Thursday, July 30, 2015

Red


The town can keep its' hue

But bonny bright  buttons breaks up the gray
Dorothy red shoes give me sway
I love crimson carnations in a bouquet,
carmine noses,  cherry cheeks,
cerise glass, and a chic antique

Give me flickering embers in scarlet fire
Of ruby red I never tire.





Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Go on Home

Sometime when I was around five or six, my sisters and I decided to run away.  This was an idea hatched, probably by my oldest sister and the rest of us were just drawn into it.  We weren't really going to run away, just take a little excursion for a day.  The evening before, we sneaked around and gathered food for our day trip and somehow managed to boil eggs.  I think Mama and Daddy must have gone somewhere that evening and  just Grandma was at home with us.

We had a plan.  I was supposed to wake up my sister Wanda, by pulling her big toe.  She slept in a double bed with Grandma. I was elected the best candidate to slip in the room.  I pulled Grandma's toe instead and woke her up.   Grandma grumbled and went back to sleep. This is the part of the story that has entertained us for close to fifty years. We quietly went out the door to begin our adventure.  It was early summer and we didn't have school.  We took our food and ate breakfast sitting in the pasture by the barn.  There was fog still hanging over the field and the grass was wet. I was wearing a summer dress with a little sweater and I can still remember shaking from the early morning chill that still hung in the air as I ate my plain and unappetizing boiled egg.

We hiked down through the corn field into the stand of woods at the back of the property.  I do not have a clear recollection of what we did.  There were tall trees that formed a pretty thick canopy and the ground was covered in the old leaves from each successive year. There was not a lot to do hanging out under big trees in the middle of the woods with a carpet of brown leaves. Our food was mediocre and our comforts slim.  I can remember that after the excitement of sneaking out wore off that I really, really wanted to go back to the house.  Linda, was adamant that we had to stay in the woods.  So we stayed and I probably made another appeal, but what is a six year old going to be able to accomplish with a young teenager?

Finally, Gail and I had enough and we took off for home.  Daddy worked second shift and we knew he would be leaving for work.  We wanted to see him before he left and even our bossy older sister was not going to stop us.  Hanging out in the woods with the birds and the squirrels had lost its' appeal.

When we got back to the house.  Neither Mama nor Daddy seemed to have even noticed we had been missing all day.  I am sure that they did, but they were not going to give us the upper hand.  I suspect that Daddy had been spying on us in the woods and knew we were safe.  Things were so different in those days.  No one ever kidnapped poor people's kids.

We were just being silly that day we had our big adventure and it turned out to be a little anti- climatic.  It had been more fun planning than doing.  Home in reality was a thousand times better than being stranded in the woods standing around all day without anything to do.   The big adventure  had some excitement to it and some humor, but over all it was not some amazing and grand day in our lives.

There is a story in the scripture about a  prodigal son who asked his father to give him his inheritance and the guy left home and  blew it all on a party lifestyle.  Soon he was dead broke and  ended up taking care of pigs. His big adventure turned out worse than ours did. We at least had some food and were only gone for part of the day. The prodigal was starved so badly that he salivated over pig food. He finally decided to go home and beg his father to take him on as a servant because he knew that even his father's servants were  treated better.  When the father saw the son from a long distance away, he ran to greet him.  ... filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him.  He not only greeted him warmly, the Father also had the fatted calf  prepared so that he would have the best of foods.  The rebellious, demanding prodigal came home dirty, stinking of pigs and starving, but he was embraced and welcomed back with a huge feast.

Most of us have had the experience of going home and having the meal all prepared.  We are welcomed in and get to share in the bounty of the table.  Our Heavenly Father has a table prepared for us and He has His arms open ready to receive us in to the abundance that He has. Some of us have been acquainted with Him a long time in our lives and some of us refuse to acknowledge that He even exists. Whatever your individual circumstances, we all need to understand that fellowship with the Father is the purpose for which we were created. He is the only source of  any genuine lasting satisfaction. There is nothing else that will fill us up.  Who or what is hindering you from coming to the Father's table?  He is a good and what He offers is good.  Come as you are, He will take care of the rest.
 When I was child a man,  named Cute Jenkins would get his guitar and sing an old tune, "Come and dine the Master calleth  come and dine.  You may feast at Jesus table any time..."  At the Father's table is where we find the true feast.  Any day is a good day to hurry on home to the Father.  The door's unlocked and the light has been left on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il1E8z6toQ8d


Monday, July 27, 2015

Wings of Delight



Febrile days of summer 
Comeliness unfurled
Splendor borne on whispering winds
Wings of delight!







