When November Comes


november picture

Today is November 1st, and in the Adirondacks, when November comes, it means several things. First of all, it means hunting season is in full swing. People are trying to fill freezers with fresh meat for the winter months that are just ahead. There have already been great preparations with the garden harvest, that now over-flows root cellars and pantries. Filled canning jars line storage shelves, and wood  has been split to dry, and piled high. Rich stews are slowly cooking in oven-warmed kitchens, and loaves of steaming bread are placed on cooling racks.

November is a month of dramatic changes, where the world has gone from brilliant splashes of October color, to gray twigs rattling in a cold, north wind. Pale sunlight streams down to highlight the last brown and yellow leaves of birch, beach and ash trees, as they fall to their final winter resting place. It is a month where we pause to think, and remember, and ponder the good things of our past, and look forward to the joy of Thanksgiving. The food and family, that have not yet found their voice, will do so soon enough!

In many ways, November cements the years together for me. It is the culmination of what has been, and the anticipation of what is yet to come. It is the nostalgic glue of years gone by, where half-remembered stories of family history, are told once again to another generation. It is prayer with friends and family, around a Thanksgiving table that is heaped with roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, cranberry sauce, orange-cranberry stuffing, and apple and pumpkin pies. It is hot spiced apple cider, sipped from warm mugs, on evenings when the first snow flakes fall to the ground.

It is a month were the precious time we have together, around the table, restores ancient family ties, builds new memories and  reconnects old friends. Most of all, November is the month were I am drawn closer and closer to the One who loves me. All the food, the family, and the friends I enjoy, serve to remind me of how it all comes from God. He is the author of every good and perfect gift. Each mouth-full of food, or explosion of laughter, echoes His endless affection for me. The mouth-watering aroma of a fresh baked apple pie, just pulled from the oven, opens me to the delight of thanking God in a  new and deeper way.

If November causes you to struggle with thoughts of the snow that is about to come, or dark, cold morning drives to work, perhaps you may need to re-frame how you think about it. In fact, all of life can easily be re-framed, but where you focus your attention plays a very important role in that process. Focus on what goes wrong, and that’s exactly what you will see. Focus on what might go wrong , and you will become the agent of your own undoing. However, good changes begin when you begin to give thanks, and I mean give thanks in everything, not for everything! There is power in what God says about this, and it is quite a shock for most people. The point is, Scripture says a thankful heart pleases God, and it creates a thankful life, and this is what unlocks the potential in us all.

This November, take a moment when friends and family are gathered around your Thanksgiving table, and really give thanks for what you see. Look into the faces, hear the stories, embrace the laughter and savor every moment as a treasured memory. Don’t be in such a hurry to get to what’s next. Slow down, and enjoy the time you have, like you were savoring a rare wine. If you do, it will fill your heart with joy, and be a source of great blessing to you, and the generations that follow. This can be yours simply because you learned to enjoy the life you see all around you, when November comes.

It Has All Been Worth It

42641656_10156815740173675_915971161068666880_nFall colors in the Adirondack Mountains and the Green Mountains of Vermont are unmatched in beauty by any other place in the United States. The Fall panorama can simply be breath-taking, in so many ways. We have friends who own a plane, and this time of year they often fly over the “High Peaks” region of upstate New York to snap pictures of the landscape that seems almost unearthly. The colors can be so brilliant that it is hard to take it all in.

I was thinking of this as I drove my motorcycle over a few back roads last week. It was a very cold, clear morning but I wanted to take one more ride before taking my bike in for winter repairs. I crested a hill, and there before me was an incredible view. The mountains were a brilliant blaze of colors that no earthly artist could have ever painted. There was liquid orange, and pale pink, splashes of flame red, and a patchwork of every color of the rainbow imaginable. All I could do was pull over, turn off the engine, and in the silence, stare with awe-struck wonder. The rich earthy smells, blue Jays calling in the distance, and the ocean of colors that spread out before me, was beyond description. I was half shivering from the cold, but had to admit when I saw this view, “it has all been worth it”!

