Sunday, April 25, 2010


I was reading the introduction to the book of Ezekiel in The Message. It talks about how people face catastrophe in two common ways: with denial, or with despair. Catastrophe happens, and some people “shut their eyes tight or look the other way.” They “manage to act as if everything if going to be just fine; they take refuge in distractions and lies and fantasies…” they deny. Others are “paralyzed,” and “accept it as the end of the world.” They are “unwilling to do anything, concluding that life for all intents and purposes is over.” They “listlessly close their eyes to a world in which all the color has drained out, a world gone dead…”they despair.

When God’s people faced catastrophe in Ezekiel’s day, “denial was the primary response.” He “found himself living among a people of God who stubbornly refused to see what was right before their eyes (the denial crowd). There were also some who were unwilling to see anything other than what was right before their eyes (the despair crowd).” Ezekiel was able to show them that, “yes, there was a catastrophe, but God was at work in the catastrophe, sovereignly using the catastrophe. He showed them so that they would be able to embrace God in the worst of times.” Because of Ezekiel’s faithfulness, “God’s people emerged from that catastrophic century robust and whole.”

Ezekiel wrote in Chapter 36: 24-28:
"'For here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I'll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I'll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I'll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that's God-willed, not self-willed. I'll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You'll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You'll be my people! I'll be your God!"

And in Ezekiel 34: 30-31:
"They'll know, beyond doubting, that I, God, am their God, that I'm with them and that they, the people Israel, are my people. Decree of God, the Master: You are my dear flock, the flock of my pasture, my human flock, and I am your God.”

I must admit that I have responded to catastrophe with both denial and despair (though I’m more inclined to despair). I don’t want to live like this. I want to see the world as Ezekiel did, and the only way is to see him working in a catastrophe, is by living close to his heartbeat. Draw me closer.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

find what i'm looking for

Amy Grant has a new album out…I love Amy Grant’s music. I have listened to it for decades. There is something about her lyrics that have always spoken to me “where I am.” Recently, it is apparent that she has experienced a lot of grief, and that she has caused some grief to others. Her songs speak of remorse for the grief that she has caused. Maybe she is coming to the realization of who she really is…I have done that in recent years, and I have to say that it has be liberating as well as humbling. Liberating, in that I have realized that I don’t have to be what everybody (including myself) thinks I should be; humbling, in that I’m understanding that for every “good” attribute I have, there is at least one “not-so-good” attribute to balance it out.

This is what Amy’s song, “Find What You’re Looking For,” says about it:

“What would they find if they uncovered all my tracks
Of roads I’d snuck down and darkness and never turn back
Well they’d find what they’re looking for
Secrets and so much more
What would they find if they searched for a heart of gold
They’d find sacrifices of time and money never told
Yeah they’d find what they’re looking for
Kindness and so much more
‘Cause there’s so much good in the worst of us
So much bad in the best of us
It never makes sense for any of us
To criticize the rest of us
We’ll just find what we’re looking for
We’ll find it and so much more.”

So…what am I looking for? I am trying to see the ways that I can see God working in my life and others’ lives. I would hope I would seek out the best…accept people (including myself) as people are…remembering that all of us are a compilation of good and evil; black and white… sometimes even gray…; pleasant and obnoxious. All of us loved by God.
At times (and with certain people) this isn’t easy… I’m not always able to do it…it’s that tunnel vision that I have. But I think I am getting better at it…some days….

I’m trying to remember that I’ll find what I’m looking for.


Saturday, April 3, 2010


Sometimes life can be rather depressing… especially if you pay attention to the news. This world is a mess, and it is easy to get “sucked” into the bad news and to forget the “good news” that Jesus brought to us. It is also easy to get so involved in the drama, sadness, and pain of your life every day, on this earth, and forget that this is not the real life of forever.
Jesus was very clear that there are two different kingdoms in operation…the kingdom of man and the kingdom of God. One is about power and money; the other about weakness and poverty. One chooses living for self; the other dying to self. One always wants to be first; the other willingly takes last place. I like what Jesus said in Matthew 5:

You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought. You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat. You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for. You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family. You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom. Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds.”

One kingdom is only for a lifetime; the other for eternity. I want to live in God’s kingdom now, and show others the way. That is not always easy because I am pulled many ways (and I still want my way a lot)…but God will help me… he has already sent everything he had and everything I need…Jesus.

Thank you, Father,