As the sun in the wide-open blue makes its way, And I wake with a new day before, I sit and I think about the gift of a day, And I wonder what my Lord has in store. Will I walk the straight path with my eyes on the prize? Will I act with the Kingdom in mind? Or will I wander and fall to the enemy's lies, As I chase selfish things I might find. Lord Jesus may I live this day as would you, With joy and with Your confident peace. Help me do all the things you would have me to do, Then let worries for tomorrow all cease. When I lay in my bed or my grave for the night, And this day, or the last is all through, I want to know that I've lived with your Kingdom in sight, And every moment was lived, for You. I want to shine in the darkness I want to sing from my heart I want to live for you, Jesus Take my life, every part
So there’s this lady who painted herself all white, and wears all white clothes. She stands real still and pretends to be a statue. She’s a real person, pretending to be a facsimile of a real person. That’s her job. People give her money to pretend to be a fake person. Shucks, I gave her money.
It’s funny. Instead of art imitating life, it’s life imitating art imitating life. The curious part to me is why is it so fascinating to look at? I guess it’s because it’s hard to believe a real person could stand so still and look so fake. But why should that be interesting? There are plenty of people in this world who are going nowhere and constantly faking it . . . and most of them even get paid for it.
This morning I woke up with a different perspective on life. I have often heard people say that life is a gift. But this morning, for the first time, it really seemed that way. God has created us as eternal beings, then he gave us this existence on earth as a temporary gift to see what we will do with it. It’s a little bit like we just got married, and God gave us a trip to Fiji as a wedding present. Someday He will ask us “How was the trip?” and we will all answer to Him. Perhaps when we meet others in Heaven, our story of how we used the gift of this earthly existence will be the conversation starter… just before we move on to the real discussion of the wonder of all that God has in store for us.
The quail eggs won’t hatch and the mood is somber. With each passing day, hope is transformed into hopelessness. The somber mood, like a dense fog, hangs over the corner of the kitchen counter where the precious eggs rest in the incubator.
Tammy was so excited when the eggs arrived. She has been faithfully maintaining the temperature, turning the eggs and caring for the future quail offspring with more diligence than even the mother quail herself might have provided. But the eggs won’t hatch.
She started with nine eggs. Two were cracked, some weren’t fertilized, and a few did not develop. Only two looked like they might make it. One even briefly pecked at the shell, but then died in the egg. It was sad. Little bird lives that could have been, one ever so close, but never made it.
I have learned a few things through this experience. Of course the most obvious lesson of all is that, when life does happen, it really must be a miracle. Also, seeing her care for these eggs and the life within, I have come to realize how precious Tammy’s nurturing, loving spirit is to me. And seeing Tammy’s care really highlights the fact that mother birds are absolutely amazing. They have to be some of the most selfless creatures on the planet. It’s no wonder our Father used them as an example of His care for us, His delicate miracles.
As for you, the one who lives in the shelter of the sovereign One, and resides in the protective shadow of the mighty king – I say this about the Lord , my shelter and my stronghold, my God in whom I trust – he will certainly rescue you from the snare of the hunter and from the destructive plague. He will shelter you with his wings; you will find safety under his wings. His faithfulness is like a shield or a protective wall.
– Psalm 91:1-4 NET
How precious is your loyal love, O God! The human race finds shelter under your wings.
– Psalm 36:7 NET
If you don’t need a napkin when you eat your Arby’s sandwich, then you didn’t put enough sauce on it. I wonder if life is kinda that way too. If it doesn’t get a little messy sometimes, then maybe you aren’t doing it right.
I have been thinking about rainy days lately. In recent weeks, we have had our share of cloudy days. A few weeks ago, the basement flooded again. We had allowed the gutters to get clogged, so the rainwater just poured beside the house and made a mess. But that is not really what I have been pondering.
What has been on my mind, is that not all rainy days are bad. I remember one drizzly day long ago. Tammy and I were not yet dating. We connected with friends, took a long walk on a damp day and enjoyed each other’s company. Our clothes were nearly soaked as we walked along a railroad track. I can’t really explain why it was such a wonderful day. Perhaps deep down we knew there is something special about a person who will walk in the rain, just to be with you.
I also remember a day a few years ago at Cloudland Canyon State Park. We went to bed one night planning a hike for the next morning. When we woke up, it was raining. I was disappointed. I thought the rain would ruin the hike. When it slowed to a sprinkle, we decided to go anyway. Packing snacks and a rain poncho in our backpacks, we started out. I figured we would get drenched. That’s not what happened.
While we hiked through the woods on the way to the canyon, the occasional sprinkle gave way to a cool, gentle mist. As we approached the canyon overlook, I thought we wouldn’t see anything. I was wrong. What we saw were misty clouds gently floating in the canyon, giving an occasional glimpse of the far side canyon wall. It was as if we were standing on an island in the clouds, and it was magical.
