I’m an introvert. I may not always act the part but when I see lots of strangers in the big city (for example) I really see a sea of ice. I don’t see “friendly” on faces. It’s a fact, I don’t always like to be around people.
So when I was reading Romans 13 this morning I was nodding my head yes when Paul says to obey authority, pay your taxes and don’t owe anyone anything; I’m good so far. I’m still nodding yes.
Except The continuing debt…..
(I’m not nodding yes anymore) Romans 13:8 says “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another…” I looked at this twice and said “What? I’m in debt?”
I’m sorry. I’m stuck on this continuing debt thing. If Love is money, say God’s currency, then I’m in debt and cannot get out. In fact there is a daily debt added and I’m in deep. No matter how much I love, show love, pay love money to my neighbor and fellow mankind I have just entered an alternate reality.
A verse popped into my mind “If anyone be in Christ they are a new creation...and have entered into a new reality” (well my remake of 2nd Corinthians 5:17 andI think I was frowning here).
Read on Gary…“for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law” In other words the currency of love balances the checkbook in Gods eyes.
It’s dangerous to think outside the book but I have questions and you might have some thoughts.
So if we start every day in debt, say $200 in debt and do nothing does my debt compound? Does a smile count for more than a dollar? Do I really have to be proactive today? Do introverts have a reduced debt? Is the national debt bigger than the love debt?
Look where I just went! Am I already trying to game the system? I think so.
Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another”. John 13:34
Hey this love God and your neighbor stuff, It’s a really big deal in the market place of the eternal. We have the God Breathed book and the Holy Spirit to teach us all things. Let us be entrepreneurs about loving to debt
Note: This currency is alive but the wanted poster is out and Satan wants it dead.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:29
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2
Don’t worry, We do not have our lights up yet, and will not until December sometime.. I chose last years picture of a grandson communicating without words.
When Christ says “Learn of me”, I often think we who call ourselves “Followers of Jesus” honestly think Christ meant believe the right information and be good people.
I think my grandson in the picture above is going to say “sorry” for something he did. Does anyone here believe he is sorry?
It takes time to learn another language. My second language teacher was really excited when I told her I had a dream in Spanish. She figured The language had finally become me. I didn’t tell her it was more like a nightmare where I didn’t really understand what was being said, and it was all about me…in Spanish.
When we resemble the meek and lowly. When we use our hands, feet, mouth and resources for others that would normally go to taking care of…well us, is that not a part of presenting our bodies as living sacrifices?
I don’t have to go far for an example. Marriage, raising a family, neighbors and the work place all saw the language of Jesus in my mom and dad.
Everyone wants what mom and dad had. It was not so much that they had Jesus. Jesus was just the start. Actually Jesus had them and they put each other first. I have stories too numerous to count of people who wanted what they had. I witnessed radical changed lives from these two salt and light people. Neighbors, friends and strangers were attracted to them. This picture says a lot and that’s who they were.
Do you want what they had? You need Jesus to have you, and He will teach you His language. It’s different, out of this world, counter intuitive, powerful and most of all so attractive people around you will want what you have when you speak without words Christ’s language. Don’t worry, you get to talk when you earn the right to be heard.
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. John 12:32
Sorry, I forgot to mention that there will be trolls, hurtful people and those who hate Christ’s language. It will be worth it though.
As a person I’m probably smarter than you may think I am, and, quite a bit less smart than I think I am. I prove the last part of that statement daily and a couple times a year the first part seems proven (to me). OK so I got the first part wrong, moving on…
Take today for example, I refinished an ash table top that we use for a picnic table on the screen porch. The table sits outside all year. Grand kids use that table to play on with toys and sometimes my tools they think are toys. It was really beat up and looked like it was sulking and looking forlorn out there. Here is where I step it up and refinish right? Happy Table right??
I stripped off the old finish, sanded and sanded this table. Sawdust everywhere. I set sanding and finishing records for an old black ash table top. I made it look nice, and it does from a distance. I got the old scars out and put in my own. Argh!..not again! Everywhere. Take a look
Sander marks from using too course of sandpaper (rookie mistake) and then being in a hurry to put some finish on. Hey, it’s only a picnic table that sits outside so it’s good enough right?
Aren’t you glad God does not treat us this way? Yet some think He does. Do you think Gods version of renewing our minds (Romans 12:2) is to reach for “Good Enough?”
Oh He lets us experience all of life’s poundings and we have the scars to prove it. However, God does not abandon us, give us a rough clean up and only make us look nice from a distance. God goes for the heart of the matter. Clean inside first. Our outside might look tough until the inside is so changed it starts showing through (2 Corinthians 4:16)
God is not finished with us yet so let Him do His work. When he is done, eternity will know it. For now the world will be satisfied with seeing a “Love” construction zone in us.
