Yes

I don’t know what You have for me Lord.

But You have my yes.

I have fought long to view my circumstances through a safe and constricted window with a too-small view of Your eternal grandeur…

Handed my yes over to a thousand other lesser things while holding back my sacrifice at Your altar…

Attempted to fit surrender into my life instead of fitting my life to surrender…

 

Forgive me.

And accept my yes.

 

Whatever You want.

Wherever You want it.

However You want to accomplish Your plan.

Place me in the middle of Your will so that I will be out of Your way.

You have my yes.

 

You say,

“Give me your needs, dreams and hopes. Your well-worn desires and uncertain days in the unknown future. Trust that I see and know.”

Yes.

You say,

“Turn over the painful mistakes, the guilt-riddled, sleepless nights and the weight of past regret. Let My grace be more than enough for you.”

Yes.

You say,

“Surrender every moment, every breath, every heartbeat to Me–the One who gave them all to you.”

 

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

 

To all I know and all I know not with a whole heart and without reservation.

You have my yes.

I will say what You want me to say.

Go where You send me.

Live and love and lead as You desire and direct and empower.

Your will alone.

You have my yes.

 

As Creator, You made me.

As Redeemer, You bought me.

As Lord, You own me.

As Father, You love me.

 

Being fashioned of clay,

Purchased by blood,

Designed for Your service,

And adopted as Your child,

 

You have my eternal yes.

Lost Dogs, Wrecked Trucks and Hidden Stitches 

The massive dust cloud billowed across the highway as the eighteen-wheeler a short distance ahead of me left the road, plowed through the dry dirt and withered grass, crossed the ditch and buried itself in a pile of recently-cut pine trees.

This changed the tone of the Saturday drive.

Looking back, I am thankful for lost dogs who aren’t really lost.

I’ll explain what I mean soon, but back to the wreck… Continue reading

Death and the Dairy Case

skull-milk-bottle-700x700

It is known as a memento mori. A tangible reminder of the brevity of life.

The name comes from a practice of the Romans. A slave would accompany a victorious general in his chariot as he rode along in the triumphal celebration. As the crowds cheered the warrior’s return, the slave would stand behind him and whisper, “Memento mori.” The phrase means, “Remember that you must die.” It was a reality check intended to relax the grip of dangerous pride and point toward the passing nature of human glory. It also clearly stated that life is short.

Over the centuries, memento mori have taken many forms. In some instances, it was a skull kept on display or an image of a deceased person. The clockmakers of Europe created mechanical images of the Grim Reaper to come out on the hour and ring the chimes marking the passing of irretrievable moments. Still other cultures used trinkets and jewelry to remind them of how life moves swiftly along.

For me, it’s the milk display in grocery stores. Continue reading

The Big Life

“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.”                                                                                                                                                                       –  December 1901                       

So it is said the advertisement placed in the Times of London read in promotion of Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to the Antarctic at the turn of the 20th century. Numerous men showed up to join him, spurred by the promise of risk and the faint possibility of success. On the third expedition, his ship, The Endurance, was crushed by the ice and, for 22 months, the crew found themselves braving the elements and clinging to meager hopes. Continue reading

Encouraged

God corrects, chastens and calls us to obedience, but He never discourages His children.

Since this is true, any discouragement I feel is not from Him.

That is comforting, but there is another side to that idea…

If am being controlled by His Spirit, I will not be discouraging to others.

I usually ask God certain questions when I face the unknown…

“What do You want me to do?”

“Where do You want me to go?”

“When do You want me to act?”

Yesterday, He convicted me that I seldom, if ever, ask Him a specific question when I don’t see a clear path ahead…

“Who do You want me to become?”

I can do the right thing in the right place at the right time and still fail to become more like Christ.

I often want Him to inform me, while He desires to transform me.

An Open Letter in Time of Trouble

Dear One,

I know it has been a hard row to hoe for you lately. You didn’t ask for this situation; it dropped into your lap, or more accurately, dropped on you. It’s unfair how you have been treated; no one deserves that. Now you face the darkness and have no idea of when you will see relief. It would be one thing to face this with just yourself to look after, but you have others who depend upon you as well. It keeps you from being as lonely, but adds to the pressure to be brave, to be strong, to offer direction. You grow fearful, restless and uncertain about what lies ahead…

Can I tell you something?

A big God lives in the small you.

With Him, you are…more than a conqueror. Your battle is fierce; He is more fierce.

But that God who answers by fire is also your Father. Let Him love you as only He can. Cry to Him. Tell Him your deepest thoughts, without shame. Let the pain come before Him raw and unrehearsed. Speak aloud those desires of your heart. The fearful ones. The ones you are frightened to voice because they seem so impossible. Yes, He knows them already, even before you speak them, but speak them anyway. Feel the weight of the plea on your lips. Offer those words as a sacrifice to Him. 

Tell Him your sorrow. Let Him meet you in the pain, the hurt, the rejection and the betrayal. He is not indifferent to you. He has not forgotten you. He is near to you, loving toward you and His heart longs to restore your heart.

