Time To Say Thanks

I’m taking the time to say thank you.

To My God

  1. For bringing us through the storm.
  2. Because we are still alive.
  3. For my house not flooding.
  4. For your presence when the storm was darkest.
  5. For eleven days of sunshine.

To My Friends

  1. For checking on us every day through the storm
  2. For texting all night, the night the storm was most frightening
  3. For coming over, getting on the roof, and sealing it
  4. For calling, emailing, and texting us after the storm 
  5. For continuously praying for us

To My Church

  1. For going out every day to help others.
  2. For doing the nastiest, smelliest, and dirtiest jobs
  3. For delivering supplies, dehumidifiers, fans, tools, and support
  4. For your faith, compassion, smiles and prayers
  5. For helping every day when you were sore and exhausted

To Other Churches

  1. For offering your building because ours was flooded
  2. For partnering with us in the clean-up process
  3. For encouraging your Youth Groups to partner with ours
  4. For giving the much needed funds
  5. For your prayers, encouragement, and support

To The Rescuers

  1. You placed yourselves at risk for us
  2. The boats & helicopters, lifting us up and off our roofs
  3. For coming from other states to help us
  4. For working day and night and never giving up
  5. For saving so many lives

And Now

god lending a hand
“Father, can you lend them a hand?”

Dear Heavenly Father,

Please help the people of Florida, and the 7,000,000 who are in harm’s way. Please send them all they need: the rescuers, supplies, the funds, the sacred community, and your divine grace to see them through the storm and back on their feet.

Amen

“A Snake In The Grass”

Do you like snakes? Are you comfortable around them? I’m not.

Observations

  • Children like them, like to hold them.
  • Some people keep them as “pets.”
  • Zoos always have Serpentariums.
  • There are TV shows about snakes.
  • For some people, they’re just scary.

I’m with some people. Snakes give me the creeps.

Found One

I was relocating some slate pavers in my back yard. It was going fine, I had moved a dozen or so, then I lifted the next one; and there was a snake.

It was your average variety grass snake, maybe a foot long. It wasn’t venomous or threatening. It was just there, doing nothing, then it slowly slithered off.

snake
Not the snake I found, but close, really very close.

A Bad Rap

Snakes get a bad rap. Some say the only good snake is a dead snake. That seems harsh. The venomous ones are dangerous and the nonvenomous, though not dangerous, aren’t welcome to share our space, at least not mine. Like them or not, they have a place in the world. And they have a presence in Scripture:

  • Garden of Eden, the serpent.
  • Moses and his staff with Pharaoh’s snakes.
  • Israelites in the dessert, bitten by venomous snakes.
  • Was prophesied the Messiah would crush the snakes head.

You get the idea.

Our Messiah

Jesus knew about snakes:

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? (Matthew 7:9-10)

Jesus knew about bread and fish:

Twice he multiplied them to feed the multitudes. Twice he filled Peter’s nets. The second time was after his resurrection, at the Sea of Galilee. When the disciples went ashore to see Jesus, fish and bread had been prepared for them.

To Close

‘If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?” (Matthew 7:11)

Dads don’t give hungry kids rocks or snakes. And neither does God.

Nevertheless, be careful lifting those pavers.

Shalom

Pt. 6: Twelve Days of Christmas

The Lord sent a messenger to tell the Christmas story. Then the story was given to other messengers. I love the idea of God sending the message of his son to the world.

An Illustration

My grade school had a milk program. Each day a kid was picked to be milk monitor for his class; and it was a big deal. The honor was earned and awarded, and occasionally, it was awarded to me. It felt great to get the milk. I was appointed, I was the messenger; because of me people got milk!

God’s Messengers

God had messengers. On the night of Jesus’ birth, he sent an angel to share the good news of great joy, that a Savior had been born. The angel gave the message to some shepherds who immediately went to Bethlehem to see the new born Messiah. It’s a great story.

cole-angel-shepherds

The Shepherds

They weren’t Priests, Rabbis, or Pharisees. They were simple, ordinary men, probably poor, uneducated, and nothing special. Except they were the first to see the Christ. Think about it, God chose keepers of sheep to see the new born savior. And where did they find him? In a most ordinary place, a place that was nothing special. They found the Messiah in a covered stall used for draft animals.

shepherds-field

The New Messengers

Do you think the shepherds told anyone what they had heard and seen? The scripture says they went out and told everyone. The angel came with heaven’s glory to share the message with shepherds reeking of sheep. Then the newly minted messengers went out and told the world.

