Saturday, October 29, 2011

Reversible Me

Years ago, when I was a child, I remember getting a reversible jacket to wear to school. I know my mom thought it was great, because she got two jackets for the price of one, but I loved it because I could turn it inside out, and it would be just as cool and impressive as the other way around. Okay cool and impressive never described my clothing as a child, but I sure thought it was cool.

But what if we could get the same mileage out of our humanity, as I did with that jacket of so many years ago? What if, we could turn ourselves inside out, and still impress others with both sides of our life; and not just the one they’re used to seeing? Of which the very idea of exposing our inner selves to others make many people turn and run away.

I understand why many people would feel that way, because really, shouldn’t we all have those internal gutsy vulnerable places where no one but the Holy God, me, myself and I are allowed to go? Well maybe not: for though we all may feel that way, it may not be for our collective and individual best.

You see, when we are able and willing to reverse ourselves and become what we really are, so as to destroy the secret “you” that lives behind that epidermal wall and reveal our true colors to the world around us, something amazing happens. It’s called freedom.

That’s right freedom. But the problem is, we like our freedom, but only in limited and censored amounts. In other words, “Thanks brother for sharing… just don’t share too much.” Or how about this one, we bump into someone and say; “How’s it going?” And they actually begin to tell you. Wow have you ever been in that situation, I know I have. And even worse yet, I’ve wished that I had the courage at times to actually tell someone, “Well to be honest, my stomach aches right now, I’ve had diarrhea recently, and my dog just died and I feel like jumping off a bridge… And you?”

Chances are, a Reversible Me will never come into fashion, but if it ever did, we just might be a whole lot healthier, honest and definitely clear as to whom people really are and where they stand. A Reversible Me, might cost us something, but in the end the benefits will be great!

Psalm 32:2 "Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!" (NLT)

Psalm 51:6 "But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there." (NLT)

Jeremiah 5:3 "Lord, you are searching for honesty. You struck your people, but they paid no attention. You crushed them, but they refused to be corrected. They are determined, with faces set like stone; they have refused to repent." (NLT)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just Another Sign

Many among us believe that the United States of America will never implode and lose its footing as a republic using democracy for a guidance system. Who could imagine America without the full use of all three branches of government, I know I couldn’t have just a few years ago, but times have changed.

Just recently, our current President used some language and executive order that each of us should take serious note of; “We can’t wait” and “I’m going to bypass Congress”. And why? For the good of the people. Right?

Sure, that makes sense, the highest office in the land, goes against the counter balancing legislative body, because said legislative body is just dragging its feet and people need help now. That all sounds so benevolent, but it is one of many signs of our times that we should sit up and take note of.

Because the day and the hour are coming, when governments and world leaders, just can’t wait anymore for legislative bodies to work out the lawful details; they’ll just be bypassed so as to give the people what they need.

Now I’m no political science guru, nor am I an eschatology student, but I know when the Lord places a check in my heart. And what I’m describing above produced such a check. When our President begins to lead, by telling us he’s going to bypass historically and legally established paths by which this republic has been governed, serious trouble is not far away.

With all the protesters, and government leaders operating capriciously on a whim for the sake of the masses, you have the makings of large amounts of people who will be willing to break law, precedent, and common sense and follow ANYONE who will give them what they want. And that my friends is what is warming up in the bull-pen.

Just Another Sign

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Trip Zone

No I’m not writing about the house where I lived with my buddies while matriculating in Springfield, Missouri. I’m referring to something far greater yet sharply sublime. I’m referring to the Christ, the Son of the Living God!

Jesus said; “Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” (Luke 7:23) I really believe that Jesus was making the point that we can either STEP UP, STAY DOWN, or TRIP over the very fact of what He came to do. If we STEP UP, as we approach this thing that many have found to be something to catch a toe on and fall smack dab on their face; something powerful happens. Our perspective slowly changes. Note the operative word, slowly.

Much like the slow slope of low rise steps; traveling a long distance to rise to a great height; so too are each facet of the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Every encounter with His Truth, we can do one of three things. We can STEP UP and move forward, just a little higher in our view of life and the Kingdom. Or we can STAY DOWN and just stare at that rise of the step and wonder if we can take such a step of faith, and often we simply stall out without a move. Or we can TRIP over Him (stumble) in our attempts to look beyond Him or even view life without Him in our field of vision.

