Tag Archives: life

We Need Only Look

Has anyone ever told you “You need only look?” All around us life itself is screaming out that it is. Life is alive, there is more than the mundane and it is there for us to see it. I am constantly amazed by the work of astronomers and particle physicists. On one hand they are reaching out and seeing life billions of light years away and on the other they strip away the layers that build life like that of an onion, getting ever smaller and finding more wonder.

Astronomers say that the universe is 13 billion lights years across. I would like to go to the very edge and stick my hand through and beyond the boundary to find out what is beyond. Particle physicists say they have found the “God particle” that is the basis for everything. I wonder what they will find when they build a bigger super collider and split that particle, something even smaller I should wonder.

But what about you and me, what can we see if we look around us? One of my favorite books is “The Little Prince” by Antoine De Saint-Exupery (add an apostrophe above the e). It is a whimsical tale for children of all ages (even age 64). He was a French pilot both before WWII and during it, where he died. Another book he wrote is titled “Wind, Sand and Stars” in which he talks about his time as a pilot over the deserts of Africa, the Andes Mountains and the Pyrenees in Europe. This was all during the time flying was in its infancy and was very lonely and dangerous.

The last two and a half pages tell of his traveling by rail on a long journey. At one o’clock in the morning he had the urge to tour the rail cars throughout its length. When he came upon the third class coaches he found them full of Polish workmen being sent home from France back to Poland. The book was first copyrighted in 1939 so this was on the eve of WWII and was a time of great turmoil throughout the land. De Saint-Exupery noted that they all looked like they had lost half of their humanity. He sat down and observed a couple asleep and noticed a child wedged between them. The thought that struck him upon looking closely at this child was that they had the face of a musician, that this child was a Mozart, a life full of beautiful promise. Yet, De Saint-Exupery concluded, this little Mozart will be shaped like the rest by the common stamping machine. He would grow up to love shoddy music and that this Mozart would be condemned.

We need only look and we too shall see this life around us, the lives stamped out by what is accepted as okay, never reaching the highest levels each of us can achieve. At the same time we can go out and see a sunset, the stars at night or any one of hundreds of different things that show forth the wonder of life and all that are good. We need the vision of each end of the spectrum to keep us in balance and that keep us striving to improve our world and all that call it home.

Less than a half page later De Saint-Exupery ends his book with a statement that really struck home with me in several ways. His statement, “Only the Spirit, if it breathes life upon the clay, can create Man.” I love that statement. Yes, we are clay, from the dust we can and from the dust we shall return. It is only when the Spirit breathes upon us that life is truly created. We need only look and we need only bring the life of the Spirit with us to find life.

Flawed Christian

I am a flawed Christian.  There I said and it is off my chest.  In Matthew 5:48 Jesus Himself says “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  I am definitely not what Jesus says I am to be, and I know it all too well.  Surprise, neither are you so don’t try and pretend you aren’t.

This morning I had a revelation and it went like this. Last night I stayed up way too late, my digestive system was rumbling, did not sleep well and the alarm keeps annoying me to get up and go to church.  So I kept hitting snooze until I was just too uncomfortable to stay in bed.  During the time of snoozing my mind was not fully cognizant so deeper thoughts were able to come forth, hence the revelation.  I was thinking about our new priest (I am an Episcopalian) who is a Rev. Dr. and we all know that a PhD means “piled higher and deeper.”  But he is called to be the shepherd of our church, the flock, and we are called to be his sheep.  Then I began reciting Psalm 23, “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makest (I love King Jimmy) me lie down in green pastures…”  I have been taught that in olden days if a shepherd has a sheep that continues to stray he will actually break the sheep’s legs to get it to lie down and learn not to stray.

It is the shepherd’s job to lead the sheep to green grass and protect them from wolves.  Lord knows the world today is full of wolves.  Over the years, however, I have learned that the priests and preachers, the myriad of teachers, evangelists, and all of the theological types are also just like me, flawed, imperfect.  The problem comes in when they try to act perfect and they preach and teach like they are perfect and that we should be like them and act the part.  It does not work.  We are all flawed and imperfect and we are all dying, some faster than others.

