of how it is going to go. They know some guys are going to be easy and will be open to answer the questions with the right amount of appropriate words. They know others are going to talk a long time and they may even have to cut them off at some point. Then there is the group that, well, you will be lucky to get a one word answer, yes or no. We have a lot of really good people in the Midwest on the mics in racing and they really add to the show. They are good at handling all three types. It is good for us to think about our words and Proverbs reminds us about this several times.

Proverb 14:13 Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief.
We are still in the heart area. This verse, like many others reminds us of the importance of honesty. Like the verses we looked at last week in Jeremiah we are to look and think about our motive and what is really in our heart and thoughts. We can fool ourselves so easily. We can lie and talk ourselves into a false reality.
Stop and think about what this verse warns. The word grief is a little weak for me. ‘Tuwgah’ in the original language does include grief but overarching is depression. Even today I was talking with the kiddos of how our sin traps us in guilt and how important it is to confess our sin and repent.

Proverbs 14:14 The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.
What are you filled with?! This is a great question we need to be asking ourselves often. Think with me about the word “backslider”. Can you backslide if you are at the base of a mountain? No. You have to have gone up a ways. Do you start to see the word picture? The higher you are the more dangerous the backsliding is. Think about the words “filled” and “fruit”. Our lives will reveal what is going on to others. I was reminded today in church, “what is our legacy going to be”?

Proverbs 14:15-16 The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps. One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.
I like this verse but there is a ditch on both sides. I like it because we should slow down and really think, REALLY pray about what is in front of us. If we pray about the “small” things it will get us to pray about everything as we should and about the big things as they come up. The ditch is that we can slow down too much and miss an opportunity. How are you with stopping and thinking about your steps. Did you catch verse 16 and the part about turning away from evil? We have to be intentional at saying “no” and turning from what is against God. Do you want to be for God? I hope so. Let your life show that.

Proverbs 14:17 A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated.
One of the things an announcer can do is shove a mic in a driver’s face that just got wrecked. Few cannot react with temper. It is a challenge, I would say, for most of us if not all of us. But what does God say about my quick words or actions? I am foolish. So maybe this is a good place to stop and pray.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,

Todd

2015 Thanksgiving

1 Chronicles 16:28-34

28 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come before him!
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
30 tremble before him, all the earth;
yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,
and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
32 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
33 Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.
34 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
35 Say also:“Save us, O God of our salvation,
and gather and deliver us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
and glory in your praise.
36 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!”

Then all the people said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord.

(ESV)

I thought this year with all the upheaval that is happening in the world to take a moment and think about the above passage. Thankfulness should not be left for just this time of the year but God does use this time of year to help us get focused or refocused on our heart of thankfulness. There is so much for us to thank God for on a daily and even hourly basis. Stop and really think about our life and the good things around you. I know that it may seem like it is not that great that time but if we can get to the point of thinking on the LORD that can change our view.

This passage starts at home and being thankful for our families. It also is clear on who we are to be thankful to and for – the LORD! Verses 29-30 are very powerful. They are worth reading over and over and stopping and really being quiet before the LORD and asking Him to open our heart to the truth of worship and who He is. The line Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; could be a great life verse both to think about and to live out.

Then look at verse 34 and stop and think about it. God is good! We can all name off things that are not good around us. Sin, peoples choices of rebelling and going their own way, have produced terrific events on individuals, families, communities, nations and this world. But there is a constant that we can look to. We can look to God, God the Father; God the Son, the LORD Jesus; and God the Holy Spirit. They do not change. Their love and kindness, their mercy and their grace, their holiness and perfection, their compassion and sovereignty are strong and complete at all times, unchangeable. My struggle is staying focused on God and teaching right and truth.

The last two verses of this passage gives us a good reminder of Israel. God has chosen Israel and placed them in a special place in history, in this world and in His plan. We are to lift them up and pray for them. Salvation is needed there and our prayer needs to be that God in His sovereignty would move. We are not to oppose them as God makes clear that those opposing God will be punished and confronted.

So as we get to the special days at the end of the year make sure you are taking time to worship the LORD and thank Him, intentionally and deliberately. Dad lead your family in this! Husbands lead your wife. Mom lead your children.

Thank you and have a blessed time reflecting and being thankful,
Todd

Front Row Wreck'n

You have seen it. The guy that starts the feature in the front row and you think, please don’t take out the field. It can be the conclusion from different angles. They have a history of not having good car control, they are young, they have tires that are old and worn out, they are lined up with someone next to them or behind them that they have wrecked with and you know pay back could be in the agenda. OH we just saw that play out the last few weeks in NASCAR from what I have heard. There have been races that don’t even make it to the green flag or through one and two without mayhem. It is much better when the young guy stays low and runs a good smooth line. He does not get frustrated as the field goes by. He does not over react. He just learns so that next time he is a little better.

As I think about that, I think how God must look at us when we are young believers or not so young believers. He does not want us to “wreck the field”, in other words our life and those around us. This is why Proverbs is sure a great book to slowly study through and go back to often. I once heard a girl’s testimony that included that her dad read a Proverb to the family every day along with some of Psalms. She heard it over and over and never tired of hearing it. It was a treasure. What a blessing to give to your family. So let’s get back to our study.

