Thursday, February 16, 2012

Get On With It

 Back almost two years ago I started this blog out of what I heard the Holy Spirit whisper in my ear. I had never given any thought to putting my feelings or dreams down on paper for people to view, let alone post them as a blog.  As I have tried to share some of what I know to be true, tears would come to my eyes because I know I couldn’t have written any of this if  I wasn’t obedient  to what I felt on that day. Once again I hear that gentle whisper, and I feel that this is going to be my last entry till I break ground for real. My hope, if you have been reading was, that I stirred something in you to discover for yourself what is pleasing to God, and in a way have challenged you to dig deeper down to a firm base... hard pan.  As you do, you will learn for yourself what it means to build on a foundation that lasts. Over this journey, reading my Bible I felt that I connected with some of the men I have read about. Out of Noah’s obedience the Bible says his family was saved. If you don’t attend church, start looking for a church you feel at home in. Believers are just people whose lives have been transformed from the inside out. From the HEART. We're not perfect, we just hold on to the hope that a good work has been started in us. Believe me when I say this out of your obedience, your family can be saved. You could be that blessing in someone’s life, there is need all around, you might even be the answer to someone's prayer. People can get so caught up with the material things of this world. "It’s mine, it’s precious, I must have it," that we don’t want to share. In one of the final scenes from the Lord of the Rings, as Bilbo Baggins tries to complete his quest, his companion Sam says, "I can not carry the burden for you, but I can carry you." Just think about that for a while. I know we have the power to make a difference. We don’t have to carry the whole burden for someone. We don’t have to adopt a whole village, but we can adopt one person. We don’t have to give all our money, but we can give some. Little changes in your life can have a lasting effect. Addictions don’t have to be generational. You can change that. We all need someone to come along side of us. It may be just a gentle hand on the shoulder asking, "How’s it going?" Or someone asking, "Is it all right that I pray for you?" Because that burden we carry sometimes can weigh us down.

Galatians 6:2
2 Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

Our Bibles are full of instructions. Words to encourage us. Words to inspire us. Words that will move you if you let them. Words that will change your very foundation. We all want the best for ourselves, our families, our friends, so why wouldn’t you want to live a life that brings glory to God? And stop running from Him. 
Philippians 4:6
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
I know we can’t carry everyone’s troubles.  I also know that we’re instructed to pray for one another. If I could pray one prayer, it would be to for you to never give up, because there is so much more at stake, more then we could ever  know or comprehend.                                                                                                                                                         
Quote                                                                                                                                                   “When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor, and wrought substance of them, See! This our father did for us.”  – John Ruskin                 

We all can influence someone’s life, and as we build this house remember that someone is always watching. As I remember my granddad and some of the stones he has laid, I am challenged to lay stones that my grandchildren will say, "These are some of the stones my papa laid.  As I finish off,  I wonder are your children proud of this house, and will they say, "This is the house our Father in Heaven built for us." 

                                                                                                                                                          Proverbs  18:22 22 The man who finds a wife finds a treasure and receives favor from the LORD.                                                                                                                                                                       Love John ,  See You On The Other Side      LOG-ON       

