Waiting For Daylight

Once upon a time, I was a hunter.  These days I fish.  If I don’t want to clean fish, I just let them go, which is ninety-nine percent of the time.  When a person hunts, there is all sorts of cleaning, processing and cooking to do.  Then after you do all of that, you have to clean stuff up.  I hate cleaning.

The one thing I miss about hunting is sitting in the tree stand in the dark, early in the morning.

I sat in silence, almost always alone.  I’d settle in and try to not make a single sound.  I even tried to breathe more quietly.

There, in the dark, the woods came alive.  There were animals moving through the leaves that coated the forest floor.

I’d try to figure out what they were.  Maybe that one was a raccoon getting ready to call it a night.  Maybe that one was a coyote heading for wherever it is coyotes go.  Perhaps that noise was a turkey, stirring on its roost before it not-so-gracefully plopped itself down onto the ground.

I’d try to figure it out but I never knew what was going on around me.  It was dark.

Some mornings the darkness seemed like it would never end.  I’d sit, getting colder by the second, squinting through the darkness trying to see if there was somehow a bit of something I could make out among the shadows.

Then it would happen.

It was amazing every single time.

The sun would give a tiny bit of light and the shadows turned into gray ghosts, playing tricks on my eyes, making me think I saw things I wasn’t really seeing.  I would stare intently, trying to focus on those things in the distance but I just couldn’t quite make them out.

I tried to hurry the sun up above the horizon.  But it never hurried.  It came up right when it was supposed to.  Sometimes the rising was just a dull light that lit up the gray sky filled with clouds.  Other times it was a magnificent light show as its rays bounced off of things and flooded the day with color.  At other times, it just made a spectacular solo appearance as a ball of bright light that burst into the morning sky.

That light turned the shadows and the gray ghosts into trees, fields, fences and wildlife.

That is what I miss about hunting.

I think I might give it a go again minus my gun or bow.  Maybe not, since I’d have to get up before breakfast to do it.

John 3:19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.

Here is something I need to always remember.  I sat in darkness.  I was cold and everything I heard was mysterious and threatening.  I couldn’t see anything.  The rustling in my mind turned into great big monsters wanting to devour me.  I couldn’t see them.

Then the light came.

It blazed upon the things that I feared.  It shone light on the monsters that turned out to be not scary at all.  In fact, they were just the shadows of things that can’t even move toward me.

The things I was afraid to see, once seen, were powerless.

I need to always step into the light when I am afraid.  There is nothing there to hurt me.  There is only an awesome dawn of a new realization that I am far too afraid of things that have no power over me.

I need to greet the dawn of each new day with expectation of the unexpected, excitement that I can see what was once invisible and the beauty of life stepping out of darkness into God’s glorious light.

It is about sun up now.  Enjoy this day.

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Why Do I Do That Stuff?

One thing about people with addiction that I have seen over the years is, they usually don’t know why they do the things they do.

Once I saw that, I began to see it in other people.  They don’t know why they do the things they do.

Clearly, we all do wrong and we all (protest if you must but I will guarantee you do, too) keep doing it.  Oh, we may stop doing this or that but often we must substitute a lesser wrong for a big one.

I guess you call that baby steps.

Baby steps are good but as I grew older and my legs grew longer, I had to stop taking baby steps.  Just doing things less wrong yet not right was not for a big full-grown man.  It became time to take big full-grown man (I’m talking about me here, you ladies should not behave like full-grown men, there are quite enough of us running around mucking things up) taking big steps that babies can only dream of taking.

God doesn’t bring from death to life to crawl and toddle through the rest of my life.

He brings me to take big steps and that involves coming to big realities in my life that I did not know existed.  That means I have to figure out why I do dumb stuff, wrong stuff, evil stuff and just plain start doing more things right in the first place and going back to try and fix things a lot less.

The problem is that when I look back to attempt to see why I do the things I do, it is clouded by guilt, shame, pain, hurt and all sorts of other stuff that I’d rather not deal with.

Not dealing with it, though, means it is always there.  It doesn’t just go away over time.

Until someone suggested (told me and assumed I would go) I attend a step study at Celebrate Recovery, I was blasting away at the bad things in my life pushing them far enough out of the way that I could take one more baby step.

After a lot of pushing and shoving I was basically right where I started, just on the other side of the room.  Recovery was wearing me out and I was pretty tired of the whole thing.

