Saturday, November 21, 2015

the first frost



Last night was our first real frost. It’s strange to me, not having a frost until so late in the year. In Goldendale this would have happened weeks ago.

Nevertheless, with the world adorned in diamond-dust I could not refrain from going out into the chill to take pictures, struck by how the hand of death can look so icily beautiful until the sunlight hits it.

I’ve been absent lately. Not just from this page but also mentally, somehow. I’m always thinking, but these days my thoughts seem shaky and disorganized, and there are so many things calling for my attention that it’s hard to grab hold of any real mental study. I am almost finished with the second draft of my writing project, but these last thousand words or so have been twice as hard to pin down as the 40,000 that precede them. Like climbing Mt. Adams, the most frustrating and mentally excruciating part of the climb seems to be the very end, when the finish is so close you can almost taste it.

I have been convicted, too, of the many unwarranted places I’ve been putting my energy. No one who knows me will be surprised that these places are called Worry, Stress, Perfectionism, and Fear. Reading the first few chapters of Leviticus brought me to the appalling realization that very little in my life do I consciously dedicate to the Lord, let alone publicly; that my prayers of thanks ring hollow because I distrust God’s ability to provide in the future the way He has in the past and the present. When I walk to the doorway of the tent of meeting with my sacrifice, it’s a small and stingy one reflective of a closed-fisted heart, and I am too proud to lay my hand on its head and and let go.

My cosmos blooms are not the only thing held in the vice-grip of the frost.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

hard words


I came across this passage in my reading last night, and they are words that pierce. I’m still trying to mull over their incredible gravity, so I’m afraid I don’t have much to say today… sometimes I think His words are enough.


“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. I do not receive glory from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?”    - John 5:39-44

Monday, October 19, 2015

yoda and paul on purpose


If you know me, you should know that I love Star Wars. It’s pretty much been my favorite trilogy for as long as I can remember… even before the prequels came out. Sam and I watched The Empire Strikes Back last night, and in the scene when Luke first meets Yoda in the Dagobah System, one of my favorite Yoda quotes again struck a chord with me…

“Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph! Adventure. Heh! Excitement. Heh! A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless!”

So what does a curmudgeon of a Jedi Master have to do with the apostle Paul?

Maybe nothing to you. But an hour or two after the movie ended, as I was lying in bed reading my Bible, I came across these words from Colossians:

We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose I also labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.    - Colossians 1:28-29

And in light of these two very different quotes from two very different sources, I am convicted.

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When it comes to my life, my “purpose” or whatever it is that this millennial generation seems to idolize, I’m Luke Skywalker. Always looking off to the distance, looking for something bigger and better; mind absent from the here and now because it’s not big enough, not radical enough, not exotic enough. Because other people don’t recognize and applaud those who are faithful HERE and faithful NOW in boring small ways. We are inspired by the seekers and strivers who are never satisfied where they are, who are constantly reaching for something bigger and brighter, who are traveling the world in the name of Jesus and who seem so much more “spiritual” because of it.

But Paul poured his labor into a purpose that can only be done here and now. It can only be accomplished by investing into where God has placed me and who God has placed in my life. And what higher purpose can I wish for than to proclaim Jesus Christ, and train up disciples who are complete in Him?

This can (and must) be done in my home. How would my life be different if my mom had been staring off at a bigger, better horizon instead of training me up in the knowledge of Christ during my growing up years?

It can (and must) be done in my church. Would my year of Bible school have yielded the same fruit if not for the incredible investment that Grace Church of Sebring made in me?

This labor, this purpose is not optional. But it can’t be done if we insist on passing it by for something “glamorous” or “radical” instead. And it won’t be done if we don’t consider it important enough to pour our whole life’s labor into, like Paul did.

Adventure? Heh! Excitement? Heh! A disciple of Christ craves not these things.

Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will  give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.  -  John 6:27


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