Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Day..same for tomorrow...same for...

Yes, I know. It's October 31st, Halloween. Not really much but a Hallmark holiday,  now
that I am older. Now I still enjoy a Hershey Bar now and then. But, it's really Thanksgiving
Day. It also will be Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, etc.

How can that be? There is an "official" Thanksgiving Day on tap for Thursday, Nov. 28th.
That's the day when everyone eats turkey, takes a nap and then piles in the mini-van
to head out for a shopping frenzy.

Well that may be well and good, but how about we celebrate Thanksgiving Day today!

We can be thankful for being alive today, thanks to the grace of God. There are a whole
bunch of things that have to be working correctly for us to haul ourselves out of bed, and
I don't mean the coffee grinder. This body we inhabit has to be functioning in an amazing
number of ways for us to make it a good day. The heart, amazingly complex and
intricate. The brain, even on those foggy mornings, that mass of gray stuff is allowing
us to think, feel, communicate and even write blogs! Truly magnificent.

We can be thankful for being justified, thanks to the gospel of Jesus Christ. For those
of us who call ourselves Christians, that means that by faith alone, by belief in Jesus,
we are made acceptable to a God who, by our own actions and ways, would not even
think about forgiving us. It is by His grace that we have been adopted into the family
of God. Our sins have been paid for by the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus
Christ. Paid in full. Absolutely not happening based upon our efforts or self-righteousness.
How could we be anything but thankful today, and every day, for this unbelievable

We can be thankful that we do not have to face the difficulties and challenges of living
in this broken world, alone. We all will face sadness, illness, the list goes on. There
are difficult times ahead. We struggle with sin and the temptations of the Evil One.
Yet, God has provided sustaining grace, filling us with hope, strength and wisdom.
Encouraging us by assuring us that He is with us and has equipped us to face even the
most daunting of challenges.

Thanksgiving, tomorrow and every day of your life. Praising and loving God
with all your heart. It's a day to be thankful. It's a day to remember what God has done
for us! Praise Him!!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What Does God Want?

Disclaimer:  This is a blog. I did not do an interview with God and I certainly am no
  expert on His thinking! I have read and am reading His word and other books and am
  blessed to be surrounded by a lot of God-loving folks. So, to a certain extent, I am 
  just expressing my feelings. I pray they are somewhat accurate.

Does God want to hold a prominent place in our hearts?
    NO! God wants to hold THE prominent place in our hearts and in our lives. He is,
after all, the one who created us. He knows us completely and loves us. He has given,
through His saving grace, an opportunity to belong to Him and to, one day, live in His
majestic presence. 

Does God expect us to be Holy?
   YES! He has told us that we are to be Holy. The problem, here, is that He is Holy, Holy,
Holy. We, on the other hand, strive to be righteous. It is a long journey we take with the
aid of His spirit, a journey where we are guided toward being more like Jesus. I believe
we never quite get there until we achieve sanctification in heaven.

What does God think about our sin?
   He loathes it! Can't get a whole lot more specific than that. He hates all sin. Unfortunately,
we are born into sin. We sin even when we strive not to do so because we are human. 
God, in a plan devised before the beginning of time, sacrificed His son on a cross and
loaded upon Him all of our sins: past, present and future. These sins were exchanged for
the righteousness of Christ Jesus. It's the only way sin could ever be forgiven. NOT accepted,
forgiven. That's the good news of the gospel of Christ.

Does God want is to be healthy and wealthy?
   God has a plan for our lives. He is in charge; we are not. He makes all things happen for His
good. This life of ours will have both good and bad times. We won't always be healthy; we 
won't necessarily have wealth, other than the wealth of knowing God as our father. He
has granted us sufficient grace to handle anything that we may encounter. He is with us
and loves us; we can lean upon Him to bring us through any and all obstacles we may
meet along the journey toward heaven. Won't it be wonderful to be in His presence
and learn all we have longed to know. 

God is GREAT!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

We ALL need to grow younger!

