Scent: Fragrance or Odor?

via Scent

The fragrance of obedience is like a pleasing aroma in God’s nostrils.  It’s why the Apostle Paul wrote regarding the importance of offering ourselves to God as a living sacrifice.  The simple act of yielding submissively to the will and ways of God, in obedience, is to God – as a fresh spring breeze is to us.  I love the smell of freshly mown grass.  Perhaps it’s one of the pulls that compels me toward the golf course.  It gets in my blood and bones and drives me outside to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.  This scent has a powerful effect on me.

The odor of disobedience will often have the exact opposite effect on God.  In fact Jesus said to the church at Laodicea, that the putrefaction he smelled in this church caused him to want to hurl. Revelation 3:16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.  Think: rotten eggs, spoiled milk, three-month-old leftovers, or a maggot-infested corpse.  How awful we must smell to God when we stubbornly refuse His grace, or neglect to listen to His voice.

People of faith, walking in faith, serving God, each other, and the strangers around them, are living out the Old Testament picture of a burnt offering.  The sacrifice of themselves to God’s will is the image of the smoke rising from the altar all the way to God’s throne in heaven.  The ultimate completion of human purpose is to glorify God, and this brings God great joy. Psalm 37:23 The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way.

Scent is one of the ways we were created in God’s image.  In your own bible, conduct a search for how many times the phrase “pleasing aroma” is used in the imagery of Old Testament sacrifices.  The scent (aroma) is the bond of a sacrifice meant to represent complete obedience to the will of God.

Hence, scent is a powerful force in our lives today.  It has been so since Adam and Eve were created with this discerning sense of smell.  Scent can be a powerful attraction, or it can repel us in ways even more repulsive than I’ve already mentioned.  One of the unique things about scent is its ability to stimulate memories.  Even now, after all these years, I can smell my mother when I pick up a “Puffs” tissue.  It was distinctive to her and those long years of sickness.

What is the scent that represents your life today?  I suggest the physical may not be nearly as significant as the spiritual scent you wear.  Fragrance or odor? That is the question.

Replacement

replacement

Replacement

Now this is an interesting word. The meaning of the word has taken on a life of its on in so many ways today.  Replace can mean, “to restore to a previous place.” It can also mean, “to take the place of.” So, when someone says, “I replaced the picture frame after it fell off the wall,” what do they really mean? Did they purchase a new frame to replace the old because it broke when it hit the floor?  Or did they simply pick up the undamaged frame and replace it in its original position?  The English language is so rich and yet so confusing at times.

Let’s focus on the second interpretive meaning of replace, “something that replaces another.”  In a fickle culture of instant gratification, we see the act of replacement becoming a life experience for many people.  Just watch as the next innovation in cell phone technology happens, how many people flock to the stores replacing their old phone with one having more exciting gadgets and widgets.  4k television, bluetooth devices, more powerful computers, more mobile devices, are some of the best examples of a replacement culture.  The very idea of leasing your vehicle embodies the concept of replacement theory.

This mindset bleeds over into other dynamics of human life as well. In the harsh reality of truth telling, my own father found a replacement son, and as the “replaced,” I never quite got over the devastation or emotional destruction this caused.  I’m clearly not alone in these emotional valleys of despair, since thousands of young men are being abandoned by dads for a plethora of reasons.  Being replaced in the workplace is one thing, and horribly tragic at times.  But the agony of being replaced in such an intimate way is beyond the pale.  I wonder how many other “replaced” people feel as I do today?  But replacement issues go deeper and further than just technology or human relationships.

Imagine how the Creator must feel, when He is replaced by humanity with the idol worshiping culture of our country.   We live in a time where many people no longer know Him or serve Him, but deny His very existence with every breath they take.  Think I’m making this up?  Consider for a moment all the different kinds of idols people worship today.  There are the obvious ones: money, clothes, cars, houses, and power.  Then again their are the subtle ones, sports superstars, celebrities, politicians, etc.  We’ve actually adopted the mentality as a cultural icon, as millions cast their vote live for the next American Idol.  If you’re like me, its fun to watch these folks compete.  By the end of the show, most of the time, the one who wins the contract and fame is really pretty talented. But an idol?  We’ve substituted these things or these people as objects of our worship, without considering at all how the One we should be worshiping feels about it.

