Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Dorian Declaration

Dorian Declaration

Standing on shore
Facing wind, rain and raging sea
Oh Dorian, you child of the sea
We echo words of Jesus
“Peace be still”
And the winds and the seas obeyed Him

 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him,
‘Master, carest thou not that we perish?’
And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea,
‘Peace, be still.’
And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
 And He said unto them, ‘Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?’
And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another,
‘What manner of Man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’

Friday, July 26, 2019

Look Back

A seed can grow a forest…
a spark can burn it down.

Look back at the path you’ve traveled.
Is it scattered with seeds, sprouts and watered trees?
Or, sparks, smoke and smoldering weeds? 

Look in your wake.

Is there laughter or strife?
Forgiveness, or hate?

Are you growing a forest…
or burning one down?

Does your memory wear
A smile or a frown
Laughter or tears?

Words echo on and on, long after they're said.
Are they kind or cruel?
Compliments or cut downs?

The most valuable a legacy
Isn’t houses and lands
Or rubies and riches
But memories that birth, love, laughter and life

Good seeds and deeds, grow a forest of fruit
Is the path you’ve traveled brighter, because you passed this way?
Each step, each breath, may only last a moment
But the ripples roll on forever

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16

Thursday, July 18, 2019

He listens

“What do you say, when you pray?”

She smiled, it seemed as if she blushed. Her eyes drifted toward heaven and she let out a small laugh. Her eyes were shiny when she looked back; her words, just above a whisper. “I listen.”

“You…what? You listen? But, don’t you ask—”

She held up her hand and shook her head side to side.

“Listen…just, listen?”

Her nod and smile were large, her eyes sparkled like a Christmas morning child.

“Okay, you listen. Then, what does God say?”

Again, her gaze drifted toward heaven. Her face aglow. A tear, that held no sorrow, trailed down her weathered and weary, but smiling face. She touched my arm, and looked into my eyes…my very soul.

The clock seemed to stop. There was no sound. I could hear myself breath, feel my heart beat.

Her words held more love, more power, more joy than any words I’ve ever heard…they changed my life…

“He listens.”

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Why'd they do it?

 It was her day off, it was early, it was almost 200 miles round trip, it was five hours out of her day, but she didn’t blink, just nodded and said, “I’ll be happy too.” She got up early, packed sleeping kids in car seats and made her way to our house.
About a hundred miles, and two hours, later, they dropped us at the airport, with hugs and kisses and tears and goodbyes.
Four-year-old Luke sat in his car seat, big tears streaming, “But I wanna go with Makah and Papa.” His little lip quivered. “I can get on the plane, too.”
He didn’t think of the consequences of being away from his mom. The one he clings to when he’s scared or tired or sad. He didn’t consider that he wouldn’t be able to simply go home on a moment’s notice. He just wept. Which made Makah weep too.
In the meantime, some 1550 miles away, they headed north. It was around eighty or ninety miles one way, at least three or four hours out of their day. They said they had to go up there anyway. I know they were just saying that. But there they were, all smiles, waiting when we got off the plane.
They drove us all the way out to our camper. Even though they had a graduation to attend, they waited to see if we’d be okay, if the camper survived the harsh winter, and even tried to jump the old truck out of hibernation before they’d go.
Why’d they do it?
We had a couple minor plumbing leaks which triggered multiple trips to town.
On one of the trips, for yet another part, somewhere between flex hoses, shutoff valves and cash registers, they showed up; seven of them in all.
They heard where we were going, dropped what they were doing, changed their plans, went out of their way, tracked us down and intercepted our journey. So, right there in the middle of Menard’s home improvement store, we improved our home, by having an impromptu family reunion.  
The rest of the day and into the evening we worked, and finally, sometime after nine—we were leak free.
The next day, as I was standing in front of the grill flipping steaks, I thought of her. Minutes later, she drove in. Uninvited, no plans ahead of time, she just showed up; because she knows, dad always says, "Family don’t need no invitation."
She stayed for supper and after three, or was it four? hugs goodbye, she got in her car and made her way back home.
Why’d she do it?
Today, cooped up in this camper, I traded my typical Florida attire of flip flops and shorts, for long pants and sweatshirt. Wish we had a fireplace. The sky is spilling a cadence on our roof while casting it’s dingy-silver reflection on the lake…and I’m reflecting on the last few days.
Why’d they do it?
Why’d they drive for hours, leave their homes, change their plans?
On second thought.
We left the space and sunshine of our Florida home in a peaceful park with a sparkling pool, for this dreary, rain, cramped camper and cold weather.
Why’d we do it?
And then I see the sun break through, listen to the breeze through the trees, smile as the birds start to sing. Through the window I watch as if the scene goes from black and white to living color…and somehow, in the midst of it all, I see and hear and feel, The Creator.
And just like that the answer comes.
In the midst of the cold and dreary, cramped and weary world, there still remains the undeniable proof of the One who left the spacious splendor of His sparkling city, simply to make a way for us, every.single.one.of.us. to be with Him.
I caught a glimpse of what really matters, a partial fingerprint of our Father, a reflection of His heart's greatest desire for us all to be one. One big, noisy, messy, happy, loving, family.

