The Best Is Always... Still Yet to Come!: Seeing God in the Details of Daily Life

The Best Is Always... Still Yet to Come!: Seeing God in the Details of Daily Life

by Keith Payne

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781462051984
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 03/26/2012
Pages: 292
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.66(d)

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The Best Is Always ... Still Yet To Come!

Seeing God in the Details of Daily Life
By Keith Payne

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 Keith Payne
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4620-5198-4


Chapter One

JANUARY

New Beginnings

The Rambler

Welcome to the New Year! As you read this, you may be looking for low lights and a quiet corner away from a rambunctious New Year's celebration! And you may be glad that the previous year is in the history books, signaling a clean slate, a new start on a new year!

Sometimes something doesn't have to be new to be special! I remember my first car, a 1965 AMC Rambler station wagon. My dad bought it for $200. This happened in 1972, when foreign car companies such as Toyota and Honda were making inroads into the U.S. market. But none of their models compared to my Rambler station wagon. I washed and waxed that baby to a mirror finish!

My folks had just covered their out-of-fashion hardwood floors with the latest wall-to-wall carpeting, which was royal blue and red. I took some scraps of that and carpeted my Rambler, wall-to-wall! I put blue carpet in the front floorboard, red carpet in the backseat floorboard, and more blue in the storage area behind the back seat. I remember just sitting in that car with the windows down, doing nothin', just sittin'! It didn't matter that the gas gauge didn't work. That red, white, and blue masterpiece meant freedom! I could go where and, for the most part, when I wanted to.

I was cruising one day with my radio on (AM only), enjoying the wind in my face, when all of a sudden my car engine stopped running—in the middle of a four-lane road! Because my gas gauge didn't work, I kept a spiral notebook in the glove compartment on which I wrote the mileage when I filled my car with gas. I could drive 150 miles before I would risk running out. While I was using my superior math skills to see if I might be out of gas, a lady eased up behind me and began nudging my car with hers. I shifted the transmission quickly into neutral and with a lurch off we went. I thought, How nice of this lady to push me up the road to the gas station! We were cruising about 40 miles per hour, when suddenly she turned to the left! Basically, she just pushed me out of her lane of traffic until she got to her turn.

Here I was, cruising with the flow of traffic in the left lane, and my motor was not even running! After a short while, I began to slow down. Then I began to hear the honking of horns and folks swerving around me, telling me I needed to pray. I knew that was what they were telling me because as they passed, they were sticking their fists out of their windows with one finger pointing upward! Yes, I will pray! "Lord, help me coast across all these lanes of traffic and into that shopping center parking lot," I prayed and prayed and prayed. Safely in the parking lot, I refueled and was on my way again, just cruising, but this time with my motor engaged!

Do you have a game plan or are you going to spend another year cruising? By "cruising" I mean, "just moving with the flow of traffic without your motor running"? Are you going to move on your own momentum, or be content with others pushing and prodding you along? Will you surround yourself with positive mentors and friends to whom you can hold yourself accountable? What are you putting in your spiritual tank? More importantly, are you getting regular fill-ups?

This year can be decidedly different for you. But you need a plan, a roadmap and a destination. Without these, you may go through another year cruising, going with the flow, but I can assure you that you may not like where you end up. Find your focus. Develop your life-plan roadmap and for you the best will always be ... still yet to come!

Application:

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)

How can you improve the quality of your life over the year? Do you know God's purpose for you? What is your mission, your calling, your talents and spiritual gifts?

Use the following exercises to clarify what your goals will be and how you will achieve them:

• Write out your personal mission statement. Your personal mission statement is the one guiding principle that will be the motor in your life engine, propelling you to your desired destination, rather than just moving you along with the flow of traffic. Keep it simple and to the point. Over the years, the "fuel" that has kept my motor running has evolved to this simple statement: "To be a passionate, devoted follower of Jesus Christ." This covers my actions, my attitudes, my habits and the maintenance of my character. Okay, now it's your turn. How do you want folks to remember you at your life's end? How do you want to be viewed by God? What worthy endeavor have you yet to accomplish? Craft it below into a single sentence that you can easily remember.

