Quiescent Silence

Daily Post: Dormant


Like the proverbial tree-in-the-forest joke, I wonder at times about my dormant days as a writer.  If I fail to write an article and post it on my blog, and no one notices, do I really make a difference?  For instance, Tuesdays are more often than not dormant days for me on the blog.  Tuesdays, the Senior Men’s Golf Association at Lake Park Golf Course meet and have a weekly tournament.  The 80 or so players on any given week are divided into 3 flights and play for a top prize of $27.50 in each flight, which almost covers the entry fee for playing golf that day.  By the time I return home, have some lunch, clean up, and sit down at my computer, writing is pretty much the last thing on my mind.  In fact, this tree in the forest pretty much defines my state of being for the rest of the day.  So the question remains, when the quiescent silence prevails, do I make a difference?

If a tree falls in the forest, and there’s nobody around to hear, does it make a sound?  Simple question right?  How do you interpret “sound”?  Do you mean the compressions and rarefactions of the air resulting from physical disturbances caused by the falling tree, sending audio frequencies through the stillness of the forest?  Or do you mean the physical signals received by the unique human organs inside our heads which are then synthesized as our brains form perceptions based on these signals, “Aha! A tree is falling!”?

Today isn’t Tuesday, it’s Saturday.  And today, like Meghan Trainor, I’m “all about that bass, no treble.”  No longer dormant, my mind is barreling along at a pretty good clip, heavy on the bass, not a lot of treble.  I’m wondering exactly how to communicate to you, each of you, as readers of this blog, how to awaken from the quiescent silence.  It helps perhaps if we understand the “quiescent silence” and define “make a difference.”

Yes, it is a habit of mine to read the Daily Post word, in this case “dormant,” and try to come up with a hook for my title.  Usually in this process I find a synonym to use as a springboard or writing inspiration.  Hence, “quiescent” really just means “dormant.”  So, if my writing goes dormant on Tuesdays, do I make a difference?  In the tree-in-the-forest example above, the answer depends on how you define “sound.”  In my example perhaps the answer lies equally in how one defines “make a difference.”

My blog presence allows readers all over the world to read something inspirational,  or something that will lead them to the Bible, or something that points them to a spiritual truth, at least that is my daily goal.  This blog has been read in 76 countries around the world since January 2017.  How astounding!  What is even more startling to me, is that even on “dormant” days, rarely is there a Tuesday when someone doesn’t visit the site and read a past article.  From the 173 articles written this year, someone has viewed an article, or page on the blog, 4,302 times.  My response to this analysis provided by my host site is, “so what?”  Because the question is, “have I made a difference?”  If “make a difference” is defined by having a presence then the answer has to be “yes.”

However, if making a difference is to be defined by my seeing the “effect” my blog is having around the globe, then the answer will be “no.”  I am not in China, Australia, India, or Cameroon. I do not know the readers personally.  Yet, even if I did, I don’t know the 24-hour details of their lives, or how God is using me to “make a difference.”  All I can do, is write.  All I can do is pray for God to take this blog, and make it His.  All I can do is be faithful to speak the truth in love, to everyone who reads this blog.  So here it comes, are you ready?

Just like me, you will never know the difference you make in someone else’s life.  Yet I want to encourage you to be faithful.  Living for Jesus often requires us to realize that life may often seem dormant, with no one listening or watching.  But we don’t know what God does with our words, actions, or the life lived for Him… we don’t see the effects, and maybe we never will.  Just because you are not present to hear the tree fall… doesn’t mean it doesn’t make a sound.

We are created to experience God’s grace and extend God’s glory to the end of the earth. Living in such a way will always have long term eternal results, even if in this life it seems to be only a quiescent silence.

