Luke 6:41 NIV

Luke 6:41 NIV
"Why do [I] look at the speck of sawdust in [my] brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in [my] own eye?"

12.19.2008

My Name Is "Ridiculous" & My Favorite Color Is "Clear"


There's a news report of a lady in Florida who is a divorced Christian involved in a sexual relationship with a man, her boyfriend. She was part of a church, Grace Community Church near Jacksonville, and had a spiritual "mentor" at the church. She confessed to the sexual relationship to this mentor who, in turn, told not only the pastor and elders and later other women in the church. The lady, the topic of this thread, was unable to end the relationship with the man after many failed attempts. So the women that had been told of this information confronted the "accused" in private. Thus far, everything is going, I think, according to the Biblical standard of correction.

The lady, unrepentant and HIGHLY offended, was, with good reason, very hurt. Her personal business spoken in confidence was now semi-public knowledge. Now she no longer tried, but refused to end the relationship with the man and was further admonished verbally. (Apparently one of the female congregants had even waited OVERNIGHT at the lady's house and reported that the lady never came home that night: implying she spent the night with her boyfriend.) She ultimately left the church, as was the right thing to do. Her children, I think 18 and 21 yrs. old continue to attend the church.

Here's the topic of this discussion: even after she left the church, the board of elders and the pastor sent a typed letter to the lady stating that if she did not end the relationship with the man they would, in accordance to the Bible, "TELL THE CHURCH" of her indiscretions. The lady was extremely offended, yet still unrepentant and/or unwilling and/or unable to leave the man, reminded the pastor (Pastor Christmas...by the way...that's his real name) she was no longer a member of that church. Still, according to the pastor, if she did continue the relationship with this man then on January 4, 2009 the news would be told to the church congregation publicly.

Offended and hurt, the lady did the only reasonable thing ... conducted an interview with the media stating her disagreement with the church making her "situation" public. In the interview she stated she was concerned about her children finding out, and thought it was wrong for the church to air her private life publicly to a church she didn't even attend. So she, in order to expose the churches supposed error, ... conducted an interview with the media. She felt her life was her personal life and was a private matter so she ... conducted an interview with the media. She ... conducted an interview with the media. Really ... THE MEDIA?! HEL-L-O-O-O?!

... thoughts?

12.15.2008

Images

Every once in a while something happens to you that makes you say, "You know what? Everything is going to be o.k."

Whether your bills are paid, or you had a fight with your spouse or parent or friend, or you have to go to the hospital for a "test"...there are things in life that supercede all those. I believe these are moments from God. And I believe that He shows these things to believers and un-believers alike. Those who do believe in God and those who do not believe in God are equally likely to see these small touches of His goodness.

I remember when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I was on a camping trip in the Blue Ridge mountains in northern Va. We had spent the night on the top of a mountain and were coming back down the other side. It was early morning and we were crossing over a stream. We were walking on a natural "bridge" made by a tree than had fallen across the stream. The tree was so large that two people could walk side by side across it without any real fear of falling off. I was walking across this tree and stopped right in the center of the stream. I looked and could see down the stream, into a valley and could see some foothills in the distance. The early morning mist was rising and the sun was beaming through the treetops. The mist was creating these shafts of light that were so soothing to my eyes. A sense of peace overwhelmed me. I just stopped and stared for a few moments. I thought to myself, "How can I look at this and say there is no God?" It was the beauty of God's nature. In my own way, at 9 or 10, I just worshiped for a few moments. Not in song, or gesture, but in heart.

A few weeks ago I took vacation to the outer banks of North Carolina. My mother and I walked out and sat on the beach late one night and were just making small talk. After a few minutes of silence, she just began praying. Nothing extravagant...she just prayed. Right in the middle of her prayer the sky lit up with the largest shooting star we'd ever seen. It was not a moment that was frozen in photo, but a moment that was imbedded on my heart. An emotion...a piece of time...a memory that stands as an internal photo.

I was in Africa in February 2006. The area of Kampala, Uganda had been suffering a drought that had been ongoing since June or July of 2005. There had been a short rain in November of 2005, but nothing of any significance. It was so dry that it was suggested we stock up on dust masks, cough drops and sinus medicine before leaving for Uganda. We did. The night we arrived we were talking with a local pastor about the drought and the effects it was having on the community. We were staying in a resort located very near Lake Victoria. The surrounding areas depended on hydroelectric power, but due to the drought, that was in short supply. Power was cut off every evening and turned back on every morning. All water had been shut off to the hotel and we bathed with buckets. We prayed the second night we were there that God would bring rain. Not for ourselves, or because we didn't like to bathe with buckets, but because we could see the toll the drought was taking on the people and the land. Later that very night, with no rain in the forecast, it began to rain. In fact, it began to pour. Of 16 days we were there, it rained 10-12 of those days. Don't get me wrong. Was it because of our prayers? Probably not. How dare I think that the people of Africa, who had been praying LONG before we got there, weren't "doing it right", and that our prayers actually made the difference. How dare I think that we brought the rain. The fact that God chose to answer the prayers of the people of Africa while we were there was a moment in time that will forever be imbedded in my heart. I lived a two week miracle.

Throughout Israel's history God gave the people "things to look to" to give themselves reasons to hope and trust in Him. He gave Adam & Eve the garden. Land was distributed by sight. The Israelites followed a literal cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. Joshua laid stones in the Jordan, and on it's banks. The Israelite tribe looked upon the serpent on a pole for healing, until they turned it into an idol. Elijah saw a cloud forming off in the distance. Moses saw a burning bush. John the Baptist saw a dove descend. Hundreds of people saw Jesus ascend. Saul saw a bright light. Today we are to look to Jesus. Look to the cross. John 12:32 says "But I[Jesus], when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself."

Isaiah 44 says mountains, forests and trees will burst into song. Isaiah 55 says the trees will not only burst into song, but will clap their hands. Psalm 69 says the heavens and the earth will praise God. Psalm 93 says the seas will lift up their voice to God. The heavens, the earth and all that are in them will praise God. One day EVERY KNEE will bow (and if you don't have knees...?) and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.

Try to take a moment each day and reflect on God's goodness. Take note of the tiny things. Allow God to work in you in His own way; through a shooting star, through a whisper in your spirit, through another person...God is not limited how He shows Himself to us. When He does, it requires a response. That response is worship. Respond.

With Faith Like A Child

The beauty of a child.

