Saturday, February 28, 2015

Hope For Me

Sometimes life drops down so strong
I don’t know where I belong
I blew it time and again
Oh how I need a friend

I am stretching and reaching
What lesson is life teaching?
Will I e’er sing a new song
Now that my strength is gone

Chorus
Lament and cry
I want to die
what foolishness I
have done

I need that magic moment
Where is the special fragment
to my soul sent from on high?
So help me please get by

I’m looking for my power
How I pray for the hour
with all eyes falling on me
I’m what I’m meant to be

Chorus
Lament and cry
wondering why
what foolishness I
have done

Bridge
Power, strength, light, love, and more
Help me reach the shore

Chorus
There’s light ahead
I am not dead
I have hope instead
for me
©2004

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Old Family Picture

The picture you see was given to me by my father.  As you can see, it is an old picture.  After looking at it for a while, I asked dad if he knew anyone in the picture.  He did not.  However, there is another picture that contains two of the people in this one and they are noted as my great great grandpa David Phillips and his wife, Sarah. 

David is the very tall, white haired man in the last row, 4th from the right.  To his left is a very short man.  That is is son and my great grandpa George.  The woman directly in front of David is Sarah.  To Sarah's left is my great grandma Cora.  I was able to deduce the women and George only after identifying David.  I don't know anyone else in the picture.  Although, the man on the far left of the picture looks a little bit like Nathan Phillips Dodge, who could be related.

For a long time, I wondered what brought all of these people together and when where was it taken.  I know David and George lived in Nebraska and am certain it was taken there or, perhaps, Iowa.  That is where David and Sarah met and married.  After studying the picture for some time, here is what I believe I know:

This picture was taken in the Fall of 1904.  Based on the corn stalks on the ground in front of the group, it must have been taken after the harvest.  Why do I think 1904?  If you look closely at Cora, the women in front and a little to George's right, it appears she is holding a baby.  If she is, then I think it is my grandpa Leonard.  He was born in July 1904.

#genealogy #familyhistory


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Emotions

I am an introspective person.  I have to ponder things.  Sometimes they are frivolous.  Sometimes they are big mysteries of life.  Today is one from the second camp.  I’ve been thinking about emotions and how they affect how we act and react.  Mostly, this is due to recent situations in my life.  I didn’t react in the best way possible.  Consequently, there were some dark clouds obscuring the sunshine in my life.  After some discussion about the issues, I felt better and the clouds departed.  I now realize it was my emotions.

Why do we have emotions?  What part of God’s creative process was the deciding factor in throwing that in the mixing pot?  While I realize He doesn’t want us automatically and blindly doing His bidding, what purpose do emotions serve?  Emotions or feelings can cause us to do things we may not do otherwise.  Perhaps I should add hormones to this group since hormones can affect our emotions.  As I consider all of this, I realize I have to work through it all because of the low I experienced. 

I won’t say emotions are bad.  On the contrary, without emotions or feelings we would never have mountaintop experiences.  It just stinks that there are valleys.  I understand there is joy in the whole journey and we have to take the good with the bad.  Nevertheless, when I look at the whole of what God has done for mankind and what I have learned recently, I believe the main reason for emotions is to bring glory to God. 

I continue to learn that man was created to bring glory to the Creator.  We cannot only live for the highs and believe we have God’s favor when things are good.  God is still worthy to be praised and worshipped when we are in the valley.  I am beginning to understand that the honor we give to the Lord when we trust while in the valley is worth more, in God’s economy, than our faith when on the mountaintop. 

When I woke up today before work, the chorus from the hymn Trust and Obey was going through my mind.  “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”  It goes back to what I said in my writing about prayer.  God wants us to continue knocking.  We are to pound on the door until we get an answer.  He wants to know if we are serious about our relationship with Him.  The valleys, as in my recent situation, are sometimes only our emotions or our reaction to a situation.  God is still God and He is still in control.  He wants to know if we are still serious about our relationship.  He wants to know if we will trust and obey anyway. 