As I enjoyed this magnificent artistry, it hit me that all of this beauty was the result of two things. The first was cold temperatures, and the second was dwindling daylight hours.  In all honesty,  I must admit, I never like embracing these changes when they come. This is because I know it means the warm, lazy days of summer are gone. But, I also know these are in fact, the very things that bring about the amazing sight my eyes were beholding. Frost on the ground, and reduced daylight hours, releases the beauty of what comes next. Without these added stress factors, as unpleasant as they are,  it would be absolutely impossible to produce the glory of what was all around me.

In this life, God will often bring us to an uncomfortable place of change, to make us better. It’s the place we have refused to face, or don’t want to process, but we have to go there anyway. We so enjoy the summer we have lived in, and the thought of entering a cold season just does not enter our field of vision. We will comfortably keep doing what has always worked, and find ways to prolong it, even if it is not God’s highest and best for us. Then it happens, the world gets colder and darker, for no apparent reason, and our life is left floundering in a directionless sea of uncertainty. Like it or not, we are then forced into uncomfortable personal change, and there is no way out, so we are forced to go through it instead.

What we often fail to recognize in these tough times, is that this is exactly what we need to bring out the beauty of what comes next. The frost, and longer nights of Autumn, reveal the brilliant colors that will paint the hillsides. So also, the personal distress God allows into our life, is exactly what sets us up for a greater expression of His glory through us. God could leave us as we are, and never bring any challenge to make us grow, but is that what’s best? He could be like a negligent, weakling of a parent, who never crosses their self-willed, dishonoring child. But, let’s be honest. Who enjoys dealing with these kids, and is that what you want for your life?

Every gardener knows it takes a lot of water, fertilizer and sunlight to produce the best harvest. Fruit in our life is just the same, since it grows best when the environment for it is right. That means, the factors that produce joy, come through times of sorrow. What produces patience, is endurance in days of difficulty. What causes peace to grow, is going through seasons of unrest, with godly confidence. It is the frost, and growing darkness of difficult situations, that brings out the beauty and glory of what God has planned for you all along.

Never settle for where you are, or what you have currently achieved. Ask God to give you the desire to be the best version of who He made you to be. That will mean unexplained seasonal shifts, where frost and darkness are your companions. It will mean adjusting your vision, and displaying a better attitude in moments of crisis. Most of all, it will mean finding your value in who He says your are, not in what you think you do well. Change is the order of life, and it often comes through things we would prefer not to experience. However, when you see the amazing landscape of life that God lays out before you, you will say, as I did on that frosty, clear morning, “it has all been worth it”. Now, bundle up, get out there and don’t let the frost keep you from enjoying all the beauty that surrounds you.

Clash Of Cultures


The Romans believed their empire rested on the concept of “Pax Deorum”, meaning “peace of the gods”. That is, if the Romans did right by all the gods, those deities would bring them peace and prosperity. When followers of Christ came along, this upset the balance of power Rome thought it had achieved. Christians claimed the pagan gods were demonic, and real peace only came through the truth of God’s Kingdom. This created a massive clash of cultures within the empire that Rome had never experienced before. If the Roman government allowed Christians to propagate their beliefs, even though they were model citizens, the gods would be angry, and they would withhold their favor from the Empire, and it’s people.

Usually, Rome embraced the cultures they conquered, allowing them to quietly assimilate their beliefs into Roman society. Even though Christians were peaceful, and obeyed the laws, they refused to acknowledge any other God but the God of Scripture. This became a huge problem for Rome, and it caused a massive division in the otherwise united empire that sprawled across the land. Thus, Christianity began to conquer the unconquerable Romans, by splitting the spiritual culture in half, and that created a multitude of problems for everyone.