When I was a young teen, early twenties dude I wanted nothing to do with kids. My brothers have lots of kids, and after several simultaneous visits I swore I would never have them. Now I have four. Nothing breaks my heart more than to see a child in pain, either by sickness or by violence. Nothing makes my heart more glad than to hear a child laugh. But it's not about me. In Matthew 19:14 Jesus says, "let the children come to me...unhindered...for theirs is the kingdom".

I read story after story, day after day, of violence and injustice being committed against children. Just last week, over 170 people were arrested in a child pornography sting. I think about the parents of these children; I think about the futures of these children and my heart breaks. The blatant removal of innocence by perverts. The total disregard for human life is enough for me to wish death. But it's not my place. Vengence is God's.

I love the conversations my 2, 4, and 6 year old boys have together. They mostly involve Transformers, Speed Racer and the Wiggles, but their philosophies are timeless. Only in their world can GI JOE, OPTIMUS PRIME and MURRY (THE RED WIGGLE) occupy the same space in time. Three "real" people...a Freedom Fighter, an alien robot and an Australian guitarist with an uncomfortable affinity for all things RED...who would never be caught in the same room under any circumstance suddenly have complete and total relevance in the imagination of my 4 year old. I have a friend who has a son around 6. He knows more about NASA, spaceships and space travel than 99% of all adults I've ever spoken to. To spend five minutes with this boy is to realize that he doesn't just WANT to be an astronaut...he already IS.

His future, in his limited mind, is already planned out. His hopes and dreams are alive and attainable. My daughter, who is not a baby anymore, wants nothing more than to open orphanages in Africa. The way she cares for her little brothers shows that she is more than capable. The only thing holding her back is a passport. The desire is there, the ability is there, the anointing is there. So will Jamie ever be an astronaut? Will Teanna ever open an orphanage? Will Elijah ever get to meet Optimus Prime? God only knows. The hope comes in the fact that 2 out of three of these desires are possible. That possiblility brings a realism to them that should not be squelched.

...and I read of 170 perverts...I read of the little Anthony girl in Florida...the brother and sister in Idaho...children across America, and the world whose dreams are dashed by selfish perverts. I wonder if Hell has a special place for those who are unrepentant about their crimes committed against children. Jesus describes that our faith is to be childlike.

As I was laying in bed last night I thought of the short time God gives us to prepare children. Typically about 18 years out of possibly 65-70 years on earth. I think of the years that have already passed with my own children and wonder if I have nurtured them the way God wants me to. Probably not. I'm trying. I'm trying to say "yes" to time spent with them. My 6 year old often comes up to me and says, "Hey dad, let's go to the couch and talk about Transformers" or "Hey dad, let's go talk about spelling some words." Sometimes I say no, like I'm too busy. Then I think about how stupid I am for being selfish. Yesterday I cooked soup with my sons. They all took turns stirring it. Even the 2 year old. I probably overcooked the soup. In fact, they said so. But they ate it anyway because they had a hand in cooking it. And they liked it. But I was so enthralled at seeing the joy they had in stirring it, I was left with no other choice than to allow the soup to burn. It was, after all, for the greater good.

I know I'm rambling, but my point is this: I like kids. I love children. I think God uses our children to teach us about ourselves and our relationship with Him (see my very first post on more about this topic.) It's not that I just like my own kids either. My heart breaks when I hear about sickness of any child, or any child going through pain or being treated badly. Children should not have any knowledge of cancer. Children should not have any knowledge of sex. Children should not have any knowledge of violence by people that are supposed to love each other. Children should not have to see daddy treat mommy bad. I think of these things and I want to become Superman, and fly all around the world putting and end to these injustices. I can't, though. I can pray. And I will. And I will do my part to stop these things from happening in my small world. I will try to make a difference in the things that are tangible to me...to the things I can effect.

You can learn a lot from a child.

UPDATE: 16 DEC, 2008
I find it quite interesting that I posted this blog yesterday. Today it was released that the case has officially been closed in the abduction and murder of Adam Walsh, the son of John Walsh, host of America's Most Wanted. John's tireless efforts to find his son's killer and undying love for his son have become recognized worldwide and were a catalyst in the formation for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Read a report here.

11.27.2008

11.24.2008

Get Over Myself: Transparent Thoughts of a Dense Christian


Thanksgiving's coming this week. Unfortunately I don't give enough thanks the rest of the year. If I had to give thanks for one thing in my life right now, it would be my marriage. My wife and I have walked down some dirty, despicable roads in our relationship. We have survived many battles, addictions, infidelities and the like. For all intents and purposes, it's not really fair for me to sum up almost 11 years in three vague words like that, but this blog is not meant to be a magnifying glass hovering over our personal lives.

However, this blog is, in part, meant to be a testimony to the goodness of God. Since the beginning of my blogging I have attempted to give glory and attention to God through my family and my own experiences. Any further questions about my character can be defaulted to my Personal Profile, found at the left of the screen. Though I do tend to take a cynical approach on some social issues, they ultimately have nothing to do with the big picture. Thus my frustration. But I digress...

Last night I finally finished a three day cleaning spree of our basement. I finally took all the papers and trash and stuff from in front of the fireplace, put all my electronic junk away, cleared the tables, organized the wires of our gaming equipment and "toys" and even adjusted some lighting to make the area more pleasant. My wife had just finished making an excellent steak and cheese sandwich and was just sitting down at the dining room table to eat it. I had bought a little package of sushi from the store, and so I told her to come downstairs and let's eat in the basement. Much to her delight, she came down to a very clean, nice basement. (She thought I had been playing video games the whole time! Oh, and it's a finished basement; it's not as dreary as it sounds...just go with it!

I put one of those little cheap Firelogs in the fireplace, lit it, turned down the lights and we ate our sushi and cheesteak on the floor in front of the fire. We didn't talk about much, it was just nice. It wasn't busy. She asked me if I wanted to watch a movie upstairs. I suggested we blow up the air mattress and play the movie on our X Box downstairs. So there we were, watching a terrible movie on a game console about war on an uncomfortable air mattress and a fire that was barely enough to light a match. But I was with her, and at that moment there was no place I would have rather been. The light of that moment was even more magnified in the wake of our past. We ended up sleeping all night downstairs on the mattress; very uncomfortable and totally NOT recommended.