If there is any point to this post it is simply this: Not all rainy days are bad. Some can be wonderful, or even magical, if you give them a chance.
I have a cold. No major illness. No major trial. Just the minor inconvenience of a headache and a nasal system full of snot. None the less, I will be glad when it’s over and the sickness is a memory.
Colds do slow me down, but I try not to let them get me down. It’s a pain to have to deal with the headaches and snot. However, I realize it is only temporary. Colds are not typically life threatening, so in a few days, this one will just be a memory. But today, there is a battle raging inside my body.
While I write this, white blood cells are attacking the invading virus, determined to subdue it. In the end, the invading virus will be conquered. My body’s defenses will win, and I will feel better. In the meantime, this got me thinking about why God made the body “almost” perfect. His design allows my body to fight the germs, but why didn’t He design it so the germs never even have a chance? Why didn’t He make it so my defenses were so good that I would never even get sick in the first place?
One possibility: Because I was sick from the day I was born. This earthly body is not perfect. The disease of sin means certain death to this earthly body. A cold reminds me of that. Any trial, any sickness, any disease, any death of this earthly body is just a reminder that sin has to go. It also helps me realize that eternal life in this corrupt body would be a curse.
A God who would leave me to live forever in a sickened corrupted state would not be a loving God. Therefore, our Heavenly Father has provided a solution. Christ is the cure. He is a living example of the truth that the body must die so the spirit can live. Perhaps eons from now, looking back from the perspective of eternity, I may turn to one of my Christian friends and say, “Remember that time when we were all sick? Aren’t you glad we got over that?”
So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors–not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
– Romans 8:8-14 NKJV
Below is a poem I wrote more than ten years ago and sent to poetry.com. I have hesitated to post it on my blog because, quite frankly, it’s a little embarrassing. Despite that, I have decided to swallow my pride and post it for several reasons. First, I have felt like I should for a while now. Second, I need another post for this month. (I try to at LEAST do three a month.) And finally, since I am not feeling this way at the moment – hopefully learning a few things since then – you don’t have to feel sorry for me or be amazed at my pity party. I am VERY blessed, as are many of us. However, my guess is that some others have felt this way at times, so maybe you can relate. If I am the only one that has ever felt this way, don’t tell me. It will just make me feel bad. 😉
Life is hollow.
Striving, Reaching, Struggling.
Close, but never there. Grasping.
Not quite good enough,
Not quite quick enough,
Not quite old or young enough.
A life full of not quite enough money,
Not quite enough time,
Not quite enough talent.
A life of almost good enough,
Almost correct and almost right.
Hoards of I-wish-I’d-done-thats.
Regrets scattered everywhere.
Success seems scarce, Yet blessings abound.
Self pity is sickening.
The end of life. A talk with God.
The unimaginable happens.
“Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Nothing else will matter at all.
“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
— Matthew 25:23 NKJV
There is no such thing as leftover bacon. I have never seen it and I am convinced it does not exist. In researching the topic, I have discussed the issue with several people. They have all agreed. Leftover bacon is a myth.
At first, this theory may appear to defy logic. Every other food is capable of producing leftovers. At our house, for example, spaghetti is particularly adept at this. English peas and rice are also very leftover prone. We once had three or four dates that sat in a small container in the back of the fridge for almost a year before I finally consumed them and put them out of their misery. But never bacon. Bacon is just too good to be left unconsumed. The demand always meets the supply.
When I die, I don’t want to be like spaghetti or English peas. I want to be like bacon. One hundred percent shared out. Every crumb given away. Every bit consumed. Nothing held back. No leftovers.
He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.
My heart beats at 68 beats per minute. That’s on the low end of average for a person who is sitting around doing nothing. When I get up and go for a walk, my heart works a little harder, speeding up to 72. When I wake in the morning, it’s already thumping along at 66 bpm. Not much change for a heart.
Although it’s drumming a steady beat now, there will come a day when it stops. The last beat. It’s been counting down ever since before I was born. Only God knows exactly how many beats I have. It’s a bit sad and introspective for me to think about it, but I wonder if God sees it differently. I wonder if He is watching the count-down.
Does He consider the day of the last beat, when my heart stops and my eyes open to really see Him for the first time? Does He eagerly anticipate, like a Father waiting for his children to come home? Is He marking off the beats on some Heavenly count-down clock? I can almost imagine Jesus elbowing some big angel and saying, “Just wait ’till Mark gets here. He’s going to be amazed at the place I’ve prepared for him. Only 1,751,299,200 beats to go! ”
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
– John 14:1-3