Tuesday, February 02, 2010

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 by today’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 today. 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. (Philippians 1:20-26 NIV)


  1. Lindsey4:28 PM

    Thanks for this.

  2. Mike Daniel4:39 PM

    awesome, Ralph. thanks, brother!

  3. Hariette Petersen11:04 PM

    "I may have said it better myself, but God didn't lay it on my heart to do so. So glad you said it for me. Just loving being in Him and having Him in me. A blessing to be alive today.

  4. Frank Houser Sr.11:05 PM

    "Excellent word Ralph. Whatever is around the next bend.. He will have His way in me and He's pleased! It's exciting!"

  5. Michelle Mahan11:06 PM

    "awesome...something I needed to read. Thanks my frien' :)"

  6. Nancy Gilmore11:07 PM

    What a great word, Ralph- so refreshing! I loved it...- funny TOO! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Michael Jablonski11:08 PM

    Good word Ralph!

  8. Garth Friesen10:39 AM

    I've been absolutely blown away by how God fills in the blanks when we trust Him with our future. I'm on a 6 month sabbatical from teaching at the Christian college I'm employed at and currently exploring God in the country of New Zealand - God has blessed us over and over with people we've met, places we've stayed, and although the challenges still remain - we've witnessed God's ability to transform the mystery into the magnificent! I'm experiencing that last verse you quoted - I feel an incredible joy & renewal building in my life as a result of putting my trust in the future He has planned...small steps of faith that when I look back were giant leaps of his grace & love in my life.

  9. Victoria Gaines10:40 AM

    "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."

    Appreciated this, in particular, Ralph - thanks!