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Invited To The Ball

      …Sometimes you can feel a little left out. Maybe the job you have has you working when different events take place, or you’re a student that has a deadline with exams, and projects to complete. You could be the parent of young children that need you to care for them, or you just don’t want to attend. Whatever the reason, that’s o.k. There are times you know in advance that you will be at an event. You purchased a ticket, you’ve got an invitation with the date, time, and location, so you know exactly where to go. Several Sundays ago, our Pastor announced that in a few weeks our church was going to fast. All were invited to participate. That Sunday I accepted my invitation, and I started to prepare myself for whatever was going to happen. It was as if I had been given an invitation to the ball, and I couldn’t wait to get there. I had caught a case of the Cinderella Syndrome. The only difference was that my spirit was excited, as to what was going to take place. I had no 12:00 o’clock curfew, and I got to leave the ball with both slippers. Have you ever walked into a room, and you just can’t quite put your finger on it, but something is different. There’s almost a presence, an energy of expectancy, as to how the night is going to play out.  I was privileged to observe as two worshipers came to worship. One was a dark skinned teenager who knelt in prayer, the other an elderly white gentleman with hands held high, giving honor, glory, and praise. There’s one   Spirit, one God. Youth pastors, janitors, cabinetmakers, housewives, and skateboarders, we all have the same Spirit in us. God doesn’t discriminate.                                                                         
Corinthians 12:5 (The Message) 
God's various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That weekend will be one that I will remember for a long time. Not only for the anointing that each elder prayed over us, or the fact that I had to clear out my mom’s apartment, and my daughter moved out on her own.  As I stood in the doorway of my daughter’s empty room, my mind began to reminisce of her, and the years that went on in her room.  Memories of our little princess girl, that now has her invitation to the ball called life. It’s funny how God can speak to us through all of life’s moments. With all the teaching and worship that went on at the church, as people emptied themselves of whatever holds them back, I felt I was encouraged to empty out things that want to hold me back. Now that we have this empty room in us, now that we have confessed, now that we have come before the Lord, help us Lord to long after the things that please you, fill us up with all you will have us to be in you. Guide our paths; create in us daily a right spirit.On the final night of our corporate fast, words were spoken to dream again, to ignite again, and to reboot, to blow on the embers once more. As we have confessed our sins, emptied out, got rid of, laid our burdens down, call it what you want, I only know that with everything that happened this weekend, one thing is for sure, God is FAITHFUL.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

My daughter’s room didn’t stay empty for long. I was selective as to what I wanted to fill it up with. Oddly enough, some of my mom’s furniture went in there, and in an odd kind of way I could visit my mom in this room.  I love music, so music will be played in this room.  I love to dream, so dreams will be ignited in this room.  I love to pray, so prayers will be prayed in this room. For now my daughter’s room will be given a new name.  I think I will call it the dream room.                         LOG-ON

Have Faith


 Noah built an ark in preparation for a flood. He was obedient to what God was telling him to do. He was called to gather two of every kind of animal, make an ark, and get prepared for what was to come. God is calling each one of us for something: a vocation, marriage, dreams, new birth, and death. How we prepare is really up to us. We can spend our time thinking about the past. We can waste time worrying about tomorrow, or we can take care of each days troubles as they come. I am not so naive to say we shouldn’t plan for the future. We should. We should also pray that God would direct our path. I started out building a model log home, a dream of sorts. In a way I went out  on a limb. I was being obedient to what I felt the Holy Spirit was prompting me to do at the time. I can honestly say, that as I have worked the walls, and thought about the different stages of construction, something happened inside me. As I read my Bible I wrote down some of my thoughts. I know what I have written came out of my spending time, trying to listen to whatever lesson I needed to know. That every stage of construction is important: from the blueprints and design, foundation, choice of material, color on the walls, even the tweed in the carpet, right down to the smallest detail. The term, "turn-key," is often used in the construction of a log home. That’s when the company you chose hands you the key to your new log home, and says, IT IS FINISHED                                                                                                                                                                                          As I sit here and write my thoughts I am moved, stirred up inside. I can't help but wonder when the company you choose hands over the keys, which home will they be for? Over this last while as I have tried to go deeper, by reading my Bible, worshiping, praying, and at times crying, I think about how this soul is doing. I have been blessed, moved, and challenged in my thoughts. I have come to the conclusion that heaven is our true home, realizing now that  I have the key to the right home.
                                  Hebrews 13:14                                                                                               
14 For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come .                                                                          Log-On                                                      

