So, do you like cheese?
Awkward is my middle name…
I suck at flirting.
What do we do when things get complicated?
Well…here’s some of the things I find myself doing…
Talk about putting the cart in front of the horse! Of which I’m the master…so, here, hold my beer while I take a bow!
Why the hell can’t I remember to pray first? Does it make me a horrible Christian? On the contrary…it makes me human.
It’s just good ole “human nature” to desire to fix something when it breaks, and we shouldn’t berate ourselves for following our God-given, intrinsic instinct. If we do, then that, my friend, is the real tragedy. God doesn’t hold it against us…
Simply put, God knows how it feels to be human!
God, himself, put on flesh, and walked this earth for 33 years, and his friends called him, Jesus. During these 33 years he was tempted in all ways, and personally experienced every weakness that can ever befall us. Remember, He understands. His arms are open, and he bids us come… “give me your cares for I care for you.”
Now, I’m not so naive as to believe that prayer is some magic wand that fixes everything…
However, this is what prayer will do…
[Jesus] understands our weaknesses, for he faced all the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Through prayer we receive God’s understanding, His Mercy, and His Grace. Armed with these we can face any circumstance that life throws our way.
So, when things get complicated remember….
Oh what a Savior we have!
“…Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him…” (Hebrews 4:14)
This High Priest of ours [Jesus] understands our weaknesses, for he faced all the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.
Would it be too premature if I said, “I’m enjoying Heaven on this Earth?”
Well, lets take a look-see…
So, first of all, my description of Heaven is anywhere I can commune with Jesus.
Yes, I know that one day this body will die, and my spirit will ascend into Heaven, and I realize Heaven to be a tangible…touchable place.
After all, Jesus said this about Heaven,
“In my Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you…so that where I am you may be also.”
So, yes…physically I am far…FAR away from the physical Heaven. Even the Pharisees, of long ago, questioned Jesus about the whereabouts of Heaven, and He said,
“The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Jesus proclaims that His kingdom abides within us!
There may be thousands, upon thousands of galaxies that separate me from Heaven, the place, but guess what? Nothing, absolutely nothing, separates me from Jesus or His Love! Even the Apostle Paul agrees with me on this one, for he writes in Romans,
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So, who freaking cares how many galaxies exist between me and Heaven! It doesn’t matter because God has already set up His Kingdom within my heart! Jesus lives within me, and He wants to live in you too!
Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
Don’t wait to celebrate Heaven, dear friends!
Open the door and let’s get the party started!
Jesus Wants Us To Be Happy Christians!
“Exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today…” (Hebrews 3:13)
This morning my daily devotions took me to chapter 3 of Hebrews. In verse 7 the Holy Spirit admonishes me to “listen to his voice.” Not only am I compelled to listen but I am urged to do it now…right away…in this very moment.
Listen to the urgency… “Today you must listen to his voice.”
As I read, I wondered…. “Why the urgency?” … and I came to a few conclusions.
First, none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. We live in the moment, and even that may be snatched away without warning.
Second, as human creatures we are prone procrastinate. James, the brother of Jesus, writes, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” When we are young we tend to believe we have all the time in the world, and then one day, as a fifty-plus year old we scratch our heads and say, “Where the hell did it go…”
Third, I wonder, if… perhaps…His message for me today will be somehow different from his message of tomorrow. If so…and I fail to hear it…then it is lost to me, forever.
I believe God tries to say “I love you,” MANY times a day. I don’t know about you, but I love hearing the different ways he expresses his love. Maybe it’s in a kitten’s purr, a gentle breeze, the flutter of a dragonfly, a bluebird’s serenade, or even co-mingled within a good cup of coffee.
Jesus and I have this thing between us…and it goes something like this:
“Whenever the dragonfly’s path crosses my way… Tis but Jesus saying… “I love you, today.”
You’d be surprised how many times I see them ….even during the winter months! When I do, I can’t help but smile and say, “I love you, too.”
The idea for today’s post came from, Seize The Day, found in Our Daily Bread Devotional Journal, and also from today’s daily prompt, infect. When I saw the word infect, immediately my mind thought, cancer.