Oversimplifying?  Ok, one more example.  The past two democratic presidents have both said and done many of the same things the current president is saying and doing.  The most recent president was worshiped by many as the answer to the American, and venerated like a saint of “hope.”  The would-be democratic nominee was worshiped in the same way by many, and because she didn’t win, they are on the longest temper tirade I’ve witnessed in my lifetime.  Because their eyes are turned away from God and on the human they worship, their minds have become clouded and deluded by pride and arrogance.  They have not worshiped the God of Creation for so long, they do not know Him.  God has been replaced by an idol.

Replacement: Themselves.

Yellow

via Yellow

celebrity-strike

I’ve never been a big fan of yellow, but I’m not sure why.  Maybe it stems from growing up in west Texas, maybe it comes from watching too many “westerns” as a kid.  The bad guy calls out the good guys by calling them a “yellow-belly lily-livered” coward.  I never liked being called a coward.  It seems back then name-calling was an art form. Today, it’s just ugly to the bone.

Rosie O’Donnell, Amy Schumer, Miley Cyrus and George Clooney are part of a group of celebrities calling for a total Hollywood strike “until Trump resigns.”  Debra Messing, Ed Asner, and Michael Shannon are among the dozens of artists, entertainers, and activists who have attached their names to an effort calling for a month-long protest to stop President-elect Donald Trump.  According to one article these celebrities state, “We’re calling for a general strike that would include every single person involved in making motion pictures in Hollywood, starting with the actors and celebrities themselves and encompassing companies in charge of making props, movie memorabilia and even souvenir shops,” a spokesperson for the Refuse Racism group told The New York Times. “It’s about time people understood that we’re the ones with the power and that the president is there to serve us, not the other way around.”

My question is: who cares?  I suggest everyone go out and buy a good book, maybe two or three.  Don’t spend your money at the movies, supporting those small-minded people who can’t think beyond what’s written in a script for them to say in front of a camera.  Read the classics, read fiction, read spiritual material, read the latest science fiction, it doesn’t matter the genre, just read.  I think if true Americans who are tired of the moaning and complaining regarding the election would act in this way, Hollywood would feel it instantly.  Just stop going to the movies.  At least until there is meaningful dialogue again among the celebrity populace.  I personally want to call them “yellow-bellies.” They are acting cowardly, by refusing to do their part, which would be to use their influence to bring unity to our country instead of breeding hate and division.

It’s time the “deplorable’s” stood united and faced off with the Hollywood elitists.  In 1967 singer/songwriter Donovan released “Mellow Yellow.” Google the lyrics and you’ll discover they make about as much sense as someone throwing a temper tantrum because their corrupt political candidate didn’t win.  I’m not asking you to act like them, I’m asking you to take a stand and quit supporting them with your hard-earned dollars.  Be yellow like the sun, shining into the darkness, and use your brain to make a difference.  I’m not a fan of yellow, but I am a fan of the Sun.

Automatic – I am not a Robot

i-robot

via Automatic

When I think “automatic-responder” I immediately think about emails I’ve received from people who are going to be out of their office for a week, who set up their servers to automatically send reply emails to their contacts.  These auto responder emails inform the contact they’ll have to wait for a personal response.  This got me to thinking about how many things we do automatically, and whether this a good thing or a bad thing.

