Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's truth (and I'm keeping it)

What a day we're having so far!

You know why you're having such a great morning? You're keeping the truth, that's why.

No, we're not getting rid of the truth. The truth, you see, is God's way. We're keeping that, for sure.

I really liked this part of Pastor Joel's devotional this morning: "For example, the Bible says that love covers an offense. When you choose to walk in love even when someone has offended you, you are guarding the Truth."

I must be doing pretty good, because I'm walking in love today. Sometimes I feel like I've turned forgiving offenses into a full-time job (with plenty of overtime). If you like job security, there's no better line of work. It doesn't pay well initially, but it seems like everyday I get new, exciting opportunities to forgive and guard the truth. Praise the Lord!

Now that I think about it, I need to update my resume.

He's faithful and good, and He's on our side. I'm just beside myself thinking about the truth of God's word all stored up in my heart.

How about this part: "When you choose God’s way, instead of the world’s way, you are guarding the truth."

I like to think I do this already, but I know I can improve. Hey, I'm a work in progress. It's important we stay in the Word, talk to God every day, and do what he says.

By all means, let's keep the truth!

If you spend a lot of time on the Web or watching the television, I recommend keeping the Word close by. I have a neat little book called "God's Promises For Your Every Need" that I keep right next to the computer here. It's a collection of scriptures all categorized under certain topics.

You've got to be disciplined to keep the truth. Often I'll read something on the Internet machine and think, "Hmmm, that doesn't sound right. I wonder what God has to say about it."

I flip that little scripture book open to just the right verse and get it tattooed on my brain. Hey, truth is truth, and I'm keeping it.

Thanks, Pastor Joel. I'll keep on keeping on today. I'm forgiving everyone, seeking His face, and remaining steadfast in the mission He's given me.

Here's God's truth I'm meditating on today:

"Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He that promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23).

That's God's truth. God's way. That's the path I'm choosing today. Let me encourage my readers to do the same.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I'm loving others today, and I don't even have to choose to do it

Choosing to love others is a good thing, but not having to make that choice is even better!

Did you get Pastor Joel's devotional this morning? (You can get them at his Web site).

I'm having an incredible day today because I'm loving others and I don't even have to choose to do it. I'm just doing it. It's like choosing joy. Choosing joy is just fine, but it's always better when you don't have to make that choice, right? When it's just there.

I think one of the things the Lord is teaching me today is that we don't have to put love letters up on the Internet to be valuing and esteeming each other. We can just walk in that "calm delight" Pastor Joel always talks about, knowing that at the right time we'll be able to express our feeling to everyone in our lives in the proper format.

I was thinking about the Princess as I read today's devotional. A princess likes to be adored and loved on, and that's wonderful, I look forward to obliging her in that.

But that day hasn't fully come, now has it? Does loving the Princess like Christ loved the church mean I need to post love letters on this blog for the world to see? Should my Princess have to post messages of love on the Web for the world to see in order for me to feel honored and appreciated?

Of course not. That would be silly. I haven't met her. She hasn't met me. I don't know her likes and dislikes. She doesn't know mine. I don't know our areas of common interest and such.

As wonderful as technology and the Internet are, there are serious limitations to this kind of communication. When it's time to esteem and honor those in our lives, the best way to do it is by trading e-mail addresses or telephone numbers. Posting love letters on the Internet turns something precious (personal exchanges by people trying to get to know each other) into entertainment for others.

Believe it or not, that's not what this is about. I'm all for entertainment, but it's no way to grow a relationship.

Princess, wherever you are, you're doing just fine. I feel loved and appreciated. You don't even have to tell me I'm loved an appreciated if you don't feel comfortable doing it.

We'll take care of communicating love and appreciation when we are face to face. Having said that, I want you to know you are loved an appreciated. I promise you this, you may feel under loved and under appreciated at times during this season of your life, but you won't feel that way after we've met and started our lives together.

I'm talking about our real lives together. Not silly, one-way communications on the Internet that really are more for the entertainment and appeasement of others rather than for us.

I bet you feel the same way. Have you ever thought, "I wish I could talk to him to let me know exactly what I'm feeling and thinking without having to filter it because I'm actually talking to umpteen other people"?

