Having Divine DNA

“You’re the spitting image of your father.”

“You look more like your mom every day.”

Such Things

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.

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Kids want to be like their parents.

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!

Nurture/Nature

Is it DNA? Something genetic that gets passed down? Or is it nurturing within the family culture? We imitate those we are closest to.

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Sons want to be as strong as their Dads.

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:

  1. Requires a specific action: “the peacemakers.”
  2. Promises a blessing of words: “will be called”
  3. Connects behavior with relationship: “sons of God.”
dad and son changing tire
Be with your father, become like your father.

The Context

“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.

To Close

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.

 

Believe It or Not!

Some things don’t make sense. Or, they don’t make sense to me.

Some Examples

  1. 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.
  2. I don’t understand road construction. Enough said.
  3. 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.

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It was so hot I nearly took my shirt off. Nobody wanted me too.

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!  

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A huge snowdrift in summer!

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.

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The Bristlecone Pine, living at 12,000 feet and rooted in rock!

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.  

To Close

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.

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I believe. 

 Shalom

Two Amazing Places

It’s one of my favorite places, requires four-wheel drive, and sits at 11,000 feet.

What?

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. 

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Lake Kerr, Colorado, one of my favorite places!

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.

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Like a polished mirror, amazing!

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.

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The Sea of Galilee in Israel, an inspiring place!

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.

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Sea of Galilee 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.
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Maybe my favorite lake and one of my favorite places to visit! 

To Close

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.

Shalom

A Tired Treadmill

It’s Thursday morning, and I just returned from the gym. It was brutal.

Why?

Some mornings I’m energized and ready for a great work out. Then there’s the other kind, the kind I had today. Don’t really understand why. Maybe it’s a lack of calories, or maybe a poor night’s sleep. Or both?

Limping Through

That’s how it felt, just limping through. It’s the work out I couldn’t wait to finish. Any amount of weight was too much to lift. Any kind of aerobics were too aggressive. The stretching was painful. I gave it a shot. But after 30 minutes, I went home. 

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Not me or my gym, but close, really very close.

And Now…

Well, and now I’m blogging about it. Why? Because it’s on my mind and it’s my blog and I can waste the readers time with something innocuous if I want too. Sorry.

A Lesson?

Maybe. Let’s see, is there something I can link this to, something of value? Hmmm. Well, here goes:

  • Perseverance: nothing good comes easy
  • Patience: nothing good happens quickly
  • Power: the body needs fuel to work effectively
  • People: my work out buddy wasn’t there
  • Procrastination: not sure how it applies but it’s a good P word.

Something Spiritual?

The Spirit is willing but the body is weak. Yep, how true. My spirit wants to soar, to aim high, to reach for the stars. My spirit seeks to be lifted by the Holy Spirit. A weak physical work out is one thing, but a weakened spirit due to lack of nourishment is another.

Can my soul be energized with too few calories? I need the Holy Spirit?

To Close

I’ll get by with a weak work out. But not so sure with the spiritual part. Frankly, I need the fresh breeze of the Spirit every morning. My day is better with it and far less effective without it.

How about you?

Try, Try Again!

I’ve noticed some things…

  • It’s hard to be brilliant with a mediocre IQ.
  • Its tough to be gorgeous with below average looks.
  • It’s difficult to be a high achiever with only basic skills.
  • It’s impossible to be accomplished without a work ethic.

Of The Four

I can’t raise my I.Q. My looks were fixed at birth. I can’t order more skills from Amazon. However, working harder is within reach. Effort requires no skill, only determination.

Determination is within everyone’s grasp.

The Lie

Some say success comes only to the brilliant, to the beautiful, and to the gifted. No doubt it helps. But how would I know? However, it’s a lie that success is only for the blessed.

  • “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” T. Edison
  • Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” Unknown
  • “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” Babe Ruth

The Messiah

Reading about the Messiah’s ministry, I get these insights about his work:

  1. He was an early riser.
  2. Every day he taught, did miracles, and blessed people.
  3. He went to different villages & synagogues every day.
  4. He always welcomed children.
  5. He was never too busy to help someone.
  6. Jesus often worked till late in the evening.
  7. He had the Spirit’s power, but the work ethic was all him.

Now Jesus

“At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.” Luke 4:42-44

A Famous Quote

The following quote came from a Teacher’s Manual written by American educator Thomas H. Palmer (1782-1861) He wrote it to motivate students to do their homework.