Dog Days Part 2 Pal

We got Pal at  a big flea market known for its' smoking, sweating, shirtless men and highly questionable merchandise.    He was probably a mixed breed with some Chow and maybe a little Rottweiler.  He was  aggressive and high strung even as a pup.

My husband was insistent that we train him, so we diligently worked with him as a family, giving him bits of cheese and other treats to teach him some basics.  He would come, sit, go down and fetch pretty easily. He was good at learning commands. One thing that we taught him inadvertently was the command to "go home" although no one remembers how we did it.

 For a period of time we kept him inside until it seemed that he just hung around the kitchen waiting for tidbits to fall to the floor. He seemed to have lost his zeal for life, so we put him outside where he had a big yard with places to sniff and squirrels to chase. That is when we found out that he had an eye given to wander lust.   Most of the time he was happy staying in the yard, but there were some days that he was willing to risk the pain of our underground electric fence to go exploring. He would take off and someone would realize that he was no longer in the yard.  If calling him did not produce success then we would  take the car to the surrounding streets to see if we could spot him.  If we saw him, down went the window and our son would give him the command, "Go home Pal!" Pal would give a little growl and like a sulking teenager  he would put his head down and go toward the house.  He often beat us back, because he could go across yards and through the woods.  He would be sitting at his dog house when we returned.  He obeyed, but his heart wasn't in it.

All of the training in the world  would have never controlled Pal's  desire to be the one in charge.  Most likely a rottweiler and chow mix is not the best combination for a dog.  He was smart. strong and even personable but that aggression was always at work in the background.  In Pal's little doggie mind, he wanted to do what he wanted to do.
.
I am the same way.  I often want what I want, even when I know that it is detrimental.  It is easy to keep up the veneer that I am a pretty good person. But that is based on judging myself  by other people's behavior.  After all, I have never assaulted anyone, committed armed robbery or the physical act of adultery, and I have never  killed anyone.  But Jesus set the bar a lot higher in the Sermon on the Mount.  He addressed the heart issues, where the true "me" lives.  He said that lusting was the same as committing adultery in the heart and being angry was just as bad as murder. There are many other ideas laid out in the teaching on the mount.  If I must obey all of this to be right, then I am toast.

My opinion is that the teaching at the Sermon on the Mount leaves most of us high and dry and without a shred of hope in our own abilities to be righteous.  A casual glance at my own life and I have guilty stamped so many times on my forehead that I look like an overseas package going through customs. My only hope is that Jesus will give me His righteousness and that He will live His life through me.  That is really the offer that Jesus makes.  He takes my sin and I get His righteousness.

 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Training was the best that we could do for Pal's questionable breeding.  His disposition couldn't be fixed.  Our own situation would be pretty hopeless as well, except that we have the One who is our great Hope. He specializes in fixing us so that we can not only live right but so that we can be right.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.







Friday, July 24, 2015

Blue

The color blue makes me neither sad, nor melancholy, nor depressed or forlore.
Blue can be cobalt, azure, Prussian, cyan, aquamarine and more.

The blue bird of happiness 
Fields of blue flowers dancing under blue skies
Shimmering steel blue eyes 
Blue tropical waters of summers gone by.


Grand Old Ladies






 I want to be a grand old lady 
Standing resolutely in the wind

I want a demeanor of grace and style
And character that doesn't bend.

I want to be a grand old lady!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

.Lost

They told me what to think
My brain dissolved in ink
They told me what was right
Discernment floated our of sight
They told me things I was allowed to say
The soul of the nation was lost that day
They told me how to feel
It was a crime for me to kneel.

Dog Days Part 1 Rouser

Growing up we often heard that in July that it was the "Dog Days" and somehow we needed to be concerned that mad dogs would be out and about.  I never saw a mad dog growing up, but we did have Rouser.  He was part of the family before I was even born.  He was big and furry, like maybe a Shetland pony and a collie had been able to breed.  He had rust and white dingy fur.  Rouser was definitely not a "rebel rouser".  I am sure he barked if someone drove up, but in every other way Rouser was a gentleman and very much a family man.  He hung around the yard, never demanding attention but being appreciative of what was given to him.  Rouser was there to love us and he fulfilled his role.