I can tell you from experience – I’ve done all three. I’m not proud of that fact, but I am honest.

Jesus is never condescending to anyone who stood in dumbfounded amazement or fear at the STEP He was calling them to take, so as to go higher and further into His Will for their life. As a matter of fact, if Jesus wept, and I know He did, it would be over our unwillingness to STEP UP. He would weep as we simply stand there and do nothing; with our feelings keeping us from taking that step of faith and obedience that seems so daunting. And I know He weeps when we ignore His sharp and pronounce presence; while looking ahead and wondering if we can do this thing called life without Him. And we run pell-mell toward the horizon line of our wants and needs; totally ignoring that He’s placed a step in our path to take us higher in Him, but we catch our toe on it and fall smack dab on our face. And Jesus weeps.

But, “Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of” Him and His will and plan for their lives and this earth and our potential Kingdom influence. Yes, BLESSED! If I walk circumspectly, considering that ALL THINGS in my life are there for me to spring up to the next level; I am blessed. I gain, I get, I win in Him.

I know it’s counter intuitive to say on the one hand, we are to lose everything for the sake of Christ, all the while gaining simultaneously as we carefully and willingly STEP UP to the next thing He has for us. I know the idea of losing something so you can gain something – just really doesn’t make logical sense, but that’s how God does things.

So, before you click on over to some other web site or go back to Facebook; may I say you’re headed for The Trip Zone. We’re all headed toward The Trip Zone; that next place where God calls us upward and forward. There are three options we can take when Christ the Stumbling Stone plants His Will right in our path. STEP UP, STAY DOWN, OR TRIP! That’s it; there are no other options.

God may I STEP UP. Because I’m sure tired of STAYING DOWN or TRIPPING my way around the same obstacle year after year. Exodus can be strategic and straight or it can be circles in the sand, with lots of skinned knees and confused countenances.

The Trip Zone is coming to a life like yours real soon!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Broken Edges Tend to be Sharp

I was driving home from work today and I got to thinking about broken hearts. The Bible tells us that broken and contrite hearts are ones that God is looking for, but what affect do those hearts have on others until God gets ahold of them?

Well I’ll tell you. They’re sharp. They cut and they’re very dangerous. Much like some author penned; “Hurt People Hurt People”; that’s a great catchy title that I wish I would have thought of, but I didn’t. But honestly I did think about the sharpness of things with broken edges.

Broken edges tend to be sharp shards of whatever they’re made of. And if it’s the human heart then the edges will be razor sharp and made of heart material. And heart material tends to be things that “feel” right and “feel” powerful and “feel” alive. So what about those edges that seem so sharp?

Here’s the deal. If God desires a broken and contrite heart, so as to enter and make a home; how much more the human hunger for a home? How much more in the fallible cardio of each human being? How much more in the ones who’ve been wounded by the sharp edges of a broken heart? I’d say much more. And life seems to give credence to that hypothesis.

So what about you? Have you ever experienced deep wounds as a result of the sharpness of a broken heart? I ask because I’m convinced that; if you really “feel” and “know” you are loved, then armor emerges on the outside and no sharp edge of a broken and disappointed heart can cut you. But if armor is absent, watch out.

Primal man understood that broken Chert or Flint could be used as a cutting edge, or a piercing tool, but it took several millenniums for modern man to understand the power of a broken heart. As for me, give me tooled rock, and I’m okay. Give me a broken heart and I’m hurt.

Have you ever been in a place where Broken Edges Tend to be Sharp? I know I have.


Russell Kinney

Russell Kinney: "‎"Beyond the gravity binding us, our souls travel alone." Donald Miller from Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance. Maybe that's why we all have times when being alone creates such a noticeable vacuum - it sucks."

'via Blog this'

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Valuable Heart

There are few among us that have the ability to see value in something that at first glance appears broken and worn out. Granted, these few are able to see a diamond in the rough and take the chance at renewing its value to the eye of the uninitiated. And for sure there have been “pickers” who take one man’s junk and make it into another man’s treasure, but again I say they are few. If not we’d have far less retail marketers than we currently do.

But let me express what the Lord spoke to my heart this very hour.