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Be encouraged. Don’t give up. Effort requires no talent, just an unyielding desire to see the job done.

Success may be just around the corner.

Shalom

A Bone Marrow Transplant

I’m not an expert, so please bear that in mind.

Stem Cell Transplants

Leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow, where the blood cells are made. One treatment is to have a bone marrow transplant. The first step is to undergo a heavy course of chemotherapy, destroying the cancerous bone marrow, blood cells, and the immune system.

Then, the patient is given a bone marrow transplant with new stem cells. If successful, the new bone marrow will produce healthy blood cells and restore the immune system. Even the patient’s blood type changes.

bone marrow
Basically, something dies so something new can live, its transformation.

It’s a process of transformation. The cancerous bone marrow is destroyed so healthy  bone marrow can live, producing healthy blood cells. It’s almost miraculous.

The Power of Transformation

Paul wrote, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2

Spiritual transformation is triggered by the renewing of the mind. As if to say, “If you want changed behavior, then first change your mind, if you want to be different, then get a different mind.”

Some Parallels

  1. Leukemia-Sin
  2. Diseased bone marrow-The ravages of sin
  3. Chemo kills the blood cells-The blood of Jesus gives new life
  4. Leukemia destroys the immune system-The Holy Spirit revives us
  5. What destroys must be destroyed-He who died makes new creations

A Renewed Mind?

It’s becoming holy in our thoughts, speech, and behavior. It’s the remodeling of that which was sinful and selfish into that which is holy and divinely beautiful.

The Holy Spirit is the architect of renewal. He will help you every day and in any moment. The Spirit offers renewal, if we allow it, if we seek it.

To Close, Simply

We can be changed, we can be transformed into the very image of Christ.

Shalom

Kids, Cars, & Kitchens

Sometimes I do what I need to do. Sometimes I do what others need. Sound familiar?

Yesterday’s Schedule

  • 5:00-Work out at the gym
  • 6:00-Get ready for work
  • 6:30-Work on blogs 
  • 7:30-Writing/work on next book
  • 9:00-Arrive at office:
    • 9:15-Office appointment
    • 10:15-Office appointment
    • 11:30-Lunch meeting
    • 1:00-Meet with one of the ministers
    • 2:00-Coffee with a member for counseling
    • 3:00-Study and sermon prep
    • 5:00-Meeting with the Elders
    • 7:00-Meet with men’s leadership group
    • 8:00-Tidy up and head home
    • 8:05-Driving home, make calls to check on people
    • 8:20-Home! See Danielle, have dinner.

Not every day is a fourteen-hour day. Some are longer. Some shorter. Some days have more time for study, reflection and prayer. Some don’t.

Do you get to do what’s most needed? Or are your days busy with the needs of others?

Examples

  1. How busy are moms with young children?
  2. How much time does a single parent get?
  3. What about those who are primary care givers?
  4. Think about people who travel constantly for work.
  5. Some are avalanched with calls, customers, and contracts.

You get the idea.

Someplace Quiet

  1. “At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place.” Luke 4:42
  2. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16

He needed solitude to commune with his Father, because every day Jesus served the needs of others. But he always found a few minutes for himself.

I know

He didn’t have lunches to pack, or kids to get out the door, or rush hour traffic. There wasn’t  laundry to do or bathrooms to clean. He didn’t have events to attend. He didn’t cook for a family or wash the dishes.

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Sometimes we just have to do what’s needed most.

However, Jesus had his own kind of busy, with endless demands on his time, energy, and resources. Who among us would trade our life for his?

To Close

Be encouraged to be the best you can be. Find a minute to restore yourself. Listen to scripture while driving. Listen to uplifting praise music. Offer brief prayers throughout the day.

Connect with God, you’ll be glad you did.

A Thundering Menace

The storm kept me awake Monday night.

The Peals

It wasn’t the lightning or the rain, but the peals of thunder. It wasn’t booming over my house, but was distant, like a symphony of rumbling energy. As one peal ended then another started. As if God was conducting with divine inspiration.

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Things About Thunder

  • Can be scary
  • Can happen any time
  • Can warn of a coming storm
  • Can disturb your sleep
  • Can disturb your sleep all night

Sometimes the storm passes quickly, and sometimes not. Sometimes it parks over your neighborhood and hangs around like an uninvited guest.