1 Timothy 4:1-2
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.


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Daily Post:  Commit


Those who read my blog know that I often use golf metaphors as enlightening images to make my point.  The amateur golfer, not unlike the fish out of water above, faces the daunting challenge of not settling for the status quo. To improve as a golfer requires self-examination of his or her own skills; as well as emotional strength to handle all the nuances of bad shots, bad bounces, and weather conditions that naturally come with the game.  Change comes easily for some, but is substantial work for others.  To improve means to change what doesn’t work, into what does.  Many times this comes through instruction from a professional golf instructor, however, knowledge is only half the battle.  Application of the instruction through dedicated practice on the driving range is the evidence of the golfer’s commitment to improve.

What if this fish fails to leap far enough, landing on the table top instead of the larger bowl?  What if it commits, but dies only moments later, surrounded by air instead of water?  Some might say this is the perfect argument for not making the leap of faith.  What if the golfer has all the knowledge, and perfect understanding of what is entailed to make a perfect golf swing… but never takes the necessary steps to execute that shot?  Wholehearted commitment is foundation-ally not being afraid to fail.

The Bible is practically filled with stories of men and women who were challenged to commit to something they could not see, touch, or feel, in order to do the will of God according to God’s commands.  For a great understanding of this principle, read all of Hebrews chapter 11, to see what theologians today call “the roll-call of the faithful.”

Hebrews 11:1-2
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval.

Clearly the author of Hebrews was just hitting the high-lights of the Old Testament, for there are hundreds of examples which could be added to this list.  In addition, since the end of 1st century, when the Bible was completed, there have been thousands upon thousands of individuals who lived by this passage, gaining the same approval of God as the “men of old.”  The only requirement for this feat remains:  wholehearted commitment.

How is it possible to conquer the “what if” fears that keep us from becoming a better version of ourselves, the ones God designed us to be?  Believing in the transforming power of Jesus Christ to save us, then stepping across the line of faith into His redemptive grace, is all that is required.  Translation:  wholehearted commitment to God’s version of reality, instead of relying on our pre-conditioned responses of what is real, makes the impossible = possible.

I would rather be this flying fish, risking it all for the promise of God, than to swim in the small bowl of “nothing ever changes.”  I would rather be the all-my-life student of the game of golf, than just be satisfied with a 14 handicap.  I would rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today. I’m all-in; 100%.

My advice to you?

Commit.  Wholeheartedly.

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The Zealous Nature



Have you ever known someone so exuberant, so passionately fanatical about something it made you feel apathetic or indifferent in comparison, even though you both were saying the same thing?  I’m always annoyed by those guys who can quote baseball or football statistics from 15 years ago, like it was front page news.  Who cares who hit .323 and is headed for the Hall of Fame as a 3rd baseman? Avid people do, apparently.

I really like playing golf.  In fact I probably would be called “avid” by people who don’t like golf.  However, as avid as I might be about the sport, and while I do have opinions which I tend to be passionate about regarding the game, I’m not zealous about it.  Well, let me think about that again.  Maybe I am.

Some of the synonyms for zealous include: devout, dedicated, hard-core, enthusiastic, card-carrying, intense, and fierce.  So, does being a card-carrying member of the USGA (United States Golf Association) make me zealous?  Does talking about the sport to anyone who’ll listen make me zealous?  Does joining a Senior Men’s Golf Association to play golf every Tuesday morning at 8:00am make me zealous.  Ok, I’m zealous.  But I’m not a Zealot.  I’m an avid golfer.

A Zealot is a fanatical partisan, but more specifically a religious zealot.  When applied to a specific group a Zealot was a member of a fanatical sect of Jews in Judea during the first century A.D., which opposed the Roman domination of Palestine so much they regularly planned assassinations of key Roman leaders in the middle east.  Today we would call them Terrorists.  The Zealots were the most radical of rebels within Israel, finally making a stand against Rome at a great fortress called Masada.  Here some 1,000 Zealots fought for a time, and when it became apparent the Roman army was going to overtake them, committed suicide rather than be captured alive.  Zealot came to mean someone who is passionately dedicated to some cause.  They weren’t just avid in joining the opposition to Roman rule, they were zealously called Zealots.  It rings of “give me liberty or give me death!”