John 2:25 No one needed to tell him about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart.

No one needs to tell Jesus what is in our hearts.  He knows.

He knows when I doubt him.  He knows that I think evil thoughts, that I lust for things I shouldn’t, that I am crying inside and don’t understand why, that I feel like exploding and letting the carnage happen.

That used to scare me.  God knows how bad I really am.  He KNOWS.

He can’t love me.  I must be defective and not useful at all.  I’m lost.

Oh, but even as Jesus roamed this planet, he knew every man.  He knew their hearts.  He knew the evil, the decadence, the unworthiness and the hopelessness.

Yet, he went through with it, loved us, died for us, made a way for us, even though no man deserved it, not one!

So, there is no fear in knowing that Jesus knows.   He has proven that he loves all of mankind and like it or not, I are one (I know that is bad grammar but I think it sounds funny if you say it out loud).

I sat down in that Celebrate Recovery step study, I went to the town of  “Why” with some strangers, a friend and the one that knows my heart.  We dug around and found out that I am not just some evil person randomly doing acts of treachery, deceit, violence and lust.

I learned to push aside the curtains of guilt and shame and go past the point I made bad decisions and became a victim of my own actions.

Yeah, I learned a little bit about how I think and how to recognize when that thinking is going off the rails.  I learned to spot when depression was taking over my reality.

Oh, there are lots of things I still have to learn.  But, I am learning a lot about why I do the things I do and that helps a LOT to keep me from doing them in the first place and not spending all my time trying to fix everything I have broken.

There’s a lot more time to smile, a lot more time to feel peace, a lot more time fixing a problem head-on rather than trying to fix it by worrying.

It is hard.  Lots of people quit when the curtains of guilt and shame close in on them.  But if we persevere, those curtains are torn down and burned in the fire of redemption.

What’s Happening in the Temple?

There was a time that the temple (which is not to be confused with the church), was a symbolic, if not literal, dwelling place for God.  People needed animals and stuff for sacrifices and rituals.  During the big holidays when the temple was busy, I kind of imagine it to be like Black Friday when Passover rolled around.

When things are busy and there is some sort of demand, I suppose there’s no getting around the nature of man to make a quick buck.  So stalls were set up around the temple where folks could buy what they needed for there journey into the temple area.

Some scholars believe that getting a bigger showroom to make sales on price-gouging deals needed more space so the wheeling and dealing was taking place, not just outside the temple area, but inside as well.

When Jesus came to visit, this activity did not set well with him.

John 2:15 Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. 16 Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!”

Imagine the first time you witness Jesus, there is fire in his eyes as he drove the people out of the temple, swinging a bundle of ropes around and shouting.

He seemed outnumbered but they left.  They didn’t resist him and have a bunch of men restrain him and toss him out onto the street laughing at him.

John 2:18 But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.”
19 “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20 “What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” 21 But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said.

I’ve heard this passage of scripture used as an excuse for Christians to climb on their judgmental high horse and say, ” If Christ can do it, so can I.”

Of course, most folks aren’t willing to do everything Christ did, just what satisfies their lust for superiority or sin.

But JESUS was calling himself the temple and he was drawing the corruption that man had brought into the religious experience out of a man-made temple and into a different kind of temple.

So, if I want to do what Jesus did, I have to look inwardly, into this temple that God now dwells in.  I have to get fighting mad about what I have allowed to go on in me, the thievery, the dishonesty, the selfishness, all the things that should not be where God dwells.

I need to develop a sense of urgency, not one that looks at things and figures I’ll eventually grow out of my sinful nature.  I need to do something about it right now.

I’m sure the money changers were right back inside the temple the very next day, maybe even moments after Jesus departed.  But the command made by God was still valid.

So, even though, I drive those things out and they return, I need to drive them out again.

It may not look like a fiery-eyed, whip toting man chasing my demons out.  It may be a humble and prayerful spirit that continuously turns to God over and over again.  After all, Jesus said that the temple should be a house of prayer.

Is my temple a house of prayer?  Not exactly.  It is a house of self-sustenance and occasional prayer.  When I look at it in the mirror, I can see tons of ways it can do better.

I guess my point is, none of us has quite made it to where we ought to be.  Pointing fingers at everything around us when we ought to be cleaning out our own temple isn’t going to make us better people.