So You Want to Go Back to Egypt



I noticed something when reading through the book of Numbers in the Old Testament.  Anyone who reads about the Israelites after they left slavery in Egypt will notice how often they grumbled against God, Moses, and Aaron.  They complained that they should have stayed in Egypt rather than die of hunger, thirst etc out in the desert.  Why did they think it was better to be in slavery than to be free in the desert with the God who performed so many miracles to bring them out of Egypt?

How many of us would rather be in bondage of any kind than live with the unknown?  We say we would do things differently but the history of mankind proves otherwise.  I think what it comes down to is this:  as humans, it is more important to us to be certain of something even if it is a bad thing, than to face the unknown.  Even a bad thing that is constant gives more security than the unknown. 

As beings created by an eternal God, why don't we have an innate ability to have faith.  God is pleased by your faith.  He is honored by it.  Why is it so hard?  I’ve heard faith described as a light that is strong enough only to illuminate your next step.  If you are like me, you want to know what the ultimate destination is and some of the milestones along the way.  God doesn’t work like that. 

In the process of living for Christ, we must relinquish the need to know what is next.  We must trust that the God who created us, has a plan for us.  It is a plan for prosperity and not calamity so we will have a future and a hope.  If faith just came naturally to us, how would God be honored when we trust?  It is when we trust in spite of the unknown that we show that we truly trust God and He is more important than our fear.  Oh God, let it be so for me.  

#faith #God #trust


Sunday, February 22, 2015

I Leave You, You Lead Me

I leave You
You lead me
I deny You
You affirm me

Your thoughts are not my thoughts
My ways are below Your ways

One step closer
Two steps back
When I refuse to budge
You love me ahead

I study You
You shape me
I praise You
You bless me

You give me grace when I deserve justice 

You teach me to love above all else 
You are God almighty and ever lasting

Saturday, February 21, 2015

What I believe to be God's View on Money

Matthew 25:14-30

For those of you who have attended church with any regularity, you may remember the parable Jesus told about the master who left the country and how he gave talents (money) to 3 of his servants.  One got 5 talents, the next, 2, and the last, 1, each according to their ability.  The one who got 5 worked and got 5 more and the one with 2 got 2 more.  The last one buried the talent and returned it to his master.  The master was mad at that servant and took it away and gave it to the one who got 5 talents.

I’m learning to trust God more with finances and it has been a long, slow road.  Doing mission trips to Costa Rica has helped my faith a lot.  We must understand that God owns everything.  Everything we have is on loan from Him.  He wants us to give Him the first fruits of all we have/get.  Think of it this way: Parents give more freedom and responsibility to their children as they prove faithful to handle it.  A boss gives more difficult or demanding work to the employees who are able to complete the task.  They don’t give the new guy the most important account.  The more importance something holds, the more trusted the person must be to handle it.  Have we proved our trustworthiness to God?  Does He trust us/me enough to give more to us/me?

When we are faithful to do so, He will give more because we first proved to be faithful with a little.  Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.  ‘Test me in this,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’”

Remember the last part of the parable?  The master took away from the unfaithful servant and gave it to the one with 5 talents.  God will withhold from us when we are unfaithful.  Therefore, He tests us with our finances.  When we do get a little extra or even the minimum, what do we do?  Do we seek His will regarding it?  If you get a bonus at work, is your first thought to take a dream vacation or buy a new car/computer/TV?  Do you give God His due first?  Do you ask what He wants done with the remainder?  He gave it to you but maybe He wants to bless you by you blessing someone else.

This is what has gradually become clear to me:  When we are faithful to handle finances the way God wants us to, He will give us more and more.  He wants us to use that extra for His kingdom. One of the main reasons so many people are in need is due to the lack of individuals who will use their finances in the manner in which God wants it used.  

Rather than think of ourselves with our money, ask the Lord, “How should I use what You have given me?

