If you are perfect, then who gets the glory? Part 3 of 3

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On Solid Ground and after a brief rest we began preparing for a hike instead of a canoe trip. Loading as much in our back packs as possible we laid the rest of the gear in the canoe. We each grabbed an end of the canoe and began the hike south along the shore toward or destination.   Our guide was the water and the decision was made to stay close to the shore.   Being in the thick of the woods we would be hiking through uncut wilderness. No path, lots of fallen trees in the way and a few gorges to jump is what was in store for next part of this journey.

The first half mile was nothing but a disaster. So exhausted from the paddling and now carrying a canoe with more weight than one should carry. Again though, being a “Strong willed” individual I was sure we could do it if we just put our mind to it. This did not work out to well. We had to put the canoe down each minute to take a break. It was becoming more and more apparent that bringing the canoe was not practical.   Again I was faced with a decision. However this was slightly different than before. Before I had to make a decision to change direction and not fight the waves. This would allow me to be on solid ground so that I could once again make forward progress. This obstacle had a new element. Forward progress would still happen just at a very, very slow and exhausting rate. The longer we held unto everything we had, the worse it got.

Realty hit me. We had to leave my precious gear and canoe behind. We could not keep going like this. If we keep all that stuff, it would have taken us a full day if not longer to hike out 3+ miles through the thick of the wilderness.   Leaving the gear was a tough choice to make. I invested so much into the boat, paddles, gear, tents, etc. I would be losing so much I thought. Regardless we dropped the boat and gear that was longer needed for this part of the trip.

Good thing to. During our trip we had to climb a small mountain side. Not quite rock climbing but surely not a hike. One false move and we would have been rolling down a 100 ft cliff into the rocky cold water below and remember, no cell phone service to call for help.   There were also gorges that would have been impossible to cross with a canoe. The situation would force us to hike due east several miles. Thus pulling us father away from our course, father from our guide the shore line and slowing down progress even more.

At the time there was no way I could have known dropping my baggage early on would make such a large impact in our forward progress later on. This is the point.

Are you holding on to your baggage? We all have it and it takes the form of bad relationships we hold dear, past regrets you will refuse to forgive yourself for, material items, a grudge against a family member, friend or coworker. This list goes on and on. So much value is put into these possessions and thoughts. The realty is all those past anchors are weighing you down and holding you back. Sure you can grasp that burden with both hands and still make forward progress but you will find your life will be harder and less fulfilling. You may never fully reach the potential and blessings God has in store for you. Blessings that far outweigh the value of what you are holding onto right now.

Today, release the baggage. Forgive someone today, forgive yourself today….this Christmas call that family member and say I love you with no thought as to what emotional return you may get.  When you do, the anchor of the past will begin to lift. You will begin to speed through the wilderness of your life and you can then you can begin scaling mountains and bounding over gorges with ease.

What does this entire story have to do with the title of this 3 part serious? Here it is.

We are on an adventure designed by the great architect of the Universe. Our adventure is full of decisions, mistakes and broken moments. With the right perspective it is actually a lot of fun just like the adventure I had with my brother in the Adirondacks.

God our father desires great adventures for us just like we desire great moments for our children. When our children make a good choice or enjoy the life we help them build we rejoice. It is all designed so that we may have a greater relationship with him. The realty we live in today is full of mistakes and failures. If we were perfect we would not be dependent on his love.  When we direct our adventure, it becomes exasperating. However through those flaws God gets to shine, teach and direct our adventure. He gets the Glory. When we finally release ourselves to his will, his grace…it is then we are made strong and our adventure takes flight.

In closing, the only thing we have to do is Choose, His path or ours? The rest is an adventure designed by the best playground maker ever, so go grab a paddle.

Leave your comments below or let us know what you will drop in the wilderness today!

If you are perfect, then who gets the glory? Part 1 of 3

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Pelican Canoe

Did you know that you can rent an Island in Lake George, NY? 4 days, only 60 dollars, I know right! You get your own private Island for 4 days and guess what…no cell service. My brother and I could not resist. We planned the trip for months and then the day came. We packed up the canoe and paddled about 3.5 miles to the ranger station to check in. At the station the ranger asked us what kind of boat we had. We said a 15 foot canoe. At this he paused and said… “You don’t have a motor boat? I better hurry up then, a storm is coming in and you have another mile to the island. You guys going to be alright”?  The above canoe is the actual one we used that weekend.

