Tuesday, December 23, 2014
I have to start this piece out by saying this: Living the life of a writer, well, it’s not always that glamorous, nor is it all that convenient (for those of you who pay attention to the time stamps on Facebook, you might note the exceptionally early morning one on this release from myself). I woke up at around 2 am with my sinuses yelling at me about the Santa Ana winds that were raging locally and drying them out severely. Our cat Dakota, all twenty plus pounds of him cutting off the circulation in my legs and my stomach telling me that I was unreasonably hungry at this early hour, well, these things had got my attention and they were not going to let me sink quietly back into sleep despite my wishing they would.
With all that boring detail out of the way, after I was so rudely awakened by the above, I found my inconveniently awakened mind dwelling on several Facebook posts that I had looked at over the last week. These posts would have been forgettable if it were not for one key similarity; they all contained at least one four letter word that earned the reaction of me hiding them on my wall.
They each had a (in my opinion anyway) a highly offensive four letter word that even though I try to think of myself as enlightened, even though I fancy myself an expert at communication, and even though I think despite my occasionally strong opinions, I am patient and tolerant, I found myself angry.
There are words that we use these days. Words that (at least when I was growing up) would have once earned you a bar of soap in your mouth, an hour long lecture from Mom or Dad, or even a good spanking (ooohhh! Lord forbid we actually discipline our children!). And now, they just flippantly drop from our tongues, pens, or keyboards as if they were actually now cool, or cutting edge, or as if they had somehow lost their intended meanings.
I mean, nowadays, if I put something down like; “What the @#$!@?!,” you have already filled in the blank without a blink before you even finish reading the previous sentence.
By now, you may be wondering where I am going with this. I get it. Your time is precious and well, so is mine. I will get to the point now.
If you, like me, are a Christ follower then you should already know what scripture says about our tongues. They are a flaming fire. They can set the whole world ablaze. Their occasional poison can corrupt all that comes out from our lips.
Conversely, the things that can also come from our tongues can lift others up from their pain and hopelessness. We can educate, praise, and cheer on those around us with fervor and loving abandon so that the world is made a better place.
Wouldn’t you agree with me that doing all the good that is possible for us to do with the words we use is a better use of our words than those that tear others down or cause them to stumble in this already challenging walk through life?
Please don’t be offended if I tell you that I may have blocked some of you or even worse, un-friended others due to your frequent peppering of your posts with various 4 letter words that I don’t want my eleven year old seeing when she peeks over my shoulder. Because, shock of all shocks, yes I am still teaching my kid that these still offensive words are best left out of their vocabulary and will still to this day earn a punishment in our home for their use.
As followers of Christ, we are called upon to hold ourselves to a higher standard. We are strangers in s strange land. Aliens. And, we need to realize that we are being observed by those around us who wonder exactly what makes a Christian different than them. What separates us and distinguishes us from the rest of the religious followers that surround us and call out for our attention.
I’ve asked this question before and I am using it again now; “If being a follower of Christ was/is a crime, is there enough evidence against us to convict us?”
You see, this world is sending out so many messages these days about how we should live, dress, eat, and yes how we should speak, that I ask you: “What messages are we sending to those around us by what we say?” Do we care enough about the messages we convey and the ultimate impact they have on those in our circles of influence?
We are called by God through Christ to be a light, to shine his light to the lost world around us. How can they see or hear his message to them if they are distracted by our misbehavior? When we act like the world and we consistently speak like them, then how exactly do you think they are going to see anything in us that says Christ is worth following?
You see, I have seen a growing disease in the world today. It is a disease distinguished by many of us idolizing the rebel spirit, the pirate, the outlaw. Now, don’t get me wrong, Jesus was/is a rebel and this is clearly seen in scripture. But, for us to maintain and live out his rebel example, we certainly cannot justify much of our all too common behavior nowadays. I have been appalled in the last few years to even see some “so called” church pastors (not mine of course) using foul language from the pulpit in a sad and misguided sort of “shock and awe” campaign to either get our attention or drive home their point. I find this truly disgusting and indefensible and trust me I have personally witnessed it.