We had three ways of locomotion as kids.  We had a tricycle, a small rusty red western flyer boys' bicycle and a big blue bicycle. Your ride depended on your size, expertise and the availability of the pedaled vehicle.   I am pretty sure the western flyer and the big blue bicycle were hand me downs from our cousin Jimmy.  I often feel sorry for people who grew up having the exact thing they asked for at Christmas or birthdays.  They have no stories to tell for the rest of their adult lives.  Our parents were never apologetic  as though they were depriving us. The tricycle and the bicycles cluttered up the back yard and were thrown down or leaned against a tree after the current rider grew tired of pedaling.  It was community property and we didn't have the nonsense where one kid had to go beg another kid if they could borrow their bicycle.

Linda my oldest sister, who is currently a professional driver, did not have a great start in her future career.  When she was learning to ride the big blue bicycle, she struggled with control.  One day as she was riding, she rolled right over Rouser.  I believe he must have studied the Sermon on the Mount because all he did was get up and move.  Linda ran right over him and he never growled, barked, or showed any signs of aggression.  He did not avoid her in future dealings, nor did he gossip to the other dogs in the neighborhood about her ill treatment of him.

Rouser is still better than me.  When someone runs over me, I struggle with letting it go.  There are still several people from my past that raise my hackles if I think about them a little too much.  But Jesus says that we are to love our enemies  and  we are to do good to those who spitefully use us.

The world is full of enemies.  It is full of people that want to steal from you, abuse you, lie about you, gossip about you and there are some who would be happy to even kill you.  They want to take every "right" that you have away.  We are not called to be sadist or masochist.  I do not willingly enter in those situations hoping that someone treats me badly.  But what are we called to do when that happens?  We are to love and to pray.  I believe it takes a supernatural work of God in order to do that. This is a huge struggle for me to live in the light of these words.

When the days get hard and the nights seem darker, this is going to be even more important.  Vengeance is mine says the Lord.  We know that in the true end of all things that judgment will come and sometimes even before the real end that vengeance is often mete out to a deserving party.  I can think of some horrific leaders in the last 75 years who came to a bad end.  But the scripture says that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.  We shouldn't either.  There are things at play right now, where I get some pretty good glimpses of what can potentially happen in the very near future.  It ain't a pretty sight.  The scripture is plain.  Either we repent or we are judged on our own merits.  We all deserve Hell, that real place that even Jesus spoke about.  Many of us have been shown amazing, wonderful, and undeserving mercies made possible through the death of our Savior Jesus.

Old Rouser, the true gentleman that he was walked off when his days grew short.  I think he went somewhere to die peacefully in the woods.  Rouser did what he could and for a dog, he loved us to the end.

This time period may be drawing to the close,  Let's do the right thing and love our enemies. Maybe we will even get to snatch some of them from the fire.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.  And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.
 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,  to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.


Monday, July 20, 2015

The Big Life

City Seed, Anderson,SC
Because Daddy farmed our small holding,  we often visited the FCX when I was a child.  They have long since gone out of business.  I loved the dimly lit store and the rough wooden floor.  The high wooden counters and the musty smell of the place.  There were five gallon buckets of  seeds, hand tools, and bags of fertilizer lining the aisles.  It was a wholesome place with random farmers and a collection of old men hanging around the wood stove talking about corn, beans, and politics.


Every year we would go and get a big box of biddies.  That would be baby chicks for those of you who aren't country bumpkins.

We brought them home and Daddy had a brooder that had two shelves.  He keep a light bulb for warmth and there were water containers with the bowls turned upside down that provided  fresh water.  I know that some of the chicks didn't make it and they were thrown in the old outhouse.  It was the reality of farm life.  Soon the chicks became layers and some went into cold storage in the freezer.

Grandma lived with us.  She was as gentle as she was tough and opinionated. Grandma was also the chicken butcher.  She would catch one and take it to the stump.  One clean chop with her hatchet and then she would let the chicken go.  It would flap around for awhile, thus we have the saying, "Running around like a chicken with your head cut off."  It literally means you are going nowhere fast.