Apparently taking a canoe in this far was not normal but we figure…that’s right.. we are adventurers, we got this. Soon after leaving the ranger station we arrived at the island, set up camp and ate what little food we had. You see we only brought enough food for one day. We were determined to catch fish each day. If we did not, well God must want us to fast, at least that was the thought.

We had a blast swimming, exploring the lake, fishing and fellowship; and yes we had a fish for every meal during the trip. However as the end of day 2 approached the “Storm” the ranger was talking about was now in full force. Winds were high so we had to weigh down the tent so it would not blow away. The wind was not an issue yet. The rain though was so intense that water was coming in sideways filling the tent.

No one slept well that night. My brother and I were soaked and the waves crashing on the shore was more than we could ignore.   The next morning (Day 3) the rain did break from time to time throughout the day. It was just enough allowing us to dry off all the soaked gear.   Our gear was no longer dripping wet, just very damp. We were doing our best to prepare for another stormy night ahead, securing everything down. It was pointless. The rain and wind came in with even greater force this night. Needless to say we had another night of limited sleep and all our gear was once again soaked.

This may sound like a nightmare to most but we were having a great time. Feeling like true outdoorsman, against the elements two brothers were surviving on fish and water. Here is the realty though and the point of part 1 of this series.   My brother and I caused our own adventure. We knew weather was coming in days before by watching the weather channel. We also knew that we did not bring enough food to eat. Even the ranger gave us a very clear warning saying a big storm was coming in.

Will Robinson’s robot was saying “Danger, Danger” but we went ahead anyway. How often do we do this in our own lives? The warning signs are there and God is saying, no no no, don’t touch…that’s a hot surface. Yet we just ignore it and place our hand directly on the stove top.   This is usually followed by “God why did you burn my hand”? Then we soak in our own self-pity blaming God for what happened.

Let’s assume for a moment I did not want to be soaked all weekend. Would it have been fair of me to complain to everyone that the weekend was horrible because it rained and we got soaked? We also only ate fish cause we ran out of food. Of course this would be ridiculous. We had plenty of room to pack more food. I could have easily scheduled another time for the trip way before we got in the canoe. I could have turned around while at the ranger station or I could have packed up earlier in the morning on day two before the big storm really hit.  The signs and opportunities to course correct were everywhere.

A good Friend of mine from NY once said to me, “Dominick…People do, what people want to do”. You see If you find yourself in a storm, chances are you ignored the signs and quite possibly planned it that way. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy.   Are you a victim of a self-fulfilling prophecy? If so what can you do today to shape your future to one that aligns more with God’s will in your life. Because the realty is…People do what people want to do.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this 3 part adventure series” titled “If you are perfect, then who gets the glory”?

Faith and Forgiveness

Image In Luke chapter seven we see an amazing story of faith and forgiveness. There was a sinful woman of the city who heard that she could find Christ at the Pharisee’s home. As Jesus reclined here, the sinful woman approached him, and began to weep. As she wept at Christ’s feet, she cleansed His feet with her tears, and wiped them with her own hair. When His feet were clean, she anointed them with an entire alabaster flask of ointment.

Why is this significant?
To the Pharisee this was seen as a shameful act, and the woman, being a sinner, would have been rejected and sent away.

“When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” ”

Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

What can we take away from this passage?

1. We are only forgiven because of what Christ has done. He has taken away our debt and punishment through his atoneing sacrifice.

2.To be bold in the faith is to be counted as righteousness. Do not be afraid of the judgements of this world, but stand firm in the faith, knowing that the reward is great in Heaven.

3. Give everything you have to Him that provided it. The woman pours out her flask on His feet, which was probably worth a years wages. Would you be willing to give all that you have for Him?

So be thankful, firm, and unwavering in your faith. Christ has done the work. Live in the freedom that he has provided for you, and surrender it all unto Him!