The apostle Paul was zealous, yet not a Zealot in this political sense.  Paul was so passionate about convincing everyone he came into contact with, that Jesus was the Living Christ, that his whole existence was devoted to this cause.  Paul ate the job, talked the job, walked the job, slept the job.  Paul was the job.  If the job is “making disciples” like Jesus commanded us all to do (Matthew 28:19-20).  Paul’s overwhelming commitment to the task, makes me look like an amateur playing against the professionals.  Paul’s eloquence about Jesus makes my puny little articles seem like kindergarten text.

Even though my life-long goal has been to speak, teach, preach, and now write in such a way that people come to know God better, and entrust their lives to Jesus, compared to Paul, I seem like just an average avid “fan” of God, rather than a “fully-devoted follower of Christ.”  I hear in Paul’s words a message of encouragement to keep trying though.  Paul really doesn’t want me, or you, or anyone to compare ourselves to him.  He wants us all to use what we have, do what we can, and leave the results up to God’s own Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.  To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.  I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

There are very few people today who can live the zealous lifestyle of the apostle Paul, making their life-focus the gospel of Jesus, becoming all things to all men, so that by some means God will save some.  Yet, God doesn’t call us to be Paul.  God calls me to be me.  God calls you to be you.  And in this calling, God wants to use you to bring Him glory, experience His grace, and do whatever is necessary so that He can win some, save some, around you.

My desire is to become as zealous about speaking out for Christ, as I am about discussing golf.

What about you?


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The Cross is not a Talisman

via Luck

In 1964 General Mills food company introduced a cereal with toasted oat pieces and multi-colored marshmallow shapes, which had a leprechaun mascot named “Lucky.”  The commercials captured my ten-year old mind, so what did I ask for every time we went to the local Piggly Wiggly?  Lucky Charms!  As luck would have it, for my mom not me, I didn’t like it nearly as much as the commercials made me think I would.  The whole soggy marshmallow thing didn’t sit well with me.  I think I ate maybe 1/3 of the box before I went back to Cherrios.


Playing golf last week in my senior men’s golf association, I watched a 17 handicap make an eagle from some 40 yards of the green.  The man hit a good shot, and I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but golf has its own trite sayings about things like this. When a shot from 40 yards runs half that distance on the ground, twisting, turning, bouncing and rolling at least a third of the way, “I’d rather be lucky than good sometimes,” is one phrase appropriately said in this case.  Or, as my uncle Wylie used to say, “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut on occasion,” also applies.  Fortune smiles on me.  Lady luck is nowhere to be found.  Karma gets you every time.  Pick your favorite “Luck” phrase.

Which brings me to the Cross.  I know people who place crosses in every room of their house, thinking it will bring them good luck.  They treat the cross like a talisman.  A talisman is an object which someone believes contains magical properties providing good luck for the one who posses it, or offers protection from evil or harm.  Whether worn around your neck or as an ankle bracelet, the cross is not a talisman.  Whether made of metal or wood, horseshoe nails wrapped in colored wire, crystal or gold, the cross is not a talisman.

Jesus never said, “after I’m gone, if you just wear a cross around your neck, or have one tattooed on your forearm, you will be good to go.”  Don’t get me wrong, I think more Christians should capture the essence of what the cross means for them personally, but I can tell you it isn’t “good luck.”  The cross represents self-sacrifice.  Self-sacrifice often involves pain, almost 100% of the time in some form.  By definition it means putting your needs last, and someone or many someone’s needs way ahead of your own.  But more specifically, in this case, the cross means DEATH.  We’ve seen the instrument of Jesus’ death desecrated or elevated in countless ways that have nothing to do with His saving grace, offered in His sacrifice for our sin.

