Looking through the bars of life his whisper came “I KNOW” All the things I’ve covered up and yet I hear “I KNOW” I’ve bested life, I’m gaming strife, burned memories of “I KNOW” Perhaps the times, could be my rhymes, I really think I know.
Again I heard, unsettled word, A dream I knew “I KNOW” I still have pawns, I move my king, position beats “I KNOW” I’m still ahead, remorse is dead, fend off the great “I KNOW” I heard it said I’ll join the grave, once dead that’s all, I know
It ambushed me, warm child’s voice that called aloud “I KNOW” Filled with rage, a stumbled sage, dethroned yet heard “I KNOW” Mocked my life in cancers sneer, I understood “I KNOW” Beneath the cross in rubbles gown, submit to this “I KNOW”
BY GARY FULTZ
Remembering my uncle who built an empire all his life. He had it all. Played professional sports, became a lawyer for a fortune 500 company, hobnobbed with the elite in Washington DC and retired wealthy. Cancer and bitterness set in and no one could point him past his anger toward God. No one until a little niece, whom he loved, had an older brother dial the phone (yes, very young) and call him. She simply said ” I just wanted to ask you one question. Have you accepted Jesus into your heart? Jesus loves you!”
Uncle went into a rage demanding who would make a child play a dirty trick on him like that! His niece then convinced her parents to drive 24+ hours to see him before he died. She convinced uncle that no one had put her up to it and he needed to know Jesus loved him very much. Uncle was led by a small child to a last minute relationship with Jesus before he died.
“I KNOW” haunted me when I was young. I did something wrong “I KNOW” I hid my wrongs “I KNOW” I pushed that voice beyond memory only to surface in dreams I KNOW” I confessed my sins “I KNOW” When I was afraid and I clung to my savior in hard times. He answered “I KNOW”
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I Corinthians 13:12
My dad was holding the ladder while a friend at the top was attempting to nail a spike joining two walls together. The man swung his hammer missing the big nail endlessly. Finally after several splinters flew from the beat up wood he looked down at my dad fairly embarrassed and said “I give up”. Dad chuckled a little as he said “I had a hammer like that once”.
I marvel often at how I so easily lose focus. I remember as a teen in a (just for fun) snowball fight with my girlfriend. I threw a snowball straight up in the air and while she tipped her head back and watched it I pasted her in the face (for any teens reading this, that’s a deal breaker for any long term relationship).
Today, it was cloudy and below freezing. Frost formed everywhere. A photographers dream or possibly nightmare playing with light and focus. I have often struggled to get my camera and various lenses to focus clearly where I wanted. Cameras do their own thing sometimes if you let them decide (autofocus). Some times the lens is just a smidge off. The photo looks nice as a broad stroke but it’s not truly in focus. You be the judge as I took a bunch of pictures. Truthfully, I’m getting better. Click for slide show as the whole picture may not be seen here.
Did you see the chickadee? I’m not sure how it can hold a piece of popcorn in his claws and grasp the branch at the same time. I tried to focus on his feet.
Focus, with a camera or in life is an intentional discipline. We just have to be aware of where our focus should be. One of my younger brothers was in an intramural basketball team in college. They had a “Prevent 100” defense, meaning their goal was to prevent the other team from scoring 100 points (true story). They accomplished this goal much to the dismay of some really good teams. To answer your question forming in your mind, no, I don’t think they won any games.
We were designed like a camera with fixed focus. If our focus is not on Jesus then nothing else in the big picture is really in focus. We focus on our circumstances to make them better. We focus on ourselves and it’s all about us. We focus on our family and then the kids move out and maybe follow the Lord (from my jaded youth director days…often not). Focus on our career and all we get is a career until it’s over. We were designed and commanded to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2
When we get our focus properly on Jesus, it’s not very far down the road and we begin to see our neighbors through God’s eyes, and they need Jesus. We begin to grow weary of prayer meetings only praying for our friends and families aches, pains and life’s discomforts because people need Jesus. We intentionally begin to invest our time and resources toward areas helping people find and grow their relationship with Jesus. Perhaps they even go so far as to learn how to use a computer, find out how to navigate the internet and write a blog pushing people to fix their eyes on Jesus.
