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I Wanna be a Tree (or, How to Have a Great Old Age)

I want to know that I am blessed because I trust in my Father

because He is my hope.

I want my roots to have grown deep into the ground

near the water of life,

always standing tall, weathering the storms

as the river flows by,

sometimes full and fast,

sometimes dried to a trickle.

Whether scorching hot or bitter cold,

I will choose not to fear

anything except failing to please

the One who sustains me.

Every year, when my green leaves turn gold and red,

then brown and brittle,

flying away on a whisper of wind,

I will celebrate this dance of life

with every new green leaf

and every bare branch.

Whether every drop of water dries up

and my sap no longer flows,

or the flood waters tear at my roots,

I won’t be anxious for a thing.

I will rejoice and let the wind carry my

seeds wherever they land.

I will never cease to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8.

Amen and amen.

What Next?

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If you are here, reading this blog, whether for the first or 50th time, there is something inside you that is seeking to know more about God. That is why I write, to try to put in words what it seems God is revealing to me. I do not believe that you have to be a member of an organized church or even call yourself a Christian to truly seek God. It seems to me that all you need is a heart that knows there is more to life than what we see with our eyes and hear with our ears.

I haven’t written here for a long time. Today is well over a year into the Covid-19 pandemic that has changed the whole world in ways we cannot fully understand right now, except to know that life in the before times was much different for all of us, and it is unlikely to ever go back to what we considered “normal.” Somehow, I have let myself get stuck in a rut–too much TV, too little exercise and fresh air, too much inertia and stalling and paralysis as I sit in my living room, stretched out in the recliner, with a blanket over me, waiting for the pandemic to end and life to begin again for real.

Phooey! What nonsense! Life is here and now and it won’t wait for me. I have to run behind that train and either get on board or take my own path. I think I’ll begin with a little, slow stroll here, reminding myself and hopefully someone else that life is what we make it. If I am not satisfied with how my life is going, then it is up to me to make changes, to push in the direction I want to go.

Right now, I am still employed full-time at a job I love, but more and more, I think about retirement. I am, after all, 63. I have decent health with a few problems to take care of in the near future (hip replacement, oh joy!). I still have a brain that mostly runs on all cylinders, although it’s never won any races, always preferring the slow, unpaved lane.

In the next 30 days, I plan to write here every day. I have no idea if anyone else will want to read this. Most times, I think my own thoughts turned into words on this blog are probably just boring to anyone else. But maybe there is someone out there who is seeking to find what God has in store for him/her too. If so, come along with me. I hope that in my quest to figure out what is next in my life, you will also begin to figure that out for yourself. And, I especially hope we find God is smiling over us in the process.

“He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might, He increases strength.” Isaiah 40:29. Just ponder that for a moment. Maybe, just maybe, when we feel the most worthless, the weakest, and the least mighty, if we reach out to God, He will show us how to tap into strength we didn’t even know we had.

See you tomorrow, friend.

Amen and amen.

Bread and Fish

I love to go to the beach. The sand, the waves, the sun, the salty air. Walking on the beach and finding treasures! The peace that washes in and over me with every wave. Ahhhhhh! My kind of vacation.

Someday, I might buy a little house in a small town within driving distance of the beach. Nothing fancy because I couldn’t afford it and it wouldn’t feel right to me anyway. Just a cottage big enough for me and a dog and maybe a cat. Cozy enough to comfort me when I am alone. Always welcoming to neighbors and friends. A beloved destination for those I hold dearest. A place to breathe and dream.

Maybe someday I’ll have my breakfast by the sea. Someday, when I am discouraged, knowing all is lost, I’ll put out in my little boat to find what I have always been searching for, without hope of actually finding it, not knowing what else to do. Maybe I’ll hear a stranger calling to me from the shore, telling me to do the opposite of what I set out to do. I won’t recognize the person or the voice but I’ll do as he says because what I’ve been doing has gotten me nowhere.

Then, someone will recognize the stranger as the One I have always known but mostly strayed away from, always wanting to go my own way, do what I want when I want and how. I will finally understand and be the most amazed old lady to ever walk the earth when I see the abundance of life I have now, when earlier that day I believed all was lost.