I reckon I should not save spring cleaning for after I finish an inventory in a step study or when conviction overcomes me.  I think spring cleaning might be a daily thing.  Never put off till tomorrow what God commands me to do today.

Back to Work

Oh, so here I am, the holidays are over and I am about ten pounds heavier than I was before.  That’s just a guess-timate but I know the button on my britches is harder to do and I don’t believe it is because my fingers are weaker.

There was a lot of feasting, followed by grazing and then nibbling and afterward, falling asleep.

But I didn’t just eat.  I spent time with family.  In my family, I consider that a good thing.  I know a lot of families that really get stressed when they all get together.

But today, it is back to work.  I don’t put much stock in the whole new year thing but it does affect me in some ways.  At work here, I am spending money on a different year with a fresh budget.  It really doesn’t affect me a lot.  I spend what I have to spend and leave the numbers to other people.

There’s a new incentive at work.  They encourage me monetarily to join a gym.  I haven’t been going to the gym for a few years.  I quit when my rotator cuff tore.  It’s hard to work out with a jacked up shoulder.

So, I have steadily gotten more soft and out of shape.

I guess that means I am going to fight the crowds flocking to the gyms to sign up at one close to work and my house.  Look out, people!  I’m taking this large belly to the gym.

I wouldn’t tell you all but I want to be accountable to someone.  Feel free to ask me how the gym thing is going.  It may be what convinces me to get in there and start a good sweat.

You know, I’ve been avoiding going to the gym and getting all tired and sweaty because, well, I guess sometimes I think it is just unnecessary.  But just yesterday, I was doing some framing to finish my basement and I was all hot and sweaty and huffing and puffing, wondering why something so simple was wearing me out.

Then it hit me.  Working out when it isn’t necessary makes it easier to do what is when the time comes.

I think I’m a lot like that with my faith.  I don’t take it to the gym and give it a good workout and when things get really bleak and tough, it seems so abnormally weak and frail.

Working hard on my relationship with God when I feel I don’t need him makes my relationship stronger when I do.

So, I think I am going to attempt to tie this taking care of my body in with taking care of my spirit.  God knows, they both need some activity to get them into shape.  I shouldn’t feel like I am going to collapse into a pile of Jell-O whenever I swing a hammer or get a little tempted and tried.

I hope this year is off to a good start for you.  If it is, be grateful.  If it isn’t, be grateful anyway.  Maybe you are being whipped into tip-top condition.

Time to Drop the Yet

I’ve often heard said, “God has never failed me yet.”

I’ve done a little digging to see if that exact phrase is in God’s Word because it troubles me a little.

It didn’t trouble me in the past.  It was easy for me to say, “God hasn’t failed me, yet he might.”

I was a little weak in the faith category and I must confess I still am, although exponentially stronger than I once was.  I was more of a God has kind of failed me, but maybe not, but he still might, I totally doubt him kind of semi-believer.

Oh, I believed that he had done great things.  He probably didn’t do those things for me.  I believed he had sent his son to die for my sins.  And maybe it was enough to cover my sins, maybe not.

But, I doubted he was engaging with me in any sort of personal way.

So, I gave in and I kind of tested God.  There were a lot of times I felt he had failed me.  Maybe you haven’t ever felt that way but I sure have.  I have shook my fist at the sky and mumbled, grumbled, shouted and wept in the aftermath of what surely must be the failings of God.

But as time marched on, purpose emerged from the pain.  Power burst forth out of weakness and faith became immovable bedrock that my relationship with God was built upon.

But still, I uttered the words, “He has never failed me…yet.”

Yet, I may do something so bad, so wrong, so awful, so big that God’s love cannot climb it let alone cover it.

Yet, I must doubt because I am from the Show-Me State where we have to see it to believe it.

Yet, I cannot comprehend that there exists love that is unconditional.

Those three little letters…Y-E-T, they are starting to bug me.  I really feel like it is time to drop them from my faith, from my thoughts, from the words I sing, from the affirmations of faith in God alone.

God’s love has NEVER failed me.

There is no need to place a disclaimer on the end of the sentence.  There is no reason to allow myself a shadow of a doubt.  There is no need to imply conditional love.

His love will never fail me.  His promises will never fail me.  His word will never fail me.  His strength will never fail me.

He will NEVER fail me…period.