• Write out your goals and how you will accomplish them. (This is not a wish list, this is a to-do list.) Do these goals fit with your mission, your calling, your talents and spiritual gifts?

• What do you want to do differently this year?

• Who will you enlist to act as your mentor, to encourage you and to hold you accountable for your actions? (Solicit encouragement from at least two other people.)

• What gifts and talents do you have? What skills do you need to develop? (You will probably come up with several, but focus on one thing that will have the biggest impact.)

• What relationships do you need to deepen? What relationships do you need to mend? Think about the people that bring you down and the folks that bring you up. Make a choice to increase your time with the "up" crowd and decrease the influence of the "down" crowd.

• What time-wasters do you need to eliminate? What will you chose to do instead? Commit to no longer thinking, "I don't have time." We all have time (because we make the time) to do the things we really want to do. The challenge is our "want to" not our clock or calendar!

• Are you where you want to be spiritually? If not, what will you do to help you get to where you want to be?

Finally, think about this: Belief precedes behavior. Your deeply held beliefs WILL reveal themselves over the long term by your action or inaction. Where can you volunteer your time, talents, and resources so that you will be a difference-maker this year?

Paintball Periscope

One of my personal goals for the year was to spend more one-on-one time with my family members still living at home: my wife, my 15-year-old daughter, and my 13-year-old son. I agreed to go with my son on his middle school Bible study's father-son paintball outing. About 50 boys and about a dozen dads showed up on a chilly Saturday morning. Each time a dad dropped his son off and then drove away, I whispered a big "Thank You" to my Heavenly Father for giving me this day with my son. I was reminded of times when "that guy" had been me—dropping my kids off while going to another important engagement.

We arrived at our battleground for the day. As the morning sunlight flickered through the trees, a gnawing thought flickered through my mind, Here I am, less than two weeks from my 52nd birthday, in line getting my weaponry and ammo with a bunch of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders and a dozen dads! What a man will do to spend a little one-on-one time with his son, huh?

We divided ourselves into teams and headed out to our first battlefield. There were many first-timers like me, decked out in blue jeans and old shirts. Because the flyer advertising the event said, "Bring your own gun, or rentals available," several men had assumed that camouflage was the attire of the day. Why hadn't I thought of that? Of course, there were also the seasoned paintballers, many of them only 12 or 13 years old, wearing the latest coordinating paintball attire, complete with facemask, gloves, gun, and ammo-holders. (A paintballer's uniform looks a lot like a motocross racer's uniform with a little extra padding in sensitive target areas.)

Our first game consisted of opposing teams at opposing forts with flags that had to be captured and brought back to the team's fort, without getting shot. My son said he liked to defend, and since I was there to spend time with him, I thought that I would defend too. The game commenced and everyone scattered. In the distance you could hear the pop-pop-pop and the rat-tat-tat-tat-tat of automatic weapon return fire. It didn't take me long to figure out who had rental equipment and who brought their own guns. A pop was a rental, and the rat-tat-tat-tat-tat was the sound of someone's personal Uzi. Soon a handful of our team members raced into our camp with the opposing flag in hand. I should have been celebrating our team's victory, but found myself disappointed I wasn't on the front line knocking out those bad guys.

After a short break, we played again. My son wanted to defend again. I asked if he minded if I attacked. He didn't. I was in hog heaven! Although a rookie in every way, I took out a few of the opposing forces before taking a hit square in the chest, myself. How could I be "dead" and yet feel so alive at the same time? I didn't mind "dying" as long as I took out at least two of the opposing team members first! We played a game called "Elimination" next. The game involved no flag to capture; the point was to just take out as many of the other team members as possible. I asked one of the experienced players, "Is there a strategy to follow here?"

