A Good Substitute

The sky is clear tonight.  No clouds.  Stars shining passionately as if someone threw a handful of diamonds on a search light.

And the moon…  So bright I can walk around the house without worrying about the myriad of Legos looking to bite the arch of my foot.  The moon has embraced our house all week with warm light.  It has been our guide for glasses of water and kid’s coughs.  We can see better.  We can see OK because of the moon.

Then the dawn.

In this mountain town, clear sky, reflecting snow, and thin air, the sun burst forth with a power indescribable.  It causes temporary blindness in all visitors from the south.  The sun clings to our eyes with relentless burn.  Tears fall when the sun wakes.

The moon is a stone.  The sun is a flame.

Sometimes we get so accustomed to the substitute that we forget about the power of the real thing.

Does this happen in your world too?

People hurting, friends dying, dreams almost coming true, 80%,  “mostly what I wanted”, a decent relationship – It is what it is.  Better get used to it.

Mediocrity is a substitute god.  We worship the stone and think it is the flame.

Then the Dawn.

Revelation 2:4 warns the church, “You have forgotten your first love.”

I am pulled constantly – you too – because we do not belong here.  We love the substitute and have forgotten that there is something better than this life.  But I have good news:  

The Son is about to shine.

There is something better than this.  Do not forget.  Do not close your eyes.  And do not get too attached to the pale moonlight.

Jesus, rescue us from this good substitute.  Amen.

Happy Birthday, Princess

 

The date I was born changed my life forever.

I met my wife at a camp about five years before we saw each other again.  After our first meeting, we would talk with each other about once a year.  We would catch up and remember with each other.  We would talk about dreams and renew our friendship on that one day every year.  

Once a year.  Today.  Her birthday.  My birthday.  Our birthday.

Then she married me.  (For those of you wondering, no, we did not get married on our birthday.  Though I would have loved that because, how easy would it have been to remember my anniversary???)

Today we have been married for 9 years, 8 months, and 15 days.  Just a drop in the bucket compared to the 92 years (or so) that I plan on being married to her.

I don’t think I am very “easy” to be in love with.  I am stubborn and self-centered.  I like to be alone.  I could watch Star Wars 24 hours a day.  (There’s more, but I will let you fill in the blanks.)

BUT…  She continues to love me.  She treats me like Jesus treats me.  She likes talking to me.  She listens to me even when I can feel myself talking too much and she never complains, “This is all about you.”  She hurts when I hurt and she smiles when I smile.  She tickles me so she can hear me laugh.  She loves me.

She is more than I deserve.

We have grown more in love and there is one very important reason.  Today, we do not rely on our birthday to bring us close to each other.  Today, we rely on God.  That is why Robbin loves me the way she does.  His love for her builds her love for me.  Ask me about it sometime.  Ask her.

She loves me because of who God is.

I am amazed and you will be too.  Turn your love over to God and see what happens.

Every Time

We cannot pass a parking meter in this town without Joshua begging us…  “Daddy, can I check for money?”

Weirdest thing is this:  most of the time he finds a coin.  

I realize that is probably an exaggeration.  It feels like it should be an exaggeration.  How is it possible that he keeps finding this money?  He told me and his mom tonight that he found a dime and we both responded, “Of course you did.”  I am more surprised when he does not find something.

So he keeps looking in those meters.  And because he keeps looking, he keeps finding.

My son might be a millionaire by the time he is 30 on found money alone.

This is how it feels to follow Jesus.

When I pursue God, I find God.  When I look for the power of Jesus, I find it.  I am actually surprised if I talk to God and do not hear from Him.  He is that faithful – nope, He is much more faithful than that.

Jeremiah, the prophet, wrote God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

It feels like an exaggeration doesn’t it?  Every time?  

Yep.  Every time.

Maybe today is the day you seek God with all your heart.  I promise you will find Him.  I have that much confidence in God’s Word.  Need help?  Give me a call and we will find Him together.

  

Dancing on the Minefields

Do you know what happens when you dance on minefields?

You are alone.  It is dangerous.  You will be mocked.  You run a high risk of failing.  And if you do not fail… You will accomplish something that is nearly impossible, something unique, something amazing and challenging and fun.

Consider encouragement:

In our lives:
There are plenty of people that will discourage us.
Some will allow us to do our thing without mocking.
A few will encourage us.
One, maybe two, maybe none will encourage us to do something remarkable!  This is the person that believes you can do something AMAZING, unique and almost unbelievable.

You decide right now.  Which one of these will you be today?

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; greater works than these he will do, because I go to the Father.

In John 14:12 Jesus tells His followers that there is something great in their future.  They have spent time amazed at the things Jesus has done, but now Jesus is talking about leaving.  (He is going to die on a cross so you and I can live.). Then Jesus surprises them, I think, with this statement:  You will do greater works than you have seen Me do.

Gulp.

Do you believe that? 

Do you believe you have a great future?  An inheritance that is Heavenly?  Power from God to fulfill the mission?
We see who Jesus is.  He is the one encouraging us to dance on the minefields.  He believes in you that much.  He even says that He will go to the Father for us.  We will succeed!

Jesus, I repent of believing mediocrity is my goal for today.  I repent of promoting mediocrity.  Take me to the minefield.

I’ll see you there.