I have, too. So, don't feel you have to express it. Hold on to your feelings for when we get a chance to talk. I don't feel under appreciated or not loved just because you don't say it on the Internet. Two people have to fall in love. That happens over time as we get to know each other.

There will a day in our lives that we'll be like a normal couple. We can love on each other in private, and discuss everything in our lives like every other healthy couple does. Until then, we just have to take some things on faith.

Anyway, I really started talking today, huh? I guess the main point I wanted to make is that I'm walking in love today.

Here's something maybe Pastor Joel could address in a future message or devotional:

It is very true that God's love is not dependent on conditions. In other words, God loves people no matter what, and we should love the same way.

But should a believer feel obligated to surround themself with people who don't chose to love us that way, or support the vision?

We all have difficult people in our lives. We are obligated to love them anyway. That's just the way it is.

But, are we obligated to knowingly put ourselves around people who we're going to have to work extremely hard at loving?

Do you understand my question?

Shouldn't we love certain people from a distance? I heard a fantastic quote once from a minister. He said that the most dangerous people in our lives are those who feed our doubts. If you think about it, it's true.

Jesus said, "If you believe, all things are possible." So, it makes sense that anyone who causes us to doubt the promises God has placed in our heart is really a detriment to us. That includes people who would normally fall into our "inner circle."

This minister went on to say that we should identify those peope and "ruthlessly eradicate them from our lives." Some harsh words to be sure, but I can actually see a kernel of truth in that remark.

Where do you make the distinction between loving people with God's love, and then on the other hand avoiding people who have consistently proven they are not on board with what God is trying to accomplish in your life?

That's what I'm fighting to understand and grow in. I know God wants me to love everyone -- even the difficult people. But during great trials of our faith, shouldn't we be extremely careful of those we allow to speak into our lives?

If after spending a couple hours with someone, you feel you need to pray through to get your vision back, shouldn't you avoid that person at all costs (no matter who they are)?

Anyway, I'm walking in love today and it feels fantastic. Have a great day.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

We'll be picking a president this year

I would like one of those Sen. Obama T-shirts, but in all seriousness, I've been thinking about our presidential election a lot today.

Tonight was not my night to see Senator Obama speak. However, there seems to be an unusual level of excitement that follows him everywhere he goes, and I look forward to seeing him speak in public sometime.

One of the things I've discovered as I watch coverage of the elections is that I have a hard time separating their personalities and "likeablity" from the issues. These people all obviously love their country and want to serve as president for the right reasons, so even when someone differs from me on some of the issues I find myself in support of them.

All these people deserve our respect for going through this process. We have senators and a former governor. People who have dedicated their professional lives to serving their county.

That's why I'm sometimes turned off by politics. I don't like to hear people bad-mouthing others simply because they disagree on issues. It hasn't been too bad during this presidential election, and that's a very good thing. For the most part, people seem to be very respectful of one another, and they should be.

There has been an excitement leading up to this particular presidential election that I can't remember in my lifetime. Have you seen how many satellite trucks are downtown at the Toyota Center tonight? The first African American in our history could become a nominee in a major party for the presidency. The first woman is running. No matter who you're supporting, it's an exciting time for our country.

I look forward to seeing who wins this time around. The election will be a good time.

We hear a lot about "change" during this election. Has anyone figured out exactly what they mean by that? The next president is going to have quite a job.

The truth is, I like McCain, Huckabee, Obama and Clinton. I think any of them would make a great president worthy of our respect and support if elected. Of course, I know who I'm supporting for president, because at the end of the day each of us has to vote the issues, based upon how we see the world around us.

It is fitting that we get excited and get informed, and that we all go vote in November. I'm looking forward to it.

Hunter Pence and that pesky glass door

I read about Astros outfielder Hunter Pence's injuries today and have to admit I was surprised. Not only because it's a rare occurrence to jump (accidentally) through a sliding glass door, but because I've been been waiting for decades to hear about it happening to someone else.

I spent hours in an Ardmore, Oklahoma operating room as a youngster getting sewn up after my mother closed a sliding glass door that I left open when I went out on the patio. Not knowing she shut the door behind me, I turned around and ran into the glass at full steam.

Sheets of that glass came down on me, slicing me up so bad in several places that I had to be wrapped in a blanket like a burrito while they rushed me to the hospital.

To this day, I have a scar on my face that goes from my left eye (the last suture was literally right under my bottom eyelashes) to the center of my cheek. Scars on each leg, also.

