How to Get Your Roots to Reach Deep

The silent, unseen essentials of what makes life really matter.

After my grandfather died years ago, I planted an oak tree in his memory in our front yard. The skinny stem stood only 6 feet tall (like Granddad did). I planted it on a windy day.

How to Get Your Roots to Reach Deep

(By Almonroth. Own work. CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

A few hours later, my neighbor hollered: “Hey, Wayne, your tree was really leaning over in the wind!” I grabbed the trunk and slightly bent the tree over. The whole base moved, because it had no root system yet. So I staked it down.

Two years later when I bent the tree, the base didn’t move. But you know what? The tree looked the same. No visible change. Its goal for its first two years was its roots, not its limbs and leaves.

That little sprig offers a contrast (and a lesson) to you and me.

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Walking with God Requires One Thing Most of All

How the basics keep us from growing cold.

We start strong. Determination and strength come easily. Faithfulness flows from our hearts. Then life happens. We didn’t plan to grow cold spiritually. But we did.

Walking with God Requires One Thing Most of All

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Somehow, we can wake up after a number of years and discover that our lack of passion for God has gradually shifted Him away from our hearts. We then find ourselves living in the ruins of once-vibrant spiritual lives.

How does this happen? By forgetting this one thing.

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A View from the Anthill

I have anthills in my yard. I enjoy making mesas out of their mounds by running over them with the lawnmower or crushing with one step what took them hours to build.

But as soon as I destroy their work, they immediately begin to rebuild. And they do it together.

Take a View Atop an Ant Hill

(Photo by: By Chmee2, Own work, CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

My favorite comic strip of yesteryear, “Calvin & Hobbes,” shows Calvin standing by an anthill shouting,

Hey ant, you’re working like a maniac and what have you got to show for it?  What’s the colony done for you lately?  What about your needs?  You don’t owe anybody anything!  Let the others fend for themselves!  Move out!  Discover yourself!  Express your individuality!

The last frame shows Calvin grinning and saying, “If they listen, this should solve our ant problem.”

The Bible also points us to the ant to learn a lesson that will help our lives.

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Lincoln postcard on preparation.

Years ago as a little boy, I found this old framed postcard in an abandoned box in my grandmother’s garage. I keep the frame on my desk and look at it often.

Lincoln’s birthday always reminds me of Lincoln’s statement about the importance of preparation:

I’ll study and be ready and maybe the chance will come.

Question: How are you preparing for a future potential, should God will it? To leave a comment, just click here.

Why You Can’t Afford to Stay as You Are

A couple of months ago I noticed the “maintenance” light come on in my car. That meant the oil and filter needed changing. I thought, Yeah, I’ll do that soon. Right.

Why You Can’t Afford to Stay as You Are

(Photo by Photodune)

About a month went by and I thought: You know, I need to deal with that. I forgot again. It wasn’t until a couple weeks later I finally got it changed. I put it off because I’m a busy guy—and hey, oil and filters can always wait another day.

But then another warning light went off. This one was serious.

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5 Good Lessons from a Bad Example

Sometimes the best lessons come from the worst examples. Maybe you had a parent who disciplined out of anger. Or a pastor who wielded his Bible like a billy club. Or a boss who abused his or her authority.

5 Good Lessons from a Bad Example

(Photo by Photodune)

It’s easy to dismiss lousy leaders as incompetent, arrogant, or uncaring—and unworthy of our attention. But it’s hard to examine their flaws and failures so as to apply their bad example to our own lives.

The Bible often makes good use of a bad example. Scripture records the failings of many—not like some grocery tabloid would—but to show us why we should make good choices (1 Cor. 10:6).

The Apostle John took up his pen and wrote for us 5 good lessons from a bad example.

Thankfully, these are 5 lessons we don’t have to learn the hard way.

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How to Keep the Little Things from Making You a Slacker

A euphemism is a nice way of saying something unpleasant. We’ll say: “He’s under the weather,” or “She passed away,” or “I misspoke,” when really we mean to say he’s sick, she died, and I lied.

How to Keep the Little Things from Making You a Slacker

(Photo by Photodune)

I’ve never found a good euphemism for a lazy person. Maybe slacker. At best we have a few obscure expressions—lounger, laggard, drone—but these work only because we don’t know what they mean. And if we did, we’d wish we didn’t.

A lot of what I’ve learned about what’s best to do in life has come from observing mistakes. Even though a slacker would never have the self-discipline to give a lecture, we can receive a whole course of study simply by observing his or her lazy life.

Here are several key lessons we can learn from Mr. Lazybones that will keep us motivated from becoming lazy.

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How to Quit Slapping Your Spiritual Snooze Button

I never trust myself with a snooze button. It’s too easy to tell myself, “Just 5 more minutes,” about 7 more times. Plus, snoozing never helps! I feel just as tired after snoozing as I did beforehand. I gain nothing. I’ve only lost time.

How to Quit Slapping Your Spiritual Snooze Button

(Photo by diego_cervo, via Vivozoom)

The problem of “mind over mattress” is one we all face, and we all deal with it in different ways.

  • Some people set the alarm earlier to allow for the snooze.
  • Others put the clock out of reach so they have to get up to turn off the alarm.
  • Others tell themselves, Tomorrow I’ll begin to get up on time; but not today.

Spiritually speaking, we’re often called to “wake up” and get moving.

The problem? We’re tempted to slap the snooze button.

But when we do, we never gain anything.

We only lose precious time.

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