Persecutors would give Christians the chance to go free if they would just acknowledge the Roman gods, but they refused to do so. They chose rather to die, than offer a pinch of incense, or say a few ritual words to a false god. This practice amazed the Romans, as they had only seen such unwavering bravery among their own soldiers. As a result, massive persecution arose against Christians all across the Roman Empire, but not because they believe in Christ. The Romans felt that any belief, even belief in Jesus, was fine. The persecution came because Christians refused to believe in anything BUT Jesus. They would not compromise the truth, and became the target of unspeakable torture.

Once the Romans realized Christians would never blend quietly into their culture, everything changed. Their very presence was viewed as a threat to the unity, peace and prosperity of the Empire. The “Pax Romana” or “Roman Peace” could not be possible as long as Christians were present. Rome had no fear of being defeated by the sword, or a vast, invading army. These could be conquered and grafted into the Empire. It’s greatest fear was that it would be unraveled by internal division. Who was this formidable, unconquerable enemy? Those who loved God, lived in peace, and loved others, but held unswervingly to the truth of Scripture.

The world loves it’s own. That’s what Jesus told his disciples over 2000 years ago, and it’s still true today. The world also, by it’s very nature, will always hate those who stand immovable, on biblical ground. Why? Because we bring conviction regarding sin, and that rocks the boat everyone else is enjoying. Regardless of the consequences, Christians are called to stand their ground, in love. Even when the world wants us to back their position for the sake of peace, we must still hold on to the truth. No matter how unpopular we may become, or how much we are accused of being “haters”, Biblical truth never changes, and neither can we.

Peace achieved by embracing everything, means people really don’t believe anything. There is no truth present when everyone, and every belief, is considered to be right. It’s impossible to have lasting peace, without truth being at the center of it. The universal standard of right and wrong that truth always holds dear, is what brings real peace. Thus, Christianity will always be at odds with any belief system, or empire, that does not line up with the Kingdom of God.

This is why we don’t rejoice and applaud, when a Hollywood star gets pregnant outside of marriage. They are thrilled and full of joy, but we are shamed and see disgrace by such behavior, and we must call it what it really is, fornication and immorality. The world hates us for this because we live by a higher moral standard that is set in place by Scripture. People in the world join themselves to same sex partners, and they applaud those who “come out of the closet” . We on the other hand, still love these people, but we call this behavior sexual sin, and believe our God can deliver anyone from this lifestyle of bondage. The results is always the same. The world hates us and calls us “hateful and prejudice”, simply because we hold to a higher standard that is grounded in 4000 years Biblical truth.

Just like it was in the Roman Empire, the clash of cultures is setting the world on fire once again. The set of ideals the world embraces to bring peace, is at odds with the truth Christians must live by. And, just like it was in ancient Rome, the roar of that clash means it’s not going to get any easier for those who really know, and love God. True Christianity, that which is grounded in the truth of God’s Word, will always come with a price. Every Christian will eventually have to stand and speak against the flood of immoral, and unethical standards the world holds in high esteem. When that day comes, the question is, will you pay the price for righteousness, or will you be swept up in the new “Pax Deorum” and “Pax Romana” the world offers to all?

Ephesians 6:13-15 says “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;” May the truth of God’s word strengthen you to confront in love, what is wrong, and not conform to the standard of this world. May the overcoming love of God strengthen you to speak the truth in a darkening world, and rescue those who hear it. May you go boldly into any dark night and shine with the light of God’s eternal Gospel when the clash of cultures comes your way.

Walking In October Country


This is the first week of October, and that means we have reached a tipping point when it comes to all that is “Fall”. October is the month when real change can be felt and seen all around us. It’s the time when the last warm days of the year are nearly gone, and the sun begins a seasonal shift that can’t be missed. It takes on a paler, yellow color, and sinks faster into the west. Its warmth begins to fade as it angles lower in the Autumn sky. It means longer, damper nights, and shorter cooler days, and this causes us to bundle up against the bluster of a cutting north wind. It comes with crisp, clear mornings where a brilliant blue sky is etched by swirls of moisture that silently rise from the cooling landscape.