The goodness of God has taken me and my beloved through some terrifying nightmares in our relationship. It was a marriage that seemed doomed from the start, with most everone we knew totally against it for a myriad of reasons. What with our shady, unfaithful, dirty pasts, addictions and anger problems; we were an interracial couple, and Catholic girl and a Baptist boy. (Though we are still interracial, we are neither Catholic nor Baptist...not that there's anything wrong with that...!) Through forgiveness of each other, and God's grace and direction, we have continued to grow. And fail. And grow more, and for that I am thankful. The divorce rate among Christians mimics that of non-Christians, and the question is, "Are we the difference?" A deeper, and more serious question to ponder is, "Are we (Christians) imitating the world in our divorce rates, or is the world imitating us?" Hmm...

A major turning point in our relationship was when my wife and I sat on our bed one night about 8 or 9 years ago. We had been struggling with some issues already and had recently started going to church and finding out about Jesus and true salvation. In this conversation we both confessed to infidelity; one before marriage, one after marriage, on both of our parts and prior to our devotion to God. Our struggles were such that the future of our marriage was the topic of conversation. Yes, we were discussing the big "D". But I felt a turning point at this moment. I had never seen God present two directions so clearly. The first being divorce, the second being marriage. We discussed the options and what God says about divorce. The thing that hurt and scared us was Jesus actually gives reason for divorce: infidelity. We would be totally and Biblically justified if we had gone through with it. To be totally honest with you, I actually felt as though forgiveness was the only response I could give.

There was a future for us that was much greater than divorce. There was a depth to forgiveness that neither of us had ever experienced until that moment, and we both made a conscious effort to forgive one another, despite the offenses. We both made an effort, and wanted, to honor God in our marriage and let "no man separate what God joined together". Not out of pride, but opportunity to testify about the goodness and mercy of God, even when we don't deserve it. We sat on our marriage bed that night dirty, broken, confused, lost and selfish. We got up out of that marriage bed the next morning clean, healed and forgiven. And for this reason, my heart breaks that much more when I hear of failed marriages especially in the church. Not that I'm better or our situation was any different or easier. I can certainly NOT judge anyone elses personal situations...my heart breaks because I know the power of forgiveness that lies on the other side of the pain, regardless of what hurt has been inflicted.

There were times when she wronged me, and I KNEW that it was wrong in every way, and I would just want to throw the Bible in her face and show her how wrong she was. (I think I did that ONCE and learned quickly it would probably NOT be in my best interests, if I desired to continue to live, to ever try that again.) So I would do the next best thing. I would go tell on her! I would go into my prayer room and begin to open my mouth and tell God to change her. But that prayer never came out. Not once could I ever utter the words. As soon as I hit my knees, I always ended up asking God to change me. Through those times of prayer, God re-shaped my heart and presented her to me all over again for the first time. I saw her with renewed eyes and loved her with a renewed heart. She was still wrong, but I didn't care. I needed her to love me when I was wrong too.

Jesus loves you when you're wrong, and instead of asking God to change you, Jesus asks God to look at you through His blood. And when YOU see that, it makes you want to change. There's a famous movie line in which a man says to his love interest, "You make me want to be a better man". I love that. And when I look at the mirror that is the Bible, that's how I feel. I need to be with God to allow Him to change me, 'cause I can't do it myself.

This place of thanks I'm at right now hasn't come without a price. That's a pretty shallow statement because I've lived a rather "safe", unchallenged existence for the most part. But if I could go back and make things smoother, I would. I would do some things different. But at the same time, I have no regrets about the decisions I've made. I just regret the people I've hurt in the process. It's no wonder that Jesus compares his church to a "Bride". The marriage relationship is such a wonderful example of salvation, forgiveness, love and adoration, humility and many others that just simply can't be found in everyday, superficial social relationships.

So in this season, all you married folk be thankful above all else but God, for your spouses and the marriage that He has blessed you with. And if you're going through a season of winter and death, just BE with Him.

11.20.2008

You've Got Mail

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. - ROMANS 8:1

Several months after arriving at my first Air Force base as an active duty member I received an e-mail from a good friend and "dorm buddy" who I had gone through basic training with. The e-mail was on our government account which, obviously, was to be used for "Official Use Only". This e-mail was less than official. It was something like, "If you send this e-mail to 10 people, you'll receive a confirmation e-mail entitling you to a FREE meal at Ruby Tuesdays". I also noticed the rather LARGE amount of people he sent the e-mail to. We were talking a couple of days later and he informed me that he had received an e-mail from a Lieutenant General (three-star) respectfully asking him NOT to send anymore e-mails like that. He was unaware that he had send the e-mail to the entire WING (thousands of people) rather than just his immediate co-workers (15 people). Luckily no charges were filed or "pink slips" given, and he considered that e-mail from the Lt. General as a warning: DON'T SEND THIS JUNK ANYMORE!

That was in 1998. Here I am 10 years later and e-mails have taken on the form of a spoiled little brat with total disregard to truth. Now I know I'm going to be treading on some thin ice here, but I've gotta say it. So many of today's e-mails represent a metaphor for the whiny attention deprived child who will say anything to get someone to look at them. (I'm saying the e-mails themselves, NOT the people that send them.) A Snopes.com contributor has even identified this garbage as "GLURGE". Glurge is a great example of how children who were never disciplined have grown into adults and begun to spread lies and embellished truths without consequence. Many (MOST) of these e-mails are religious in nature, but all have good intentions.

I want to note here: the senders themselves are not who or what I have issue with. They are usually caught up in the moment and emotion of the e-mail. I have no problem with forwards, or even the emotional e-mails that do NOT contain what I'm discussing here. However...! here's my statement. Quit sending this junk around, and address the people that do. I'm talking specifically about the e-mails that have the wording similar to, "If you love Jesus, you need to send this e-mail to at least 5...10...or 15 people." (By the way...the number is usually directly proportional to the plight. For example, an e-mail regarding someone who lost their car keys, prays to God and then finds them only needs to send the e-mail to 3 or more people to show they love God. But if there is a child who needs a lifesaving surgery in a small village right next to a polar bear cave, then the e-mail needs to travel to a minimum of 10 people...just so you know. The implication here is that the child will not make it if you don't forward the e-mail, as if me not forwarding the e-mail is allowing the child's life to continue hanging in the balance.) First off, if my child ever needs a lifesaving surgery, I'm probably not going to hop up to my computer and start banging out e-mails, complete with my childs entire medical and growth history. And if I do...IF I do...I won't hold you in contempt if you don't send it to your friends. Thanks.