Grandma would dip the chicken in boiling water to loosen the feathers and then pluck the bird.  The feathers she saved for pillows that she made with the classic striped tick pattern.  She cleaned the insides and then singed the bird to get rid of the pin feathers.  It was a horrible smell.  The bird was cut up and soaked in salt water to remove any blood.  Then it was fried in about seven pieces.  Grandma even cleaned the gizzard to fry as well as the liver.  The heart was used with the neck to make broth.  Nothing was wasted. The slaughter of the chickens was not part of a rock concert but because the family needed nourishment.

 Most people in that era were eyewitnesses to the whole process from baby chick to fried chicken on the plate beside the mashed potatoes and gravy. We now have a "just give me my chicken sandwich in my bag" mentality. Maybe it is more productive to have the divisions of labor, but I wonder if we do not lose the natural logical flow and the realities that should exist in our minds.

My parents and grandparents lived in a world with hands on reality. Their lives were seeped in family living situations that were dependent on each other for survival and for long term happiness.  In many ways they were also dependent on their neighbors, churches and communities.  Employment outside the home, government assistance, or special programs were not always readily available.  They did what they could to survive and to have a good life.  Because of necessity, they were also dependent upon an ongoing companionship with nature. Most had some kind of garden and practiced husbandry even if they lived in town.

Not so with our culture.  We can easily be estranged from family, neighbors and community. We are also estranged from the actual physical world that we live in. I think our estrangement can leave us with some very wrong conclusions about life.  We are technologically savvy, but ignorant in almost everything else.  Can you look at the sky and observe to know when it is going to rain or do you have to check your weather app.?  What if food was not available at your local restaurant or grocery store?  What would you do to survive long term?  Technology is great and I appreciate the amazing advances, but technology alone will leave us with a very inadequate understanding of most everything.

The older I get, the more reflection and introspection takes place.  We are a culture badly in need of wisdom, discernment, logic, and the sound principles of common sense.  We have lost touch with the realities of life and we have reached some false conclusions.  I can know almost instantly what has happened across the world but it is possible to miss the sorrow, pain or joy in the heart of someone dear to me.  Our technology can help us stay connected but it can also isolate us.  I can miss the people in my presence because I am trying to read what is written on social media.

I can watch a television drama or comedy and miss the drama and comedy in my own home.  Who cares what the talking head thinks, what does your spouse or your child or your friend think?  It is a struggle even for this person who grew up without all of the gadgets, I can only imagine the struggle for those who are young now.  Smart phones come out during events, we do not wait until the concert or sporting event is over.  Our fingers go fast as we scroll and our eyes focus on the flickering light, and all the while birds are flying across the sky, little kids are peeking at us with coy smiles,  the sky is putting on a light show and the wind is telling us secrets.

Grandma knew lots of secrets.  She knew the value and tenderness of life.  She knew the bigness of her God because she lived most of her life out in His big wonderful world.  She knew the pain of a fallen world where in order to survive, she butchered chickens.  She knew the difficulty, the joy and the wonderful rewards of maintaining a lifelong marriage and relationships with all of her grown children and their spouses. She was never wealthy by the world's standards, but she gained a heart of wisdom and one that knew how to practically love.  Her eyes, her heart, her big soft hands, and wrinkled thin skin lived a lot of life in a small world.  We have access to a big world, but in some ways we live very small lives.

Teach us to number each of our days
    so that we may grow in wisdom.














Thursday, July 16, 2015

America, The Beautiful



Someone told me of little store
So I grabbed my change and hurried out the door

Candy, chips and cherry soda pop
That great bounty would not stop

I stuffed myself until dusk began to fall
I hurried home so excited by it all

I happened upon my reflection as I walked in the door
My hair was thin, and the gray I couldn't ignore.

My house seemed different somehow
All was in shambles, ragged and tore.

My girls were dressed like hookers
And all my boys had draggy drawers

The shadows loomed as my heart began to ache
From this  phantom, I couldn't wake

How can it be this late
What happened at that store?

My treasures turned to dust 
And  whirled  across the floor.




Homegrown Tomatoes Don't Give Me Gas

My oldest sister came by yesterday.  She is home for a little awhile.  In her mid 50's she went to school to learn how to drive truck.  All over the country she has roamed for the last number of years.  She has loved seeing the shades of green in the Napa Valley, the miles of lonesome desert, the small towns in Texas, the Amish villages or any of the other sights of our great land.  She never would have had the opportunity to know our country like she does, if she hadn't had the incredible courage to take to the road.  I genuinely admire her.

