(Sort-of-random thoughts at 30,000 feet with a lot of free time on my hands…)
It takes minutes to make paper fly; to build something capable of carrying you long distances takes months, and a lot of helpful, smart people. The same is true with your important dreams – and your character.
You were created with the language of Forever in your heart, and nothing else will satisfy.
“I will” spoken with resolve has power, but your resolve will be tested and the limits of your willpower will be exposed.
You were not born with the wisdom and capacity to wait, but wisdom and reward waits for those who learn to.
God created the world for you, not you for the world – but He does hold you accountable for leaving it better than you found it.
A thousand opportunities dance before those whose eyes are open to see them. Ten thousand chances pass by those too lost in fear or consuming to notice them.
Summers are God’s way of showing that you don’t have to be in a classroom to learn.
I just saw a man express his gratitude by giving up his first class seat to a woman… who happened to be wearing a United States Army uniform. I wonder how I can say thank-you to somebody today.
I will always respect the one who can wait (there’s that word again) with discipline, but then decisively act with courage.
I’m not so sure that God has a plan for you so much as God has a plan period and invites you to participate joyfully in it… Or bruise yourself on it. [click to continue…]
Something happens at the end of the day when the to-do list loses its power, the however-many words we use have escaped us, and the sinks and tubs and TVs have done their duty. Life gets still. Sometimes for a fleeting moment before sleep. Sometimes, like last night for me, for a surprising length of time. Borrowing from ancient practices, I like to call these moments the Watches of the Night. Even though the body is tired, another part of you is still very awake.
It’s there, in the quiet stillness, that you can hear Him if you listen in your spirit.
It’s the same Gentle Whisperer that Elijah heard in the mouth of the cave.
He’s the Mighty to Save, who quiets your soul in the most beautiful of ways… He rejoices over you with singing.
This is no task for angels or even people. This is a visitation in love fitting only for One who can take such personal delight in you, despite your weakness or failure. And in the Watches of the Night, He Himself becomes the descant of your soul.
Listen with your heart, and in the Watches of the Night, you can hear Him lifting your soul, singing to your hope that He will come back to you again. He sings to your regrets with His stubborn love, casting them into the depths of the deepest sea. And in his delight over you, He buoys your heart to face new challenges and new opportunities for patience and endurance. [click to continue…]
Jason meant well. But his efforts to help the butterfly-to-be only ended in disaster. For days he had watched the cocoon and wondered what it would produce. Finally he noticed a tiny opening in the cocoon’s wall. On the other side, the new life form was struggling furiously – desperately – to be free of its self-designed prison. Feeling compassion for the little creature, the boy found a sharp knife and carefully cut the cocoon’s wall in order to relieve it from its struggle.
The butterfly soon died. Its wings were grossly deformed, and it was unable to fly. What appeared to be a struggle was actually the process by which the animal’s wings are formed. Jason had short-circuited the process, and the results, though unintentional, were tragic.
You and I are very much like the butterfly. We are often wrapped up in our own kinds of cocoons – alone, stifled, limited, longing to be free. Sometimes these are prisons of our own doing – addictions, bondage to sin, broken relationships, stupid decisions. At other times our cocoons are thrust upon us in the form of disappointments, losses of loved ones, extended illnesses, or the abuse of others. Either way, the results are the same. Why do we feel so alone? What in the world is God up to? Where will we ever find relief? When will we be “free to fly” again? How will we make it through another day? [click to continue…]
Had coffee with a sweet friend last week. She was describing the amazing things the Lord has worked in her life over the summer as she has gone through a wonderfully painful, gloriously gut-wrenching season. Each day the Lord has brought new strength, insights, healing, and refreshing as she prepares for a future that is far less certain… but far more peaceful.
Did you get that?
Far less certain, but far more peaceful.
Like many people, she had defined peace and satisfaction in terms of being able to predict what the future held (among other things). Now as she returns to school, she heads off into an unknown destiny, with lots of uncertainties. But she has a phenomenal peace that she is being held right in the center of God’s heart and hand.
Here’s how she expressed it to me. I was so touched, I wanted to share it with you (my paraphrase): [click to continue…]
It takes time and intention, this Soul-Anchoring Moment,
And a willingness to wait for those fleeting experiences
That are tomorrow’s soul roots.
