Sunday, June 26, 2011

We Need Redemption

We had such high hopes for ourselves and others. Then sin messed it all up.

We believe in redemption but almost only in a one time way. I have salvation now; my child is saved now. We forget that we need it every day.

So our memory loss has us saying to Jesus: "Thanks, but I'll take it from here." We polish the exterior but forget that the inside will never be truly good; at least this side of eternity.

I wanted my life to be different from the day I came to Jesus. That somehow from that day there would be no more sin, no more mess ups. I believed the lie that I could keep myself good. Reality crushed that illusion.

We need a Savior all day and every day. Our children will need the same. All of us are in the same boat. Every family is messed up no matter how spiffy they look on the outside. No parent is perfect. No child is either. This life will be one tragedy, one devastating situation, one act of rebellion after another. We need redemption all day and every day.

The lies of perfection we believe are the devil's tools to disconnect us from others. Shame over what is going on behind the scenes push us to isolation and to that age old Garden of Eden behavior of covering up.

It's in these times, which are all day and every day that we need other people. In confessing our sins one to another we admit that we are not perfect. We admit that we are like everyone else. We admit that we live under the remnants of a curse. We admit that we can't be the savior in our own life or in that of our children or anyone else.

There is only one Savior. Jesus is ready to forgive us each moment; he is ready to work redemption into the cracks and crevices of our lives.

Don't believe the lies; don't hide; don't be intimidated into silence. Rip off the mask, admit the truth, and once again experience the power of redemption. Not one time but all day and every day.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Cathedral of Trees and Praise

I start my mornings on the front porch now. I make coffee and put out bird seed. I hope the song birds get it before the squirrels.

There is something different here. This is God's place. Not that He isn't in the house but it's different out here. The birds present a symphony of praise. The trees raise their branches in praise. All of nature screams of God.

The green of the grass and leaves, the blue sky and the brown dirt; just common colors but beautiful. I can't even begin to name the colors of all the flowers. I would need that huge box of crayons to help.

All of nature...except one. Me and you. Mankind. We are different. We resist. We don't praise.

Busyness closes our eyes to blessings. Competing things. Numbing things.

Shake off the slumber. Look around. God is good. He is great! Even with all our troubles our lives are immensely blessed. We should be screaming - with the trees and birds and the rest of creation.

But at this hour, my screams will be silent, in my heart, lest my family and neighbors think I have gone mad.

Join me.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Different and Less Difficult Hill

Today was hot but a bike ride sounded good. I didn't know where I would end up but I decided to head west. That way it's uphill there and mostly downhill back.

I would be alone. Matt and Andy had other things going. I miss them when they don't come. Without them I will pedal my fastest. My heart will beat hard and my breathing will be fast.

I start near Sheridan and Evans in Denver. Soon I am on Jewell nearing Kipling. I look ahead to a hill I rode up as a teenager. At that time it seemed steep and long. Not so much now.

After a day at work, my legs are tiring early. The hill I just dismissed as easy is proving to be a little more. I persist and soon it is behind me. The last time I rode that hill was 40 years ago. I think I did it faster this time.

Fifteen years old, on the way to my friend’s house and probably up to no good.

If Jesus hadn't come into my life things would have been much different now - in a bad way. I know the path I was on. It wouldn't have ended in a good place. I know many people who stayed on that bad path. I can see in their lives what only the mercy and grace of God spared me from.

I am very thankful.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Who Hates God?

Man is now only free to be what he is - a sinner who hates God.

I heard this line in a bible study video I was watching yesterday. It was referring to the condition of man after the fall. I don't think I agree with it.

I know it fits with the whole total depravity thing that is popular in Calvinistic or Reformed circles.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think unregenerate man is someone pretty or who has it halfway together. It just seems some people go farther than they should in their descriptions.

I think of myself: from as far back as I can remember, I wanted to follow God. Not that I did though. Yes I was ignorant and rebellious and on my way to he'll. But, I don't think I hated God. If anything I was indifferent to what I really needed to do.

I think of children who are rebellious: do they hate their parents? Not necessarily. They are ignorant and self-centered for sure.

There are some people who are God haters. I wonder about the person at NBC who bleeped out the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance during the US Open this weekend. Or the so called atheists who spend all their time denying and fighting against someone who doesn't exist. They may hate God.

So man after the fall was in bad shape and in need of a Savior but not all God haters, at least in the way we define hate. That's what I think at least.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day Weekend Thoughts

It's Father's Day weekend. I stretch it bigger by getting up earlier.

I'm thinking of my dad and what a great father he was. In today's language that would mean he did a lot of things with me, told me he loved me and was involved in my life.

If I wanted to paint a bad picture of my dad I could complain that I never remember him doing those things, at least when I was little. The only thing I remember him and I doing alone was me going to work with him. That was mostly because I was a huge troublemaker at home and it gave my mom a break when I was gone.

Until I was way into adulthood and a father myself I never remember him telling me that he loved me.

And I don't remember him being involved in MY life.

I use the word remember a lot because I know things may have happened that I don't remember. I am accused of not doing things by my own kids sometimes and I could counter by saying, "You just don't remember."

Perception is huge. The glasses we look through color everything we see.

I could never stop speaking well of my dad. Not that he was perfect or won father of the year. He had his problems like the rest of us. Some of them from his past were pretty big. He did better as he got older - like the rest of us, at least as we should.

My dad was good as a father and as a man because he did the important things. He did love his kids, just not in the way kids sometimes measure it. He went to work and kept a roof over our head. He stayed with my mom even with her chronic health problems. He became a struggling father when my mom died while my brother, sister and I were in our teens. He kept on, day after day.

Thankfully when I was a kid, society didn't enforce the egocentric nature of kids. We weren’t taught that it was all about us. Not that we didn't think that, we just didn't get reinforcement from the "experts".

So anyway, that's a little about my dad. Tomorrow I will post my official tribute, the one I gave at his funeral.

I am a dad too. I love my kids and try to be a good dad - whatever that means. I'm sure their perception is different. There is probably a lot of what I have done that they don't remember and a lot they would like to forget.

I have eight children: six boys and two girls from 29 years old to 10 and all from the same mother who I have been married to for 32 years.

Oh by the way, I hear that some people want to do away with Father's Day. They say it is discriminatory and makes kids without fathers feel bad. More idiocy from the experts.

Well, it's Father's Day weekend. I will ride bikes and eat food with my two youngest today. Hopefully it will be fun for them. Hopefully something in this day will convey my love for them and hopefully they will pick up a little of the good that is in me.

Here is an old picture of the kids I have been blessed to be a father to.