Saturday, September 24, 2011

How's Your Wood Stacked?

I get a little uneasy at times when I hear people say God spoke to me, or God told me to tell you, you should do whatever it is they tell you to do. Then I wonder why God didn’t speak directly to me. I do believe God speaks to us. For me it’s not a voice, it’s more a gentle whisper. It’s the words in a song, or something that catches my eye, and something in my spirit is moved. And if I am listening, I will hear God speak. I would like to try a give an example. A few weeks ago my wife and myself, along with four other couples, attended an anniversary dessert night. It was a night where we got to know how each one met, and when they knew that their partner was the one for them. The host showed us around their home and shared with us some of the things that made this house a home. For some reason I was drawn to the fireplace, and thought it a little odd that summer is just ending and the fireplace already had wood in it ready to be lit. At the time I didn’t think too much about what I saw till a few days after. Something was stirring in me, almost an uneasiness. It was if God had spoken to me. I didn’t hear a voice or a whisper. What it felt like was a gentle nudge. It was a question that was being asked of me. I know that God is a personal God. He will meet you where you are at. His Spirit knows no boundaries. What I believe I heard that night is, “ARE YOU READY?” What I saw was a fireplace, and in the hearth was a neatly stacked pile of wood placed carefully there, just so, by the homeowner. Ready to be lit when the cold winter comes. Officially summer has just ended. Fire season and cold winter nights are somewhere off in the future, but winter is coming. Personally for me, it’s coming as I watch my dear mother waste away, and I feel I need to be ready for that day when we say our final goodbye. Winter is coming for us all, life is full of surprises and we all need to be ready, so that we are not caught off guard. Sometimes I hear people complain, or worse, they don’t even speak to their parents. I think, how sad. As I get ready for that final day, when I say goodbye to my mom, I am always thankful for God’s gentle whisper. There are many things in life we need to be ready for, so my mind wonders, how is your wood stacked in your fireplace, and are you ready for winter?
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Create In Me A Clean Heart

....I only know what the Lord has done for me. It’s been said that a leopard can’t change it's spots. Or once this way, always this way. You’ll never change, you will always be a… whatever. I’m so glad that I’m not a leopard. Life has often been called a road we travel on, a road that if we are not careful could take us in a direction we don’t want to go. Yesterday I got to travel a road that I traveled over 20 years ago. It was a road that took me from home to work, and as I sat in traffic around the same time of day that I would have sat so long ago, there was almost this feeling of familiarity to it. The stop and go, the merging in,the same buildings, even the sound of the train, as cars had to wait for the train to pass. As I looked, I couldn't help think that many be some of the drivers and their cars were the same. For those commuters nothing much had changed. For a brief moment I almost felt that for me nothing had changed, even though 20 years had passed. We’ve been called creatures of habit. In God's word we are told to be masters over the animals, I find it odd when people label us. I’m so glad that I’m not a leopard, that I can change. Life is tough, some of the roads are hazardous. In God's word we're told of a helper–someone to guide us. We are cautioned not to grieve God’s Spirit. We are instructed to meet with others in the faith. The road we travel may seem familiar but it’s us who change-it’s how we react when we are cut off, it’s our attitude when we're sitting in traffic too long. Sometimes we have to travel around the same problem till we get it right, or wait longer than we would like to. The road I traveled yesterday took me past where I worked so many years ago. I realized that I am not the same person. Something in my spirit reminded me that a Christian's journey is a daily journey, that the choices I make are important to God.

Genesis 1:28 (New Living Translation) 28 God blessed them and told them, "Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters over the fish and birds and all the animals."


Monday, September 12, 2011

Take Me Back

…What A Privilege. This past summer I had the experience of a lifetime. My wife, my son, and myself flew to Finland, my wife’s parent’s homeland, and Ireland, my birthplace. Finland wasn’t at all what I had expected. Beautiful landscapes, rolling wheat fields, the people looking so healthy. While in Finland we felt a little like we were in a relay race, that we were the baton in this race, as we were passed off to different relatives. There was a prize at the end of this relay that we were unaware of. Knowing what the prize is now, and the importance for us to finish this relay, has made me wonder what relay race are you in. Our prize keeps coming to my mind every time I think of Finland. My wife who had been corresponding to her Aunt finally got to meet her. She was a petite lady who had just celebrated her 90th birthday. So-o-o sweet. As we had tea and birthday cake she reminisced to my wife about her mom as together they look at old back and white pictures. This reunion was so incredible, as I stood of to the side and watched two family members who have never met come together. I was told later that Aunt had been praying for years, hoping that one day she could meet her sister’s daughter before she died. This small woman who had raised 10 children of her own, her prayers were answered. I was so blessed to see this happen, to be able to watch as they hugged for the first time all I could do was wipe the small tear from my eye. God can do far more that we can imagine. The race you are running is important, you may not know the out come at the starting line, or the importance of finishing .So much of what we are doing in life we unknowingly are doing on faith. You don’t have to be a Christian to be doing things on faith, I believe that we all have a hope inside us that thing are going to workout. Who would have thought that a little 90 year old lady would be my prize at the end of my relay race in Finland.

Ireland … We all have roots, some good some bad. Roots nonetheless I was just a little nervous going to Ireland it had been 43 years that I had walked there. Someone once said that when you go back that far you can be disappointed in what you find. That place where we played as a child, no longer exists or we wouldn’t feel welcomed in a country that is no longer home but still holds deep feelings inside. I will be forever grateful to my cousin who showed us Ireland and some of her landmarks. But more that that showed me and thought me the importance of family. That each part is needed. This Blog was given to me as a gift for fathers day its taken some unexpected turns its helped me to realize how important each one of us is .In a funny kind of way it’s given me a voice I never thought I had and I’ve come to realize that I can never be complete as I try with Gods help to build this house. Not many people have the opportunity to travel to their birthplace with their wife and son. We’ve rediscovered family, history and culture. Every were we went we were welcomed and hugged often. There is a move of God maybe a renewing that I never new as a small boy .We were privileged to tour one new church with over 700 hundred members and growing as people are curious to know what is going on in side this new building. There is defiantly a hunger for more in Ireland.

1 Corinthians 13 (New Living Translation)
9 Now we know only a little, and even the gift of prophecy reveals little! 10 But when the end comes, these special gifts will all disappear. 11 It's like this: When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now. 13 There are three things that will endure -- faith, hope, and love -- and the greatest of these is love.

‘You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the man.” Author unknown.