 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

I think I'm goin' back
To the things I learned so well in my youth
I think I'm returning to
Those days when I was young enough to know the truth

Sung by The Byrds  Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King

I'm not planning a journey, soon, to the land of Bimini in search of the Fountain of Youth, but
I am thinking that there is value in paying attention to the words and actions of Jesus. It
is clear, I believe, that Jesus held a special place in His heart for children. He spoke more
than once about the need not only value children but also to be more like them. He was
unhappy when others tried to keep them quiet or away from Him. 

 "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  Matthew 19:14

We all seem so anxious to grow older when we are young. There are the "moments of 
passage," ages 18, 21, etc. Once we achieve adulthood, chronologically speaking, we are
faced with many changes that make life a lot more complicated. From where I am today,
I think it's pretty important to try and regain some of the qualities we may have lost as
we became older.

We are God's children. Children are certainly more dependent in many ways. Like a
child, we need to become more dependent upon God and less on our own ways. Children
are more likely to be trusting. Trusting God and His ways are instrumental in living
a life that glorifies Him and not ourselves. Children are more likely to be amazed at
things. Standing in awe of our God pleases Him and places us in a position of
reverence and thankfulness for the blessings He has graciously afforded us.

Childlike not childish. Allowing God to hold onto our hands as we walk in this world.
It's not so hard to work at being a child, again! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

He's Oh So Beautiful To Me

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him,
nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.”   Isaiah 53: 4

What a prophetic set of verses is Isaiah 53. To me, it's one of the most remarkable set of verses in the Bible. Since there are no other verses that speak of the physical appearance
of Jesus, we are left with very little idea of what he actually looked like. He was a Jewish
man who, I have read it suggested, would not have stood out from the others who followed

The Renaissance painters set the stage for an artistic depiction of Jesus which has followed
through time which is probably not very accurate. What I have noticed in both the artistic
representations and the film portrayals is the representation of His eyes. I am going to go
out on a purely speculative limb and suggest that His eyes, being the eyes of the King of
the Universe, would have been striking to look into. Being God with all that that entails, 
being among mankind with its many problems and limitations and having an awareness
of His total walk on this earth, would create, I believe, a depth to those eyes; eyes filled with
compassion, love and an understanding of the needs of those He healed and taught.

Obviously the Transfiguration presented a different, amazing look at God's son. Peter, James
and John got a glimpse into the powerful beauty that Is Jesus. I'm surprised that Peter,
one who was rarely at a loss for words, could even speak. No plain, unremarkable
being was there; this was the God of all creation shining in brilliance before them.

So he may have been unremarkable in a physical sense, but that's where the adjective
"unremarkable" ends in talking about Jesus. The universe was created through Him. We
were created in His image. He, humbly, was born into poverty upon this earth with the
task of bringing the truth of the Gospel. He performed miracles well beyond the ones that
have been recorded in the pages of the gospels, and marched toward the brutal death that
would provide salvation for all who answered God's call and believed upon Him. His resurrection established and completed the covenant allowing sinful humans to 
be adopted, sins ransomed, into the family of the Living God. 

Absolutely REMARKABLE! Absolutely! Thank you beautiful Lord Jesus, thank YOU!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Everything Changes...well, almost everything!

James 1:17 (NASB)
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

Things certainly change in our lives. I don't know about others, but I do not adapt well to
change. I am definitely a routine sort of person. 

Still remember going to the Levi store on Ohio State's campus as a freshman, and buying
30/30 jeans. That's 30" inseam and 30" waist. Well, one of those numbers is the same.
If I were to buy those jeans today, they "might" make it up to just below my kneecaps!

I once had lots of hair. Growing up in the 60's, hair was important!  I used to fuss with it
daily so that it would be cool. That certainly has changed! I knew things were changing
when a student remarked, upon looking down at my head, that he could see the state of
Ohio on the top of my head. Now I spend just as much time trying to do the comb-over!
It's a losing battle. (did I mention the hair growing where it isn't suppose to?)

