You Call Me Lord

You call me Lord and you say that you love me                             But I can see your disguise                                                                You want the victory that I can give to you                                                                                   But you don’t yet realize                                                                                                           That I must be conqueror, ruler and King of you                                                                       Savior in the midst of your strife                                                                                           Comforter, counselor, Prince of Peace                                                                               Creator and giver of life

How many know that if God wakes you up to these words, you would do well to pay attention?  Now, I had written the lyrics for this song some thirty-three years ago and have sung them from time to time.  But, for the most part, despite the catchy tune, the words are a little to convicting and I haven’t played it in a very long time.

But God reminded me of it.

I would like to think that He wanted me to tell you the words, to convict you, to let you know who He is.  It would be nice to think that I’ve grown to where I preach at someone else.

Not today pal.

So again I ask myself, what do you want to be?  What should I look like when I’m all grown up? What type of man do I want to be known as?  Do I want God bad enough to want EVERYTHING He offers?

I want my legacy to be a life lived for Jesus.  I want to live as a warrior for my King.  I want those around me to know me as a servant, someone who loves deeply and puts his life on the line.

And, I want to know my God.  I want to believe in Him in a way that goes beyond my words.  I want His life, His plan, His love.

Consider the Following

People
People (Photo credit: Viewminder)

1.  My thoughts, my actions, my replies, my joys, my hurts, do they mirror my Jesus or my world?  Next time you see something bad happening, something you react strongly to, consider your response and see if it looks and sounds like Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain Lake
Mountain Lake (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

2.  Despite what political pundits, doomsayers, rebels and rappers say, what do you see when you look at the world?  I’m not a pollyanna.  I don’t believe in the “power of positive thinking.”  But, I do believe in a God who is King of kings and Lord of Lords.  He is not thwarted by bombs or laws.  He remains unchanged despite all human agendas and natural catastrophes.  He does not bow to the greatest leaders of any era or bear the commands of any power in the universe.  But, they do bow to Him.  And He is good.  HE IS GOOD!  His love endures forever.  He can be trusted.  And He has put so many beautiful things here for us.  Do I see them?  Am I even looking for them?

 

 

Cross & Clouds
Cross & Clouds (Photo credit: John H Wright Photo)

3.  When things go wrong, when I fail, when all seems lost, where do you run?  And, I do mean run, move quickly, pursue without a thought for the consequences or repercussions.  We all run somewhere.  Alcohol, romance, pornography, work, music, drugs, church, Jesus, gods, Satan, hate, bitterness, the list goes on.  All places to run to where we demand, we make proclamations, we decide the outcome.  Oh yes, you can run to Jesus with the idea of Him making you feel better.  You can go to church to get your fix of feel good. What we are called to is the cross.  We are told to bring everything, our desires, our hopes and dreams, our failings, our lives and lay them at His feet, lay them at His cross.  “I am crucified with Christ and I know longer live…”  A shout of triumph over all that would hold us, all that would enslave us.  But we seldom go there when we feel lost and defeated.  We rarely look to that serpent lifted up when the poison of this life has entered our veins.  But we can.  We must.

 

 

“Daybreak” by Matthew Hawkins is available at smashwords.com.  Click on this link to learn more and to order:

 

 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/384362

 

 

Blessings

It was a blessing to get up this morning.  I am blessed to be at work, to earn a paycheck.  I am blessed to have a loving Father who patiently leads me through life, walking with me, correcting me, moving me closer to His heart.  I am blessed with a strong, loving wife, children who I am proud to call mine.  I am exceedingly blessed to play and sing with the wonderful musicians at my church.

According to Glen Packiam, another translation of the word blessed is lucky (he wrote a whole book on the subject that is well worth reading).  So, I’m lucky when my wife disagrees with me.  I’m lucky when my kids think I’m a dope.  I’m lucky to deal with bosses, crazy monkeys, no raises, threats of unemployment, offensive smells, rat bites, and fatigue.

Now, in case you think I’m being sarcastic, I’m not.  God’s blessings are not how we would wrap them.  They don’t come in comfy, cozy, brightly colored packaging.  Sometimes they hurt.  Sometimes they cut.  Sometimes they make us angry, frustrating us to distraction.  His blessings are for our good, not our happiness.  His blessings make us better with the intent of us being better for other people (not just ourselves).  His blessings teach us, grow us, make us warriors and priests.  His blessings raise us up to a high calling.

Would I trade His blessings for ones of my choosing?  The height of folly.  Would I willingly walk away from His life for the good that this world, that I would offer?  A frightening thought, for I know my propensity to say yes to this question.

No, Lord.  I would choose You.  I would lay down all I want to gain You.

Bless me, once again, as only You can.

The Breastplate

The Kardiophylax as it was called in ancient times is far different than the ideal we have of medieval armor.  The breastplate that Paul had in mind, when he spoke of them in Ephesians, was a round plate the simply covered the heart.  The name means “heart-guard.”  So, in other words, he was saying, “Guard your hearts with righteousness.”

I have heard people, over the years, talk about being covered by God’s righteousness.  Protecting our hearts, not with our own righteousness, but with His.  But again, I see a partial truth in this.  I guess I’m being convicted of my own responsibility in life.

