Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Slow Fade

There is much to be said for the lives we live. They are intermingled with right and wrong, truth and error. What was once black and white becomes shades of grey.

Does God see this and find us wanting for living mediocre lives? Does He wonder why we are lackluster in our zest to honor Him with our daily activities? Is He sad that the choices we make are so powerless and faithless when we daily claim Him as our God (the omnipotent God we say He is)?

I say no! He is not disappointed in our inability to walk the straight and narrow. He is not questioning His own sanity for letting such a powerless generation live. We are the sheep of His flock, but we look like hell. Tattered and torn as life's wolves has snapped and ripped at us. He is not!

I repeat, He is not disappointed, because He is our loving Father who knows our hearts from before our days and He knows our ways and He knew us on the Cross of Calvary. It was for days like these and ways like these that He suffered and died. He is the Shepherd, and we are the weak. He is God, and we are mere mortals that need Him so. His desire is that not one go lost, yes, not one who is in His fold.

The Shepherd doesn't blame the sheep for leaving the fold. None who He shepherds over will go lost. If the wolves gets hold of them, it is He who protects. It is He who is the One, the chosen One to stand in the breach, and it was He who did it 2000 years ago. He knows my ways before I go, and He will not let me fall away.

Though my days may be dark, it is when they are the darkest that light reveals itself the clearest. All the darkness in the world can not erase the light of one candle, so how could the powerless sin in my life erase the Light of the world. Never I tell you, because He SAVES and we are the saved. Trust in your Redeemer always, even when your resistance crumbles; trust that at the end of it all, it is He who will pull you out of the pit to take you back home.

For God so loved the world that He gave Himself for its salvation, so that anyone who trusts in Him will not go lost.



This video does not make my point except that the fruitless lives we live is a slow fade. We don't lose our way in a moment and when we see our distance traveled from the Father's will we are not lost, because the Shepherd knows exactly where we are. He will guide us back when we want to fade no-more. We are His and there is no-way He'll let us go when we want to be in His arms. The price He paid was too high to not seek its reward. No-one buys a jewel for a great price and then discards it. Neither will He!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Little Is Much

This song is one of the first songs I ever shared with my new born daughter. Now, I didn't let grass grow under my feet. These words, set to these melodies, were there the first moment Esme entered our home. These songs calmed her and are still special to the two of us.

"Little is much when God is in it" has two meanings and both are beautiful.

This is applicable to something like a seed, but in the form of a human life, it is much more. See - if God is physically inside of something, like a baby or an adult too, then the little person could not be considered little since it would be infinite with God (who is infinite) inside. He makes His kingdom in the hearts of his children. So any 1xInfinite=Infinite. Mathematically sound thought.

If God is into something, like a human, He could make that person prosper infinitely. Just like when Jesus turned a few fish and loaves of bread into a feast for thousands, so could God make the small and weak into great and strong. If you let God in charge of a life, He would make much of it, especially with little at hand. But the hands that form each inside the womb, long to transform us into His image again.

In both cases it applied to my daughter and we prayed this song, as the blessing it is, over her life.





Today I see this truth in and around me, but now as much as ever I pray that God will make the little in my life - much!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nude Reality

I figured I'd post a nude reality of myself. With all this nudeness going on at this blogspot a nude photo of my higher thought would be appropriate.




















Is this too vain?

Behold the Beauty









Beauty and the Beast





































There isn't much to be said here. You can see for yourself that Beauty is in the eye of this beholder. She is the word to me and she completes the idea. When she cries I stare, I can't get enough of what I see, even though I cry within. When she laughs I feel her laughter's radiance on my skin. She is mine and I am hers. She will be beauty and strength when I am weak and old. She is my life.

