Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Getting Bent

Yeah, I know what you may be thinking, and you just might be right. But I hope you keep on reading anyway.

First of all, it may be helpful to understand the mind behind where this is coming from.

So yeah, that may explain a few things (thank God for spell check!), but please bear with me and I’ll try to make this as simple as I can.
You see, I’ve been thinking lately about Moments.

The following is a brief definition of a moment:

Moment of force (often just moment) is a synonym for torque, an important basic concept in physics and civil engineering. For example, "torque" is usually used to describe a rotational force that a wrench applies to a nut or bolt, whereas "moment" is more often used to describe a bending force on a beam.

This diagram can be explained by the equation MG = F x d.

F is the force applied on the beam, and d is the distance from the wall (or start of the beam). I have called the point where the beam meets the wall, point G, and you’ll see why in a moment (no pun intended). It is also important to note that at point G, the distance d equals zero!

Now suppose that F is constant, meaning that the amount of force pressing against the beam doesn’t change. No matter where you put it, the force is the same.
As F gets farther away from the wall, the amount of the Moment will increase (gets bigger). So, as d gets bigger, so does MG. Basic math stuff, right?

The Moment at point G, MG, experiences all the stresses and strains (torque) as it resists bending or breaking as the force F is pressed against the beam.

Think of a big tree being blown hard by a strong wind.

(I like this picture because it looks like someplace I’d rather be right now)

The force is applied by the wind and it creates a Moment at the base of the tree, the height of the tree (distance d) will depend on how much stress and strain is experienced at the base. The tree bends, but it doesn’t break. This may explain why the tree is bigger at the base. This is where it needs to be stronger. So it doesn’t break off at the base.

Okay, are you getting the idea behind the bending moment and how it grows depending on the amount of force and the distance from point G?
Yeah? Okay, good.

So, although the force is strong, the beam doesn’t rotate, or turn, because it is anchored at the base.

Now for the personal visual part:

You are the beam. The force applied on that beam (you), multiplied by the distance from the base (or connection point) results in the amount of stress applied at point G. Remember, Point G is the connection at the wall, where the distance d is zero.
When the forces of your life are applied at G (d = 0), the Moment, or stress (or torque) is also zero.
G stands for God. He is what is holding you in place.

Can you see where this is going?
The farther you are away from God, the greater the forces of life can affect you and cause you stress or strain and get you torqued.

Some stuff in my life has happened recently to get me rather torqued off.
Why did those things affect me so much?
Why was it so easy for me to get torqued, and cause me to worry?
My wife had a most profound statement for me. She simply told me that if I have worry, then I am not close to God. Wow. That is scriptural too!

But still, some of life’s Moments were causing me stress, and putting some strain on my life. Remember: M = F x d.
If I was experiencing big “Moments”, then my d was not zero, or not even close to it. Even though I believed I was close to God, apparently I wasn’t. How could I be, if I was getting torqued?

All this time I had thought I was doing so much for the kingdom of God. Constantly driving to do more, and do it better than I had before, and just plowing straight ahead with all that I had to give. I was racing at 200 MPH and showed no signs of slowing down, getting tired or burning out.

But the “Moments” were increasing. (Remember the story about the Pharisee?)

A very dear friend of mine shared a devotional with me that simply stated that I needed to build some margin into my life. I had no idea what that meant until I read the whole thing.
(Purpose Driven Life – daily devotional, January 6, 2009)

The article said that by building margin in my life I will get:
1. Peace of mind. When you’re not always hurrying and worrying, you have time to think, time to relax, time to enjoy life.
2. Better health. Unrelenting stress harms our bodies…..your body needs downtime in order to heal. Race cars make pit stops occasionally in order to get repaired. You can’t fix anything going 200 miles an hour. Yet, we try to repair ourselves while we’re still racing through life.
3. Stronger relationships. When we don’t make relationships a priority and make time for each other, our relationships suffer.
4. Usefulness in ministry. ….when you have margin, you’re available for God to use.