The ending of these e-mails is usually followed up with, "If you delete this e-mail, then you don't love Jesus." Although not in those exact words, that is the "spirit" of the e-mail. And to further kick you in the head, the verses Matthew 10:32-33 are often thrown in for free...mostly in big, bold, different colored letters. In Matthew 10:32-33 Jesus says "If anyone acknowledges me before men, I will acknowledge him before the Father. If anyone denies be before men, I will deny him before the Father."

Are you kidding me? Is this for real? Has humanity lost its mind? (...actually, yes, but that's not the point.) How is not forwarding *your* ridiculous e-mail filled with untruths denying Jesus?

It's not that this stuff "affects" me, well... I guess it does...or I am insecure in my relationship with Christ. But in the end, this is condemnation from one Christian to another. We've got enough of that from the enemy. When we forward this trash, we are saying two things:
1) Look at how holy I am
2) You need to be this holy.


Taking these e-mails to what seems to me to be their logical conclusion says that God in Heaven is looking down on me as I am checking my e-mail and waiting to see how much I love Him by whether or not I click the big red "X". As if my entire salvation, my walk with Christ, my relationship with my wife and children, all my sins and compassion and love and struggles and hunger for lost souls is balanced upon the needlepoint that is me forwarding this e-mail to 10 people.

Is there a Bible verse that says "For God so loved the world that he forwarded his Son to all people, that whosoever forwardeth Him to 25 people will not perish but have enough MegaBytes available in their Inbox forever?"

God sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins, and to give us eternal life in Heaven with HIM! Your...OUR...salvation is not dependent upon sending that e-mail. Our love for Christ is not determined by how many Contacts we have in our address book. It is determined by the Spirit God has put in each of us. Maybe in a way I've unintentionally turned this blog into a glurge...but this condemnation from Christian to Christian has got to stop.

In addition, what kind of message does this send to the lost? Those unsaved people that read these things and believe them? It's the liberal Christian mentality that encourages them to think, I'm a good person, I love Jesus, I'll send this on and "spread the word". We are actually condoning and even empowering that mentality. God wants a sacrifice. God wants our hearts and lives turned over to Him, and it is not conditional upon encryption or attachments or forwards or the little stupid paperclip-helper-thingy that keeps trying to help me copy and paste stuff.

11.17.2008

Cardboard Testimonies



This speaks for itself. It was posted on my friend Juliana's blog (link on the left) and was done at here church here in Richmond. Unfortunately she couldn't be in the video but her cardboard would read --

Side one: PEOPLE PLEASER
Side two: GOD PLEASER

Mine would probably read --

Side one: MASTER OF MYSELF
Side two: SLAVE TO CHRIST

What might yours say?

11.07.2008

...well?!

IS ALL OF THIS REALLY WORTH IT IF GOD IS NOT REAL?

THIS life?
THIS love?
THIS people?
THIS child?
THIS song?
THIS spouse?
THIS job?
THIS Jesus?
THIS journey?
THIS house?
THIS money?
THIS war?
THIS country?
THIS protest?
THIS poverty?
THIS death?
THIS sickness?
THIS health?
THIS traffic?
see THIS?
touch THIS?
live THIS?
hate THIS?
evaluate THIS?
assemble THIS?
try THIS?
move THIS?
this TEAR?
this LAUGH?
this HEART?
this FIRE?
this ACHE?
this REST?
this CHAOS?

Is any of THIS worth a smatter if there is no GOD?

11.04.2008

What's In A Name?

A couple people have asked me what the title of my blog, "yadahjah", means. It's kind of a play on words, but it does have significance. Allow me to explain.

"Yadah" is a Hebrew verb for praise. Specifically it means to "lift ones hands in praise". It's kind of fitting because God has put me in a place right now where it's not by my might, nor by my strength. It's a place of surrender. When one surrenders, one typically raises one's hands.

"Jah" of course, is a Hebrew word for God. So "yadahjah" is lifting one's hands to God. Yadah is also often associated with "lifting one's hands to God in response to a musical score", which was even more fitting.

Being that a blog is often used for incessant babbling and complaining and what-not, I originally wanted to name it "yadahyadahyadah"...but methinks it was too long, a so surrendered to the name "yadahjah", which I actually took the idea from a friend of mine who has a similar (but not exact) e-mail address.

My name is Christopher, it means "Bearer of Christ"
My wifes name is Carmelita, derived from the Spanish word Carmel, and also associated with the Hebrew word Karmel; it means "Garden"
My daughters name is Teanna; at one point I found that it means "Beautiful" (if you've ever seen her, you'd understand), but for some reason I can't seem to find a meaning for it. The closest I found was "Tia", Spanish for "Aunt".
My first sons name is Ethan; he was a wise man in the Old Testament, and also wrote a few Psalms; his name means "Strength, Enduring, Solid"
My second sons name is Elijah; it means "My God is YHWH"; very powerful name!
My third sons name is Ezekiel; it means "God is my STRENGTH"

If you look at our sons names, it would seem that we "planned" it that way...but we didn't! God is good!

What's your name? Are you living up to it?

10.25.2008

Lifehouse "Everything"

Check this out: This is a powerful presentation.

10.22.2008

New Friends

The Lloyd Family Blog can be found here...or back there, the highlighted part.  Anyway...I want to point you there.  Although I've never spoken more than 5 or 10 minutes to anyone in the family, but I can see they are a family that knows how to make things grow.  The 5 or 10 minutes I've spent with any of them have been a caring, productive, encouraging 5 or 10 minutes. They have a green thumb, but not with plants...with people.

Thanks Lloyd family for being such a great example.

10.20.2008

...and they fell facedown...