#tithe #faithfulness

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Once More for the Band


Stumble through the stages of a song,
Fumble with the phrases I've been counting on
For so long to get by,
And feeling they apply to everyone but me.
Jesus, I have stared so hard into the light,
My vision isn't what it used to be

But with every ounce of strength I'm saving the best until the end.
Once more with feeling, and once more by your hand,
And like a tune that's never fading, play through me again,
Once more with feeling, and once more for the band

Painted from the praises I suppose,
Framing every face I ever dared to show,
It all goes by so fast,
And here I am at last, waking from these dreams.
Jesus, I have listened to the crowds so long,
it's hard to hear your voice above the screams

But with every ounce of strength I'm saving the best until the end.
Once more with feeling, and once more by your hand,
And like a tune that's never fading, play through me again,
Once more with feeling, and once more for the band.

Lord, once more with feeling, and once more for the band

Crumbächer

 

#crumbacher  #memories

Babylon



Infidels
in a broken time
our fathers bled the ground
chained and bound

Castaway
should the remnant die?
my hopes were growing numb
overcome

She bewitched
with a Siren's cry
she beckoned, "Come and learn"
is there no return?

chorus:
Babylon
born in your walls
bred in your will
captive until
I heard the heavens cry
Babylon
this is goodbye

Aftershocks
and the sorrow grows
some make their slow descent
some repent

Rescue me
these idols lie
I cannot bear the shame
make this desert rain

Steve Taylor from I Predict 1990 

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Magic Roundabout: Part VIII



The statement hit Peter like a bucket of cold water and shook him to the core.  His wife was dead and …. Well nothing else mattered.  Melissa was really dead but how was she here?  What was this place?  Were they in heaven?

“Is this heaven?”

“No, but this is a magical time and place.  It is actually both.  It is its own time and place.  I don’t know how else to explain it to you.  The best way to understand it is that there are other dimensions.  Occasionally, people get access to them.”

Peter thought for a moment, “So is the roundabout a way to get here?”

“I guess.  I don’t know how you got here.  For me, I just know you are here and it seems as if it is normal, like it is supposed to be this way.”

“How long will we be here?”

“I don’t know.”

“Then I want to savor every moment with you.”

Melissa smiled and replied, “Works for me.  What do you want to do?”

The day seemed to last longer than normal.  In Peter’s mind, it was the opposite of real life when good times go by quickly.  In this case, time seemed to slow.  When evening arrived, they simply all slept together beneath a tree.  It seemed natural.  It seemed right. 

Slowly, a consciousness came upon Peter.  It was like walking down a long hallway of his mind to a room that had a sign by the door that said, “The Present.”  Peter began to feel his hands on the steering wheel and the G-forces pushing him to one side.  Then he understood he was driving the car but he wasn’t certain if he was going home or to the college.  He felt Marie in the seat next to him.  She asked, “Daddy, what was that?”

Unsure if she had the same experience, Peter countered, “What was what?”

“I saw mom.  She is just like I remember?”

“Honey, there is no way you could remember your mom.  She died giving birth to you.”

“I know but I think she used to visit me when I was a baby.  Something about seeing mom just now made me remember her visits.”

Peter and Marie never fully understood how the roundabout allowed them to visit with Melissa.    Sometimes it worked.  Sometimes it did not.  Still, they were grateful for the opportunity and did visit with her again.

 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Nature



Pastoral meadows, strolling rivers
wash over my weariness
I gaze and soak in the beauty around me

Snow capped peaks, glaciers breaking and
crashing into the sea
The visions stir my soul

Swaying branches, gentle breezes
flow across my skin
It wears away my stony shell

Nature transports me to a brighter world
It is such a plastic life I live
So much is man made but
let nature be real and wipe it away

Sandy beaches, waves crashing
over to continue the cycle
Life is more than what I see

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Faith and Dreams



Faith and Dreams 

The ingredients that give
life it's sweet flavor
Both exist only in the
hearts and minds of those
bold enough to have faith
and dream dreams
Neither can be proven in the
physical sense
but it lifts the bold ones
to new heights

Faith and dreams

Mysteries solved and
mountains climbed
They shine light in the
dark hour
Hope in a no-win
situation
The eyes that see the
unseen path
The way to the stars

Monday, February 9, 2015

Problems: Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing



Sometimes things happen and we are convinced it is the worst possible thing in the world.  I was discussing this with a lady at work one day.  She confided in me such an event that took place in her life a few years ago.

