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Showing posts from May, 2015

Mentor me

If you have ever been guilty of making a not so wise decision, you are among the masses!  We all make unwise decisions now and again - it just shouldn't be the regular pattern of our lives!  A decision is a moment or period of time in which we make a determination about one of our doubts or questions we have encountered.  If we think about this a little, every moment of decision is peppered with a little bit of doubt or a question we have to answer.  Go this way or that.  If we go this way, what will be the outcome?  Go that way and will the outcome be vastly or only vaguely different?  A parent's role in life (even those we might call our "spiritual parents") is to guide us into making wise decisions. In essence, they create a culture in which we determine if we will be overcome by our doubts, or tackle the questions which come our way with a great deal of fortitude and determination.
My son, it makes me happy when you make a wise decision. It makes me feel good ins…

All things for all men

Okay, admit it - you indulge yourself once in a while, don't you?  While on vacation a couple of weeks ago, I found my muscles achy and tired.  Our timeshare had a huge whirlpool tub big enough for two people and guess what I did?  Yep, I indulged myself in almost an hour's soak in the bubbling warmth of those powerful jets!  I think my BFF came looking for me after about an hour just to be sure I had not slipped under the water and drowned!  When I stepped out of those waters, my aches were gone and I felt like a new woman.  That short period of "indulgence" made all the world of difference in the aches and pains of the day.  It may not take much indulgence to actually meet our needs, but when we do indulge we need to make sure it is for the right reasons. 

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (Galations 5:13 ERV)
By definition, to indulge is to allow yourself…

Thick lead walls

We can all share experiences when we were feeling the walls closing in and then we began to finally feel things lighten up a bit and we had this sense of renewed "breathing room".  We didn't perhaps doing anything all that different, but there was just this release which came - even in our consistent plodding.  Sometimes we think it takes some tremendous change on our part for those "walls" to stop closing in, but I want to assure you it is just possible God is not really concerned with us doing anything different, but that we just continue to trust him in the midst of the pressures. Lord, you are faithful to those who are faithful. You are good to those who are good. You never do wrong to those who have done no wrong. But you outsmart the wicked, no matter how clever they are. You help those who are humble, but you humiliate the proud. Lord, you provide the flame for my lamp. You, God, turn the darkness around me into light. With your help I can defeat a…

When will that day come?

In days gone by we probably heard a whole lot more "preaching" about the Second Coming of Christ.  The reminders to "be ready" for his Second Coming were pretty much common place.  Now, we seldom hear those words echoed from the pulpits.  Do you ever stop to wonder why?  I think it is because we are trying to create "seeker friendly" places where people can come into church assemblies and not be frightened by the "churchy" things we might say and do as Christians.  Don't get me wrong on this matter, though, for I totally support creating an environment that is welcoming to the sinner and open to the seeker. I also strongly support an environment which preaches the entirety of the gospel message and the truth of the Word.  Put both of those together and you have the "best" combination!  If we are to consider the entirety of scripture, we must keep in mind there is this promise of Christ's return - the Second Coming as some might…

Make peace, not war

I suppose one of the most difficult things in this life is the exercise of wisdom in our daily lives.  Wisdom often flies right out the window whenever we are faced with the "fun" thing to do, or that which appeals more to our emotions than the other that offers itself as an alternative.  Why is that?  I think it is twofold - we want to be "happy", so we just do whatever we think will make us "happy"; and we want the easiest way, because the way of wisdom may just be a little more demanding than the easiest!  We are so caught up in what we think will make us "happy" and this pursuit often gives us the greatest challenge in life.  If you don't believe me, when was the last time you could actually say something you did, bought, or found made you truly "happy"?  How long did that emotional "high" last?  My sister asked me last night where I'd live if I didn't live in Arizona.  I had to ponder that one because there h…

Not another bad dream!