My response to my friend said,
“So basically, I am in the pits being repaired.
I have been racing at 200MPH for too long and I suppose I could use a rest.
I’m not used to that, so it will be something to get used to for a time.”

His response to me is what really got me thinking.
“So basically, you're in for repairs as you've been bumping into other cars and smacking the wall from time to time. . . then find out the real problem. . . I'M NOT SUPPOSED TO DRIVE!

The Lord drives! He drives the bus, truck, car, motorcycle, etc. He's the only one that knows where we are going! If He drives we get there safe and sound and all we have to do is sit back and listen to His instruction and follow His guidance and we Win the race!

Driver or rider. . . you decide.”

So I’m taking a rest. I spend my time in God’s Word, in prayer, and in fellowship with Him. I am just allowing Him to restore me so He can use when and where ever He so chooses.

One more thing to think about is deflection. That is an engineering term for the amount of bending experienced by the beam as d increases. (Don't worry, I won't go into the math to calculate the effects that deflection has on the beam)
When we get far enough away from God, we, the beam, can start to bend. The problem is that this stuff usually happens gradually over time so it is difficult to notice when we are doing it. How far do you have to bend before you realize that you’ve gone too far?
Well, if you start making excuses, you are pretty much there.
“Oh, I know what the Bible says, but that can’t apply to me, because my life is different”
“Surely God knows that I need to have this or that, because….”

And we start trying to justify our sin.

The Bible says what it says. God gave us His commands and there are no exceptions. The Bible is quite clear on what we are to do and how we are to live our lives. I couldn’t find any references (and believe me, I looked for them) that give us an out. “If only that person would do this, or behave that way, then I’ll obey God’s directive”. Nope. Sorry. It just isn’t in there.

I have mentioned before that many, many years ago, I told God that “My answer to you is Yes, now what is the question?
Meaning that I will not hesitate to do whatever He calls me to do. For now, I suppose, He is calling me to rest and recharge, and be renewed, in Him.

I heard a song on the country radio station recently, I think it is titled “Down the Road” (I can’t remember who sings it), but the song has a line in it that asks if the guy is “Washed in the blood and not just the water”.
So I thought about my own life. Am I washed in the Blood? Or, did I merely get wet when I got baptized? I understand that water baptism will not get you into heaven, only the saving grace of accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior will do that.
But you know something? Some days, I can, without a doubt, declare that yes, I am living my life as proof that I was washed in the Blood, saved by Grace, and living my life for Christ.
I can also show you other days when all I did was get wet in a church.

Christian song artist Michael O’Brien has a song that says “What would my life say to you, if I said nothing at all?
My life is supposed to be a living testimony to the awesomeness of Jesus Christ.

So that’s what I am trying to do. Live my life for Him. Get and stay as close to God as I can. To make my M = zero. To not allow myself to get torqued, or get bent. And resist the temptation to tell certain others to “get bent”.
Given my sarcastic and rebellious nature, this won’t be easy. But I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.

So how about you? Are you washed in the blood, and not just the water?
What would your life say, if you didn’t say anything at all?

Are you getting bent? You don’t have to be. Just spend a little time talking to God, and He will straighten you right out.

Those forces of life will still press against you, and those winds will still blow, but staying close to God will help you weather any storm. And sometimes, those things are good for you. Like Winston Churchill said, "Kites rise against the wind, not with it".


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Friday, February 06, 2009

Wow. What a Day!

I woke up this morning, put on my shirt,
and a button fell off.

I opened the dresser drawer,
and a knob fell off.

I picked up my briefcase,
and the handle fell off.

I am afraid to go to the bathroom!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Happy Groundhog Day!!

No, I’m not referring to some overgrown rodent seeing or not seeing his shadow. I’m talking about what should be a National Holiday.

Yep. Today is my birthday. I’m not saying how old I am, but when someone at church this weekend jokingly mentioned that I am 29, I replied that I am indeed only 29, with 18 years experience! And so far, this is the oldest I have ever been!
(I don’t mind getting older, it’s the side effects I could do without)

I hope you all have a wonderful day and that you enjoy the following jabs at growing older…….
A few Quotes on Aging....

