Mark

Striving every day to know Him more.

Sep 182018
 
Joy with her puppies

Our dog Joy had puppies this week-end.  Now she has nine squirmy, noisy, pooping, peeing, totally self-absorbed little fur balls causing her enormous amounts of grief and uncomfort.  Even so, she lays still for hours on end, bearing their constant grunts and squeals as thy crawl all over her, biting, sucking, and pulling in places they should, and shouldn’t.

I guess it is instinct that makes her tolerate their torture.  Somehow she knows that only she can provide what they really need.  Somehow she knows she must patiently watch over and deal with them as only a mother can.  Somehow she manages to deny her own needs so that she can tend to theirs.  For dogs, we call it instinct.  When people do it, we call it love.  But you know, the Bible says God is love.  So, should we really be surprised to find it reflected all throughout his creation?

Aug 312018
 

 

At the top of Horseshoe Falls

We recently returned from a trip to see Niagara Falls. It’s hard to find the right words to describe what it was like. Standing in front of the falls, hearing the constant thunder of the falling water, feeling the mist in my face, and seeing the massive roiling liquid sheet spilling over the edge into a foamy tumult… It was emotionally overpowering. Even now, just thinking about it, I want to bow down in worship, clap my hands, and shout the praise of the glorious God who created such a majestic wonder.

We planned to spend three days in the area of the falls. I thought it was too much time. After all, what else was there to do but look at the falls. So we figured out a bunch of activities to keep us busy and went about doing them – Journey Behind the Falls, Voyage to the Falls, Cave of the Winds and more. We filled up three days of fun with no problem and now that I am home, I think I would like to spend more time there.

The view from Skylon Tower

I know one thing for sure: If I ever do get the chance to go back to Niagara Falls for another three days, I won’t need a bunch of activities to fill the time. I could spend the entire time just looking at the falls and worshipping the God who created such a wondrous thing.

 

Jul 032018
 

I was swimming in the pool this past weekend, enjoying the cool water oasis in the early Summer heat, when my dog decided to take advantage of the cool water too. She walked over to the steps as if to enter the pool, lowered her head, and started lapping up the water. I swam over to her as she lifted her head and looked down at me, water dripping from her mouth, back into the pool.

For a moment, I couldn’t decide if she was drinking my pool water or if I was swimming in her giant water dish. I contemplated it for a moment, then decided whatever state I was in, therein to be content.

 Posted by at 1:26 pm
Jun 112018
 

God always shows up.

When I’m in the middle of the battle, I don’t see it.

I’m busy swinging my sword, or running for cover, or hiding from the enemy, so I don’t see it.

In the middle of a battle, it’s tough to see everything that is happening.

But when the battle is over, and you begin to put together the picture of what happened… how the battle was won… When the history of the battle is written, the last line of the story will be, God showed up.

 Posted by at 1:10 pm
Apr 132018
 

I have been thinking about success lately. Some people have it, some people don’t and I am often uncertain of the category in which I belong. In trying to figure out if I had it – indeed if I even wanted it – it became apparent to me that I must first discover what it is.

I think we often equate a successful person with successful actions. A person who is very good at something, who can accomplish great things, is often considered successful. But I think a man who can often accomplish what he sets out to do is not necessarily a successful man. Hitler was a successful leader (he managed to rally millions behind his loathsome cause), but does that make him a success? I think not. The two things can go together. I can be a successful manager AND a successful person, but I do not believe I need necessarily be both.

I suspect the world is full of people who think themselves a success when all they really are is a failure with a talent.

 Posted by at 1:17 pm
Mar 242018
 

The Gardener’s Handiwork

It almost looks like ghosts have invaded my yard.  Sheets and blankets hunch over my precious budding trees and bushes as if to cuddle them in a protective embrace.  A few unseasonably warm days have tricked my poor plants into blooming.  They know that Spring is on the way, but they have failed to account for Winter’s last gasp of chilly breath.  It happens almost every year.  There is nothing I, as gardener, can do to change the weather, but I can do some things to protect my precious plants from its effects.