October is a month of nostalgia and memories that are framed in frost, and an orange blanket of quietly falling leaves. It is the smell of wood smoke in the air and the sight of yellow, dried corn stalks neatly stacked in fields. It is pumpkin and apple pies cooling on the counter in an oven-warmed kitchen. It is filled with the smell of steaming spiced cider in large mugs, and the sound of shotgun blasts echoing in the distance. It is the haunting call of Canadian geese high overhead, and the tapping of cold rain, falling heavy from a dark, rugged sky. It is splashes of liquid color, painted across the hillsides, that fill our eyes with more than we can take in.

Walking in October country is a trip into the past, and a feast of smells and sights in the present. More than that, it is overflowing with the promise of wonderful things that are yet to come. There will be family gatherings around a Thanksgiving table, and fresh venison stew slow-cooked into a rich, mouth-watering feast. There will be the warmth of an evening fire, where stories are told, life is savored, memories are made and God’s abundant blessings fill the air. It is the time when we will consider, love, and learn from those we have met, and those who have gone to be with the Lord. Fall, and especially the month of October, draws us into a very different place. It’s a reality check of life as we know it, and a sounding-board for the hope that lives within us.

God calls all of us to walk with Him in our October country. Here is where we adjust our lives to Him, and become conformed into His amazing image. To do this, we must make a choice to fix our mind and eyes on things above, and not on the things of this world. We have to lift our vision above the chaos and pain that can be all around us. Until we take that step, we will struggle and fail, and get up again only to fail once more. Our image of ourselves will be tainted and stained by all we are not. When we walk in October country with the Lord, He guides us into the truth of who we really are, and who He is helping us to become.

The warmth and fire of His all-consuming love is the only thing that can take away the chilling wind of living in this fallen world. He removes the sting of disappointment and the gripping pain of rejection that we all encounter in this life. He alone gives us hope. He alone satisfies our hunger. He alone brings us peace. Because of Him we can draw in the delightful aromas of Heaven, and this is where we find rest and peace for our weary soul.

Let me invite you today to take a walk with the Lord in October Country. It is a wonderful place of heavenly sights and sounds, where you will be embraced and warmed by the fire of Father’s Love. This is where your soul has longed to be, but you did not know it. This is the only place you will discover who you were meant to be. The hills of this place are painted by the brush strokes of God. They are washed with colors no human eye can see, and they are crafted to perfection, so you can climb them and be changed by His joy over you.

If you feel the season changing, then God is calling you to walk with Him. He is asking you to stop going it alone, come stand beside Him and trust Him. When Jesus is guiding your life, He will help you discover the undiscovered land within. He will bring you to a place of such peace that all struggles will stop. He will bring you to a place of fresh strength so that your weakness is no more. He will bring you a place of pure love where nothing can ever harm you again. Once you walk like this with the Lord, you will never be the same. My hope is that you are finally ready to take His hand, find healing and walk with Him through the majestic vistas of your October country.

Perseverance To Finish Well


June 4th, 1923 was a beautiful day for horse racing. The Steeple Chase at  Belmont Park was going to be a good one, and the crowd was fire up. There was an excitement in the air, and bets were still being placed as the horses took their place. Several of the riders past comments back and forth because Sweet Kiss was slated to run as a long shot at 20 to 1. Frank Hayes (pictured on the left) was the rider, and he was known for his perseverance and determination. His horse had been well-trained to cover this course, but not in record time. However, both were ready for what might come that day.

Frank had not been feeling himself as he mounted his ride that day, but he shrugged it off as prerace jitters. He had experienced this in the past and knew the moment he was on the track all would be fine. He needed to feel the powerful strides of his horse beneath him, the wind hissing in his ears and the pounding of hooves. Once the smell of the dirt track rose up to meet him, he would be himself once again. Thus, horse and rider waited with constrained intensity to run their race.

