Tag Archives: Christianity

Stevie McHugh, Come on Down!

22 Mar
runner-competing-in-race

The race is on! (Photo by Jean Beaufort)

Joseph’s story in Genesis tells of a man filled with a God-given dream of promotion. Before he became 2nd only to the Pharaoh in all the vast land of Egypt, he was enslaved by jealous brothers who loathed him. Then he acted with incredible integrity and yet was thrown in prison on false accusations. Finally the waiting was over. His number was up. He was called to the front, and he was ready for the fulfillment of the dream. Guess whose name has just been called, folks?

Although I’ve suffered nothing like what Joseph went through and my dreams aren’t nearly as lofty, Jesus has called me into the part of my life I’ve been looking forward to. Thank God for His grace, which is the desire and power to do His will. I’ve been living un-victoriously in the realm of health, and how hard is it to lose weight, especially when you’re no longer a spring chicken?

Here’s how Jesus spoke, which altogether has made me realize the time for action has come:

1-He opened my eyes to the need for Christians to rise up in the midst of a world spiraling downward and shine the light of Truth. In the U.S., political correctness targets Christianity and violently shuts the mouths of Bible-believers. We need to stop cooperating, and I do mean including me. The strategy God instilled in me was to “Be the Love of God” and be part of a movement that changes from complacency and worldliness to reaching out in love to actually help others as opposed to merely sitting on pews. (This revelation happened after reading a sermon by famous preacher Spurgeon, who pointed out how hard the devil works to silence the wonderful Good News. I mean, he has been diligent! Obscuring the most powerful force on earth is quite a feat, like hiding the sun. The love of God is that force.)

2-He whispered to me, “Take up thy bed and walk.”  This is a scripture about a lame man. He was being told to get up, pick up after himself, and walk. Okay. Same message for me. I’ve been hindered by all kinds of physical ailments, but recently God showed me I have more endurance than I’ve realized. I’m good to go. To me this meant: Get up in the mornings, make your bed, walk on the treadmill or take a brisk walk on the street for at least 30 minutes, take a shower, and then get to work, which is at my computer. (Get fit! Lose that extra poundage!)

3-I’ve been invited to participate in ministry with my writing. At the same time, I’ve begun volunteering at Houston Christian radio station KSBJ, where I’m connecting with a lot of amazing people. The message has been clear: Stevie, come on down to KSBJ! We need you whenever you can possibly come for prayer and other types of service.

4-I got a deadline for my God-writing project. Aubrie asked me to write her a devotion book so that she can learn about God. Last night, with no prompting of any kind from me, she mentioned that her goal is to read the Bible every day (but she wants to understand it – this I know). We were reading her challenging spelling words for the week, which prompted her statement. She’s waiting for me to provide her with these devotionals, and how could I possibly disappoint her? (It is currently about 7 a.m. Aubrie heard me proofreading this and said she needs to read her devotion that I write after school. I still need to write the first one, but it’s already outlined.)

There is actually more that I could say, but the point is my time of waiting is over. It’s like when Rocky was tapped for a major fight. I mean, it was really go time, no doubt about it. My life has that same motivating background music right now, angel rendition.

We are all prepared by God, we all wait, and we all have a calling. If you’re in a waiting time, just keep praising the Lord and believing in His faithfulness. If you’re going through a fiery trial, rejoice, God says! It means He has big plans for you, and it will be worth every millisecond of pain.

“Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:19 ESV

What to Do When the Devil Dogs are Nipping at You

19 Dec
Demon Dog

Demon Dog (Photo credit: Sam Cockman)

Anybody besides me feeling increased daily pressure?  For me, it feels like being haunted by regrets, mistakes, missed relationships, and discouraging revelations of my general lifetime cluelessness as a person.  But after giving in to a consistent urging to spend more time praying every day, I realized that a spiritual battle is raging all around me as well as inside of me.

At this point, I can relate my struggle with being chased by pit bulls who are taking bites out of me as I rush on.  Then suddenly I have stopped and knelt to pray.  As I lift my eyes to the heavens, acknowledge the greatness of God, and begin praying for needs of my loved ones, my city, my country, and the world, the noisy barking stops and the dogs are gone.  Turns out they were just shadows.