Many people I know are entirely like robots, with quick automatic responses.  As a pastor I would often tell people, “I love you,” because I did love them as the people in my congregation.  It didn’t mean anything beyond, I love you as a person.  But more often than not, the auto-response was, “I love you too Pastor.”  As humans we do this a lot.  When you greet someone with “How are you doing today,” 90-99% of the time you’ll get the response: “Fine, great, wonderful, or ok.”  The programming in our brains, and the culture we’ve grown up in, cause us to respond without thinking.  These simplistic (and I know they are simplistic) examples lead me to my theory.  I posit that human creatures often listen to “RESPOND” rather than listening for understanding.

In the movie iRobot, Del Spooner (Will Smith) is a Chicago police detective, who is sent to investigate the death of Dr. Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell), the co-founder of U.S. Robotics (USR) and its main roboticist.  Lanning shows up in a holographic projector who instructs Spooner that the “real question” is “why” he would commit suicide.  The hologram is only programmed to answer specific questions, and constantly responds with “you’re not asking the right question.” Again, humans are not robots, and we are not programmed to only respond to the right questions, but we are limitless in our ability to carry on an in-depth dialogue with other humans.  Yet, we often sacrifice this ability, because we do not listen to understand. Rather, we listen to respond, like an automaton programmed to only react to certain “either-or” questions.

Which brings me to another unique feature of being human.  Not only do we communicate with each other, we also have the ability to communicate with our Creator.  This was also a theme in the movie, sentient thought from a robot.  Sonny – the iRobot – was programmed differently from every other robot of his kind, giving him the ability to think and dream and make choices outside the normal programming rules.  As Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies improve, the world awaits the reality of a “Sonny”-like robot that approaches human normalcy.  Sonny apparently in the fictional world of the future could talk and interact with Dr. Lanning (his creator).  This imagery, while unsettling to some, give us context for our relationship with God.

However, God did not create us as robots, but in His image.  The primary attribute of God with which humans are endowed is: Choice.  I choose to shower and shave daily, or not. It brings humor to the post I saw on FaceBook today: “Clean and sober means: I’ve showered and shaved, and I’m on the way to the Liquor store.”  Choice is a unique and inherent attribute of human existence.  Therefore, we can choose to know God, talk with God, hear from God, but in a spiritual sense, not physical.  So, I’ll wrap it up this way…

I am not a robot.  As such, I have a choice to listen to respond, or to listen to understand. Whether I’m talking to another person, or talking to God.  Interpersonal communications is so much more satisfying when I listen to understand.  Understanding brings context, and if I filter my responses to the people around me, or to God, through understanding, all our lives would be enriched.  I challenge my readers today to make the choice: quit listening to respond, and start listening to understand. You are not a robot either.

Filter: I wish everyone would.

via Daily Prompt: Filter

One of my favorite filters is golf:golf-saying

Here are a few others to try:

There will be many chapters in your life, don’t get lost in the one you’re in now.
Smile, good things are going to happen.
Follow your heart.
Breathe.
Live in the present, think outside the box.
The best time to start was yesterday.
The next best time is now.

I know, trite right?  Sure, but mix a little of all this trite-ness with some sure-fire spiritual wisdom, and all of a sudden you have a new outlook on life.  Paul said, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” If only we all had such a filter.  It might come out, “I know I didn’t vote for him, but I can live my life for God’s glory even if Trump is our president.”  Or, “I can love those democrats, even when I disagree with them, and think they’re acting like babies, for not getting their way.”  Or, “Can’t we all just get along!”

Few people I know really do actually think before they speak.  There are a few times I’ve made this same mistake (he said tongue-in-cheek).  It’s really all about filters;  One for our mind, One for our tongue, One for our hands and feet, One for our hearts.  The One that really does it for me is: Jesus.  You probably thought I would say “golf.” But while that is a good one, it’s not really universal, because not everyone plays golf.  But Jesus is universal.  His model applies to every single individual who has ever lived.  His exemplary  life was based in the concept that every life mattered.  His words, while harsh at times, were meant to bring life and breath as God intended in the beginning.  His love, extreme in its pursuit of others, was demonstrated in His death.

So, allow me one more trite and sometimes overused filter: “What would Jesus do?”  Think what you will, this is still the best One ever.

