It occurred to me last night that we each receive the same wages. We are all compensated equally and fairly. This pay does not rise with cost of living increases, but we are guaranteed to receive it faithfully all our days. At the beginning of each day we each receive 24 hours to invest however we choose...not 24 dollars, but 24 hours. The time we have is very much like money. Somehow we have gotten things reversed. Often our focus is to use up our time to make money. The more important truth is that we can use our time in many ways...or allow it to slip away without purpose or intent. If we think of how we will invest our 24 hours today we may begin to consider how that time can be used to make an impact that will carry over to the heavenly dimension, beyond the economy of time. No matter how financially rich or poor we are, we each have 24 hours to spend with capital of attitudes and efforts toward God and man. When we are in heaven, we will see the results of our 24 hour investments!
Job 10: 5 Are Your days like the days of a mortal man?
Are Your years like the days of a mighty man
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Visiting Colorado Springs recently, we had a chance to stay overnight in a castle! The founder of Colorado Springs was a railroad magnate named General Palmer. He was the first winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor and was a Brigadier General in the Civil War while still in his 20's. Later he went on to become one of the early builders of the railroad that eventually crossed the continent. He built a magnificent home and fashioned it into a castle and located it in a small valley surrounded by towering red rock outcroppings. He named it Glen Eyrie, or Valley of the Eagles. The Castle is now owned by the Navigators Ministry as their headquarters. It was fascinating to tour the home and to learn the story of General Palmer and his family. Truly he built a magnificent home and now the public can stay there as a lodging place. Just up the highway from the Castle is a stunning and huge rock formation visible from the road. The appearance is strikingly similar to a castle positioned atop a rocky mountain and the rock and neighboring town are know as Castle Rock. The thought that struck me was that a man can take millions of dollars and thousands of manhours of time to construct a fabulous castle, but God fashions His castles all around us in the form of natural wonders. We are fascinated by the story of man's castle and we are also intrigued by the hands that have sculpted castles from the rock.
Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
2 Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
A few weeks ago we flew into Denver for a family wedding and to spend a week exploring Colorado for the first time. The very day we arrived, we took a hike with our daughter and her girl friend up to a real glacier nestled in the mountains west of the city. Our bodies were used to sea level living and we huffed and puffed and scrambled over loose rocks as we hiked in the 10,000 foot elevation to find our way to the glacier. The view of the ice and of the surrounding mountains and lake below were stunning and a great introduction to the area. I remembered constantly wondering on the way up: "When will we get there?" and "Will we make it?" On the way back down we felt like experienced climbers when some newcomers, who were struggling as we had, asked how much farther they had to go before reaching the glacier. It was still an unknown distance to them, but we were able to encourage them because we had just walked the same distance and could identify with the challenge. I was reminded that one of our great gifts, as believers, is to encourage others who are struggling with issues and challenges that we have also faced. It is the common challenges of life that can bond us in this way.
2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Who is this God of Heaven? How is it that He has formed the earth and all I can see...and yet I don't see Him? How can it be that He made my life and gave me thought and formed my emotional well and yet I don't feel Him? I do think it is amazing that the God of Creation, who also is the personal God of redemption and divine/human relationship has formed our experience in such a way that He does not force His way into our consciousness or blare His presence while we abide on earth's shore. Surely He could have done things differently and dominated our minds, forced our obedience and driven our attention to Him. But He has chosen to woo us as a lover does His love, to plant a curiosity within us that is not satisfied with the answers of our minds alone, to create a hunger deep within that cannot be satisfied without choosing to come to Him. He is, at the same time, the most obvious presence of our lives and the most subtle. But the satisfaction of acknowledging Him as the author of all as well as the one who knows us personally grants the perspective needed to complete the picture.
Job 28:23 (The Message) 23-28 "God alone knows the way to Wisdom,
he knows the exact place to find it.
He knows where everything is on earth,
he sees everything under heaven.
After he commanded the winds to blow
and measured out the waters,
Arranged for the rain
and set off explosions of thunder and lightning,
He focused on Wisdom,
made sure it was all set and tested and ready.
Then he addressed the human race: 'Here it is!
and Insight means shunning evil.'"
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Dear Thought for the Day folks,
I apologize for not sending any "thoughts" for several days. My wife and I are vacationing in Colorado and I'm recharging my batteries. I hope to get back to it upon returning to Virginia next week.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
It occurred to me this morning that there are three reasons that we go to church on Sunday: obligation, routine or choice. Obligation says that by attending a worship service we really are doing what we ought to satisfy the Lord. It reflects some sort of "ticket punching". It also is a simplistic view of what it means to have a relationship with the Lord. The obligation kind of relationship would be like the kind of relationship you have with a toll booth operator, who expects you to pay a fee so you can go on your way. Routine says that because it is Sunday I should go to church. I don't have to think about why or what or who...I am going because that's what I do on Sunday. The routine approach makes our relationship with the Lord very much like our relationship with our trash pickup which says, "It's Tuesday morning so I need to roll the big green container out to the street". This is really a non-relationship. The right reason is to choose to be in church, just as we choose to carry Him in our minds and hearts through the week. On Sunday we want to celebrate that kind of 24/7 relationship. In fact I suppose Sunday is an opportunity to honor the One whom we enjoy daily.
