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Showing posts from March, 2016

Not wanting any drift

The day may start out well, when we think the plan we have outlined for the various tasks ahead will come to fruition, and the sun is even shining - then in an instant, everything so well-planned can erupt into chaos.  As I watched the news last night for a couple of hours, the big deal was a fire at a recycling plant very near our airport.  A very windy day was creating a huge spread of this flame from the original piles of recyclables into some others way down the yard and even possibly to neighboring businesses.  The cloud of jet black smoke bellowed into the sky and was seen for miles and miles. Trust me on this - those guys and gals who worked at that plant didn't "plan" to see their day end that way!  Nor did the rush hour commuters attempting to get to the polling places on election day expect to be in a quagmire of long lines at the polls due to someone in government thinking we could reduce our polling places to 1/3 the number we normally have.  We just don'…

I call you friends

Hubert Humphrey said, "The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love." There is something "enveloping" about the tender hugs of a companion in the journey, one who will not only come alongside, but will bear you up during times when you just feel you cannot go on any longer. Over the years, I have been observant of those who seem to live "rich lives".  They aren't those who drive the fanciest of cars, dress the snappiest, or even are surrounded by the most "friends" at the party.  In fact, they are often those who have learned to live well as "friends" themselves, drawing those who are loyal, trustworthy, and there for the long-haul into their lives not by their overwhelming charisma, but by their faithful example.

There is no greater way to love than to give your life for your friends. You celebrate our friendship if you obey this command. I don’t call you servants any longer; servants don’t know what the master is doing, b…

As he is

We might come to Jesus "as we are", but we don't remain the same for very long!  The car resale industry might post an "as is" sign on the auto for sale on the lot when they don't want to make any guarantee in the integrity of the "working parts" of the vehicle.  I think most of us come with "as is" signs clearly posted in our lives - not wanting to make any guarantee about the working parts of our character!  The most we can bring is "damaged goods" - at best.  The most we gain is a renewed spirit, whole heart, and mind set right again! Seems like a pretty "uneven trade" to me, but I am so grateful God isn't expecting an "even trade"!

Look on me with a heart of mercy, O God, according to Your generous love.  According to Your great compassion, wipe out every consequence of my shameful crimes. Thoroughly wash me, inside and out, of all my crooked deeds. Cleanse me from my sins.  For I am fully aware of al…

Just take another road

"One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar."  (Helen Keller)   There are times when traffic moves so slowly - usually on my way home!  Those times when I want to be in the simplicity of my own space, comfortable in my sweats, and just free from the day's pressures it seems I have to languish through slow moving traffic and long lines of other waiting to do much the same thing!  Traffic lights turn red way before enough cars make their way through the intersection and more cars merge into already busy streets, further delaying our progress.  Ever get behind that semi carrying a load of housing materials or giant I-beams on their way to a construction site?  They don't just jackrabbit into a start!  If you are in the midst of others who are smart enough to have changed lanes to get around the semi, there is rarely any opening big enough for you to do the same, so you "creep".  On the inside, I am soaring.  On the outside, I am creeping!…

No road at all

"If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don't want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all."  (David Livingstone, medical missionary to Africa)  I wonder how we might approach life a little differently if we were to consider a few less traveled roads instead of the super-highways of life?  The roads we choose in life are not always well-marked, completely paved, or even well-charted ahead of time.  Sometimes we just set out in faith, knowing the direction we are headed, but not so clear what will come along the way.  As I explore new regions of our country, someone has usually gone before me to discover those paths I travel, but I have not been those ways before.  Those roads are all new to me and each turn brings a discovery fresh and totally new to me.  I have been the one blazing the trail on occasion, but there are some trails I take because I trust those who have gone before me to prepare those trails!
You have searc…

Steeped in faith

Where is it joy and peace actually find the best resting place in our lives?  The place where they can grow and be nurtured instead of being constantly at war with our anxiety and fears is really in the midst of our faith!  If we consider this for just a moment, it makes sense - faith isn't the absence of doubt, but the trust in someone bigger than we are who will navigate us through the things we are about to face!  All hope is in him, therefore, when we are struggling with whatever it is, we can count on his joy and peace coming to rest right smack-dab in the middle of our faith, dispelling the doubts and creating hope which is solidly grounded.
I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 VOICE)
Mom drinks tea, so we go through an abundance of tea bags over the course of the week.  I put many of those tea leaves in th…

Fenced in?

