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Posts Tagged ‘the Lord’


English: Old Cottage

Image via Wikipedia

The other day I wanted to ask my almost 12-year old son a question.

Instead of just doing the thing that the experts tell you that you should do, which would be to try to find him and look at him full in the face in order to communicate with him more effectively, I did what most parents do. I yelled my question from where I was in the office to wherever he was in the house thinking he would hear me.

“Here I am,” yelled my son from the other room after I’d called him for the umpteenth millionth time. In exasperation after there was no response to my question, I needed to know if he was even within earshot. I needed to know if he was there. So, I said, very loudly mind you, “Where are you?”

Now I don’t want to give you the wrong idea that we live in a large house where it is easy to not hear someone. No, my son and I live in a two bedroom, two bath home that is very small. In fact, I often refer to it affectionately as my little shoebox. So, the fact that I had to find out where he was in it was somewhat comical considering I usually know where my cat is at all times.

But my son, he’s a different story altogether. He’s always moving around, seemingly never in the same place for more than a second or two. In my mind, he never seems close by at all, but whenever he yells back “Here I am”(this little scenario happens more frequently than I would like to admit) inevitably he is much closer than I ever expect. Usually just around the corner.

Isn’t this usually how it feels with God? He always seems like He’s moving around, and fast too, like we just can’t get a grip on where He is only to find that He’s been right in the mix, next to us the whole time saying “Here I Am”.

“Therefore My people will know My name; therefore they will know on that day that I am He who says: Here I am.”     Isaiah 52:6

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At this time I’m casually looking at a calendar I bought at the Galleria Borghese when I was there a while ago. It is a very small thing, maybe 2 inches by 2 inches. Every month – the month and days written in Italian, go figure:) – features a small picture of a sculpture by one of the greats, Bernini.

The January picture is one of David as he is in the action of slinging the pebble, or rock, that brought down Goliath. The thing that really strikes me is the moment in the piece. The muscles tensing before the throw underneath the smooth white marble skin. The stance of his body that is twisted, tensing, winding up for the throw because he only had one chance to get it right.

This was before David became king, when he was the youngest son of a family whose business was agriculture. A time when most of his days and nights had been spent in the field with his sheep, mastering the slingshot, singing to God. Little did he know that mastering the slingshot was going to bring down the most feared enemy of the Israelites, little did he know that he literally would have only one shot to bring down the giant. A bulls-eye of a space to hit, just a small space in Goliaths armor that bookies on the sidelines were probably giving a billion and one chance to hit its mark.

But hit he did, right out of the park, which just goes to show you that sometimes the mundane everyday life we all seem to live may be preparing us for that opportunity that God wants us to have, that one in a billion chance that God is preparing us to accomplish.

After all, in God’s world, where we live and breathe and have our being, one in a billion happens all the time.

“LORD, You are my portion and my cup of blessing, You hold my future.”

Psalm 16:5

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Bionicle figures

Being content in all things.

 Worshipping the LORD no matter what’s going on around us.

 Or, taking it one step further, enjoying the life we’ve been given no matter what it looks like.

 These are kind of foreign concepts to most of us. Our natural inclination is to complain, or ask the LORD to change things, or to give us more, or ______, you fill in the blank.

 My son is an avid collector. He’s been this way ever since he was small. If he got one toy in a set of six, he had to have the other five to be happy because unless the set was complete, it just wasn’t right.

 I remember this in particular with the LEGO Bionicle toys. Now, LEGO is a mastermind of marketing, and, they just seem to know what appeals to young minds. But, in this arena they really outdid themselves.  

 They created a whole world on the island of Mata Nui. This island was populated by the Toa’s, the Bohrak, the Toa Nuva, the Bohrak Kal, and the list goes on. All of them had different sets of six LEGO figures, which added up to a lot. And, that didn’t even include the special sets and the movies, books, etc.