We should be allowing God to produce in us what the whole world wants.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Finally: If God can put a flower garden and the horizon into a dew droplet (see header picture) He can put Love in your heart and abunchofothergoodthings!
PS: My wife says “I like it” This is why we have a good marriage, but that’s another topic (or is it?)
This was a piece of casual conversation with a guy I met recently who claimed to be a christian (I do not know him well but getting there). He is completing rehab treatment and hoping for a job full time soon. Try to get hisperspective…and where I fit in??
Me: say, how are you planning on having different habits when you finally move into a place of your own? Him: what do you mean? Me: do you know what the word “trysting”means? Him: No clue. Me:”Do you have a mentor yet”. Him:”Yes, I think so” (and some fill in on his potential mentor)…
I know, I know. I just kind of dive into peoples lives like this. just read on.
Me: “I hope you get a mentor that can help you read your bible and find a good quiet place to meet with God. He talks to you (mostly through the word) and you talk to him and develop and experience a very close relationship with God. Trysting is a place where two lovers meet. This is in part what it means to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and body. You should have a place you meet with God, just you and God.
Him (excited) : I gotta show you this really cool verse I read yesterday. I told my family all about it and they think I’m nut’s because they are not believers. That’s ok, they are just missing out! (picks up phone, finds it quickly and reads it to me) Jesus said this…
“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:37-38
Him: That’s the coolest verse in the bible. It’s true too!
I walked away with no doubt in my mind that this new believer with tons of life’s baggage had just experienced the same ineffable resurrection power of God in his life that Lazarus did being raised from the dead. He was dead and chained to his drugs and is now experiencing living water in his life and overflowing to those around him.
Do not let anyone tell you that God is not at work in peoples lives today in miraculous and powerful ways.
PS: please read G.W.’s post on ineffable Power. It’s, well, powerful.
Notice, be alert and unravel little mysteries. When the sun goes down look for the reds, yellows, purples and other miscellaneous colors wafted on the clouds. Look for the highlights. When a small child yells out a command on a solemn occasion. What’s with that? When all 7 teenage boys commit their life to follow Jesus because their Sunday school teacher asks them if they would, find out the whole story. Some stories may be told for a life time. Some a short meaningful wisp. No matter what, the sun always sets.
16 year old Alexa was getting baptized a couple weeks ago along with 20+ others as a public announcement to follow Jesus. A solemn occasion. A six year old boy yelled out “Alexa, tell me a joke!” A very funny moment for those who knew little johnny (we will call him) lives in a smart house (can virtual Alexa tell a joke??)
Times are a changing are they not?
I had coffee and an amazing conversation with a friend Sunday afternoon. Somewhere between fishing, family and church stories he mentioned that all seven of his teen boys in Sunday school class had prayed with him to follow Jesus. I pushed him a little to know how that happened. After his normal disclaimer (it was all God and not me) the story of seven boys studying the scriptures about the basics for the past year. Things like redemption, sanctification and their biblical threads on through the ministry and purpose of Jesus death and resurrection. These boys were ready to pray. What a highlight!
Just a thought: Life’s truths are like puzzle pieces still in the box. Sometimes I am the six year old just reacting and unaware of what’s going on. Other times I am like my friend helping those around me (maybe too selectively) put some puzzle pieces together and introduce them to Jesus.
My hope is that on my final sunset, there will be some highlights, even in my wanderings, but highlights non the less.
Dad was known, on occasion, to say or do some unconventional things through out his life. I, being one of his 7 children, sometimes find myself flopping at doing similar things, but doing them anyway.
After dad’s memorial service…
Here is a copy of my note to James, a fellow basketball player on friday nights in the old clubhouse for many years (yes I changed the name)…
James, I kind of pulled a fast one on you. I put gobs of thank you cards in the church mail boxs. I saw you did not have a mail box so I took dads mail box ID paper out of his box, turned it over and wrote your name on it and put it into a box where your name should be. So…you are now taking dads place at church and you have a mail box. I told Pastor what I did as well. Anyway, all you have to do to take dads place is sit each morning with a cup of coffee at home with an open bible for a few words from God, and communicate with God about whatever is on your mind. The Holy Spirit will do the rest…No pressure. You meant a lot to dad so consider this dads last basketball move. now you have the ball.
Maybe this is not taught in discipleship class but just maybe the spiritual war zone for lives has too many sheathed swords on the Lords side. I’m all for being a little pushy sometimes if that’s what it takes.
Mom was a beginners piano teacher. She influenced the world. I will use myself as an example as all 7 of us siblings took lessons and I qualify as the least talented in my eyes. While you read, please put on this youtube video of me playing my rendition of moms favorite old hymn. This is a bit of an unconventional way to blog so let me know if it was worth the effort to play and read at the same time.