Yep, things change. Styles change. Music changes. Weather changes. Friends change.
Jobs days, it isn't at all odd to see folks change jobs very frequently. Some
changes are rhythmic like the ocean tides, some changes are abrupt, like the need to
move to a new home or job. Seasons change...I miss that in north Texas. Our health 
changes. Technology changes...and Fast! Dreams and expectations change. Obviously,
I could go on and on.

However, one thing never changes! GOD! He is steadfast, my rock. When He says
something, He follows up. His word is truth and does not change. He always keeps
His promises. His word is something that remains as true today as it was from the
very beginning of creation. We can thoroughly depend on our God... always.

That's comforting to me and, hopefully, to you. We can derive peace of mind and
great hope from the never-fluctuating love and righteousness of our Lord. He is sovereign,
just and permanent. He is God!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tear encounters of the third kind

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Rev. 21: 4

Sad tears, glad tears and those "other" tears....

We are all far too familiar with tears of sadness. I suppose, statistically, they represent
the majority of tears that flow in our lifetimes. Tears when a loved one passes away. Tears
when we are separated from someone. Tears when we are injured or sick, depressed or
lonely. Tears when we are frightened.. the list goes on.

Then there are tears of joy. Tears when we see someone we love who has been gone from
our lives. Tears when we accomplish something like a graduation or a successful
endeavor. Tears when someone we love finds a soul mate and marries. These are
usually the result of cherished moments that remain with us in the playback of our

But there is another type of tear. I'm not sure what to call it but I believe it comes
directly from the soul. It's spontaneous, emotional and uncontrolled. I'm better at
examples then definition, here.
   -The 1812 Overture when the cannons explode during the ending. Every time I hear this...
tears just flow. 

  -"Awesome God" sung by Rich Mullins. When, during the refrain, the singers get to the word
"reigns" I just start blubbering. Happens every time. You should try it... with a kleenex.

  -Ohio Stadium, the Horseshoe, when the large American flag is hoisted up the endzone
flagpole with the band playing the National Anthem...yep...tears, again

I would call these tears a visceral response, a flow of emotion that just comes upon
us, suddenly. I've even noticed my body shaking in response. Did I mention Niagara
Falls when the colored lights are on?

We are told that there will be no tears when we get to Heaven. God will wipe them
away. I think these are the tears of sadness,. I have a very strong belief that my eyes
will be filled with tears of happiness at being home with God. I also believe that
third kind of tear, welling up from deep inside, will pour down my face. The 
culmination of emotions, uncontrolled, at being in the presence of my God and my
savior, Christ Jesus. No kleenex needed. Saltier the better. Let them flow!!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Repent me, Jesus

Romans 7: 15   I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but
   what I hate, I do.

                 7:  21  So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there 
    with me.

It is obviously crucial to be able to repent. Being sorry that we sin is, in part, a
function of our conscience, that part of us that recognizes the difference between
good and evil. Moving on to repentance is the act of turning away from the sins
we commit, heading the opposite direction, if you will, in an attempt to eliminate the
sinful actions from our behavior.

Simple enough, right? Not so much. You recognize the speaker of the Bible verses
above. It is Paul, converted along the Damascus Road by Jesus, himself. Paul, or
Saul of Tarsus, renowned former persecutor of early followers of Christ. Paul, one
of the most intelligent, persistent, hard-nosed characters found in the Bible who
recovered his sight, a changed soul who went on to be the Apostle to the Gentiles.
Paul, whose ability to bring churches into being, preach the gospel and withstand
torture and imprisonment was astounding. Yet, he, Paul, is stating that even he has
tremendous difficulty doing what is righteous. After personal conversion at the
voice of Jesus and acceptance of the Holy Spirit, he still struggles with sin. 

So here's my point. We know that we will never be without sin, no matter how
our heart wishes that we could be. This means that we will constantly be
bombarded by the will to sin, will sin, and then be faced with the need to confess
our sins to God and repent. I am suggesting, with the title of this little blog, that
repentance needs to be done To us,  not By us. We need to pray that God, Himself,
through His Spirit, will be right there with us as we attempt to turn away from
sin. We are asked to look into our own hearts....I agree with the person who called
that looking into a fun-house mirror. We're just not capable of reading our hearts
and our intentions with accuracy. So we need to lean on Jesus...that is lean on His
love and desire to help us become more like Him. Not on our own! We need all the
help we can get. Who better to seek out for this help than the Holy God who created
us. Praise His Holy name!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Podiatrist's Journey

New International Version (NIV)
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Read some fascinating facts about our human body the other day in an e-mail. There
are 52 bones in the human foot! That is about 25% of all the bones in the human body!
So why, if you are among those like me who believe that God created us and designed
us, did He choose to put such "support" into the feet of His creation? 

