All the Colors

Leaves 1

More than anything else, this image reminds us that things change.  Time marches on. The grains of sand in an hour glass fall painfully slow at times.  Then, when you least expect it, you observe there’s very little sand in the upper globe indicating a “season” of time is almost at an end.  When Fall begins, the same thing is true.  What was green turns to a rainbow array of colors in the trees.  The leaves fall over time, sometimes slowly, other times in a day. Things change.

Depending on whether  you are a “glass-half-full” or “glass-half-empty” sort of person significantly affects your view of this tree, and its many colors.  On a recent trip to Arkansas I had high hopes of catching a view of the fall foliage from Mount Magazine, north of Hot Springs.  I’m sure it would have been a lovely drive, and the view would have been spectacular, were it not for the dense fog encompassing the mountain.  When we arrived at the peak, we could see less than 40 feet in any direction we looked.  Since we were only there for a day, we hoped it would burn off quickly.  The reality is it didn’t, so we left, with a tiny bit of sadness and sense of loss.

I took the photo image above, looking North from my backdoor, on Sunday morning.  It reminded me of the singular truth found in the first 11 verses of Ecclesiastes 3.  “There is an appointed time for everything” (vs.1)… and … “He has made everything appropriate in its time” (vs.11).  In between these two statements are couplets of contrasting thoughts describing almost every aspect of human life on earth.  The dichotomy of living a human existence here on earth is captured in the joy and sorrow juxtaposed in the words, “a time to…”

Give birth vs. die, plant vs. uproot, kill vs. heal, tear down vs. build up.
Weep vs. laugh, mourn vs. dance, thrown stones vs. gather stones.
Embrace vs. shun embracing, search vs. give up as lost, keep vs. throw away.
Tear apart vs. sew together, be silent vs. speak, love vs. hate, war vs. peace.

I really like Eugene Petersen’s “The Message” translation of the Bible for passages like Ecclesiastes.  It is just easier to relate to I guess.  In each of these verses Petersen’s translation begins, “A right time …”  These words help us see that God designed all of these events into the human existence and we really don’t have any control over them. Today, see if you can hear God speak to you through Solomon, in verses 14-15 of The Message.

I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God’s done it and that’s it. That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.

Whatever was, is.
Whatever will be, is.
That’s how it always is with God.

Trusting in Jesus as LORD, in its essence, is knowing these words Solomon wrote are true absolutely.  Proclaiming Jesus as LORD is declaring He is in Control of all things, all the events of my life.  Serving Jesus as LORD requires an understanding and commitment that He is the sole Authority in my life today.  Knowing in fact, that I am alive and serve at His pleasure, whatever may come my way.  The third, and maybe the most awesome truth of declaring Jesus as LORD, is knowing and believing, the Living LORD Jesus is present right now with me.  When one of the “a time to…”-events happens in my life, I am not alone to face them.  Jesus is with me continually.

It’s fall, and the LORD is demonstrating His Creative power in all the colors.  As the blustery North wind blows creating a sea of leaves ripping through the air, do you see Him?  Do you know Him?  Is He LORD of your life today?

Does Change Make You Cringe?

Daily Post:  Cringe

spice of life

Well, first of all, what does this picture have to do with anything, especially the title of this blog?  The image above is perhaps aptly titled, “The Spice of Life.”  As in the phrase, “Variety is the spice of life.”  Change is about adding variety into your life.  Did you know this phrase dates back to 1785, first seen in William Cowper’s poem The Task: “Variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor.”  Did you also know that just the word “change” can make some people shrink away, cower in fear, or cringe in pain?  What is it about change that some people hate so much?

I like to think of myself as a balanced person.  I’m open to change and it doesn’t scare the livin’ dailylights out of me.  However, I’m also good with routines, and order, instead of the chaos that can occur from a constant barrage of serendipitous spontaneity.  I know people, and have known people, who’s lives are so structured, so ordered, that when something changes in their routine, it can be intensely devastating such that they become almost paralyzed with confusion, fear, rage, or depression.

This idea might help you understand the dynamic of what was going on in the first century when Jesus of Nazareth suddenly appeared in Judea and Galilee teaching and preaching in a way that was inconsistent with the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes.  His message was much more personal.  His content was intentionally focused on intent, rather than letter of the law.  And being lawyers, they hated Him for it.  For example…

Matthew 5:21-22
“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER ‘ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’  But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.”

These descriptions coming from the Creator of the Universe, Himself, are telling insights into how God examines our heart’s intentions, rather than our inability (for few of us are perfect enough) to keep the letter of the law.  The elders in Jerusalem were no different than many people today who believe by keeping the “rules,” God is therein obligated to look on them with favor, or salvation.  Jesus made it clear in many ways, it is not about what we “do” but the “why we do it” matters just as much to God.  Clearly murder as an action is wrong, God’s word says so.  But such loathing and contempt as people express toward each other today, according to these words of Jesus, are just as wrong.  Additionally, Jesus says if these attitudes (intentional heart motives) go unchecked, they will condemn that person to a fiery hell.

I cringe at the thought of how God must see some of the leaders in our nation today.  “Variety” as a spice of life to them must mean, another of the variety of their party is ok, but if the other party wins, or tries to change something, then murdering people’s reputations is not just ok, but their only course of action.  Real change in our nation’s government will require both parties to be more willing to approach this problem with a balanced mindset.  Because if the contempt on display in the nation’s capital today does not cease, what we see in the future will not just make us cringe… it will frighten us to our core.

Am I saying that change is easy?  No, but it is possible.  Am I saying only Washington needs to change?  No, but it would make it just a little bit easier for the West Coast LA LA LAND folks to accept, if the change began in our capital.  Do I believe the Comey’s, Mueller’s, or Lynch’s and the like on the hill will moderate their tone and alter their narrative?  Not likely.  Yet, if they don’t, when I think about it the chill that runs down my spine is something that the word “cringe” doesn’t even begin to cover.

What’s the answer?  The answer is the same as it has been for thousands of years now.  Psalm 37 in my bible is titled:  “Security of those who trust in the LORD, and insecurity of the wicked.”  You should read the whole thing, it won’t take but a few minutes.  Allow me to give you one highlight:

Psalm 37:12-13
The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes at him with his teeth.
The LORD laughs at him, for He sees his day coming.

On a more positive note… just for a change…

Psalm 118:24
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!

If you liked this blog post feel free to share it on your Facebook page. Send me a “friend” invite on my FB account or sign up by email to follow my blog!

Discover a new Lifestyle/Health Monitor, click:   INTRODUCING HELO