We spend our lives on the run: we get up by the clock, eat and sleep by the clock, get up again, go to work - and then we retire. And what do they give us? A bloody clock. - - - - Dave Allen

When you reach forty you can’t do anything every day.- - - - Henry “Hank” Aaron

The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.- - - - Lucille Ball

If I were younger, I'd know more.- - - - James Barrie

To me, old age is always fifteen years older than I am.- - - - Bernard M. Baruch

What Youth deemed crystal,Age finds out was dew.- - - - Robert Browning

I prefer old age to the alternative.- - - - Maurice Chevalier

One keeps on forgetting old age up to the very brink of the grave.- - - - Colette

Old age is no place for sissies.- - - - Bette Davis

As one grows older, one becomes wiser and more foolish.- - - - Fran├žois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

I grow old . . . I grow old . . .I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.- - - - T. S. Eliot “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

We do not count a man's years until he has nothing else to count.- - - - Ralph Waldo Emerson

If youth but knew; if age but could.- - - - Henri Estienne

Middle age is when your age starts to show around your middle.- - - - Bob Hope

After a man passes sixty, his mischief is mainly in his head.- - - - Edgar Watson Howe

I have everything I had twenty years ago, only it’s all a little bit lower.- - - - Gypsy Rose Lee

After thirty, a body has a mind of its own.- - - - Bette Midler

At age fifty, every man has the face he deserves.- - - - George Orwell

Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.- - - - Satchel Paige

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you was?- - - - Satchel Paige

Old Age: First you forget names, then you forget faces, then you forget to pull your zipper up, then you forget to pull your zipper down.- - - - Leo Rosenberg

When men reach their sixties and retire they go to pieces. Women just go right on cooking.- - - - Gail Sheehy

Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”Said the old man, “I do that too.”The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”“I do that too,” laughed the old man.”Said the little boy, “I often cry.”The old man nodded, “So do I.”“But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seemsGrown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.“I know what you mean,” said the old man.- - - - Shel Silverstein

Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man.- - - - Leon Trotsky

True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country. - - - - Kurt Vonnegut

The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.- - - - Oscar Wilde


You Know You're Getting Older When . . .

Your knees buckle, and your belt won’t.

You feel like the morning after, and you haven’t been anywhere.

6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to sleep.

You hear your favorite song on the elevator at work.

Your back goes out more than you do.

You watch the Weather Channel.

You sink your teeth into a steak, and they stay there.

You join a health club and don't go.

Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as "dressed up".

You're the one calling the police because those dang kids next door don't know how to turn down the stereo.

Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you.

You don't know what time Taco Bell closes anymore.

Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up.

You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonalds.

Sleeping on the couch is a no-no.

“Happy Hour” is taking a nap.

Dinner and a movie --- the whole date instead of the beginning of one.

You stop looking forward to your next birthday.

You look forward to a dull evening.

A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer "pretty good stuff".

You actually eat breakfast foods at breakfast time.

Over 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.

Growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional.

Okay, that’s enough for now. Remember that growing older is something we all must do. It has been said that you are only as old as you feel. Well, if that’s true, then I am way too young for this.

I know a lot of people my age who are already grandparents. So I suppose I should be thankful that I am not yet a grandpa, I have most of my hair and all of my own teeth. I run more than two miles every other day and can bench press more than twice my own weight.

When I opened my lunch box today, I found a note from my wife.
It read, “You’re the kind of person who becomes more wonderful with every year.” There was more, but I’m not about to share that with you!

So I guess I am more like my favorite car, the 1932 Ford Model A (I don’t have one, but I sure do want one). I’m not getting old, I’m becoming a classic!

I’m not as young as I used to be, but then, I’m not as old as I’m going to be either. Every day that I live brings me one more day closer to the day I get to start spending my eternity with my Savior. In the meantime, I plan to spend my remaining days serving Him and telling/showing people about the incredible saving grace found in knowing Jesus as Lord of my life.

And only He knows how many days I’ve got left, so I guess I better get busy!