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Helper

…Something happens when you move towards what ignites you inside. I don’t think it matters if the steps you take are small steps, or big steps, as long as you are moving in the direction you want to go. You may never even get there, and that’s o.k., but you need to be on the road that will get you there. I’ve taken a step in the direction I want to go, and purchased a piece of property with the hope to one-day build that log home. This property is well treed with just the right amount of slope for good drainage, and a view of the ocean. There was no driveway, or clearing, so we needed to decide where the entrance to the driveway would start, and how it would wind through the forest to a clearing where the log house would be built. The day the big tractor arrived to make an opening in the forest was probably one of the best days toward this dream, watching that big tractor plough through the thick forest, knocking down trees, tearing up stumps, and preparing the clearing where we would build. I remember having fun using a string to get an idea where the walls would be. Or trying to figure out where I’d be looking out the kitchen window, sitting at an imaginary table, watching guests drive up the driveway. We’ve decided when we build this log home to build a shell log home, one that is built in the yard of a log homebuilder, then trucked to the site where the foundation is ready to accept the home. Trucked with the log home shell is a representative, or supervisor to instruct with the reconstruction of the log shell. The homeowner is encouraged to have some willing people to come alongside, and help. Wouldn’t that be an incredible experience? Sometimes I can almost see the truck driving up the driveway, and I can’t help wonder how I will feel on that day.                

Your spirit may feel empty, ugly; full of big trees, large stumps, weeds that tie you down, and hold you back. One step in the right direction soon becomes two, then three, and before you know it, you are standing in a clearing. When we were trying to decide where to start the entrance to the driveway, or trying to visualize where the clearing would be, we would stand back, look at this thick forest, and have no idea what to do. We would go away, come back. We were city folk. This forest that was so thick overpowered us, with its massive cedar trees. Finally we had to make a decision. Get on with it, one piece at a time. God’s grace is like that, one piece at a time. I am amazed when I look back over my life, and the process. I have watched as big trees, large stumps, and weeds have been ploughed up, and a clearing prepared for the Son to shine in, the wind to blow freely, and my spirit to dance. Sounds like freedom. Don’t let circumstances, past wrong choices hold you back. One piece at a time can change a life. As we are building this house we have been given a promise from the master builder. God said in his instructions I will never leave you, I am going to send you my representative to help with the construction. God formed us in our mother’s womb, His work yard. Prebuilt, then shipped us out. Doesn’t it make sense that He is going to send us a helper? So I wonder what it’s going to be like on that last day when we see the Son of God return. I can’t help wonder how I will feel on that day.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          John 14:26  (The Living Bible)                                                                                                           26 "But when the Father sends the Comforter instead of me--and by the Comforter I mean the Holy Spirit--He will teach you much,as well as remind you of everything I myself have told you."  



