Thursday, March 27, 2014


"Everyone who believes in the Son will have life everlasting."

When I began dating my wife years ago, I learned about her mother's secret stash of sacred family videos.  Only the inner circle could even suggest they existed!  After mother's passing, the secret stash was finally revealed and I discovered something significant about the sacredness of family.  When I saw my wife as a little girl I was strangely squeamish, like I didn't belong there.  I couldn't, shouldn't, wouldn't watch them...

When I watch our own family videos a somewhat similar feeling comes over me, not that I don't belong there, I did, after all, help create this family and provide many of the experiences that have helped shape them, but a feeling of the paradox of time.  It mocks that those precious moments were so fleeting; that I didn't appreciate or savor them more. But it befriends in filtering the negative influences of impatience, impertinence and immaturity in those moments.

Time as taskmaster will soon be tamed.

I once had an experience in a college class that put time in eternal perspective.  The professor asked us to write down memories, both good and bad on 3x5 cards.  He explained that the reason we don't "forgive and forget" is because of the emotions attached to painful memories and that the healing of traumatic incidents just takes time.  He asked us to take out of our stack of bad memories a particularly difficult moment and sit quietly  before the Lord to let Him speak to us about it. The memory I selected occurred at around the age of ten. While playing a creepy game of some sort in an old house at twilight, an uncle jumped on top of me pinning me to the ground with a rubber hose squeezing my neck.  I was pretty sure I was going to die in that moment.  While recalling that memory I noted I had no real emotion attached to it.  (The professor later explained that the brain insulates itself from particularly traumatic memories.) 

As part of this exercise we were to take a favorite image of Jesus and focus on it while recalling the memory.  The image I used was the last scene in the "Matthew" video series where the actor playing Jesus turns, smiles and motions to follow him.  It is such a compelling vision of a joy-filled Savior.  However, while merging these two memories in my mind, the face of Jesus turned from confident caring to cruel mockery. It took my breath away and I wanted to stop.  But I let the
image from
scene play out and soon discovered that the look on his face was the agony He experienced on the cross.  I realized that He was there in that moment; saw the evil I endured and let me know it was for that He died to redeem us.

It was life changing.

I believe the "judgment seat of Christ" will be a place of wonderful healing and reconciliation. Time, as servant of Death, will be swallowed up in LIFE! 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Promise of the Spirit.6

"If you then, being of this earth, know how to provide good things for your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the breath of God to those who ask him?

When the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, whom I will send to you from the Father, has come, he will testify of me. He will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I have told you." 


"My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh..." Genesis 6:3

For as long as I can remember it has been my habit to recoil at reproof.  Maybe its a strong perfectionist streak...I don't know...more likely, just plain old fear & pride.  

A high school football coach once put his arm around my slumped shoulders after an especially fierce rant. Directed at me. "Charlie," he sighed, "don't be upset when I yell at you.  Be upset when I don't...that's when I stop believing in you."

In my current occupation I am "striving" with God's Spirit.  I'm confident-most of the time-God wanted me here.  I've enjoyed relatively good success, but recently hit a difficult stretch...and I don't like it. 

 I want to move on. 
      I'm sure there is nothing more for me to learn here.

 I'm real sure I don't like it anymore.  
I know there is much more important work I could be doing

 I'm getting too old to work this hard.  
I don't think I can get the enthusiasm back.
                   It's a great job...if it weren't for people. 

 I'm burnt out. 

 My car is getting beat up.  
                 I'm getting beat up. 

 People are too stubborn to be wasting my important time.                        What if I just can't do this anymore.  

My company expects too much. 
                 I can't keep up with all the changes.

There you have it.  
Ironclad reasons why my will is better than God's!

I hear the sigh...

Make no mistake.  Jesus' teaching is not to give me good information or to be able to get the right answers to the heavenly pop quiz.  It's to make me a man like Him.  To realize my human potential as God had in mind when He imagined me.

Any youthful fantasy football dreams were quickly quashed by the reality that I wasn't made for professional football.  But I was made for truth, righteousness, courage, strength, wisdom, justice, mercy, love, kindness, peace, and goodness; citizenship qualities of the Kingdom of God.  
Because this world's ambitions, once realized, are quickly exposed for their temporal and futile nature, it is worth believing in a place where Kingdom qualities, not athletic prowess, political pandering, aristocratic credentials, or fashionable chic, are the currency of the culture!  More importantly, they are eternal!

Hungering and thirsting for His righteousness is the primary indicator that the Spirit is striving, working, teaching, moving us step by difficult step toward the upward call.  

While not always knowing if and how close we are getting to what we shall be like, we know Whom we have believed.  

Lord Jesus, thanks for your patience with me...sigh...I won't stop striving if you won't!