I still get asked about the one on my face. I used to joke that I got it in a fight in the Marines. It sounds better than I forgot to open a door.

I joke, but I imagine it was a bit scary for Hunter and we're all pulling for a quick recovery.

Anyway, this is also a little strange because I had bookmarked Hunter's new blog a couple days ago looking for the right time to mention that he is blogging about the Astros. I guess this is as good a time as any. I wonder if we can expect a blog post on this situation?

Get well soon, Hunter. Go Astros!

Friday, February 15, 2008

I'm choosing love and patience today

Do yourself a favor. Get over to Joel Osteen's Web site and sign up for his daily devotionals. They are pretty good. I may comment from time to time on them here.

Today I'm choosing patience. I'm choosing love. I'm choosing kindness. I'm having a wonderful day because life is all about making the right choices, and I'm doing just that.

Pastor Joel says I should ask God how to love you better. I'll do that, but in the mean time, can I ask you a question?

How can I love you better? I love every one of you because I'm walking in love today. It's all about love, love, love, love, love. Maybe I could do something to make you feel more loved? I want to partner with God to do whatever it takes to make you feel more love from me.

You might be reading this and thinking, "I just happen to be looking at this blog today. He's talking about someone else. He doesn't love me."

No, I'm talking about you, specifically. I love you. And I'm asking God how to love you better.

Please send all suggestions on how I can love better here: johntyler4@excite.com

I don't want to fail in the love department. I certainly don't want to be a resounding gong or a clanging symbol. That would be weird.

If I don't hear from you specifically I'll assume I'm loving you just fine.

Make sure to subscribe to Pastor Joel's daily devotionals. They're pretty good. I may have a word or two on how they are shaping my days here occasionally.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day, Gorgeous!

Am I bummed about the fact that tomorrow is February 14, Valentine's Day, and I haven't met my Princess yet?

Well, no more than I was on Feb. 10, or Jan. 24, or Nov. 19.

The truth is, tomorrow is just another day away from her. I won't stress over us being apart tomorrow any more than I did any other day (or any less).

It's just a matter of time. If anything, tomorrow might be a good day for all of us single people to recommit to our goal of seeking first God's kingdom and will in regards to our future mate.

Are we seeking someone head over heels in love with Jesus, above all else? Are we seeking someone who we know will be a covering and an asset to us spiritually first and foremost, with everything else a distant second?

We should be. I know I am. Every time I pray for her, I pray that God will ultimately bring me together with someone who will love Jesus and His ways more than than she loves me. If you don't know the Lord or don't subscribe to my personal beliefs, that might sound like a strange prayer.

But it's not. I want a woman who won't only adore me and be a sweetheart, but one who I can depend on to hear from God herself. Someone that won't have a problem with looking me in the eyes in those times I occasionally get off on my own thing and say, "You're missing it on this one, man of God."

So, wherever you are today, Princess, have a wonderful Valentine's Day. Don't spend it lonely and wishing you had someone, but spend it celebrating the fact that God's best for you is right around the corner! His promises to you are "yes" and "amen."

That actually might be good advice for all the single folks out there.

Let's keep the most important thing the most important thing in our lives. Let's love each other. That's how they are going to know we are His disciples, right?

Commit to your quiet time. Listen carefully for His voice and be obedient always.

Happy Valentine's Day. Be blessed, sweetheart. I look forward to adoring you in person and rubbing your pretty feet (within the confines of our loving marriage, of course).

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Bucket List

I've been thinking about the things I want to do before I die. Granted, I'm not dying anytime soon. The Word teaches that the Lord satisfies us with long life (Psalm 91:16), so I've got plenty of time to do all this.

You can't just let life happen to you. You've got to have some goals. Not just goals...plans. I heard it in a commercial and Pastor Joel said it, too.

You've got to know where you're going, how you're going to get there, and what you're going to do once you show up.

Therefore, I'm making a list of things I want to accomplish. I'm writing the vision down.

This is my bucket list. Here's what I want to do before I die, in no particular order:

1) I want to finish reading the long book I won in a drawing from a blog on the Houston Chronicle's Web site. The book is entitled, "A Stubbornly Persistent Illusion." I've affectionately renamed it, "A Stubbornly Persistent Book." I guess it's OK, but it's thick, with big words and confusing equations. I'm going to figure out how to get through it, somehow.