Thursday, January 5, 2012

That Old Suit

...Memories are built into a house. Maybe it’s the hole from a nail where a picture hung, the color of a room, that stain on the carpet where the accident from the pen left it’s mark, to the inch marks on a wall where we would measure our children as they grew up around us. Memories, a little like that old suit hanging in our closet. At some point that was your favorite suit, and I’ll guess you thought you looked pretty fine in that suit. Then one day it got moved to a storage type closet where it only got worn once in a while, till you stopped wearing it completely.
Some memories are cherished, while others are destructive. Maybe it’s time to let go of that old suit, let someone else have something nice to wear, and in the process make some room for new memories.
If the walls of your house could speak, what would they say? Newly wed, young family, empty nester. There was laughter, singing, acceptances, good dinners, and direction. There was a holding comfort, a willingness to let go, and a concern for the family living there. As a parent I sometimes think it’s too bad the little ones have to grow up. I remember a time not too long ago my son would run to greet me at the front door, with big hug and a smile. A memory I hold very close.
Have you ever felt at peace with the Father of the Universe? Could you try to imagine what it would be like to run to Him, and have Him wrap His arms around you? If we could learn to hear Him, if we could learn to see Him, we would learn to feel His love.
Sometimes we hear people before we see them. We hear a voice in the distance calling to us, and as the figure in the distance comes closer, we recognize them. I believe that there is a voice, deep with in us... it’s calling. It’s a voice that was there when we were in our mother’s womb. It’s calling “Come to me all who are weary, and I will give you rest for your soul.” Do you ever feel that your mature Christian walk, whatever that is, has drawn you away from the Fathers love? As a father, I miss the times my son would run to greet me, so I could wrap my arms around him. We all need to grow and mature, and as we do, let us not forget that the Father of the universe longs to wrap his arms around us.
Sometimes a thought can almost feel like a voice telling you something. I don’t want you to think that I am losing it, but this next part is true. Later that same night, I woke up around 2:30 a.m. As I walked past the closet where my wedding suit hung, this thought came to me. I am not going to call it a voice, but it was as if I could hear “ What about me?” That suit has been hanging in my closet for 34 years. I know that I will never be able to wear it again, so do I need to give it away, and let someone else have something nice to wear, or just let it hang in my closet. We all have memories, stories, a song, a dream, something that ignites your heart, your passion. As I sit here thinking, where would we be if people didn’t share their talents and gifts with each one of us? What kind of house would you be living in, if someone didn’t build it? What kind of education would you have if someone didn’t teach you, or how would we be entertained if someone didn’t share their talent and gift with us? ‘Note To God’ sung by Charice, on ‘You-Tube Live’ … look it up and be moved.
You could almost say, memories are like a self-directed savings account, that you draw on when you’re feeling blue. They’re one of those assets in you financial portfolio that appreciate in value, more than gold, stocks or bonds. There are memories I hold very close to my heart, that no amount of money could buy, or would I trade on the stock market. Memories are your one asset that appreciates over time, and the longer you have them the more valuable to you they become.
        I want to say we all have days that get us down. Call them cold days, rainy, damp days or days where life seems to take it’s toll on you. But I am almost afraid to categorize people, so I’ll just say somedays for myself I can go to my account, and make a withdrawal, and be thankful when God was faithful, remember my Mom, her laughter, her smile, her love, or the times I held our babies in my arms, and held their head so close to my shoulder. Opportunities come, and go. All we can do is make the most of them. Remember that old suit? It did come out of the closet, and off the hanger. As I look at a young man wearing it, I reflect back to memories of the day I wore it, the day I became a husband, then a dad, then a papa, and the life I had with my family.                                                                             Colossians 3:14. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Special Log

… Life is full of ups and downs, highs and lows, disappointments, and accomplishments. We have been told to make the most of what we have been given. There is a true peace in being content. I feel that we need to be very careful in this contentment, and not let down our guard. Watch for evil, be alert. Be pillars of the faith, always looking for the good in people. In this modern day there are many ways to heat a log home. Natural gas, which relies on a furnace lit by a pilot  light is one way to accomplish this, till the flame goes out. Then you will find yourself in the cold, looking for alternative heat, possibly wood, if your home has a fireplace. The average log used in the construction of log homes is between 12-14 inches wide. Logs are noted for the ability to retain heat longer that conventional construction. Sometimes the master craftsman uses logs that are so special, that only they, will fit right where he wants them. (as I noted in a earlier blog, “Are We There Yet .”) I personally see these special logs, as having character. Logs that have seen some bad weather, have growth lines, are more than 14-16 inches in width, logs that can hold the heat longer when it matters the most.
This past week the pilot flame in my furnace stopped working. How convenient, since the topic at the men’s breakfast was when your spiritual pilot light goes out. Coincidental? I feel there is so much more going on here, more than I can comprehend. It’s a serious thing when cold penetrates a home. The floor gets cold, the rooms get chilly, nights seem longer, and if the heat doesn’t come on, soon there could be permanent damage to the structure. So I wonder what happens when your spiritual pilot light goes out? I have been blessed to have a home with a fireplace. So as I wait by the fire for the repairman to reignite the pilot light, my spirit is thankful because I know that the heat will be on soon. Till then I will enjoy the heat from the fireplace. You’re maybe in the cold of life, or a season that brings pain. Let God’s word light your fire again:
Psalm 34 (The Message)
1 I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise. 2 I live and breathe God; if things aren't going well, hear this and be happy: 3 Join me in spreading the news; together let's get the word out. 4 God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears. 5 Look at him; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him. 6 When I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot. 7 God's angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray. 8 Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see - how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him. 9 Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness. 10 Young lions on the prowl get hungry, but God-seekers are full of God. 11 Come, children, listen closely; I'll give you a lesson in God worship. 12 Who out there has a lust for life? Can't wait each day to come upon beauty? 13 Guard your tongue from profanity, and no more lying through your teeth. 14 Turn your back on sin; do something good. Embrace peace - don't let it get away! 15 God keeps an eye on his friends, his ears pick up every moan and groan. 16 God won't put up with rebels; he'll cull them from the pack. 17 Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you. 18 If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there; if you're kicked in the gut, he'll help you catch your breath. 19 Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time. 20 He's your bodyguard, shielding every bone; not even a finger gets broken. 21 The wicked commit slow suicide; they waste their lives hating the good. 22 God pays for each slave's freedom; no one who runs to him loses out.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Grandma and Papa's Day Out