I remember when I played football I was given equipment.  The shoulder pads belonged to the school, as did the helmet, the jersey, the cleats, everything.  But it was mine.  It stayed in my locker, that also belonged to the school.  I had to wash it and ask for repairs when it was broken.  It was mine and I wore it that way.

Do we so much look at whatever is good about us as being God that we accept our weakness as our own?  I can’t accept that the ever-present fact of my weakness is the reality when I am clothed in His righteousness.  I am strong because I have made His righteousness my own.

And don’t think for a second that I consider myself perfect, sinless, even Godly apart from Him.  But if I separate myself from His righteousness, I formulate excuses for my behavior.  And that just won’t fly anymore.

The breastplate was designed to protect as you moved forward.  It had no protection if you turned your back to the enemy.  So as I move toward the high calling of my Lord, my heart is covered, kept in tact by His righteousness alive and well in me.

The heart of the warrior moves me to LIVE THIS!

Salvation

Ephesians 6 and 1 Thessalonians 5

“I just got saved!”

“Are ya saved?  Are ya washed in the blood of the Lamb?”

Those who aren’t “saved”, who don’t attend church regularly or listen to Christian radio, podcasts, television, or get flyers in the mail don’t know what we’re talking about.  I don’t think many of us do.

Our thought goes like this, “I was lost in sin, dying – no, already dead – separated from God.  Then, I accepted Jesus into my life and was snatched from the fires of hell, cleaned up and given to God.  Saved.”

Whew!  I am so glad that this is true.  But it isn’t the end.

It is interesting to me that over and over again in Psalms David praises God for salvation.  He was saved from many disasters, his own bad choices, enemies, betrayal.  In Ephesians 6, Paul talks about the Helmet of Salvation.  Then, in 1 Thessalonians 5, he talks about the helmet of the HOPE of salvation.  We are admonished to work out our salvation.

I am not arguing for either side of the eternal security issue, whether praying the prayer of salvation seals you for all time.  I’m talking about what do we do with the fact that God saved us.  It is apparent to me that it is not a one time event as we suppose.  I’m saved, check it off the list.  Our salvation is a defense and, I would suggest, a weapon that we are supposed to use every day of our lives.

Are you stressed?  Remember, wrap your mind around your salvation.  Are you attacked?  Think on, meditate on your salvation.  Are you depressed?  Let the salvation of the Lord renew your mind.

God didn’t save us and then leave us.  He walks with us every day.  Our salvation wasn’t just a one time gift (though what a gift it was).  It is ours for eternity to use, to hold on to, to rest in.  To GLORIFY God for!

Be The Man!

 

Who wears the pants in your family?

 

It’s easy to look at life, at your job or ministry, your family, and question what is going on.  I spend so much of my time asking God why something is happening and what it means for my future.  I want to be happy and fulfilled in what I do.  I want to be a man of faith, a good husband, a loving father.  My family should see me as a voice of truth and reason in this crazy world we live in.

 

But all the while there is this dark undercurrent that I share with so few.  I am a failure.  I can’t do things right.  I am stupid and a disappointment to myself and my King.  He gifted me with so much and all I can do is complain, not trusting Him with everything I know that He is always good.

 

So the cycle continues, dominated by fear and anger, I push others away.  I want something so badly that I lose sight of others, I lose sight of God.  And in those moments of blindedness, I fall, I lose, I hate.

 

So what is the answer?  Is there an answer?

 

This is what I think.  My priorities are screwed up.  When I lose focus it is conjoined to putting good things above God things.  And what are the God things?  Number one is my wife.  Then comes my family.  This is not a cliche.  This is not a marriage seminar.  This is just reality.  Are things out of wack?  Then I’m not putting God first and His priorities are not defining my priorities.  And for all you pastors, leaders, ministers, deacons and elders, God does not care what you are doing as much as who you are loving.  God doesn’t care how big your church is as much as He cares about you cherishing the woman He gave you to walk through life with.

 

So be the man.  Lay your life down.  Sacrifice your life.  Give up your will, your plans, your dreams.  Trust in the God who knows you and holds you in His almighty hands.

I’m talking to you, bitter worshipper.  And God, I’m talking to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be The Man!

 

Who wears the pants in your family?

 

It’s easy to look at life, at your job or ministry, your family, and question what is going on.  I spend so much of my time asking God why something is happening and what it means for my future.  I want to be happy and fulfilled in what I do.  I want to be a man of faith, a good husband, a loving father.  My family should see me as a voice of truth and reason in this crazy world we live in.

 

But all the while there is this dark undercurrent that I share with so few.  I am a failure.  I can’t do things right.  I am stupid and a disappointment to myself and my King.  He gifted me with so much and all I can do is complain, not trusting Him with everything I know that He is always good.

 

So the cycle continues, dominated by fear and anger, I push others away.  I want something so badly that I lose sight of others, I lose sight of God.  And in those moments of blindedness, I fall, I lose, I hate.

 

So what is the answer?  Is there an answer?

