We thrive on the born part and deny the die as long as possible. When it’s a new life, a new relationship, even a new dream, we pin our hopes on all the promising possibilities. “Ahhh, life is good. Everything’s comin’ up roses!”
But when the “time to die” looms, we recoil from reality. Yet, as demonstrated daily across the landscape of God’s magnificent Creation, something often must end before something new can begin.
Whether it’s a job or a Super Bowl ring that suddenly vaporizes, is this really the end of the world? Or can something wonderful replace such agonizing disappointment?
A wooden cross on a Judean hillside proved that it can. And did. And does.
What are your expectations for 2015? Does your cranial “mindsweeper” immediately lock in on your stock portfolio, the pounds you hope to lose, or the tattered relationship you hope to mend?
Like old family photos, good intentions seem to pile up and never get processed.
The real question for 2015 is “What will pop up unexpectedly?”
Speaking through Isaiah, God told the folks, “There is no other God – there never has been, and there never will be. I, yes, I am the Lord, and there is no other Savior. … I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
In other words, “Baby, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
What are you hoping – and praying – that God will do in, for, through and as you in 2015?
Ominous, low-lying clouds sprint up Puget Sound toward our Canadian border. Late in the year this is frequently an omen of downpours to come. Mercifully, these aerial assaults are interrupted by brilliant, sunny days when fresh, overnight snow crowns the gnarly Olympic Mountains to the west.
Our Creator whips up various cloud recipes, some to seek cover from, others to wrap wondrous surprises in. The prophet writes, “See, the Lord rides on a swift cloud and is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble before him, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them.”
Our Lord pictured the end of this age, saying, “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man (Jesus) coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near.”
If the meaning of this leaves you feeling partly cloudy, may I introduce you to the One who is “the Light of the World?”
“Words have meaning.” So said the late Julian Jaynes, an American psychologist.
Take the root word, thanks. To express appreciation for a gift, favor, compliment or act of service, just saying “Thanks” may seem to be a bit flippant and disingenuous.
“Thankful” is a state of mind, an internal feeling, an inert and unarticulated thought. “Thanksgiving” is an intentional, overt communication of one’s gratitude.
Years ago a women’s Bible class at a Memphis church mailed a check each month to my single-parent, working Mom to help put me through a Christian high school and college. Much to my shame, I didn’t think to thank those ladies until many years into my adulthood. By that time most of them had probably already moved into their celestial condos.
At this Thanks-giving season I’m reminded to be alert to seizing the opportunity to GIVE thanks rather than to simply be thankful.
There’s plenty to go around these days. You can contract it by watching CSI, Stalker or the closing Dow. Scare tactics ring the cash register in October for the candy ‘n’ costume makers.
A genuine chill races down your spine with every sickening amber alert. What can you do to walk on the other side of the street when fear comes to call? Who is the author of fear?
Our friend Paul, God’s truth-teller, writes, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.” One of the most oft-used admonitions throughout the Bible is simply “Fear not!”
Whether it’s Isis, Ebola or Wall Street, here’s another timely tip from Paul:
“Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God's peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.”
Is this merely a Pauline pipedream or a possibility?
What is it about September? It seems to be as much of a new leaf to be turned over as does January 1st. Why is that?
Perhaps this past summer you took your eye off the ball, and deservedly so. You needed a break from the job, school or the home. Maybe you encountered some setbacks, some disappointments that need to be put behind you. Face it, you’re ready for a fresh start.
Last spring we “fell forward” into Daylight Savings Time. Soon we’ll “fall back” into Standard Time. Could it be that on a personal, an emotional, yes a spiritual level, we should instead fall forward? But forward into what?
Accomplishing which three objectives this fall would constitute a move forward for you? To help you come up with your three, try the first chapter of Proverbs. It truly is a word from the wise.
Here in the Northern Hemisphere our calendar and thermometer agree that these are the “dog days” of summer. Coined by the Greeks to refer to the sultriest stretch of this season, the early Romans blamed the extreme muggy weather on the “Dog Star,” Sirius, brightest in the night sky.
We now know that the sweaty temps are due to Earth’s tilting on its axis. Maybe you know the feeling. Are you tilting a bit off center, maybe feeling the heat from some unwelcome situation?
God has been known to provide clean, fresh, cool water from a mere rock. He wants to make streams in the desert of your life. They pour from a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.
The Bible’s solution for your dog days? It’s Solo Fide (by faith alone).
Hitting the air in 1932 in Seattle, “One Man’s Family,” went coast-to-coast until 1959. This longest-running, uninterrupted soap opera in American radio was set in San Francisco’s Sea Cliff area. It traced the adventures of Fanny Barbour as mediator between her old-world husband Henry and their five, independent-minded children.
The evolving storyline of a family, perhaps any family, is a study in contrasts. Examine the cast and you’ll find arrogance and humility, greed and generosity, aggressiveness and apathy, success and failure. What’s the key to scripting a family legacy of mutual concern, care, encouragement and love?
In his wisdom Solomon wrote, “Reverence for God gives a man deep strength; his children have a place of refuge and security.”
Each of our founding thirteen states did so on July 4, 1776 by dissolving “the political bonds” which had shackled them to Mother England. They courageously put their faith into action, declaring their God-given right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
To this end, these entrepreneurial patriots pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor.
Thousands of brave souls have followed their heroic example, spilling their blood as the ultimate sacrifice so that we may breathe freedom’s fresh air. We humbly salute them each time we vote, or pause to admire Old Glory, or give thanks to someone’s son or daughter wearing our nation’s military uniform.
How will you honor the One who gave His life to liberate you from your sins, declaring you to be His greatly loved child and heir in the land of the truly free?