"There's no place on Earth like being facedown before the God of the universe..." - LOUIS GIGLIO
There's nowhere else in this world you can go and no better heart surgeon on this planet than the presence of God. I consider myself fortunate to have a gift of music. I love to go to my keyboard and worship...just playing some chords quietly and reflecting on where I've been, where I am and where God is in relation to all that.
If you have not had the pleasure of experiencing David Crowder Band's new CD/DVD "REMEDY", I highly encourage it. The opening song is such a powerful call to worship. The chords are rising, the drums are driving, there's the repetition and the feeling that we are ascending the hill of the Lord. The chords make sense and they lead us to a place that we want to go. David opens with the line "I'm trying to make you sing from inside where you believe...", thus the call of a minstrel or worship leader put into effect. The understanding of the power of God, the power of music, and the unimaginable power of the two combined that requires a thought and response and revelation of God, that is of worship; worship to Him, of Him, and for Him. This is not a commentary on the new DCB album (sorry Sandy), but rather the acknowledgement of music in our lives, and how God uses it to change our hearts. After all, music tames the savage beast.
Jubal was the first documentation of a musician in the Bible. He is credited with being the father of all those who played instruments. What was it INSIDE him that desired to hear that sound? What was it that simple conversation was not enough? What message was there that could not be communicated any other way other than to get on the harp, lyre or flute and make these new noises? It was the "thing" inside. The spirit of God poured into man in such a way that the only response was this "bubbling" over of a new language and the desire to create a new voice-box. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of lights, from above. This gift of music is a gift that crosses boundaries, languages, races, gender and denomination. Even those that do not believe in instruments in the church still have the hunger and desire to use their voices for God, to sing out and up to glorify Him.
The most intense, powerful worship service I have been a part of (to this day) was one sung in Spanish. I didn't understand a single word and so sang my own song. As long as I continued to hear the words Dios and Hey-soos I knew I was o.k.!
He who hands clean hands and a pure heart will ascend the hill of the Lord. Jacob had a dream of angels ascending and descending a ladder to Heaven. The stairway to Heaven was evident long before Led Zeppelin's acknowledgement. There is an ascension of our spirits that has to occur...and even in this, God still has to descend to meet us. The blessing is that He actually will. The ascension is facilitated, sometimes, by listening to music that glorifies Him. The rising of the major and minor chords, delicately played at the right time, the sounds of the voices rising in response to an undying God, the hum of a group singing thanks to a God that has never failed a single one of them, the ethereal sounds of cymbals and drums being struck and the Word of God in your heart causes action. The action is worship. The action is a response to the revelation of who God is. The revelation comes through His working in and through you. Elijah found the revelation to be in a whisper; Moses found the revelation to be in a bush burning but not consumed; even Belshazzar found the revelation in the handwriting on the wall.
Give God a chance to reveal Himself to you, either through this blog, through a co-worker or through personal prayer time. Allow Him to lift your spirit, allow Him to fix your hurt, allow Him to bless your obedience, allow Him to consume your life.

10.14.2008

Why Dog?

I should probably stop reading the news but...here's another one. Another ridiculous story.

"Army stops soldier from bringing home a puppy."

WHAT?!! Have we lost our friggin' minds?! Why is this news? The fact that this has made it on to several LARGE news websites is, in itself, enough to make me want to pour hot coffee in my lap. In case you're too lazy to read the news, let me fill you in. An Army troop is being denied the opportunity to ship home a dog that she and another troop rescued in Iraq.

I try to speak on things I know about, and I consider myself relatively qualified to comment on this outrage. I served in the military and was deployed overseas three times...I've been there...I've seen the conditions...I've interacted with the locals...so bear with me.

The first thing that makes my brain explode is the fact that a soldier is even THINKING of TRYING to get an Iraqi dog back into the US so much so that she has actually put in requests, gone through the process and red tape, waited for the decision, and is now so emotionally "defeated" and "distraught" over being denied her request that she is now in the process of appealing the decision. She (the soldier) is afraid that if the dog stays in Iraq it will get killed.  Big deal.  Sorry...but it's not your problem Soldier.  It's a dog.

The second thing that makes me want to pound my face on the cement is the fact that once the Army denied the initial request (as per DoD regulations) the soldier actually WROTE HER CONGRESSMAN.

Allow me to "fine tune that detail". The Congressman actually wrote a letter to "The Army" on the soldiers behalf. How does one write a ridiculous letter like that?:

          Dear The Army,
          Please seriously think about giving my constituent her stray dog                       back.  She found it in Iraq.

          Sincerely,
          The Stinky Democratic Congressman
          P.S. Vote for me - I'm bored

It gets better, because apparantly somewhere in this stupid madness a reported 10,000 people signed an online petition actually supporting this Government Trained Killing Machine in getting back her dog...that was never hers.  What about the poor Iraqi soldier who's currently wandering the streets with tear-filled eyes looking for the dog he lost in the trash fire?  Who's petitioning for HIM?

BUT THERE'S MORE!  Apparently the SPCA has seen fit to start an entire "division" for saving Iraqi kitties and pooches.  So now, to further waste money, the Program Director for the SPCA's Operation Baghdad Pups division is going to the Middle East PERSONALLY to try to get this idiotic plan pulled off.  Director Crisp of the SPCA is concerned that dogs "left behind" (? what ?) may be killed.  Excuse me?  Since when did we go over there to save the animals?  If you're concerned about things being killed while in Iraq, how 'bout you bring home the WHINING SOLDIER!!!

This whole situation makes me want to just hurl my cookies.  Can someone please tell me why this is happening?  Why is this news?  Why am I wasting your time and mine with this?  Why are over 10,000 nut-jobs catering to this overly selfish soldier who has this freakish emotional attachment to a dog she rescued from a burning pile of trash in a blown-out town halfway across the world?  And why are her e-mails to mommy such a topic of discussion?  Why?  W-H-H-Y-Y-yy-yyy?  Why are people actually traveling overseas for this?  

....why are people going through the passport, customs, flight plans, hotel arrangements, etc. for this dog?  Why are people going through the hoops to get the thing spayed/neutered, shot-up, vaccined, ticketed, and flight-arrangements made to get this dog here to the US?  What if the dog doesn't want to come here?  What if the dog lost was looking for something it lost in the trash and now just wants to go home?  How does stupid crap like this happen?

Politico


I'm not a political person to the extent that I blab my feelings to the world.  One thing I'm realizing, though, is that this election is critical, but not just to the US.  Yes, to the world...but even deeper, to the Kingdom of God.  Everything we've been going through as a nation, especially for the last seven years, is the result of a spritual war being manifested through a natural war.  Many Americans were so supportive in the beginning, but not willing to see it through and wrongly expecting GW Bush to fix it overnight.  But this is a war between the tribes of Isaac and Ishmael; this is a centuries old battle between Jacob and Esau.  In a sense, it is a war between Christian and Muslim and even deeper, the end result, Jesus and Satan.  If you've made it this far in the reading you're either cheering for God or Googling my address for threats.  Whatever.  I say all that to say this: Let me make it very clear...this particular post is going to travel on a fine line.  I do not hate Muslims, nor is this intended to be a hate blog.  I do not wish to spread hate.  I am typing this from the aspect of a Christian man in 2008 with my limited knowledge of the Bible.  To accurately follow this post is to understand Christian history and the conflict that is thousands of years old.  So here it goes...