Psalm 109:26 Help me, O Lord my God!
Save me because of your unfailing love.

He is unfailing.  He will always be unfailing.  He has always been unfailing.

I need to hang on to this and drop the “yet”.  I need to take that next big step that roots doubts and fears out of my heart and stand up, stand strong and know that no matter how bleak things look, how ugly the future may seem, how tough today may be, God has already not failed.  He has already won the victory.

I do not need to doubt what has already been done.

He will never fail me.  My faith is in the right place.

 

And She’s Buying a Stairway to Heaven

I remember getting the sheet music to Stairway to Heaven and bringing it home to learn to play it on my guitar.  It didn’t sound right.  The sheet music was written for piano and it didn’t sound like the Jimmy Page version.  Later, I learned to play it for guitar and it still didn’t sound like Jimmy Page.

I got tired of trying to sound like Jimmy Page and developed my own style.  Everyone told me they could hear some Jimmy Page in my playing.  Go figure.

Back to the sheet music, it had the piano notation and also they lyrics.  Mom sat down and read the lyrics (which I thought were really cool lyrics).

“Whaddaya think, Mom?”

She said, “Sounds like someone that wants to sound spiritual but doesn’t know how.”

You know?  For all the cool ways the lyrics flowed, for all the nice rhythm, for the beautiful way they rode the melody on a long journey from note to note, they really made no sense.

There’s no buying a stairway to heaven.

It took me a while to realize that this not only applies to a monetary pass into the pearly gates but it also applied to any other pass to the streets of gold.

There was no list of things to do to buy my way in.  There was no sacrifice, no magic spell, no image to uphold, no mountain to climb, nothing I can possible manufacture to buy my way in.

Only Jesus can buy my stairway to heaven.

John 1:51 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”

He alone has made a way for me to get to heaven.

So, just as there’s no buying my way into heaven, through Christ, no rap sheet of sins I’ve done, no disbelief from my past, no amount of evil I have succumbed to, nothing, NOTHING can overcome the way Christ has freely given.

No down payment, no problem.  Christ paid it ALL!  Every bit of it.  I am not in debt of any kind.

I’m not motivated to serve him because I OWE him something, that I can somehow pay him back for what I did.  That’s impossible.

I serve him because of who he is and who he is transforming me to be.

If I look at my service to him as paying off a debt that I owe him, as returning a favor, I’ll quickly become overwhelmed by futility.  I can’t do it.

But the stairway he has purchased for me by paying my debt, leads me home even if I stumble I won’t come tumbling all the way back to my old self.  Even if I believe I have fallen and am walking the same ground I used to walk when I was in sin, I am not.

He will catch me, even if I don’t want him to.

Mom was right, that song is trying to be spiritual without knowing how.  Unfortunately, a lot of Christians are doing the same, striving away, not to serve God because they want to be like him but trying to pay off a debt that cannot be repaid.

I guess that’s why so many Christians don’t sound very Christian.  Their emphasis is on paying a price, not being like Christ.  I’ve been that way.  Sometimes, I still am.

But today, I’m not buying anything.

What Bugs Are Best For Breakfast?

If I had all the resources I could imagine, I reckon this blog would get some real promotion.  I’d advertise it, sponsor big events, start a big campaign to get the brand out there, maybe pull some crazy publicity stunt like giving live turkeys to people from a helicopter.  I’d pull out all the stops.

That’s what I would do to get a message out that was really important.

But God did it different.  He chose a guy that ate bugs and didn’t really make a positive fashion statement.

So, if you see a crazy looking guy that eats bugs and wears animal skins, don’t just discount what he has to say.  He may be speaking a message we all need to hear.

To be completely honest here, I’m probably NOT going to listen to a bug guy if I run across one.  Yes, I’m that judgmental.

But people were getting prepared for something completely different.  The religious leaders of the day wore big, tall hats and blingy robes that set them apart from the working class folks.

I think God was sending a message (in more ways than one) through John the Baptist.  He was shouting out that religion was about to not only sound different, it was about to look different.

It was stepping down from its high perch in the temples and synagogues, stepping down below wealth and status, stepping down from everything that looks like church and into the realm of the lowest of the low, those who needed it most.

John 1:10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. 

Yeah, the locust chomping, shabbily dressed guy from the wilderness was getting people ready for what the world wouldn’t see, who Israel would reject.  The outcast was announcing the coming of another outcast.