This is what people will remember when I have left. “He had a beautiful daughter that could hang the moon.” Surely goodness and mercy has already overflowed my soul, surely God has blessed me beyond measure? Should I ever wonder, she will remind me of how God smiled upon me when He gave me her to love. If imperfect man could love his child this much – how much more does a perfect God love her? But she is easy to love. Could He love me? And the answer comes through overwhelmingly loud and clear – YES! – He shows it every time she raps her arms around me. His love for me is evident every time she wants me over all the world. I am hers and she is mine and we are His and He is ours.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A time in my life. (Ecclesiastes)

It is said that there is a time for everything,
A time to sow and a time to reap,
A time for birth and a time for death,
A time to kiss and a time to refrain,
A time for silence and a time to talk.

This is the time to say what is on my mind.
The wiser you are, the more you worry and
The more you know, the more it hurts.
The time to love comes and goes freely.
Where then shall you find the time to be happy.

The more we think we know the less we know.
The more we want to know the less we understand.
The future is God’s and He alone knows what it holds.
The best thing we can do is to find happiness in what we do.
What will happen is up to God and His righteousness.

There seems only one thing that is sure.
Love God and honor Him.
Be always in awe of Him.
Remember, He is bigger than you and he is in Heaven.
So pick your fights carefully.

Enjoy the fruits of your hard work.
For it is a gift from God.
Be content with what you have,
Because others will always have more
And you will never be happy.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Let your wisdom be simple,
And let your foolishness be in Love.
Your life is now and not tomorrow.
So live it don’t just plan for it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

If Angels Only Knew

(Once again this was my impression of a Steven Curtis Chapman song. Here too was never any reconciling done between the song and my version. He inspires me to write and I used his ideas to form my own.)

Angels only wish they knew what we know.
Angels will never know how it feels when you give your heart to God for the first time
Angels will never know how it feels when Your heart that is broken in two is mended by the love of the Father.
And angels will never know how it feels to walk in the light after a lifetime in the night.
And angels will never know how it feels to have Jesus’ blood flow over their lives and wash their sins away.

Angels will never know the grateful heart that is yours when your sin is no more
And they will never know the love that we have for the Father
And the gift of His Son and the love we have for that Son, Jesus,
Because He paid our rightful sentence upon a cross.

They will never understand our gratitude for the life that was started in us through the Spirit of God.
And Angels will only see the power He works through us as we battle our greatest war inside of us.

Angels are always going to stand in amazement of God’s people living their lives in victory even though Satan claims the victory.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work as one and in everyone to keep the Angels wishing they knew what we know.

The Last Day

( The idea of this prayer is not my own. After listening to Steven Curtis Chapman sing a song with this idea, I wrote the poem. I have never reconciled the poem with his song. I wrote this after the first time hearing the song. He is an awesome writer and this was what his song said to my heart.)

If this should be my last day here on earth
I would want to live it with reckless abandonment
No consideration of who I am or what I am
With no care about what others think of me.
I would not do the job I do today,
But I would want to do a task that would have lasting consequences.

If this should be my last day here on earth
I would want to live for You, Jesus
Considering who You are and what You are
Only caring about what others think of You
I would do the job You called me to
And do the task that brings lasting consequences for me

If this should be my last day here on earth
I would want to touch their lives
I would want to make a difference in their day
No more selfishness in how I give
I would like to “Give them my last day”

So dear God, help me to live every day
As if it is my last day
Recklessly abandoning my ways
And gratefully adopting Your ways
Forever giving my days away so that when I give my life away I could receive it!

If this should be my last day here on earth
It would be my first day in Your Kingdom.

Oh God, dear God
Let your kingdom come
In these last days here on earth.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Travel

Sitting at the airport waiting for my flight north to Europe and then off to the States, I decided to experiment with my newly acquired hobby. I would find some sort of meaning out of all this useless behavior. I would apply some higher thought to all this and follow the trail that inspiration takes me on.

What would the Nude Reality be here in this spacious monstrosity called an airport?

People hustling here and there, some rushing and others trying to absorb time with movements so slow you might not realize they’re moving at all. Calls over the intercom -"Could passenger so-and-so please report at gate..." is for those who get lost in action. Clearly the pace of the one in front of you is inversely proportionate to how late you are.