Plan to make this happen: Break this one up into small, three- or four-page sittings. No use trying to read a chapter or two at a time. Slow, steady work.

2) Appear in a film with both Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. It doesn't have to be the same film, mind you. We can do two different movies if you'd prefer. And I'd like for Tony Scott to say I did well in the review (only if it's true, of course).

Plan to make this happen: I'm going to show up in L.A. one day and put in an application or whatever you do to get cast in a motion picture. I usually do well in job interviews so there shouldn't be a problem.

3) I'd like to stand on the platform at Lakewood Church and address those nice people. It can be on a Wednesday night if y'all prefer. Give Dr. Paul or Lisa the night off one evening, and get ready for fun and excitement (and the Word, of course). Pastor Osteen, we can grab dinner ahead of time. Go ahead and bring your bodyguard, too. He seems like a nice fellow with a great sense of humor.

Plan to make this happen: I may just show up at the church office someday and ask if I can be put on the schedule.

4) Visit Dominion Church in League City, Texas, and have lunch with the pastor. No bodyguards at that meal, please.

Plan to make this happen: Visiting churches doesn't take much planning. I just have to show up. The lunch might be a little more difficult. You'd be surprised at how tricky these things can be. Why's he going to lunch with pastor? I've never been to lunch with pastor, and I've passed the plate here or greeted guests at the door for three years! Wait, I teach a Sunday school class here and I haven't been to lunch with the pastor. That kind of thing.

I'm just playing, Dominion people! This is yet another great group of believers so I'm probably overstating any potential problem.

5) Have dinner with the Barlow girls and their parents, or just have a cup of coffee with them all on their bus. I want to see what the inside of their bus looks like. I hear it smells like cookies and vanilla spray. I have a huge crush on Alyssa but please don't tell her that.

Plan to make this happen: There are very stringent rules in place to keep scary stalker people away from born-again rock stars. Unfortunately, those kinds of rules sometimes hinder the noble plans of extremely nice, well-grounded people like myself. I actually have no idea how to make this happen. I won't stop believing for it, though.

6) Get the readership of my blog over 15 people.

Plan to make this happen: It's tougher than you think when you have as little to say as I do. Maybe I'll get blessed and someone will feature it in a publication or high-traffic Web site. I may have peaked at six or seven readers. I guess when I show God I'm ready for a bigger audience he'll give it to me. Like David, my times truly are in his hands.

7) Have a cup of coffee with my friend Rebecca St. James. Granted, I flew out to Nashville twice thinking this would happen and it never did, so this one might be a pipe dream.

Plan to make this happen: I had actually hoped that we would work on the same feature film together, but the script never came in the mail. Maybe she picked it up at Sundance. Possibly a sequel to the one about UFOs flying around small Texas towns taking rear license plates off of cars?

Having coffee with your friends is usually pretty simple to set up so no worries. I once had an idea for a nationally syndicated radio program featuring Rebecca and myself called "Joy Cometh in the Morning Show." Since I had no live radio experience (and haven't even had as much as a cup of coffee with Rebecca), I thought it would be hard to pitch it to anyone with a straight face.

8) Write a book (and have it published). I received a couple prophetic words years ago that this would occur in my lifetime, and I now firmly believe that was the word of the Lord. "Your written words will set people free around the globe..." Wow. I'm ready for all that. Helping that many people would be an honor.

Plan to make this happen: One keystroke at a time.

9) Take the Princess to Galveston, Texas, and onto the jetty that juts out into the sea...the one right there at the Landry's/Hilton hotel on Seawall. Maybe she likes seafood? Gulf seafood is pretty good. We'll grab some chow while we're there.

Plan to make this happen: All we have to do is go south on I-45. It runs right into the island.

10) I want to attend a serious debate between a well-published, well-credentialed creationist and a well-published, well-credentialed evolutionist. I've read that people who question evolution as a scientific fact are either ignoring evidence or are idiots, but I'd like to make that decision on my own, thank you very much. Please let me know if you hear of such of a debate.

Plan to make this happen: Find out where it is being held, and arrive in my car.

This is just a list of 10 things I came up with off the top of my head. These are some of my smaller goals. I'll keep the really big ones secret for now.