When the time came, the course was started and Sweet Kiss was not the first horse out. However, Frank knew what to do, and  how to position things so that they might be the first to cross the final hurdle. About half way through the race, Frank wrapped the reigns around both arms and leaned into the horse. People assumed he was urging it on to take the lead. At the final jump, horse and rider held to a clean form and they crossed the finish line a head’s lead in front of the next horse, to win the race.

The crowd applauded as Sweet Kiss slowed down and veered off to the side of the track. Just as it came to a stop, something strange happened. Frank did not stand up as was his custom. In fact, he remained in his forward position even after being called numerous times. The officials finally approached the horse, and only then did they realize the amazing truth of what had just happened.

Despite a sudden heart attack, Frank had somehow managed to stay atop the horse. His perseverance and determination to finish well had indeed paid off. The 20 to 1 long shot had jumped the final fence and cross the finish line in first place. At that moment racing  history had been made. Frank Hayes had become the only jockey in human history to ride his horse to a stunning, upset victory, after his own death.

My question for you today is simple. What is holding you back from your place of victory? You were not created from lesser material, or with a second-rate destiny. You were created to do brilliant things, things of your own special, unique making. You may have made some mistakes along the way, just like everyone else, but these are not meant to define you. They are intended to refine you. If you let them, they can make you better, stronger, more focused and more determined. These things can fill you with an attitude of perseverance that nothing can stop.

How, you might ask, is that possible, when you feel so beaten down and defeated. The answer is already at your finger tips. It is based in the truth of WHO you are, not in the false emotions of HOW you feel. When you know, I mean really know, how much God loves you, and what He thinks of you, nothing this world does will matter any more. When you get that kind of endless love fixed within your heart, not even death will stop you from finishing the race God has set before you to win. Just like Frank Hayes, when you know the love of God, even in death, you can still cross your  finish line in sweet, sweet victory.



A Little Thing

hartland_point(t60aq_console)old3During World War II, much of the battle on the high seas was determined by the submarine activity going on below the waves. Sonar operators were vital to the safety of the sub and the ships sailing above them. At one point in the war, this equipment was rendered useless, and the Navy was desperate to discover what was causing the massive interference problem.

It seemed as if the enemy had finally devised something that was causing the sonar equipment aboard US vessels to be rendered useless. There was so much interference that the military could not track the activity of enemy subs, and that left the navy fleet on the surface, virtually unprotected during a critical portion of the war.  The problem was so great that the Navy put together a team of experts to unravel what was going on. They had no idea what was causing massive waves of static in specific, large portions of the ocean.

After months of research, the military still had no solution. In desperation they decided to turn to a world-famous marine biologist to see if he could come up with an answer to this difficult problem. At first he was stumped, and so he took some time off just to get away from the problem. After a few days he remembered some research he had read in the past. It was an article on a tiny crustacean, a shrimp about an inch long, with one enlarged claw. Apparently the shrimp clicked that claw while feeding. After checking out the areas of interference in the ocean, he discovered that millions upon millions of these tiny creatures were indeed gathered in the exact locations of the impenetrable sonar interference. It was the clicking of each tiny claw that was rendering the US Navy’s sonar totally useless.

This may have solved the mystery, but it did not solve the Navy’s problem. How would they ever be able to get rid of tens of millions of shrimp in the open ocean, in order to protect the US fleet? It was the marine biologist who, once again, came up with an ingenious solution that the Navy thought was brilliant. He told the Navy Commanders to actually use the shrimp as a kind of sonar camouflage. In other words, rather than eliminate the shrimp, take advantage of the noise they made. Bring the subs into the center of the noise, and just sit there. The clicking noise they made would actually hide the subs. The Biologist reasoned if the noise interfered with the US sonar, it would do the same with the sonar of the enemy, which was less sophisticated.

This strategy worked way beyond their expectations. As US subs sat silently and floated in the center of millions of tiny clicking shrimp, the noise the shrimp made prevented them from being spotted by enemy sonar.  Enemy subs and ships were baffled by the new US “technology” as they were caught off guard time and time again. Because of this strategy, shipping lanes were opened, destroyers and aircraft carriers were protected, and the advantage the US gained by this simple tactic changed the outcome of World War II.