I may have dropped the ball on writing Daily Pep Talk this year, but I have read the New Testament through, one day at a time.  I’m in Revelation and have been getting a sober reminder that there is an end to the world as we know it, and it is coming.   Rather than getting sucked in to worldly trends and trinkets, there has never been a better time to get hyper-focused on being a person who prays to God and obeys his every prompting.

The world needs Jesus.  I think the real pressure that’s going on is an escalation toward God’s secret timeline when the Truth will be revealed and eternity for heaven or hell begins for everyone.  Knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior is what makes the difference in what our eternal destination will be.

Have you felt increased pressure, too?  What do you think it is?

The Beatitudes Versus the World

4 Jan
Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I read the Sermon on the Mount today.  As always, it’s especially uplifting to read Matthew 5:1-26.  I may not be the most dynamic example of  a Christian, but I do seek the Lord and what He cares about.  These verses remind me that friendship with God is enmity with the world.  Must be fewer people who are friends with God making an impact because not much in the world today points to Jesus.

 

If you read the Beatitudes with worldly success in mind, it seems that nothing in those verses would look good on the resume of someone looking to get to the top of the ladder of success.  God’s ways are certainly not the same as the world’s, which is why “Jesus freaks” like myself who want God to have His way are so often perceived as an oddity.  Not a complaint…just an observation.

“14 You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

Matthew 5:14-16

New Living Translation (NLT)

The Solution to the Problem May Be Under Your Nose

25 May

I’ve had to miss work because my fingers and hands were experiencing excruciating pain.  And all that time, my computer was capable of talk-to-type technology!  I’m using it right now. No need to spend a dime, much less the hundreds I thought it would cost.

 

I’m talking and the computer is typing by itself. Awesome! — Photo by Vera Kratochvil

The answer was right in front of me, and I was completely clueless. I think many problems in life are the same way. Being out of shape, for instance, just requires more exercise. It’s a matter of deciding to do something. You don’t have to have access to a gym to get in shape. YouTube has lots of free exercise videos. Heck, you can just walk and get your body in shape.

The Bible says not to be worried and that each day has its own troubles. It also says that God will never give us more then we can handle. He always makes a way to escape temptation. That applies to overeating as much as it does adultery, don’t you imagine?

I think most of us go through life struggling with the day’s challenges, and we forget to really enjoy life. We get into a numbing, joyless routine.  All the while, the happiness we desire is within our reach every day. I can say this because I believe that true joy is in the Lord, and He is ultimately all we need to have overflowing contentment.

It’s a good idea to just open our eyes to what is already in our hands and be thankful that it’s enough for this moment.  There’s probably more in hand than we realize.

 

 

Deeply Moved by the Music

24 May

Every time my heart has a question or a complaint that I’ve repented of, God always answers.  Seriously, in the decades that I’ve been a born-again Christian, the Creator has consistently revealed His presence.

I’ve struggled recently because I moved and had to move again.  Home is the most important place to me, as only God understands.  And I murmur about living in a big city when I long to live in the mountains encompassed by nature, a longing which makes my earthly dad seem near.  Well, through American Idol of all things, God has reached into my heart and given me unforgettable assurance that I’m in the right place and God will change my attitude so that I embrace my place.

Phillip Phillips

 

Phillip Phillips, our new American Idol, sang his single “Home” last night, and pretty much everyone who heard it was blown away, based on the crowd’s roar and reviews, etc.  And for me listening to it was a spiritual experience, which seemed strange at first.

But then I became familiar with the words.  The song was like a conversation with God in which He took my hand and leaned in close to whisper powerful words of reassurance.  The words of the song follow (I don’t know yet who the writer is):

Home

Hold on to me as you go

As we roll down this unfamiliar road

And although this wave is stringing us along

Just know you’re not alone.

Cuz I’m going to make this place your home.

Settle down.  It’ll all be clear.

Don’t pay no mind to the demons —

They fill you with fear.

The trouble, it might drag you down.

You get lost; you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone.

Cuz I’m going to make this place your home.

I’m gonna make this place your home.

