Jul 212016
 

​I’m sitting in the middle seat of a B757, enduring a 4.5 hour flight from San Francisco to Atlanta. Somewhere one or two rows back from my luxurious accommodations in seat 40E, a young child has been crying or whining for most of the trip.  I can relate.

The kid is uncomfortable, tired, board, and he doesn’t understand what is going on.  The parents try to console the child.  Daddy holds him tight.  He provides food and drink.  A blanket.  Tries to entertain at times.  Other times, he is stern, letting the child know he needs to quit whining and crying.  Still he screams and complains, spouting a high pitched call to “Daddy” then screaming unintelligible baby objections for all the world to hear.  It doesn’t solve his situation.  It only makes him and those around him more miserable. 

Eventually, our 4.5 hour trial will be over and things will be good again.  I’ll get out of my cramped middle seat and the young child will be back home with his toys.  The kid will stop crying for awhile and the Father will smile.  He knows His child does not understand.  He foresees the day when His child grows up and learns to endure the trials with patience and grace.  But for now He loves him anyway.  And works to get him ready for the next middle seat.

 Posted by at 5:34 pm
Jun 082016
 
A car with teeth?

A car with teeth?

I saw a car with teeth.  Well, not really teeth.  Just the semblance of teeth.  They weren’t real teeth and they didn’t work like teeth, but they looked like teeth.  I took a picture.  Now, when you look at the picture, you can see a car with teeth.  Well, not really.  You really see a picture of a car with a semblance of human teeth.  To see an actual car with real teeth would be very inriguing, and I guess, quite rare.

I want to be a real Christian.  Not a picture of a Christian containing some semblance of a Christ-like attribute.  A real Christian, with teeth.

 Posted by at 1:47 pm
May 112016
 

The Lord will defend me.
My God will weave his righteous tapestry in the threads of my life.
When I feel lost and uncertain of my way, I know my God is still guiding my steps.
God, you are my aim.  My goal.  My purpose.
Difficulties will come, but I need not fear or dread them.
My trials are but opportunities to see You at work; to feel Your mighty hand guiding me, leading me, pulling me in to Your loving embrace.
I praise You, my Lord and my God, creator of all. 
The One who made me.
The One who loves me.
The One who sustains me.
The One who holds me tight, and will not let me go.

 Posted by at 7:15 am
Apr 272016
 

While on a recent hike, I saw an old tree clinging to a cliff.  Really it was the remains of a tree, since it had obviously died some time ago.  At first I was inspired by the beauty, then I thought about the fact that it was just the remains of a dead tree.  The issue wasn’t really the tree, it was the location.  Had the tree lived and died somewhere else, leaving such a scrawny carcass of a tree, it would have been underwhelming for sure.

A tree that grew on a cliff

A tree that grew on a cliff

The real splendor of this little tree was not the beauty of its withered remains, but the testimony of those lifeless crooked limbs.  A weathered wooden testament of a life lived in a difficult place.  A life lived where cold winds whipped over a rugged landscape.  A life lived where every ounce of growth had to be carefully rationed between leaves reaching for the sun and roots clinging to any small crack or crevice in the rock.

If this dead tree had been somewhere in the middle of the forest, I would most likely have never noticed it, but having grown in the rugged, difficult place, it left a legacy of beauty.  The Bible says that trials make us better people.  I’m sure it’s true, even though if given the choice, I would prefer not to grow on the difficult, rocky cliff.

Mar 302016
 

I saw a sign yesterday that was advertising for a divorce lawyer. It promised a quick and easy divorce with a headline promising to help “Undo I do.” At first I noticed the clever phrase, then I considered if it was even possible for a divorce to be quick and easy. I think not. And the more I thought about it, I realized it’s not even possible to undo “I do.”

You can’t undo a promise. You can’t unsay it. You can pretend it never happened or you can say you didn’t mean it, but you can’t unpromise it. Once you make a promise, there are only two real possibilities. You can either keep it, or break it.

Strange as it may seem, that’s still one more option than God has.

Mar 212016
 

A few nights ago I went outside for a walk and Sam followed me out to look at the stars.  When he looked up and saw that the clouds had different plans, he grumbled.  “Why is it when I don’t want to look at the stars, they are shining bright, and every time I DO want to look at the stars, they are not out?”   He turned and marched back in the house, mad at a universe that was obviously conspiring against him.

As I continued my walk, I thought about Sam’s problem and wondered how the stars might answer his indictment. I suppose they might very well say, “Why is it, Sam, that every time we go to the trouble to shine, you never even come outside and look up?” Sam’s problem, I thought, was that he expects the universe to conform to his desires instead of just enjoying the blessings whenever and wherever they are provided.  