 

 

Simple Ideals

via Daily Prompt: Successful

Simple minded people often are labeled “unsophisticated, foolish, or mentally challenged.” However, for evidence to the contrary, I offer a quote from Jiddu Krishnamurti, “It is a great art to have an abundance of knowledge and experience – to know the richness of life, the beauty of existence, the struggles, the miseries, the laughter, the tears – and yet keep your mind very simple; and you can have a simple mind only when you know how to love.”

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church of ancient Corinth, “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  Jesus spoke the message of love simply, “A new commandment I give to you: Love one another.”

I may be labeled “simple-minded,” but I wonder if our Country will ever really be wise enough to implement these simple ideals and just love each other.  I sure hope so, so I pray for it every day.

Successful

via Filter

Is America successful?  We’re still here, so I guess that’s something.  Successful dialogue would be actually talking to one another, requiring both people to speak and listen. Speaking honestly (successfully) would be each person addressing the actual topic rather than casting aspersions, castigating positions, and labeling one another because we don’t agree.

dialogue

Successful legislation would be passing laws that benefit Americans while not padding the pockets of the elite career politicians.  Successful business is usually associated with annual rising profits while minimizing costs.  Successful sermons are quantified by more members of congregations who give more money to support the work of that successful pastor.  Everyone has their own view or filter defining what constitutes successful.

We’ve quit listening to hear each other, most people I know today listen to “respond,” or listen to “guide” the dialogue to their worldview. Rather than thinking we’re successful by denigrating another person’s views, why not begin to think we are only successful when we can honestly say, “I understand what you are saying, and why you are saying it.” In so many conversations I observed in 2015-2016, I seldom felt people actually heard what the other side was saying, or why it was being said, leaving them clueless as to what was really going on in our country. Neither side was successful in their communication processes.

Yet our country was successful in the “peaceful” transition of power. We will be successful again, when we stop fighting and start listening.  We will be successful when we stop fearing the truth, crucifying people for their views, and lashing out like a child throwing a tantrum, when our side doesn’t “win.”  We can be successful, we just really aren’t yet.

Privacy

Filter

Does privacy really even exist anymore?  In a world where technology invades every aspect of our lives, one has to wonder.  What was easily once hidden, is becoming increasingly impossible, due to several issues.

privacy

Hackers, the dark net, big brother, social media, fake media, all represent real-time challenges which we couldn’t even comprehend 20 years ago.  These might have been corporate issues, or government issues, but private life issues, no way.  Anyone can lose their identity or their privacy in a heartbeat today.  Those who like ostriches sticking their heads in the sand, ignoring the reality of personal threats, are the most vulnerable.  Facebook is one of the best examples.  There is a certain amount of security available to the average user, that is completely lost on a large majority of its users, or just ignored altogether.  Simply taking the time to protect the data on this social media stream, might go a long way to protecting your privacy vulnerability in other areas.

In addition, unfortunately, our “open-book” culture, brought about by the media’s constant mantra, “the public has a right to know,” has also bred into people’s mind they have a right to know everything about everyone.  So, for example, if someone wants to know my private thoughts, or demands information about the details of my life, if I don’t offer it up freely then I “must” be hiding something evil, right?  What if I just don’t want to share every intimate detail of my life?  Don’t I have a right to my privacy?

Again, according to some, that depends on who you are.  We’ve been convinced that we should know every private detail of a public servants life, after all that person is serving at my elected vote.  Does that mean we should be privy to every detail of the life of our newly elected President? His 10 year old son? His wife? His other children? Their children?  This idea of transparency has now shifted to not just public servants, but to the populace in general.

Privacy issues are getting complicated.  Between technological issues, and transparency issues, I’m not even sure it even exists anymore.

