Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Return.1

"Watch therefore, 
for you know not the hour 
when your Lord will come."

When we were first married my wife and I lived in the college town of East Lansing, Michigan where Michigan State University is located.  There are tens of thousands of students who attend MSU.  Consequently, there are thousands of young attractive women among those students. 

As a newly married man and father I remember the challenge of keeping my mind, heart, and eyes focused on those responsibilities as I walked across campus from class to class.  What would it say of my devotion, integrity, promise to be faithful & true if I were distracted by an attractive coed as my wife and child were coming to meet me on my way home?  Imagine the insult if I walked right on pass them as my eyes gazed longingly at a prize I had no claim to or right to desire! An insult to the care & preparation my beautiful wife puts into making our home inviting and welcoming each day!

If happiness is wanting what we have, then surely the effort to stay focused on the return of the Son of God -in spite of the nearly limitless distractions this world offers- the One who went to prepare a place of unspeakable glory for us is well worth it!

How then shall we live?  In obedient love doing what He asks of us or not doing what He doesn't want us to do. Daily.

Here's to another day of un-distracted living!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The End Time.10

"Consider the fig tree, and learn from it. When its branches grow full of sap and produce new leaves, one knows that summer is drawing near.
Even so, no one knows the exact day, or the precise hour of Messiah's returning; not even the angels who are in heaven, but only my Father.
Yet seeing all of these events beginning to come to pass, know in your heart that the day of completion draws near."

The Giving Tree

Once there was a tree....
and she loved a little boy.
And everyday the boy would come
image from

and he would gather her leaves
and make them into crowns
and play king of the forest.
He would climb up her trunk
and swing from her branches
and eat apples.
And they would play hide-and-go-seek.
And when he was tired,
he would sleep in her shade.
And the boy loved the tree....
very much.
And the tree was happy..."

- Sal Sylverstein

There is much to be learned from trees, as Mr. Sylverstein observed in his famous poem.

But as followers of Jesus we often forget this vital lesson we learn from trees: 
we are the branches connected to Him.  
His life must flow out of us if we would be fruitful. 

Fruitfulness shapes our lives. Fruitful lives shape His Kingdom!

We grow full of Him through love & obedience. "Leaves" are produced through this process and let us know we are nearing maturity and fullness. Just as in nature, Jesus knew our maturing would play a vital role in his Kingdom building:

Image from
The chief job of leaves is to make food for plants. This food-making activity, called photosynthesis, occurs mostly in fully grown leaves. But young leaves also are important. They wrap tightly around the tips of growing stems. They thus keep the delicate tips moist and help protect them from insects, cold, and other dangers.
Leaves are also vital to animals. Animals cannot make their own food. They depend on plants for their basic supply of food. Many animals eat leaves. For example, antelope, sheep, and other grazing animals eat grass leaves. People also eat leaves, such as those of cabbage, lettuce, and spinach plants. But even when people and animals eat the fruits, roots, seeds, and stems of plants, they are obtaining food made by leaves. (from http://forestry-learning.blogspot.com)
“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?" --Jesus (Matthew 24:45)

How many times do we see in movies depicting world-wide calamity, those poignant moments when someone discovers a little plant growing in the midst of the carnage?  Is that not a wonderful mind picture that as evil increases and causes more difficulties, followers of Jesus are still at work finding, serving and feeding those of his household?

image from
Let us not focus on trying to guess when His second coming will occur or debate the proper eschatology.  Rather, let us keep our eyes on Him, the Author-Perfecter-Completer of faithful & wise servants!  Humble men and women who say, We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’  But are, in fact, the means by which He will usher in His Kingdom! As well as those who give His Kingdom it's shape!