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Showing posts from February, 2013

Throw me another bone, please!

I haven't had a dog in years now, but I remember the extreme joy and passion my pooch would exhibit whenever I brought home a bone for her.  She'd waggle every part of her hind quarters and tail, almost trembling in delight over the promised ecstasy of the treat.  For hours, she'd gnaw away at that treat, savoring each and every morsel.  In short order, the bone would be picked clean of any sign of grizzle, remaining meat, and even sometimes much of the bone itself would be chewed down.  I'd hear her working on that thing for hours - sometimes having to take it away from her at night just so we'd be able to get to sleep!  She'd always see where I'd put it up out of her reach, knowing full-well where to find it the next day.  There she'd be sitting as soon as I woke up - ready to take on the task of chewing on it again.  Such persistence and perseverance.  I wonder if we have this same kind of reaction to God's Word?

Righteous chews on wisdom like a d…

Taffy anyone?

Did you ever get hold of an idea that just kept spinning around in your head - no matter how much you tried to put it out of your mind, you just kept gravitating back to it?  Isn't that so annoying?  You just think on it over and over again - sometimes even waking in the wee hours of the night with the same thoughts going through your mind you tried so hard hours before to shut off!  Some call this preoccupation - others might call it obsession.  Either way, they both sound a little ominous!  One of the things I have come to realize is the power of holding ideas in our heads which may not be totally "sound" or "trustworthy".  In fact, when we do, we sort of "hang our hat" on these ideas and find our "hat rack" a little wobbly!

Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of …

Safe Harbor Anyone?

Safe Harbor:  Any place that offers protection in a storm or wartime.  I read that sailors are to be prepared for the storm - knowing in advance what the weather will bring.  They are to read the signs - being ever vigilant to the changes in the winds, skies, and the like.  In so doing, they are instructed to head immediately to safe harbor when they see the rapidly rising storm.  It is one thing to sail into a safe harbor - knowing you will shelter or refuge there. It is quite another to sail away or out of it.  One thing I see when sailing away from safe harbor is the "risk" associated in that movement.  We set sail into uncharted territory - uncertain about that which lies ahead.  The only thing we know is that we are leaving the place of safety.

My help and glory are in God—granite-strength and safe-harbor-God—so trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him.  God is a safe place to be.  (Psalm 62:7-8 MSG)

One thing I know for sure - God is the one who p…

Bountiful beauty beheld

Crush:  To press or squeeze with a force that destroys or deforms; to force out by pressing; to break.  Sometimes people don't see my fascination in the study of words, but when we take a little time to explore the various meanings of a word, we often begin to ponder things we might have missed before.  This is especially true when it comes to understanding the Word of God.  The "words" God chose to share with us in the pages of our Bible are not by chance - they are selected for their meaning.  Therefore, getting the most out of the Word of God often requires us to be open to considering the meaning of the words chosen to express a certain matter of thought or instruction.

A healthy spirit conquers adversity,but what can you do when the spirit is crushed? (Proverbs 18:14 MSG)

I have some friends who have been through tremendous pressures this past year, and others who are beginning this year with some of the most terrifying decisions they will have to make in their lifeti…

Which side of the fence are you on?

In conversation today, you might hear words such as accountability and responsibility.  Newscasters speculate about who will be held accountable for certain actions.  Others postulate about what responsibility some aspect of society had for the actions of another.  Yet so many times, there is very little reference to the actions of one being called into account simply on their own merit.  We see shooters destroy innocent lives - then blame the lack of gun control as the "responsible" party.  When "breaking down" the influencing factors in the shooter's life, we gravitate toward what the parents did or didn't do, who should have recognized the mental health issues apparent in the shooter's life, etc.  We rarely gravitate to the place of saying this man or woman was totally accountable for their own actions.  Why?  Society today seems to want to "share" accountability and responsibility for the actions of individuals - not because they want to &…

Symbiosis is a beautiful thing!

Watchfulness:  Vigilance; the condition of being alert, attentive, and careful; being cautious or wary.  One of the things nurses assess with their patients on an ongoing basis is the level of "alertness" they exhibit - especially when they suspect medications, disease process, or factors unknown are impacting their patient's overall status.  We assess the level of alertness by a number of factors, but if we say your name, you immediately respond, we'd say you were alert.  If we have to rub out knuckles over your breastbone to elicit any type of response from you, we'd indicate your level of alertness as sedated or unresponsive.  One level of "alertness" suggests readiness to interact - the other indicates you are far from being able to do things or even participate.