As I move to gate A12, two young ladies pass me in the opposite direction, questioning each other on how it could have been possible for them to have missed their boarding time. They seemed young and inexperienced, and I wondered if they realized that their luggage probably didn't have the same confusion and made it just fine. That will leave their possessions lonesome at an airport other than the one they will be finding themselves at. This mistake might be more significant than either of them realize.

This sadly common occurrence reminds me of our last flight out of here. Matthew was kind enough to record a final trial before that momentous flight.

Strange how life mimics spiritual lessons. In fact, to me it becomes increasingly clear that the many life lessons Jesus taught, he taught out of his own common experience. Life's like that - to not see God actively engaged in it is to go through the motions with the clutch disengaged.

At this pre-board trial passports and visas were confirmed. Many had their bags packed for the journey to eternity, but only a select group would actually travel the distance - mostly the ones that came without baggage. You see - at this trial Jesus separates the sheep from the goats (that's code for the citizens from the aliens). The criteria seem simple. Were you engaged in the task laid before you, or was that brand new clutch plate burnt? Did you feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit those in need? Because when you travel in gear, you do these things to Jesus when you do them to the least of men.

The Bible tells us that first the dead in Christ will be raised to witness that glorious moment and see the Lord of lords triumphant return on the clouds of heaven. They will rise and meet Him in the air. With bodies made new and perfect, they will be their best when they meet up with their Savior.

Alive in Christ means dead to the world, but not disengaged from the world. Alive in Christ is to be actively engaged in the world. To be light where there is darkness and love there where there is none.

After several flights and layovers, I am on the last leg of my journey, a short flight to Medford where my brother will fetch me for the 1h30 drive to Roseburg. There I will participate in a trial. Right and wrong, guilt and innocence will be judged, and rewards will be given. In my case, I am dependent upon the skills of a lawyer and the discernment of a judge, both of which are simply sinful and human.

In the trial of the future I have the testimony of my Friend and the love of my Father. (You know how they say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder? Well, innocence is in the blood of the Lamb.) The Man they called Emmanuel, the one who died for my guilt, stands before the Father and testifies that I am with Him. When the Judge loves you from the first moment he laid eyes on you, you can trust His judgment will have no error. Here is no fallibility at play; here each one will get his just reward.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hope

Recently someone raised the question whether hope could be switched on at will. Was it a science or something? Especially after I claimed that when you find yourself hopeless you should simply acquire it by hoping.

Good question. I should not be allowed to be flippant about such a scarce commodity in today’s modern life.

I decided to do a little etymological study on the word hope. I suspected that there would be some higher thoughts to be gleaned from this topic.

This is the result.

Hope is a common translation for some interesting ideas. Looking at some of the older languages like Hebrew, we find that hope is a cord especially derived from that which binds together. The hope thought is also illustrated as something hoped for, confidence, or even a pool of water.

Hope could be patience, trust, assurance, refuge, boldness, surety, scrutiny, expectation and just waiting.

In Greek there is a waiting in expectation with confident pleasure.

Being hopeless is being without anything that makes it worth going on. No hope of any expected pleasure. No assurance or confidence that the dawning of the next day would bring a brighter tomorrow. Exactly the point! – you might say – this is why people commit suicide.

This might be partially true, but in allowing yourself to go into such a state you need to completely deny your Savior and His ever nearing return. The time thereof no one knows so it could be tomorrow, but since you gave up today, you wouldn’t get to see that, tomorrow.

Hope is like a race. More so like a time trial. There is nobody but you on the field; you race against the clock. You fall, but you get up, because others may have fallen too and since you will only know your final position in the race once all contenders are done, it simply doesn’t make sense to convince yourself halfway that you will not win the race. Why did you enter if you didn’t have hope that you might do well? This is a rhetorical question. We all enter after all, because this is the race of life and no one gets to stand on the side lines.

I believe you are born with hope. This is why the baby doesn’t give up during the birth. His DNA compels him to seek a brighter future outside where there is more risk, but also greater rewards. All parents have great hopes for their children and therefore instill a sense of a brighter tomorrow. What you are not born with is the knowledge of the end, but God tells us what the end looks like. We choose to accept His version, or we believe there is no triumphant end where our sorrows get conquered by joy and we consequently become hopeless.

