Archive for August, 2014

Friendship

Sunrise, August 29, 2014

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends…” John 15:14

Focusing came slowly this morning. Staring at the still-dark morning sky full of stars, my thoughts were with disjointed with several friends with different needs competing for my attention. Why friends, Lord?

I prayed for my friends and friendship with Christ wonderfully came to my heart. Staring at the Little Dipper, I sat amazed that the Sovereign, King, Creator of the universe chooses to be my friend.

John 15 points to some penetrating implications of friendship, including: joy, intimacy, obedience, love, and sacrifice.

Father, it would be my joy if today You would show me who to and how to be a friend like Jesus has been to me.

Froggy

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Around our house, when the kids were growing up, we called fog  “froggy.” Just the thought of the word brought a smile to me just now. I hope my girls read this and remember.

Where have you uniquely experienced fog? I have enjoyed early morning fog from a boat in the Florida everglades (many times); on the ocean in the Caribbean during our fortieth anniversary cruise (several mornings and memorable); in front of Mt. Hood in the Cascade Mountains (often for six years); in a boat on Watts Bar Lake (with Dad and I miss them a bunch). I can’t say thank you to God enough that I get to live here where morning fog hangs on our mountain to the west. I never tire of fog; it is candy for my heart. Just ask my wife.

Most mornings I watch the sun rise. It’s part of my plan in retirement to intentionally grow in intimacy with Christ. Could there be a greater pursuit in any season of life? I’m not bragging about this chase after God, and I do miss some mornings. (God’s grace, never an excuse to sin, is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?) My ordinary place for sunrise is my front or back porch. I usually take notes (Translation: scribble indecipherable sentences in the dark while juggling coffee and my Bible), and several times a week I send an e-mail to interested friends.

May I share Last Thursday’s scribbles?

I love fully engaged, dripping wet foggy sunrises. Thick with stillness, the world seems to wake up slowly on foggy mornings. Quiet engulfs everything and God invites us to know Him more deeply.

Thank You, Father and Maker of wooing fog, for pulling us closer on foggy mornings.

I can’t find instances in the Bible for the word “fog” (or froggy). Yet, the opportunities fog brings show up often. Consider these prospects:

  • For daily living: “Be still before the LORD and wait…” Psalm 37:7;
  • As a life-pattern: “Make it your ambition to live a quiet life…” 1 Thessalonians 4:11;
  • In our future when Messiah Jesus will reign: “And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever” Isaiah 32:17.

American culture rewards busyness, vigorous ambition, and “go for it.” God values listening in stillness, allowing Him to speak according to and through Scripture in order that we can know Christ more intimately. Fog is one of His special tools. 

Father, thank You for fog—a gift of joy and opportunity for waiting on the Lord, pursuing a quiet life, and for anticipation of our soon-coming “quietness and trust forever.”

Today?

Sunrise, August 28, 2014

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Therefore, comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

I experienced yesterday’s sunrise with a friend from a booth at Huddle House. It was colorful, with irregular clouds. Glorious, it looked and felt like walking through a busy parking lot with vehicles and people going back and forth.

This morning’s horizon was calmer and completely clear. As the bright, yellow sun became obvious I was drawn to the question: Could this be the day Christ comes?

The beauty, power, and brightness of sunrises cannot compare to the coming of Christ in the clouds!

The Little Dipper

Sunrise, August 26, 2014
 
“The heavens declare the glory of the Lord.” Psalm 19:1
 
Like a humble admirer, the Little Dipper watched the sun awaken from a distance this morning. The moon was visiting somewhere far away.
 
When the sun shined brightly, as if performing in its first recital, the Little Dipper faded to let the morning star sing a perfect song of glory.
 
God’s declaration of Himself brings great joy!

An Isaiah 40.12 Sunrise

Isaiah 40:12

 

A sky-enclosed jet plane rushed

with vapor trail settling

through the middle of two

unsuspecting layers of ashen clouds

with waning pinks and

a swelling yellow glory behind.

 

“Who has measured the waters

in the hollow of his hand

and marked off the heavens

with His span.”

The Long Ottomon

The Rhea Herald-News
August 20, 2014

“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:4

My grandchildren do something that reminds me of Jesus.