If through scripture, we are told that what we think and say should be pure, noble, and praiseworthy, then how is it that we fall into the trap of often speaking offensively? If we are told to avoid coarse speech and joking, then what justification is there for us when we are guilty of it?
Please hear me on this. I am not your judge. You should live your life and live it as you see fit. You answer to our God, not to me. I love each of you and even though I do block or unfriend those who cross my lines, I do not pretend to be perfect. I only ask that you occasionally check yourself. Look closely to see if what you say and how you are acting reflects who you are in Christ.
The things we say and do should not be a cause for any of our weaker (in the faith) brothers and sisters in Christ to stumble in their walks with him. And, we should be concerned about this. Even though we stand and fall to our God alone, we are held accountable for the influence we have on those around us. For good or bad, we are not islands and we cannot delude ourselves into believing that our behavior and the things we say go unnoticed.
The only 4 letter word that should define and distinguish us is this: Love! When people think of us, any “ugly” 4 letter word that we can think of, should not be what comes to mind.
I could go on and on with this subject, but for now I am shelving it. All that I ask is that you (like me) consider carefully the things that we do, say, and write. Many others around you whether you acknowledge it or not are in fact paying attention. You and I have a responsibility to filter these things through the guidance of our Savior in Christ.
Live free, rebel against the things of our spiritual enemy, love deeply, and speak the truth!
May God richly bless you and your family at this Christmastime 2014.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
1 Peter 2:12
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
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.
Saturday, December 6, 2014
I am confronted these days
No, assaulted is a better word
My reason is violated
And my heart is in tatters
My eyes are tempted
Enticed to close
To turn the other way
To ignore the ignorance
My Mind craves denial
My logic begs for satisfaction
But, for these things I am denied
And all because of hypocrisy
When I have the courage
The strength to look
To venture past my own doorstep
And peer into what lies beyond
I find the World wanting
And I cannot believe my ears
My heart cannot deny the truth
The very air is filled with lies
There are those who often cry foul
Seeking to pull the board
To wrench it from other’s eyes
Ignoring the Sequoia in their own
Won’t spend too much time explaining
If you don’t know the current issue
The flavor of the hour
Let me tell you it’s all black versus blue
But this old world isn’t monochrome
And it isn’t black versus white
Nor is it black versus blue
No, it truly is a kaleidoscope
Won’t waste too much of your time
Won’t make up your mind
No fancy intellectual games here
Just plain simple me
At your service
And if you need some more hints
To help you see current events
Then all I can really give you
Well here it is, it’s just this
No color is better than another
Though God created them all
And He knows them intimately
In this instance He’s color blind
Don’t get me wrong
Or take me out of context
He hears our prayers
And he weeps over our losses
But he expects more from us
Than we seem willing to give
He wants us to set aside selfishness
Wants us to take up our crosses
And what cross is this
The primary one I speak of
The whisper roaring through my soul
Still small voice calling for our attention
You ask me
It’s this my friend
My fellow traveler
We are called to greater purpose
We need to stand shoulder to shoulder
You see, there is no victory
No battle won or true enemy defeated
Where we fight for our own rights
A servant’s life is what we are called to
Lest we forget
Lest we plead some ignorance
If we say Christ is our Lord
Then where is it we stand?
If we are to be reflections of redemption
If we are the peacemakers
Then how did we end up
On two different sides of this line?
Yes, my dear friends
My brothers and sisters all
Brutality is most certainly a crime
But so also is false judgment
And let me tell you
Something maybe you already know
Those sticks and stones
Those ugly names and vicious lies
Well, you and I both know they leave scars
There are no easy answers
To so much water passing
Far too much already under this bridge
So there is only one answer
One thing to start the healing
And yes, it comes with a heavy price
You know it won’t come easy
The strength to do the right thing
Comes down from on high
So what is this costly thing you ask?
