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Showing posts from December, 2016

Forget all that!

I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea. “But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.  (Isaiah 43:16, 18-19NLT) Many times God is preparing a way, not through the overwhelming waters, but through the wilderness - the driest and most challenging of journeys we may face, but one with preparations for our safety all along the way. The word of promise to us is simply: Forget all that - it is nothing compared to what I am going to do!  I don't think many of us have seen waters back up on themselves as though an invisible dam halted their powerful flow, nor do I think many of us have stopped to consider just how God was able to dry up that riverbed floor so quickly! We might have seen just how quickly we could stop our vehicles in the blink of an e…

I am looking for the intersection....

Unfailing love and faithfulness make atonement for sin. By fearing the Lord, people avoid evil. (Proverbs 16:6 NLT)
When we consider what love is, how love is known to each of us, we can come up with a million different answers, but none comes remotely close to the "definition" of love as we can observe in the life of Jesus. His is the really only unfailing love - his the most reliable. His is the only unconditional love. His is the love that looks beyond what man or woman can see and finds something of untold value in even the "worst" of human life. It is that love, and that alone, that made atonement for sin. It is that love - and that alone - that brings us near to the heart of our heavenly Father.
I recently asked someone close to me to describe what love "looked like" for them. I was asking what it was that another did, said, or just "was" that made that individual feel valued and loved. If you have never been asked that question, it could c…

From a bramble comes...

"Beauty is not all there is of poetry. It must contain the truth. It is not simply an oak, rude and grand, neither is it simply a vine. It is both. Around the oak of truth runs the vine of beauty." (Robert Green Ingersoll) I have a friend in social media who posts wonderfully beautiful photos of scenery - but the most eye-catching are some of those she posts of these simple twists and turns from vines and bramble bushes in her vicinity. She captures the beauty of those magnificently plain and simple sightings in such a way so as to depict them much like a poet writes words on a page. The beauty in something so twisted and mangled is not usually that which we would be drawn to at first, but when you consider the complexity of the vine from which that twist grows, you begin to see something way beyond a rambling bush or a trailing vine. You see such things as tenacity, courage, and conviction. Most don't even stop to consider that bramble bush or trailing vine - but one wh…

I cannot hear you God!!!!

"God speaks to me not through the thunder and the earthquake, nor through the ocean and the stars, but through the Son of Man, and speaks in a language adapted to my imperfect sight and hearing." (William Lyon Phelps) I want God to speak to me in the thunder - because I could be sure I heard him then. I want to feel his voice penetrate me like the quaking of the earth's crust. I desire to feel his current pulsing within me as the waves of the ocean. I even wish for just a sparkle of his presence in times when I don't feel him all that close. These are the ways I want God - but you really know how it is I hear and feel him? Yep - in the still small voice, or the peaceful repose of just resting in his presence when I don't know what else to do.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28NLT)

As with any other relationship, hearing God's voice is easier when we have grown in "convers…

It is not a ruined canvas

I believe it was the great artist Jackson Pollack who spoke often of not being afraid of making changes to what he was painting - because he believed the work of art had a life of its own. The more he'd add color or change an image, the "newness" of the artwork began to emerge. What had once been a spindly tree could have been devoid of leaves and rather barren in appearance, but with a few simple dabs of green paints of varying shades, the image took on life and fullness. Nothing remained stagnant on the canvas - it all had the potential of change right up until he laid down the brush. Even then, when the artwork was displayed in varying degrees of light, it could take on a different hue or tone to the color on that canvas. It just goes to show that until the master lays down the brush the canvas of nature, the heavenlies, and even our very lives is an ever-changing piece of artwork!

Don’t focus on decorating your exterior by doing your hair or putting on fancy jewelry o…

Psychological Reversal

Izaak Walton was an English writer who often spoke in terms of loss - not in a negative way, but in a very thought provoking manner. For example, he once said, "The person who loses his conscience has nothing left worth keeping." He also reminds us that "no man can ever lose what he never had". Probably one my favorite quotes from Mr. Walton is: "God has two dwellings; one in heaven, and the other in a meek and thankful heart."  He certainly hit that one on the head! I am certain God dwells in the heart of meek - for no other pursuit, self-help process, or therapy session can truly produce meekness in a man's heart. True thankfulness also springs forth from a heart that has become intimately acquainted with grace. Yes, we can be thankful without grace, but it is fleeting. Deep, lasting gratitude is only possible where grace has had an affect.