Some Thundering Thoughts

  • We can’t control it
  • We can’t stop it
  • There is no volume control
  • Like it not, it happens
  • Ear plugs are ineffective

I Don’t Get It

What’s the point of it? I understand lightning, but not thunder. Sure, there’s all kinds of science to explain the physics, the electrically charged particles, and the sonic reverberations. But on a sleepless night, at 2:30 in the morning, who cares about science? What am I missing?

Maybe Job Can Explain It

“Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; and how faint a word we hear of Him! But his mighty thunder, who can understand?” (26:14)

“Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds, the thundering of His pavilion?” (36:29) 

“After it, a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice, and He does not restrain the lightings when His voice is heard. God thunders with His voice wondrously, doing great things which we cannot comprehend.” (37:4-5) 

To Close

Apparently, not even Job understood the thunder, but he knew where it came from.

Perhaps the thunder speaks of larger forces, of higher powers, and of divine things.  Once the thunder passes it leaves us with the sense of having been in the presence of God. That we exist within in his glory.

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It all points to Him!

Shalom

That’s Why We Praise Him

Great Expectations: not the Dickens novel, but the perspective of people of faith.

Some amazing places I’ve visited:

  1. The Grand Canyon
  2. The Great Wall of China
  3. The Mountain ranges of Alaska/Western Canada
  4. The view from the Empire State building’s observation deck
  5. The Statue of Liberty
  6. Jerusalem, London, Beijing, New York 
  7. The Temple Mt. and the Garden of Gethsemane
  8. The oceans

Some I saw as a child, and some I’ve seen since. But all were places intentionally visited, with eager enthusiasm, and with great expectation.

The Final Expectation

I’ve seen wondrous things and visited magnificent places. But there is still one place on my list. It’s the place I’ve wanted to see most, but haven’t gotten there yet.

I want to see Heaven.

What Paul Said

To encourage those who were struggling, Paul wrote this:

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And we will be with the Lord forever.”

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I Can Only Imagine

No pain. No hardship or heartaches. No disease, sickness or suffering. No abuse or cruelty.  No hate, malice, or war. No greed. No oppression or poverty. No sadness. No mental illness. No more struggle. No more death.

No more.

It’s Why We Praise Him: From Psalm 145

I exalt You, my God the King,
and praise Your name forever and ever.

I will praise You every day;
I will honor Your name forever and ever.

Yahweh is great and is highly praised;
His greatness is unsearchable.

In Closing

Worship is more than liturgies. Its more than reciting rote prayers and mumbling ancient hymns. It’s the expression of our minds and hearts and comes right out of soul. It’s our gift to God, the gift of honor and exaltation. 

That’s why we praise him, that’s why we sing.

Shalom

The Blog of Solitude, Part 2

My last post was, “The Blog of Solitude,” Part 1. Click the link if you’d like to read it.

The Blog of Solitude

Part 2: Addicted to Distraction

When I was 14, I worked all summer at a Christian Bible Camp. The counselors were college age or older and everyone else working there was just older. 

It was almost perfect. The exception was that my room was isolated and I was its only occupant. At first, it was cool to bunk alone, but it began to wear me down. I didn’t like being alone, wasn’t used to the solitude. 

Solitude

Sometimes we crave empty spaces. When stressed by people, projects and problems, we escape to someplace devoid of the three P’s. 

Sometimes we crave crowded spaces. When stressed by the absence of companionship, contact, and company, we escape to someplace filled with the three C’s.

Still, solitude tends to make us uncomfortable.

Spiritually

There is an idea that, “A Closer Walk With Thee,” is best found through solitude. That the desire to be closer to God gets blocked by our crowded existence, by people, noise, and distraction.

Some say we live in a culture of distraction, that we crave the sounds, voices, and images of everything else and of everyone else.  

We have TV’s and smart phones and tablets and computers, and keep them all online all of the time. What have we become? Are we addicts and junkies? Are we constantly craving a fix?

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Is It A Global Conspiracy? 

Those who push the drug of distraction are excellent marketeers. They convince us that personal fulfillment can only be realized by an ever invasive technology that populates our homes and preoccupies our minds.

So Where Is God?

Where is God in this culture of noise and preocupation?  When does his voice get heard? 

Does quiet solitude still exist? Do our addictions keep us from knowing ourselves? Are we afraid to see who we are, of what we’ve become? 

Answer this question:

       “Are you hearing the voice of God as much and as often as you need to?”

To Close

At some point, I had to admit that I didn’t like being alone in the room, and that I needed to do something to make it better. 

Are there other things that we need to make better? 

….to be continued. 

Shalom