Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Blahginess!

God

Oh Crap!

Daily it seems that these words cross my mind. Something else, going wrong, unexpected, tragic, discouraging. In those moments hope seems to fade. My response is to create my own reality. I tell myself that it won’t last, or it isn’t really THAT bad. It’s not biblical…well not until now.

Romans 8:19 “For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.”

This verse is sandwiched in a passage where Paul laments the damnable position of all mankind. He points out that even creation is suffering because of everything gone wrong. But he does not draw a wholly negative picture. There is the anticipation of a future glory. A day when all is as it was intended and should be.

In his commentary on this passage, William Barclay summarizes the situation like this:

“The Christian is involved in the human situation. Within he must battle with his own evil human nature; without he must live in a world of death and decay. Nonetheless, the Christian does not live only in the world; he also lives in Christ. He does not see only the world; he looks beyond it to God. He does not see only the consequences of man’s sin; he sees the power of God’s mercy and love. Therefore, the keynote of the Christian life is always hope and never despair. The Christian waits, not for death, but for life.” (emphasis added)

As a Christian, by faith I accept that God has redeemed me through Christ Jesus. This redemption is not complete until I am able to enter into God’s presence. And so while the world all around me seems to fall apart, I take heart in a different reality.* A reality that will bring hope from despair. A reality that is only found in Christ.

(*Qualifiers: 1. My life is difficult, but not falling apart…it just seems like it sometimes. 2. Denial of reality can lead to unhealthy views of oneself and situation. Denial must be balanced carefully by an honest assessment of whatever your situation might be. Are you contributing to the downward spiral by not owning up to your part of the problem(s)? Overall our attitude and outlook should be positive and hopeful. We know how it all ends and who wins.)


FYI

Just a reminder that today is the National Day of Prayer. Would you join me in praying for our nation and specifically our President and elected and appointed officials?


Good Morning!

If you follow me on Twitter or have me as a friend on Facebook there’s a good chance that you have seen me post a sunrise photo with the title “Good Morning”. I get the joy of crossing the Arkansas River on Southwest Boulevard each morning as I come to work at the office. As the sun rises over the river casting a silhouette upon the sleepy city there is a reminder that today is a new day. A day of new opportunities. I am reminded of the verse:

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
      His mercies never cease.
 Great is his faithfulness;
      his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)

On a more technical side I really enjoy looking back at these photos and learning from them. Composition and lighting dramatically influence the final image (photography 101). What better demonstration of this than seeing a variety of shots from basically the same location but with varying light, exposure and composition. So for all you photo newbies like me out there–exercise: Take a series of photos from the same location and bring them all together and critique them based upon composition and lighting. What moods are differentiated by the changes? What composition and lighting combinations work and don’t work? 

Don’t you just love digital photography?

Don’t you love a new day? 


Obamacare

“Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover‑up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” 1 Peter 2:16-17 (NIV)

I have to admit that reading the Bible is not always an easy task. Sometimes the teachings are difficult, not just to implement personally on a daily basis, but difficult to interpret or understand. BUT, most times Biblical teaching is straight forward and simple. So this morning as I read through the book of 1 Peter this passage spoke to me.

  1. Love the brotherhood of believers–this is first and foremost how can we not love the brotherhood of believers (Church) and claim to be Christians. A straight forward teaching that is not simple to live out daily.
  2. Fear God–interesting that this falls second and not first. Our devotion to God is evident in how we approach and relate to the Church.
  3. Honor the king–this exhortation is not out of a vacuum. Instead it comes in a time of persecution against the church. If this applies to first century Christians who are facing persecution what about Christians today?
For me there is a sincere conviction as I read that last part; “honor the king.” As President George Bush first came into office there was quite a movement among Christians to pray for the President everyday. My wife and I even signed up for  a daily email reminder to pray for specific things. Of course, now there is a President in office from the opposite party and I haven’t heard anything about a movement of Christians to pray for the President. In fact, most Christians speak pretty despairingly of President Obama, as if he is single handedly bringing down the entire country.
Next week is the National Day of Prayer (May 5th), traditionally a day set aside by the country to pray for our nation and our leaders. If you are like me and have been doing a really crummy job of praying for our President (and all the leaders of our country) I’d like to challenge us both to take this opportunity to begin again.
Would you recommit yourself, along with me, to honor our president by praying for him?

Bad Friday

I have a memory from childhood. At this point in my life I’m not sure just how truthful the memory is, but I’m pretty sure. It seems to me that for a couple of years on Good Friday we had horrendous storms. In fact, what I remember is that the tornado sirens went off on Good Friday for a couple of years in a row. I grew up in Enid, OK so springtime storms producing tornadoes is no big news and thus it would support in theory what I am trying to recollect. If you’ve never experience such a violent storm there is one characteristic that I have recognized as an indicator of very severe storms. That is a green tinted sky. (I am not a meteorologist, but grew up watching Gary England.)

So imagine a dark green tinted day with thunder, lightening, swirling winds and the sound of tornado sirens whaling.

This is my childhood memory of Good Friday and I remember taking a strange solace in the midst of it all. It just seemed right. Violent weather on a day that commemorates the single most violent act to have ever taken place on earth. Sinful men killing God’s innocent son because we couldn’t deal with just how perfect his love is. So for me Good Friday has a memory of darkness, uneasiness, violence, destruction, you name it; pretty much anything that is not good.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What are your Good Friday recollections?


11 April 2011

Today is the day that I mourned for a son.

I grew up in a house mostly full of men and today I realized; no pictures of my son playing football, no posts about how fun it is to wrestle on the floor with my boy, no young man to sit and pour out what little accumulated wisdom and experience gained from my years.

Don’t cry. I’m not.

Because I know that, even though God has not graced me with a son (yet), I have so much. I have a beautiful and extremely intelligent daughter. She is healthy and strong. And what I and her mother lack in wisdom and experience, God graciously provides.

This isn’t so much about my daughter or lack of a son as it is about how God moves to fill us with things we never expected would be fulfilling. How God takes the voids in our lives and fills them so deeply that the thought of mourning for them feels like a waste of time.

Here’s a great song from a band I don’t know about. But for me today it speaks to the joy of knowing that in the voids of my life God has stepped in and covered them all.

 

What music is speaking to you today?


Miracle

So I got an email update about a miracle that occurred in Niger. This occurred very recently.

…a blind man, he was Muslim – guided by his son, came to church. Since [he was] 2 years old he [has been] blind and the doctors told him – after an injury – that he will never see again.
So he took his son out of school, in order to be guided by him in the streets of Niamey to beg for their living.
A member of the church had invited him several times, but the blind man sent him always away.
Now he came and heard the gospel. At the end of the service, he accepted Jesus as his saviour. Pastor prayed for him, also for his eyes. The blind man went home. After 3 days, when he washed his face as usual in the morning, he saw a light and called his wife. “Is this the sun, I can see their?” – “Yes, wow, can you see?” The man washed once more his face and could see very clearly. The whole neighbourhood and even marabous came to see this miracle. They asked, how could this happen. The man answered: Jesus healed me. He is alive! He is God.
Last Sunday he came to witness about the healing. He said: we have to believe in Jesus, and accept, what he did and what he still wants to do! Last week I could only hear you, now I can see you. Now I do not have to beg any longer, I can go to work and my son can go back to school. Praise the Lord!
What a miracle indeed! A powerful reminder, as we celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. He is alive. He is calling all people. His glory if filling the earth.