...There’s this excitement in the both of us, as we travel to pick up the boys for a sleepover. My mind starts to wonder what kind of visit are we going to have? Grandma has her list of activities planned… walks to the park, making play dough, coloring, story reading, and not to forget watching Thomas the Train. Papa always likes to drive to the log yard where they make log homes. It’s just what Papa does. Somewhere along the way we forgot you don’t really need a list of activities to keep a one and three year old boy busy. They seem to manage just fine all by themselves. Do these little ones do things on purpose, or are they just trying to get a reaction? “So tell me, what is that white powder on the top of your head, and down the front of your face?” as I stand at the bottom of the stairs looking up at one of the grandchildren. The playfulness of a child, or the stupidity, I’m not sure. Anyway, no harm done. In the background I can hear a voice, “Come And Find Me” as we shift to a game of hide and seek. We search for Auntie Jenny. “I’m down here,” a voice cries out from under a play pen concealing her. Smiles, laughter and young children, welcome memories of when we played games with our own children. Bedtime… let’s just say someone got to sleep in a tent that wasn’t outside. So it’s off to Church. Everyone’s buckled in their car seat, all two grandchildren, seems like more. From the voice of a three year old, Papa’s been given the buckling procedure, and safety instruction of the child car seat. We sometimes think that our actions don’t matter, or our words aren’t heard. Don’t fool yourself. I listened, as my grandson asked why at a certain point in the service, when everyone was clapping, someone he knew wasn’t. Someone is always watching and learning from us. It’s been said that all our children and grandchildren want from us is quality time. Parents also want the same thing from their children. God is no different. He doesn’t want quantity time, He wants quality time. This thought became real to me on the ride home from church. My son was sitting in the front seat beside me, as I tried to talk to him. I could see by his facial expression that he had no clue of what I had just said. That’s when I noticed the little white headphones coming out of his ears. That’s when I noticed the conversation was one-sided. So I wonder what blocks people’s heart and Spirit from hearing God. Little ones take in everything we teach them, I want to say curiosity, but it’s much more that that. It’s almost a trust, a faith like belief, that what we are teaching them is true. And they aren’t wearing headphones. So why did God create grandchildren? Was it to show us how fast life goes by? Or was it to show and remind us to have the curiosity of a child, a faith like curiosity. Grandchildren remind us how it was to be young. They will also teach you to have a faith like a child again. There are circumstances that want to block your Spirit, that part of you that wants to connect to God’s Spirit, when all we need to do is listen. The older I get, the more I should be able to hear God’s voice. This weekend reminded me of that, and this Papa is thankful to two young boys who helped show him how to listen. ‘Papa needs a nap.’

Isaiah 7:14
14 All right then, the Lord himself will choose the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel -- 'God is with us.'