Jesus Loves You This I Know…


It’s my mother’s birthday today.  Our first without her.

She was a wonderful woman.  She loved Jesus with all her heart.  If ever there was a person whose life pointed to Christ and His salvation, it was my mother.

When I was young, I baled hay as a summer job.  Tough work, but I loved it and I got to go home for lunch.  Doesn’t sound like such a big deal, but my mother made me 3 sandwiches and often had her homemade macaroni salad out.  Man, I miss that.  It must be 35 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

My mother had a habit of pointing.  She’d point when she wanted to make a point.  Sometimes it would be a good point as in “I love you”.  Other times, you wouldn’t want to be on the other end of that finger as in “Don’t talk to me that way.”

Understand that during my teen years I started to drink in excess.  Beer.  Beer.  And more Beer.  One would turn into 7 real quick.  I thought I was pulling one over on her.

I think back to one day, when I came home for lunch and she leaned on the counter to watch me eat.  As I devoured…

She started to point…

Then she started to sing….

“Jesus loves you this I know…”

And that’s all she did.

Some 32 years later, I found myself divorced – for the most part due to alcohol.  I remember finally surrendering to Him who knows our secrets and shame and finally understanding what my mother was trying to say all along…

“Jesus loves you this I know…”

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So I say to my child, “RUN!”


Empty-Nest

Part of devotions this morning was 2 Kings 17 and James 3.

My youngest is leaving the house.  Got an apartment.  Starting life fresh and new.  I am truly an empty nester – well, except for the dogs of course.

So with this in mind and while reading my bible, I got the strong sense that these passages were like final instructions.   Kind of like a father giving instructions to his child as they go off to start life:

  • First and for most – worship God exclusively – the God who delivered you from your Egypt.
  • Be mindful of your tongue and what you say to people – words can hurt
  • Live well, live wise, and live humbly because the way you live matters.
  • Don’t boast
  • Get along with others
  • Oh, and did I say to worship God exclusively?

So to my child I say, “Run!  Live freely in the freedom God offers.  Be mindful of circumstances.  Watch God work.  Don’t fear.  When in doubt, wait.  And try not to complain.  I’ve put you in His hands.  I love you and so very proud of you.  You are my child.  Now it’s time to be my adult.”

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A Pep Talk


This is more for me than you.

This is more of a self pep talk than an encouragement to you.  I need it.  We all do at times.

For me, the last 5 years have been hard to say the least…and I’m tired and worn and ugly and angry and pissed off and humiliated and wondering where the end of the road is and longing for it.

I’m sick and tired of the wait and the weight.

It seems that everything around me is dying – figuratively.

Sick and tired of seeing good things happen to those around me and asking, “When’s it my turn?”

But in Isaiah 25 -28 the bible says:

“God, you are my God.  I celebrate.  I praise You.  Here (insert my name) has been reduced to rubble – a pile of stones.”

“People with minds set on you, you keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it, and don’t quit.  Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.”

“But friends, your dead will live, your corpses will get to their feet.”

“Because God is sure to come from this place.”

“Watch closely.  I’m laying a foundation – a solid rock foundation, squared and true.  And this is the meaning of the stone:  A trusting life will not topple.”

“He knows everything about when and how and where.”

I know only He can breathe life into dead bones – whether that’s my business, my home, my book, or my life.

Don’t quit.

Don’t quit.

Don’t quit.

Why?  Because Hebrews 13 says:  “Because I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave.”

Father – you are my God.  I feel like running – going to a bar, having a smoke and letting all this just fade away for a few hours.  Please, show yourself today.  I’m trusting that your words are true and real – but I’m at the end of my rope and need a hand up.  Please make something happen.  Please open doors.  Please breathe life.”

In Jesus’ name, amen

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Of Dates and Dilemmas


Friday Night 5pm

On a date.

Just sit down at this very cool restaurant on the Columbia River.  The weather is perfect – clear blue skies, a cool breeze blowing in the open windows.  The restaurant is playing great music – not too loud, but just loud enough.  The food is great.  The conversation is great.  She’s great.

Phone rings.

A client.

Do I have time to do some quick edits to a few images?

Ok.  Sure.  I know the gig.  Been in advertising for 28 years.  Need it now.  But I ask if I could have it ready first thing Saturday morning at which he said, “no problem”.

Saturday morning 3:30 am.

Out of bed.

A dilemma:  Do I do devos first then work, or work and then devos.

Well, God wants our first and best so I did devos – a wonderful time in Isaiah 15 -18 and Hebrews 10 (Don’t give up!).