Sometimes your biggest problem also holds the exact solution you have been looking for. If you have a mindset to consider another way of seeing things, you can find it. Those who study the brain know of a process called neuro-plasticity. This is the ability of the brain to regroup and reorganize thought patterns. To do this, the brain often needs to disengage from the problem at hand for a while, in order to solve it. Alternatives are always present in any situation, but your brain can’t find them while it is focused on one way of thinking. This means, once we get in a rut, we can’t think outside that mental pathway. Getting away from things, relaxing and just disengaging for a season, often frees up our brain to consider other, more inventive, solutions.

In the business world, old school mentors often tell those they are developing to double down, burn the midnight oil, try harder and just press through when a solution is needed. Today, researchers know that this kind of work ethic simply smothers creativity, and it tends to frustrate and burn people out. Heart attacks, mental distress, job dissatisfaction, sick days and emotional fatigue are all on the rise. Why? Because people are pushed to find an answer, rather than given the time to let their brains relax so they can find an inventive solution.

The value of rest has been known for thousands of years. In the Bible God speaks to this  end and says; “Be still and know that I am God”, and “My presence shall go with you and I will give you rest”. In fact, the Jews were commanded to give their land a year of rest every 7 years, so it would remain productive. Isaiah 30:15 says “In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength”. God has laid out for all to see that repentance, rest, quietness and trust is where we can find our strength and answers. Why is it that we foolishly think we can now find these things some other way?

If you are baffled by life’s problems, perhaps it is time to consider them as nothing more than those little “shrimp”. What is floating in the sea of your life, causing pain, distraction and problems, also holds the answer you are looking for. You simply need to back up, and get a fresh perspective.  Find a quiet place to relax, and let your brain and spirit rest. Let your mind, your soul and your spirit get refreshed in the Lord. Nothing is so pressing that it should take your life over, and rob you of your peace of mind. Why not take the time to get still before God, and let that marvelous brain He gave you, do what it does best. In that quiet place, He will speak His words of  life to your inner man, and everything will be just fine.

48 Degrees

We are well into the second week of September, and since June 21st, we have already lost two hours of daylight. I really notice that difference when I get up in the morning. On the calendar it is still officially summer, but the outside temperature and landscape tells a different story. Splashes of color are showing up, and that says Fall is here. It is 48 degrees outside, there is a northeast breeze pushing the mist around, and in the cool morning air I can hear geese honking overhead. Like it or not, Fall has arrived.

I know there are a few warm days yet to come, but autumn has clearly made its grand entrance into the Adirondacks. This is a certainty because it’s 32 degrees, and there is frost on the pumpkins in my hometown of Bloomingdale, NY. Not far from there, it’s a frigid 27 degrees on Mount Marcy. So, to the residents of our small town, a foggy 48 degree morning is an echo of the stark reality that summer is over and Fall has come once again.

In truth, 48 degrees really does not seem all that bad, but it is a turning point. It marks the moment when those who live here must consider what is about to return. What I mean is, we get our first frost in Johnstown about the 10th of October, and that ends the growing season. However, just north of us, in the heart of the Adirondacks, frost arrives around Labor Day. A few weeks later, in early November, we will see snow flurries in the air. December brings blankets of snow, and then January arrives with it’s manic-depressive weather on steroids. It brings a mid-winter thaw, where daytime temps go into the 50’s, and this is followed by arctic blasts that plunge things down to -25 or -35.

So, 48 degrees says something important, if you can hear it. It says the fevered heat of Summer, the warm sandy beaches, camping and back yard gatherings have passed. It says school is back in session, vacations are over, and gardens are just about done. It is the final appearance of Indian corn, pumpkins and squash on roadside stands. It means fields are being cleared, leaves raked and wood piles are growing bigger in the shrinking daylight hours. It says the apple harvest is in full swing, and the last fall flowers are in full bloom.

