Guard the image of man…

Love this quote from Thomas Merton.  So relevant…

You are not big enough to accuse the whole age effectively, but let us say you are in dissent. You are in no position to issue commands, but you can speak words of hope. Shall this be the substance of your message? Be human in this most inhuman of ages; guard the image of man for it is the image of God.

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Teen Repays Father’s Debt

I want to share this video I found on show2.me. Despite what the media will tell you, there really are some goods kids in this country.

When we surrender our life to Him, He gives it back to us: “For whoever would preserve his life and save it will lose and destroy it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he will preserve and save it [from the penalty of eternal death]”  – Luke 9:24

What are you afraid of?

Much of my devotional time has been spent reading about fear and scripture relating to fear.  There are several theories and esoteric dissertations about the number of times fear is referenced in the Bible.  Whether it is 80 times or 365 times, scripture repeatedly reminds that we are not to fear.  However, there are also many times when we are to “fear the Lord”.

“Fear” can be defined in a few ways.  One kind of fear is that which results from being in imminent danger, fright or panic.  You know, like teaching your teenager to drive!  Another form of fear is the emotional feeling that something bad might happen.  Afraid of getting sick or worrying about the future or some event that we likely have no control over anyway.  Having a fear of the Lord is the idea of having reverential awe, respect and submission.  A friend sent me here for a good article discussing what it means to fear the Lord.

I have experienced all of those fears.  I have one more type fear that I would like to touch on.  I find it very easy to talk about God, my faith, my struggles and how God has worked in my life to those I worship with and friends that share my faith.  But, I am afraid to have those same discussions with people I do not know or people that may speak counter to what I believe or simply asking my neighbor to church.  Maybe I am afraid of what they will think of me or afraid of rejection.  Maybe I am afraid that I will not be able to defend my faith.

It is this form of fear I believe scripture is addressing more than the other forms of fear.  One of the things that turned me off early in my Christian walk were bible beating lunatics screaming fire and brimstone.  Preaching that God is an angry God and I was going straight to the eternal fires of hell if I didn’t start doing this and that and stop doing this, that and the other!  “Whoa!  if that is your god, then I don’t want any part of it!”  I grew to think of Christians as being a group of hypocritical screaming lunatics!

So, what brought me back?  It took years, but I met some people that took time to talk to me.  They showed genuine care and concern for what was on my heart.  They talked.  They listened.  In time, I learned what they were doing was preaching me the Gospel.  Not by screaming at me and telling me how angry God is, but by how they were living their lives and how they treated others. They were showing me the Gospel by the way they lived their lives; walking their talk.

Those folks are gone now.  I know they are with their Lord and Savior.  They were not afraid to talk to me about their fears, their trials, how God had changed their lives, to listen or to extend an encouraging word.  They showed me a “no fear” way to spread the Gospel.

So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. – Matthew 10:26

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! – Psalm 96:3

Blessings,

David

He Is Everything

For anyone reading this that may have been around back in the day, this video is from a post I published several years ago.  A dear friend has asked me to repost it for his daughter to see.

The song is “Everything” by Lifehouse.  The song is very powerful, but the video really hits it home.

I am reissuing the tissue alert…

Blessings,

David

“Do you believe Him?”

Like many of you, the YouVersion Bible App has become my source of choice for daily reading of scripture and devotional reading. One of the many things I like about this app is the number of reading plans that are available.

I started a new devotional today called “One Word”. You can find more information about One Word on their website. In short, One Word is a 4-day devotional to help you discover the ONE WORD God has for you to focus on for the entire year. The idea is to use this word to cut out the clutter and complexity that can lead to procrastination and paralysis in your spiritual growth.

One question that I have seen in various posts and recently heard in a sermon is, “You say you believe in God, but do you BELIEVE Him?” So, after some prayer and reflection, the word I believe God has for me is “TRUST”. Do I really trust God? Do I believe God is who He says He is? Do I believe His promises? Do I acknowledge His power? Do I believe He really loves me for who I am? Do I trust Him to lead me if I truly let Him? My answer to all of those questions is, “Yes.” Then why do I still doubt at times? Why do I still fear? Why are there still moments when I feel God could not possibly love me? Are His words just nice thoughts or is He truth?

My prayer is that by focusing on TRUST, I will learn to trust Him more everyday and my doubts and fears will dwindle.

Be still and know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10

Feed my sheep redux

Our church is participating in a new ministry called “Feed my sheep.”  We gather on the third Wednesday of each month and prepare 240+ sack lunches for distribution to the hungry in our community.  We have always been a very welcoming congregation but we have not always been good at outreach.  Feed My Sheep is a great way for us to get out in the community and show the love of Christ to those we have been commanded to love.  I could list many reasons (read excuses) why we (read I) are hesitant to go out to demonstrate and proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I wonder if my list would be similar to yours.

I am reminded of a John Stott study where he tells of a homeless woman whom a parish priest promised to pray for as a brush-off, and who wrote the following poem:

I was hungry and you formed a humanities group to discuss my hunger
I was imprisoned and you crept off quietly to your chapel and prayed for my release
I was naked and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance
I was sick and you knelt and thanked God for your health
I was homeless and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of your God
I was lonely and you left me alone to pray for me
You seem so holy, so close to God – but I am still very hungry and lonely and cold

Her words convict me every time.

Love your neighbor as yourself. – Mark 12:31

Do you love me? … Feed my sheep. – John 21:17

Blessings,

D.

Howdy…

A lot has changed since I last posted.  I left my job that I had been in for 20 years and started my own business AND we are proud grandparents of our first grandchild William David!

We will see how it goes, but I have promised myself that I will make a diligent effort to get back into the blogging community that was such a big part of my spiritual formation for so long.

David

Howdy! I guess it is time for another of my “once in a blue moon” posts…

I heard this prayer during a recent study of Christian contemplative Thomas Merton. It is a raw and honest prayer that I will use as a source of strength as I continue to wrestle with questions of God’s will for my life.

I Have No Idea Where I Am Going – Thomas Merton

“My Lord God I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”