Life from the rear-view mirror

Decision making past the end of your nose……Vol 115

Rarely does the implication of a decision stop at the end of our nose. It often takes on a life of its own far after we have achieved what we thought we wanted from it.

I think we’d call that being shortsighted. I think we’ve all been there a time or two.

Part of the challenge of parenting in the “influence” stage of our kids life is helping them understand the potential “unintended consequences” of their decisions. What does that mean? In short, it’s the “what if?” component that lives beyond every decision they make. A potential chain of events that they may have unwittingly put into motion because they didn’t think a thing through.
This kind of decision making is really evident to those of us who are still parenting teens… but it’s certainly not limited to teens. I know plenty of adults, including me, who do the same thing. We can’t see past what we want in the moment. We are blinded by our greed, pride, you name it. Sometimes we dodge that bullet of unintended consequence…sometimes it hits us right between the eyes…or worse…it hits someone else.
We can’t escape all unintended consequences of the decisions we make. But we can make a much higher percentage of good decisions by stopping to think past the end of our nose. 

Proverbs 15:22

Check your spiritual vision…can you see your sin?…..Vol 114

For some, abuse of relationships is purely accidental. For others it is purposeful…manipulative. We’ve all seen it both ways. Chances are we’ve all been the abuser at times.

I accuse my younger kids of “not thinking past their noses” at times…while I abuse relationships and do the same thing. Maybe not with the same consequences…sometimes worse.

As believers, our integrity and consistency is key to a life that is blessed and a life that is used by God.

I’m guessing, but we probably all have a story we could tell about an incident where we didn’t do the right thing and lost our credibility with someone we wanted to talk to about the Lord…but didn’t because of it.

I think that’s one of the reasons why the Bible implores us to keep a clear conscience.

This morning there is something I want to say to a friend. It’s important…but I don’t think he can hear it from me. So I’m praying he will hear it from another.

As for me and for those who have things in our past that we are forgiven for, but can never make right…let’s make the NEXT right decision. Let’s choose integrity. Lets not throw stumbling blocks in the way of God using us to do something great for him. (It’s not that he can’t use us anyway…it’s that we think he won’t and we don’t attempt them)

This is a word of wisdom to me this morning…I guess if it fits you too…put it on.

Do your prayers get past the ceiling?……..Vol 113

prayer-2Bpraying-2BhandsAre your prayers effective? I know that’s sometimes hard to know as God is always working behind the scenes. But maybe you’ve felt that you’re in a dry spell. Maybe you don’t spend as much time in prayer any more. Maybe it feels like you just keep tapping God on the shoulder…but he never turns around and you’re not sure if he hasn’t felt you tapping…or he’s just ignoring you. That’s an interesting thought…could God be ignoring you? What? I’m his kid, he made me in his image…there’s so much going on in my life and others. How could God ignore me? How could he NOT listen? What would make that happen?
Check your heart.
Let me answer one of the questions I posed. The whole did God “feel you tapping” or better yet “did God hear your prayer” thing. The answer is a resounding yes. Of course he heard you…felt you…whatever. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t be God. But that’s not the real issue here. The real issue is will he answer you? We’ve all heard at times that God answers all prayer. And, the answers are Yes, No, and Wait. And that sorta makes sense…if you believe that God was “listening” to you at the time. Not just hearing, but “listening.” If you don’t know the difference…ask your husband/wife…or take away the smartphone…
So if God loves me (He does!) and wants the best for me (that too!) and wants to talk with me (He sure does!) Why in the world would he not answer me?
You aren’t going to like this…
It’s the same reason that Christ had to die on the cross…sin.
I thought when I asked Jesus to come into my heart and forgive my sin.. He did it… Yes he did. We’re not talking about whether you have a relationship with God through faith in Christ and what he did on the cross for you. This is not about whether or not you are in the “Family of God” and going to heaven.
This is about whether you and God are on “speaking terms.”
The Bible calls sin rebellion…and rebellion towards God loosely translated is…wanting something different for ourselves than what God wants. If our lives are in rebellion because of sin…that creates a situation much like when you are on the “outs” with a family member… and you need something from them. You have to mend the relationship first. Then they are more likely to help.
I know that’s really over-simplified…but I’m confident you get the point.
If you have a minute, read I John 5:14. If we want our prayers to be answered, we have to pray “according to his will” or “want the same things that God wants for us.”
If we are in rebellion (sin) are we really wanting the same things that God wants? No…we’re in rebellion! We’re wanting something else…something selfish, something we think will make us happy. Rebellion is shaking our fist in the face of God. Now you might say…I don’t believe that. Or that is too strong a statement. Is it? You’re not gonna like this either. There is no such thing as a little rebellion…it’s like being a little pregnant. You either “is” or you “ain’t” Again…check your heart.
Here’s something you will like. This condition is fixable.How?
Glad you asked.
If you have another minute, read I John 1;9. Boom! There’s your answer to being answered. That’s how we “mend the fence” with God.
I can’t tell you how often I pray that prayer…because I’m so often in rebellion…so often going the wrong direction…and yet…so needy. Not just for myself, but for those I love in my family and the larger family of God.
I know God always hears me…but I want him to listen too. More than that, I want him to answer in a way that I know it was him. In a way that Yes, No and Wait are meaningful because I know my heart was not in rebellion when I prayed.
It only takes a minute to make sure our hearts are right when we go to God in prayer…and doesn’t he deserve a clean heart? A heart not in rebellion but in unity with his?
“Yes” is always easy to hear. But the “No” and the “Wait” are easier to bear when we know God was listening. When we know our heart is in tune with His.

