Thinking It’s Up to You: Another Wave We Mustn’t Look At

christ_walking_on_the_waters2c_julius_sergius_von_kleverThe lesson of Matthew 14:22-33 should be rote for us by now. Peter sees Jesus walking on the water, gets out of the boat, and walks out to meet him – until he starts paying more attention to the waves instead of Jesus. That’s when he starts to sink.

Keep your eyes on Jesus, the lesson teaches us (echoed by Hebrews 12:1), and not on the wind and waves of your circumstances.

Great lesson.

Unfortunately, we’re all still rather bad at it.

Sometimes I wonder if that’s because we don’t realize all the many forms that “looking at the waves” can take.

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Triumph On My Enemies

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What an Unbelieving Air Force Sergeant Taught Me About Obeying God

f-16-66232_960_720During my time in the Air Force, I had a boss named Sergeant Carlson.

He was the kind of leader you talk about years later and would still gladly shake his hand. He had a gift for balancing the needs of the mission with genuine concern for the troops under his charge. We knew he really cared. We also knew he wouldn’t hesitate to snap us back in line if we needed it. (As with any young punk, there were days when I needed it.)

A season came in which I was not performing well. I got two Letters of Counseling (LOCs) in a short span, one from Sgt. Carlson, one from another sergeant in our office. My mistakes had grounded a couple jets from their scheduled sorties. I had earned both reprimands straight up, and thanks to God, I had enough maturity to accept them with humility.

But inside, the story was different: one reprimand was a lot easier to accept. You can probably guess that it was Sgt. Carlson’s.

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GABRIEL ON THE MOVE

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Gabriel is only heard from on very special occasions. His messages were directly from God and when he showed up, people listened.  He brought comfort, astonishment, even a tugging at the faith of those he visits.

Joseph was a carpenter.  Skilled craftsmen were few and far between, so the need for someone to create pieces carved from wood for practical or decorative pieces was there in the little village.

Being married to one who carves things from wood, I know it takes great ability to chisel  away at a piece of wood and create something useful and beautiful from within it.  In the process, the artist’s hands become blistered, slivered, strong and rough to the touch.  Up until now, he had it made.  He was engaged, had a trade which would support his new wife and family, a strong work ethic and a strong faith to get him through just about anything.

When Gabriel…

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He Hasn’t Forgotten Our Frailty

deadflowerIf you’re asking “Just what is God like?”, few books of the Bible answer more directly and generously than the Psalms.

Yesterday I was reading through Psalm 103 (one of my favorites) and found myself stopping on verses 13-16:

As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.

I stopped reading. A lump had taken up residence in my throat. Yes. This is me. Dust. Temporary. Fragile. It’s what I am, and moreover, it was how I’ve been feeling lately.

And God knows.

He knows.

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Prayer for Change: a Haiku

Old habits die hard

Except when they’re my habits

Then they’re immortal.

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How to Stop Feeling Alone in a Room Full of People

This has been one of the worst things I’ve experienced, and Jesus doesn’t let me take the easy way out of it.

Brandon J. Adams

We all can feel alone even when surrounded by our greatest fans.

You probably know how this goes. Moments come where we feel something unshareable, something that seems to set us apart from the gathering. It might be a pain, or it might be a joy. Whatever it is, we know the others aren’t feeling it. It’s stuck inside us.

It’s the worst feeling.

Finding someone like-minded to us is cause for celebration, along the lines of finding a vein of gold on your property. But they seem few and far between. Our struggles pull us toward isolation.

This is often our God-shaped hole. There are parts of us that are just too deep for any human to reach. Those needs belong on the broad shoulders of God.Lost in a crowd?

However…God Himself did not intend for humans to live alone. In a stunning act of humility, He designed us to need each other as well. (It’s also one of His tools of sanctification…

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