So much of the Christian world today puts on a front and wants to have all the answers to being perfect and doing things right.  If you brush your teeth with Pepsodent your will have white teeth, if you use Dove soap you will have clean and smooth skin.  If you drive some car in some specific color you will be an in person, and so forth and so on.  It does not work.

In the modern Christian church if you pray a certain way you can have an inside line to God and your prayers will be answered the way you want.  If you follow certain teachings then you will be living the “good” Christian life and will be counted as righteous.  And oh yes, if you give so much of your money God will rain down even more money.  It is a guaranteed rate of return.  Furthermore, you should not hurt or feel pain, that is very unChristlike.

When we are born we begin the journey to death and we begin to decay and fall apart.  Yes, at a young age we are still on the uphill but at some point the journey starts going downhill.  Maybe very slowly and maybe the journey is very quick.  Maybe the monster named cancer will strike or any of a number of other unnatural diseases and ailments.  Perhaps an accident, tragedy or your life will be taken in a senseless crime of murder.  That has been happening a lot lately.  Just watch the evening news but don’t try and keep score as it is scary and depressing.

So back to our new Episcopal priest and how he plays into this revelation I had.  What I realized is that Episcopal priests, more than any other minsters or theologians I am aware of know that they are also flawed and imperfect.  And that is of great benefit to them.  They know there are no simple answers, nothing pat to offer.  Instead they can just “be” with their sheep.  They can tend them, love them, and wash their wounds.  That, I think, is what Jesus would do and what He does do.  That is honest ministry and that is what people need to draw them closer to the Lord.

God Himself does not offer us answers except to offer us Himself.  He offered Himself so deeply that He came down from heaven as a man, a man just like you and me (I use the term man in the third person meaning man and woman).  This week we celebrate His coming, God Himself coming, as a newborn babe, totally innocent and helpless, meek and mild, borne of a woman into a harsh world.  Jesus came to be born in a stable; sorry the hotel/motel is full go away, to show us God Himself in all of His glory.  The glory Jesus revealed first came to shepherd’s, men like our new priest, people just doing a job who took the time away to go and behold Him, the Promised One.

Merry Christmas to all.  Blessings in Jesus name.

Silent Night, Holy Night

Christmas Picture Two

I read a daily devotional this evening about a family that immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands.  They had three children, all born her, who later married three spouses each from different countries.  Well during at least one Christmas they were all gathered and they sang “Silent Night, Holy Night” each in their own language.  So I am guessing 5 different languages is probably the correct count. The devotional also quotes Luke, chapter 2, where the inspiration comes from.  Luke 2:8-14, “ And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people;  for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.””  So I wonder what a multitude of angels praising God sounds like? 

As I write this I am listening to different versions of “Silent Night, Holy Night” on YouTube.  So far I have listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, some German choir singing in German, Sarah McLaughlin, and Pavarotti singing in Italian, along with Mahelia Jackson.  I am fixing to hear it performed by Johnny Cash with Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis.  Doubt I will listen to Justin Beiber or the Barenaked Ladies though.  Why have they all stopped their careers to do this song?  Don’t they realize they are joining voices with the heavenly host to praise God and to proclaim peace to those in whom He is pleased?  What do those verses in Luke tell us about angels and the proclaiming of the coming of the Lord, of God Himself and what does it proclaim to us?  Just found a rendition done in Persian with worship by Farsi.  It is the most stunning of all the ones I have heard, very holy and lifting me into worship of my Lord and Savior.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njS03C1tnrE 

We are each shepherds and we each tend our own flock by night.  Yes, nights are dark and they can be lonely and scary but we are dutiful to continue to keep watch night after night.  This verse in Luke says that angels will come to us in our night and will bring us good news.  The author, Luke, makes sure to tell us that when this angel comes to speak to us we will be frightened but that the angel will minister peace along with wonder at what is happening. 

