Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Wanna go for a walk?

I wish I could go to Eden and be like Adam and Eve before the Fall.  I wish I could be waiting for God to come by so we could go for an evening walk, like Adam and Eve surely got to experience.  Wasn't God walking in the garden in the cool of the day when Adam and Eve first experienced the guilt of what they had done?  Surely it was God's routine to walk among His creation like a gardener walks among her garden, talking to her plants, breathing in the beauty of her hard work.

I wish I could go there and hear the sound Adam and Eve heard before it was a scary sound.  They didn't see God walking, they heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day.

If we were in that garden, before it became tainted, and before we knew fear or shame or guilt, can you imagine the peace that flowed like a river among God's creation, creatures of of all kinds both human and beast, insect and fowl, sea bearing and land crawling.  How beautiful it surely must have been.

God is still walking among His creation but it sure is hard to hear his footsteps sometimes.  There's so much shouting going on, so many words being blasted like rockets across the cybersphere, many, I'm sorry to admit, coming from my own hands. But I know he's here, walking among us, peace flowing from his pores pulling us to him, calming us with his mercy and renewing us with his hope.

If you or I were in that garden before.....

We wouldn't have a care about elections or disagreements or doctrines or rules or laws or pain or the evil that is done to each other.

We wouldn't because it wouldn't exist.

But, we're not in that garden....but God still walks among us, even though the garden is full of weeds and thorns and choking disease.

We shout back and forth to each other "If Jesus were here he would belong to this party or that party, this church or this one."  We can't imagine belonging to a party or church that Jesus wouldn't belong to himself.

If Jesus were here, walking among us, would his words join in with ours or would he stick to the script he followed when he was here the first time.

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of me.

I lay down my life for my sheep.

I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.

Don't be afraid, just believe.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called Sons of God.

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock....But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.

Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Take courage, it is I!  Don't be afraid.

...if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain,  'Move from here to there' and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.

I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

I can hear the sound of Him walking among us.  It gets dulled by the noise around me, but I can hear Him.  He's hovering around, seeking those who are lost and trapped in pits we can't get out of on our own.  He's among us right now.  Plodding through the muck of our lives, not afraid to get dirty, not afraid to walk in the stink that we're covered in.

I can hear the sound of Him making His way to lift us from our slimy pits.

I can hear the sound of Him as He calls to us, "I'm right here.  Listen for my voice.  I'm right here and I'm never going to let you out of my sight."

I can hear Him, can you?

Go sit in his garden, breathe in the majesty of his creation.  Taste and see that the Lord is good.  Your eyes will one day see what for now only your ears can recognize.  Soon you will see him...face to face.  His eyes will penetrate into your soul, your ears will hear the kindness of his voice say to you, "See, I never left you, I was there with you through it all."

Soon you'll feel his hands hold yours.  As he pulls you close to him you will hear the beat of his heart.  The heart that has beat countless beats counting the minutes until he brings you to him face to face.

You are His, Friend.  You are his child.  We are His children.  It's time for us to live like we believe it.  Listen closely, can you hear him walking towards you?



Sunday, October 25, 2015

Blind as a bat or 20/20 vision?

I am extremely nearsighted.  Whenever I get my hair cut and the stylist asked if they can set my glasses on the counter for me, I hold tightly to them and say, "No, thank you.  I would hate to have to look for them in an emergency."  I keep them in my hands because there is one thing I cannot do if I don't have my glasses on - SEE where my glasses are!

Having perfect vision is something I am really looking forward to about heaven.  No more glasses.  No more eye exams.  No more.  Perfect 20/20 vision.  Marvelous!

In heaven there will be no need for glasses. There will be no need for contacts or reading glasses or braille or seeing eye dogs.  We will all see and we will all see perfectly.  There will be no need for someone to tell us to watch our step or to describe the color orange.  There will be no need for stumbling descriptions of what a sunset looks like or a blade of grass or a flower petal.  Our vision will be perfect.

We don't have perfect vision now, but we do have something very close to it.  Something that is not hard for us to attain, yet came at a great cost to the giver.

Faith.  More succinctly, childlike faith.

Childlike faith has 20/20 vision.

