Category Archives: grace

Stand Up, Warrior!

He fell face down in the dirt. The field was plowed a week before and the small clods crumbled between his fingers with dry chaff and stems of the previous crop.

He couldn’t get up. This Valley of Elah, of sorts, was too much, too hard.  The mountain was too high, the valley too low.

His energy was drained, resistance exhausted, and he was so weary of well doing.

Dirt on his forehead began to clear from the sweat of his brow while dirt below his eyes washed clean from tears. Continue reading Stand Up, Warrior!

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Broken Picture Frames

I like broken people, the ones whose frames are scratched, dented and their corners don’t match up well.  I like people who have discolored pictures, broken glass, torn canvases. Somehow troubles, pain, turmoil, and suffering tends to create genuineness.

There’s something about pain and trouble that acts like a cleansing fire burning out the impurities of life. Those who emerge from hard times are tempered, refined, and often, real.  It’s not that anyone wants a broken frame or cracked glass, but life breaks and shatters us anyway.  Continue reading Broken Picture Frames

Pharisee and Believer Recipes

Pharisee Recipe

Pour two cups of pride into a large mixing bowl while forgetting all the bad things you’ve done.

Add cup and half of good works to a cup of following church norms. Extra flavor occurs when family activities are sacrificed to accommodate church commitments.

Carefully compare yourself to others who’ve done worse things, then generously sprinkle in bowl when you need to feel good about yourself.

Smile continuously at those like you, but shake your head in “pity and concern” for those in need of God.  Demonstrate disdain for particularly sinful people, and keep your distance unless, of course, on a church mission trip.

Carefully sift from consciousness all personal weaknesses, struggles, failures, sin and wrongs against others.  Hide sifted mixture in large Tupperware container in back of your memory pantry.  Use multiple containers, when necessary, and cover with black trash bags to insure no one accidentally sees your Tupperware.
Continue reading Pharisee and Believer Recipes

Signs To See

The first time I saw them was when my daughter tugged on my shirt sleeve in church.  She nodded slightly to the row over from us or I would not have noticed.

Everyone was seated, and in the middle of a row of college students, one young lady was discretely using sign language to interpret for the young man sitting next to her.

He was a tall, slender guy, maybe twenty years old, with tiny hearing aids perched on each ear which were almost completely covered by his hair.

He watched her hands from the corner of his eye as she interpreted in sign language to him for the rest of the service.  She nonchalantly signed the words occasionally moving her fingers in rapid succession to spell out a word or name. Continue reading Signs To See

Down The Road

The road is icy and what little moonlight there is hides behind deep, dark clouds and ominous sky.  It’s midnight, and although the temperature is below freezing, the harsh, rushing north wind makes it seem colder by the minute.

The wipers swipe the windshield, back and forth, back and forth. Part rain, part snow, part sleet strikes the glass as if it were an all out assault.  The heater blows on high, and even with a coat, gloves and extra socks, nothing keeps up with the bone chilling cold outside.

Like an impending doom, the cold surrounds the body and car trying to overtake both driver and machine to remove all heat, and movement, from both. Continue reading Down The Road

The Valley Waits

You took me to a valley, a deep, dark, ominous land.  You pointed the way and asked me to go through.  You made it clear that only I could walk through it, alone, but you weaved character and stamina of heart together with thread and twine of pain and hope.  The twine seems so harsh and hard, rough, painful as it cuts into the heart beating flesh, but the thread is fine, gold laced, with soothing salve that brings peace with every beat.

It is velvety soft, but iron clad, happy yet sad, good and bad, all at the same time.

And now, You tell me:

Go now through the dark place.  I will not carry you, nor walk for you, for you alone must take the steps.  You must both descend, and climb, the rugged trail.  Know this, however, know that I number your steps as I do your days.  You lift your foot. I’ll light your path.  You take the steps.  I’ll guide your way. Continue reading The Valley Waits

All I Want For Christmas

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For peace.

For things to slow down.

For batteries not to run out in toys.

For salad and Whataburger pancakes.

For a hungry child to fill his stomach full.

For lonely widows to have someone to talk to.

For all the unwanted children in the womb to live.

For my own children to be happy, successful and fulfilled.

For the person with cancer to have a cure, if only that be hope.

For laughter that brings tears to the eyes and snorts to the nose.

For a little boy, with his dog beside him, to shoot a bull’s eye with his BB gun.

For abused children not to be afraid of what’s under the bed, or who’s around it.

For adults to have more fun playing with the box instead of the gift inside.

For once actually getting in the fastest checkout line at Walmart.

For people to love on Monday like they say they do on Sunday.

For God to admit that His practical joke on the world was cats.

For workers at nursing homes to be extra nice and careful.

For just an hour of conversation again with my dad.

For the ability to write something significant.

For the soldier to sleep through the night.

For unemployed to feel worth.

For a kind word.

For peace.

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Baby Jesus Dreams

Joseph and Mary watched baby Jesus sleep.  He stretched, smiled, then let out a little complaint as Mary removed a piece of hay scratching His neck.  His little face relaxed into deep, silent night sleep.

His eyes moved back and forth in rapid eye movement sleep.  Sometimes He smiled when He dreamed. Sometimes deep agonizing pain came across His face.

Mary asked, “What do you think He’s dreaming?”

Without looking away Joseph whispered, “I really don’t know.”

There’s no guide-book on how to parent the Savior of the world.  The immensity of raising a son, who’s also the Son of the Living God, is beyond comprehension. They really didn’t know what to do except the things that were in front of them minute by minute.

The sleeping newborn was completely, physically dependent on His parents, but there was so much more.  How could Mary and Joseph understand that as they smiled upon their sleeping child, He smiled upon them?  How could they fathom their dreaming baby was hearing people praying to Him at that very moment?  How could they know He was dreaming in human form, but in God form knew everything? Continue reading Baby Jesus Dreams

Again

Asleep.

3:38 AM.

Phone call.

Disbelief.

No!! Again, poem

Adrenalin.

Rambling words.

Panicked thoughts.

Drive.

Get it together.

Just facts, please.

Numb.

Please, God!

Hope.

Crushed hope.

Be strong.

More facts.

Anger.

Wait.

Honest words.

Prognosis.

Asleep? Nightmare??

Pinch hand. Bite lip.

Real. Surreal, but real.

Again story
Herod’s pool, Caesarea, Israel on Mediterranean Sea

Sorrow.

Why, God, why?!!

Sterile environment.

Head in hands.

Tear on floor.

Would switch places.

How?

Oh, God! Oh…God…

Resolve.

Forward.

Never the same.

New normal.

 

Climb The Mountain

Shake the desert sand out of your shoes. Get the pebble out of the toe. There’s a mountain to conquer.

It’s not too big or tall, not too steep or too rocky to be settled. It can be done. No matter what the circumstances, it can be conquered. There is a way.  The size of the mountain is not as much of a limit as how we think about it.

There’s always fresh challenges, additional issues, new problems. There’s always something different that starts to make the mountains look the same.

I want the green, lush valley of rest, where gentle breezes and bubbling brooks wind their way through the trees and flowers.  I want the easy path instead of a hard climb, the gentle road, not of the stony trail, but that’s not how it usually goes.

Climb anyway. Continue reading Climb The Mountain