I was reading the (bad) news today and came across two articles that struck me as "coincidental" in their timing.  Both were new posts on their respective websites as of today.  This one on CNN by Campell Brown and another on FOX News by Maxim Lott.  The authors don't really matter.  It's the subject content that I have issue with.

I first read the article by Campell.  In it she addresses a (legitimately) aggressive accusation that Barack Hussein Obama is Muslim.  A comment was made to John McCain recently by a potential voter that BHO is Muslim.  McCain corrected the woman and said that Mr. Obama is NOT Muslim and that, in fact, he is a Christian.  Again...whatever...I'm not here to debate that.  Basically the question of Campbell Brown is "Does it really matter if Obama is Muslim or not?"  

Honestly, I think in the big scheme of things...you know...life, eternity, the big picture and all that, the answer is "no it does not matter."  The reason it doesn't matter is because in the end, when it's all been said and done...(SPOILER ALERT!!) Jesus wins.  (Sorry...I read ahead...)  But anyway, for our own personal desires and immediate comfort levels, it does matter.  Why does it matter?  The answer can be found in the second article.

Mr. (or Mrs.) Maxim Lott (what kind of name is "Maxim" anyway?) writes a very poignant article on two murders that occurred in Texas.  Two sisters were found murdered in the back of a taxi because they had "disgraced" their family by dating non-Muslims and being too "western".  The family was an Islamic family, the father, Egyptian, felt his daughters were becoming to "western".  (On a side note: if you don't want to be "western", don't freakin' move to Texas!)  But I digress...actually not the "western" he was worried about.

Now I'll give this: the father was an extremist.  A Muslim Extremist, just as the folks who thought it noble to fly into the Twin Towers, just as the folks who think it right to blow themselves up on a daily basis.  I put these people into the same category as the Christian exremist who killed her four children by drowning them in a bathtub and then laying them neatly on the bed because God told her to...or because she didn't want them to be "got" by Satan.  But thankfully she's not running the country, and it's easy to discern "mental instability" in those cases.  The problem with many Muslim exremists is that it's difficult to tell who's lying and who's "extreme" and how the heck can I tell the difference?

This is the part that concerns me.  The FBI is considering acknowledging the "murders" in Texas legitimate "honor killings".  An American-Islamic relations director in Dallas is considering this murder, but only until motive is proven in a court.  But my intent in this blog is to answer Ms. Browns question "Does it matter if Obama is a Muslim".  She states, as does McCain, that Obama is not a Muslim, but then follows with the context of the article as if to say, "Who cares if he is anyway?"  

Answer...me.  I care.  And if you're wondering why, read the articles and read my first paragraph.  If you read these two articles you can see a very clear picture of the differences between a country led by a Muslim and an country led by a Christian.  This nation was founded on people who were attempting to escape Legalism in their religion and their worship of God.  They wanted religious freedom, so they came here.  They founded the nation on words straight from the Bible.  The authors of the Declaration wrote in their personal and public effects the impact of God ruling a country or nation.  Abraham Lincoln said (in paraphrase) If we lose our freedoms, it is our own fault and will be by our own doing.  

The people of Israel begged God for a king.  They were not satisfied being ruled by God.  So God turned them over to their own desires.  Enter Saul.  After a short time of obedience, he began following others, idols, spiritists...anyone other than God.  The country went into decline.  In short, they got what they asked for.  I believe we are there right now.  GW claims to be a man with God's interests at heart.  He claims to be an evangelical Christian and surrounds himself with Godly people and seeks Godly advice.  Regardless of what you say, this country is not in any particular turmoil because of one single person.  It is a collective effort.  One man does not even have the power to do the things people accuse GW of doing.  That's what the system of "checks and balances" is for.  Personally, I think there's a lot to be said in a Kingdom government...it is after all the government God favors and rules.  But again...I digress.

The point is, it does matter whether or not Obama is a Muslim.  It matters a great deal and there is a great deal of danger and sadness America can look forward to if Obama ends up ruling this nation with Muslim and anti-Christian ideals.  His track record makes me really, really nervous.  Muslim background...still identified by the Islamic church as "one of them"...associations with Dr. Jeremiah Wright ("God damn America...")...possible associations with Ayers...etc.  

So with all that being said...in the big picture...in the scope of eternity, does it really matter if Obama is Muslim?  Considering one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Chris is Lord...I guess not.


10.08.2008

Forever Remembered as Once Forgotten

i had an extremely busy week, weekend and start of another week. i worked all week last week, had two kitchen remodel projects begin and had to leave quickly to get to my reserve weekend in maryland. on top of all this, my wife and i have been going through a small financial crisis that has absolutely drained us emotionally. everyone wants their piece of our pie...but i digress.



i've had this nagging ... whatever ... in the back of my head for the last few days, so i went over some of my work projects making sure all my orders were in, shipments scheduled, etc. i get home and make sure all the bills are paid and kids are taken care of, but i couldn't shake the feeling, nor could i put my finger on what it was.


i got home today and began asking my son how his day at school went. he told me what he had for lunch and i asked him if he did anything special. he said, "dad...i had my birthday party today." i said, "ethan, it was probably for someone else. today is not your birthday." which is true. he said, "i know dad, it was yesterday." it was yesterday ... and i missed it. i don't think i've ever felt worse faster than when i realized what i had done. my whole world instantly crashed and i had absolutely nothing to say. i just ... totally ... selfishly .... forgot.


in the midst of everything that was going on around us i had gotten so wrapped up in my own problems that i missed the day that is characteristically the most celebrated day of a childs life. and he knew it. and he just stood there looking at me. i didn't know what to say or do. for the rest of his life, his sixth birthday will be remembered as begin forgotten.


words cannot describe the pain i felt, and mixed with his excitement about his school party, the contrast was too much to bear. i wanted to run out and buy him a toy, or a cake or some pizza or a movie or a video game or all of them. but i didn't. i will make it up to him, don't get me wrong. but i didn't use that opportunity to act emotionally.


we went downstairs and he sat on my lap and told me about his day. he told me about the party, and what he had for lunch. then he ate some dinner and watched a movie with his little brother, whose birthday is in two weeks. then he went to bed...just like any other day. and i realize...this day is just like any other day. every other day of the year i make stupid, selfish mistakes. every other day of the year he wants toys and too much sugar and cheese pizza. every other day of the year he sits with me or talks with me about what he did at school. that is the reason i have not broken his trust. i have hurt his feelings, but i have not broken his trust. in all reality, i've been broken myself but i have an opportunity...a gem, if you will...to use this time to learn about myself, my son and our relationship.


i am truly sorry, son, that i did not remember your special day.