 

This is what I think.  My priorities are screwed up.  When I lose focus it is conjoined to putting good things above God things.  And what are the God things?  Number one is my wife.  Then comes my family.  This is not a cliche.  This is not a marriage seminar.  This is just reality.  Are things out of wack?  Then I’m not putting God first and His priorities are not defining my priorities.  And for all you pastors, leaders, ministers, deacons and elders, God does not care what you are doing as much as who you are loving.  God doesn’t care how big your church is as much as He cares about you cherishing the woman He gave you to walk through life with.

 

So be the man.  Lay your life down.  Sacrifice your life.  Give up your will, your plans, your dreams.  Trust in the God who knows you and holds you in His almighty hands.

I’m talking to you, bitter worshipper.  And God, I’m talking to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five loaves….

I was thinking about this story again, the feeding of the five thousand, the boy with five loaves and two fish.  Having worked with children now for a while it struck me, this is the only miracle that is recorded in all the gospels.  Well, OK, that part didn’t strike me.  What struck me is that this is one of the greatest miracles that Jesus did short of His death and resurrection.  No, that wasn’t what struck me either, others have made that statement too.  What struck me, no seriously, what astounded me is that this is a miracle only a child could have been part of.

Let me tell you what I’ve seen.  Kids that have gone through pretty rough family stuff tend to see the hurts and needs of others at a different level than the rest of us.  They don’t look at their own needs first or, should they look at them, they are more willing to lay them aside.  Kids who have been hurt, some kids not all, pursue God without knowing that they are too little, too inexperienced to be worth anything to God.

Consider this, where were the parents of this child in such a crowd.  I would submit that they may not have been alive.  Surely if they were present, they would have hindered him in giving up his lunch.  And did he seek to share his lunch?  I think not.  He gave it up, knowing that it meant that he would get none.  He had gone hungry many times before this and to miss one more meal was not that big of a deal for him.  He was resourceful, the only one in the crowd who thought ahead enough to bring food.  But, in the face of the needs around him, put aside his need to give it away to others.

I’m going to say it again.  I wasn’t there but I would bet that he did not think he would get anything from this.

Lord, break my heart.  Let me be like a child who can not see “sharing” but is willing to let go.  Let me be one that pursues you not because of the crowd that surrounds me but because I have no one else to put my hope and trust in.  Be my Father, my Lord, my King in such a way that though I have nothing, I give all that I am, my future, my resources to You for You to do whatever You want with them.  I don’t need them.  I need You!

Have You Been Circumcised?

Abraham shared a covenant with God that was symbolized by what many consider a barbaric act.  God’s symbols typically are rich with meaning in their original languages and contexts.  However, I am not a scholar of Hebrew or Greek.  I did not live in ancient Palestine and can not see all that went into His choices for this ritual.  All I know is that He asked me.

There are a few things that I hold dear to my heart.  My wife has dealt with more than her fair share of eccentricities and erratic behavior.  She has loved me and stood with me through life.  My children are amazing and I am so proud to be a part of their lives.  Music makes my world go round, especially when I am sharing it with those I love.  And then there’s me.

In my thoughts regarding my person I believe that I would die for my family.  I would sacrifice my will to help others know Jesus.  I would cut off my hand, never play another chord, if it would save one child.  But would I?

Would I take what is most vulnerable, most sensitive, in my heart and life and lay it before my King, allowing Him to cut away all that is not needed?  Can I accept the loss of blood, the continued pain of what is gone, the visible scars of what once was for the rest of my life?

“Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief,” a man once told Jesus.  You ask if I am circumcised?  No, I am not.  I hold so tightly to the things You would take or alter.  I fear Your loving hand, knowing full well that it is only my flesh that I cling to.  Once again, I give You permission to pry my fingers away and take me for Yourself.  I am Yours.  I have no other hope.

A Symphonic Crescendo

I love to run sound for our church’s worship services.  It is a blast for me to work with the band, listening for the various nuances that bring out the beauty and power of a certain song or phrase.  But in simple terms, my job is to make things loud enough for people to hear them.  Oh but it gets better, I don’t want them to just hear it.  I want them to feel it, in their bones, in their souls.

A mistake made by newcomers to sound technology is to always elevate the sound.  By that I mean that a good bass part comes up so they push the sound of the bass, then a lead guitar part is due so they increase the volume of the lead, but then the keys are getting buried so they raise that up.  Before you know it the volume is at 120 decibels and no one can hear anything, certainly not the words to the song.  Part of what is difficult for even more experienced  technicians is knowing when and how to back off the sound of the instruments.

And before I lose too many of you, there is a word here from the Lord for all of us in this.

Loud getting louder is just loud.  Emotion getting more emotional is just emotion.  Worship that has the freedom to be quiet, the openness to invite God’s presence, will find His movement, His heart.  If, in our singing, we can not stop to listen for His voice, we will miss Him.

And the awesome wonder of our relationship with Him is that as we open up our hearts, create space for our lives to be joined with His, it then can build, together, to the moments, the rapturous places where time and space lose all meaning.  The locus where divine and human, eternal and finite join for the reason we were all created, to love and be loved.