Even less are those among us that have the Spirit born ability to see value in something that at first glance appears broken and worn out: namely the human heart.

I say that because, the most precious place God can find a home, is within the heart that is broken and worn out with its own efforts and designs. For in the failure of self and society are we able and only to find the sufficiency that Christ alone will meet within us.

It is at the place of brokenness that the Spirit of God shines light into dark places. It is at the place of brokenness that the Spirit of God breathes life into the vacant lungs of the expired. It is at this place that we most often reach behind the veil and touch the Face and the tears of the One who through the most amazing means is touched by the feelings of our weaknesses.

Now granted the Book reminds us that He will give us beauty for ashes and a garment of praise to overshadow the spirit of heaviness, but oh how the lead up to that trade off often comes: through brokenness and pain.

A good and noble heart is indeed the place that God desires to plant great Seed for a bountiful harvest and Kingdom glory; but no man’s heart is born good and noble, except by the test of time and tension. Time and tension over desires unmet or needs thwarted so as to make one so vacuous that only the grace of God can supply and satisfy.

So which heart is The Valuable Heart? Is it the one that is strong and beats with no assistance or need of resuscitation? Or could it be the one that is constantly aware of its dire need of Life support. Is it the heart that, while on one hand is beating and demonstrating that Life is present, is also fully aware of where that Life source comes from?

I truly believe that brokenness and a condition of contrition are the most valuable assets available to the Lord and His plan for each one as well as this collection of souls inhabiting this planet. For in the place of brokenness and contrition, the spirit of pride and self-sufficiency are deftly slain to rest. They are sworn to the oath of awareness that says: I cannot – but He alone can.

And it is there and there alone that The Valuable Heart is made known. It is where I end and He begins. It is the place where daily I must meet my Maker and acknowledge that even in His blessed provisions I have no hand or design. For The Valuable Heart fully understands that we are nothing but a lump of un-thrown clay on the wheel of the Master’s Plan.

Oh that I would have a strong and healthy cardio vascular system, of which I am most responsible for; but my spirits cardio vascular systems success, rests fully in the acknowledgment of its own failed efforts. All of which leads to The Valuable Heart that has been arrested unto death by the sake of its own efforts – only to find Life in Him alone.

Father God, teach me the strong yet tender lesson of The Valuable Heart that is Yours alone.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Had it Been Math

Or something significant like proficient levels of music, maybe folks would have loved me more, but no. It was skateboarding; bicycle and motorcycle riding, and trekking my own path through life that made me stand out. Oh yeah, and polemics. Maybe it’s the Irish in me, but arguing passionately for a point in my younger days really gave me an endorphin rush. Not so much the older I get. I budget my battle picks.

I was just watching some Phil Keaggy videos on YouTube and I marveled at his proficiency. I’ve always loved his music, but man that guy CAN play the guitar. Pure beauty as his fingers tickled the frets and his partner-less index finger picked the strings. And we all exhale accolades for the higher things of beauty like brains and the arts.

But what about the billions of folks on this planet that just go through life trying to make a buck and pay their bills? What about the talent of a single mother who makes ends meet on a minimum wage paycheck and still builds self-esteem in the hearts of her fatherless kids? Or the dad who, works the second shift on top of the first so his son can go to college and go where he had never gone? Talent and heart tend to be relative.

I stop for this moment and wonder how many people ponder their significance beyond MATH, or music, or science, or finance, or influence or even successful religion? I wonder if people are really happy with their day in and day out lot in life? Because I know there are days that I wonder if I’ve missed my God given opportunities, simply because I didn’t do well at MATH? Or science, or music, or poetry, or any number of other disciplines that garner a healthy wage and mass accolades? I suppose I’ll never know.

There have been times that I’ve had a moment of reflection at the Wal-Mart check out, and wondered if the person “beeping” my toothpaste and vitamin C wished they had a different life. Or for that matter I have to admit I’ve thanked God that I have the life I have, but then it all disappears as I walk out and drive home.

Anyway, Jesus told us that the Father would gift us according to our abilities (Matthew 25:15), and that is what our judgment would be based upon. So what about our abilities? What are we/you able to accomplish IN HIM? I would say enormous things if we stay IN HIM. If we stay in the TRUTH of His Word and Spirit, my guess is you WILL HAVE satisfaction in your everyday life.

