Principle of Eternity

(And You Can and Should, Too)

Travel with me to an ancient version of Death Row. A lonely old man sits in isolation – a rare occurrence for a life so well-traveled and surrounded with people. And he awaits his fate.

He’s a dead man walking.

Yet even though his body is scarred and his bones crooked from a hardened life, he doesn’t have the same despair or desperation that’s typical of someone living under a death sentence. In fact, he has – dare I say it? – a sense of satisfaction. Fulfillment. Maybe even a touch of pride.

How do I know? His own words.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

Those words from Paul have carried a new fascination for me recently.  Here was a man who know what his life was about, and lived it. He followed the course laid out for him, and he finished it.

Put in other language, Paul had a vision, and throughout his life he stubbornly, doggedly, faithfully pursued that vision.  Doing so was costly in the short run. He was routinely run out of town, beaten to a pulp, deserted by his friends, and bedeviled by danger. But to him it was a price worth paying, to get to the end of his life with two things: [click to continue…]

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Highway

Imagine your life as various points on the highway.  Fast Lane, Slow Lane, Shoulder, Ditch.

And at any given time, in any given area, you can be in one of those four.

Living in the Fast Lane means you’re getting where you’re going. You’re fulfilling your purpose.

In the Slow Lane you have a lot of movement, but you never quite seem to get there, wherever “there” is.

On the Shoulder, your “engine” is running, but you’re not moving ahead at all.

In the Ditch means you’ve crashed or are stuck, and without help you aren’t going anywhere.

Having punched my card in all four locations, I can tell you we’re all a mixed bag. You can be idling on the shoulder in one area, cruising in another, and crashed out in a third. So let’s break it down a little more. [click to continue…]

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Emtpy interior of the train for long and short distance

Everybody leads from the second chair. Everybody.

Kings and queens.

Presidents and popes.

CEOs and C-3POs.

Even Messiahs. [click to continue…]

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(But I’ll Bet You Haven’t)

It was a harsh and hostile time, filled with great uncertainty.  Public favor seemed to rock back and forth. One minute they were praised and celebrated, and the next they were vilified.  A generation earlier a ragtag cast of characters had electrified the world with the testimony that Jesus Christ, who had been crucified outside Jerusalem, had risen from the dead and was alive to this day.

But what started in a supernatural flurry of worship and wonder soon turned ugly. [click to continue…]

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Baby Ready

He’s this year’s first round draft choice. The Player to Be Named Later.  If you’re keeping score that’s number nine for us, and the eighth boy in a row.

Yep. It’s Baby Maybe season, and the landing gear is down.  He can be here at any time.

Now the official due date is sometime around the end of the month, but all indications point to a potential early arrival.  So we’ve made ourselves ready to go when the word goes forth.

We’re living with a sense of imminence.  And it’s affecting every part of our lives. [click to continue…]

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Join me on a little excursion.

If you love words as much as I do, and you have any appreciation whatsoever for Jesus Christ, I want to show you some of the most soaring, majestic language ever recorded about Him.  Our journey will pause at three locations, all in the New Testament.  Here’s the first… read this slowly. [click to continue…]

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Anticipation

It’s in the white space between the verses.  If it were captured on video, a la NFL Films, they’d replay it in slow motion with a tense musical score leading up to the climactic moment.  It often takes place in a matter of seconds and is hardly ever discussed. But we’ve all read about it. And chances are, we’ve lived it on some level.

The “it” that I’m referring to is that split-second gap between motion and miracle. When the world for just a second goes quiet and you’re breathless with anticipation.

It’s that Breathless Pause, where you’re waiting, anticipating something amazing. [click to continue…]

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Hey.  Bible scholar.

Yes, you.

I have a thought question for you.

Remember David?  King… giant slayer… and that other nickname he is famous for?

Yeah, that one – a “man after God’s own heart.”

God Himself used the phrase first and it is repeated throughout scripture. Samuel said to Saul, “But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart…” (1 Samuel 13:14). And He found that in David.

And He repeated that over and over again, not just during David’s lifetime, but throughout the Bible.  Something about this man, who obviously had some pretty serious personal flaws (liar, adulterer, and murderer for starters) was so unique that God used His version of neon lights and pointed to this man again and again.

Why? [click to continue…]

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names of God 2

A Celebration of the nearness and faithfulness of a God who reveals Himself by His names.

(Try reading this out loud, perhaps with a partner.)

We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks,
For Your name is near… And Your nearness is our good.

I AM THAT I AM.

And we give You thanks.

I always have been and always will be.

And we give You thanks.

I need no one to define Me, or remake me in their image.

And You are near.

I reveal Myself unceasingly.

And Your nearness is our good.

I am faithful and true in My covenant love.

So we Your people and the sheep of Your pasture
Will give thanks to You forever.

+++++++

We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks,
For Your name is near… And Your nearness is our good.

I am Jehovah-Nissi, The Lord Your Banner. [click to continue…]

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Relaxing in the park

If all you knew about love was rumor and reputation,
If all you held on to were wistful hopes or magical memories…
If everything you trusted to carry you relied on fair weather
Or the favor of fickle people,
Then whatever you know of love would be vain.

But there is a Love that is real, that stands and delivers
More than wishful thinking or the Good Ole Days…
A Love that lasts through the strain of the Dog days
And the pain of disappointing people…
A Love that goes to the Ends of the Earth.

If all you knew of love was agreement and approval,
And the whole world danced while you sang your song…
If every morning greeted you with sunshine and rainbows
And the endless praise of life-long admirers,
Then what you call Love is at best empty.

But there is a Love that holds on to you when life pushes back,
And embraces you warmly when people grow cold.
A Love that endures the pelting of blinding storms
And the ignorance of sightless critics…
A Love that goes to the Ends of the Earth. [click to continue…]

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