Fallen Angel…….Vol. 112

JeffI have always loved the Blue Angels. They are thrilling to watch and inspiring on so many levels. I’m sure the team had a lot to do with me wanting to become a pilot.
I love the Marines…who they are and what they represent to our country. I have a cousin and a nephew who served proudly…and as I write, there is a friend of my son in our home who will be joining the Corp when he graduates from High School next year.

I never knew Capt Jeff Kuss, but his loss has hit me hard.

I have watched and re-watched a particular video of the Blue Angel Number 6 crash. It’s the only video I’ve seen thus far that had the perspective to allow us to see most of the flight up to the accident. It was tough to watch. I had heard reports that Capt Jeff Kuss had entered a Split S maneuver prior to the crash. I didn’t remember seeing that in other Blue Angel solo flights, but this video showed it clearly.

When I was much younger, I flew aerobatics in a high-performance piston engine aircraft, a Pitts S2-B. The Split S maneuver is something we did in training. (And something I did a version of a lot later in my piloting to scare my buddies) It is a common flight transition to change direction or enter a different maneuver (if you happen to be doing a flight routine). A Spit S, in simple terms, can be thought of as the bottom half of a loop. It is a positive g transition that is a lot of fun (and relatively easy to do) for a then novice to aerobatics like me. We usually entered the Split S from straight and level flight, rolled the plane inverted then pulled back on the stick to start the move. In the aircraft I flew, it was rarely more than a 2-3 g tug on the stick into your gut. From there it was just keeping the wings level, controlling RPMs and airspeed then leveling out at your intended altitude.
(Note: In an aircraft, positive g’s feel like your bottom is being pressed into your seat. It’s sort of the same feeling you get under rapid acceleration in a car…except that you feel your back being pressed against the seat.)

As I watched the video, already knowing the outcome…I realized that there was a point in time in that particular Split S maneuver, when Capt Jeff Kuss knew he wasn’t going to complete it. Something had gone wrong. And now, all the skills he had used to thrill people, were being used to save them. It was a choice he made. It was an act of complete and total sacrifice for folks on the ground he didn’t even know…but in that moment, cared about more than his own life.
It was a sacrifice of the highest order.

The loss of Capt Jeff Kuss was a tragedy. The lesson of his sacrifice for others was legendary.

Semper Fi

There was another sacrifice in history. A sacrifice that would change our eternity. A sacrifice that Jesus made once and for all to save men and women in this life…and bring them to life with him after death. It’s hard to not draw a parallel when you witness something as selfless and heroic as that of Capt Jeff Kuss. If you had asked Jeff  if he would have been willing to die to save some folks on the ground that day…he might have had to think about it. Weigh all the options. He’d be widowing his wife, orphaning his kids…changing his families future forever. That might have been a hard choice not knowing what his next flight would bring. Now we know what he was made of. He is truly a hero.

Jesus knew from the beginning he was going to die. That’s is what he had come to earth for. He knew that his Father, God, was going to forsake him as the sin of the world was placed on his shoulders at Calvary. Jesus death was no accident. It was planned before time…before the foundations of the earth. God knew that we humans would need a Savior because of our sin. And Jesus knew that his death would pave the way to heaven for us.

John 15;13 – Greater love has no man than this…that he lay down his life for his friends