Had it Been Math you were good at, then you would feel fulfilled with your life. Or even if it weren’t math or some other noble discipline, but if it were simply being a kind helper to others in need, satisfaction and fulfillment would surely overshadow your life.

So the next time you feel that life has slighted you somehow, stop and realize that what God gives each person is “according to their abilities”. And since God knows what you can and cannot do, He is the one who will put you in places to hone and stretch the gifts He’s given, even when you or others count them insignificant. He never will, because He’s the giver of all good and perfect gifts.

Remember, your Father God has your life’s art work up on His refrigerator, and He smiles every time He passes by your best efforts at life and godliness.

Cast your cares on Him then rest in the life He’s given you; and know He’s there every step, every breath, and every second of the way. And for goodness sake, whatsoever you do in life, do it unto Him, and watch the satisfaction and blessings grow, beyond your wildest imagination. And of all things never think or feel, Had it Been Math, my life would be somehow better.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

If Just Me

Paul the apostle penned the following words: ischyō pas en Christos ho endynamoō me. Now I’m no Greek scholar; I’ll leave that to my beloved brother-in-law Jac, but this one thing I do know; only by the strength invested within me by Christ, will I be able to follow His purpose and His plan.

The seductress called daily life comes to snatch away our deepest devotions and to make them her very own. And often without much protest from the ones most deprived. And why? Why is there such a constant competition for the heart and soul of man, through the seductions of the woman called pragmatic?

There is indeed a seductive interface between the little and the big; the good versus the best; and the now versus the later. And the battle rages on at every level.

If ever there were a passage of divine verse that I desire to keep in my heart that I might not “sin against Thee” it is Philippians 4:13 (thank you Jerry Holte, circa 1977).

In some very vain ways, I have used this passage for my own benefit. But that was never the intent of such words. It was never God’s purpose for His redeemed loved ones to shoulder the task of Kingdom advance in the name of self-advance as a side benefit of standing on the promises. On the contrary; His strength placed within us, by His Spirit, is there for one purpose – Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done – regardless of mine.

Yet how often do I seek the solace of the Spirit’s Words through the apostles and the prophets so as to accomplish my will and not His? How often do we leverage the Truth of God to get what we want?

I know I’ve tried many times, much to my chagrin; because He’s much wiser than my petty juvenile desires. Therefore, He lets me do it in my own strength, so as to not allow me the swell of pride to create an idol of His power for my own wants and desires.

Thank you Lord – but ouch.

I had a very sobering thought this afternoon. What If Just Me? What if the plans and purposes of God, rested solely upon my willingness to step out and do what He calls? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting this thought as a reflection of my own arrogance or aggrandizement, but to the contrary. For God’s will to be done on this earth and for His plans and purposes to be accomplished to their fullest, does indeed depend upon my willingness to accept that mantle: what If Just Me?

What if I was the only one standing between hell and the souls of billions of people? What if my feeblest efforts at the advance of The Kingdom were predicated upon my willingness to let His Spirit empower me to take on any and all mandates from Heaven? What if my prayers alone were the weight that caused a holy tipping in the direction of the greatest Kingdom advance ever known to human history? Delusions of grandeur; I think not. Remember, Jesus lived with this glory upon His life.

God spoke to my heart this very hour and revealed to me the power in that passage. The burden, the responsibility and the joy found in being the key and final piece in the puzzle of His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

If I actually accepted the If Just Me responsibility, how much in my world would change? If you actually accepted the If Just Me challenge how might your world change; and how rapidly might you see the end of days as only seen through the lens of fallen history?

Consider this challenge with me: If Just Me. That’s right, if all of the Kingdom of God and its holy advance rested upon one single soul, one single saint of God, one person who takes those words to heart and to death. Envision the Power that would be released upon this lost and dying planet. If each of us said yes to the idea of being the key instrument for the culmination of God’s will on this earth – Wow! How things might change before our very eyes!

Think of it this way. If you really desire to be empowered by Christ in you, then consider His choice to make you the one. The one who accepts the challenge; that in your own strength impossible, but with His strength ALL THINGS BECOME POSSIBLE. And within the acceptance of such a formidable challenge you actually find all your desires changing to match His, and all things are completed before your very eyes.

Regardless the cost, If Just Me… then just me.