I guess God decides what makes a man special.

To Close

Being milk monitor was pretty good. But not as good as seeing the infant Messiah and getting to share the news. I think the shepherds turned out to be pretty awesome messengers. Theirs was the message of angels, the message of God.

“Today, a Savior has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord.”

Merry Christmas

Nothing But Green Lights

The other day I was driving to my early morning coffee and experienced something simply amazing. Every light between my house and the coffee place, and there are 19 lights, was green! It was so sweet.

What An Actor Said

An actor once made the following remark regarding a friend of his,

 “Your life has been one unbroken boulevard of green lights, hasn’t it?”

It was meant as a joke, and as a way of saying, “Wow, If I had your life and your money then I would be happier than I could ever imagine being.” 

green-lights

But That’s Life?

The idea of a person’s life being an “unbroken boulevard of green lights” suggests a life lived without problems, setbacks, or defeats.

Do you think it’s real? Are there people who glide down easy street; living a charmed life free of everything un-charming? There might be someone like that, but probably not.

Hiding The Red

Some of us hide the red lights, pretending everything is great when it really isn’t. Our ego pushes us to present ourselves as better, advanced, or superior to others, when really we are faking it, just posing for effect.

Some Posing Behaviors

  1. That our kids are better, smarter, or more gifted.
  2. That we enjoy a lifestyle beyond that of our peers.
  3. Feigning success and allowing others to believe it.
  4. That our careers are better than they are.
  5. Inflating the happiness of our lives.
  6. Saying things to sound impressive.
  7. Using information to inflate our importance.
  8. Spending money we don’t have to impress people who don’t matter.

To Close

Just know that nobody has a perfect life, nobody lives on green light boulevard. Instead of posing, we should invest our energies in loving and serving our families and friends, and loving them well.

Let’s not waste our time sustaining the façade of a make believe life.

Nobody believes it anyway.

Shalom

Five Things I Am Not Thankful For

Houston Freeways1. Insane Freeway Drivers: When did Houston’s freeways become racetracks? There’s a lot of crazy people driving at crazy speeds and pulling crazy stunts. They are a menace to society and a danger to themselves. And especially to me. Has all sanity suddenly slipped?

2. Dueling News Shows: I get hundreds of TV channels, most of which are nonstop news shows with talking heads reporting things they’ve already said a dozen times. Okay, maybe not most of the channels, but too many of them! I just love the promotional spots they do about their own news casters, as if I would select my news based on how personable and civic-minded the talking heads were. It’s insane and I’m getting off the merry-go-round.

3.  Day Light Savings Time: Really? Sure, it served a purpose. But its 2015 and hundreds of millions of us don’t want it anymore. Did you know that the hour of lost sleep contributes to diminished productivity, diagnosed depression, and other desperate behaviors and thoughts? Whatever value DST once had, it’s done; it’s had its day. And I say it’s high time we pull the shade on it. Uh-Huh.

4. Home Invasions-The Telephone: There should be a law limiting telemarketers to when they can make their unwanted, uninvited invasions into our homes. No more than an hour a day sounds about right. I mean, good grief Charlie Brown, enough is enough. Can we get to the place where arrests can be made, fines issued, and community service inflicted? Telemarketing is a blemish on the landscape of America. I vote revolt.

5. Lines, Lines, Everywhere A Line: Keeping me waiting in line has become a global obsession. The freeways are just lines of unmoving traffic, except for the crazies mentioned above. I can’t remember waiting less than 45 minutes to be called in a Doctor’s office. At the pharmacy, there is always a line ahead of me and when I’m done, there isn’t anyone behind me. How can that be? And don’t get me started about drive through lines. “Drive through lines,” are you kidding? They should be called “crawl through lines.” It’s out of control. I’ve had it with the lines.

These are five things for which I am not thankful. Yes, I know, it’s the season to give thanks and I do, mostly. It annoys me that the apostle Paul said to, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” Easy for him to say, he didn’t live in 21st century America with all of our challenges and problems. Clearly his was a life of simple, peaceful existence. I might be more thankful if my life was as easy and free of conflict as his was. Don’t you think?

It’s just a thought, thanks.