 

Inauguration Day 2017

inauguration-day

Today my heart was filled with Joy to hear a unique man, at a unique time in our history, actually say the government belongs to the people of the United States.  I was encouraged by those chosen to read and pray, as each in their own way steered our thoughts back to the Creator, and in honor of His wisdom, prayed for His guidance for our New President, and our country.  I desire to encourage those who out of fear or anger would lash out in protest. The words of this President are either true or not.  The only way to know is observe what comes next.  Either congress will work with him to achieve great things for our country, or they won’t.  Either he will demonstrate sound and wise leadership, or he won’t.  But as our elected President, it isn’t within my power or the Trump haters to effect change regarding who is our leader.  He is.  That’s it. The picture above represents greatness.  The greatness of our county, our constitution, and our ability to be what Trump said he wants:  a shining light to all other nations.  May God bless the United States of America.

Disruption

Filter 

lincoln

More often than not this word is used in the business world today describing a radical change in industry, or an innovative business strategy to change previous models, etc. It could involve the introduction of a new technology, or product line, or service creating a whole new market.  Think: Henry Ford and the horseless carriage.

I read an article today by David Brooks, a columnist for The New York Times, titled: “We’ve crowned a fool the king of carnival culture.” It was a compelling article for sure, and worthy of someone’s attention.  Crossing the wide span of history, from King David in the Old Testament, through the carnival culture of the middle ages, Brook’s article captures the thought of “disruption.” Of course he leads us, like horses to water, and lays the foundation for his thoughts on President-elect Donald Trump.  Brooks writes, “His tweets are classic fool behavior, raw, ridiculous and often self-destructive. He takes on a cultural icon and he throws mud at it. The point is not the message. It’s to symbolically upend hierarchy, to be oppositional.”

History indeed repeats itself.  The democrats thought Abraham Lincoln a fool too.  The Jews thought Jesus a fool.  The ancient Hebrews thought Moses a fool.  Am I suggesting that Donald Trump is equal to Lincoln, Moses, or Jesus?  Not really.  I’m just playing the fool to get someone to quit thinking linearly, and start thinking dynamically at the “what if’s.”

What if emptying the pond of elite politicians, and the rhetoric of celebrities and pundits, leads America finally to regain a foothold, and stand up for truth?  What if one man, who recognizes he is just a man, like Lincoln did, like Moses did, being disruptive and tweeting, can indeed spur us on to greatness?  Do we allow a future former-President to have a louder, more influential voice, causing greater division in our country?  How can we stop this madness?  How is what is going on in our country today any less dangerous and radical than the idea of ending slavery?

These are questions I wrestle with. I wonder if you do too?  Disruption is seldom invited, since it is seen by the protectors of the status quo as evil incarnate.  Today, many wise men whose lives are directly tied to the slave population of our early history, know the truth.  It was Lincoln and his followers, along with Dr. King and his followers, who were disruptive enough to make a real difference in this country.  The proof of Trump’s presidency will be seen in the future.  Have we crowned the fool the king of the carnival?  We’ll see.

Hard to believe.

mlk-quote

It’s hard to believe this man’s wisdom is so ignored today. Studying this man’s influence during my last course in college, I was inspired by his total devotion to truth, and his message of love.  Dr. King motivated me to pursue ministry with a renewed commitment to both of the ideas: unarmed truth, and unconditional love.

In today’s politicized, very divided USA, I wonder where the next voice of reason will appear.  There are those who think Dr. King is responsible for our current destructive racial climate, assigning blame for the ethnic challenges today squarely on his shoulders.  Anyone who has ever studied his work, listened to him speak, or thought for one second about his message, knows this is not true.  We are so far removed from King’s agenda that I’m sure it would sicken him, as it does me, to think of where we’re headed.

I say this because I truly believe unless something changes, the raging maniacal views of the east and west coast’s liberal minds will fan the flames of anarchy, plunging the whole nation into chaos.  Someone with enough influence to grab their attention needs to step forward; anyone who can just get them to pause and take a breath already, but who will that be?  If a beloved actress, can be so deluded, so consumed with the idea that only she and her out of touch friends are the only sane people left in our county, who will calm her down? They don’t listen to people like me.  They don’t listen to the facts, or the truth, and they have only a Hollywood distorted view of love.  No wonder it’s hard to get their attention.