She said her husband came home one day and announced that he wanted a divorce.  Her world collapsed.  She was angry and hurt to the core.  To make a long story short, before the proceedings were finalized, he showed up at the house to say he made a mistake and wanted to make amends.  She never wanted to separate in the first place but it was a difficult decision.  After some counseling, they restored their marriage.  She told me that despite the horror of living through it, she doesn't regret it at all.  Their marriage is stronger than ever.  

There are events that come into our lives that are horrible when they start, but turn into a blessing after time passes.  We don't have 20/20 foresight and never know the outcome at the outset.  Since every testing period has the potential to make your grow, hone your personality, and ultimately bless you, you (and me and everone) should view every event as one that has the power to be the best thing that can happen.

We've heard of wolves infiltrating the flock wearing sheep's clothing.  They devoured the lambs, got their fill, and the flock lived in fear.  However, we have good that is bestowed on us everyday.  Sometimes, the good comes in like a sheep in wolves’ clothing.  We shake in fear and cry out for deliverance from this wolf, this calamity.  When the lamb is revealed, we can embrace him like a long lost friend who bears good gifts.  We can have confidence that we will be better in the end.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Problems: Square Peg in Round Hole



If you are like me, you see value in troubles and difficult situations in life.  You understand that you can become a stronger person because of them.  Therefore, when you are in the midst of difficulties, you take it with a grain of salt.  

Call me crazy, but I can honestly say that I don’t remember the last time I had a bad day.  I don’t have bad days.  I DO have some days that are more stressful than others.  Also, I’ve come to realize that there is more good that happens in my life than bad.  Everyone had bad days and good days.  Good and bad visit everyone.  When something bad happens, if figure it is just my turn.  Good will come soon enough.  

Still, sometimes bad things seem to linger.  They hang around a lot longer than normal.  When this happens, I use past experience to try to get me through.  I look back at circumstances I have already lived through to try to ease my way through the present tunnel.  

I’m learning that sometimes, knowledge based on your life history does little in some situations.  You will have to have a paradigm shift in your thoughts, emotions, learning, and maybe even way of life.  

I think a good example of what I mean is childbirth.  Of course, my experience comes as an observer.  Childbirth is a wonderful experience.  After watching the birth of my first child, I called my family to tell them the news.  During a conversation with my sister, she said to me, “Wasn’t that an event unlike any other you have experienced?”  Truly, it is.  

Now I do not wish to speak for women, but I think this is a good parallel to what I mean.  You can do all the studying, take all the classes, and prepare all your life, but you still are not prepared for the actual event of giving birth.  I mean from the mother’s point of view.  We men can still be left feeling unprepared and awe struck.  Multiply that by one thousand and we may begin to understand the mother’s perspective.  Once the child is born, there is a complete shift in life.  Nothing about your life will ever be the same.

Many years ago, I was faced with the possibility that my basis for living was wrong.  I don’t mean occasional doubts that creep into our minds and cause us to wonder.  I was looking into the eyes of the monster called Doubt.  I was facing the fact that this doubt was real and not what I previously believed.  If my belief system was wrong, where do I place my hope?  I was lost.  For the first time in my life I knew what it meant to be lost with no hope of survival.  I knew no one would be looking for me.  

What saved me is that I learned my belief system was right, but not in the way that I thought it was right.  Because of a shift in my faith and my way of thinking, my beliefs are stronger now than ever.  I’ve heard it said that a mind that has been enlarged by an experience can never shrink back to its formal size.