The thing is, it’s not really just Sam’s problem. It’s my problem too.  It’s a problem we all have.  We spend our lives complaining when the stars don’t shine on us.  Maybe instead we should be looking up expectantly every chance we get, and praising God for every twinkle.

 Posted by at 1:46 pm
Jan 292016
 

Since when did safety become the ultimate value? I hear it all the time any more. It’s the theme of our TV shows, our laws, our society. It seems to be the one thing that overules everything else. No lie is too devious so long as it keeps a “loved one” safe. No law is too obtrusive if it will “save” a life. Since when did safety become more important than freedom? Why do we assume physical death is the worst that can happen, and therefore justify avoiding it at all costs? Why do we assume an early death is a “wasted” life? Because we have believed a lie.

Don’t get me wrong. I do value phisical life. But I don’t think it’s the ultimate goal. I don’t see it in the Bible. I don’t see it in the nature of God. I don’t see it in the life of Christ. In the Bible, I see God who would wipe all but one family from the face of the earth just to keep darkness from completely taking over. I see God allowing many lives lost in battle to prove the iniquity of one man’s disobedience. I see whole regions of people wiped out for God’s cause, including the children. Were those childrens’ lives lost? Or were they saved from something worse? I see all kinds of examples of people living dangerously, good people dying, because they weren’t kept safe.

We have become a society where saftey is the ultimate goal. We give up our freedoms for it. We give up our adventure for it. We give up our lives for it. We make saftey first and try to protect our children from the danger of anything. In the process, we make them afraid of everything.  There are things worse than physical death, but we have believed the lie. We make physical safety the noblest value. And so, our spirits dry up in a slow, agonizing death, while our bodies live out a long and wasted life.

News Flash: If you are wanting to avoid the worst kind of death, the best saftey policy can be found in a 2000 year old book.  Check out the part written by John. Section 3. Subsection 16

 Posted by at 7:50 am
Dec 282015
 

I saw a funny headline the other day. It said: Pope Makes Mother Teresa A Saint. Now I mean no disrespect to the Pope, but I think he can no more make a person a saint than I can make a dog a cat. Either a person is a saint or they are not. Only God makes saints. The most we can do is recognise and declare what God has already done through the coming of Jesus Christ our Lord.

God is in the business of making saints, and it involves much more than two miracles and a declaration from the Pope. In fact, it required a perfect plan. A perfect sacrifice. God with us. A baby in a manager. Mother Teresa may very well have been a Saint, but if so, it’s not because of what she did. It’s because of what Jesus did.

 Posted by at 8:18 pm
Nov 282015
 

Tom Adams sat behind his big desk, writing out his agenda for the merger.  He had it all figured out.  He was good at seeing what needed to be done, making an agenda, checking things off and getting things done.  It’s why he was the boss.

Meanwhile, there were other agendas being created.  Tom’s wife was making her list.  Cleaning house and washing clothes.  Dinner tonight.  A weekend with Tom.  Perhaps going to church together on Sunday.  She hoped as she scribbled it down with her pen, but felt adding it to the agenda for the week-end was a waste of ink.

Tom’s daughter also had an agenda.  School work, hang out at the mall with friends, piano recital.  She wondered if her dad would be there, then struck it from her agenda.  He wouldn’t come.  Why should she let it bother her.  If he didn’t care, neither would she.

Somewhere else, there were unseen agendas.  God had his written down long ago.  His agenda for mankind.  His agenda for Tom Adams . . .  Seek Me.  Love Me.  Know Me.  Enjoy holy fellowship with Me.  Love others.  Give yourself and gain your soul . . . and many other things too wonderful for Tom to comprehend.

Elsewhere, in a dark place not far from the office, the devil was making his agenda for Tom.  Become too busy.  Become too important.  Focus on self.  Abuse  power.  Ignore the needs of those around you.  Make money and possessions your priority.  His list was long, and easy to make.

Later that evening, as his wife and daughter got up from the cold dinner table and headed for the piano recital, Tom was walking into the boardroom.  As the meeting began, he tried to assert his first agenda point, but hit some resistance from others.  That’s when it occurred to him that others might have an agenda too.  He thought about it only for a second, then decided his plan was best.  His way was better.  He brushed them off, overruled them all, and pushed through his own agenda.

. . . and somewhere in a nearby dark place, the devil smiled, licked his pen, and checked one off his list.

 Posted by at 9:21 am