Wednesday, September 20, 2017

In Remembrance

"...And you?  Go about your business without fretting or worrying.  Relax. When it's all over, you will be on your feet to receive your reward."
            This message is to Daniel, an Israeli exile. His people, the Israelites, once the greatest Kingdom power, brought low due to exiles, prisoners, and slaves. 
             Daniel, servant to Kings, wisest counselor, interpreter of visions & dreams, friend & advisor to Kings,
              Survivor of the Lions Den.
              Daniel becomes a dreamer himself.
              But the dream God gives him is a horror. 
                          The horror of things to come.
The visions trouble Daniel so much he becomes ill and cannot even work.
           In our world today there are not just rumors of war and catastrophe - there ARE wars and strife, catastrophes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, floods & fires, weapons of mass destruction, diseases, pain, divorce, mental illnesses , cancer, poverty, human trafficking, gun violence, abortion, mass murders, genocide & democide, and the recent reminder of 911.
            We cannot close our eyes to the awareness of the dysfunction and horror that exist and even surround us in this world.  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and paralyzed, like Daniel, with awareness.
        As I read the book of Daniel these last few days, I have been comforted.  As a prisoner, and while confronted with the vision of THE END, God tells Daniel, tells me, tells us,
                                                                 "Don't be afraid, friend. Peace.                                                                Everything is going to be all right. 
Take courage.
                 Be strong.
                              Go about your business without fretting or worrying. 
Relax.....(what?  Oh.  OK...If YOU say so!)
When it's all over, you will be on your feet to receive your reward."

          The anniversary of 911 slid into a world awash with current disaster awareness and preparation for most of the world.  Hurricanes, floods, forest fires, earthquakes & poverty, cancer, unbearable pain & political unrest have our minds focused on today's tragedies, which should not be ignored.  Yet, if not balanced properly, we lose hope.
           I became overwhelmed.  It was a very dark time for me.  It seemed everything I read or heard about involved tragedy, illness and death.  I wasn't able to keep perspective for a few days.
           I was frozen.  Then God spoke.
                                                                    "Don't be afraid, friend. Peace.                                                            Everything is going to be all right. 
Take courage.
                      Be strong.
                              Go about your business without fretting or worrying. 
As Jesus looked toward the horror of the cross, he chose the very necessary, daily, ritual of eating, to instruct us how to remember.  Every time I take communion I am remembering His suffering, His love, my sin, the world's sin, and the Hope we all have.
          In my own little world I know that it is my responsibility to look these horrors in the face and know that God knows, to pray John 10:10 every day, praising Him with my life, in the midst, knowing His Truth, He is Faithful, He calls me friend!

At the end of last week, Rolf and I went to see a film dedicated to the memory of the suffering in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge days.  It seemed an appropriate way to bookend the week.
Please watch it if you can.  This is one person's way of remembering...
            I'll go about my business...
...seeking Your face, in humbleness, Praising You, lifting up the needs of the persecuted and least-reached...
...I'll give the worry to my Savior, Protector, Healer, my Friend.
...I'll trust Him, take courage & be strong.
I'm working on the relax part.  I believe obedience is the key to joy, and I am choosing joy today.  In the midst.  There must be.  God said so.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Steady.  Hold Steady.

“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining brighter till the full light of day.” Pro. 4:18 NIV

The path of the righteous can sometimes be bumpy, and steep, slippery, and pocked with holes.  Whatever the condition of the path,          
         The steady, long walk is what is important.
              It’s the perseverance to stay the course,
                   The tenacity to hold to the promises,
                         The resilience to meet each obstacle and keep going.

Like the slow, steady climb of the sun,
    whose impact upon the darkness is hinted at even before it crests the horizon,
        slowly rising, gleaming through the shadows,
            growing brighter, dispelling the darkness;
                growing even brighter still until the earth is filled with its full light.

So is the life of a righteous person;
One who stays the course, overcoming the obstacles along the way.
     Little by little the impact of that steady walk,
     Of tenaciously holding steady the grip on the hand of the Master,
                                 Is felt by more and more people.

And the influence of the righteous person is not lessened even when the righteous do not see all who are influenced by that righteous life:

Little by little; from ‘first gleam to full light’

Steady on.  Relentlessly.  Steady on.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


"When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you! The wind will carry them all off, a breath will take them away. BUT, he/she who takes refuge in my shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain." Isa. 57:13 ESV

    Those silly Israelites...collecting and depending on idols; stone and wood images created by man.  In essence, God is saying:
   "So, you would rather not have THE Creator. OK. See what happens when difficult times come; when obstacles and challenges come your way. I'll stand off to the side - over here. Let the created things YOU made, or someone else made help you
                                                                     deliver you               
                                                                sustain you
                                     bring you true peace in the midst of storms.
We'll see how long that lasts...they will get blown away by a simple breath.

But here's a promise. Whoever takes refuge in me...totally leaning into
                                                                      trusting in total abandon
                                                                   relying upon
                                                               resting in
                              she or he, young or old, will inherit the kingdom. 
  Help me take refuge in You alone. Help me throw away the 'collection of idols' that may have gathered in my life - idols - those things that distract me from You, or replaces You in my FOCUS and SERVICE (see Col. 3:17).
   Search within me and see if there are any idols, in my thoughts, habits, or actions, that have set themselves up against You.
   For my help and hope are in You, my refuge is in you. I desire to 'posses' the land and inherit Your holy mountain.