Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pray, Aim High, and Stay Focused

I heard an illustration by my pastor about a man and his family who were without food.  They searched their home for anything to eat but found nothing except an old rifle and three bullets.  At that moment the father determined that he would the use the rifle and ammunition to get food for his family that night.  So with the rifle and ammunition he ventured for the woods.

In the woods, the first thing the father saw was a squirrel.  He took aim and fired but missed.  Then he saw a rabbit.  Once again he aimed and fired but he missed the rabbit.  Now the father only had one bullet so he prayed, “Lord, I only have one bullet.  Please help me to bring food home to my family.”  The Lord’s response to him was, “Pray, aim, and stay focused.”
Shortly thereafter the man saw a turkey and a deer.  He chose to aim for the deer because it would provide more meat for his family.  As the man took aim he heard a noise near his feet.  He looked down and saw a snake that was ready to attack.  Fearing the snake, the man stopped aiming for the deer and set his aim on the snake.  Just when he was about to shoot the man heard the Lord say, “What did I tell you?”  Deciding to trust in the Lord the man prayed, aimed at the deer, and took his last shot.  Not only did he hit the deer but the same bullet ended up killing the turkey.  On top of that, the butt of the rifle fell and killed the snake.  Finally, to top it all off, the force of the blast from the last bullet pushed the father backwards into a lake causing fish to get caught in his pockets.

Pray, aim, and stay focused.  What would have happened if the father would have stayed focused on his troubles (in this case, the snake) instead of his goal (the deer)?  We can relate this story to life where the snake represents our troubles while the deer represents our goals.  Take a moment to think on your life.  What has happened when you’ve taken your eyes off of your goals or dreams and placed them on the hardships and difficulties faced to reach them?  Stop focusing on your troubles.  Instead pray to God to give you the strength to reach for (i.e. aim) and stay focused on them.
The final outcome may be beyond your expectations.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

It's the Roots That Are Important

It's been a while since I posted something, so here goes.

I was in a coffee shop today, and a man--who happened to be a pastor--was relating a story.  He asked a botanist to plant a white pear tree in the yard.   It was a pretty tree that stood about 5' 10" tall, but once it was planted the botanist began to cut off EVERY branch.

The pastor wondered about this since leaves are needed for photosynthesis.  So he questioned the botanist.  The botanist's response was, "The roots are the most important."

Times of pruning are tough.  Whether you believe in God or not, life has a way of stripping you and the strip down is no fun.  (That's the main reason I had stopped blogging.)  However, if we take the time to reflect, we can find that our character has been strengthened, and we are able to encourage others in ways we could not before.

1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  (John 15:1-2, 5, KJV)