When the law came into the picture, sin grew and grew; but wherever sin grew and spread, God’s grace was there …

It is just one "small price" for the ride

Who has impeded your progress and kept you from obeying the truth? You were off to such a good start. I know for certain the pressure isn’t coming from God. He keeps calling you to the truthYou know what they say, “Just a little yeast causes all the dough to rise,” so even the slightest detour from the truth will take you to a destination you do not desire.  (Galatians 5:7-9 VOICE)

Have you been to the mall this holiday season? Have you seen all the beautiful displays and colorful window dressings? In one local mall, there is this small train you can purchase a ride in, complete with an older man dressed in engineer overalls and cap. He blows the train's whistle and takes the riders to destinations throughout the mall, all at the "small price" of whatever it is he charges. We know the prices is not all the "small" anymore, though, because the rocking horse that used to cost a quarter in my day now costs a dollar! Even a child's fun has escalated in cost! Y…

I don't want this pain anymore!

Those who love discipline love knowledge, but fools hate any kind of correction. The Eternal prefers those who do good, but He condemns those who plot evil. Doing what is wrong keeps everyone off balance and insecure, but those who do right will never be uprooted. (Proverbs 12:1-3 VOICE)

Okay, getting totally "real" with you today I'd have to admit enduring discipline is the furthest thing from "fun" and "enjoyable"! In fact, it is downright hard and very humbling. Without it I'd never have grown, nor would I have realized some of the tremendous things I have come to know and appreciate. Paul tells us to count it all joy when we encounter these rough places, because they will produce things like endurance, solid character, and patience. I am not sure why God uses these tough places as times to create such awesome stuff within us, but it may just be that tough skin of pride we have that just cannot be permeated otherwise! Fools hate any kind of co…

Considering Christmas

As Christmas is soon upon us, I just wanted to take a little time to reflect on some of the memories I have had of Christmas mornings over the years. I can remember one particular Christmas morning when the tree contained everything I wanted - kind of tom-boy toys, but nonetheless, they were all I wanted and there they were! A set of six-shooters in buckle on holsters, a little cowboy outfit in brown and yellow complete with cowboy boots! That particular year I wanted to be a cowboy. The next I wanted to be a soldier, so the tree was surrounded by green plastic army helmet, plastic canteen, and the like. It was around my fifth or sixth Christmas that the "theme" of my wishes changed to a Barbie and Ken doll, and even a Chatty-Cathy doll. Oh, I wasn't done being a tom-boy, I just found out girls asked for dolls! I grew up with a neighborhood full of boys, so I had asked for boyish toys as a result. I think I was blessed by parents that allowed me to just be me - they didn…

Reacting and responding

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." (Charles R. Swindoll) I am going to perfectly honest with you here - sometimes life just throws us curve balls! I used to play fast-pitch softball, so when I saw a ball coming at me, I usually knew when to swing so I could make a connection with the ball - at least most of the time. Whenever that pitcher threw me a curve, I usually missed! I wasn't counting on it coming at me quite that way, so I didn't have time to adjust or plan for that curve. This is how life is - things come at us and we rarely have time to adjust for the way the present themselves - we just have to be ready to "deal" the very best we can and leave the rest in God's capable hands.

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.  Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now st…

Be an angel of impulse

"Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse."  (Henry Van Dyke) What impulses have you been acting on lately?  I really dislike being anywhere close to the shopping malls during this time of the year, so that probably accounts for my frequent deliveries from the guy who works for Amazon!  It isn't that I don't like people - I just don't like some of the impulses they act upon during this rushed and frenzied time of year. It seems that some of the most common acts of courtesy and kindness just fly out the window for some, while others take this season of sharing as a way to be a blessing to someone they don't even know. As we were at a local vendor a few days ago, mom wanted to purchase a small gift for one of the grandsons and something for my son-in-law. As we stood at the checkout counter, a woman of retirement age approached us and asked if…

Aye! It is a time of flux once again!

Lewis Carroll once penned, "I can't go back to yesterday - because I was a different person then." Indeed, what we were in the past is not something we can ever return to in the present, nor is it something we can become in the future - because what is past is past. We might want to get back to that size ten dress, or that slim and svelte body that was admired by many a gal back in the day, but today's size ten body is quite different than the size ten body I had in my twenties! There are a few more stretch marks, scars, not to mention cellulite that comes with old age! So, I might have achieved the "size", but I really didn't "go back", if you know what I mean!