Have you ever been unsettled by a dream?  You know the kind I mean - those which either awaken you in a start as though you were falling some great distance, or in which you find your heart beating as though it were going to burst from your chest at any moment!  I think we may have all had these on occasion, but if they are a steady thing for us, it may be time to consider the cause of those dreams.  I have been around people who believe it is possible to attach meaning to each and every dream.  I guess I am not that superstitious or "believing" in the "reading" of dreams, but I do know this for sure - when I watch some thriller movie which leaves me on the edge of my seat throughout, I look for "bad men" under the bed!  It is only natural!  What goes into the mind has a way of playing tricks on the mind.  Be without something long enough and you might just crave it a little - to think upon it is not some supernatural occurrence, but rather a normal thoug…

Bitter sets the teeth on edge

Have you ever bitten into a piece of fruit which had all the right coloring, smelled wonderful, but somehow was just too tart or bitter on the inside?  It is like the development arrested and the fruit never came to the place it was fully ripe.  Remember what that did to your teeth, tongue, and taste buds?  It was like an assault to them, right?  The bitterness lasted, even when you spit out the nastiness of the bite you took.  I have heard people describe the sensation as "having their teeth set on edge" by the bitterness of the fruit.  Some of us think the bitter taste will go away, but did you know that some people actually don't taste "bitter" as you or I do?  In fact, depending upon the level of dietary iodine we may ingest, we might all sense "bitterness" a little differently.  I wonder if this difference with how we "taste" the bitter we ingest in life is similar to how some may be deeply affected by the hurtful and bitter things anot…

No longer blind

Our story begins today with a man, blind since birth, happening across the path of Jesus one day.  I don't believe in "accidents" or "coincidences" because I think every moment in our lives is measured out and watched over by our Lord in heaven.  I don't think one thing escapes his attention, so to say this was a coincidental meeting, or happen-chance, is just not possible.  The disciples begin to wonder why this man was blind.  They engage in conversation about it, since much of the belief of the day was any type of infirmity of body was a result of either the sins of the parents, or that of the individual themselves. This begins the conversation about this man - who's at fault for his blindness?  Isn't that just like us - we are so near the one who can cure the actual blindness and all we can do is focus on the "reason" for the blindness!  We want to place blame; Jesus wants to bring light!
The man answered, “This is really strange! You d…

A seed not sown

You have probably heard the little quip, "If a tree falls in the forest, does anyone hear it", but I have to ask the more important question - who actually knows why it falls where it does, when it exactly fell, and what good it will do in the place it has fallen?  Even a fallen tree has a benefit - maybe not the same benefit it had as a growing tree, but it "gives back" something it could not while it was upright.  I think we often don't think of our decline in years as being "fruitful" years, equating our youthful years as those which were the most fruitful.  Yet, if we consider the vast wealth of knowledge we have accumulated, the wisdom we have amassed by seeing and doing what we have done over the years, it becomes quite clear our fruitful years don't have to end just because we are no longer this big, thriving tree standing upright in the forest!  My mom is 96.5 years old and you sometimes can hear her say, "I don't know why the goo…

Suppose....

"Suppose" can be used as the setting up of an argument, or a belief or theory, as though you were prepared to defend it to the hilt.  Have you ever had one of those moments in time where you want to disprove someone and set up the arguments for your position with the statement, "Suppose that..."?  I think we all have at one time or another, because it is human nature to present what we believe or have perceived to see if it is really trustworthy.  In doing this, we present our side of the argument, then we await the rebuttal.  For example, we start our study of the earth with the statement, "Suppose that the earth is round, how do we keep from falling off as it rotates?"  The statement set forth is the perceived or believed fact, followed by the supposition or question.  We already are holding the truth to be true that the earth is round - now we just want to understand why we don't go flying off into space when it rotates on its axis!  Oftentimes, we…

More than just another beauty in an evening gown

Every now and again I catch one of those shows on TV which feature women all decked to the nines, competing against each other for some Miss USA, Ms. Universe, or the like.  It isn't often that I see those with the "truest" of beauty actually win in these events, though.  The outward is dazzling, but I don't know that the inward "character" and "beauty" of the individuals who actually win these contests consistently measure up to the standard of "beauty" God has for his kids.  These women can move across the stage in glamorous sashays and then dazzle us with their comments about world peace, dreams of saving the starving children in some third world country, or the like.  Deep down inside, they are not "bad" people, but all the outward grace and beauty can actually fool us to what is really at the core of what it is which "drives" them.  God is more concerned the with the "beauty" and "grace" which…

Refuge is more than a hiding place

We run into people on occasion who make out God to be some big, bad "guy in the sky", who sits upon a throne, passing judgment on earth below.  They simply don't understand the mercy of God - seeing "justice" as only the "bad stuff" which happens to people.  If we look at justice in the most literal sense, we find it means to give both reward and punishment - based on a set of moral principles.  Therefore, to think of God as simply the "big bad guy in the sky" is a wrong perception of his "role".  First and foremost, he is the one who cannot vacillate from a standard which is morally correct.  He sets this high standard of righteousness and then he sticks with it because he cannot cross that line.  It would be a violation of his holiness and "rightness" if he did. We find there are times we want to blame the "big bad guy in the sky" for every bad thing which happens on this earth.  In truth, the bad stuff which …

Force fed and loving it!