Hope is like a pool of water in a dry and barren desert. We don’t stop our journey toward it when we thirst for drink and have the oasis in sight. Hope is a lifeline when you are washed out to sea. No one simply lets the rope go when it is in their grasp. When others are but a stretch away do you not grab hold of safety?

Hope is a refuge from the evils of this world, and though my body is put upon a stake I have hope in The One who overcame death and calls me to follow in faith. But don’t think for a moment that this is like giving up. Oh, no, this is the ultimate walk of faith, and faith cultivates hope, and hope sets the soul free to love relentlessly. A love that will not give in and will suffer to the greatest extreme for those who depend upon it. Dying to self is never suicide, but instead it is the most worthwhile attempt to grab hold of life, for the promise of such a life is an eternal one. Giving up on your unbending self will and taking up the will of your Savior Jesus Christ will not only give you hope, but also life abundantly.

Hopeless, are you? Then it is because you have no faith and your action will bear no resemblance to love. Love doesn’t give up. Love is eternal. Love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs, but is ever hoping and never hopeless. Love conquers the heart, and when it breaks, love is the glue that mends it again.

Giving up on life is not only foolish, but simply evil. And the ruler of evil has caught you in his snare and convinced you that you’ll be a hero when you make it your last stand to die for yourself. You are so mistaken, because Christ already died for you, and His death was enough to give you life eternal.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Suicide

Act of desperation or the ultimate rebellion?

Feeling of utter desperation often clouds the mind. It brings a darkness over the soul that takes a stranglehold over the being so that all other possibilities seem exhausted and the body has no other path than the one that is, as to say, leading to the gallows.

But is this really what happens to the average Joe Blow Suicider? I would contend that it is not, and that though the feelings are desperate, the act is contrived and carefully executed to cause the greatest impact.

A friend of mine recently committed suicide in his garage. Why there and why then? What is the act? Is it desperation? Or is it a rebellious act against society, family, friends, company? Or is it just an expression of unbending self will?

Many see this as the act of a person that has lost all hope, but how could you lose hope? It is something that cannot be lost when you have it, and if it is gone, you only have to... I dare not say it... hope. It requires no effort. Hope is simply something you have or give up for thoughts of hopelessness.

Suicide is a depressed mind's way to get back at all. It is very little masochistic and very much sadistic.

This friend of mine has (or is it 'had'?) 2 kids and one on the way. Whom was he hurting? Surely I wouldn’t infer that he was trying to hurt the unborn baby! There is a Bible passage that says that (my version) …the greatest heroes die for those they love…

So yes, I do say that this still very young man saw his most triumphant moment in his own death. How perverted you might think this logic is, is ultimately irrelevant when you consider that he committed suicide when he was so! responsible for being the father of three kids. His congested mind needed fresh air, and he would have done well to step out and get some of that before he stepped back in and took his own life. You see, he had committed the act long before the deed and saw the end without him in it.

This was not an act of desperation – in fact, I will tell you what desperation looks like in death. A South African friend fired workers building a house for him. They later came back and murdered him. During this most terrible and vile act he dragged his head through burglar bars (this is a burglar deterrent in some countries) which tore his ears off his head - to try to get away.

So – the leisure 2 liter sedan running in a non-ventilated garage with you in the front seat dreaming before the air quality so pollutes your blood that the brain checks out simply does not qualify for desperate.

When people jump from a hundred story building because that’s the only place where there is not fire consuming them then that is desperational (a new word in the English language), but standing in the fresh air and having the sun in your face and then jumping is cold, cruel and calculating. It simply is the ultimate rebellion against those who love you or even hate you.

Selfishly you go into a peace of not knowing, when those you left behind now have your burden to carry above and beyond their own, because you simply took extended vacation from life.

Was your life hard? Well, the ones you leave behind are the heroes, because they not only carry their own mishaps and failures, but now because you’re not there, they have to deal with your share too.

What a way to make your hurt last for generations to come.