The clarity of a foggy morning

wood 2An early morning in June along the Pacific coast in Oregon is a little different than mid-summer in good ‘ole land locked Missouri.  By now, the heat is already stifling and the humidity is beading the on the brow back home, even if I’m in the shade.  Here up north on a family vacation, sitting out on the porch, I’m wearing sweats, sweat shirt, Bob’s hat, wrapped in blanket and drinking hot tea.

Does this place actually exist, or am I just dreaming?

They do have humidity, however.  It’s in the form of fog, and lots of it.  It hangs heavily over the mountains in the distance, and even the near pines are hiding on this particular morning. At least intermittently.  I mean, they kind of come and go.  Continue reading “The clarity of a foggy morning”

So it doesn’t get lost in translation…

wood 2If you’re older than, say, 15, you may have realized that what you mean to communicate is not always the message that is received.  Now, when my dog wants to go outside for some biological necessity, he is fairly clear in his insistence; there’s just not a lot of ambiguity to his request.  And a similar scenario happens in the afternoon when he thinks it’s time for me to put his premium brown crud into his food bowl.

Oh!  That it were so easy with humans!  Alas!  The ability to clearly transfer (I do like that word) what I’m thinking, wanting, needing to someone else is a skill that takes a lifetime to master, if then. 

And if it can be that difficult to communicate what’s really going on inside of me to another human, I can only speculate how my Continue reading “So it doesn’t get lost in translation…”

Dawn’s List (not to be confused with Schindler’s…)

This post is a little different from what I normally write.  It’s not going on Facebook or Twitter.  No pretty photos.  No sarcasm or tongue-in-cheek humor (well, okay, I’m not done writing it yet, so we’ll see…).  Not even any analogies!

January, 2017, marks my second year of blogging.  I used to be more critical of social media, of the shallow content and mere shadow of so-called “friends”.  Although that can still be true, I have largely repented of my former viewpoint.  When I started this enterprise, I had no idea (nor any planned intention) of forming relationships, honest ones, and getting to know the people behind the screen.  Real people with authentic needs, trying to interpret their past and find some hope for their future.  Victories and defeats.  Questions, and even some answers—quite a few answers, really!  (Okay, right, so there’s a whole relational analogy there, but I shall refrain…)

So for now, Thursday has become Continue reading “Dawn’s List (not to be confused with Schindler’s…)”

An ounce of prevention…

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280If anyone in history had it made, it was Solomon.  Then this happened:

“The LORD was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.”

Unbeknownst to the king, there had been some things in the works “under the radar”, so to speak, for many years.  (One doesn’t generally get to the top of social food chain by making lots of friends; Solomon was, after all, a son of King David, a true man of war.)  All of these situations could have been avoided: two had been providentially held in check, (1 Kings 11:14-25), and the other was actually instigated by God Himself (1 Kings 11: 26-39).  All three were about to be unleashed because Continue reading “An ounce of prevention…”

A Parent’s Prayer

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I like to call this “A Parent’s Prayer”.  Anyone who’s been a parent for, say, more than 60 seconds can relate to the feelings of: a) overwhelming affection and, b) overwhelming responsibility.  As uncomfortable as it may seem, all of us are born into a war zone; we call it Earth.  And it’s been a spiritual war zone since before Eve discovered apple pie.  So this prayer of David speaks to me of the spiritual warfare that we, as parents, are never discharged from.  But we have the best-ever assistance from our Captain.  Pray this over your family, no matter what circumstances looks like– Continue reading “A Parent’s Prayer”

Seeking Wisdom

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This prayer was penned (typed? keyboarded? whichever…) by Dan Ledwith, and I highly recommend visiting his site, Learning to be Full of Grace and Truth.  And who doesn’t need more of God’s amazing grace and eternal truth?  I hope this offering encourages more than a mere participatory “amen”.

God Most High,

We confess to You Father because You have revealed Yourself to us.
You have shown us Your glory.
You have given us a sense of Your holiness.
You have opened our eyes to the light of Your Son Jesus Christ.
In that light we see that in ourselves we are all dark, and there is no light in us at all.
How can we confess enough?
How can we repent when we are unaware of all we need to repent of?

But You promise it is by grace, we have been saved.
Your love and grace and forgiveness are not conditioned upon any work that we do or don’t do.
Your grace moves us to confess to the best of our ability,
and covers what we do not or cannot see.
How wonderful is that grace!
How deep it goes!
How far it travels!
How joyous when it comes!

For where Your grace is there is
forgiveness,
freedom,
life,
and joy.

Where Your grace goes
holiness follows,
pride falls,
fear fees,
and love grows.

