Finding my way

You are never really suddenly lost. It happens gradually. Think about the last time you got lost driving. You took a wrong turn off the correct road. If a plane is flying along a straight line, a deviation of even just one degree will leave you landing in Timbuktu instead of Boston.

Many times when I get sidetracked spiritually, it is for something that I declare to be good. The problem is that I make the decision without God.

For example, I have been tempted many times to work more instead of pray. I have fallen to the temptation to do many constructive and meaningful things instead of prayer. Temptations always please me. Sacrifice always requires effort.

Work is good. It pays for food and bills. But if it eclipses my private time with the Lord, then I am flying the wrong way.

How often have I claimed to be making a sacrifice when really I was just pleasing myself? It is always hard to find time to pray. It almost always requires sacrifice.

If I would just listen to my heart honestly I would hear, “I really prefer to do something else instead of praying.”

Then, I would be able to see clearly where I can get help. I understand that I don’t want to pray sometimes. I accept it. So I turn to the only place where I can overcome my weakness — from God’s Spirit.

Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den because even a threat to his life was less important than his prayer time. The result of this order in Daniel’s life proved to be glorious as he climbed out of the den unharmed. Daniel’s courage could only have come from a supernatural source.

I must sacrifice even good things to pray. Time for family, time for work and time for me all must take a backseat.

Why?

Because it is God the Father who will bless my family, my work and my life.  It is all for his glory, not mine.

Let nothing get in the way of you seeking Jesus. Let nothing stand in your way. Make every excuse, every sacrifice to be with him. If he is all that you will ever need, why do you seek shelter and meaning elsewhere?

I am

Seven Hundred Thousand Roses

 
He speaks wisely, and I ignore him.
He works a miracle, and I compare him to the devil.
He extends me peace and consolation,
and I angrily slap his hand away.
So I take him bodily, roughly,
and he comes obediently,
ever obedient to His Father.
 
And I lash him to the wood.
I tremble a bit now,
giddy with rage.
How dare he?
I feel the spike heavy in my hand.
In a wide arc the mallet falls,
and from the wound comes a red, heavy flow.
Seven hundred thousand roses bloom at once.
The full fragrance of mercy.
How dare he!
 
His heart spills out innocent love,
the love of a child
that in Gethsemane asked,
“Are you sure of this Father?”
“Are you really sure?”
Even then the blood began to fall
in heavy drops.
 
It is a consuming love
a fire
a strong steady wind
It comes for you
It is the Kingdom
the Power
the Glory
Love now
and forever
Amen
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Not dead yet

No, I’m not dead. Just been so very,very busy. I went home to visit my family in the USA and attend my godson’s wedding. It was wonderful. We were away for a month and coming back, restarting school (in Argentina the school year begins in March and ends in December)… well, let’s just say it took a while.

There’s something that’s been swimming around in my head and heart lately.

Jesus. What a great example, right? Wrong. Well not exactly wrong, but I often miss the point.

Jesus did not come to give me a good example to follow — even though he does. I can find many persons who are good examples. Many can teach me how to be a better man. But Jesus’ mission was unique to him alone.

Jesus’ mission was Salvation.

Sometimes I forget this, and that’s a bad thing.

But he always gently reminds me… and that’s a good thing.

Bless you.

Excellence

Why are we not afraid? The human race implodes upon itself. We destroy ourselves, our families, our institutions, our nations and our planet. Yet there is no panic. We should be terrified. This is a great denial. This is a tremendous shame as we hide our head in the sand and expect our children and their children to clean up our mess.

Look around, look at the signs. Open your eyes and see, or even better, embrace reality. Things are going bad. So what do we do? Cry out in despair? Maybe there is no other answer, but instead, I say, we must show excellence.

I don’t mean perfection, but rather doing our best to improve our environment. We must look for every means to heal. The sickness of our planet is a manifestation of the sickness of our race. We must provide compassion in abundance. We must look to love as Christ loved. Only this radical response will change things concretely. We are infinitely limited in doing the “right thing”, but we might save everyone if we love enough.

If we rely on technology, science, elections and government to fix our problems then we will get what we deserve. But if we look to heal ourselves and our families we will consume less. The answer to a healed planet is a healed human heart.

So we look to Jesus for inspiration. He showed us the most excellent way. If we love enough we won’t spend so much on pills and drugs and booze and diversion and more things to fill the emptiness in our soul. We will be content with less since we will have everything. Go forth to your family, your work and your community and make amends. Be ready at all times with a kind word and compassion so that your loved ones do not look to the dollar to soothe their pain. Listen and hear them.