Jesus prayer for us today:
 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am” (John 17) 
Jesus, the Word, became flesh.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness could not extinguish it. (John 1)
Jesus left Home just to be with us:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2)
Jesus ran and won so we can be one:
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12)

 iluvu & ipray4u every day.

Friday, April 26, 2019

He Didn't Say

“Where’s your brother?”
“How should I know? Am I my brother’s keeper?”
“What have you done?”

The first son out of the womb, killed the second.
He didn’t say to the parents, “This is your fault. You should’ve raised him better.”
He didn’t say, “I never should've made those rocks. I need to ban all rocks from the earth; they kill people.”
He didn’t shift the blame. “Abel must’ve offended you by the way he worshipped.”
He didn’t berate Cain. “You stupid fool! I wish you’d never been born. What’s wrong with you?”
He didn’t take the blame and say, “It’s all my fault. I never should’ve given them freedom to choose.”
He simply announced judgement.  
“The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. Now you are cursed and banished from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it will no longer yield its produce to you. You will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”
Cain knew he’d done wrong. He had no one to blame. He’d already been warned.
Cain and Abel brought an offering.
Cain’s offering was some leftover scraps.
Abel brought the very best he had.
The difference was as obvious as a convenience store rose, picked up at the last minute on the way home from work, verses a dozen roses delivered with a beautiful hand written card expressing gratitude and love and an invitation to dinner.
Cain, should’ve thought, I’ll do better next time. Instead, he got mad at Abel for doing so good.
The attitude of his heart was written all over his face before the blood was spilled on his hand.  
God saw it. “Cain, why are you angry?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you refuse to do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires you, but you must master it.”
Aha, there it is. Sin. God placed the blame squarely on the problem; sin.
In the same breath, the responsibility for dealing with sin, fell squarely on Cain.  “You must overcome it.”
I’ve gotten side tracked lately. With all the news and political battles, I started thinking that all the worlds woes were due to democrats.  I’d lost sight of this simple lesson, that the snake by the door ready to strike, isn’t one political party or the other, it is sin. Period.
I’ve offended friends and family by attacking democrats. I was trying to attack evil. But, in my mind, democrats and evil had become one and the same.
I wanted my loved ones to know the side they were standing on was doing all sorts of evil. I thought they’d want to know. I figured they’d be glad I told them. I assumed their eyes would be opened.  It didn’t exactly work out that way.
They thought I was attacking them.
As long as they can remember, they’ve considered themselves to be democrats. They’d probably feel like traitors to their beloved, respected, dearly departed parents and grandparents, if they doubted the democratic party.  
Tradition runs deep. “You make of none effect the word of God, by your tradition” said Jesus to the religious leaders.
My "attack" on the democrats was viewed by my precious friends and family as an attack on them personally. I didn’t mean it that way. I didn’t mean it as a personal attack on them. I don’t see them as democrats or republicans or red, yellow, black or white…they are abundantly loved, fearfully and wonderfully made, people. My people. Those I love. Family.
I simply wanted to warn them of the snake I see coiled by the door; fangs dripping with venom desiring to kill, steal and destroy. Alas, they thought I was calling them, the snake.
God didn’t mince words with Cain. He won’t with us. He calls an ace an ace and a spade a spade; and sin—sin. From now on I’ll endeavor to do the same.
Let’s be real. When it comes to sin, I've done more than my share. "Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone." I have no place in that line, or any stones to throw. And, President Trump? Well, he's no saint. I wouldn’t recommend him as a marriage counselor or to lead your Bible study. But, to manage a hunk of real estate the size of a nation—he’s your man. The nearly half a million more paychecks being taken home every payday speaks for itself. Of course, that's just my humble opinion. 
What's important to remember, no matter where you stand, we all must deal with the sin problem and for that Jesus is your man. There is no other way.
Remember, you are awesome, you matter, I love you. 
Most important of all, know that Jesus loves you.  He is your answer.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Notre Dame Cathedral Fire & Signs Of The Times

