Monthly Archives: July 2013

weakness into strength

Why is it SO hard for we humans to admit our weakness and cry out to God:

“You must do this, for I can not!”

When we truly “get this” we will be able to begin training our mind and heart to follow Christ, to walk with God.

Until then, at best, we are well meaning people following other well meaning people. Who are you following?

Does the level of peace in your life show it? Or are you overwhelmed by getting through the struggles of life?

Be careful of following a leader who is “certain” of the direction he has laid out and “strives to achieve.”

Rather, follow Christ who excelled in humility and sought to bring glory to his Father.

To whom are we bringing glory?

Cry out like a tax collector:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour, have mercy on me, the sinner.

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joy #thankful

WARNING: THIS POST IS ABOUT EXPERIENCE AND FEELINGS CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK

I awoke this morning filled afresh with joy and hope! Thanks be to God!

This just popped up on my phone:

Isaiah 43:4 ESV

Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.

I was pleasantly surprised by an email from an old friend. It was a joy to hear from him! As I wrote to him, I realized how very full of joy I was.  Here is an excerpt of my answer to him…

“this trip has been amazing. God has shown up in pretty amazing ways (as you blog followers have read about). He continually shows up in unexpected and unimmaginable ways.

I just thanked him that as I begin year 57 I feel the closest to him, maybe ever, love Anna more than ever, could not be prouder of our family (especially III & Lee), I feel healthier than I have in 15 months (and THAT is huge) and I get to serve Him daily.

I am blessed way better than I deserve and growing in my gratitude to Him.”

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Transition #thankful !

Today I leave the cell.

For the last 11 days I have practiced a higher degree of solitude and silence than I ever have.  I have had limited social contact with some select friends here, and an almost daily conversation with my sweet Anna.
I have, as one of the goals of this Sabbath rest (as I’ve dubbed it) been very limited in screen interaction, very little e-mail, NO Facebook (didn’t miss it, so zero sacrifice there), Twitter was source of news and helpful articles. For the month before the Sabbath Rest began, I  unsubscribed and unfollowed a ton of stuff to limit distraction. That trimming of distraction will be left in place.

I had a health goal as well and I’ve walked 16 measured miles and probably another 10+ miles on many prayer walks. The prayer walks have taught me about longer deeper praying than ever before. Last Wednesday I prayer walked/rode from one end of Buda to the other. God works in our hearts when we focus on talking to Him. The result of the combination of ample rest, daily excerise and being 5+ weeks into an 8 week medication regimen, thankfully, is that I have been tick disease symptom free for six weeks and I feel consistently stronger than I have in 16 months. Thanks be to God.

In addition to normal morning reading I’ve been working through a book using writers from the past. I’ve been challenged by Luther, Pascal, Kierkegaard, Calvin and others in my spiritual discipline. I have, thankfully, been reminded of what a wretched man I am and, thanks to Paul in Romans, this body of death has been rescued by Jesus Christ our Lord. Indeed, thanks be to God!

I’ve gotten a couple of chapters written in my novel and made some progress in Brothers K. I read a brand new novel by my friend Luke Davis. God gave me _Litany of Secrets_ at the right moment… since it was a page-turner it got me in the reading groove (get in on Amazon) which was important. After a couple of go go weeks, Luke’s novel made me sit still. Maybe you need to sit still?

So, I’ve left the cell and am on my way to Lake Balaton for 3 1/2 days . I’m giving some devotional talks to DelPest church summer camp. My topic, appropriately enough, is “distraction.”

So, from the city, I’m off to the lake. A bit more sun and exercise. More study, prayer and to give a nightly talk after supper.

#thankful

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summation so far

“Christ says. ‘Give me all. I don’t want so much of your time, money, and work. I want YOU.'”
– C. S. Lewis

This is from Mere Christianity. In it is a plain language summation of what I am learning in this brief time of Sabbath rest. This morning the light came back on.

Through lots of prayer, not as much reading as I thought, lots of quiet and silence (the studio/one room flat I’m in has not become a hermitage or a prison, it is, nonetheless a cell, perfect for this moment in time), I have come back to the simple fact that my calling is to obey the greatest commandment: “to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength” To listen to His voice, and to hear and view ALL others by His.

It took some dedicated rest, excercise, study, solitude and lots of prayer to return to the fact that if I hold fast to Jesus (as Hebrews warns) I will not “drift away.” AND that THIS is my calling: to hold fast.

I am reminded that when I put my eyes on plans and my future and try to figure out the next thing (Matt. 6.25 ff) that my sinful nature (Rom. 7) gently, ever so gently moves me from the target (which is clinging to the daily, hourly and moment by moment mercy and grace of Jesus), when this gentile movement off target happens, peace disappates… so slowly that you won’t realize it until full blown anxiety has kicked in.

Indeed with Jesus work and promise as my foundation…
I look not with regret at the past, nor look with fear in the now, but forward with my trust in God.

[a “draft”, posted using one finger and no spell check, which is to be updated when next online with a computer]

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sarcasm

I just saw this and thought it significant enough to add to the blog…

“Sarcastic put-down humor is ultimately a new form of self-righteousness and self-justification. Gospel love destroys this type of humor.”

– Tim Keller via @timkellernyc 

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Man of Steel

During a time of renewal and sabbath, according to Dan Alander, one should be sure to engage in that which brings delight.

God created us and delights in us and we should delight in Him and this life He has given us.

Today I focused 2/3 my Saturday on delight: a lunch with Anna (we were texting and then talking on the phone) and then a long 2 hour hike through a nature preserve and then a nap. When my 40 winks were over, I decided to go see what was at the movies. I wound up seeing ‘Man of Steel’.

What a cast. Simply amazing. Don’t know the actor who played Superman but how could he fail with the incredible cast he was surrounded by. No doubt, Russel Crowe was excellent.

Some have said this was as dark as the dark re-begining of the Batman saga, but I disagree. This story was about sacrifice for the sake of others and deciding to risks one’s well being for others behalf. Both fathers (Crowe and Kevin Costner) demonstrated this, showing that modeling produces results in one’s young (note: good or bad).

I found the backstory of the end of Krypton and the battle for survival a compelling theme. A couple of other notes for me were that of the score and the 3D. I found the score to be powerful without being overpowering (I kept thinking of Gladiator). The 3D effects were kept under control. The stuff you thought were coming right at you was kept to a minimum and I’m thankful.

OH! and the showing I went to was the original, no dubbing (obviously) and NO subtitles! I was really surprised by this when I finally niticed about 15 minutes into the movie.

Good triumphed, the aliens were sent away (to return in a future instalment?) and the dialogue was enough to keep me thinking without being too clever.

Loved it. Really glad I saw it on the big screen. Would see it again!

It added to my delight.

I sure am glad I don’t depend on reviewers.

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