Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Carpenter

I've done a lot of remodeling in our home. I'm not the best carpenter, but I try. My carpentering is hard on my thumb because I often hit the wrong nail. Nevertheless, I've learned that drywall and paneling can cover a lot of mistakes. Wide trim can even cover mistakes in the drywall or paneling. Frequently, we mess up our lives. Things get out of square. We get on the wrong line. Some of our attitudes and behaviors are too short while others are too long. I'm grateful the Lord, who was a carpenter, can finish out our lives with beauty. He is after all the master carpenter and that's good news.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Our Energy Account

I have several tasks around our home on Saturday mornings. One of those tasks is to wind our clocks. We have two old timepieces which chime on the hour and half-hour. The springs in those old clocks are their source of energy. However, they have to be wound-up; otherwise, the clocks are only correct twice a day and they are silent. By being wound-up I don't mean becoming anxious, nervous, tense, etc. Rather, I mean securing the energy to keep on ticking and chiming-in appropriately. When I've run out of energy, I'm usually not very reliable, make mistakes, over-react and I chime-in at the wrong time. My source of energy or being wound-up is a daily time of meditation/silence. It is a good practice to discern what deposits energy into our energy accounts and what debits or drains our energy account. Failure to make this discernment and practice regular energy deposits, may cause our energy account to become bankrupt.

Monday, July 10, 2017

What Do You See?

"Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been? I've been to London to look at the Queen. Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you do there? I frightened a little mouse under her chair." Can you imagine going to London to see the Queen and reporting seeing and frightening a mouse.  A cat will focus on a mouse because that a cat's nature  Often what we see and report tells us more about ourselves than we realize.    A person with a negative spirit, in almost any situation, will report a negative thought, evaluation, etc.  My mother called them "crape hangers," i.e., those who hung black crepe paper on the door indicating a death.  I think we need to pay attention to what we see and talk about, it may open our eyes and hearts to the kind of person we are becoming.  In Zachariah 4 the angel asked "What do you see?" (vs 2).  At first he only saw the menorah but with some help from the Angel, he saw the word of the Lord, "'Not by power, nor by might, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord." (vs. 6).  I think a good question for all of us, especially in difficult times, is "What do you see?"

Choose Your Rut Carefully

In his book, To Dream Again, Robert Dale tells a favorite story. As numerous wagon trains left St. Joseph, Missouri, during the 1849 gold rush days, for a trip across the prairies which were already rutted by the tracks of earlier wagons, they read this sobering message at the western edge of town, "Choose your rut carefully, you may be in it all the way to California. It seems that we need to be careful about the patterns and habits which we develop in our lives. Patterns such as, attitudes, habits, thought patterns, behaviors, etc. We may be in those patterns or ruts for the rest of our life.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Moving On Up

"Moving On Up" was the song in the TV series The Jefferson's. I like that song as well as the concept of moving on up. I also liked that TV series. When asked about the secret for his military success, a Commander responded, "Go to higher ground and the enemy will retreat." I think that's good advise, not only for the military, but also for living. When we sense some type of an "attack" we need to move to higher ground. Move up to higher values, nobler thoughts, elevate our sights. On of my favorite hymns sings, ""I'm pressing on the upward way, new heights I'm gaining everyday. My heart has no desire to stay with doubts and fears dismay. I want to live above the world, tho Satan's darts at me are hurled ... Lord, lead me on to higher ground." I think any of us can be better today than we were yesterday. We can move on up to higher ground.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Embedded Thinking

"Freedom is a life lived outside the straight jacket of fear and anxiety that controls most of us."  That quote is from Saving Jesus From the Church, by Robin Meyers. I bought the book because I liked the title. I also like the idea that we've trapped Jesus in our institutional and embedded thinking. The author's theology proved too liberal for me. However, one of my reading practices is to read some authors with whom I think I may disagree. I want to know how they think and explain their ideas. Too often we only give attention to those with whom we know we will agree. This is called "embedded thinking." It is the thinking, ideas, beliefs, etc. with which we grew up and which are mentally and emotionally safe. Perhaps it is our fear and anxiety that causes us to become controlled and trapped by our embedded thinking; maybe, we've even tried to trap Jesus by our embedded thinking into whom we want Him to be and say. Embedded thinking wants Jesus to be "safe."