I will turn my boat to shore and find him there, with my breakfast already prepared. He invites me to share some of what he helped me catch. We dine together, bread and fish, his and mine.

Amen and amen.

Delight

An Old Testament prophet proclaiming a message of doom

turns doom on its head, shakes out its pockets,

and discovers delight in knowing the source of all his gloom.

Jeremiah discovered, surely much to his surprise,

that knowing and understanding God

didn’t leave him cowering in the corner

fearing judgment in lightning bolts of his own demise.

He found out that no matter how wise he was,

he got no glory there.

No matter how strong and mighty,

no matter how popular or rich,

he got nothing to keep him happy or fulfilled.

After a while, he began to understand and know,

the One he was running after,

searching in every crook and cranny for,

found delight that this man would want to know

and understand Him.

A while later, another man named John discovered

eternity in knowing the only true God

and His Son, Jesus, his friend.

Neither of them needed to know anything more.

The One who delights in our search for HIm

gives us eternity in every new discovery of who He might be.

Like a little child laughing at a bug on the ground

we find the joy that lasts forever

just by looking His way;

it’s how we are found.

All Truth

Jesus told us that when He left us

to head back home,

that would be to our advantage.

He was speaking at the time

to His disciples,

but isn’t He still speaking to us?

Jesus knew that as a man,

even one with our Father

and fully God Himself,

He could only do so much.

I don’t understand the transaction

of Jesus going home and sending

us a Helper,

but I absolutely believe.

I can’t say that I know much

about Him, the Spirit of truth,

but I rely on Him.

I know He’s always

here with me,

doing just as Jesus said He would,

guiding me into all truth.

That’s a big topic,

all truth,

maybe even infinite.

Too much for my little pea brain

to comprehend.

As far as I know,

I can know far more

than I can see from

my little window to the world.

Through the Helper,

I know everything

that matters

that glorifies

that convicts

that speaks of things

to come.

God help me

to accept all truth

and send it out

my little window

with love.

Amen and amen.

Love One Another

If only each of us could do that one thing.

We got booted out of paradise

for doing the one and only thing forbidden,

and now we get back in

by doing the one thing He said we must do:

love one another as I have loved you. (John 13:34)

Jesus understood that only love like His

could ever save us from ourselves.

Our Father tried to get it through our heads

that vengeance and grudges would only hold us down,

that we have to love our neighbors as ourselves:

God is our Lord. (Leviticus 19:18)

But God knew from before time

that we’d have to have a demonstration

of love before we could actually

put love into practice.

Jesus rightly called His commandment new.

Without Him to follow,

we cannot love one another

or even ourselves.

Without Him to follow,

we’re just following the crowd.

This day, and all my todays,

I want to choose this one thing.

Amen and amen.

Making Wise the Simple

I am always convinced that if I could fully understand the truth and eternal meaning of just one verse of the Bible, I would have all the wisdom of the universe. I have yet to achieve that goal. From time to time, I get a glimpse that takes my breathe away, leaving me ever searching for more yet fully satisfied.

I write here in an attempt to dig down to the truth. As I dig, my shovel clangs into big rocks of assumptions and half-truths. That is the real heavy lifting–to remove that rubble before it slides back into the deep where the truth is. The misconceptions and prejudices of those who raised me are the gravel and clay of a lifetime of thinking in the same way. No one intends to believe a lie, but we all believe what we believe.

As I dig, sometimes making the excavation deeper, sometimes wider, I try to listen. The noise of the news of this world is a siren blaring, drowning out that still small voice. But, when I pause from my own effort and look without expectation that I will see what I want or what I think ought to be there, I can begin to hear.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” Psalm 19:7.

There is still hope for me yet.

Amen and amen.

The Same

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever

yet He makes all things new in the heart of a believer.

Nothing in life ever stays the same except

the One who dwells in eternity

who created us

and died to save us.

As we spin through the universe

held here only by gravity and grace,

we need to bring Him the sacrifice of praise.

