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Saturday, December 25, 2010

"That's what I did..."


“...But I never did promise [it] to you specifically.”
“I noted that.”
“I just asked you to...?”
“Fight.”
“Mhm.”

.
.

“What am I supposed to do? Fight for someone else's trophy?”

.
.
.


“That's what I did.



Merry Christmas...”









______________________________________________

Thus ended the little "dialog" between the Eternal Weight of Glory and a tired soldier feeling more like a little boy in his cold, dark room on the eve of Christmas.
But not because there was no more to say. 
Because there was too much to think about...
Ahh, matchless condescension. 
Matchless abdication of rights.

Matchless benevolence.
To give the best and brightest of your talents, the bulk of your time, the vital force of your life for someone else's gain, asking absolutely nothing in return other than the honor of giving...

That is the spirit of Christmas.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Australia

Home. 
A strange mix of happy and sad I’ve never felt before...
Try loving, and praying, and preaching, and crying for souls... 
And being loved by them, and then saying goodbye knowing there’s a good chance you will never meet again on this side of the gates of pearl. 
Oh, I know.
I’ve done it before too. But this time was different. 
A part of me is still in Australia. 
And that part of me will never come home.
Maybe it was relinquishing claims to those hearts and hands 
to trust them to the grip of One infinitely stronger and wiser...
Or maybe it was just realizing how small I am...
Or maybe it was something else...
Whatever the case, it makes my heart burn for Heaven.
Oh, let’s be faithful dear friends...
I want to meet you on the other side.














Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thinking of Thanking...

While we're here still thinking of thanking...
You know what I'm most thankful for?

Lifetimes.

Times to share life... With those around my same breakfast table, and way, way beyond.

We'll be on the road again tomorrow (here we come, mates!) but before we off, I thought I'd share a few smiles from the last few weeks... 


Utah: Rendezvous with old colleagues, and a good workout...



(...and smiles in the shade)




Michigan: Ministry, and beloved old stomping grounds




I grew up back here...




(And the old swing is still there, 12 years later.)




San Diego: Speaking at AMEN Conference




East Tennessee: Another friend's wedding... :)








This time of life is unspeakably rich... 



We're treasuring the moments.
And the promises. :)

_______
________________________
_______




Next stop: Australia...







Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving...

I have this little theory: 

Remembrance is the better part of Thanksgiving.

It's far too easy to say "thank you" for the blessings in front of our eyes, 
while forgetting the sacrifices that purchased them for us. 

I'm pretty sure when the pilgrim fathers sat down to that first feast, 
their thankfulness for the provision was sharpened by their
memories of starvation.

(as indeed, they ate within sight of the graves of more than half of their original number)

It would be well for us to remember...

...remember smiles as well as tears. 

And be thankful for them both.



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Glory of Heaven?

Not a trillion        sinless angels.
Not a thousand miles of golden streets.
Not a million crowns under construction.
Not the angelic anthems of peace.
Nor the anthems of war.
Not perfection.
Not light.
No. 


None of these things.

“The glory of Heaven is lifting up the fallen...”*
Loving the unlovely.  Making people new.
                                                                         Beautiful.
                                                                                           Perfect.

Thank you, Jesus...
“His glory is His children’s good,
  His joy, His tender Fatherhood...”
*COL 386


Monday, November 22, 2010

Love is Life...

When we get to Heaven, come find me in the library at the University of the Universe...
I'll be studying two things: 


Love, and music...




"Love is oneness-- oh, how sweet
   To obey this law,
The unlovely we may meet
  Need our love the more.
Make us one, O love, we plead
With men's sorrow and their need.


We are one in needing love,
  (Let us true love show)
Only love's sun from above
  Makes our spirits grow.
'Love us!' this is our heart's need,
'Let us love' --and live indeed!


We are also one in this, 
  We must love or die,
Loving others is true bliss,
  Self-love is a lie!
Love of self is inward strive, 
Love turned outward is true life.


Let us love and fruitful be,
  Love is God's own breath,
Love will kindle love and see
  New life born from death.
Nowhere is a heaven more sweet
Than where loving spirits meet."


Mountains of Spices: pages 46-47 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Brightest Stars...

