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Posts Tagged ‘faith’


Damage to trees, homes and trailers south of T...

Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes you just run across things that surprise you because they seem so out-of-place.

In an effort to find a Starbucks for a caffeine refuel on a very long road trip through the South, I turned off at one of the only exits that boasted the familiar green and white Starbucks sign. What I didn’t realize was that it was a fair distance from the highway, and quite honestly as happens on a long road trip (read 12-hours of drive time), I didn’t quite realize what city I was driving into.

As I drove into the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I found myself in what looked to be a very prosperous city. The businesses were thriving, cars were everywhere and there was even an amazing Veterans Memorial there. It was one of the most unique I’ve seen, complete with military equipment like tanks and helicopters from the different branches of service along with a beautifully kept park, so those who drove by and those who stopped would take the time to reflect on what our soldiers have done for us.

Finally I spotted the world-famous purveyor of caffeinated beverages and more in a nicely designed outdoor shopping area that, like its surroundings, was well-kept and prosperous looking.

After resettling ourselves in the car with everyone packed in like sardines with their favorite drinks I pulled out of the parking lot onto a street that I didn’t see form the main street I’d been on. It took a second for what I was seeing across the street to register.

In the middle of all that hustle and bustle and prosperity was a half a city block of what could only be called devastation. At first, I thought houses were just being demolished to make way for progress, but then I looked at the trees. They had been stripped of their branches and their tops snapped off like toothpicks. All four sides of the houses there were leaning inward barely upright with their siding torn off and lying at various distances away.

My eyes traveled across the street where another half a city block of commercial buildings stood with their windows shattered, their signage ripped off and their roofs looking like someone had randomly pulled a corner up here and one down there.

I looked in a circle around to the buildings next to where I was pulling out and there were roof tiles missing from the restaurant next to me on one side, and a sign barely hanging from its pole on the other side. Yet, what seemed to be just a few feet behind was the shopping center I had just gone into, looking unmarred and whole.

Then I realized just where I was and what I was looking at, the devastation was caused by one of the many tornadoes that ripped through the area and clearly illustrated how one block could be perfect while the next was destroyed.

It got me thinking about our lives and many times we go along with everything looking pretty good, prosperous even, then we find something in our lives that’s absolutely devastated sitting across the street from that prosperity.

That devastation can come from a variety of things caused by ourselves and others, but the fact is that the brokeness, like the broken buildings and dead trees I saw, needs to be cleared away before any rebuilding can begin. And then when that rebuilding begins, it must be done on the foundation of Christ and built by the LORD Himself or it will never be able to stand under the storms that come with life.

“Unless the LORD builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain.”

Psalm 127:1a

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Hearts

Image by eirikso via Flickr

Love, it’s a funny thing. It can mean many different things to many different people. We’re given ideas about love from a multitude of different places that tell us how we express love, receive love and allow love to come into our lives.

Then we’re told how we can express love better, as if most of us don’t already know that we’re not so good at that already. Not many of us will go as far as to say we’re good at this thing called love. In my estimation those that do, either are not facing reality or have bumps along the way of their love pathways that they are guarding as closely as Fort Knox.

The funny thing is that even though we know we’re not very good at it, as is evidenced by so many books, shows and other help’s that are out there, we don’t really take the necessary steps to actually learn from the One – namely Christ – who knows all about love and how it works.

Why?

In our world of ‘me first’, the love that Christ introduces us to just doesn’t seem very personally fulfilling.

Again why?

Because sacrifice of our own self just doesn’t do anything for any of us on a personal level. And, it’s been that way since the beginning of man. Although we would all like to think that we’ve come from some sort of Golden Age when things were better back when and our culture has become something other than what it was with our “me first” mentality, the reality is that mankind has always been about “me first”. It just looks a little different in this day and age.

If we go back to Genesis and look at Abraham, a friend of God, letting his nephew choose his portion of land first, which turned out to be the best, most fertile land, some of us naturally think Abraham got the short end of the stick because he gave up his right to choose first and get the best land. Why would he do such a thing? Precisely because he was a friend of God.

David’s another one. He’s called a man after God’s own heart. Impetuous, emotional, seeming to break all of God’s law at one time or another. But, he didn’t take the kingship from Saul when he could have. David sacrificed his own life for years, living in caves with criminals, because one thing he wouldn’t do was take what the Lord hadn’t allowed him to have yet. So he showed love for Saul by waiting and in the process he sacrificed a portion of his life because he was a man after God’s own heart.

There are others in scripture and in the world around us who do the very same thing, but many times we don’t see them because what they do is so foreign to us. And this is pretty much because what God has done is so foreign to us too. We have hard time getting on-board with a God who says love is sacrifice, because we don’t see what’s in it for us.

We like a kind, gentle and loving God as long as that love is based on how we define love which generally has it’s foundation in “what does it do for me?” instead of His kind of love that says, “So what about me? What can I do for someone else?” Bottom line, is that His kind of love is a little hard for us to focus on because it’s so foreign to us. Until He allows us to focus on it it just looks fuzzy and unreal.

And with love, like pretty much everything else with the Lord, is not about how we define it, but about how He defines it and not only defines it but does it. Because He doesn’t just tell us what to do and expect us to do it, He shows us what to do then just asks us to follow Him on the path He’s already cleared for us.

“On this account the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have authority to lay it down and I have authority to take it again. I have received this commandment of my Father.”

John 10:17-18

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