Father, we know that we are not enough, and that in Jesus we will always have enough.
So we ask for faith enough to trust You in our needs.
Some struggle with finances,
others with loss,
others with illness,
others with anxiety.
Give us faith that assures us that You are always with us and always working, even when we do don’t discern it.

We ask for discernment, that we may know Your will and hear Your voice.

We ask for discretion, that we may grow in humility and meekness.
That we may in grace hold our tongues,
be slow to anger,
and loathe to judge.

We ask for direction, that we may know what You want us doing both as individuals and as a church;
that we may understand our gifts and calling and place in Your kingdom so that we can be faithful servants,
doing the work that You have called us to do,
helping the people you have called us to help,
serving where you want us to serve,
praying how you want us to pray,
and living how You want us to live.

Work through us Lord, that we might love, nurture, and equip one another so that we can grow to maturity in Christ.

To see the other Sacred Springboards, click HERE.

Will somebody please push the “pause” button?

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When Joplin, Missouri, which is practically in our back yard, was hit by that mother of all Midwest tornadoes a few years ago, it was odd to see people out going to the mall as usual even though a quarter of their town just got blown off the map. Not being critical, it was just somehow surreal.

So without adding to the political commentary (and I’m sure there is plenty, not without reason), I interrupt my regularly scheduled blogging on this very humble site to pause in prayer:

Father, help.

To our brothers and sisters in France, our prayers and petitions are with you.

Hand me the drill, please

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280My tool box is not extensive.  And over the years I have at least had the limited wisdom and resources to gather in a few more specimens to adorn my garage walls: an electric sander, an electric drill, an electric saw; good grief!  Makes me appreciate our forebears prior to Ben Franklin’s little kite and key experiment.  Some things I have procured only AFTER trying to accomplish the job using,…something else.

Failing to use the correct tool for the job can be not only inconvenient, but downright dangerous.  A Phillips screwdriver does a lot better on a Phillips-head screw than, say, a table knife.  Ask me how I know.  I could give Continue reading “Hand me the drill, please”

Sacred Springboards

swimming-pool-149648_1280Ever feel like you have an empty heart and head when it comes to prayer?  Okay, so if you grew up in the traditional church of the 60’s and 70’s, you always have the fallback of the Lord’s Prayer and maybe Psalm 23, but sometimes even those inspired pieces of liturgy are coming out dry.  Reams of paper have been used up on books concerning the topic of communication with the Almighty, which we read with a renewed determination to ‘try, try again’, after which the passion cools once more and our souls start feeling as dusty as the books that now sit on the shelf.  Then there are passages in the Bible itself that seem contradictory (except they aren’t) when it talks about persistent prayer without using meaningless repetition. 

Right.  Join the club.  And I suspect it’s not an exclusive one.  But rather than just give up to my natural boredom monster (cf: About Page), it behooves me to explore other strategies in this oft times challenge to obey my Lord’s injunction to “pray without ceasing” and to “not grow weary in doing good” and all that.  If it was important to Jesus, then it must be so to me. 

But here’s the encouraging part!  Picture an Olympic diver.  (Just not one wearing a Speedo.  I’m sorry, but that 70’s style irrefutably should never have happened….)

(credit: www.pinecrestdiving.wordpress.com)
(credit: http://www.pinecrestdiving.wordpress.com)

In the beginning when he started learning this artful skill, naturally it took hours of instruction and practice, and he had a platform and/or a springboard.  The good news is, now that he has progressed to the level of an Olympian, he still uses a platform and/or springboard!!

Now, being a child of the 70’s, I used to kind of pooh-pooh the idea of scripted prayers.  The Jesus Movement that occurred in the middle of the last century brought really important reforms into the church, but there were unfortunately some really sweet babies that were thrown out the bathwater: the substantive lyrical teaching of the traditional hymns, the respect for the grandeur of Deity, and (catch this) the springboard of litany and liturgy, that is, scripted praise and prayer. 

So here is my offering.  Jesus’ modern day disciples should never feel downcast for a lack of inspirational prayer.  Because our physical bodies do have an effect on our spiritual motivation.  Because the alarm clock didn’t go off, or the baby was barfing all night.  Because I made a mistake at work, and my beloved parent is ill.  But all this overabundance of life circumstances doesn’t preclude a lack of communication with our Heavenly Father; if anything, it necessitates it even more.

This page is resource of Sacred Springboards.  Some modern, some aged, some ancient, all incredibly useful.  And you can go “off script” at any time.

(credit: www.thehindu.com)
(credit: http://www.thehindu.com)

Just be careful if you do, ‘cuz you might find yourself swimming in the deep end with God!

Here’s the selection, with new ones being added:

Very Old and Very Cool!

King David, the One and Only

1700’s-The Grace was Amazing!

John Eldredge–Waking the Dead (so to speak…)

1600’s–The Good Ole Days (NOT)

Personal Life Statement