Notice too that the good news is not what we would expect for the coming of someone to save us.  No white horse, no drawn sword, just coming as a babe, an infant, so totally helpless it would seem.  Not the way I would do it but then I am not in charge.  This verse simply calls me to be a witness to the coming of the Lord, to the love God has for all mankind. 

Am I willing to have my night interrupted by proclamations and worship and multitudes of angels?  Am I willing to go down to the village, to the stable no less, to bear witness of something so incredibly awesome as to defy everything we conceive of for this type of event? 

What is a heavenly host and what do they look like and sound like?  Angels are bad enough but now we have something else and lots of them, all making noise.  If you have served in the military and pulled guard at night in a hostile environment noise is not your friend, you want quiet, you want a silent night.  Yet here comes a multitude making lots of noise proclaiming that a baby has been born.  Maybe if they were proclaiming that the marines have landed and the cavalry is charging that might fly.  But no, nothing like that, just one more little infant that is helpless, more watching for the shepherds. 

Yet this Christmas Eve I for one am in a dark place, a night of sorts, and I am keeping watch over that which I have.  Yet this infant, now the risen Lord, still beckons me to witness His birth this Christmas.  His eyes are still pure, clear, and innocent as only that of an infant can be.  They pierce my soul, my heart, my mind, with such a blaze of light, of hope and mostly of His love.  Love that is for me and desires to be through me, to bring the light and the love to all the world.  He beckons me to lift my voice with the multitude of heavenly host and proclaim the coming of the One promised for forever.  If I add my voice it will then have the noise of a croaking frog joining in saying that indeed peace has come.  Peace has come as an infant, the Lord Himself has come in the form He chooses and it is not just good but it is very good.  Now I can be at peace as I stand watch at night.  Our world is dark, it can be said to be at night, dark and scary.  May an angel pop up by you this Christmas night and proclaim the good news of the birth of Jesus, the Lord, and the Christ and may he bid you to be a witness to the Lord of life.  May you join your voice with the multitude proclaiming glory to God in the Highest. 

Merry Christmas to one and all.  We have a Savior.  We have a Lord who is worthy of singing praises to, of being at peace resting in His arms.

 

God Is

God is.  Simple noun and simple verb that make a complete sentence and therefore a complete statement.  It can also be the jumping off point for a lot more and there are countless expositions of the nature and character of God.  Wherever you want to go with it you can and it would be valid.  But that is not the point of this simple post today.

This morning I went to the gym for a workout.  My time on the floor was good, not great, and I accomplished a lot in terms of exercising my body.  Generally when I finish on the floor I spend time in the hot tub followed by the lap pool.  Feels really good to first loosen the body and stretch muscles I have just worked.  Then the lap pool is very cool and sucks all the skin back tight and just washes me all over.  Wonderful.

So the hot tub jets are operated by a timer that cuts off the action after 10 minutes which is a reasonable time to not get overheated.  So I am in the hot tub and the jets and pulsating action quit and I was left sitting in a nice really hot tub of water.  A compulsion came over me to seek the presence of God.  Right there and right then.  Before I describe this I will say that God is always with us, always present (whether we like it or not) always available to us to commune with Him.

So I closed my eyes and began to adore Him and worship Him, and I began to dwell on who God is, what does that mean?  My first leading in this thinking was the heavens above, the universe we live in.  The world of stars and galaxies and all the other grandness.  I thought of the galaxies which right now are in massive collisions,  greater than anything we can conceive of, the black holes which swallow all matter just out there right now.  Then I thought about particle physics, the smallest things man studies and knows about.  We can’t even see them.  If science is lucky they will take a picture of the trails left when they are able to collide two of them, and God is.  He is above, below and all around it all.