My mother used to say “Don’t pull on a loose thread”, meaning; our sock that she knitted would unravel or our bed quilt would start coming apart.
In the work place I retired from recently, a common phrase from the CEO was “pull on the loose thread”, meaning; investigate fully if something seems not quite right with the product, a tool or the process. If you think for a second something could be wrong, follow that thought through even if you have to shut down the line. Quality is everything! Be a superhero, pull the loose threads till you find out what is wrong! (Do check out Peragon Truck Bed Covers…I’m probably still in a couple old videos somewhere)
Looking back at the life spans of various empires and civilizations we seem to be repeating history in the unraveling of our society. It’s one thing to pull on loose threads and expose flaws in each other and our systems but quite another to bring a scissor to the party and start snipping away.
We lie (snip), we report one side of the story (snip), we black out a story (snip), we create skewed polls (snip), we report and pass on made up scenarios as fact (snip), we watch our preferred news outlet (snip, snip) and in all this we label our relationship with God as nonessential (who brought the chainsaw to the party?). Enough, you got the picture long before I ended the thought.
How well do you know the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The threads of the gospel are throughout scripture with no loose ends. Now, don’t confuse all those smart people with lots of theology degrees with their ideas of the Gospel and the Gospel itself. People have loose threads, God does not. He wants his threads to be woven into the tapestry of our lives till we become like him. Yes, there will be some or a lot of painful unraveling in our lives for that to happen. Personal revival isn’t pain free. I fear that covid 19 (the disease and the dismantling of lives by shutdown) may look like child’s play for national revival to happen. The God of no loose ends is the ultimate thread puller.
Jesus is the only hope for our society getting better. Revival is not a Christian sound byte. Revival is only found in a person who has met and been radically changed by Jesus Christ. They have love, joy, peace and a host of other new qualities of character with no pretense. They love God and they love people period. They have a hunger to know Jesus more and more. They know what intimacy with their Savior and Lord feels like.
Revival. Yes our nation needs it, but do I need it? Those who have this peace, joy and love are more infectious than covid. Those who have it “practice the presence of Jesus“. Those who have it have experienced and keep experiencing what scripture says “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Could we ever get to one nation under God? And he is before all things, and by him all things are held together. Colossians 1:17
A few moments ago a delivery driver, with an attitude, handed me a package while making an off hand statement about the unstable shape of our world. “I’m sorry, I’m feeling political today” he said.
I took a sip of my coffee and answered “This morning the sun came up, the tips of the oak, the pine cones in the white pine and the whole woods was lit up while the moon was setting. I took pictures of this absolutely beautiful morning. The sun will come up again for all our tomorrows”.
He paused, looked at the trees and the woods for quite a long moment while he seemed to resetand relax while answering… “and there is only one God and he’s in charge”. I said “always. you have a great day”
I want to encourage you to reset if you need to. Above all, be in a place with the Lord Jesus to share his light while engaging those you meet in our turbulent times. Sometimes it just takes a small nudge to help those around us to reset.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
Photo’s by Gary this morning after a meeting time with the Lord
After some hints, pushing, prodding and blatantly outright suggestions (yes, I exaggerate) I have taken Ted Martins advice from several comments on my comments section and put some of my photos on a free share website. Yes, they are free and you can use them for your blogs or thankyou cards or whatever, however and whenever you use pictures. Thanks Ted for the push. View Teds site here https://rhetoricandhomiletics.org/
I don’t know what process you use for giving away free stuff but I’m willing to think you like to receive free stuff. I just hope my pictures are useful to someone besides me.
I noticed that many bloggers that I read use Unsplash for downloading free pictures and chose that site to set up an account and share. As I type this my 16 pictures have 9,528 views and 137 downloads in October. You can look at my very limited selection of free photos and then go on to search from the thousands of great photos at https://unsplash.com/@garyfultz
I’ll download more as Unsplash begins to trust me with downloads according to their specs. I sometimes ask and am asked “why give?”
I may not have much from a worldly point of view, but I am very wealthy and gaining daily. When I die I stand to inherit a whole lot of free stuff given freely by my Father, but, that means nothing if it does not show up, in some way, shape or form as a voice to the little corner of the present world I touch.