Is it just blind or dumb luck that after this life is over we are afforded heaven? No!  Why do so many people then approach God as though He were a heavenly slot machine?  We pray for stuff we don’t need, or stuff we know God probably doesn’t want us to have, mix it all together and at the end invoke Jesus’ name, then cross ourselves… and expect God to deliver. Was this how Jesus taught us to pray?  I think that prayer goes something like this:

Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Matthew 6:9-13   [HCSB]

This prayer has nothing to do with luck.  You can’t just say it once a day, every week in worship, or once in awhile we’re your facing doubt and darkness, using it like some incantation to bring instant prosperity or protection to your life.  The words must MEAN something.  The words must ring true to you.  So true that you base your whole life on the reality of God’s sovereignty, and trust Him implicitly to provide your every need.  Needs that He deems are needs, and not our fanciful desire for worldly possessions or successes.

I’ll say it one more time.

The Cross is not a talisman.


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via Expectation


Does expectation shape the result? Often one’s expectations only reflect the hope of something different than reality.  When I stand on the first tee box, driver in hand, I expect to hit a perfect drive down the middle of the fairway, somewhere between 250-275 yards away.  On any given day, and any given golf course, this expectation may or may not happen at all.  Other days, 12 out of 14 times I’ve accomplished the middle part, or the fairway part, or the distance part… but not necessarily all at the same time.

In Oscar Wilde’s essay The Decay of Lying, he said, “Life imitates art far more often than Art imitates life.”  It’s a philosophical argument where Wilde suggests that what is discovered through life or nature is not what is really there, but only what artists have taught us to find there – through art.  As you can imagine, I have difficulty with this philosophy.  Do I really need some artist to describe for me the glory of God’s world, or my relationship to it?  I don’t think so.  When I smell the freshly mown grass, when I feel the sand in my eyes after hitting out of the bunker, when the sun shines directly in my eyes as I stare eastward into the dawn on that short par 3, artists generally cannot improve on what I experience in those moments.  God created me with the capabilities through my five senses, and through the cognitive processes of my brain, and the willful choices of my soul, to recognize and give Him glory for the stunning beauty of nature and life.  It’s not just my philosophy, it is absolute truth, according to God’s Word.

Romans 1:20-23
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.  For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

Obviously I  use the golf model as my illustrative point because I truly enjoy playing the game.  It affords me the opportunity to be out of my office and enjoy God’s world of nature in a way that is satisfying to me.  According to Wilde, I would never know the grass was green or just mown, know the grain of sand was in my eye, or how brightly the sun was shining if some artist didn’t clue me into these experiences.  Doesn’t that sound just ridiculous to you?

Here’s another example.  A  high school student’s artwork depicting police officers as pigs gets taken down, and that draws attention to the prevailing attitude among many in the black community toward the police officers in this country.  But did this high school artist help us comprehend this reality?  No, it has been clearly seen by anyone with their eyes even half open.  It has been this way for a really long time.

John the Apostle could be considered an artist in one sense.  In the final book of the Bible which he authored, John uses dramatic imagery that is often mysterious to us today because we have no context for what the imagery means.  His illustrations come from a Hebrew mindset, in a late first-century world, dominated by Roman authority, all while John is in exile on an island called Patmos.  Do your relate to these conditions in any way? The whole book is filled with visions and narratives that chill us with their apocalyptic finality.  Yet, if we focus only on the imagery, we lose the message of the book.  For it is not a book meant to bring fear, but hope and expectation.

The Book of Revelation is divinely designed to reveal the true nature and character of Jesus Christ as God.  Within this basic belief is this simple truth:  The whole Book of Revelation is about the extravagant love of God, and the exorbitant lengths and measures taken by God to allow all who will, to come to salvation through Jesus.

When we approach understanding Revelation with the expectation that God wants us to understand it, then we can, in the proper context.  The context is the hope found in Christ alone.  In Christ alone I place my trust.  Keith Getty and Stuart Townend wrote a wonderful new hymn of praise capturing the essence of “expectation”, which I leave with you today:

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light my strength my song
This Cornerstone this solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love what depths of peace
When fears are stilled when strivings cease
My Comforter my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

Keith Getty | Stuart Townend
© 2001 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)


via Lush

My uncle Wiley always said, “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy!”  Lush.  I have fond memories of my uncle and his constant barrage of jokes and wit.  I can’t remember a time when I was around him that I felt threatened, afraid, or bored.  When his visit to our house was over, he always left our home with a phrase I still use today: “Glad you got to see me!”  His life seemed full and large to me… Lush.