Sometimes I wonder if the problem with the plants and the early spring freeze is because we have planted plants in the wrong place.  Am I trying to grow fruit in a place that is too cold for it?  Would my blueberries and apple trees fare better if they were planted further south?  Or would they then just bloom even earlier, still risking the cold?  Maybe I could plant them where it never freezes, but then how would I enjoy my fresh apples and blueberries this Summer?  I want my fruit near me, where I can watch it grow.  See it produce.  Enjoy it and share it.  So, when needed, I’ll protect it from the cold, fertilize it, prune it, and defend it from the bugs and critters that try to steal my blessing.   It’s what any good gardener does.

“. . . my Father is the Gardener . . .”  John 15:1

 

 Posted by at 7:30 am
Feb 272018
 

Sam and I went to downtown Duluth, GA last night because that was the location of the nearest place to make a change to his cell phone service. While we were there, a lady (and I use the term loosely ) came in.

Life has happened to her. She can not look back to how she got where she is. It hurts too much. She only looks forward to the next drink, the next fix. Something to make the pain go away. Where will she get the money, what can she do? Her life is a mess. The cruel rewards of her lifestyle display their ugly result on her mottled skin. Like her feet, her soul is bare. And yet, Jesus loves her. Jesus died for her. If she could only see it. Her life could change.

How can I be the hands and feet of Jesus to her? A burger and a ride home seems so inadequate.

 Posted by at 2:36 pm
Jan 062018
 

I have a cold.  Snotty nose, stuffy head, scratchy throat, miserable nights trying to sleep and breathe, and all that stuff.  It’s a nuisance and an inconvenience, but it’s nothing life changing.  I’ve learned over the years that colds come and go.  There is nothing you can do but take some medicine, drink plenty of liquids, get some rest, and go on with life.  Whining and complaining does no good.  It only makes you feel more miserable.  It’s best to go on about your day, tissue in hand, and live life knowing that one day soon, this too shall pass.

Knowing it’s only temporary seems to be one of the keys to living through a cold without complaint.  If I were to contract a cold and someone told me it would last for years, then I think I would complain.  I would whine, pout, feel sorry for myself and ask God why He allowed such a hardship in my life.  But the common cold that lasts a few days, that I can handle. God has designed my immune system so that it will soon get the upper hand and the cold virus that seeks to invade and infect me will be eradicated.  The hardship is temporary.  In the end, I win.

I am trying lately, to take that attitude about bigger things.  Compared to eternity, this life is so very short and any hardship I face is only temporary.  With Jesus as Lord, God is in control.  And in the end, I win.

Dec 192017
 

My printer is broken.  It comes on when I push the on button.  It receives the print commands from my computer.  It even prints beautiful pictures… if you can get it to feed the paper.  That’s the part that is broken.  The part that pulls in the paper.  So, I am spending too much time these days trying to push the paper into the printer at just the right time so that it will print.

You might be wondering why I don’t just get another printer.  I have enough money.  Or I could even put it on my Christmas wish list.  The problem is not the ability to get another printer.  The problem is the inability to use all the extra ink I recently purchased, just before the printer broke.  If I get a new printer, I’ll have a whole stash of useless ink.  And that bugs me.

I hate wasting things.  Wasting money, time, or opportunities.  Sometimes I am haunted by the thought “What if I am wasting my life?”  I don’t know where the right balance is for being content in my current state, and pressing on, striving to win the race.  They often seem like opposing lifestyles to me.  But if I take a bigger picture view, I must say that I see most errors occurring on the side of striving and pushing to get ahead. 

The Bible is full of examples of people that screwed things up by NOT being content; by striving to make things happen instead of waiting on God.  Abraham, Moses, King Saul, King David, to name just a few.  Meanwhile, God tells us in his word, “Be still and know that I am God.”  I need to be content to follow God, moving, or waiting, at His direction. Pushing the paper before the printer is ready just makes a crumpled mess. 

He says, “Stop your striving and recognize that I am God! I will be exalted over the nations! I will be exalted over the earth!”   The Lord who commands armies is on our side! The God of Jacob is our protector! (Selah).    – Psalms 46:10-11  NET

 Posted by at 7:00 am