What unknown miracle awaits our discovery?
Well it’s one that was given us already
Without our passing it on
There cannot be
That which God asks of us
No healing without sacrifice
This black and white divide
So there it is in print
My call and challenge to you
You can call it vague
You can call it ignorant if you want
But I tell you once more
Maybe in plainer terms still
We are called by our God to this thing
And a prayer by Jesus was spoken
That we would live in unity
So I beg this request
Of you this huge thing I ask
Lay down your sword
And I’ll put down my shield
Let’s remember who’s we are
Let’s set aside these painful things
Let’s forgive each other our failings
And seek peace while hand in hand
And then maybe together
We can accomplish the impossible
Break down these barriers once for all
And live to see Jesus’ prayer answered
And in unity we’ll bring healing
To war weary hearts bring rest
Drying these many shed tears
Repairing brokenness with overflowing love
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Dear Friends and Family.
We have reached that time of year once again where we set aside one day, one special day to ponder what we have to be thankful for. I know many of you who may see or read this today, may be struggling to feel a sense of thankfulness in the mountains and storms that you may be facing today. Please understand that I am writing this and sending out a general prayer for all of you attached with my own feeble love. I hope you feel it today.
If you are struggling with thankfulness, please trust me, you are not alone. Every week that passes by, I am sure that like me, you are faced with challenges, storms, hard decisions, pushing past pain, wandering through loneliness, and sometimes feeling like the mountains are just too high for you to continue on. But, I can tell you too, that there is always hope.
And hope has a name.
There are numerous sayings that I could quote to hopefully lift your spirits today. I am afraid though that for some of you they might just come off too cliché or insincere.
What I want to leave with you instead is just my heartfelt encouragement to stop right now. Take a deep breath (even if your heart is not in it just yet) and then let it slowly out while telling God thank you. Thank Him for the following things:
Thank Him for your precious and one of a kind life that only you have and only you can live to its fullest.
Thank Him as much for the storms in your life as much as the good times since I(We) know he walks with us through all of them.
Thank Him for the family, friends, and co-workers he has let cross your path and the many gifts both physical and spiritual that they have shared with you.
Thank Him that He has blessed you with yet another day to both live to its fullest and for the chances it gives you to pay His love forward to those your life inevitably touches.
And, Thank Him above all for His greatest gift, His life paid in every precious drop of His blood on a cross so long ago despite our unworthiness.
You can add all of your own thanksgiving to the above. God dwells here in the praises of His people.
Don’t just live this thankfulness today, but live it out daily. Write your thankfulness down in a journal to set up altars of remembrance so that you never forget God’s ongoing, never ending, and unquenchable provision to those who love and worship Him.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and may this precious special day start a tradition of daily thankfulness that carries you on until that day when you will be able to thank Him at his feet in Eternity.
In Christ’s love,
Thursday, November 6, 2014
So, I was thinking this morning (a dangerous task indeed), and my thoughts were circling around a specific theme. This week seems to be one of those crazy weeks where no matter what I do, things either just don’t work out the way I was hoping or expecting them to.
For example, I had recently realized that I needed to replace our water heater since it was way past its warranty period of 7 years. I was preparing to call for service last weekend when to my surprise, the heater sprung a leak. Well, needless to say, I now had to call and have a guy come out to replace it asap so that we didn't have to go more than one day without hot water.
Later in the week, I went to a doctor’s appointment only to find out after arriving that she did not have me down for the day I had arrived, but the following day. Needless to say, it’s a bad mix to have two ADD people trying to set an appointment with each other. Lesson learned: always verbally confirm the other person understands the details by having them repeat them back to you.
I don’t know about you, but weeks like this (and trust me the two things mentioned are far from all of the challenges for me this week) leave me feeling overwhelmed, breathless, and frustrated. We may wonder at times where is God when I need him. We think: Can I just catch a break? And, at others (if you’re like me that is) you ask out loud: Can someone just hand me the easy button for once!
