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Showing posts from August, 2014

Take a lesson here....

When I first lived on my own, I really wasn't "on my own" because I lived in a barracks filled with other men and women!  Yet, it was my first time away from "home" and it was my responsibility to make a way for myself - no one was going to be my "parents" in the Army!  In fact, they gave me a room, the clothes I was supposed to wear, and the job I was supposed to work.  So, maybe they were a little like my "parents' after all!  When I finally got married, the first thing we did was move out of the barracks and into our "own" apartment.  We had very little in the way of furnishings, so we had to rent a furnished one bedroom apartment, but it was "our place".  At that point, I began to feel like I had come into the place of "establishing our home".  We put together some of this and that, re-commissioning wooden boxes into storage units for our clothes and the like.  We visited the local thrift shops to stock our k…

I can vs. I choose

I have lived in climates where ice can form overnight, leaving sidewalks and roadways rather treacherous to pass.  The small steps you have to take to avoid your feet from going out from under you, or the slower speeds you must drive in order to avoid a spin-out are "precautionary measures" you PERSONALLY take to keep yourself from loss or injury.  There are clearly times when all you can do personally is just not enough to keep you upright and on course!  Your reliance upon another to be there to catch you when you begin to slip, or the street sanding trucks to be ever-vigilant is something outside of yourself you are also hoping will keep you in a position of safety.  We use both internal and external sources to aid in keeping us safe.  What we may fail to recognize is this "internal and external" source of safety we have at our disposal each and every day - the presence and power of God.  God expects us to have a certain amount of "precautionary measures&qu…

I hold these truths to be self-evident....

There are times when we just need a reminder of certain things.  I know I experience times when I need someone to remind me I can do whatever lays before me because I have done it before and this time won't be any different. I also think we need the encouragement of those who act as our "reminding" friends to never forget God's presence with me when we go through the stuff we go through.  There are moments when we might just lose sight of the purpose of our lives, or the "perspective" becomes a little "collapsed" because of all the other "cluttered thoughts" coming in around us.  These are the times when we need to stop for just a moment and consider the truths about God's consistent, compassionate, and caring character.  What can we say about God's character?  To be honest - we cannot say enough!

What can we say about all this? If God is on our side, can anyone be against us? God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for…

"At", "to" or "beyond"?

The moments come into our days when we might just doubt God's presence with us - those moments of stress so great we think our heart is about to explode within.  Stress is an actual "physical force" exerted on one thing by another.  I'd like us to consider it also as a "spiritual force", "emotional force", and "mental force" which exerts some type of pressure or "forceful action" which brings about this impression of being "strained" to almost the point of breaking.  As these conditions exist, we are often faced with the tremendous challenge of keeping our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and what he is doing in that moment within our "exertion".  A rubber band is a good thing to have in our junk drawers.  When we need to bind one thing to another, we want one of those around.  Yet, we have all experienced the truth of a rubber band stretched beyond the point of "no return" - that moment in time when it …

Recounting his mercy, love and grace

What we choose to remember often makes the difference when our journey gets a little bumpy along the way.  Memory is a powerful tool in either our arsenal of defense, or our battery of offense.  Memory is the process of being able to "recall" or "rethink" again.  When our memory begins to go with the advancing of age or because of some trauma to the brain, it is indeed a troubling affair for us.  Last night, mom sat musing over why she still remains on this earth - since she cannot any longer enjoy the sense of sight, has impaired hearing, and often cannot even remember the simple things like calling to make a hair appointment.  Her question:  "What did I do to 'deserve' all this in my old age?"  I just sit and listen, because I really don't know why her course has been directed as such, and I know the answer that she is nearly 96 doesn't really make all she is dealing with seem "fair" by any means. One thing I do tell her freque…

Episcopal, Lutheran, or What?

There are three possibilities when someone speaks:  1) It is a total lie; 2) It is a half-truth; or 3) It is the truth.  Even a half-truth is really a lie - but it is cleverly presented so that we might not discover the untruth in it.  So, the only reliable communication is the truth.  There are times we just take things at what we refer to as "face-value".  We believe what we see is what we get. How many times have you been disappointed by what you thought you were receiving?  Probably more than you can count!  What you saw was indeed not what you got - the "image" presented was really a half-truth.  I have bought into the advertising of clever marketers on occasion only to find the new and amazing "stain buster" doesn't remove the particular stains my family tends to spill down the front of their clothes!  In reality, a simple bar of lye soap works far better than this fancy chemical in the spray bottle that I paid four times more for!  Yes, it remo…

Encourage, comfort, and unite!

Accolade - an honor, usually conferred in words, which brings notice to some hard work, or accomplishment of the one receiving the praise.  Most of us love to receive notice for the hard work we are doing - even if it is not "out loud", we want someone to actually recognize our accomplishments.  I know I enjoy when I see someone take the work I have done and put it into use - such as when they use the data I have been working on to show a trend or propose a new process.  It gives me pleasure to see the work utilized.  I don't think it is so much different in our Christian walk - we want to be recognized, have our work serve some purpose, and know what we have done really makes a difference.  We don't "do good deeds" simply because we desire the accolades, but we are "serving God" in our deeds, knowing he will receive the ultimate praise in the end.
Christ encourages you, and his love comforts you. God’s Spirit unites you, and you are concerned for …