It’s the time for slowing down, sitting by an evening fire out back, while sipping a hot cup of coffee with friends. This is the season for patiently roasting a hotdog, thick cut bacon, or a piece of sharp cheddar cheese, on a stick over the fire. It means heavy dew on the grass, no more mowing, and it is time to check the snow blower and look for the winter tires. 48 degrees is not just a number on a thermometer. No, it marks a way of life that brings us back to the basics and back to our roots. This is when we ponder where we have been, and more importantly, where we are about to go. It’s a line drawn in the sand of life, and once it is reached, you know there is no going back.

Have you reached your 48 degrees yet? Let me make sure you understand what I just said. This is the time in life when you hit a wall, and must begin to re-evaluate yourself, and everything you are doing, at a gut level. Things are just different somehow, and you may or may not, understand why. You know subtle differences are in the air, and you can feel it deep inside. The thing is, you really are not sure what to do next, and that brings unsettledness to all you do. You can sense a shift in the season of life, but don’t know what new direction that shift is pointing you in. If you are living with the above, then you have hit your 48 degree point. The geese are overhead, and certain change is in the wind, like it or not.

So what do you do now? How do you get any traction in this season of uncertainty? Due of my prophetic call, I have been in this place numerous times over the years. From those experiences, I have learned a few things along the way. Allow me share one nugget that has served me quite well. Perhaps it may help you in your season of transition. My advice? First of all, go build a fire, sit in its light and warmth, and invite a few choice friends to join you for a hot cup of coffee. You might be saying to yourself right now, “What? What kind of wisdom is that?” Well, there is more truth in those words than you might expect, so just keep reading.

What I am saying is more profound than you might think, so let’s break it down. First of all, you need to gather the wood for a fire. That is, you have to get focused, slow down and try to calm your anxious thoughts. Anxiety never solved anything for anyone. Take the time to settle your thinking so you can build the fire of passion you once had for life. Discover a fresh passion for what you love to do. Uncover the hidden talents and skills you have acquired in life. Don’t go rushing off into the dark night in a panic. Gather your thoughts and build the fire of your passion once again. This will bring the light of fresh vision, and the warmth of new possibilities to you that your soul really needs.

Second, invite a few “choice friends” to sit with you as you build your fire. You do not want to bring those who usually hang with you on this journey. Those friends who are currently in your circle, probably helped bring you where you are right now. If they lack vision and direction, most likely so do you. That’s just the way it is. You need friends around you who have a vision, passion, clarity and a desire to succeed. Sit with those who speak life, and those who have a positive attitude. You need friends who will challenge you to stop whining, encourage you to fan the flame of your passion, and help you step outside your comfort zone.

Finally, you need those who are willing to drink the coffee you serve up. That is, these must be people who nourish themselves the same way you do. For a Christian, that means they must love and rely on Jesus the same way you do. They need to be connected to a good local church, submitted to good leadership, and looking for life’s answers in Scripture. People, who seek out what the world offers, will always end up with second best. Those who seek God are always going to take you in the right direction. Most importantly, these friends need to be people of integrity who will pray for you, and with you. Others, who are highly qualified, may be willing to share your fire, but if they don’t drink what you drink, it’s going to be a problem. The spiritual unity of all those on the journey, is the key that correctly aligns and unlocks your future.

If you sense a change in the wind, and are feeling a bit disoriented in life now, perhaps it’s time to go build a fire. Put on the coffee pot and invite a few choice friends to sit with you and stoke the fire of your passion. Enjoy the personal conversation, savor a cup of hot coffee and roast some sharp cheddar. In this rich atmosphere of insight, guidance and care, light will begin to penetrate the darkness, and fresh direction will come.

Remember, this season will not last forever, but it will bring change, so you might a well embrace it and get the benefit. When it’s over, things are going to be different. For now, why not go take a look at the thermometer of your life. If it reads a cool 48 degrees then change is on the way and it’s time to go light the fire!