Emergency

Two Silos
Two Silos (Photo credit: jbdenham)

For our Thanksgiving celebration this year we admitted not one, but both of my wife’s parents to the hospital.  Large family gathering with six people missing.  Children playing, laughter, food but so much was lacking.  We watched the football games but knew that dad would have enjoyed the Lions winning.  We ate our fill but still felt empty with mom not picking on someone or saying something that  made us laugh.

And it makes us question things.  What did their lives mean?  What was the point of it all?

They lived as simple farmers, raising kids and crops.  They lived for and loved Jesus with everything, though they never witnessed to millions or held a large crusade.  They held their doors open, accepting many a wayward child to their table, to their hearts.  And I’ll always be glad that they allowed me into their family, a rebel punk so far from their ideal son-in-law, but loved just the same.

They attended a small church that did very little but serve and give and feed.  Disasters were met with quiet, busy hands that rebuilt, restored, cleaned and fed once again.  Anyone was welcome and Jesus was held in awe, in reverence.  Life was taught and lived with humility and grace.

My mom and dad (they’re mine too) never gave much thought to themselves, driving all of us crazy.  The injuries he sustained still make us cringe and shake our heads since it rarely stopped him from finishing his work.  The strokes he endured.  And, though frustrated and discouraged, he never allowed his faith in God’s goodness to waver.  The pain she tolerated, often barely able to stand, yet always helping, always serving, always giving.  Quiet, peaceful was this woman, but oh, she had fire too.

My heart hurts right now for them, for this family, as they go through this difficult time.  But I’ll take my cue from them and not feel sorry for myself or for them, there is no reason to.

They are a blessed people.  They are a family that loves each other, stands with each other.  They would give the shirt off their backs to anyone in need but family means more.  I get to be a part of that.  I get to see their love and faith in action, beyond fanfare, beyond glitz and rhetoric and fame.  I have seen joy knowing them.

I have known joy being a part of this family.

Quite a legacy, no matter how long they stay in their earthly shells.  A gift that, with all my heart, I would give to my children.

I’m going for a run

The warriors faced each other across the battlefield.  Opponents that had seen each other before and knew well each others weaknesses and strengths.  This was the time.  This was their battle.  Quickly, they closed the gap between each other and brought their swords to the ready.  With a cry our hero raises his sword and drops it to the ground.  He falls to the ground and begins doing pushups, counting out…1…2…3…

That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard and yet we do it everyday.  Our battle is in everyday life, the meeting, our coworkers, the internet, timelines.  These are the things that test our faith, that prove our heart toward God.  This is where all that we’ve trained for comes in to play.  So, DID WE TRAIN?

This is my shout to me.  Did you train today?  Did I prepare myself for the hits I would take today?  I know I did not.

I guarantee you that the 5 minutes I read the bible and the little bit of time I spent in prayer will be inadequate for my day today.  And this was a good day.

I guarantee something else, when porn splashes across my computer screen it will be too late to start thinking about scripture that I should be reading.

That’s why Paul admonishes us to “put on the full armor of God.”  Our worship and devotion, our service and sacrifice can win this war for our lives but we need to start before the battle is joined.  Our stamina, our ability to stand will decrease if we only use it in our struggles.  And make no mistake, Satan would rather deal with a couch potato than a Navy Seal Christian.

And on that, I will leave you for today.  I’ve got some training to do.

The Glory of the Lord

“And the Glory of the Lord filled the temple…”

There are multiple definitions of the word glory that add insight to our God and yet somehow fall short of the word too.

1.  very great praise, honor, or distinction bestowed by common consent;

This is what we give to God through our worship.  Through the honor, respect, and love that we give Him, we bring Him glory.

2.  something that is a source of honor, fame, or admiration; a distinguished ornament or an object of pride:

He is our glory.  He is the source of what brings us honor, admiration, distinction from the people that surround us.  We should never forget that what we are – anything that sets humanity above all else – is because of Him and our likeness to Him.

3.  resplendent beauty or magnificence:

This is something that is contained in God, that is present because of who He is.  It is often symbolized by a radiance, a glow, the imagery of a halo around His head.  We see it in scripture with Moses’ face shining, the angels, and on the mount of transfiguration.

I can discuss things theoretically, scientifically, objectively only up to a point and then the reality hits me and I feel like dancing.  This is where God’s glory touches my humanness.

I’m just one man with many faults.  I am limited by who I know, the skills I possess, my confinement to space and time.  But then I meet with Jesus.  I allow His presence, His majesty, His beauty, His glory to touch my life and I am changed into something beyond this earth.

Isaiah 60 says:

“Lift up your eyes round about and see;
They all gather together, they come to you.
Your sons will come from afar,
And your daughters will be [a]carried in the arms.
“Then you will see and be radiant,
And your heart will thrill and rejoice;

As the face of Moses was shining because of God’s presence in his life, so my life will shine.  The needs of this earth are many.  So many are hurting, bruised, broken, despairing.  We spend time giving glory to God and His Glory invades us to shine on them.  We become a part of the Kingdom as we yield to His presence in our lives.  It is not a case of our lives disappearing in the cosmic whole of our God.  It is the wonder of us becoming God lights, with our own unique colors and brilliance, as His light shines through us.  It is an escalating glory, a crescendo of lyric, melody and light, that returns to Him with the glory He is due.

What is Truth?

Pilate asked this question of Jesus just before He was crucified.  But it is a question that haunts me to this day.  Is truth an absolute?  Is it something that can be defined?  Quantified?  I have heard so many arguments regarding this question.  Truth is different for everyone.  Your experience defines your truth.  And the arguments where one persons truth is to be accepted as absolute – “I had a vision from God, the Lord spoke to me, I have studied this scripture in depth…”  People of infamy such as Jim Jones, David Koresh.  So what is truth?

You see, if I can’t answer this question, rationally and completely, then I am betting my life, and the life of my family on mysticism, on mutable interpretation, on ethereal fantasy.  And the reality is, if I base my life on myself, humanity, religion, relationships, money – the list is long – I am left with no defined truth, nothing that is reliable.

I have heard even christians say that truth is not something that can be universal (binding for all people), exclusive (if you don’t accept it, you’re in trouble) in nature.  And I will tell you this, I’m not going to argue the point.  I will simply challenge you with this.  Do you define God or does God define God?  The Almighty, Creator of the Universe, Deity that I see revealed in scripture, in nature, in science does not bend His knee to us.  He does not change or evolve because of the whims of culture or human logic.  In fact, He does not change.  He can not be improved upon.  If you (or I) define who or what He is, if His truth is subject to me, then He is not God.  I am.  That is a God that is not worthy of my praise and honor.  But, if He stands above and beyond my critical reasoning, complete, sufficient, revealed as He chooses through the Bible and His creation, then I am left to choose whether I will submit my will to Him or walk away and yield my heart gods that are nothing, or worse than nothing.  And, should I choose to submit my heart, my will, my thinking to Him, I will find a God who is worthy of all worship and beyond my wildest dreams and hopes.