Archive for November 2009

In A Nutshell

November 23, 2009

I was a victim of my own fame, that is the fame which I ascribed inwardly to myself. When things were going swimmingly I imagined that I was the captain of a great ship on the sea of life, a large, beautiful schooner. I was breezing along, immune to the cares of the world about me, passing the wreckage of those who had foundered, without so much as a how-dee-do. I avoided the unfortunates lest I also run on the rocks and shoals they were cast upon. In my triumphant journey each success or honor became an adornment for my vessel, a showy bit of brass or some smart paint. I imagined, if only I could find some tropical paradise where the fish jump into your boat and the islands give their fruits willingly to the wayfarer. Ah, to be a part of the grand procession of human progress. But I deceived myself and the day came when I looked about and things were quite different.

I then found that I was still at sea, but I did not have a grand ship, oh no I had a walnut shell and a leaky one at that, no sails, no crew, no motor, only paddles. So between bailing, and paddling I found that I was making no headway. And the currents were taking me to places I did not wish to go, in fact toward the very shoals and rocks I had been avoiding.
I paddled madly, bravely, but the current was so strong that I despaired.
Then I noticed a sail on the horizon. It was a ship, it was far grander and larger than my former one was, and it was heading straight for me. I tried to paddle and stay in one place, but it seemed hopeless. So as the ship drew closer I waved my arms and paddles and yelled like a wild man, and yes, the crew spotted me, they got as close as a large vessel could to the dangerous shoals and they skillfully hove-to, backing sail to slow their progress. A boat was lowered with a single occupant, he handled the oars with swift and sure strokes, until he pulled alongside me. I still couldn’t believe that I was being rescued, but I gripped the gunnels of his boat and jumped for it. As I landed safely aboard, my tiny, abandoned shell settled beneath the waves. Then to my amazement I saw that the man who came after me was the Captain Himself. He smiled, deftly brought the boat about and headed for the ship. I couldn’t believe it, I pinched myself, I felt the seat and the sides of the boat, yes it was real. Then I got a splinter in my finger from the strake along the side and it finally sank in, the pain underscoring the reality. This was what was really happening, this was not a nightmare from which I would soon wake and find myself safe aboard my own ship, I had no ship of my own, the tiny, sinking shell was my vessel, my way of life, and the gracious Captain who risked Himself to rescue me was the Lord. When we reached His ship he gave me warm dry clothes and seated me next to Him at the table in the Captain’s ward room. With all of His officers gathered ‘round He served me Himself and was most attentive.
Finally I found my voice and said, “Captain, You risked yourself to rescue me and I am deeply grateful, but now you heap honors and favor upon me, it is too much! I do not deserve it, my seamanship stinks and I have no means with which to repay You.”
The Captain looked at me with a sparkle in His eye, he cast a friendly glance around the table and said, “My friend, I knew when I saw your dire situation that in rescuing you I would gain an appreciative companion and a great shipmate. You have all of the means to repay Me at your disposal for all I require is your total dedication to Me as your Captain. All which you need to serve Me, will be given you in time, and training, by Myself, and My faithful crew. You need no longer worry, you are now a crew member aboard My ship, and most welcome. So say we all.”
At that a rousing cheer went up around the table. And the Captain’s fine wine was poured in celebration.


Let the Sun shine

November 16, 2009

I am watching the plumes of steam which people give off. From their point of view it is wisdom. The steam comes out of their mouths rising voluminous, insubstantial. There are no real shapes to it, just wisps, one wisp is this idea, the other is another, rising gently on the breeze, thin as smoke. The only difference is that this steam can condense on the innocent, and stain them with the musings of the guilty.
Urban legends are like that, the froth of an addled brain becomes the conversation and belief of the unwary.
Well, just as you can go to an encyclopedia to check the facts of an old liar’s tale, you can go to God and ask Him what is important, what is genuine, and what is unnecessary, or false.
Because of this, we can leave the destructive, sometimes hateful opinions of others behind, like the vapor it is.
Much of what we deem necessary in our daily lives is not.
I dare not tell you what is right for you, dear reader.
Many of my pet-peeves and dislikes were not forged in the fire of His gracious attitudes.
I have yet to eradicate my old habit of being annoyed with the bad habits of others. My bad habit of criticizing the bad habits of others only amounts to judgement. I couldn’t saddle you with that.
But there is One who knows what is good for you and what is not. He is here with you now. Open the door He has been knocking on and ask Him in. Once settled, He will bring more to your life than just approval and sparkling conversation, He will heal old wounds.
Have you have been wondering why you can’t give up an old bad habit? There is likely a wound behind it. Something which has colored your outlook, distorted your thinking. He can deal with it, and set you on safe and solid ground. Oh, I am not saying this is all easy, no, sometimes it hurts to have your favorite vice revealed, and wounds which have never healed are often sensitive and painful.
But there is a better way to live, allow the Lord to shine His brilliant light into your heart. Let Him clean things up in your life, let Him show you what it means to live, to really live, live in the sunshine.



Running the Salt Flats

November 3, 2009

There is a plain stretching to the horizon, well really it goes farther than that, but that’s all you can see. On that plain there is a man, he is running toward you, but he never seems to get to you, the harder he is running the slower he seems to be going. It’s like the Bonneville salt flats, even though he is miles away, you can see him. and you can tell that he is putting more and more energy into his running. You watch him and it seems he is trying one last burst of speed, then, poof, he vanishes. So you walk out to where he was and you find nothing. There is not a single trace of him, not a scrap of running shoe, or a bit of T-shirt, nothing.
This is what it is like for many people, they are incapable of fully accomplishing the things they wish in life, so they just try harder, when they have tried very hard, hard enough to harm their health, then, poof, one day they vanish and the goal is unachieved and they are gone.
This is what it is like for people who try to do great things without God. If they have any notion of God at all, they push past Him and say I don’t have time to waste on You, I have work to do. Perhaps from a human perspective they feel they are getting somewhere, but to God they are spinning their wheels. They build houses, and buy cars and yachts, but houses fall into disrepair and decay, cars wear out and die, and yachts sink or go to the breakers. We don’t even leave this world with the clothes on our backs. We cannot transfer our wealth, or our achievements into the currency of heaven.
You can’t make gold into love, you can’t take champagne and make living water out of it. You can’t take the frustrations of everyday life and extract joy from them, not without God.
Jesus said that He came to rescue the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He acted this out by putting on His sandals everyday and going out to meet those sheep. He went to the bars and alleyways. He met them and He healed them. He visited their hovels and ate with them as a friend. He went to them because they had no idea that He was there, and that He cared. Well, by the time He left town they knew.
The same thing could happen to you. Are you realizing that your life is as empty as the desert? Have your plans all crumbled into rubble? Are you dealing with past abuse to the point that you are barely functioning? Guess what? That makes you a lost sheep.

So call on the Lord, go to Him and pour out your shortcomings to Him, open your arms to Him, let Him come into your hovel, and have supper with you, let Him hold you in His arms and heal you, listen as He tells you how much He cares for you. Don’t waste another moment, let your life, your true life begin now.