She came around lunch time and so I offered her a home grown tomato sandwich, which is a more prized food choice for us than steak.  You can buy steak anytime of the year.  Garden grown tomatoes are only available for the season.  We were raised by country people who always had gardens.  To us, real food is vegetables and fruits.  When she is on the road, "real food" becomes more difficult to come by.  There are plenty of places to get burgers, fried chicken, and fries, but fresh tomatoes and cooked okra are a rarity.  When you have had the real stuff, the fake stuff just doesn't satisfy.

That is the way it is for your spirit and soul.  There are so many choices in our world.  I can watch almost any movie that has ever been produced, right here immediately available on my laptop.  I can watch episodes of any television program, listen to any song,  watch interviews,  read political analysis, read the current news, as well as scrolling through  all of the social media. For the most part, these choices are like potato chips.  It is readily available and pretty addictive, but there is not  much nourishment for genuine health or growth.  Chips taste great, especially the first few and then you just keep eating them because they are there, until the bag is empty and you are bloated.  With our media choices most of us ironically end up empty inside and bloated.

 Bloated is when you are full of a gaseous substance brought about by the rotting of a material that cannot be digested.  It is a pretty accurate description of a lot of our entertainment choices.  A bloated person full of gas is not going to be ready to face difficulty.  Friends we are no longer in Kansas, we have now entered the land of Difficult.  We no longer have the luxury of choosing the vain and profane to fill our souls.  We need  spiritual foot soldiers who are on the ready.  We need generals who can hear what the Spirit is saying so they know how we are to proceed in the battle.  We need a supply line of spiritually life giving speech from everyone who is part of the body.

We cannot do these things on the drivel that we take in on incessant basis. Wholesome entertainment that lets your mind rest from the weariness of life is not wrong and I even enjoy a bag of chips every now and then.  But it is time to get serious.  We are a rotted culture.  The stink that we give out is foul.  It it time to figure out what we need to take in that gives us life and spiritual health.

Let Christ's word with all its wisdom and richness live in you. Use psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to teach and instruct yourselves about [God's] kindness. Sing to God in your hearts. 



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rectitude

           


We live as much as we can live
In the evil day and in the good.

We love as much as we can love
Whether all do as they should

The world's a wild and woolly place
Safe in my heart my faith stands strong

The strife will cease and peace will come
And all the turmoil of this evil will be gone. 

It's Wedding Day


Last week,  I went to a wedding. The chapel was decorated and the wedding food made ready.  Meghan had a beautiful white dress.  Her hair and makeup were carefully done.  At just the right moment she stood radiant, with her arm linked with her dad, ready to walk down the aisle to meet Jake.

 Jake was already at the altar, with his heart and mind set on one intent.  He was going to marry his bride.  It was obvious that they both loved each other and were a bit giddy at the prospect of becoming husband and wife.

I doubt that Meghan waited until the morning of the wedding to see if she had anything to wear.  At some point since their engagement, she went shopping with her mom.  She tried on dresses, looking for just the right one.  She didn't choose a tattered and stained one.  It was a stunning dress, that fit her perfectly.  She didn't wait until it was almost time to walk down the aisle to get dressed.  I am sure that she and her bridesmaids spent quite a few hours in prep time.

The groom didn't wait either.  Jake pursued Meghan and wooed her .  He bought an engagement ring and proposed  in front of a crowd of people.  Nothing he did was in secret.  He bought a house.  He made plans for a honeymoon.  Jake was prepared and ready for the big day.

It was a beautiful ceremony.  All of the attendants, family members and friends witnessed the big event.  We knew that Meghan and Jake were committing their love and fidelity to each other for the rest of their lives together.

When the apostle Paul writes about the roles of marriage in the book of Ephesians, right in the middle, he says that he is speaking of a mystery about Christ and the church.  Well ok Paul, I thought you were giving practical advice about how to live in this world.

Over and over again the Bible presents the picture of marriage to describe the relationship between the true believing church and Jesus. The bride is the church and  the church is to be  prepared  just like a bride adorned for her wedding day. We are to be"without spot or wrinkle".    Our method of  cleansing is to be "by the washing of the water of the word".  Paul said that he was jealous for the church to be  a pure bride. 