Come outside your city, your comfort zone

to the Cross to meet him there, alone.

There you will find whatever you need.

Finding it, you’ll know He’s all you’ll ever need.

The author and finisher of faith

gentle and lowly in heart

asks only that we come to Him.

If we make that journey

out of our city to look at His cross

we find our way, our truth, our life,

brand new, never to be lost.

Perspective

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. We cannot know anything except from our own perspective, our own little window to the world. My perspective is limited by time, the day I was born and the years I’ve lived out. It is limited by geography, where I have lived. It is limited by my own intelligence or lack thereof, as well as how willling I am to learn from others.

But, our perspecitve can always be expanded, by reading, by traveling, by interacting with people of different backgrounds, nationalities. faiths, and ideology. If we are willing to try to see beyond our own little glimpse into the world, God can expand our perspective as far as we’re willing to allow.

In the Bible, God used people with limited perspective to instruct us about who He is and how He operates in this world. In the gospels (the new testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), the only account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead is in the book of John. John devotes 44 verses of chapter 11 to this extraordinary event. John 11:1-44. If the length of the account is any indication of its importance, it was incrediby important to John, given that it he devotes so many verses to it. Because of the importance John obviously placed on the event, especially given that this miracle is so much more startling and, well, miraculous, it makes me wonder why there is no other account of it in the Bible.

Ultimately, only God knows that. However, It does tell me that my limited perspective is valuable to God and those He’s connected me to, which includes anyone reading this. Although I can only know what I know, God surely placed me here and now for a reason that suits His purpose. Hopefully, what I see through my little window to the world can help someone else see the world from a new perspective.

The point is–God values our individual perspective, and we should too, especially as it evolves over time by our connections to others. God works all things for good, to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28. I will be looking out my window and keeping the light on. Say howdy if you see me!

Amen and amen.

What’s the Point?

Is there really any reason to pray intentionally if God already knows our hearts and souls better than we do? I mean, if He already knows, and if He can and does answer the prayers of our hearts when we don’t even realize what we’ve prayed for, then why bother? Why not just let Him take care of everything without bothering Him?

I believe the first and most important reason to pray intentionally is that it helps us get closer to God. The words we use don’t matter to Him nearly as much as to us. We need to express what is in our hearts so we will better understand where we fall short in giving God the glory He is due, how our pain or disappointment or hurts have kept us from trusting Him, and how we need to change in order to live that abundant life He wants for us.

Praying intentionally is the best way to worship God in Spirit and truth, which is, after all, what He wants most from us. John 4:23-24. You see, we cannot really know the truth about ourselves unless we are willing to take a good, long, unflinching look at ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost impossible to avoid fooling ourselves and being fooled by that liar, Satan. If our introspection is only that, a solitary, inward look at ourselves, we will miss most of what is most important. You don’t know what you don’t know, and you don’t see what you don’t see. Unless we present our thoughts, desires, heartaches, plans, and dilemmas to someone else, we don’t have any way to see when we are off-course, off-kilter, or off our rocker.

We could just talk to a good friend or anyone we love and trust. But, just like us, they can only see from their perspective. Two limited perspectives are better than one, but my limited perspective plus God’s unlimited, eternal perspective is infinitely (pun intended) better. God can advise, correct, and enlighten me as no one here on earth can.

He is also a gentleman who waits for us to come to Him. Unless our hearts are open and actively seeking Him, His provision and guidance are not activated. By the same token, unless we openly discuss what we’re thinking about, worrying over (pointlessly, of course), or stupefied by, He will allow us to work it out on our own. We are free to make all the mistakes we want. We can run away from Him as fast and long as we want. We can exercise our free will until we are experts at doing exactly what we want when we want with no one to blame but ourselves when it all falls apart.

Or, we can just start talking to Him, the One who created us and loves us regardless of our rebellion and foolish pride. If we take just a little time to talk to Him, He will always shine the light on the truth. Maybe then we’ll see the way out of the corner we’ve worked our way into. Maybe we’ll discover that it was time well spent. It is always our choice.

Amen and amen.