I moved to the lap pool and began swimming broad backstrokes doing laps, back and forth, back and forth.  God is, God is present, God is.  As I was floating on the water God is under the water, holding me up.  God set about for hydrogen and oxygen to be able to combine just right to form water.  God allowed heat to warm the water.  While on the floor I had seen on of the trainers working with a blind lady.  God is the creator of the phenomena we call light.  God set the conditions for light to act both as a particle and as a wave, characteristics necessary for it to behave like we know.  To allow for the diffraction of light in the atmosphere, light from some 93 million miles away, to produce the blue sky, the yellows, oranges, reds, and myriad more that we all love to watch.  God is who set about the absence of light, darkness.  Ever tour a cavern where at the very lowest point the tour guide is obliged to have you sit while they turn out the lights to show you what total darkness it?  Yet Go is, her is there and He is the author of it as well as the comfort in it.

I thought of our earth.  Now, in our culture we think of north as being up.  So I pictured God, with His index finger at the south pole, spinning the earth like a top, just watching it in amazement as it spun round and round.  Think Harlem Globetrotters here folks.  Pretty cool huh?  God just spinning the earth, with us on it, watching and enjoying His ability.

So, do you think about God?  How do you think about God?  Give that question a few minutes to sink in.  God is not limited and we are created in His image.  With God nothing is impossible.  What is the God vision He wants to share with you?  Will you reach for all that He has and break out of the normal?  Our normal is really second or third class.  After all we are talking about God here, God and you and me.  Last Saturday I stopped by the place that cuts my hair.  On the side they make hula-hoops (yes, I am old enough to remember them) and I asked to borrow one.  Because it was the first weekend of summer I tried to hula-hoop after all these many years.  With everything God I ask you simply, why not?

When I Gaze

This post originated while at the gym tonight.  I have a pulled groin muscle which at this time really hurts, as in pain.  When I hurt my thinking goes way off track which can be good or sometimes not so good.  The thought processes are altered because my mind is distracted (in this case by pain).  There is actually a psychotherapy technique called EMDR that uses a distracted mind to help patients approach problems.  That is a totally different subject that is way off track.  So, on to this post.

I don’t know what you believe or what led you to your beliefs.  Me, I believe in the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible.  To further clarify that I believe that Jesus is all He said He was, that He died for our sins and that we can invite Him into our hearts to live as Savior and Lord.

Music to me is meant for the heart.  Yes, I know that there is all kinds of technical and even mathematical aspects to it, but I like music that moves me.  Quite often it also speaks to me, volumes, about life and love and good and bad and about people.  I would like to share about three songs (of the many) that have had great impact in my life and which help me gaze in awe at the most wondrous, and Awesome God, the Great I AM.

The first song I heard live in 1971 and it is “Shauna’s Song” by Barry McGuire.  I was a new Christian and he performed during a seminar I attended.  Several aspects of it still stand as a testament to God’s love.  Barry was also a fairly new person in Christ and the testimony of his life and that is exhibited in this song is one of a life changed and transformed completely by Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  It was so clear and obvious that Barry had been touched by the Holy spirit and made new.  The Christian term is Barry had been “born again.”  Here are the lyrics.

Shauna’s Song

I don’t know            why he loves me

I don’t know            why he cares for me

You know I ran from him, oh yes, I ran from him

I turned my back and slammed the door in his face

But still he said to me, said, “I love you”

Said, “I love you”

I don’t know            why he wants me

I don’t know            why he’s so concerned for me

You know I’ve hurt him so, oh yes, I’ve hurt him so

But still he comes to me with his arms outstretched

Whispering these words, “I forgive you”

Says, “I forgive you”

I just don’t understand a man who’ll stand and say, “I forgive you”

Say, “I love you”

But don’t you know

Now it’s true

I love him, too

Like Barry I don’t understand how God could love me how God could send His only Son to die for me, how Jesus could and would choose to die for me and love me.  But He does and He did.  Jesus hung on the cross to pay for my sins.

When I talked in the last post about gazing at the Great I AM I used the picture of astronomy because it was a very good image of gazing at something so vast and awesome and unknowable.  I don’t care what science says, they really don’t have a clue about the greatness of the universe.

