Sunday, December 15, 2013

Still thinking about Christmas and gifts these few days, and came across one of the most tragic rejections of a gift: Numbers 13, when 10 of the 12 spies came back from the land that God had wanted to give them and said, "No go!"


They saw the land flowing with milk and honey
But chose to focus on the ‘too strong”, “too many.”
They heard the Voice who led by day and by night
But listened only to the song:“We’re grasshoppers in our own sight.”

Instead of crying to Him who called from heaven,
They complained, and cringed under defeated giants.
Giants that plunder dreams with no power,
And rain on vision with silent passing showers.

Giants that steal our passion for faded glory,
And hold us prisoners to yesterday’s stories.
That make us forget we, too, have dreams; and keep us living
For other man's imaginations - that we can’t fulfill or believe in.

If God has given you a vision, a dream -  
That you can see clearly even when you’re not asleep;
Starve your fears, seek hope, silence the doubters -
Remember: without dreams we live as shadows, with no faith we miss the mountains.
With the Christmas rush for year-end feasting and gift-buying, here's a thought on "things" from Eccl 5.


Do not love “things.” 
“Things” won’t satisfy us. 
They only make us want more (Eccl 5:10).

Do not think, “If I have more things, my problems will be solved.”
“Things” don’t give world peace (Eccl 5:11).
“Things”, in fact, rob us of rest (Eccl 5:12).

Do not place security in “things.” 
Things don’t belong to us; 
They rot, get stolen, they must be left behind - every bit of it - when we die (Eccl 5:15).

Success in life is not in the gathering of enough “things.” 
It will never be enough.
Success is in gathering enough wisdom to be satisfied with the much or little we have (Eccl 5:18).

Reward in life is not measured by how many “things” we possess.
We will never possess "things"; they possess us.
Reward is in possessing the time, freedom and health to rejoice in the fruit of our labor with the many or few we love (Eccl 5:19-6:1).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Luke 18:35-19:10 has the back-to-back story of two characters: the blind beggar and Zaccheus the tax-collector.
Here’s a reflection as I thought about year-end wishes, an evangelism talk that's coming up next week:

Zaccheus, poor Zaccheus, he was too short;
But Jesus was coming, he refused to be stopped;
“I’ll look like a clown, I know, if I climb up that tree,
“So go ahead, laugh at me! Today the Master I must see.”

The blind man, the poor blind man, he was, um, too blind;
And people around him weren’t even kind;
“Shh, get lost, you’re only a beggar!”
Did that stop him? Ha! No, he cried even louder.

Jesus was busy, but not too busy to stop
And say to Zaccheus, “Come down, you and I got to talk.”
Yes, it was really noisy, but He heard the blind man’s cry,
“From now on you’re free, come, regain your sight.”

You see, it’s never ever about whether we’re too short, too blind,
Too late, too far gone, too shy, too lagging behind;
What it's about is do we know when God is passing through,
And are we ready with an answer when He asks,
“What do you want me to do for you?” (Lk 18:41)   

This is a season of great needs: need to meet deadlines, entertain, take a break, Christmas programs . . . and not forgetting Haiyan that rudely interrupted our ordered lives.  Here's a response from Luke 10:25-42's two back-to-back stories: the “Who is my neighbor” and the “busy Martha":

Lk 10: 28 And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE."
There was a man lying in pain on the road
But the priest and the Levite didn’t even stop to look;
“We have ministry to do, messages to share –
“Mission board meetings, and a church camp to prepare.”
They missed the chance to live the eternal life.

There was a Savior calling, “Come sit at my feet.”
But Martha had many things to tick off on her list;
“Got to impress everyone with my talents and gifts,”
“Can’t afford to stop, no time to sit.”
She missed the chance to listen to the Eternal Life.

Can we stop and see the chances God has given us?
Or do we scurry through our schedule each day in a rush?
Always making it on time, but missing the appointed times
To give, love, breathe, pause, obey, live the eternal life.

love the ocean - God made it for Himself

About Me

In the Old Testament in the Bible, there was a man named Jacob who "wrestled with God and man." He wouldn't let God go until God answered his prayers. God admired that and renamed him Israel, "the one who fought or wrestled and prevailed". He fought with man--his inner man--and conquered his own weaknesses. He's my hero. He is what I hope God and man see me to be.