Throwin’ In the Towel

When is it ok, safe, good to give up on love?

My first response is, “NEVER!”

It may be more complicated than that.

I have been through abuse.  I have seen its ugly hand at work in the lives of children, spouses, schools.  I have seen, up close, the despair, the fear, the monumental rage that it creates.

I have seen infidelity, been through it on both sides at some level.  I have known betrayal and that feeling of lostness that accompanies those acts.  “Will no one love me?” I have watched as lives are destroyed by thoughtless fathers who simply move on, leaving the bruised and broken in their wake.

I have seen neglect.  The parents who have checked out, through booze, porn, religion, TV, whatever.  They just aren’t there anymore.  They just don’t care enough to get off their lazy asses and be a part of something greater, something bigger, something alive.  And so they live in houses where everyone is alone, everyone is confused, everyone feels so unloved.

I would want all these scenarios to not exist, to never occur.  I would want to make it so that no child, no wife, no person ever has to go through things like this.

God wants that too.  He saw it coming and sent His son to make a way for healing and wholeness to be restored.  He seems to never give up on me even when I can’t do anything right.  He seems to constantly love me, even when I am totally unlovable.

And for the issues, the horrible problems that I brushed over today, He gave a solution.  His forgiveness of my sin, of your sin, makes it possible for us to do the impossible.

LOVE!

When is it ok, safe, good to give up on love?

Yeah, my first response was the right one.

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OUCH!

I worked really hard yesterday. Today, I hurt.

Was it worth it? I would say, yes. I made some money. I am taking care of my family.

I did good work, at least, I tried to. And I sought to honor my King. That makes it worth it.

But it’s not enough.

Jesus endured hours of suffering on the cross, not to mention, the thorns, the beatings. He took on Himself my sin, my shame and guilt.

I can’t repay this debt i owe. No one can. I can’t earn His love, his pride or joy. I’m His and that is all that matters.

But out of that comes a desire in me to live, to sacrifice, to lay my life down. Out of the love that we share, I want to work till it hurts, serve till it hurts, sing till I can’t sing anymore, play until my fingers, my heart, bleeds.

Not out of guilt, not out of seeking an identity, but just to love Him back.

Doesn’t even hurt anymore.

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Oh, My God

I was listening to the radio recently and heard a person use this phrase, repeatedly.

I’m not meaning to disparage the person, a style of music, or a type of media. I have even heard good, Christian people using this phrase. What I would want to point out is the inappropriate theme of this usage.

“Oh, my God! Save my child, return the prodigal to Your presence.”

“Oh, my God! Cancer has reared its head in my life. Bring the healing that only You can bring.”

“Oh, my God! Forgive my sin. Restore what satan and my flesh would destroy.”

These seem to me to be more appropriate uses of those words than the thrill one experiences over a fresh pizza, or a song on the radio.

And in these dire times, these last days, what we need so much is more who are seeking Him, calling out to Him, falling on their knees and giving their whole lives to Him.

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What’s Up?

This is a question that is asked when what is really meant is, “how are you,” or, “what are you doing?” When I am greeted this way I often respond with, “birds, planes, treetops.”

I asked myself this question just this morning. In my life, what is up?

I used to be a runner. I still consider myself one, I just don’t practice right now. When I would run, I had to remind myself to not look at the pavement in front of me. Just the physical attitude of raising your head can change a tough run into a good one.

I used to train horses. When concentrating on the horse, I would drop my chin, look at my hands. But the alteration in my posture distorts the communication between the horse and rider. It throws off my balance.

So I’m asking you, “what’s up?”

Look forward to your day, knowing that GOD goes before you. Look at Him because He promised to never leave you. Look around, there is beauty to be discovered. Look up, He has promised good things for us.

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Life Goes On

I will probably never understand why my brain does some things.

This morning I woke up with John Mellencamp running through my head. Permit me to rant a bit now.

“Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.”

This song sets forth the argument that after sixteen, life just goes downhill. It seems to make the claim that the best sex you will ever experience comes outside of marriage and somewhere near a “Tastee-Freez”. It actually admonishes people to, “hold on to sixteen as long as you can.”

Now I know, this is now an oldy. But has this heart, this spirit invaded our culture, our churches? Stay young, stay beautiful. The old are in decline. The youth of today are the ones that carry the relevant message of our day.

I love keeping things fresh, alive, especially in worship. I love the energy, the vitality of youth.

I am not dead yet. I am just older. My voice still needs to be heard. My life should bring encouragement and hope to,those that follow after me. I am still fresh, energetic, vital.

If I choose to be.

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My Glory and Joy

Many of you don’t know me personally, have never met me. I’m not impressive. I’m not tall. I’m not overly short, either. I have brown hair, hazel eyes, a scruffy face. I’m not skinny, nor obese. I think I am intelligent, but not frighteningly so. I am artistic but at a level that really anyone who tried at all could attain.

So what is the glory and joy of a person like me?

What is the glory and joy of any of us?

Riches, power, something, anything centered on me, on you is not worthy of the title of Glory and Joy. My God could be given that title, but it feels inappropriate. He is certainly glory and joy in and of Himself. But in giving that monicker, we claim some part in shaping that in the person. I can’t form or advise or encourage that in Him.

Paul called the Colossians his glory and joy. That makes me righteously envious. I think it is something that God puts in each of us. We were designed to be vessels, conduits through which His life passes to this world. We should seek out those we can pour in to, those that we can give to.

Come to think of it, you who read this are my glory and joy.

Thank you.

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Happy Birthday!

I won’t say her age.

But I wish my wife a happy birthday.

For twenty four years we have walked together as man and wife. Hardly a picture of the perfect, happy, Christian couple. We have struggled with finances, kids, tempers, addictions, betrayal, so much pain. But, we love.

Putting us together is like the proverbial round peg in a square hole. And I’m pretty sure we still don’t fit. Though, I think I’m a little more squarish and she might be a little rounder.

Well, truthfully, we’re both a little rounder now but that’s another blog.

Somethings about us seem like they will never change. We will always argue, badly. We will always want our own way more than God’s. But, as I look back over the years, I would never have guessed we would have made it this far. I would not have guessed that we would have made it at all.

So, here is to more years! Here’s to not giving up. Here’s to a wife who stands strong, who holds tight.

Here’s to the God who can guide us through!

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