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!  This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And al…

Live like you are loved

See, a young maiden will conceive. She will give birth to a son and name Him Immanuel, that is, “God with us.” (Isaiah :14VOICE)

When you are lost, what are you hoping for? You want to be found - you want direction. When you are confused, what are you hoping for? You want answers - you want peace. When you are afraid or anxious, what are you hoping for? You want strength - you want settled assurance. When you are faced with nothing but failure, what are you hoping for? You want something - anything to work out. We are creature of hope - we look for something to be different from the unsettled, difficult, or challenging circumstances we are faced with as life gets tough or the outcomes disappoint us, don't we? To hope is to imagine something different from what it presently is.
At Christmastime, children everywhere gaze in wonder at the brightly wrapped packages under the tree, shaking them when no one is watching, hoping to get some inkling that the thing they most hope for is the…

What exactly are you saying?

"Love is when you meet someone who tells you something new about yourself." (Andre Breton) I'd also have to say what they tell us about ourselves may not always be what we wanted to know about ourselves! It may reveal some ugliness of character we didn't realize dwelt somewhere deep inside of us. It may bring to light something we thought we'd dealt with somewhere in the past and had no idea has been hanging around, muddling up our emotions and messing with our brains all this time. 
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 5:16 VOICE)
Truth may be harder to handle than we'd like to admit, but we all realize the only way to really change is to be brutally honest with ourselves, others and God. We might not like it, but until we are, the only thing we are doing is masking our bad conduct and misery. In the beginning, being thi…

Better than a Hallelujah

Martin Luther King, Jr. describes faith as, "taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." I'd have to say there have been times in the lives of some of my friends when they are taking HUGE steps and definitely not being able to see the entire staircase as of yet. Sure, it will be revealed as you take one step and then another, but at first, we don't know the entire "climb", nor do we know the destination it will take us. That is why it is called faith - the direction isn't always obvious, and the destination isn't yet fully appreciated!

I rise early, before the sun is up; I cryout for help and put my hope in your words.  (Psalm 119:147 VOICE)

We can so caught up in looking for new doors to open that we totally miss the point that we haven't really arrived at the place the door has been prepared yet! Yes, we need to be looking for the door, but there might just be a little bit of a climb before we get there! My hairdres…

Some thoughts on marriage

"It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages." (Friedrich Nietzsche)  If you look at what others may consider to be "successful" marriages, it usually becomes quite apparent they are more than lovers - they are friends. They are more than parents - they are comrades in arms - ready to do battle to keep them safe, out of harm's way, and steadily moving along toward adulthood. Marriage is kind of romanticized these days - with TV movies making it look so easy for two people to "fall in love" and "live happily ever after". The truth of the matter - the "happily ever after" is riddled with all kinds of potholes, some the size of mortar craters, and lots of opportunities for losing your way!
You see, the Eternal sees our ways before Him. He watches every move we make and knows where those paths lead. (Proverbs 5:21 VOICE)
One thing remains true in all "really good" marriages I have observed - …

Like a fly trapped in the window

We probably have all observed a fly buzzing frantically at the window, hitting himself repeatedly on the translucent glass. We hear the frenzied beat of those wings, coupled with the impact of his tiny body upon the glass. We probably all believe he is trying to get out again - but I have a question - if we call them house-flies, then isn't it logical they like it in the house? There are "stable-flies" and they are supposed to live in the stable, but do they find themselves constantly beating their tiny bodies into the barn walls all day long? Not usually because they are too busy enjoying their life of annoying the livestock in the barn and feeding on the byproduct of their waste! I wonder if the house-fly is buzzing so frantically at the window because it is discontent with where it is, or is it just silly enough to believe there is something more of the "house" beyond that translucent pane of glass? Life as a fly must be pretty different for the house-fly b…

Undoing those knots

Don’t let even one rotten word seep out of your mouths. Instead, offer only fresh words that build others up when they need it most. That way your good words will communicate grace to those who hear them. It’s time to stop bringing grief to God’s Holy Spirit; you have been sealed with the Spirit, marked as His own for the day of rescue. Banish bitterness, rage and anger, shouting and slander, and any and all malicious thoughts—these are poison. Instead, be kind and compassionate. Graciously forgive one another just as God has forgiven you through the Anointed, our Liberating King. (Ephesians 4:29-32 VOICE)


Gandhi said, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." He certainly had that right! Forgiveness requires more strength than almost anything else - because we have to overcome the hurdle of feeling we have a "right" to hold that grudge against the one who hurt us. Back in the day, Superman was probably one of our only "super-her…