UNFINISHED PROJECTS

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This morning I was pondering things that would eventually become the title to this piece.
I was thinking of how much we strive in our doing and working and how despite our best efforts when our lives on this earth begin to run down and health and abilities wane…
What then?
Looking around I noticed mowers that have become a passion for me in a later stage of life.
A passion for repairing and restoring I was not ever really fully aware of.
And I began to reflect on all aspects of how that passion had begun to manifest itself.
Currently there is a young man living with us that had been in a bad situation and needed some help, we have grown to love him greatly but he does present many challenges and life changes for my wife and i.
Yet we are grateful to God for the abundance of grace and provision he provides in this endeavor. And we know that it is His work not ours being undertaken and that we are blessed and privileged to partake in.
This young man is not the first sent to us…in fact he is the fifth out of what we had considered to be four prior failures.
In retrospect we realized that those were in fact “failures on our part to some degree” but works still in progress and the next stage was not necessarily ours to live or experience.
Even when we have no alternative other than to put someone out, Jesus does not abandon and will finish what was started.
Now we both find our passions to do “the work” at a peak while our physical abilities to carry that work out ebbs due to health reasons.
Despite the limitations physically we also find that there has been some kind of honing preparing occurring within us…we can do less but the little we are able to do is tempered by wisdom gained, experience, compassion, grace…thereby the “little” is somehow enhanced and made to be more effective and it goes without saying…”more than sufficient”.
We never saw any of these guys coming, rather blind-sided by them but at the same time it was as if the holy spirit were whispering “this one” every time.
The reaction usually was “huh? No uh-uh…look at I’m he’s a mess I’ll just give I’m a few bucks or something to eat and be done”. Such was the case many a time but in other cases no such chance of simply walking away.
So we just had to finally admit to ourselves that this somehow was God’s Will, if one tries to interpret or understand then one misses the opportunity to obey in faith.
“It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God” indeed!
So you start asking yourself o.k. what next and before you can answer that you find that you’re not so much looking over your shoulder constantly for a watchful deity constantly checking on progress but become so involved in doing the work you almost forget the acute awareness/weight of He that is sitting right on your shoulders, not over-bearing in the least but instead patient and fore-bearing.
It is akin to learning how to ride a bike…and actually the parent/mentor who was running behind you holding you steady had let go and suddenly you advanced and mastered a new skill very subtly.
There is a peace, a calm that accompanies His work, His yoke is indeed light as He described, it is amazing!
We have no children of our own and can only imagine what it feels like to know that your child has made great strides and achievements and how proud a parent must feel to know that they have instilled the right values.
What is the “measure”, not ours to know…but His.
My dear friend Doug and his wife Hilary exude this kind of parent’s pride over their children and we get to participate in some small measure as observers but take no real measure of it, when God is involved His ways are immeasurable and in their case we believe we can safely say “He is very involved”.
David is the young man’s name who currently resides with us, I believe those before him were tests and fine tuning and that it all led to preparing us for David in a kind of training period.
I have heard through other workmates of his that he often slips and refers to me as “Dad”.
Immediately I think “Dad, are you out of your mind!” but a little smile usually creeps in that belies a warmth and comfort derived from hearing it…if I had ever had a son I would be very humbly honored to have one like David (I begin to think I could get used to this…?).
All of these young men were God-sends…this feels more like a God “stay” right nowJ
Whatever the duration and regardless of how God moves in this, we can be nothing but grateful.
And it makes me wonder…gives me tremendous p-a-u-s-e to just stop everything and reflect, meditate upon the true definition of a so called “Unfinished Project”? Somehow the understanding I thought I knew is totally flawed, this I know but I have no answers beyond that to offer. Need to know basis I guess…we have come to the conclusion after a very, very long road that we do not need to know, just hear and “do”. That for us (and mind you we are only speaking for ourselves here…) is growing more and more  to become the definition of True freedom in the ability to let go, especially learning when to.
Just watch the wheels turning autonomously now…disappearing off into the sunset’s horizon…as my friend Doug would say: “atta’ boy”!

Point EHHH? To BE!

chasm

There lies a great chasm between tolerance and welcome

The first is something we can easily be deceived into believing is the same as the second

Intolerance while misguided is more sincere and honest than a pretentious tolerance

While “going along to get along”

Can one sincerely welcome another while intolerant of them?