Now this is important! Please Open another window on your computer, go here https://youtu.be/Ehr5dukFjzw Click and start Video, then come back to read the blog while playing…trust me it will make sense later
VS 1 “Tis so Sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take him at his word” (Musically hesitant)
Well mom thought so all her life. She told me that God had a plan and could be trusted completely. I was 11 years lying in the hospital, both arms in casts after a saw blade came off a machine and cut both my arms to the bone on the inside near the elbow crease where arteries and nerves are housed . My median nerves were completely severed (a specialist tied them together). I couldn’t feel below the elbows on both hands.
“Just to Rest upon His promise, Just to Know thus saith the lord” (Musically slow but getting there)
Mom did not waver in her faith and trust in Jesus even though the hard times were sometimes very hard. She loved us and sometimes would cry when trying to discipline us (for our good, but didn’t seem so at the time). She had God, her huge garden, a piano, a community full of kids needing lessons and seven kids who ate very well off her cooking.
Chorus: “Jesus Jesus how I trust him” (Musically a little more sure and quite simple)
Even when we seemed to be wandering down the road away from God (she was not silent here). My siblings each have their own decision making and Mom stories. We would need many a week of campfires to sit around and tell those tales.
“how I’ve proved him o’er and o’er” (musically a few extra notes added)
I was mad at God. I blamed God for allowing my hands and arms to be useless, have no feeling or cramping phantom feelings. My muscles acted as if there was no one in charge. it would take 3 years to do a push-up and pull-up in gym class. I hated the doctor for telling my mom (which gave her way too much leverage) I would have clothes pins for fingers if I did not learn to play the piano or learn how to type.
“Jesus Jesus precious Jesus, Oh for grace to trust him more” (Musically ending a thoughtful phrase)
Mom was gentel, kind and cruel all at the same time. I sat at the piano for hours it seemed. “God has a plan” she would say. I was good at saying “ya” a hundred different ways. I didn’t see any plans coming down the pike anytime soon. I couldn’t feel the keys. My fingers didn’t really work. It took me 10 hours to play a little tune when others could do it in 20 minutes.
VS 2: “I’m so glad I learned to trust him, precious Jesus, Saviour, Friend” (Musically changes keys and begins an uplifting era of life)
I began to test the waters of life and one day made my choice. As a teenager I Chose to Follow Jesus. I knelt on the floor of our barn and told him I was all in. Like Mom and Dad and a few other people I knew, I was all in.
“and I know that thou art with me, wilt be with me to the end” (Musically sure, ready to run off a cliff with the music)
It was a learning struggle more complicated than cliff diving (which I would later try); it was more like making a run off the cliff in order to clear several boulders below and reach the deep safe water 50 feet below (tried this also). God proved himself in countless ways. Like Mom I was learning how to fly with trust even in the crashes.
Chorus: Jesus Jesus how I trust him, How I’ve proved him o’re and o’re (Musically marching through life)
We all got older. Mom began losing her memory. Quietly memories were stolen as the world marched on. I began to renovate this old hymn to play for mom, hoping she would be proud of her son.
“Jesus Jesus precious Jesus, Oh for grace to trust him more.” (Musically challenging and dynamics added for the massive ups and downs of life)
Mom got a fast acting cancer. Her prayers had been that she would not forget her kids and grandkids before she died. She didn’t. I played this song for her as she was in her wheelchair by the piano. She was all there and more. It was not just a “favorite” hymn. It was a lifes song, unwavering in a dimming body.
Chorus again: Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more! (Musically recapping moms life. I end with the final resolve chord then a little run up the piano as she leaves us to be with her Jesus, savior, Friend.)
I am not an accomplished piano player. My fingers can play some music and I have partial feeling in my hands and arms. This blog is not just about mom or about me playing the piano. I would like it to be a challenge to you the reader and listener in this way: that you would consider living your life all in. the only way I know how is to walk, listen and talk with Jesus, Savior, Friend daily. The proof is in the consistent upgrades that God’s Spirit brings about in our thoughts, speech and character of our being from within. This is The Simplicity of Legacy.
I hope this in a small way can be a part of Gods Legacy in you. get to the deep and safe waters my friend! Eternity awaits us all, choose and follow Jesus. No hesitation, no excuses. No wallowing in the “this happened to me stuff”. Tis so Sweet to trust in Jesus (till you close your eyes the last time sweet).
Disclaimer: I do not have video capabilities with WordPress which made this a little harder for you the reader, sorry. It was an experiment, let me know if it kind-a sort-a worked. I tried it on myself but I know the song too well.
I watched the moon set before the sun would light the morning. I pondered and identified with the Psalmist.
“You, God are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you in a dry and parched land where there is no water. ” Psalm 63: 1
I thought of the all the sailors who have been adrift in life boats after losing their vessel in storm or war; often muttering “water water everywhere but not a drop to drink.”
