Come Home Robin Putnam

Her name is Cindy.  In July of 2012 her son, Robin, went missing.  He has been gone for a long time and we pray for him often.

Cindy continues to wait for her son with patience and faithfulness.  I admire that about her.

People, I think, will occasionally approach her and discourage this faithfulness of hers.  They disguise themselves as realists, saying that she should prepare herself for bad news, or that many signs point to a different answer than the one she wants.

I say they disguise themselves as realists because they do not KNOW what “real” is.  They are actually, “probably-ists”, or “odds are-ists”.  These are people that I feel sorry for for one key reason:  They think that if something is difficult to believe then it must not be true.

Cindy has continued to stand firm and makes a choice every day.  She believes that Robin will come home.

I believe the same thing.  

I am a father.  (happy Father’s day, by the way)  I am also someone that understands what it is to choose to believe in something that doesn’t seem possible.  I believe God loves me.  I believe God exists.  I believe there is a Heaven and a hell.  I believe salvation comes through Christ alone.

I believe God.  

I have chosen this.

The world is full of “realists” that do not know The REAL One.  

Let nobody call me a “realist”, but instead, a man of faith.  Then, one day, I will walk with the Real One – then you can call me a Realist.

Jesus, give me faith and let me choose faith.

1 Corinthians 1:18

If you see my friend Robin, please tell him we love him and that I cannot wait to have a coffee with him.

  

God Not Good

Wall to wall dandelions.  If it were not for the weeds, our front yard would have no green in it.

So I set out the other day to excommunicate every piece of yellow I could find.  I got my weed pulling tools and was crushing it!  

Then my son walks over to me asking, “Daddy, why are you doing that.”

“Because I love your mom.”

To which he replies, “Oh, I love you too, so I’m going to give you a gift.”

Moments later he walks up to me and hands me my gift.
You know what it was, but I will tell you anyway. A beautiful dandelion.

First, because I am a dad, I told him thank you.
Next, because I am a vicious weed killer, I explained to him that I was going to put this flower over there in my special plastic bag for awesome gifts.

I think I do this with my soul, too.

Here is a thing of beauty and it is a gift and it is good. But I never realize that it is ACTUALLY something that should be given up.  I put a lot of value on the weeds.

There is a big difference between what is good and what is God.

Choose today – Are you bringing a flower (weed) or are you bringing a yard of green grass?
Those pretty flowers are hard to give up – but there is something just MUCH MUCH better.

Jesus, I choose You today. Help me drop the weeds in the trash, especially when I think so highly of them. I want God, not good.

Survival of the

Herbert Spencer got it wrong.  He read Darwin’s “On the Origin of the Species” and coined the phrase, “survival of the fittest.”  It is NOT the fittest that survive.

It is the crowd that survives.

If you are interested in survival, please allow me to give you some advice…

Do not separate yourself.

If you fall behind, you will become the voiceless, limping gazelle that we see on the nature channel that gets eaten by the jackals.  Your only hope is for the crowd to have compassion on you and value you, even though you do not look like them.  That is the separation we are accustomed to seeing.

But the same is true if you separate yourself in another way.

If you want to survive:

Do not separate yourself from the masses – the crowd will send jackals.
Do not speak out for what is Godly …jackals.
Do not reject normal.
Do not tell the whole truth.
Do not resist evil.
Do not be bold.
Do not choose God over good.
Do not forgive those that hate you.
Do not strive for the peaceful solution.
Do not stop complaining.
Do not turn the other cheek.
Do not stand for purity.
Do not forfeit what you deserve.
Jackels every time.
Men and women have been killed for far less. Christ was hung on a cross for this.

The world needs righteous men and the world hates righteous men.
So if you want to survive this world, without persecution and without mocking and without men hating you, remain hidden in the masses.

For those of you who fearlessly lead, and with more regard for truth than popularity, thank you.

Jesus, You have given me a choice. The way of the world or the way of the cross. May the cross be my constant companion.

Swather

We were cutting hay all over the county.

I would get on a tractor and drive 10, 20, 30+ miles to a field full of hay and one swather. (a swather is used for cutting hay and putting it in a nice row for bailers to make hay bails.) (swathers, for the sake of the rest of the story, do not travel so well.)