I get it. Trust me.
But, in thinking carefully about this from a Christian worldview is easy what we really need? Never mind our wants.
You see if we had it easy, would there be any lessons learned? If we had it simple, would we grow and find ourselves stronger?
Since we have given our lives and hearts to Christ, I don’t think that simple or easy is necessarily best for us. And, our continued growth and increased strength are certainly needed, aren't they?
How can we shine brightly for Christ and God’s kingdom if we aren't seen as over-comers by those around us? For whether we like or not, people around us are watching us to see if Christ has really made a difference in how we face life’s inevitable trials. If we were always handed an easy way out of challenges, then our impact on those who need hope would be weak.
Don’t get me wrong, I know it is sometimes very hard to lift your chin, keep moving forward, and maintain a confident hopeful smile. But, the point is, we have an endless supply of power, positivity, and an assured future through our relationship with our Savior. In our times of weakness, frustration, and maybe even despair, we must actively place our burdens on the unbending shoulders of Jesus.
Today, if you’re like me there are things on your radar for the day or this week that seem insurmountable, overwhelming, and just too hard to face. Give these challenging things up to Jesus and keep moving forward.
I promise you that if you do this, you will be stronger on the other side. I promise that if you allow Jesus to shoulder the burden with you, that you will not only survive, but you’ll be an inspiration to those around you who need just that.
When we allow God to step in, he will not leave us unchanged. He will not let us go through these things without revealing in us new strengths, unseen gifts, and a deep sense of confidence in the hope that we have in him.
So, lift your chin, dry your tears, put a smile on your face and take your eyes off the storm around you. Focus your eyes on the kind eyes and the outstretched hand of your Savior and step out of the boat.
I promise you, you won’t regret it.
Matthew 11:29, 30
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
We enter this world
A small flame flickering
Lighting the world nearby
For those close enough to see
Every breath a miracle
Every coo and giggle a joy
Soft kisses and downy cheeks
Magnets for love
Our flame made for shining
And again made for warmth
To be shared and given
World tries to snuff it out
Those that love us
Try to fan the flame
And set our dreams alight
Investing in us hope and direction
But the world’s a thief
And it steals our joy
Pulls oxygen from our lungs
For it fears a dreamer
But, we the brave
We sing louder in the darkness
We fight harder on our knees
And put our faith in the Truth
For the Truth lit this fire
And fanned it into life
Kindled that sparkle
In our parent’s eyes
The Truth knit us together
Brought us into light of day
And if we give our hearts to it
It carries us safely on our way
So when our flames are fading
When age and trials tire our hearts
The flame of Truth will call our names
From His book of life this He’ll read
And our little flames
Flickering and fading will pass
From this life to the next
Joining the joyous heavenly blaze
We’ll fight no more to shine
Now dwelling with the author of life
And with all those gone before
We’ll light the way for those who follow behind
Friday, October 17, 2014
It is undeniable. We live in dangerous times. They are dangerous in many ways. It seems to be common anymore to turn on the news and hear of various local issues including: drive by shootings, suicides, hit and runs, assaults, and frauds by the dozen. On an international scale, there are many hotbeds where war is brewing, political and religious groups imposing their will on those weaker than themselves using violence and intimidation, and genocides being carried out by people who are behaving in ways that betray almost a complete lack of conscience.
I hear frequently anymore, the voices of friends and acquaintances espousing their views on human relationships and how the interactions we have should be conducted. It is frightening to me to hear how very far away we sometimes stray from the truth.
Please understand that I am primarily writing this piece to speak to my friends and acquaintances who like me, say they follow Christ as their Savior and Lord.
Christ calls us to something far bigger than the narrow minded and selfish ways of this world. Unlike much of the world today, we are called to be self-sacrificing, looking to others needs, putting those needs ahead of our own. We are to be aware that the things we do, though they may not be sin (i.e. drinking alcohol), may cause others to stumble and fall.