Looking at me with a hint of disgust, then glancing down at the paintball splattered squarely over my heart, he replied, "Not really. But it's best to get a partner so you have two pairs of eyes."

Let's see: personal goal—spend more one-on-one time with family members, and the only family member with me is my son. "Hey, Bubba, let's be partners," I said to my new sidekick.

"Okay," he replied.

"There's no need staying in the fort because they're coming after us, not a flag, so it's best to go and get them first!" I said with Rambo's DNA pulsing through my veins.

The referee started the battle, and we took off on a wooded trail. I just knew it would be loaded with bad guys. Yep! I spied them and they spied me. "Cover me! I'm going after 'em!" I yelled, and began to advance.

Pop! Pop! Pop! As fast as I could squeeze off individual rounds, I advanced through the brush. Then came the return fire; several rat-tat-tat-tat-tat weapons were peppering the bushes around me. Why couldn't I have picked on guys with rental equipment? I thought to myself. I was taking on fire from the side as well. I fired into the blackness of the bushes rapidly and often, then heard, "We're hit! We're hit! Stop! We're coming out!"

Several bad guys emerged from the brush while the automatic-weapon fire continued to spray all around me. "Hey, Bubba, I need your cov—" I screamed. I looked back to his position, only to note he was gone. I wasted a couple more bad guys before taking several hits myself and being declared "officially dead." Knowing that I would live to battle again in the next game, and having accomplished my goal of taking out more than one of my opponents, I raised my weapon, signaling that I had indeed "died" on the front line of battle. How is it that I still feel so alive?

We spent all day playing different battle scenarios. It was male bonding at its finest! I had a blast (no pun intended), all day with just my son and myself (and 50 or 60 others). We both had an awesome, totally exhausted feeling at day's end. In fact, Sunday at church, I saw across the hallway, an older guy, who like me, had also gone to the paintball event. He mimed, "Are you as sore as I am?"

I pulled down my shirt collar to reveal a bruise the size of a quarter on the side of my neck from a hit I had taken in battle. He ran across the hall, zigzagging through folks and unbuttoning his shirt as he ran. Pulling his T-shirt down, we compared battlefield wounds, shook hands, introduced ourselves, and patted each other on the back. We both walked away beaming. I had just made a new friend! Yep, this was male bonding at its finest!

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13–16; italics added)

The paintball players came in all shapes and sizes, they wore different outfits (personalities), some liked to defend (working behind the scenes), and some salivated to be on the front lines (in leadership roles). God has prewired us to accomplish His purpose with different skill sets, talents, abilities, and personalities.

Sometimes we find that what we're doing is not taking advantage of our greatest abilities. Are you finding yourself unfulfilled, uncomfortable? Are you frustrated, taking hit after hit, from those critical-comment paintballs splattered squarely where it hurts most: your heart? Do you feel like you are not part of the battle, but are on the sidelines as a spectator, knowing you should do something to make a difference, but not sure what?

Sometimes you need motion before you can find your direction. It didn't take my son long on the front line with me to realize his comfort level was behind the scenes, not ducking and dancing in the heat of automatic weapon fire. Where would any organization be without those that know that their best energy is spent in a supporting, rather than a starring, role?

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body." And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. (1 Corinthians 12:14–18; italics added)

Have you found your spiritual place of service yet? Look at your talents, your personality, your likes and dislikes. Ask the Lord to show you what role He wants you to play. Grab the weapons the Sovereign Commander-In-Chief has issued specifically with you in mind. Take up your position; the one for which you were specifically "prewired". Become decidedly different by divine calling. You'll be fulfilled, awesomely elated with a hit—our Heavenly Father's hit—right over your heart! And the best will always be ... still yet to come!

Application:

In which areas of your life do you feel like you are under attack?

What's your game plan?

Who can you enlist to cover you with encouragement and support?