What goes in must come out

Do you consider yourself sensible?  I wear sensible shoes most of the time - does this make me sensible?  If you think I am using my intelligence to make a decision on which shoe to wear for the day, you would then be right in calling me sensible.  Sensible people make rational decisions.  I have to do a great deal of walking and often standing in one place for a long period of time, so the shoes I wear do matter a great deal.  When I choose the shoe for the day, I think about the things I will be doing that day.  If the day is mostly made up of meetings, desk work, and the like, I am not as concerned with the shoe.  If they involve standing for long periods while accompanying a survey team around the building, I need not only sensible shoes, but light-weight ones!  I gave up high heels a long time ago as they just don't "fit" with my work routine anymore.  We reveal our sensibility in what we do, don't we? The type of shoes we wear is not really all that significant…

Shifting the weight

Trust is something we all struggle with on occasion - if not in our closest relationships, perhaps in trusting God in our moments of confusion, chaos, and calamity.  The biggest calamity, mounting chaos, and chasm of confusion make it harder and harder to trust God if we haven't learn to trust him in the times when things are going rather "well" in our lives.  Trust is reliance - it stands to reason that reliance is learned when you most need to "lean" or "place your weight upon" something or someone, right?  Why is it then that we find it so hard to learn trust in the times of calamity, chaos, and confusion?  These should be times we actually take steps of faith - leaning into God a little more, allowing him to prove himself "trust-worthy".  Trust in God means we have come to count upon the strength of another - something outside of ourselves and our own ability.  It means we lean into and upon the integrity of God - that he will do as he s…

Running in the middle

Are you at the starting block for something new in your life?  Just about to launch ahead into the "unknown" and at the ready?  If so, you are probably wondering about what lies ahead - this is only natural.  Whenever we begin something new, we have a lot of questions about what is going to happen, when it will happen, how it will unfold, and where we will be in the end.  We plan it all out one way, but we all know the best laid plans can be waylaid along the path at anytime!   Do you know what the most important part of the race is?  Some will say it is the start - because if you start well, on solid footing and with great gusto, you are establishing the direction you will take with each new step.  Others will say it is the finish - simply because everyone has the potential to start, but not everyone has the tenacity to finish.  I am thinking the most important part of the race is often the most overlooked - the middle!  Why?  Think about the Preakness, the third leg of the…

Help me get this right

Get, do, settle down, stick with it, keep, open up, hold nothing back, and quiet down.  A list of actions we must exhibit if we are to really grow in relationship with Jesus.  A list which may seem insurmountable to some, but when we really stop to think on these actions a little, we begin to see they are not really all that difficult.  God's plan for his kids is to grow closer to him - in order to do this, there are just some things which come naturally in relationship which we must respond to.  These are things like wanting to talk to each other and spending time with the other person.  I think this is why some of our social media options today are kind of awesome - especially things like "Face Time" and video messaging.  They allow those separated by the miles to be able to connect with each other despite the "physical distance" in their relationship.  Maybe what is being explained to us is the importance of taking a closer look at how we are interacting in …

Long enough

What is your "long enough"?  Most of us have some capacity for endurance, whether it be with the distance we walk, the amount of waiting we can tolerate, or the pain we are willing to experience before we resort to a means of relief.  "Long enough" is not a measure which is the same for each of us, but rather is a unique measure based on where we are emotionally, physically, spiritually, and even "relationally".  Sometimes our "long enough" is shortened because of emotions being on edge - too much coming at us at one time and stress building up within.  At other times, the same things could roll off our back without an issue, just because we were more "in balance" with our emotional stressors.  There is nothing more disheartening, though, than to come to the place of "long enough" when you are waiting on God to answer some need in your life.  In those times of "long enough", we want immediate relief, so any amount o…

The tipping point

After hearing that yet another movie actor may have taken his life, my mom and I were discussing just how many film stars brought an end to their own life "down through the ages".  In considering those who have known fame, we also considered just how fame and fortune had left them wanting so much more than it ever promised or provided.  This is a sad truth, but truth nonetheless.  Fame and fortune are elusive - they keep those who pursue either of them running toward them as if under their spell.  They are also disappointing - leaving those who finally "achieve" their end wanting more, but not really satisfied with what they have!  Sound familiar to anyone other than me?  Wanting more that what we have, chasing what seems to have us under some "spell" or external "control"?  We may not be pursuing fame in the sense of the movie stars, but we may be pursuing something with as much tenacity - something which will not truly bring us any satisfactio…

Fairing well because of the rules

Can you really say you always play by the rules?  Or that you actually "enjoy" the rules established by which you are asked to live your life?  Truth be told, most of us resist the rules on occasion, or think they are not really pertinent to our lives, so we don't embrace them as we should.  I don't own a handgun, so all laws (rules) applying to firearms don't really apply to me, do they? Yet, I could go out today and acquire one - making those rules ever so important for me to understand.  I don't have to become acquainted with the rules until I need to use them within my life - convenient, huh?  Most of us deal with the rules in life in this manner - if there is not a clear-cut reason for them right now in the "here and now", then they are good to have, but we don't go out of our way to learn them.  Now, in the sense of handgun laws, this may not make much difference today, but if someone were to change the rules, making it possible for anyone…

Stop to consider

Selah - a Hebrew word rich with meaning.  It carries the idea in the Psalms of being an instruction to pause calmly to think about what has just been said. It is a time to pause and carefully consider the meaning of what has been said, while at the same time lifting up our hearts in praise to God.  So, it carries this dual meaning of both taking pause and responding to what we are "mulling over" in our minds, hearts, and spirits.  The response of praise is perhaps the easiest.  The response of "pausing to consider" is not - for we are not accustomed to "ruminating" over scripture.  We read it, probably "lightly" considering what we just read, but not really allowing it to lead us into praise and worship.  Since the Book of Psalms was actually much like the "hymn book" out of which the Israelites sang their songs of worship, I wonder if this word "selah" might be a place where the musicians just played on while the worshipers …