Well, we are on a walk, a very important one. It is a journey designed to bring us 
eventually into the presence of God, adopted into his family through the redeeming
blood of His son, Jesus. Our walk here on earth, brief though it may be, brings us into
contact with many who do not have a relationship with Christ Jesus, so the quality
of our walk, if you will, is very very important!

It isn't necessarily an easy journey. There are ups and downs, pitfalls and temptations,
distractions and, of course, the presence of Satan, who would love to see us deviate from
the path. There is pain, sadness, disease, death (one only, please), tears, etc. These are
all things that will not be with us on that glorious day that we enter into the home
of God. So the desire to stay diligent and to persevere are strong. We have the help of
the Holy Spirit as we travel along the way.

As we walk, we have the opportunity to shine a light into the world, a light that
others may see. Our simple daily treatment of others, our countenance reflecting
our appreciation of the blessings we have been given provide to others an example that
may bring them to reach out to God or simply ask us why we shine as we do. That's
a big responsibility and one that we should gladly undertake.

So, yes, lots of bones and support in those feet! We will need them to continue this walk
we have undertaken. God always knows what He is doing. This is no surprise. In fact,
it's a wonderful realization that brings comfort and joy!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hazel Forever

You would have loved my grandma! I surely did. She was a wonderful, warm, gracious
woman who could really cook a mean bacon cheeseburger. Thinking about her
brought some realizations to me about the length of time we are remembered by
those who come after us. Obviously, Hazel's siblings, followed by her children and grandchildren would all recall her. Her children, however, have all passed on and
grandchildren, also, are aging and some have passed on already. After that, there
will be photographs.. but all active memories will have passed.

We all have this desire to be remembered, to be important to those we love, to
make a lasting difference in their lives. I don't believe that this is prideful; I believe
that it is in our nature to feel this way. Jesus commanded His disciples to break
bread and take wine so that they would remember Him. While I am sure that
He wanted them to derive strength from what he had taught them and to keep in
mind His promises to them that He would return, He definitely felt very
strongly about these men and wanted them to keep Him in their hearts until the
Holy Spirit was indwelled.

In the old testament, God is angry when His people forget Him and go astray
hunting and worshiping other Gods. He is a "jealous" God who wishes to be their
one God without any other. He commanded that they remember Him and follow
His commands.

So Hazel has moved on and the list of those who knew her becomes smaller and
smaller as time goes on. This is what will happen to all of us who are mortal and
whose time on this earth is fleeting. Yet Hazel and all of us who love Jesus and
believe that He, indeed, is the way to salvation and eternal life in the presence of
God, lives on, forever, thanks to God's grace and loving-kindness. She is not 
limited to three generations of existence; she lives on among those who have
been ransomed through the blood of the Lamb of God. She is with those who
knew her, here on earth, surrounded also by those who are in Heaven living with
and praising God. I have a feeling that there are many folks there who have also
come to love the smell of bacon cheeseburgers! Praise God!!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bi-millennial Saline Sea of Salty Tears

Now that's a title! :)

I'm in the process of reading several books about Grace. It's an interesting, and
obviously very critical, concept. 

There is a quote in one of the books, and I am paraphrasing here, that suggests
that there is a natural danger of forgetting or undervaluing the suffering that
our savior, Jesus, bore both at the cross and in the hours prior to, because of the
fact that it has been almost two thousand years since that day at Golgotha/ Calvary.
The fear expressed is that those events can be looking upon without the emotional
attachment as almost factual, devoid of feeling.