At first, they thought the Notre Dame Cathedral fire would destroy the historic landmark. But, in the end, much was saved; including the cross, which seemed to glow through the smoke; and the crown of thorns, believed to be the one Jesus wore at His crucifixion. 

Reportedly, the cathedral housed what is said to be the very nails and a piece of the cross, Jesus was crucified on; and a stone from the sepulcher where He was buried.

The blaze destroyed the 850-year-old oak roof and spire; however, the twin bell towers, made famous by Victor Hugo’s tale, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” survived.

Notre Dame Cathedral may be the most iconic church for Catholics, second only to, St. Peter’s Basilica, in Vatican City.

Typically, between Palm Sunday and Easter, they’d be preparing to display artifacts from the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Instead, they’re being transferred to the Louvre Museum.
Although somewhat in shock, restoration plans have already been set in motion and over 300 million has already been pledged.

Was it arson?

The timing and current events, lend to that idea.

Over ten churches have been hit since the beginning of February. Some set ablaze, others severely desecrated. In the Church of Notre-Dame-des-Enfants in Nimes, near the Spanish border, intruders drew a cross on a wall with excrement then, stuck consecrated hosts to it. On March 17th, St. Sulpice, the second-largest church in Paris, after Notre Dame Cathedral, had the large wooden door set ablaze.

Raymond Ibrahim at Gatestone Institute reports, “There is a creeping war against everything that symbolizes Christianity.” In almost every instance, there is an “eloquent silence” among authorities and media, regarding the identity of the vandals.

Who’s doing it?

There are clues.

"Crosses are broken, altars smashed, Bibles set on fire, baptismal fonts overturned, and the church doors smeared with Islamic expressions like 'Allahu Akbar.’" writes Ibrahim. 

It’s not just overseas.

Palm Sunday, Midway Presbyterian Church, in South Carolina, had three of its 125-year-old windows broken and "Submit to God thru Islam" and "Muhammed is his prophet" spray-painted on the outside.

Statistics show a corresponding uptick in vandalism to Christian symbols with an increase in muslim migrants.

But there's more to it than that.

It’s not as simple as telling Christians to stand up, speak out, or, “make people 
uncomfortable” as congresswoman Ilhan Omar stated in her CAIR speech. (Council on American-Islamic Relations; an organization with ties to Hamas, the Palestinian terror organization.)

Muslims aren’t the problem. Or Migrants. Or blacks. Or Whites. Or reds. Or blues. Baby-slaughtering abortionists aren’t either. Or that twisted man that threw a five year old boy off the third floor balcony in the Mall of America. Corrupt, dishonest politicians and lawyers are not even the problem.

All those, are symptoms.

“Be not deceived.

That’s what I heard when I prayed this morning. Well, ‘heard’ may not be the right word, but it fits…it’s more like an inner-hearing.

Those words came back to me as I followed up on the events of the Notre Dame fire.

I remembered Jesus said something about, not being deceived, so I looked it up. It’s recorded in three of the gospels.

What I found interesting is that it was the first thing Jesus said when the disciples asked Him about signs of the end.

What will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”

Jesus answered, “See to it that no one deceives you.”

What’s even more interesting (considering our subject) is the context of His statement. 

His disciples were marveling at the temple structures. Jesus wasn’t impressed by buildings, temples or cathedrals, and He told them, “one stone won’t be left on another.”

That prompted His disciples to ask about  the end of the age.

Jesus told them to be not deceived.

Damage to the iconic marvel of the cathedral, is not what grieves the heart of God, but the deceit in the heart of man that would destroy it.   