I live in the US and my friends, most of us are not living pure lives.  We are not being washed in the Word.  We are being washed over by everything the world has to offer.  Instead of being cleaned up, we are being stained up.  We have to live in this world, but we do not have to wallow like a pig in this world and be caught up in everything.  I personally have to make choices about my time, my entertainment and my pursuits.  I am not the one to tell you the specifics of what to do.  I think each person must saturate themselves in the scripture.  No worries, if you pray on a regular basis and you read a lot of the scripture, then  you will know how to make yourself ready.

 The bridegroom has been preparing for a long time. Jesus is coming soon and His bride will wear white. If you are not preparing and have no desire to be ready, let's be honest here.  You are probably not a part of the bride.  On Meghan's wedding day, there were millions of girls dressed in casual clothes going about their business.  They were not the bride.  They were not dressed and prepared and they were not standing ready in the wedding chapel.  In fact, most of them didn't know Jake and they did not care about the events of the day.  Jesus is the bridegroom and His bride knows Him.  His bride looks forward to the wedding day and is busy getting herself ready.  She does not want to be ashamed when the day arrives.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Eye on the Sky

One glorious still morning in early summer when the dew was not yet dry, I  was praying in our old tent that is set up in the back of our property. A  Little Bird perched on the tippy top of the tent and sang his little heart out. I lay there enjoying the song. Little Bird sang because God commissioned him to fulfill his role in nature.  Unfortunately for Little Bird, when man disobeyed God in the garden, the whole of creation was drawn into the swirling pungent mess.   For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly... The human race is the culprit  who has brought trouble to the world. Little Bird is  not in rebellion to God, but Little Bird still has to operate in a very different world than the one he was created to live in.


 Evil in the world is a huge problem for many who clench their fists with the thoughts that no loving god would allow the evil that we have in our world.  I spend a lot of time thinking about my faith. Years ago I came to the conclusion that God had to exist based on the multitude of evidences in an ordered and complex universe.  I deduced that,  if I am a created being, then I cannot possibly be greater, or more loving or kinder than the One who made me.  I have to be less.

 I believe the Bible teaches that God has dealt with evil at the cross and He will one day make it all right.  From my own casual observations, man is still the one causing the vast majority of the suffering in the world.  Think what life would be like without war, murder, rape, violence, hate, uncontrolled rage, trafficking, oppressive governments, beheadings, nuclear weapons, child abuse, drug abuse and alcohol abuse.  Mankind left to himself will not create a utopia.  Every single civilization has followed steps to degeneration that ended horribly.  Mankind can have an abundance of food and a wonderful climate and will still be terribly violent and cruel.  So many people try to find different systems of government to make things equitable, but the leaders will always abuse and misuse the power they are given.  No system will be perfect because we now have the experiential knowledge of evil.

It is pretty gloomy stuff but my Little Bird has a longing deep in him.  It is a . ... hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  Little bird along with all of creation wants to be set free from the curse brought about by mankind.  For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.  The whole of creation is groaning and suffering wanting a new world where righteous dwells.  My personal opinion is that often God uses creation in a way that it was not meant to be used.  I believe He allows storms, earthquakes, volcanoes, and all manner of things.  I think He uses them to stymie the evil heart of man.  If mankind had no obstacles, he wouldn't do more good, he would just do more evil.

Some of mankind have turned from their rebellion.  They have made peace by the means of Jesus' death on the cross and they feel the groaning and suffering deep inside just like the rest of the creation.  Those of us who have accepted the terms of peace, now hate the evil in the world. It is a torment of the soul to know the injustice that man does.  But we like Little Bird now have joined the chorus of creation.  We long to be ultimately set free from the curse of sin as well.  So we  sing, "Come Lord Jesus come..."   I am looking for the One on the white horse. I am listening for a trumpet to answer my song.  Keep your eye on the sky!   "Come Lord Jesus, Come...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCwDtSFMjdw


Friday, July 10, 2015

Put Your Clothes On

Most of us have had the common dream where we are in public and not appropriately clothed.  It can be a most disturbing thought and one that can jerk me out of a sound sleep. There is a great little kid's book about an emperor who is tricked into paying for an expensive garment that only royalty can see and appreciate.  In reality, there is no garment and the emperor is walking around naked.   Kids get a real chuckle out of the story because of the irony that they are smarter than the king.  They know the emperor is acting like a fool and has been duped by his pride and arrogance.  The king doesn't have any common sense and he has surrounded himself with advisers who are just "yes" people.  The "yes" people influence the common people to go along for fear that they too will considered a fool. They are afraid to admit that they can't see the fine garments and so they all lie.  The king walks around naked and everyone is huddled together in their collective pride and unwilling to tell the truth of what they really think.  Finally a little child says that the emperor is naked.  The emperor realizes the truth, but he still keeps up the charade. It is such a great picture of our world today.