Saturday morning 4:30 am

Feeling good – go into my home office and attempt to download the files.

YouSendIt says “Down for Maintenance” and some message that’s meant to be funny but isn’t at this time of the morning

UGH!

The second guessing starts and the “I should have done work first then devos”.

I stress and anxiety builds.

Hit the download button again.  Same thing.  Again hit the button as if that will change matters.  Same thing.

Start to pace.

Saturday morning 4:50 am

Email the client telling him “It’s them, not me!”.

Hit the download button again, and the images start to download.

Saturday morning 6:05 am

I finished the work and send it off.

Saturday morning 6:06 am

Laugh at myself.

God’s got it under control.  Do what’s in front of me first – give him my best.  It all works out.

When will I learn?

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Hardboiled Eggs


In the past 5 years I’ve become a master at making a mean hardboiled egg.  I know how many will fit in the pot.  I know exactly how much water to cover them in.  I know how to bring it to a boil and when to turn it off.  I know to set the kitchen timer for 13.5 minutes and then empty them out in an ice filled bowl to stop the cooking process.  I also know eggactly (sorry) how to peel them.

I am a master at hardboiled eggs.

So, do I stop there?  Do I say, “I’m going to survive on hardboiled eggs day in and day out”?  Do I call myself a master chef because I can cover an egg with water and boil it?

No.

I will choose not to live on my one success.  I will choose not stand pat on my hardboiled eggcellence (again, sorry).

Yes, they are wonderful and I eat one every morning and give the dogs a half a one mixed in their dinner bowls, but I choose not to live in that eggstacy (again – really? – sorry).

I want to encourage you to go beyond what you’ve mastered and lean into everything that God has intended you to become.

Ephessians 6: 10 says “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might”.

This is how we go beyond hardboiled eggs.

Become strong in the Lord my friends.  Read His word then trust and obey in order to reach beyond our comfort zones – and maybe eggperiment (ugh – I can’t stop) with sunny side up.

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Springsteen’s “From Beersheba to Dan”


Love the Bruce Springsteen version of  “This Land is Your Land” (Live 1975 – 1985).  There’s something about Springsteen I love, but for whatever reason, I really like his rendition.

If you remember from grade school – I know, I know – that’s pretty far in the rear view mirror for some of us – but the lyrics say “from California to the New York Islands”.

Anyway, I’ve been reading in the Old Testament and with Springsteen’s song fresh in my head, came across the phrase “from Beersheba to Dan”.  So I decided to do a little research on exactly what that meant.

I found that Beersheba literally means “Oath Well”.  So much has happened at Beersheba.  One of which is found in Genesis 46:  Where Israel arrived and God spoke to him in a vision:  Don’t fear going down to Egypt because I’ll bring you back here.  God’s word is an oath.  It will always come to fruition.

At the other end of the spectrum is Dan which means judgment.  Could be good judgement – like when you go to court and you know you are in the right – you look forward to the judge’s verdict.  Or could be bad judgement – not another parking ticket.

What is interesting to me as far as Dan was concerned:  in Numbers 2:  God has Dan marching out last in the wilderness – funny how judgement is the last thing to be rendered.

My hope is that next time you read “from Beersheba to Dan”, you’ll think “The oath to judgement”.

I could draw so many conclusions to this, but I’ll let you create your own….

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Visitation With An Unknown Man


Just got back from an unplanned, last minute visit.

It wasn’t a comfortable visit.

It wasn’t a clean, neat, warm visit either.

Got a call from my church that a man needed prayer.  Never met him before.  Didn’t know him at all.  He was just released from the hospital from having a stroke and his apartment had been broken into and the thieves stole his debt card, shoes, etc.  So he called the church asking for prayer.  Another man and myself went over to pray with him.  Nothing could have prepared me for what we walked into.  The man was a veteran and had serious problems:  no money, only enough food for tonight, mentally unstable, sad and deathly afraid of dying.

We prayed with him.  My fellow warrior said he’d make sure of getting his meds and food taken care of tomorrow.  I said I’d check in on him Friday and Saturday and pick him up for church on Sunday.  First words out of his mouth was “I don’t have anything nice to wear but I really want to go” so I assured him to just come as he was – we’d sit together.

That was my Wednesday night.  A trip into reality.  A trip into all the sadness, depression, loneliness, and desolation of mind, spirit, and body that this world has to offer.

God of the Angel Armies has a way of placing perspective into our lives.

Please pray for this man – he needs it.  I know that I know our God is bigger and is gracious and full of mercy.  Please pray, as we did, that he would know God loves him as he is.

Philemon 1: 11  “Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful to you and me.”

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