I have been greatly disappointed in the last few years to see that many of us whether young or old, new to faith in Christ, or maturing in the faith, have begun taking or leaving various pieces of scripture to justify ignoring our responsibilities to those around us whose faith is less mature and yes, weaker. We must reverse this trend. If we say we follow Christ, then we must be far more than just hearers of the word, but also doers. It is not our right to take on the parts of scripture that feel comfortable to us and throw out that which is not so easy to put into practice or live out day to day.
I am not advocating a world where we do not pursue our own personal good mental and spiritual health as one goal. However, I am asking each of you who read this to perform a soul-search where you ensure that you have more than just a self-centered interest in nobody’s well-being but your own. That sort of thinking is not from God. It is that simple. In Christ we are called to live in community. In Christ we are called to love each other. In Christ we are called to sacrifice ourselves and carry the cross daily.
And, I confess that I often fail at this self-sacrifice too. However, I am not asking anyone to do that which I am not striving to do as well. But, I don’t want to just be a “Sunday Christian” either. When we are self-aware and focused on the image of Christ that we not only bear, but need to be reflecting, then our need to always feed our ravenous self will diminish and Christ will be glorified. I know this is easier said than done, but if we try and live with an eternal view towards our actions, then with Christ’s help we can keep moving towards the person that God has created us to be.
Yes, these are dangerous times, but if we know the truth in Jesus, then we can go through dark times and continue to shine His light to those around us who are desperate to fill that empty spot in their hearts. We can say no to selfish things that lead people around us to stumble and fall into doubt and sin. We can actively reach out and share the hope, the truth, the forgiveness, and love that God first gave to us with the broken people around us and walk with them into better days.
Keep the faith. Remember that the real battle happens on our knees. And, keep your hope in the only one who really has the future in His hands. He won’t let you fall.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Another week is racing by, another blip on the timeline of my life and yours as well.
Thoughts seem to come and go so fast anymore that I have to do as now and force myself to sit for a short while and compose them in my journal or here on my computer. Otherwise, like so much dust or smoke, these thoughts are quickly swept away and forgotten.
I probably ask you (and myself) too often what the meanings behind the actions of others might be. What goes through the minds of individual people, or collectively through the minds of governments, or organizations? It’s just that I have never lost my childhood curiosity regarding wondering how things work or what makes them tick.
It is in this vein of thought that today’s blog post comes from.
My thoughts today are fluttering around the flame of our personal rights and how we come to expect them. Additionally, I am finding myself obsessed with how it is the corporate world uses their rites to determine what the rights granted to and expectations placed on individuals are.
Ultimately, the corporate world only takes its sustenance from us individuals anyway.
And this is where the core of my issue with corporations lies. Commonly, the individual nowadays (especially here in the modern western world) sees their needs and wants as being paramount, as being above all else to be fulfilled.
And this is counter to Jesus’ teaching.
“Oh!” you say. “Wait just a minute you hypocrite!” you exclaim. “Don’t judge me!” you growl.
I don’t judge you. Only God can and does have that right. And, I am under that same judgment. But let our actions speak for themselves. If we are not selfish, then let our actions speak. If we are not always self-serving, then let our actions speak. If we put others needs before our own, then let the evidence be out there in the open for all to see.
I have seen evidence this past week that some of us are clearly in tune with God’s mandate for us to serve others. And, by placing another’s needs before our own, we reflect the nature and teachings of our Savior while he walked among us here. Our living sacrificially and giving up our rights shows that we understand what Christ did for us when he gave up his life in exchange for ours.
It is not our servant actions that earn us a place in heaven. But, it is our servant actions that give testimony to the change in our heart, and that because of Christ’s sacrifice for us. We can crucify our worldly self to ensure others needs are met. And, this is a strong piece of evidence that convicts us as being children of God.
Philippians 2:3 & 4 – Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others as more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to their own interests, but also to the interests of others.
More to come…
Have a blessed week!