Childlike faith doesn't need to know the answer to why and how questions.  Childlike faith already has the perfect view, the view of faith like a child.

A child doesn't understand what is involved in praying, but he or she does understand that they need to grab their father's hand and talk to him.  A child doesn't worry about what is said or how it's said or even if the words don't make sense.  A childlike faith just lets the words roll off the tongue and heart and trust that the Father hears the babble.

A child doesn't understand why it's dangerous to cross a busy street, but a child does feel the hand of a loving parent as it holds tightly to the child's hands.

A child doesn't worry about shopping for groceries and cooking meals and providing clothes for him or herself.  A child doesn't even think about wondering if the clothes or food will be there tomorrow, the child simply trusts the parent to provide them when the need arrives.

A childlike faith reads God's word, not expecting to understand, but trusting that God is speaking as it is read.

A childlike faith doesn't worry about premillenial or amillenial arguments.  A childlike faith doesn't worry that its adult mind isn't smart enough or wise enough or can or cannot read well enough.  A child like faith reads anyway.  A childlike faith searches anyway, knowing the search will continue but that's ok, because God is holding the flashlight and giving the child just enough light for the step in front of him.

A childlike faith doesn't rest on what he or she has learned thus far.  A child explores and takes apart and practices in pretend play the things it's small heart and mind is absorbing.

A childlike faith believes without having all his questions answered.

A childlike faith trusts in the way only a child can.

A childlike faith reaches up to a Savior already reaching down.

A childlike faith feels no shame.

A childlike faith feels no fear.

A childlike faith sees what an adult's eyes cannot see.

A childlike faith hears with ears an adult no longer uses.

O you of little faith, where is your childlike faith?   Could it be your faith is small and weak because your childlike faith has grown dim?

Open your eyes and see Him like a child sees Him!  Like you once saw Him before you got big.



"For we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

fix - skopos - to look at, contemplate, keep your eye on

Monday, October 19, 2015

If you were a river....

Divided we stand, united we fall.  Backwards right?  United we stand, divided we fall....that's the correct order of the phrase, right?  It's the American way, remember?  We are built on unity....sort of...it's really hard to figure out exactly what our country is united on right now.  I'm having a hard time seeing unity, are you?

What is it about unity that we strive so hard to get it, yet at the first hint of disagreement or a difference of opinion it quickly disappears?  We want it until we have it and then look for ways to lose it. It's interesting to me that we are so quick (I am throwing myself in this mix, believe me) to give up and walk away from something or someone at the first drop of strife, without stepping back and trying to see the bigger picture before walking away from someone or something.

Division is not new.  It's not a 21st century problem or a problem that was from the dark ages or even before.  Actually, division was around when Jesus was around and it was caused by Jesus even when he was live and in living color.

Division came immediately after people heard truth from the proverbial horse's mouth.  It wasn't truth that was passed down or told by someone who heard Jesus say it to so and so and so and so told my sister.  No, quite the opposite.  They heard it from Jesus' own lips.  They heard his voice, they saw his face.

During a Jewish feast Jesus stood up and in a loud voice - and loud in this scene means to cry out, shout - picture Jesus shouting as you read this:

If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

Everyone within earshot heard these words shouted by Jesus himself.  They didn't have to read about it like you and I do.  They heard those words, with their own ears.

And guess what? Ignoring the words he just shouted, the people argued about who Jesus was.  They argued about who he was and...where he came from.  (Those really important things).

He's a prophet.

He's the Christ.

No, He's not the Christ.  How can he be the Christ?  The scripture (this guy heard Jesus say the scripture part), the scripture says he will not come from Galilee.  This guy comes from Galilee.  The Christ will come from David's line and from Bethlehem.  (I guess the Christmas story hadn't been written yet, even we 21st century folks know that one.  Duh!)

Instead of running to the man shouting that He is the living water and having their spiritual thirst quenched by Jesus, in the flesh, standing there in front of them no less....they argued.

Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.

The schisma was made, the unity they shared just a few minutes ago listening to him speak was quickly torn, not by what Jesus said, no one took the time to reflect on that.  No, the schisma, the tear, the division came because of displacement, a modern term to describe someone who focuses on something else rather than face the uncomfortable feelings of the situation that caused them.