The problem is Eden. The fall.
We all carry the disease.
We all have access to the cure.

His name is Jesus.  

Last week I wrote of the rhino poacher killed by an elephantand eaten by a lion. How, Trump has been referred to as a rhino and how, Isaiah 34 speaks of the falling of the rhino and the end of time, judgement of nations.

This week as we celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, we see set ablaze, the very location where artifacts from the death, burial and resurrection of Christ are stored. 

Are these signs?
Is God speaking?
Is the enemy deceiving? 

Are we listening?
To whom?

Monday, April 15, 2019

The King Is Coming

We gathered like we usually do. 
Folks found the seats their accustomed to. 
They all got there early, just like they always do. 
The song leader started taking requests, that was normal too.

But, when the clock hit the top of the hour, when the minute hand hit the twelve, when we usually start the service...we didn't.
Instead a dear sweet lady up front said in a voice gentle, soft and sweet.  
"Can we sing, The King Is Coming, please?"

We did. 

There was something in the atmosphere. 
The folks, mostly silver haired seniors, seemed to take on a special glow
Their voices were clear as crystal, and echoed to heavens throne, and, it seems, 
Heaven's throne...
echoed back.

The marketplace is empty

No more traffic in the streets
All the builders' tools are silent
No more time to harvest wheat
Busy housewives cease their labors
In the courtroom no debate
Work on earth is all suspended
As the King comes thro' the gate
O the King is coming

The King is coming
I just heard the trumpets sounding
And now His face I see
O the King is coming
The King is coming
Praise God, He's coming for me
Happy faces line the hallways

Those whose lives have been redeemed
Broken homes that He has mended
Those from prison He has freed
Little children and the aged
Hand in hand stand all aglow
Who were crippled, broken, ruined
Clad in garments white as snow
O the King is coming

The King is coming
I just heard the trumpets sounding
And now His face I see
O the King is coming
The King is coming
Praise God, He's coming for me
I can hear the chariots rumble

I can see the marching throng
The flurry of God's trumpets
Spells the end of sin and wrong
Regal robes are now unfolding
Heaven's grandstand's all in place
Heaven's choir now assembled
Start to sing "Amazing Grace"
O the King is coming

The King is coming
I just heard the trumpets sounding
And now His face I see
O the King is coming
The King is coming
Praise God, He's coming for me

Friday, April 12, 2019

Rhino Poacher Killed By Elephant, Eaten by Lion

Locked and loaded, killer for hire, a foot soldier of the international crime syndicate…
He spies his prey. The thrill is no longer to kill, but for the bounty it brings.
His right knee and boot laces touch the parched earth. In one slow, fluid motion he leans forward as his left elbow and knee connect and the rifle steadies.
His right hand wipes sweat from brow and then pulls the rifle tight to his shoulder. His face plants against the stock.
The rhino, stands before him, alone, strong, confident, unafraid, untamable…unaware of the value others put on his demise.
The hunter considers the majestic beast, wonders, but only for a moment, the waste of downing such a wonderful creature simply for the horn. 
He lines up his sights, rests his finger on the trigger…
 Always the hunter—never the hunted.
He pulls in a slow, steady breath and holds. His trigger finger—
The breath he held, becomes his last.
The elephant didn’t need a second blow.
The hunter suddenly becomes the hunted.
The rhino, chewing a clump of grass sticking out both sides of his mouth, squints toward the elephant, raises his head, points his horn toward the heavens, and slowly, turns and ambles away.
The elephant watches the rhino for a moment or two, looks at the lifeless body below his feet, raises his trunk and with a long blast, trumpets loud and strong.

Hours later, the only evidence for the park ranger, is what's left by the lion—the skull and trousers. 

When I read that story my mind drew lines and connected dots between what was being read…and perhaps what was really being said.
I read about the widespread poverty in the area, and wondered if he'd resorted to this as a last resort to feed his family.  
I thought of how the poacher, driven by greed or desperation, left wife and daughters to mourn the loss of their father. 
I read that the poachers drug the rhinos and then use a machete to hack away the horn, or use a chainsaw; leaving the rhinos to bleed to death.