And can welcoming someone under the pretense of tolerance be of any good use?

We tolerate the bitterest of medicines when we know that it is beneficial to healing do we not?

We welcome the healing and bury the memory of the bitterness

Until we become ill again…

And then the dread of bitterness returns…

But so too the “welcoming” begins to seep in

The relief is often well worth the pain, anguish and bitterness that precedes it

It is in our nature to be suspect of the welcome

Whether it be in our welcoming or being welcomed

There always seems to be a price to be paid

It has already been paid…

But egos rebel against what’s already been done for us

When the battle has already been won

We seek ways to improve upon it

Before we’ve even truly accepted it…

By the way this way of thinking is pure folly

And…you’re welcomeJ

Disheartening…

(How many times did Jesus say “take heart, for I Am with you always?” And even if you only heard or read it once, didn’t it resonate within us, as if heard countless times?)

Jesus gave us the Sermon On The Mount

The more I look around

The more I listen and read

I’ve observed Surmounters of His Sermon

Those who believe to have arisen above to a higher ken (calling)

And feel the need to interpret, analyze, theologize…

Devote their lives to telling us…

What the scriptures really mean

It means one thing in Greek and another in Latin and yet another in Hebrew

They mean well but are they really just lending towards further confusion?

Why were those gathered there the simplest of folk

The brightest, the poorest, the richest, the sick, the robust, the young, the old

able to receive the same message just as it was intended?

Spiritual Director…

What is your Sermon of the day?

I will listen for The Holy Spirit

Regardless of anything you have to say

All of the baggage brought to fore

is deeply troubling and beginning to heavily weigh

Salaried and desperate for some new original twist

To keep us within sway

Churches are closing their doors more and more

And you still don’t get it do you?

So sad… 

God is simply a by-line nowadays to many

A name uttered as a last ditch desperate grab for attention,

a sound bite… 

A mention with dubious intentions

A cheap grab for ratings

on the nightly news

Not all who say they have been “called”

Truly have been.

sotm

A “GOOD SERMON” such as the following is effortless to receive…flows like “Living Water”

In The Beginning
A daily devotion for April 1st
From your friends at RayStedman.org
Read: Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).
Each of us began life as a baby, and we were unaware of what was going on around us or what the world was like. But as we grew older, we started to take note of the world—the sky, the sea, the winds, the birds, the flowers, the animals, the trees, and all of life around us. As we became aware of the world, we inevitably asked some questions about it. Those questions are the ones answered for us in brief compass here in the opening words of Genesis.

What are the questions? First, we ask ourselves, What is all this? Driven by an insatiable curiosity, humans have been attempting to answer that question ever since they first appeared on earth. They seek to explore the universe and the world in which they live.

Second, we ask, How did it begin? This question is the emphasis of science. Then we ask, When did it all start? How long has the world been going on like this? Finally, we come to the great philosophical question, Who is behind it? Who is back of these strange and remarkable processes? These questions are answered in this verse, and thus it serves as a tremendous introduction to the great themes of the Bible.

Take the first question, the one most obvious to us—the wonder of the universe itself. In the beginning, we read, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). Someone has said that this phrase is the beginning of true science, because a fundamental part of the task of science is to observe and classify all that can be observed in the makeup of the world of nature. Here is an early attempt at classification. What do you see around you? You see two great classes of things—the heavens and the earth.

One of the marvels of the Bible is that it uses language that communicates with people of the most primitive and limited understanding, while at the same time it still has significance and inexhaustible meaning for the most erudite and learned scholars. It addresses itself with equal ease to all classes of humanity. That is the beauty of Bible language.

The Bible avoids the utter ridiculousness of some of the early myths about creation found in other religions. It was the Bible that first said that the number of the stars is beyond computation. It declares that God stretched out the heavens (Isaiah 51:13) into limitless expanse that can never be measured and filled it with stars that are as numerous as the sands upon the seashore (cf. Genesis 22:17). Modern science has now established this to be true.

It is also the Bible that says the earth is suspended over nothing (cf. Job 26:7). In that poetic way it describes the mysterious force of gravity that no one even yet understands. It was the Bible that said that what is seen was not made out of what was visible (Hebrews 11:3), thus predating by many centuries the discoveries of science that finally recognized that all matter is made up of invisible energy and that matter and energy are interchangeable.