Why the diatribe?  Why today?

A commitment to “unarmed truth” defines a determination to check facts, know what’s true, speak that truth, but not bludgeon someone comatose with it. The truth is President-elect Trump, is our next President.  I don’t have to gloat about it, I don’t have to demean those around me that voted Democrat.  I don’t have to arm myself for battle every time his name comes up.  I believe and defend the 1st Amendment right of every person to speak their mind.  I just wish the other side would do the same.  This is where the next idea comes into play.

“Unconditional love” is something completely foreign to the liberal’s mindset which determines for themselves its definition. Dr. King would challenge them on this point because this idea is foreign to mankind in general.  Dr. King would point out that while mankind is “capable” of this kind of transformative love, it is a choice too few are willing to make.  He would suggest that the only way possible for a man or woman filled with hate, anger, or murderous intentions,  is to yield their life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  In finding themselves cleansed from these emotions/intentions, by the power of Jesus’ love, then and only then will they be able to love others “unconditionally.”

This highlights the essence of the issue.  Most of Hollywood, the Democratic party leaders, and those who follow their policies, are diametrically opposed to the truth that Jesus should determine my politics, much less my life choices.  This total denial of an “unconditional love” paradigm is the force behind such vehement outcries in public forums.  Clearly our nation is divided.  Where is the voice of reason?  Who will stand and bring us back together?  Can it even be accomplished?  Or are we destined to repeat the ugliest and deadliest period of our nation’s history, as friend turns against friend, brother against brother, parents against children, and kill each other … just to be right?

Dr. King’s words are true.  However, it may take the promised return of Jesus Christ to see them fulfilled.

 

 

The sun is shining.

gull

This is me enjoying the sun.  I’m just looking around at all the goofy people wondering what they’re thinking.  Some don’t seem to have a clue how beautiful this world is. What would it take, I wonder, to wake them up?  Oh well.  Not my job right?  Hey, how about fish tonight for supper?

 

Hygge?

golf

Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word capturing the idea of a feeling or mood that occurs when taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every-day-moments more meaningful or special.  According to Hygge House: 

“Whether it’s making coffee a verb by creating a ritual of making it then lingering over a cup to a cosy evening in with friends, to the simple act of lighting a candle with every meal. Hygge is being aware of a good moment whether it’s simple or special.

Some refer to hygge as an “art of creating intimacy” (either with yourself, friends and your home). While there’s no one English word to describe hygge, several can be used interchangeably to describe the idea of hygge such as cosiness, charm, happiness, contentedness, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness.”

Here’s the thing. While the Danes may have created hygge because they were trying to survive the cold, dark, sameness of days and months inside away from the cold, I don’t think they have a corner on the concept.  For example, I remember the day in this photo so well.  Playing golf in Colorado, in August, with my best friend, was an extraordinarily good time.  Being outside, involved in my favorite sport, enjoying the beauty of God’s creation with “nature-girl”, was exquisite.

This morning I awoke to clouds and fog and drizzle, but I spent my time basking in the quite of my office while I drank coffee.  It was beautiful.  And, I like this word “hygge,” because it captures the idea of choice.  So many people are consumed with having to be entertained, seeking thrills, or otherwise having some outside stimulus  bring meaning to their lives.  The choice we all have, every single day, is to be self-aware, environment-aware, and others-aware, and see thousands of opportunity to make simple moments meaningful or special.

It could be as simple as walking right up to your best friend, and saying, “You are my best friend. You make my life special just by knowing you!” Try it, you might like it. Find the contentment, security, comfort and kinship, that simple words and actions bring when you live to enrich someone else’s life besides your own.

