Everyone makes them. Most will admit it. Some will even confess it.
What’s A Mistake?
The word is defined as:
“An error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgement caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, or insufficient knowledge.”
That’s an excellent definition, it covers all the bases, is clear, concise and complete.
- Forgetting to put the lid on something and ruining it.
- Making a miscalculation in the checking account.
- Being late to pick up your kid after school.
Yep, those five are mistakes all right, clear miscalculations due to carelessness.
Some mistakes aren’t fatal, but still hurtful.
- Damaging a friendship with careless words.
- Doing something foolish and alienating a child.
- Losing our temper with the ones we love.
Those are serious but maybe not overwhelming, probably easier to remedy.
However, I would argue that the definition is lacking something. So much so that it could be thought of as a mistake. It failed to mention the gut wrenching, life shattering consequences that some mistakes leave us with, overwhelmed and destroyed.
- Reckless driving ending with others injured or killed.
- An affair that destroys the marriage.
- Being drunk or stoned at work.
Those would be in the category of overwhelming mistakes. Those, and others like them, can ruin lives, destroy careers, and in an instant separate us from everyone we love and everything we’ve achieved.
Some mistakes are concealed, hidden and kept undetected. But others are public, uncovered and exposed to the full light of day. They can haunt us and hover above our heads like a dark cloud. Some mistakes stick for life.
Overcoming serious mistakes isn’t easy.
But It Can Be Done!
Look for “Overcoming Our Mistakes, Part Two,” in Wednesday’s blog.
Awesome defined: “extremely impressive, inspiring great admiration.”
“Awesome” is a word used in a diet of verbal overindulgence.
It’s used to describe our children, marriage, profession, vacations and the cat.
Each generation has their jargon. When I was young everything was cool and super. As in, “That was so cool,” or “That was just super!” Looking back on it the “super” was just super annoying.
If everything is amazing and awesome then what words are left to describe what is actually awesome and amazing? If I repeatedly say my kids are amazing for everything they do then what do I say when they actually do something awesome? If my breakfast burrito is amazing then what word do I use to describe the grace of God?
Okay, Something Actually Awesome
For the past eight summers I have spent some time in the San Juan Mountains in Southern Colorado. I fly fish, hike and ride ATV’s. But mostly I sit quietly, look at the mountains, and reflect and pray. I seek clarity and inspiration, and find them. I leave as if I’ve touched the face of God. To me, that’s awesome, it’s, “extremely impressive,” because it “inspires great admiration.”
For the past three summers my San Juan Mountain friends have hosted my ministry staff for an annual retreat. They house, feed, and take care of us, and freely let us play with their mountain toys! They refresh our souls and restore our spirits. They minister to us so we can return and better minister to others. They do all that for us, but really they do it for the Lord, for they are believers, the church family of a sweet congregation up high in the mountains. We are one of their many ministries and they pray for us throughout the year. We return to Houston fresh and freshly prepared to faithfully follow Jesus.
Now that is the nature of awesome!
Thank you my mountain friends, you are the best!
It’s not always about who is first, sometimes it’s about who finishes.
“Tramp, Tramp, Tramp”
Do you know that song? It was a brutal Civil War marching song written by George F. Root in 1864 and was sung by soldiers as they marched into battle.
The tune wasn’t destined to remain a battle song. Nope, a lyricist named Clarence Herbert Woolston borrowed the music, gave it new words, and gave the song new life for generations to come.
Who was Clarence Woolston? He was born in 1856 and died in 1927. He was minister, author and writer of hymns and was Pastor of a Philadelphia church.
And his song? You probably know it, have sung it, and even grew up with it. Here is a piece of the song he wrote:
“Jesus loves the little children, all the little children of the world, red and yellow black and white, Jesus loves all the little children of the world.”
Woolston used the music of a Civil War marching song and transformed it into one of the most beloved songs of all time. Jesus loves the little children. Yep! Here are a couple of verses for you:
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
“He took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them, and blessed them.” Mk 10:16
On Sunday night, our church’s Children’s Ministry performed their Easter Musical,
“It’s All Because of Jesus”
Watching sixty kids sing songs of praise was inspiring; they told the old, old story with young voices and fresh hearts. Jesus loves the little children indeed.