I have never watched "The Passion of the Christ," depicting the twelve hours
leading up to the moments of the death of Christ simply because I'm not sure I could
handle what I would be seeing. Despite the fact that I know a lot more, now, about
those events than I did when the film debuted, I still feel horrified about what
took place. 

It's not only the pain, humiliation, loneliness...I could go on...that Jesus suffered,
it's the fact of who He was. His acceptance of sinners and outcasts, his empathy
for the many afflicted ones that came into contact with Him, His unyielding
devotion to His Father and his obvious love for the ones who would benefit from
what He had to go through, all make the image of this God/man hanging on a tree
so very difficult for my heart to endure. To be physically and emotionally
saddled with the sins of all men, to be separated from the one he loved so much,
to be deserted by those He taught and chose certainly are conceptually difficult
to accept.

If all of this still, after almost two thousand years, does not bring a tear to one's
heart and to one's eye, there probably is a serious disconnect in the understanding of
the gift of Grace that we are privileged to have received. Guilt...probably not a wise
 or intended emotion. Appreciation..there we go! Give that a captial A! Every moment,
every day appreciation for undeserved pain and suffering. No wonder we love
Jesus Christ with all of our hearts! Praise Him!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

When the going gets tough....

Doesn't take an alpha male to finish this common saying. It's a mantra that
would dangerously suggest that we, as humans, just have to hunker down, face
things head-on and then we will be more likely to succeed.

Jesus promised those who would choose to follow Him that there would be
troubles. In the first century, this often meant persecution for those who would
declare Him in the face of those who wished to eliminate Christians. In our
world today, persecution of Christians, does, in fact, still occur, but for most of
us that live in twenty-first century America, these tough times are more apt to
include the same types of troubles that all Americans can face: financial
setbacks, marital troubles, problems with employment.. the list goes on. Just
as God lets the sun shine on both the righteous and the unrighteous, all lives 
are often beset with times of troubles.

A lot of my personal struggles, and there were some, occurred when I did not
know Jesus on a personal basis. I struggled and even called upon God to help.
Eventually, haphazardly, things got better. Was God involved with me, an
unrepentant sinner as these issues got better? I have to believe that He was both
aware and involved. He, after all, has reached out to one so very undeserving
and has brought grace into my life.

In search of the Omega male. 

Leaning on our own human devices to persevere through problems is, at best,
a poor and painful choice. We need our Father to be with us, guiding us, bringing
us to a result that is in keeping with His plan, not our own. Believing in ourselves
at the price of being unaware of His Grace and Love brings confusion, disillusionment
and pain. Does this mean that there will be no problems or that they will all end
in ways we see as positive, be no means. Dealing on our own terms, without His
grace, means to be alone with a capital A.

He has called us to come to Him, lean on Him, lean on His Holy word and His
loving kindness. When the going gets tough, God gets going. We need to pray, 
glorify His name and depend on the creator of the universe. Praise God!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Of course animals have souls!!

Love to be controversial. My question once was whether there would be animals in
heaven. Here's the way I see it. There certainly were animals in the creation, the garden
of Eden, and, if I am understanding Revelation, there are animals as the end times
draw to close...awesome horses ridden by celestial entities. So, I have decided to
believe that there will, indeed, be animals there.

So, what about the question of souls? Scripture declares that God has given to man
dominion over the creatures of this earth. I would suggest that this may be seen as
having stewardship over the fish, birds and animals He created. The fact that there
is an organization named the SPCA, would suggest that we haven't really done so
well with that stewardship. We have hunted some animals into extinction and done
a pretty fair job of messing up the balance of nature in a lot of ways. Top of the food
chain? Well that works if we hunt with weapons. Yet, standing in a zoo and just
looking at a large cat, like a tiger, leads me to believe that in places like the African
veldt, man might be running and hiding from lower food-chain creatures.

But what about the concept of a soul? I don't know of any scientific evidence
that "animals" have souls. Man is the only creature that is aware of his mortality!
I have seen plenty of examples of animals mourning the loss of a loving owner
or even the death of a fellow pet or animal. I know that when I look into the eyes
of my cat, Samantha, who has to be the orneriest feline on the planet, I see depth
there that leads me to believe that we tend to underestimate the intelligence and
feelings of animals.