Golf in west Texas can often be the opposite.  In fact growing up in Odessa, Texas, we considered it a huge success if we could find the lush section of any given fairway.  I’ve played on a few now, over the last several years, and I can say with some authority, there is a huge difference playing off lush fairways instead of waste areas.

I’ve had steak and potatoes all my life, Texas boys usually do.  Some were overcooked, some were barely cooked, some were tender, some were still kicking, but hey, it was steak so there you go.  When you have the rare experience (no pun intended) of ordering steak and have it arrive in front of you perfectly cooked, succulent, tasty, and juicy… that’s lush.

Perhaps what many people experience in their spiritual relationship with God is the fontal lobotomy, waste area landing zone, or something less than a succulent steak.  But my question is, “Why?”  Surely God doesn’t intend for us to play or live in these kinds of existences all our lives.  I realize everyone encounters a tough road every now and then, the proverbial steak that’s still kicking.  But certainly this shouldn’t be the defining attribute of our communion with God.

I’m not into the “name it – and claim it” prosperity gospel being presented in some Christian circles today.  Yet it seems just as clear that those of the more conservative Christian variety seem to go so extreme in the opposite direction, that they feel they aren’t spiritual enough until they “prefer” the wasteland to the Promised land.  Didn’t Jesus say, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” [John 10:10]  My heart believes that Jesus means: spend some time in the lush life I promised you!

Paul told his readers:  1 Corinthians 10:31
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Today I want to challenge you to live in the lush promised land found only in the abundant life that Jesus offers… to all who will step over that line of faith… into Him!



I can’t resist…

via Resist

Today’s word: resist. As I pondered the vast array of subject topics this word might yield, it soon became apparent I could lose myself in all the material. The topic of weight loss is obvious, just resist those empty calorie snacks.  Golf: feel your legs and lower body resist as you coil your upper body to create power in your swing.  Spiritual: resist the devil in the Spirit of Christ and he will flee from you.  Star Trek: resistance is futile.  Economic: resist the impulse purchase.  There are literally thousands of applicable topics available from which to choose.  However, there is one I can’t resist.

I really wish people would resist the urge to weigh-in on a topic they know nothing about. The best example I can offer is the verbal subterfuge from people who have no idea what they are saying regarding:

8 U.S. Code § 1182 – Inadmissible aliens

This law was established for the very purpose of protecting our nation from very real and very present dangerous threats.  Section 10 Miscellaneous, Subtopic (f) Suspension of Entry or Imposition of Restrictions by President, states:

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate. Whenever the Attorney General finds that a commercial airline has failed to comply with regulations of the Attorney General relating to requirements of airlines for the detection of fraudulent documents used by passengers traveling to the United States (including the training of personnel in such detection), the Attorney General may suspend the entry of some or all aliens transported to the United States by such airline.

source:  https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1182

What happens with people, who “don’t like” the current protection plan, is they resist the voice of reason in their own heads and spout meaningless gibberish in protest.  In their resistance of this voice of reason they demonstrate how intolerant they have become.  They raise their voices claiming our president to be intolerant and prejudiced, while resisting the examination their own actions and words.  In this case resistance really is futile, they simply don’t know how to do self-examination.

How can our country resist this mob mentality?  What voice of reason will finally rise up and out of the midst of these mindless tirades by the uninformed?  When will someone stand up and say “resist the urge to be so destructive?”

Instead, what we witness daily is a boiling pot, stirred by the agenda of an ultra-liberal America, and the false-story media who twists and perverts every word coming out of the White House, by resisting every Presidential move Trump makes.  Soon I foresee the last two democratic presidents taking public stands, perpetuating this resistance.  Beyond that, where will it end?  What happens when people lose their resistance to lies and deception, to leaders with no morals, to the voice of reason? Chaos and anarchy are just inches away, when we fail to resist.

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.
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.