10.07.2008

God & music

"There's been so many times in which I thought I might lose it. The only thing that's saved me has always been music."
- Beastie Boys
"My heart is steadfast, Oh God; I will sing and make music with all my soul. Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn."
- King David
"Music is a fair and lovely gift of God which has often wakened and moved me to the joy of preaching...Music drives away the Devil and makes people joyous...Next after theology I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor. I would not change what little I know of music for something great. Experience proves that next to the Word of God only music deserves to be extolled as the mistress and governess of the feelings of the human heart. We know that the devils music is distasteful and insufferable. My heart bubbles up and overflows in response to music, which has so often refreshed me and delivered me from dire plagues."
- Martin Luther

10.05.2008

Keep The Straight Path!!

No. This is not a commentary on homosexuality.

I had to travel north this weekend. Due north. The traffic on the highway was terrible...there was an accident and I was headed directly into Washington DC. I had to use the bathroom, so I pulled off on an exit. It was innocent. I wasn't really trying to get around traffic or out of the mess...just a simple bathroom stop.

There was a lot of traffic taking this exit and at the end of the ramp, most everyone was turning to the right. I thought, "Surely there's a place to stop to the left...if I can squeeze by on the left, I can just come right back and get on the highway. So I went left. Avoiding the "exit" traffic. Before I realized what happened, I found myself on a road that was nothing more than a tiny two lane, back country road with 50 foot pines on either side of me. There was no where to turn around, no where to stop, and a line of traffic had quickly formed behind be (due to the slowpoke in FRONT of me). SIDE NOTE: I hope they weren't following me thinking I knew a secret shortcut!!

Anyway...we were all clipping along at around 40 miles an hour and I could tell we were getting deeper into this mess of trees. The roads were the twistiest, turning-est, hilly-est roads I've seen in a long time. It was all I could do to keep on the road, much less look ahead for a place to stop or turn around. After 12 miles, and about 15 or so frustrating minutes of this, the road opened up and I was able to pull over. I picked up the roadmap and a quick glance revealed to me that I had just gotten sucked through the back side of a state park...a drivers black hole. Usually no pulloffs and just enough road to get you "there"...wherever the heck "there" may be.

On the map, I saw two roads that would take me back the 12 miles I needed to go. By the way...my end destination was NORTH EAST and this little 20 minute jaunt had taken me NORTH WEST...so the only reasonable solution was to get back to the highway however I could. I could swing around a couple other roads and get back on it, or I could completely back track everything I just did, and STILL not find a bathroom! So I moved forward. Both roads that got me back to the highway were 4 lanes, smooth traffic, lots of potty stops. After about 45 minutes (and a greatly needed rest stop) I made it back to the main highway...4 miles north of where I pulled off originally. There was no other way...anything else would have taken me into DC or West of DC which would have meant I would have then had to travel through DC in rush hour traffic. So I backtracked and ended up 4 miles north of where I first exited. 4 MILES!! AUGH!

I thought of my walk with Christ. Things are going well, smooth even, and for some reason I'll pull off and before I know what has happened, I've taken a path that God had not necessarily made for me.
When God sent the Israelites into the Promised Land, he gave them instructions...Go North, and do not go to the left or to the right. They would pass by many tribes and peoples that would want to kill them or otherwise hurt them. God knew they would pass these tribes and nations...but He also knew the end result. He told them, "GO STRAIGHT" and they would be fine.

God has a path for each of us as well. It's the path of the "straight and narrow." Jesus says "Narrow is the path that leads to eternal life." John the Baptist was a "voice in the wilderness" crying out for us to "make straight the paths." I had no idea how far I would get taken out of my way. It seemed innocent...but sin, which is what takes us off our path for God...never seems otherwise. Many times we don't make a blatant choice to sin against God. Sometimes it happens, even though our intentions are good.

It wasn't until I was on my home tonight that if I had waited until the next exit...one mile...I would have had a nice rest stop and a quick exit/re-entry on to the highway.

Are you feeling frustrated and ready to "pull off the road" to take a quicker path? Pray that God would lead you (and me) on the path of the straight and narrow. And in those times of accidental wandering, make a quick effort to allow God to put you back on the path the same way I did...by picking up the ROADMAP, that is the Word of God.

BLESSINGS


10.02.2008

Like...whoa...

Yes...it's political. It's challenging.

Quiet Please!


i think maybe autumn would be a much more dreadful season if all the leaves screamed as they fell

10.01.2008

What's That Smell?


Exodus 30:37 - "Do not make any of the incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the Lord." (emphasis added)


Exodus 30 gives the recipe for the incense that was to be used on the altar of incense as the priests ministered to God. God makes it known that the mixture, or recipe, as HE gave it, was not to be used for personal use, however in verse 36 He says the mixture is to be pure and holy to "you"...the people, yet in verse 38 He reiterates, "whoever makes any like it to enjoy its fragrance will be cut off from his people".

So...what's the incense for?

It is for the priest, but the mixture is a sign of his obedience. It is for the ceremony and to aid in honoring God. Verse 35 says the mixture is to be "salted." Ahh...Christians are supposed to be SALT & LIGHT. As the incense was already salted, it was not until it was LIT that it began to function properly, creating the aroma that was to be used in the worship of God. But even at this level, the aroma was still something God knew would be tolerable and pleasant to the priest. In the end, the aroma that pleased God was that of burning flesh.

The burning flesh that was pleasing to God was burned on the altar that was OUTSIDE the Tabernacle. The offerings of birds, goats, lambs, oxen, etc. The animals...the flesh.

The incense, to me, represents our lives...our worship-lifestyle...and specifically it represents our prayers going up, rising up to God. Are we mixing the ingredients properly and lifting them up to God? Some parts of our lives are not for the world but for God only. Our prayer times. Our personal worship times. Our times of quietude and the circumcisions of our hearts. Those things are not for the world, as it would not understand. As those things in our personal lives are mixed properly, the aroma rises. Jesus acts as our priest, interceding, that is praying, for us always. But even with this understanding, God still wants the aroma of burning flesh. God still desires us to offer up our lives as living sacrifices...to die to our flesh daily...to take up our crosses and die to what our flesh wants.
Can you imagine: God in Heaven...Jesus at the right hand praying for you? Just then He leans forward a little bit, as if something has caught His attention and He says, "What's that smell? You smell that? Ahh, that's a good smell...smells like flesh. Smells like incense. My child *insert your name here* has just killed his/her flesh. I love that kid. They're special to Me." Jesus says, "Bless them Father." Maybe even some angels or elders lean in to get a whiff. They nod in agreement. "Yeah, that's good. That's definitely flesh...it has distinct aroma" ...then they continue throwing crowns, praying and crying "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord." Heaven is going to be a loud, aromatic place!

prayer: God, show me how I can better be salt and light. Show me how I can offer up my life as a pleasing fragrance to You. You have salted me with Your purifying salvation, now light the fire in my heart so that I can continue to function for YOU!