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
My bleary eyes fluttered open
To a new morning’s greeting
And the cares come rushing in
Enemy whispers chip away
Wear away at my weakness
Enemy knows the spots
So stumbling into routines
I pause for a deep breath
Remember who’s I am
And kneel before His feet
His feet awash in my tears
A mix of pain and joy
For this old heart knows
One thing is true
You can’t have one
Without the other
That is, pain and joy
But foolishly we often
This fantasy seek to live
Delude ourselves into believing
That joy should just be there
For the taking
But I ask you
Where would the dawn be?
Without the night so dark
Where would the victory be?
Without a battle to fight
We long so dearly
For a life so easy
But how great would it be
If the prize came too cheaply
We are designed for greatness
We are given this one chance
To take up the gifts He’s given
And fight for all we hold dear
So what will we do?
With this short life
This precious gift given
Each day full of potential
Our main enemy is fear
And the erosion of time
Each day lost in holding back
Our strength shrinks even more
Lift your eyes from the waves
From the inevitable storms
And look into the face of hope
Our Father’s loving glance
Take strength and hope
From His strong grasp
As He lifts you from the depths
And shoulders your every burden
Cast your cares here
At the beginning of your day
When the whispers steal your strength
And know the limitless power to overcome
Know that so long as you are His
You are never alone
His hand always at your back
And He’ll never let you fall
So start your day like me
Begin it here on your knees
It’s where the battle’s truly fought
Face your day with confident smile
Throw off the night’s dark cares
Set your pace to match His
Set off for a day of adventure
And bask in the warmth of the Son
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
The following is a follow up to my recent post titled, “The Phone Call.”
Have you ever been in this position?
You: (calling) Hey How are you? Sorry I missed you, but I’m just wondering if you might like to get together over coffee? Would love to catch up and by the way, I’m buying. Anyway, hope you and your family are doing alright. Talk to you soon. Bye.
And you wait. And not to be a pest or to sound desperate, you wait some more. 24 hours goes by. Then 48 hours, then 72, etc., etc., etc. You get the drift.
Why are we like this? What is it that keeps us from connecting? Fear, laziness, worry over vulnerability. I just can’t figure the whole thing out.
I mean, is everyone else just really self-sufficient and capable of living as an island? Is it just me that craves connection?
Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to be quite the island myself. I can live the solitary quite well thank you very much. But it never lasts that long. And frankly, living with my two favorite girls makes it so I can’t live in my man cave too long. Being perfectly honest too, I just can’t go it alone.
Perfection has never been an issue with me, though I have been told I have perfectionist tendencies by people who definitely recognize it when they see it. I simply am incapable of perfection. What about you?
Where am I am going with this you ask?
Well, since we established previously that we (as human, and even more so as Christians) not only crave connection, but truly were meant to live in connection as a community, then why do we so easily avoid it. Why do we not answer the phone? Why do we keep our thoughts to ourselves when our spirit presses us in that certain spot to reach out to others?
You see, when I hear that “still small voice” call out to me that I need to reach out, I’m trying hard to follow through. Because I know (just like you probably do as well) that there are those moments where our strength is running low and the tears of frustration, and worry, and unfulfilled dreams just gets to be too much. It’s in those moments that we long for someone to give us a call, give us an unasked for hug, a word of encouragement. We just long to know someone else gets it.
Don’t get me wrong. Just like you, I reach out in prayer to my savior. Just like you I am often on my knees. And like you, I trust Jesus. He has never failed me, or you. He has walked with us through our deepest valleys and he has walked with us through our greatest joys. And, he will (just as promised) never leave us or forsake us.
But, (oh, you knew this was coming right?) we are his hands and feet this side of eternity. We are commanded to love one another. And, not just for our own benefit, but for the benefit of those who are in need around us.
As I heard it once said in a song that I still love, “We may be the only Jesus that some around us may ever know.” And for you more technical types, yeah I know we aren’t Jesus, just his representatives. We are his adopted children. And he adopted us when we were still messed up.