So, do they have souls? Animals, I mean. Oh, wait...WE are animals! Like I
said, Of Course Animals have Souls!!!  Samantha says so!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Yes...He WAS a great teacher!!! Still IS!!!

This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7-9

Many Christians bristle at the notion expressed by many who are not of the Christian faith that
Jesus was a great teacher. Obviously those who do not accept Jesus as the Son of God and their
savior are missing some rather profound concepts, but that does not take away from the fact that
our Lord and Savior was and is a Great Teacher!

I come to this from the perspective of a retired teacher, and I can tell you that above and beyond my
love for Jesus is the realization that this God/man could really teach! 

The passage above is the famous incident where a woman found in adultery is brought before Jesus
in the temple by a crowd of Jewish leaders who demand that the Law of Moses be followed and that
she be stoned. No Miranda rights, here. She's not going to lawyer-up. She's in big trouble.

In this passage that was added later to the original manuscripts, one can see the brilliance of
His teaching techniques on display. Timing is very crucial, here. He calms the rush to judgment by
kneeling down and writing something on the ground. We've seen this precious Savior's willingness
to kneel down before, taking a position of humility and servitude despite the fact that He is, and
claims to be, the Son of God. He is seen by the Jewish leaders as below them in station, and having
nothing to prove, assumes a posture in opposition to their haughty self-perceptions. He
writes on the ground to move the focus, slow things down. Then, upon rising, He challenges them
to throw the first stone only if they are sinless. One by one they walk away, stones dropped, in
response to words that were both true and perfect for the situation. Rather than rebuke the 
woman, he sends her on with the challenge that she change her life.

When I taught, there were several evaluations done by principals, formal and informal, that were
written up and added to one's personnel folder. Jesus was unorthodox in His methods, He
came to be with those who weren't the best students or people, He was empathetic, could
be direct and challenging, was eloquent with words,  loved His students with His heart...I could go on. The point is that His teaching evaluation would have been outstanding. I don't believe
that he earned education degrees from Ohio State University, but I believe He was a
wonderfully effective teacher. We are all His students, all of us who love Him and His words
so very very much! Teach us each day, blessed Jesus!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

George, the skeleton, Talked!

My teaching friend and one of the best friends I ever had, kept a replica adult
skeleton at the front of his classroom. Around its neck hung the sign, "George
Talked!" Quite a discipline maneuver. There, of course, was always a bit of
humor in his classroom; he was loved by students and fellow teachers! He died
several years ago of complications of diabetes; I'm not sure where George hangs
out, these days.

We all have skeletons in our closet! They are the things that we really do not want
others to know, and may be things that no one ever finds out. Most of these
skeletons center around things we have done that would fall into the category
of sin. 

I am not sure how I would survive being a Catholic who goes to confession. I
am not sure I believe that a priest would have the power to forgive sins that have
already, by the grace of God, been forgiven. I am guessing that even with a priest,
there would be some skeletons still unknown, and that it wouldn't matter how many
"Hail Mary's" I said, there would still be those things I am embarrassed to share.

There is nothing you can do to make God love you more.
There is nothing you can do to make God love you less.

I love that quote, and I have forgotten who to attribute it to. The point, here, is
that the one avenue of "safe revelation," it seems to me, even for those really
nasty sins, is the avenue of discussing them with our God.  The obvious point is
that God has the key to that skeleton closet. He already knows what hangs in
there and, through the work and blood of His son, Jesus, those skeletons are
a moot point.

He forgives sins of the past, of today and of the future. The priest may say, 'Sin
no more," but we will. God knows this. He is bigger and stronger than our sins.
When we talk to Him, He listens and understands. It's called GRACE! What a 
remarkable God we love!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Jabberwock at the Toes of Jesus

Now you have to admit; that title makes you want to read on, doesn't it. This
blogging is a lot of fun.