I was trying to fit the square peg of my past experience into the hole of my present reality.  Needless to say, it didn’t fit.  So it is with some circumstances in life.  God is prodding us to open our minds, our lives to His molding.  Once we shed the last part of the cocoon that entangles us, we will see with new eyes.  We have to get a new round peg for the new round whole in our lives.  The old square one no longer fits.  Based on an earlier statement, maybe we just graduated to a larger hole.  “There’s a God shaped hole in all of us.” 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Problems: Take Your Lap


Everyone has problems.  Things come up in life that we have difficulties dealing with.  Why does this always happen to me?  Why do they rear their ugly head at the worst possible moment?  While I won’t profess to say that I know why they come, I have identified 3 types of situations that I believe are common to everyone.  I hope something that I say will help.  

In the next few installments, I want to address a few things about these 3 types of circumstances.  The 1st is what I call, “Take Your Lap.”  Number 2 is “Square Peg in Round Hole.”  The last is “Sheep in Wolves' clothing.”  

Take your lap

In many schools, if you act up in gym class, the coach/teacher will have your run a lap around the track or gymnasium.  If you are bad, you take a lap.  Isn’t that the way life is?  We get punished for doing the wrong things.  Some type of punishment follows making bad decisions.  Now I won’t say that happens for all bad decisions.  Often, we get away with things.  Admit it.  We do.  Still, I believe that life has a way of balancing things out.  

Have you ever noticed some things in your life seem to repeat themselves?  Certain themes reoccur in your life.  I believe it is God having you take a lap.  Some of you may be thinking to yourself, “Yeah, God has it in for me.  He likes playing with me.”  

Let me ask you something.  What is discipline for?  Why do parents discipline their children?  It is done so they will learn right from wrong but more than that.  We want our kids to grow up and be productive members of society.  Discipline helps mold character.  These are simple answers but I like to keep my entries brief so I’ll move on and trust you get the idea.

If you want your child to learn something but they aren’t learning it, you need to repeatedly discipline them and show them the correct way.  Granted, you also need to do it with love as any good parent should.  We want what is best for our children.  

After God led the Israelites out of Egypt and they crossed the Red Sea and received the Ten Commandants, they rebelled against God.  They didn’t believe God could get them into the promised land.  What did God do?  He had them take laps around the desert for the next 40 years?  After that time, they got another chance at it and they were faithful.  

If you repeatedly have the same problems, maybe God wants you to learn a lesson you have been refusing to learn.  Find out what it is, do it right and go into your promised land.  God wants you to learn your lesson and He is patient until you do.  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

He'll Let You

He’s in no hurry.
He’ll wait until you get it right.
Just so you remember
You can always start again.

He’ll let you walk the lonely
streets haunted by your past.
He’ll do what it takes until you
realize the strength and love He gives.

He’ll let you trap yourself in the
ugly, helplessness of your own desires
so you will remember there is a
better way to quench your thirst.

He’ll let you wallow in your stubbornness
thinking you deserve better
until you see the light and understand
His love waits for all to come to repentance.

He’s in no hurry.
He’ll wait until you get it right.
Just so you remember
You can always start again

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Live My Possibilities

To bring a reckless art
under careful subjection
To have words of the heart
show a truer reflection

To stretch a lazy mind,
extend capabilities
This my delight to bind
Live my possibilities

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness



When I decided to start writing in my blog last year, I felt like I would be nothing more than a voice crying out in the wilderness, nn electronic wilderness.  Who will hear a voice in the wilderness?  More than likely only those who are lost.  Since I want to reach people, this is as good of a place as any.  I knew I had things I had to say but also realized that I probably wouldn't have much of an audience.  

I still have words in my heart fighting to break free but I realize that my messages are not for everyone.  While I believe that everyone can take something from what I write, I understand that some people are not ready to hear what I say.  

Nonetheless, I know that when someone is ready, the messages bursting forth will affect your life.  You will pause and reflect on your life and circumstances.  I know that words can be the rain in the deserts of our lives.  They can fill our sails with wind and move us where we need to be moved.  Lord, I am ready.  Speak.  I am listening.  Breathe in me.  

A Time of Need

The last time he saw his mom, Paul spoke the words he had to say.   He recognized her discomfort as she shifted on the bed and redirected he...