I think often of the happiest people I have ever seen in a third world country and they have nothing.
I think of the change of one’s whole being when they finally understand how much Jesus loves them; enough to die for them. It’s like coming home from vacation and all your plants look dead and they spring to life with water. Only we get “Living Water.”
I ponder how this passion for God in our dry and thirsty land affects my speech, word choices and topics of conversation today and through the week. Will I use alternate swear words? slang? Will I confront or come alongside when differences arise? will I wash the dishes when my wife looks tired even though I have had an 11 hour work day? Will I say a kind word to a harried cashier? Will I live intentionally? Generously?
It’s now daylight. Will I live as a child of light? A delightful sunday morning. I read on. “I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you“ Psalm 63: 4-5 (even if I don’t know the song?)
To many this would be sacrilege. but to those who have realised they just escaped hell, sacred.
I came a stranger, a visitor and casual observer. I left immersed in wonder.
The place was packed. The air as electric with excitement as a tied championship game in final seconds. Yelling, clapping and (very) loud cheering sounds from young and old alike. God winning. Testimony and story from several teens, twenties and some elderly as they declared hardships and victories before being dunked in an icy water filled cattle tank. Tears and much shaking of heads as memories of who they were “before Christ”. Gods power was evident, powerful, overflowing and permeating. All were participants in this sacred gathering.
Thirtysome quick stories and baptisms before moving on to thirtysome child dedications. The electricity was still there. Clapping, yelling and various carrying on continued as parents gave their kids to God and pleaded with the people to help them raise their kids to Love God. Not a dry eye in the place as a mom gave her child to God. “Before Christ”, Strung out on drugs at life’s bottom she had given away her young child for adoption. Now in her new life in Christ, she was now giving her child to God. A child she may never see again on earth. She desperately wanted to at least see her child in heaven someday.
[Side notes: extremely organized, the youth band was great but their drummer is an alien with six arms I think. How could over 70 events happen with people talking and take only 2 hours? Wow, they didn’t come for the cake afterwards! I still feel compelled to pray once in awhile for the barren mom with purple and pink hair. So this is where my grandkids are being raised…]
There was nothing ordinary about this afternoon church service. God wasn’t just “talked about”, God permeated the room and the people with his presence. A sacred excitement. We were there with His Spirit. I could picture Jesus in the eyes of the little kids standing on chairs clapping with glee. The year was 2018. I shall not forget this sacred moment.
Ask God for a sacred moment in your life and church (and by faith carry ear plugs)
PS: a bit of irony on the backstory. This meeting was held in a nice church building given to this ministry. Seems the church grew old and disbanded from lack of people and funds. This ministry grew out of that church a few years back but was attracting people that made the church people uncomfortable. Now that ministry is a church and the old church building is just big enough for the youth ministry. God wins.
Plans are changed, priorities shuffled and lifes pictures may seem gloomy. We unknowingly booked a vacation for a hotspot of flooding, flash flooding, plenty of power outages and more rain on the way. Yes, the storms even come without warnings or disclaimers. That’s not fair!
Do you know how many camera clicks it take seems to capture a raindrop? Especially repositioning for a raindrop with it’s reflection. That’s ok (not really), I had time (about that). I’m on vacation! (can I get a do-over?)
Maybe God helps us pause, prioritize, reposition and see the reflections of our lives to gain what He wants in and for us.
I honestly did not think much of our vacation condo deck or it furniture. I sense that sometimes I am like the old deck wood; old and useable but warped with a few spots that hold water and have some rot. Maybe I am even more like the warped plastic table that cannot even shed water and am drowning in the rains of life.
But, maybe God wants to show his kind of beauty in my life in strange ways. Strange like the blue air in the pictures below after the rain. Click to enlarge and scroll through the pictures.
Just maybe, God knows I am planted in the crevice of a rock and I need a lot of rain in my life to stay alive and grow. Whatever the reasons for life changing storms and torrents of rain, God is the one who knows what He is doing. In trusting Him I hope when others look at my life, they see reflections of life and hope. Reflections, if only partial or broken up, of Jesus.
After all, if an old warped cheap plastic table can reflect a beautiful image of a tree, could I not in some small way reflect the character of Jesus if I stay close to him?
If a small tree can sink it’s roots into a rock and survive the seasons of life, Could my soul not thrive on the feast available in God’s word?
If some lowly outdated warped deck boards way past their prime can still hold water enough to reflect what is around them after the rain for awhile, I suspect God can still use me somehow as I get older and less useful by human standards.
Sometimes God waits till “after the rain” to speak to us. If you are like me, I am not ready to hear or listen until the rain has passed.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
Your insightful thoughts and comments are greatly encouraged!