So please, stop ignoring those phone calls, those texts, those sad looks. Reach out and press into the messiness. You may find Christ’s love setting that heart of yours on fire again. You may rekindle it in someone else’s heart too.
Just do it.
Mike Meehan – 9/23/2014
Monday, September 22, 2014
Stop kicking me when I’m down
Leave me be when I’m already bowed
Exhausted here on my knees
When will enough be too much
Of course I know all too well
You’re never gonna stop
You’ll keep on beating me down
Cause’ you think I’ll give up this fight
But there’s something
Something you ought to know
This fight, this battle, this war
Well it’s just not fair
Because you see
I know something you don’t
Something stranger than fiction
Something you won’t believe
You lost before you started
Before you connected your first punch
Before you gave me this black eye
Before you beat from me that first tear
For the end of the story
Well, it’s already been written
And I know the truth
And it’s painful
For the truth has a name
And he lives here
In this same broken heart
This crushed but mending soul
Every blow you rain on me
Has the opposite effect
The opposite of your intentions
I’m only getting stronger
And, that’s because of one thing
His victory over you
He made it mine too
It never depended on me
You think me at my weakest
You look at me as beaten
When you see me here
Your foolish mind can’t grasp
That it’s here on my knees
Where I connect with his strength
What seems foolish to you
Is really your undoing
So this look on my face
Yes, it’s really exhaustion
Yes, it’s really fear
But, it’s also pity and love
Because my future is assured
My strength in him limitless
My tears washed away by mercy
Endless grace lifts me to my feet
So understand today
That your sticks and stones
Well yes, they do hurt
But, your time is now short
And after your blows
I will rise
Because stronger hands than mine
They will dust me off
They will lift me to my feet
And with his firm hand at my back
And sword of truth in my hand
I’ll do battle once more
For eternity flowers in my heart
Placed there by my savior
And backed by unfailing promises
I will stand against your lies
And if you ever wonder
If you ever question the smile on these lips
The gleam twinkling in these eyes
Truth revealed the end of the story already
Past these current dark days
Over your shoulder and past your fist
Truth stands there with arms open wide
And a crowd of witnesses cheering
As I run for the finish line
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
You are out at Target, Home Depot, or Costco running errands and just being busy on the weekend. You walk around a blind corner in an aisle and come face to face with someone you know from work or church. What comes out of your mouth? “Hey! How’s it goin?” They say, “Not much, just out with the family, picking up some stuff for the week. And you?” You say, “I’m fine, just chilling and picking up some stuff for the week too. Anyway, it’s great seeing you. Have a nice weekend.” Seems innocent enough, but look closer. You know, down inside where it’s quiet and your thoughts are bouncing around somewhere below the conscious world. There is a little sadness. A little loneliness. Unfulfilled heart desires. I know that if you look closely and think about it that you’ll agree.
You see, God did not make us for these surface things. We require more feeding and watering than shallow communication can provide. We once walked in the garden with our creator and somehow we expect that our arm’s length relationships will now fill that void?
I have been feeling this way lately you see: We need more than this. I need more than this.
In this supposedly very connected, social age, why is it that I hear so much loneliness, why I feel it so often? We have cell phones with us at almost every moment. We have social media apps by the bucket load (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, etc.) and yet people seem more isolated and insulated than ever. Why is that? How could things have come to this?
God did not create us to live in isolation. We were meant to live in community. We were meant to build deep and lasting relationships. We cannot survive life’s storms as islands. We were not meant to.
So when your friends call. Don’t ignore them just because there might be pain on the other end. Don’t ignore them because you might miss 10 minutes of your oh so important date with Candy Crush, or the ball game, or staring at the fuzz between your toes.
Pick up that phone and connect. Support the eternal. Live a real life and don’t drown yourself in things that have no eternal value. You just might lift someone’s head up to see hope again. You just might revive someone’s spirits. You just might save a life.
Step outside yourself and feel the refreshing breeze from the garden of the eternal God as he calls all of us to once again walk with him. And bring a friend!