I couldn’t help but think of the money purchasing the poachers. The evil behind the curtain, manipulating the market to create such a demand for something with virtually no value or human purpose. 
A rhino horn is made of keratin, compressed hair. It provides no health benefits to humans.
Yet, folks who practice Eastern medicine have been conned into the belief that the horn has benefits as an aphrodisiac or a fever reducer or hangover cure; so, they grind it up in a drink or give it as gifts.  
The demand has made it more valuable than cocaine.
I remember, behind the scenes money manipulating tycoon George Soros stated, “Trump will disappear in 2020, or even sooner.”
I thought of how, over and over, for multiple reasons, from both sides of the aisle, President Trump has been referred to as a rhino.

Rhino is found in the King James Version margin to Isaiah 34:7 ("rhinocerots") for re'emim; A wild animal, fierce and untamed…
The unnerving passage speaks of the judgement of the nations.
Isaiah 34
Judgment Against the Nations
Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it!  The LORD is angry with all nations; his wrath is on all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter.  Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will stink; the mountains will be soaked with their blood.  All the stars in the sky will be dissolved and the heavens rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree.  My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; see, it descends in judgment on Edom, the people I have totally destroyed.  The sword of the LORD is bathed in blood, it is covered with fat— the blood of lambs and goats, fat from the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah and a great slaughter in the land of Edom.  And the wild oxen (rhino) will fall with them, the bull calves and the great bulls. Their land will be drenched with blood, and the dust will be soaked with fat.  For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause.

And then, there’s the elephant that killed the poacher. 
Of course, we all know the elephant has represented the republican party for decades.
Did you know the loud, long sound an elephant makes is called, Trumpet?

In the end, there’s the lion.
The lion wasn’t seen, but left evidence of his consuming presence.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen…(Romans 1:20)
The Lion Of The Tribe Of Judah—Jesus Christ, the Messiah; King of Kings, Lord of Lords. The One who is about to come at the last trump, and return with a sword.
“Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed…” (Rev. 5:5)
“And from His mouth proceeds a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations” (Rev. 19:15)
You may say my imagination is taking the story where it doesn’t go. 
You may be right. 
You may say, with all this evil, the world is falling apart. 
I agree, to a degree...but in the end, what I really see is evidence of God's plan falling together. 
What I hear is that the breath we hold...may be our last.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Father & the book

He walks to the stage, smiles big, head held high, and he introduces his dad.
His dad is right there beside him. His dad is bigger and stronger than anyone in the room. His dad, owns the building they’re in and all the land on which the building sits.
The child speaks to his dad, unashamed, unrehearsed, from his heart. He invites everyone in the room to talk to his dad; get to know his dad; ask his dad questions. The child is certain his dad knows all the answers.
When the dad speaks, his words are simple and few. He doesn’t wax eloquent with words of grandeur. He simply extends an invitation, to everyone.
Someone in the room is mad…well, actually, she won’t admit it, but really, she’s sad. And way down deep; envious.
She doesn’t know her dad. She’d like to. She wants a dad. She listens to the invitation, and closes her eyes when the man’s gentle voice says, “I’d love it if you were all my children…” for a brief moment, she imagines what it’d be like to have him as her dad.
She squeezes the book in her hands and tries to remember where it talks about her father. She scrolls through the pages of her memory, looking for the spot in the book where it talks about how her father loves her. The dad who carries her and protects her and provides for her…alas, her memory runs dry, empty, no such place can be found.   
She takes a small step forward and the book slips from her fingers and falls to the floor. Her eyes open just as her foot lands upon the cover of the book.
She gasps.
She cannot breathe.
She cannot move.
A cold sweat consumes her. What has she done? She feels faint.
As if in a distant tunnel the man’s words echo, “Don’t be afraid. I am, here to help you.”
She lifts her head and finds the man is looking right at her. A gentle warmth blankets her. She is free again to breath, to move.
The man smiles and nods.
She starts to move toward him. Feels the book under her foot. Hesitates.
The man’s gaze intensifies, slightly shakes his head.
She breaks eye contact and looks to the floor…to the book under foot. The cold returns with a vengeance. A rage consumes her.
The man let’s out a slow, sad sigh.
Enraged and offended she snatches the book from the floor.
“I am a Father to the fatherless. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” the Man gently pleads.
She cannot hear for fear, as she wipes the spot where her dusty footprint covers the word “Quran”