9.30.2008

Subculture or counterculture?

so i'm sitting here before my computer with my starbucks, my cell phone still turned on and facing me so i can see the screen, the wii-mote and i'm gazing intently into the eyes of my 21" computer screen when it hits me.  "i'm just like them".  

i had a moment like this a couple years ago.  i was in my honda minivan taking my wife and kids to the beach with our towels in back, lunch packed, chairs, beach balls and inner tubes for my two.point.five kids.  everyone was singing, even the dog and we didn't even have a dog.  i had a starbucks sitting in one of the 18 drink holders that littered various corners of the minivan interior and as i was sitting at a traffic light i could see the guy across the intersection from me.  at first glance i thought, "man, poor guy...probably has no freedom."  i could see the activities inside his honda minivan, the two.point.five kids, wife, dog, singing songs, going to the beach (as was evident by the family pack of matching sunvisors) and as he lifted his starbucks cup up to his lips it hit me..."i'm just like them."

in high-school i fought against everything "trendy".  as captain of the soccer team, i raged against the machine.  as an honors student i shook my tiny fist at "the man" and cursed the government whenever the opportunity arose.  this continued into college where the lifestyle took me on a very rapid downward spiral.  it wasn't until years later when i came home from college (re: kicked out) and was listening to a neighborhood girl ramble on about the same things i had rambled on about.  and then it hit me..."i'm just like her."  now i'm different.  i have a wife and family, i go to church, i sing songs, i read the Bible, i have a facebook, i have a blog, i love starbucks and i'm so different...finally...yeah right.

so where in the world do i go to be in the world, but not of the world?  one of the great appeals of the "emergent church" is it's ability to disguise things of the world with a veil of spirituality...or vice-versa in some cases.  jesus is my homeboy...?  the emergent church movement is replacing "religion" for "spirituality", "truth" for "experience", "knowledge" for "feeling".  what exactly is the church emerging from, and is this really a good idea?  a youth pastor friend of mine named "bob" (name has been changed to protect the guilty) said Christians have become a subculture.  bob went further to explain that a subcultures, while "different" in immediate philosophies are no different that the rest of the culture as a whole.  meaning, they still travel in the same direction as everyone else, just on a sub-level.  (in sub i mean different, not inferior.)

the revolution of Jesus Christ, however, was that of a counterculture.  yeah, He lived on the same planet, but His goal was the cross.  i fully understand that Jesus "met people where they were at" and paul was "all things to all men...so that [he] might win a few".  this doesn't mean they lowered their standards and watered the Word.  Jesus never compromised His morals to heal or preach or minister.  Jesus went against the culture ... raged against the machine ... not to be different, but because He truly was different.

so here i am...
here WE are... with this paradox before us.  
be in it, not of it. 

God, forgive me for bringing so much of the world into my life while not taking YOUR life...light...into the world.  help me to truly be a light for You, to shine for You and to follow You...

UNCOMPROMISINGLY, UNABASHEDLY, UNASHAMEDLY and UNCONCERNED FOR MY LIFE
If there's one thing I've learned over the last 2 years, it's this: Be v-e-e-e-e-e-e-r-r-y careful when you ask God to show you what it means to live a life of FAITH!

I had no idea how fragile faith is. Four of the first five examples of faith (in the NIV) regard it being broken. That's becoming more real to me as the days go on. The first real life example of faith God ever showed me was with my eldest son Ethan. I was getting him ready for bed one night...he was about 2 or 3. I had changed his diaper and put his pajamas on. He was still on the changing table, which had a little rail that prevented the diaper recipient from rolling off the top.

I would sometimes have Ethan just stand up on the table after I had changed him and I would tickle him or talk to him or we would look at things in his room together. This particular time I thought I would take it a step further. He was used to standing up at the edge of the table and was rather comfortable with it because as we would talk, he would lean on me...over time he realized there was no danger of falling off the edge because he could always lean against me.

This particular time I decided to step back a little bit. As soon as I could see he was standing stable, I took a couple of steps away...still close enough to catch him should he fall, but far enough that he could tell something was different. I was still within arms reach, but this time it was my arms...not his. I stepped back a little further and he reached out to me. He didn't panic, but I could tell he was uncomfortable...but it was pleasant. It was almost as if he were accepting my challenge. So there we stood...both of us had our arms outstretched, both of us looking at each other as to say, "Now what?" 

I played out all the different scenarios in my mind, imagining which way he may go, would I be able to catch him, will he jump, etc. I fully expected Ethan to take the safe route and step up on the rail and then with his other leg, step out over the edge. As I inched back a little further he realized that he was no longer close enough to just drop into my arms...then the panic set in. His face began to get that lonely look of desperation. I said one word...COME.

I imagined God looking at me in my life. I was safe in the Air Force...4 or 5 years under my belt. Total security. I wasn't even CLOSE to the edge! And I thought to myself, "I wonder if this is how God asks us to step out." God the Father. Ethan's response changed me forever. He never touched the railing, instead he stepped right over it and I watched, horrified, as his little leg attempted to step onto absolutely nothing! I jumped forward and caught him, startled, surprised...thankful I wouldn't have to explain a broken arm to momma! 

God spoke to me so clearly in that moment. He said, "That's how you need to step out into Me." And it made sense. I expected Ethan to take the safe route...to step up on the ledge and get his balance first, and then carefully step over the edge. Stepping on the ledge would have brought just a couple inches closer to me. But that wasn't the route he chose. He just answered my call...COME. With childlike faith he just did it. And the look in his eyes and the smile on his face told me he trusted me and he was proud of himself. I was proud too...learning a little about him, a little about me and a lot about God in just one small action.

Is God saying "COME"? I think too many times I've stepped up on the ledge to get my balance first...to get just a couple inches closer to Abba before I actually take the plunge. Am I ready to go over the edge? Oh to have the faith of a child!

2 Timothy 2:22 "...pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace..."