Call that person who’s been on your mind today. You just might change the future!
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Fearful heart clings to walls
Feels its way through uncertainties darkness
Eyes wide open but cannot see
Cries held behind tight closed lips
I know you’re there
And yet, in my humanity I fear
Want to be brave
But, these cares weigh me down
You say “trust me,” and spread your wings
I just want to hide my face
For this cliff seems so very high
The outcome lost in the future’s fog
But your whispers still reach these ears
Ask me to trust the one
The only one that has never failed me
The only one that has kept his promises
For you see, I cannot demand
That any of those I love
Meet the very promises
That I too have failed to keep
And he asks that I forgive
Let go my disappointments
The chains that I have placed on others
And the chains I have placed on myself
You see, he did not place his trust in us
This frail human race
And he understands our weaknesses
Yet he stands with open arms
He has laid a table to celebrate
The homecoming from our wanderings
We have taken our inheritance for granted
Yet he still looks for our return
And instead of condemnation
He welcomes us with gifts
Each one wrapped with care
Each one meant for our good
And so this prayer is written
Sent from me to you
In the hope that you too will hear
The Savior’s call to action
When he stands you at the edge
At the very precipice of your future
That you will swallow that fear
And your heart will swell with courage
That you and I will take heart
And his spirit wind will catch hold
That we will feel if lift our wings
And we will soar over the valleys of our trials
So take heart as you read this
Put your hand in that of your Savior
Hear the cheers from your brothers and sisters
And leap far from fear into the promising future
And may you one day look back
Gaze far away into the misty distance
Understanding then how far you have come
Knowing truly that he was never going to let you fall
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Caught me looking
Eyes not on the prize
Found me wanting
Deceived by worry’s lies
Life’s Author taught us
Each day has enough
Enough trouble of its own
So we the going get tough
Surprised when blind-sided
But shouldn’t be a mystery
Overfilled days steal our strength
Not bothered with repeat history
These Déjà vu lessons unheard
Day after day ignored
Can’t break the cycleWithout giving it to the Lord
Saturday, January 4, 2014
I know for me, if I am completely honest with you my readers and myself, too often I live to please everyone around me. In my heart I know that this is not right and ultimately it is behavior that leads naturally to exhaustion, disappointment, and often to failure. As we enter into a new calendar year, maybe it is time to return to our first love and realize that unless we seek God’s kingdom first and ultimately to please him, our level of fulfillment and peace will always come up short. We cannot earn our way to forgiveness and heaven but our actions provide evidence that Jesus dwells in our hearts and is molding us lovingly into the people he wants us to become.
Having only in the last few years become aware of my perfectionist tendencies, I daily have to confront and change this destructive behavior. And, I can tell you from the school of hard knocks that this is much easier said than done. We cannot win a battle this large without running first to Jesus and asking him to provide us all of the necessary tools to fight this battle. Often, I find that we have been given the tools, but Jesus has to remind us to pick them up.
We often hear things from the world around us that seem like truth and these distract us from doing what we already know as right. We need to spend regular time in God’s word, prayer, praise, being thankful, and sharing our God given gifts with others. The world will tell you to center more and more on yourself, to fix the broken you before adventuring in the world around you. I find it ironic that God wants us to in faith step out despite our brokenness and trust him to come alongside us to accomplish his work in the world. When we do so, I observe that the joy brought by serving others will wash away our inward focus and self-pity.
You see, what the world views as foolish, God uses to redeem it. I am not suggesting that if you are suffering and in need of therapy or treatment of some sort, that you should ignore your need for healing. However, I am saying that in the midst of your pain and brokenness God can use you if you are willing to trust him. We must ask for his strength, his faith, and his guidance to act while we muddle our way through life. Not so surprisingly when you trust Christ to guide you, you will find yourself a much stronger, more resilient, and wiser person on the other side of pain and trials.
This week’s verse: 1st Corinthians 1:26 – 31 (The Message)
Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”