Over Christmas of 2009 my wife of 37 years, Deborah, died from cancer and it shattered my life.  Well, God often speaks to me through music and this was no exception.  The first music He gave me was a song by Julie Miller titled “All My Tears.”  Like Barry when you see Julie in the context of her music you see someone who is very spiritual and very much in touch with God.  To me there is an innocence in her love for Jesus.  God gave me this song as being Deborah’s song.  Here are it lyrics.

All My Tears

When I go don’t cry for me
In my father’s arms I’ll be
The wounds this world left on my soul
Will all be healed and I’ll be whole

Sun and moon will be replaced
With the light of Jesus’ face
And I will not be ashamed
For my savior knows my name

It don’t matter where you bury me
I’ll be home and I’ll be free
It don’t matter where I lay
All my tears be washed away

Gold and silver blind the eye
Temporary riches lie
Come and eat from heaven’s store
Come and drink and thirst no more

So weep not for me my friend
When my time below does end
For my life belongs to him
Who will raise the dead again

In and through these word I knew Deborah was home, healed and whole.  There was great peace which came (and still comes) from listening to this music.

The final song has a slightly stranger story behind it for me.  I don’t like a lot of modern Christian music because it seems to lack a depth of knowing and loving Jesus.  A lot of modern music seems written to sell and to stimulate, not to express the Holiness of the relationship we can have with the Father.  This is just some of my thinking so please don’t hammer me for it.  I am not making an absolute statement here.

I have worked in prison ministry with a ministry called Kairos where we go in for a weekend and “Listen, Listen, Love, Love” 42 inmates at a time.  There are broken down to 7 different tables where they sit with volunteers.  During the first Kairos weekend I worked after losing Deborah I was sitting at the table with inmates and ours was in the back of the room.  Over the course of the weekend we sing songs.

Before I go on I should say that I believe in the Holy Spirit and I believe there is a supernatural world that is all around us.  I love the Holy Spirit, believe in the Baptism in it and have seen God do miraculous things in this world.  Really.  Oh, and that is not part of the Kairos plan and is not encouraged.  The book contains the plan and we strive to stick with it.

So we were having a singing time and were all standing up having a good time.  Our music leader lead us in a song I suppose I had heard before but I had never “heard” it before like I heard it that day.  The song is “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me.  I swear I hadn’t heard it before today, okay.  Well, the Holy Spirit took me, in the spirit, up to heaven and there I was in the great throne room of God.  And Deborah was there to greet me with this great big smile that simply radiated with her eyes bright as can be.  Now you are probably thinking yea, the guy goes to heaven and sees his wife and she is hunky-dory.  I would be thinking that too so I don’t mind if you do.  But, this is my vision of heaven so follow along.  Then Deborah takes me by my hand and she leads me over and introduces me to Jesus.  The message God had for me came through loud and clear, it is all about Jesus  Here are the lyrics to “I Can Only Imagine.”

I Can Only Imagine

I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk

By Your side

I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When Your face
Is before me

I can only imagine
I can only imagine

[Chorus:]
Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for You Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I
fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all

I can only imagine
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the sun

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You

I can only imagine
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for You Jesus or in awe of You be still

Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I
fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all

I can only imagine
I can only imagine
yeah
Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for You Jesus or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I
fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all

I can only imagine
yeah
I can only imagine
I can only imagine
I can only imagine
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever,
forever worship you

I can only imagine

When I went to the gym this evening I played these three songs in a loop over the course of about an hour and at times I buried my face in my workout towel and cried, weeping over the emotions these songs stir up in me, songs that stir up Christ in me.  Just like my vision which occurred in prison, it is about Jesus and the depth of the meaning of knowing Him.  Do you have a belief that is strong enough to carry you through life, through good and bad, to take the weight of all the wrongs in your life (called sin), a belief that can stand in the storm?  I do, I believe in God, the God, the Great I AM.  And along with Barry I don’t know why He loves me.  And with Julie I know that one day all my tears will be washed away when we see Him face to face.

To gaze at the I AM can be outward, heavenly, or it can be inwardly, inside each of us.  Gaze, be in awe.  Dare to look and seek to know Him who is.  Yes, we truly cannot comprehend Him but we can gaze and we can seek to but touch the hem of His garment and be made whole.

