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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Leprosy

If you’ve read the Bible very much, you recognize this disease as probably the most feared and most talked about. The Law had strict guidelines for how to treat a leper. There are also several stories where it was used as punishment for people who did wrong.

Most of us have never seen leprosy close up and are left with not really knowing how biblical ideas surrounding this apply to us. Let me bring one out.

The bacteria that cause leprosy attack the peripheral nervous system. The infected person loses feeling, loses the ability to respond normally to outside and inside stimuli. In essence, the cells and tissues are cut off from the rest of the body. They receive the same nutrients, can appear normal for many years, but they are dying.

Satan uses lies, bitterness, pride to infect us with spiritual leprosy. We get hurt or disagree or even elevated and it disconnects us from the body, from the central nerves of community. We can look normal, but we are dying.

And how do we contaminate others, by our breath, just like leprosy. We say things we shouldn’t say, we lash out, we gossip.

But leprosy is curable. We can respond with love and forgiveness and restore those broken connections. We can be a part of the body again.

God can heal this leprosy too.

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“A stitch in time…”

Poor Richard never understood that the joy is in the journey.

There are two messages that I want my life to convey. Two simple messages that, if I could roll everything I have written, everything I have said, everything I have lived cleaned of all the dross of fluff and banter, purified of all confusion and folly, two things I would want you to hear.

God is great. Enjoy your life.

God is amazing and capable of so much more than we give Him credit for. He loves so much deeper than we can fathom. He believes in us and our potential for good.

It is man’s wisdom that says, “don’t fail.” It is satan that accuses every curve and pothole in the road of our lives. It is often our own heart that wishes we were someone else, someone better.

Yes, a stitch in time will save nine. If you don’t sin, don’t fail, it is better for you. But you will fail. To myself I say, you will fail. Do not give up. Do not hide from God. Do not listen to the voice of hate. Look to Jesus. Watch Him work and heal, fix all the brokenness. Laugh at the mistakes and draw close to God’s heart. He will reveal Himself in you.

Beauty, joy will grow. You just may have some more “stitching ” to do.

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