To care for something is more than just giving it a little attention now and again. I came home yesterday to find a beautiful husky just sitting on the curb outside my home.  At first I didn't know if she was friendly or going to be kind of stand-offish with me.  After pulling into the garage and seeing she didn't run away, I asked her to come over and to my surprise, she did!  She immediately cowered down, rolled over and let me give her a few good rubs, scratches, and a little ear jostling.  No tags, just a collar.  Someone obviously claimed her as a pet, but were they caring for her all that well?  Not at the moment! She was free to roam and now I had to decide where she needed to roam back to!  It didn't take me long to identify an open gate at a neighbor's home, recall they had two dogs, and then equate the open gate with the escaped dog.  What did take a while was getting them to open the door to actually tell them their dog was roaming the neighborhood!  Once th…

Dusting - an exercise in futility?

"Dusting is a good example of the futility of trying to put things right. As soon as you dust, the fact of your next dusting has already been established."  (George Carlin)  This is so ridiculously true, isn't it!  You dust the house and in minutes you see the gathering particles again!  What is up with that? Add to the mix you live in the desert where the air is seldom without dust due to the dryness of the climate and you just have a recipe for doing the same things over and over again (even if you invest in the expensive dusters that "attract dirt").  Maybe that is my problem - I am investing in the dusters that actually attract dirt!  They are probably just beckoning the stuff to come right on in and settle down for a while so they can do their job again!  Seriously, all kidding aside, we sometimes just face the same stuff again and again in our lives, don't we?  It is like we do something to counteract whatever it is, but then it is just there again, a…

Then, When, & Now

Then, when, and now - three very insignificant words until you begin to think just how much they affect your lives. Stop for just a moment and consider the word "then".  Then can speak of the past - a point in time at which something happened other than what is happening right now.  Lots of us have a tendency to be limited by our "then".  When often refers to the future - a point in time where we imagine one thing or another actually coming to fulfillment.  Living in the "when" moments all the time can be a little daunting because we are always imagining something "better" than the way it is right now.  Now is the only really "good" way to focus our attention - if we do a good job with the "now", we won't have to worry about the "then" or "when" in life!
So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today. (Matthew 6:34 VOICE)
Jesus gave so…

Turning away

"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." (Albert Einstein)  There are all manner of "evil devices" man can concoct in his imagination - too many to list.  We all have our own list of "evil" we might pursue on occasion - things we do with malicious intent, that are destructive in nature, and downright hateful at times.  None of us is above evil - although we may want to believe we are, the "root" of evil is there in all of us - it just doesn't get fed as often as some others might feed theirs, so it is not as "openly evident".
Walk away from the evil things in the world—just leave them behind, and do what is right, and always seek peace and pursue it. (I Peter 3:11 VOICE)
To walk away from anything, we have to be aware it exists in the first place.  We also need to recognize walking away from anything means there has been some sort …

The making of a gemstone

Everything working toward something good and beautiful is a whole lot different than only good happening, right?  Some of us are duped into the mistaken belief that followers of Christ will somehow be "exempt" from any type of bad stuff coming our way - that scripture declares only "good" will happen in their lives.  In truth, the opposite is true - for Christ even warned his disciples to "take heart" when they faced the many trials and evil plots that came their way (John 16:33). He never said they wouldn't face them, or that only good things would come their way - he said they'd be able to take heart and stand strong because their peace was not found in the absence of "bad circumstances", but in the presence of him as we face those circumstances!
We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. (Romans 8:28 VO…

Strengthened, but not petrified

Ernest Hemingway said, "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."  He also said his life had a "tendency to fall apart" when he was awake, so he advocated for periods of sleep to lessen the effects of being awake! Isn't that the truth!  Our day-to-day life probably doesn't so much have the earth-shattering events which do us in as much as it has the constant "erosion" of time which seems to take a little bit of this and a little bit of that away from us without us even being the wiser it has done so!  As much as we need to be vigilant for the "big" things which might leave us toppled and seeking some type of grounding again in our lives, we probably need to be more aware of the things which come upon us in these gradual, and almost undetectable ways!
What sacrifice I can offer You is my broken spirit because a broken spirit, O God, a heart that honestly regrets the past, You won’t detest. (Psalm 51:1…

Free to be stupid?

Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, "It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them." He also said, "To be yourself in a world constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."  Friendship is one of the greatest blessings anyone can extend into our lives, is it not?  When another comes alongside and lends not only their "best" to your life, but is free enough to add some of the stuff that makes you laugh that deep belly sort of laugh, and just puts a smile on your face, that is a great friendship!  I am so grateful when I can just hang out with my bestie and be "myself" - no pretense, no real need for any kind of hiding - just being exactly who and what I am.  It is probably one of the greatest compliments one can pay another when they just let the other be exactly who they are!
Those who live right are good guides to those who follow, but wrongdoers will steer their friends d…

The 3-C's of "Turning Away"

What is it you actually walk away from?  In clothing stores, I find it easy to turn away from things which have a very low cut, loud prints, or some type of price tag which is out of this world.  In food stores, I find it easy to turn away from things I cannot identify displayed in the meat case, or pickled animal parts in jars on shelves.  In conversations this time of year, I find it easy to turn away from all those controversial ones about who to elect as our next leader in our nation.  Some things are easier to walk away from while others are a little more challenging - like the candy at the checkout counter or the plate of freshly baked cookies someone brings into work to share.  What we choose to walk away from may be the very thing which could take us down a path we don't really want to pursue!
Walk away from the evil things in the world—just leave them behind, and do what is right, and always seek peace and pursue it. (I Peter 3:11 VOICE)
Scripture is clear - we are to walk…

Already or All Ready?

When I was first learning how to spell and developing more and more of a vocabulary, one of the things that stumped me on more than one occasion was when you wrote out words such as "already" vs. "all ready".  One has a completely different meaning than the other, just as much as "then" and "than" or perhaps "your" and "you're".  I'm not sure why our English language has to be all that complicated, but I also tried a year of Spanish in high school and let me just tell you - language isn't easy no matter how you speak it!  One thing is for certain, when we say "already" it isn't meaning we are "all ready" - it means something has been done, come before, is completed, etc.  It does speak of a particular "condition" or "state" - but it is in the past - it has been.  To make matters more confusing, it can also speak of a condition meaning "as of now" or "at pr…

Bandaid anyone?

I observed a little photo on Facebook this morning (credit goes to the Warriors of Christ community on Facebook). It was simple, but the thought behind it was pretty significant! Two images - one of a Bandaid, the other of an open Bible. One caption read - "This is for outside wounds" while the other read "This is for inside wounds". Brilliant!  We find all kinds of ways to bind up our wounds on the outside from bandages for those larger cuts or sores, to a small wedge of toilet paper to cover that nick obtained while shaving. In time, they usually heal because they were covered over by something while they had time for a scab to form and the open surface area to close.  Sometimes this is all we need - a simple covering in order to allow time for the wounds to heal. Then there are times when the bandage on the outside means there has been some work done on the inside, as well. 
All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father o…

You see what I see?

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)  I recently spent a few days up in the high country, doing a little exploring and hiking down some pretty well-marked trails. There were a couple trails which appeared to be trails, but it was unclear where they led as they were not blazed by those who set out the park system trails and therefore, they weren't on the map.  They looked promising, but without knowing where they led, it was a gamble to take one of them, especially in bear country! The thing which became very apparent to me was that someone before me made that trail. There was a sense of intrigue in something they believed to be down that path that they struck off in that direction. In time, they traveled it enough that it became worn into a noticeable path. The world needs those willing to blaze a path where others have not traveled - when they do, new discoveries are made!

Explore me, O God, and k…

Your BFF?

"The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian." (A.W. Tozer) I don't think truer words could have ever been penned or spoken. The Word of God, when it is understood well, then followed with the tenacity of one not willing to let go of one truth contained within can actually become not only the safest route to travel, but the shortest! It may not seem so while we are struggling with what route to travel on occasion, but it proves to be the shortest because there aren't any "repeat passages" along the same route as we might endure if we chose to travel our route in our own strength, power, or willful disobedience.

The Eternal is ready to share His wisdom with us, for His words bring true knowledge and insight; He has stored up the essentials of sound wisdom for those who d…

Okay, I need your help, please

There have been moments when I am struggling to get something done and it seems like God sends someone my way to help me get it done. Does that ever happen to you? It is like when I am reaching and reaching for the last box of something high up on the shelf at the store, then along comes a tall gentleman who just wisps it down and hands it to me. I didn't ask for his help - he just knew it wasn't within my grasp, so he stepped in. Sometimes I think God sends others our way to help us understand new things or to find our way simply because they were not within our reach alone.
Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ.  (Galatians 6:2 ERV)
Nothing speaks God's love as loud as when we serve one another. When we recognize a need in another and set out to meet that need by some means within our ability, we are serving as God would have us serve. Our service may be practical, such as preparing a meal during a busy time for them. It co…