Trying to Fly?

Imitation Wings

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and He will make your paths straight. Psalm 3:5-6

I have experienced the difference between trying to fly (living in my own strength), and taking flight (trusting in the Lord).

lyrics from “the Walking Dead” on “My Heart’s Lament” Album. featured in my upcoming book “The Faith Keeper”.

initial image from http://www.dreamstime.com, added quote and design by Cindy Palin

Advertisements

I Hear Your Love Song

Since time began the universe has ebbed and flowed with the language of love.  The first syllables spilled forth from the lips of God like a trillion music notes falling from a roofless sky.  And the music, can you hear it?  The stars appeared with epic, thunderous explosions, but from afar may have sounded like a spray of xylophone keys.  The oceans poured forth and lapped on the first shore like a rolling timpany.

I came into the world with a melodic cry, a pitch found somewhere on the soprano end of the piano.  The music of life.  Where would I be without the life-giving refrains that surround my eyes and fill my heart?  It is a language of love that connects the Lord and my soul.  In my sorrow and joy, a song for every moment, every uphill climb, every deep dark valley.  Bursts of joyful horns and strings of cello tears.

As I ponder the rhythm of breathing in and singing out, I realize that for some the melody plays but never reaches the ears of their heart.  The majestic symphonic whispers of a relentless, romancing Savior – never heard.

Is this not the saddest, darkest, most silent realization?  Some will never hear the love song, written in red, drummed out with a hammer mallet on an iron nail, reverberating against the floor of heaven, blasting over the walls of hell – for me, for you!

I hear your love song Jesus – play on!

 

The Power is in His Name Alone.

God has been desiring relationship with us since the beginning of time.  He knows us by name and knows the gifts He’s given us.  He knows what we will be best at, and would love to plant our feet and bring us purpose and peace.  But let’s face it, we have our own ideas.  Besides, He just isn’t trendy enough to hang out with for today’s trend setters.  We crave knowledge and long to be smart and have something amazing to say, but we ignore Life’s manual.  We want to write the books.  The Bible just isn’t on Amazon’s best seller list.

We ache for attention and success. News flash, we have His attention, does anyone remember Christmas?  Yah, that was for us!  What about Easter, the cross?  That was for us!  And success?  Well, I would say having Him go to prepare a place for us where we can spend eternity together is success.  I know, it’s hard to recognize success when it gets dumbed down here on our temporary planet.  Without His name, It is difficult to understand relationship and eternity, and keep an eternal mindset, especially with ourselves at the center.

We recognize seasonal celebrations, only for “cover our butt” confessions.  What we really ache for, is to leave a legacy with OUR name written all over it.  But even after that is said and done, we wonder if “that” was our “it” and we go on rejecting the ONE NAME who has promised us purpose.

Most everyone has been taught not to take the Lord’s name in vain.  Not that many take it seriously, but deep down we know.  BUT What about calling on HIS NAME?  I hear everything from higher power to mother nature, but no one is saying His name.  I know, it goes without saying.  If you say JESUS NAME, you are limiting yourself.  You are not going to meld with the group down the street who worships mother nature or the group that works up a sweat reciting a myriad of religious eastern terms while flapping their wings.  Or, if you say His name, you’re going to be labeled a “Jesus Freak”.  You might be asked to take sides, to choose between wrong and right.  It is far safer and more politically correct to use some generic term for our Creator and Savior, or just throw that idea out all together.

Did you know, if you say His name, your spirit will know immediately who to bow down to? Oh right, we want a super hero – but who said anything about bowing down to anyone.  We’re in control, right?  We’re mini gods, right?  Isn’t that the latest lie permeating every molecule of the air lately?  And I’m sick of it. I have to share what I know to be true, even if it means rejection.

Ephesians 6:19 – 20.  “….Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel….”

There is no power in any other name but the name of Jesus.  Go ahead, mediate and move your lips, talk to the air, nod your head, turn in circles, play the game.  But life isn’t a game.  We get one shot at it, one try, one turn.  If you want to experience life to the fullest, stop playing dangerous games and say the name of Jesus.

There is no magic prayer, although Jesus does give us a prayer to follow if we need one, beginning in Matthew 6:9.  “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your NAME…..”  Yes, pray that prayer and call Jesus, and ask him to reveal himself to you.

“Jesus, come and speak to me, and show me who you are.”

Then why not get yourself a Bible and find out what happened when other people throughout history called on His name.

Below are a few verses that emphasize His name:

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Philippians 2:9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

Colossians 3:17  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Acts 2:21  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

The God Substitute – Temporary Infatuation

I remember the crowded coffee shop and the shoulder to shoulder line up.  I remember seeing her and an army of history marched through my head.  She was the black sheep in her family, but even black sheep deserve to fall in love.  She did and they were great together but a few weeks before her wedding her husband had an accident at work involving industrial chemicals.  She knew something was wrong but went ahead with hope and ended up marrying a stranger.

My eyes scanned the bobbing heads and animated faces who were already sitting down enjoying their morning java, when I saw him, my Father.  Even after all we’d been through my heart skipped a beat, it was the ever-present hope for change. I kept hoping one day I might see who really lives behind those blue eyes.  One day I might see laugh lines.  One day I might see a child’s faith commitment reborn, I might see a life surrendered to God.