Sitting on the futon in my office wrapped in a blanket, and staring out glass french doors at the birth of another frosty morning, I am intrigued--
One by one the lights of heaven --suns burning bright and hot in their places lifetimes away-- go out. The promise of another blue sky reaching farther and farther west washes them from remembrance, at least for today.
But one remains. It’s not the largest, hottest, or whitest... In fact, it’s not a star. 
But that’s ok. It’s the brightest.
Now my eyes and my heart turn back to my office, my morning, my life.
There are plenty of “bright stars” in life’s night sky. 
But those who shine brightest and longest have no light of their own. They’re simply reflectors. 
We’re no stars anyway!
But that’s ok. As long as He can shine brightest through us...
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure... That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.
Philippians 2:13, 15



Sunday, November 14, 2010

There'll Be More Leaves Next Year...

Stepping out into the 7-degree morning reminded me--
Seasons come, and seasons go. 
As I stood there sniffing air so cold it tickled from my nose to my throat, I thought of something...
The change of seasons is really a constant cycle of life, growth, and total surrender. 
I’m reminded of Bigger Dreams.
But this time the focus is a bit different. 
Because before the young tree can hope to grow taller and stronger, and spread more leaves to the sky, it must first let go of everything it has. 
Everything it has worked so hard for. 
The very current of it’s life...
Every leaf must fall, to make way for a brighter tomorrow. 
Those who don’t, might not have a tomorrow.
I’m somewhat a Michigan native, and I remember many times when the snow or ice came before the trees had made their total surrender. Too many of those trees never saw another spring... 
Seasons come, and seasons go. 
In life, and in the weather. 
So while I await the unfolding of the next season of my life, my duty is clear:
Readiness. Willingness. Surrender.
There’ll be more leaves next year.









Friday, November 12, 2010

Don't Even Think of Failure.

This is triumph in three words: 
“exceeding abundantly above” 
(Ephesians 3:20)
Let those words sink in, because this is the Power that makes us strong. 
And there’s nothing higher. 
Think about it. Visualize it. 
If it had been written abundantly high, there could still be a higher. 
Strong could always be outdone by stronger or strongest...
But from above, there’s simply no way to go but down.
We serve a superlative God. 
“But when we give ourselves wholly to God and in our work follow His directions, He makes Himself responsible for its accomplishment. He would not have us conjecture as to the success of our honest endeavors. 
Not once should we even think of failure.
COL 363



Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Light and a Song.

A friend’s blogpost just reminded me--
My life is to be “a praise and a glory.” (COL 288.2)
Or as I like to think of it, a light and a song.
I love that word picture... 
But this morning as I was devouring Ephesians, it got even more beautiful. 
1:12 tells me that we who trust in Christ are not to be just any praise and any glory... 
We exist to be the praise of His glory...

So make that: 
My broken little life--
His light. His song...

Now I really love that word picture.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

More to Give. Much more...

It was a simple little lesson... Brought to me by the most gracious people I have ever met. But it stirs me even now--
He or she who has lost, and yet loved, may indeed have less to lose... 
But also unspeakably more to give. 
I have learned that gentleness, selflessness, real warmth and grace are seldom owned in their depth by those who have not tasted sorrow. 
They are trophies won in the face of pain and loss.  
But they make their possessors the richest, most beautiful people in the world...

So, to my new friends-- 
Your love through loss has been the gain of thousands...
Thank you.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Please...

I have never heard anyone pray like that... 
He was a stranger to me, a seasoned gentleman of years. But his prayer sent chills up and down my spine. 
And it wasn't because he chose words of special depth or gravity. A child would have prayed as such. It was the way he said one word: please.
I wish you had been there to hear it, because I hardly know how to make it graphically representative. We were praying together, just he and I and one other in a room full of Doctors all doing the same thing.
But when he asked for the Holy Spirit, he didn't ask like we normally do.   
He begged as though his heart would break. As though he would die without it... 
"Please-- 
Pleeeeeeease..."


I stand not as a judge of the hearts of men, but if I have ever been sure of anything, I am sure of this: If anybody gets the Holy Spirit, he will. 

"If you will find time and voice to pray, God will find time and voice to answer."



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Against All Odds...


I have just 4 words--

Faith is the Victory.


And Faith is simply Trust, plus Obedience.




Thursday, August 12, 2010

Simple Gospel

Here's the simple gospel according to the saltshaker.


Herein is Love.
Jesus, shake me up, and pour me out...


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