Miscellaneous thoughts from a Christ following husband, dad, teacher, preacher, professor, school administrator, musician and taco lover, who likes to hang out at coffee shops, read, write, hike, run, play tennis, bike, play guitar and dabble in photography
A cry brings God. A cry is mightier than the polished phrase.—Samuel Chadwick
I will never forget the day that Becca broke her arm. We were having fun together at the elementary school playground near our house. Becca was a first grader at the school and was showing me her “skills” on all the different play equipment. She was climbing and hanging and swinging and saying, “Watch this Daddy,” and “Look at me, Daddy,”and I was close by, watching and “oohing” and “aahing.”
And then it happened.Becca slipped off the bars and fell to the ground.She put her hand out to break her fall and landed on her arm.As I ran toward Becca she looked up at me and cried, “Daddy!”I can still hear her voice—it sounded so shaky and helpless and fearful. It pierced my heart.
I helped her immediately. I gently cradled her hurt arm and calmly told her that everything was going to be OK.I held her close as we walked back to the house. I assured her that her Mom and I were going to take her to the doctor. Two hours later Becca’s tears and pain were replaced with a fancy blue cast and a good story. I was the first person to sign her cast.
When it comes to prayer, God isn’t picky. As a loving Father, he wants to hear from us; he wants to help us. Prayer is less about the words we use and more about the Father’s love for us.
Check out Psalm 145:17-19 (NIV),
The LORD is righteous in all his ways,
and loving toward all he has made.
The LORD is near to all who call on him,
. . . he hears their cry and saves them.
God loves us. He delights in us as parents delight in their children. God always wants to hear from us, to live life with us and to help us. Just talk to him. Thank him for the good and call upon him for help. He doesn’t require perfect words or polished language. Your voice gets his attention and your cry pierces his heart. God is a good father to his children.He hears them, helps them, saves them and then, “oohs” and “aahs” over their story.
With each new dawn, life delivers a package to your front door, rings your doorbell, and runs.—Charles Swindoll
I like this quote by Swindoll.Even though I am sad to see the Holiday Break come to an end, I thank God for the gift of a new day.I want to live today well, but I can’t do it on my own. I need God’s help and presence. So before I grit my teeth and barrel forward, I give my attention to Psalm 130, verse 6:
My soul waits for the LORD
more than watchman wait for the morning,
more than watchman wait for the morning.
As I read this, I realize that there is an even greater gift than the package of a new day. It is the LORD, his hope, his forgiveness, his help, his presence and his love in my life.What a gift the morning light is, with its promise of life and a new day to live.But greater still is the LORD, the maker and deliverer of the package in which I rejoice.
So, before I charge out the door into a new day . . .
Life is challenging and I need wisdom, so every day I read a chapter out of Proverbs in the Bible.Years ago I learned that Billy Graham reads a chapter a day out of Proverbs, so I thought it would be wise for me to follow his lead. When I wake in the morning I know the chapter I will turn to—I just look at the calendar. There are thirty-one chapters in Proverbs and there are no more than thirty-one days in a month.So, I check the date, and then read the corresponding chapter.
On Christmas Day, verse 2 of Proverbs 25 jumped out at me.It’s message is so appropriate for the 25th of December.It says,
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
to search out a matter is the glory of kings. (NIV)
This verse reminds me of the oft used bumper sticker slogan, “Wise Men Still Seek Him.”It is a phrase that extends beyond the Biblical Magi—it applies to us all.We are the kings and queens of the earth and it is our privilege, responsibility and opportunity to search out the mysteries that surround us.It is our “glory” to discern and grasp the things that matter—especially God.
From the heights of the furthest star to the depths of the human heart, there is so much to explore, discover and understand.Like a mystery, the answers are there; they simply need to be found.God conceals and we search out. Just like in a loving game of hide and seek between a parent and child, it is the delight of the child to find and be found, and it is the joy of the parent to see the child’s delight.In the midst of that joy and delight resides glory.
At Christmas time mysteries abound.In the form of gifts they surround the tree, concealed with tape, paper and ribbon, and we wonder, “What is in there for me?” In the Christmas Story we read of a star, a virgin birth, angels, shepherds, wise men and a baby lying in a manger, and we add the term, “incarnation” and hear the phrase, “God with us,” and we wonder, “What is in there for me?”
Here it is, December 28, and Christmas is over. The tree stands bare. The presents are opened and the trash can bulges with the tailings of mysteries revealed.The Christmas Story, like a Nativity Set, is boxed up and stored away until next year.