(Did I mention a willingness to wait?)
A Soul-Anchoring Moment…
Maybe it’s the possibility of holding all of your scattered grandchildren in one day.
Or a chance to hear again the sounds common to your birthplace
And sigh with satisfaction at the most trivial and most special of memories. [click to continue…]
(The further adventures of Eugene Davis, Sophomore Christian)
“What would be s good time to come by your office?”
The voice on the other end of the phone was none other than Eugene Davis, Sophomore Christian and resident expert on all things spiritually enormous.
Normally Eugene would pop in, sort of like the Allies dropped by to pay the Germans a visit at Normandy. But this was different. It had the air of urgency. Eugene Davis was always serious and everything was important. But this was a step beyond. It was deliberate. Ruggedly precise. Appointment-worthy.
“I’m free about 3:00,” I said. ”What’s up?” (To this day I don’t like ambushes in meetings.)
“I think the Lord has given me a vision.”
“Well,” said I, ”I’ll be here. Come on by.”
Apparently I didn’t send the right signal. Didn’t catch the gravy of the situation. This was a vision. From God! [click to continue…]
This is a season of Death-By-To-Do-List. The quiet pause, lethargy, and feeding frenzy of the holidays are followed by the jump-started, resolution-driven frenzy of the New Year. So this morning I started my journaling by listing one or two things I still haven’t done this week. And the one or two became six or seven.
“I swear, I’ll die by checklist overload,” I wrote.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s missing in our life planning. It’s so easy to get lost in the whirlwind of the frenetic or even the focus of the goal-directed that we neglect some of the most significant parts of the plan.
I’m all about making mission statements that lead to goals lists that lead to action steps toward making those goals and mission a reality. I get it. I completely understand that if you aren’t taking massive action in the direction of your dreams you are probably kissing some of them good-bye.
How do you respond, however, when the dream or passion is completely authentic, but there is literally nothing you can do about it today – at least in outward to-do-list fashion? How do you keep the important, important, when it’s not front-and-center in your appointment book? [click to continue…]
On October 4, 1943, Bing Crosby recorded a song that captured the imagination of millions of Americans. Within three weeks it was on the top music charts, and remained there for 11 weeks. A year later, it returned to the charts again. Since then, it has been recorded by nearly 250 artists. It was the first song broadcast into space, and remains to this day one of the most cherished songs of all time.
Remember, the entire world was galvanized in a world war, and hundreds of thousands of American soldiers were in Europe, Africa, and the Pacific fighting for our future. Nearly the entire country was unified behind our fighting men.
The name of the song – “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”
Something about Christmas makes us want to go home, or at least to be somewhere with people we care about. [click to continue…]
I still miss her sometimes. Pity I’m so busy I don’t miss her more. For me it’s mostly in passing sighs… Like now. (-From my journal a couple of days ago, referring to my mother, who died earlier this year.)
Heard any sermons on longing lately?
I doubt it.
In spite of the fact that it’s such a common experience, and one that is treated a surprising number of times in the Bible, “Dealing with Longing” doesn’t typically generate offerings, baptisms, or slick series brochures from the local worship establishment.
And yet it’s there… right in plain sight. The Bible’s own version of “Miss You Like Crazy.”
Paul wrote those wild child Corinthians a pretty dress-you-down letter (we call it 1 Corinthians). Their response? They turned their hearts, and longed to see Paul. His reply? Same thing. [click to continue…]
Get this scene…
It’s the long-shadow season… a late-October Saturday afternoon. Alabama has just kicked off to Tennessee, and the rest of life has been put on hold. I’ve got the snacks and drinks, recliner set to football position, and it’s a glorious day.
That’s when I hear it. In those few seconds before the doorbell rings and the dogs go crazy, I hear the giggles of a gaggle of adolescents.
Two thoughts immediately flash by:
- I am obviously not living in Dixie, because nobody in their right mind there would be roaming the streets when the Tide ‘n’ Vols are on TV.
- I’m about to be scavenger hunted.
Sure enough, I open the door to a group of teenagers, and one of ‘em hands me a list. “We’re on a scavenger hunt. Do you have any of these things?”
Game on (while the other game is on pause). [click to continue…]