My overall goals in life have certainly changed these past few years. Once upon
a time, it was just trying to survive until Friday. Many other goals have come and 
gone as I have reached the end of my teaching career, seen my lovely daughter
become a beautiful young lady and marry a great fella, and, most importantly,
since Jesus has become the all in all in my life.

Well... now I just cannot wait until I can be in His presence, kneel at his feet and
speak to Him. Some of that, I will admit, seems a bit daunting. What will I say to
Him? Will I even be able to speak? 

I do not have the best history when it comes to speaking at eventful moments. My
phone calls to young women, most or all of whom were totally out of my league, did
not go smoothly. I listened for the, "Hello," with full knowledge of what I was
going to say, having practiced an infinity of times prior to the call. However, what came
out of my mouth was completely unintelligible! Often, this girl of my dreams, would
just hang up. Once, at the height of embarrassment, she actually translated these
"words" and said, "Tom?" I hung up!

So what are the chances that I will come to the ultimate point in my existence
and wax poetic? I'm thinking that awe-struck would be a potential state of mind.
Even though I am sure that Jesus is proficient in all languages, He may have some
difficulty understanding sheer gibberish. 

Not really. I actually am quite sure that He will know what I am trying to say!
He may even help me articulate it. 

I know one thing... I will be bursting with love for Him and just blessed beyond words
at the Grace God has shown me. Beyond words may be a literal situation! :)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Ultimate Cardiologist

John 3:3 - Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

I have to admit that I, like Nicodemus, was, at one time very perplexed by the
whole notion of being "born again." Obviously, being a Christian and having accepted
Jesus as my Lord and Savior means that I believe and try to follow His words.

I believe that this process is a type of heart transplant. Accepting God into
one's life brings a change. The pace of this change may vary, the actual beginnings
of the change may be difficult to measure or even understand, but there is a
change happening. I know some folks cringe at the word, but I see this 
transformation as nothing short of mystical.

When Jesus left those who had walked with Him for those three years, He
promised that He was going to send a counselor, a comforter, the Holy Spirit,
into the hearts of those who would declare Him as the Son of God and believe on
Him as their Lord. It is this spirit, Christ Himself, that comes into being inside
our hearts and begins the process of change. 

We are being changed. That's passive because it is being done to us. We are
essentially along for a glorious ride, one that begins to identify our sins so that
we can be aware, repent and strive to change our ways. The appreciation we
feel, the awe we feel at being saved by the sacrifice of God's son, help us to
take these revelations and work toward being more Christ-like. 

God is operating within our hearts to rework our thoughts, words and deeds
into ones that glorify Him through the changes made. He has invested in us
because He loves us. He has forgiven our sin, through the blood of Christ,
so that we may be adopted into His family. It's hard work for the surgeon
of our hearts; yet, from before the beginning of time, this plan was put
in place. It's a glorious, step-by-step procedure. Praise God our Father!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Take Off Those Mr. Magoo Glasses!

Dating myself, again! Mr. Magoo was that poor near-sighted old fellow who
couldn't see what was in front of him!

From Brendan Manning's The Ragamuffin Gospel
     By and large, our world has lost its sense of wonder. We have grown up. We no longer
    catch our breath at the sight of a rainbow or the scent of a rose, as we once did.....
    We get so preoccupied with ourselves, the words we speak, the plans and projects we
    conceive that we become immune to the glory of creation. We barely notice the
    cloud passing over the moon or the dewdrops clinging tho the rose leaves.

I have been blessed for many years with a preoccupation about the
beauty of this world. I think I was able to pass some of this on to my
daughter as we spent a bunch of time, when she was small, just hanging outside
and being amazed at this world.

I can't count the number of times I have mentioned a beautiful sky,
a rainbow or an animal passing by to someone and had them reply that
they didn't notice. I even became pretty accurate at predicting the arrival
of a rainbow based on angle of sunshine after a rain shower. What intense
beauty, and if really lucky, one can see a second bow, less bright.