I cried during the performance, which isn’t at all unusual, but I did. Before they came into the Worship Center to start the performance, I had a moment to pray over them. That prayer was granted. There is just something about watching and hearing children sing about Jesus that melts my heart.
I get why Jesus loved kids. I understand why he wanted them to have unhindered access. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
Sure, kids can be loud, busy and constantly moving, even distracting and disruptive at times. But it’s their hearts. Jesus saw their hearts, and the love of a child comes from the very center of their pure and precious hearts.
Thank you Mr. Woolston
Your song is a big hit.
The essence of salt and the nature of light.
We were created to need it. It’s not our only need, but we die without it.
The physical universe begins with light, for God spoke and gave it birth, it was day one. Not till the fourth day were the sun and moon purposed for day and night.
The light came first.
Jesus proved his authenticity by healing and he revealed his identity by the Scriptures. They recognized him as the Messiah, for his miracles and teaching were as the prophets predicted. They believed.
He launched his ministry by offering gifts to the disenfranchised. There were eight gifts in all. He said that blessings would come by having them. There were correlating actions or attitudes for each one. For example, those who mourned would be comforted, the merciful would receive mercy, and so forth.
The final gift was unique because there wasn’t a correlating action associated with it. The gift wasn’t given because of what they did, but because of what others would do:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Salt & Light
In the context of persecution, he said they were the salt and light of the world, which was about their influence, their message, and a ministry that would bring the persecution. In that context, he cautioned them not to lose their saltiness or to hide their light.
The core meaning: Don’t let persecution leave you unsalted or afraid to shine your light. Discipleship must never hide under a basket.
He reached out to the lost sheep of Israel, to those who were unwanted because of their demon-possession, disabilities, and diseases. They were unclean and defiled. And Jesus came to seek and save them. He restored dignity and divine purpose by declaring them to be salt and light.
He was the Messiah, called Emanuel. He was God among them and he came to save.
My introduction to the importance of salt came from football.
For a week in August we practiced mornings and afternoons. The heat and humidity were horrific. We were soaking wet by the time we got to the practice field. After each work out, we were given salt pills to avoid cramping. They said it was vital that we did.
Salt had other uses too.
We gargled warm salt water for a sore throat. I can’t remember if it helped. We ended up at the Doctor’s office anyway.
I remember my Dad, after the prayer, reaching for the salt and pepper shakers. So, we followed his example. Mom would say, “You should taste the food first.” She was right.
We cleared ice from the front steps and walk ways with salt. Not sure why the salt melted the ice, but it did.
“You are the salt of the earth.”
That’s Matthew 5:13. I guess those who heard understood what it meant. The Jews knew the importance of salt, especially those living in the desert regions.
- Essential for life
Do believers bring a sweet flavor to life? Do they preserve the world with righteous influence? Do people of faith bring healing? Are we essential to the world because we are its salt?
The Salt Covenant
Scripture mentions a Salt Covenant. It was primarily about trust. Each side trusted the other to sustain the agreements. The agreements were established and then salt was exchanged, the salt was a symbol of life. With God, he trusts us to give him our obedience and we trust him to provide what he promised.
Was there a Salt Covenant between Jesus and his disciples? Were they the salt the Messiah sent into the world? They changed the world by their influence, healing, and their Messianic message, and trusted Jesus to be with them always.
Do we have a Salt Covenant with Christ?
“You’re the spitting image of your father.”
“You look more like your mom every day.”
Such things are said when children mirror their parents. It may be their looks, how they talk, or their mannerisms and personalities. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” we sometimes say.
A couple of weeks ago, a good friend said to my adult son, “You are becoming more and more like your dad” I’m not sure how he felt about that? But I loved it!
Is it DNA? Something genetic that gets passed down? Or is it nurturing within the family culture? We imitate those we are closest to.
Fathers and Sons
Not to bias this piece with gender, but there’s an interesting beatitude about sons and the Father in Mathew 5:9:
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God.”