Did you find what you were looking for? I doubt it.But don’t let that empty feeling overwhelm you.If, at any moment this Christmas Season you encountered any good, any joy, any insight, any peace, any love, then hang on to it, for it is a sign—a clue—of God in your midst.God conceals and we search out. In challenge and in mystery, God is there. God wants to be found by you.
"What one's life proclaims is a hundred thousand times more powerfully effective than what one's mouth proclaims."
Today is Dina's birthday. What a joy it is to celebrate her life today! She is a blessing to everyone around her. Dina is a person of few words, but her life of care, commitment, friendship and love speaks volumes.
A birthday is a time to celebrate a life being well-lived and to thank God for the good gift of that life being lived among us. I thank God for Dina.
She is a precious blessing and I love her with all my heart.—Ryan
In the jumble of the Christmas Season we find Santa Claus, trees, lights, gifts, decorations, Rudolph, family gatherings, carols, Hallmark Christmas shows, a star, wise men, shepherds, an angel, a manger and a baby.And like last year’s Christmas lights, all of that and more tangle together to make up what many of us currently consider to be Christmas.I like all that stuff. (OK, since Santa is watching . . . I don’t like the Hallmark Christmas shows—how many ways can you tell the same story?)
There is a story behind Christmas, and the story is important. Much of the Christmas season, with all of its songs, pageants, and celebration, is built around the following passage of scripture:
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11 (NIV)
These are the words of an angel, announcing the first Christmas.The defining term used is, “good news.” We live in a world overrun with news, but what makes news good?Good news is all about context. News that solves a problem, addresses a challenge, meets a need, resolves a dilemma, or gives hope, is good.
In the writing below, Steve Hayner provides the back-story, or context, for the good news of Christmas. Give it a read and find out why Christmas is the good news, worthy of celebration.
A Confession of Faith
by Stephen A. Hayner
When God created the heaven and the earth
When God created all that lives
He crowned creation with humankind
And said, “This is very good.”
The people who walked in Light,
Walked in perfect fellowship with God;
In perfect harmony with each other and with the earth.
They were whole, alive, full of joy, without fear;
They know who they were because they knew whose they were.
But they grew proud in their sufficiency,
In their abundance they forgot God.
They turned within themselves for answers
And the Light flickered out.
The people of the Light became the people of darkness.
Once they were God’s people—now they were no people.
Over the years many proposed that the darkness was normal.
Others tried to dispel the darkness with small glimmerings.
Still others, too proud to admit that something was wrong,
Just pretended that they didn’t notice.
But in the darkness lurked the fears, the sins, the insecurities,
the hurts, the sufferings, the guilt, the loneliness,
and ultimately the death which no one could finally avoid.
The Good News—God’s News—is that he never gave up.
The Author of Light was not content for a moment to watch
His good and perfect creation
Spin worthlessly off toward eternal darkness—
Infinite separation from himself.
So he began to work out his plan.
He sought out people in the darkness who in faith
Would live by the Light which they could not see.
Then, when the time had fully come, God sent his Son.
What the people living in the darkness could never do
God did by sending the One-who-was-Light into the dark.
This Light, this Life, this Lord shone in the darkness
But the darkness could not comprehend.
He came to the world which by virtue of creation belonged to him,
But the world did not recognize him or embrace him.
Yet to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God—
Not because they were good,
Not because they tried hard to please,
Not because they were worthy in any way,
But because in his love, God never gives up.
Few welcomed him at his coming;
He slipped into the world so quietly.
He might have come completely unnoticed had God not been overcome
By his own joy.
To some shepherds who were not accustomed to receiving mail,
God sent a birth announcement
On the wings and songs of a million angels.
He sent another written in the stars to some Gentile astrologers.
While he lived among us, not many believed in him.
There were a few fishermen, who were not really looking for a new job;
A couple of tax collectors, who probably should have been
looking for a new job;
And a few handicapped folks who had been wishing for years
that they could get a job.
He called each of them by name.
He brought Light into their darkness;
Wholeness into their lives;
Eternity into their souls.
Jesus Christ who was Light, so threatened the darkness that
humankind did what they had been doing to God for years—
They tried to box him up,
They sentimentalized him,
They tried to explain him away,
And finally they killed him.
But God raised him from the dead.
The Light would never again go out.
The Holy Spirit was sent to burn within those who believed in him.
Ablaze, the no people again became God’s people.
He still brings Light.
As quietly as he slipped into the world,
He now slips into believing hearts—
As surely as he changed the world by his coming,
No person remains the same after meeting the living Christ.