Proverbs 7:15 So I came out to meet you,
Diligently to seek your face,
And I have found you.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
How do they do it? How do people who don't acknowledge the living God know whom to thank? There are so many reasons to be thankful: health, family, work, the beauty that surrounds us. Science tries to explain it all...but can you thank science? We have nothing to do with the fact of our existence or the amazing facility we have to sense our surroundings and to savor all the dimensions of life (from pizza to the tower of pisa). I think that having an outlet for thanks increases the vibrancy of living. Of course, knowing whom to thank isn't enough...we need to go ahead and express thanks. It doesn't take much reflection to conclude that all of life is a gift and when we exercise gratitude to the giver, we are only acting with appropriate courtesy. But thankfulness goes a long way toward enhancing and strengthening our bond with the Lord. I think it also fosters growth and motivates a deeper pursuit of His knowledge. I also believe that when you're feeling spiritually empty, turning toward the Lord in thanks is a good way to re-fill your tank!
Psalm 75:1 We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks!
For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
We are experiencing some gorgeous early fall weather. Deep blue skies, clear air with low humidity and comfortable temperatures are making the heat and drought of summer fade from our minds. We've also been spared the intense and dramatic impact of hurricanes this year in our area. This morning the sun is rising to find an ocean of blue sky and it looks like another gorgeous day. Based on the weather you'd never know we were in the midst of a storm that is battering the entire world. Of course I'm referring to the financial crisis that has rocked credit, banking and stock markets and now is chewing up industry and sales. But outside it's just so gorgeous! It reminds me that some of the worst storms are invisible ones. There is also a storm of sin that rages in the spiritual dimension and there are forces at play that are probably very much like hurricane force winds in the spiritual realm. As we go into the beautiful fall day, today, let's not forget to dress appropriately to weather the storms we cannot see but also cannot avoid!
Ephesians 6:10-13 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Monday, October 6, 2008
I remember those first days of marriage. Some of the most touching memories are the special feelings of no longer being alone. I had met Shirley while out of state in school and continued our relationship long distance while in the Navy. We really hadn't spent much time together until we married. Standing next to her in church I felt strength and completeness, just worshiping together. Even grocery shopping was fun...going down the aisles and picking out the food we'd share. This morning, while out on a stroll, it occurred to me that the Lord longs to have "just you and me" time also. He loved the whole world so much that He gave His Son so that He could have a "one on one" bond with us. As I walked and talked with the Lord this morning, I realized that I feel a lot stronger and "whole" somehow by taking some special time just to be with Him. It helped that it was still dark out because our conversation had fewer distractions. I would encourage you to have some "you and me time" with the Lord today!
2 Chronicles 6:14 And said, O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts
Sunday, October 5, 2008
It has become common to observe when a person has his "15 minutes of fame". This might occur during a media event, real life emergency or special achievement. Something has taken place to thrust forward an individual who normally blends into the background. Like a shooting star, that person is seen to trace brightly and briefly across our attention and then fade away. Last night It occurred to me that this is our time to shine. We weren't here to make a difference 100 years ago and we won't be here 100 years from now. For a few more years or decades you and I will be able to impact this planet. We burn brightly in our vitality, but what are we illuminating? Is our life all about enjoying the ride through our 80 allotted years (give or take...). Is it about accumulating stuff in order to add to our comfort and then to pass that on to others when we go? Is our life about overcoming the many fears that want to drown us in despair so that we can keep our heads above water...is that all there is? Of course we who have come to know our Lord as Savior know that we've signed up to carry the message that transformed our own lives. For a few years more we might have the challenge and the privilege of reflecting, sharing and transmitting the eternal plan of salvation that introduces people to a personal relationship with their Creator. This is our time. The bell has rung and we need to come out of the corner into the center of the ring. The gun has fired and we need to leave the starting blocks. This is our time to shine (for Him).
Psalm 96:1-3 O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.
Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.
Friday, October 3, 2008
We hear quite a bit these days about "worldview". It surfaces in political campaigns and legal controversies. It seems to be at the fulcrum of many conflicts we hear about daily. Everything from global warming, to abortion, to same sex marriage, to foreign policy and even to economic policy seems to be linked to various "worldviews". So it all comes down to perspective. It makes sense that our value judgements flow from our perspective on life. But recently, as I thought about the term "worldview" I realized that a more important perspective was "heaven view". I reflected on how my world was rocked when heaven became a reality to me in the form of a real relationship with the Lord, through His Son, Jesus and by the experience of the Holy Spirit convincing me. Once the reality of Heaven was planted in my heart and I truly had a "Heavenview" my worldview was also shifted. Now I know that I only see the world clearly through the lens of heaven and from the perspective of the One who made it all.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn't take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn't just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
We're all about work. Every day we awake and go to work, either at home or in the market place and office spaces. Work is how we earn our livings and work is how we establish our identity. Work is how we feed much of our self image. Work is how we make a difference in the world. We spend the first quarter of our lives preparing for work, the middle half creating a career of work, and the final quarter defining our lives by graduating from work only to find other tasks to work at. This morning I was reflecting on the work that God is doing inside our lives as we are busy working in the outer world. He is doing a completing work on character, interests, values and mindset. As important is our focus on work, how much more important is our Lord's as He prepares us for an eternity with Him and seeks to reach others through our lives. You might call this: the grace of work.
Ephesians 4:13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;