Proverbs 14:10 The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.
You have heard me quote Jeremiah 17:9. Did you know that Jeremiah says the word “heart” 35 times? (569 x in the Bible – WOW! Add an “s” as in “hearts” and it’s 208 more times). Three times alone in chapter 17 of Jeremiah. Look at the three of them. (Jer. 17:5,9,10). Do we have a contradiction? Does God’s Word contradict itself? This is one of the most important things to get down, to get settled in your heart and life. God’s Word never contradicts Himself. It is impossible for God to lie or to do anything that would contradict himself. HE IS PERFECT! So what is it? We are the ones that need to study and come to understand what the LORD is saying through His Word. 2 Corinthians 3:2,3 reminds us that God is the one that writes His message on our heart. Don’t ignore Him.

Proverbs 14:11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.
The other night in youth group we were talking about the importance of words selected by God to be in His Word. Little things we can pick up on and clues to truth. Look at this verse. Is it important to see and think about the difference in house and tent? What if he LORD would have used the word “home” instead of “house”? They have different meaning don’t they. We think of a structure with house and we think of what’s inside with “home”, the family, the people. Now think of “tent”. It is mobile. It reminds us our body is a tent. Now look at how God wants to bless the upright, an ongoing echo in Proverbs and throughout God’s Word. Also, God cannot let the wicked go unpunished. Stop and think about that. God cannot let sin go unpunished. Where does that take your thoughts? I think of the need that brings to me. I am in need of a Savior, one that can pay for sin. That Savior is Jesus and He alone! I would hope that would help me in obeying Him.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
Remember the verse we started with and the heart issue? Remember what Jeremiah states? This verse tells us that we may think we are making a right choice but it could turn out bad. Think about the opening you might see in front of you on the track but the better drivers know if it is going to close up or not. They know if they shoot for the gap if they are going to be ok or if it is going to destroy a car. Now that does not mean we never do anything or make any choices. It means we need to bathe everything in prayer. It means we need to be following the LORD closely, a string relationship with Him. And it means we need Jesus-like patience.

So what is going on in your heart?

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

99; 2000+; and 41,149!

With the release of The White Knight short film on Mr. Dick Trickle, I’ve thought a lot about those numbers in the last couple of days.

Mr. Reffner and his #88

Mr. Reffner and his #88

I had the privilege of spending some time with Mr. Trickle, #99 on several occasions and after a number of his wins. One of my favorites times with him was at a Slingers National. We were in a rain delay and Mr. Trickle ran up to the trailer I was in and for about an hour and a half I got to listen to him tell stories, most of which I’d heard before. But what made it special was that there was a young Collin Reffner asking questions and getting insight from Mr. Trickle. It was really cool. It’s pretty cool to listen to a man who won 2,000 races.

 

Another one of Mr. Reffner’s #88

Another one of Mr. Reffner’s #88

Then, a couple years later at Fest, Mr. Trickle and Mr. Reffner were together at a car giving advice to another young driver. Then, a couple hours later, the two greats were up by the turn three wall of the small track and I got to stand next to them just listening. Very cool!

Unfortunately we need to think about the third number. Listen to this quote: In 2013 (the most recent year for which full data are available), 41,149 suicides were reported, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. Quote from American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

Mr. Dick Trickle and Mr. Miles Melius at Slinger Nationals (photo by Russ Lake)

Mr. Dick Trickle and Mr. Miles Melius at Slinger Nationals (photo by Russ Lake).
Mr. Dick Trickle is credited with over 2,000 wins and several championships. Mr Miles Melius is credited with 10 championships, 21 track championships and over 1,000 wins.

Mr. Reffner and Mr. Trickle at Fest

Mr. Reffner and Mr. Trickle at Fest

Those are staggering numbers. Suicide is real and effects every age, every race, every economic level and every social level. Those with jobs, great jobs, and no job. Those with doctorate degrees and those that have dropped out of school. As I write this I have tears coming to my eyes knowing how the evil one has suggested this option to so many and there are thousands who make that choice. In their hearts they see no other option as the pain or emptiness is too great to bear.

I have a little understanding of the pain Mr. Trickle was in and that hope had faded for finding what was causing it and how to stop it. I know some of the medicines were a problem. Now it is way past a few tears as my heart aches in pain thinking of so many. I think of the many soldiers that, after serving this country, feel hopeless. I think of the young one at a tender age, not even through high school. I think of a couple, full of life and then shortly after, lost hope. We have all had the evil one intrude those thoughts into our heart and minds. Again, I know they are real thoughts but I also know they are lies from the devil. The LORD gives hope and life, not death and sin.

PLEASE STOP AND THINK WITH ME
This is what God says in His word:
Psalm 38:17 For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me.
Psalm 69:29 But I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high!
Psalm 33:18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love.
Psalm 42:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation.
Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Deuteronomy 30:15 See, I (God) have set before you today life and good, death and evil.
1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through.

This is a real battle. It is a battle of good vs. evil. It is a battle of life vs. death. It is a battle of the LORD God vs. the evil one. Maybe you know of someone in the midst of the battle or maybe you are that person. May I offer you three things? One, pay attention! There are little clues to those in the battle. Sometimes there are big clues. We need to pay attention to those God has placed around us. Two, there are many who care and I am one of them. PLEASE reach out to me or someone who cares. Three, there is only one place to win this battle. It is in Jesus Christ the LORD. In His salvation is hope and life found. He promises salvation to all who repent and call out on His name. There must be an admission of sin and not blaming anyone else. There has to be a change of direction. We must be willing to surrender to Jesus as LORD and place our faith and trust in Him. Does that mean all will immediately have those fears, the pain, and the troubles lifted? Maybe, but most likely not. However, there should be a new perspective on the fear, the pain, and the troubles. PLEASE turn to Jesus today, right now.

If we can help in anyway please reach out to us, to me, and have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd