Going Dark

Tags

, , , friends, , , , , mission team,

IMG_0576My wife and I walked into a restaurant at around 3:00 PM Saturday afternoon right before a huge storm hit the area. Just as we entered, all the lights went dark. Power outage. We went ahead and sat down and ordered drinks and chips and ate them in the dark while we waited for power to return. After about 45 minutes we spoke to the manager who informed us that it might be several hours before power was restored; we decided to give it up and come back later. So we returned around 6:30 and enjoyed the meal we had intended to have at 3:00. The manager told us the power had come back on about 5 minutes after we had left. Go figure ……….

All this to say ………. this blog is going to go dark for a while, or at the very least there won’t be stories posted everyday. I am in the process of moving from one home to another and right on the heals of that I am leading a mission team to Mexico. So unfortunately, time is limited. I will be writing some in the interim and posting occasionally but I don’t expect to post daily stories. I might repost some tales from last fall. In the meantime, you’ll have to survive on drinks and chips. The full course meal won’t be available until later.

Thanks for your prayers and understanding. I hope to be back to normal at the end of July.

Grace and peace!

Oh, and keep that coffee flowing ……..

Mugs up!

Who Changed The Rules?!!

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , rules, , words

pocket knife

I carried a knife in my pocket exactly like the one in the picture from elementary school until I turned 41. It was something I learned in Boy Scouts – be prepared. I used it almost every day until I had it taken away from me before boarding a plane shortly after the 911 attacks. I haven’t carried one much since. I certainly wouldn’t try to take one into a school and I absolutely wouldn’t encourage a child to carry one. They could be expelled indefinitely or possibly put into juvenile detention!

What happened to our society? What used to be a tool that was helpful for multiple jobs is no longer permitted; it violates the “No Tolerance” rule in schools.

We don’t live in world driven by freedom and self-confidence; we live in a world driven by fear and intolerance.

Luke 21:32 NIV

32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

For better or for worse, man’s laws are constantly changing. Whatever happens to be the hot topic at the time forces people in public office to nullify, modify, or tweak the laws that govern our society. I may not like them, but I have to live by them. Next year the popular sentiment may change and pocket knives will be allowed again. Who knows?

God’s laws never change ……….. never, ever.

It’s good to know that some rules are worth keeping and that they can’t be improved upon.

Have a good hot cup of something delicious. It’ll get your day started right!

All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com

Man Of The Century

Tags

, , , , Father's Day, , , , , , , , men, superman, trust,

superman

“In 1938, on the eve of the Second World War, a relatively new medium called the comic book unleashed a new kind of character into the consciousness of American youth. Created by writer Jerry Siegel and illustrator Joe Shuster, this character possessed superhuman powers and a dedication to using those powers for the benefit of humanity. Often battling and defeating evil as hyperbolic as his own goodness, his iconic name would become the source of the term for this all-American archetype, the “superhero.” In the decades since Superman‘s arrival, innumerable variations on this theme have emerged …….

The original Superman prototype possessed a key characteristic, one that his creators, first generation American sons of Eastern European Jewish immigrants, would have known something about, one that this “Man of Tomorrow” would pass on as part of his legacy to future generations of masked heroes: a secret identity. This trait would become an intractable part of the very definition of a superhero, as much a prerequisite for his mythology as extraordinary powers, or at least a flamboyant getup. ……. For Superman or Spiderman or Batman or virtually any other superhero from the prior century (save some like the X-Men) their secret identities were their most sacred possessions, the keys to their undoing, and they fought as hard to protect them as to save humanity itself.” social-creature.com

What does every dad want to be in the eyes of his family? A superhero …….. larger than life? Maybe. What is most certainly true is that most men see themselves entirely different from the man that others see. We all have a “secret identity” that only we ourselves truly know. We are intimately familiar with all aspects of that inner man and most of us, like Superman, will protect that secret identity at all costs.

Why? Because we are afraid of the consequences of being found out. We don’t want anyone to know that we are powerless when exposed to kryptonite. We don’t want to admit that we are not superheroes. We would prefer to go on pretending that we can challenge the world and conquer it with our clever intellect and prowess.

However, no amount of hiding or pretending can keep God from seeing what’s inside. He knows the deepest crevices in our foreheads and what worries created them. He knows our fears and what dangers cause us to flinch. He knows every hurt that has been covered up with a laugh so as not to appear weak.

But he also sees strength where we see weakness. He bestows wisdom to those we would consider fools. He rejects the front page images from magazine tabloids and chooses the unattractive over the attractive. He does not look at appearances but rather at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7 (NASB)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

God is able to take the weakest of men, the most uneducated, the least attractive, the least popular and use them as key players in his kingdom. He himself directs the training of each person so that they can realize their greatest potential, fulfilling their role and becoming the best they can be.

Psalm 51:6 NASB

Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.

God is not looking for super-humans …………. he is looking for super hearts.

All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com

 

Raccoon Saturday

Tags

animals, , , , creation, , , , , , , ,

It was a Saturday like any other………… or not.

So get the picture ……… Our oldest daughter, maybe thirteen at the time, walked out the front door of our house onto the front porch with our two small dogs in tow. She noticed one of the dogs looked to the right towards the other end of the porch; she in turn glanced that way. There was a raccoon on the porch that immediately approached her. So she ran away from the house screaming to the dogs, “Run for your life!”

Everyone knows that it’s odd for a wild raccoon to be out during the middle of the day and even more odd for them not to be frightened by people and dogs.

Jane and I, along with our youngest daughter, were cleaning out the garage. I don’t recall who, but one of us had a leaf blower, clearing old leaves from the garage. Amid the noise of the machine, daughter number one came running around the corner from the front yard screaming at the top of her lungs. Right behind her was the raccoon.

It was strange that the raccoon wasn’t afraid of people or dogs, but a leaf blower? That was a bad sign. We could only assume one thing ……… rabies.

raccoon

photo courtesy of Valerie Sauve – flickr.com


We rushed all the kids inside and called animal control. They asked us to make sure the raccoon didn’t escape …………… really? Buh, wuh …… zactly how was we ‘posed to do dat?

My son and I grabbed some rakes and tried to trap the animal in the bushes. Have you ever heard a raccoon growl? It’s a little unnerving ……… especially when you’re pretty sure the animal is rabid.

In the end, a local sheriff’s deputy arrived and disposed of the animal. Whew! Thank you James Brown! No really………… the deputy’s name was James Brown……

James Brown

photo courtesy of Kill Gil – flickr.com

 Genesis 9:2 (NIV)

The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands.

The Bible has very little to say about wildlife. Obviously the primary focus of scripture is God’s relationship with man, not animals.  This particular verse was part of God’s covenant with Noah. After the flood, God placed a fear of man in all of the wild beasts.

So ……… question – does this mean that between the time of Adam and Noah, animals and men were friends?

Very interesting thought ……. don’t you agree?

I hope your day is filled with excitement and joy, but no abnormal encounters with animals.

Fill a mug, fill it high, guzzle it down, start again!

All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com

The Morning Comes!

Tags

, , , darkness, , , , , , , , , sunrise

sunrise-hdr_1381675013_w520

image courtesy of free-picture.net

I’ve seen your sun rising in the morning
I’ve seen your sky reflecting your glory
I’ve heard your birds sing,
they’re calling out your name

As they usher in a new day

Isaiah 60:1-2, 8 NIV

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
    and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
    and his glory appears over you.

“Who are these that fly along like clouds,
    like doves to their nests?

You really need to read this whole chapter to get the full picture of the message that Isaiah is bringing.

The image is one of darkness turned to light, sadness turned to happiness. Why? Because in the previous chapter, Isaiah explained what was separating the people from God ……… their sin. But God took away the sin, he removed the barrier between himself and his people. So although the morning begins in pitch darkness, it gradually becomes bright. Not by the light of the sun or moon, but by the everlasting light of the Lord. And once this light rises, it will never set. There will be no more gloom and darkness.

The glory of Lord will be our light!

Here’s to a new day, a day full of bright light!

Mugs up!