We have a long ottoman in front of our sofa, and Hailie and Shawna love to hide behind it when someone enters the room. Of course, their posteriors are usually visible (and wiggling)—but it is a child’s fun game to be discovered and their giggles are priceless. You, of course, would never have done any of this when you were a child…

Please stay with me for a paragraph or two. The Scriptures have unusual ways to speak about our relationship with the Father and Son. Colossians 3:1-3, for instance, states we have died and have been raised with Christ. This is odd until we consider how radically different our status and lives are since we received Christ. We don’t just add religion to our crowded heart.

Followers of Christ have moved into a new house. Our dangerous, deadly shacks have been torn down and we live in a new neighborhood of mansions. Jesus Himself said about the far-reaching new status we have in John 5:24: “Truly, truly, I say you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” Think about this: we have already started eternal life.

The phrase <em>“your life is hidden with Christ in God” in Colossians 3:4 also speaks of deep, supernatural realities and have captured my heart lately. One language expert suggests three uses of the word “hidden” in light of the times it was written: secrecy, safety, identity. Secrecy in the sense of the believer’s life is nurtured from the well of living water Jesus in ways unbelievers cannot know (Cf. John 7:37-39); safety since we are doubly protected—“with Christ in God”; identity because we are identified not with anyone or anything temporary but with our risen Lord.

By contrast, we struggle with secret sins and lives, trying to hide from God and others. Others may not know; nothing is hidden from our omniscient, all-knowing God.

Positively speaking, consider marriage as an illustration of “hidden.” Called a “profound mystery” in Ephesians 5, in marriage we are no longer two but our identity is as one, we live safe in the literal and figurative arms of one another, and we bask in spiritual, emotional, and physical intimacy and nurturing that is for our eyes, ears, and hearts only.

These are sacred hiding places—in marriage and most of all in Christ—where we live secure from a world hostile to God and us.

The ottoman provides short bursts of unbridled joy for Hailie and Shawna. Their giggles are contagious. Father, thank You for the joy of an eternal place in Your strong arms where there is safety, identity, and our own private closeness.

Wooing Fog

Sunrise, August 21, 2014

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

I love fully engaged, dripping wet foggy sunrises. Thick with stillness, the world seems to wake up slowly on foggy mornings. Quiet engulfs everything and God invites us to know Him more deeply.

Thank You, Father in Heaven and Maker of wooing fog, for pulling us closer on foggy mornings.

We Have God

Sunrise, August 20, 2014

The surprise of sunrises has been the moon. Because it is dark when I start observing, I immediately look up and around for my friend, the moon. Today, before clouds moved in to cover everything above, there was the beaming moon in the midst of a clear eastern sky.

In the superstitious world of false ideas and religions of the Psalms the moon was dangerous. But they/we have God to calm our fears and cleanse us from false ideas! “The LORD is your keeper…The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night” (Psalm 121:5-6)

Father, guard my heart today and tonight from the subtle and bold influences that want to rob me of my joy in You. And thank You for my friend, the moon.

Again

Sunrise, August 19, 2014

 “The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23, NASB

There were two life-giving reminders this morning as I viewed sunrise from my front porch.

First, while the sky was heavy with gray (our ole familiar friend), again, God’s glory and greatness is always present for us if we will see. At one o’clock, as clouds darted back and forth, the quarter moon broke through several times. A portion of the clouds became illumined with a circle of light and glory. The moon smiled and so did God.

And then, in-between these glimpses of glory, there was a spider and her web tangling from a tree and the roof. My children’s book and reading expert bride would be proud of me to mention Charlotte’s Web at this moment. To look up was to see a big spider. Yuck for sure, but a poignant reminder of the world, flesh, and devil, again, that pull us away from God’s glory and toward defeat and fear. Another yuck.

Father, slap me upside the head all day today with reminders of Your glory and the dangers around me toward sin and self instead of pleasing You.

Billions

Sunrise, August 15, 2014

A cast of billions and a spectrum of colors appeared this morning, screaming the simplest yet most profound of all messages: “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son.”

God chose earth, you, and even me to be the unique, specific objects of His rescuing love. Now, put that in your coffee or tea and sip on it.

Do have great thoughts of our Creator-Savior, Jesus Christ, all weekend long!



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