Below are YouTube’s of the three songs.  For Barry it is his performing it live, laid out like the question it is.  All My Tears has been done in many variations by many artists.  I give you Julie singing it in a simplistic version that I think lays open the music and bares it for the soul.  I Can Only Imagine is Mercy Me’s original version of the song.  Blessing on you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rxv6Os66U3I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YzreoXax1A

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_lrrq_opng

Yes, I know you hurt

Yes, I know you are in pain and that you hurt. It’s not okay, it doesn’t feel good. But I will weep with you and stand by you. You have to understand that the reason you are in pain and hurt is because you are human. Further, because you are human you will suffer pain and hurt. It comes with being human.

Deborah, my wife, died in 2009 from cancer, the Big C. we were married 37 years and she was the love of my life. I spent 2 full years in very deep grief and even now I miss her and I still cry at times. My sister contacted me today to tell me that today was the day our father died 19 years ago. Both of my sisters still hold our parents close in their hearts; they still hurt.

When I looked at the news and saw about the bombing in Boston I wept and I cannot give a specific reason why, the news just made me weep. I learned of some very dear people in our church whose daughter is going to give birth this month to a girl, who is already named. When the child is born she will go from the delivery room into open heart surgery to repair things that aren’t right. Open heart surgery is not minor and when it has to be performed on a really new, newborn infant it is very major and serious. More tears, more pain, more hurt.

On any given day open your newspaper and there is a section devoted to pain and hurt. It is called the obituary, I have been through that hurt, haven’t you. Go to the legal pages where they print all the legal notices of every kind. There you find divorces. God, the pain, please help! Visit any or every hospital or go to a military base where a unit is shipping out for a tour overseas. Those aren’t tears of joy, trust me. Pain, hurt, suffering of all kinds is going on. Natural disasters, man-made accidents (the town of West, Texas, is totally in shock and pain), senseless crimes, all of these things happen in life and cause pain, hurt and suffering.

Are you down enough yet to look for some perspective? What does it mean and why does it affect us so much? This is one of man’s great quests for understanding. Well, you have come to the right place looking for answers and I will make it simple and easy. I don’t know, I don’t have a clue and I could just say go look someplace else. But I won’t because I started this post so I better have a pretty good reason for putting you through this.

Let’s talk about Jesus and His take on hurt and suffering. I want to leave out Good Friday which is pain, hurt and suffering beyond anything humans can or should have to endure. Yes, it is pivotal to Jesus and all that He did but I want to see and show you how much He loves you and me, where He talked about our suffering.

Read John, chapter 11. Go ahead and read all of it to see your family there, two sisters and a brother. I know from personal experience Lazarus never got to choose what TV show was watched because the two sisters would gang up and out vote him. That meant no Gunsmoke or Bonanza. But the sisters loved their brother, loved him a whole lot. They also loved Jesus. Lazarus gets sick, really sick, so the sisters send for Dr. Jesus. If only He could come in time Jesus will heal Lazarus, we believe, we know that Jesus can and will. But Jesus didn’t come in time, the miracle Mary and Martha so desperately believed would happen didn’t. Their brother, the one they loved dearly, Lazarus, died. Stone cold dead as dead can be. Wrapped him up they did, and they laid Lazarus in a tomb knowing he would rot away and return to the dust from whence he came. And Mary and Martha and all the family and friends suffered great pain and hurt. Modern man likes pretty titles so let’s call it this wonderful name, grief. Pain, suffer and hurt is all you need to know to understand grief.

The story in John 11 is very clear that Jesus knew all about Lazarus being sick and Jesus knew that if He didn’t go up there quickly Lazarus would die. Jesus also knew the end of the story, He knew the greater plan that would speak volumes to all mankind. So Jesus waited a couple of days to make sure that when He did arrive Lazarus would be really good and dead, and there would be a stench. Jesus knew that Lazarus would rise up and come forth from the tomb alive and returned to his loved ones. Oh the great joy of that moment. Jesus knew all of this in advance, part of the plan for you and for me.