I see an inaudible voice in sharing photo’s. I watch inaudible parent child language. I see inaudible marriage interchange. I even see inaudible messages in blogs between the lines and so do you. Let’s face it, our inaudible messages through all the mediums at our disposal speak so loud no one can hear what we are saying.
All this to pray “May my photos speak inaudibly Gods voice to the world.”
A note of encouragement: Only God can manage our loud inaudible voice to the world around us, if we let Him. However, Speaking of Gods inaudibles like nature and his workings in us, God’s audible Word changes us. Where God uses the inaudibles of people, life and nature to get our attention, He uses his audible, eternal and perfect WORD to change inaudible us.
” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” John 1:1-5
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
It’s so human to buy a lot of ego stock for the short term and hold, sometimes into eternity, as if we can control the dividends
Instead, Invest here: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6
Think of the solid foundation from which we speak. If you believe and know Jesus, you have been forgiven, made whole, and have been made absolutely perfect (way more than a dew drop) before God. “For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” 2corinthians 5:21
I got run over by a 800 lb steer this Monday (it’s true). Not as glamorous a story as Grandma and the reindeer but this steer was 5 times as big as any reindeer. I’m quite sure no song will come of it either. I’m OK, thanks for asking. The hooves missed me after a good head butt to knock me down.
I had agreed to drive two hours to bring a steer to market for a brother. Just drive the rig, back up the trailer and let the steer out into the chute. Two experienced professionals took it from there. I was an innocent bystander at the end of the closed gate until the big steer with quite an attitude (yes, I distinctly remember smoke coming out his nostrils) charged at one of the attendants, hit the side of the chute and made an opening at the end of the gate (of course). The steer saw the opening, lowered his head and charged through the opening, tossing me forward into a half gainer, akin to a belly flop off the diving board onto the driveway. Then he ran over me.. Thankfully no hooves mashed me. I’m f.f.f.fine.
My body is sore in places where I didn’t even know I had them places. Some odd memories are coming to me that may have been a nano-second long but the telling may take a few minutes longer. One memory was very strange as I was flying through the air and yet the beast was upon me-pushing me down to the ground with it’s chest. The thought racing inside my skull in circles over and over was “I’m never traveling to Pamplona to run with the bulls”.
I’m ashamed. I should have been praying or something. I could have been asking God to watch over my wife and kids after my trampling, but nooo…I’m judging a certain class of risk-takers to be blooming idiots while it’s me landing on my head. Yes, it’s me, landing on my ego and that was trampled.
Some changes have taken place. mostly in my heart and mind. living, dying, accidents or just an odd happening can happen instantly. The last couple of days I’ve been shying away from parts of my morning prayer, mostly where I pray “well Lord, what do you have for me today?” I am very open to praying differently if you have other ideas.
I’ve also tackled a couple of difficult conversations that were overdue. Why wait? What’s the worst that could happen? Okay, I’m not ready to answer that till I gear up (you know…helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit etc)
(Added this morning): thanks Homer for your prayer idea in the comments section.
Today, I will pack up the rest of the house to move 5 hours away to a foreign familiar land. The place where I grew up and lived over half of my life. The last couple months of this transition I have taken to heart Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
I turned off the news, I quit reading several blogs and am terribly behind on many, I pray more and go out of my way to really connect with relational starving people. I had asked God for some type of sign that I really should move back home and begrudgingly put the house up for sale. 48 hours later it was sold. It’s hard to do 2 out of 3 on that one but I wanted another sign..”God would you go ahead of us and help us to follow?” was our household prayer.
On one of my moving expeditions with a huge trailor, a rainbow double was beside the truck for an hour. I stopped at a side road and took this picture. Iroically, when we had moved with the company I worked for almost 7 years ago, a rainbow was arched over the building I would call my work place. I guess we have had several rainbows (literally) in our decision making life (God to angels” if you want Gary to make up his mind. Put out a rainbow).
“Ok Lord, you got this..um, why isn’t the road paved??” (God to angels “you should not have had that old road graded…it’s too nice).