Archive for May, 2014

Papa and Friend

How challenging and rich is this: We have a Father and Friend who longs to give us His joy.

I had lunch with a friend yesterday and he asked for my input on prayer. If you wrote a theology on prayer, what would you say? When he asked I silently prayed (imagine!) and my mind was drawn to the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6. We never went further on that prayer than the first two words, “Our Father.”  God seemed to be saying even at the noisy table: Prayer is first of all based upon a relationship with the Father.

This is a precious thought: God offers a personal relationship with us and, once established, then we get to have intimate, constant conversations with Him. Scripture urges us to “pray without ceasing.” The humorist in me wants to ask: I have no problem with this in the shower, but what about when eating Cheryl’s fabulous cheesecake?

The Bible initially portrays our relationship to God in prayer as: He is Father and we are His children—“Our Father.” John 1:12 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to be called children of God.” Though we are also called to spiritually grow up we never stop being dependent, affectionate, trusting children of God.

Do you struggle with the idea of God as Father because of your earthly father? I did for years, since I never knew mine. But I am no longer resentful after years of studying God’s attributes and seeing them—Him—instead of focusing on earthly, deficient models. Additionally, I have been helped by spiritual fathers within the church and, especially, through my father-in-law. Thanks again, Dad.

The portrait of the Father in Romans 8 is piercing. There, as a result of our salvation, “you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs…” Abba is a term of endearment like “Daddy” or “Papa.” This makes me think of my young daughters, jumping into my arms when I came home from work with endless stories to tell and asking me to kiss their injuries and make them all well.

Another powerful New Testament image is of Christ who no longer calls us His servants, but friends (John 15:15a). Friends communicate and reciprocate many things with each other (15:15b), and Jesus’ goal in our friendship with Him is His joy, and “that your joy may be full” (15:11). In context, joy comes from having a relationship and then in responding to the Father and Son by a continuing obedience—following—in “whatsoever I [Jesus] have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20).

I struggle with prayer. I am glad my friend asked me about it, and that I could linger on this amazing truth: It starts with God who is Father—Papa—and Friend, and who longs to give me His joy. Now that is a sweet, sweet truth and gift.

Come Quickly

Sunrise, May 21, 2014.
I viewed today’s sunrise while in Chattanooga. It was an unusual one (Are any usual?), with layers of thin clouds and a variety of colors piercing through. I thought about the coming of Christ in the clouds and how dependent we are on the sustaining creation work of Christ.
Come quickly Lord Jesus!

The Robe of God

Sunrise May 20, 2014

“Bless the Lord, O my soul!

            O Lord my God, you are very great!

             You are clothed with splendor and majesty,

             covering yourself with light as with a garment,

             stretching out the heavens like a tent.” Psalm 104:1-2

Brilliant with a sharp pink that morphed into a horizon of pinks, yellows, and orange, my first thought at today’s sunrise was the Father is clothed in majesty. The birds gave “a shout for joy” (Psalm 65) and the half-moon smiled upon it all. Did I mention dawn’s light revealed vapor trails and they, too, added to the “splendor and majesty”?

How good Cheryl shared the sunrise with me.

With the psalmist my soul is blessed. And you?

I Love Fog!

Sunrise, May 19, 2014

Dense fog this morning. I love fog! Is the sun there? Will it appear?

Like Joe, who slowly marinates and BBQ’s the finest ribs on earth, fog invites unhurried, deliberate thoughts of and praise to God—who is both deeper than comprehension and yet has uncovered His plan to rescue us in Jesus Christ. “He made known to us the mystery of His will…that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in heaven and on the earth” (Ephesians 1:9-10, NAS).

Sit in the fog for a slow minute today.

What are some of your finest fog experiences?

Unattainable Ecstasy

Sunrise, May 16, 2014.
“And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” Revelation 22:5
Before the clouds moved in, sunrise today was full and all-encompassing. The first thought that came to me was someday soon the sun will be no more and I will get to live where God Himself illumines everything.
C.S. Lewis said, “All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it.”
Thank You for a preview this morning, Lord.

Intentional God

Sunrise, May 15, 2014

“He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. Psalm 147:8

Though the sun is not visible this morning and the rain reminds me of one of our core declarations: God is intentionally good and in His goodness He provides for us without prompting every new day.


A Grip on Hope

Since I mentioned an e-mail (only) in today’s post, I dug it up for posting today. 
Sunrise, May 12, 2014.
“This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23
Every morning another of the  endless variety of colors and clouds arise and an entirely brand new sunrise appears. Today’s pinks, grays, and blue sing a sweet song of the peace of God that excels understanding.
Remembering the promises and demonstrated love only the one, faithful God can give, Jeremiah says, “I keep a grip on hope” (The Message paraphrase)
Friends: Let us hold tight to God.


Sunrise, May 13, 2014.
“For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.” Psalm 56:13
When first viewed this morning, the sunrise was almost cloudless, having only small clouds that quickly faded to a fully engaged, lighted horizon. It brought wide-eyed joy. The figure of speech of light is also a wide-eyed, endlessly revealing truth, too.
A friend responded to yesterday’s sunrise and it’s hope by being grateful for hope in the midst of several weeks of troubles–and there were many. Thank you, friend, for opening your world to me. In Psalm 56, David wrote after being captured by the Philistines and yet he, too, sees hope. Imagine: He views his plight as deliverance from the worst scenarios as opportunity to “stroll at leisure with God in the sunlit fields of life” (verse 13, The Message paraphrase).
Today, let us walk not in the darkness of our troubles and the world ruled by “the evil one,” but in the light of the life God graciously, powerfully, wonderfully offers through Jesus Christ alone.

Don’t Blink

For those blessed souls in our area, being up at 6:29 AM today was a huge treat. Today’s sunrise was a breathless, deep drink of the majesty of God’s “invisible attributes” (Romans 1). But don’t blink.
The prelude was the whole show today, with gray clouds quickly moving in to fulfill forecasted changes. There was a dimensional feel, with purple-gray clouds forming a low, heavy ceiling. I wonder where Charlton Heston (Moses) was….Just below the ceiling were puffy pink clouds watching as the sun came toward them, smiling for joy. 
Father, help me to not miss people and situations You bring that I may reflect You and do Your work for me.
Friends: Tell me about your sunrise or sunset where you are.

Pink and Blue

Sunrise, May 6, 2014.

“Dawn and dusk take turns calling, ‘Come and worship.’ “ Psalm 65:8 (Msg)

And the call is loud today! Before the “sunburst” (as Cheryl called the sun’s blinding appearance) there were sweeping, subtle clouds, and what is probably the favorite colors of spring sunrises: pink and blue.

Hummm…will my new December grandchild be pink or blue?

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