Now, when Jesus hadn’t even gotten all the way to the village Martha comes out to meet Him and Mary also rises up and comes out also. Now the moment! Jesus saw Mary and all the Jews weeping, weeping out of their love for Lazarus, tears pouring out, faces red and flush, clothes in a dishevel, torn up. Jesus saw all of the pain, hurt and suffering these people were going through, and that, my friends, is what moved Jesus. Jesus wept, John, chapter 11, verse 35. He did not weep for Lazarus, Jesus wept because His friends were in pain and were hurting. Jesus not only wept but Jesus hurt and He hurt with the hurt you experience when you lose a loved one, when you suffer a physical injury or pain. He suffered and hurt just like you.

It is because we are human. Let me say it again, the reason you are in pain and hurt is because you are human. Further, because you are human you will suffer pain and hurt. It comes with being human. But know that God Himself is not immune to the same feelings and because Jesus Himself felt and knew such pain and suffering and just plain old hurt He can bear witness with us.

Jesus walks with us, lives with us. He comes alongside us when it is the worst not to cure us but to be with us to tell us that one day all those we love will arise and come forth from the tomb. Greater still, Jesus Himself went into the tomb, our tomb, before us, to show us that one day we shall rise.

I would that I could hold and comfort all that read this who have been down that road, but I can’t. I can say that Jesus is that and He weeps when you weep. Blessings in Jesus name.

Spring springs with life

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I received an email this week from someone who loves me dearly that was a reminder that this week is the anniversary of when we interred Deborah in 2010.  It was actually not a date on my calendar or in my mind, but being reminded has brought forth much loving thoughts as well as a stirring in my heart and mind.

Between one and two months after Deborah passed away God gave me the song “All My Tears” by Julie Miller as a gift for healing.  The youtube version attached is Julie singing it at it barest (from the movie Songcatcher) and to me is the most beautiful version of this song.  It has been covered by Emmylou Harris (both with Julie and on her own), Jars of Clay, Selah with Kim Hill, Julie and her husband Buddy Miller.  But I like this bare version of it.  One line in the song is “So weep not for me my friend when my time below does end for my life belongs to him who will raise the dead again.”  Well, I still weep at times.  I was driving home from an appointment and I played a version I had in the car over and over, for 45 minutes, and I wept.  But rest assured they are good tears.

Spring has arrived in the Texas Hill Country and with it comes wildflowers out the wazoo.  The photograph above was taken in 2012 when Deborah’s bench and surrounding area was buried in Bluebonnets and other wildflowers.  So in essence she was buried in life, new life that returns each spring.  Hence, spring springs with life.  Life and beauty will reign.  Death cannot hold sway forever.

Now, I have said all that to say I believe.  I believe in God, that there is a Greater One, a Creator of everything that was, is and will be.  I believe that Jesus is God and is God’s own Son who came to bring life to all men who will choose to accept it, all men who choose to embrace something that is unseen and unproven, and to accept that not only is there a God, the great I AM.  I believe and I stand on that belief.

Next, this belief says that God will raise the dead one day in the future.  I believe that.  I don’t know it, I can’t prove it, there is no evidence to prove that statement but I believe it.  One day I will rest in the same bench Deborah’s ashes are in.  My ashes will be next to hers and I believe that I will be with her in the presence of God in heaven.  Where is that and how does it all work?  I don’t know, but I believe.

My question to all who read this is what do you believe?  What are you basing your life upon and what are you risking your life for?  I could preach, and would love to, but I would rather invite you to ask God to reveal His truth to you.  I once prayed “God, if you aren’t dead and are there come and fill my heart.”  And you know what, He did.  That settled the question of if there was a God or not.  It still took me more than a few years to realize that I could live in Him, in Jesus, but the matter of God was a settled issue with me.  So, talk with Him about whether or not He is and go out and enjoy and see the new life spring brings, it is a gift from Him to you.

Finally, please stop and say a prayer for me.  A touch from the Master’s hand right now would be nice.  Blessings.