Rest easy in Him dear one. Even in the darkness of the now, He will be your light.

Only a Test 

During my years of teaching, I gave numerous tests. Some of these tests checked basic understanding: listing verb tenses for a particular Latin word, matching definitions to literary terms and labeling cellular structures on a diagram. But most of the tests pushed the students deeper. During any given unit, I would hammer the application of the knowledge in an effort to show the pupils how to use the information. Knowing the facts is necessary, but applying those ideas is the source of great power. “We teach you to think better,” I would say. A noble idea, but one met often with yawns and rolled eyes.

Until test time… Continue reading

Dream a Little Dream

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”

-Langston Hughes

“Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

-William Butler Yeats

“I’m sick of following my dreams. I’m just going to ask them where they’re goin’, and hook up with them later.”

-Mitch Hedberg

“Never be afraid to share your dreams with the world, because there’s nothing the world loves more than the taste of really sweet dreams.”

-Despair.com

 

Many of our greatest disappointments come down to a matter of expectation and reality, or more accurately, dreams denied a place to take root. Dreams, hopes and desires have no form, no body and no real substance. Hitch them to a goal, and they become one step closer to fulfillment in our minds. Take a goal and a dream, then attach them to a person, a place or a position, and you have the potential for fulfillment of the dream if it is the right thing…or a descent into idolatry if it is the wrong thing.

Often, we hang onto the thoughts and memories of a person, a place or a position not because those people or things are irreplaceable, but because they represent our dreams. When the dating relationship (or the marriage) ends, we watch our future hopes and expectations of intimacy and companionship crumble. When the job changes, we watch as the time and effort we have invested in the hope to move forward in the organization zeroed out. When the place we once enjoyed living proves to be like any other place, we become disillusioned as the desires don’t match with reality. Not to say that things should never change; things always change. But when they do change, often we must adjust our dreams to our “new normal.”

The loss you feel now is a thread that runs throughout all areas of your life. As it is pulled free, you begin to realize just how deeply stitched it is. That person who rejected you has made you feel great pain, but the greater pain may be what has happened to your dreams. Maybe you ended a relationship but now you begin to see how much the other person truly meant to you. The well has run dry, and you are now thirsty. Perhaps you ended up with the person you thought was best, but now you see that he is, like you, a broken individual in need of grace. It could be that the person you cared for so deeply turned out to be something other than she seemed. Her seemingly virtuous exterior and false pursuit of purity hid a dark and perverse spirit. Perhaps the job struggle you face is terrible, but the limping hopes you carry are heavier still. Maybe the place you hoped to be in life that would be the answer to your prayers, the comfort to your soul and the solace for your heart has turned out to be a great deal of really hard work and an unexpected burden to bear. You may lose the person, the position or place and be forced to give up or radically realign your dreams, hopes and desires.

You are not alone.

If you glance around, you will see other people near you wearied by the storms of reality. Everyone has damaged dreams; no one is exempt. They, like you, find themselves on their knees, sifting through the debris, asking hard questions and grieving. As you sort through the damage, you will discover some treasures untouched by the rains and winds. Those closest to you, those secret-sharers with whom you bare your life, they still remain. You dig a little deeper and you find that some of your hopes and dreams are still very much alive. They may be scratched up a little, maybe they could use some drying off or cleaning up, but rest assured, they still live…

And so do you.

As long as there is breath, there is hope.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” -Proverbs 13:12

(.)

 

 

 

Reflection and Perfection

Years ago, walks through the woods were the norm for my father, my brother and me. We would explore, and Daddy would teach us about types of trees, different kinds of animal tracks and how to recognize poisonous plants.

During one such walk, on an early spring afternoon, we were all making our way up a fairly steep hill covered in a stand of old oaks and maples. I talked to my brother as we moved steadily along. I took a step, but before my foot could fall, I saw my father’s forearm as it caught me across the chest and sent me reeling downhill. I tumbled for a few yards until I managed to stop myself. Continue reading

BTN’s

Been skimming through a book: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do by Duana C. Welch. It looks at the science behind relationships and why men and women choose the people they do. I came across a chapter entitled, “Flunk Wrong Relationships to Ace the One.”

Good title, so I read it through…

Welch quotes some information by Susan Page. Among her bits of wisdom is this jewel: “The secret to finding love is to clarify what you want and then to pass up everyone who does not fit the bill.” 

But the real meat of the chapter focuses on what Page refers to as “BTN’s.” Continue reading

The Leap

The African impala has incredible physical abilities in leaping. It can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Despite these impressive statistics, an impala can be kept easily in any zoo. It doesn’t take a high fence or a wide moat to hold them captive. They can be kept from jumping with a 3-foot wall. Continue reading


The promise comes from God.

We embrace it. We are overjoyed. 

And then…

He makes us wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Through silence.

And seasons.

And darkness.

The temptation is the same as that which faced Abraham: make it happen.

That never goes well…for anyone.

So then, we must wait. 

“Wait for the Lord…” Ps. 27:14