Grace-Filled Moments, Like Manna From Heaven

23 May

My daughter Maddie initiated a new morning ritual today, and what a slice of heaven.  She comes over each day with SirCalvin, my youngest grandchild, who I babysit; and then I bring her to work a bit later.  Today our new tradition started in which we sing a worship song with the kids, read a scripture passage, and pray.  Logan prayed a sweet prayer this morning, asking God to help him be a good student next year in 3rd grade and also asking God to bless his awesome 2nd-grade teacher to have a great class next year.

Yesterday my oldest daughter, Nikki, sent me information about an inexpensive talk-to-type product.  I’ve already ordered it, and it will make it possible for me to write without having to use my arthritic fingers.  The cost was under $30!  Based on reviews, it’s bound to be an excellent tool that works very well.  That seems like a miracle blessing to me.

And last week I let go of a job that didn’t pay enough but supplied steady income, when I could press through to complete the work (lately I couldn’t).  I’m so thankful that God replaced what was lost with good pay and plenty of hours.  I wrote my first piece for this employer today, and he was pleased.  God is so good, to supply my needs like this. Oh, and to top it off, this person is literally a top nutritional expert.  I trust that everything I learn will sink in and help me form new personal eating and health habits.

And the loved one I mentioned in Sunday’s post, the one at the bottom of the barrel – I heard from her and she’s climbing her way back up.  Potentially good signs of progress are there.

One of the best moments of the day was after I told Maddie that I was worried I alienated my reading audience with yesterday’s blog post.  She hadn’t read it yet, but I told her about my analogy.  Maddie told me that not to say it was to be guilty of the thing I was writing about – not doing something Jesus-related because of fear of rejection.  Also said she needed the motivation to be bold in her faith, which my blog supplies.

It’s like there’s a pin prick of a hole in heaven, and it’s directly over me.  All this outpouring of grace is even more fun than catching snowflakes on my tongue.

A Car Wreck and Possibly Alienating Coordinating Analogy

22 May

Just as the toddlers got settled in the basket outside our car at Kroger, we heard a car crash nearby.  Looking in the direction of the noise, I witnessed an SUV crash into a white car parked on the far end of the parking lot and then skid around before finally stopping.  I pushed the kids in that direction to get the license plate of the car that was making all the trouble, in case the person decided to hit and run.  The guy whose car got smashed up walked up and was wondering why the heck his new car was crushed in on one side.  I gave him my card as a witness.  Some lady had sped through the parking lot and a truck hit her before the part of the crash that I saw.

Corcovado jesus

Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I don’t know what was going on with that lady, but what struck me was that the car that was way off on the end of the lot, supposedly safe from being dinged by other car doors, is the one that got badly damaged.  It got me to thinking about how all of our plans to “play it safe” are subject to fail.  And there’s one area where I’ve noticed all my Christian life that people play it safe, and that’s in choosing not to get overly enthusiastic about Jesus.

If you think about it, usually only preachers and missionaries live sacrificially and are sincerely head-over-heels for Jesus.  Not many everyday Christians can be accused of being more excited about Jesus than anything else.  Truth is, the overall “church in America” has more of the world in it than it does devotion to Jesus Christ.

Never will forget the deacon at a Baptist church who spoke up one Wednesday night at church during a Bible discussion.  He outright and unashamedly admitted that he chooses to please man rather than God.  As a person who has been lopsided about maintaining a God-focus, I can say it really does create friction in relationships.  The easy-going road that invites everyone to roll out their welcome mats is not the one which follows hard after God.

The way I see it is that people like that deacon play it safe like that white car at the end of the parking lot.  But in the end, they’re the ones that weren’t as wise as they thought.  There will be great reward in heaven for people who live for the things above rather than the things below.  And there will be great loss of reward for those who didn’t; talk about an inconvenient truth!  Even more inconvenient that having to deal with all the hassle of a wrecked vehicle.

Here’s my disclaimer: This post may sound a bit like I’m feeling spiritually superior, but I don’t mean to.  I’m so far from a perfect Christian it’s ridiculous, but no one who knows me can deny that I have a heart after God and obviously not after the world.