I’m pretty sure I would have sent a spectacular angel that could broadcast around the world the blazing message of the coming Christ.  I’d have put some real credibility in the coming of the Messiah.  I’d have struck people down with the awe and humongous impact of the impending revolution that was going to rush over the church.

But John preached a message, a man fitting to announce the baby born in a lowly stable to two regular old parents, conceived by an invisible God that requires faith, not in angels or the virgin Mary, not in big productions to build anticipation, not in people that make spiritual laws, not in what has been, but in what can be, what God will do and where God will take us.

Well, I have said a lot here about what happened a long time ago.  But this is what I want you to remember after reading this:  God wants to use you, even if you have three eyes, bad skin and one leg is longer than the other, even if you dress like you put your clothes on in the dark, even if your voice sounds like a cartoon character.

You don’t need a fancy suit, slick words and big hair to spread the good news.  You only need a heart that has been re-born and re-made with the hand of God.  Even if you eat bugs, God will use you if you are willing and his spirit will work through you.

God needs the people that need him most, the people whose lives he has saved, the people that see things a little different than the people that follow glamour, glitz and style over substance.

So, as we wander into another year, know that God needs you to do more, to be more, to proclaim the good news, to be a voice in the wilderness that recognizes the God that lives among us.

 

 

Last Year Part Two

Christmas is over.  I’m sure you already knew that and are probably a little disappointed that you stopped and read something you already knew.

Well, here’s something else you already knew unless you are extremely chronologically challenged.  A new year is fast approaching.

It seems like just yesterday we celebrated New Year’s day.  Actually, no, it seems like yesterday we celebrated Christmas but it honestly doesn’t feel like New Year’s Day was nearly a year ago.

I guess time flies when you are having fun, or not having fun, or just miserable.  Time flies.

I can look back on this past year and tell you, I did NOT make the most of it.  There were days depression stole from me, days I just didn’t take advantage of the time I was given, days I was sick or tired or both.

There were a lot of good days.  But there were plenty that could have been better.

I like to point my finger at bad things that happened and there were plenty of them.  I like to point out that I suffer from depression and I’m not supposed to be a smiling bowl of cheer.  I like to say, “You gotta take the bad with the good.”

The truth is I get in a rut.  I get out of bed, go to work, come home and take care of some task that I can’t get out of doing, watch something on the television, check my phone for texts, messages and social media, then go to bed.

The next day becomes yesterday part two, followed by yesterday part three…blah, blah, blah.

Then, at the end of the year, I look around for ways to make the next year better.  I hope my health is better, that others’ health is better, that I don’t experience loss, that I make lots more money, that I lose weight, that I go to the gym, that I grow and become a better man.

Then comes last year part two.

All those things that I hoped wouldn’t happen again, happen again.  All those things I wanted to do, I don’t…again.

After a few months I find that time has slipped away behind me and nothing has really changed.  I’m just living last year all over again.

I find that I am trapped in a never-ending repetitive cycle like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

It is no wonder I am tempted to do the wrong thing, to break the cycle by making some different result happen at some point in time.

Well, no matter who I am, what kind of will-power I have, how much intestinal fortitude I can muster up, what form of self-discipline or motivation I can prop myself up with, I am doomed to repeat whatever my past has been unless I do one thing.

I have to change today.  Today is the day.

I’m a notorious procrastinator.  I suspect that is true of mankind in general.  Why do today what can be put off until tomorrow?

Because if it doesn’t get done today, it won’t get done.

Sure, things may be easier to do when life is less hectic, less painful, less cold, less hot, less of whatever it is that makes taking a step in the right direction, up out of that rut easier.  But there will be a thousand other things I can do then, too.  They are things I’d rather do, things more fun, things easier.

So, here I sit.  Looking back at this year and all the things I should have done over the last year, the last decade, trying to look forward at not just living last year part two all over again.

There are a half-dozen things I have put off for whatever reason.  Things that are just chores around the house or time spent with others or real work on my spiritual being that I have put off.  Individually, they are minute and meaningless but undone and combined, they create another dull, boring year that leaves me wanting more.

I’m not going to make a New Year’s resolution.  But, I am going to make a New Day’s resolution to find one thing, one thing that I feel I don’t have time for today, one thing I’d rather leave for another day, one thing that picks me up out of this rut and complicates things a bit.