On whose strength can you rely in the midst of battle?

The Power of Expectation

It was a very bright Sunday morning. The air was crisp and cold. As I recall, the temperature was in the single digits. I was really excited because as I looked out the backdoor, the yard and all the trees glistened like glass reflecting the sun's light. The night before, almost three inches of sleet and ice had settled in for a rest. Of course, being totally of the male species, my mind was racing with what kind of creative contraption I could rig up that would double as a sled.

My dad usually fixed breakfast in the mornings. Soon, the "Let's eat!" call rang out. As we gathered at the table, I noticed that Dad had his church clothes on. Apparently Mom noticed also. "Bill, are you planning on going to church today?" she asked.

"Yes, we are going to church today," he responded.

In her typical motherly fashion after a well placed strategic pause, Mom asked, "Do you think it is safe to drive on all this ice?"

"Nope, it wouldn't be safe," he answered.

"So how are we going to get to church?" she queried.

"I thought it would be fun to walk," he replied, smiling.

She looked at him, and her expression was a dead giveaway. I am really good at reading body language, and Mom's body and facial expressions were screaming, "You are kidding me, right?"

And Dad's body language was answering, "No, I'm not."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Best Is Always ... Still Yet To Come! by Keith Payne Copyright © 2012 by Keith Payne. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

January—New Beginnings....................1
The Rambler....................3
Paintball Periscope....................7
The Power of Expectation....................12
Camouflage and the All Saints Ski Society....................17
Hector and the Ketchup Bottle....................22
February—Time to Choose....................27
Honeymoon-Horror Hotel....................29
Twitterpated....................34
The Hocus-Pocus of Focus....................39
A Finger, A Nod And Our Time In the Chair....................44
Give It Your All....................48
March—Powerful Perspectives....................51
The Cootie Row....................53
Better Than Your Average Joe....................57
Friendship....................62
"Old" Is an Adjective, Not Just a Noun....................66
April—Choose to Infuse....................71
Better Than Sex....................73
Don't Let Anyone Get Your Goat!....................76
A Good Name....................81
Giant Redwoods versus Us....................86
May—Make a Memory....................89
Little Becomes Much....................91
My Wallet, My Driver's License, and Clean Underwear....................95
A Memory of Mother....................101
Grocery-Shopping Adventure....................106
Hawg Heaven....................110
June—Be the Master of the Moment....................115
Dad, Master of the Universe!....................117
What's Different Today?....................121
The Longer Club....................125
Birthday Blasts and Birthday Bottoms....................130
How Do You Fill Your Peanut Butter Jar?....................135
July—When Things Heat Up....................139
DoZ You Get My Point?....................141
From Mad to Glad....................146
The Best Caddy Ever....................151
GPS....................155
Just by the Seat of My Pants....................161
August—Attitude: Make Lemonade Out of Your Lemons....................165
Mrs. Burgess' House....................167
For My Love Is a Price....................172
Most Wanted....................176
All Good Things Must Come to an End....................181
September—Nobody Can Make You Feel ________ Without Your Permission....................185
Mr. and Ms. Magoo....................187
Why-ning Away....................192
Driving the "Death Mobile"....................197
Bad Choices, Bad Consequences, and a Black Eye....................202
October—Sometimes We Just Need a Little Help....................207
Get Off of My Back....................209
A Nickel Short....................213
Johnny Makes a Basket....................219
I'm All Ears....................222
Monsters, Witches, and Miraculous Moments....................226
November—Grabbing Gratitude....................231
A Hand-Painted Kodak Moment....................233
It's Thanksgiving, Dad Gum It!....................237
Maintaining a High Level of Readiness....................242
Luck Is....................246
December—Help for the "Holy" Day....................251
A Black-Eyed Pea Moment....................253
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree....................256
A Christmas Perspective....................261
Filling Your Boat....................265
How can the best be always ... still yet to come for you, too!....................271

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