Let Jesus in to heal your pain as well. We can’t do it on our own. This is our failure and our shame. The arrogance to think we can solve all things without God, without faith. That’s the answer then… Be Excellent. Excellent in love.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

(1 Cor 13)

Courage

We’ve heard it all before “Live like it’s the last day of your life” right? But what does this really mean to us? What does this perspective give us? It is a blank check for me to throw caution to the wind? Should I max out the credit card, rent the Ferrari and go hang gliding off Mt. Rushmore?

Our days are numbered, and they pass by like a fleeting shadow. Where has the first half of 2012 gone? What about the last five or ten years for that matter? We speed headlong to our destiny, but we act as if we have all the time in the world. Remember this: you might not see the sun rise tomorrow.

Is this pessimism? Does this cause me to live in fear? Or, does it… as it should… give me… courage?

The courage to set things right.

The courage to set aside the things that hurt me.

The courage to help.

The courage to recognize my faults.

The courage to count my blessings.

The courage to go for a dream.

The courage to say I’m sorry.

The courage to say I love you.

The courage to seek God.

Nothing material appears on the “to do” list that our hearts would write on our final day. Jesus repeated again and again, “Fear not”. He knew his end was near. He knew what was to come, and this gave him tremendous courage. It need not be the spectacular – quite the contrary, as the daredevil often cringes in fear upon looking inside his soul. Bravery means seeing things clearly as they are.

See your reality; get some courage. Eternal life begins today – and that is something spectacular.

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)

What does it mean?

What does it mean when everything around you appears to be going up in flames and you remain standing strong?What does it mean when even as things get worse your optimism grows? How does it happen that even though you know a certain burden will be part of your life for years to come that instead of weighing you down it allows you to reach great heights? What does it mean when despite your failures you see how much you’ve grown? How can it be that your teenager rages against you and you manage (just barely) to respond with patience and service? How does it happen that when you are pinching your pennies until they bleed and humiliation has been poured upon you that you are not broken? And what about when you lose someone and you still find a reason to wake up everyday and breathe life in? How do you wrestle against physical pain, day after day, but each day still somehow fills you with wonder and thanksgiving? When someone hurts you again and again where do you get strength?

The forces around you seek to tear you apart and you hear a voice that says, “It will not take place. It will not happen.” What does this mean? What do they call it?

They call it GRACE. Get some. It’s free… you just have to ask. You will soar on wings like eagles.

 

You have not failed

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It’s late at night, the usual time for this sort of thinking. “What a mess I’ve made,” you think and your head swirls around and around. And the darkness closes in and maybe even a fleeting thought of wishing for an end to it all enters into your mind. It is the darkest hour.

“What was I thinking?”

“Why did I say that?”

“Why did I do that?”

“Why did this have to happen to me?”

“It’s too late now. Things have gone too far.”

“I can’t believe I made the same mistake again.”

“Why did this have to happen to him (or her)?”

“I did the best that I can, but I am a failure.”

“What am I going to do now?”

And the cycle of despair goes around and around in your head as you toss and turn.

There once was a Jewish spiritual leader that hung on a tree and his disciples must have thought similar thoughts. “What in the world were we thinking following him? What a failure! Look at him there hanging dead. I’m so ashamed of him and myself for following him. Now what am I going to do?”

Some may not believe in Satan, but I do. He’s the one that tells me that I am a failure late at night. When I think about trouble my children might have. When I think about economic struggles. When I think about dreams that seem dashed upon the rocks of my soul… obliterated forever.

And maybe that young Jewish rabbi might have thought, even if just for an instant in his humanity, “Father, didn’t I do as you asked? Didn’t I do my best? Is this how it has to end? Why have you abandoned me? What a mess.”

But still, he hoisted his cross. He walked the walk. He saw it through to the end. And yes, it was messy and bloody and tremendously sorrowful. But in the end His Father glorified Him. In the end He was restored and seated at the right hand of His Father. “You did it Son. You are a King.”

Walk the walk. See it through. Do not listen to the enemy. The accuser that tells you all hope is lost, but the devil’s a liar. Put him in his place by holding fast to the example and power of Jesus. If you don’t know Him, seek Him now. There you will find all the strength you need. Let Christ crush the serpent’s head and lead you to victory.

In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)