 Random polls are used as propaganda machines to advance societal change. Our opinions live and die based on the polls and political correctness.  Right now the country is in shambles over the gay marriage issue, gun rights, immigration. and racial tensions.  Never in my life have I witnessed so much internal turmoil in our nation.  Not only do we have the tension, but now we are not really allowed to dialogue about these things lest we are declared a hate monger.  I don't personally believe that the pundits or politicians are concerned about black rights, gay rights, immigrants or people impacted by gun violence.   The whole country has become pawns to be used and abused. As one of the most powerful nations in the world, we think we are rich and have need of nothing but in reality we are blind, naked, wretched and poor.

We are on the brink of totally destroying our ourselves.  Many of us are willing to give up our rights  in the constitution because we do not want to appear out of step with the majority.  For a civilization to survive, we  have to be able to project ideas into future circumstance and understand how our decisions right now will impact us and our children's future. If we continue on the present course, serious oppression is coming for our once great land.  Those same pundits and politicians that are pushing  a cause that benefits you or yours can turn on a dime and change their support.   Your cause means nothing to them.  You mean nothing to them. For them the hot buttons issues are just a way to garner support and leverage power.

The thing is, the pundits and politicians are pawns too. Many of them unwittingly or wittingly are in cahoots with the evil one. They don't realize that they are being manipulated as well and destruction is the ultimate goal for them.  All of mankind has an enemy.  He hates all people because we have been made in the image of God.  Our enemy is divisive.  He is a liar and the father of lies.  He is a murderer.  He comes to kill, steal and destroy.

I do not have the ability to save America.  I am not able to save my way of life.  I am not even able to protect my own life or the lives of those that I love.  I do not know which way things are going to roll. I am part of a different kingdom and my King  won the ultimate cosmic battle at the cross for the souls of men. The evil one is still duping people into believing that he,the defeated enemy, can give the satisfaction they want, and so a battle still rages on.  It is a battle of lies and truth.

We are all born in the evil one's camp, but eventually we have to change sides or we will be incrementally destroyed. There is Someone who loves you and cares about you.  He may not agree with your agenda or your cause, but He willingly gave His own life to demonstrate His commitment and love for you.  He will tell you the truth, the kind of truth that sets you free.  He offers forgiveness, wholeness and soul restoration.  He is calling those that belong to Him to come.

He is the good Shepherd.  He doesn't have an agenda for His own gain.  He is not like the leaders of our world who are selfishly seeking their own good at someone else's expense.  Jesus laid down His own life for the sheep.  He is still working and drawing people to come to Him and to take hold of all of the good that He has for each one who is willing to come to Him.

If you hear the call, go on and step on out in the light and say it with childlike faith, "The emperor is naked!"

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Broken Fingernails and An Empty Soul

I had to go by the auto parts store in one of the little towns near where we live.  On the outside it looks like  a sleepy little mill village. There are some beautiful two story houses that line the street and an old white wooden church.

 A slow moving river runs the outer limits of the town. We used to drive through this area years ago in order to shorten the distance from the interstate to my in laws. On the outside, it always looked somewhat enchanting.
  In reality it has a reputation for drug use and quite a few registered sex offenders.  The town is economically depressed with the gas station, grocery store, CVS, and the car title loan company doing the only booming business.

There are of course many decent hardworking people who live in the little town as well.  The folks working in the auto parts store change on a regular basis, but one thing that most of them share in common, is a slightly beaten down look.  Even the younger folks seem to lack the vitality that is usually associated with youth.

There is a small city  less than 20 miles away.  It has a great reputation and has received lots of accolades for being a terrific place to live and visit.  The downtown area is filled with hipsters, professionals, and tourists.  There are hotels, art museums, trendy coffee cafes, nicer restaurants and shops, a beautiful park with a bridge that spans that same little slowing moving river.