After hours of cutting hay, we would need the swather in another field. I would attach it to the back of the tractor and drive down the road, sometimes a highway or through a town. I had a ball! (redneck)

But here is the deal with pulling a swather behind your tractor: The swather sticks out far to the right behind a tractor. I never hit a sign, but I did hit the occasional mile marker and took out my fair share of fence posts. (sorry dad)

When you drive a tractor, you are looking down the middle of your berth.
When you pull a swather, you are looking down about 1/3 of your berth.
Thus, when you drive a tractor, you have to think about the tractor. When you drive a tractor and swather, you have to think about much more than just yourself. (see where I’m going here)

My dad, the master tractor driver, taught me the essentials of pulling a swather. You are responsible for a lot of ground. Keep an eye on what is in front of you AND what is behind you. Make extra space or you will hurt the equipment you are pulling.

Here is the truth about life on this planet: We are all pulling a swather. Maybe it is your children, or your neighbors, your friends, your enemies, or people that just need a tow.

Sometimes you and I still drive like we only need to think about one person. Please allow me to give you some advice from a great tractor driver:
You are responsible for a lot of ground.
Keep an eye on what is in front of you AND what is behind you.
Make extra space or you will hurt the equipment you are pulling.

Remember, leaders, there are people following you. Every action you take will either get you both closer to your goal, or will have you spending time mending fences on the side of the road. (I can tell you from experience which one is more fun.)

Jesus, let my actions help those in my wake. Let me remember that I have much more to think about than me. And thank You for that. Amen.

Marmot Mentality

A good friend of mine told me that his wife opened the hood of the car the other day and saw two little eyes looking at her from the engine cavity.  A marmot had taken up residence.  Awesome.  I would have jumped out of my skin.  They called animal control and had the guest removed.  

The most interesting thing to me:  Apparently, if you do not remove them correctly, the animals will try to return to the vehicle and re-nest.  WHAT?  How hard is it to convince a marmot that an engine is not a great place to live?

I wonder if I have marmot mentality.

I find a place or a thing that is not good for me and make it my home base.

Along comes the Savior, His name is Jesus, and He separates me from that which is no good for me.  This is a painful process, but it is for my good.  I don’t think so at the time.

My response is to fight my way back to the thing that hurts me – the place that is no good for me.  (The God-followers call this “sin”.)

How much time do we spend trying to get to the place that is harmful to us?  How hard is it to convince us that sin is not a great place to live?

Go home, marmot.

Revelation 21:4 tells of a place that God would rather have us living.   No more engine cavities.

Jesus, let me take correction better than a marmot.  I surrender my desire for that which is harmful.  Take me home.

If You Could See

The 1955 doubled die obverse wheat penny will easliy sell for $1,000.00 to avid coin collectors, or you can get a value of $.01 for it at any cash register.  This is because the coin is different than regular pennies, though it looks the same at casual glance.  (See where I’m going here?)

When I was a tiny boy, I collected pennies.  I would pour over them, examine them, polish them…  Always wanting to find that one coin that was valuable.  Always hoping to see what nobody else had seen.

Now, not so much.  I will occasionally look at pennies and think, “I wonder if this is valuable”, but that is as far as I go.  There may be a great treasure in my coin jar at home right now, but I will probably never know it as I am not willing to search thoroughly.  

Fine for pennies.  Not so great for humans.

Luke 19 tells the story of Zaccheus.  Jesus comes up to him and calls him by name in verse 5, but verse 7 says, “When the crowd saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, ‘Jesus has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.'”  Would you rather be called by name or called “a man who is a sinner”?  Then who will you choose?

I want to be a man who searches deeply into the souls of my fellow man and comes up with a name.

I want to examine and find the great value in the lives of people around me.

I want to see what Jesus sees in you…  and in me.

When you and I are having a conversation on the street, and you see me begin to smile, you should know that I have just discovered something amazing.  It’s you!  And I am thinking, “If you could see what I see…”

Jesus, I want to see others in the same way that You see me and Zaccheus.  Give me Your eyes today.  Amen.