I had the pleasure of enjoying my two daughters and grandsons on Mother's Day, along with my Mom.  The boys had to work, but they sent their greetings and were missed terribly.  As we were enjoying a leisurely BBQ lunch, Corbyn asked if I had seen the hummingbird video on Facebook.  We had been observing the hummingbirds come and go from the feeder just behind us on the patio, so the subject seemed to center around birds.  I had observed many beautiful birds on vacation, but the boys wanted me to see this particular video because it had caught their attention.  Becca was quick to find it in the news feed and shared it with me.  It spoke volumes to me.  As I watched, a mother hummingbird fed two small chick birds in the nest.  First one, then the other. What was amazing was the way she almost had to "force feed" them.  At first, they started out "ravenous" - wanting what she had to offer, beaks open and beckoning to her to give them her stores of food.  As their…

Give a little grace - they don't deserve it!

If you ever struggle with the tendency to look at another person and just begin to pick apart whatever they are saying or doing, as though it were the furthest thing from what they "should" be doing, then you are probably right there with the rest of us who have a little problem now and again with judging others. You see, it is human nature to judge others by some standard we hold up as the "yard stick" by which we will measure their actions.  Since the beginning of time we have record of how people make all kinds of misjudgments based on what they "believe" at a given moment.  Thinking back to two brothers who faced this struggle, and which ended poorly by the way, I would have to say whenever we choose to compare our actions with those of another, how another responds to our actions versus the actions of the other, or what we imagine to be the better response to a circumstance than how the other person is responding, we are kind of moving into dangerous…

One tiny Douglas Fir

As we took the Durango-Silverton Steam Train ride through the wooded passages carved deep with rapidly running rivers and lush green meadows, it was a joyous moment when I observed this Douglas Fir, about one foot tall right smack-dab in the middle of the rapidly running Animas River.  Now, at first you might not think much about this "find" of mine, but let me assure you of a couple of things.  First, the tree was growing - not just laying there or lodged into a rock.  It was actually growing right in the middle of the rapids! Second, it was growing straight up toward the open sky - no bend, no lean.  Lastly, it was lush in growth and green.  If you find this a little odd, so did I because we don't usually see trees growing in rapid waters - maybe along the banks of the river, but not right in the middle of the rapidly flowing cold waters of high country run-off.  It brought to mind the passage about growing strong, like a tree planted by a stream - a tree sure to produ…

Who is "in residence" in your life?

Wisdom has a couple of companions "in residence" with him - Good Judgment, Knowledge, and Planning.  All three make the best "roommates" for Wisdom.  If we want to have a "full house", we want all of these "in residence" within!  Get Good Judgment, Knowledge, Planning and Wisdom inside of you and you will find you make decisions a little differently - these "residents" create a culture quite different from what might be the "norm" in your life right now.
I am Wisdom. I live with Good Judgment. I am at home with Knowledge and Planning. (Proverbs 8:12 ERV)
Wisdom is not a thing, he is a person - Christ Jesus.  All wisdom comes from God because God is the embodiment of wisdom.  Wisdom is the applied knowledge we amass over the years - to have both in residence in your life suggests you are in a position of learning on a continual basis - not just to amass knowledge, but to figure out how it applies to the daily decisions you make…

Entering God's grace

I have enjoyed vacationing in Colorado again this year, exploring areas I haven't seen since I was a kid.  One of the things I like to do is notice the signs around me - especially those which announce we are "now entering..." and "now leaving..."  It is like a clear-cut way of understanding where the town or landmark begins and where it ends.  Why is this important?  When we are looking for our way, these signs welcome us.  When we are drifting a little too far outside of where we wanted to go, they warn us we are about to leave the area we hoped to spend a little time in exploring.  On road trips, these signs are important.  In real life, when we need to be cognizant of where we are in comparison to where we want to be, these "signs" may be equally important to us!  They may not be physical signs which announce "now entering..." or "now leaving...", but there are "signs" we are about to something foolish such as "l…