Monday, September 24, 2012


Everyone has strong opinions in this election cycle. Even to the point of claiming “being right,” which seems to translate into “I don’t need to listen to you.” Lies abound (yes, I know people don’t think stretching the truth is a lie.)
The problem with this is that we get nowhere. Huge problems are kicked down the road for someone else to deal with. Real people suffer.

Jesus didn’t judge. He listened. He asked us not to rush to judgment. Jesus commanded us to love. He did not ask us to be right (we flunked that test many millennia before Christ.) Love values relationships and is quick to forgive and admit fault. Love does not lie.

I wonder what our days would be like if we said, “Tell me more” or “I don’t know” or “Let me think about that.”

Take the pressure off yourself and others. Be loving today.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20 (NIV)

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I played a more challenging version of solitaire on my phone while waiting at the vet for Casey. It was a free app, so I downloaded it. I won the first 4 games. I’m AWESOME! Then I got to thinking. That’s just not right. I opened the “preferences” tab and saw this checked.
Solvable Deals Only

In other words, the default setting on this game is YOU WIN EVERY GAME. Where have we come as a society of “Everyone is a Winner” where we even need a game on our phone to pump up our ego?

My self-esteem comes from God. God authored our creation.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

And life comes through facing challenges and not skirting them.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)

Most of us have heard the following. But did you know it was said by God in the context of going through 70 years of difficulty? 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

God may not create the challenges you face today but God will use them to serve life. Our life. Trusting God is not easy but it bears fruit. The easy route just leads to false security and continual let-down because we have sought our strength from our environment and circumstances, which we have little control over.

Be bold.

We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame,
because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,
who has been given to us. Romans 5:3b-5 (NIV)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I am never quite sure what to do with people who are absolutely sure their words, agendas, and actions are God’s. Don’t get me wrong. I do believe God works through people. It is just that when people become so sure in their interpretation that they leave no room for discussion. Often, these folks make me wonder if I am spiritual enough. Sometimes, they are just scary and I want to avoid them. Other times, I wonder what hurt they are protecting with their defensiveness.

I say “interpretation” because only God knows what’s on God’s mind and what God wants. Only God can say that there is no room for discussion. Scripture does not interpret itself. The rest of us are sinners and you never know when this “certainty” is, in fact, sin. In the current zeitgeist, discussion is frowned upon if not downright outlawed.

It is okay not to be sure, of yourself or of those who claim infallibility. It is okay to have questions. And it’s okay to get it wrong and have to admit it. We are naturally selfish. This does not surprise God and God. God sees the entire picture. We see but a snapshot. 

Humility (see word origin) is in order. Be grounded today. Practice humility. Don’t be pressured when it is not displayed by others.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  (Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV) (listen)    

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Thanks to @bigphonymusic

Quick, what does a spiritual person look like? How could you tell a poser from the real deal? What  makes a disciple?

If we listen to others, church attendance, hours of prayer, Bible knowledge, our stance on abortion or sexuality, or even whether or not we say grace or wear a cross would be on the list.

It was not on Jesus' list. He said that we will know real disciples from a posers by whether or not they practice sacrificial love. Whether or not they go out of their way for the benefit of others. We know the health of a person's relationship to God through experiencing their relationship with others.

That's it!

Will you be a poser or the real deal today?

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-13 (NIV)

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:34-35 (NIV)

But if we say we love God and don’t love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don’t love the people we can see?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wells 5-8616

Or 4653. Those where two of my old phone numbers. WE5-8616 was 935-8616. No area codes in those days. 4653 was our phone in Rangely, Colorado. Town so small, no need for a phone number prefix.

Today, I don’t even know my wife’s phone number. But I have over 500 at my fingertips even if I don’t have one on my lips.

We never answered the phone during meals. Besides the cord would not reach the dining room table. Most calls got answered. People were not “busy” always. If they weren’t home, oh well, call later. My mother taught me never to answer the phone while I was talking to another. Impolite and disrespectful. No answering machines. If I got in trouble, I had a dime in my shoe for a pay phone (try finding one of these and, if you do, try to get the hooker or drug dealer off it.) 

Phone. Black with an option for Black. No buttons. 

Those were different days. But not better ones. Judging days blinds us to what God wants to do with them. Judging puts a period where God has an ellipsis

Some carry burdens of the past that rob them of today. Some have fears of a very uncertain future. Some believe that the weight of today will last forever.

But some look for God beyond the details of those days. I hope you are one of these. God is there redeeming. I pray you have a blessed day.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)

Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Luke 12:27-31 (NIV)

Ultimate Edition

I was idling at a stop light and looked at the car that pulled up on my left. Long, sleek, black. In chrome, at about 2 o’clock above the front wheel well were the words, “Ultimate Edition.” I had seen “limited” and “deluxe” and “special” and, even, “Texas” editions. This was a first. Ultimate! I genuflected (as best as I could sitting behind the wheel.)

Word inflation. To me, “Ultimate” would need to be a car that costs nothing, gets there in seconds, never hits a red light and has dinner ready when I get home. Tucking me in at night might not be over the top.

When we inflate our language in order to feel better, create excitement, or sell something (including ourselves,) we lose our bearings. Conversations may or may not mean what we think they mean. Friends and acquaintances may or may not be who they say they are. We may or may not be loved for who we truly are. Super stars, amateur or professional may be average. Fine meals may prove to be routine. Things may or may not be done. We become adrift. We even begin to think of adrift as normal.

Chapter 4, Rule 51 of The Rule of St. Benedict states, “To keep one's mouth from speech that is wicked or full of guile.”

Jesus commends us the “keep it simple.” “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37 NIV)

Part of the uncertainty of our lives comes from our speech. Whether heard out loud, or from another person or in the words that inhabit our head – we will be much more alive and life-giving if we speak simply and truthfully.

When something was hard but necessary, my mother always would call it a “character builder.” Build character today in your speech.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Crazy Busy

This phrase above is a badge of honor in our culture. “Busy” means you have validity. “Fast and furious” means you are successful in life. Busy = Important. Does it?

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:2-3 (NIV)

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth Psalm 46:10 (NIV) 

Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord,
but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake,
but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire,
but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire
a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said,“What are you doing here, Elijah?”
1 Kings 19:11b-13 (NRSV)
We create a silence today, on purpose, in order to let God in so we may hear God when we no longer can be human doings but must rest content to be human beings.

How will you handle it when the noise dies down? It will. Will you know the One who loves you?

Listen to this video. Read the words. Are they yours? They should be.