It’s The Only Beatitude That:
- Requires a specific action: “the peacemakers.”
- Promises a blessing of words: “will be called”
- Connects behavior with relationship: “sons of God.”
“Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him. Now when he saw the crowds…” (Matthew 4:25, 5:1)
The eight blessings were rooted in the Psalms and the Prophets. The huge crowds of Jewish people understood what he said and what it meant. For them, the diseased, paralyzed, and demon-possessed, the outcast and lost sheep of Israel, Jesus offered connection, he offered them the Father.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, for the Father embeds his divine DNA in the hearts and minds of his children.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.”
Shalom is a word the Jews say when greeting and parting from each another.
It means Peace.
Some things don’t make sense. Or, they don’t make sense to me.
- I don’t understand the internet, how so much information comes through a tiny wire into millions of homes and to millions of cell phones.
- I don’t understand road construction. Enough said.
- I don’t understand airplanes. I get there is less air over the wing and more air under it. Still, the weight of a passenger plane seems too heavy for flight.
Here’s A Thing
I recently went on an ATV trip into the Colorado high country. We got up to 12,000 feet. It was the last day of June, the sun was warm, and used sunscreen to prevent burning.
Yet, there were large patches of snow, and drifts over my head. I wore a shirt and shorts, and was often too warm. Was tempted to take off my shirt!
Here’s Another Thing
I learned about Bristlecone Pine trees. They only grow at high elevation and rugged conditions. They appear to be rooted in stone. They are known to live for 3,000 years there’s a tree in California believed to be 5,000 years old. It’s the oldest known living tree in the world.
Here’s One More Thing
Jesus walked on water. He cured the sick and healed diseases. He gave hearing to the deaf, sight to the blind, and mobility to the lame. He cured the decaying skin of lepers and raised the dead.
I don’t comprehend that kind of power. On the other hand, he was there when his Father created the world. And nothing was made that wasn’t made through him, (John 1:1-2).
Do I believe God’s son created the world then balk at his power to heal? The former makes the latter a reality.
Snow in summer, the internet, air travel, and the Bristlecone. Each are a mystery. Jesus our Messiah was raised from the dead, forgave sin, healed people, and then gave us the Holy Spirit.
It’s one of my favorite places, requires four-wheel drive, and sits at 11,000 feet.
It’s Lake Kerr, a few miles from Platoro, Colorado. It’s not a huge lake, but it’s one of the most beautiful. When the wind is calm, the surface is like a polished mirror, reflecting the brilliant blue sky.
I have fly fished the lake, have walked its shore, and have picnicked with friends. There are snowcapped peaks around it, and occasionally, the elk will step out from the spruce into the lush meadows of green grass and high mountain flowers.
It’s not easy to get to. At its worst, the road is impassable. At its best, it requires four-wheel drive, and even then, you’ll wonder if you’ll make it. But, it’s so worth the effort.
Another Favorite Place
The Sea of Galilee is also one of my favorite places. It’s not actually a sea, but a lake, and surrounded by low mountains and hills, and Mt. Herman is usually snow-capped. They aren’t as majestic as the Colorado Rockies, but still really beautiful.
I haven’t fly fished the lake, or walked around its shore, or had picnics with friends. It doesn’t require four-wheel drive to get to, but it does take some effort, it’s in Israel! I’ve worshipped there with friends, sometimes on the shore, and sometimes from a boat at sunset.
I have visited and studied the ancient villages and synagogues that exist around its shores, or close to them. And I’ve been deeply moved by its history and biblical significance:
- It’s where Peter, Andrew, James and John made their living.
- It’s where Peter caught the fish with two coins.
- Jesus calmed its storms that terrified his apostles.
- It’s where he performed the miraculous catch of fish, twice.
- It’s where he called his first disciples.
Both lakes stir my soul. The former because of its overwhelming beauty. The other because of its overwhelming significance. I’ve shared both places with friends. I’ve prayed and worshiped in both, and found peace, silence, and the still quiet voice of the Spirit.
Lake Kerr is where I see the face of God. The Sea of Galilee is where I see Jesus walking on the water. At least in my heart!
Two favorite places.