Chad and Rhi

These two people are so remarkably important to me.  I had the great honor of walking with them as they were getting ready to be married but was unable to be at their wedding.  Today, they gave me the best gift:  They let me officiate their vow renewal ceremony.
Afterwords, we walked around on the mountain with friends and took pictures and had fun and chatted about where life was going.  

I took this picture because I want the world to notice two things about Chad and Rhi…

1.  It is raining on them.
2.  They are smiling.

What power love has.

Some people frown in the storm.  Some fear.  Some fall.  Some whine.

Some are so remarkably conquered by love that we just don’t care about the rain.
The rain cannot beat us.
It is too small in comparison to the all-consuming heart-stopping heart-starting passion that cannot be adequately described by a billion blogs.

When the storms come (and they will) am I conquered by the storm or by love?

Romans 8:37-39 In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord

It will rain.

I will smile.

My God’s love is that big.

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It’ll Hurt More

His knee hurt.  A bad fall and he would be limping for the rest of the week.

But when it was time to play with his best friend next door, Joshua managed to muster enough strength to run, jump, and fly to infinity and beyond!  He was healed. (Or he forgot the pain in the face of fun.)

McKayla (sorry if I butchered your name, little friend) arrived at the mountain top service with a cast on her foot.  I ran into her family the next day and they were bragging on their little girl.  “We just hiked to the waterfall.”  I asked if her foot hurt in the cast.  

“Yes.  Oh yes.”

Jesus is beaten and bloodied and placed on a cross.  He asks for something to drink and endures mocking.  Then His motive comes out:  Luke 23:34…

It is easy to smile when the blue skies abound, but not so much when standing in line at the DMV.

What will you do when it hurts?  That is where your priority lies.

If you want to know how much my son loves his best friend, bloody his knee.
If you want to know how much McKayla values time with her family, break her toe.
If you want to know how much Jesus loves you, put Him on a cross and hear His plea.

What you do when it hurts more points to where your heart is. That, I believe, is why Jesus told us to love our enemies – not because that would take the pain away, but because sacrifice is sanctifying.

The Trophy

We sat together watching the olympics.  Woman’s gymnastics.  They are incredible.

We were all in awe; watching and flinching and stretching in the hopes that our stretching would give the US a little more balance (Doing the Raisman dance).

As they were giving us some well deserved gold medals, our 7 year old gymnast asked the question, “Mommy, what are you going to do with all my trophies?”

Now, she doesn’t have any trophies, not yet, but I love this attitude.  As her dad, I immediately pictured the room that we will have to add on to our house just to accommodate the flow of honors.  One room for each child.  Actually, they will probably each need a house just to keep their trophies.  Maybe more.  

I cannot wait to see how this attitude changes her next gymnastics class.

The apostle Paul had this attitude as well.  1 Corinthians 9:26 – “Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air.”  He was also talking about a sports competition that began in Greece (look at verse 25).

What would happen if I had this attitude?

Everything I do, I expect to do it until I am the best I can possibly be.  Until I attain THE TROPHY.

Would that change the way I preached on Sundays?  Would it change the way I exercised?  Would it change the way I raised my kids?  Loved my wife?  Treated my friends?

Paul also asked us to consider our trophy…  Colossians 3:23-24. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Jesus, You alone are my Trophy.  Please build a house inside of me where You will be shown off and magnified.  Let me work hard and with intention today until I attain that inheritance which You have already purchased with Your blood sweat and tears for me.  Amen.

The Size of the Dog

My wife and I woke up to this scene today:

I watched as the bear moseyed around the neighborhood, making sure everyone closed their trash containers, and telling the kids that only they could prevent forest fires.

Along comes Barky McBarksalot to confront the 600 pounds of omnivore.  Normally bears run from aggravators, but this bear looked more like he wanted to tell the dog, “Shhh, you don’t need to bark.”  (As if he too, was woken up by barking this morning). As I watched, I was sure the bear and dog were going to “play dentist” at any moment.  (“Let me check those teeth for you…”), but… 

The bear went on his way and found no open containers (by the way, GREAT JOB neighborhood!) and the dog had to go back home and change his Facebook status to, “not as strong as I thought; in Telluride”.

I feel that way when I fight God.  

I fight God because I want my way and not God’s way.
I fight God because I am stubborn.
I fight God because I love to hear my voice. (I would rather hear that aggrivating barking than silence.)

And I know… I know that if He wanted to, God could just wipe me out. If I were God, I would want to wipe me out.

God looks at me instead and says, “Shhhh. Tree, you don’t need to bark.”

There is one big difference between me and God, and a bear and a dog: When the dog looses the fight, he cowers in the corner.  When I lose the fight, I walk / limp next to God.

If you are fighting with God today, I hope you loose quickly. Then, look beside you, you are invited to walk next to the King – me too.  That is what it means to be in the family of God.

Genesis 32