 It seemed like every time he got a new one, there were five others we had to get to satisfy him. Now, he didn’t always get those other five, but because he likes sets of things, and is a collector, he wasn’t truly satisfied with what he had until he thought it was complete. And, the only way for it to be complete was to have all six.

 We’re a little bit like that in our own lives, aren’t we? We think, if only this were finished; if only we had this; if only we were here, there or had done this or that. If only somehow we would achieve that elusive completion that will make us feel content for even five seconds.

 But, the reality is that no matter what we achieve, what we get, how many sets of life experiences we complete, that sense of authentic, lasting completeness will only be truly found in Him. In relationship to Him who is the essence of completeness.

 Sure, we can achieve things. When we do, we can quiet that sense of the need for completion for just a little bit. Then, before we know it, we sense it again and go on another quest for completion that will just end in the same way.

No matter where we are in our lives, we can all focus on the more that we don’t have instead of the enough that we do. Realizing, also, that He is the only enough we will ever encounter. It’s when we live in that enough, knowing that somehow the LORD is enough for us no matter what our circumstances look like, that true contentment comes.

 Living in Him is the only way that we can be content in all circumstances, and, not only that, but it’s only in that space that we can take that extra step of making the enjoyment of the life He’s given us into an actual way of saying “Thank You” to Him.

 “I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter what the situation, I’ve learned the secret of how to live when I’m full or when I’m hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:12-13

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Choice


A choice is not a true choice unless it is freely made and truly honored.

“As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call Me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good but One—God. You know the commandments:
Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; do not defraud; honor your father and mother. ”
He said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these from my youth.”
Then, looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” But he was stunned at this demand, and he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.”
Mark 10:17-27

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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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ancient tomb in cemetery grounds

Image by Daves Portfolio via Flickr

Sometimes it’s worth thinking about the LORD and the fact the He is the giver of life in its totality whether we recognize that or not. He gives life even from something that not only seems dead, but is in actuality dead. Think of the line of the House of David, Lazarus, and Jesus Himself.

True life from total death, it’s something only He can do and all because of His extreme love and faithfulness.

“Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.”

Isaiah 11:1

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Breathing. We all do it. All the time. If we didn’t, we’d be dead.

Everything breaths after some fashion, from the plants and their exchange of oxygen for carbon dioxide; to the sea dwellers who pull oxygen out of the water leaving behind a trail of carbon dioxide; to the land inhabitants who extract oxygen out of the air and leave behind their own tale tell trail of Co2.

Depending on whose statistics you look at, healthy adults take anywhere from 12 to 20 breaths a minute, while newborns take closer to 44 breathes a minute. Adult athletes peak out at anywhere from 60 to 70 breaths a minute when they’re exercising, which is far above the average adult’s peak of 35 to 45 breaths per minute during exercise.

But regardless of how often we take a breath, do we get what we need from the air we breath? It depends on how deeply we breath and how effective the oxygen, carbon dioxide exchange is. This is important because we use the oxygen to help fuel our cells.

Just ask anyone who has asthma, emphysema or any other respiratory ailment, and you’ll find out very quickly how precious each breath is. Like many things that spark our realization of what matters, it’s when you can no longer take a breath easily that you understand the importance of each breath and being able to pull that oxygen into your system.

The thought that we are so dependant on gossamer tissue lungs to pull a life sustaining molecule out of the air is more than a little disconcerting. This is especially so when you realize that there is no man made explanation that can effectively discern why our planet holds its oxygen rich atmosphere in place. Yes, we have explanations for the mechanics of it, how it works, but the why of it eludes us.

That is unless you include God in the equation.

Genesis is very clear on the formation of the earth and the atmosphere we exist in, including every breath we take. They all come from God.

Whether we breath deeply from our diaphragm or shallowly from our chest, each breath is a gift from God.

And He gives us this gift whether we accept Him or not.

Why? Because that’s just the way He is.

“The life of every living thing is in His hand, as well as the breath of all mankind.”

Job 12:10

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