We all long to know and see God in our lives. The Bible says that we
can see Him in His creation, and, yep, we most certainly can...IF... we
take the time to notice. No one can create like our creator, and even though
this world certainly has its problems, that doesn't diminish the beauty
of what God spoke into being. He was so right when He said that it was

Sometimes one has to turn off the television, unplug the laptop, leave
the confines of the inside world and go into the world determined to
just quietly look, listen, smell and feel. He gave us those senses with a
purpose. It's a glorious creation; we are blessed to be a part of it!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What I Believe....

I believe...
In God!
That God is limitless, in every facet
That life is precious and that every single heartbeat and breath we take is
   a gift
In grace...forgiveness that I may repent...not repentance so I may be forgiven
In the sanctity of life, from conception to its final breath
In Heaven
That God loves us even though He knows us
That all the answers we need to know will be revealed when we see God
That prayer is a two-way communication
That the two most glorious moments in the history of this world were
   the birth and resurrection of Jesus
That the Bible is truth
That there is good in every person, but that people are sinful and in need
   of salvation
That my daughter, Olivia, is precious to me..yet she belongs to God
That this Earth is a glorious place full of things that reflect the existence of
That we were not meant to endure the difficult times in life alone
That a good book and a cup of Joe are an excellent way to pass time
That I will someday be able to hold the hands of Jesus from a kneeling position
That my every thought, feeling and desire are known to God
That I have been blessed beyond anything I may deserve

Now... what do you believe?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fear Factor... Hold onto Jesus!

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6) 

It comes with the territory; we all have fears. To make a listing of all the fears we
battle would easily fill pages and pages of this blog. We don't all suffer the same
fears, yet many of them are typical of the lives we live.

Jesus seemed acutely aware of the problem of fear and spoke frequently to his
disciples and those he taught about the need to not live in the state of fear.                                            I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 NLT

It's not difficult to see that Jesus is telling us that the real, lasting answer to
the problem of fear lies in faith or trust that God is in charge, and that He is the
comfort we need to face the things that trouble us.

For a part of my dear daughter's young life, she would not go to sleep
without someone holding her tiny hand. Obviously she has outgrown this need,
but it's an illustration, in many ways, of the relationship we need with the
God who is in charge of all things. We need Him to hold our hands in the
times of discouragement, disappointment, fear and insecurity. We need not
face these things alone, in fact, it is His desire that He be holding our hands
and leading us through the tough times of life.

We all are standing out there on the diving board of life waiting to jump..
God is in the water, hands outstretched, telling us to jump because he will
not allow us to be harmed. He, after all, is our God!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Simon bar-Jonah and self-preservation

I've been doing some reading about the disciple Peter, (Cephas), Simon and
have found it fascinating. Michael Card's book A Fragile Stone: the Emotional Life 
of Simon Peter is the one I am currently enjoying.

The bond and realtionship between Jesus and Simon is really one that I was
unaware of down to the basic fact that Simon is mentioned more frequently
and addressed personally more times by Jesus. The book paints a bond between
the two that must have been remarkable. 

Simon is seen as unpolished, quick to speak and act and, as the title
suggests, an emotional being. 

Even before reading these things about Simon Peter, I always found the
denial of Jesus, as foretold by our Savior, to be one of the most sad and
powerful moments in the Gospels; a moment that had to have been so very

How can one explain it; I believe that it is the epitome of one of man's
most basic instincts, the powerful force of self-preservation.  Simon
is the one who declared Jesus to be the Son of God, who walked on the
water after asking Jesus to call him, who was first to declare himself
unworthy and a sinner, who rebuked the whole idea of Jesus dieing...
He was a very active and passionate follower, yet on that fateful
evening, even he could not overcome sleep when sorely needed and
the fear that caused him to deny his Lord.

Built into our dna is the need to remain alive, to protect ourselves
from death and pain. It is what makes those stories of men and women
who willingly die for others at the cost of their own existence so
powerful and hard to imagine. 

I believe that Simon Peter loved Jesus fully; yet, at that most frightening
moment. he was unable to overcome his fear. Jesus often said to Peter
"Do not fear," but the human condition got in the way.  Jesus knew He
was loved. Of course He knew what was to happen, and forgave completely.
That's what makes Him Lord of Lords!!!