Monday, January 26, 2009

i am taking part in a small group through our church and we are reading and commenting on a book, "Waking the Dead", John Eldredge.
The book's central theme is about the onslaught of life trying to take control of and eventually snuff out your heart, so you become this blinded non-feeling one-celled blob of body and mind absorbed into the vast expanse of nothingness. So you become someone who doesn't question anything anymore.
He uses many quotes and antidotes from films, such as the Matrix. Like the photo above. Not everything is as it seems, there is something else going on here. Remember, Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz. For you sci-fi buffs, Dune, Total Recall, The Thirteenth Floor and so on.
We are at war, and that war is for the protection of your heart.
Most of us go through life never really giving much thought to the strange things that may happen to us. We simply agree that, "well that's the way things go, or oh well, could have been worse".
The author brings about a convincing argument. The subtleties of life that sneak up on us and "WHAM!"
This is written of course from a Christian perspective and if you know anything about your Bible, you would soon see the significance.
But even those who are not taken to serious Christian lifestyle would have to admit, there is something worth investigating here.
i remember reading the Screwtape Letters when i was a young man and being fascinated by C.S. Lewis's imagination and mind stirring impact it had.
If you are a student of the Bible at all, you will soon discover that the heart is talked about throughout, from cover to cover. God has a strong vested interest in our hearts. Where they have been, what has happened to them, what is filling them, what they dwell on, where their attention is focused. Do they need refreshing, healing or even made anew?
"For where your treasure is that's where your heart is also." Mt.6:21 (emphasis mine)
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" God, Jer. 29:13 (emphasis mine)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January Days
Days linger
frosty air
crisp cold
January breath
holds you
in it's grasp.
You dream
warm sunshine
calm breezes
oceans shore,
just in time
the snow plow
roars past
on a mission.
You resume
to the heater,
"come on, come on"
your breath
inside fogging
the windshield.
hanging crystals
on every other
scurry along
narrow pathways
bundles of multicolored
bodies bobbing
in a snow white
An almost
too warm home
awaits you
constant heat
the tropics
you get to enjoy
before stepping out
again into
January days.
(photo of barn, mine)

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Path that leads to life.
How easy it has become for us to take the path of least resistance. Why?
Probably because we are all, for the most part lazy.
There is a saying written down by God, about seeking him and finding him if, you will seek him with ALL your HEART.
What does our heart have to do with where we walk, what path we take?
You have heard it said about athletes putting their heart into it and winning. When you lose heart you lose everything.
We want to put our heart into our relationships, marriage, family, friendships, our jobs, career, vocation.
As a musician you need your heart to be passionate about the music for it to flow from you and touch others.
The artist is the same, pouring their heart into their creation. The craft, work of their hands.
All of us will agree that we have at some place in our life had a close to spiritual encounter with nature, and were wowed by our surroundings, mountains, valleys, ocean scene, touched whales, swam with dolphins, or went to a place hardly touched by man. It forever remains etched upon our hearts.
There is an absolute necessity for our hearts to continually be stimulated by something or someone, so our existence makes a margin of sense.
Why do we want to argue that it seems too impossible for a creator, artist, musician, lover of all things beautiful and the very one who gave us life and to each of us a gift of himself, do we want to believe be nonexistent?
Instead we'd rather choose an improbable theory , an irrational accumulation of unclear jumbled numbers which is also another theory that out of chaos came undeniable mathematical structure and complicated balance in a complete universe.
The fool, in his heart says,"there is no God!"
i would rather believe in a creator who put his heart into everything around us,that we might have and enjoy and then poured us into his mould and gave us the ability to choose, to make a decision in our heart, to believe or not, all the while his creation shouts to us of his existence.
What a great God and he doesn't stop there. He will try everything he can to help you to encounter him, in one way or another.
Why would you want to choose another path?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It would be wonderful to understand all mysteries. The ins and outs of our lives as we journey on our way to the mountain of God.
Death comes many times by surprise and having suffered an infant death as a young man and a young Christian believer, doesn't make the experience any less painful.
All we can do is hold tight to the truths we have come to understand and hold the hand of the person next to us and press into the bosom of our God. We mourn shedding the tears from our broken heart over the issue of death that has caught us completely unaware.
We also draw upon the strength of others who have joined us in our time of grief and listen to their words of comfort or their wordless comfort of just holding you close. Sometimes there is just nothing that can be said.
Our friend and previous pastor shared about King David, who's child dies. He spent seven days on his face before God, fasting and praying, but on the seventh day the child died. He arose, washed himself and ate, knowing that his child was in the hands of God and that he would see him again. King David was a man who chased after the heart of God, whom God loved and blessed richly. If you would think that any one's prayer should have been answered it would have been his.
Whether we are walking with God or not, tragedy befalls us all, but it is of utmost importance to have a faith to help carry you through. It is also comforting to have family or a community of people to lean on.
My stepson and wife suffered a loss of a child who died in the womb just short of being full term. She died of complications caused by a combination of factors and the young mother had to deliver a dead child, and this would have been their first born. They gave her a name, took the time to admire her and decided on cremation, so they could have her with them for awhile before deciding if they wanted to spread her ashes in a favorite place of theirs.
So many decisions, so much pain to bear, and so much to try and make sense of all in a very short time.
There is death and tragedy all about us, every day. People being shot, dying in fires, riots, earthquakes, land slides, war, famine, auto accidents or just being the victims of circumstance, wrong place at the wrong time.
No one is immune, we all will have to face it in one form or another. Some would say that being a Christian is foolishness, and God is just a crutch to our weakness, that all you need is yourself, to be strong, suck it up and move on, don't be a wimp.
The King of Israel sought after God and came to know him as a young man, out in the fields as he spent time with the sheep. He was no wimp. He killed bears and lions and other predators who came to harm the sheep. He was a fierce warrior and greatly admired and respected and other men of valor sought him out so they could be with him and fight in his army. He had one of the greatest kingdoms and was feared because of God who, was the God of David, the God of Israel.
Their is no shame in holding to faith and a faith that shows God as a friend.
So for me God is not a crutch i pick up just in my time of need, or a good story in a best selling book, or a myth that i hope might be true.
He has a place in my heart, he is reality and he is experiential. i love that he has said that he enjoys being a part of our lives, someone we can call upon, lean on, who is willing to comfort us in times of sorrow. He also sheds tears on account of our circumstances and pain.
i always hope for the best and pray and trust as i walk out this life, being blessed and being a blessing along my way.
It's a short journey, make the best of it and don't miss out on being friends with God.
You're going to meet him one way or the other!
(beautiful stained glass art by: Sylvia Laks)