Vernon C. Grounds opens Seize The Day with a paragraph about Jim Valvano, and it is that paragraph I leave for you in closing…
“Before entering the broadcasting field, Jim Valvano led the North Carolina State University basketball team to a national championship. Then cancer developed in his lower back. Invited to address the Duke University squad, Jim had this to say:
“Life changes when you least expect it to. The future is uncertain. So, seize this day, seize this moment, and make the most of it.”
The gospel of Matthew opens with the ancestral lineage of Jesus. Most of us just skim over these verses because, lets face it, its pretty boring, but often, there are surprises hidden within the mundane, and they remain unseen unless we are willing the thin the clutter, and look beneath the surface.
You may be shocked to learn from whom Jesus descended!
I love a good surprise. I love movies and books that end with a crazy twist that you just don’t see coming. I love writers like Stephen King are are masters of this.
Good surprises can also do wonders for stale relationships. Want to create sparks in your love life?…send flowers, write love notes, take them out for an unexpected date, pat their hiney, and grab a few stolen kisses… etc.
We all love these kinds of surprises.
As I read the Bible it seems to me that God also loves surprises. The wonderful stories between Genesis and Revelation are mostly about how God uses the mundane to confound the wise. He uses simple folk like you me to change this world for the better. We become vessels of the Holy Spirit to carry out the plans of His radical love.
Yesterday, my morning devotion just happened to be called, Surprise Me! It opened with a beautiful passage from the book of Ephesians that tells of Christ in our hearts, and how we become spiritually empowered through his love and presence. I’ll attach this scripture at the end with hopes that it will bless you as much as it blessed me.
In this devotion, Cindy Hess Kasper, associate editor for Our Daily Journey, writes,
“Do you like surprises? Would you dare say “Surprise me!” to God? Through out the Bible we read that God delights in doing the unexpected. Jesus’ time on earth was filled with amazing events…He turned water into wine, calmed the storms, healed the sick, and raised the dead. What kind of God do we serve? One who is not confined by our finite imagination. He wants to bless us…He delights in His children who trust Him and are willing to say, “Surprise me, Lord!”
God, open my eyes…Surprise me today!
When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots do down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, and how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we world ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21
I think, perhaps, writers have a love/hate relationship with words. We love them when they flow, and curse them when they do not.
Words…they are fascinating entities.
Take for example, yesterday’s daily prompt, rebel.
Rebel can be used as either a noun or a verb.
As a noun, rebel describes a person who rises up against authority. For example:
As a verb, the word rebel is defined as…the action one takes in order to resist, reject, or rise against authority. For example:
Words such as this are called, homographs. (homos for short)
Homographs may be pronounced the same (homonyms), or they may be pronounced differently (heteronyms, also known as heterophones).
Whether homos or heteros, these words can prove to be tricky for any writer.
There are many homos lurking about, and they can easily be overlooked unless they are outed. I thought it would be fun to bring some of the homos out of hiding.
Please feel free to join in the fun!
Search your tack box of words, pick out your favorite homos, and tack them to this list!
Today I couldn’t see the forest for the homos!
PS – I’m as gay as they come, so nothing in this post is intended to offend any homo.
I took a road trip to New England a few years back. Me, myself, and I conquered the 14 hour drive with only one mishap…a flat tire. While walking the streets of Ogunquit Maine I saw these lovely flowers, and was compelled to capture them on film. (Old terminology…I know…but hey, I’m over 50 and set in my ways.) 🙂
Participation in Cee’s Flower of the Day
So often our thoughts are consumed with getting what we want or need, and this is not necessarily a bad thing…after all, it is self-preservation that has kept our species alive and kicking to this very day.
Self preservation is a God-given intrinsic, instinct, but, let’s face it friends, a lot has changed since the days of painting our stories upon cavern walls.
Most of us not only have our needs…shelter, food, water, and clothes…met, but we are also richly garnished with our fleshly wants and desires. Where as, some may think this a bad thing, I do not hold to that idea.