All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com

A Timely Gift

Tags

, , cars, , , , , gift, giving, , , , volare

gift-wallpaper-40090-41026-hd-wallpapersYou should never reject a gift, right? When the car was first offered to me, I certainly had thoughts of doing just that. It was a ragged out old Plymouth Volare with no air conditioning, ripped seat covers, and paint peeling off the rusted old body, not much to brag about …….. The word volare is an Italian word meaning to fly. It would be hard to imagine that old station wagon flying anywhere. But, at the time, we only had one vehicle and two kids. Not wanting to leave my wife abandoned at home, I had been walking to work every day, leaving the car for her. So another vehicle would be useful, even if it was old and worn out.

80ply52337-1After I accepted the car, I actually began to enjoy driving the old thing. I didn’t have to worry about messing up the interior ……….. it couldn’t get much worse. And there wasn’t a lot of incentive to wash the outside because, well ……… it was junk heap. It felt like a heavy old tank going down the road so there was an element of security. More than anything, it was a timely gift – providentially given when we needed it most.

2 Corinthians 9:12-15 NIV

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

When Paul penned this section of his second letter to the Christians in Corinth, he used some very complimentary expressions for the recipients – like overflowing generosity and proven obedience. The Corinthian church was giving over and beyond what was required of them and this resulted in hearts that were so full that they burst into praise and thanks to God. Where did this immeasurable generosity come from?

An indescribable gift – God’s surpassing grace…….. grace so wonderful that it couldn’t be put into words.

God loves to give gifts. He is especially adept at timing them so that they are received at just that right moment ……… when they are most needed. His gifts exceed all expectations and bring immeasurable goodness and happiness. His gifts make the heart full, desiring to give back over and beyond what is required, extending the boundaries of grace farther and farther away.

God’s gift of grace propels us forward in a continuing cycle of giving; one person gives to another person in need which enables them to give to someone else. Like that old beat up Volare was for me, there may be items that you no longer need that could be a boost for someone else. Make a gift of them.

Let’s go make some coffee ………. then give something away.

All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com

Something Out Of Nothing

Tags

Christ, , gems, glory, , , illumination, , , , , ,

Cristales_cueva_de_NaicaFB

Sometimes reality is so fantastic that you find it nearly impossible to believe. For example, the Crystal Cave discovered in the deserts of Mexico. The size of the crystals are so enormous, it’s like something out of a fantasy movie.

“Buried a thousand feet (300 meters) below Naica mountain in the Chihuahuan Desert, the cave was discovered by two miners excavating a new tunnel for the Industrias Peñoles company in 2000.

The cave contains some of the largest natural crystals ever found: translucent gypsum beams measuring up to 36 feet (11 meters) long and weighing up to 55 tons.

“It’s a natural marvel,” said García-Ruiz, of the University of Granada in Spain.” national geographic

To see more photos you can click here

The natural world is so full of unbelievable wonders, like this cave. Who would have ever thought that there could be something so amazing buried so deep beneath the surface of the earth? What an incredible discovery!

God not only creates unbelievable things in the earth, he creates unbelievable things in our hearts.

2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

God’s ability to create and recreate is not limited to the physical world, it extends to the spiritual world as well. He looked inside us and made something out of nothing, making light shine where there was only darkness. Without the light that he put in us, that is his Holy Spirit, we would not have the ability to perceive and understand who he is anymore than we could explore a crystal cave in the dark. In the cave, light is not only necessary to see where you are going, it illuminates the glory and beauty of the crystals. The Spirit within us illuminates the glory of God displayed in the face of Christ.

I pray this day that your hearts will be bright, fully illuminated by the Spirit of God.

Here’s to a great new day! Mugs up!

All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com

The Song Plays Again……. And Again 

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , music, , ,

333526-alpine-car-stereo-receiver-cde-136btI turned on the radio in my truck one day as I was driving and a familiar song began to play. When it ended, the same song began to play again. After it ended for the second time, it started up again. Hmm …… I wonder what’s up with this? The same song repeated over and over as I drove along for the next hour. I found it humorous and since I liked the song, I just let it play. When I reached my destination and completed my task, I climbed back in the truck ………. same song still playing. Someone at the station must have quit, fallen asleep, or was having a really bad day.