I watched the megaphone bumble across the floor to his table.  Her voice was louder than the forty some other conversations going on.  Then I felt him, God’s presence,  The Holy Spirit stood right in front of me, leaned in and pressed his finger on the ear of my heart.  I listened and I knew more than coffee was brewing that day.  Trouble was just around the corner.

I got my coffee to go but walked over to my Dad’s table before leaving.  I waited for the perfect moment then leaned in and gave him a left arm hug.  He smiled and I left praying that God would give me the place and time and courage to give him the message I had just received, even if parents don’t like to get advice from their children.

Not long after, we did have that chat and I told him what I heard God tell me in the coffee shop.  Dad was no stranger to that kind of talk, because his Mother, my Grandmother, breathed that talk all the time.  She wasn’t perfect, I’m certainly not perfect, but if God gives you a message, you need to give it.

My Dad and Mom were separated, it was his idea, but something he kicked himself for every waking moment.  Actually, he probably fought those demons in his sleep too.  They loved each other but couldn’t live together at least not without a whole lot of divine intervention.  Here’s the thing, divine intervention doesn’t happen unless you ask for it, and pride doesn’t ask.  And even then, both parties have to want the same thing.  To  make matters worse, sometimes a life time isn’t long enough for a person to heal.  Sometimes you live apart and love from a distance.

The gal in the coffee shop had been separated for quite some time and by God’s good warning I could sense she was thinking my Dad could be her prince charming, a second chance at a future.  When my Dad finally heard what I was trying to tell him, he laughed.  “As if someone like her would be interested in an “old fart” like me” he chuckled.

One week later, the spiritual battle ended, just like that.  Not even a fist fight.  She moved in, in more ways than one, and any chance our father (or her for that matter), had at surrendering life over to God’s plan, was obliterated.  The hope of putting God first for just once, the hope for a personal transforming relationship with God – was substituted again for temporary infatuation.

If God is warning you about something today, take it seriously.  It is so easy to live in the “now”.  He wants us to live with an eternal perspective.  This life is over in a blink!  What might look promising today, could break your heart tomorrow.  What might look like a warm blanket for you, might be the loneliest move you make.

In loving memory of even the painful lessons, because with God’s help we can learn from the pain.

 

 

Creatures of Habit

Strange, but writing out the phrase “creatures of habit” doesn’t bring me any kind of peace,  instead those words bring me to my knees.   On my knees to meet with Jesus who knows us all by name, who can release the same power in our lives that rolled away His tombstone and brought Him back to life the third day, a power that can save us, change us and rescue us from remaining “creatures of habit”.

My friend is going to continue to wait for an apology before he goes back to church, an apology that may never come.  So why wait?  Creatures of habit.

Another friend is waiting on God to show her what to do about a relationship she is caught in the middle of.  Question is, why didn’t she wait on him before she jumped into it?  Creatures of habit.

A dear loved one is having trouble reading the Bible.  She has witnessed God’s transforming power in other people’s lives, and wants to experience that transformation too.  The Bible sits on her end table day after day, waiting for her to pick it up, but she still believes the lies she was told when she was little.  “You’re stupid” someone said.  She still believes the lies she was told when she got married, “you’re stupid” he said.  She didn’t like those words then and certainly doesn’t like them now but they’ve become familiar.  So instead of trying something new, instead of picking up the Bible that is full of truth and freedom and promise, she sticks with what she knows best – lies.  Creatures of habit!

Someone battles day after day with garbage that was dumped on him years ago.  Powerful garbage, the kind that seeps into your pours and smells from the inside out.  He’s making progress, he’s gaining ground and then……creatures of habit.

Someone lost his temper the other day.  He thought he could keep it under control by ignoring it, by working hard, by going through the motions by telling himself he’s good and then it appeared and destroyed everything.  Creatures of habit.

Someone got badgered again.  He’s never taken the reigns to protect her, never understood his position of leadership.  Always thought someone else could say it, if he couldn’t and now she suffers every day because he never said anything.  Creatures of habit.

Oh Lord, deliver me from my sin and the person that I am.  Fill me with your Holy Spirit anew every day that I might soar high above the circumstances of life and be that new creation instead of a creature of habit. 

And Lord, teach me how to pray when I am on my knees.   Teach me how to pray for others, that they too will experience new life in you – and be released from merely going through the motions.  I believe! 

 

Dirty Laundry and Broken Hearts

I didn’t realize as I stepped onto the landing and through the door of the laundromat that this day would be THE day a new crack would form in the universe, the universe of my heart.

You don’t have to spend much time in a small town before realizing everyone knows everybody’s business, also known as “dirty laundry” and yet I hadn’t a clue the young man who worked behind the counter along with his two toddlers, had recently been abandoned. 

The above excerpt is from a writing project I’m working on, true accounts of “real life” happening all around me.  Through a recent series of events my faith has been challenged, and I am on a soul journey to learn how to love my neighbor.  By making myself available, specifically to single parents and their children, I am learning something very important about their needs, but even more surprising, I’m learning something very important about myself.

Without Jesus, my love is only as good as the people who gave up on them.

Fragile, fickle, conditional and selfish….

What does true love look like?

What does it mean to love our neighbor?

What does it mean to love the Lord our God with our whole heart, mind and soul?