 It is the kind of place that makes one feel special just being there.  Most of the people look purposeful and are well dressed.  With a casual observation, one would say that the folks in the city appear more attractive and intelligent looking than the folks in the little town.

But when I really look at either group, my eyes see the same thing.  Most people are looking for love and significance.  We want someone to love us and be committed to us.  Many of our songs and our movies are all about love.  It is though we are starving inside as a culture.  Some of us want significance.  Either we want to make a lot of money or we want  power.  We want to matter.  If our movies aren't about love then they are about raw power or doing something meaningful with out lives. Most of us want both to some degree.

We fight, claw and sometimes even prostitute our souls.  Relationships in our culture are like revolving doors.  We say things in marriage vows like, as long as we love!  What in the world does that mean?  We stay in relationships as long as the sex is good and the other person doesn't make demands that make us uncomfortable at our own little altars of self worship.  Lying is no longer wrong in business or destroying another persons chance at success.  We will throw the paraplegic metaphorically back under the bus, if those things help us achieve our financial and career goals.

But we all live in a special room.  Most haven't caught on yet.  The room has just us and God.  In the end He is the One that we have to deal with.  We can spend our lives totally ignoring that He is in that room with us.  We can keep on doing it our way, clawing up the mountain until those kids who are babies grow up and claw past us.  The sexual highs will end and all of the stuff will grow old and out dated and we will ultimately lose all battles for significance.  In five years after we die, no one in the neighborhood will remember we lived there.  Our kids will sell or give away our stuff and our great grand kids will look at our goofy pictures and chuckle.

 God is still in that room and will be there your whole life.  What are you going to do about it? He is the only One who can offer what you really want. This life is your opportunity to come to know the One who created you. When your life ends, the offer ends.  Your life is just a vapor that passes away.  Jesus says, Come to me all who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. That fighting and clawing can get awfully difficult and I can guarantee that in the end, whatever you achieve in and of yourself will still be empty.   The deal is the same whether you come from  no where and have nothing or you live in the best part of town and have the most opportunity.

He is good and He is great.  



 


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Eternal Day


Summer evenings as a child we would stay outside as long as possible.  We did not have a television to draw us to inside entertainment.  We would sit on the front porch until way after dark.  The lightening bugs would be out.  Often we would catch them and place them in a quart jar.  We made holes in the lid and added grass at the bottom.  It was fun for us but probably not so much fun for the lightening bugs.  As the night grew darker, I could hear the whippoorwill bird making its' call.  For those who have never heard it.  It sounds exactly like the name.  Each syllable is punctuated by a slight pause.  Whip poor will!  Whip poor will!  Whip poor will!  Over and over it sings its' song as the darkness grows deeper. As a child, I did not like the darkness to close in and the whippoorwill only seemed to make it more foreboding.


There is another kind of darkness that seems to be creeping over the face of the world, but there is no whippoorwill announcing that the day has passed.  It is a spiritual darkness,  Truth grows dark, reasonableness grows dark, genuine civil behavior has grown dark. The natural affection in families is absent.  What is good is called bad.  Those who are evil have taken positions of authority and power. We live in an unsavory hour and many are deluded in thinking that they are standing with Frodo in the Shire but are really in cahoots with Sauron.  It is a day of great deception.

 It was predicted that as the end of time grew near that this would happen. In that sense, it is not shocking but  all of this still goes against my total being, for I am a child of the light.  I want no fellowship with any deeds of darkness.  I have been transformed by the One who is light, love and truth. Jesus came proclaiming of Himself, The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned."    He also said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  I personally have been rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of this  One who is also described in the Revelation as having  "the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald." 

We love adventure movies and fantasy but never think that we are in reality part of the great story.  But  we are part of the great story and there are main characters that we need to figure out.  What side of the battle are you personally a part.  It matters not what your lips say, but what your heart and your actions declare.

I can tell you who wins the final battle and I can tell you the end of the story. It is all described in the last chapters of the Book of Revelation.  I can't tell you the end of your own story though.  How your story turns out is dependent on who you are going to align yourself with right now.  If you want to be on the right side in the end then you must choose to love truth.  You must choose not to suppress truth in your own life and mind. There is One who is Truth and I believe He will reveal Himself to you if that is your desire.

                                   The sun will rise and morning will break into the eternal day
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