Tonight, when my head hits the pillow, I want to fall asleep on the memories of a day where my routine was messed up by creating a little chaos by picking that dusty task or forgotten person off the shelf and doing something I should have done long ago.

This has been a bit of after-Christmas rambling today.  Now and then I just need a day to ramble and discover what I’ve had lying beneath the surface that I didn’t even realize was there.  It is one of the reasons I tell everyone to write.  Sometimes my fingers tell me more than my brain can.

Have a great day and maybe, just maybe, make the time to do something that should have already been done.  It is a real rut-buster.

I’ve Been Here

Here we are, the last piece I’ll write before Christmas.

I’ve reached this point in life sixty times, zooming up on the Christmas holidays.  I’ve been a baby that had no clue it was Christmas and the memories, if any, are buried deep within the cravings for food and a clean diaper or a nap.

I’ve been here in anticipation of Santa, hoping that I wasn’t on the list I deserved to be on.

I’ve been here doing school plays, dressed up like candy canes, shepherds, Joseph or just about any other people from the nativity except for Mary or a wise man (I wonder why I was never chosen to be a wise man).

I’ve been here frantically searching through a house with limited space to hide presents, to find and make sure that what I expected for Christmas lined up with what I actually got.

I’ve been here dashing about in crowds doing all my shopping at the absolute worst possible time, trying to buy impressive gifts with a minute amount of time to get them home, wrap them and appear to have finished my shopping weeks ago.

I’ve been here hoping that I can just survive the holidays, hoping that this anxiety and depression will leave me alone for just a little while so that I can force a smile or two in front of friends and family.

I’ve been here self-medicating my hidden fears and pain, looking for a way to find a spark of this joy that is supposed to be for all the world.

I’ve been here, praying that everyone would just go away, praying I could find some comfort in loneliness that never came.

I’ve been here, running to hide as often as I could to make my own version of chemical reaction that erases my faults, gives me some fake feeling of euphoria, some false sense that everything is going to be OK.

I’ve been here trying to make Christmas special for my kids and my family, wanting it to be more than was possible but never satisfied that it was enough.

I’ve been here through a lot of times.  I guess it would be foolish to try to list all sixty times I have been here.  It would probably get mighty boring for you to read, too.

But, I’ve been here and I have had expectations and wishes and hopes, dreams and desires, need and despair, tears and laughter, friendship, family and solitude.

I’ve been here and I’ve learned a lot about what holidays are not.  They are not magical recipes to cure me and my ills, they are not about songs that are the answer to the things that crush my spirit.  They are not a substitute for hard work building relationships.  They are not the solution to my puzzling feelings and behaviors.

They are a time to plant seeds.

This barren winter day, just after winter solstice, is an opportunity to start something small, to place something in the bare ground that will be waiting when I arrive here again next year.

See, all these times I have been here before, all these things I have experienced or brought to pass, all this I have carried into these days, most of it won’t matter one day.  Most of it will blow away like the few dried and withered leaves on my front lawn.

1 Corinthians 13:13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

I’m here for the sixtieth time, with an open heart, laid out before anyone that cares to see the scars and failures, the growth and successes, the sorrow and joy, gazing at the seeds I have planted in recent years, seeds my parents planted, seeds my grandparents planted, seeds that have taken root and grown into things that last forever.

If Christmas has often been a time of hurt, frustration and disappointment, don’t try to just turn it all around in one day like some corny Hallmark movie would lead you to believe is possible, plant some seeds for next Christmas.  Plant some things that last forever.

And the greatest of these is love.

 

 

 

High-sounding Nonsense

Going to do a re-blog today. I’m kind of needing this one myself.

New Hope for Dry Bones

We are getting to the point in these days and times that a lot of people are telling us what to believe and how we should believe it. It is easy to get confused. Christians are getting confused as well. I’m no genius or anything but I think that a lot of the problem is that Christianity that doesn’t embrace the Bible as God’s holy word is going to struggle to be consistent…a lot.

I had read all of the Bible when I was younger and thought that since I had done so, that I understood it all and didn’t need to read it again. I had it all right here in my hard noggin.

After a while I remembered God’s Word out of context or incorrectly or just ignored it altogether in order to make religion fit the way I wanted to live. I had one problem after another…

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