 

Go with the flow?

dead-fish

Saw this on FaceBook today and it made me think.  Social media right?  Between the tweets, the Instagram’s, Tumblr’s, Linkedin’s, YouTube’s, and all the Pinterest’s posts, the information flow is a little daunting. How does a sexagenarian keep up these days?  It has nothing to do with not knowing how, I’m just not motivated to stay that in tune with all the stuff.  But it also has to do with not wanting to repeat myself on so many different platforms.  Hence the blog.  This is me not only not being dead, but also going against the flow, so to speak.

I’m a firm believer that if you think you have something to say, stand up and say it. Freedom of speech is ingrained in our thought process as Americans, and protected (but not absolutely) by the First Amendment of our great Constitution.  That said, it’s becoming increasingly difficult today to be supportive of the process.  Especially  when there are those who say they also believe this freedom is inherent to all citizens, yet are intolerant of what I have to say.  When I disagree with them on some specific or general topic, then suddenly I’ve become evil.  Some would rather intimidate me, or silence me, than consider this same Constitution protects my right to speak as well.

So, I’m back to the picture above.  Only dead fish go with the flow.  Today I choose not to be a dead fish.  I’m using the specific venue I’ve chosen, this blog, to share my thoughts and views, and in the process go against the flow.  My message: stand up and have a voice. My secondary message: be American, and protect other’s right to have this same voice.  Don’t be like the haters and judgers who dogmatically think they have all the answers, the only answers.  Be larger than that.  Think for yourself and say something meaningful.  Quit trying to tear down everyone who disagrees with you, just because they disagree.  Even if you hate what they say, have the courage to say, “It’s ok that we disagree.”

My last message for today:  I don’t have all the answers.  In my short time on earth, I’ve discovered I never will either.  For me, it’s important to keep learning, keep reading, continually searching for truth, and trusting that I can make a difference.  But only, if I quit acting like a dead fish.

 

 

 

1.11.2017

It won’t be long now.  When my momma used to say, “one day at a time,” it didn’t really register with me.  Recently though, this once trite phrase has resounded like the watchtower bell for me.  24 hours in a day, 1440 minutes, 86400 seconds, the shorter the time quantification, the greater the number.  Reality dictates that regardless of what unit of measurement I choose to quantify a “day,” I can neither add to or take away from these measurements.  They are fixed in our time-space continuum, and my life is governed by the limitations imposed.  Not only can I not add “time,” I am powerless to speed it up or slow it down.  Time marches on, one day at a time.  Profound, huh?

Not really.  I only occasionally wax poetic/philosophical when trying to make a point of where our focus should be.  We think forward or backward so much that we miss now.  Here is the really cool thing I’ve discovered about knowing the Creator.  God’s time paradigm is always “now.”  Think of how God introduced Himself to Moses, “I Am.”  In this name we discover not just God’s name, but a primary attribute of His nature and character.  God declares that He is eternal, with no time or space constraints.  From God’s perspective on His throne, all of my time on this earth is always “now” to Him.  God does not age as I age, His divine nature knows nothing of age as I know it.  Every moment I live, every breath I take, God is now.

Jesus made the claim, “the Father and I are one.”  Inherent in this statement, by reason and deduction, we understand Jesus to mean that while here on earth He may have been limited physically by human constraints as we are.  Yet, in context of His message, Jesus is eternally “now,” just as God the Father is.  Jesus told His disciples that when He left to go back to heaven, He would send a Helper, the Holy Spirit, who would abide inside every believer.  The Holy Spirit has the same divine attribute of “now” that Jesus the Son and God the Father enjoy.  Limitless, timeless and ever-present are just three of the eternal characteristics of God.

One day at a time takes on a whole new level of understanding when I know the nature and character of God is “now.”  Regardless of what comes my way in the next ten minutes, when I arrive there, God is now.  When Jesus says, “I am coming quickly,” and I haven’t arrived at the place where I see Him yet, His perspective is as though He is already here.  Because His perspective is now.

Regardless of how many earth years, months, days, hours, minutes or seconds, it won’t be long.  It won’t be long.  God is now.  Jesus is now.  The Holy Spirit is now.  Live now, one day at a time.

