Archive for the ‘on Spirituality’ Category
April 24th, 2012
When I look closely at my life I am often tempted to ask God “why?”
Why do I have such excellent health?
Why am I still employed?
Why do my children and I have such good communication?
Why am I happily married?
Why have I never gotten a speeding ticket?
Have you seen what’s in my heart Lord? Why are you even still living there? It must be too small and dark a place for someone like you. I even tried to take credit for my blessings as if I could bring them about on my own. I’m not even cooperating with you half the time! Doesn’t that irritate you? Don’t you think you could have picked someone more deserving than me to pour all this out on?
I am not sure why you keep blessing me, Lord.
What have I done to deserve all this?
February 24th, 2012
I quit flipping open the Bible to find God’s will because I found He was only speaking from middle of the book, on the right hand pages.
October 2nd, 2011
There once was a young man who had no head. He was not keenly aware of this fact because he simply followed what his heart had to say and that seemed to be sufficient. Every unfiltered inclination that proceeded from his heart went straight into his life without much hesitation. It was a rather simple life plan and he liked it though he never really thought about it since, as I have said, he had no head.
Upon occasion, his heart would direct him to be quite generous and kind, even to total strangers. He was often treated by his heart to the warmest of sentiments when he followed these urges. But as often as not it would suggest he do something that could be considered… selfish. He was not usually conscious of this however, since of course he had no head. His heart did not generally give him much indication of this either as it had been known to change its opinion so quickly that it seemed to contradict itself. He felt this, having a heart, but could not explain it since he was without a head.
In time this young man became a true believer in Christ, confessing with his heart that Jesus was Lord. Indeed his heart was changed by God and experienced the sincerest desire it had ever known. It felt new power and energy that it had never before experienced and could not find from any source within itself. But being all heart and no head, the young man simply enjoyed this new and truly wonderful sensation and followed it as much as he could.
After more time however, the young man felt his heart, the same one that had been changed, giving him an old command that he had not had for a long time. Then almost as quickly, he felt a fresh impulse that seemed more like his new heart. But then came the old urge again! This went on so long the young man felt torn apart. And for the first time he wished he had something other than his heart to listen to. As much as he was glad to have the heart he had, he felt like he needed something more.
One day early in the morning, the young man’s friend gave him a present. It was a box that looked like a large book. He quickly opened it and indeed the box contained a book but it also had something else – a beautiful new head! The young man was exceedingly happy. The head had bright eyes – to serve as a lamp to the body, the book said. They needed to be kept good so that the whole body would be full of light. The head also had two perfect ears. The book said that whoever has them is to hear, and the young man knew that they, like the eyes, he should take great care with them. In addition to these, the head had a tongue. The book gave a great deal of information about this part of the equipment, mostly warnings. The tongue, for example, could be left running when it appeared to be turned off. When that happened, the heart might use it without much discretion. It could be very dangerous, the book emphasized, but it could bring great healing also if used correctly. It needed careful supervision.
Finally the head had a mind. Not the top of the line model, but a very good one. It was to be involved in everything the young man did. If he prayed, he was to use it; if he sang; he was to use it; if he undertook a project, he was to use it. Everything he did from now on was to include it. The book made it very clear however that the mind was limited. It could be fooled or could misread information, or just plain get stuck in low gear. At first this disappointed the young man. But the book suggested that the mind be used alongside the heart instead of being its replacement. The mind was to make the decisions even if that decision was that the heart was right. The heart was to inspire the mind and keep it from functioning without feelings and joy. Each had its job and if balanced properly, the book said, they would give not only direction to the young man but also peace.
The young man wore his new head enthusiastically and was overjoyed at the progress he made. He kept the book always with him and studied it daily. Which, by the way, was a decision his mind made and his heart agreed on… most of the time.
August 30th, 2011
My thoughts are a mess most of the time, like a liquid waiting to be poured into a mold. The mold is my words. We don’t really form our thoughts fully until we open our mouths to speak them, or write them. In fact, try to image everything that you would want say before you speak. You can’t do it, because thoughts only take shape as they are combined with words. It’s a mystical meeting designed by God.
Though God isn’t bound by our limitations in this respect, interestingly He chose to use words to complete His work. In Genesis, clearly God knew His own mind, but no action took place until he spoke. Then creature occurs. Jesus is the “Word of God” not only because He is the vehicle of communication, but because he is the embodiment of God’s most perfect action. He was in that sense “spoken” into human form and human history – “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. When Jesus speaks people are healed, the dead are raised and demons flee.
Likewise, we are condemned or acquitted by every careless word since each word is an action. From the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks and thus gives form to the formless thoughts inside us. We are saved when we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, (Romans 10).
This works in our favor. In the praises of God spoken aloud there is power that does not exist when they are kept inside. Once they are spoken, they exist in the objective sense that they moved the air about us, entered our own ears and the ears of others, and rose to heaven as a testament. While we keep our thoughts inside, God still sees, but only he can discern their meanings. Once we speak, then we, and others, can too. It makes a difference when we speak our praises, and sing to one another in hymns, psalms and spiritual songs since the enemy, and the angels, can no more read our thoughts than men.
Words, spoken or written, give life to the raw materials of thought swirling about inside, bounced back and forth by feelings and circumstances; interrupted, forgotten, fleeting or profound.
June 18th, 2011
Most people admit to having blind spots in their personality, character or thinking. And some of us are open to having trusted friends address them. Theoretically. We will accept hard truth only if we have some idea of what it’s about. In other words, we can take knowing about our blind spots if we already sort of know they exist. But it’s a different story when we are truly blind to a blind spot.
Let’s use me for example. If a trusted friend pulls me aside to tell me I’ve been insensitive or quick to judge someone, and they think they’ve seen this pattern and just want me to know… that’s cool, sort of. Those are blind spots that aren’t too blind, more like really myopic. If a mentor tells me I didn’t get the input of my people before making a critical decision – guilty as charged. That’s also a blind spot I expect to pop up now and then.
But try and tell me something I am truly blind to and at best there’s only a 50-50 chance I won’t defend myself and become defensive. Don’t tell me about something that I have not considered – and find irritating in others – cause you’ll be a know-it-all or worse, a hypocrite with numerous problems of your own! (Which I will probably innumerate for your enlightenment!)
Funny how people who are actually blind would give anything to see no matter how ugly they might be when they looked in a mirror, while those of us who are blind to ugly things about our character, would often prefer to stay in darkness.
May 29th, 2011
I workout at a small gym next door to an even smaller cemetery. The cemetery is behind a small house with a large garden. I go about 3-4 times a week at lunch, and when the weather is nice the bay door in the back of the gym is open. If you stick your head out to get some air you can see the cemetery and the garden separated by a chain link fence.
I always take a break just to look at those two ironic neighbors. Each having a planting of sorts, each peaceful and each very natural. I make it a point to remind myself of two things when engulfed in the mist of testosterone generated in the weight room.
First, growth is the natural state of God’s creation. Just as He planted a garden and asked Adam to tend it, we still live in that basic blessing. The blessing that growth happens.
And the second thing is that growth ends. It ends because we did not appreciate the fullness of it. Rather than tending and enjoying, the first of us wanted something more, but got something terribly different; something preternatural, that has become natural for the rest of us.
So between the cemetery and the garden I pause. It helps keep me balanced as I realize I can’t bench press what I used to.