Depending on the situation, repetition can have great benefits. Kids learn many social skills by watching their parents and mimicking their actions and words. Repeating the same task in a job helps build speed and efficiency. And repetition can be useful when learning to live a godly lifestyle.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21 NIV

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. 

Moses encouraged the Israelites to repeat the things they had learned so that they wouldn’t forget. He knew how quickly the mind strays to other thoughts, neglecting what is important.

Fix these words in your hearts and minds…… again and again………

Mugs up!

All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com

Pink From The Inside Out

Tags

, color, , , , flamingos, , , pink, , , Word of God, words

celestun-yucatan-mexico

photo courtesy of viajando mexico

???????????????????????????????

The Yucatan Peninsula is home to one of the largest populations of flamingos in the western hemisphere. Some of them live in the fishing village of Celestun on the western shore of the peninsula. Others are a little further north in the small town of Sisal. Still others are at Ria Lagartos Biosphere at the northeast corner of the peninsula.

Flamingos are some of God’s most unique creatures with their pink plumes and gangly legs. They are one of only two bird species in the world who share this vivid color. One type of flamingo from South America, called James’s Flamingo, has a very interesting mating dance. Watch the video below.

Flamingos are pink or orange or white depending on what they eat. Flamingos eat algae and crustaceans that contain pigments called carotenoids. For the most part, these pigments are found in the brine shrimp and blue-green algae that the birds eat.

Enzymes in the liver break down the carotenoids into the pink and orange pigment molecules deposited in the feathers, bill, and legs of the flamingos. Flamingos that eat mostly algae are more deeply colored than birds that eat the small animals that feed off of algae.

People eat foods containing carotenoids, too. Examples include beta-carotene in carrots and lycopene in watermelon, but most people do not eat enough of these compounds to affect their skin color. about.com – why are flamingos pink?

What sets the flamingo apart from other birds is its distinct color which comes from what it consumes …….. what is inside. What sets a Christian apart from other people is what they consume ……….. what is inside. They consume the Word of God and it changes them from the inside out. It permeates and colors every aspect of their lives; their thoughts, words, and actions.

Matthew 4:4 (NIV)

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

As we start a new day, let’s consider what we consume and how it changes us. Feed heavily on the Word of God.

All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com

Shut The Door, Please

Tags

, , , confidence, counseling, , , , privacy, , , , ,

open door

So a friend calls you up and says, “Hey, I really need to talk. Can you spare me an hour?” You get together and they spill out a rather lengthy tale of a less than honorable thing they did last week.” What do you do? Where do you go for counseling to help the person you’re supposed to be counseling?

One thing you don’t do is call up another friend and blab about the details.

Sometimes as an elder in my church, I am given the privilege of counseling another member. This is always a humbling task because although I am willing, I don’t feel especially gifted in this area. I am also very cautious ……….. I distinctly recall an episode where something I said in confidence made its way to the ears of my pastor for which I later received a harsh rebuke. I would just as soon not repeat that little incident.

Therefore ………

I have learned to keep the door shut, both the physical door and my mental door. What I mean is, I don’t talk about the issues with anyone outside that room. If someone puts their confidence in me, then I respect their privacy. I also carefully guard what words I use so that I’m not embarrassed at a later date because of something I shouldn’t have said.

Here are a few verses that may be helpful:

Proverbs 11:13 ESV – Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

Matthew 12:36-37 ESV – I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Ephesians 4:29 ESV – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Proverbs 21:23 ESV – Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

Top-Secret3One of the little rhymes my kids used to repeat was, “Secrets, secrets are no fun! Secrets are for everyone!”

That’s a bad piece of advice. If someone shares a secret with you, you owe it to them to keep the matter quiet. Practice some self-control and keep it to yourself. Don’t even hint that you know a secret because someone will try to weasel it out of you. Self-control, self-control ……….

As for having a private meeting, here is another strong word of warning. If the person asking for counsel happens to be of the opposite sex, never meet with them alone. Always ask a respected third party to be in the room with you. They may not want a third person involved, but this safeguards you from multiple temptations and any hint at wrongdoing on your part. With a third person you trust, you have a reliable witness who can vouch for your character.

Here’s to the beautiful sound of silence. Mugs up!!

All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 311 other followers

Build a website with WordPress.com