Good people stay away from evil.  By watching what they do, they protect their lives.   (Proverbs 16:17 NCV)

Our passage today deals with "watching what we do" in order to be in a p…

Journal of Love

We just celebrated Valentine's Day here in the United States.  I don't know how many of my readers in other countries actually celebrate this day, but it is definitely a huge money-maker here.  Flowers are sent, candies are gifted, dinners are prepared, and little notes of love are passed between people.  I wonder how many times we forget about the greatest love note we have ever received?  I began to think on this as I considered something I heard someone share about how they kept the love alive in their marriage of over thirty years together.  She spoke of how several years prior, they had begun the process of writing journal notes to each other.  Some very short - others with more content.  They have two journals - one for him to write in and the other for her.  Hers is really for him to read - his for her.  They don't write in it everyday, but there are some weeks when a note is left daily, others when maybe one a week says it all.  They leave the journal out where the…

I know "of", but do I "know"?

Preconceived:  To form a perception of beforehand as a result of previously held or known information.  Some of us have a tendency to gravitate toward what we "know" about a person, forming an opinion of that person based on the small amount of facts we have.  The problem with this is the limitation in what it is we know about that individual.  We likely have some facts, but we really don't get beyond those "facts" to consider the "rest of the story" as Paul Harvey would say.  

He left there and returned to his hometown. His disciples came along. On the Sabbath, he gave a lecture in the meeting place. He made a real hit, impressing everyone. “We had no idea he was this good!” they said. “How did he get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?”  But in the next breath they were cutting him down: “He’s just a carpenter—Mary’s boy. We’ve known him since he was a kid. We know his brothers, James, Justus, Jude, and Simon, and his sisters. Who does he thin…

Sandpaper anyone?

Probe:  To search into; examine thoroughly; to place under scrutiny.  Some call this being "under the microscope".  As long as someone is only viewing with the "naked eye", what is seen is not always what it appears to be.  But...put the same object under the microscope and you see things hidden from view!  It is like when you thought you dusted well, then the sun comes shining through the window, or you turn on that bright light in the room, and poof - all the dust on the shelves you "missed" is quite apparent!  You just didn't "probe" far enough with the duster!  Yet, you thought you had "cleaned house".

Close the book on Evil, God, but publish your mandate for us.  You get us ready for life: you probe for our soft spots,you knock off our rough edges.  And I’m feeling so fit, so safe:made right, kept right. God in solemn honor does things right, but his nerves are sandpapered raw.  (Psalm 7:9-11 MSG)

God has a way of "probing&…

Fix my fix, will ya?

Are you a "figurer"?  You know - the one who is always musing over this plan or the next, not really able to let go of the reins - is that you?  I think there are more of us out there than we'd like to admit!  We spend our energies ruminating on the stuff we'd do well to let go of while we don't spend enough time or energies on getting the clarity of heart, emotions, and mind we so desperately need.  When we are constantly trying to "work the plan", we seldom take time to actually find out of the plan needs any "alteration" as God sees it!

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.  (Proverbs 2:5-6 MSG)

As we examine scripture, we find all kinds of people who have tried to figure out the plan for their "fix" all on their own.  The same result is apparent - they fail miserably!  Look at …

God's got lots to say - you listening?

Make your case:  Explain why something is the way it is, or should be done the way it is done; convincing evidence presented to show the "rightness" of your position.  

The passage below is taken from the book of Isaiah - a profit to the nations of Judah and Israel - the Northern and Southern Kingdoms.  The first half of the book deals with the words of prophesy to the nation of Judah - the last speaks of the restoration coming to Israel.  This passage is taken from the latter portion, therefore, it deals more with God's mercy and restoration than it does his judgment.  In these words, God opens dialogue with the people - he begins this section with these words:  God, Creator of the heavens—he is, remember, God.  Maker of earth—he put it on its foundations, built it from scratch.  He didn’t go to all that troubleto just leave it empty, nothing in it. He made it to be lived in.  Why do I call reference to these opening words?  I do so because they speak of the "creati…

Do a little bragging!

Trademark:  A distinctive feature or characteristic usually associated with a person or thing.  What are some of the "trademarks" you have come to know over the course of your life?  If I ask you to tell me about a cookie with a creamy white center, you'd likely be able to come up with the name "Oreo".  If you were asked to provide the name of a potato chip in a red can, you'd likely think of "Pringles".  In fact, almost all of the purchasing we do is because we have come to associate something with the image on the can or box - it helps us identify the object more readily.  Perhaps this is why so many companies don't change their packaging willy-nilly.  They know they must do some "up-front" work if they were to change it because we associate their line of product with that particular trademark.  

“Don’t let the wise brag of their wisdom.  Don’t let heroes brag of their exploits.  Don’t let the rich brag of their riches.  If you brag…