There is nothing wrong with getting things we want…after all, it is our Creator who spoke this world, and all of its beautiful things into existence. Jesus tells us,
“I came that [you] may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance to the full, till it overflows.”
Jesus wants us to enjoy the life he died to give us. His death and resurrection is so much more than a ticket to Heaven. It is also the assurance that He wants us to enjoy and make the most of the time we have on Earth. He is actually happy to see us happy. Such a simple concept, but one that is largely overlooked by mainstream Christianity.
Jesus also gave himself away to be an example for us. There are at least 87 times in the Bible where Jesus says, “Follow me…” I believe that these two words, “Follow me,” sum up the true meaning of Christianity.
True Christianity is not about following a set of rules, it’s not about your interpretation of scripture, but rather it’s simply following in Jesus’s footsteps.
How did Jesus treat the poor?
How did Jesus treat the hungry?
How did Jesus treat the sick?
How did Jesus treat sinners?
How did Jesus treat the outcast?
How did Jesus treat the stranger?
How did Jesus treat the religious?
These are the questions we should be asking ourselves as we seek to follow Jesus.
Jesus didn’t flaunt himself, he gave himself, and that is what he want us to do, as well.
Genuine Christians follow Jesus, and give of themselves to others.
“We have to learn to give ourselves away and the blessings of God will chase us down and overtake us. You see, He wants to help you be enthusiastic about loving other people every single day of your life as you do kind and caring things for them.” Joyce Meyer
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it. —Jesus
Lord, help me to see others through your eyes, and to be you to all I see. In Jesus name, amen.
Last week, Corinne, my wife, and I were walking on the beach. There was little chatter, both introverts, we are more than comfortable in our silence.
The day was gorgeous. The sun was bright, the sky was blue, and speckled with creamy puffs of whip-cream, creatively changing shapes above our heads. The water’s ebb and flow teased our feet, and the air smelt salty, crisp, and clean.
Glancing at my feet, I noticed a perfectly rounded shell, and my first thought was, “Gosh, that would be a perfect home for a hermit crab!”
That one thought took me back some 17 years ago…and not to a happy place, but to a place of anguish within my heart. Who knew I still carried such intense emotion on my sleeve…and that it could be just as raw as the first day I experienced it.
Seventeen years ago I divorced my husband of eighteen years. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made in my life. It went against everything I had been raised to believe…it went against the faith that I had clung to all of my life, but I was gay, and I could live the lie no more. At the age of 36 I told my husband, a good man, the truth I had known from a child.
We had two beautiful children, that we loved with all of our hearts. The time came when I had to tell them I was moving out. That moment is by far, the hardest moment of my entire life. Their brokenhearted cries haunt me still. Sometimes it is so strong that I can do nothing but breakdown and weep.
Now, you may be wondering how the perfect hermit crab, habitat…the shell…could awaken such painful memories. Here’s why…
It had been several months since I had moved. My husband and I had agreed to joint custody. The week would be divided between us. We loved our children so much that we agreed to not “bad-mouth” each other in their presence. Our common goal was to make this transition as easy as possible. So, even though there was much anger and hurt between us, we chose to support each other for their sake. Every three to four days they would stay with me, and the other three to four days with their dad.
On this particular day, they were coming to stay with me after a trip to the beach with their dad. The door burst open and my son came inside with an expression of excitement and a handful of shells.
“Mama, look! I found these for my hermit crab,” I heard him say.
Now, if you know anything about hermit crabs, you’d know that as they mature they outgrow their shells, so, it’s very important to have bigger shells close by for such an occasion.
I looked at the beautiful shells he held in his little hands, and I wanted to cry. His hermit crab had died while he was away. Once again I had to tell him something that was going to hurt, and as I did I watched his face fall from happiness to helplessness. Witnessing this transformation my heart ached , and I hated myself because I couldn’t protect and shield him from the pain I saw in his eyes.
Seventeen years later, I stood barefoot on the beach, my heart breaking at the sight of the perfect shell.
It will always be there…sitting upon my sleeve…and I deserve it.