Don’t be a blowhole…

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What you see here is a spout of water coming up out of a sea cave.  The shaft was formed as the lava cooled, creating a spout for the incoming waves to shoot up and out, commonly referred to as a “blowhole.”  It is not unlike the hole atop a whale’s head through which the animal breathes air like a nostril.  Again, the whale’s nostril is also called a “blowhole.”

There is also a slang use of the term “blowhole,” reserved for that annoying person who is constantly spouting from their mouths without filtering what they say.  I may have been called this name in the past, when my own filtering system didn’t work so well.  Learning to hear what you want to say in your own head, before it actually comes out of your mouth to someone else’s ears, is in fact a difficult thing to do.  Really, almost impossible, for those who have never tried.

I get tired today of the constant barrage of social elites, celebrities, or news media personalities who determinedly decide they know better than the rest of us peasants regarding our current political status.  Does acting in the entertainment business somehow equip, empower or enable a person to “know” more than I do about right and wrong, or good leadership and poor leadership?  Does their social elite status give them the privilege of talking down to me, as though I’m an uneducated ignoramus?  How do we get the message to the average American citizen to just stop listening to this nonsense?  What voice will finally rise above the din of arrogant verbiage constantly being spouted from the Hollywood “blowholes?” I suggest you have the power to switch the channel, and you would be better for it.

That said, do I come off as a “blowhole” here?  I sincerely hope not.  But somebody’s got to say it.  Shut up already.

 

1.9.2017

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There is much to do today.  However, I’m not panicked, anxious, or tentative in my pursuit of living each day, as the most important day, that is the adventure of my life.  Whether filled with tedious tasks on a “to-do” list that is way too long, or pausing long enough to see the gentle winter breezes move the leaf-less trees just outside my office window; each has its purpose in my day.  These activities keep me focused on my new mantra for 2017, “Let it come to you.”  Worrying about everything on the list, or feeling guilty over sitting and doing nothing but staring at a winterized tree, both have a place in my existence and purpose.  Slowing down and looking at God’s creation anytime of year is always a good thing.  This activity helps me remember I’m not Him.  He is good, all the time.  It also gives me the motivation to be more like Him.  One of the things God does is get things done.  Galatians 4:4-5 says:

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

God is never late, never early, never.  “The fullness of the time” is a phrase meaning appointed time, exact time, the right time.  If I’m going to imitate God, I have to do things in the right time.  So when it’s time to tackle my list, I’m motivated to get crackin’.  When I need to stare out my office window at flowers, trees, the sky, or airplanes, I’m also motivated to do this as well.  Why?  Because in all of it, I am fulfilling my purpose for being here in the first place: bringing glory to God as I live, in all the activities of my life.

It’s a New Year

365-daysThis image hangs in my office as a reminder of how things begin fresh every year.  2016 may have had its ups and downs, but 2017 appears like an unpainted canvas ready to capture the highlights of a new year of life.  I wonder what image will appear?  Will the finished painting reflect light and love?  Will it be dark and painful?  Will hope and joy be the dominant theme?  The finished product is not mine to know, for I haven’t lived it yet.  I’m not one of those people who wishes they could see the future (finished product).  My life has been filled with a wide array of experiences, each so different in nature and length, it is impossible to predict with any accuracy which if any might be duplicated in 2017.  That said, anticipating 2017 as a whole is pretty easy for me.  I’m hoping to publish my first book sometime in the first quarter.  Golf has always been my primary leisure activity, and I hope to lower my handicap and be outside more this year than last.  Traveling this year, or really how much we travel this year is still a question.  We still have places we want to go before we slow down too much.  Rebuilding some relationships, and starting new ones, holds great promise for restoration and healing.  So, as of right now, the past 7 days of the new year have been great days filled with laughter and love, good food and family meals, practice putting and editing.  Only 258 days to go in the discovery of the 2017 finished canvas.