It's much easier to argue about things that are neutral, that have really no consequences (until they do), to avoid the discomfort of the real issue.

This is what has been going on since Jesus walked the planet and millennia before, and is going strong two thousand years since Jesus shouted truth.

(I know if we were there, if we heard his voice, saw his face, touched his hand, we would soak in the words he spoke.  I know we would.  We are just so much better now than those people back then).

Divisions are nothing new.  What happens because of divisions are nothing new either.  Families break up, churches split, countries turn on each other.  It's all natural human behavior, caused by that bloody three letter word - S. I. N.

God is not surprised by the division.  He lived it then, He watches it now.  There's nothing new under the sun.

Or is there?

The early church had to sort out what Jesus did that changed what they had been brought up to do.  No more sacrifices?  Woohoo!  But what about all this religion that is embedded in their DNA? It takes time for habits to die or for new habits to form.

Luther came along, opened a book that had been locked up for over a thousand years from the people who it was meant to be for.  He wrote it in a language people could understand and what happened almost before the last i was dotted and t crossed?  Division!

A tear here, a rip there, a shredding over yonder and we are a house divided even further than before the book was written in a common language.

Yet instead of going to what Jesus said and did, we are still following in the footsteps of those first century folks and arguing about how he said it, what he probably meant, what scripture really says here, not looking to see what Scripture says there....

If we could only rest and reflect and wonder and gaze at the simplicity of his words, shouting down through the ages:

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture says, streams of living water will flow from within him.

Imagine if every believer, no matter the size of their faith, reflected on the powerful truth of those few words of Jesus:

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture says, streams of living water will flow from within him.

Simple belief.  Childlike trust leads to living water flowing like rivers all over this land.

Imagine what that would look like.

Where would division go?  Washed down stream to the waiting gulf and oceans.

What would we talk about if we weren't divided?  Who else, but the Source of the Living Water.  (This is what He did for me, what has He done for you?  Can you hear the conversations already?)

What would other countries think of a country inhabited by people who lived like they truly believed they were Living water?

Beautiful dream?

Or beautiful possibility...



John 7:38

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Never Means.....Never

The news gets worse everyday.  It's challenging not to give in to despair, to hold on, to not give up, give in, or give out.  I wonder, how does God do it?  How does He see everything that goes on in this wicked, wicked world and still love us?

You and I both know that if you or I were God we'd handle it all differently.  We'd be driven by law or grace, surely not both at the same time.  We'd either be condemning and display our wrath, or pat our little creation on the head and say, "You're so sweet."

I can unfollow, unfriend, ask to not be shown this, or simply go off the grid where I am oblivious to anything that causes my blood pressure to rise and my spirit to faint.

God can't.

God won't.

Isn't that awesome?!!!!

When I've had enough, God hasn't.

When I've run out of words to convey what my slug brain tries to voice, God's words echo - over and over and over again.

Never will I leave you or forsake you.


Never will I leave you or forsake you.





Never will I leave.

Never will I leave you.


Never will I forsake.  You.


You know what never means both in English and in Greek and Hebrew:

Never.  No way.  Absolutely not.

When all else is falling to pieces and breaking our hearts and spirits, God is still there.  When the news is grim and getting grimmer every hour, God is still there.

Never.  No way.  Absolutely not will I leave you or forsake you.

Never means never.

Not a hard one to remember, just a hard one to see amidst the evil that is trying to swallow us up.


He's got this.



For further study of the things God says "never, no way, absolutely not" about.

Genesis 8:21; 9:11,15; Jeremiah 32:40; Lamentations 3:22; 
Exodus 14:13; 31:6,8; 34:10 Joshua 1:5; 10:14; Psalms 9:10; 28:5; 34:5; 94:14; 
Isaiah 28:16; 45:17; 58:11; 60:11,20; 65:20
Matthew 13:14; 16:22; 24:21, 35; 26:35; Mark 10:15; 13:19,31; 14:31; Luke 1:15; 18:17; 21:33; John 4:48; 6:35, 37; 8:12; 10:5; Acts 13:41; 28:26; Romans 4:8; Galatians 4:30;
Hebrews 13:5; 1 Peter 2:6;
Revelation 3:5, 12; 18:7, 21,22, 23