Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Life By Phil

I have a fascination about the future.

I wonder what direction it will take me, what will happen in Iraq, what will go on in Washington D.C., who will win the Super Bowl, will my life be fruitful, will we move, will we have enough money, what’s God up to, and what are the people who read this thinking.


It might be epitomized in this Saturday’s important event—Ground Hog Day. I mean, what will Punxsutawney Phil do? Will there be six more weeks of winter (please, no!), or are we moving into spring? I will pay attention to what goes on with Phil and his shadow, even if he doesn’t. Isn’t that weird?

But I’ve realized that in my mania about the future I can become paralyzed in the present. I mean, what if I make a move today that screws-up my future? What then? And if I screw-up, it’s no longer just me that suffers—I’ve got my family to think about.

Maybe Punxsutawney Phil and I will just stay in our holes on Saturday. See? Don’t move and that whole shadow thing doesn’t even come into play.

And I’m living life in order to avoid it.

Life for me is not about how I work it and what God will do as the result of my work. Life is really about God working me. I’m His workmanship, and the delight of His day is in what He does with me. (Eph 2:10) Really, I believe that I can run up a mountain or down a valley, pastor a church or make coffee, watch a movie with Emma on my lap, or write a blog, catch frogs with Ellen, or go on a date with Sarah, and God is pleased. He’s busy and He’s working in me.

I don’t mean there aren’t times when God’s direction and choice for my day isn’t clear and absolute—that happens. But I think what God’s doing today is me—might as well get going.

Shadow or not, that’s my future.

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.” (Phil 1:20-26 NIV)


  1. Anonymous12:29 PM

    That's can spell Punxsutawney. Well, at least I think you can. I can't, so I at least believe that you did.
    Glad He is in control. At least we know that. Those who take Phil and seeing a shadow or not----------wow,
    and they think we Christians are the ones who are nuts.

  2. Anonymous3:15 PM


    I've finally gotten around to reading this. As usual, GREAT! God just uses you and your family in such awesome ways. You guys are so special to me.

  3. Anonymous9:31 AM

    Hey, Ralph!

    Isn't God amazing for many reasons, but today because even though I'm over two weeks late in reading your e-mails, each time I read one it's so applicable to that particular day.

    Thanks Ralph, and thanks Lord!

  4. You're welcome. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Anonymous8:59 AM

    These are good words to start the day with. I especially like what you said - "Life for me is not about how I work it and what God will do as the result of my work. Life is really about God working me." And of course I remember that I am God's royal daughter! Yipee!

  6. Thank you for your comments. As I grow in Christ, those two sentences mark most of either the friction or smooth-going in my life.
    In fact, I am thankful that you drew my attention to them this morning--I needed to go there!