Lord, I praise You as the Creator and Sustainer of all things. From the very beginning of time, You have not changed, and I am grateful to know You as the One who has made all things.

 

 

 

Retreat

Arising within

Something old…

Diminishing

It still brings me to tears even now

After the passage of so many years

To speak this way with You so at ease

No one but You can see where i’m hidden away

Though heart, hand and pen betray my privacy

And if anyone is listening…

Reading, following along this trail of moist mystery

Streaming down a page like a clue

This is how i’ve learned to speak with Jesus These thoughts could be prayers…

Don’t know?

Can’t say?

All i can be certain of is this:

Right “Here”

Right “Now”

Is simply where i begin to shed all layers of “self”

To be…

With You.

abbey

(“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”) – Thomas Aquinas

Harvest Time-By Jody S.

Slither out from under the rocks that bore such grubs

Walk amongst the righteous on legs of hollow bone

Borrowing a dime for pockets overflowing with images of dead men

Armies of sunken eyes and grasping withered hands beg to be fixed

Buildings of ghosts left as reminders of prosperous times

Sins overshadow these spirits all but forgotten except by One

Faint hoof beats in the distance should be warning enough for fools

Rulers of ego, desperation, entitlement, and lies flee while still able

Yet the roots keep them bound in rotting carcasses of diseased limbs

Rivers run red from the cleansing of His swords

Arms extend with steel as rotten fruits are severed from the earth

Harvest time for a terminal crop to be resown with His nourishment

(Red River-By Andrea Rocha, Deviant Art/Red River)

red river

 

Weathering Heights (Rare Heir)

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It is rare

Uncommon…

No warmth in a cold unbelieving stare

So indeed…

It is rare

When something heard or seen in a dream

And a prompt accompanies

And a voice is heard

Then shared

Received… in belief… accepted as “true”

It is rare

Such long roads traveled

To get us there

The miracle apparent

Melts cold stares

And tears prevail

When eagles dare

There is a boldness before us

Refreshing, restoring…

That only need be grasped

Hands clasped together

Gather more

Than freed hands

Without guidance

What is rare

Is only rare

Because we have too easily

Accepted the common, mundane, uninspired, routines…

As exceptional

Everyday miracles abound

All around us

Unannounced…

In arrival

Without a sound

While standing where feet may have gotten temporarily cold and wet

Remained focused, intent, obedient, Persevered, elevated…

Moved on when it was the hardest thing to do

And a backwards glance over a shoulder reveals where once stood

And others feet along the same path had blistered, seared, despaired

Sunken slowly and drowned

Where once was a puddle

Now stands a lake…manmade

 

 

The “Best Friends Ever” Tethered 24/7/365

Diamond in the ruff-ruff-ruff?

I can only speak from my experiences as a dog owner in the South, it seems like hunting dogs are rarely regarded as “pets” but more like “tools” kept locked away till needed, like gardening tools in sheds. Often we see dogs (mostly Labs of all kinds) in the back of pick ups, this really appalls my wife though I kinda’ understand it though I would not ever do the same. These dogs…and my neighbors have plenty of them, they spend their days tied up come hell or high water till needed…neglected except for the too far between food and water refills. These are very common legal and accepted practices in the South. It’s sad, but what to do? Even if one could adopt them all…then what? Southerners do not part with their hunting dogs easily. To call animal control would only be effective if the dog is strayed and off-leash and the outcome most likely would be a kill shelter which are in abundance here. I currently own three dogs, three have passed due to illness and basically old age having lived a full life cycle, three remain. They resided indoors with us and were treated as more than merely pets but more like “family” and quite spoiled:) I understand that this is not the way for all of us and it can be heart wrenching when one of these dogs breaks loose and wends it’s way to us and are fed, bathed, treated for fleas, ear mites, ticks removed etc., but ultimately must be returned to their owners. This has been our experience as dog lovers for the past 13 years of living in the South, a cycle that repeats over and over yet feel helpless to change. Oh yeah…we get a warm fuzzy feel-good to do the right thing but it is so fleeting and depressing to release from temporary rescue such loving creatures in so poor a state. It is frustrating…and I am feeling angry and frustrated by something that has been brought to my attention so vividly but given no answers or solutions to pursue…maybe we can start with one…one at a time…maybe…we’ll see, don’t know but we’ll see.

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